Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Left Brain vs. Right Brain Myth - Elizabeth Waters

The human brain is visibly split into a left and right side. This structure has inspired one of the most pervasive ideas about the brain: that the left side controls logic and the right side controls creativity. And yet, this is a myth, unsupported by scientific evidence. So how did this idea come about, and what does it get wrong? Elizabeth Waters looks into this long held misconception.

Lesson by Elizabeth Waters, animation by Daniel Gray.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How to Find the Ideal Tutor for Your Child

Finding the right tutor for your child can be a difficult and time-consuming task. There are a number of factors you must consider during the selection process and it can be difficult to evaluate some of these factors without your child actually receiving some tutoring from the tutor. This article will outline the steps you should follow when searching for a tutor for your child. I hope these steps will speed up your search process and help you find the ideal tutor for your child.

1. Determining the needs of your child

The first step in finding the ideal tutor for your child is to determine what type of help your child needs. If your child is weak in certain subject areas then you will likely benefit from finding tutors that specialize in those subjects. If your child has a learning disability then finding tutors specializing in learning methods for students with your child's learning disability will likely produce better results. It's also possible that you just want to help your child perform better in subjects across a wide range of subjects. Specifying the specific needs or combinations of needs for your child will help you narrow your focus when searching for qualified tutors.

2. Finding Qualified Tutors

You'll want to find several tutors that meet your requirements as established in the first step. At this stage you're just looking to build a list of companies to research further. There are several places you can look to find potential tutors. School guidance counselors are good resources - they are likely to know several tutoring companies in your area and can help you find tutors that meet your child's needs. Asking other parents with children is another good source for finding tutoring services. They may have experience with tutoring companies and can vouch for the quality of different tutoring services. Online tutoring directories are also an excellent resource. Tutoring directories tend to have a large selection of tutors, reviews and they allow you to search by city or subject.

3. Evaluating Tutors

You should now have a list of tutoring companies that meet your basic requirements (subjects, teaching methods, etc.). The next step is to go through the list and evaluate each tutoring service in more detail. Search online to see if the company has a website with more information. Search for reviews. In addition to your basic requirements there are other variables that you should consider such as the experience of the tutor, education, and their performance track record for past students. You can create a list of questions you want answered and call the tutoring company or tutor to find out the answers. Before you commit to anything you and your child should have a preliminary meeting with the tutor who would be teaching your child. This will help you evaluate how the tutor and your child interact, which can have a big impact on how well your child responds to the tutoring. After you have met with a few tutors weigh their strengths and weaknesses and make your final decision.

4. Agreeing on goals and measures

It's important to have established methods for evaluating performance. Many tutoring companies have their own systems in place for establishing a baseline and evaluating performance over time. If the company you select does not have a system like this in place you should bring this up and create a list of goals and how you will measure improvement. This might include increasing test scores by at least one grade, advancing to a higher reading grade, etc. Once the goals and measures have been established make sure you regularly check the performance of your student against the goals. Keep in mind that improvement isn't instant, but if your child still hasn't improved over a month or two you should probably meet with the tutor to discuss a different approach that will get results or you should begin searching for a different tutor.

Finding the ideal tutor for your child can be a time-consuming process, and it can be frustrating if you don't find a good tutor; however, by following the steps listed above you can greatly improve your odds of finding a good tutor on the first try.

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Can You Find the Next Number in this Sequence? - Alex Gendler

1, 11, 21, 1211, 111221. These are the first five elements of a number sequence. Can you figure out what comes next? Alex Gendler reveals the answer and explains how beyond just being a neat puzzle, this type of sequence has practical applications as well.

Lesson by Alex Gendler, animation by Artrake Studio.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

How Journaling Benefits Your Child

Journal writing can help your children process feelings, build writing skills, and communicate their ideas.

Journaing encourages your child to grow while discovering open-ended writing. Instead of writing one assignment and being done, journal writing allows your child to write daily (or more!).

Not only can it be enjoyable and reflective, journaling also has multiple benefits related to literacy and social growth. Plus, you might just spark a fire in your budding writer!

