Category Archives: Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full time teacher and mother of 3. As co-founder of the award winning Flat Classroom® Projects, she helps teachers around the world connect their classrooms in powerful ways that engage students.
Vicki writes the Cool Cat Teacher blog to inspire educators, principals, and parents to reach a new generation of learners with cutting edge technology tools. She’s taken her students to China, Qatar, and India as part of the Flat Classroom® conference which she co-founded in 2009.
She travels the world speaking about the effective use of social media in schools. Her first book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds will be released from Pearson Publishing in January 2012 and her second, Collaborative Writing in the Classroom, from Eye on Education in December 2012. View Vicki’s full bio at www.coolcatteacher.com.

6 eggs and more: Giving all you have to your students

In his must-read book, Up from Slavery, Booker T.Washington shares one of the most moving events of his entire career:

“I recall one old coloured woman who was about seventy years of age, who came to see me when we were raising money for the farm. She hobbled into the room where I was, leaning on a cane. She was clad in rags; but they were clean. She said:

‘Mr. Washin’ton, God knows I spent de bes’ days of my life in slavery.God knows I’s ignorant an’ poor; but,’ she added, ‘I knows what you an’ Miss Davidson is tryin’ to do.I knows you is tryin’ to make better men an’ better women for de coloured race.I ain’t got no money, but I wants you to take dese six eggs, what I’s been saving’ up, an’ I wants you to put dese six eggs into the eddication of deseboys an’ gals.’

Since the work at Tuskegee started, it has been my privilege to receive many gifts for the benefit of the institution, but never any, I think, that touched me so deeply as this one.”Kindle Link

Six eggs. All she had. And so many of us want to give nothing.

You get what you pay for. Now, before all of you start complaining about property taxes, I agree that we all pay a lot in taxes. This isn’t about that.

In times of prosperity, we put money into things and think that is doing something. Money isn’t everything, especially when it has to do with children. Children need our hearts, hands, and time. Nothing less for educating the young.

This woman knew that there were good things happening at Tuskegee and gave all she had to help. If you know good things are happening somewhere, are you giving anything at all? You can give your time but you can also volunteer, give something for an event coming up, sponsor an ad in the annual, or help with an after school club.

I’m challenged by this woman. In fact, I’m challenged by everything that Booker T Washington has to say in his autobiography and feel that he is often oddly prophetic about many things that have come to pass. I wish every educator and student had to read Up from Slavery as it has so many things to discuss and was written only a few years after the abolition of slavery.

School starts today. I’m going to get dressed, run to get some Mello Yello Zero and Diet Coke Zero to restock my fridge and school and open up my room for the first day. I’ll pray over each chair and make my list as I help teachers get their computers doing, reset passwords, and get the PowerSchool mobile app ready for the meetings tonight. I’ll cry a little bit as I consider that my son will start his senior year this Thursday. My heart and soul will be poured into my students this year and I’ll be there for my kids. I’ll sell some spare computer parts to try to raise enough money to outfit our auditorium with a projector and screen.   I don’t have everything I want or even need, but I have me and my God and that is enough to change the world and the lives of these students.

I’ll give all I have and that will be enough. I believe that good things are happening in my school and classroom and those good things start with me and a love for my students. This year, I’m going to have a folder for each child and they’ll put their passions and interests into that folder on day One. I want to know them and encourage them.

If 6 eggs is all I have, then that is enough, but since I have more, I’ll give it. The best days of my life are spent being a Mama and a teacher. I’m ready to start and dive in. I don’t look back to a summer now gone but forward to a life well spent.

Wake up to a new day dawning – the dawn of a school year. See this woman of old hobbling to a school to give all she has because she believes education is a good thing and humbly set your face towards a task so noble that a former slave will give her last 6 eggs to support it.

Remember your noble calling, teacher.  YOU ROCK!

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10 Inexpensive Ways to be Kind

Source: thephobia.com via Melissa on Pinterest
Being kind is so simple. It has often bothered me that we say “random acts of kindness.” What if kindness were so common that we just had “random acts of unkindness” but we don’t. Everyone wants to be appreciated and encouraged. You can do it too. Here are some neat ones.

