hOME-SChOOL RELATIONS 12 G uidelines to a Successful Family-School Relationship PREGNANCY 9 Nutrition During Pregnancy INfANT/TOddLER 8 Reading Milestones
BARACK OBAMA on Education and Parenting
ELEMENTARY SChOOL 11 Fun Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read MIddLE SChOOL 15 Guide to Student Success
LEARNING STYLES: The Kinesthetic Learner NO ChILd LEfT BEhINd: facts and Terms Every Parent Should Know
hIGh SChOOL 17 Preparing Your Child for College COLLEGE 24 Offset Education Costs
discipline: One Size does Not fit All Book Review: Sara and the Upside down heart
A Book A Day
ChILdREN WITh SPECIAL NEEdS 10 How Does ADHD Affect Student Performance? MOdERN PARENT 27 Ms. Nancy Parker MOdERN EdUCATOR 14 Dr. Donaldo Baptiste
KATRINA fILES 25 BARACK OBAMA on New Orleans PARENT TOOLKIT 7 Conference Request EN ESPANOL 28 No Dejar Nino Sin Educacion
five Easy Steps to Student Success 17
EdUCATORS 21 Do I Utilize Best Practices in My Classroom?
PUBLISHER/EdITOR-IN-CHIEf carol alexander-lewis AdvISORyBOARd florence townsend, Ph.D belinda alexander, MD julian stafford, Ph.D myrna nickens, MD tammie causey-konate, Ph.D CONTRIBUTINGEdITORS shanice bickham rhodesia douglas CONTRIBUTINGWRITERS melanie johnson, Ph.D kathy frady talisa beasley CONTRIBUTINGPHOTOEdITORS gus bennett, jr. eric paul julian jim belfon
he decision to leave the world of K-12 educational administration to become a full-time publisher was a scary one. However, certain days make this life-altering decision not only worthwhile, but blissful. As you can imagine, I refer to the day depicted in this photo. The opportunity to meet United States presidential candidate Sen. Barack obama actually solidified my decision to effect change in the lives of children through publishing. obama, a candidate for the highest office in the nation, and father of two, expressed an unequivocal passion for the importance and impact of parenting. It was delightfully refreshing to discover that he considers education a top priority for our nation. In addition to discussing his thoughts on parenting and education, obama shared his views on the recovery efforts in the Gulf South. We are grateful for the thoughts he so graciously and eloquently shared with us. Conducting interviews and research for you has taken me on fascinating and enlightening treks. The opportunity is one I treasure. I pray you enjoy the tips, strategies and information we excavate in the diamond mine of parenting. Bountiful Blessings and Happy Parenting!
Carol Alexander-Lewis, editor-in-Chief email@example.com
TRAdUCTORAdE ESPANOL victoria bastani
Mission The mission of MoDeRN PAReNTS Magazine is to provide a fresh, relevant connection between the academic world and the parenting world by providing innovative, research-based parenting strategies and techniques. In addition, we serve as a valuable resource for educators by showcasing Best Practices and the most effective instructional strategies and techniques. exposing parents to effective instructional strategies not only broadens parenting strategies, but also provides the tools needed to ensure their children are receiving quality educational experiences. MoDeRN PAReNTS Magazine is dedicated to increasing global literacy and enhancing the quality of life for families in our society. Readers gain access to information from expert practitioners and associations. From school to home and all that lies between, MoDeRN PAReNTS is your source for the most innovative parenting and instructional strategies and techniques. MoDeRN PAReNTS Magazine voices the most pertinent issues and concerns of today’s parents. By providing trusted information to our audience, and featuring content that is driven by our readers, MoDeRN PAReNTS is the premier resource and choice for today’s parent. We help parents make better decisions about their most valuable investment...their children.
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MoDeRN PAReNTS Magazine is published quarterly by Katrina Publishing, LLC 2536 Delta Pointe’ Drive, Marrero, LA 70072. MoDeRN PAReNTS Magazine copyright 2007. Due to audit regulations, ANY ReQUeSTS FoR A CHANGe oF ADDReSS MUST Be SUBMITTeD IN WRITING. other subscription-related inquiries may use the same address, or telephone 504.339.5310/ 1.866.994.4242. Subscription rates: $29.95 for one year; single copies $8.95. Pre-payment required for single copy orders. Address all single-copy requests and sample inquiries to the above address. Manuscripts must be accompanied by a self addressed envelope and return postage. Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts of art. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
Rachel and the Upside Down Heart,
Book R e v i e w by Dr. Melanie Johnson
by Eileen Douglas
Eileen Douglas’ tender and true children’s story reveals the natural process of grief through the lens of a little girl named Rachel. The story explains ways in which the child’s life is turned upside down after the death of her father. The illustrator, Katherine Potter, remarkably captures the sorrows and joys in Rachel’s eyes.
The story engages the reader in reflection of the security provided by simple things in a child’s life – a home, green grass and a family. Yet, the sudden death of a parent coupled with having to relocate to a new living environment overshadows all other life events.
Rachel’s relocation from a southern
home to a big-city apartment yields many new and exciting opportunities. She is able to visit the set of Sesame Street and take ballet lessons at Carnegie Hall. However, these opportunities do not compare to what had previously rendered life complete. The story, Rachel and the Upside Down Heart, depicts the various stages that one encounters when dealing with the loss of a loved one. The agony endures from the stages of unwillingness to relinquish the physical person to the peace of a spiritual acceptance. The author, Rachel’s real life mother, gently unfolds Rachel’s saddened responses to her father’s death that evolves into an
acceptance during adolescence. The acceptance of the loss is exchanged for an embrace of the delicate privilege of life. Rachel’s therapeutic drawings of upside down hearts during early childhood give way to an adolescent who develops strength through her experience. In return, Rachel grows up and begins to provide support for a friend who is challenged by the death of a loved one. Hence, a story that appears to examine stages of sorrow ultimately assesses the rebirth of the joy in living, sharing and giving. Publisher: Dancing Magic Heart Books Distributor : New Leaf Resources (1-800-346-3087) www.newleaf-resources.com.
