Category Archives: Resources

Parent’s Top 5 Tips for Student Success

It comes as no surprise that a student’s success or failure— often stems from the home. Good communication, consistent routines, and healthy habits support students are they navigate the worlds between home and school.

Modeling Healthy Habits

Set a reasonable bedtime. Sleep is a vital component to the success of your child at school. Healthy behaviors such as eating breakfast and having a nutritious lunch build toward these habits. Just as we set positive habits, we need to cut back on the less productive ones, such as minimizing screen time and encouraging other activities instead.

One Place

Just like a frog from a lily pad, we all need a launching station. Have the kids put their belongings in the same place when returning home. Organize the area with hooks and cubbies, this will also cut down on the searching for possessions in the morning.
When returning from school, each child should have a special place to study that meets her needs. It’s helpful to make a study caddy. You can get a little caddy from the dollar store and fill it with school supplies your child may need. This gives your child comfort in knowing that she has what she needs to complete assignments and is mobile in case the study location changes.

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Read, Read, Read!

Reading is the gateway to all kinds of learning and continuing to develop and advance literacy throughout a child’s school years is vital. Model reading on your own, read with your child and listen to your child read 

Creating a lifelong learner

Always look for opportunities to make real life experiences a learning one too! Why is this the way it is? How did it come to be? For example, when driving home from a family trip, your son points out his favorite sports car. Look at those shiny rims! Ok, let’s think about this, if the diameter of the tire is 16 inches, let’s find the tire’s circumference and area. How would we do that? How would the rim play a part in this?

Expect Success

Set expectations, be clear, and support your child with a consistent and loving home. Emphasize to your child that she is more than capable of attaining her goals with persistence and discipline. Make sure to encourage her and reach out for educational support as you need it.

Time Management — Beginning Tips For Students

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When considering where and how to spend your time as a student, you have to look at the type of tasks you are involved in on a daily basis. We would designate these as passive or active tasks. Our objective is to increase your knowledge, study time and GPA. In doing so, you want to optimize your time and make sure you are spending your time wisely, and is doing so, you want to make sure you are pursuing active tasks. Time management is key to student success.

A color coded system can help you initially see how you are spending your time. Consider the the level of productivity of a given task ,a red task would be a less productive task, whereas green would be a task aimed toward achieving academic success. A yellow task is one that you may want to keep, and could be refined into a green task.

So what’s an active task? Studying for a test, reading material, doing research, and making notes could be some examples. Passive tasks, well, I think you know about those.

At the end of the day or week, you would evaluate your productivity and see how you could have done things differently. This is not to say, you should have a planner full of active tasks, you will have down time and this is important to live a balanced life. Initially though, when you are considering how you are spending your time, color coding your tasks and evaluating the nature of your task will be helpful in understanding what adjustments need to be made to make the most of your time!

One last note, if you don’t want to use your planner you can always use a journal instead. You can journal your activities in bulleted form throughout the day and estimate the time you spent on each activity. Then at the end of the day, use a highlighter to go through the same process.

3 ways to get in a routine the new school year!

Wow! August has almost arrived.The lazy and carefree days of summer are coming to a close and we need to transition ourselves back into the school routine.

Two key aspects to student success are getting enough sleep and keeping to a consistent schedule. Students thrive on routines because these give them a sense of structure,purpose, and predictability.

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Here are some ways to get started:

Slowly move bedtimes and wakeup times back to what they should be during the school year. You can do this gradually over one or two weeks. If meal times or other regular routines have changed over the summer vacation, reset those as well.

Block out the school schedule (holidays, test days, etc.) on a calendar. For parents, a family calendar in a prominent place helps everyone see what’s going on at a glance, including after school activities and childcare. College students should map out their class schedule for the next semester and also block out times for studying, meal, exercise, and other essentials, as this 8-hour college day planner recommends.

Figure out where you’re going. One of the biggest stressors at the start of school is if you’re going to a new building or your classes are in different locations than last year. College students should look at a campus map and plot out how they’re going to get from one place to the next, based on their schedule. Other students/parents should know the route to school, where the classrooms are, and how long it takes to get there.

For students that are attending a new school or transitioning to middle school or high school, this can be a nervous time. It’s very helpful to go to the school and walk around and have the student look for his classes, the restrooms, and lockers. Another suggestion could be for an older sibling or family friend to take the student around the campus. It’s always great to have to have your own personal tour guide!

Speaking of transitions, I remember my first day of high school. I went on a tour of the high school the last week of my eighth grade year and then I went on the campus in late summer when I received my schedule. It was comforting for me to make a plan for my first day. I drew a map, and just kept it in my pocket, and planned on meeting my friend at a specific place for lunch. The first day wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I think that with our students, when we give them opportunities to plan independently and explore on their own, we allow them to ease their own anxiety by making plans as I did.

Congratulations to our students!

The standardized tests have come and gone and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
I am happy to announce the students have a 100 % pass rate for Reading and Math SOLs this year. With hard work and dedication, each and every one of you has achieved your goal of passing at least the lucky 400, many into the 500’s. Congratulations on your recent success!

Beyond passing a test, our approach focuses on your development of critical thinking skills, and a mind geared to evaluate academic challenges and find solutions. These are the skills which will lead to success in school and life.

How does stress affect the brain? Taming test anxiety.

A recent poll found that 80% of students grades 1-12 experience anxiety and stress while taking a test.

Alden Academic Services provide specific research based strategies for the student to use in the upcoming testing season. In using these methods, the student can reduce anxiety and feel assured before, during, and after the test.

Skills every learner should know.

View this graphic showing skills every learner should know, by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

Areas of Knowledge Summary

Every learner should know how to:

Set & Achieve Goals

  • Develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN)
  • Be a self-directed learner
  • Manage time effectively
  • Achieve and set goals
  • Ask questions

Live in the Digital World

  • Post on social media while managing one’s digital footprint
  • Do effective online searches
  • Evaluate websites and online tools for credibility
  • Code HTML
  • Create professional-looking photos and make professional-looking videos
  • Learn and use emerging technology

Care for Oneself & Others

  • Care for others
  • Ask for what one wants and needs
  • Maintain one’s physical and emotional health

Communicate with Others

  • Work collaboratively in mixed-age groups
  • Orally communicate with others both face-to-face and online
  • Write effectively

Think Critically

  • Make and invent stuff
  • Identify and solve problems

Creating better questioners by developing critical thinking skills.

With the fast pace of technology, our kids are conditioned to need and want responses at an increasing speed. Our goal is to develop and foster the critical thinking and questioning in our learners.

The ability to consider and evaluate both academic and real-life situations are invaluable skills. As is true with any skill, we must take time to teach, model, and observe the progress in each student.

Let’s get started!

Warren Berger describes five ways to help student become better questioners:

  1. Make it safe
  2. Make it fun
  3. Make it stick
  4. Make it “cool”
  5. Make it rewarding

Start your child’s school year off right with an academic organization system.

Start the school year out with an organization system. Each student’s system will vary, but it is important that your system:

  • Keeps your priorities and due dates in one place
  • Separates your classes in a logical order (often by period or block)
  • Organizes papers from most recent to oldest
  • Keeps schools supplies in an accessible place

It often takes time to develop a system which works for you. Take some time at the beginning of the year to make sure your systems meets the objectives above. Alden Academic Services offers individual consultation regarding your binder and backpack organization.

We recommend that you consider a system and then work with a coach to customize this system for your needs. With a thoughtful system, you will be setting yourself up for success in this coming school year.