Give someone a permanent reminder. In the picture above, you see a $3.50 mug from the “dollar store” written on with Sharpie marker and baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cost: $3.50 plus a sharpie. Do something nice, not tacky.
Buy someone’s favorite soda, write a note on a sticky note and put it on their desk. Cost: $1.00 (Tip, if someone likes Mountain Dew, you can make a sign that says “Thanks for all you Dew.” or you can come up with something creative for other beverages.)
Write a private message to someone on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or anywhere to encourage and be kind. Don’t do it for recognition just to be nice. This is great if you know someone is having a hard day or tough time. Cost: Your time.

Write a public message or blog post to recognize someone out of the blue. Notice people that not everyone notices and use your audience to point them out. Cost: Your time.
Make a cool hand soap dispenser. This inexpensive teacher gift uses soft soap but you can make this gift for anyone. Remove the label with “goo gone” Create the label on your home computer and take it to a copy shop to have them run it off on transparency (or run it through a copier onto copier transparency sheets). Roll it up and put it into the bottle. Use the straw inside the bottle to help guide it to the front of the bottle. (See full instructions at Design Mom.) (Pictured below.) Cost: soap dispenser and cost to copy on a transparency.

Give someone an app. If you have a favorite app on your iOS and have a person you’d like to give one too, you can go into iTunes and click the button “Give this app as a gift.” (Cnet has some nice instructions.) Some of my favorite apps that cost money are Mr. Reader $3.99, Home Routines $3.99, or Camera+ $.99 are three great choices.)

Give pencils or pens in a bow. Teachers and many Moms love pens and pencils. You can go get a large number at an office supply place and tie a ribbon around them. A note like “thanks for being so sharp” or “you’re the penultimate” work great! Cost: the price of pencils.

Say thank you. There are people who do so much and should be thanked. Many people don’t thank because they are afraid to leave someone out. Well, you may leave someone out the first time if you only thank people once a year, but if you make it a habit, eventually you’ll get around to everyone.
Leave a secret surprise. The reason that so many people click on those viruses that say “someone is saying nasty things about you” or “have you seen this awful picture someone uploaded of you” is that most of us have a scant bit of paranoia. Turn their worries around and leave a secret note in several places saying thank you. In their box, under their locked door after they’ve left for the day. I’ve put these in my husband’s jacket pocket before a trip. Everyone likes to know that someone is thinking of them.

Just be thoughtful. Notice people and what they like. You can pick up a box of fudgesicles and take them into work. Go around to everyone’s room until you’ve handed them all out. Take a cake and put it in the teacher’s lounge or break room with a note saying thank you. Make a delicious pot of coffee and bring it into work with a carafe and flavored syrups and invite people for coffee in the morning. Think of others.

When you do this and you’re struggling with your own attitude, you’ll find that your own mood turns around. You’ll also wake up one day and realize that people are starting to be more thoughtful to you! I don’t know why or how but the kindness just moves through people. The habit of being kind and thoughtful can do a lot to improve your workplace, school, or home. But don’t do it to be fake or to get something, people can see through a charlatan like a spotlight through Gypsy Rose Lee’s fan. Be real and be kind.

Being kind may be free but when you’re kind you become priceless.

Leverage your iPad and iPhone Screens to Spark Success

I love to see how others have their iPads laid out. I actually have my iPhone and iPad with prominent apps in the same places so I never have to hunt. Here are my screens and notes about current rationale for how I organize things. Even if you have a Droid or something else, the apps and the concepts may help you as you decide how you’re going to organize things.

Your 5 Important Electronic Desktop Decisions

Having an organized, productive workspace is important. You have 5 very important electronic desktop decisions that can have a big impact on your life and your focus:

  1. Your computer desktop
  2. Your browser start screen and toolbars (I use firefox browser sync and a custom igoogle page.)
  3. Your mobile phone start screen
  4. Your tablet device start screen
  5. Your media diet (thanks Mark Hurst – author of Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload for this one.) Your media diet is what media sources will I attend to daily

In this post, we’ll talk about how I tackle #3 and #4 on this list.

Home Screen- iPad
I “Pareto” everything. What are the 20% of things that give me 80% of the benefit of my life? These need to be in my face on my home screen shouting to be touched and used. What are the things I hunt for? If it is an icon on my home screen, I use it every day.

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Home Screen – iPhone
You’ll notice that I left the middle row on my iPad out on my iPhone. I did this because I feel like I look for the icons relative to the edge of the screen. So, I will look for the bottom icons relative to the bottom. Also, my tray at the bottom is different but I like it that way.

