Sunday, May 21, 2017

Capture Your Child's Super Strengths


Turn a talented reader into a math-lover (or vice versa) with these kid-friendly reframing strategies.

Very few people — no matter their age — are good at everything. Some have a knack for numbers, while others struggle with the simplest calculations. Some have a way with words (writers), understand people (psychologists, social workers, teachers), or see the world as a series of lines, colors, and spaces (artists, architects). As adults, we have the option to ignore our weaknesses (or circumvent them, by, say, hiring an accountant).

In school, however, kids don't get to pick and choose their subjects. There's no option to take two art classes and no math (or, for that matter, recess all day). But what they can do is make the most of their strengths, to use their strong skills to improve upon their weak areas. Here's how to help your child be the best student he can be:

If this sounds familiar . . .
My daughter loves to sing. She knows the lyrics to dozens of songs by heart, but when it comes to learning the times tables, she's a mess!
Try this strategy: Auditory learners — children who love to talk and sing, and can't wait for story time — will probably feel overwhelmed by visual cues, such as multiplication charts and tables. Don't despair: using music to teach multiplication is a fairly common and successful technique. There are a slew of multiplication songs available, from simple ditties to rap tracks. Find a CD your child likes, and play the songs often. Reinforce the music by quizzing your child verbally.

If this sounds familiar . . .
My son has always been a strong reader, but he struggles with math.
Try this strategy: The best way to get a good reader more interested in math is to make math seem more like reading. The solution? Word problems. You can find them in your child's textbook, but they're also incredibly easy to make up on your own. Look to whatever book your child is reading for inspiration — Harry Potter, for example: if each goal in Quidditch is worth 10 points, but catching the snitch is worth 150, how many goals is the equivalent of catching the snitch?

If this sounds familiar . . .
My daughter is a whiz at jigsaw puzzles, but she just doesn't get fractions.
Try this strategy: Kids who have strong visual and spatial skills respond well to colors, images, and other visual cues. Try using M&Ms (or dried kidney beans, if you find the chocolates disappear too quickly), pizza pies, or other such props to teach mathematical principles such as addition and subtraction, the times tables, and fractions.

If this sounds familiar . . .
My son is great at math, but his vocabulary needs serious help!
Try this strategy: Get your mathematically inclined child interested in reading with word problems, word search puzzles, and other word games. For example, give your son a list of words (ideally culled from vocabulary lists he gets at school) and ask him to classify them into various categories. The logical part of your son's brain will love the very scientific act of classification, but he'll be expanding his vocabulary at the same time.

If this sounds familiar . . .
My son loves to make up stories, but he's just not interested in science class.
Try this strategy: Creative thinkers do well with "what if . . . " or "imagine that . . . " assignments. Thankfully, this strategy can be applied to almost all subjects. For a science project on recycling, you might suggest to your son, "Imagine that you are an aluminum can. What is your journey like from the time I throw you in the bin until you are something new?" Or, if your son is studying solids, liquids, and gases, ask, "What would you feel like if you were a gas? A liquid? A solid? How would you feel different from one phase to the next?" These questions will get his brain thinking about science topics, but in a manner that he's comfortable with.

Article Source: Scholastic.com

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How Does Your Body Process Medicine? - Céline Valéry


Have you ever wondered what happens to a painkiller, like ibuprofen, after you swallow it? Medicine that slides down your throat can help treat a headache, a sore back, or a throbbing sprained ankle. But how does it get where it needs to go in the first place? Céline Valéry explains how your body processes medicine. 

Lesson by Céline Valéry, animation by Daniel Gray.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Summer School - Ways to Prevent the Summertime Backslide


Worried that your children will forget everything they learned over the course of the summer months away from school? You may have more reason than you think to fear the summer brain drain according to a study by Duke University's Dr. Harris Cooper, a leading expert on summer learning loss. He writes that long summer vacations "break the rhythm of instruction, lead to forgetting, and require a significant amount of review when students return to school in the fall."

According to Cooper's study, students' overall achievement test scores drop by about one month, on average, over summer vacation. Skills in mathematics and spelling usually take the biggest hits, with math skills suffering almost a 2.6 month loss in achievement.

Suffering the most are children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, who are presented with less opportunities to practice math and reading skills over the summer months than their more privileged peers. Their reading comprehension skills suffer the greatest, and their losses add up to a 2 year achievement gap by the time they enter their middle school years.

There are steps that parents can take to help their children learn and even get ahead over the summer months. Some "Summer Educational Tips" will help transform the break from structured learning into an opportunity for students to sharpen their skills through fun and interactive ways. Follow these tips and send your children back to school smarter and more confident than when they left!

1. Take frequent trips to the library and register your child with a library card. University of Florida's Richard Allington notes that the best predictor of summer reading loss is a lack of books at home and limited access to library books, so keep a good selection of high interest, level appropriate books around the house. Schedule a consistent "reading time" daily for your child.

2. Attend thematic programs at the library. Libraries often host a great variety of summer programs for kids that celebrate reading.

3. Talk to your child's teachers and ask them what your child will be learning next year at school. This way you can tie in family trips with next year's curriculum to create a more meaningful hands-on experience. For example, if your child will be studying a unit on the civil war, plan a visit to Gettysburg.