Here are three great benefits of journaling, including tips for your child's further development.

1. Help Your Child Deal With Big Feelings

Remember that journal you had when you were a tween? The padded one with a kitten on the front that came with a lock? It also had a special key that you hid under your mattress.

The tween years can be filled with lots of emotions and new experiences. A private journal can be a safe place to record those new and brewing feelings. Many kids feel better when they can express their ideas and thoughts in a safe non-judgmental place. A private journal can help your child process her feelings.

Tip: Let your child pick out her very own journal. Plan a special outing to a bookstore that carries journals. Have your child select a journal that feels special to her. Explain that it will be a place for her to record her thoughts and also keep them private.

2. Improve Your Child's Writing Skills

Journaling builds writing skills. Just like basketball players, painters, and guitarists, the more we practice the better we get. Spelling, sentence structure, vocabulary, and grammar can all be enhanced through a regular writing habit.

Writing in journals allows your child to feel in control of the content he chooses to write about and the length of his writing pieces. This control and choice make writing more appealing to your child.

Tip: A curiosity journal is an interesting place for kids to record their observations and wonderings. The journal can be a simple notebook or a journal with blank pages. You child can keep his journal with him when setting out on an adventure — whether it's the backyard or a trip to a museum.

Have your child jot down things that interest him, or questions he has about his experiences. He can also fill the journal with drawings and sketches. Encourage him to label his drawings too.

3. Enhance Your Child's Communication Skills

Journaling helps communicate ideas through writing. Sometimes kids find it easier to express themselves through writing versus oral communication. And, developing written communication skills will be an asset as your child moves forward.

Children have to draw from their vocabulary bank to select precise words to communicate their thinking. Plus, they practice handwriting skills.

Tip: Try a dialogue journal. Have your child decorate a blank notebook with stickers or pictures from magazines. Take turns writing back and forth in the journal notebook with her. (Note: For those of you with crafty children, find out how to create a homemade journal from recycled materials.)

Begin by jotting a note to your child and ask her a question. These can be as simple as, “What do you want to do tomorrow?” or more personal such as, “When was a time you felt scared?” Then allow her to respond in writing. She can respond to your question, share her thoughts, or ask you a question. Have her leave the journal on the counter and tell her you'll respond the next day.

Journaling is full of academic and emotional growth opportunities for your children. So, grab a journal and introduce them to this new tool. Soon enough, they'll be writing volumes!

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Monday, July 17, 2017

The Benefits of Tutoring Services For Students

When it comes to learning, every student will be different in terms of what they excel in, what they struggle with and the ways in which they best learn new things. In the event that any child struggles with a specific subject or area of their curriculum, it is beneficial for them to utilize a tutoring service which can not only help benefit them academically, but can also help with their confidence which can benefit all aspects of their education.

One of the main reasons why a student may struggle in class can stem from the often fast-paced nature of classroom teaching. As teachers have only a set period of time in which to teach a curriculum and a vast number of students to focus on, some students may not receive the level of attention and help they require, or may be too embarrassed to speak up at times when they are struggling. This in turn can lead them to shy away and struggle in silence which can dramatically damage their confidence.

By looking to a tutoring service, your child will be provide with the one-on-one interaction they require so that they can be given the time and patience they need in order to understand their specified subject. Being able to learn at their own pace will not only help to ease their anxiety, but will also make it possible for them to understand and feel free to ask questions. One of the main issues that arise in classroom teaching is that a teacher will be unable to devote the same amount of time on every student. This means that even in the case that the child is excelling, they may not receive the praise and acknowledgment they need in order to remain focused and motivated. When visiting a tutorial centre, the child will be able to receive the praise and encouragement they desire, and will also be provided with thorough individual feedback. This is also beneficial for the parent as they will be given more insight as to which areas their child is struggling within which can therefore help them understand how to help in their child's education.

