My Favorite Teacher

I don’t remember the name of my sixth grade teacher but it was my favorite year in school. As a new student, this could have been scary but I looked forward to every day in our classroom.

This teacher was so creative, there were no disciplinary struggles that I remember. I don’t know if teachers today are permitted to bring in outside furniture but am glad we got to enjoy it back then (1976).

At that time, lockers were in the classroom which prevented hallway disruptions. Classrooms also had their own bathrooms which also prevented unsupervised trouble.

We didn’t use desks. We we were set up by table groups. Each group chose a name. The tables were made from large round wooden cable spools just the right size. Each one had carpet lining around the spool and bottom. Decorative contact paper lined the top surface.

Each group was given their own bulletin board to decorate. We had weekly contests. At Christmas, my table won the citizenship award and our prize was a huge candy cane log. We were given hammers to break it up so we could share it.

I don’t remember any specific lessons but back then we didn’t use iPads or computers. Teachers did the teaching. Today when I substitute teach, the lesson plan usually consists of a note stating the students will log into their iPad and already know what to do. They do it for eight hours. There is no interaction. I assume the day is different when the real teacher is present but the iPad seems to be the go to substitute lesson plan.

I was very shy as a child but once I arrived at my new school, I began to shine. I started winning singing roles, won poster and talent contests, citizenship awards and developing friendships. I volunteered in the special education classroom.

When I read stories of low-income inner-city school challenges, I think that’s where I came from before there was a name for it. I know teachers have to use classroom management but don’t think the answer has to be total silence with perfect students.

With creativity, engagement and student empowerment to be included in creating their environment, the classroom can be a daily adventure to look forward to. Imagine what school could look like if students were excited about it? I guess I better get that certification if I want to put that creativity to use.

Study Tips – How to Study for High School Finals

Some of the most common questions involving studying concern finals, and rightfully so. For many high school students, their finals determine their success or failure in a class. That one test can be 50% of a student’s grade for an entire semester of work. Here are four steps that will help you make sure that you are getting the most out of your study sessions for high school finals.

1. Make sure you have all of your materials.

Few things are more annoying than having to continually re-gather your school materials. Make sure you have all the books and other materials you need for that class. Frankly, though, your books should simply be a reference by this time. You have been taking good notes and studying all along, so your most important materials aren’t in your books. It’s in your own words on your own paper.

You also want to make sure you have enough materials to stay put for at least 50 minutes. A writing utensil, paper on which to make new review materials, and a focused mind should be enough. If you would rather make a digital resource than a hand-written one, that will work. But before committing to a computer, consider these three benefits of hand-writing your review materials.

First, you have the added memory aid of kinesthetic learning. This is a primary way people take in information, and, believe it or not, simply writing something down can be tremendously helpful for memorization. Second, there are visual helps that come from hand-writing a new review sheet that are missed on a computer screen. For example, many people have had the experience of remembering where an answer was on a particular page. If you’ve ever thought, “I remember that It was under the picture of the alligator on the top right hand corner of the page… ,” you know what I’m talking about. That benefit is mostly lost on a scrolling computer screen. Third, successful students know the benefits of arrows, diagrams, scribbles, doodles, and every other weird hand-written elements for studying. You miss that on Microsoft Word. There is no way around it with the current state of technology.

If you have all of your materials, you are now ready for step 2, setting the environment for a successful final exam study session.

2. Set up a great environment for studying.

Many college students miss this element entirely. Consider this: how many students have you seen at Starbucks with a laptop open, Facebook in the background, gmail chat in the foreground, twitter feeds buzzing their phones, text messages coming in every three minutes, and a chemistry book in their lap? That type of studying – if it can even be called “studying” – is not particularly helpful for studying for finals. High school students need to understand this element of studying for finals before graduating. Your environment matters. It can make or break your study session.

The problem with a bad environment is that time moves at the same speed whether you are learning or not. Many a disappointed student has spent hours at the coffee shop cramming for exams but failed a test because of a poor environment. Great environments enhance studying exponentially.

Great environments, while being different for each individual, will have certain things in common. Social media will be held at bay. As difficult as that sounds, it must be done. Tell Facebook, “Goodbye,” for an hour. Twitter, texting, Voxer, and HeyTell have no place in a finals study session. More traditional media like television also needs to be shut down for a while. Set an environment where you can concentrate without the constant pull of media all around you. Music can help some students stay focused, but try to make sure it is instrumental and playing quietly in the background if at all. The quieter and more focused your environment is, the more productive your study session will be.

