Broward Tutor

Summer Library Fun by The Broward Tutor

Have you taken your kids to the library lately?
Libraries in Broward County are a perfect place to spend quality time this summer. library-clipart-prbrcsz4

During the school year, your children are given reading materials in school that may or MAY NOT interest them.
Often, there is strong pressure to read AR books (in order to pass a quiz, or win points for their class).
Obviously, AR books are terrific, but a trip to the library allows kids to choose their own books. This will give them the ability to read about what really excites them, and to form a true and real love of reading.

In addition to the freedom your son or daughter has to independently select their own reading materials, the library has so much more to offer!

The Youth Summer R.E.A.D.ing Program kicks off June 7th, which is just around the corner. In addition to reading, there are a multitude of fun activities your child(ren) can participate in for FREE, including Arts & Crafts, Lego Creations, Science experiments, Theater, Elementary Engineering, Movies, Money & Banking, and Mummy Making. You can download a free Summer R.E.A.D.ing Program Guide at http://www.broward.org/library/summer/Pages/Default.aspx. to find out where and when these cool programs are offered.

Online, the library offers Internet Safety Tips for Kids, Homework Help, and Smarty Games, a free educational website for Pre-K and elementary school students.

I meet many of my students in libraries around Broward county, and I am surprised at how few children and their parents have library cards. Many of my students want to check out materials, but can’t because their parents/grandparents/guardians/caregivers don’t have one. If you work, live, or attend school in Broward county, all you need is a driver’s license with a photo on it. That’s It!

Libraries also provide stress relief. They are quiet, air conditioned, and have comfy tables and chairs. So, shut out the heat, and get lost in a world of faraway lands, underground caves, tornadoes, fairy tales, zero gravity . . .  the possibilities are endless!

Have a wonderful summer!
Randi Gelfond,
a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

Elementary Math Strategies by The Broward Tutor

Are your kids staying up late, filled with frustration over math problems? Are you both ready to pull your hair out? Here are a few math strategies that will help your child gain confidence.

Word problems seem to be trickier than ever these days. While reading them, your child can circle all numbers/data, underline keywords that tell which operation to use, and then underline the question being asked. Pretending they are in the given situation will help them think of the separate parts involved.  These ‘chunks’ of information can be plugged into the order given in the problem.

Goal setting can be beneficial. For instance, if your child does just the easiest problems first, he or she will feel an immediate sense of achievement. Hopefully, this will lead to a determination to complete the harder ones. Of course you can help with a few problems. Perhaps you can show your son/daughter a different way to solve them. Once your child gets the idea, try to back off. The idea is to get them to become self-reliant. THEY CAN AND WILL FIGURE IT OUT!

If your child is a student in a Broward County school, he or she can use beep.browardschools.com for tutorials and explanations of each lesson. The Reteach workbook shows each lesson (coordinated with the regular workbook pages) broken into small easy-to-understand steps. Have your child do the homework problem using the same steps.

One of my students stops and takes a deep breath before tackling a difficult problem. Then she says to herself, “I can do this.” This simple mantra gets her focused and in the zone. I’ve seen for myself how this short bit of mental preparation helps her complete a challenge. Is is very satisfying for a child to figure out a math problem on their own!

Remember, your child must be able to complete math problems independently to pass the test. Good luck and GO MATH!

Mathematically yours,
Randi Gelfond, a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

Back to School Again by The Broward Tutor

This blog is written for your children, so please share it with them!

It’s that time again. You are probably feeling excited, nervous, sad that summer is over, – perhaps all three feelings are going through you at the same time!

Here are some back to school tips to help you get off to a great start.

• Smile, greet your teacher, and introduce yourself.
You will be doing your teacher a favor, because he or she is trying to memorize the names of all of their students. You will be remembered in a positive way because you are polite!

• Remember, teachers are as nervous as the students on the first day of school, so take your seat right away, and be ready for what’s next.

• The night BEFORE school starts, pack up your backpack, lay out your clothes/accessories, and make your lunch. It will keep your first morning relatively stress-free!