No Child Left Behind
In order to effectively advocate for your child, exercise your rights and responsibilities, and ensure a quality education for your child, parents should familiarize themselves with basic facts and terms related to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal mandate. The following are terms, facts and suggestions you may find useful in exercising your parental rights.
is labeled a "school in need of improvement," it receives extra help to improve and your child has the option to transfer to another public school, including a public charter school. Also, your child may be eligible to receive free tutoring and extra help with schoolwork. Contact your child's school district to find out whether your child qualifies.
State Assessments — This refers to the tests developed by your state that your child will take every year in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school. Using these tests, the state will be able to compare schools to each other and know which ones need extra help to improve. Contact your child's school or school district to find out more details about your state's tests.
Supplemental Educational Services (SES) — This is the term No Child Left Behind uses to refer to the tutoring and extra help with schoolwork in subjects such as reading and math, that children from low-income families may be eligible to receive. This help is provided free of charge and generally takes place outside the regular school day, such as after school or during the summer.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) — This is the term No Child Left Behind uses to explain that your child's school has met state reading and math goals. Your school district's report card will let you know whether your child's school has made AYP.
Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) — This is the term No Child Left Behind uses for teachers who prove that they know the subjects they are teaching, have a college degree, and are state-certified. No Child Left Behind requires that your child be taught by a Highly Qualified Teacher in core academic subjects.
School in Need of Improvement — This is the term No Child Left Behind uses to refer to schools receiving Title I funds that have not met state reading and math goals (AYP) for at least two years. If your child's school
Take advantage of the new opportunities NCLB may provide for your child.
No Child Left Behind requires states and school districts to give parents easy-to-read, detailed report cards on schools and districts, telling them which ones are succeeding and why. No Child Left Behind gives students in schools "in need of improvement" the opportunity to transfer to another public school or public charter school in the district. If a school is in need of improvement for at least two years, low-income students then become eligible to receive Supplemental Educational Services (SES), such as free tutoring. TAkE ACTIoN: Make sure you receive a report card on your child's school and that it is easy to understand. If you don't receive a school report card or if it is hard to decipher, contact your child's school district. Do you know whether your child is eligible to transfer to another public school or receive free tutoring? If you are not sure, contact your school district. Take advantage of these opportunities for your child to ensure he or she is not left behind.
Source: U. S. Department of education
WeeklyProgressReport Dear ____(Insert teacher’s name)_____, Please rate __________(Insert your child’s name)_____________ in the following areas: Date_________________________________________________ 5-excellent
The weekly progress report featured in our previous issue received such an overwhelming response, we felt inclined to include a representation in our current issue. Many readers expressed great appreciation not only for this tool, but also for confirmation of their parental right to submit this form to teachers. For your convenience, we have also added the progress report toour website: www.modernparentsmagazine.com.
Completing Assignments Ability to follow instructions Talking without permission Paying attention
Teacher Comments: Thank You, ___(Insert parent’s name)_______ ___(Insert contact number)______
CoNfErENCE rEQuESTS One sure fire way to get an inside peek at your child’s life outside of home is to request a conference with your child’s teacher. Taking the initiative and exercising your parental right to view your child’s records and schoolwork can be an enlightening experience. Not only will visiting your child’s classes give you a glimpse of your child’s school personality, but the visit will also allow ample time for teachers to address your individual concerns. As opposed to the abbreviated visits during school-wide conference days or nights, individual conferences can arm you with invaluable ammunition for helping your child at home with specific needs. These conferences grant the opportunity to reward strengths and address weaknesses before final grades are issued. While preparing for the conference, make sure to list points you would like to discuss. It is also important to take notes during the conference. Please make sure to contact your child’s school for the teacher’s nonteaching or planning time. You may use or customize this form to request a conference with your child's teacher(s).
CoNfErENCE rEQuEST Teacher:________________________________
Student's Name ________________________________________________
I would like to request a conference with you on the following day and time (circle): Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Date _________ Time_________ If unavailable, please indicate a preferred date and time. _____________________________________ Parent Signature ________________________ Phone _______________ Email__________________________ Comments or Concerns ______________________________________________________________________ ********************************************************************************************************* Conference Confirmation -- Teacher I have scheduled a conference for you on (date)_____________________________ at (time) _______________. Teacher's Signature __________________________________________________________________________ www.modernparentsmagazine.com
e x c i t e d by picture Holds book with help, books; tries to touch, turns several pages at grab and put them in a time. mouth. 15months: 9months: Moves around and enjoys finding-games may not sit long for such as, “Where is ..?” a story. You point to a picture and say, “There it is!” This is a reading ver- 18months: sionof hide-and-seek. Points to pictures and www.modernparentsmagazine.com
enjoys interactions during book time.
Turns pages one at a time, retells familiar stories, pretends to read and write, and makes up “tall tales.”
Holds book without help, sits for a 524months: minute story or longer, likes rhymes and nonCarries book around sense words. house and “reads” to dolls and others. 4years:
Parent relates the actions in the book to a child’s life; child wants same story repeatedly.
