Each week, we will be posting about pertinent articles on educational and school-related topics, how they relate to Engaging Minds students (and parents!), and how to apply this information to your child(ren). We will also be posting original content pertaining specifically to the Engaging Minds approach and philosophy with tips on how to improve and enhance your child(ren)’s learning experience.
Our hope for this blog is to make it a valuable resource for parents. To that end, if you read any interesting articles or have any suggestions for topics, please feel free to email Dan Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please comment on posts in the section below with your own input, ideas, and experiences. While we can’t promise we will be able to use all of your suggestions, we would very much appreciate your contributions and thoughtfulness!
Every year, when testing season arrives, students’ nerves reach an all-time high. For many reasons, standardized testing is scary, physically exhausting, and mentally strenuous for even the most resilient students, especially on top of their regular schoolwork. Depending on the student, their teachers, and the circumstances of the testing itself, students may face any number of factors working against them. Diane Ravitch, a blogger on all things education, has said, “Sometimes, the most brilliant and intelligent minds do not shine on standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds.” Standardized testing may not showcase the wonderful thinker who isn’t the best test-taker. Standardized testing may also prove challenging for students with executive functioning difficulties, with increased anxiety, or students who are simply having a bad day.
In recent years, a strange phenomenon has emerged that affects everyone, from kindergarteners to CEOs. Children today are busier than ever. Moms and dads rush their children from school, to piano lessons, to soccer practice, play dates, gymnastics, swim lessons, and more. And as parents, we’re just as busy, setting an example for our children that prioritizes constant motion.
Your children have been telling themselves, “I’ll do that tomorrow,” and now it’s too late. They are not prepared, they haven’t made a plan, and they are scrambling to get their work done and score well on their assignments. While we all procrastinate sometimes, choosing an easy or fulfilling alternative over more daunting responsibilities, students’ academic performance is often most affected by procrastination habits. Our children put things off, because they are either ill-equipped to take on the task, or they have misjudged the time needed to complete a task thoroughly and thoughtfully. And, once they have “failed to launch” in a timely manner, the assignment gets harder and harder to face.
Your children have undoubtedly used graphic organizers to brainstorm and organize ideas for writing assignments. However, graphic organizers are useful for far more than just pre-writing and planning. The necessity to organize and connect ideas pervades most academic assignments, from note-taking, to studying, to writing, to general learning and problem-solving. Graphic organizers combine traditional note-taking or outlining, with the visuospatial benefits of a diagram, helping students to both physically see and conceptually understand relationships between their ideas. Graphic organizers inform effective studying and learning processes, and are at the forefront of current educational strategies.