Inclusive Classroom Essentials

Friday, August 24, 2012

10 Websites That Will Help Your Child With Homework!



Here is an updated list of 10 Websites That Will Help Your Child With Homework!  Some of these sites are designed to support the concepts of Common Core.  In addition, I have included not only sites that offer homework assistance but sites that have information and tools to help students complete their work. These sites of useful for students of all abilities and ages. 



1. LearnZillion - this is a fantastic resource for students who need help understanding the new Common Core concepts. Short, video lessons reinforce learning from various curriculum areas. 


2. Khan Academy - Learn almost anything on Khan Academy's website! Videos help explain and reinforce curriculum topics from math, science, art history as well as test prep.


3.  BJ Pinchbeck's Homework Helper - This is a curated website of dozens of online resources to help students, parents and teachers with homework.  It is geared for students of all ages.


3. The Homework Guru - Susan Fitzell lists strategies, resources and ways to work with your student's learning style in order to get the homework done! 


4. SparkNotes - Designed for older students, SparkNotes is a resource students can go to in order to give themselves a better understanding of the books, coursework and assignments. 


6. Discovery Education - Suited for all ages, Discovery Education offers a Homework Help page with videos, webinars, activities and webMath (an interactive tool that helps students understand math problems!).


7. Ten Special-Needs School Tools - This is an site with information for parents and teachers. Terri Mauro, from  Parenting Children with Special Needs lists her ten favorite items for helping students complete school work with items such as pencil grips and fidget toys.


8. US Dept of Education - Helping Your Child With Homework  - Here is another site with information and resources for parents about homework. It offers ways to help your child with homework, explains the purpose of homework and suggests ways to talk to your child's teacher about homework.



10. Graphic Organizers - Using graphic organizers is another way of helping students visualize what they learn. Graphic organizers can also help them organize for writing. There are many types of graphic organizers to choose from depending on the type of assignment and your child's learning style.



Hope you find this list helpful!  Please comment if you have any other sites that are great!





Monday, August 13, 2012

Parents, Be Prepared for the New School Year

Preparing for a new school year brings up all kinds of emotions for parents. Hope (for new beginnings), joy (that your child is getting older), sadness (that your child is getting older), anxiety (in anticipation of this year's teacher) and sometimes dread (will it be the same as last year?). Maybe it was because I had such an unusually busy summer this year, but I did not think about my children going back to school until last Tuesday. And, school was set to begin the following day.


This school year, I was completely unprepared for the first day of school (both mentally and material-wise) and unfortunately I did not take the time to prepare my kids either. Whether it's a missing supply or a forgotten lunch, we are still catching-up to that first day back. In addition, as I put my daughter to bed tonight, she let me know that everyday since school started, she has been feeling stressed about being at her new school (she started middle school this year).  It has been a completely overwhelming experience for her and I regret not taking more time to help her transition. I know that we will be able to talk her through anxiety she feels. But, in the meantime, I am kicking myself as I should have taken my own advice that I tell parents at the beginning of every school year. BE PREPARED!

To help you avoid the several glaring mistakes that I made as a parent this past week, I wanted to share a few resources to help you (and your child) be prepared for school start-up. 

To begin with, you can start by checking out some tips and advice on preparing your child with (or without) special needs by reading How to Prepare Your Special Needs for a New School Year or Parent Primer: Placing Children with Special Needs in the Inclusive Classroom. Once you have read those, head on over to What You Need to Know: Preparing Your Child with Special Needs for the Inclusive Classroom for some tips that both parents and teachers can use. 

And finally, be sure to check out The Inclusive Class Podcast "Back to School" Series on Blog Talk Radio. On Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9 AM EST Terri Mauro and I will be talking about school supplies and materials that parents can buy or prepare for children to use at school. These materials have been hand-picked by Terri for their ease and ability in accommodating special needs. Join us again on Friday, August 24, 2012 when teacher and homework guru, Susan Fitzell discusses homework strategies for families. She always offers valuable insight and advice in her interviews!

Well, best of luck with the start of the new school year for you and your family! Let me know if you have any tips or strategies that work for you!