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Posts Tagged ‘student learning’

Competition

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

With the beginning of school, comes another season of sports of all kinds for our youngsters. We have come to believe that competition is good for us.  But research show that “offensive competition.” which involves aggressive gamesmanship, can be counterproductive. A study conducted at the University of Texas disclosed that people who were more concerned with winning than with performing well had lower levels of achievement.  If you are competitive or your child is competitive, consider the following:

  • Keep in mind that competition is not the opposite of cooperation. Using cooperative strategies will often help one be more “competitive.”
  • Accept that other people are needed to get ahead. A combination of healthy competition and cooperation can go a long way.
  • Learn to believe in yourself. Do not strive to prove yourself in others’ eyes.
  • Keep an open mind to new ideas, information and feedback.  Offensively competitive people often resist others’ suggestions.
  • Help others to achieve their goals.

How Not To Argue with Your Kids About Homework

Monday, November 18th, 2013

You remember those days: they want to do something else or just not do it at all. You want to help them make sure homework gets done, but sometimes you ask if it’s even worth the fight. It doesn’t have to turn into an argument. Whether its about homework, staying out late or doing their chores…you CAN avoid an argument with your kids.

First, Three Basic Rules About Rules:

Make sure the rules are clear. Are your expectations about what is supposed to be done, and more importantly, HOW it’s supposed to be done the same?

Make sure the rules are consistent. If homework is supposed to be done everyday before television, there are no exceptions (unless, its agreed upon ahead of time).

Check to make sure these rules are still in place and reinforced on a regular basis.

How NOT to Argue (this goes for your kids, your spouse, your family).

Some keywords to remember are:

  • Validate: Acknowledge you are listening. You can do this by paraphrasing or repeating what they’ve said to you. This comes in handy when the comeback is “You’re not listening to me!” Sometimes by repeating what they’ve said first, they realize they may not have a valid argument after all.
  • Deflect: Sometimes kids will purposely try to start an argument to get out of the chores or responsibilities. They may try to provoke you by ignoring you, starting an argument (how many times have you heard: “But that’s not fair!” or “So-So doesn’t have to do this”). Stay focused on what the issue is. The issue is not that you are unfair or a “slavedriver”, the issue is that the homework was supposed to be done by five o’clock. Repeat this rule (“Even if you think its unfair, the rule is no T.V. before your homework is done.” “You may have more chores than your sister, nevertheless, the rule is you must get them done.”)
  • Absorb: If they still attempt provoking an argument, stay cool. Act like a sponge. Whatever is said, simply absorb it. You can do this through “Uh-huh,” “I see”, “Yes,”…but the decision stands. Do not attempt to be drawn into their provocations. If you lose control, you lose the power of the rule. Remember what the issue is. Remember it’s o.k. to become angry for both yourself and your child—you’re both only human. But do not take it personally or allow it to become a personal attack.

Sometimes parents worry that by doing this, they are not allowing their children to express themselves. You can validate their feelings by saying “I can tell you’re angry, but my decision stands.” Sometimes this can be prevented if all of the rules are expressed clearly before the situation arises. It helps if consequences are spelled out for specific actions. (“If your homework is not done by five o’clock, you will not go outside for the rest of the day.”) Some parents (and teachers) have even drawn up “contracts” with their children, spelling out the exact expectations for performance and behavior and the consequences/rewards for each. Make the child part of this progress and ask for their input on what these should be.

These are some suggestions that may help prevent arguments in the future. Many times families repeat the same arguments over and over, on an ongoing basis. While these suggestions are not guaranteed solutions, they may be a start in providing better communication with your family.

Have a Good Laugh!

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Having a good laugh is a great way to reduce the stress of family life.

Create your own “humor first aid kit” for days that don’t go well. Collect items that will make you and your kids laugh….silly books, squeaky toys, cartoons, and funny videos.

Find a special place to tape up cartoons and other funny items….if your kids like silly poems, they’ll love Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends (Harper & Row).

Some families like to write stories about funny things that have happened to them….you may want to create your own silly stories.

