December 2013 Vol. 21, No. 4 ® Channelview Independent School District Parents Make the Difference still make the difference! Websites can motivate teens to read more Maximize learning with five memory-boosting strategies M emory skills, especially longterm memory skills, are critical for learning. Long-term memory is what builds the “store of knowledge” we draw on all our lives. To help your teen boost her memory power, share these pointers: 1. Look at the big picture. If she knows an upcoming test is only on Chapter Four, she will want to spend most of her time on that chapter. However, she should also take a few moments to look at summaries of other chapters. This tells her how Chapter Four relates to the whole unit. Memory improves when this relationship is understood. 2. Put information on index cards and review the cards frequently. Copyright © 2013, The Parent Institute® This tried-and-true method really does make remembering small chunks of information easier. 3. Focus hardest on the middle part of reading material. Our brains remember the beginning and end parts best. 4. Use mnemonics or acronyms. Techniques like the poem, “Thirty days hath September,” can help a teen remember. 5. Study and then rest or sleep. The brain is never asleep. While your teen’s body is getting much needed rest, her brain will still be working on sorting out and retaining the material she fed it just before going to bed. Source: E. Jensen, Student Success Secrets, Barron’s Educational Series. www.parent-institute.com There are many websites designed exclusively to encourage reading. Here are a few to share with your teen: • Bookloons (www.bookloons. com) has a section just for teens with contests, book reviews, excerpts from upcoming books, articles and interviews with authors. • Teen Reads (www.teenreads. com) has contests, book clubs, podcasts and videos, book reviews, links to the newest books and the “Ultimate Teen Reading List”—a list of over 250 books that are sure to keep your teen interested. • TeensPoint (www. teenspoint.org) is a great site where teens can read reviews or post their own opinions for others to see. • Goodreads (www.goodreads. com) is a book lovers social networking site, similar to Facebook, where teens can see what their friends are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and get book recommendations. Practical ideas for parents to help their children Copyright © 2013, The Parent Institute® www.parent-institute.com Motivate your teen with a time capsule linking school to future A time capsule can help your high schooler think about her future. Tell her to write a letter to herself, to be opened the day after she graduates from high school. The letter should spell out her goals and dreams. It might start like this: “Dear [name of teen]: I am writing this letter to myself in the [grade level] grade.” In the letter, your teen should complete the following statements: • When I graduate from high school, I want to be known as the student who ... . • After high school, I hope to ... . • In high school, I’ll have to do well in ... . Put the letter in a safe place. Just the act of writing it will help your teen think about why she needs to study and focus on school. Source: E. Wissner-Gross, What High Schools Don’t Tell You, Hudson Street Group. “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” —Malcolm Forbes Coaching can help your high schooler make better decisions Ever watch how a coach teaches an athlete a new skill? Generally, the coach breaks the skill down into smaller parts, then lets the athlete practice them until the skill is mastered. This same approach works for teaching teens how to make better decisions. Here’s how: 1. Discuss the issue. What is it your teen needs to do or decide? What does he already know about this issue? 2. Gather information. If your teen is facing a decision about a situation he’s never faced before, encourage him to avoid making a choice until he has as much information as possible. 3. List the alternatives. Encourage your teen not to think of all decisions as either-or choices. There may be several alternatives. 4. Think about consequences. Draw a line down a piece of paper. Write one alternative at the top. On the left side of the paper, write the positive consequences from the decision. Write negative consequences on the right side. 5. Consider feelings and values. Sometimes, the best decision on paper may not feel right. Teens need to consider their family’s values as they make a choice. 6. Choose the best possible course of action. Although it’s hard for a parent to let go of this part of the decision-making process, it’s the most important step to turn over to your teen. If your teen makes a wise choice, be sure to praise him. If he makes a poor choice, help him see how he can avoid that mistake another time. Source: “Helping Youth Say No,” National Association of State Boards of Education, Parent Education Project. 2 • High School • Parents still make the difference! • December 2013 Are you helping your teen handle after-school time? Teens spend twice as much time out of the classroom as in it. And studies show that teens who use those after-school hours wisely tend to do better in school. Are you helping your teen make the most of after-school hours? Answer yes or no to each question below to find out: ___1. Do you know where your teen goes after school? ___2. Do you ask your teen to check in with you when he gets home from school if you are at work? ___3. Have you encouraged your teen to join a school club or sport he enjoys? Research shows that teens who do more than just study are more successful after high school. ___4. Do you limit the time your teen can watch TV after school? ___5. Does your teen have a regular study time and do you check to see that homework is finished? How well are you doing? Each yes means you’re helping your teen use after-school hours wisely. For no answers, try those ideas. ® still make the difference! Practical Ideas for Parents to Help 1523-1291 Their Children. ISSN: 1523-2395 For subscription information call or write: The Parent Institute®, 1-800-756-5525, P.O. Box 7474, Fairfax Station, VA 22039-7474. Fax: 1-800-216-3667. Or visit: www.parent-institute.com. Published monthly September through May by The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc., an independent, private agency. Equal opportunity employer. Copyright © 2013 NIS, Inc. Publisher: John H. Wherry, Ed.D. Editor: Rebecca Miyares. Illustrator: Joe Mignella. X02399383 www.parent-institute.com Copyright © 2013, The Parent Institute® Reduce your teen’s stress to improve attendance, learning Research has found that teens who experience stress at home are likely to have attendance problems and difficulty learning at school for up to two days following the stress. The study found that sources of stress for teens included: • Conflict with parents. • Family demands. • Problems with homework. • Time management issues. It makes sense—if your teen is spending her time in science class thinking about something that happened at home the night before, she is