As we are all aware, we each learn in different ways meaning that while some may struggle to grasp some aspects of a subject, others will excel and speed ahead of us. By turning to the help of a tutoring service, students can develop a complete understanding of the basics of a subject. This can not only help them in learning their subject as a whole, but as mandatory testing processes can cause teachers to advance their teaching in order to prepare students for tests and examinations; it will mean that the student in question is not feeling too stretched, therefore their test results will not be affected. Should a student feel unprepared before a test, the help of a tutoring service can help them catch up with any lost areas, rehash areas they are unsure of and generally help them prepare for a test scenario.

The benefits of utilizing a tutorial service are multiple, but it is important that you as the parent complete thorough research to ensure that not only will your child get the best from their tutoring, but so that you are also offered a fair and competitive price. If your budget does not allow for a large fee, it is advantageous to use the web and community services to search for a voluntary tutorial service which will allow your child to benefit from additional help, without the worry of large fees.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

The Power of Creative Constraints - Brandon Rodriguez

Imagine you were asked to invent something new. It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size. That kind of creative freedom sounds so liberating, doesn’t it? Or ... does it? if you're like most people you’d probably be paralyzed by this task. Why? Brandon Rodriguez explains how creative constraints actually help drive discovery and innovation.

Lesson by Brandon Rodriguez, animation by CUB Animation.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tips To Beat The Summer Learning Slide

Education expert Ann Dolin discusses how to prevent students from losing their reading and writing skills during Summer break.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

5 Read-Aloud Tips Inspired by "Where the Wild Things Are"

Make story time even more fun with these creative ideas inspired by Maurice Sendak’s classic title.

Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are is a celebration of childhood, the wonder of imagination, and unfaltering parental love. And while children the world over connect with this story of a rebellious child feeling more than a little wild, I think it includes wonderful lessons for parents too. Some of them might make story time at your house (and mine) more fun than a wild rumpus!

1. Read With Enjoyment

When you read with enjoyment your child learns that reading is fun and pleasurable. This helps your child develop positive associations with a book, and a greater connection with you. A book like Where the Wild Things Are is easy to read with enjoyment thanks to both its relatable topic and simple prose.

However, keeping the enjoyment alive in your voice can be tricky when you are reading it (or any other favorite book) for the 447th time! It’s good to know then that re-reading a book is valuable — it boosts vocabulary development, phonemic awareness, and story comprehension.

2. Add a Little Drama to Story Time

You can add a little drama to story time with these three techniques: 1) use interesting character voices, 2) adjust the volume of your voice as you read, and 3) use a dramatic pause or two to good effect. When reading Where the Wild Things Are, my family loves growling with the wild things, “Oh, please don’t go — we’ll eat you up — we love you so!”

Creating a sense of drama as you read together helps your child associate books and reading with pleasure and good, old-fashioned fun.

3. Explore the Feelings and Emotions Evoked in the Story

Books provide easy openings for talking to your child about emotions and feelings in various contexts, helping your child in developing emotional intelligence.

Explore the emotions of Where the Wild Things Are together by making the faces you would make if you felt like Max — mad, out of control, lonely, loved or relieved. Or, ask your child when was the last time he felt each of the emotions from the story.

4. Ask Questions About What You’ve Read

Talking with your child about the story and asking questions about what you’ve read provides a simple way to gauge his level of comprehension of the story. You might include questions like:

  • How do you think Max feels when his mother sends him to his room?
  • Do you think a forest really grew in Max’s room? If not, what do you think really happened?
  • Max wanted to be where “someone loved him best of all." Why is it important to feel loved "best of all"?
  • Do you think the Wild Things are real? What's the difference between things that are real and things you dream about or imagine? What sort of things do you dream about?
  • What do you think was the most exciting part of the story?
  • Do you have a favorite illustration?

5. Respond Creatively to the Story

Books can provide a wonderful springboard for creativity. Your child's creative response can be as simple as a drawing or a painting inspired by the story. For Where the Wild Things Are you could also try:

  • Re-reading the story and, as you read, taking turns to act out the parts of Max and a Wild Thing.
  • Creating a Wild Thing mask from a paper plate and scraps of paper or fabric.
  • Making crowns and hosting your very own wild rumpus by dancing together to your favorite music.
  • Making a Max and some Wild Things figurines by decorating toilet rolls and taking turns re-telling the story.