Every library is full of humorous stories and songs that your children will love. And don’t forget the joke and riddle books. Ask your librarian to recommend a few.

Laughter is not a cure-all, but it certainly helps.

Two Methods of Reading Instruction

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Consider the following two teaching methods in English Language Arts. Mr. Brown hands out a worksheet exercise to his first grade students on circling words that contain the same “ch” sound. This is an explicit exercise on phonics or basic skills instruction in reading. Mrs. Kato reads to the class and asks her first graders to write about the topic after the reading. Mrs. Kato was using the whole language approach to teaching reading. Which is a better method of teaching reading to children? Research says that a combination of the two methods or balanced instruction may be the most effective way to teach the beginning reader. This balanced instruction involves teaching the relationship between letters and sounds in a systematic fashion, and at the same time, children are being read to and reading interesting stories and writing at the same time. Researchers claim that the combination method presents the best of both worlds in teaching reading.

Any Teacher

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Any teacher can take a child to the classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn. He will not work joyously unless he feels that liberty is his, whether he is busy or at rest; he must feel the flush of victory and the hear-sinking of disappointment before he takes with a will the tasks distasteful to him and resolves to dance his way bravely through a dull routine of textbooks.
Helen Keller

TEN Ways to Make the Most of STUDY TIME

Monday, September 16th, 2013
Relax a bit after school before doing homework. Then….
1. Find the best time to study
After school, after dinner…..homework should have a definite start and finish time. If the homework is finished early, the remaining time should be used to double-check and review.
2. The best place to study
Homework headquarters should be away from television, stereo, telephone, and other distractions. A writing surface and good light are necessities. A small tale may be the best place for a young student, while a desk or table, even the floor or a bed, may work for an older student.
3. Be prepared
Have all the materials needed to complete assignments. Pencils, sharpener, eraser and paper for younger students, a pen, ruler, dictionary, thesaurus, and more may be necessary for older students.
4. Make a homework list
Make an easy two-part homework checklist:
______ List homework assignments in each class each day as they are made.
______ Check over the list at the end of the school day to make sure you have all the materials necessary to take home.
Show the assignment sheet to teachers. They can help to see that you have everything to complete assignments at home.
5. Keep a homework calendar
Record due dates for major long-range assignments on a special calendar brings the task into focus. Work backwards, identifying all the steps along the way to completion of the assignment.
If a short paper is due on Friday, the last step is to write the final draft on Thursday.
The first step is to begin reading and note taking on Monday.
6. Study rhythms
Tackle the most difficult assignments when you are most alert and save easier tasks for off-peak times. Schedule several smaller segments of time for memorization. It is easier to learn in short stretches than at one long session. Try using an easier assignment as a break from something more difficult.
7. When you get stuck
Ask these questions…..
  • Have you read and followed directions carefully?
  • Are you taking short cuts that are confusing you?
  • Are you using your book properly?
  • Read the directions aloud….now do they make sense?
  • Have you tried making a picture, table, graph, or diagram to represent the known facts and relationships?
  • Have you tried to sold a similar, but less difficult problem?
  • Have you checked the glossaries, the table of contents or the indexes for help?
  • Did you copy the words or numbers correctly?
  • Are you trying to do too much of the work in your head?
  • Have you checked for careless mistakes?
Still stuck? Do other homework assignments for awhile. Go to class early and check with the teacher. Remember…..teachers want success from their students.
8. Ask for help
It is okay to ask for help. Ask parents, older brothers and sisters, just ask.
9. Take a break
Schedule one or more short breaks during the study time. Stretching the mind for an hour, calls for stretching the body for a few minutes. Do jumping jacks, play ping pong or the drums…..get up and move.
10. Book bag at bedtime
Create a fail-proof method for getting completed homework assignments to school on time. A good slogan is “homework goes in the book bag at bedtime.”

Ten Ways to Improve Writing Skills

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Why is writing important? It is functional. It helps us get practical things done. It is stimulating. Writing not only helps provoke thoughts, but helps us organize those thoughts in a logical, concise manner. It is therapeutic. It allows us to express feelings that may not be easily expressed in face-to-face communication.

