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Archive for the ‘Learning Activities’ Category

Test Anxiety

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Spring traditionally signals test-taking time in many parts of the United States. Research shows that being “test wise” improves a student’s scores. To help your child become more comfortable with test taking:

  • Talk about the tests ahead of time with your child.
  • Build your child’s confidence through study and practice at home.
  • Show a positive attitude toward taking tests.

Tell you child:I know you will do the best you can, or

The world won’t end if you are not number one.

  • Encourage your child to listen carefully to spoken test instructions. You can provide practice by giving simple, then gradually more complex, instructions for things to be done at home.

February Highlights

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

We found these quotes interesting and thought you would as well.

February 12: Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the U.S.…..the well assured and most enduring memorial to Lincoln is invisibly there, today, tomorrow and for a long time yet to come in the hearts of lovers of liberty, men and women who understand that wherever there is freedom there have been those who fought, toiled and sacrificed for it.

Carl Sandburg


February 22: George Washington, 1stPresident of the U.S.Washington is the mightiest name on earth….long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation.

Abraham Lincoln


February 14: St. Valentine’s DayAccording to an old legend the day upon which birds choose their mates; widely celebrated by the giving of love tokens. A valentine is a letter or missive sent by one person to another on St. Valentine’s Day.

Webster’s Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 1937

A Family Pledge

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

We will sit down as a family for some of our meals.

We will build a family library, including some of our children’s favorite books.

We will make family visits to libraries, museums, zoos, and other learning places. We will talk about what we see.

We will set aside enough time to finish the day’s homework assignments.

We will have family “study” time when parents read and children do their homework.

We will balance our time between reading or other creative activities and watching TV.

We will all share in the excitement and joy of learning.

We will take time to visit with one another and to show our love and appreciation for each other and for our family.

Choosing Books for Your Children

Friday, January 18th, 2013

One of the best ways to encourage children’s reading is to give them books of their very own. With so many children’s books in print, however, making the best selections may seem like a formidable task.

Since all children should have books they can handle freely, durability is important, says the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Pick well-constructed board books for infants and toddlers, so they can help turn pages without damage. Consider paperbacks and plastic covers for older kids who are not quite ready for expensive hardbacks.

Next, let your children’s interests guide your selections, suggests the Department of Education. When children ask you endless questions about where they came from or why the sky is blue, chances are good there is a book with answers they can understand. If a child expresses an interest in cars, sports, computers or dinosaurs, find books on those topics. If you will be reading aloud together, remember to choose books you can enjoy too.

Quality is as important to children as it is to adults, according to the Library of congress Children’s Literature Center. Well-written fiction with a satisfying plot and strong characterization will motivate your children to keep reading. Good illustration and design are essential to picture-story books. Critical to non-fiction are accuracy, organization and clarity of presentation.

Also keep in mind your children’s reading ability. Books should be challenging enough to stimulate their thinking skills but not so difficult as to overwhelm them. The Department of Education suggests school-sponsored book fairs as an excellent source of offerings geared to your children’s ages and reading levels.

Is cost a factor in your selection? Many second-hand bookstores offer very reasonable prices. Some even allow you to bring in books your children have outgrown and trade them for others. Many public libraries also have periodic used-book sales. Ask a librarian for dates and details.

If you are still not sure what is appropriate, take advantage of available help. Teachers and children’s librarians can suggest books that are good for reading aloud and books of interest to a particular age group. Most libraries have book lists and journals that regularly review and recommend children’s books.

Can-D0 Kids

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

You can motivate your child for successful learning by building self-esteem. Ask your child to describe himself. Do bright, positive, upbeat words come out….smart, good, nice, popular, happy?

Or do you hear…..dumb, fat, mad, broke, and a list of “can’t do” things like can’t read very well, can’t run fast, can’t make friends, can’t do math?

Before a child can achieve learning success, he needs to believe in himself…..have an image of self-worth…..a sense of being capable….a sense of self-esteem. He needs to see himself as a “can-do” kid.

Research shows that these feelings of confidence contribute to success in learning, success in social relationships, and high self-esteem.

Learning

Friday, January 11th, 2013

In an educational sense learning and behavior are inseparable.  Learning is said to have occurred when there is an observable change of behavior.  All learning results from exposure to stimulation.

The source of stimulation is referred to as the stimulus. For the newborn all stimuli are unique in that they have not yet been meaningfully associated with a personal response mode.

With the passage of time the child begins to associate specific stimuli with specific personal reactions. By way of example a child may relieve personal discomfort by moving the head away from an intensely bright light. Conversely the child may associate auditory sound patterns made by an adult with the satisfaction of his need for food.

