Improving Learning

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A comprehensive look at the latest trends, expert advice and recent studies into improving student learning. Explore the latest studies into links between student performance, sleep and music. See why schools are opting for later start times and year round schedules.
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A commonly cited statistic suggests that as many as 20% of high school dropouts are gifted students. Does this statistic surprise you? On one side of the coin, you might think that gifted students would be more likely to excel in school than traditional students. On the other side of the coin, it makes sense that gifted students might drop out of school if they are not properly challenged. If you are the parent, guardian, or teacher of a gifted student then it is your duty to make sure they are pushed hard enough to meet their maximum potential.

Myths and Misconceptions

The statistic quoted earlier could be interpreted in different ways. Some might assume that gifted students will excel no matter what kind of schooling they receive while others might be able to see that gifted students are often bored in traditional classrooms which leads to a higher dropout rate. Before getting into the details regarding how to properly challenge a gifted student, it is important to address some common myths and misconceptions about gifted students.

  1. Gifted students will do fine in normal classrooms. According to a study conducted by the Fordham Institute, over 50% of teachers have not received any professional development in regards to teaching gifted students. Furthermore, nearly 75% of those same teachers admitted that the brightest students in their classrooms are often bored or under-challenged in school. These statistics highlight the sad truth that, unfortunately, many teachers simply are not equipped to deal with
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Every year thousands of American school children compete in school spelling bees. Kids in grades three to eight compete to spell increasingly challenging words in a tradition that is nearly as old as the U.S. education system itself. School spelling bee winners typically go on to regional spelling bee, which, in turn, funnel winners to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, held each spring in Washington, DC. Top spellers can earn tens of thousands of dollars in prizes and scholarship money.

Being a spelling bee champ takes more than luck. And, while children who are avid readers and who show skills in writing and reading comprehension usually do well, the most successful competitive spellers have identified some “tricks of the trade” that have helped them achieve the top prize in spelling.


Look at Other Languages

Top spellers study with a purpose. English is a unique language because many English words originated in other languages. The most successful spellers focus their study efforts on learning important foreign language root words and spelling conventions. Here are some of the languages that have most influenced English as well as spelling tips and examples from each language:



Latin has been the most influential language on English. Words related to science and medicine are often based on Latin words. To help spell Latin words, remember a few simple rules. First, the u sound, as in ooze or school, is almost always spelled with a u, and not two o’s, as in the word bugle.  Second, the letter

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There has been a substantial decline in the number of children who read for pleasure in the last few years. In fact, according to the annual Kids and Family Report published by Scholastic, in just the last four years, the number of kids that read for fun has dropped by nearly 10%. Today, barely more than half of children in the United States report liking to read for enjoyment. A full 37% of children like to read “a little,” while 12% report not liking reading at all.

When it comes to reading, kids can come up with a million excuses as to why they don’t like it.  It’s boring. There isn’t enough time. It isn’t fun. There’s already too much reading in school. 

Thankfully, there is an art to promoting reading. Some methods, like nagging, definitely do not work. Yet other methods, such as modeling reading behaviors to your child, will pay dividends in the short and long term.


What NOT To Do

It can be frustrating trying to get your child to read, and in those moments, it is easy to rely on unsuccessful methods for encouraging reading. Sometimes the first inclination is to nag your child into submission, or perhaps bribe them to read by offering them a reward for doing so. Unfortunately, these methods often do more harm than good. Nagging can easily wear on your child’s nerves and lead him or her to resent the fact that they are being forced to read. And while rewarding your

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As far back as the time of the ancient Greeks, philosophers like Plato recognized the inherent value of studying the arts. Theatre, music, dance, and the visual arts were seen as integral to Greek society and are still an integral component of education in our country today.
But not that long ago, amid nationwide budget cuts and an increasing emphasis on instruction and testing in math, science, and language arts, many school districts were forced to reduce arts programming greatly, and in some cases, eliminate parts of their arts curriculum altogether. The arts suffered because school officials, students, parents, and the public in general perceived the arts to be nothing more than an extracurricular activity, despite the vast evidence to the contrary. Fortunately, however, this trend has reversed somewhat, and school districts are once again developing thriving fine and performing arts programs.
The trend towards expanding arts education is certainly a positive one, as the benefits that students reap from participation in the arts are many. In fact, research shows that the arts promote positive development in the academic, social, and emotional realms. So important are the arts to a comprehensive educational program, that Katy Independent School District in Texas proclaims, “The arts are what make us most human, most complete as people.”
Signs of Support
The arts are gaining more and more recognition as a central component of the public school curriculum rather than as an add-on that students elect to take in high school or participate in
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Your child’s success in school is dependent upon a wide variety of factors. Certainly, the quality of programming at your child’s school, the quality of your child’s teacher, and access to quality resources are all critical components of your child’s success. But the factor that is most important for your child’s academic achievement is your involvement in their educational process.
According to the Michigan Department of Education, parental involvement is twice as predictive of a child’s academic success than socioeconomic status. Yet, the same report also notes that a lack of parental involvement is the largest issue facing public schools today. There are likely many reasons for this gap, not the least of which is that some parents just don’t know how to help their children when they bring schoolwork home. However, involvement in your child’s education does not begin and end with struggling to help them with homework. There are many methods you can employ to help your child achieve his or her academic potential, and here are nine ways you can naturally incorporate into your child's academic support. 
Create a Routine and Stick to It
A major barrier that many parents face is simply finding the time in their schedules to sit down with their children to talk about school, review work, and provide assistance when needed. This has become even more difficult in recent years as children have become so involved with technologies like mobile phones, tablets, and social media that can occupy
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How to Make Sure Your Gifted Student is Properly Challenged
How to Make Sure Your Gifted Student is Properly Challenged
Gifted students often fail to thrive in traditional academic environments because they are not being challenged. In this article you will learn how to make sure your gifted student gets the quality education he or she deserves.
Secrets of Spelling Bee Champs
An overview of the top tips and strategies used by winners of regional and national spelling bees.
Co-teaching Offers New Opportunities for Students with Special Needs
Although there are some drawbacks, co-teaching is an effective way to help special education students succeed in mainstream classrooms.
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