Tuesday, January 30, 2018

6 Ways Cooking With Kids Can Boost Literacy Skills

Cooking with your kids can be a delicious learning experience — for all of you!

My children love to help in the kitchen. And while it’s not something I have the time (or patience!) for every day, I recognize the learning value of cooking together. From toddlers to teenagers, cooking offers a practical, hands-on way for kids to:

  • Practice an important life skill.
  • Develop mathematical understanding (measuring ingredients, setting oven temperature, etc.).
  • Further their scientific knowledge (observing change).
  • Apply their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Encouraging literacy skill development as you cook together is easy when you allow it to flow naturally from what you're doing. So, rustle up your favorite kid-friendly recipes and give these simple ideas a try.

1. Make a shopping list together

Before you begin, name the items you'll need with your child. Independent writers can jot down a list for you and you can entice pre-readers with a paper and a pen, just like the ones you are using. Sit beside your little one as you write your shopping list, saying aloud what you are writing as you add each item to the list. Your child will be sure to imitate you and will learn an important purpose of writing in the process. Younger kids also enjoy ticking off the items from the list once you’re at the store.

2. Read the recipe together

Recipes provide a wonderful introduction to instructional texts. Older children can read the ingredient list, gather the necessary ingredients, and read the recipe instructions aloud, step-by-step, as you go. Keep it simple for little ones. For example, “A recipe tells us what we need to make our cupcakes, and how to make them. It says we need flour, here’s the flour…”

3. Taste ingredients

Sometimes when cooking together, I’ll ask my daughters if they're brave enough for a blind taste test. To play, simply ask your child to cover her eyes and open her mouth. Then, offer a small taste of one of the ingredients you're cooking with and invite her to guess which it is. It’s a great way to get your kids talking about different categories of foods (spices, fruit, dairy product, etc.), as well as textures (smooth, lumpy, crunchy, etc.) and flavors (sweet, spicy, sour, salty, etc.) and it provides a physical connection between the senses and the descriptive words used.

4. Grow vocabulary

There are so many interesting words to learn when cooking! Names of ingredients — cinnamon or saffron — as well as processes, such as whisking and dicing, measurements and temperatures. Hearing and seeing these words used within a real-life application, equips your child to better understand and remember the words and their meanings.

5. Encourage younger children to notice environmental print

Environmental print is all around us. It’s the name given to print that appears on signs, labels and logos. Encouraging preschoolers and beginning readers to notice environmental print helps them to learn that reading involves not just letters and sounds but pictures and context too. Asking your three-year-old to find the cornflakes from among the cereal boxes in your pantry, or your six-year-old to find the all-purpose flour that sits next to the self-raising flour on the shelf, is inviting them to take notice of environmental print.

6. Read a story

While the jelly sets or your cake bakes, why not sit together and enjoy a story related to food or the dish you are cooking? Here are nine great foodie stories that might just inspire your next cooking-with-kids session.

Inviting your child to spend time cooking with you is a delicious way to encourage literacy learning through all of the sounds, sights, and tastes in the kitchen. Hopefully, the end-product of your cooking time will be delicious too!

Article Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogs/scholastic-parents-raise-reader/6-ways-cooking-kids-can-boost-literacy-skills

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Can You Solve the Dark Coin Riddle? - Lisa Winer

You heard the travelers’ tales, you followed the maps, and now, you’ve finally located the dungeon containing a stash of ancient coins. The good news: the wizard who owns the castle has generously agreed to let you have the coins. The bad news: he’s not quite as generous about letting you leave the dungeon ... unless you solve his puzzle. Can you solve it and get out alive? Lisa Winer shows how. 

Lesson by Lisa Winer, animation by Artrake Studio.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Parent Involvement Matters!

A fun visual explanation of how important parent involvement is in children's education!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

5 Tips for New Year's Math Goals

These suggestions will help you and your children set attainable math goals for the New Year.

Are you in a goal-setting frame of mind? The New Year is a great time to have your child evaluate herself and her school year and set goals for a fresh start. Ask your child: How is her homework routine? Is she practicing math facts nightly or weekly? Does she have good study habits in place? These are questions every child should think about and ask to gain more responsibility and independence. And this time of year is the best time to do it!

