5 Fun Ways to Reinforce Learning During the Summer Months
The 'summer slide' may sound like a fun activity but it something you and your children should work to avoid . The 'summer slide' is a decline in reading and other academic skills that tends to happen over the summer months when school is not in session. Read some tips below to reinforce all of the growth your child made this year so they come back just as strong next school year.
Enjoy your summer!
- Your Guidance Department
Some teachers give their students a summer reading list, but other students won’t pick up a book until they return to school in the fall. Literacy Loss can occur if children don’t practice reading during the summer. Luckily, all it takes is about 30 minutes of reading a day.
Take your child to the library and let him or her pick out a few books they’d like to read. One of the best things about summer is your child has the freedom to choose the types of books he or she wants to read. Also, take some time each week to read to your kids. According to a research, 83 percent of children across all age groups love when their parents read to them. Reading out loud is a great way to share a love of reading and literature.
Keep a Journal
Journaling is a great way for your kids to practice their writing and storytelling skills. Encourage your children to journal for a few minutes each day. They can write about what they did that day, something they're looking forward to that summer or make up a story or a poem.
If you want to help your kids with their typing speed, let them create a digital journal or go the old-fashioned route if you want them to practice penmanship. If you need some ideas to get your kids started, you can search online for fun and creative writing prompts for kids.
Do Everyday Math
While you can print worksheets and math problems for your child during the summer (and you may want to if your son or daughter needs practice), don’t forget about the ways to incorporate math into everyday activities. Take your kids to the grocery store and have them keep a running total of the items in your cart. Ask them to estimate the total price. Teach your kids about fractions in the kitchen and give them an introduction to percentages when you go out to eat.
Practice counting and sorting with toys like Legos and building blocks. If you head out for a summer road trip, give them a basic introduction to distance calculations. No matter how old your kids are, you can tailor everyday activities to teach them basic or advanced math concepts.
There are countless apps and computer programs that can help your child practice basic skills like reading spelling and math. Try these apps to prevent summer learning loss. Because these programs gamify these concepts, your child will enjoy using them. Set aside some time each day for your child to use these programs or apps.
Plan a Play Date
Social skills are just as important as academic skills, so give your child a chance to interact with other children. The best thing about playdates is you can coordinate with the parents to include some educational programming. Since your child is spending time with his or her friend, he won’t mind as much if he’s doing an educational activity like reading or doing a science experiment.
You can also coordinate with other parents and take turns taking the kids to fun places like the zoo, aquarium or a museum. This gives your child the opportunity to have fun outside of the house while still learning about animals, sea life or history.
With a little effort and creativity, you can help your kids have a fun summer and set them up for success during the school year. Try these ideas and let us know what you think. What are your favorite kid-friendly summer activities?
Resource source: teacherswithapps.com
This first resource has some movies you may want to watch with your children. Some of the movies may help students see the world from new perspectives by giving them an introduction to people, cultures, events, and beliefs that may be new to them. Check the list to see a description and age recommendations to find the right fit for your family. This resource also comes with possible discussion questions to get you and your children talking further after the movie ends. Clink the link below to see the list.
This resource provides you with with a list of apps for your phone or tablet to help your children with mental health issues. Many of these tools will focus specifically on coping with anxiety, depression, and specific difficult circumstances (ex. loss of a loved one) by using meditation , connection, and other techniques. Check out the link below to see if any of these apps might be useful for you and your children.
May Campaign: Teaching Your Child about Diversity
Examine Your Own Cultural Beliefs
The best way to teach your child about cultural diversity is to let them see you as accepting and tolerant. Our children imitate us, so in order to teach our children about cultural diversity, we as parents need to figure out what our beliefs are about this topic.
Ask yourself: How open are you to people from other cultures or races?
The goal is to introduce our children to the different ways people live. We do not want to cloud their judgment and give them biases, so if you do admittedly have any prejudices, you will need to resolve (or reserve) those so that your child will be open to new experiences and new people.
If your child has questions about differences in physical characteristics or cultural practices, discuss them openly. This teaches your child that it’s okay to notice differences, and more importantly, it teaches him that it’s good to talk about them. Learning to appreciate all kinds of differences—not just racial and cultural but differences in socioeconomic levels, gender, and even disabilities is an important skill in today’s diverse society.
