Tag Archives: education budget cuts

Ask Your 4th Grader!

In fourth grade children really get to apply the skills they have learned in the first few years of school.  If you think about kindergarten through 3rd grade as the time in which children are taught how to read; how to add, subtract and multiply; and how to begin to write paragraphs, then 4th grade becomes the time when they really get to apply those skills in order to expand their overall knowledge.

In light of this, what can you do to help your child acquire additional knowledge through the application of these basic skills, while making sure he or she is developing appropriately in this grade?

Math:

1.  Division- work with your child to solidify his or her skills in division. Ask your child to complete long division problems.  For example:  137 divided by 7.  Solving this problem will require your child to multiply, divide, and subtract in order to find the right answer, thus applying several skills in one activity.  You can ask the teacher for worksheets in this area or simply work with your child in this area when he or she is doing homework problems that require long division.

2.  Place Value- work with your child to make sure he or she understands place values. This concept is very important in future math subjects and it is therefore good for children to get off to a good start in understanding this topic.  For example:

The number 34.76

3 is in the tens place, 4 is in the ones place, 7 is in the tenths place, and 6 is in the hundreths place.

3.  Fractions- work with your child to make sure he or she understands how to add and subtract fractions with like denominators. For example:

1/3 + 1/3 = 2/3

Reading:

1.  Reading on a 4th grade level.  Make sure your child can read on a 4th grade level or higher.  Many books have the age ranges and/or reading level for which the book is appropriate right on the back of the book, near the bottom.  Select books within your child’s grade/age range and determine if your child understands the content and can follow story.

2.  Unfamiliar words. Ask your child to read with you and observe whether or not your child tries to figure out words he or she doesn’t know by looking at the entire meaning of the sentence or by taking clues from the content in the material.  Finally look up words with your child; if they are new or difficult to understand.

Writing:

1.  Writing a multi-paragraph report. Many children will be asked to do some type of assignment in the 4th grade that requires them to write a multi-paragraph composition.  Look out for such an assignment and work with your child to make sure she or he understands the rubric (i.e. the criteria the teacher has laid out that explains how the paper will be scored).  Usually the teacher will want an opening paragraph which states the topic of the report; a couple of paragraphs that explain the main ideas of the report; and a concluding paragraph that sums up everything.

These are a few things you can do to support your child in fourth grade.

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Budget Cuts: Are School Systems Changing Right Before Our Eyes and What Does This Mean For Your Child?

The Los Angeles School District recently struck an agreement with the city’s teacher’s union; agreeing to cut 5 days from the school year this year and 7 days from the school year next year, due to budget cuts.

This deal was needed to avoid the possible laying off of teachers, counselors, and other school officials.  LA, like other school districts around the country, is facing a budget crisis due to the slow economy and reduced revenues from taxes.

I understand that something has to be done…. school closings, reduced days in school, less teachers, larger class sizes, etc… are all ways school districts are trying to deal with decreases in funding.

But what does this do to our children in the short-run and in the long-run?  Are we going to produce some children, over the next couple of years, who are more ill-prepared academically, because there is so much flux in school systems across the country?

Because they are sitting in larger classes?  Because they have less days of instruction in the school year?  Because teachers may be concerned about keeping their jobs?  Because certain school programs may be cut?

As parents, we have to get involved.  We have to find out if there are any cuts that will affect our children in the schools they attend.  We have to make sure our voices are heard and WE have to understand WHAT our children need to learn in order to be successful academically.  If we don’t, there is no guarantee our children will graduate with what they need to be successful in the 21st century.

Take a look at Education World and see if there are standards that can help you raise your child’s academic abilities and see if you can work with your child’s school/teachers to ensure your child gets what he or she needs academically.

Ask Your 3rd-Grader!

Ask Your 3rd-Grader:

To help you determine how your child is progressing in third grade, you may want to conduct a few exercises.

Ask your 3rd-grader:

1.  For the number 6,745, ask your child how many thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones are in this number (Answer:  There are 6 thousands, 7 hundreds, 4 tens, and 5 ones in this number).

2.  To add up the total amount, for a given number of dollars and cents, up to $10.  For example, give your child 2 one dollar bills, 1 five dollar bill, and 2 quarters and ask him or her to add up the total amount.  Answer: $7.50.

3.  To tell time to the nearest minute using a clock with “hands.”

4.  To write a paragraph about his or her favorite subject in school (or favorite thing to do, etc…) using a topic sentence, 2 or 3 supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence.

These are just a couple of exercises you can do to check how your child is progressing in third grade.  See our Paragraph Guide for help with writing paragraphs.

www.TenThingsYourChildShouldKnow.com

Free Educational Resources!

Very COOL website with FREE resources for education. Everything from algebra to US History.  Check it out. http://www.free.ed.gov/

What Impact Will Budget Cuts Have?

With school districts all over the country considering budget cuts (e.g. less property tax revenue may lead to fewer staff members in schools, shorter school years in some places, & in Kansas City the Board of Education voted to close 28 out of the 61 city schools)- you have to ask yourself the question:

Will budget cuts affect my child’s education?

Some time ago I spoke with a teacher who told me that her school district decided to stop teaching cursive to children in elementary school, because of some new theory.  The feedback from the the middle schools to which these children eventually went, was that the children were lacking in a basic skill they would need to complete many assignments.

Now this change wasn’t due to “budget cuts,” but even with the simple omission of something like cursive in elementary school, it had an impact on the success of children in later grades.

What will be the impact of the various cuts that are being proposed all across the country?

I know what I plan to do about it….I plan to look ahead at my child’s curriculum in high school and MAKE SURE he is taking the right classes.

I plan to work with his teachers to MAKE SURE he understands his material and I plan to learn something about the courses, myself, so that I can MAKE SURE he masters his work when he is at home.

Do what you can.