People are known as much by the
quality of their failures as by the quality of their successes.
McCormack (1930-2003) Sports Agent/Manager
Hard Work and High
Expectations: Motivating Students to Learn
America, in state after state, years of major reforms in education
have so far failed to produce the anticipated improvement in the academic
achievement of students. The reform debate has intensified
during this election cycle. Notably muted in the debate has been
discussion of the engagement and motivation of the students
themselves. It is a curious omission, for even if we raise
standards and succeed at restructuring education as we know it, the
result may be little or no improvement unless our children also
increase the level of their effort. After all, now as before, it
is the students who must learn more, and it is they who must do the
therefore, arise: What part should students play in
learning? What are their responsibilities? What can we do
to raise the amount and quality of student effort to the levels that excellence requires.
the untapped power of student effort and engagement is activated and
harnessed to learning, we are unlikely to realize the benefits in
achievement we wish to see. We as parents understand that the
obstacles to learning far exceed the limits imposed by student ability
and background. Understanding the many reasons why students
avoid hard work is important, but understanding alone will do little
to alter the situation. Other steps must be taken:
We must make learning
the highest priority in our children's lives; they have no future
We, as a nation, must
act to focus the attention of students on the educational
substance we agree is critical to the nation's future as well as
We must act on the
knowledge that the connection between learning and academic effort
The best reforms and the
best intentions will not carry the day unless they tap the effort, as
well as the ability of our children.
At Home Projects for
Students and Families
Here are some inexpensive
projects to keep your children busy during the last months of
summer. The only "tools" required for these projects
are newspapers, large pieces of blank paper, scissors, paste and
imagination. They can be adapted for a broad range of
given on maps, charts, and graphs in the newspaper. Discuss
the legends and the relation of the information to an
Find articles about
home fires. See if there is a cause stated, and discuss how
safety measures can be used in all homes in case of
Make a scrapbook or
your home state, including articles on history, government, jobs,
cultural attractions, and social awareness.
Look at advertisements
and discuss the psychology used to make you want the product.
Find pictures of
people with different jobs. Talk about their jobs.
What kind of education do they need? How much money do they
Help your child find
your state on the weather map. What states border your
Have your child circle
all of the familiar words in a news story, a headline, and a
Help your child
measure the height and width of your newspaper and several
different pictures and ads in it.
With your child, read
the television listings for one night, and break down the
different types of shows into categories such as police/crime,
medical, variety, situation comedy, and so on. Which
category has the most shows?
Adapted from Wisconsin
Department of Public Instruction
Them For the Little Things
thank you to your child and acknowledging all her contributions to
your family life is a modest yet magical way to motivate kids.
It works so well, in fact, I'm astonished that more parents don't do
it. It's a fact that when someone notices the little things you
do, you are more willing to keep on doing them. Honestly
expressing your appreciation is not only gracious in itself, it
instills graciousness in your child.
matter how insignificant the act may seem, be sure to thank your child
for her contributions...putting her laundry in the basket, picking up
her toys, or not interrupting you while you were on the phone. A
child who lives with constant criticism will grow to feel incompetent
and unimportant, he will start finding fault with others and condemn
himself. Whereas a child whose efforts are continually
acknowledged will develop a healthy sense of self-confidence and
capability. Even if the made-up bed is rather lumpy, praise the
periodic rewards are most effective for keeping a child motivated. Children, like all people, respond to recognition; so
even if your child receives an allowance for chores, it's a good idea
to give an occasional bonus: either money or a special
treat. Praise and thanks maintain friendly relations and will
energize your child to keep on contributing, knowing that his efforts
are noted and appreciated.
from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford
Labs - Hands-On,
Labs, develops at-home science kits for the modern learner at the high
school and introductory-level college levels. The hands-on kits
provide a blended approach to enhance comprehension and learning
Introductory Biology and Accelerated Biology is joined by a series of
hands-on labs for middle school learners.
Labs middle school science kits lay the foundation for scientific
literacy in a fun, dynamic way.
The kits include labs on the Scientific Method, The Basis of Life, The
Kingdoms of Life and Environmental Science.
This series will be followed by an Earth Science and a Physical
Science series, set to release by the end of 2008.
Though each will be designed with the same standards and rigor
as the upper level series, they will be written at the 6th
to 8th grade levels. Each
series will provide the fundamental skills and knowledge students need
to meet and exceed their states 8th grade science
To learn more go to http://www.eScienceLabs.com.
call 877-687-7200 to receive your e-Tutor discount.