• Ask questions if you are confused.

For new 6th graders:

• Look at a map of the school to see where your classrooms are.

• If you don’t have all of your supplies yet, at least bring a notebook/agenda and a pencil. Write down the most important things –  like your teacher’s names, classroom numbers, bathroom locations, where your assigned seats are, and when your lunch period is.

• Look sharp. This will make you feel more positive about yourself.

• Try to be friendly to everyone. You will be happy to see some familiar faces, but it’s a great time to meet new people too! You may meet kids that have similar interests and talents.

• If you are lost, don’t panic! Get up the nerve to ask an older student or any adult.
All sixth graders are new, so no one knows where they’re going!

• Smile and look like you know what you are doing, no one will know the difference.

• Keep a sense of humor!

• By the middle of the week you will know your way around and have adjusted to your new routine.

It’s going to be a GREAT year!

Randi Gelfond,
a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

Summer Family Fun by The Broward Tutor

Got the summer doldrums? Need a pick me up? Sick of making forts and doing jigsaw puzzles?
Get everyone out of the house for a while!

Here are some great summer family fun suggestions both close to home and fun to do. You can document your escapades by keeping a journal that includes photos and observations from your family members. Your kids will enjoy the memories as they grow up and look back at it!

The beach is my #1 favorite activity in the summer. It’s so quiet and relaxing. You can even bring a field guide. Creating a replica of a local mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian in the sand can be a terrific family experience! My second favorite is the library. There are so many summer reading events and activities for all ages, including:  arts & crafts, chess tournaments, cooking classes, magic shows, movies, jewelry making, game days, and book clubs. Check your local library for a schedule at   www.broward.org/library.
Click on the other links below to decide which activities your family would enjoy.

FORT LAUDERDALE AREA
Ann Kolb Nature Center  (hands-on nature experiences, canoeing & kayaking, displays of mangrove ecosystems)
http://www.broward.org/Parks/WestLakePark/Pages/AnneKolbNatureCenter.aspx
Museum of Discovery and Science/ IMAX Theater   www.mods.org/
Old Davie School Museum   www.olddavieschool.org
Flamingo Gardens   flamingogardens.org/
Museum of Art Ft. Lauderdale   www.moafl.org/
Young at Art Museum   youngatartmuseum.org/
Native Village   nativevillage.com/
Rapids Water Park   rapidswaterpark.com/
Butterfly World  butterflyworld.com/
Lion Country Safari  www.lioncountrysafari.com/
Local Parks: Many have water parks, canoes, paddleboats, bike and hiking trails, picnic spots, playgrounds, and sporting fields
(my personal favorites are TY Park in Hollywood and CB Smith Park in Pembroke Pines)     www.broward.org/parks
Everglades Holiday Park for Airboat Rides  http://www.evergladesholidaypark.com/
Guided Fishing Trip through the Everglades (tell Captain Neal, my wonderful neighbor, that Randi Gelfond sent you) www.americanevergladesguide.com/

MIAMI AREA
Miami Museum of Science and Planetarium     www.miamisci.org/
Miami Metrozoo    www.miamimetrozoo.com/
Miami Seaquarium   www.miamiseaquarium.com/
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden   www.fairchildgarden.org/
Jungle Island   www.jungleisland.com/
Venetian Pool in Coral Gables   This is a large swimming pool with waterfalls, underwater caves, and a beach. VERY UNIQUE! The springs were created from a coral rock quarry.
Phone:  305-460-5306

ENJOY THE REST OF THE SUMMER!
Randi Gelfond, a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

 

Science Scavenger Hunt by The Broward Tutor

Now that your kids have made it through another school year, it’s time to give your whole family a high-five. All the hard work and schedule juggling will finally ease up for all of you. But, how can you keep your kids learning over the summer? Give them new experiences, and dare I say it?  Go outside and have a summer SCIENCE SCAVENGER HUNT!

