Welcome Back!

Welcome to 2018 Hawks!

I hope everyone enjoyed their break. Just a quick reminder that the next two weeks of school are short weeks. There will be NO SCHOOL on Jan. 12th and Jan. 15th.

Also, 2nd quarter ends Jan. 11th!


Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Mid Terms

Hi Hawks!

We have reached the half way point of 2nd Quarter already. Can you believe it??? Make sure to keep a “hawk’s eye” on those grades and if you have any concerns to let me know. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Reading Challenge!

Parents, I just ran across this reading challenge. If your student reads 20 minutes a day during the month of November they can earn a KUED Adventure Pass. This pass will include tickets (for the student) to the Planetarium, the Hogle Zoo, the Natural History Museum and more. If you are interested follow the link below to the KUED website. The website includes more directions on how to participate in the reading challenge.


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10 Good Study Habits To Prepare Your Child For the New School Year

10 Good Study Habits

Once the shiny, freshness of back to school wears off, students and parents know it’s time to get down to business. Particularly for students heading to middle school or high school, the homework assignments become tougher, workloads get heavier and staying ahead of the curve becomes more of a challenge.

As a parent, you may ask, “What is the ‘secret behind the A’?” While having effective study skills may be overlooked on the academic journey, we’ve seen this be the tipping point in making good students into great students. We’ve compiled a list of 10 good study habits for your tween or teen to help set him or her up for a productive school year.

1.Get Organized. Between homework, tests, and extracurricular activities, it’s all too easy for things to slip through the cracks. A planner can help your child keep everything organized. Students should write down assignments, appointments and to-do lists, then review items in the planner at both the beginning and end of the day to stay on track.

2.Know the Expectations. Students shouldn’t have any surprises when it comes to how and what they will be graded on. By middle school and high school, most teachers will provide a course outline or syllabus, which can serve as a guide for the semester. If expectations aren’t clear, don’t wait until a bad report card comes in the mail. Your student should feel comfortable approaching teachers with questions about grading and assignments at any time. If this is not the case, it may be time for you as a parent to step in.

3.Designate a Study Area. Yes, studying at the local coffee shop may seem like a good idea, but not if there are constantly people interrupting or other disruptions. Even at home, studying in front of the TV won’t be the best use of your son or daughter’s time. Help your child by providing a quiet, well-lit, low-traffic space for study time. Take it one step further and institute a “communications blackout” policy with no cell phones or social media allowed until schoolwork is done.

4.Develop a Study Plan. First things first: students need to know when a test will take place, the types of questions that will be included and the topics that will be covered. From there, your student should create a study plan and allow ample time to prepare – there’s nothing worse than cramming the night before an exam. You can help by buying a wall calendar and asking him or her to assign topics and tasks for each day leading up to a due date or exam. Setting goals for each session is also key to success. If your child needs some help developing a study plan, our study skills program is a great resource! Our tutors will work with your child to develop an individualized plan that fits his or her needs, while instilling effective time management tips and organizational skills.

5.Think Positively. Being in the right mindset can make all the difference. Encourage your child to think    positively when studying or heading into an exam and by all means, avoid catastrophic thinking. Help your student turn negative statements like, “I’ll never have enough time to get a good grade on this exam,” into positive ones like, “I began preparing later than I should have but I put together a comprehensive study plan and will be able to get through the material prior to the exam.”

6.Create a Study Group. Working in groups can help students when they’re struggling to understand a concept and can enable them to complete assignments more quickly than when working alone. Keep groups small and structured to ensure the maximum benefit to participants and reduce distractions.

7.Practice Active Listening. It’s important for students to concentrate and avoid distractions when an instructor is presenting. Some tips to share with your child include: try concentrating on the main points being made, think about what the speaker is saying and pay attention to how things are said (gestures, tone of voice, etc.). They should avoid talking or thinking about problems when listening. If a teacher says, “This is important” or “I’ll write this on the board,” there’s a good chance students will see the concept on an exam.

8.Review Test-Taking Strategies. It is normal for your son or daughter to feel stressed when taking an exam. However, there are certain strategies that will help him or her manage the stress and do his or her best on the exam. First, make sure that your child arrives on time and tries to stay relaxed. Students should be sure to read all of the directions on the exam and pace themselves so as not to feel rushed. You can let your child know that it’s OK to skip around on a test, if allowed, as he or she may be more comfortable with certain topics than others.

9.Read Actively. It’s all too easy for students to skim over an assigned book chapter and not know the main points of what they just read. Help your student to practice active reading by asking him or her to note the main idea of each passage and look up unfamiliar words or concepts. Make an outline of the chapter or create flow charts and diagrams that help map out the concept at hand. After each section, have students write a summary in their own words and come up with possible exam questions.

10.Look to the Future. For some students, college may seem like an intangible event in the very distant future, but in reality, it isn’t so far off. Starting early can be an immense help in navigating the college admissions process. Be sure to get organized, set goals with your child and have regular check-ins to assess progress

Beginning a new school year can be challenging at first, but getting into good habits from the start helps you and your child smoothly adjust to new expectations and routines.



Parent Teacher Conferences

Remember we have parent teacher conferences this week! They will be on September 27-28 from 2-7pm. Make sure to sign up for a time slot with your students regular education teacher. I will be here both days from 2-7pm so feel free to stop in if you have any questions for me.