When we dream alone, it is only
a dream. But when we dream together, it is the beginning of a
Prepare Your Child
For Academic Success
As parents, we hope our
child will excel in all subjects. Every parent wants a
successful student, but not every parent knows how to foster
one. The key, in fact, lies in what parents do when their
children are not in the learning situation. Parents can take several
steps to ensure success in learning.
"reading culture" in the home. A love of
reading helps student with their vocabulary and problem-solving
skills. Thus, parents must start early when encouraging
their children to read.
children to be independent problem solvers. If parents
are ready to solve the slightest problem for their children, from
tying their shoes to cleaning up spilled juice, their kids will
not be willing to complete more challenging learning projects.
Make learning a
priority. Parents who want successful students need to
show their children that learning is of utmost
Adapted from Pioneer
The Wrong Crowd
may just not be too pleased with the friends your child has
chosen. You worry that she may be lapsing into the wrong
crowd. You want your child to stay away from bullies or those
who do not consider other people's feelings or perspectives. If
there is an imbalance of power or no give-and-take, it's not a good
match. "Your goal as a parent is to help your child find
decent friends, not dominant one," according to Kenneth Rubin,
Ph.D. author of The Friendship Factor (2002).
your child spends time with an inappropriate friend, her behavior will
change. Be alert if your child does something very
uncharacteristic, such as abandon school work or become secretive
about her social life. Neil Bernstein, a clinical psychologist says
that if friends seem overly influential, talk to your child about what
a true friend should be. Ask him to consider if his friend is
someone he can trust, who will be there for him, who won't encourage
him to do something dangerous, and with whom he can be
best weapons against negative peer pressure are a loving, accepting
home and open communication. "The choice of peers is a
barometer for a kid's sense of self. If you don't talk to them,
they will talk to anyone who listens, relying on peers for validation,
instead of you," according the Bernstein.
if you've confirmed your instincts about an inappropriate friend,
avoid criticizing the friend or forbidding they see each other.
This may cause your child to defend her friend and push the two closer
together. Try subtle ways to make it less convenient for
inappropriate friends to have influence. Look for reasons to
decline invitations with the friend. Curb the friendship with
limits, such as making a phone curfew. Or when the friends do
get together, have them at your house so you can exert some
control. You may find your child is relieved to have a parent
from Better Homes and Gardens
You can find on
the outside only what you possess on the inside.
Montiel Ballesteros, La Honda Y La Flor
Juicy July Links:
ColorMaker makes it easy to create colorful web pages without having
to bother with confusing hexadecimal numbers. This useful site
includes a tutorial, links to other web pages about color design, and
links to a TableMaker and a FrameShop. A useful tool for Web
developers at any level. http://www.bagism.com/colormaker/
Statistics: With the
winning combination of statistics and politics, this Annenberg/CPB
Website offers an original, educational, and entertaining online
experience. Visitors follow a fictional race between two candidates by
reading news bulletins, then learn basic statistical concepts in a
real-world context. Find the out what a random sample really is, what
"margin of error" means, and why polls aren't always
Black Hole Gang:
Created by teacher and author Stephen Kramer, this site introduces
four kids and a dog named Newton who are crazy about science, and
points kids and their teachers to some of the best kid-friendly
science on the web.
Turn of the Century Child:
This project involves students in a study of the life and times of
children in the early 1900's. Making use of primary source material,
students become apprentice historians engaged in genuine historical
inquiry. Based on their analyses, students assemble both a physical
and digital scrapbook of letters, oral histories, artifacts, diary
entries, narratives and images to create an invented child within a
family. The learning activities require research and problem solving
and will help students develop an understanding of the major
historical themes of the period and how these might impact a child
born in 1900. http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/projects/20c/turn.html
YoungBiz.com presents business, investing and entrepreneurial ideas to
young people. With features for educators as well as students, the
site includes portfolios, profiles of young entrepreneurs, message
boards and more. http://youngbiz.com/
Momentum, gravity, friction, and centripetal force have never been so
interesting. This online exhibit from the Exploratorium explains how
skateboarders seemingly break the laws of gravity with tricks shown
and explained in physics terms. The site includes a video webcast,
glossary, and information about equipment.
Be World Wise:
Travel the seas virtually aboard a Tall Ship on a 19 month,22 country
voyage. On board, you will learn about the two teachers who signed on
for the journey and their fellow crew members. So join in and
track their progress. Includes activities and lessons on Exploring the
Oceans and Environmental Investigations.
From the Knowledge HQ Staff
Copyright © 2008
Knowledge Headquarters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. www.knowledgehq.com