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Most teachers plan on needing to review basic subject-area content during the first few weeks of school. Why? Because most students need to refresh their memory after spending their summers swimming, playing video games, and generally going everything they can to avoid anything remotely resembling school work.   Summer enrichment doesn't have to look like regular schoolwork. Anything that gets your kids thinking will be helpful. This could be as simple as visiting a museum, a library, or a state park. Many museums offer free admission days - you just might have to call and ask. Most libraries offer free summer reading programs with incentives like gift certificates or small toys.   Going camping this summer? Challenge your kids to find ten different types of bugs (no, they don't need to pick them up and take them home!). Or ten different types of plants (again, no touching necessary). Challenge your kids to find similarities and differences between these ten... read more

Often for music students the practice room can be a place of transcendent accomplishment as well as massive frustration. I have practice until my fingers bled, until I got exactly what I wanted, only to come back the next day and feel as if none of that work had showed up. I have also had breakthrough moments where everything seemed to fall into place, music and the world suddenly made sense as if my eyes had been opened and I was seeing in color for the first time. The truth about the practice room is this: Practice takes practice. The practice room (especially for those looking to go into music education) is like a scientist's lab. You have to be critical of not just what you're doing (did I play that note too loud? How is the clarity of my articulation?) but also WHY you you are doing it. You have to analyze why you are in the practice room, what are your goals and how are you going to reach them? It's exactly what a school teacher does to plan their lessons and that's how I learned... read more

 As a classroom teacher and a tutor, I get to interact with students in many different ways. In this post, I want to highlight what I see as the tremendous benefit of tutoring over the classroom experience. Some might say that this would be obvious, that it is the 1 on 1 instruction, but I'm going to push it one step beyond that and discuss why that 1 on 1 experience is so valuable.    When a new concept is introduced, a student can feel overwhelmed, or maybe it even clicks right away. Regardless, there needs to be practice in order for that concept to truly take hold and become a part of the student's repertoire. In a classroom environment with 30 students in it, this can be the great challenge. Certainly, not every student understands the concept immediately, and the more students that are in the class, the more likely that there are still gaps in understanding. For this reason, many teachers then use a "guided practice" portion, where they... read more

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