Your kids may whine, and even beg not to go because they HATE GETTING DIRTY and/or SWEATY. But it’s important for all of us to get out of our comfort zones sometimes. You don’t want your kids labeled with ‘nature-deficit disorder,’ do you? Outdoor science experiences are everywhere. So, throw down your electronics, apply your sunscreen & bug repellant, grab some water, and go. A day of science discovery lies ahead!

Science Scavenger Hunt

Explore, be curious, and don’t forget to release any living specimens you have collected. Be inspired by the natural world around you!

You can create a checklist to take with you from the information below. This list is just a suggestion. You should tweak the information to fit the environment you choose. When one of you finds an item on the list, it should be collected or shared with the group and recorded in the journal. Try to find a park with lots of trees and paths, but some neighborhoods will do just fine!

MATERIALS
• plastic container
• tweezers
• small gardening tools or spoons & forks
• a small notebook or journal
• pencils and/or colored pencils
• camera
• a field guide to plants, animals, or insects (if you have one)
• garden gloves (for the faint of heart)

ANIMALS
• dragonfly
• butterfly
• spider & web
• squirrel
• ant
• worm
• beetle
• little lizards
• tadpoles
• birds

PLANTS
• variegated leaf
• thick leaf or succulent
• thin leaf
• air plant (epiphyte)
• coniferous tree
• deciduous tree
• flowering tree

DEFINITIONS AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION

thin leaf – typically, leaves are flat and thin. Thin leaves are arranged on the plant in order to expose their surfaces to light.

variegated leaf – a leaf which contains green and non-green parts. The leaf may have a mixture of green with white or yellow white or yellow. These zones on the leaf contrast with the usual green tissue.

thick leaf (succulent) – having thick fleshy leaves or stems that store water. Succulents are usually adapted to drier environments such as deserts, and display other characteristics that reduce water loss, such as waxy coatings on leaves and stems. Examples:  cacti,  jade plants

air plant – a plant that grows above the ground, supported by another plant or object. Air plants get their nutrients and water from rain, air, and dust. Examples: Spanish moss, orchids


coniferous tree – coniferous trees are usually evergreen, and often have drought-resistant leaves that are long and needle-shaped. They produce cones. Coniferous trees keep their foliage all year round. Examples: evergreens, firs, pine


deciduous tree – Deciduous trees are plants that drop their leaves for a part of every year, usually during periods of dryness or cold weather. Their branches remain free of foliage until conditions improve. For the tree, this means that it can save energy by not working to keep the leaves green and healthy.

flowering tree – the flowers attract pollinators, and fruits feed birds and small mammals. Examples:  Royal Poinciana, Golden Shower tree, Jacaranda

adaptation – a special feature that allows a plant or animal to be better suited to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.

Animals have adapted to different environments in order to survive. Some adaptations are physical, such as gills that allow fish to breathe underwater. Some animals may adapt through behaviors. A porcupine extends its quills, making it difficult for other animals to eat them.



Plants have adaptations allowing them to live and grow in different areas. Some plants climb or grow on other plants to reach the sunlight. Some trees have thick bark to protect them against the cold. Spines, such as on cacti, protect the plants from animals who eat the plant for water.

Use as many of the following science process skills as you can,
so that your children will recognize the vocabulary as they advance in science learning.

discusstalk about color, shape, texture, pattern, and size.

observeuse the senses to explore and learn. How are the leaves arranged on the stem? Are the leaves waxy or dull? Does the animal live alone or in groups? Is it climbing, eating, sleeping, washing its fur, searching for food?

compare/contrast – try to identify what you see and find out how they are alike and different
 from other organisms

classifygroup objects into categories based on specific characteristics

recordwrite, draw, or photograph what you see.

NOTE: When you get home, clean up and cool off. Take the opportunity to research anything you want to learn more about!

Do you have any other ideas to add to this scavenger hunt?
Please add your cool ideas in the comments section.

