Friday, June 18, 2010

Three Fun Summer Learning Activities

This following ideas were featured in a newsletter I receive from BrainWare/Learning Enhancement Corporation and I thought I'd share them with all of our summer savvy parents.  The author is Betsy Hill and the full article is accessible here.  

Happy learning, everyone!

1.  The “Think and Listen" – A parent and child agree to “think out loud” about a topic of mutual interest:  the menu, the weather, world peace, etc.  Each person agrees to speak for the same length of time, the listener never interrupting.  The “Think and Listen” gives the thinker good practice identifying thoughts and articulating them.  Just a few "Think and Listens" can make children more articulate and confident. They are more likely to do well in class discussions and to express ideas that are important to them.

2.  The “Restaurant Review” – Give summer vacations more “mental meat” by writing restaurant reviews with your children after dining out. This is a good way to work cognitive skills such as memory, sustained attention, creativity and prioritizing of values. Those skills will come in handy next fall, when it comes to reviewing for an exam.  

3.   The “Visual Scavenger Hunt” – When planning a summer trip, develop a list of things you might see along the road – the kids can help with the research – and give each child a list to check off as they find the items. Include a mixture of common objects, like a stop sign or a gas station, and rarer objects … like a jewelry store, a cemetery, a cactus, a purple flower, a black squirrel …. The mixture of objects will help sustain interest and balance the difficulty of finding one with the feeling of discovering a treasure when something rare is spotted.  This simple game strengthens focus, visual discrimination and memory skills.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Favorite Season is Finally Here!

Summer is my favorite time at IST! More than two months to help students have fun learning outside of the traditional school learning environment AND make significant gains, no matter where they start! On average, students can lose 2 months of reading and 2.6 months of math over the summer when they're not engaged in any academic activity.  The phenomenon is known as "Summer Brain Drain."  Over the years, we've discovered thousands of innovative ways to "plug" the drain through our BrainGain series of courses and summer bridge tutoring.  How can you not have fun learning when your classes have such cool names as "From My Street to Wall Street," "Books-to-Movie Critics," "Courting the Law," and "Innovator Incubator"?!

Unlike the school year, we don't have to mirror what the teacher is doing in the regular classroom.  Instead, we help students review the prior year's concepts (and in some cases, go over what should  have been taught) and give a personalized preview of the concepts they are likely to see in the fall.  This freedom allows our tutors to move at a pace that is appropriate for each student's individual strengths and weaknesses.  We can go back, then skip, leap and jump ahead once the student "gets" it.  Often, by the end of the summer, many students are semester or more ahead of the rest of their class by the time they return to to school in the fall.  Now, take THAT, Summer Brain Drain!  To learn more, visit Summer at IST 2010.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

S/T Students: Over-Achievers or Are Some Just Easily Misled?

"Students in the Science and Technology Program [at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Prince George's County, MD] experience the year-long tension as they endure the stress of numerous AP classes. Long nights, short time for rest, and ridiculous deadlines. The pressure is on."

Read the entire article (written by a savvy student reporter) here, including a quote from Riche:-).

[Source: The Raider (Eleanor Roosevelt High School)/]