Summer math sessions
This summer my math tutor Danielle will offer several options for math instruction: Support to beat the summer slide: Topics will be tailored to individual needs and connected to students' math curricula. Math remediation: For students whose math proficiency is below grade level. Tailored to students’ needs and based on their teacher’s feedback about problem areas.SAT and SAT II math prep Students can sign up for small-group classes happening in Shelburne or one to one sessions, either in-person or online. Danielle is a fantastic, knowledgeable, patient math instructor who helps students build their proficiency as well as their confidence. If you are interested in summer math help, please let me know.
Reflect on the School Year
Once the school year winds down, it can be a good time to assess what worked and what didn't. I encourage my older students to do this type of assessment, although younger students could also fill it out with an adult. I especially advocate this practice for my study skills students, but any student can take a look at their habits and make goals for the coming school year. Here are areas I'd recommend assessing: 1. How was my organization? Did I lose things often? Did I leave my homework at home often? Are there ways I could be more efficient with my organization? Do I need any tools or items that would help me be more organized next year? 2. How was my time management? Were there any long-term projects that got away from me? Did I have a lot of late assignments? What steps could I take to make sure all my assignments are in on time next year? 3. How disciplined am I? Do I carve out time for homework each night? Do I take short breaks but then return to my work afterward? Do I use my planner? Do I check Moodle or Google Classroom for my assignments? Am I able to go back to my work when I become distracted by a family member, pet, a text message, or the Internet? 4. How well do I advocate for myself? When I am not sure about something, do I ask a teacher, a tutor, a peer, or a parent to help? When I make a mistake, do I face it and fix it or do I ignore it? When I feel overwhelmed, do I reach out for support? 5. What do I do for self-care or down time? What systems do you have in place to help you when you feel overwhelmed? Do you watch YouTube videos, sit under a tree, take a walk, get a glass of water, do breathing exercises, meditate, pet the cat, or text a friend? What helps you feel more balanced? Once the student has answered all the questions, organize the answers into categories: what to shift, what to maintain, and also tools/people needed to make changes. Then take action based on these lists. Post the list somewhere the student will see it and review it before the school year starts this fall
Fun and Nurturing Summer Activities
During the summer I advocate maintaining academic skills through tutoring and scheduled time for skills practice to keep kids' brains sharp. But it's also a good idea to nurture their spirit and emotions. Here are some social-emotional activities you can do with your student this summer. 1. Get a and fill it out together Big Life Journal. 2. Grab a copy of The Self-Compassion Workbook for Teens: Mindfulness and Compassion Skills to Overcome Self-Criticism and Embrace Who You Are by Karen Bluth and set aside time a couple of days a week to read and work through it. 3. Do the mindfulness exercises in Sitting Still Like a Frog. 4. Explore the meditation and mindfulness resources at http://www.innerkids.org/. 5. Use the app to listen to guided meditations or as a great meditation timer Insight Timer. 6. If you have an introverted kid, read Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids by Susan Cain together. 7. Listen to the Short & Curly podcast. 8. Listen to the meditations on my web site.
