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Holiday Gifts for Teachers That Are Guaranteed to Please

The search is on for gifts to express appreciation for your child’s teacher and the important work they do. Supplies are one thing that’s always welcome – they’re practical and useful gifts that can save a teacher money and provide a lot of fun for the class. If you want to give teacher more of a “treat” that they get to enjoy for themselves, we can help you with that, too!

Here are some ideas to help make it easy to find the perfect gift. Be sure to include your kids in the process of shopping! If you’re thinking of supplies, not only is it fun for them to select the items they want to use, they have expert knowledge on what is needed… and they may know some of your teacher’s likes and hobbies to help give a gift a personal touch.

Desk Items “Just for Teacher”

Pads of paper, pens, and pencils are items that always seem to disappear. Quality equipment (such as staplers) are also worth their weight in gold! Stationary is great for all the nice notes teachers like to write and send home. A chic desk organizer is something every teacher can appreciate – either on its own, or a creative “gift basket” for the other items you may want to gift!

Sophisticated Treats for the Classroom

If parents are pooling resources for a group gift, there are often costly supplies that are usually out of budget. STEM toys and games, electronics, books, and specialty paints are enjoyable for kids and teachers alike and can be purchased in group gift situations.

Personalized Items

If your child’s teacher has everything already, consider personalized items including notepads, adult labels, and stamps with custom impressions like “Good Job! – Ms. Smith.”

Little Luxuries for Teacher

Easy-to-care-for plants for the classroom, their favourite tea or hot chocolate mix for breaktime, funny signs for their desk, a pleasant hand lotion to keep in their drawer for winter-dry hands… the possibilities are endless!

Arts and Crafts Materials

Things like crayons, glue sticks and construction paper may not seem exciting, but these resources are used daily for lessons and activities – and teachers use more of them than you may think!

The Trusty Gift Card

Gift cards are easy to coordinate for a joint gift and guarantees the perfect choice, especially if you don’t know the type of pens – or wine – they prefer!

Don’t forget to have fun with the presentation. You can make gift baskets with a caddy, tote, or desk organizer as the base. Or perhaps try assembling your gift in the shape of a snowflake or tree to capture the spirit of the winter season!

Most importantly, don’t forget to include a thank you card with personalized note from you and your child; these are treasured keepsakes!

 

To make your shopping easier this season, we’re pleased to partner with Staples to give away school supplies and a $250 Staples Gift Card (total value, $300). Enter via the contest below! We’ll be drawing the winner on December 7, 2018. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest is open to Ontario residents only.

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Report Cards Are Out and Parent Teacher Interviews Are Over. Now What?

November is famous (or infamous) both for the first report card or progress report of the school year and parent teacher conferences. This is a time of varying emotions for families – pride, confusion, and even panic in some cases. You’ve seen the report card and (may have) met the teacher. Now, action is on the mind, and you may be thinking, “What do I do next”?

Make notes after the interview: Write down key comments while fresh on your mind, especially if new information of importance is presented. This can include marking down academic strengths, weaknesses, and learning skills to work on.

Read the report card again: Parents may find it interesting to read the report card again after the parent teacher meeting. Some feedback may have been missed, or some information may have a new meaning.

File away report card and notes: Whether you have a physical or electronic file folder, remember to save these important documents somewhere you can readily access them to check up on progress throughout the year and access them prior to the next report card.

Sit with your child to get their take on results: Your child will have a lot of insight on their leaning. Ask them what they think about the results communicated to date. If you are able to have regular discussions about school during the year, it will help avoid any surprises during report card time.

Celebrate accomplishments and stay positive: If your child’s report card had lower marks, find areas of success and ensure they are recognized. Avoid comparisons with any friends or family. It’s important to stay focused on what is realistic for your child.

Don’t fear ongoing communication with your child’s teacher: While the parent teacher interview signals a time for a formal discussion, remember that your child’s teacher is available for ongoing communication when needed.