If you're looking to use the New Year as an opportunity to set math-focused goals, here are some area to focus on.

1. Set goals together and make them visible.

Setting goals for the remainder of the school year shouldn't feel like a chore. Look for creative ways for your child to share goals: He can create a poster, write goals on colored index cards, type on the computer in fun colors/fonts, or even develop a PowerPoint presentation (complete with animation effects!). Make it easy for your child to remember the goals by placing them where he can easily read them.

2. Spend some time thinking about homework.

This point in the school year can be a moment of change for after-school responsibilities and activities. That makes it the perfect moment to review your child's homework routine and schedule and make adjustments as necessary. Are assignments being turned in on-time? Are homework corrections being made either in school or at home? Consider cleaning out and reorganizing the homework folder. Does the order in which homework is being completed need to change?

3. Make time to review math facts.

By mastering math facts, your child will be able to seamlessly know that 3+5 = 8 without having to do the addition. This bone-deep knowledge of math is essential for all four operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Often, reviewing basic math facts, like the times tables, falls to the wayside as the school year progresses, but it's extremely valuable and should be incorporated into daily or weekly routines. If your child is sick of flashcards or other memorization techniques, try switching it up. There are great apps or websites to practice math facts. You can play math games with cards or dice. Even "beat the clock" can be fun, when kids try to complete facts faster than you can do them on a calculator.

4. Instill good study habits.

Most teachers give a few days' notice for quizzes and tests. Your child should see this time between when the test is announced and when it takes place as a preparation period and begin to implement strong study techniques. Have your child review old exams and quizzes to evaluate common mistakes and understand why answers were incorrect.

5. Focus strongly on problem solving when setting goals.

Word problems are an area in mathematics that most students need to improve on. Many can solve the problem, but have a difficult time explaining and showing reason for how they solved it. Incorporating math vocabulary is a great way to increase problem-solving skills. Consider setting a goal that's age-appropriate, where children have to use one to three math vocabulary words in the problem solving explanations.

Whatever goals you and your child set for the New Year, remember to keep them attainable and within reason. The focus should not be on getting perfect test scores or being the fastest, but more about making small improvements that will have a lasting effect on your child's math knowledge.

Article Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogs/scholastic-parents-learning-toolkit/5-tips-new-years-math-goals

Thursday, January 18, 2018

How Does Your Immune System Work? - Emma Bryce

The immune system is a vast network of cells, tissues, and organs that coordinate your body’s defenses against any threats to your health. Without it, you’d be exposed to billions of bacteria, viruses, and toxins that could make something as minor as a paper cut or a seasonal cold fatal. So how does it work? Emma Bryce takes you inside the body to find out.

Lesson by Emma Bryce, animation by Cabong Studios.

Monday, January 15, 2018

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.

Article Source: http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Jason_Kay/187105

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6475665

Friday, January 12, 2018

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

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

How to Manage Your Time More Effectively (according to machines) - Brian Christian

Human beings and computers alike share the challenge of how to get as much done as possible in a limited time. Over the last fifty or so years, computer scientists have learned a lot of good strategies for managing time effectively — and they have a lot of experience with what can go wrong. Brian Christian shares how we can use some of these insights to help make the most of our own lives.

Lesson by Brian Christian, animation by Adriatic Animation.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tutors - How Selecting the Right Tutor Makes a Difference

I am a public school teacher. My wife is a public school teacher. My peers are public school teachers. It seems that there is a common frustration among all of us. So many times in our schools, we see teachers struggle to give the attention each student needs in overcrowded classrooms. The child who is falling behind is getting frustrated because he needs someone, anyone, to help him through this one topic but he can't get the attention he needs in a classroom of thirty-plus students. That one topic of frustration becomes two topics (because the second topic builds off the first) and then two topics becomes three and so until the student is so frustrated, he or she gives up entirely. Then there is the gifted student who finishes their work quickly but sits for a majority of the class waiting for others to catch up. The gifted student falls behind, not on the grade book, but rather towards fulfilling their potential. Then there is the student with the learning disability or the attention disorder; you can imagine how they feel.

