5 Tips for Developing Important Study and Organizational Skills

  • Read directions carefully before starting a paper or project.
  • Look for similar examples in textbooks or notes.
  • Review class notes at the end of each school day and highlight “big ideas.”
  • Use an assignment book or student agenda.
  • Use the family calendar to post big test and project dates.

 

Page Private School

657 Victoria St.

Costa Mesa, California 92627

949-515-1700

pageschool.com

 

 

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Four Reasons to Garden with Kids!

It’s easy to succeed in a garden. Remember: kids operate on a smaller scale. Planting a pot of lettuce, or a couple of tomato plants, can be a big success!

There’s no better way to understand where food comes from than by growing it. The garden is also a great spot to learn about the weather, soils, insects, worms and more. Added benefit: if a kid grows a healthy veggie, he/she is going to be proud to eat it, too!

Gardening also helps us understand the natural world, and resources available in our community.

School and/or community gardens are great ways to teach responsibility, and the importance of team work. Sharing tasks around preparing the soil, watering, tending plants, harvesting and preparing food from the garden can be both educational and fun! (Kids + dirt = definitely fun).

Page Private School

657 Victoria St.

Costa Mesa, California 92627

949-515-1700

pageschool.com

Supporting Your Child in Middle School Math

math problem

As parents, we sometimes forget how confusing, frustrating and difficult middle school can be, and for some kids, math is especially confusing, frustrating and difficult. Being a middle school math teacher, I hear from many parents who want to help their children but aren’t sure how. Whether you identify with the Carla*, a mother who helps her son too much because she’s eager for him to get good grades or Todd*, a dad who doesn’t know how to help to his daughter because he “doesn’t understand the math” himself, every parent can benefit from these tips for supporting children who struggle with middle school math.

Before you can help your child, it’s important to understand what is happening (mathematically) to the adolescent brain. Middle school is an exciting time; adolescents’ brains are transitioning from reasoning in a concrete manner to understanding abstract concepts and ideas. According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, middle school math typically begins with concepts such as fractions and decimals, and by the time students’ move on to high school, they have learned pre-algebra concepts, such as manipulating variables and solving or writing equations to find unknown values—ideas that cannot easily be visualized or explained with physical objects. Keep in mind that this is particularly hard for students stuck in a concrete state of mind; they tend to rely on memorizing steps or procedures to solve problems, which can lead to more difficulties later on.

Here are some useful tips on how you can support your child in math:
Always have notes from class, a textbook or other resources right next to a homework paper. If your child gets stuck, she is likely to find a similar problem in one of these resources that can help her move forward.
Ensure the student takes responsibility for her own learning by finding assistance independently; the ability to access help on your own is essential for student success in all areas of academics.
Never give children the answers to problems! By giving away answers, you’re depriving your child of the chance to develop the mental processes required to learn a new concept. No parent enjoys seeing their child struggle, but providing answers could set them up for frustration when they have to tackle more difficult problems and might even stunt their progress as classmates move to more advanced lessons. Furthermore, your child’s teacher will not be able to address the misconceptions or areas of weakness that should be targeted in school if homework assignments do not reflect the student’s level of understanding.
Encourage your child to underline or highlight key words or phrases in situational problems, as these often help students set up a solution.
Realize that your child may struggle with abstract concepts if his or her brain is not quite ready to reason at an abstract level. Your child’s brain will mature in time, and success in math class is likely to accompany this development.
If your child is frustrated by mathematics, show him how to focus on concepts rather than procedural knowledge. This might help some students approach and solve problems in a different way—one that makes more sense to them. For instance, ask your child to explain one problem in their assignment each night. If possible, choose one that incorporates both words and computation.

 

Page Private School

657 Victoria St.

Costa Mesa, California 92627

949-515-1700

pageschool.com

Instill a Love of Math

Family playing checkers

Parents are bombarded with messages to read with their children, but it’s rare to hear about the importance of doing math with them. Here are some helpful tips on why and how to instill a love of math in your children.

Early Math Matters
We may take for granted that our children will inevitably learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide, but early math lessons establish the base for the rest of their thinking lives. “Mathematics that kids are doing in kindergarten, first, second and third grades lays the foundation for the work they are going to do beyond that,” says Linda Gojak, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). “They are learning beyond just counting and numbers.” That’s why it’s so important to help children love math while they are still young. Parents can build on those first preschool lessons by counting with their children, asking them to look for patterns and recognize shapes, then moving on to numbers, Gojak says.

