Teachers on Call

Posts Tagged 'Organizational Skills'

What is Academic Coaching Tutoring?

What is an Academic Coach and how can they help out students?

Academic coaching is support in the following areas to help strengthen students skills and become effective learners.  Building strong skills can help students develop habits to succeed in school and reduce anxiety.  In particular, as students move through middle school and into high school, these skills become increasingly important.

Homework Skills: Our tutors work with students to prioritize homework based on the importance of each assignment and its deadline.  They also help set up a proper work space and routines in order for students to ultimately work independently.

Note Taking: Great note taking skills can help students develop strategies to layout their notes in their own words, formats and summaries.  For further note taking strategies click here.

Organizational Skills: Having strong organization and planning skills is key to ensure students have their papers, notes and other key materials in a convenient and easy to find location as they are studying and / or doing homework.  Also using an agenda or planner is key to a students success.

Time Management: Last minute exam cramming, forgetting homework can cause anxiety and reduced grades for students.  Through developing strong time management skills students can avoid procrastination, priortize, stay organized and on track to timelines.

Test and Exam Preparation: Students learn to study and prepare for specific tests and exams based on the materials.  Through the process they learn to ask the appropriate questions, make study notes and ensure they cover areas they are not familiar with.

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2017 Educational New Year’s Resolutions

As kids get back to school in January, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the first half of the school year and to make some educational resolutions.

In the new year, we usually start off with the best of intentions, but don’t always follow through with the resolutions we make. That’s why our team of tutors recommends continuing to engage your child and track their progress.

Here are some subject and skill specific ideas to help start 2017 off on the right foot.


  • Practice makes perfect – Math homework can be an opportunity for students to reinforce the concepts they learned.   Schedule a regular time and location to develop a routine
  • Play Math Games to make learning fun.  Here are some of our favourites
  • Use these helpful Math apps for enrichment or support learning in more challenging areas
  • Introduce Math into real life settings. For example: on the next drive learn about distance and time.  Or during cooking time – learn about measurement.


  • Read with your child frequently and engage them by asking them to explain the story
  • Use flash cards to learn important words.  Once your child gets comfortable, combine the flash cards to create common sentences
  • Label items around the house and practice reading them with your child
  • Reading apps can help engage your child and leverage technology.  Some of our favourites include: Dr. Seuss’s ABCReading RavenQuestion BuilderWord MagicGraceabc PocketPhonics


  • Cook in French – think about all the great food you can cook and eat (ie. Crepes, Croissant)
  • TFO – Games:  Wonderful games to help improve French vocab, math, reading and science
  • French TV: expand vocabulary by watching age appropriate shows
  • Leverage technology with these helpful French Apps
  • Sign up for a French enrichment March Break or Summer Camp
  • Watch online videos to sing songs and learn new vocabulary


  • Use sports make science fun and connect it with real life.  Ie. hockey can be used to learn the Physics of friction and momentum or athletes’ nutrition can be used to learn Biology and the science of proteins, sugars and fats
  • Explore the world of science with these helpful apps for children of all ages
  • NBC Learn has wonderful videos to explain the science of everything

Organization, Time Management and Study Skills:

  • Use an agenda / planner
  • Make a consistent schedule
  • Provide a place to study with limited distractions and good lighting
  • Develop a system to track important papers / materials
  • Communicate with your child’s teacher on an ongoing basis

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Back To School Organizational Tips

As soon as the calendar changes to August, parents and children’s minds turn to back to school. One of the best ways to set your child up for a great school year is to use the last few weeks before school begins to do some planning (and sometimes a little shopping). We have four tips to help you kick off the school year right:

Organize Your Space

Our number one tip is to create an organization station. You’ve probably read this advice on every single back to school list and for good reason. There are many papers, supplies, and books to manage once the school year starts. The way you and your child handle it can help lower or increase stress on school days. We recommend a spot for homework, another for forms, as well as a visible place to hang your child’s weekly and monthly schedules. Try to keep it in the same area as knapsacks and lunch bags are hung to make it a one-stop school station!

Avoid The Spill!

Use a water bottle with a sports lid, especially with elementary age students. It’s typical for kids to leave their water bottles on their desks while they work and if one without a lid falls, which happens too frequently, your child’s work and those around him may get ruined. There is nothing that is more frustrating for a child (and his peers) than needing to redo work because it got soaking wet.

Managing The Keepsakes

Soon your children’s work will be coming home for you to keep. What will you do with it all? How will you keep track of the milestones of the new school year? Planning in advance will help you stay on top of it as well as appreciate it. You may choose a file folder or to take photos or scan the work for a digital keepsake. Another neat way that doesn’t take up a lot of room is to use Mabel’s Labels new My School Years Book; it stores all the best memories from Kindergarten through Grade 12.

Buying Supplies

Unless your child’s school provides a list, don’t worry about shopping for many school supplies. The classroom teacher should let you know within the first week or so what, if anything, would be nice to have. A few pencils or pens, an eraser, a pencil sharpener, and perhaps some markers are likely all your child needs to start; add in a notebook for high school students. You may even have school supplies left over from last year. Check out our recommendations for eco-friendly school gear and how to clean your child’s knapsack.

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How to Prepare for High School

high school student

Transitioning to grade 9 can be a challenging time for students.   Students move away from middle school and enter a larger, more independent and fast paced environment.

Even though summer is in full swing, it is never too early for students and parents to begin to think about the transition to high school.  Below are some helpful tips to help any new grade 9 student succeed.

1) Develop Strong Study and Organizational Skills:  Setting up a successful study area and routine are keys to success.  To read more about successful study and organizational skills, click on our article here.