Hope you have a fun, happy and safe summer!
Randi Gelfond, a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

 

 

 

FCAT Test Anxiety 2014 – The Sequel by The Broward Tutor

DATELINE/PEMBROKE PINES, FL
Third grader taken to emergency room for chest pains.
Thankfully, the cause only appeared to be FCAT test anxiety.

DATELINE/DAVIE, FL
4th grade gifted student breaks down in tears of frustration while trying to write his umpteenth expository of the year in preparation for the FCAT Writing exam.
DATELINE/COOPER CITY, FL
5th grader hysterical after a failing grade on an FCAT practice test – right after receiving an honor roll award.

These stories are absolutely true, and the sad thing is these are perfectly wonderful, bright, and motivated children. They are being crushed by FCAT stress!

It’s crunch time for Broward public schoolers – the dreaded FCAT test is looming!
FCAT test anxiety is a problem that’s running rampant in 3rd through 5th graders, where, for the first time, children are faced with the issue of being held back.

Reassure your child about this test. Kids only know the FCAT carries such weight because of the attitudes of parents and teachers. Tell them that if they pay attention in school, complete their homework, review their schoolwork, and use the strategies they have been taught, THEY WILL PASS THE FCAT! Tell them you just want them to do their personal best!

If you are truly worried . . .
1. Sign your child up for my FCAT Blast classes. I am offering a series of classes on the 4 Saturdays before the FCAT. The dates are March 29, and April 5, 12, and 19, so if you are interested, call me right away to make a reservation (954-850-0964). I will be happy to email you a schedule.

2. Schools are offering extra help IF YOUR CHILD FITS THE REQUIREMENTS. Call your school’s office to see what FREE after-school FCAT classes are being offered.

3. Go to Ace Educational http://www.aceeducational.com/on University Dr. between Griffin & Stirling. The staff there is outstanding, and they will steer you toward just the right materials.

4. Hire a tutor. Whether it is me, a family member, or an older child in the neighborhood, it will give your child an extra boost of confidence and self-esteem. He or she will feel more prepared to handle the exam.

Your child has made it through tough situations before with flying colors. Ask them what helped to alleviate their stress during those difficult times. Kids must find ways to cope with anxiety, just like adults do!

Best of Luck,
Randi Gelfond
a.k.a
TheBrowardTutor

FCAT Test Anxiety Causes Stress by The Broward Tutor

FCAT  2.0 testing begins in April, and already parents and teachers are getting the heebie jeebies! At a recent visit to my favorite educational store, parents were lined up with FCAT materials like a line in Toys R Us before Christmas! Unfortunately, though, they were not smiling with excitement.

FCAT Test anxiety causes stress – not only for elementary school students, but for teachers and parents as well. These days, a percentage of a teacher’s salary is directly related to their students FCAT scores. Parents are worried their children won’t pass, and will be held back and ostracized by their peers. For success on the FCAT, children need to know the curriculum, but utilizing test taking skills on standardized tests will put stress and test anxiety to rest.

With that in mind, I am writing to inform you of my 2nd annual FCAT Blast 2.0 for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students!
Seminars will be held between 9 and 12:30 on March 23 & 30, and April 6 & 13.
Topics for Math: Math Test Taking Strategies, Word Problems & Fractions, Geometry & Measurement, and Algebra & Data Analysis.
Topics for Reading: Reading Test Taking Strategies, Vocabulary & Comprehension, Literary Text (fiction), and Informative Text (nonfiction).

I will be happy to send you the schedule if you are interested. Just shoot me an email, or call me at 954-850-0964. Please call in the morning or evening, as I do not answer my phone when I am working with students.
I hope your child can participate!
Regards,
Randi Gelfond
a.k.a
TheBrowardTutor

 

The Power of Positive Thinking by The Broward Tutor

Do you realize that parents are the ones that have the most influence on their children?  It’s parents that can change the way their children see themselves.

Teach your kids to overcome their fears and doubts by using the power of positive thinking. This is a skill that will last a lifetime, and by modeling it yourself, you will surely feel its undeniable potential!