Make a plan: Prepare a follow-up plan with your son or daughter by thinking about what activities and goals you can set for the school year. Work with your child to consider any additional support they may require. This can be in the form of family members, teachers and tutors.

Stay big picture: Remember every report card is different and that some years will be more challenging than others. It’s still very early in the academic year – there’s lots of time to introduce positive change and behaviours!

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

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How to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary

Child reading a book

Having a strong vocabulary helps students with reading, writing and expressing their thoughts and opinions.

We have reached out to our team of Reading and English tutors to get their advice on successful strategies to build a strong vocabulary.

1) Read Consistently:  Engage your child’s interest by picking topics they are interested in with new learning opportunities.  As you read together with your child, stop when there is a new word and help explain it through pictures, meaning by context or the root of the word.  It can be a casual conversation rather than a lesson.

2) Love the Library: Take advantage of your local library to build your child’s love of reading.  If you are not sure where to start, chat with your local librarian on suggestions based on your child’s interests and reading level.

3) Create a Word Map:  As you learn new words, write them on a post card or post-it note and place them around the room to help remember.

4) Use New Words: Encourage your child to use their expanded vocabulary often and provide positive feedback when they do.

5) Learn about Synonyms:  Expand vocabulary by challenging your child to use synonyms and mix up words.

6) Use Grown-Up Words in Conversations: By using more challenging words, children can be encouraged to ask for clarification and provide a chance to explain new words.

7) Label Items Around the House: For younger kids, this is a wonderful way to learn basic words.  Practice with them how to properly pronounce each word as they learn it.

8) Have Fun:  Play crosswords, word games, Scrabble apps or even a low key family spelling bee.

Posted in: English Tutoring

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How to Overcome Math Anxiety

Math Anxiety

One of the most common tutoring requests we receive relates to struggles with math and in particular, math anxiety.

For many students, doing math homework or the thought of writing math tests or exams can cause negative thoughts from the fear of failure.  It can also lead to challenges with the disruption of working memory, which is key to succeed in math even at a young age.

Math anxiety can be caused by a number of things including:

  • Public fear: Having a bad experience answering a question incorrectly in class
  • Time pressure on tests or exams
  • Reliance on learning math through memorizing procedures rather than truly understanding the concepts

We asked our team of math tutors for their advice on how to succeed with learning, studying and writing math exams / tests:

1) Ask questions from your teacher or peers, whether it is in class or after school

2) Be consistent & persistent.  Learn from mistakes and keep trying problems and questions that you have challenges in to learn.  Working consistently on math will help to build a base of skills over time.

3) Start small: For the first couple of days spend 15-30 minutes on math and as you build confidence work on longer and more challenging problems.

4) Make math fun through interests.  For example if a student likes sports, connect math to sports themes.

5) Practice regularly, especially if you are having challenges with a specific concept.  Having worked through a specific problem or question in the past will help you succeed during test or exam time.

6) Last and more important, have a positive attitude and re-position challenges into positive experiences.

Posted in: Math Tutoring

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Halloween Math Activities

Halloween Math Activities

Fall is in full swing and that means the time-honoured tradition of Halloween is approaching.   Whether is it trick or treating or getting dressed up, Halloween is a fun activities for any family.

It is also a wonderful opportunity to incorporate math learning opportunities.

Our team of elementary math tutors has put together this wonderful list of Halloween math games:

1) Candy Math Game: Place a small sticker at the bottom of the candy with a math question.  You can vary the questions depending on the age of the student.  Turn the candy over and if your child answers the question correctly, they get to keep the candy.

2) Use pieces of candy as math manipulatives can be a lot of fun. A complex concept  can be a lot easier from being able to hold number concepts in your hand.

3) Sorting and Counting: For younger kids, have them sort their candy and then use it as an opportunity to learn how to count.

4) Guessing Game: Each person guesses how much candy they have in their bag at the end of the night.  If you have enough people you can even graph it.

5) Pumpkin pie and fractions. Bake or purchase a pumpkin pie and slice it up to learn about fractions.

