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7 Things to Tell the Teacher About Your Child

What can you tell a teacher that will help him do his job better? You might be surprised. While your child’s teacher is the expert in education, no one knows more about your child than you do. It’s just as important for parents to tell teachers about issues at home that may affect school performance as it is for teachers to report how children are doing in the classroom.

Students do best when parents and teachers work together as partners. The start of a new school year is a great time to open a dialogue with your child’s teacher. Not sure where to start? Here are seven things teachers wish you would tell them. Sharing this information with a teacher will help her better understand your child’s needs and lay the groundwork for a cooperative relationship throughout the school year.

  1. Health conditions: If your child is diabetic, uses an inhaler, is allergic to peanuts, or has a serious health condition, her teacher should know. It’s also helpful to let the teacher know whether your child has been diagnosed with conditions like ADHD, which may affect behavior and concentration.
  2. Family issues: Fill in the teacher if your family is going through a major change that could affect your child, such as a divorce, a death in the family, or a move. Even if your child seems to have adjusted well, alert teachers so they can watch for behavioral changes.
  3. Personality traits or behavior issues: Maybe your son is painfully shy and is worried about making friends at a new school. Or perhaps your kindergartner has been having tantrums at home and you’re concerned she’ll do the same at school. It’s best to make teachers aware of these issues before they become a problem at school.
  4. Strengths and weaknesses: Your daughter is a star student in math but is embarrassed to read aloud. Your son loves language arts but struggles with science. If you tell teachers these things up front, they’ll have more time to help your children improve in the areas they need it most.
  5. Learning style: You’ve spent years teaching your kids, from potty training to tying shoelaces, so you have a good idea of their learning styles. If your child learns better through hands-on activities than through listening to explanations, mention that to his teacher. Also share any teaching strategies that you’ve found work well with your child.
  6. Study habits: Does your son speed through math homework but labor over reading assignments? Do your daughter’s grades suffer because she spends so much time at skating lessons? Tell teachers about your children’s study habits and any issues they face in completing the work. Teachers often can offer suggestions to make homework time go more smoothly.
  7. Special interests: Knowing more about your child’s hobbies or interests can help the teacher forge connections in the classroom. Let the teacher know that your young son loves a particular comic book superhero and that your middle school daughter is a gifted painter.

This article is reprinted with the permission of School Family Media, and can be found on their website here.

Standing Boosts Learning

Adapted from The Conversation

Study after study has connected inactivity with negative health outcomes, including heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. But most of this attention has been focused on adults in an office environment, and the negative impact of sitting on physical health. Hence, the growing popularity of standing desks in offices.

Moving more is good for our bodies. Over the past few years many researchers have begun evaluating the use of standing-height desks (allowing students to sit on a stool or stand at will) instead of the more traditional seated desks in school classrooms. Results have been promising, but until now, researchers have typically focused on utilizing standing desks as a way to combat sedentary behavior.

While studies shows that standing desks can burn calories, anecdotal evidence from teachers suggests that students also focus more and behave better while using standing desks.

But is there anything to these anecdotal observations? The Texas A&M Ergonomics Center decided to investigate whether standing desks had neurocognitive benefits for students. It turns out that letting kids move in the classroom helps boost attention and focus.

Click here to read more about the benefits of standing desks in the classroom.

What’s Lost When Kids Are ‘Under-connected’ to the Internet?

Students working on computers

Article adapted from KQED News

Ownership of mobile devices has grown swiftly since the introduction of the smartphone and has created more opportunities to connect to the Internet. Mobile devices have meant more Internet connectivity, but a closer look at how lower-income families use that access reveals the digital divide is still a problem.

A report by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and Rutgers University found that until all families have reliable Internet access at home, learning environments will not be equitable.

Kids who don’t have reliable Internet access at home (which includes the use of a laptop of desktop for connecting to the Internet) are “less likely to go online to look up information about things that they are interested in,” according to the report. While mobile devices do provide Internet access, kids don’t seem to use them for the deeper type of informal learning championed by tech advocates: 35 percent of children with mobile-only access look up information often, as compared with 52 percent of kids with Internet at home.

To read more, visit KQED News

Teachers Receive Training from The Walking Classroom

TWC trainingThe 2015-2016 school year brings a new way of learning to students at three local elementary schools.  The Walking Classroom (TWC), an innovative program giving young students the chance to listen and learn while taking a brisk walk, was piloted locally in a fourth and fifth grade class at Lake Sybelia last year with grant support from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF). Now, with the support of an expansion grant from WPHF, all fourth and fifth grade students (22 classrooms and approximately 440 students) at Lake Sybelia, Aloma, and Hungerford Elementary schools will have the opportunity to walk and learn.

TWC WalkKitBefore classes start for Orange County Public School students, teachers from Aloma, Lake Sybelia, and Hungerford elementary schools had the opportunity to participate in a TWC training, delivered by TWC’s Kalle Mitchell. Through this training, teachers learned how to effectively introduce and utilize TWC in their classroom curriculum.  Teachers now have the knowledge and tools necessary to engage students and volunteers in fun and meaningful walking and learning.  If you have a fourth or fifth grader at one of these schools, don’t be surprised if your student talks to you about being chosen to be a “caboose” or a “pacer,” these are some of the fun roles students will be filling while participating in TWC.

Also, be on the lookout for your child to bring home a TWC lending library this year.  The lending library will allow for you and your student to experience TWC at home. You can listen to a podcast with your child, experience what they experience within the classroom, then journal about your experience.  This is an excellent opportunity to “walk” in your child shoes!

Click here for more information on The Walking Classroom.