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Continually Grow

Every day, take a bit of time to read or study.  Maybe 30 to 60 minutes.  Read something that interests you, or better yet, read something you are totally unfamiliar with -- to expand your mind and expand your interests.  An interesting person is interested in things and interested in other people.  Stretch yourself to become interested in others outside of yourself.  Start in small ways, and work up to bigger things as you gain confidence.  Think about become a leader in your life in some area.  Think about learning more about a topic that you are interested in.  It could be space travel, fashion, child care, nursing, chemistry, world history, cooking, or teaching.  Or many other areas of life that could interest you.  Challenge yourself to grow a little more each day.  If you encounter setbacks, rest a day or two, then start over again to challenge yourself.  Never give up.  Keep on growing.

English Practice over Winter Break

For practice over the winter holidays, try the following resources: Vocabulary practice Quizlet Create your own vocabulary lists with pictures. Writing You Can't Write English Under Pressure A stressful game to check your knowledge of spelling and word order. Listening Voice of America, "Stories about People" Hundreds of MP3 files and transcripts about famous people.   Speaking / pronunciation American English Pronunciation Practice Audio files for practicing pronunciation, especially difficult word pairs.   Grammar English Video Video English lessons on assorted grammar and vocabulary topics, including English slang. For example, try this video on the English meanings of "John."   For Spanish-speakers Spanishdict.com, Aprender inglés gratis Different levels, different English topics offered in Spanish.

School Break Tips

Dear Reader,   Research shows that students can lose two or more months of grade level skills over the summer months! This is a scary fact for any student, but especially if your child struggled to gain that knowledge in the first place. Below are several activities your child can do over any school break to help keep them sharp:   1. Read for 30 or more minutes EVERY day. 2. Start a family book club. Select a book as a family and discuss it along the way. 3. The Arts: There is much research behind the pros of using art in education, so learn/practice an instrument,    drawing, painting, etc... 4. Life Skills: Encourage your child to help out with cooking, grocery shopping, the family budget, etc...    This gives them the opportunity to practice real life fractions, computation, and see the real life relevance. 5. Take advantage of the free on-line resources available through your school or through the... read more

Winter Break Tips

Here are some easy things you can do to keep your brain sharp and material fresh while you are on winter break...or having a snow day!   Review your notes, quizzes, tests. Look the the diagrams. Be able to explain the diagrams to your mom, sister, or friend.    Check out videos on youtube about a topic you're having trouble with. Can picture how DNA is replicated? There are a lot of great animations out there that can help!   Do test corrections. Why did you get the answer wrong or why is the correct answer right? This will help you remember information and understand what the questions are looking for. 

Don't Let Your Brain Get Flabby!

     One of my favorite ways of keeping my brain in shape over winter break (or summer break for that matter) is to make a conscious effort to play games which help keep my brain running instead of idling.  For example:  I LOVE playing candy crush.  Pretty colors, easy to understand, and fast paced--the game is just plain old addicting.  However, I like to make sure that when I don't have formal school work due, I make sure my brain is being challenged in a fun way--and candy crush probably isn't helping me in that goal.  Taking a little break from games like candy crush, I choose instead to play a game of Sudoku; keeps my brain from becoming extra lazy--and it's lots of fun too.        Don't beat up on yourself for indulging in a few games over a break--you earned it!  Just make sure that you are branching out and trying new games that exercise your powers of reasoning and creativity.

3 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp over Breaks.

#1  Get appropriate amount of rest. That is what breaks are for.  Doing something you love for a while will bring your stress levels down and make you more motivated for work after the break is over.   #2 Go over any difficult material that might show up again. I know it is hard, especially if your study material have fried your brains even before the winter break have started.  But, you don't want to be in the same trouble if the material shows up again.  If you had problems with sinθ and cosθ chapter in college geometry, the trigonometry class, that is next semester, is based on them.  Look over old material, reach out for help, figure out a pattern for the work that makes sense.   #3 Look over new material. Buy a book early for a class in a new semester.  Let's say, you skipped Physics in high school, took a lot of life sciences like Biology instead (personal example). You might not know what lies ahead. Prepare... read more

Keep that noodle FRESH!