 

Posted in: Math Tutoring

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5 Study Habits to Help Your Child Succeed this School Year

After the first couple of days and weeks of school, the excitement of back-to-school fades away and homework and studying begin.  This is especially the case for middle and high school students who receive increased homework and learn about their first tests and due dates approaching.

Parents often ask our tutors’ advice on how to succeed during the school year.  Of course knowledge of the English, Math, Science, Social Science and French curriculum is important, but an overlooked item is having strong study habits.  Fortunately our tutors have complied a list of 5 study habits to help your child succeed this school year.

1) Develop Strong Organizational Skills:  Using an agenda, having an organized study space and keeping papers and binders organized is a great start.  For more organization tips, click here

2) Have a Good Study Space: From our experience, a clean, well lit space with school supplies close by works best.  Also, try and avoid distractions like cell phones and TV to allow your child to stay focused.

3) Build Strong Exam and Test taking Strategies:  Making study notes, avoid cramming and asking for help are several way to ensure success on any test or exam.  For further tips, click here

4) Develop Note Taking Skills:  Students should work towards developing note taking strategies that work well with their style and are able to summarize the material and capture all the key points.  For more detailed strategies click here

5) Be Positive and Well Rested:  Having a good nights sleep, eating well and being positive is key to any students success.  Encourage positive thinking and work with your child to re-frame any challenges into positive learning experiences.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

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SHAD 2019 – Summer Enrichment Opportunity

SHAD is a summer enrichment program where high potential high school students spend 4-weeks in July living at a host university campus outside their hometown and engage in experiential learning in STEAM & Entrepreneurship. It’s an opportunity for promising students to meet like-minded peers, explore Canada and gain an immersive university experience. Participation in SHAD is recognized by university admissions & scholarship providers. Students walk away transformed, empowered to make a difference and with a lifelong network.

Who can apply? SHAD looks for students who are: creative, involved in their community and keen learners. Application for SHAD 2019 are open and due by November 19, 2018.

Can my student afford it? A range of bursaries are available, ensuring that the program is accessible to students with demonstrated financial need. Last year, SHAD gave away over $1 million in bursaries to ensure that the cost of the program is never the reason a student does not apply.

Where can I get more info? Contact Jess Tang, Outreach Lead at jess@shad.ca to receive promotional materials for your school.

Posted in: Math Tutoring, Science Tutoring

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Toronto ADHD Workshops – Fall 2018

This fall the Springboard Clinic are offering two group resources, with a focus on supporting partners and parents of individuals diagnosed with ADHD.

1) Finding Joy in your ADHD Relationship:  
A Workshop for Partners of Individuals with Focusing Challenges/ADHD

Relationships where one partner has ADHD can be deeply challenging. Join the Springboard Clinic for a supportive evening of discussion to learn about how ADHD symptoms can affect both individuals within a relationship, identify typical relational patterns, and explore effective communication strategies with the goal of decreasing conflict and strengthening connection in your relationship. The workshop offers a space to express and be heard with other individuals who are partners with someone with ADHD, psychoeducation on ADHD and relationships, and an opportunity to consider your own relationship through a new lens.

DATE & TIME: October 16th, 2018  6:30pm – 8:30pm
VENUE: Springboard Clinic, 1055 Yonge Street, Suite 304
FACILITATORS: Patricia Thompson, CPCC, and Emily Kedar, M.Ed, from Springboard Clinic

2) Springboard Online Parent Workshop:
A Two Evening Mini-Series with Laura MacNiven

Springboard Clinic’s Laura MacNiven is hosting a two session online mini-series for parents of ADHD children. In two 60 minute sessions, she will walk you through strategies like “being an ADHD detective, 5 steps to mindful parenting and picking battles before you need to”.

Offering an opportunity to take stock of where you are, and think about where you are going, these two sessions are designed to help you find new energy and a clearer headspace to take back to your everyday parenting. Multiple family members are encouraged to participate, and this content is suitable for parents with children of all ages.

