How to Get Ready for Algebra When Back to School

Math is invariably a daunting subject in any Grade and students who enter high school find it more threatening since they have to learn Algebra which is a terror for most of the students.

Assessing the attitudes of students for Algebra learning is a major responsibility of parents and they have to take steps for doing so. Some of the ways to assess their children’s Algebraic skills is by means of understanding whether their kids have the ability to draw conclusions through logical reasoning and to organize projects and whether they have general problem solving skills. If their kids possess all these skills, they can make sure that their children will find Algebra easy and would take the subject like a fish to water.

There are downloadable or online Algebra readiness tests which come handy for parents in this matter. After conducting the test, parents can take measures to get their kids ready for Algebra classes in the new school year.

A review of Math homework in the previous year also would help parents decide what to teach the kid and what to skip. Anyhow, familiarity with the fundamental terms like percentage, decimals, integers, fractions in Algebra is essential for a student’s smooth entry into high school Algebra classes. Students should be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide all these number forms. Knowledge of factoring and understanding of ratios, proportions and rates are also equally important to have hassle free Algebra classes in high school.

Even an idea of geometric shapes and understanding and analyzing patterns are also useful factors in the preparation for Algebra. If children are able to collect information and organize the information to make decisions, they are mentally prepared for Algebra classes. On assessing all these qualities in their kids, parents can come to a conclusion about arranging special courses in Algebra for them before they are back to school for taking their Algebra classes. Many summer courses are available for reviewing students’ basic skills in Algebra and there are online tutors who get them ready for the ongoing classes via their tips and suggestions.

Though summer is for enjoyment and fun, students need to take care of their academic skills and decide what they need to do for facing the oncoming subjects. Preparing for Algebra is of utmost importance since it decides students’ scores in high school and thus leads to good college entries and lucrative career prospects.

Online Algebra tutors make their best efforts to help students in doing Algebra with confidence through their personalized courses and thus pave way for hassle free Algebra learning for students when they are back to school.

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Origami Storytelling in Elementary School Education – Language and Problem Solving Benefits Reviewed

Storytelling in elementary schools improves children’s language skills by providing students with a valuable opportunity to practice auditory comprehension, a vital component of early childhood education. The ability to understand spoken language involves so much more than simply hearing words and figuring out what the speaker intends the words to mean. Nonverbal cues of vocal pitch, tempo, and tonality are essential in effective communication. In face-to-face interactions, the additional nonverbal elements of body language, gestures, and facial expressions form up to 80% of expressive language. But how, in our multitasking, screen-dominant learning environments, can teachers capture and hold the attention of their distraction-prone students?

Why not try using the Japanese paper folding art of origami to help focus students’ attention during language arts activities? When an unexpected curiosity like origami is added to a storytelling presentation, the educational benefits for elementary school students are increased. Origami models and other interesting objects add visual stimulation and grab attention, so that young learners are focused and motivated to pay closer attention. Another advantage to adding origami to stories is that origami is created one step at a time. As a story progresses scene by scene, an origami model can also be constructed, fold by fold. When the story ends, the origami model is also created. This specialized storytelling technique is called Storigami. Storytelling + Origami = Storigami.

Watching and listening to stories illustrated by the progressive folds of origami models enables students to imagine the visual details of the scenes and characters described by the words, but also gives students experience with analyzing the symbolic representations of the paper shapes and folds that are paired with story characters or actions. The ability to understand how the shapes relate to the story and then imagine possible outcomes are key elements of successful problem solving, one of the most important goals of elementary education.

How can teachers and other educators learn how to use Storigami to build problem solving and language arts skills in their elementary school classrooms? Fortunately a Mid-Western educational publisher, Storytime Ink International, has published several collections of origami stories, such as Nature Fold-Along Stories: Quick and Easy Origami Tales About Plants and Animals. This book and other fold-along storybooks describe how to use the technique, step by step. The Storigami books are available in most public libraries and from several online sources, including http://Amazon.com/ and http://Storytimeink.com/

Bringing School to South Sudan

A while back, I helped sponsor my friend Mator on a trip back to his home village with a lady I knew. He said the children were still sitting in the dirt under a tree. There were three hits that had been used as classroom but we’re unsafe.

A few months ago, Mator, Geri, and I started a non-profit to see what we can do to help the children of Wutkoro Primary School. It is located in Pinychuier village near Wangulei of Twic County. It has over 100 children.

Our hope is to have the village residents construct the structure if we can provide the funding. The structure needs to survive the rainy season. The teachers there need to know we care and they can make a difference for the young ones.