So many wonderful teachers out there are doing their best to meet these students needs but it is near impossible nowadays. Classes are held in rooms that were previously closets or in dilapidated trailers and class sizes increase every year. The need for supplemental education to support students has become more important than ever.

Parents usually have a couple places they can turn. They will ask a neighbor who might then refer them to someone down the street they heard was a teacher. Or they will ask the guidance office at the school who will give them a list of twenty tutors or tutoring services. They might ask the teacher as well, but most schools will not allow teachers to tutor students from the same school for compensation and the time the teacher gives after or before school just isn't enough.

The problem the parent runs into is the fact that, even if they find a tutor, they don't know anything about the tutor. They don't have a background on the tutor. They know very little about their qualifications. They don't if the tutor's schedule will fit theirs. And then there is that awkward conversation about price (made even more awkward if it is a friend or neighbor).

Those are the barriers to finding good tutors. A tutoring service can help but it's important to ask these key questions:

  1. How do I know if the tutors in your service are qualified?
  2. Do I have any choice in the tutor I can select?
  3. Will I be able to see profiles or backgrounds and qualifications of ALL your tutors so I can make the choice?
  4. How do I know which tutors service my area?
  5. How do I know which tutors fit my schedule?
  6. How much will this cost? Is the tutoring service upfront with pricing or do they make you call their number and set-up a consultation before you know the price?
  7. If I am not totally satisfied with the tutor, can I switch quickly?

When my wife and I created our tutoring business, we decided to make sure that these answers were upfront on our website. We carefully selected and pre-screened our tutors, including extensive interviews, criminal background checks, and reference checks. We posted their qualifications, philosophies, teaching styles, and schedule availability on the site. We posted pricing information clearly for the parent. We posted our philosophy. We made it so parents could schedule tutors right on the website immediately. It was our goal to make finding an effective tutor affordable and convenient. These are the gaps we found when we saw parents searching in vain for tutors. These are the things you should be looking for when you choose a tutoring service.

Remember, your time is valuable and having the power to choose the educator who will be spending so much time with your child is something you should not take lightly.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Justin_Bock/211184

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1182251

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

8 Sure-Fire Tips for Smoother School Days

Reduce stress with these simple, time-saving, mood-lifting strategies.

1. Start your day the night before. Prepare snacks and clothes and solidify the next day's plan at night. Fill your child's backpack with the things that he may need for school or for an after-school play date.

2. Wake up earlier. Give yourself and your child extra time in the morning — even 15 minutes will help. Try using an alarm clock that plays soothing nature sounds or happy music to make wake-up time more fun.

3. Send only teacher-approved items to school. Talk to your child's teacher about classroom rules before sending in anything. Most teachers do not want children bringing in valuable items or toys that encourage aggressive play, but will likely encourage a favorite book or photograph.

4. Create a special drop-off ritual. Come up with a memorable, loving way to say goodbye — a lipstick kiss on the hand, a secret handshake, or a special phrase that you create with your child.

5. Set aside after-school downtime. Some children experience a meltdown at the end of the day. To avoid this, try to build in some time to unwind after school. Allow your child to visit the playground, spend time alone curled up with a book, or engage in quiet activities such as painting, building with blocks, or solitary imaginative play.

6. Make dinnertime family time. Whenever possible, eat together as a family. Kids benefit from spontaneous dinner-table conversations. Ask your child to tell you about his day and share interesting things that happened to you. He will feel more "grown up" when he is included in this sort of conversation.

7. Follow the school's rules. Teachers count on families to support the classroom rules and routines — such as sick-child policies, authorized escorts, and arriving on time.

8. Give your child undivided attention.
Set aside time each day just to be with your child — even if it's just 20 minutes — and allow no interruptions. Follow his lead and take time to observe his interests and enter his world. You will learn a lot about your child, and he will be thrilled to have this time with you.

Article Source: Scholastic.com