Nutrition During Pregnancy
While the term "eating for two" is a bit of an exaggeration, nutrient and calorie needs do increase considerably during pregnancy and while a new mother is breastfeeding. Particularly important are nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron and B vitamins, which growing babies need in plentiful supply. If you are pregnant, rather than focus on a few particular nutrients, you'll want to follow the general guidelines for good eating by the Department of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid. The Pyramid supports a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy foods.
already eat these higher levels of protein. (Americans tend to eat double the RDA for protein.) However, the difference, which amounts to about 10 to 15 grams for most women is easily met by adding an extra one and a half ounces of lean meat or 12 ounces of milk each day. Calcium-Calcium needs jump an extra 400 milligrams during pregnancy and lactation. An extra glass of lowfat milk (which provides about 300 milligrams of calcium) almost meets this extra demand.
and potatoes. B Vitamins-Your need for these B vitamins-thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins B and B12-is slightly higher during pregnancy and lactation. Rather than focus on each of these vitamins, which are widely available in foods, you can meet the increased demands by boosting your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fortified breads and cereals often contain several of these B vitamins. Vitamin E-Important for normal neurological development, Vitamin E requirements increase only slightly during pregnancy. A fat-soluble vitamin found in vegetable oils, whole grains, nuts, and dark, leafy green vegetables, Vitamin E appears important to the healthy immune system.
While there are not many new studies looking at diet during pregnancy, a recent government report has created new guidelines about appropriate weight gain and nutrient supplementation that spell a major shift in the thinking about these two subjects. Perhaps the real cutting-edge scientific news for women who are pregnant is the impact of diet during the preconception phase. Numerous studies suggest that the amount of folic-acid rich foods you eat before you even become pregnant can have a huge impact on the health of your baby. Speculation is that the overall quality of the diet prior to pregnancy may be just as important, if not more so, than what you eat during pregnancy.
Vitamin D-Since Vitamin D is needed for skeletal growth (strong bones), it's no surprise that requirements for this nutrient are higher during pregnancy and lactation. If your skin is regularly exposed to small amounts of sunlight, the body can manufacture enough Vitamin D to meet these needs. Vitamin D can also be obtained from fortified milk and dairy products; make sure to choose the low or reduced fat variety.
PrECoNCEPTIoN DIET PLANNINg Zinc-Critical for immune function, zinc is important during pregnancy and lactation. Your requirements will increase from 12 milligrams per day to 15 milligrams per day during pregnancy. Requirements increase to 19 milligrams during lactation. If you are eating lean meats and poultry, seafood, eggs, milk, and whole grains, it should be easy to meet these increased needs.
It's well known that a poor diet during pregnancy can hinder a child's capacity to learn and have a negative impact on a newborn's behavior. Yet little research has been done to learn about how diet influences health prior to pregnancy and in the first few weeks of a pregnancy, when many women aren't even aware of their condition. There are a few preliminary findings. For instance, one recent study finds that a heavy alcohol intake prior to conception can result in a lower-birthweight baby. (Lowest-birth-weight babies can be plagued with teaming and growth problems.) Numerous reports link a diet low in folic acid to increased risk for neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. Foods high in Folic Acid: spinach, asparagus, lima beans, broccoli, wheat germ, beets, cauliflower, orange, cantaloupe. ALL THE rIgHT fooDS While pregnant women need to eat the same kind of foods that the rest of us do, they do need a little bit more of certain nutrients. Protein-Although protein needs jump from 46 to 50 grams prior to pregnancy to 60 grams (during pregnancy) and 65 grams (while breastfeeding), most women
Vitamin A-Vitamin A is required for growth and normal development of the fetus. Studies suggest that the nutrient is also critical to the healthy immune system. However, your requirements for this fat-soluble vitamin do not change during pregnancy. They do increase from 800 micrograms (retinol equivalents) to 1,300 while you are breastfeeding. Fortified milk and eggs are good sources of Vitamin A. In addition, the beta-carotene found in plants (bright orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots and cantaloupe; dark leafy greens such as broccoli and spinach) can be converted by the body to Vitamin A. Vitamin C-Important to wound healing and healthy immune function, Vitamin C requirements increase slightly during pregnancy; needs are even higher during lactation. These increases are easily met with VitaminC-rich foods such as citrus fruit, strawberries, broccoli,
Iron-Your need for iron doubles during pregnancy (from 15 milligrams per day to 30 milligrams). Some doctors prescribe iron supplements to help meet these requirements, but you can boost your intake with ironrich foods. Iron from meat is more readily absorbed than iron from vegetables. Phosphorous-The mineral phosphorous is another nutrient critical for normal skeletal formation. It works in tandem with calcium and other nutrients such as magnesium to create strong bones, which is why needs increase during pregnancy and lactation. Good sources of phosphorous include dairy products, lean meats and poultry, fish, and whole grains. Magnesium-Critical to strong bones, magnesium is also needed for normal muscle function and nerve transmission. Your needs will increase only slightly during pregnancy and lactation. The extra requirements are easily met through low-fat milk, meat, legumes, green vegetaThe Health Nutrient Bible bles, and whole grains.
How Does ADHD Affect School Performance?
The school experience can be challenging for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Students usually are identified only after consistently demonstrating a failure to understand or follow rules or to complete required tasks. Other common reasons for referral include frequent classroom disruptions and poor academic performance. Studies found that students with ADHD, compared to students without ADHD, had persistent academic difficulties that resulted in the following: lower average marks, more failed grades, more expulsions, increased dropout rates, and a lower rate of college undergraduate completion (Weiss & Hechtman as cited in Johnston, 2002; Ingersoll, 1988). The disruptive behavior sometimes associated with the disorder may make students with ADHD more susceptible to suspensions and expulsions. A study by Barkley and colleagues (1990) found that 46 percent of their student study group with ADHD had been suspended and 11 percent had been expelled.