4. Give your child a gift card to a bookstore, or give books as gifts.

5. Check out audio books from the library for your child to listen to stories in the car.

6. Consider Summer Tutoring: Tutoring services, such as in-home tutoring, can help children catch up or get ahead with one-on-one tutoring in the home. Take advantage of the summer months to remediate or accelerate your child in areas like reading comprehension, mathematics, writing or SAT/ACT test prep.

7. Research has revealed a direct connection between learning to play a musical instrument and an increased aptitude in mathematics. Consider introducing your child to music lessons over the summer.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Cari_Diaz

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2435060

Friday, May 12, 2017

Check Your Intuition: The Birthday Problem - David Knuffke


Imagine a group of people. How big do you think the group would have to be before there’s more than a 50% chance that two people in the group have the same birthday? The answer is … probably lower than you think. David Knuffke explains how the birthday problem exposes our often-poor intuition when it comes to probability.

Lesson by David Knuffke, animation by TED-Ed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Summer Camp Schedule Available - Register Today!


Summer is almost here! Check out our camp schedule and sign up your camper by clicking HERE.

I know you’re thinking, “But it’s only spring!” I’m a mom, too, and I know how fast summer can creep up on all of us. It’s never too early to start planning for summer learning activities. We talk a lot about what our kids are learning in school, but did you know we also know a lot about what happens when they’re not in school during the summer vacation?

Here are some facts:

  • Most students lose about two months of what they learned in math over the summer months.
  • Low-income students lose more than two months in reading achievement.
  • Parents consistently say that summer is the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do.
  • Our children’s’ need to learn does not end in May when the school doors close. They need to stay active and engaged, which also helps them stay on track academically when they return to school in August.

The Academy to the rescue!
Yes, it’s time to plan ahead and secure a spot for your child in a program that will support growth and learning during the summer months. Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell the kids they are avoiding summer learning-loss. If they are having fun with engaging, well-run pro-grams, trust me, they will be learning.

The Specialty Classes are taught by credentialed teachers or University graduating student-teachers. Small groups and classes keep your child focused and challenged. There will be days when The Academy is transformed into Mars, a rain forest, or an ocean scene.

Questions? Give us a call. (707) 474-4710 or email info@academy21learning.com.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Best-Kept Secret About School Success

Make learning fun for your child, it’s the quickest path to academic success.


Put simply, kids will work tirelessly if the work is gratifying — that is, if it's fun! That doesn't mean all play and little work leads to academic success; far from it. What it does mean is that each child's own perspective about what is fun or interesting (and not fraught with stress) has a direct effect on how hard she is likely to work at assigned tasks.

There is little challenge to teachers, parents, and education policymakers from children who just plain love it all, love to read, love to write, love math, love to please. But for those children who are not meeting expectations in the core subjects, the current prescription — to narrow the curriculum and focus exclusively on reading and math — may be the turnoff of all turnoffs. Doing more and more drills, spending all day every day doing stuff that is dull at best, is not the way to improve achievement.

Finding the Hook
It follows, then, that our challenge with kids who are not achieving is to find the hook — the point of passionate interest that will draw them in. This means that we should not be narrowing school subject matter for poor achievers. In fact, we probably should be doing the opposite. Our most talented teachers have long known this. They wait and watch for the hook to bring an unsuccessful student into the fold. Maybe a child's favorite activity is fishing with Grandpa, something his teacher discovers in time spent listening to and getting to know him. Then why not find books at his reading level about fishing? Why not translate math problems into challenges about whether a fish meets the legal size requirement? Teachers' best clues to the hook for each child are likely to emerge during "specials" or social studies, maybe even in a shop class or during an assembly of guest musicians or jugglers. Field trips of all sorts are rich with opportunities to find those hooks.

Tailor-Made Learning
Above all, adults need to find something that each child can feel successful at, sometimes a classroom job that may involve some easily accomplished reading or math. But don't cut out history for the 3rd grader who is fascinated by the Second World War. Don't rob the artistically inclined child of a lesson in mural-making or a trip to a children's art museum. Bring hands-on gardening into a science unit that might incidentally also involve both math and reading. Whether or not the basic subjects are involved, being able to pursue genuine interests can rejuvenate kids to do the less exciting work that they still must master.

As a parent, you can be an enormous help by encouraging your child's interests and talents. Acknowledge them, admire them, and discuss them with teachers. Who knows your child's particular passions better than you? So don't hold back, thinking that a fascination with horses or submarines is not a worthy subject for school. It is the "flow" experienced in pursuing those interests that hooks kids on learning for life.

Article Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/motivate-school-success/best-kept-secret-about-school-success

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Can You Solve the Pirate Riddle? - Alex Gendler


It’s a good day to be a pirate. Amaro and his four mateys – Bart, Charlotte, Daniel, and Eliza have struck gold – a chest with 100 coins. But now, they must divvy up the booty according to the pirate code — and pirate code is notoriously complicated. Can you help come up with the distribution that Amaro should propose to make sure he lives to tell the tale? Alex Gendler shows how.

Lesson by Alex Gendler, animation by Artrake Studio.