Maximizing Out of School Time for Learning

The kids are out for the summer! For some people this brings excitement and for others it brings fear. Some parents really fear facing their own children because they simply don’t know what to do with them. I don’t want that to be you so listen up!

Today’s post is going to help you keep your kids engaged in learning even if you do it do not have them in an enrichment camp. Parents are the first teachers so let me help you look like a master teacher mmmmk?

The first tip is to identify where your child struggled all year. Was it behavior? Math? Writing? This needs to be your area of focus in helping them learn to master what they missed. Some parents keep pushing in prepping for the next grade but we have to address first where the struggle was because the beginning of the school always starts with a review and assessment of learning. This still gives your child an opportunity to display mastery before moving on academically.

 To help address the weaker areas help your child simply review. I’m an advocate for songs and YouTube is the bomb. Find a song for the standard. Water cycle? There’s a song for that. Division strategy? Song for that! Grammar? Songs those too! Find it, sing, dance. Your child will remember you whipping to the strategy with them all summer long. 

The second tip is to teach up. Once you’ve done your review it’s time to teach up. This means make the work rigorous. Yes it’s summer but familiarize them with work they will see in the upcoming school year. The teacher showing it shouldn’t be the first time your child sees it. Even if you have them read a two page article about Ceaser Chavez because you saw him on the Social Studies standards for the next year. Your summer work doesn’t need to be elaborate but should be introductory. 

If the teacher asks “Class does anyone know who or what XYZ is?” Your child should be able to raise their hand and say yes. Then let the teacher expand the learning. You’re giving your baby what we call prior knowledge and your child’s teacher will love you for it. It’s the first step on the ladder to success and mastery. This produces high levels of confidence and competence for your child because they have some sort of foundation to begin with. 

The third tip is to make it fun. Remember it is still summer. It doesn’t have to be structured, make learning fun! Plan museum trips, download fun computer games, order learning board games on Amazon, create games. I’m personally using lapbooks and interactive notebooks with my kids this summer. We’re also going to be using those tablets and phones they love so much! 

Let your kid make a video commercial explaining a new strategy or who a historical figure was. Let them write a poem or rap. We are project based learners in our house and my kids love it and retain information better with them. I’m sure yours will appreciate incorporating the fun as well. Google “ways to assess learning” and pick what works for your family. 

My fourth tip is to track growth. Even over the summer, track how your baby is doing. Most kids have 9-12 weeks out for the summer, that’s a semester in school. Your child comes home with a progress report and report card during that time. How are you tracking growth at home? Something as simple as the first week of summer I gave you this multiplication sheet and you got 10/30 right now on week five you’re getting 25/30 correct. Our goal is 30/30 correct by the last week! Tracking growth builds your child’s confidence that yes they are still growing and meeting their goals. 

Lastly give rewards. Reward the progress, the efforts, the challenges, and the change. Reward it all because your child will continue to do what they know you love, no matter how old. Even if it’s ice cream, a trip to the movies, ordering something on Amazon (yes we order a lot of Amazon 😂), or spending time together playing as a family, bring it all back to affirming your child. They need it from you because you’re the parent. The teacher may not be doing it at school and I firmly believe all children need to be affirmed and looked it the eye and told ” I knew you could do it! I’m so proud of you! I can’t wait to see what you can do next!” DAILY.

Don’t overthink this. Review the state learning standards for your child’s upcoming grade level here: http://www.corestandards.org

Make a quick checklist of what you can realistically cover over the summer, aim for five areas under each subject. Then see what your state or any city you’re traveling to offers. Can they do math at the park? Visit a museum in NY? Use math to bake cookies with grandma? 

Keep them focused, keep it fresh, keep it fun! Happy Summer 😀😀. 


Question: How are you keeping your kids engaged in learning this summer? 

Three Ways to Achieve Success IMMEDIATELY

1. Define your own success.
When it comes to success I find it interesting that people are always Googling how to make it big or how to makes loads of money. The only way to be successful under your own terms is to define success for yourself. What does it means to be successful? Does it mean a new position? A new salary? A nice car or a house is a fancy neighborhood? You cannot allow others to define success for you.

Advice to New Educators

I can still remember back to my first year walking into my classroom. There was the sheer excitement of walking into this blank canvas and knowing that it was my responsibility to fill it with resources, materials, and make it a condusive and cozy learning environment.
Advice to New Educators
But one thing was for sure, looking back on it all, educating was so much more than a Pinterest ready classroom. If there is anything I can share with new Educators here are those truths:
  1. You only have a year. And it’s really not even that, you have about 9-10 months to impart knowledge between breaks, inclement weather days, and other school holidays. It’s really going to go by quickly. Make sure you capture moments via photos and videos and focus on the little things because as the saying goes, you’ll realize that they were the big things.
  2. You’re imprinting in a life for all their life. The way you greet the children in the mornings and send them on their way in the evening to the way you present yourself in speech and style will all imprint on their hearts and minds forever. Whatever grade you teach when these kids are adults and they speak about that grade level, your name is going to come up as having been responsible for them. Think now on what you want them to say and remember because they will.
  3. You’re stronger than you think. I remember days I just wanted to run in the bathroom and cry and there were for sure moments when I did. This work is tough, kids will disappoint you, admin will tell you to figure it out and you’ll feel like you don’t have adequate support. Kids will get into fights, you won’t have time to finish your lunch,  a parent will fuss at you for no reason, and then you’ll look at your paycheck and say “THIS is all I took home this pay period?! I QUIT” but you won’t because you love what you do. You are stronger than you think and braver than you know. Some aspects of Education can’t be explained but only experienced. Trust that you have the courage to see it through.
  4. You are not your title. Yes your badge may say teacher but you are nurse, counselor, school mama, psychologist, referee, chef, party planner, event manager, and webmaster if you keep a teaching blog. Your job extends far past a title.
  5. Your position is a privilege. You spend more time with these children than their parents. You should not take that for granted. You have so much opportunity for influence and impact, lead well.