ADHD's core symptomsâ€”inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivityâ€”make meeting the daily rigors of school challenging (Zentall, 1993). Difficulty sustaining attention to a task may contribute to missing important details in assignments, daydreaming during lectures and other activities, and difficulty organizing assignments. Hyperactivity may be expressed in either verbal or physical disruptions in class. Impulsivity may lead to careless errors, responding to questions without fully formulating the best answers, and only attending to activities that are entertaining or novel. Overall, students with ADHD may experience more problems with school performance than their peers who do not have ADHD. HELPfuL HINTS Numerous studies have found that positive results occur when the major stakeholders in a student's education collaborate to address a child's ADHD (Blazer, 1999; Bos, 1999; Bos, Nahmias & Urban, 1999; Nahmias, 1995; Williams & Carteledge, 1997). Effective collaboration and
communication between home and school provide structure across the two major settings in the child's life. Common rewards, reinforcement strategies, and language help to promote consistency across settings. Bos et al. (1999) reported that collaborative partnerships between home and school were especially important during the initial assessment of the child's disability and educational needs, the development of behavior modification plans, the evaluations of medication, and the coordination of assignments. Parents and teachers can share information with one another if they work together to plan behavioral and academic strategies for the student. Parents can offer information about the child-including the child's medical history, hobbies and interests, effective reinforcers, and behavior in other settings-that may inform the decisions made by the teacher and other members of the IEP team. The teacher should keep parents informed about their child's progress, performance, and behavior in school. If the child is taking medication, the teacher can offer feedback to parents regarding how the medication effects the student's performance and the duration of the medicine's effectiveness. This information also can be used to help medical professionals make more informed decisions about the child with ADHD. If a child exhibits patterns of disruptive or aggressive behavior, best practice research indicates that the child may benefit from a positive behavioral intervention plan that clearly delineates expectations and includes positive supports. The process to develop an effective plan should be collaborative and involve the parents and those other individuals who are most familiar with the child. Students also can take some of the responsibility for their educational and behavioral adaptations. Blazer (1999) reported that students as young as 5 years old can communicate ways to make their school experience more pleasurable and learning easier. Student input also helps to promote a sense of ownership and responsibility for the new
strategies and adaptations. The following are some suggestions for practices that may be helpful for parents and teachers working with a child with ADHD. TIPS for HOME Caring for children with ADHD may be challenging, but it is important to remember that these children can learn successfully. It is critical that parents remember that some of their child's disruptive behavior is a manifestation of the disability and that the challenge is finding ways to help their child change the inappropriate behavior. Key to this is remembering to focus on the need for structure and routine for your child's daily schedule and thereby reinforcing the importance of learning self-control and self-regulation. The following are suggestions for parents: vFocus on discrete rewards and consequences for appropriate and inappropriate behavior; vTangible rewards and treats; vMovie night for a good week at school; vRemoval of privileges; vTime-out from reinforcing activities: the child is essentially removed from situations that foster inappropriate behavior; vSet a daily routine and stick to it. Bedtime and preparation for school are much easier if there is a structure already in place. Have tangible reminders: vA big clock in the bedroom; vCharts for chores; vAssignment pad to record homework and a specific folder to put work in upon completion; vGain the child's attention before speaking to him or her. Have the child repeat back directions for things that are really important. Avoid the following: v Administering consequences without prior warning or without the child understanding why he or she is receiving them; and v Responding inconsistently to inappropriate behaviors. (Continued on page 15)
Reading can unlock the keys to a world of
information. Parents are teachers, both by example and by conversation. Give children opportunities to play, to talk and to hear you talk to them. Listen to what they have to say and answer their questions. Read aloud to your child every day. These are fun activities that you can do with your child to encourage him or her to read and to reinforce the importance of school. ABC Book. Compile plain white or colorful paper. Write one upper and lower case letter (A,a) onto each page. Have your child go through old newspapers or magazines and match each letter to a picture in the magazine. Cut out and glue each object onto a page. Compile and transform these pages into a memorable book. Alphabet Hunt. Make a list of all the letters in the alphabet. Have your child identify household items that start with as many of the letters as possible.
FUN WAYS TO ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO READ
Cartoons. Cut cartoon strips apart frame by frame. Have your child put them back in order and read the completed cartoon. Concentration games. Create a game using coupons. Children would need to match two similar products. The brand names of these products may differ, if you wish. Create Stories. Make up stories with your child. Alternate between parent and child in adding lines to the story. Predict the Story outcome. Flip through a picture story book with your child and have him or her predict the story outcome from the pictures. Then go back and read the story to your child. Newspaper Scavenger Hunt. Go through a newspaper and make a list of 10-15 items to find in the paper (i.e.-cartoons, sports statistics, a story about your city, weather data, picture of a government official, car ad, etc.) recipes. Pick out simple recipes and help your child make the recipes. Children should read the directions. This reinforces the need for math and reading skills. repetition. Have your child tell the story to you after you have read it to him or her. Safety Walk. Take your child on a walk around the neighborhood or to a park. Point out signs and read what is on the signs (i.e.- house numbers, stop signs, street names, business names.) Have your child name pieces of safety equipment used in sports or play. Explain the safety need of each object. These are just a few ways to reinforce the concept that reading is tied to all aspects of daily life. This sends the message that reading is important, impacts all areas of life and is not merely a school-based activity.
Let's consider specific guidelines to helpyoucommunicateeffectivelywith yourchild'steacher.
to a Successful Family-School
Practice theseguidelines,andyour child willreapthebenefits.
