I do hope that you and your student's break has been rejuvenating. Since all my students are beginning their second semester of school one day next week, I thought I would send out a friendly suggestion along with an awesome article you might want to discuss with your kiddos.
As you know organization is a big piece of success, and after all it is the first letter of OSAAAA.
If you haven't already, I would recommend you support your student with the following:
1. Clean out book bag and all 3 ring binders/notebooks
Only throw away unimportant papers. Unless the teacher has asked that the papers stay, most of the papers can be filed away in a manila folder. If you don't have a hole punch yet, I highly recommend buying one. Goodwill often has them.
2. If notebooks are beat up, old, bent, I would recommend investing in a few new ones.
Also, see if your student could use new paper dividers (classwork, homework, notes, tests) and new pocket dividers (the colorful ones with pockets on each side for work to be done and work to be completed).
3. Make sure your student has a functional agenda to use.
I have spent some time in Staples looking at new planners and to do systems for myself and students. I discovered a system called the ARC which is pretty cool, especially for adults. Of course I have the Blue agenda I like for home schoolers to use and most public schools have their own agenda, but if you are looking for a new one, Staples has some great ones. You can typically get another agenda from your school if your student's is lost or damaged, but you might want to take a trip to Staples/Office Depot/Dollar store to check out supplies together. It's all about finding something that works. Most importantly, we want to ensure that students are using their agenda to record, pace and keep track of all school work.
4. Make sure you and your student know log in information for Parent/Grade portals, Khan Academy and Read Theory.
5. Sit with your student and have them evaluate how their first semester went, and I am not just talking about grades. Address issues related to OSAAAA
O-organization (note books, study space, book bags, bedrooms)
S-schedule (time management, study time, waking and going to sleep issues, dinners, extracurricular activities)
A-assignments (grades, turning in work, correcting it when it's returned, pacing projects and test prep, etc.)
A-agenda (is student using it, plan for looking at it on a consistent basis)
A-accountability (how often will each of you check grades on Parent/grade portals , taking responsibility, communicating with teacher/you/Meg)
(side note: please remind your student of the importance of replying to texts, phone calls from Meg)
A-attitude (feelings about last semester and upcoming semester, openness to growth/development/feedback, anxiety related to school/tests)
Some of you are experts at communicating with your kids, but just in case you need some suggested discussion openers:
How would you evaluate your first semester? Your biggest victory? Your biggest struggle?
What are you most proud of? What would you do differently if you could? Do you see that being a possibility this semester?
What did I do as a parent that made you feel most supported? Are there things I did that were not helpful?
What are your goals for this semester? (not just grades, but with friends, study habits, health, etc.)
What do you most need from me to help you reach your goal? What additional support do you need from Meg in order to have a better semester? (I will be sure to address this as well)
Take time to acknowledge any growth you have seen no matter how small. (I plan on completing a blog this weekend to post on my website-initials only-to affirm each student and his/her growth this semester).
It is truly a privilege to work with you and you child(ren). Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or feedback.
It's going to be a great 2017!