    The last piece of advice is : You have a life outside of work, don’t live at your school. Dedication is a beautiful quality to have but there is such a thing as living at school. I’ve seen teachers who come to work at 6:00 am leave the building daily at 8:00 or 9:00 pm. I know Pinterest can suck you into all it’s cute little activities/centers/projects and décor and you’ll want to stay and hash it out, but go home! Don’t come back on Saturday or Sunday, enjoy your spouse or family if you have them. Precious time cannot be given back. Work is a reward but living is where your true riches are.

Question: What advice would you give to new Educators?

What steps can we take today to build our youth for the future? What jobs are we qualifying them for? What relationships are we helping them establish? What goals are we helping them reach? What gaps are we creating bridges for them to cross? There are many facets of youth’s life’s we have yet to reach. Take your gifting and connect with a young person today!

 

EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO OVERCOMING POVERTY. EXPOSING YOUNG PEOPLE TO NEW BOOKS AND KNOWLEDGE CAN PROVIDE AN EXPERIENCE AND INFORMATION NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY. SHARE BOOKS YOU’VE ALREADY READ TO A YOUNG PERSON TODAY OR PASS ALONG A GIFT CARD TO THE BOOKSTORE. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!

Letter To Your Younger Self Project

handwritingIf you knew better you’d do better, right? That’s what our young people deal with everyday. They make mistakes or carry regrets because they simply didn’t know better or they didn’t understand the consequences of their actions.

They didn’t have the luxury of having people share honest truths about their experiences. Sometimes people are ashamed of sharing their experiences for fear of being judged but it’s critical for our young people to know that there are situations they might find themselves in, that there are people who’ve been in them before, and there is another side!

They need to know that there are overcomers and that everyone’s story isn’t clean and perfect. They need genuine, authentic, transparent, honest individuals who are willing to help infiltrate their minds with stories of resilience and strength.

There are sometimes that we wish we could go back and tell our younger selves what we know now to save ourselves from making poor choices or to have made a better choice. I decided to create the “Letter to Your Younger Self Project” to collect letters from people who have sat down and been very intentional about giving quality advice to themselves and compiling them into a book. So here’s what I need for you to do.

Take about 5-10 minutes and go to a quiet place. Take out a blank sheet of paper or take out your tablet or laptop and write a letter to your younger self. Write to the “you” that was rebellious, invincible, stubborn, and independent. (You know the “you” I’m talking about). Think back to the most challenging times in your life and share what it was like in that moment for you. What were you thinking and feeling? How did you come to your final decision? What was it like when you overcame that challenge?

Our youth need to hear your story! Once you’ve completed your letter please email to regina@reginacoley.com. If your letter is selected you will need to sign a release waiver to be included in the book.

I look forward to reading your letters and I thank you in advance for your commitment to empowering the lives of today’s youth.

How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Luke 6:42

4 Ways To Make A Simple Transition Into Adulthood

Courtesy of Can Stock Photo

Courtesy of Can Stock Photo

 

Moving from high school into college or independence can be both an exciting and stressful time. Sure you can’t wait to finally be on your own but you may be trying to figure out how you’re going to do it all by yourself.

1. Decide on your career path. There are many adults who get to college and choose a major only to find out they have no interest in what they’ve been studying. Making such a critical choice at such a young age is difficult because what you like now will change over time. To assist you in making the right decision check out Career One Stop: Skills Profiler.

2. Choose a good college. College is the place where you’ll make lifelong friends, possibly find your spouse, begin your career, and learn more about yourself. With all that pressure wouldn’t you want to attend the best college possible that meets your needs? The number one thing you should look for is will Career Services help you find a job once you’re ready to graduate. I would hate for you to complete an educational program with the goal of securing employment only to receive not help in the end. When you visit your campus, make sure to visit their offices.

3. Find and keep a mentor. Transitions are moments of discovery and challenge. Having a mentor that can assist you through the process will help to keep you focused and on track so you won’t lose your way. I would recommend my Youth Mentoring Program 

4. Brush up on your skills. The US Department of Labor created a very nice curriculum which includes videos and PDF downloads entitled Soft Skills to Pay the Bills-Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success. I would suggest visiting their site and working through the curriculum to ensure you’re in tip top shape!