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    It Happened at Raven's The Audrey Chapman Foundation Collaborates With Raven's

    Category: In The Classroom

    We are pleased to announce that the Audrey Chapman Foundation is collaborating with Raven’s After School to bring new programs to our students.  


    Travel The World: a language computer lab that was developed to teach students foreign languages.

    Digital Kids: Our computer classes are designed to integrate the student’s homework with Microsoft Word & PowerPoint.

    The Art Studio: the children will become immersed in cool clay, capturing their world with digital photography, building their painting and drawing skills, and much more…

    The Homework Center: is designed to work closely with students, assisting them with their daily homework assignments.


    11 December 2014, 18:02

    Education News Common Core and Increase in Student Stress

    Category: In The Classroom

    Common Core and Increase in Student Stress

    April 23, 2014 1 Comment

    Written by Anthony Pantaleno, PhD, a school psychologist

    ccss-stressesStudents Are Already Faced with Significant Challenges in Society Today
    In addition to the typical stressors faced by many American students such as family fragmentation, peer socialization and “fitting in,” and the lure of substances and sexual experimentation that has always been seen as trademarks of the adolescent subculture, children and adolescents in the U.S. are attempting to manage more significant mental health challenges that not so long ago were the purview of an adult world. The effects of these additional stresses are staggering:

    • 160,000 Kids Stay Home from School Each Day Out of Fear of Bullying
      ABC News reported that 30% of students are either bullies or victims of bulling. In recent years, a series of bullying-related suicides in the US and across the globe have drawn attention to the connection between bullying and suicide. What many people may not realize is that there is also a link between being a bully and committing suicide.
    • 10-20% of Young People Experience Cyber-bullying on a Regular Basis
      About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online. And they aren’t telling anyone. Fewer than 1 in 5 of cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement, and well over half of young people don’t tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.
    • CDC Reports 4,400 Suicides Among Young People Each Year
      Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people. And for every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. That means that 440,000 students have made a conscious decision not to live and have acted on that decision.

    A December 2013 poll conducted by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health also reported that 40% of parents believe that their high school kids are stressed over school.

    Rigorous Standards of Common Core Present New Challenges
    In some states, such as my home state of New York, there has been enormous conflict over the past 2 years, or as some would state—a full scale war—between the Commissioner of Education and the NYS Education Department versus parents and educators regarding the most appropriate process for rolling out the Common Core. Instead of the Common Core being slowly introduced and integrated into the curriculum at lower grades, New York students have found that the Common Core has been imposed into their lives all at once without the prerequisite skills needed to be successful in this higher-order curriculum. The result has been the highest level of stress in students, educators, and parents that I have witnessed in the school system since entering the field in 1978.

    For those in the audience unfamiliar with the Common Core, this is a national educational initiative which seeks to make certain that all high school graduates across the country have exposure to the same instructional methods which will make them college ready for the marketplace in the 21st Century. In order to achieve this goal as soon as possible, some states like my home state of New York, have ramped up the rollout of the common core framework across all grade levels K-12 at a pace which has met with tremendous opposition. The “core” of the Common Core requires that all students’ basic skill sets in reading, writing, and math are transformed from the more “black and white” fact-based instructional system where information is memorized and presented back to the teacher to a system which demands high-level analytical thinking, abstract reasoning, and the ability to deconstruct and synthesize information beyond the basics. It changes the rules of the game for tens of thousands of students mid-stream.

    This all sounds fantastic in theory, and no one really disputes the need for such a shift. The resistance comes from several fronts—parents of children with disabilities whose learning style does not follow the normal curve, parents who do not see college admission as the only end-goal of a high school education, and educators who know that new initiatives take time to nurture and grow successfully. What the Common Core initiative lacks is an appreciation for the developmental rate at which children, adolescents, and all of us, in fact, learn new tasks.

    If I want to teach a child how to ride a bike, I must wait for a certain level of physical and muscle growth to take place. I am very likely to begin your lessons with training wheels on that bike to give you the feel and joy of riding on your own. As you develop a sense of confidence, the day will come when I will raise those training wheels a bit off the ground. You’re likely to complain a bit as you notice that the bike wobbles a bit and you have to work a little harder to keep it in balance. Over time, as your muscles and senses begin to work together, you’re ready for your first solo ride—sans training wheels. With further practice, you soon have a lifelong skill that will be available at a moment’s notice, even after years of not riding for one reason or another.

    I suppose a shortcut to teaching this lifelong skill could be achieved by telling you to “just ride the bike” without the prerequisite steps, but then again I could also teach you to swim by throwing you in thirty feet of water and move your arms about quickly. This is not how most people want to learn to swim. Reason and decades of research in teaching new skills tells us that if we press a reluctant learner beyond his/her level of readiness, anxiety and avoidance may be the result. It’s for the same reason that a new driver doesn’t take their first driving lesson on the local parkway or freeway.

