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Topic Archives: Uncategorized

Want to Ensure College and Career Readiness? Develop Flexible Thinking

December 17, 2018

It’s true that verbal and abstract reasoning are the cognitive skills that predict academic achievement. The ability to make sense of complex information is undeniably essential to learning at every age. But once students leave the K12 classroom, research suggests that flexible thinking might be equally important to college and career readiness. As explained by author Eric Barker, “Schools reward students who consistently do what they are told— and life rewards people who shake things up.” What is flexible thinking? Flexible thinking is the ability to shift gears or change direction to adjust to unexpected circumstances or novel problems. Educators might be acutely aware of students who struggle with flexibility, even if they don’t always realize it. They might view these students as “stubborn” or “challenging”. Inflexible thinkers often resist change, reject redirection, or refuse… Read More

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The Opposite of Grit–Why Kids Quit

April 17, 2018

It can be painful to watch talented kids quit. We muse how successful this kid would be if he just had grit and resilience. We might have even said it outright, “You have so much talent. If you just…” And yet even Paul Tough, one of the leading authors on grit, would be the first to say, that we can’t teach [or implore] students to be grittier. And telling a kid he shouldn’t or can’t quit rarely does much good. So do we stand by and allow talented kids to “throw away” their gifts?! Of course not. It’s Natural to Want to Quit According to evolutionary psychologists, wanting to quit is the most natural human response when we face challenges. Most of us are hardwired to avoid failure; it’s only a small percent… Read More

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Can America’s ‘lost Einsteins’ be found more easily than we think?

February 4, 2018

Are we looking for the ‘lost Einsteins’ in the wrong places? Research suggests we should be looking at students’ spatial and flexible thinking skills, not math and science scores. Who are the ‘lost Einsteins’? Late last year the The Equality of Opportunity Project released a report concluding that the U.S. is losing out on as much as 400% of innovation potential by failing to effectively nurture under-represented minorities, i.e. Blacks, Latinos, and girls. The report states, “there are many ‘lost Einsteins’ – people who would have had high-impact inventions” but never do because they grow up in communities where math and science in general, and innovation specifically, isn’t fostered. Stories in the NY Times and The Atlantic among other outlets fueled the social media discourse about an educational system… Read More

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Prioritize! The Key to Improved SAT & ACT Test Performance

January 9, 2018

It’s not that easy, but it is that simple. Your students’ test scores will improve if they prioritize their studying.  And since we know that most students can’t and won’t prioritize without help, these 5 steps will help any teen prioritize and create an effective SAT or ACT test prep plan. In fact, with a few changes, this 5 step plan will work for any important exam in high school, college, or beyond. 1. Make It a Priority: Take a Full Length Pre-Test. Start by taking a full length, timed practice test, including the writing section. It’s not easy to give up 4 hours on a weekend, but you need to do it. If you’re still deciding between the ACT and SAT, use this SAT vs. ACT Guide to help… Read More

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Is Your Student Hiding a Gift?

November 28, 2017

  Do you know a kiddo who can assemble a Lego set in the blink of an eye? Tells the bus driver how to find his street? Helps you design your bulletin boards to perfection? What do these seemingly nice-to-have but not particularly useful skills have in common? They are all reflections of a student’s spatial perception. And while we might not ask students to apply spatial skills very often in school, spatial skills are essential for careers in engineering, advanced mathematics, robotics, and design. What’s more, spatial skills have a unique role in the development of creativity. Many researchers believe that superior spatial skills are the “X factor” that separates creative geniuses like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Frank Lloyd Wright from the rest of us. If spatial… Read More

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The Secret to Solving Math Word Problems. Hint: It’s Not about Math

November 12, 2017

Solving word problems is far more about effective reading skills and far less about math. In fact, math achievement up through 8th grade is most highly correlated with language skills. Keep reading to discover how can you help your good readers do better in math, rather than fear math. 7 Reliable Steps for Solving Math Word Problems Provide students with a reliable set of rules they can follow to solve any word problem. Remind them that these are very similar to the rules they follow in English class. Following these rules will make them more confident, and consistent, math students. Mark up the question. (a) Underline exactly what you are asked to find. This will ensure you don’t go astray midway through the problem. (b) Decide what your answer will… Read More

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Parent Teacher Conferences: Making the Most of 15 Minutes

October 30, 2017

  For many, the coming weeks bring parent teacher conferences. If that engenders some hesitation, you are not alone. Parents, teachers and administrators all acknowledge the parent teacher conference system is flawed. Teachers feel rushed to cover too much information. They might feel barraged by questions from parents who recognize they have limited time and want lots of answers. Parents regularly complain there isn’t enough time to hear all they need to help their child improve. Even the typically objective wikipedia cynically describes parent teacher conferences as: Meetings generally led by teachers who take a more active role in information sharing, with parents relegated mostly to the role of listeners. It’s not that schools don’t want to fix the system. It’s just logistically challenging. See the side bar for a quick read on one… Read More

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The Coach Approach for Kids with ADHD (and other Complex Kids)

October 27, 2017

This is the second in our two part series for ADHD Awareness Month. Last we wrote about why identifying ADHD is so important. This week our guest blog is from Elaine Taylor-Klaus, co-founder of ImpactADHD and past board member of CHADD, who discusses the importance of parent coaching. The best way to help our kids is often to help ourselves, the adults in their lives who are there to love and support them on a daily basis. by Elaine Taylor-Klaus Do you frequently ask yourself, “why can’t this child just,” or otherwise at a loss for how best to help a child who is struggling daily? You probably parent or teach a complex child. Ranging from 4 to 24, complex kids may be quirky or odd, sensitive or angry, isolated or lonely,… Read More

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ADHD: What every parent NEEDS to know

October 3, 2017

Let’s start with a clarification. ADHD is a medical condition, not a personality flaw. Just as you need to be aware of, monitor, and support any other medical condition your child might have, the same is true of ADHD. Here’s why: A child who isn’t paying attention, isn’t learning Even if your younger child is managing now, you will find that as they progress in school and the workload gets greater, what was once manageable through some extra time on homework or parent support, is no longer sustainable. It’s like the old saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Only in the case of a child who has ADHD, “You don’t know if you don’t know what you missed.” Unidentified ADHD impacts social skills,… Read More

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Is Social Media Giving Our Kids ADHD?

April 19, 2017

No, social media is not giving your kid ADHD, but it might be giving your kid ADHD symptoms. There is no clear link between screen time and ADHD in adolescents.* ADHD is a brain-based biological condition. It’s not something that you “get” because of something you did. However, most students aren’t diagnosed with ADHD until grade school, the same time social media usage is on the rise. So it could feel like screens are causing ADHD. However, screen time could be affecting your child’s sleep, which looks a lot like ADHD symptoms. It is true that parents are reporting an increase in ADHD-like behaviors. It’s also true that students are spending a lot more time on social media, and it’s indisputable that screen time interferes with sleep. So while it’s unclear… Read More

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