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Photographer Folder- iPad
I like to name most folders by who I am so I can picture myself as that and am reinforcing my thought patterns to get out of life what I want to be. In life, the journey is the destination. Now that photos are synced via my devices, I use these apps even more to doctor photos taken via iPhone. (I literally took a screenshot on my iphone and in less than a minute, the photos were on my ipad, ready to be uploaded into the first draft of this post on BlogPress.)

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Photographer Folder- iPhone

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Dashboard Folder- iPad
This folder holds my hottest tools and apps I need to get to. I use these items a lot and want to be reminded of them. If it is in my dashboard on my iPhone it is also here in exactly the same order.

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Dashboard – iPhone

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My Tools Folder- iPad
The utilities and tools that help. I follow the same rule as I have for dashboard.

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My tools -iPhone
iPhone has some things that iPad doesn’t and those tools are here.

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My Thought Leader Folder (Thought Ldr)
Note: my most important reads are ON the home screen of my iPad but I want a variety of news sources at my fingertips so I can read several sources of info. This is on my second screen on my iPhone because iPad is my electronic paper, typically. This is another example of how I’m trying to program myself to think in a way that I want to be.

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My Music Folder – iPad
More interfaces to find new music that have text features here.

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My music folder – iPhone

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My second Screen- iPad
Here, I want my favorite things in front of me that will lead me to the related folder on the right. I look at this screen pretty often.

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Second screen iPhone
These are folders based on who I want to be. Even if I don’t go in them, I look and read over the folder names daily because they keep front and center who I want to be. When I feel I am lacking in an area or badges are screaming at me, I go there and work on it as I travel.

There are two folder names you may be curious about so I will explain them. The 65% folder is from a statement made in a great book on personal productivity management called Personal KanBan (Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life.) The authors point out that highways start becoming parking lots at about the 65% full level. When I overbook myself I become unproductive, so the apps there help me manage myself to give myself some leeway. You can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself. I do not have to say yes to everything. 65% reminds my goal should be to hit that threshold for my waking hours- although I struggle with doing too much. (If you want me to share what is in these folders, let me know and I’ll work on a future post.)

Aire- Money is a struggle for many of us who got sucked into the lies the credit card companies told us in the 80’s and 90’s. I am sad to say that I fell for those lies and have spent the better part of the last 10 years paying dearly. Losing our life savings in the pecan grove in the flood of 94 and floating flat classroom projects on credit cards hasn’t helped but we consistently work to pay down our debt and live below our means. I dream of being an aire one day but will not put limits on it. (I was listening to a Brian Tracy audiobook Million Dollar Habits on the characteristics of millionaires the other day and heard the average millionaire goes broke 3.2 times. I called my husband and said, “Good news, honey, we only have .2 times to go.”)

Wishing won’t get you your dreams. Find out what those who have what you want do and emulate those behaviors and you will get the same results. Successful and unsuccessful people both hate doing the same things- the difference is that successful people do them anyway. (Another Brian Tracy paraphrase.)

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So, my folders are: 65%, Aire, Archivist, Artist, Athlete, Author, Chef, Christian, Connectivist, IPhone, Maestro, Minimalist, Newshound, R&R, Thought Ldr, Traveler

Third screen -iPad
My school app dashboard and other items that were on 2nd screen of iPhone in those folders.

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Fourth screen – iPad
My son’s study screen. This is where I keep the apps my 4th grader needs to do homework and study. We consistently do the first three games every day.

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Hope this gives you ideas but I also want to see your screens. Please share your productivity strategies. Hashtag: #mlearning or #ipadchat.

The Sweet Smell of Success Starts at Home (part 5)

Sometimes teachers say that

“One hundred per cent of parents won’t be happy until all children are in the 100th percentile in their test scores.”

This is true. The unfortunate nature of percentiles is that some will be at the top and some will not.

In this series, we’ve been talking about the things we can do at home to help children be successful at school. Here are the posts with links to them:

  • Part 1: What influence do you have?
  • Part 2: 10 Tips for Starting Student Success at Home (1-3)
  • Part 3: 10 Tips (4-6)
  • Part 4: 10 Tips (7-8)

10 Tips for Starting Student Success at Home (9-10)
9 – Set up TLC Routines
Once I was in Albany, Georgia after midnight at the hospital with a family member and had to go to Super Wal-mart at 1am. As I walked into the bright fluorescent  lights, I was shocked by the sheer number of elementary age children strolling through the aisles with their parents. Maybe all of them had a family emergency that night, but somehow I doubt it.

All I could think of is:

“That poor teacher tomorrow.How is she going to teach a child that has been up till 2 am.”

