June 5, 2017

The benefits of tutoring over the summer months are many.  Educators have found that students lose between one to three months of academic learning over the summer. Engaging your son or daughter in individualized tutoring, will give them the opportunity to retain information from the previous year in school and reinforce the concepts before it is lost.

Individualized instruction can also give extra attention to concepts that may have been challenging or not entirely understood from the previous school year.   During the summer, students have more time to focus their energy to catch up or even get ahead in a particular subject before the school year begins again in the fall.  

Whether you have an elementary or high school student, consider setting some time aside to prepare your child to succeed in the upcoming school year.  Call Sarah Ribeiro at Four Points Tutoring. I have been in the business of providing well qualified tutors in the Steiner Ranch area for the past twelve years.  Our tutors provide one-on-one tutoring in all the basic subjects as well as test preparation, foreign language and study skills.

Ted Talk – Sir Ken Robinson

October 6, 2016

Sir Ken Robinson shares this thoughts on how to create a climate of possibility in our schools.

 

Keep your child’s academic skills up over the summer

April 18, 2016

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Decades of research has clearly shown that enjoying a few months off from school in the summer can lead to setbacks in children’s academic performance. Children not only experience a loss of general academic knowledge over the summer months but multiple studies indicate that students routinely score lower on standardized text scores once students return to school in the fall, than they did on the same test a few months earlier.

 Teachers report that they spend the first month or more re-teaching and reviewing material that their students have lost over summer vacation. Valuable classroom time is therefore lost which could be spent teaching new material.

 Loss of Math computation is the biggest problem, where students lose about two and a half months worth of grade level math skills that have been forgotten over the summer. Reading and spelling abilities also show a decline but appears to be less significant than the loss of Math computation skills.

 Make sure your child will have the knowledge they need to be successful in the upcoming school year. I have a team of well- qualified tutors ready to help your child over the summer months.

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The need for creativity in the classroom

October 10, 2014

One of the most popular  “TED” talks of all time was given by a gentleman name, Sir Ken Robinson.

Please watch as he shares his point of view that our education system needs to foster creativity in the classroom!

 

 

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Cell phones in the classroom

October 10, 2014

 

iStock_000008177672LargeI was recently in the car with a group of teenagers and was interested to observe their social interactions.  They were all carrying on conversations with their friends, but were equally engaged in their text conversations.  It made me think about the classroom and wondered if their social media was a distraction or if this new generation could thrive with this new form of technology.

According to most educators, interaction with phones and other technology can at times be a distraction but the reality is that it’s proving to be a real advantage in the classroom.  Educators see the following as very clear advantages of cell phone use in the classroom:

-Students have the world at their fingertips and can draw on this for classroom studies.

– Teachers are now using applications on smart phones that allow students to work on collaborative projects.

– Teachers are incorporating programs that allow them to gauge student response in real time with activities, games and quizzes related to class material – all through phones.

-Students can record class lectures for review at home.

-Teachers are using texts to interact with the students as opposed to e mail.

The bottom line is that electronics are going to be a part of the 21st century, and students and educators are in new territory learning how to incorporate these devises into the classroom.  They want to use it to the advantages of technology while preserving classroom teacher student interaction.  While it “appears” that phones have the possibility of distraction the vast majority of students and educators feel that it is a huge benefit to their education

 

 

 

 

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Are Your Children Getting Enough ZZZZ’s?

July 22, 2012

 

According to research, the answer may well me no. James B. Maas PHD, one of the nation’s leading sleep experts, says, “Almost all teen-agers, as they reach puberty, become walking zombies because they are getting far too little sleep.”

This is not only a teenage problem. Younger children are also at risk for the effects of sleep deprivation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 1O to 17 need 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can have a big impact on children’s learning. Children’s brains continue to develop until the age of 21, and much of that “work-in-progress” brain development occurs while a child is asleep.

Students who do not receive adequate sleep are far more groggy and irritable during the day. Recent research also tracks an association between lack of sleep and poor grades. A survey out of Brown University Medical School, found that students who received C’s, D’s and F’s in school obtained less sleep than those receiving A’s and B’s. Not only does lack of sleep affect young people’s cognitive skills, behavior and temperament are also affected. Teens especially are more at risk for engaging in risky behaviors. It is believed that lack of sleep may decrease the teen’s ability to understand the consequences of risky behavior. In addition, many researchers have noted, there is a greater vulnerability to psychopathologies such as depression and ADHD, and to have more difficulty controlling emotions and impulses.