Take a Stand Against Cultural Insensitivity
If you want your children to grow up without prejudice and with cross-cultural understanding, you can't show tolerance for racism or cultural insensitivity yourself. If someone says a rude comment or inappropriate joke — speak up and let your child know that this isn’t acceptable. Kids need to understand that no matter where we are, people really are essentially the same. They have the same emotions, the same desires, and the same concerns. Teaching this to your kids now can keep them from fostering prejudice and help them grow into thoughtful, open-minded adults.
Interact with diverse friends
You can’t always choose who your children become friends with, but if you do have the chance for them to play with kids from other cultures, take advantage.
The best way to learn about someone is to spend time with them.
Even if your child plays with kids of the opposite sex, this is a wonderful place to start. And of course, if you have friends from different backgrounds, you can set an example by spending time with them in the presence of your children.
Buy toys that promote diversity.
Many little ones like playing with dolls, and most often, the dolls that they get are ones that look just like them. But a better idea is to get your child one that looks completely different.
Different hair color, different color skin, different eye color, it doesn’t really matter, as long as the doll is different.
Showing your child that it’s awesome to embrace a doll with different features will teach your child to love real people who are also different.
Serve ethnic foods.
Food is one of the coolest ways to learn about different cultures because there is so much delicious food to try out there.
Read cultural books.
There are tons of children’s books that teach about different cultures. You can find ones about different religions and holidays, different cultural customs, and different lifestyles.
And since books are often read over and over, the messages they hold will become ingrained into your children’s minds, setting them up to appreciate diversity as they grow up.
Travel to different places.
Firsthand experiences in new places will really help your children understand different cultures. They’ll pick up a new language, see the way other people dress and live, and get the chance to see how different parts of the world look.
You can then ask them to identify the places they traveled on a map to further their geography skills, too.
Click the link below for access to this document.
Our Student Liaisons spent weeks revising a story. Now their hard work being shared throughout our school. In its original format the story was meant for new teachers but it has been made meaningful for our students. This story is one that speaks to the power of peer influence and how it can be positive. I hope you can take the time out to read this story. Each one of your children has the potential to grow strong, resilient and successful. If they surround themselves with supportive peers, known in this story as marigolds, their chances of success will increase. Help your children to identify the marigolds to surround themselves with. Help your children become marigolds to support others. Together the P.S. 13 community can flourish.
Test Taking Tips for Parents
- Make sure that your child does all their homework and reading assignments, this will help make sure your child is prepared for the test.
- Encourage your child to space out their studying and homework assignments so that they won't be forced to cram on the night before the test.
- If you are anxious about your child's test, it's okay but try to keep cool around your child, you don't want them to get anxious about their tests too.
- Encourage your child to do well but don't pressure him/her. You may stress him/her out. It is important for your child to stay relaxed for the test.
- Keep a positive attitude about tests.
- Provide a quiet, well lighted area with little distractions to help your child study efficiently.
- Mark down test days on your calendar so you and your child are both aware of testing dates.
- Make sure that your child gets enough sleep on the night before the test.
- Ensure that your child eats a healthy breakfast and avoid heavy foods that may make him/her groggy and avoid high sugar foods that may make him/her hyper.
- Make sure that your child gets up early enough so that he/she will be on time to school.
- Let your child relax for a few hours before bedtime, it can be stressful for a child to study all night.
- Talking about the test with your child can relieve stress about test taking.
- If your child is struggling on their tests, talk to them about it and meet with their teacher to find out the best way to help your child.
- Praise/reward your child when they do well on a test or for their hard work preparing for a test.
- Encourage them to do better if they don't do well.
- Review the test with your child after they have taken it and go over any mistakes they have made and make sure that they understand what they did wrong and how they can improve for the next test.
Don’t SWEAT the Test
Wear SWEATS to school
May 1st and 2nd!
Wear blue on Tuesday April 16th!
Upcoming Parent Workshop
Join us Tuesday, March 26th at 2:35pm to learn how to prepare at home for the state test, test taking tips and overcoming test anxiety.
See below for a few tips from the Student Liaisons to 'ace' the test.
T-Shirt Design Contest Winners
March Campaign: Calming Children with Self-Calming Strategies
Calming Children with Self-Calming Strategies
Step 1: Don’t Give In
- Remain calm, don’t show any emotion to your child. If you have to walk away so you can compose yourself, do that. If you need to tag in your spouse to handle the problem because you’re too emotional, do that.