3. Focus your studies on the most important ideas and details.

When studying for finals, you should not be re-reading the chapters. Reading is an important part of the learning process, but it is too comprehensive to be helpful on a final exam. You want just the biggest, most important details. Birthdays, maiden names, pets names, favorite colors, and state flowers are usually not on the final exams. Essays about major thought-movements and the key thinkers involved are on final exams.

Acing your finals is dependent on whether or not you can focus your learning on the most important ideas. If you can, you are sure to score higher in less time studying. If you cannot, you are sure to know a lot of information, have spent a lot of hours in the library, and not understand why so much of what you studied wasn’t on the exam. Learning what to learn is as important as learning how to learn.

4. Study.

Get to work on what you know. Go over the notes you’ve made, make a study guide for yourself, and do the work. I recommend 50 minutes of studying at a time. Break those sections up with a ten-minute break to get the most out of your session.

5. Stop studying, sleep and dominate the final test.

There comes a point in every study session where every student has to sleep. Sometimes students forget about this. They stay up late, drinking a lot of coffee, feeling miserable, and working for a long time. Then when the test comes, they are groggy and end up writing weird things.

Don’t write weird essays. Just go to sleep. It is one of the most important things you can do during the studying process.

One high school friend of mine drew a sailboat on an essay exam because he couldn’t gather his thoughts enough to write a great essay. In case you are curious, sailboats don’t score well on essay tests. And yes, that is a true story. You can’t make that up.

If you’ve done your work, you should be set up for a great performance on your final exams. Relax, know that you’ve done your best, and dominate the test.

Special Education Programs Meeting Student Needs in Nassau County

Children’s Readiness Center

Student Disability: Significant developmental delays including autism, and mental retardation

Student Age: 5 to 8 (Early Elementary)

Students who attend this state-of-the-art early education center in Long Island need a highly individualized behavioral approach and small class size (6:1:2). As part of its educational/behavioral approach, the program’s specially trained staff track results of each student’s activities in continuous documentation. Long Island school program goals include not only developing the youngsters’ communication skills and increasing their social interactions but also accomplishing individualized educational goals in preacademic and academic programs. Parents and family at this Long Island school learn behavioral and educational strategies that can be used with the children at home.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the teaching methodology used throughout the program. Skills are broken down into small steps and various teaching techniques are used to ensure skill mastery under a variety of conditions. This Long Island School uses a progressive total communication system that may include spoken words, photographs, pictures, symbols and/ or sign language, to increase communication skills. The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) method involves the child initiating a social exchange to make requests or communicate.

Carman Road Preschool

Student Disability: Preschooler with a disability (multiple disabilities, physical disabilities)

Student Age: 3 to 5

The Preschool Program at Carman Road School is one of many Long Island schools that provide total educational intervention for children with multiple, physical and cognitive disabilities in a specially designed environment. All children at this Long Island school are encouraged to reach their greatest potential through many activities that stimulate growth and development while building self-confidence. Youngsters are referred to the program by their local district Committee on Preschool Education (CPSE). Once accepted, they attend full-day classes, five days a week, entering an educational environment that promotes the greatest possible achievement.

The total child perspective at this Long Island school is used to address the needs of each youngster on an individual basis. The curriculum stresses the development of physical skills and the growth of cognitive, social, emotional and language skills. Each child’s unique abilities and needs are considered in all the program’s activities.

An Engineered Aided Language Environment, using visual strategies and assistive technology, are used to encourage physical development and the growth of communication skills for children attending this Long Island school. For each child, a multidisciplinary team develops strategies and methods to meet the goals and objectives of his/her Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Children receive physical, occupational, and speech therapies as prescribed in their IEPs. Time is spent each day encouraging the growth of skills needed in activities of daily living, such as feeding and dressing. Social skills are developed in structured activities and free play. This Long Island school uses individual and group projects such as painting, cooking, coloring, planting flowers, water play and using the sand table develop motor and learning skills. The children work with specially trained teachers in the Learning Center where they begin to use assistive technology, adapted computers, specialized software, touch screens and switches. Access to the Adapted Physical Education provides opportunities for additional growth in motor skills for children attending this Long Island school.

Parents can visit their child’s classroom and observe the program. They can also talk with the classroom teacher and with members of the multidisciplinary team on these visits and throughout the year as necessary. Parents also participate in the development of the child’s IEP. Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings at this Long Island school cover topics that are important to education and management of children with special needs and are held monthly.