Some researchers are even encouraging schools to push back school starting times so that children can get more rest. Several states are putting forth legislative bills that would prohibit public schools from starting before 8:30 a.m.

There are things that parents can do, namely, setting reasonable bed time goals, especially for younger children.  Be aware of over-scheduling activities, limit television evening hours, internet use and cell phones in the bedroom. Teachers also need be aware of not requiring overly burdensome homework. As children become older, these goals become more difficult to enforce due to increasing social affiliations and academic pressures.

It is important for everyone to realize the importance of a good night’s sleep. Good sleep patterns need to be established early in life. The research that continues to link lack of sleep to cognitive development and emotional difficulties are too important to be ignored.

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Fall 2011

November 10, 2011

            

School is in session, and students are busy learning,
reconnecting with friends and adjusting to the new school schedule!

Four Points Tutoring is also in full swing this new school year.  We had a productive summer and focused on assisting students with writing skills.  We offered both in home tutoring and writing clinics taught by professional writers in the Austin area.  As we move into the school year we turn our attention to the need of basic study skills, time management, along with mastery of core subjects.  We are training tutors to support our very popular Academic Coaching (study skills), and hiring extra staff as our programs and tutoring are in high demand!

If your student is interested in learning more about Academic Coaching please contact us to learn more.  As our testimonials reflect, this has helped countless students meet with success in the classroom. There is nothing more frustrating for students than to not know how to study and achieve their true potential.

The importance of sleep

As students transition from the carefree days of summer to the demands of the new school year many find it hard to keep up with the new pace and still find time for a good night’s sleep!  In fact a recent study by the Journal of School Health found that 90 % of students are falling short. While most families look at the obvious culprits (school/ extracurricular activities) few are aware of the link between social media and sleep deprivation in teens.

Doctor Donna L. Hamilton stresses the importance of keeping an eye on your student’s texting/sleep. Teen Texting Taking a Toll: Lack of Sleep May Impact School Performance and Mood

For years pediatricians and sleep specialists have encouraged parents to keep televisions and computers out of their children’s bedroom in order to support optimal health and wellness.   The preliminary findings of a pilot study might add another piece of electronic media to the list: cell phones. The study, conducted by physicians at the Sleep Disorder Center at JFK Medical Center in Edison, NJ found that almost 80% of students who texted or used other electronic media at bedtime had persistent problems falling asleep.

Presented at the 2010 annual conference for the American College of Chest Physicians, the findings indicate that texting and surfing the internet impact more than teens’ ability to fall asleep. “Children who engage in pre-bedtime use of technology have a high rate of daytime problems, which can include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties,” said Peter G. Polos, MD, PhD, FCCP, lead study author. “This is in addition to nighttime problems, such as excessive movements, insomnia, and leg pain.”

To understand the effects of communication technology on sleep, Dr. Polos and colleagues studied 40 students. The average age was 14.5 years old.  In addition to sleep and performance effects, researchers also found a gender difference in technology use.  Girls preferred to talk and text after hours, while boys preferred to surf the internet and play video games. “One of the most surprising findings of our research was the average number of texts and e- mails sent per night. It is significant that these
children are engaging in stimulating activity when they should be in an environment to promote sleep,” said Dr. Polos. The average number of bedtime texts sent during a month was an astounding 3,404.

Though these findings are preliminary, they suggest bedtime use of communication technology might have a significant adverse effect on adolescent’s sleep and their general wellness.  They also indicate a possible effect on teens’ ability to function optimally during the daytime. “The prevalence of insomnia and other sleep disorders is cause for great concern, given their
potential consequences on a child’s ability to function in school,” said David Gutterman, MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. Several studies already indicate the negative effect of daytime sleepiness on adolescent health.  The National Sleep Foundation highlights research suggesting inadequate sleep puts adolescents at increased risk for unintentional injuries and death, poor school performance, lower grades, and increase mood disturbances 1.  Some studies also reveal correlation between sleep loss and drug use 2, 3. Fortunately, parents can promote healthy sleep habits for their children.  In addition to creating a healthy sleep environment and creating positive sleep routines, they can discuss appropriate sleep-time technology use with their children. Dr. Polos also suggests parents enforce guidelines for using technology.   “Using cell phones or computers, or surfing the Internet, with all the graphics and rapid responses, is more addictive, seductive, and interactive than passively watching television, said Dr. Polos. “The sooner parents establish appropriate times for children to use this technology, the better. “Sleep is largely habitual in nature,” said Dr. Polos. “If children begin this type of behavior, they may set themselves up for the need for external stimulation before sleep later in life. The effects of this can include sleep-onse insomnia, insufficient sleep, and daytime sleepiness.

