Broward Tutor

Reading

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

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

 

2012 Presidential Election by The Broward Tutor

One of the things that used to drive me crazy about my mom while growing up, was that I was required to accompany her wherever she went. She dragged me to rallies, political meet and greets, voter registration drives, and fundraisers for every charity under the sun. As I grew older, she would send me out on my own to get neighbors to sign petitions or give money to charity. Now that I look back on it, she was teaching me about
GETTING INVOLVED. Sorry for complaining, mom!

Thanks to my mother, I watch the democratic and republican conventions. I learn as much as I can about the candidates who might lead our country for the next four (or four more) years, and I especially enjoy the debates. I am an informed voter.

The 2012 presidential election is coming up quickly. There is still time for your whole family to get involved. Voting is a right, but it’s also a privilege. It wasn’t until 2005 that Saudi Arabians began holding local elections, but women still do not have the right to vote. In Brunei, no men OR women have had the right to vote since 1962, because it is governed by an absolute monarchy. The Peoples Republic of China, Iraq, Syria, Algeria, and many other countries are ruled by dictators.

As citizens of United States, we are lucky enough to be able to take part in the future of our democracy!

Chances are that by now, your child’s school has held Student Council elections. You can talk to them about the issues that concern them at school. What do the representatives and officeholders of their Student Council plan to accomplish? What are the traits they think make a good leader? This could lead to a discussion of the issues that concern them about our country and the world.

Together, you can compare and contrast the presidential candidates as you listen to televised speeches and debates. You will soon be receiving a sample ballot in the mail. Show your child what a ballot looks like, and discuss the choices you will be involved in making. On election night, you might allow your child to stay up late to watch the returns. On a U.S. map, your son or daughter can color in blue for democrat, or red for republican states as the returns come in. This might even lead to a bit of extra credit in school the next day. It’s certainly worth a try!

Other places to explore are:
h
ttp://www.timeforkids.com/minisite/election-2012  This is a fact and fun-filled site with bios of the presidential and vice presidential candidates, and fantastic features including an election site for kids, candidate interviews with kid reporters, and an electionary so they can learn election vocabulary.

Although they haven’t updated the following site since the ’08 election, this homepage has links to what a voting booth looks like, and you can click on ways the government affects you.  http://pbskids.org/democracy/

As you investigate these sites together, I guarantee you will learn a few things too.
It’s a great way for your family members to express their opinions on issues important to them.
So forget voter apathy, and embrace voter education!
Thanks again, Mom, for teaching me a great lesson.

Randi Gelfond
a.k.a.
The Broward Tutor

Study Tips from The Broward Tutor

You may be surprised to learn that often, children are unsure of how to study. If your child has poor study habits, this may lead to low or failing grades, and feelings of frustration for your child (and sometimes the rest of your family)!

In order to develop independent study habits, children can begin even before the school bell rings. The following back to school tips and study strategies are written for your child. If you like them, call your son or daughter over to read this blog. You may also consider copying and taping them into your child’s planner/agenda.

Skills for Success:
Before Class

  • arrive on time
  • sharpen pencils
  • organize yourself & prepare for the day (put away what you don’t need)
  • turn in homework

During Class

  • write a heading on every paper
  • look at the teacher and think about what he or she is saying
  • record homework assignments
  • read directions carefully
  • when using workbooks, underline or highlight the keywords that tell you what to do
  • take materials out immediately when asked
  • ask for help when needed
  • use class time to work on assignments
  • check or proofread your work
  • erase mistakes neatly

Before Leaving School

  • make sure that you are taking home textbooks, notebooks, and workbooks (whatever is required for completing your homework and studying)
  • check that your agenda/planner is filled out

Whew, I’m tired from just writing about this school day!
Okay, you’re finally home. Kids have snacked, relaxed for a few minutes, and . . . you guessed it, time for homework and studying!

Study Strategy:
Preparing for Homework

  • find a place that is free of distractions (not near your little sister, brother, or a TV)
  • set aside an area in the kitchen or family room that has a table or desk
  • have materials ready BEFORE you begin. Examples: paper, pencils, highlighter, dictionary, thesaurus, math tools

Studying and Completing Homework

  • study and do your homework at the same time each day
  • don’t start too late, because you don’t want to fall asleep doing it!
  • work for 20 minutes before taking a break
  • take a 5 – 10 minute break to reward yourself (pet your dog, grab an apple)
    then . . . get back to work!

I hope these back to school tips help your child/children get off to a strong start in the new school year! Let me know what you think.
Until next time,

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

High Interest Reading Resources by The Broward Tutor

Forget about worksheets! Make reading more fun for your children. One way to increase motivation in reading is to use articles from children’s magazines that interest your child.

One of my third grade students is a sports enthusiast, so, the example (shown on left) began with a Sports Illustrated Kids magazine.  I made up questions from the sports cards  included with the magazine, and used the statistics to have my student compare and contrast the players. The article was used to teach many reading comprehension skills, including finding the main idea and details, determining fact and opinion, making inferences, and drawing conclusions.

Other great resources for reading are: National Geographic Kids and Time for Kids.

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

Fun and Easy Read Aloud Activity from The Broward Tutor

 

Here is a reading resource you don’t have to search for! Look around you. Are you in a car . . . in your kitchen? Most of the time, you are surrounded by literacy. This is a free reading game you can enjoy with your kids right now! Find a sign, package, magazine cover, etc., and have your child read it aloud with expression. Make sure to model this for him/her first, and don’t forget to enunciate your words. You can choose to read ANYTHING aloud using funny voices or silly accents. You can even imitate your Uncle Harvey!
This is great fluency practice for your kids.
Note: most packages (see Milkbone example) are written at a 4th to 5th grade level. The goal here should be fun and fluency.
Don’t forget to take turns around the dinner table to see who can get the most laughs!

Randi Gelfond
a.k.a
TheBrowardTutor

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Randi Gelfond
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