- Try to wait the tantrum out for a bit. See if it goes away on its own if you don’t give it much attention. Just monitor your child for safety and make sure that your child doesn’t put himself in any dangerous situations (like throwing a tantrum in the knife aisle at Bed, Bath, and Beyond). If he does, calmly move him away from danger without making a big deal out of it.
- Remove your child from the situation. Carry him out of the store (if you can do so safely) or back to his room. Try to isolate him from any attention he may get for the tantrum.
- Wait till it passes. Because it will. Eventually, your child will tire and that’s when he will need a hug. Be there with his hug when he’s ready for it and have faith that the rest of these steps will make these tantrums better. (But again, don’t give in to what he wanted, even after the tantrum stops).
Step Two: Identifying Calm Vs. Upset
The first thing you need to do is teach your child the difference between being calm and being upset. You will want to do this with your child when she is calm.
Show your child the thermometer and say “when we are happy and calm, we are down here at the bottom”. Explain to your child that she is calm right now and show her where she is. You can even show her pictures of other children who are calm and happy. Then, tell her that when we are not happy, we are the top of the thermometer. We are upset.
Step Three: Teaching Calming Strategies when Calm
- The Balloon: Have your child hold his hands in front of his mouth like holding a small balloon. Tell your child to blow up the balloon. As he blows, he spreads his hands apart to pretend the balloon is getting bigger. Once the balloon is as big as it can get, your child claps his hands together to “pop” the balloon.
- The Pretzel: Have your child fold herself into a pretzel and squeeze. Have her wrap her legs together and fold her arms across her chest like she’s hugging herself. When she is as twisted as she can possibly get, have her squeeze hard.
- Take a Walk: Have your child take a walk to cool off. Sometimes just walking around a bit can help.
- The Bunny: Have your child pretend to be a bunny. He can get down on the ground like a bunny or just sit on his bottom. Have him breathe like a bunny does in short, quick breaths. Don’t let your child do this too long or he might get dizzy but a little bit of shallow breathing can bring his breathing back under his control. Follow this up with some long deep breaths, like hissing like a snake or blowing out candles.
- Write a Letter: Have your child “write a letter” about why she’s mad. Get out a piece of paper and a big fat crayon. Have your child scribble violently all over the paper. This should release some tension. If your child is older, you may actually be able to get her to write down why she’s mad. When she’s done, have your child read it to you or just crumple the paper and throw it away. If this strategy works for your child, you can have a calm-down bucket or stash that has paper and a crayon just for such an occasion.
- Count or Sing the ABCs: Have your child count as high as he can or sing/say the alphabet. Many times this is enough to bring the breathing back under control to quell the tantrum.
- Hug a Pillow/Stuffed Animal: Have your child pick a pillow or stuffed animal to hug. Tell her to squeeze it hard so she can get all of that upset out. She could also tell her stuffed animal why she’s upset.
Step Four: Practice the Calming Strategies When Your Child is Upset
Now that your child knows the strategies, it’s time to put them into action. The next time your child starts to get upset, try to catch it before he gets completely out of control mad. Say “Your body doesn’t look green, let’s get our calming board”. Bring him the calming board and show him where he is on the thermometer. Label his emotion for him by saying “You are upset” or “you are mad”. Then, ask him to pick a calming strategy to try. If you’re lucky, he’ll remember his training and pick a strategy so you can help him through it. If he doesn’t want to pick a strategy, you pick one for him and demonstrate it. Don’t force him to do it with you. Then, wait a minute or two and try that whole process again. Eventually, he should calm down enough to be able to do a strategy. However, the first several times you try this, it may take a while, especially if he’s just now getting used to you not giving in to his tantrums. Just keep trying it every few minutes until he’s ready to do one with you. If you stay calm, that will bring him down even faster. Eventually, your child should be more willing to do this. If you do it consistently with him, he will get to the point where you can say, “You look like you need to calm down, why don’t you go pick a strategy.
