Summer is a time for lots of fun, sleeping late, and vacations, but it can also be a time when students lose some of what they learned because they don’t keep skills sharp by practicing over the summer. These 5 options will keep students learning all summer long!
1– Read something EVERYDAY. Newspapers, magazines, novels …let your child choose their reading material. The important thing is that they READ.
2– Try on online reading comprehension practice program like Newsela. (https://newsela.com/) This is a free program that helps students build comprehension with nonfiction text using articles about current news and events.The program adapts for reading selections on each students’ own reading lexile (reading level). Many articles have self checking comprehension quizzes that go along with them. Check out details on their parents page about how to get started https://newsela.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/topics/38518-parents.
3– Create an account on Khan Academy and complete some math lessons. https://www.khanacademy.org/ This is another free site that offers lessons on skills at every grade level, and will help suggest the skills that are best for your child to work on next.
4- Go to a museum. Explore, discover, and talk about what you see.
5– Learn Computer Coding. Check out the tools available on https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/cool-tools-to-help-kids-learn-to-code to help your child learn computer coding skills, or learn how to code mobile games and apps using Touch Develop provided by Microsoft at https://www.touchdevelop.com/.
One way or another, school skills are just like any other skill you might learn, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Make sure your child doesn’t lose what they learned this year by practicing those skills a little each day to keep them sharp!
When spring rolls around, students and teachers alike inevitably begin thinking about end-of-year testing. We all try to be positive and look at the tests as an opportunity to show off all that we have learned (or taught) over the course of the school year. Unfortunately teachers and students can’t help but feel the pressure put on us to perform well, and that can make testing time quite stressful for all.
As a teacher and I parent, I experience this from both sides, so I am closely familiar with what this feels like. Like all of you, I want to do everything in my power to help ensure that our students are successful on the testing, but also feel relaxed and confident about it as well.
So what can a parent do? I think the best approach for a parent (or teacher) is that of an excellent coach. I believe the 3 actions below are the key.
1– Make sure they know the skill or content they need to.
To do well and be confident that you can, you have to “know your stuff.” Review tools are plentiful online, and classroom notes would be a great resource. Many schools offer subscriptions to online learning services that can be valuable tools for students, and there are some great FREE resources out there as well. One of my favorites is www.learnzillion.com where students, teachers, and parents can access video lessons and practice activities on Common Core Standards in Language Arts and math for grades K through 8.
2– Set reasonably high expectations.
To achieve great things, our students have to reach high. Make sure you talk to your child and let them know that you do have high expectations for them. Be careful that your expectations are something that your child can reasonably reach with some effort. You don’t want to set them up to fail.
3– Let them know you believe in them and are there to support them.
One of the most valuable things we can do for our students is to prove to them that we BELIEVE they can do it, and that you will be there to support them all the way. Great coaches know that is you believe in yourself you can accomplish just about anything you set yourself out to do.
If your child is having particular anxiety about the big test, this video is a great way to begin a conversation to build his or her confidence. Yes. of course we want them to do their very best, but the test does not define them! “This Test Does Not Define You”- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFMjbs3hoiU