At this point, the lazy, hot days of summer are a distant memory and the chilly winds of winter have blown right on in. School routines have taken the place of beach vacations and trips to the pool. Change is never easy, but there are some preparations and routines that can help your child experience as much success as possible this school year.
Hoot Reading Blog
Creating Confident Learners
While school testing can be an enjoyable experience for some, for other students (and parents too!) it can be worrisome and downright painful. I remember taking a standardized test annually and yet, it was one of my favourite weeks of the year! Testing week meant special snacks and any extra time was filled with drawing or reading. Plus, we often had extra recess. Of course, there were also weekly and monthly tests, depending on the subject. I didn’t care too much for those!
When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
The start of a new school year can bring with it a lot more demands on our lives. From signing up for swimming lessons on time, to making sure the school supplies are bought and labelled, to making sure everyone has lunches made, it’s busy! Then, on top of coordinating pick-ups and after school activities, there is…. ugh, homework.
When we approach the subject of motivating our children to embrace educational habits that will last for a lifetime, one can sometimes hear the collective groans arising from frustrated moms. Maybe using the term “motivation” is too cliché and we need to open the discussion by looking deeper into why humans make certain actions a habit.
The start of the school year is a balancing act. For some families, the kids might be grudgingly smiling in those first day photos, after all, summer was great and now it’s over. While summer was also amazing for parents, you may find yourself holding back that “happy dance” in front of your kids. My youngest started Kindergarten this year and I felt a great sense of freedom when I walked out of her school on the first day. I knew she was just going to rock it, and I had no qualms (don’t ask me about dropping off my older daughter on her first day of Kindergarten. I was a mess!). It’s not all butterflies and rainbows though, and adjusting to new classrooms, teachers, and routines can be tough on the whole family.
If you are a parent or an educator, you have probably noticed the rapidly increasing popularity of graphic novels. They seem to be everywhere all of a sudden – in full display in popular book stores, at your local library, and, likely, coming home in your child’s bag. As a teacher, I can also tell you that they are the most requested and shared books in my classroom library. They are constantly being passed from student to student and often we even have to make a waiting list for many of the different graphic novels. Honestly, I can barely keep up with the demand – which, as a literacy teacher trying to get as many books into the hands and hearts of my students as possible, actually feels like a pretty awesome problem to have. However, with that popularity, I get a lot of questions and concerns from parents about why their child isn’t reading a “real” book.
In the late 80s, I was a middle school kid who spent 10 minutes a night working on weekly vocabulary words for my English class. I would memorize words and definitions to the tune of common songs. I started with easy stuff such as “You Are My Sunshine,” and when I ran out of basic songs over the course of a semester, I would put on my parents old vinyl records (Beatles or Simon and Garfunkle) and learn the vocabulary words to a more interesting tune. I took my “exam” at the end of the week, and all I needed was to recall the tunes I’d used to study vocabulary words. Amazingly, the definitions just spilled onto my page and I came home with near perfect scores each time. Looking back, this was an example of learning through an aural or auditory method.
Heroes come in all sizes, shapes, colours, genders and ages! Many popular stories develop their themes around the hero! In our culture, we celebrate the heroes in our everyday lives. We hear about the incredible acts of heroes everyday on the news, TV, and social media. Introducing A Heroes’ Journey, as the theme and focus of your child’s next book selection will provide motivation for the young reader. Heroes exist in non-fiction and fiction literature through fairy tales, fables, historical fiction, biographies and autobiographies. These very different genres provide a rich pathway into the development of a character in terms of their growth as a hero, through identifying their qualities, level of sacrifice, show of bravery, choices made, and connection to human relationships. The finale of reading and analyzing the hero book or hero comic book of your child’s choice is to allow your child to identify the hero within and the people in their own nuclear family. Have them choose a product to exhibit their understanding of the archetypal study of a hero by drawing a poster, painting a picture, or writing a letter to their hero, or lyrics to a song about heroes.
It’s that time of year when the days are full of sunshine, sticky fingers from cold treats, splash pads, camping trips, and later bedtimes. For a lot of us, it’s an extremely busy time of year and, because time goes by so much faster when you’re having fun, it goes by in a blur! Before we know it, it will be time to start thinking about getting ready for school again.