Focus your attention on only your positive thoughts in a particular situation. Completely dismiss the negative thoughts in your head. A great time to give this a whirl is when your son or daughter is really aggravating you. Try putting this in
a thought bubble over your head, ‘Positive thoughts + positive words = positive outcomes.’ You should now be noticing only your child’s unique and special qualities. Let me know how this works for you!

Encourage your children to try these techniques. If your child has made a mistake or misjudgment, teach them to focus on what went right about the situation. How did their skills, talents, and know-how help them? How will they use this information to make better choices? Going through this process will give your child a big shot of self confidence!

In 2013, remember to share with your child all the positive traits you notice as homework and chores get completed. Positive reinforcement is the way to go! The more capable and empowered your child feels, the more he or she will strive for personal growth and improvement.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2013!
Randi Gelfond,

a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

Involve your Children in the Holidays by the Broward Tutor

There are so many fun and easy ways to involve your children in the holidays.
The best part is that you can give them real, meaningful jobs to do! 

Remember those holiday art projects your kids did in preschool? I’ll bet they’re in your dusty garage! Pull them out, and let your children tape them to your walls. They will really appreciate that you have kept their special artwork, AND will notice how their artistic abilities have improved over time. When your kids help you decorate your home, it’s a real self-esteem booster for them.
The biggest tip – DON’T expect everything to be perfect! You will have to compromise a bit if you want your holidays to be fun!

A great confidence builder is to have a grown-up conversation with your kids about any project you will be undertaking. Get that communication flowing! Plan projects together by discussing the steps involved. Ask your children how to best gather the materials, and which stores will be likely to have your items. Have them create a list of the items needed. As far as food goes, have your child go through your recipes for you, and make a shopping list of the necessary ingredients. Don’t forget to let them help you wrap presents, roll your cookie dough into balls, and/or set the table. You will soon have enthusiastic holiday helpers!

A few EASY holiday kids crafts:
• PAPER SNOWFLAKES – All you need is paper, scissors, and if you are throwing caution to the wind, glitter, crayons, etc.. . .
Paper snowflakes can be hung from the ceiling or taped to a window, and instantly create a winter wonderland!
Begin with a square piece of paper. Fold square in half diagonally. Fold what is now a triangle again diagonally. Fold paper in thirds (one side to the front, the other to the back. Trim the extra piece of paper off the end of your small triangle. Cut fun designs around the outside of your triangle. Unfold and admire! For a visual set of instructions, here’s a link: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Colors/papersnowflake/papersnowflake-6side12side.html
• PLACE MATS – Have your kids color a holiday scene on construction paper, or cut strips of colored construction paper so they can ‘weave’ one on their own.
• PLACEHOLDERS – Your family and friends will get a kick out of homemade personalized placeholders during a special holiday dinner.

Enjoy spending this wonderful time with your kids. Your life isn’t likely to get less stressful anytime soon, so get started today!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Randi Gelfond,
a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

Accept Help When You Need It!

After being slightly incapacitated by some broken bones in my foot, I realized that in order to heal properly, I needed to accept help when it was offered. Those of you who know me well, see that I rarely stop  moving. Being told to stay off my feet is like a jail sentence for me! Thankfully, my husband and friends have cooked, driven, vacuumed, picked up for me, and cheered me up!

One of my closest friends mentioned how good it felt to be helping me. I understood what she meant right away. That’s how I always feel when volunteering, doing a good deed, or even picking out just the right present.

I already knew how good it felt to help others, but now I have seen first hand that taking help from others is also a blessing. In high school, I had terrible math anxiety. I was completely lost. I had no problem with other subjects, but in math, BIG PROBLEMS! My parents sprang for a tutor and he taught me strategies to use that would help me succeed.

That is why I love teaching and tutoring today. It gives me great pleasure providing my students with learning tools that lead them to improved grades and test scores. If I hadn’t taken the help when it was offered, I might never have been accepted to college, passed the teacher’s certification exam, . . .
Randi Gelfond
a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

 

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