Saturday, September 24, 2011

Your First Tutoring Meeting with Learning Connections

  Your child needs tutoring and you have at some point called or emailed to set an appointment with us. What should you expect on your first meeting with us? Should you bring anything special? Here is what to expect with your first meeting at Learning Connections:

What to bring:
  • Recent standardized test scores. For Southwest Virginia, that would be current SOL scores. 
  • Recent paperwork or printout of grades in each subject. Grades are only part of the story. We really like to see the graded homework because it allows us to understand your child's thought process from the first meeting. 
  • Current Homework Assignments. Your child will be doing their own homework, of course, but this will be guided. We will ask the student how they would solve the problem or answer the question and give them strategies they need to solve it on their own. This is where we start rebuilding self-confidence.
  • Binder. If your student is required to keep a binder, let us look at it. Many students are not very well organized and we can help them set up a system that acts in conjunction with the way they learn.
What we do when you arrive:
  • Introductions! After a brief introduction to your tutor, the tutor will be working with your child. We look through the materials that you have supplied us with. We will also have activities prepared to gain a deeper understanding of your child's learning style. 
  • Expect to sign a learning contract and agreement. This is pretty self-explanatory. You are contracting us for a service and this is where the ground rules are set. The contract lists student/parent expectations and what is expected from us, as a business. We will have a copy and you will have a copy.
  • Expect recommendations and suggestions from your tutor for the upcoming week. Without the continued support from parents during the week between appointments, your child may forget some of the strategies later in the week. Consistency is important for kids receiving tutoring services. Your child may need us for a short time but they will need you for the rest of their lives. 
~From Amanda @LearningConnections

Monday, September 19, 2011

Interpersonal Connections: Interim (Progress) Reports

 Image Detail Football games, cheerleading, music lessons - this is a busy time of the year for parents and their children. Many school systems will be releasing their Interim (or Progress) Reports within the next two weeks. Visit your child's school website for exactly when to expect these reports. While these are not the definitive grades for the first term, they can provide valuable information for parents and set the tone for the school year. Here are a few tips for parents on how to best handle the information:

  • Don't just read the grades. Read the whole report. There is often more information besides the grades. 
  • Hit the internet. If you have questions about the grades themselves, go to the school's website before calling the teacher. These days, student's grades are accessible to parents through the school's website. The site will give you a compilation of the grades in any subject. 
  • Set an appointment with the teacher. If your school does not have the student's grades readily available for internet viewing or if you need something clarified, your child's teacher will have valuable insight as to why and how your child is struggling.
  • Ask the teacher to sign your child's planner. Read and check the planner everyday. Homework will be listed as well as notes from the teacher. Planners make it easier for you to check and make sure your child has completed their homework. I never believed my kids when they said "I did it in school." Very often, they may have started it but not finished it. This will go a long way to preventing student apathy.
  • Provide your child with a homework folder. That way, you can check your child's homework for completion and it is easier to find in their backpack.
  • Check your child's backpack for excess papers. Organization is one of the most important tools your child can have and it will give you a chance to show them how to keep paperwork in order. 
  • Review comments carefully. If your child's progress report indicates that they are talking too much or not paying attention, takes these statements seriously. Talk with your child about why he/she is exhibiting this behavior. Don't pitch a fit, you have to begin developing real conversations with your child that will make it easier for them to come to you when they are struggling. Remember that time spent on talking or staring off into space is time your child has lost in learning. Remind your child that they need to be courteous and respectful for their teacher and that learning is the most important thing your child can do. 
It can help make the school year a lot smoother when teacher, parent, and child cooperate!
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~From Debra @LearningConnections

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Teacher Helpers: Biology Coloring Workbook

The Princeton Review: Biology Coloring Workbook
Author: I. Edward Alcamo, Ph.D.
ISBN: 9780679778844

The Princeton Review Biology Coloring Workbook by Edward Alcamo: Book Cover  I absolutely adore this series from the Princeton Review! It's a great way to add more content to high school and college Biology classrooms! One page is a description of the biological process involving the picture that follows. What an outstanding way to connect verbal intelligence and spatial intelligence! There are many great web resources for coloring pages too! The nice thing about having it in this workbook is that you do not have to hunt for these materials online. 
  This reminds me of the days in 6th grade Science in middle school. My science teacher, Mr. Berube, would assign all the diagrams on Monday. In his class, we would have to copy, color, and label all the diagrams in that section of the textbook and turn them in by Thursday. I am sure that most of us did not realize how invaluable this tool would be when it came to standardized tests. In order to draw the diagrams, you would have to dissect them and tie it all back together. Boring, lifeless worksheets? Nope! 
  Boost your student's spatial abilities and get coloring!

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Can you color and label this? The top diagram is an animal cell. The bottom diagram is a plant cell.

~From Amanda @LearningConnections

Friday, September 2, 2011

Teacher Helpers: Environmental Chemistry Workbook

Environmental Chemistry
Written by David E. Newton
ISBN:  9780825150456
  If you are a high school Chemistry or Community College teacher looking for more resources for the classroom with practical applications, you should take a look at this workbook! I do not recommend this for new students to Chemistry as they should have some basics down before attempting to understand the problems in the text. The workbook runs through the gamut of environmental chemistry in the atmosphere, water, and solid wastes. This workbook would be a great addition for gifted students. Environmental Chemistry would also serve well for higher level home-school students. 
   What I really like about it, besides the detail, is the activities presented in the book. It will force the students to do (*gasp*) research! It can also serve as a great starting point for more in-depth science experiments. It also takes a look at how environmental policies are effecting changes in the environment and vice versa. The practical applications will help train students for future environmental jobs.