Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Helping Your Teen with College Prep

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When my daughter got her pre-ACT scores back in the mail a few years ago, she was disappointed. Her scores were just a tad below the cut off scores for several of the colleges she had been considering.  This was a shocker to her because her classes were surprisingly easy, so she was getting As and Bs in them. In today's day and age, it seems the race to get into a good school is even more stringent than it was when I was in college. Here are a few tips for parents to help their teens prepare to take the ACTs/SATs.
Prepping before the test
There are several national learning centers that offer ACT and SAT prep courses.  We looked into those. We also ordered an Act Prep book.  It seemed to help her get a better grasp of what would be on the test and provided several practice tests for her to take.

Make sure your teen gets a good night sleep the night before the test. Tired brains do not function the same as well-rested ones.

Feed them a healthy breakfast. Nourished brains and silent stomachs make concentrating easier.

Remind them that there are always re-takes. Anxiety can often get the best of students when they realize how much is at stake in regards to their test scores.

Give them a pep talk. If your teen starts talking negative about their abilities, remind them of the successes they've had in difficult academic situations in the past.

Chew gum during study sessions. You'll find out the answer below.

Tips for teens during the test
Answer every question. New scoring standards don't penalize for wrong answers.

Don't waste time on questions that are challenging. If they don't know the answer, skip it and come back later.  This way, they're able to possibly get correct answers on the questions easier to them instead of them remaining unanswered.

If unsure of the answer, use process of elimination to narrow down which one or two answers could be the correct one.

Before starting, students should read and re-read directions to ensure they understand them.

Look at how many questions are to be answered in the given time. This allows students to calculate how much time they should spend on each question. Time management is key.

Chew the same gum during test taking. Studies show that there are cognitive benefits to chewing gum. Also, there are many theories that flavor recognition helps with memory retention. Crazy, right?!
After the test
Lower than expected scores can have a sobering effect on teens. But they allow them to see where they stand in the process.  Scores reflect what areas they excel at and where work is needed.

Remind your teen that their test scores aren't who they are. Some students excel in their high school classes, but don't do as well as expected on college prep tests.  This can be an unnerving experience.
The Princeton Review also offers some great information for college-bound students and their families. You can find SAT info here and ACT info here.


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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Beauty & The Beast ToysRUs Party: Build a Lumiere on March 25th

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(this post may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you)
On March 25th, from 1-3 pm, select ToysRUs locations will be hosting a Beauty & The Beast Launch Party where participants can build and take home their own  LEGO Lumiere. We're planning on going because the Belle's Enchanted Castle Lego set is already on Sunny's birthday list.
Such a fun event for kiddos excited about Disney's new live action take on a classic fairy tale!

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Toddler Playschool: Z is for Zoo Animals {free printable}

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This is the last week of our Toddler Playschool lesson plans. Z was an easy letter as most kiddos this age LOVE the zoo! So I planned lots of fun toddler activities based on the zoo and the animals it houses.  This is our last free toddler activity printable for this alphabet series... and it's definitely an awesome one!
This curriculum is ideal for 2-3 year olds. We'll be reinforcing colors and shapes and introducing letters and numbers. There will also be exploration of different themes each week as we proceed through the alphabet. It provides a flexible framework of activity ideas that can used in the home or classroom. Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please see here for more info.
The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom
Zoo Looking by Mem Fox
Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle
The Zoo is Closed Today by Evelyn Beilenson
Songs and Fingerplays
The Animal Fair (Laurie Berkner Band)
5 Little Gorillas
Five little gorillas jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
The zookeeper called the doctor
And the doctor said,
"No more gorillas jumping on the bed!"
(repeat until no more gorillas are left)
--Traditional, altered
Old McDonald had a Zoo
(sing the traditional Old McDonald, but with zoo animals)
Z Page for Alphabet Book
Create a page for the alphabet book. Each page is blank except for the week's letter. Children can be provided with an open-ended activity to decorate the page of their book.  Or you can use the suggested activities to set up an activity to create the page. Once done, pages can be laminated and bound with spiral binding or rings. You can find a template for this book here.   
Click the link below to download 

 If you missed any of the other lesson plans in this series, you can find them here:
I'd love for you to join us on our adventure! If you share on social media, use the hashtag #toddlerplayschool so I can see all of your wonderful activities!

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