Teachers on Call

Archive for 'Toronto Tutoring'

20 Ways To Celebrate The End Of The School Year

The end of the school year is the perfect time to reflect on goals and enjoy all the wins and changes from a year of learning. We’ve gathered twenty ideas to help you and your child celebrate all their accomplishments and make the start of summer epic.

1. Create a countdown calendar to pump up excitement during the last month of school.

2. Look back through the agenda, binders, and notebooks to see all of the great things they’ve accomplished this year.

3. On a big piece of paper list or draw all the knowledge gained over the year. Pin it up in the house so everyone can see!

4. Plan a family show and tell to share favourite pieces of work and accomplishments.

5. Write a letter to the homeroom teacher list their most significant accomplishments. These are the notes they’ll keep forever.

6. Choose favourite pieces of work and put them into a scrapbook or a notebook.

7. Pick a favourite art piece and hang it up.

8.  Write notes or make pictures to each teacher telling them what they enjoyed the most.

9. Buy a book, inscribe it, and donate it to the school library.

10. Make friendship bracelets and give them to classmates.

11. Predict all the new things they’ll learn next school year. Write them down.

12. Choose a favourite piece of work and share it with a family member who lives far away—either mail it or use Facetime!

13.  Go on an educational field trip to celebrate!

14. Make a summer bucket list full of activities to look forward to once school’s out.

15. List 20 fun ideas to celebrate the last day of school.

16. Find ways to serve others at school with acts of kindness.

17. Visit the library for a pile of books to enjoy once school is out.

18. Make a memory collage highlighting the year.

19. Start an end of the year tradition. Blow bubbles, plan a special meal, or an outing to look forward to every year.

20. Create a top ten list of the school year.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources, Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →

2018 Consumer Choice Award Winner – Toronto Tutoring Category

We are pleased to announce that Teachers on Call has been honoured with the Consumer Choice Award for 2018 in the category of Tutoring in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

The award marks the second year in a row that we have been recognized for business excellence by the organization.

Each year across Canada, Consumer Choice Award gathers opinions, perceptions and expectations through the responses of thousands of consumers and businesses. All winners have gone through a rigorous selection process conducted by a third party research firm to ensure only the most outstanding service providers are the winners within their respective industry.

To learn more about Teachers on Call, please click on our video below:

Posted in: Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →

How To Encourage Kids Who Are Reluctant To Do Homework

Homework strategies

School’s back and your children have months of learning ahead of them, some of which will happen at home. Homework is an opportunity for children to practice the new skills they are learning at school and consolidate this knowledge. Students in the early years may bring home books to read. As children move into the higher grades, their homework becomes more involved with reports and projects.

Regardless of the type of homework, your child is bringing home, at times they can be quite reluctant to complete it, and the whole family may become frustrated. Take a deep breath-we have seven tips from our team of OCT-certified tutors to help end the homework battles:

Create a calendar: Sit down with your whole family and plan a weekly and monthly schedule that includes their extra curricular activities, free time, homework time and family time. Also, note any upcoming tests or exams to avoid studying at last minute.

Participate in the homework routine: Even if your child doesn’t need help with their homework, sitting down near or beside them can help your child to feel supported or at least not like everyone else is having fun while they work. Use this time as an opportunity to see what they are learning in class and their understanding of the material.

Set time limits: A visual timer can work well to help motivate students who are reluctant or feeling frustrated about their homework. They can see how much time they have to spend on the work rather than feel like it might go on forever.

Use the agenda: Another way to modify the time spent on homework is to try breaking it up into smaller sessions of time over the week. Sit down with your child and schedule out sessions in their agenda to get their homework done. Not only will a plan help alleviate some frustrations, but this will also assist them to develop organization skills, too.

Connect with the teacher: If you notice your child is struggling with their homework regularly, it may be time to touch base with their teacher. Set up a meeting to tell them what is happening at home. Your child’s teacher may have some strategies to help or may be able to modify some of the homework for your child.

Talk with your child: Sometimes children may be able to explain why they are avoiding their homework or why it leaves them feeling frustrated. Talk with your child to see if they can articulate their feelings. Perhaps they are tired and homework time could start earlier in the evening? Or maybe they feel like they don’t have enough free time during the week and you can address the family calendar together to see what can change.