In America, we are blessed with buildings, supplies and funding needed to function. Our children may not understand the blessings of attending school and having school supplies. They do not all have the same obstacles children in some other countries have.

As a first year teacher at the age of 55, I believe maybe God’s timing is for me to learn all I can about what is needed to successfully run a school. As I learn, I can be a resource to teachers at Wutkoro Primary School and help them locate resources. I’ve been an aide, a substitute teacher, an after school summer teacher and now a first grade teacher. Who knows, maybe my journey is just beginning. First, we need to start with fundraising.

I met my friend Mator as one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan in 2001. My son married a girl from Sudan. If they have a child, I forever have a tie to South Sudan.

Even though here we jump on social media instantly, not all regions on earth have access to it. There are still rural villages with no electricity, running water or transportation. Once we raise the funds, Mator will still need to travel there again to oversee the project. Transporting supplies for the project will be the biggest challenge. Getting through all the proper channels will be essential. It will also need a lot of prayer.

I’ve watched this young man grow over the past 20 years in his education, raising a family, and evolving in his career. I believe we can see this project become a reality but we need a lot of help. To learn more about the project, see the resource box below. If you are a praying person, pray for us.

Guide To The Best Degree Course And University

To most people, education is everything. Due to this, they are cautious from the type of courses they choose to the universities they attend. To help you out, here are tips on how to make the right decision.

Best degree courses

There are plenty of university degrees you can choose from. Some of the best being:

Web development: Everyone is now getting into the digital space and almost every company is looking to hire a web expert. In this course, you will study a lot of mathematics and physics. You will be working with computer languages thus you should be ready to learn a few computer programming languages. When you graduate you can start your own web development company or seek employment in one of the many companies looking for computer experts.

Nursing: As a registered nurse you will be doing some of the duties carried out by a physician. This can be medical prescription and even diagnosis. Since you will be dealing with the human body, you should be ready to learn about the human anatomy. Also be ready to study about drugs and drug interactions. If you have looked at the job portals, you must have noticed that every year there are plenty of nurses required in the job market. You can work in one of the hospitals or even start your own clinic.

Biomedical Engineering: This course combines engineering sciences with biomedicine and clinical practice. In addition to the comfort of a high salary when you pursue this course, you also have more meaning to your work as you will be working in two areas-you will be working with machines and also humans. The most attractive thing is that the industry is on upward trend thus many biomedical engineers will be in demand in the future.

In school, you will be learning about the various biomedical equipment and how you can use them to make the lives of the patients easier.

Occupational therapy: As an occupational therapist you help ill, injured, and disabled people to access their workplace and easily face the various aspects of their lives. Your role will be evaluating the patients in their workplace and home, identify their health needs and any possible improvements.

Guide to choosing the best university

When you are looking to join a university, you need to consider plenty of factors. Some of these factors include:

Relevance: How relevant is the university to what you are studying? While most universities teach on a wide range of courses, there are some universities that are better known for a given area of study. For example, there are some that are known for business related courses, others for medicine courses and so on. To increase your chances of getting employed and get expert knowledge, go to a college that is known for a given discipline. For example, if interested in finance, attend a university that focuses on business related courses.

Fee: This is also crucial. As rule of thumb, you should join an institution that is within your budget. When making your choice you should note that private universities are more expensive than the public ones.

Conclusion

This is what you need to know when you are choosing a university degree and the school to attend. To have an easy time, choose a course that you love.

Learning Apps for Autistic People

People with autism have a need and right to access the same communication apps that’s available to everybody else. Most people use multiple digital devices to address their communication needs. A single device is often unable to meet all the communication requirements. It also doesn’t make much sense. While some needs can be met with a mainstream device, others require techniques and accessories that are particularly designed for people with autism. These include interactive learning apps for children with autism, like “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm”.

Devices like iPads, smartphones and tabs have proved to be very useful interactive learning apps for children with autism. They are unlike the assistive communication devices of the past that were very cumbersome to use. A hand-held device is portable and can be easily carried. Besides, interactive learning apps for children with autism promotes peer acceptance. The “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm” apps have a responsive layout and touch screen operation so that individuals with learning difficulties or lack of coordination skills can use them easily. Tapping and sliding are much easier than typing.

Using devices like tablets and other hand-held devices are useful tools, because they are flexible and portable unlike other dedicated AAC devices that often can be heavy and cumbersome. A hand-held device is easily carried and can promote peer acceptance. The touch screen and layout are more accessible for individuals with coordination or learning difficulties-sliding and tapping are easier than typing. Technology can improve communication with others by the timely use of email or texting, which has a cost and time savings. Technology allows for adaptability and motivation.

