Summer holidays are soon upon us! Months of hard work will culminate in 10+ weeks of relaxation! A well-earned break is something that everyone looks forward to, but on the other side is something called SUMMER SLIDE!
There are numerous studies that support the premise that students lose ground over the summer unless they engage in active learning activities several times a week.
But have no fear – active learning does not always mean seat work or summer school. Active learning includes any and all activities that engage the brain in mental problem-solving!
Here are some ideas you can implement to keep your children (and yourself) learning throughout the summer!
Difficulty with attention and focus are common concerns that bring families to The Tutoring Center.
Kids are busy and that is to be expected. They are full of both energy and emotion. Childhood is a time for imagination, fun, and play. Sitting in a classroom is not the most natural of environments and yet, most children, age 6-18 spend at least 30 hours per week doing just that.
Many students struggle to maintain attention and focus at school and at home. When does this struggle cross the line and become an indicator of a more?
Characteristics of Focus/Attention Issues
□Overlooks or misses details, makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or during other activities
□Has problems sustaining attention in tasks or play, including conversations, lectures, or lengthy reading
□Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
□Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace or starts tasks but quickly loses focus and gets easily sidetracked
□Has problems organizing tasks and activities, such as what to do in sequence, keeping materials and belongings in order, has messy work and poor time management, and fails to meet deadlines
□Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework, or for teens and older adults, preparing reports, completing forms or reviewing lengthy papers
□Loses things necessary for tasks or activities, such as school supplies, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and cell phones
□Is easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli
□Is forgetful in daily activities, such as chores, errands, returning calls, and keeping appointments
Characteristics of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity
□ Fidgets and squirms in their seats
□ Leaves their seats in situations when staying seated is expected, such as in the classroom or in the office
□ Runs or dashes around or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate or, in teens and adults, often feel restless
□ Is unable to play or engages in hobbies quietly
□ Is constantly in motion or “on the go,” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
□ Talks nonstop
□ Blurts out an answer before a question has been completed, finishes other people’s sentences, or speaks without waiting for a turn in conversation
□ Has trouble waiting his or her turn
□ Interrupts or intrudes on others, for example in conversations, games, or activities
National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov
It is normal to have some inattention, unfocused motor activity and impulsivity, but for people where these symptoms:
-are more severe; -occur more often; -interfere with or reduce the quality of how they function socially, at school, or in a job THERE IS HELP!
Reach out for more information and a no-obligation consultation.
For more information reach out to Kelley Phipps at email@example.com
MATH is LIFE
A few years ago, a good teacher friend of mine posted a link to this article by Brett Berry on her Facebook page. Now, this friend historically has not been a fan of math, but she took some required math courses this summer and came back with an excitement that I had not seen in her before. So, when she posted this article, it became a must read for me.
You see, when someone comes to us with math concerns, 99% of the time his/her difficulties stem from not being able to connect the numeric algorithm (symbols) with the mathematical concepts the symbols represent. I often hear, “I know what they (the teacher/ textbook) want, but I don’t understand what they are doing on paper.” Or “I get it, but I just don’t get math.” Parents are confused because their child can add and multiply but can’t memorize their math facts.
Understanding math concepts is really learning about life. Time and experience leave us with lessons that last a lifetime. This is hard to explain with words on a paper, but easier to show and to conceptualize. Algorithms (2+2 = 4; 4 x 5 = 20) are memorized but cannot be experienced without tying them to LIFE concepts.
That is why student encounter so many story or word problems.
Johnny has two apples and Sue has two more.
How many apples do they have all together?
Memorizing facts can produce fast results! And our society likes fast…BUT memorizing does not produce lasting results. Memorize it for the test and forget it. Historically, in our school system we want results fast…therefore, after an introduction to number sense in kindergarten and a little in 1st grade…we begin to memorize. And we have bred a society that largely “doesn’t get math” …because to truly understand math, one must EXPERIENCE it.
Chances are good that if I asked 10 random people their opinion on algebra, more than half would not have positive things to say. Yet, algebra is life. Have they not experienced life? More likely, they have not experienced MATH enough to tie it to algebraic concepts. Ideally, this would happen at a young age and continue throughout our school years. In the end, the majority of individuals would walk away with not only an understanding of the concepts but also the ability to knowingly put them into use.
If I gave you a choice of learning through experience that would provide life-lasting results versus learning through memorization which would provide quick but limited long-term results, which would you choose? Which is more cost effective? Which is more time effective in the long run?
I ask these rhetorical questions to make a point…. concept based learning is at the root of common core math. For those of us who have only experienced algorithmic mathematics…. formulas and memorization…. learning conceptually seems so laborious! But what ethical engineer would be stingy on time and materials when building a foundation in an earthquake-prone area? He would never get insurance…he would be asking for disaster.
Do we build our educational houses on ROCK or SAND? A LIFE concept is rock and life lasting, while sand is fluid - moving wherever the wind or waters carry it. It takes a little longer at first (and for kids that are introduced at an older age it seems crazy to the outside) but once a solid foundation is laid, algorithms make sense, and math becomes our friend and constant instead something to be feared and avoided.
Thank you to CenterPoint Learning Solutions for sharing the content of this article.
Meltdowns Happen ...
Christmas break has begun for many of our area school districts, plus we are gearing up for the busiest (and for many the most stressful) time in our family calendars. This means kids (and parents) have just encountered a MAJOR CHANGE of schedule and routine -
Remember, the best defense is a good offense! Be aware and be prepared. Watch for signs of potential meltdowns and do your best to use all your personal tools NOT to join in the emotions. Parents (and grandparents) be prepared to model emotional regulation to help little (and sometimes not so little) children to move through this change and enjoy the holiday!!
When I work with students, we always have the discussion based on, "Why do we read? Who invented written words anyway?"
Everyone remembers playing the child’s game of TELEPHONE – where a group of individuals line up and the first person whispers a message to the next person and the message is subsequently passed down the line. At the end, the last person repeats the message that was shared. Very seldom is the final message the same as the original. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE WRITTEN LANGUAGE.
Human thought is so unique that we want to preserve it...want to share it with others unadulterated and retain originality. The only way to do so is to write it down. Symbols were created to represent the sounds that we speak. Letters are combined to make even more sounds. These combinations when placed on paper represent the REAL THINGS....IDEAS.... THOUGHTS...and EMOTIONS of another individual. It is our responsibility to learn to decipher this code and retain the meaning behind the words."
This explanation helps my students to get excited about the activity of reading that has been elusive to them. After internalizing the tools for FOCUS and correcting misperceptions in the formation and sequence of the alphabet, they are empowered to use these symbols to represent the meaning g behind the written word.
Did you know that EVERY student that comes to The Tutoring Center is screened for Dyslexia and/or other hidden learning struggles??
The following was shared on The Dyslexia Classroom Facebook page.
"This image is a powerful reminder that what you see isn't the whole picture. This is especially true for our students with dyslexia.
"But they are doing so well!"
...[older students] have developed amazing coping skills, are getting good grades, and are considered on grade level...but these successes don't tell the whole story.
While their struggle may not always be visible to us, students with dyslexia often:
July 28th, 2022
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