less likely to pay attention— and therefore less likely to learn. If your teen is experiencing stress, suggest that she: • Take a deep breath. It sounds simple, but works surprisingly well. Taking time to stop and think about the issue at hand may help your teen see a solution to the problem. • Exercise. Twenty to 30 minutes of exercise can relieve tension and clear your teen’s head. If she’s feeling stressed, encourage her to go for a run or try some yoga. Eating right will also keep your teen feeling her best. • Keep a journal. Some teens find that it’s easier to write down their feelings. This is a great way to relieve stress—and your teen will be strengthening her writing skills at the same time. Source: J. Warner, “Teen Stress at Home Lingers in School,” WebMD Health News, http://tinyurl.com/kloq84y. Give your teen three test-taking strategies that lead to success Whether it’s that allimportant driver’s test or a short quiz in math class, testing is a fact of life for today’s teens. To help your teen succeed on any test, suggest that he: 1. Read the directions carefully. This will keep your teen from making simple and avoidable mistakes. The directions could say, “Answer two of these four questions.” Or they could say that some questions have more than one correct answer. On a math test, the directions may ask your teen to show his work. 2. Use time wisely. Have your teen read through the entire test before answering any questions. Then budget his time. If the essay question is worth 50 points, he will know how much time to allow. He’ll also know when he’s spending too much time on a single question. Using time wisely also means using all the time available. Some teens treat tests like a NASCAR race—they want to be first across the finish line. Teach your teen to use any extra time to check his work. 3. Answer the easy questions first. Getting off to a strong start can give your teen the confidence to tackle tougher questions. Answering the easier questions first may also remind your teen of a fact or two that he’ll need in order to answer the more difficult questions. Source: J. Thompson, The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide, Jossey-Bass Publishers. Q: My son’s grades have never been very good, and this year (his first year in high school) is no exception. He wants to try out for a school team. Should I make him sit out this sports season until his grades improve or should I let him try out? Questions & Answers A: There are two ways to look at after-school activities. For some students, these activities take up study time. But for others, the sports may actually help students do better in school. The key, as always, is balance. Most teens who spend fewer than 20 hours on an activity or sport can also be good students. Playing a sport can help teens: • Learn time management. Many teens get their best grades during their sports season. They spend less time watching TV or goofing around with their friends. • Set higher goals for themselves. Athletes often set their sights on going to college. If your son spends time with students who are aiming high, perhaps he’ll set his own sights a bit higher. To make the right decision: • Talk to your son’s coach and share your concerns about his grades. Find out what the rules are about athletes’ grades and ask his opinion. • Ask the coach to talk with your son. Have him tell your son about the grades and test scores he’ll need if he wants to keep playing sports in high school and into college. • Set clear expectations for success. Most teen athletes will rise to the challenge. December 2013 • High School • Parents still make the difference! • 3 Copyright © 2013, The Parent Institute® www.parent-institute.com It Matters: Building Character Volunteering builds character and experience Volunteering is a great way to help teens build character. Community service can teach important lessons in responsibility, discipline and teamwork. When your teen participates in community service, she is not only contributing to society—she is contributing to her own future. Volunteer work can help her identify career interests and build workplace skills. It can also enhance her college application, as many colleges view community service as a valuable learning experience. Studies show that teens who volunteer just two hours a week are 50 percent less likely to smoke, drink or do drugs. In addition, teens who volunteer earn better grades and develop leadership skills that will help them throughout life. The holiday season offers many opportunities for community service. Your teen can: • Volunteer at a soup kitchen. • Work at a food pantry, sorting donated goods. • Visit a nursing home. • Help with a food or clothing drive. • Collect items for a toy drive. • Wrap gifts at a local mall. Check at your local library or community center for volunteer opportunities in your area. Source: R. Grimm, Jr. and others, Youth Helping America, Corporation for National & Community Service, www.nationalservice.gov/sites/default/files/ documents/YHA.pdf. Does your teen understand the value of academic honesty? T oday, many teens think that cheating is normal. The results of several studies show that between 80 and 95 percent of teens admitted to cheating at least once in the past year. And 75 percent admitted to cheating four or more times in the past year. To discourage your teen from cheating: • Talk about it. Let him know that copying answers from a friend is cheating. So is plagiarizing— trying to pass off information from a book or the Internet as your own original effort. • Don’t do his work for him. This sends the message that turning in another’s work is okay. It also says that you don’t think he can do the work on his own. • Encourage your teen to be proud of himself when he accomplishes things on his own. This tells him he can do it—without cheating. Source: T. Walker, “What Can Be Done About Student Cheating? ” National Education Association, http:// neatoday.org/2012/12/11/what-can-be-done-aboutstudent-cheating/. A positive attitude is vital to your teen’s success, happiness A positive attitude is the cornerstone of character. Many key elements of character, including kindness, empathy and leadership, are impossible to achieve if you only look at the dark side of life. To encourage positivity, help your teen: • Be hopeful. On most days, some things will go well and others won’t. Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Focus more on what went well. Make it your starting point for beginning the next day. 4 • High School • Parents still make the difference! • December 2013 • Move on. Your teen didn’t get picked for a certain team. The next chance to try out isn’t until next year and no changes will be made to this year’s roster. After some disappointment, encourage her to put it behind her for now. Look in a new direction. • Avoid comparing herself to others. There will always be someone who seems smarter, more popular or more fortunate. Focusing on feelings of “not quite measuring up” can squash positivity.
* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project