Many people with autism spectrum disorder are visual thinkers. Pictures are often their first language, while words come second. As literal, concrete, and visual thinkers, they can process information in a much better way by looking at pictures. The “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm” interactive learning apps for children with autism does just that. Honestly speaking, technology has made a world of difference to people on the autism spectrum by making visual images more accessible. The computer graphics of interactive learning apps for children with autism capture their attention.

There have been several apps close on the heels of “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm”. It has made their world much easier. The interactive learning apps for children with autism are doing their bit for special needs education.

What Are Thematic Units?

Thematic units are a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching based on a common theme or topic. Multi-disciplinary simply means, “of or relating to many different subject areas.” The teacher and/or students choose a topic based on their interests and learning goals. Engagement in this decision-making process develops a vested interest. This significantly increases motivation. Research shows that when learners are motivated, achievement increases!

Thematic units allow students to make connections and build more solid schema. Learning becomes purposeful when they can identify a common theme in all content areas, such as math, reading, science, social studies. The content areas are not limited to core areas. Thematic units are even more powerful when art, physical education, music, technology, etc. are involved. When all content areas focus around a common theme, students gain an awareness of the interrelationships making learning more relevant. In addition, this allows for greater application of essential skills in all areas of life.

The duration of a unit may vary depending on the chosen theme. Some may extend several weeks, and some may last a few short days. Teachers are cautioned not to extend these lesson plans over too long of a period. Allow enough time for deeper levels of understanding but not so long to lose interest and limit time for other explorations.

Many teachers are fearful that themes chosen by children will deter from the common core learning objectives. However, it must be noted that the essential skills may be taught in any learning context. Here are some examples:

Theme: Penguins

  • Math: Grade level math skills are learned with penguin graphics and manipulatives, such as counting, exploring population, word problems and more.
  • Reading: Penguin stories improve reading strategies to increase comprehension.
  • Language Arts: Vocabulary concepts are increased with penguin related words. English conventions are revealed when writing or speaking about penguins.
  • Science: Utilize comparing and contrasting skills to explore how these creatures differ from other birds.
  • Social Studies: Research and gain map skills to determine where these animals live.
  • Art: Art skills are used to create a habitat.
  • Music: Examine musical pieces from popular penguin movies. Compose original songs.
  • Physical Education: Build and participate in obstacle courses while following movements of this animal.
  • Writing: Students incorporate grade level writing skills while writing fiction or nonfiction stories about the subject.

Theme: Chocolate

  • Math: Candy pieces are used as manipulatives to learn math concepts and skills.
  • Reading: Read about the Cacao tree and use reading strategies for new concepts and comprehension.
  • Language Arts: A reader’s theatre is created using English conventions and new vocabulary.Science: Describe the changes of matter that occur when chocolate is processed from the bean to the bar.
  • Social Studies: Research chocolate factories around the world, their location, history, etc. Economic skills may also be addressed.
  • Art: Candy wrappers are used to create an original collage.
  • Music: Explore musical pieces from popular chocolate factory movies.
  • Physical Education: Create games creating movement through a factory.
  • Writing: Poetry skills are enriched through writing activities about the topic.

It is important for teachers to answer the question, “What are thematic units?” This multidisciplinary approach engages students in learning that is based on a common theme in all subject areas. It can have profound effect on student achievement!

4 Quick Tips to Pass the GED Test

People who are not able to complete high school have another chance to get a certification that’s equivalent to a high school diploma-by passing the GED test.

The GED test is the only high school certification program that’s recognized in all 50 states, according to GED Testing Service. It gives individuals who are least 16 years old and are not enrolled in high school a second chance to get their high school certification.

Some people are not able to complete high school for various reasons. It can be because they decided to drop out and pursue other things, it can be due to financial or health setbacks, or it can be because they have migrated from another country and their education credentials are not recognized in the US. The GED test gives these people the chance to have their high school diploma, which they can use to apply for college or to land better jobs. All they need to do is to pass the test, which covers four subjects: language arts, mathematics, history, and science.

How to Pass the GED Test

1. Know the scope of the test.

The first thing you need to do when preparing for the GED exam is to know the topics covered. Get access to a GED study guide, which tells you the coverage of the exam, how many minutes you will be given to complete the test, and the types of questions you will find in the test. This will help you save time by studying only what’s included in the actual test.