Guideline 1: Identify the purpose for the conference.
Guideline3: Arrange the conference at the teacher's convenience.
Is it to become acquainted? Is it to alleviate your concerns about your child's attitude towards reading and school? Is it to receive a report card or test scores? Each of these situations is vastly different and requires different preparation.
The teacher now has sufficient time to plan and to have the necessary information at the conference. An unplanned conference can turn out to be a waste of time for both teacher and parent and cause feelings of frustration.
Guideline 2: Communicate the purpose for the conference.
Guideline4: Plan for the conference.
If you are requesting the conference, immediately tell the teacher the purpose. This helps to alleviate any preconceived ideas the teacher may have about your request to hold a conference. www.modernparentsmagazine.com
Write out the areas and questions you want the conference to cover. Combine, delete, and clarify these questions; and, finally, prioritize them. By using this process, your most important questions
will be answered in a clear, succinct manner. Moreover, the teacher's responses will likely be clearer and more to the point.
Guideline5: Restate the purpose of the conference at the onset. Try to stay on the predetermined topic(s) since your time together is limited.
Guideline 6: Display a positive attitude during the conference. Be aware that not only what you say reflects your attitude, but also your tone of voice, facial expression, and body language. A loud voice may imply dominance. Rigid posture may suggest anger
or disapproval. Always listen attentively and show your enthusiasm.
and agreement. Let's look at a conference in which a parent does a good job of clarifying and summarizing a major point.
Guideline 7: Remain open and supportive throughout the conferTeacher: Kimberly has difficulties with ence. Try not to become defensive or antagonistic; otherwise the outcome of the conference may be unfruitful. Strive for cooperation with your child's teacher. Even if the teacher presents a negative side of your child's behavior or informs you of other problems, try to remain objective. This can be difficult when it is your child, but he may experience as many or more difficulties if you and the teacher do not try to find a way to work together to solve these problems.
oral reading. She is not reading smoothly and tends to read in a word-by-word fashion. If Kimberly reads along with a taped version of a book, her oral reading would improve. Can you provide Kimberly with taped versions of books? Parent: Kimberly is a poor reader. Do you want me to make tapes of books so Kimberly can read along with the tapes? Teacher: Yes, you can make tapes, but
Guideline 8: Make sure suggestions are provided to increase your child's growth.
By reviewing your child's work, you will learn if progress has been made since the last conference. Have any weaknesses become more severe? If improvement has not been made, are other methods or materials an option? Inquire what you can do at home with your child.
Guideline 10: Clarify and summarize each important point as it is discussed. Thus, both teacher and parent are better able to develop a mutual understanding www.modernparentsmagazine.com
Guideline11:Once agreement is reached, discuss the next topic. During the conference, you may want the teacher to understand certain things about your child, or you may have a special request. Once your point is understood and the teacher has agreed, it is wise not to continue the same discussion. It may present new questions which may reverse your previous agreement. Once a decision is made, it is best to start discussing the next point. You will find the conference to be much more productive.
Guideline 12: Make sure you understand the information the teacher is supplying.
If your child is doing well, find out what you can do to ensure continued success and progress. If he/she has difficulties, make sure the teacher goes beyond merely pointing out a problem. The teacher needs to provide ideas for eliminating or reducing the difficulty. Many parents become discouraged or aggravated if a teacher points out problems, but does not provide solutions. Do not allow this situation to occur. If immediate suggestions can not be provided, then a follow-up conference is needed.
Guideline9: Ask for examples of daily work to better understand your child's strengths and weaknesses.
about alternatives. Notice that this parent summarized the conference at the end. As a result, both parties received the same message.
the public and school libraries can also provide you with tapes, cd’s and books. Also, I would like to clarify one point about Kimberly's reading ability. She has some difficulty with oral reading, but I would not classify her as a poor reader.
Often teachers use educational jargon, not realizing parents may not understand. Don't be afraid to ask for an explanation or definition. Make sure when the conference ends you have understood all the information reported. If you are unclear or uncertain about any aspect of the conference, your child may not benefit and learning may be hindered. After all, don’t you encourage your child(ren) to ask questions when they do not understand? Simply follow your own advice here.
Guideline 13: Keep conferences short.
Parent: Thank you for the clarification. Kimberly and I will work together on improving oral reading. We will check the school and public libraries for some books and recordings.
Conferences that run more than 40 minutes can be tiresome for both parent and teacher. If you can not accomplish all that has been planned, ask for another conference. By scheduling a future conference, you will have an opportunity to follow up on previous agreements and revise them, if necessary.
If the parent had not summarized and clarified what was heard in this conference, a misconception may have developed. By suggesting that she would record books for Kimberly, the parent was able to find out whether the suggestion was appropriate, as well as learning
Remember, your child will benefit from an amicable, enthusiastic relationship between parent and teacher. One should function as the support system for the other. Afterall, this is one of the most important relationships you have as it relates to your child.
MODERN EDUCATOR DR. DONALDO BATISTE SUPERINTENDENT- Waukegan Public Schools MPM: How did your parents send the message that education was a priority in your home? BATISTE: My parents, who never completed high school, but did complete the highest grades required of them at those times (third grade for father and fifth grade for mother), always placed priority on their children being educated and allowed to enjoy the finer things in life. This they did by ensuring that each child attended school daily. Of the eight of us, seven of us graduated from high school with perfect attendance. My sister, who did not have perfect attendance, suffered from a congenital birth disorder and was not expected to live beyond the age of seven. Consequently, she spent two years confined to a hospital during her high school experience. Nonetheless, she was the first of my siblings to attend college; although, she passed away while in her second semester of her college experience. My parents provided an opportunity for each of their eight children to attend college and/or business/trade schools. Today, besides my sister who passed away while in college, three of us have matriculated and worked as teachers or business leaders. One of us is a senior level administrator in corporate America, another is a “self-made” entrepreneur. Additionally, one is a school secretary, and yet another is a business manager. From this description, it is plain to see that education was and is a priority in our home.