The goal should be to make math “real” and meaningful by pointing it out in the world around you. That could include checking and comparing prices at the grocery store, driving down the street counting mailboxes, reading recipes, calculating coupons, or even measuring food or drink at the dinner table. Kevin Mahoney, math curriculum coordinator at Pennacre Country Day School in Wellesley, Mass., says when his children were little, his wife kept a small measuring tape in her pocketbook. While they were waiting for their order at a restaurant, the children would measure different items on the table.

Just as you encourage your early reader to look for familiar letters, ask your child to watch for math, regarding math as highly as you do reading. “Every parent knows that it’s a good idea to read to your child every night, but they should also realize the importance of talking about mathematical situations with children every day,” says Mahoney.

Page Private School

657 Victoria St.

Costa Mesa, California 92627

949-515-1700

pageschool.com

Open House!

Open House Week Is Coming! You will able to see our latest technologies and our small class sizes. We will have extended hours from 6:30am to 6:30pm. We have music, art, and Spanish classes that we are offering. You can also get information about our summer camp activities!

Check our website to get coupons! Got to love coupons!

Page Private School

657 Victoria St.

Costa Mesa, California 92627

949-515-1700

pageschool.com

Kindergartner Reading Milestones

By the end of kindergarten, most children can recognize and write upper and lower case letters. They also learn the sounds associated with most of the letters of the alphabet. Most kindergartners can tell you that B says “b” and M says “m” and can incorporate letters and sounds into games they play like “The Name Game” and “I Spy.” Children typically master consonant sounds before vowel sounds because it is harder to hear the small differences among some vowel sounds.

Most kindergartners can read some words and simple books. Children in kindergarten recognize some words by sight or by looking at them and recognizing them as wholes. Kindergartners’ “sight words” often include their own names, the names of classmates, and words they use frequently in their writing, such as “Mom,” “love, ” and “the.” They also learn words they see around them, such as “STOP” and “EXIT.” Many can read “families” of words such as “cat,” “bat,” and “mat.” By the end of the year, many kindergartners are able to “read” familiar books by recognizing a few words, remembering what the story says, and looking at the picture.

Kindergartners learn that writing goes from left to right. They learn that we read to the end of a line and return to the left to read another line. They learn where a printed word begins and ends and learn the difference between a word and a letter. Many can match spoken words to the words in books. They even begin to recognize and learn the purpose of common punctuation marks such as periods and question marks. Having a solid understanding of what print is and the way it works is necessary for learning to read.

Kindergartners can understand more than just the plot of a story. They are able to extend their thinking and discuss why events happened and why characters acted as they did. They can also make reasonable predictions about what will happen next and relate the story events to events in their own lives. Being able to discuss stories they listen to now will help children make meaning later on when they are able to read independently.


Encouraging Your Kindergartner

  • Let your child read the words and offer help only when it’s needed. By the end of kindergarten, many children can read simple books containing short, common words and books that follow a predictable pattern. Most children rely heavily on pictures and their memory of the story to help them read. Young readers benefit from practice, and they take great pride in showing off their new skills to adults. As your child reads to you, you can help out and provide words if he gets stuck, but try not to step in before you are needed.
  • Let your child “share” the reading with you. Not all children can read books independently at the end of kindergarten, but all can share reading with an adult. The child who recognizes only a few words can chime in and read those words in the text. Most can fill in a rhyming word in a shared reading. For example, if you read, “Have you ever seen a bear combing his _______?” your child will probably provide “hair” as the correct rhyme.
  • Keep reading sessions short. Reading can be hard work for kindergartners. It is a complex activity that requires a delicate orchestration of skills, including paying attention, looking carefully at print, remembering sounds of letters, and using language prediction skills. Kindergartners expend a lot of energy reading, so if your child shows signs of frustration, it is definitely time to stop.
  • Encourage your child to track the print with a finger, pointing to each word as she says it. This habit will reinforce the idea that printed words represent spoken words and that print goes from left to right in English. You can also ask your child to find words she knows in the text or to find a word that starts with a certain beginning sound. Asking your child how she knew the word was “kitten” and not “cat,” for example, will help improve her awareness of the strategies she is beginning to use in reading.
  • Don’t limit reading to books. Reading is a skill that we use regularly in our everyday lives, so encourage your child to read at times other than at book time. Having your kindergartner read street signs, look over your shopping list, follow a simple recipe with you, and read a menu with you are all ways that you can extend reading beyond books.

