Teachers on Call

Archive for November, 2016

8 Ways To Encourage Students To Pursue STEM

It’s clear that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is part of our children’s future. With the opportunities growing in this career sector, we want to help encourage more students to step into the tech-arena. We have eight suggestions to help:

  1. Create A Maker Space In Your Home. Use a variety of  tools and materials in a safe manner (e.g., batteries, wires, gears, wood, tools, paper etc) that challenge your child to create, experiment and make.

  2. Be A Role Model. Sign up for a coding class yourself! It will help you gain an understanding of an unknown field and make you more comfortable with supporting your child’s entry.

  3. Find A Role Model. Know a someone in a STEM-related job? Invite them over for coffee or dinner and let your child pick their brain about what they do!

  4. Swap The Extracurriculars. Look beyond the usual extra-curriculars and have your child join their school’s coding club.

  5. Educational Field Trips. Visiting museums, experiencing different climates and cultures all contribute to your child’s life education. Wherever you go, try to include a day trip for a STEM-related activity.

  6. Read Books. Go to the library to choose books about inventors. We enjoy the growing series from illustrator David Shannon that celebrates STEM and people who love to build and create with Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Ada Twist, Scientist.

  7. Play Games That Solve Problems. Be open to tech-games like Minecraft which encourage children to build and create. Bring home puzzles and games with strategy for Family Game Night.

  8. Teach Research Skills. Children have many questions. Show your child how to find the answer using age-appropriate technology. One great starting point is to demonstrate how to use Siri to find answers on YouTube and Google. As well, make a list of websites they can look through on your device that satisfies their curiosity (e.g., National Geographic for Kids)

Posted in: Educational Technology

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Preparing For Parent-Teacher Interviews

Report cards are coming home soon, followed by parent-teacher interviews. These conferences deserve an important place in your busy calendar. Meeting your child’s teacher helps to build a partnership that encourages ongoing communication throughout the year.

These interviews are not just reserved for parents if there are concerns to be discussed. There are many reasons why you should take the opportunity to sit down with your child’s teacher whatever their grade level!

Five Reasons to Attend Parent-Teacher Interviews

  • Meet the teacher in person and put a face to a name (this helps the teacher, too)!

  • Opportunity to discuss on progress, achievements, and social well-being

  • Gain an understanding of your child’s strengths and needs

  • Send a message to your child that you are interested in their success

  • See the space where they spend their days

Preparing for a parent-teacher interview can ensure that you will have a positive and successful meeting. We have some helpful tips to make the most of the time:

Getting Ready for the Interview

First, talk to your child to find out more about their thoughts and feelings about themselves as a learner and about school

  • Find out what they like most and least about school

  • What are their favourite and least favourite subjects

  • Discuss in more detail subjects that they find difficult and if there are carry over problems from previous years

  • Try to find out if they have any worries

Prior to the meeting write down a list of the things that you want to talk about with the teacher. Interviews are using limited for time, so being prepared helps to keep the conversation focussed and moving forward. Some topics you may want to discuss:

  • Your child’s progress, how are they moving along the learning continuum

  • How you, the teacher and the school can work together to best support your child

  • Information you want to share that will help the teacher gain a better understanding of your child

At the interview, allow the teacher to express their views and truly listen to the feedback. Make sure that you ask questions that focus the discussion on topics you find the most relevant and important.

General questions you may want to ask:

  • May I see an example of _____ (this may be writing, a math problem etc).

  • Can you show me what a grade level example

  • What kinds of projects and assignments have been planned?

  • How long should my child be spending on homework?

  • How would you assess her/his progress so far this year?

  • Does my child participate in class discussions and activities?

  • How well does my child get along with others?

  • What can I do at home with my child to reinforce what you are teaching in class?

Before you leave the interview, you and the teacher should have an action plan to support your child’s learning.

  • Be sure you clearly understand what the teacher suggests

  • Agree how you can work together

  • Set up a way to check on your child’s progress at home

  • Choose a time when you will connect again with the teacher (e.g., six weeks, end of month etc).

After the interview, review the appropriate details with your child and discuss any action plans. Set up a schedule to implement the steps you agreed to work on at home.  Stay in touch with the teacher to discuss your child’s progress

By working closely with your child and establishing a good working relationship with their teachers, you can help your child have a successful school year.

Would you like more tips on how to make meaning from the report card ? Read Strategies for Your Child.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

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