2. Assess your skill level.

After determining the scope of the test, check your skill level. Evaluate your current knowledge and skills. Doing so will help you determine which areas you need to focus on. For example, if you are weak in algebra, then you should focus on studying the subject and its components, such as solving rational equations or performing operations on polynomials.

3. Practice.

After studying, the key to retaining the information you’ve learned and ensure you have a good understanding of the topic is to take mock tests. Practice tests are offered on GED preparation websites. Practicing your skills solidifies what you have learned from studying.

4. Prepare your body, too.

When preparing for the GED, you don’t just prepare your mind, but also your body. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep to enhance your memory. Lack of sleep dims your memory and weakens your ability to focus. Exercise to improve circulation, which delivers the oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your brain. Eating brain-boosting foods like broccoli and blueberries will also help.

The key to passing the GED test and any exam is thorough planning and preparation. Thorough planning here means studying with a purpose. Instead of mindlessly going through every subject, focus only on the included topics, especially your weak areas. Commit to a study plan and schedule.

Senior Year Snafus

As I’ve worked with students throughout the years, I’ve noticed a persistent and troubling myth that has worked its way into the psyche of 12th graders. Many seniors believe that they can “slack” during their last year in high school. Here are four of the biggest mistakes that students make during senior year.

  1. Not taking math- This is a mistake for a number of reasons. One reason is that most students are required to take some sort of math during their college career. Forgoing math during 12th grade will make you rusty and get you out of practice. Even if you have completed all of your high school requirements, consider another year of math.
  2. Not taking foreign language- students are often looking for a way to edge out the competition in the admissions game. One way that a student can distinguish himself/herself is to advance in foreign language. Too often families are shortsighted about the effect that foreign language has on strengthening the high school transcript. If you would like to stand out amongst your peers, take as much foreign language as possible, going beyond the required courses for high school graduation.
  3. Not taking a full course load- Some students have completed most of their high school requirements and only need a couple of classes to cross the threshold into high school graduation. Think long and hard before deciding to take a reduced course load. There are some situations where this course of action might make sense. For example, if you are a business or marketing student who is using a block of time to serve as an intern at a company, it may make sense to take less than a full course load. If you have decided to take some time to “relax” and take a study hall, realize that colleges may not look favorably on that decision.
  4. Not doing your best – Student performance is very important throughout the entire senior year. I remember very clearly when I had a student who sat in shock when his dream school asked me, his counselor, for his third quarter interim grades. He, like many kids, worked very hard during the first two quarters knowing that first semester grades would be sent to his perspective schools. Although he begged me profusely, I was obligated to send evidence of his lackluster third quarter performance to the college and he was denied admission. I use this story as a cautionary tale to any student who thinks it’s okay to slack during senior year.

Stay smart and avoid all of the potential pitfalls that senior year can bring.

Where Football Meets Mathematics

Math is all around us – at our works, homes and definitely in the sports and football predictions.

Frequently we find different connections between math and football, which are used by this game’s greatest specialists. Some of them are basics of the football predictions posted on this website.

The true football fans still remember the Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp and his masterpiece goals. Sports commentators describe him as a genius, who mastered the football game to perfection and possessing extremely accurate shot, but what is he saying about himself.

“When I played in Holland I always tried to hit the ball over the goalkeeper. People always questioned me about this. Why would I want to humiliate the goalkeeper or to demonstrate arrogance? But I always explain: When the goalkeeper leaves his post he makes the angle to it less but opens the space above it. What I do isn’t a show, it is mathematics.”

This advice came from the coach Louis Van Gaal, who teaches strategies for success in the match based on mathematical precision and order.

As his players state about him: Van Gaal isn’t one of those coaches who will repeat to them: “do this, do that”. He will leave the technical part to them, but he is a master of the tactical part and knows what should everyone do in order for the whole system to work properly.

“I hope that I know well the basics of math in football and try to apply them” – Ottmar Hitzfeld as coach of Bayern Munich in 2007.

Ottmar hizfield

Ottmar Hitzfeld graduated as a math teacher and now he is the most successful German football coach at club level. He won twice the FIFA award for best coach in the world and is one of the only three coaches who won the Champions League with two different teams.(Ernst Happel and Jose Mourinho are the other two).

Unlike most Germans, Hitzfeld carried his football career as a player in Switzerland.There he quickly arose as a top striker in the country, helping Basel win the championships in 1972 and 1973. While playing for the Swiss team, Hitzfeld graduated and received his diploma as teacher of mathematics and physical education.

We believe that we have found the next evidence proving that football is mathematics.