The great thing about all these tips is that they will work just as well for almost any picture book you choose for your child's read aloud time. Choose one, two, or try all five, and add some fun, book-inspired learning to your next story time.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How to Squeeze Electricity Out of Crystals - Ashwini Bharathula

It might sound like science fiction, but if you press on a crystal of sugar, it will actually generate its own electricity. This simple crystal can act like a tiny power source because sugar happens to be piezoelectric. Ashwini Bharathula explains how piezoelectric materials turn mechanical stress, like pressure, sound waves and other vibrations into electricity, and vice versa.

Lesson by Ashwini Bharathula, animation by Karrot Animation.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Our Second Session of Summer Camp Begins July 10 - Register Today!

Academy of 21st Century Learning's Summer Camps 
Session 1: July 10 - August 4, 2017
4 weeks, 5 days a week, 3 hours per day
Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 12:00pm 

1671 East Monte Vista, Suite N-106 
Vacaville, CA 95688 

Acadmey Kids - Preschool (2.5 years - 4 years)

Calling all kids! Come and explore the FUN of school as we study our letters, colors, shapes, and numbers. Children will explore the worlds of animals and plants. They will do fun experiments as they are introduced to functional numerical skills and the wonders of science. They will develop new vocabulary as they learn about community helpers and family members and will be encouraged to use simple reasoning to express everyday occurrences. They will build on their vocabulary skills by discussing stories being read and will begin to understand and follow simple directions. Our daily activities always reinforce age-appropriate social development. The students’ multiple skills will be enhanced by singing songs and playing relative games while incorporating routine structure into their activities and daily schedules. Our teachers encourage both independence, as your child learns to verbalize wants and needs and, very importantly, the role of inter-dependence as children are introduced to taking turns. This class with its educational experiences is the perfect way to introduce your child to the wonders of learning!

Acadmey Kindergarten (Gr K - Gr 1)

Sparkle your child’s imagination! It’s time to jump on the STEAM bandwagon for a sizzling Summer Kindergarten through Second Grade at The Academy! We will study rocks, plants, mixtures and solutions. In our final week, we will have an amazing and deliciously-fun Build-It Festival. The Festival will include a wide assortment of classroom learning-station activities which focus on mathematics relating to construction, geometric challenges, and spatial visualization. Activities will connect to the real world and even potential careers. Free exploration sets the stage for such mathematical challenges as Create-A-Shape, Bridge Design, Symmetry, Tangrams, and lots of amazing structures! Background on geometry is provided. Special materials include Lego’s, boxes, pattern blocks, more boxes, and more boxes. This program sounds like great fun, doesn’t it? We will also work on: Reading: letters, sight-words, fluency, and comprehension Math: writing numbers through 20, measurement, greater than & less than, and geometrical shapes & patterns Art: color mixing, water and oil painting outside in the park, create mosaics, and decorating T-shirts Music: dancing, singing Yoga: stretch and learn balance and focus Fieldtrips: The trips may not be far-away and exotic, but they will be fun and educational. Summers are very popular at The Academy. Whether your child has just finished or will start Kindergarten in the fall, this program will inspire them to do their best, because doing your best is fun!!

Summer STEM Mornings (2nd grade - 8th grade)

Some elementary school children struggled this year. Some did only what was demanded of them. Some sailed through the year without even trying. The rest fell somewhere in between. Regardless of where your 2ndd thru 8th grader* landed, our Summer STEM Mornings program will support, encourage, challenge, and motivate them. Whoever touted the old refrain “learning isn’t fun” never experienced The Academy of 21st Century Learning! Let’s take a peek at our one month program: Math: through Algebra Academic Reading Science: STEM projects & EXPERIMENTS!! For three hours a morning, Monday – Friday, 9AM – 12PM, your kids will laugh, learn, experiment, and challenge themselves. (No summer learning loss for your kids, but don’t tell them!) PLUS, over your family dinner table, you will hear about dissected cow eyes, frogs that dance,and a myriad of other scientific topics that will have them excited about learning. We know many of you were with us the last couple of years so … Welcome Back!!! *Unless special placement is approved by teacher