Moments before his mad dash to an all too familiar school board meeting, Dr. Donaldo Batiste took a few moments from his busy schedule to speak to us on the importance of education and parenting.
MODERN PARENTS Magazine: What was your favorite educational experience, or experiences, as a child? SUPERINTENDENT BATISTE: As a child, I vividly remember from pre-school age to high school, always wanting to be a teacher. Our family was reared in the rural south (Gray, LA), and as such, we did not have television until I was 7 years old (second grade). Being the seventh of eight children in my family, our greatest pastime
was being read to by our parents and by our older brothers and sisters. Needless to say, each of them espoused being the teacher when they read to us. I always was impatient until the time would come and I could be the teacher and read to my siblings. I will never forget…it was the day before Thanksgiving in 1958 (before I entered formal schooling in August, 1959) when I was granted the opportunity to read to my parents because I insisted that I could. I can still see the incredulous looks on both their faces. I don’t know who was more excited that I could read, I or them?! It was from that humble beginning that my insatiable appetite for reading and teaching were given wings. To this date, I still recognize this beginning as my favorite educational experience as a child.
MPM: What do you think is the single most important indicator of overall student success? BATISTE: The single most important indicator of overall student success as I see it, is a student having a positive self-image of him or herself that communicates that he or she is happy with self and that other people believe in them and what they can do. I know that this was the case for me. MPM: What message would you like to leave with parents? BATISTE: The message I would like to leave with parents is that it is their duty and responsibility to foster positive, self-esteem building experiences with and for their children. Although they may not always think that their young children are watching them, they are, and their memories of vivid experiences are incredible!
Guide to Student Success Today’s middle school students are receiving more homework, which means they need more than ever to develop and hone their organization and time management skills. The best way to support homework efforts is to help children design a framework within which they can do their best work with an increasing degree of independence:
• Be prepared. Assume your children will have studying to do every night and work with them to create a comfortable, distraction-free homework zone.
• Understand teachers’ policies and expectations. Encourage your children to ask their teachers questions, reminding them that an in-person visit before or after school is often most effective.
• Be available and teach by example. Check in with your children while they work, offering to be a sounding board or source of advice. Help them cope with feelings of failure or frustration.
• Identify other resources. Encourage your children to find homework buddies, and do not hesitate to line up extra support if needed. Get to know the guidance counselors and other school employees. Education support professionals generally know all of the students in the school, and their relationship with your children will continue as they move from one grade to the next. Consider taking advantage of the many technology-based tools and educational software titles now available.
• Stay in touch with your children’s teachers. If teachers have access to e-mail, it can be an effective way to maintain regular contact in addition to telephone calls and in-person visits. Let teachers know of any home issues that may affect academic performance or needs.
• Inspire learning outside school. Nurture your children’s personal interests, perhaps finding activities that parallel what they’re studying in school, thus fostering their enthusiasm for learning as a life-long endeavor. National Education Association and LeapFrog
How Does ADHD Affect School Performance? (Continued from page 10 )
Tips for School A student with ADHD can present unique challenges in the classroom. Inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity can be the source of frustration, but there are ways teachers can help students with ADHD to improve the educational experience and control the symptoms of the disorder. It is important for teachers www.modernparentsmagazine.com
to be aware of coexisting conditions such as learning disabilities, as well as reinforcing the importance of classroom and instructional structure. The following are tips for teachers: Work on the most difficult concepts early in the day; Give directions to one assignment at a time instead of directions to multiple
tasks all at once; Vary the pace and type of activity to maximize the student's attention; and Structure the student's environment to accommodate his or her special needs. For example, the student can be seated away from potentially distracting areas (such as doors, windows, and computers) or seated near another student who is working on a shared assignment. Source: U.S.Department of education
Discipline: One Size Does Not Fit All
I overheard my 12-year old son exclaim to a friend that he “just wished everyone in school would disappear!” My initial response as the parent of a mild-tempered pre-teen boy was a chuckle of general understanding. However, my post analysis was that of a researcher of youth and discipline. My mind raced through the piles of claims made by many parents of mild-tempered youth and children who, they too, could never have imagined being disconnected from a school or familial institution, or worse, homicidal. The wave of school violence in the U.S. has devastated the nation, causing extensive dialogue between parents, schools and youth in the 20th and 21st centuries. All parties have sought to define discipline collectively and establish effective disciplinary methods.
A challenge in the quest to establish effective disciplinary methods is due to the widespread misconception of discipline for children and youth. Too much punitive discipline yields harsh responses to unpleasant behavior. Discipline is most accurately defined as training expected to produce a specific moral or mental character or pattern of behavior. But, are schools and parents www.modernparentsmagazine.com
progressing in discovering disciplinary methods that will coincide with this definition of discipline? As a result of years of dialogue, numerous policies (such as the Safe and Drug Free Schools Act and Zero Tolerance), along with the historically overused consequences of suspensions and expulsions, have remained preferred disciplinary methods. Some parents have chosen to mimic these methods of discipline in the home, presuming that schools have an authoritative command of effective discipline. Parents must become informed of the weaknesses and problems associated with “push away” forms of discipline.