Note: Please set aside 60 minutes to do some reflective work in between the two sessions.

DATE & TIME: Session #1: November 15, 2018  8:00pm; Session #2 : November 22, 2018  8:00pm
VENUE: Online through Ontario Telemedicine Network (www.otn.ca)
FACILITATOR: Springboard’s Director, Laura MacNiven, M. Ed

To learn more about the events, click here

Posted in: Special Education Tutoring

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What To Do If Your Child Is Struggling with Reading

Kids develop at their own time, so take a deep breath and try to assess the situation. Ask yourself, Does my child just need a little more time? Or is my child struggling with learning to read?

Some children end up reading a little later than others—and sometimes when they do begin reading, it almost seems as though they learned overnight! Other children may require extra support and you’ll need to advocate for them.

These tips will help you navigate this delicate situation, without panicking,  by providing support for your child.

Reduce (some) screen time: Devices can be a wonderful tool to learn but when children are on screens they usually aren’t engaging in conversation. Considering reducing non-educational screen time by using a timer or a schedule—be sure everyone in the family reduces their usage so your child doesn’t feel singled out. 

Be open to different kinds of texts: Introduce a variety of text types— comics, joke books, magazines, and more, are all wonderful options to hook struggling readers. 

Try reading online: Reading apps can help engage children who aren’t yet reading. Several offer learn-to-read activities as well as highlighted text and text-to-speech capabilities. We enjoy Ooka Island and Epic! 

Play games: A family game night with board or card games helps get children talking, asking questions, and using descriptive language. 

Speak to the teacher: Set up an interview with your child’s teacher. They’ll share their observations and assessments, providing further insight into the situation, and if needed, the teacher can take the steps to set up further testing and in-school support. 

Permission to give up: Children need to know that they don’t have to like every book they read. Help them understand the difference between struggling to read the book and giving up from frustration, to putting down a book that they aren’t enjoying. 

Keep up the bedtime stories: Read with your child on a daily basis, if possible. While you may get tired of reading the same books, embrace rereading favourite books. Repetitive reading helps children’s vocabulary grow and deepens their comprehension. 

Ask for further support: Lean on the expertise of others to provide reading support. This help can come from teachers, family members, homework clubs and professional tutors.

Posted in: English Tutoring

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5 Secrets To A Successful Start To High-School

Starting high-school can be challenging—whether walking through the doors for the first time or starting a new grade—but with regular check-ins and a strong routine that encourages independence, the transition can be a great learning experience.

Here are a few strategies, straight from our tutors, that’ll ensure a successful (and not-too-stressful) start:

Improve note-taking strategies: Developing great note-taking skills can help high-schoolers maximize their academic results and serve as invaluable references when studying. Our team of OCT-certified tutors shared these fourteen organizational strategies that every teen should try to use this school year. 

Plan to get enough sleep: According to Rebecca Earl from Sugar Plum Sleep, “As children reach adolescence, their sleep patterns will naturally start to shift later. That’s because the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps us feel drowsy, is released later in the day.” Teenagers need at least 8-10 hours of sleep per night, so chat with your teen about their school schedule, extra-curricular and social activities and help them plan a bedtime that reflects the sleep they need.

Use an agenda: Carve out time to sit with your teen to review upcoming homework assignments, important academic dates (e.g., tests, exams etc.) and extra-curricular activities.  Revisit this process every month or so to ensure the agenda is up to date! 

Manage the electronics: Set up an electronic docking station in a central area in your home. Set expectations for every one in the house to leave their electronics there during homework, family time, and to leave them docked at bedtime so they can have a proper rest. 

Set academic goals: September is the perfect time to set goals for the year ahead. Review last year’s report card with your teen and help them set 3-4 goals—1 for the short term, 1 for the end of first term, and another 1-2 for the entire year. Once they’ve been set, break out the agenda and help them organize mini-goals to achieve them.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources

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