Dr. Avi Sadeh showed that a slightly sleepy sixth grader performed more like a fourth grader in his study.

“Sleep disorders can impair children’s IQ as much as lead exposure.”

There are children suffering in schools today not from learning disabilities but from sleeping disabilities. Most often, it is from sleeping with their cell phone in their hand or under their pillow ready to be roused from sleep to return the text message from a friend or to see what is happening on Facebook.

Having TLC routines like charging their cell phones / iPods/ iPads, and laptops in the kitchen at night or using parental controls to turn off text messages from being sent or received on school nights after certain hours. This won’t make you popular with your child, but will improve their test scores.

John Medina in his book, Brain Rules, talks a lot about the home environment and the impact on student learning. He cites research that shows how a child will drop a whole letter grade just by getting less sleep each night.

You are the parent, stabilize your home environment and you will stabilize the learning of your child. Make sure they eat before going to school. Ensure they get sleep. And insulate them as much as possible from stressful adult situations. (Medina cites that such adult situations like a messy divorce can cause the equivalent of brain damage in children.)

Your home is your domain and your responsibility. If you’re sending your child to school hungry, sleepy, upset, and without their homework done, your child is going to spend their day at school trying to get sometthing to eat, get some sleep, and try to get out of trouble with the teacher for not having her homework done. You are not setting your child up to learn so don’t blame the teacher. Don’t blame your child for not trying because they may be too tired or too hungry.

10 – Parenting is your most important job.
My husband always uses one guideline for his life. He says

“My first responsibility is to my Creator. Then to my Companion. Then to my children. Then to my occupation and then to my church.”

Next to serving God and my husband, my job of service to my children is paramount. Your priorities are likely different than mine and that is OK. But know your priorities and stick to them.

If my kids don’t get unconditional love from me, then where will they turn?

If I don’t love them, who will? Can they love themselves?

If I don’t care for them, who will?

If I don’t care about their grades, they won’t either.

If I love them, encourage them, help them, and be there for them then they have a chance.

What you pour into your child will usually be paid back to you when your child is an adult.

Education is tough right now. Budget cuts mean class sizes are going up, technology is being replaced less often, and textbooks will be less up to date. Teachers are under more stress and scrutiny than ever and many of them spend hours filling out paperwork for administrators instead of doing things for your children. Certainly, education has some systemic issues that need to be addressed.

But your child can’t wait. If your child is going to have a good education it is up to you.

Make parenting a top Priority. More important that PTA you need the PCA: Parent Child Association. Connect with your child. It is never too late to start today.

Prologue to Parenting
You also have to know that as a parent you can work your hardest and do your best and still have a child who doesn’t turn out “right” by earthly standards. I have three children and sometimes it is shocking to me that they have all been brought up in the same house! They reflect on my husband and me but they AREN’T me. I can do all I can and then one day they have to make their own way and make their own name. There aren’t any do-overs but there is always do-today. You can call them and tell them you love them.

I am giving all I have right now. I have a year and a half more with my oldest and two and half with my middle child and eight and half with my youngest. These are the best days of my life. So what if I could write more books or speak more or travel more – I DON’T CARE. I am a Mama and that role trumps these other things. I love my CHILDREN.

I know you do too. But the painful truth is that when my actions don’t line up with my beliefs that my actions ARE my beliefs. I am a hypocrite. I must ACT. I look continually at my list and my calendar and my time and carve out time with my children.

In summary
You can do it. Parenting is gutt-wrenching, agony inducing, soul stirring, nauseating agony. We bring these kids to the world in the midst of pain and we experience much pain while they are here.

And yet, they are our greatest joys, our grandest accomplishments, our greatest legacy and our most beautiful contributions to the world. Like a bouquet of paperwhites, good children become good adults and leave their fragrance upon the earth long after they are gone.

I always tell teachers that teaching is the most noble calling on earth next to parenting and I mean it.

Parents. Here’s to you. If your child has low test scores, if you point one finger at the school you have three pointing back at yourself. Do what YOU can do first.

Moms matter. (And Dads do too.)

The future of our planet is literally in your homes and classrooms. Your job is important. We welcome your conversation in the comments.

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The Sweet Smell of Success Starts at Home, part 4 by Vicki Davis

Parenting is a tough job and we all want our children to be successful in school. But are we willing to admit that the success our kids have in school starts at home? The first post in this series gave an overview of just how much influence you do have, the second post gave the first three points in starting student success at home, and the last post gave items 4-6. Let’s continue.

