School Year Doldrums!

During the school year from about January until Spring Break, many students experience the school doldrums. This is where their learning is slow or they regress in work habits and learning. Sometimes, students can also be depressed. This is a pattern I have seen over my many years of teaching.

It is very important to encourage students with positive feedback during this doldrums time period. Parents should make sure that their students have all the correct supplies. Sometimes a new highlighter can make a student’s day!

The most important idea for parents is to be patient. Help so the grades don’t slip, and make sure learning is taking place. Think about a special treat – food or event – that would make your student happy. This is one time if you find yourself at the end of your rope with your student- tie a double knot and hang on!

Have a struggling student? Get immediate help. Contact Beth Silver at or 310-720-0390.

Disappearing Math Facts!

There are times when students cannot recall math facts. Some days this is a problem and other days it is not. On the days when it is a problem, the student experiences a large slowdown in time getting math work done. The student may know how to do the algorithm, but the facts are lost. What to do?

The student should use a calculator to find the missing facts. In some elementary schools teachers do not permit the use of calculators. In some places students are told that it is cheating to use a calculator! It is time to change this thinking .

The problem is that the missing math facts are a function of the brain. If this is not working, then use a calculator. When students get to high school, most of their math work is calculator driven. Why not start earlier?

Have a student struggling with math? Get immediate help. Contact Beth Silver at or 310-720-0390.

Daily Reading – Yes?

Parents frequently ask if their students should be reading on a daily basis. The answer is yes they should. What they read, however, depends upon the situation.

Students are usually assigned to read something for a specific assignment. It is best if the reading takes place earlier in the day. The later it gets, the more tired a student is and the reading will not be as accurate as it should.

Students are encouraged to read for 20 to 30 minutes a day. The choice of material is up to the student and the parents. Parents should try to select reading material that really is of interest to the student.

Have a student who is struggling with reading? Get immediate help. Contact Beth Silver at or 310-720-0390.

Signed Number Accuracy

Students working with signed numbers in higher math often make sign errors in calculations. Why? How is this prevented?

Students need to learn the rules for working with signed numbers in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They need to work problems that present signed numbers in many situations. Keep the drill going until the student has really learned how to work with signed numbers.

Have your students consider the signs in a problem first. If possible, write the sign of the answer before doing the arithmetic part of the problem. Be careful using signs with the distributive property. Frequently students get the first term distributed but forget a second term in the parentheses.

Have your student work with a list of the sign rules when doing any math work requiring signed numbers.

Have a student struggling in math? Get immediate help. Contact Beth Silver at or 310-720-0390.

Tools for Proofreading

Proofreading for students is a most important task and often a difficult one to do. Here are some tools that are helpful.

Prizmo Go is an app that allows a student to take a picture of what needs to be read and the app will read it aloud. This helps the student hear and recognize written mistakes. The app can be stopped and corrections made immediately.

NVDA is an app that is put on the computer which will read aloud anything on the computer screen. A student with an essay document can have the NVDA read the writing. The student will then be able to hear and recognize written mistakes. It can be stopped and corrections made immediately. It can also be used for reading information from websites on the computer.

Do you have a student who is struggling with writing? Get immediate help. Contact Beth Silver at or 310-720-0390.