Consider getting help: Homework help can happen in many different ways. You might engage the support of a family member or neighbour. Sometimes schools offer homework clubs, and in the older grades, many teachers have specific times during the week they are available to provide extra help to their students.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources, Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →

Simple Ways To Make March Break Fun And Educational

After a few months in school, March Break is a welcome time for students to take a break before the final stretch of the school year.

If you’re headed out of town, pack up a few books or download some educational apps to your device to offer some opportunities for learning during travel time or down time. A few apps that have made our list include these 5 amazing STEM apps for kids that can encourage encourage students to be interested in science, technology, engineering, and math.

If you’re staying close to home for the March Break, perhaps you’ll want to use the time to explore the city, sneak in some extra physical activity or plan a simple education field trip. Here are a few great choices for Toronto families:

  1. The ROM and Science Centre have wonderful activities all year long but except more programming during school breaks.

  2. Kidville offers March Break Camp where your child can get to participate arts & crafts, gym activities, exploration and discovery

  3. With Canada’s Big Birthday coming up, you might want to learn more about Canadian history by visiting a cultural and historical experiences with trips to places like Fort Henry or Black Creek Pioneer Village. Or if you’re really keen to get in the spirit, we have four more Canada 150 suggestions.

  4. Evergreen Brickworks is always a good choice to connect with our urban outdoor space and get active. They have a full list of March Break activities for families and kids including campfires, nature walks and obstacle courses.

Finally, if you’re looking to use the extra time to help your child practice their skills, we have a list of four writing activities to inspire little writers and ten family literacy activities.

Posted in: Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →

What Is The Purpose Of Homework?

School has been back for a few weeks now, and it’s likely that homework has begun to come home with your child. As you’re busy setting up a homework space and trying to juggle a schedule with time for learning and extracurriculars, you may be wondering what the purpose of homework is?

Most often homework is used to help children gain further practice with learning at school. In the early years, the practice may look like nightly reading of developmentally appropriate books or play-based math games. Reading ‘just-right’ books helps children build their fluency and expression because they can practice reading the story without working too hard at decoding.

As children get older, homework can provide opportunities to dive deeper into a subject with projects.

On occasion, homework can also include completion of work not done during the school day to help a child stay up to date. It’s important to note that if your child often has completion homework, aim to get in contact with their classroom teacher. A discussion will help you find out what may be interfering with your child’s ability to finish in-class work and collaborate with the teacher to make a plan to support your child.

Now that we’ve addressed some reasons why students have homework, we have four tips from our OCT-certified tutors to help make homework time successful and less stressful:

  1. Find the right balance of supporting your child with their work. Doing the work for them won’t allow your child to develop new skills and learn from their mistakes. Their teacher also won’t know what they found difficult, thus making it hard to provide some more supportive instruction.

  2. Help your child develop good organizational habits by making use of the school agenda where they can write down their homework assignments and add important dates (i.e., projects, tests, exams). Plan to check it daily and as early in the evening as possible to avoid any surprises, set a notification on your smartphone to help you remember.

  3. If you notice your child is regularly having difficulty completing their homework, including not remembering the material or becoming very frustrated, encourage them to speak with their teacher. We recommend you contact the teacher as well.

  4. Try to break homework up into small sessions of time, especially in the elementary years. If your child is taking a long time to complete their homework, let their classroom teacher know. They may differentiate the amount or type of homework your child gets to make it more manageable.

Need more homework help? Read our five tips to create a smooth homework time.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources, Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →

5 Study Tips for the Spring Stretch

After a cold and snowy winter, spring is finally upon us! With the end of the school year fast approaching, key assignments, final projects and exams are on the horizon.

With sunny days after school and extracurricular activities in the weekly calendar, it can often be challenging for students to stay focused towards the end of the school year. Fortunately, Teachers on Call has put together some spring study tips that students of all ages can use to help them succeed.

Here are the five most helpful study strategies that come highly recommended by our team:

Get Organized: This is an area where many students struggle.  Strong organization skills help students keep track of their extracurricular commitments, homework,upcoming assignments, and tests.    Although agendas are handed out by the schools in the fall, they are often abandoned by this time of year.  If your son or daughter can’t find their agenda, do not fret. Rather, encourage them to prepare timetables to get them through this final stretch.  This will help them budget their time for studying and to mark down key academic dates. Colour coding of dates and subjects is often a helpful study strategy, so time to dig out the highlighters.