5 Tips to Buy Children’s Apps

With the festival season not very far away, many children are about to receive electronic gifts from their family and relatives. The good news is that apps have emerged as a promising tool to support literacy in general, and science, mathematics and life skills. The challenge for parents is to pick up the right app, more so, if the child has autism spectrum disorder or has special needs.

#1 The education and entertainment combo

Kids learn when they’re engaged. Educational apps like Just Match or Math on the Farm forge a perfect balance between learning and engagement. The Math on the Farm app teaches mathematics skills in a fun way. Here, the child has to answer multiple-choice type questions to score points. The stories in the app are themed on a farm that has flowers, vegetables, domestic animals, and cattle. Bright colors and interactive animation are the highlights of this app. It’s important that the child learns by playing and the Math on the Farm app does just that.

#2 Play with your child

Studies have shown that children learn better if parents join the fun. Take an active role and choose and app that’s likely to hold your kid’s attention. The Just Match app could be perfect for you. This fun educational app teaches matching skills, where you’ll be shown to game figures and an outline which matches only one of them. You’ve to drag and match the figure with the outline. A lively animation will hail your efforts every time you match correctly.

#3 Select appropriate games

Determine whether a fun educational app is correct for your child. Not all four-year old will be equal. So, different apps would appeal to different kids at different times. Ask yourself whether your child will be able to follow the app’s storyline. The touch screen system is a major advancement in the field of communication. Make sure the fun educational app has audio cues and not only words.

#4 Set limits and encourage other playing and learning forms

Well, setting the proper “media diet” is important for your child. It’s almost like balanced food. The more variety, the better it’s for your child. Consider the number of hours the child will spend in front of a screen. A possible rule could be not allowing TV until the homework is complete. The same should apply to a touch screen, unless it’s required in school, which of course is increasingly happening these days.

#5 Download from reliable, trusted sources

Look for established brands that specialize in fun educational apps. Are you comfortable with the app’s characters? Kids imitate popular media characters. Make sure the language and behavior in fun educational apps are appropriate for your kids. Avoid apps that have a lot of violence or are frightening to play. Such apps may have an adverse impact on the child’s mind. The Math on the Farm and Just Match app can fit the bill perfectly. These two apps are sensitive to children’s needs, and are among the best fun educational apps around.

5 Tips To Learn All The Types Of Tenses Easily

There are different types of tenses in English grammar. It is evident that learning these tenses can be challenging for your kids. You need to support them with resources such as Class 1 English grammar worksheets or English worksheets for Class 2. There are 16 verb tenses as per grammar rules in English. Let’s explore how to learn them easily.

The following 5 tips can make learning all the types of tenses simpler:

1. Create a chart

As a fun activity, create a chart of all the tenses with your child. Use pictures and colours to decorate the chart. Add example sentences for each tense. Choose a theme for each tense. For example, sentences related to cars or animals.

Allow your child to add one topic a day on the chart. Discuss example sentences related to the tense topic of the day. To practice writing the tense topics such as Simple Present Tense, Simple Past Tense, etc., give your child English worksheets.

2. Memorise with lists

Create a list of all tenses that you want to teach your child. Now, create separate lists of example sentences for each tense. Put up these lists around the house wherever your child can see them frequently. To make the lists more interesting, be creative and use colour pens to write the list items.

Let your child read and memorise the lists. Turn it into a game if you want. For example, you can ask your child, “In which tense examples list can I find this sentence?” Evaluate your child’s progress by giving activity sheets. Worksheets are easily available online for different tenses as per the learning level of your child.

3. Songs

Children love to listen to songs. You can use songs to teach different types of tenses to your child. It will be easier to explain the difference between Present Continuous Tense and Past Simple Tense through a fun song.

4. Worksheets

An engaging learning aid is required for helping your child to understand the confusing tenses. Worksheets are a useful resource for practicing tenses.

Give your child a couple of worksheets. In moments, you’ll see your child getting immersed in completing the activities in the worksheets.

5. Blended Learning

Every child is different when it comes to learning preferences. Some may love to watch videos and learn while some may enjoy scribbling answers on activity sheets. Utilise blended learning methods.

Try a blend of songs and worksheets to teach tenses. Plan the learning session with a purpose. For example, you can use songs to teach tenses and worksheets to reinforce the learning.

Experiment with different teaching methods to make learning tenses easier for your child.