10 Tips for Starting Student Success at Home (7-8)
7 – Give honest, sincere praise.
Praise for the sake of praise itself makes you a liar. Not everything is praiseworthy because not everything is good.

Work hard to find the good things that your child does, notice it and share it. Work hard to speak well of all of your children in a way that is honest, true, and reflects well upon them as a person.

Know your child’s limits. Your child isn’t good at everything. No one is. We have way too many people who think they are good at everything and  think they don’t have to work for it and consequently are good for nothing and no one wants to work with them. Go back and look at #1 where you’re trying to help your child find his/her strengths. Some things are going to be tough for your child to do and that is OK because that is life.

I also work hard to be careful to not make my child think that my love is conditional upon his/her success. Unconditional love is important to me and to my child. I might dislike something my child did but that doesn’t mean I love him/her less.

Sometimes you can’t get a word in edgewise because your children are so angry that they don’t hear your words. That is when you can go buy their favorite thing at the store, put it in the fridge with their name on it and the words

“I love you.”

I did this with my teenage son a few years back when he and I in a room were like gasoline and a match. I’d put the stickers on the things (usually food) I knew he loved and would write his name.

To [insert name] I love you. Mom

At first those notes would be crumpled up and put in the trash (but he ate the food.) Then, I’d find them on the counters. Then, I found a few in his room.  Beef jerkey, strawberry milk, even a few big macs and several banana splits all had this note on them. (Before you criticize me for using food in this way, my son grew from 5’8” to 6’6” in just 2 ½ years time. My youngest has trouble with weight so I typically buy him a movie on Amazon or other non food items. Select appropriately.)

There are ways to communicate love. Sometimes it isn’t for what they DO but who they are. Your child is YOUR child. A flesh and bone part of YOU. It is your job as a parent to LOVE your child as a human first.

8 – I will criticize the action NOT the child as a person.
Children make mistakes. I make mistakes. My love for my child is not conditioned upon their behavior and yet if I love my child, I will discipline him/her. I need to send my children into the world with as many things that will cause them to self-inflict pain buffed down and acknowledged. Things like tardiness, disrespect, laziness, unethical behavior, self-centeredness and the like.

I know that the things I repeat over and over will come back into their minds long after I’m gone. Things like

“I’d rather have an honest C than a cheatin’ A”  -or- “I may not be smarter but I can work harder.”

or from my husband “only speak the truth.”

Or our favorite Churchillian quote “Never, never, never quit.”
It is my responsibility as a parent not to send my child into the world without working on areas that will make it hard for my children in the world. If I can’t make a difference in these areas, my child will have some very hard, unpleasant lessons to learn.

More on this in the next post where we cover the last two items on this list.

Remember, Moms matter. (and Dads too too!)

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Creativity Lesson Plans and Learning – Sometimes the best gifts are those you don’t ask for

As my social media part of “My Family Tuesday” here on the Balancing Act, we’ve been talking about how the sweet smell of success starts at home. (See part 1 part 2 part 3) Parents can do a lot at home to inspire their children and help them find their interests.

My parents were always buying me science kits, electronics kits, and Dad would even let me take apart sensors and broken equipment from the farm so I could see the electronics inside. I remember one summer, Mom let us actually dig an archaeology project in the driveway with spoons. It started innocently enough but we did have some great finds (as well as tearing up the underside of the farm truck when the unwitting driver did not see our archaeology pit!)

With my own children, I was a stay at home Mom for the first four years of their life and spent a lot of time doing cool experiments and a wide variety of things at home. As much as I love my computer and our family iPad, hands on is very important too.

As part of the Balancing Act Community, I get to receive and review items that I like. Today there are two items that I’m excited to review. One is an art and creativity program for homeschoolers and teachers from Madcap Logic (the animators at Disney and Dreamworks) called creativity express and the other is a cool polymer chemistry set from discovery kids for my 10 year old.

Creativity Builders Lesson Plans

This is an award winning standards aligned 16 lesson journey into the language of art. I think the thing I like most about these lesson plans is that they have a “by-hand” and a digital version of almost every lesson plan. Templates for use in digital paint programs are available for download from their website.

