For Our Military Families:
We want to support you before, during, or after a family member's deployment, and through the challenging times that come along with being a military family. Please contact Mrs. Almonte, Mrs. Fish, Mrs. LaFrenaye, or Miss Place, or your child's teacher if there is any way we can help. In addition, please use these GREAT resources below for military families in RI, and across the United States.
Rhode Island Chapter of Operation Military Kids Supporting Children:
Brochure link to the Operation Military Kid's URI Base:
Contact Info. to Find Out More:
Rhode Island OMK Coordinator Pamela Martin
University of Rhode Island 4-H Office
75 Peckham Farm Road | Kingston, RI 02881
401.874.5291 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ways to Help Support Your Child's Learning: New York Times Article
From The New York Times: Motherlode, By: KJ Dell'Antonia, 9/4/14
Benedict Carey, the author of the book “How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where and Why It Happens” and a science reporter at The New York Times explains how parents can “prime” their own young students’ brains and help them engage with their studies more deeply. He has gone deep into the research and science of how the brain absorbs information, and here’s some of what he learned.
Let the child play teacher. You don’t really understand a topic until you have to teach it (as the professionals know too well). Let your young student stand up and give a short course. Many children love to show off what they know to a parent or sibling, even if they’ve spent only 15 minutes looking at their notes or books. Being a ham doesn’t feel at all like “learning,” but it’s one of the strongest forms of it known to cognitive science. This kind of amateur teaching is a form of testing — of self-examination.
Use restlessness in your favor. From an early age, we’re taught that the best way to study is to establish a strict ritual, find “one quiet place,” avoid distractions and isolate the work from daily life. But this advice is flat wrong — and limiting. Kids are restless because the brain is restless by nature, and it retains more material for longer when it studies in multiple environments than in just one, studies find. So: Encourage use of the couch, the kitchen table, the front porch, the backyard and even the diner down the block, if appropriate. Each change multiplies the cues — the sights, sounds, sensations — associated with each studied fact or figure, giving the brain a better shot later on to retrieve the material.
Put on some music. Have a student practice standing up, as well as sitting down. Writing notes by hand, rather than typing on a computer. Each variation helps the brain absorb material and skills in a different way, and it’s fun for kids to make their own contributions, too. (Although, studying while playing Xbox? No.)
Take a break (and yes, Instagram and texting count).Distractions can be extraordinary study aids, when used in the right context. Social media is a hazard when an activity needs continuous attention, like listening to a teacher. But when it comes to problem-solving, like addition or algebra or chemistry, this equation flips over. When a child is stuck on a problem or out of ideas — that’s when distraction is perhaps the best chance he or she has of breaking through.
The study of creative problem-solving finds that the brain needs to come up for air, in effect, to loosen the hold of mistaken assumptions when trying to see through some knot of a problem.
The kind of break is less important than having one. A video game session, a call to chat with a friend, a spell shooting baskets in the driveway: Each allows the brain to subconsciously reorganize the elements in a difficult problem. Within reason: not an hour, not the rest of the evening, just enough time to allow a return to the algebra or word puzzle with those initial (blocked) ideas weakened or replaced by new ones.
Let your child do the work in pieces. This is the kind of advice you’ve probably already heard yourself give: Honey, you don’t have to do it all tonight; you might do better with an hour today and an hour tomorrow.
A whole lot better, it turns out. When a child is preparing for a test or performance, the urge to cram everything into one session is strong, and foolish. Doing that is like frantically stuffing a cheap suitcase: It holds up for a while, and then everything all falls out. But distributed or “spaced” study can double the amount of material the brain absorbs (and holds onto), when the spacing is done according to a specific schedule. If the test is in a week, two sessions separated by a day or two is best; if it’s in a month, split the first two sessions by a week. Spaced study allows an increment of forgetting that makes the next study session extra-powerful. It’s like building muscle; you need a little breakdown of the tissue to make it strong the next time you lift weights.
Reward an early start on big projects. A big, amorphous project is looming — a term paper, a group report, a multimedia presentation. The key: Start in on it. Do something. Anything. Think for a half-hour; just open the book and flip the pages; talk about the project for 10 minutes. And then quit — before you’re ahead. Interruption of a big project cues the brain to begin scanning for relevant information. Notice what the brain does after a brief engagement with the project: Suddenly you notice possible connections in conversation, on the radio, on social media — and internally, tracking your own random thoughts. This process is called percolation, and many famous thinkers have written about it in detail.
Let exhaustion be a guide, not a source of comfort. Sleep is learning, of a distinct and valuable kind. The brain is active during sleep, and one thing it’s doing is consolidating what was studied or practiced, flagging what seems most important. Sleep has distinct states, each specialized to consolidate specific kinds of material — the first half of the night is rich with deep sleep, which is good for retention, as in foreign languages. The second half is rich in REM, which is better for pattern recognition, the kind we need for a math test. If you have a Spanish test to prepare for, don’t stay up too late; if it’s math or physics, don’t get up extra early. The study of sleep and learning tells us, if we’re going to burn the candle, which end to burn it on.
And exhaustion is the brain’s way of telling us that it’s time to stop. There’s little percentage in continued bleary-eyed staring at the social studies workbook or sawing away at the cello. The time has come to hit the hay — and let the sleeping brain finish the job.
Lights out. Computer and phone off. The crucial, integrating phase of homework time is just beginning.
10 Alternatives to the Question "How was school today?"
(Excerpts from Liz Evans 8/29/14 Huff Post Parents Blog post)
- What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
- Tell me something that made you laugh today.
- Where is the coolest place at the school?
- If I called your teacher tonight, what would she/he tell me about you?
- How did you help somebody today?
- How did somebody help you today?
- When were you the happiest today?
- Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?
- Where do you play the most at recess?
- If you could be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?