The Problem Lies at the End The principle problem with the concepts of suspension and expulsion (or “sent away” from a home environment) is that these are means of further disconnecting youth who have already accepted a marginal status in society. These specific children and youth have become committed to rebelling against and ridding themselves of the institutions that they feel have failed them. While striv-
ing to rid themselves of familial and school organizations, they are not affected by being “pushed away” at this point. Rejection interventions are employed reactively to poor training as opposed to proactively training for a specific undesirable behavior. Hence, aligned with the definition of discipline, the preferred disciplinary methods should be those that ensure productive moral and psychological training before the disconnection between youth and family and school institutions emerges. The concept of training before disconnection implies that disciplinary problems evolve in an escalating process. Children do not abruptly choose to hate those who care for them. If discipline enlists training throughout the process, constructive discipline will occur. In our next issue, Dr. Johnson will discuss the solution process. Author: Dr. Melanie Johnson Dr. Melanie Johnson has been researching discipline in schools for a decade. She is an administrator at Galveston College (Galveston, TX) where her primary focus is student connectedness and engagement. Another important research topic to Dr. Johnson is experience-driven pedagogy. Dr. Johnson is a wife of fifteen years, and the mother of two sons.
PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR COLLEGE
The United States Department of Education offers the following advice to high school parents. Make sure your child understands the importance of math in elementary school, and encourage your child to take more math, science and critical language courses in high school. In the increasingly competitive global economy, it is crucial for American students to be well-trained in math, science and critical foreign languages.
“We live in a world where technological innovation and
global competition are increasing at a pace never before seen. Now is the time to vest in our children to make sure they are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.” —U.S. Secretary of education, Margaret Spellings
school, even if it is not required. Find out what kind of critical language courses your child's school offers. Encourage your child's school to offer them and encourage your child to take them. Encourage your child to take more Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school. Advanced Placement courses are classes that high school students take to prepare them for college, or post-secondary education. Students receive actual college credit while still in high school. This oppor-
U.S. students are currently performing below their international peers in math and science.
AP students are much more likely than their peers to graduate from college in four years or less. The four-year college graduation rate for students who take two or more AP courses is 32 percentage points higher than for those who do not take any AP courses. And the rate for students who take just one AP course is 16 percentage points higher than for those who don't take any.
Currently, only 44 percent of American high school students are enrolled in a foreign language class. And less than 50 percent of American high school students study critical foreign languages (such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Russian).
Encourage your elementary school child in his or her math homework. Remind him or her of the importance of learning math for success in high school, college, and beyond. Learn your state's math and science requirements for high school graduation. Encourage your child to take four years of math and four years of science in high www.modernparentsmagazine.com
The U.S. Department of Education has found that completing a solid academic core in high school, including the opportunity for AP coursework, was more strongly correlated with a student's attainment of a bachelor's degree than high school test scores, grade point average, or class rank. Current research also indicates a direct positive correlation between AP classes taken in high school and the likelihood of earning a college degree. Nearly 75 percent of high school graduates enter college, but only 12 percent of these students have completed a significant college-prep curriculum. Research shows that students who take rigorous courses in high school stand a far greater chance of succeeding in college.
The landmark education report, A Nation at Risk, recommended that high school students take a minimum of three years of math and three years of science. Yet today, only 22 States and the District of Columbia require at least this amount.
AP courses include content as described in The College Board overview and course syllabi.
tunity can also help parents financially. The AP courses that students take in high school reduces the number of credit hours they are required to take during the freshman year. As a result, students can likely take classes ahead of schedule. This could result in an earlier graduation date, thus saving parents college costs. How does the curriculum of an AP course differ from the "normal" high school course? AP courses provide the equivalent of first-year college introductory courses. Students are given the responsibility to reason, analyze, and understand for themselves.
Take Action: Find out what Advanced Placement courses your child's high school offers. Make sure they meet the true definition of Advanced Placement and are not simply "honors" courses. Encourage your child to take Advanced Placement courses. If your child’s school does not offer any, encourage it to do so. If you need assistance with encouraging your child’s school to implement Advanced Placement courses, you may contact us at email@example.com.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA IS THIS THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?
hortly before the two-year anniversary of the nation’s greatest natural disaster, a few residents of a recovering section of New Orleans thought they were viewing an apparition. As they looked through the windows of their FEMA trailers, the vision they witnessed was far from a mirage. It was, in fact, presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama. After an early morning visit to a historic church, Sen. Obama began a trek through one of the hardest hit areas of the Gulf South. He walked through several blocks viewing and making mental notes of the everpresent devastation. The Senator ended his trek by actually visiting the home of a resident.
make sure they’re being read to, making sure that they will understand their numbers, their letters. We must also make sure that well-trained daycare workers are available. There’s a huge shortage that I know is a problem for parents all throughout New Orleans. That’s something that we have to do nationally. If children are prepared the day they start school--they are then likely to succeed. If they’re not, then they’re swimming upstream and by the third grade, they start realizing, you know what, school is not for me, and then they reject it and they drop out. They just shut out.
understand. Two of them are closed, one of them is going to re-open, but it’s not necessarily just going to have children from this community. They’re going to be bused in from everywhere. New Orleans has a particular problem and that is, we’ve got to have some sort of construction program to make sure that schools are rebuilt. And we’ve got to attract teachers to get back here which means we’ve got to give them extra bonuses, and that’s part of my plan to provide “Loan Forgiveness Programs” for teachers to encourage them to come back to New Orleans. And that’s going to be critically important.
MODERN PARENTS Magazine was granted the distinct honor of speaking with the presidential candidate during this pilgrimage. When asked to share his views on education and parenting with our readers, Sen. Obama responded graciously.
