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Help Teachers Get the Supplies They Need Through TeacherWishList.com

 

Did you know that on average, teachers spend $462 of their own money to buy supplies for their classroom?  

Enter TeacherWishList.com! This new site was launched last week by School Family Media (our parent company), with support from Procter & Gamble’s Bounty brand. TeacherWishList.com takes the old-fashioned printed wish list and makes it a lot more new-fashioned by using the web, email tools and even social media. Teachers can load their lists (or parents or your PTO can load the lists for them) and then share and update the lists and basically get the help they deserve.  Pretty cool. 

Since the launch last week, over 4,000 teachers have already signed up and entered wish lists. Think this speaks to how easy the site is for parents and teachers to use. There’s even a free kit that has a poster and flyers to help you promote the program at your school. 

To celebrate the new site, Teacher Wish List’s sponsor, Bounty, is giving away some amazing prizes: 

A $25,000 Art Room Makeover

Each school that submits five or more wish lists will be entered for a chance to win the grand prize: a $25,000 art room makeover with the help of a designer.

Weekly Giveaways

Ten teachers each week will receive a $462 prize to help fulfill their classroom wish lists. Weekly winners will be posted in the Recent News section on TeacherWishList.com.

So scoot. Go check out TeacherWishList.com to get the full scoop on all the giveaways and to sign up your school! And be sure to tell teachers and your friends who have school-age kids.  This is one of these times that we all win... teachers, schools, parents, and most importantly our kids!

 

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A Notebook System That Aids With Organization

NotebookStudents with organizational difficulties often struggle in school. If extreme, they can be the reason for school failure. In order to do well in school, a student needs to complete the correct homework assignments each night, finish work assigned in class, and be able to find everything they need. I call these "student skills." I often hear teachers saying something like, "She just does know how to be a student." These students often arrive to class without their supplies and books, and they do not know what is due to be turned in.

Students I teach are all required to follow the same organizational system. Today’s blog will give a description of the basic notebook system. Other components of the system include ways to make sure students are completing their work and turning it in. Certain technological solutions can also assist. I will discuss these other components in later posts.

The notebook

Each student has two three-ring binders. These binders have plastic pockets on the outside where paper can be inserted.

In each binder, they have two spiral notebooks and two folders. The spirals and folders are matched by color—orange is for history, red is English, blue is math, and green is science. Next to the blue (math) folder they also have a pad of ¼ inch graph paper for working their math homework.

In one binder, they place folders and spirals for their first two subjects of the day. So if they have math and then English, they have their blue and red notebooks and folders. When they arrive to class on Monday, they receive their assignment sheets for each class. On the outside of the appropriate binders, they slip the assignment sheets down inside the plastic pockets. One goes on the front of the binder and one on the back.

They take notes in the spiral notebooks and place handouts and homework inside the folder. If they have a test, they also keep it inside the folder. I usually have my students label one pocket on the folder—"Keep a short time." This is for daily class work and homework they can discard after a test. On the other side—"Keep until after exams." This is for tests and review guides they will need when studying for their exams.

Using this system along with their textbooks, paper, and pencils, students have all the materials they need to complete their homework and other assignments for their classes.

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Household Items That Help With Homework

Having the right tools in one place can make homework less of a struggle. At a PTO meeting last night two colleagues and I addressed parent’s concerns about homework.

Mrs. Monteiro, a third grade teacher, told parents about making a "Homework Box." Her model was a large shoe box, decorated by a child and filled with basic tools needed to complete homework. Some of the tools were pencils, a sharpener, a glue stick, scissors, ruler, tape, small calculator and for older children a pocket dictionary. A small tote bag could also be used. The purpose is to keep needed supplies handy, for completion of homework. These supplies are used for Homework only, and kept in the same place for easy access.

I spoke about using household items to make homework easier for younger children.

  • Highlighters can be used for isolating important words in directions. For math addition and subtraction problems highlight the sign (-.+) so your child does the proper function.
  • Craft (Popsicle) Sticks can be used to demonstrate counting and solving math problems. They can also be used to build tally marks.
  • A jar of mixed coins is helpful when doing "money" homework. Using actual coins can make an abstract mathematical concept real to a child
  • When children have trouble sitting still try a different setting. Let a child work on the floor or bed with a clip board.

Mrs. Henneous, a third grade teacher as well, talked about the importance of reading to and with your child. She recommended using a small note book or journal to keep a "reading log" of books your child has read. She suggested while reading with your child to stop and ask questions about what is happening in the story. Use "sticky notes" to write down the answers, and keep the notes. When your child has a book report due the sticky notes can be put in order to help them organize and complete the report.

Homework reinforces what your child is learning at school, and ordinary household items can help speed the process!

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Stand up and Study More!

After my posting on creating a friendly environment for ADHD children, I heard from several people about how much they like the stand-up desks. One felt it would be great for him rather than his children. Another says she plans to try it with the students she tutors in reading.

One of my tweeps (Twitter friends) sent me a picture of her home office. She built two stand-up desks and shared this picture of them. Notice the bottom shelf. She told me that having the books and supplies down low helps keep them out of sight where they are less distracting.