Making Test-Taking Easier
For most of my students, final exams are right around the corner. Last week, I shared some ideas about how students can take excellent notes as the first step in studying. Below are tips on how students can best study for their final exams and end the semester on a high note. Be preparedMake sure you know what is on the test or what is expected from an essay or presentation. Ask if your teacher has a study guide and if they hand one out, do not lose it! This is highly important information. Use this as the guideline for what to study. Once you have the study guide, you can use it to plan out how much time it will take to study. You can also look back at your textbook and/or notes and determine which topics you feel shaky on.... Figure that out now and ask your teacher or tutor for help understanding those topics better before the test. Visualize successTake time before any big test to imagine it going well. Spend five minutes a day for several days before the test imagining just how well it can go. For example, you could try this visualization before a math test: I sit down at my desk. The teacher hands out the test. I take a deep breath. I feel calm and prepared. I look at the problems: I understand them! They are easy to work through and I finish them confidently. I have just enough time to take the test and I leave feeling confident. Repeating this visualization helps you focus on how well it can go rather than worrying about how badly it can go. Ask for helpVisualizing a positive outcome is fantastic, but it is also important to be realistic about what you are not as strong with. If there are skills or concepts you feel uncertain about, ask your teacher if you can sit down with him or her for a few minutes to review the pieces of the upcoming test that you have questions about. Some students worry that asking questions will make them look stupid in front of the teacher. It is actually the opposite! Teachers think students who ask questions are smart because they are working to understand the material. Ask how much time you haveFind out from your teacher how many problems will be on the test and how long you will have to take the test. Then you can figure out how much time you have to answer each question. This will help you manage your time the day of the test. Create a sample testIn classes like history and science, you can use your notes, labs, worksheets, and the textbook to create a sample test. Think about what questions might be asked and then try to determine the right answers. This is a great way to study because it is more active. Studies show that just reading over notes is not a good way to study; instead, asking yourself questions about the material and answering them is a much more effective study method. Study with friendsIf you are someone who works well with other students and can stay on task when working with friends, scheduling a study date can be a good way to prepare for a test. Quiz each other or create a game like Jeopardy to study the material. Give yourself enough time to studyStudies show that a little studying over several days is far more effective than cramming the night before the test. Once you know the date of your exam, give yourself at least five days to study (or more, depending on the size of the test). Then you can study for 30 or more minutes a day rather than for six hours the night before. You will remember the material better and feel more prepared on the day of the exam. Planning ahead also helps you catch things you do not understand and gives you time to ask the teacher questions before the test. Do sample problems for mathRather than merely looking over your notes or the textbook, one of the best ways to study for math tests is to do sample problems. Take problems from your homework or notes and try to work them out again. This will prepare you well for doing similar problems on the test. Write a rough draft of essay and short answer questionsFor history, science, and English tests on which you may be asked essay or short answer questions, create rough drafts of your answers. Include the specific points and information you will use so that you can easily recall it on the day of the test. Use your study guide or worksheets and the textbook to create sample questions for yourself if your teacher did not prepare a study guide. Rest and relaxThe best thing you can do the night before a test is to get to bed early and build in at least 20 minutes to do mindfulness, yoga, meditation, breathing, or any other relaxing activity before you go to sleep. Eat a good dinner and a good breakfast as well. Making sure your mind and body are prepared is important to your success. Best of luck to all my students during finals season!
Try This Study Skill
When you ask a student about different ways to study for a test, most will not mention note-taking. What many students don’t realize is that their note-taking skills connect closely to their success on tests. Using specific methods with note-taking can improve their understanding of the material they’re learning and also catch their knowledge gaps long before the test. I combine two methods when I teach students good note-taking: Cornell Notes, and the steps outlined in Cal Newport’s book How to Become a Straight A Student. A quick Google search will bring up many Cornell Notes templates. You can also respond to this email and I will send you a template I made. The basic idea with Cornell Notes is to divide your paper into three sections, one for vocabulary/important terms, one for general notes, and another for conclusions/questions. This promotes critical thinking and makes the notes easy to use as a study tool later. The notes are dated and titled with the lecture topic, the class name, or the name of the book or article one is reading. This makes them easy to file and retrieve later. Cornell works best for handwritten notes, but students can fill in templates in Word or Docs on a computer. In Cal Newport’s book, he advocates three steps for note taking: question, evidence, and conclusion. He encourages students to think of the main question being answered by a lecture or reading. Then students find evidence that answers that question as they read. Finally, they include the conclusion or summary of that information. This helps them practice critical thinking and also helps them identify areas where they may not understand what their teacher taught or what they read so they can ask the teacher questions and gain clarity. The two systems work well together, because the Cornell Notes provide a good structure in which to record the question, evidence, and conclusion. I am happy to teach students these methods, and my summer intensives are a great time to practice note-taking skills. Let me know if this interests you!