Stay on Schedule:  Students learn best when they review their materials and homework consistently and over time.   We recommend that your son or daughter has a balanced schedule that takes into account their homework, activities, and free time.   If there is a larger assignment due, minimizing procrastination habits is important.  Have your learner plan ahead and work backwards from the due date, and divide up the larger task into smaller blocks by day or week.

Set up a Study Friendly Area: Each student learns differently and it is important to have a study space that works best for them.   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 son or daughter to stay focused.

Make Time for Breaks: The spring can be a stressful time of year for students, especially at the high-school and post-secondary levels.  Study breaks are vital for mental well-being.  Encourage a walk in the park or viewing of a favourite TV show for a reward.  The important thing is after the break that the studying resumes.

Communicate with Teachers: As your daughter or son faces any challenges with their schoolwork or are seeking enrichment opportunities, discuss with the classroom teacher.  This will help to ensure your child has a successful school year, and is positioned to start the next academic year strong.  Some parents may opt to ask for recommendations to keep students engaged over the summer months.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources, Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →

Spring Educational Activities in Toronto

After a cold and snowy winter, let’s celebrate that spring is finally here!   With the sun out and the temperature warming up, there are a ton of great educational and fun activities that families can take advantage of in Toronto.

Attend Events:   There is no shortage family-friendly activities in Toronto.   Here are some of our favourites:

TIFF Kids digiPlay Space:   At TIFF Kids digiPlaySpace, kids can engage with emerging creative media technologies and share innovative artistic experiences.

Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival:  Tap into spring and visit the Kortright Centre in Woodbridge or Bruce’s Mill in Stouffville to enjoy great maple syrup and fun crafts and family activities.

Sesame Street Presents: The Body: An amazing educational attraction featuring Elmo, Oscar, Grover and the rest of your Sesame Street friends.  This interactive exhibition teaches students how their bodies work and how to keep them healthy as they hop, jump, run and play their way through this hands-on Sesame Street adventure.

Sign-up for Programs:   Whether it is the arts, sports or personal hobbies, there is an activity for every child in Toronto.   Consider which activities are right for your child’s interests, schedule and personality.  There are many great resource sites in Toronto with a listing of activities including: Help We’ve Got Kids, The Kid Scoop and Toronto4Kids.    

Enjoy Nature:  With the leaves returning on trees, flowers blooming and animals out from hibernation, the spring season presents fantastic learning opportunities.   The best to learn about nature is to enjoy the outdoors go on a nature walk in a Toronto Park.  To truly capture the experience, bring a note pad and pencil to gather observations, crayons or coloured pencils to draw pictures and a camera to make a scrapbook.     Also don’t miss Earth Day on April 22 to learn about the importance of the environment and protecting our planet.

Learn About the Science of Sports:  The Baseball season opens in late March.  Not only is attending baseball game a fun time to spend with your daughter or son, it also present numerous learning opportunities.   Think about geometry with the layout of the field, gravity with the ball going up and down, friction with the different types of pitches, momentum with the contact of the ball and statistics to measure players performance, to name a few.

Posted in: Parent Education Resources, Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →

Coping with Stress During Exams

Lindsay Ross, MSW RSW

 

The return to school following winter break can bring up a mixture of emotions.  The excitement of the holidays, sleeping in and homework free days are now in the past and the anticipation of the next few months of school is looming in the imminent future.  For some children, it is a return to the familiar classroom, teachers and academic structure.  To others, more specifically high school students, the end of winter break means the beginning of the dreaded exam period.  To many of these high school students the exams can trigger feelings of stress, anxiety, worry and even panic.

 

To be honest, a little anxiety and stress can actually be beneficial.  It’s what helps a student stay on track with their studies, recognize when to ask for help and keep the adrenaline going on the day of the exam to keep them alert and focused.  It’s when these feelings become so overwhelming that a student’s ability to function and retain information is compromised.  This is when it is time to take a step back and look at some strategies that can help lower the emotional intensity.