Through continual exposure to stimulation, the child begins to accumulate a pool of stimulus bound information. In this way he is ultimately able to predict his personal reaction to any stimulus which he has previously experienced in some meaningful way.

A stimulus is not sufficient unto itself. A stimulus must be sensed or received if it is to have instructional value. Some sensory organ on the body must be able to detect the stimulus. Having a stimulus and the process of receiving it cannot complete a learning sequence. The received stimulus must be processed by the brain to cause some form of expression. The final part of the learning model which must be considered is what actually happens as a result of having detected a stimulus, or the terminal behavior. By combining all of these elements the basic learning model, in its simplest form, looks like this:

Stimulus —» Reception —| Processing |—» Terminal Behavior (Expression)

The learning model graphically represents a chain type of reaction commencing with receptive skills, proceeding to process skills and concluding with some form of expressive activity.

A Holiday of Reading

Friday, December 28th, 2012

It’s not unusual for adults to stop reading to children once they are old enough to read for themselves.  however, even children in the intermediate grades still like being read to now and then, says Texas instructional specialist Sam Ayers.  He suggests that parents continue reading aloud to children on a consistent basis even as they get older and that teachers and librarians can make age-appropriate recommendations to parents who don’t feel comfortable selecting books on their own.

Mr. Ayers has found older children often enjoy reading to younger children.  “Parents should provide opportunities for children to read to each other,”  he says.  “This provides them with oral reading practice and may positively affect their self-esteem.  it also provides the listener with a positive role model.”

Researchers at Clark University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education suggest that you do more than just read books to preschoolers.  They suggest that you discuss the books and vary the types of books as well. 

The researcher recommend asking “what” and “why” questions that encourage the child to think about a character’s behavior and motivation and connect the events in the book with his or her own experience.  Ask the child to name colors and label objects.  Also vary the types of reading material.  For example, one time you may want to read a work of fiction.  The next time, read a nursery rhyme or a non-fiction informational book.


Preparing Students for Reading

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The best way to prepare students for reading instruction is to read interesting books to them. Nearly any book that youngsters can understand and relate to will do. Nursery rhymes and books with repetitive patterns lend themselves to preparation for reading.

Children begin acquiring literacy (reading and writing) long before they enter school. Most school-age children have acquired a fairly extensive vocabulary and sophisticated language system. They have seen traffic signs and billboard advertising, printed messages on television, and printing on cereal boxes. They can tell a McDonald’s logo from that of Burger King and distinguish a box of Fruit Loops from a box of Captain Crunch.

They have seen their parents read books, magazines, newspapers, letters, or bills, and observed them writing notes or letters, filling out forms, and making lists. The children may also have imitated some of these activities. Their parents may have read books to them and provided them with crayons, pencils, and other tools of literacy. All youngsters, no matter how impoverished their environment, have begun the journey along the path that begins with language acquisition and ends in formal literacy.

What Is Your SSQ (Study Skills Quotient)?

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Smart is not something you are…smart is something you can become if you work at it.

Lots of techniques can help you study better, but nothing can take the place of a good attitude.  Read the following statements.  how many of these good study habits do you practice regularly, sometimes or never?  Your answers will reveal a lot about your attitude toward studying.

Yes or no….
I have a regular time for homework.  Even when I’m busy, I always manage to find some time to study.

If I get a bad grade on a test, I work harder.  I also seek help from a teacher, parent, a tutor or another student who is doing well with learning.

I have goals for what I want to do after graduation.  I know that studying will help me get closer to may goals.

I’m usually prepared for studying.

I know how to break a large project down into smaller, easier steps.

If I have a subject that I don’t really like, I work harder to make it interesting.

The Importance of Language in Reading

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Reading is first and foremost a form of communication.   When learning to talk, children develop the concept that words communicate thoughts, emotions, and needs.  When learning to read, they develop the concept that words can be communicated visually as well as orally.  In order that the printed words will have meaning for them, children must have a solid foundation in language.   Mastering spoken language is a key step toward mastering written language.   The more experiences children have, the more they are talked to and listened to, the more stimulation they receive….the more they will be ready to read.  Parents can help their children develop the needed foundation in language by talking with them and listening to them.

  • Talk with your child while doing things together:   folding laundry, driving the car, cooking.
  • Ask your child to sequence the events of the day at dinner or at bedtime.
  • Discuss what you’ve seen on TV or read together.   Ask questions:  Who was your favorite character?  Why?  What would you have done?  What do you think will happen next?
  • Repeat favorite nursery rhymes and stories.  If your child has memorized them, listen while the child tells them to you.
  • Encourage questions and try to answer them.