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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Philadelphia School District Closing 40 Schools in June!

What is happening to our school districts?

Philadelphia School District is scheduled to shut down 37 more schools in June 2013. I say additional because at the beginning of the school year, the district announced that they were closing 24 schools. In addition, The Archdiocese Catholic Schools of Philadelphia have closed 45 elementary schools and four high schools.

Not in a million years did I imagine that Education would be affected by the economic downturn of our country. What happens to the teachers, counselors, administrators...and most importantly the students?? Do you know that the average public school classroom has approximately 30 students? Yes, you've read correctly, 30! Whose to blame here? This is just insane.

Go to these links to read more information regarding this issue:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cheerios: Inspire a Life Long Love of Reading


This image is currently on the back of the Cheerios cereal box. Three reasons why I love everything about this image:

1. (And most important) There's a book, NOT A TOY, in every box of cereal!

2. The initiative General Mills took in re-starting the push for 'reading for pleasure'.

3. General Mills has donated $3.8 million to First Books, an organization that provides books to kids.

BONUS: The books are written in both English and Spanish


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NEA Today: More Info on Student Anxiety

NEA Today Magazine recently featured an article that gave insight to student anxiety and how to combat it. More specifically the article discussed how to help students conquer their anxieties around math, oral presentations, and testing (which we have previously discussed).

Pinpointing the triggers of anxiety is key. Ensure that bullying is not a factor and that home life is stable and healthy. Next, find areas of difficulty...

Small Suggestions:
  • Math or any subject of difficulty- Preparation is key and practice makes perfect! Make learning fun by integrating computer math games, board games, and other activities. Celebrate learning and create opportunities for success.
  • Oral Presentations- For Students: KNOW YOUR STUFF! Prepare well in advance, make a list of items you need and check them off the night before to ensure you have everything to deliver a successful presentation. Write talking points for the information you want to discuss. Make it fun, have something that everyone can participate in. Practice reading aloud for 15 - 20 minutes per day.
  • Test Anxiety- In a previous post we noted that there are several test taking strategies students can use to combat fears. In addition, students can write a positive message on the back of their papers, boost confidence by mastering the material, go see your counselor for a boost of encouragement.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Testing season is upon us and all educational stakeholders are experiencing a little anxiety:

Students- "Will I draw a blank?" "Did I study enough?" "What if I don't know the answer?"

Teachers- "Have I covered enough material?" "Are my kids confident?" "What if I have failed as a teacher.."

Principal- "Will the scores increase over last years?" "Have the teachers covered all of the required material?"

Parents- "Have I provided enough academic support?" "Is my child confident about taking this test?"

These are all valid and common concerns, and chances are, we have ALL tried our best to help our students learn and provide them with the support needed to feel a sense of confidence and readiness.

Here are some test taking tips for students:

  • Get a goodnight's sleep: at least 9 hours

  • Eat a health breakfast: eggs, meat, fruit, etc.

  • Have fun after school by: playing with friends, riding your bike, or getting a good amount of exercise

On the day of the test

  • Be prepared: pack two No. 2 pencils, a healthy snack, an eraser

  • Write yourself a note: "You Rock!" "You Got This!" "I am so smart"

  • If you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a deep breathe, count to 5, and continue with the test

Happy Testing!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Introducing Divorce

When introducing your child to the idea of divorce, there are several things you can do to help him/her through the process.
  • Listen - he/she will have questions and may very well feel confused. Listen with an open & honest ear. Share your feelings & embrace your child's as well. Let your child know what feelings are normal, and help your child understand you acknowledge his/her feelings.
  • Tell him/her what to expect - If you are a parent, share with your child their schedule if they will be going to two different homes. Help him/her make a list of things they would like to have at both homes. Bring personal items to both homes, i.e. pictures, special toys/stuffed animals, music, etc. Talk about who will drop him/her off to school, what house he/she will be sleeping at, etc.
  • Give your child tools to cope - Talk to your child about what they can do when times get tough. Journaling, going to a "special" spot in the home, looking at a photo album, reading a book, painting, etc are some ways to release these emotions in a healthy manner.
  • Explain to your children that divorce is forever (usually). They do not initially understand that their parents will not get back together in the future. Tell your child why it is not helpful to stay together for him/her. They may think, "shouldn't they stay married for me?" and it's imperative to teach them the reasons this is not healthy for them or you.
  • Your love for your child does not change when your love for your spouse may; children need to hear this. Have multiple conversations about your unconditional love for them, i.e. "no matter what mom and dad are going through, we will both love you forever - no matter what. Nothing will ever change that!". The security of your child will be tested when a divorce is in progress, so it's necessary to focus on expressing your love physically and verbally to eliminate any guilt or blame and foster positive and peaceful thoughts from your child.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Parent TIPS- building character

Building character in children is not an easy task. Here are some useful tips that should help your child become an empathic, loving, and warm natured citizen.
  1. On his/her birthday have your child donate their old toys to a charity or family

  2. Participate in a beach/neighborhood clean-up

  3. Give him/her chores appropriate for their age

  4. Buy/check out books that teaches children about character

  5. Role play with your child(ren) and give them various "what-if" scenarios

  6. Be a role model for your child(ren) (they listen to and watch everything, so choose your words and actions wisely)

  7. When they don't make the sports team, get a bad grade, didn't get the part in the play, or didn't accomplish the goal that they set out for, help them build resiliency by reviewing what they did wrong in order to get it right the next time.
  8. Lastly, celebrate the "Grey Area" (the effort your child put forth to achieve a goal that was not attained) it helps boost self-esteem and self-worth.

We hope you find these tips useful, feel free to comment!