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Music to My Ears

Music to My Ears

Music is everywhere. Sometimes we hear it and sometimes we don’t. You may suddenly realize you have a “tune” stuck in your head and have no idea that it was playing in the store you just left. Students can now bring their music to school and use it while they work independently. Well, I recently worked with a student who was taking a “music theory” class and learned that there is much more to music than I ever realized. He was having some difficulty with it and it’s hard to know what or how to study when you don’t really understand it. So, he taught me a few things but I could see the big concepts were hard for him to put into language I (aka a novice) could understand. That’s one of the key ways I can tell if a student really understands something….if they can explain it in language that someone else with little or no knowledge of the subject can understand. Aside from piano lessons as a child and a music appreciation class, I have little understanding of the inner workings of music – however I do love music! Here’s how I use music: To give me energy when I am running low or have run out To lift my mood To motivate As a workout As a distraction To reduce stress To get both sides of my brain working (great for learning) For time management (beat the clock and finish a task before it ends.) How do you use music? Let me know in the comments box please….I’d like it not to say “no comments”....
Motivation Holds the Key

Motivation Holds the Key

This month’s student strategy is actually written for your child. It is an example of one of the messages in the End Homework Hassle (EHH) E-Learning course. EHH is a program that sends daily emails to your child/teen’s email inbox with tips, strategies and information about learning. Please feel free to copy it into an email to your child. Motivation is that hidden power that gets you to do something that you might not have otherwise wanted to do. It has been defined as an “incentive, drive or desire to do.” It is the inspiration that pushes you to score that goal, or ace that test. It can help you keep at something when you would prefer to quit. Now I know that it can be difficult to motivate yourself when it comes to school stuff. I get that. But without understanding the “why” behind what you are doing, you may never find that extra motivation to get you through the tough times. They say there are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Some people are motivated by external or extrinsic rewards – things that can be bought or received (games, toys, $). Others are motivated by internal or intrinsic rewards. Intrinsic motivation is like the special feeling an “A” brings, or that feeling of pride in yourself when you make the honor roll. I think there are two other types of motivation – pain and pleasure. For those that are motivated by pain, they work harder to avoid the “pain” (getting grounded or losing the computer). Those motivated by pleasure are motivated to get things done in...
It’s About TIME

It’s About TIME

It is almost time for getting back to school. If last year was a struggle, it was probably about that four letter word…T I M E. Does your child have the same perception/understanding about time that you do? If you feel that you are often encouraging them to “hurry up” or if they sometimes miss the bus or stay up late completing a project then you might want to try this experiment. Gather the family and a stop watch. Ask the children to close their eyes and not open them until they feel a minute of time has passed. Each individual will guess differently. Now have them time you. Is their sense of a minute longer or shorter than yours? Are you thinking it has been a minute when it has only been 30 seconds? Sometimes children haven’t developed that internal sense of the passing of time. Sometimes adults are in such a state of “rush” that they lose that sense of time. Using analog clocks and visual timers like a time timer can help develop that internal sense. Next thing to figure out is how much time is available and what is it being used for? I suggest having your child keep track of his time on a time log. It is a great way to see where the time is going. Is there enough time for homework or are after school activities cutting that short? Sometimes, kids are doing the best they can but they are so exhausted from other activities, that homework only gets the minimum amount of effort. Other times they are just wasting the...
What Did You Learn Last Year?

What Did You Learn Last Year?

Now is the time to review the last school year with your child and use that knowledge for the upcoming year. You’re looking for the “best practices” – those things that worked really well both at home and at school and that you would like to see continue next year. If your child has ADHD do you think the teacher clearly understood ADHD and were they helpful in providing strategies for school and home? What were the skills the teacher had that you feel benefitted your child? Good teachers have excellent class management strategies, and are organized so that there is little “down time” in between activities. Teachers are flexible and use positive rather than negative reinforcements. They encourage and stimulate your child’s creative abilities. Teachers that do not understand the neurobiology of ADHD tend to have the opposite effect on children – they dislike school, do poorly and it becomes a struggle all year long. First, how would you rate this year on a scale of one to five? How would your child rate it? What would make it a five? Think about those things and create your own list together to use for the new school year. Here are some ideas to get you started. Homework strategies: Do your child’s grades correspond to the amount of time they spent on homework? Did they work right up until bedtime? Did they “multitask” between homework and Facebook? How much is too much time? (Most towns go by the 10 minute per grade rule – check the handbook) Routines: Would you give yourself an A or an F? Updating a...

5 Things to Do Before You Go to Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher conferences; what did you learn about your child? Most conferences cover the academics, is your child doing well in school? That means can they pass the tests and do they turn in their homework? You also probably learned about your child’s social skills. Are they making friends, being “too social” (talking too much) or getting lost in the crowd? As a teacher, I loved the opportunity to talk with parents about their children. As a parent I was very intimidated and nervous about those conferences until I understood them and myself better.  If your child is not on an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or a 504 accommodation plan then you may not interact with your child’s teacher very often (unless there is a problem). So when you arrive at these conferences you may be not be ready for what comes up. You are part of the team that involves your child, the teacher, the department of education and you. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides the goals that your child needs to attain (they call them standards) at each grade. If your child is not learning these, then their grades will show it. Your teacher is part of that equation, but your child is the other part. Teachers cannot force your child to learn but they can find other ways to make sure that they are getting the skills and knowledge they need. Your job is to make sure that things at home are calm and helpful and that learning and homework are taken seriously. You provide the help when the teacher cannot. Recommendations for...