So it's winter break, time for fun in the sun...no, wait, that's summer break. Winter break is all about cold, snow and being stuck at home (when it's not Christmas). The TV is your friend and gaming can wile away the hours. But what about all that hard earned brain power you've been cultivating all year???   Well, there's good and bad there. Gaming, it's a social thing a lot of the time, helps your social skills, keeps you happy, and if you're not good, can boost your rage and stress. TV...there'a lot of educational stuff out there that can feed your starving synapses...and then there's reality TV and sitcoms.   So, what tips do I have for entering the Spring semester fresh and mentally ahead of your peers...   1) Watch bad TV, play games. But not all the time.   Let yourself relax, laugh, enjoy yourself. Get that stress outta here. And if you watch educational stuff, or play educational games, then all the better. But mostly... read more

Winter Break Tips

As we all know Winter Break is a time for students and parents alike to take their minds off of school and get into the season of giving. This is an awesome way to recharge your batteries and get back the energy you'll need to excel through the rest of the year! What we find though is that between all of the presents, the good food, and the happy atmosphere it's easy to lose a little bit of the edge our brains had during the summer months! Here are three of the best ways to keep your brain sharp this winter.   First and foremost has to be keeping a healthy and brain hearty diet! Now this doesn't mean that you have to eat salads every day but there are some "super foods" that are delicious and can keep your brain from getting a case of the lazies.    1. Blueberries. "Brainberries" is what Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls these tasty fruits. Pratt, who is also on staff... read more

5 Fun Ways to Keep the Brain Sharp Over Winter Break

Winter break is here and that means No School!  I know how excited every student is (teachers too) to take a break from academics and instead spend time with friends and family.  Who doesn't look forward too sleeping in, relaxing, and sipping hot cocoa while watching the snow fall?  I know I do!  I also know though, that its important to keep your brain active over the break so that when schools comes around again your ready to go.  Now keeping your brain active doesn't have to mean just reading, journaling or doing puzzles (all ow which or great) but it can also mean some really fun unexpected activities that will be fun, engaging, and could include quality time together. Cook or Bake something: Everybody loves holiday cookies and yummy meals and you'll love it even more now because it keeps your student's brain sharp.  Cooking and baking requires reading and math.  Students have to read recipes (learn new vocabulary words), do... read more

Read, Read, Read

Reading is an easy and fun way to keep skills honed, and you don't have to read "War and Peace" to do it. Just go to your local public library and pick up a few books on subjects you like and then READ. Reading can teach you spelling, grammar, vocabulary, writing techniques, and so much more as well as keep you entertained. If you also read a title that interests you anyway, then you won't even FEEL like you are learning... you will just do it!

5 Great Ways to Stay Sharp During Winter Break!

The Winter break is a great time to sharpen math and reading skills by making family holiday foods from recipes, along with sharing family history when discussing recipes. Collaboratively, reading cherished family holiday books and/or watching films of those books and discussing  how the book and film are different is a good way to sharpen comparing and contrasting skills.  Creating a Winter break journal recounting what is happening helps keep writing skills sharp, and also can become a nice piece of family history some day.  The journal could also be a photo journal or a journal of holiday drawings, depending on the student's grade level.  While writing thank you notes for holiday gifts, may seem unexciting, it is a good way to help children develop skills of attractive correspondence.  Letter writing is a necessary life skill which we see, not just in social correspondence, but in cover letters and in personal notes following job interviews. ... read more

Brush up and stay Current

It is easy to put the books in the corner and forget about them once the semester is over, but why waste an entire semester of knowledge by not putting a little time in here and there?   It is definitely important to take breaks and give your mind a rest, but you can still be reinforcing the information you have already learned just by simply going over certain topics for 15 to 20 minutes a day during the week.  This allows you to still stay up to date on topics (while reinforcing what you've already learned), but it is a small enough time commitment that you will not feel overworked allowing each student to avoid the dreaded burn out. Also by dedicating a little time each day, getting back into the groove of the next semester will be an easier transition which is a valiant goal of any student.   Another easy way to dedicate a little time to topics over break is to have flash cards with pertinent information already made.  This makes it more... read more

Keep your mind sharp over the winter break!

Hot chocolate...sleeping in...movies, movies,  movies...   If you want to keep your mind sharp in the midst of all the holiday bliss and activities,  consider the following:   Journal for a few minutes: How are your holidays going? Play some word games and puzzles (not just videos games) Read a book (or try poetry)   Happy holidays and a joyful new year!      

Staying Sharp Over Winter Break

As a student myself, winter break is a time for relaxation, and unfortunately, to let many of the skills learned through a semester of college to slip away far more quickly than they were learned. I understand personally how easy it is to let one's brain grow dull over the winter break that we all look so forward to. So what are some ways to keep your brain sharp? And more importantly, what are some fun ways to do so that won't make you feel as though you're actually working scholastically the entire break?   Pick up a fun reading book: Reading is a great way to keep the mind sharp. It's engaging, it encourages critical thinking and imagination, and it challenges the mind to stay focused and recall facts about a story (especially if you don't read the book in one sitting!) To make this a more "social" activity, try to get a group together as a reading or book club. That way, you will all benefit from talking about the book and its contents, the storyline,... read more

What are the 3 best ways to keep your brain sharp over winter break?