  • Spend time on activities that require real writing rather than on short answers and fill-in-the blank exercises.
  • Spend time putting thoughts on paper in a logical, well-organized way.
  • Include research and brainstorming as part of writing.
  • Make writing useful.
  • Use drafts. Revising and editing are done by all good writers.
  • Respond to the ideas expressed in writing. The true
  • function of writing is to convey ideas.
  • Write about something that is of interest.
  • Take advantage of skills that lead to writing, such as, rhythms, reading, music, listening.
  • Reward writing that is clear and concise.
  • Write for real world applications, such as a letter to the editor, writing a resume or a job application.

Imagine It!

Monday, May 20th, 2013

The part of your mind that plays the greatest role in achieving the things that you want from life is that part of your mind that imagines.  It is a strange fact, in view of this, that this part of your mind is the one that is developed and controlled the least.  You spend years developing the part of your mind that stores knowledge, reasons, analyzes, judges, memorizes, and learns but almost no time in developing the immense power of your imagination.  Here are some interesting facts about this enormous personal power and the benefits you will receive by tapping its potential.

Fact No. 1:  Your imagination affects your emotions.  Scientists have discovered there is a kind of “hot line” running from the part of the mind that imagines to the part of the mind that controls your emotions.  This explains why you can imagine yourself in a frightening situation and actually get emotionally upset.  It is simply because your imagination is sending pictures directly to your emotional control center which, in turn, affects the feelings and functions of the body.

Fact No. 2:  Your imagination is more apt to act destructively rather than constructively unless managed by you.  All of your problems in living are rooted in your imagination. It is the imagination acting negatively that becomes congested by fear, doubt, worry, and makes you feel inferior, unhappy, and depressed.  It even keeps you from getting along with others and is the breeding place for jealousy, envy, suspicion and hate.  Letting your imagination run wild can be one of the most destructive forces in your life.

Fact No. 3:   The untapped power of your imagination is almost unlimited. Psychologists say that, at the very most, people use only 10% to 20% of their mental potential.  They must certainly be referring to the imagination.  Your imagination is a rich source of ideas, mental pictures, and dormant forces that yu can use to develo9p0 your life into abundance and happiness.



A Balanced Approach to Teaching Reading

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Consider the following two teaching methods in English Language Arts. Mr. Brown hands out a worksheet exercise to his first grade students on circling words that contain the same “ch” sound. This is an explicit exercise on phonics or basic skills instruction in reading. Mrs. Kato reads to the class and asks her first graders to write about the topic after the reading. Mrs. Kato was using the whole language approach to teaching reading. Which is a better method of teaching reading to children?

Research says that a combination of the two methods or balanced instruction may be the most effective way to teach the beginning reader. This balanced instruction involves teaching the relationship between letters and sounds in a systematic fashion, and at the same time, children are being read to and reading interesting stories and writing at the same time. Researchers claim that the combination method presents the best of both worlds in teaching reading.

Young Adolescents and Learning

Friday, April 5th, 2013

What are the specialized needs of young adolescents ages 10-15?  Why do we need to develop curricula and educational programs tailored to those unique needs? Researchers have found that young adolescents have the following developmental needs

  • positive social interaction with adults and peers
  • creative expression
  • structure and clear limits to physical activity
  • meaningful participation in families and school
  • opportunities for self definition
  • competence and achievement

Programs which meet the developmental needs of young adolescents use a variety of activities and strategies. As young adolescents have an orientation toward peers and a concern about social acceptance, work in small groups and advisory programs promote opportunities for interaction with peers and adults. Interdisciplinary team organization fosters feelings of belonging while advisory groups allow time and a small group for discussion of issues.

Achievement and competence is achieved through authentic assessment based on personal goals, challenging intellectual material focused on relevant problems and issues, and with recognition by peers and adults. The increase in the desire for autonomy can be addressed through learning strategies involving choice, a curriculum based on social and individual interests. Service projects and project based learning capitalize upon young adolescent’s creative expression and need for meaningful participation.