Provided by: Latiana Wilson, MSW, School Mental Health Consultant/info source: http://speechandlanguagekids.com
Respect For All Week Assembly: Grades 4 and 5
During Respect For All Week our fourth and fifth grade students took part in an assembly about the Holocaust. Shira Stoll, the presenter, is a Multimedia Specialist and video journalist at The Staten Island Advance/SILive.com created this project. She was be accompanied by Holocaust survivor Arthur Spielman who shared his story along with his 9 minute video testimony for the students. You may view his video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkeXZYvnP5o&index=9&list=PLmfU9Rwz88W2sZDW3sbpDa0HTnb_a1Jbm
After watching the video testimony our children had the opportunity to speak with Arthur Spielman and Shira Stoll about their experiences. I was in awe of the thoughtful and thought provoking questions they asked of Arthur. The message of the assembly overall led students to the realization they should not judge others for their differences. Our students also spoke about how important it is to treat others with respect and stand up for others if they see any acts of bullying.
After the assembly the students wrote notes to Arthur and some of the other survivors living on Staten Island. See below for an example of just some of the amazing letters our students wrote.
February Campaign: Understanding Conflict vs. Bullying
Conflicts can be Resolved, Bullying has to be Reported!
Conflict is different than bullying. Not all disagreements and fights are bullying. Conflict is a normal part of human interaction and arises frequently in our day to day lives. Part of learning to be independent and grown up is learning how to deal with and respond appropriately to conflict at home, at school, and in your community. Recognizing the difference between conflict and bullying will help students, parents and teachers know how to respond.
- All parties have equal power to solve the problem
- All parties have an equal interest in the outcome
- All parties are of relatively equal size, age or status
- A conflict can be resolved by talking or working things out together or with help from an adult.
- A repeated form of mistreatment where the victim cannot defend him/herself
- An imbalance of power – usually one person is either bigger or older than the other or has a higher social standing (is more popular) and uses this against the other person
- Usually involves repeated acts of harassment, harm or humiliation
Differences in Addressing Conflict and Bullying
Conflict is an important part of growing up but bullying is not. Conflict teaches kids how to give and take, how to come to an agreement and how to solve problems. But bullying only wounds kids.
When it comes to conflict, it’s good for kids to learn conflict resolution and resiliency skills. These skills promote listening and working together to come to an agreement or plan to move forward.
Conflict resolution works based on the assumption that both people are in part responsible for the current problem and need to work it out. In this situation, both kids make compromises and the conflict is resolved.
When bullying occurs, the bully is fully responsible for the situation. And the bully bears all the responsibility for change. For instance, bullies need to be told that their behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. They also need to experience consequences for their behavior. Likewise, targets of bullying need to be reassured that they didn’t cause the bullying, they did the right thing by reporting and that they are not to blame. They also should receive interventions that will help them overcome the negative impact of bullying so they can build self-confidence and resiliency.
Respect For All Week
Respect For All week is celebrated in all New York City schools each year. This year it will be celebrated February 11-15th. This is a statewide initiative to decrease bullying and harassment in schools. We are excited to do our part to making sure all of our students feel welcome each day!
- All week counselor's will be presenting class lessons on the topic of Respect to Grades K-5
- February 14th wear pink or red for our school spirit event on Valentine's day and our 100th day of school.
- February 15th we will be wearing our favorite P.S. 13 shirt and celebrating No One Eats alone day during all lunch periods.
This Pajama Day our students learned about Martin Luther King Junior and his inspiring dream. Student's then took the time to share their own dreams.
Check out what they shared below.
January Campaign: 12 Tips For Raising Confident Kids
12 Tips for Raising Confident Kids
- Model confidence yourself.Even if you’re not quite feeling it! Seeing you tackle new tasks with optimism and lots of preparation sets a good example for kids. That doesn’t mean you have to pretend to be perfect. Do acknowledge your anxiety but don’t focus on it—focus on the positive things you are doing to get ready.
- Don’t get upset about mistakes Help kids see that everyone makes mistakes and the important thing is to learn from them, not dwell on them. Confident people don’t let fear of failure get in their way—not because they’re sure they won’t ever fail, but because they know how to take setbacks in stride.
- Encourage them to try new things. Instead of focusing all their energy on what they already excel at, it’s good for kids to diversify. Attaining new skills makes kids feel capable and confident that they can tackle whatever comes their way.
Click the link below for the full list.
December Mental Health Campaign: Mindfulness
Enjoy the Holidays More With Mindfulness
Slow down and get more out of this busy season
Contrary to common belief, one effective way to cope with the holiday madness is to SLOW DOWN and take a little time each day to cultivate and practice mindfulness. Perhaps you’ve heard about this concept, which is rooted in Zen Buddhism, and has recently become more popular in Western society. Research has demonstrated that practicing mindfulness is associated with improvements in well-being, physical and mental health, relationship satisfaction, and attentional focus. In addition, the practice of mindfulness has been shown to help reduce stress and associated negative emotions such as anxiety and sadness.
