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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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Get Ready For The Best Back-To-School Ever!

Returning to school after months away is a big transition for students in all grades, but the road back doesn’t have to be bumpy. Our tutors shared six easy to implement tips that’ll prepare you and your child for the best back-to-school ever:

Adapt your family’s routine: Transitioning to school is easier when preparations begin in advance. Adjust bedtimes and family routines at least two weeks before the bell rings. Talk about why these changes are happening so your child understands it’s about healthy routines and setting up everyone for success.

Set goals: Sit down with your child and review June’s report card. Together make goals for the upcoming school year and consider any additional academic support or tutoring they may require.

Create a dedicated homework area: Organize a homework space that’s quiet, has a comfortable chair, and good lighting. Keep it stocked with papers, pencils, sharpeners, erasers and any other supplies needed.

Make a family command centre: The school year is smoother when papers are organized, and dates are in view. Consider a bin with each family member’s name on it. Place a calendar on the wall and leave a space for the school year calendar and any classroom calendars that come home. This may be the perfect place to dock personal electronics too.

Begin with books: Ease back-to-school jitters and evoke feelings of excitement with the help of school-themed books. Visit the library or bookstore to get some books about school, moving, making friends or even about bullying. Books give children the words to express their emotions and will help open up meaningful conversations between your and your child. 

Before bed routine: Mornings are much less stressful when things are packed the night before. As part of their pre-bed routine, ask your child to organize their knapsack with everything they need for school the next day—refer to the family command centre calendar to know what’s needed. This step will help eliminate forgotten library books, signed notes, and running shoes. 

If you love back-to-school shopping as much as we do, you’ll love this fun giveaway! Our friends at Staples and Raincoast Books are gifting one lucky Teachers on Call fan a back-to-school prize pack.

Staples is gifting the winner a $100 Staples gift card and select school supplies. 

Raincoast Books is gifting the winner six books! Once Upon a Chef, The Truth About My Unbelievable School, What Can a Citizen Do?, The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully Bully Shark, Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules, and Seven Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if you want to Survive the Cafeteria

Entering is simple. You can win the Staples and Raincoast Books prize pack by entering below! We’ll announce the winner on August 27th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest is open to Ontario residents only.

Posted in: Math Tutoring, Parent Education Resources, Science Tutoring

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Mid-Summer Check-In Tips from Julie Cole

Are you as surprised as we are to discover we’re halfway through summer? With the school season only weeks away, a midsummer check-in can be just the thing to make sure you’re on track before the bell rings again.

We consulted parenting expert, and Mabel’s Label’s co-founder and mother of six, Julie Cole, to find out how she gets everything done before summer is over.

Julie suggests organizing your checklist by the vowels. And as educators, we agree.

“A” is for:

Appointments: There’s no need for your child to miss school over appointments. Schedule haircuts, the dentist, eye check-ups…and whatever else is hanging around on your list.

Academics: Kids need a break over the summer but August is the perfect time to dust off their little brains and do some practice—refresh the times tables, pull out the books, and spend time reviewing tough concepts. This will help all kids feel better prepared for back to school but especially any little ones with a learning disability.

“E” is for:

Entertainment: Now’s the time to make good on any promises you made about special summer activities. Check the list and schedule a time to make them happen. And with it being midway through the summer, you may begin to hear, “I’m bored.” It’s not your job to be your child’s summer entertainment. Encourage them to get creative and adventure independently— give them the freedom to make it happen.

“I” is for:

Inventory: Pull out last year’s school supplies and take note. What can be used again and what needs replacing? Refrain from last minute shopping when everything is on low supply and buy online or plan a shopping excursion before the final August rush. Now’s the perfect time to order your Mabel’s Labels to keep everything organized and reduce the chance of kids losing their supplies.

“O” is for:

Organization: Pull out the family calendar, it’s time to plan those extra-curricular activities. Discuss what your kids are wanting to do, consider other family needs, and then you can decide what will work.

“U” is for:

You! The parents! Was there something you wanted to do this summer? Put yourself on the list so you can meet your own summer goals!

Check out this video from Breakfast Television Toronto where Julie shares these tips in detail

Posted in: Community, Parent Education Resources

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11+ Multi-Sensory Ways To Practice Sight Words

Sight words are the most common words found in texts, and for a child who is learning to read, being able to quickly recognize and recall these words is critical to becoming a fluent reader.

When a child can read the words ‘by sight’, they’re more easily able to focus on comprehension as well as applying their decoding strategies to words less frequently encountered.

Finding multisensory ways to learn the sight words, also known as high-frequency words, more easily helps children to learn them.

Our team of Toronto English tutors shared over eleven, fun and effective activities, families can play at home that will help children know these words at a glance.

To get started with the below activities, first, you’ll need to find the sight words. Your child’s teacher may have provided a list during the school year, otherwise, download the Fry or Dolch list as a helpful starting point.

Then, starting with twenty words at a time, write down each sight word on an index card. Do this twice so you have a pair of cards for each word. Shuffle the cards and choose a different activity every day to build early literacy skills.

  1. Play Go Fish using the sight word cards. Make it a family affair!
  2. Visit the Dollar Store to pick up a magnetic alphabet set.
  3. Grab the chalk and head outdoors for a sidewalk spelling bee.
  4. Bend pipe cleaners to form letters and combine to make words.
  5. Write a sight word on a piece of paper. Take turns tracing it over with different coloured markers or crayons.
  6. Spell words aloud in silly voices (e.g., Spell ‘said’ in a silly voice)
  7. Draw a hopscotch grid outside. Fill in each square with a sight word.
  8. Fill a bin with dried beans. Toss in the set of alphabet letters. Choose a sight word card and then hunt through the bin for the correct letters.
  9. Form body words. Use arms and legs to make each letter.
  10. Write a sight word on an index card. Cut it up so the letters are separate. Mix them up and try to spell the word.
  11. Roll out playdough-it’s the perfect material for building a sight word vocabulary:
    1. Golf tees and toothpicks easily carve out words
    2. Stamp magnetic alphabet letters down into the playdough
    3. Create a pile of thin strips of playdough. Use each strip to form a letter and build words

Posted in: English Tutoring

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