Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wrapping Up the Year with Our Eyes Toward the Future

  May and June are upon us already, which means it is time to wrap up another school year and get ready for summer break!  This school year has come with a lot of change and growth at Young Scholars, but I am proud to say that we made it and have learned from our mistakes. 

  For our last guidance lesson of the year, we focus on looking forward with goals and how to survive the next stage of life.  My hope here is to help them prepare for their inevitable future and the years to come here at Young Scholars and beyond.  They need to learn that change is a good thing and that we can learn and grow from our past.

  If you would like help in getting your student through the summer and ready for the next school year, check out these helpful websites:

http://www.laparent.com/summer-activities-to-promote-learning/

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/bridging-summer-reading-gap/

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/7-ways-prevent-summer-learning-loss-barbara-dianis

https://www.brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/

There is a lot of research that shows, students lose a lot of what they have learned over the summer and therefore, regress during the next school year; please help to keep your child engaged and learning throughout the summer months!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Post Spring Break Slump

  After our relaxing Spring Break, comes the month of April.  During April, the older kiddos take the PSSAs, which consumes most of their time.  While the younger students, get ready for spring and prepare themselves for the coming school year.

  I do not do guidance lessons for the older students during this month because their schedule is packed so much with testing.  However, I am still available to them throughout testing for any behavioral or emotional needs. 

  In regards to the younger students, I am doing career review lessons with them to help get their Career Portfolios completed for this school year.  This is a new requirement from the State of PA Department of Education.  There are 4 main Career Standards that PA has for grades K-12.  Each school year students will add pieces of evidence to their portfolio to show that they are learning those standards.

If you need any resources on PSSA testing here is a good website for you:

https://www.pgsd.org/Page/2837

If you would like more information on PA Career Standards, this website is for you:

http://www.education.pa.gov/K-12/PACareerStandards/Pages/default.aspx

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

March Pretesting Madness

  In March, we get ready for the dreaded, PSSA tests in April.  So for the kiddos that are lucky enough to get to take them, grades 3 and up, I do my lessons based on test anxiety and test-taking tips.  This is to help prepare them to put their minds at ease and get them mentally prepared to take the tests after spring break!

 For those younger kiddos, I will be doing various lessons on social skills.  They will be different for each class, based on their needs.  The hope here is to help them end the year strong and on a good note!

We are in the last trimester, so it is time to buckle down and do our best!

Parents please reinforce these things at home.  If you would like some tips please visit these websites:  https://childmind.org/article/tips-for-beating-test-anxiety/

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/tests-standards/8-ways-to-prepare-your-child-for-standardized-tests

http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogs/scholastic-parents-learning-toolkit/4-ways-to-help-your-student-finish-school-year-strong

Monday, January 22, 2018

February is for Feelings

  With the new year underway and new goals in sight, it is now time to stop and think about how our feelings affect our behaviors.  The main focus for this month's lessons for the younger kiddos will be on how to identify and cope with various feelings.  While the older students will learn more about conflict resolution and ways to have healthy relationships with others; both situations occur when students' feelings get too big for them to sometimes handle.

  The best thing to teach your children when it comes to emotions, is that it is okay for them to feel different ways (angry, mad, sad, scared, happy, etc.).  However, it is not okay to let our emotions control our actions because that is usually when we end up getting into trouble.  In order to prevent this, we need to use coping skills (i.e., ways to calm down and make ourselves feel better).  This can be anything, as long as it is appropriate for school when used here.

  The conflict resolution strategies that I teach the students are:  Stop, Walk, Rock, and Talk.  Stop being stop yourself before you make a mistake or ignore the situation.  Walk away from the student if you can.  Rock is doing something to make a situation fair like "rock, paper, scissors or rolling dice."  Last, is talk, where the students should try to use "I messages" to tell the other student how they feel and what they would like the other student to change.  Please reinforce these strategies at home; they will help this school be a more welcoming, cooperative place to be.

Check out these websites for extra help:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201201/tips-helping-kids-handle-their-emotions

https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/coaching-children-in-handling-everyday-conflicts/

Monday, December 18, 2017

New Year, Means a New Start at the Future

  With 2017 in our past, it is now time to set goals and plans for the new year!  This month, I will be focusing on introducing the younger kiddos to various careers and the difference between careers and jobs.  For the older students, their focus will be more on finding careers that match their strengths and interests and creating goals and plans to reach that career.

  It is always refreshing to start a new year with a new attitude and positive outlook.  Therefore, we start it by looking towards their futures and where they want to be when they grow up.  There are many different avenues for students to take nowadays and my hope is to expose them to all of the possibilities. 

  Parents/guardians you can help at home by encouraging extra curricular and/or hobbies that match the career of their dreams.  The sooner they start working on skills that will help them later on in life, the better.  Please read these articles for more advice on how to get your student college/career ready!

http://www.collegeready.umn.edu/documents/Parent-Guide.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/education/edlife/is-your-first-grader-college-ready.html

http://www.militarychild.org/college-and-career-readiness

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Here is to an amazing, productive, and fun 2018 school year!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

'Tis the Season for Diversity

  Since our school promotes and excels in teaching diversity, my lessons this month really capitalize on that.  The winter holidays are quickly approaching and everyone has their own unique traditions.  With the younger ones, we focus more on what it means to be different and how to embrace one's differences.  For the older students, we talk about more global topics such as, racism, stereotypes, and empathy.  My hope here is to help them understand these hard-hitting topics in an age-appropriate manner and in a way that impacts them.  I want them to start thinking and discussing why people treat other people differently and how that affects a culture.  You would be amazed at the assumptions these students already have about other people.

  At Young Scholars we want students to accept and welcome diversity.  We want them to see the value in everyone.  We want them to learn how to work together with others in order to make the world a better place.  Again, this all starts at home with the standards that are put in place there.

  If you would like information about how to talk to your child on these topics, please visit these websites:  https://www.mindful.org/3-ways-talk-kids-diversity/
                 http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/18/living/feat-teaching-diversity-schools/index.html
                 http://www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2015/08/teach-children-cultural-awareness-diversity/

Monday, October 23, 2017

Turkey Day is a Time of Socializing

  I think that I blinked and it became time for the holiday season this year.  I do not know where the time has gone, but I think that this year has become a year of growth for every staff member and student.  

  For the month of November, a time to be thankful, I focus my lessons on various social skills.  For the younger students, I focus more on how to use nice words/share with friends, while the middle schoolers get lessons on peer pressure and finding healthy coping skills to deal with life's stressors.

  Here is a good article to use at home with the younger students:  http://www.parents.com/kids/development/social/improving-kids-social-skills/

  Here is a good article to use at home with the older students:  https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/6-tips-resisting-peer-pressure/

 Remember to practice these social skills with your child/ren at home and remind them that their teachers and school counselor is here to help them with any issues that they may encounter!  They do not have to face those challenges alone.