Creating healthy habits now can help your children experience greater wellness throughout their life!

We wish all students an excellent
school year and hope that you will remember that we are the place to come for
all of academic support!

 

 

 

 

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December Newsletter 2010

December 22, 2010

The first semester is over, and winter break is upon us. This is an ideal time to evaluate how your student feels about their academic progress.  Parents can take advantage of this down time to address challenges and set goals.  Students that have struggled academically thus far can evaluate the type of support they need to be successful and those that are thriving academically can raise the bar higher!

Each student has his/her unique strengths and weaknesses, but the most common areas of need have been in math.  We have had an inordinate number of requests for high school geometry tutors this year.  Another high demand area has been in the area of Academic Coaching.  Our tutors have successfully aided student that struggle with organization and lack of initiative in their academic endeavors.

Whatever area your student is struggling in make it a point to address it now before the hustle and bustle of school begins next month.

Education in the Movies – Waiting for Superman

The movie educators,students, and parents have been waiting for hit the big screen this fall.  The controversial documentary by Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim examines why so many public schools are failing and how it affects five students and their families. The documentary outlines the need to dismiss “bad” educators, the break-up of teachers’ unions, and the benefits of privatization.  It also emphasizes the startling statistics that the United States ranks 25th in math and 21st in science, compared to students in 30 developed countries, and children living at poverty level are most affected by the system’s failure.

To learn more about this movie visit this site Waiting for Superman

Christmas gifts that are educational and entertaining

Are you looking for a Christmas gift that will be both educational and entertaining?  There are many educational gifts that focus on academics but are so fun your child won’t even know that he/she is learning!  One of the best gifts we gave our children was a Leap Pad when they were younger.  They played it frequently and we witnessed academic results from their “so called” game.

Here are a few ideas that will bring a smile to their face this Christmas:
1. Ant farm and insect kits This is great for younger children and a great educational gift.  They will watch ants go about their jobs!  Or, watch the full transmogrification of live ladybugs from small larvae to adults.  There are many interesting ideas to explore on this topic.
2. Science Kits Choose from several fun science kits that will interest children of all ages.  The younger child may want to explore how bubbles are formed while the older youth will be fascinated with a Hydro – Wind kit.  The options are endless and a fun way to interact with science.
3. Leap Pad Is a talking book that comes with an interactive “magic pen” that works like a hand-held computer mouse.  It’s an excellent source for those wanting reading help as the computer will incorporate activities that develop vocabulary, spelling and phonics awareness.  They also offer other books that introduce geography, math and other academic venues.
4. Board games: There are numerous education related board games on the market.  Choose games that require tactical maneuvers and well planned strategy, such as, Checkers, Chess, Qwirkle, Flip 4, and Blokus, Scrabble and others.

Final Exams in December

Families please keep in mind that final exams are mid -December.  It’s a good idea to start preparing early!

Final exam preparation:
1. Start preparing early: Make a commit to spending time each night preparing.  This will prevent last minute cramming and ensure a better grade.  It will also allow the opportunity to ask questions that may present as you are preparing.
2. Know what to study: By determining the type of final you will be taking will dictate  your approach to studying.  Will the exam by comprehensive, covers all of the information for the semester) or will it be a non- comprehensive final, (information from the last exam).
3. Study hard subject first:  Focus on subjects that are challenging first.  You will want to be as alert and energetic when studying subjects that you find difficult.
4. Use the 3R system: Read – Recite – Review has proven to be effective.  Read through the section once, then look away and summarize the section in your own words, then read through the section again to see if you understood everything.
5. Use flash cards: Educators encourage students to make use of flash cards, these are an excellent way to review.  When preparing them the student uses multi -senses which reinforces the material.
6. Make a schedule: First you will need to figure out your time line and estimate how many hours you will need to spend studying for a particular exam.  Next, decide how much time you have to study each day.  Finally, make a schedule using the estimated number of hours you’ll need to master each subject.  You will need to take into account that there will be numerous activities that will arise that sound a lot more fun the studying, but by consciously making the decision to study and follow your schedule will pay off in the in.  For a short time studying will need to take precedence over other activities.
7. Review old tests: Students should review tests and homework to identify errors to see if there are patterns of weaknesses.