I especially like this study space because of its potential for organization. Many students who struggle in school have a hard time finding what they need in order to be productive during their homework time. The shelves provide room for the standard supplies they need. You could add some clear plastic storage boxes (like the ones they sell for shoes). They could be filled with pens, pencils, colored markers, rulers, tape, glue, and other standard supplies students need to have at their fingertips.

This study center is pretty much ideal for an ADHD, disorganized student. The student can stand while they work (wiggle, bounce, dance) and find anything they need within seconds.

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Get (and Keep!) Those Backpacks Organized!

The kids have been back in school for awhile, and that "new school smell" is gone. New grade, new teacher, new classroom- big yawn. Most of us have settled in and gotten used to our school schedules.

Before you get too relaxed, I have a question: How are your children's backpacks looking these days? If they're like most students, they are already a mess: loose and crumpled papers, half-eaten sandwiches, random pencils, lost assignments.

A backpack is a student's "traveling office," and it needs to stay neat and organized. Here's an article to help your kids return those backpacks to the way they were the first day of school.

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More Tips to Help Ease Your Child's Morning Routine

"Why can't I wear my pajamas to school?" 

Last week I shared a few tips on setting up a good morning routine. Here are a few more tricks to make school mornings run smoother. Deciding what a child should wear to school can cause morning conflicts.

  1. Try choosing two outfits of clothing the night before, (that you both agree will work.) Lay them out. Put socks, underwear, pants, skirts, shirts, or ribbons, etc. in a large baggie for each outfit. In the morning, let your child choose which "bag" they will wear that day, knowing that the clothes in the leftover bag can be worn the next day. This empowers your child to make choices, and usually takes care of two days at a time!
  2. Prepare backpacks the night before. If your child has homework, make sure they immediately put it away in their backpack upon completion. This eliminates the “My Mom forgot to put it my backpack” excuse!
  3. The easiest way to keep your mornings stress-free is to follow a consistent routine each school day: Get your child up at the same time Monday through Friday. Plan on your child needing at least 15 to 20 minutes for personal hygiene and dressing.
  4. Allow enough time for a nutritious breakfast. Studies show that children who eat a balanced breakfast do better in school, are more attentive, and are better behaved. A mix of protein and carbohydrates is best. Carbs (cereals, fruits, and breads,) give a quick energy “kick” and protein (milk, eggs, meat, and peanut butter) sustains your child until lunch.
  5. Encourage your child to talk about their upcoming day at school. Planning the tasks your child will accomplish will put him or her in the right frame of mind to tackle the day
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Tips for a Stress-Free School Morning Routine

"Where are my shoes?" "I can't find my backpack!" What parent hasn't heard these words? School and workday mornings can be stressful for everyone, but a rough morning can have a day-long effect on your child. Setting up a morning routine can help alleviate chaos and get your child in the right frame of mind to pay attention and learn more at school.

Organization is key to success in the morning! Make important items easy to locate. If you child can easily find necessary items, the morning “rush” will ease, and self-esteem will soar. Here are five tips that will help with organization and establishing school routines:

  1. Try color-coding bureau drawers. Use small colored stickers or pieces of construction paper. Socks in the “red” drawer, shirts in the “yellow” drawer, etc.
  2. Color-code the closet as well. Hang all the “pinks together, hang all the “blues,” etc. This makes finding clothes so much easier!
  3. If your child misplaces things, like their sneakers, try tracing and cutting out the outline of their sneakers on construction or contact paper. Then tape the tracings on their closet floor. Before bed each night make sure the shoes are sitting on their “feet” in the closet. (The same can be done for lunch boxes, backpacks, boots, etc.) A bedtime routine can also help reduce stress the next morning.
  4. Set aside at least 15-20 minutes to read together at bedtime. This can be done by a parent or an older sibling. This short period of individual attention usually calms a child, and eliminates the "getting up" questions that often follow just going to bed.
  5. Make bedtime the same time every night during the school week, even if your child doesn't go to sleep right away. This establishes a bedtime "pattern."

A good morning routine can instill the importance of organization in your child, and help him or her stay organized and focused during the school day.

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8th Grade: What to Expect Academically and Socially

Most agree: junior high is not an easy time. Teens pretend to be cool and laid back, but beneath that cool exterior is your same child -- just trying to figure it all out. What's a parent to do? Well as the saying goes: "The best defense is a good offense." In the case of a junior high student, or any teen for that matter, being an informed parent is key. Armed with information, you can be the empathetic parent that you want to be. With that said, check out this recently published article about 8th grade academics and what to expect. You'll find great information about how your child can strengthen their academic and organizational skills before heading to high school. But academics are just part of the teen puzzle, right?! We've also just published an article on what to expect for social changes in 8th grade. Happy reading and remember, it's all good!

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A Little Organization Goes a Long Way

We all want to make the most of our summer, right? In order for parents to have a carefree summer, a little organization goes a long way. Instead of letting the end-of-summer and back-to-school craziness creep up on you, use our new Back-to-School Planning Guide. This checklist is sure to help you stay on top of things, so you can enjoy some family fun -- right up until the end of summer!
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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?

Yes - 31.6%
Sometimes - 25.4%
No - 37.4%

Total votes: 4919
The voting for this poll has ended on: June 25, 2016