Breaks from school are usually much needed and enjoyed. We get to spend time with friends and family, take that vacation that we've been planning for the past 6 months or just simply get to relax. While winter break is fun, we don't want to come back to school thinking "Huh? What is all this again?" Here are a few great ways to remain refreshed while over winter break.   1. Read a book. A couple weeks from school is a great opportunity to delve into a new world. Whether it be a mystery book or action-adventure novel, reading is a great way to keep your mind sharp. You have the chance to expand your vocabulary, discover new things and you can do it all at your own pace! Studies show that reading is not only good at keeping your mind sharp but it's healthy for your body overall. Reading is something that we do, it's an action and therefore some muscles in our body our working. It increases our attention span and makes us feel less sluggish... read more

Winter Break for Students

The holidays are an exciting time of year!   However, when the calendar turns, we're all expected to be ready to procede with classes, schoolwork, and early mornings!   If there are any academic areas that you KNOW you need assistance with, be sure to create an action plan during the winter break that you will benefit from and put to use when our calendars read the month of JANUARY.     ** Some of the questions you should be asking yourself and others around you:   - How can I better balance studies with everything else that is going on, day to day? - Am I reaching out for extra help with my teachers and tutors in the areas that I know I need more guidance? - What after-school and personal activities will benefit me the most in the months ahead? - How can I make better use of my time at home during the school weeks to better prepare for tests and quizzes? - Am I ready for the various standardized tests that my... read more

Read. Teach. Be a Life-long Learner.

To keep your brain sharp over winter break, the best thing you can do is read. Read widely!  If you typically only read mysteries, branch out. Read expository, comics, and newspapers. By doing this, you will stretch your mind, be exposed to new vocabulary, and comprehend new material.    In addition, keep your math skills sharp. Teach someone else what you just learned at school. This makes you the expert and cements your learning.    Finally, be inquisitive!  Strive to be a life-long learner. Sometimes schools do not motivate students to achieve this goal. Assigned reading takes away from the intrinsic rewards of reading self-selected material. Let's face it--it can take a lot of time to fulfill the demands of school. Did you know that the amount Anericans read after graduation varies widely?  On one end of the spectrum lies people who never read. On the other end of the spectrum lies people who read four books per month. Guess... read more

3 Best Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp Over Winter Break

Try brain teasers like Soduko, crossword puzzles, Scrabble or Words with Friends, chess, etc Nothing helps an idle mind like a good game of Scrabble. By simply playing these types of games, one can stretch their mental muscles. In the process of playing the game, the learner will not only have fun but also get practice focusing or concentrating, something that is highly important to one's academic success. Read some books, blogs, or magazines that are fun and interesting, don't worry, it doesn't have to be Plato or Shakespere Why not pick up People magazine or check out one of your friend's blogs while you have some time off? By reading different types of material that you find interesting, you will be improving your reading and vocabulary skills and having a good time simultaneously. Look up and use a new vocabulary word everyday I know what you are thinking, but this could be fun, trust me. Learning new words can help stretch... read more

Staying Sharp over Winter Break

It is inevitable to forget some of your coursework during Winter break, but you don't want to forget everything! Here are my top three tips to be prepared for your Spring semester courses.   1) Drop the remote and back away from the TV! Though sometimes all you want to do is veg-out, make sure to spend some time away from the TV, internet, and video games. Spend time outside and get familiar with winter biology. Are any plants growing or flowering during winter where you live? What animals are around? What food do you think these animals eat and how do they stay warm? Getting outside is a fun way to keep biological concepts fresh in your mind. If your next semester is filled with challenging chemistry courses try baking and cooking! Think about solutions (what is the solute and what is the solvent?) by making some rock candy (a tasty treat to share with friends). What type of crystal shapes are formed from the hardened rock candy? Can you make an suspensions,... read more

Don't Forget the "Break" in Winter Break!

What are three great ways to keep your brain sharp over winter break? There could be many helpful strategies, but I think that it is best to not forget the "break" in winter break! In other words, find fun ways to keep your mind sharp by engaging your interests and natural curiosity!   1. Read a book! Winter break is a fantastic opportunity to finally read exactly what you want! Read for pleasure, whether that may be an exciting novel, a biography of a favorite historical figure, or even a nonfiction text on a cool wild animal or geologic process!   2. Get outside! Spending time in nature can do wonders for your brain. A recent study actually found that elementary students who walked to school gained as many benefits in the classroom as they gain eating breakfast (of course it was best to do both)! Although it may be cold outside, winter break is a fantastic time to take a nice, long hike or play in the snow!   3. Volunteer... read more

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