 

Here are some strategies that can be useful for bringing the stress levels down (also good everyday life strategies too!):

 

Controlled Breathing

Learning how to slow down and focus on your breathing is a strategy that has been proven to bring on more relaxation and reduction of anxiety.  It is based on the observation that when people are more anxious, they are more likely to breathe more shallowly which can lead to an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.  Controlled breathing requires a lot practice!  Once you feel more comfortable with the breathing exercise it will be helpful to use it both before and during stressful situations (for example, when studying or writing an exam).

 

Exercise:

Make sure you are in a comfortable position either sitting or lying down.  It doesn’t matter whether your eyes are open or closed.  Do what feels right for you.  Breathe in for a slow count of 4, hold for a moment (usually a count of two) then slowly exhale for a slow count of 4.  Hold again for a moment (usually for a count of two).  It doesn’t matter whether you breathe through your mouth or nose.  Whatever feels most comfortable for you.  Make sure you practice this exercise for at least 4 minutes.

 

Asking for Help

If you find that you are struggling keeping up with the course material it is important to be proactive before it becomes too overwhelming.  Be honest with you teachers.  I would like to think that most are available to help you to organize how to best study for your exam, offer advice on where to get help or even give you some extra time to write the exam.  Join a study group.  Being around your peers not only allows you to pool together your knowledge but can also help keep you motivated.  Accessing tutors can also be a big help.  Teachers on Call is a business specifically available to help you to succeed.

 

Take Breaks

There is only so much studying an individual can do before they become mentally exhausted.  Once this happens, it becomes difficult to stay focused and retain knowledge.  To be at your most productive it is imperative that you give yourself permission to take breaks.  At least once an hour you should take some time to go for a walk, watch some television, listen to music, read, call a friend or practice your breathing exercises.  What relaxes you?  What will take your mind off of your work for even 10 minutes to help you to rejuvenate?

 

Proper Sleep

It is known that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to get enough sleep every night.  Getting an adequate amount of sleep will have a positive impact on learning and memory.  It is recommended that teenagers ages 12-18 should sleep between 8.5-10 hours/night.

 

What has worked in the past?

It is important to ask yourself “what has worked for me in the past when I have felt anxious or stressed”?  Whether it’s getting ready for your ice hockey playoffs, going for your driver’s test or taking part in a job interview you have experience stressful events in your life before.  How did you cope with these feelings?  What did you do to help ease some of your anxiety?  What worked and what didn’t work?  These are important questions to ask yourself.  If it’s worked in the past, it is likely to help you in the future.

 

Good Luck!

 

Lindsay Ross is a clinical social worker working in private practice in Toronto, Ontario.  For more information on her services, please feel free to contact her at (647) 501-7220 or at lindsayross.msw@gmail.com

Posted in: Parent Education Resources, Special Education Tutoring, Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →

Homework Help: 5 Tips For Parents

With the school year now in full swing, students are beginning to learn new skills and concepts in Math, English, Science and French.  In order to reinforce and solidify the new information learned, teachers often assign homework to supplement students’ learning.

Below are 5 great tips for parents to help your child with their homework throughout the school year:

1)      Schedule a Consistent Time

  • Set a consistent schedule that allows a balance of homework, activities and free time
  • Establish a time that works best for your child whether it is directly after school or closer to dinner time
  • Encourage your son or daughter to take breaks if there is a larger amount of work than usual

 

2)      Set up a Homework Friendly Area

  • Organize a clean, well lit space to work keeping in mind that each student works differently
  • Keep any school supplies they use close by
  • Try to avoid distractions (cell phone, TV) to allow them to focus on their work

 

3)      Support Your Child to work Independently

  • Find the right balance of supporting your child with their work. Doing the work for them won’t allow your child to develop new skills and learn from their mistakes
  • Provide coaching and direction to ensure they understand and learn the concepts

 

4)      Encourage Organization Skills

  • Use the school agenda where they can write down their homework assignments and add important dates (ie. projects, tests, exams).
  • Review your child’s agenda and compare it to the homework they have completed

 

5)      Communicate with the Teacher

  • Discuss any homework concerns or challenges they are facing.  If they are having consistent difficulties and unable to do the work on their own, we would recommend contacting the teacher to discuss further.

Posted in: Toronto Tutoring

Leave a Comment (0) →