Wow! It’s 2016 already. Time sure goes fast these days. As we enter a new year, I want to thank you all for reading my blog tips and tricks for parents, teachers, and fellow tutors.
Second semester will begin in a few days. It’s important to get your kids back into a routine as soon as possible. They will be tired, as will you, after the holidays, so an earlier bed time is a good idea for the first couple of weeks back to school. Re-establish homework routines, morning routines, and evening routines as soon as school starts (or a few days sooner if you can). Give your kids, and yourself, a little grace as you get back into the swing of things.
Here’s to a great year of learning and fun in 2016!
We’ve had lots of snow days here in Colorado lately. Have you ever thought of doing a little math with your kids while they are out playing in the snow? You could even sneak it in without your kids realizing they are practicing math. Here are some examples for younger kids:
- Count how many snowballs you can each make. Compare the numbers. Who made more? Who made less? How many more? How many fewer? Write the numbers in the snow using a stick or your gloved hand.
- Make a snowman. Measure the circumference (Around) of each snowball. How big can you make the bottom? How small does the top have to be? Measure the height of your snowman. Is it taller than you? Shorter than you?
- Going sledding? How many seconds does it take you to sled down the hill? What could you do to make yourself go faster? What could you do to slow yourself down? How many steps does it take you to walk up the hill after you sled down?
Enjoy the snow and stay warm!
Merry Christmas to all my loyal friends and followers. It is a pleasure to write for you. I truly enjoy giving you tips and tricks to help with your children’s education. Enjoy this holiday time with your loved ones.
Within the common core standards, students are expected to reference the text when answering questions. Each written response question they answer ends with, “Use evidence from the text to support your answer.” But, students don’t always know how start a text based evidence answer. Below are some examples of phrases students could use to start their answers to evidence based questions. (Some of these phrases came from a fellow teacher who uses a site called The Teacher Next Door.)
The author wrote…
According to the text…
In the text, it said…
One example from the text is…
Based on what I read…
On page___, I noticed…
In paragraph___, it said…
I know this because…
Now that Common Core standards have taken over in the classroom, the questions students are answering about literature have changed dramatically. No more questions as simple as: Who is the main character? What is the setting? What is the problem and solution? Although I feel those questions are still quite valuable in determining whether the student understands the basics of a text, there are questions that are much more in depth that your students should also be able to answer. Below is a sample of fiction and non-fiction responses to text:
Responses to a Fiction Text
- Summarize what you read today. What were the most important events? Did you learn anything new about the characters?
- Is what you read believable? Why or why not?
- Pretend you are interviewing the main character. What two questions would you ask?
- Is there anything you would change in this story? What would it be? Why would you change it?
- Would you like to be a character in this story? Why or why not? Which character would you be and why?
Responses to Non-Fiction Text
- What is the main idea of the text you read?
- Why did the author probably write this selection? How do you know?
- How and where could you find out more information about the topic you read today? What else would you like to know about the topic?
- Were there any text features (graphs, pictures/captions, headings, vocabulary) that helped you better understand your reading? What were they and how did they help you?
- Did you find any interesting words while you were reading? What were they? Look up the definition of your words. Write the words in a sentences.
It’s the beginning of the school year and kids are doing A LOT of testing. Some school districts even have special days set aside to test students. This is a great way for teachers to get to know each student individually. Sometimes parents get upset about the test scores their children bring home. Please be reassured that these scores are just one piece of evidence of your child’s academic abilities and your child’s teacher will use the test scores to determine how best to teach your child the skills/concepts he or she needs to learn. If your child’s scores aren’t what you expected, definitely ask your child’s teacher to explain the scores to you. Then, monitor your child’s progress. If your child isn’t making academic gains, you might want to think about getting some additional help, like a private tutor. The key is to remember that the scores are not a total picture of your child academically, but just one piece of the academic puzzle.
I love this bulletin board that was shared on Facebook. It was on a page called Volunteer Spot. Although it’s a bulletin board for a classroom, I think it would be great to write these positive, encouraging thoughts on post-its and put them throughout the house. What a great way to change your child’s attitude about things, and maybe change how you think about things too. I know I will be looking back on this often as a reminder of the positive things I should be saying to myself, my family, and my tutoring kids.
There are games to purchase that require your child to match a picture card with a letter card. For example, a “z” letter card would match the “zebra” picture card. You can also make a game similar to this if you print pictures from the internet and attach them to notecards and then write letters on other notecards
Write upper and lower case alphabet letters on index cards. Have your child match the upper and lower case letters. Once he or she gets a match, have your child say the letter name, the sound of the letter, and a word that begins with that letter.
Summer is over and school has begun. Are you ready for the school year? Are your children ready for a successful new year? Here are some things you can do that will help your children have the great year you want them to have.
- Begin a routine right away. When will your children do homework? When will they play? When will you have family reading time? Once you have established a routine, stick to it as much as you can. Kids crave and thrive on routine so they know what is expected of them. For help establishing a homework routine, see my blog here.
- Ask your children questions about school so that you know what is going on in their lives? Be sure to ask open-ended questions as I have suggested in my questions blog so that you don’t just get yes/no answers.
- Establish a family reading time each evening and enjoy reading together. Reading is a life-long skill that will help your children now and in their futures.
- Be positive about new teachers, new friends, new classrooms, new homework amount, etc. Your children will follow your lead with their attitudes.
- Give your children time to play. Don’t overschedule them with extra-curricular activities. They work hard all day and they need a little downtime just like adults do.
Enjoy the new school year ahead! And, remember to check my blog for helpful hints, tricks, and information.