    In New York it feels that the Common Core has thrown our students into the deep water without much preparation resulting in increased student stress levels. Let me illustrate with 3 scenarios:

    1. Last summer, I was interviewing a 5th grade boy in my private practice office. His mother had brought him in due to a heightened level of anxiety that he was beginning to express to her. I asked him to share three of his biggest worries with me. He spoke about the threat of nuclear war from North Korea, and about his father’s need to do a lot of air travel due to the nature of his job. He finally leaned back and then added, “And on top of these things, I have to take the Common Core ELA and Math tests this year”!
    2. At the start of the current school year, some of the departments were asked to present to the faculty a look at Regents exam changes—both pre and post Common Core. As a math-disabled adult myself, I cringed at a presentation by our math department. In the pre-Common Core example of a question from the Algebra Regents, a fairly standard algebraic equation was presented which asked the student to solve for “X”. Most of the teachers agreed that this was do-able. In the Common Core version of the same algebra Regents exam, 3 equations were presented to the student, fully solved. The student was then asked to respond in multiple choice format to which of a set of algebraic principles could be applied to solve all three equations. A colleague turned to me and said, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore”!
    3. The final scenario involves the instruction of students with disabilities, many of whom are in special education programs precisely because they lack the more abstract reasoning skills required to be successful in mainstream classes. Parents are now asking what will happen if their children cannot pass the new Common Core Regents with a grade of 65? Students are being asked to read and write at levels that they have not seen since they started kindergarten, and when they are unable to perform, are acting out at increasing rates.

    Record numbers of students “opted out” of the recently administered Common Core ELA exams in New York. Parents complained that their children were coming home from school in tears that the line in the sand had to be drawn.

    As if this were not enough of a tsunami for the school systems to bear, test results from Common Core exams have been linked to teacher evaluation, commonly called the Annual Principals Performance Rating (APPR). Teachers whose students do not meet the passing standard of the common Core exams are given a rating of “developing” and are given 3 years to improve their test results or face the risk of being asked to leave the profession.

    So what does all of this intense system change do to children and teachers? It triggers the same fight-or-flight stress response system that the body uses when faced with a more real and present danger, like a barking dog breaking away from its owner’s leash and charging at someone—our muscles tighten, our heart rate increases, out breathing becomes increasingly shallow—and some of us will experience a sense of dread and foreboding as well. These are the same symptoms identified by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, DSM 5, as a specific phobia. It’s symptoms of test anxiety for certain, but with a more pronounced edge given that the individuals experiencing these symptoms are children…and in large numbers.

    So what are teachers, parents, and other educators to do to help restore sanity to the schools?

    28 October 2014, 14:26

    Adventures in Parenting FREE PARENT WORKSHOPS AT RAVEN'S

    Category: Parenting



    What is STEM? 


    1. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. We focus on these areas together not only because the skills and knowledge in each discipline are essential for student success, but also because these fields are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how students learn most effectively.

      Ask to set up a tour of Raven's Technology lab, about out iPad eduction and computer technology in the classroom. 

      We are working on building an amazing science lab and look forward to implementing great programs for our students. 

      Raven's is pleased to announce a series of free parent workshops on the way: Microsoft & Technology classes for our parents. These classes will educate on the actual program usage, the "How To" and operational systems. We look forward to helping our parents! 
    24 October 2014, 19:48

    It Happened at Raven's Learning About Shapes For Preschoolers

    Category: In The Classroom

    Even babies can recognize the difference between a circle and square, using their sight and sense of touch to distinguish between them. However, learning the names of the different shapes is not an inborn ability, but it is a necessary step in your preschooler's education. Children need to learn the names of shapes so that they can identify them verbally and in writing and compare the various shapes and how they are used. These are basic skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

    Learning shapes helps your child identify objects as well as letters. Letters are made up of circles, triangles and lines - think of the circles in b, d, g, p, q, or the parts of a triangle found in k, v and w. Drawing the curved lines of a circle or oval shape helps your child to write letters such as f, u, m, n, j, and the lines in squares helps your child to write i, l, k, p, q and so on. Often, recognizing the shapes in the letters helps a child to recognize the letter too, important for developing reading skills.

    Drawing shapes is also the first step in learning how to draw. Almost anything can be broken down into shapes, such as a house, a cat, a book, a ball - they can all be drawn with simple shapes. This makes it easier for your child to progress from stick drawings to more detailed artworks - and if they have talent, they will use shapes to draw and paint in the future as well.

    Shapes are extremely important in basic and more advanced math. Most adults will immediately think of geometry, but shape patterns and spatial perception help your child to develop sequencing and logic skills that they will use later in their school career in subjects like calculus.

    We use shapes every day as adults, although we may not realize it. Think about rearranging the lounge furniture, cleaning out the kitchen cupboards or the refrigerator - all done according to the shape of the items in them, and how they will relate to each other. Road signs and markings make extensive use of different shapes, helping us to recognize them before we can actually read them.