10 Tips to help build your child’s writing skills at home

10 Tips to Help Build Your Child’s Writing Skills

By Amanda Boyarshinov

Writing in Today’s Classroom

Writing helps communicate thoughts, complete tasks and demonstrate the mastery of a skill. It is an integral part of every elementary school student’s education. In fact, with the adoption of the Common Core Standards, students are using their writing skills even more than before across the curriculum. No longer is writing taught as a stand-alone topic; rather, it is now integrated into all core academic areas. Here are some examples of where your child may encounter writing tasks:

  • Students may be given a math problem and they are expected to explain in writing how they solved it.
  • Science tests may involve a few multiple choice questions followed by a two-page essay question.

During reading instruction, students may be asked to look back into the text and use specific details from the passage to support their reading comprehension writing assignment.

Tips for Building Writing Skills at Home:

1. Provide a variety of materials for writing. Fun pens and pretty papers can be a great motivational tool.

  • Writing is not an easy task for all students. For many struggling writers, these assignments and assessments may leave students frustrated and discouraged. It is challenging to put thoughts into words on a page in an organized manner. The good news is that parents can support and enrich their children’s writing skills in the home environment. This support may help make the task of writing easier and more enjoyable for students!

2. Create a space in your home for writing that is free from distractions.

3. Choose strong vocabulary words to learn at home for the week. Use these words in your daily oral vocabulary and written work. Words such as “obstacles” and “curious” are a great start. See if your child can use them both in a written story.

4. Integrate core academic area writing at home. Do a science project together and then write about the process or results.

5.Encourage writing for a variety of purposes. Your child could make a shopping list, write a fictional story or send a letter.

6. Use technology to improve writing. Encourage your child to send an e-mail to a friend or publish a story online with a program such as Little Bird Tales.

7. Allow your child to observe you writing on your own. Be a good role model and smile while you are doing it, too! Take time to share your writing with him or her and talk about how you use writing in your personal and professional life. Show a variety of different written work such as a written letter, business communication or journal page.

8. Connect writing with your child’s passion. If your son is interested in the Magic Tree Houseseries of books, encourage him to write a letter to Mary Pope Osborne. If your daughter is interested in mysteries, have her create a scavenger hunt with written clues to find a hidden treasure.

9. Celebrate writing in a variety of ways. You could:

Host a family “open mic” night once a month and take turns reading poems or stories written by family members out loud.

Tape completed stories to the refrigerator.

Do a happy dance together with your child when a completed writing project comes home from school with a positive note.






Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher Conferences are coming up! They will be next week September 27-28th. Students will have early out and conferences will be from 2pm- 7pm. If you would like to set up a time to meet please let me know. I will be here both days, so stop in and say Hi! Remember we have moved, we are no longer in Rm. 106, but where the old stage used to be.

How to Build Confident Readers

5 Ways to Gently Build Your Child’s Reading Confidence

Reposted from: Scholastic Parents

When children are learning to read independently, some will attempt it happily, accepting correction with ease and without fear of making mistakes. Some, though, will not. Many children will shy away from reading out loud because of a lack of confidence. This lack of confidence is not an indicator of their ability. Many children who are reluctant to read out loud are great readers; however, they have a desire to be perfect and don’t want to mess up.

It can be heartbreaking for parents to watch their children struggle with reading confidence, but the more you push them to read to you, the more they clam up and refuse. Even though my son was an early reader, he was not always eager to read out loud around my husband or me. He is a born perfectionist, and while so many things come naturally, his desire to do them perfectly from the start can hamper his efforts. Here are five things we did to encourage my son to read aloud, and I would suggest them to any parent facing a similar situation at home.

  1. Don’t push your child. When reading with your child, don’t force him to read. Instead make sure that you are next to each other and he is following along with you as you read. Trace your finger along the text as you read.
  2. Give him privacy. Give him time alone to read without an audience. Respect his privacy to read alone.
  3. Read to a different audience. Suggest that he read to a puppy, younger sibling, or stuffed animal. None of these judge or know if a word was read correctly or not. This helps your child build his confidence. My son built so much confidence by reading to his baby sister. Now even though his confidence is no longer an issue, he still reads to her often. Everyone wins!
  4. Let your child see you struggle with words. I understand that some parents want to seem infallible, but showing your children that sometimes we have to work hard on a word or two is beneficial too. This was a huge turning point for my son. While reading a book about Star Wars, I had to sound out many of the characters’ names. My struggles showed my son that sounding out words while reading wasn’t a sign of weakness but a tool to use no matter how good of a reader you are.
  5. Don’t overcorrect. When your child is reading do not correct her too much. Remember, the goal here is to build confidence. You will have lots of time to work on accuracy and fluency, but take it one step at a time. If your child asks for help with a word go for it, but small mistakes or omissions should be overlooked in the name of confidence for now.

Let’s keep this conversation going! How have you helped your child build his or her reading confidence? Let us know on Scholastic Parent’s Facebook page or tweet Allison McDonald @noflashcards and share!

By Allison McDonald

Reposted Courtesy of Scholastic Parents





We are off to another awesome year here at HighMark! Just a quick reminder we have a school holiday on Monday!