You may be asking, “Okay, so on a practical level, how can I be mindful?” In reality, there are infinite opportunities to practice mindfulness during each day. Here are some suggestions to get started:
- Find a quiet place for just a few minutes (e.g the bathroom, as for some people this is the only quiet spot!). Get yourself into a comfortable sitting position with your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing only. Do this for a few minutes. Listen to the sound of your breath and notice how your body feels during this time. When thoughts of other moments come racing into your mind, acknowledge them and let them go by as if they are on a conveyor belt, and refocus your attention on your breath again. Do this over and over.
- Spend a few minutes each day writing down five things you are thankful for that day.
- When you are walking outside, focus on one of your senses. For example, for vision, notice the colors of objects around you or for hearing, listen to the sounds around you and label them nonjudgmentally (eg “That building is gray,” or “I hear a horn honking”).
- Get the kids involved! One favorite thing I like to recommend is good old fashioned bubble blowing. Make a game out of it and instruct them (and yourself) to silently watch the bubbles float around the room. Resist the urge to pop the bubbles and see where they go.
By taking a few minutes each day to be mindful, perhaps even more than once a day, we can give ourselves the space to get in touch with ourselves, to fully experience the meaningful moments that often pass us by, and to take time to practice gratitude for what we have in our lives. Instead, we can experience gratitude daily, reduce our stress, and be more in touch with the little things that make all the difference.
November Assemblies: Internet Safety
This month your children are learning about Internet Safety during our monthly Guidance Assemblies.
Some things they will be learning are:
- What personal information is and what not not to share strangers online
- What netiquette (online etiquette or good manners) is and how to use it
- What to do if they see or read something inappropriate
- What to do if they are being cyber-bullied
- What a virus is
Always monitor what your children are doing when they are using phones, tablets, laptops or gaming consoles. Talk to your children about what they are doing and seeing during this time. A lot of our tips tell students to speak to their parents or trusted adults when something is making them uncomfortable online so be sure to keep this communication open.
Check out these resources:
November Mental Health Campaign Topic: Calm Voices, Calmer Kids
Check out this month's read on the benefits of staying calm and not raising your voice when communicating with your children.
This new school year the Guidance Department is bringing social-emotional learning to the whole school. There will now be monthly assemblies presented to each grade once a month. Here students will learn through discussions, role plays, books, video clips and more. Our area of focus in September was on Communication, both verbal and non-verbal. The lower grades focus was understanding the relationship between feelings and body language. For instance, someone who is happy may smile, while someone who is mad may frown or cross their arms. The upper grades were able to go further and reflect a bit on how their body language is impacting their communication with others. They discussed miscommunications that have happened based on their facial expressions or body language not matching their words.
Next month we will take this idea of communication a bit further and work on building strong friendships.
Ms. Kump and Ms. Callender
School Mental Health Campaign
Our school School Mental Health Campaign will continue this year thanks to our school Mental Health Consult Latiana Wilson. For those of you that do not know, this means that once a month I will be sharing resources from Ms. Wilson. These resources may be about bullying, study tips and healthy habits. Be sure to check back each month to see what is new. The first resource has 7 Bullying Intervention Tips for Families
- Increase Communication
Begin discussion that has to do with the social and online lives of your children as often as possible. Ask specific questions that can create important discussions (e.g., instead of “How was school?,” try “What was lunchtime like at your school—who do you sit with, what do you do and what do you talk about?”). You have to ensure your conduct shows how genuinely interested and open minded you are, and must not in any way see you as trying to control or invade privacy.
- Monitor Behavior
You can get to see your children under different situations by being watchful during social gatherings, volunteering at school and participating in extracurricular activities. If in any case you realize that your children are overly aggressive, vulnerable to peer pressure or show other behavior that gives you cause for concern, talk to them about your concerns and correct the behavior. Keep watch on the warning signs associated with bullying behavior (e.g., fear of attending school, social withdrawal, avoidance of or preoccupation with technology) and you can always believe that your instinct will intervene when you feel like your children are deviating.
Click the link below to check out the rest of these useful tips.