I recommend the free paint.net if you need a low-cost alternative instead of the paint program that comes with your computer.(  Also note that the link in the book is not working for downloading the items, but I believe that you have to have an online teacher account to access that material. I will ask.) This is an online program as well, but if that is not for you, there is enough in the Creativity Builders Lesson Plans book to have at least 1 art lesson a week for the entire year. (For those schools who need standards alignment with the lessons, you can download them from their website.)

Parents can also have their children with an account at home to go through these lessons as well. I’m going to talk to my artistically inclined son and daughter about setting up an account here at the house.

Discovery Kids Polymer Chemistry Set

Chemistry sets are a big hit in our home (except with me as sometimes they make a mess.) In full disclosure, I am a Discovery STAR educator and have been to their headquarters to help facilitate a meeting of the best STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) teachers for the prestigious Siemens STEM Institute. I went to Georgia Tech and STEM is my “thing” so yes, I’m a bit biased. I think every child should have some hands on science in their stocking!

But on a personal note, every year I buy things for my elementary age children from the Discovery Store just because it is my go to place for science. I was completely thrilled when I opened my box from Randi Farina, the Balancing Act’s Social Media Director, to see that there was a Polymer Chemistry Set for us to test. We’re all over this thing.

You make slime and make snow with this small, compact kit that comes with one mixing flask. Perfect for a parent who wants science but doesn’t want the bathroom taken over for the next month. (If you don’t mind the bathroom being taken over I’m sure the store will oblige you there too with some of these science projects.)

I do love the Discovery store because I use it every year to buy things for my kids. I’d tell you that whether I was asked to review a product for them or not. Great site and great people.

Sometimes the best gifts are those you don’t ask for

I know your kids (like mine) want video games or clothes or all kinds of things. Some of the best things I’ve ever gotten that I didn’t ask for were my first James Michener book from my Dad in eighth grade, the electronics sets where you had all the voltage and connections, and the science kits where I did take over the bathroom for a month.

School is a great place for learning but the best homes have lots of learning and laughter too. The sweet smell of success does start at home.

Best wishes for a lovely holiday season. It is hard to balance it all. Do your best and sometimes when you’ve done all you can do, follow my Granny Martin’s advice and know that “sometimes you’ve gotta let the rough end drag.”

Merry Christmas.

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Student success starts at home, but it can be tough navigating the waters of learning by Vicki Davis

In the first post in this series, I shared the facts about how success starts at home, in the last post we covered the first three items in my list of 10 tips for starting student success at home.

10 Tips for Starting Student Success at Home (4-6)

4 – Success in the classroom is not just mastery of the subject matter but mastery of a child’s relationship with his/her teacher.

We all have to get along with people they don’t like for the rest of their life and classroom is life. Children will have bad bosses one day and they may have a bad teacher today.

I am preparing them for how to deal with a bad boss when I teach them how to deal with a bad teacher. Sometimes my child can learn more from a bad teacher than a good one if they learn to be strong, do the right thing, and work hard. I cannot always insulate my child from such experiences but can help give them perspective.

I do believe that most teachers are good teachers and there are some great teachers. Realize also that a great teacher can become a mediocre teacher quickly if administrators or budgets have put too many children in a classroom.

5 – I will create an area that sets them up for success at home.

The following YouTube video shares is our “study center.”  I know that a well-equipped study center at home shows that I expect them to bring work home. (Note to readers:  Every circumstance is different- customize this to your child.)

6 – I will read with my younger children and let them see me read.

Reading is part of life and being a lifelong learner. It has a revered place in our home as something that we all do. I will read a variety of things and let them see me do it. Sometimes they learn more about who I am when they catch me reading my bible at 6 am or reading Consumer Reports before buying a washing machine or reading Educational Journals cover to cover.

We work hard to find books that our children like to read. My youngest has dyslexia and it has been a challenge but we’ve read and read. My favorite trick is to find a book he loves (the Chronicles of Narnia is his favorite now) and I’ll read a chapter and then yawn and say,

“OK, I’m really tired, I’ll let you stay up for another 15 minutes and read the next chapter if you want to.”

He does and now I hear him giggling at funny things or groaning and upsetting things as he reads. With my older two, I would read aloud to them in the car as we drove. Although we could do a book on tape, hearing my voice is important, I think. They know I think reading is important.

In my post, Time to Get Angry About Reading, I shared some research about how one third of high school graduates never read another book in their lives and over 40% of college graduates don’t read another book after college.

If you don’t like reading then your child won’t like it either. Success in reading definitely starts at home.

See the next post in this series for items 7-10 in this list. Remember, Moms (and Dads) matter.

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