    Learning about shapes includes learning about 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes. A sphere, or ball, is a 3D circle, and has specific properties, such as the ability to roll, that some other shapes do not have. This is true of all shapes, and your child will be able to make this progression if his or her basic grounding is good.

    For kindergarten, children are expected to know the basic shapes, recognize them and identify how they form part of other items. They may also be expected to be able to draw the shapes - not perfectly, but certainly recognizably. There are many ways to encourage and help your child to learn about shapes.

    Because shapes are all around us, it is easy to play 'Find the Shape' at home, in the car, in the store and elsewhere. Select one shape at a time to concentrate on, rather than trying to find all the different shapes.

    A good set of worksheets for preschool will help your child recognize different shapes, see how they form part of other objects, and help them learn how to draw them. Drawing shapes is the precursor to learning how to write, and a good set of worksheets should take you step-by-step through this process until your child is drawing shapes on their own, free hand. Look out for worksheets that combine learning shapes with the use of different colors, as this is particularly effective in reinforcing the shape names.



     Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4856195

    15 October 2014, 21:11

    Education News 9 Signs of a Good Pre-K Program

    Category: Education

    Check out these 9 signs of a good Pre-K program! 

    1. Safety first: Check for safety.

    Parents  can check if a center has a working buzzer to allow people into the building 

    2. Find out about student/teacher ratios and staff certifications.

    Pre-K classes for 4-year-olds require two adults per 18 students.

    Carol Korn-Bursztyn, a psychologist and founder of the Early Childhood Education Center at Brooklyn College, one of several CUNY schools that trained new pre-K teachers this summer to prepare for the city's expanded UPK program, said it's key that at least one of the teachers in the room has a degree in early childhood education.

    3. Are kids — and teachers — happy?

    The No. 1 thing to look for is the "emotional tenor" of the classroom, advised Mark Lauterbach, Brooklyn College professor of early childhood education, who has worked in education for two decades, including 10 years as a preschool teacher.

    "The kids should be happy. The teacher should be happy," he said. "And if you don’t see that, that’s a big warning sign."

    It's important to look at how the adults get along — including teachers with each other and with parents, experts say.

    "If parents feel welcomed, liked and reassured, the children will feel that way," Korn-Bursztyn said.

    You should watch how children interact with each other, too.

    "You want to see children who take pleasure in each other's company and learn from each other," she said. "If you see high levels of competitiveness, those are signals they’re not getting their emotional needs met."

    4. Observe how teachers engage children.

    It's crucial to have a teacher who gets down on the floor with kids, asks questions that don't have a right answer — and listens, Lauterbach said.

    "The first thing to look at is the adults in the classroom. Is the teacher a warm, engaging person who is listening and talking with the children, not to the children? 

    5. Be wary of circle time and worksheets.

    A lot of classes will do "circle time" with kids sitting in a big group or have kids sit quietly doing worksheets, but there should be a limit to that, experts advised.

    "No one under 6 should sit for more than 20 minutes," Lauterbach said. "There is a mentality to prepare them to sit a lot for kindergarten or first grade, but I don’t know any research that says making kids sit longer at 4 will help them sit longer at 5. You kind of grow into it."

    6. How is the classroom organized?

    Rooms should be organized with "learning centers" that are clearly designated for certain functions, many said.

    "There should be a block corner, a drama corner, and it's very important that there's literacy everywhere," said NYU Professor Krasnow.

    There should also be spaces devoted to art — where paints, markers and clay are available — and other sensory materials, like sand or water, experts said.

    7. Learn about the structure of the day.

    What activities are kids doing? How many times do they go outside each day? Do they have any enrichment, like music?

    "Kids should be singing. Kids learn through singing," Krasnow said. "They make up songs and memorize things."

    8. Teachers should communicate with parents.

    Parents like to know what's happening. They want to know if a bunny came to visit a class or kids visited their local supermarket.

    9. Ask your child how it's going.

    For those who want to figure out if their kid's program is off to a good start, rather than simply asking, "How was your day at school?" Krasnow advised parents to ask, "Did you color today? Can you show me your picture?"


    10 October 2014, 14:04

    It Happened at Raven's AN APPLE A DAY

    Category: Education

    An apple a day! On October 7th, 2014 our students visited the Hurds Family Farm today and picked tons of treats!


    If you’re a ginger gold fan go picking in August. If you love royal galas and honey crisp be sure to visit early September.  If you love empire, they come out in mid-september. Their cortland apples will make a great apple sauce. Mid-season favorite apple varieties are Jonagolds and Golden delicious. Try the pride of NY new apple variety Snap Dragon in early October. Apple season grand finale trio features Fuji, Rome beauties, and flavorful ruby frost. Boy did we learn tons! 





    07 October 2014, 21:57