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Archives - November 2014

Learning about Helping Our Kids Learn from One of the Best!

November 17, 2014
By Miss Barbie

Susan Gingras Fitzell (M.Ed., CSP) is the top education speaker in the areas of learning strategies, special education needs, and collaborative co-teaching. She is a nationally recognized educational speaker, author, trainer, and consultant. 

Ms. Fitzell published a blog post in April of 2013 that highlighted seven homework strategies for parents to use at home which will reinforce learning from the school day.  These are practical tips that any parent can do at home with her/his student to further learning.

Check out her seven handy tips below and see if Ms. Fitzell doesn’t have an idea or two to help your student.  To learn more from Ms. Fitzell, CLICK HERE.

The text below is from Seven Homework Strategies That Parents Can Use to Reinforce Learning by Susan Gingras Fitzell M.Ed., CSP.


“The goal of homework is to take something learned earlier in the day and bring it back into working memory before bedtime. Research shows that practice increases recall the next day. It’s not about quantity, or the amount of time spent on the homework. Rather, it’s about forcing your brain to remember what was learned several hours ago and thereby building those neural connections.

As parents, we can use homework strategies to adapt assignments to our child’s learning preferences so that they retain what they learned in school earlier in the day. How? Here is a list of seven strategies that you can use at home to help your child increase their academic performance and make the homework experience more enjoyable, rewarding, and productive.

How to remember the sequence of events

1. To help your child remember the sequence of events in a story or history lesson, have them create a cognitive map with words and pictures. Using visual images to represent facts or a series of events helps to enhance recall and learning. By using colored pencils, crayons, or even colored fonts on a computer, your child can create a step-by-step map of the story – complete with descriptions of events and drawings or clip art to help them remember what happened, in sequence.  (see image below)

Adding Machine Tape Sequence Chart

2. Another way to help your child remember a sequence of events in a story or history lesson is to have them create a sequence chart. Think of this as a time line or story line that shows events drawn out and written in chronological order. Although this can be done on any type of paper, long adding machine tape works well. Don’t forget to use color and visuals to increase memory.  (see image below)

How to Study Vocabulary Words

3. Increase vocabulary retention by creating visual flash cards. This strategy uses visual images to enhance recall and learning. Have your child write their vocabulary word on an index card and then place a border around it. The border will help them memorize what the word looks like. Then have them draw, print from the internet, or cut out from magazines pictures that help define the word. Attach the visual to the front of the card. On the back of the index card, have your child write the definition and a silly sentence using the word to help them remember the definition.

Foldable Note-Taking

4. Create a “fold-able.” A fold-able is a small book made out of folded pieces of paper that can become a study guide for various things. For example, your child can make a fold-able for a series of vocabulary words, historical figures, or even the cell cycle. Each page of the mini book would display, through words and drawings or pictures, one vocabulary word, a historic figure and related fact, a stage in the cycle of a cell, etc. http://foldables.wikispaces.com/           (see image below)

Have your Child Teach You!

5. It has been shown that we learn and retain the most when we teach someone else – so be your child’s student! Divide up their vocabulary list into manageable chunks (start with two to three words per night), then have them learn to finger spell or sign the words on their list and teach them to you.

Mnemonic Strategies

6. Increase their ability to remember by teaching your child to use various memory devices such as mnemonics, associations, rhyming, chunking, acronyms, and acrostics. These devices help us to remember the order of things as well as facts and concepts. What works for one child may not work for another, so test each device and see what works best. Some examples:

                                       Taxonomy Mnemonic

A mnemonic: I Am A Person – The four oceans (Indian, Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific),

An acrostic: Mallory Valerie Emily Meetzahs Just Served Us Nachos – The order of the planets
                        (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune).

A rhyme: 30 days has September; April, June, and November.

Famous Figure Wanted Poster

7. A fun way to help your child remember facts and concepts about famous figures is to have them create “wanted posters.” Have your child either use the computer or hand draw a wanted sign, complete with a picture of the famous figure. Then have them write the name of the person, their date of birth, and a list the “crimes” (facts) the person is “wanted” (famous) for – these will be facts about the person’s life and accomplishments. For example, Susan B. Anthony would be wanted for helping women gain equal rights.   http://mrslampkinsandmrsshawsclass.blogspot.com/2012/09/wanted-dead-or-alive.html          (see image below)

Remember, no one strategy will work for every child. Talk to your child and give them some options. Help them choose strategies that they are comfortable with and that they think will help them to retain the most information.”

We hope you found an idea or two that might work for your Challenger!  Our desire at Abundant Life Christian School is for every student to be successful and that looks different for every child.  Finding the right tools and ways of studying is important for each student to be her/his most successful in school.  If you have further questions or need other ideas, please do not hesitate to talk with your student’s teachers here at ALCS!

samples of learning strategies

Thank you, Veterans . . .

November 11, 2014
By Miss Barbie
thank God I'm free!
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
                                                                  John 15:13

It is November 11 - Veteran’s Day.  Today we take a moment to say ‘thank you’ and ‘we appreciate you’ to those who have served and sacrificed to ensure our freedom.  

We are blessed beyond measure to live in a nation that allows us the freedom to worship God freely, to learn about Him, and to have a school dedicated to Him, founded on His word.  We should not take these blessings for granted.  We are grateful to the men and women who have served this nation to maintain our constitutional freedoms.  We are thankful for our Savior who has set us free for who Jesus sets free is free indeed!!

Today, we honor our veterans.  Likewise, we honor our Savior – Jesus Christ. 

Yet, it does not feel as if it is enough.  We can do better.  We strive to honor and serve our Savior daily.  What if we made it a habit, a daily pattern of living, to appreciate our freedoms daily .  . . to honor and serve our veterans (and active duty service men and women) every day rather than just now and then when a special holiday pops up on the calendar?  What if we kept the feeling of Veteran’s Day alive and vibrant every day?

“What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, 
with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”

As we continue to meditate on our school verse from II Timothy 1:13, let us endeavor to keep a pattern of respect, honor, and love for those who keep us and have kept us free.

It’s not enough, but it’s a start. . . thank you, veterans! 

Our Prayer for Our Veterans  

Father, thank you for the sacrifice of your son, Jesus.  Thank you for the freedom from sin and death that He so willingly made.  Thank you for a nation that is founded on a freedom of religion and allows us to worship you openly.  Thank you for gift of bravery and the spirit of patriotism you have imbued within every man and woman who serves this great nation.  We are grateful for those who have served, who paid the ultimate price, so that we can live free in this nation, free within your grace.  Bless the men and women of our Armed Forces not just today, this Veteran’s Day, but every day and keep them safe within your care. Amen. 

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