Page Private School

657 Victoria St.

Costa Mesa, California 92627

949-515-1700

pageschool.com

How studying a second language helps your kids in school, at home, and beyond.

If you studied a second language in high school or college, you were maybe just hoping to learn enough that you’d be able to ask for a chocolate croissant and directions to the train station next time you happened to be in Paris. While we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of chocolate croissants, research shows that the benefits of learning a second language — and the earlier the better — are much more important and far-reaching than simply knowing a different way of saying the same old things.

Experts agree that foreign-language learning can give kids a leg up in many areas of their lives, both now and in the future, with benefits ranging from academic achievement and career success to better interpersonal relationships. Whether they’re learning a second (or third or fourth) language at home, from a relative, at school, or as an extracurricular activity, research shows it’s helping them become better thinkers, better learners, and better citizens of the world.

Here are the top five reasons all kids should learn a foreign language:

1. It improves their academic performance. Studying a foreign language “strongly reinforces the core subject areas of reading, English language literacy, social studies, and math,” and helps students “consistently outperform control groups on standardized tests, often significantly,” according to a 2007 University of Maine publication that collected dozens of research findings and citations to illustrate the benefits of foreign language education. Simply put, learning a second language can help kids improve their academic performance across the board.

2. It’s good for brain development. One of the main reasons experts support getting kids into foreign languages as soon as possible, rather than waiting until they’re tweens and teens, is based on how it affects brain development. “Studies have shown that the brain of a young child has several areas active in language acquisition, a capacity that is significantly diminished as he or she grows older,” says Bob Hershberger, a professor of Spanish at DePauw University and the father of two soon-to-be-bilingual children. “In other words, young children (ages 2 to 6) are very active receptors of the languages that surround them,” a factor that means they can pick up a new language much easier than they will out of a high school textbook.

“After [age 7], language learning becomes effortful,” says Jodi Tommerdahl, a professor in the Southwest Center for Mind, Brain, and Education at the University of Texas at Arlington. “Furthermore, bilingualism is now thought to prevent cognitive decline in aging, and protects against the early onset of Alzheimers. There is every reason to teach foreign languages to children at the youngest age possible.”

3. It helps them in their native language. I learned more about English grammar in my college foreign language classes than I did in my rest of my career as a student, and research confirms that foreign language study helps kids better understand what language is and how it works.

As for those who might worry that foreign language acquisition in young children will make it harder for them to grasp a single language, Raúl Rojas, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas who specializes in bilingual development, says, “Commonly held myths of language confusion are exactly that: myths! Bilingual children coordinate and negotiate information across their languages; bilingualism does not cause communication disorders, and monolingualism does not cure them.” The incorporation of a second language can actually improve a child’s grasp of language as a whole.

4. It connects them to their heritage. Not too long ago, parents who spoke a language other than English often discouraged their kids from learning that language, in an effort to help them better assimilate into American culture. Several generations later, the dominant culture is now, in many ways, a global culture, and there’s an increasing trend to celebrate differences rather than downplay them. Now, children with personal connections to non-English-speaking people — whether distant ancestors or living relatives — have a special opportunity to learn through language about their families, their heritage, and themselves.

Rojas gives this advice: “Do not limit contact with family or age-appropriate peers that do not speak English. Speak, sing, and read to or with your child in the language you are most comfortable using, even if that is not English. Involve family and age-appropriate peers, whether they speak the native language and/or English.” Language is a living thing that shouldn’t be learned only from books.

5. Cultural awareness of others. Learning the language of your local immigrants can help your child better communicate with and understand the people in his community. It’s important our kids learn not just about words but about people, and the very best foreign language exposure will incorporate the cultures of native speakers, both abroad and down the street.

“As the United States moves very rapidly to become a bilingual society, we almost have an ethical responsibility to our children [when it comes to] the language skills they most likely will need later in life,” says Hershberger. “I’m convinced that exposure to a second language at an early age relates to a more open and diverse worldview later in life. When a child is exposed to variety in speech patterns, he or she learns that the world is a diverse place and that heterogeneity is the norm. If this child is immersed in, or exposed to, a variety of cultural settings in which these languages are spoken, then he or she will learn that language is a means to bridge these communities.”

When it comes to kids learning foreign languages, the verdict is clear: está todo bien, c’est tout bon, Zhè yīqiè dōu hěn hǎo, it’s all good.

What foreign languages will your children learn?

Page Private School
657 Victoria St.
Costa Mesa, California 92627
949-515-1700
pageschool.com