Hitzfeld is recognized for his managerial capabilities – the ability to control units in the team to work as one and to develop and apply different tactics. The coach is taught of perfectionism and he sticks to all the details that would lead his team to success. For example, as a coach of the Switzerland national team he led the players to train in specially selected mountain resort where it is estimated that the height above sea level is most favorable to the players to adapt to the specific conditions of South Africa.

Thus, estimating all the factors, Hitzfeld is following his main coaching philosophy – “The next match is the most important match and we must do everything to win.”

Bearing in mind the mathematical education of Hitzfeld, his numerous successes in the football are definitely not accidental, after all this is a game which is often described by specialists as a game of strategies.

The Young Teacher’s Guide to Long Lessons

Lessons with duration of 60 minutes or more in a high school create a new set of conditions for the teacher and the students in his/her class.

It is important to understand the issues and to devise ways to overcome these issues and make use of the advantages that the longer lesson period gives the teacher.

These issues discussed below come out of my own experience in the class room when my school changed from six 40 minute periods per day to four 70 minutes per day. It also reflects the experience of the staff of my department.

The issues are in no particular order of significance but I thought it was important to raise them.

1. It’s hard work for teachers and students. It is impossible for most students and teachers to concentrate effectively on one topic for long periods such as one hour. There must be short breaks or changes in what you are doing to sustain the interest and concentration of both students and teachers.

2. Your available teaching time must become “SACRED”. Don’t let anyone have it without a fight – even the administration. Longer periods mean less numbers of periods. Therefore, one lost period becomes a significant percentage of your teaching time in any teaching week.

3. You must have a homework/study strategy for students. Since you will see the class less often, you will need to suggest when they do homework and when they do study, e.g. do the homework tonight to keep the learning fresh and reinforce quickly or do it the night before the next lesson to have it fresh in the students’ minds.

4. Lack of continuity. This occurs when students are absent simply because they lose such a large percentage of their learning time making it difficult to catch up on the missed work. Additionally, for students who are present in class, there may be as many as four days between successive lessons.

5. Work ethic is difficult to develop. Points 2 to 4 above support this point.

6. Strategy for absent student. It is important to ensure that absent students do not get left behind. What I did was to keep in my diary a detailed account of what I achieved in each lesson. I made sure I kept any handouts for absent students. I wrote the names of all absent students on any handout ready to give to the absentees in their next lesson. With the longer period, I was able to spend a little time with them to bring them up to date.

7. Strategy for absent teachers. With the longer lessons, a teacher’s absence had a greater impact on the class. Therefore, it is important to plan an effective lesson to cover that absence.

8. Detailed planning and full use of time is essential. It is easy to “waste” time. Plan some extra, short activities for any unexpected spare time that comes in a lesson, e.g. quiz or problem solving activity.

9. Group planning will be essential. If you are part of a team of teachers allocated to the same year level and/or subject, Team Teaching could ease the burden of long lessons and add variety to help maintain student interest and concentration. Students enjoy a change of teacher from time to time.

10. I always seemed to be rushing to cover the course when long lessons were first introduced. This is why you must plan minutely how to use every minute of the long period. What I did was to plan to complete the work program for the term or semester at least a week ahead of any planned assessment.

11. You need to divide your lessons into short segments to survive. Each segment allows you and your students a respite and a chance to “recharge your and their batteries”. Have a basic structure for each lesson. Your students should be aware of this structure. Publish it on your board each lesson.

12. Teach skills first and foremost. Good basics enhance a student’s chance of being successful in all areas of your course, especially in the more challenging areas of problem solving and critical thinking.

13. Student Mentors. Encourage older students to form study groups of four or five to work together out of school. In class, use your talented students to explain ideas to the class as a whole or to individual students. This is good for their personal development. Students often learn much from their class mates as they tend to “speak the same language”.

14. There is time to teach students skills that need extensive time to develop, e.g. develop a logical decision-making process, experimental procedures in Science, developing an argument in History.

15. You can teach a whole topic in one lesson and use subsequent lessons to consolidate. You can give an overview initially, showing where the topic is leading.

16. Students must become more accountable for their learning, homework, study and examination technique. Teach these skills in class in short bursts over time. Revisit these skills as often as you can to reinforce and develop.

17. Learn to work smart – use every available tool or idea you can, e.g. multiple intelligences, listening skills, variety of teaching strategies.

18. Help students learn to think, write and speak using the language and the terminology of your subject disciplines. Give short, subject vocabulary tests/quizzes to enhance these skills and to add another segment to your long lessons.