2) Learn About the Curriculum: The Ontario Ministry of Education has wonderful material about all of the courses available to students.   During course selection time, we would recommend reviewing the high school courses to better understand prerequisites required for future courses and the material covered in the course.   Also, review the grade 12 requirements for any specific college or university programs you may be interested to keep your options opened.  To read more on our course selection tips, click here.

3) School Orientation:  Many schools offer orientations to students before they start high school.  Take advantage of this opportunity to meet teachers and guidance counselors, tour the school to understand the layout and learn about clubs or sports teams your son or daughter can join.   If your high school does not offer an orientation day, we would recommend contacting the school to arrange one.

4) Chat with Current Students:  Encourage your daughter or son to reach out to any friends in the neighbourhood or relatives what it is like to attend high school.   Current students will help provide the inside scoop on all and every question a student could have.

5) Be there to Support:  The next four years will be a challenging time for any student.   Whether it is their academic or personal challenges, your child will count on you  to be a sounding board and support them with any obstacles.

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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.

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5 Strategies for Student Time Management

Projects at the last minute, exam cramming the night before, forgetting your homework and not to mention higher stress.  We all know these symptoms of weak time management.

Time management plays a key role in a student’s success in school and in life.  Fortunately, we have put together 5 helpful tips for you and your child to improve their time management skills through prioritizing, staying organized, avoiding procrastination, staying firm and practicing time estimation.


Prioritize: Keeping a list of goals that are prioritized and the tasks required to accomplish them is critical to success.  It also allows your child to see the importance of each item and remind both of you on their broader goals.   Otherwise, they could get overburdened with conflicting priorities and lack of clarity on deadlines.


Be Organized:  Using an agenda on a constant basis and keeping your child’s workspace organized are keys to success.    That way they are able to keep track of all their various items, be aware of any key deadlines and remove any distractions.   As your child get’s new homework, assignments, deadlines or tests, encourage them to constant update them in their agenda.   A family calendar can also be helpful to write down family and social activities.


Avoid Procrastination:  Once a due date is established, work with your child to make a work back plan to establish a start date.   When setting the start date, start early to avoid the rush and stress towards the deadline. In addition, leave a buffer at the end to finish early.   If your child has trouble working through large items and staying focused, break the project or item into smaller bits to make the tasks more manageable.


Stay Firm: While it is tempting to participate in every activity and constantly see friends, it is important to carve out a portion of time in your child’s calendar for school work.  This will help your child stay focused and not feel overburdened with too many activities.


Practice Time Estimation: Understanding how long it takes students to complete various Math, Science, English and French assignments and studying is a key to success.   Make a game of how long it takes for your child to complete various simple tasks to build up their estimates of time.  Sometimes an analog clock can give students a better sense of how time passes.

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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Students

The start of 2014 brings plenty excitement with a fresh slate to start over and is a time to reflect on the past.   Not only can adults have resolutions, but students can as well.  This is a great opportunity to make goals with your son or daughter to make them a better student.

Here are 5 of our favourite resolutions:

1) Organizational Skills: Having great organizational skills is essential for success at school.  That includes using a calendar and places to keep papers and homework.  Our partner the KAos Group has written a wonderful blog with student organizational tips.

2) Volunteer:  Whether it is neighbourhood, community or school supporting, volunteering is a great opportunity for students to develop skills outside of the classroom.    To learn more, read our blog post on Strengthening our Community.

3) Educational Technology:  Tablets and Smartphones have a ton of great English, Math, Science and French apps for children of all ages.  They are also a lot of fun to learn with!  Check out our many Educational Technology articles with some of our favourite apps for learning.

4) Learn Something New: Whether is it how science applies to real life or a word from a new language, making a goal to learn something new every day ensures we constantly have a fresh and well rounded mind.

5) Read for Fun:  Reading is an important part of a child’s development.    One of the most important keys to success is the engage your child with fun and memorable activities.   Here are some of favourite tips for your child to love reading.

What are you and your child’s New Year’s resolutions for education and how do you plan to keep them?

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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.

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Win the Battle of the Backpack

We have partnered with the KAos Group, a leader in organizational skills to offer tips and strategies around keeping your backpack, papers and homework organized.

Below is a helpful step-by-step guide to organize all the papers, books and supplies that get unpacked and repacked 5 days a week. As you create a place for each section below, put a check mark in the box.

1) Choose a homework spot that remains consistent:

A holding place is helpful to leave homework until your child is ready to sit down to do their work. The place should remain the same, so your child is responsible for packing up their own work that night or in the morning, once completed.

2) Create a place for your child to place notices for review: 

These are the notices for upcoming events that your child will be participating in or where your attention and/or participation is required.  Ie. sports events, ceremonies or after school programs.

3) Calendars:

Your child will have an agenda and parent/guardian will likely have a smartphone or paper day timer.  It is important that the child can review a month at a glance effortlessly and add important dates as necessary.

Tip: The Family Calendar:

A single calendar that everyone can review easily and effortlessly is a resourceful tool in a household.  It is very helpful to refer to the month at a glance as a quick reminder for library day, math tests, weekly activities and family events.  The ‘family calendar’ is also a great stepping stone for children until they learn to use their own agendas as a daily habit.

4) Keepsakes: 

Your child will bring home art work, tests and projects. Consider two areas in your home to distinguish between keepsakes and items to eventually be recycled.

About the KAos Group

KAos Group is in the business of organization. We work closely with clients to help indentify inefficiencies, the cutter and disorganization that prevents progress and personal growth, and help clients streamline their business and personal lives to reduce stress and increase productivity. Visit www.kaosgroup.com for more information.



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