We hope that you have a wonderful holiday season and thank you for using Four Points Tutoring!

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Back to School Success

July 25, 2010

It’s that time of year again, back to school for Austin students.  It can be an exciting time as students meet new teacher(s), reunite with their friends, and get back to the school routine. For most kids the transition is a positive one, however, almost all students will be a little anxious and may experience stress while adjusting to the new school year.
The student will ultimately dictate their own experience; however, parents can play a key role in helping the child navigate and managing the stress and demands of the new school year.  To help parents promote a positive experience for the children Four Points Tutoring has compiled a list of tips that will help your student thrive!
One Month Before:  Parents and students will want to spend time reflecting on the successes and struggles of the past school year.  Ultimately, you will want to focus on improving any area of weakness.  A month prior to the start of the new school year is an excellent time to begin tutoring if necessary. 
Two Weeks Before:  This is an excellent time to start preparing for the change in routine.  Make it a point to go to bed earlier and waking up close to the time that school will start.  This is also a good time to unplug from excessive television, and all other electronics.  While it is ideal to have been reading all summer long, the reality is more than likely that summer has been more carefree and now is an excelling time to get back into the daily reading habit.
One week Before: Take your student to the school to locate classrooms, bathrooms, lockers, and if possible even meet the teacher. This is an excellent time to review all material sent from the school and teacher with your child.  Discuss the room number, class theme and any other information that would be helpful and interesting to your child.  This is also a good time to review the year, decide on any after school activities they would like to partake in and if applicable put important dates on your student’s calendar. 
The Night Before: Lay out clothes for the first day of school, this should be something that is new or an outfit that the child feels good in. Discuss what the day will look like but try not to over build the experience/anticipation. 
The First Day of School:  Probably the number one most important thing a parent can do is to send their children off to school with a good breakfast.  Studies show that children that eat a good breakfast do better academically than their peers that skip breakfast.  Finally, reconfirm transportation arrangements for younger children reassure them that you will be there when school is over for the day. 
Finally, make it a point to have dinner together every night with your children and especially the first few days of school.  Clear your own schedule this week as much as possible and let your child know that you care about them and how they are doing in school.  Take a minute to talk about what your child will be learning, view their class material and reinforce a positive atmosphere.

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How to find a tutor in Austin

June 1, 2010

Many children will struggle academically from time to time.  The consequences for the student can be frustration, embarrassment, and can lead to a dislike of school.  If the student does not receive academic support they are at risk of falling further behind as each year builds upon past learning. It is therefore important that the child receive timely intervention.  While some parents can offer this support others find that turning to a tutor is the best answer.  With so many tutoring options available it can be a challenge for a parent to know where to turn for assistance.

Just about every neighborhood has a tutoring center, national tutoring chain, in home tutoring, college students, or professional certified teachers available to work with your child.  So, what is the best approach for your child?  A good starting point is to talk to the student’s teacher or a school guidance counselor to identify key areas of academic concern and to set up a plan.  The next step is to review the various tutoring options to see which of the above choices best suits your child’s needs and tutoring goals.

Once you’ve established the type of tutor you want to work with your child now comes the hard part, finding the “ideal” match.  “Parents spend approximately eight billion dollars a year on tutoring nationally” says Sarah Ribeiro director of Four Points Tutoring. “It is a big commitment monetarily and an important step in your child’s future. So make sure that you take the steps necessary to find the right tutor.” Ask a lot of questions, check references carefully, and listen to your child’s feedback. There are six important questions that you should keep in mind when talking to a tutor/agency to make sure that you are getting the best person for the job.

  1. What is the tutor’s background?  What type of education and teaching experience does the tutor have?
  2. How does the agency screen tutors?  Do they conduct background checks?
  3. Where does tutoring take place (home, agency, library), who else will be present during tutoring.
  4. Will tutoring be private or small group based?
  5. If your child struggles with a specific area such as dyscalculia, dyslexia, etc, is the tutor skilled to give the student the assistance needed.
  6. Ask for pricing, policies for making up missed lessons, get this in writing when possible and expect to pay between $20 to $150 for a tutor depending on the tutors training, and background.

Finally, get to know the tutor.  Even though you are seeking the best academic match for your child it’s also important to find a tutor that is going to make the session as enjoyable as possible.

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