MOdERN PARENTS Magazine: Sen. Obama, please share your K-12 education platform and views on the importance of parenting with our readers.
SEN. OBAMA: I propose that we start off with early childhood education. And that has to start before Kindergarten. Actually, what we should be doing is reaching out to at-risk parents, teen parents and poor parents, by working with them the day that child is born. Before they leave the hospital, someone should be there tracking them and working with them to www.modernparentsmagazine.com
Second thing, the highest priority: teachers. We’ve got to pay our teachers more money. We’ve got to give them more professional development training and mentorship, particularly young teachers. We’re going to have to attract a million new teachers in the next decade as the baby boom generation retires. The only way we’re going to attract them is if we make the work attractive. There are a lot of idealistic people that want to teach, but if you just drop them in the middle of an inner city school, without any support, after about three years, they’re just worn out because they don’t feel like they’re making any progress. They feel like they don’t have anyone to support them, so we’ve got to match them with mentor teachers. We’ve got to have a critical mass of teachers who are supporting new teachers inside the classroom. In New Orleans, in particular, because of the fact that we’ve got one school right here that just closed down, as I
But, the last point that you raised is parenting. You know, ultimately, parents have to parent. And I don’t care whether they’re poor kids or middle class kids or well-to-do kids, I think it is fair to say that our children are not hearing the need to buckle down and work as much as they did in the past on average. Our respect for education in our communities does not seem as high as it once was. Now, part of it is, you know, that if you’ve got parents who themselves dropped out of school, they may want to emphasize education, but may not be equipped to do so and that’s why after-school programs are so important. I was with Alonzo Mourning yesterday in Miami; he’s got a program in Overtown, a poor district in Miami Dade, that has after-school programs and summer-school programs, all those things can be helpful, but we’ve got to reach out to parents and make sure that they are emphasizing the importance of education because schools, by themselves, can’t do it.
Do You Know How Your Child Learns?
We began our three-part series on learning styles with the visual learner. In our previous issue, we discussed the characteristics of the visual learner. We revealed the fact that the visual learner is greatly dependent upon the sense of sight. Our current installment in this series focuses on the kinesthetic learner. The kinesthetic Learner
If your child learns best by doing, he may seem to have some part of his body moving constantly. He may be a wiggler, a toucher, and want to be close to another person whether that person wants it or not. He may drum his fingers, rock, switch positions in a chair often, and have a high propensity toward being inattentive. So, since you know he needs to touch, wiggle and be active, lessons he receives should provide that. He gets weary of being told to sit or stand still. Allow him to take an active part in tasks and lessons. If the teacher is giving a lesson on paper, she may want to give him a pencil or crayon to use. If the teacher is using a lesson printed on a transparency, he or she may
IsyourChildAWigglyWorm? WouldHeorShePrefer Ring-Around-The-RosietoReadingaBook? youMayHaveaKinestheticLearner.
fair better by giving this child a temporary marker to use--that's usually a different tool for him and makes him feel very special. He should be given specific directions, such as underlining vowels as you say the words, or putting whiskers onto a cat. If he needs to listen, give him something to hold and/or feel while he listens. You may want to give a girl a bracelet to wear so she can touch and/or stroke it when she feels a little wiggly. It's OK to tell the child how he best learns, so he can understand that his wiggliness may prevent him from paying good attention to his lessons. Let him know you'll try to teach him in the way he learns sometimes, but that you'll also have him practice listening without wiggling or touching, because it's a good social skill to learn. This child's learning style may actually be his distraction.
HowLearningStyles ChangeOverTime Research shows: Most children are kinesthetic and become more tactual in or about the first grade. Auditory skills develop near the second grade. Visual skills develop near the third grade.
Thirty years ago, students were moved toward being peer motivated by the seventh grade. Studies show that students today move toward being peer motivated by third or fourth grade. By ninth or tenth grade, students move toward being self-motivated. Seventy percent of children in grades five to twelve have trouble with conventional classroom design. Younger children (K-6) need more structure than older students. Underachievers tend to remain peer motivated even into their late teens. Time of day preference changes over time: 28 percent of K-2nd grade students are morning learners in comparison to 30 percent of middle grade students, 40 percent of high school students, and 55 percent of adults. As parents it is very important to identify your child’s learning style. Many students are misdiagnosed with learning disabilities, such as ADHD, when in fact the child’s learning style is not being addressed. Identifying your child’s learning style allows you to effectively advocate for your child. Once identified, share this information with teachers. Better yet, ask your child’s teacher for help identifying your child’s learning style. Look for signs of an Auditory (hearing/sound oriented) learner in our next issue.
OverviewofLearningStyles Manypeoplerecognizethateachpersonprefersdifferentlearningstylesandtechniques.Learningstylesgroupcommonways thatpeoplelearn.Everyonehasamixoflearningstyles.Somepeoplemayfindthattheyhaveadominantstyleoflearningwith farlessuseoftheotherstyles.Othersmayfindthattheyusedifferentstylesindifferentcircumstances.Thereisnorightmix. Norareyourstylesfixed.youcandevelopabilityinlessdominantstylesandfurtherdevelopstylesthatyoualreadyusewell. Manyschoolsstillrelyexclusivelyonclassroomandtext-basedteaching,muchrepetition,andpencil-papertests.Anunfortunateresultisthatweoftenlabelthosewhouseparticularlearningstylesandtechniquesas“bright.”Thosewhouseless favoredlearningstylesoftenfindthemselvesinlowerclasseswithvariousnot-so-complimentarylabelsandsometimeslower qualityteaching.Thiscancreatepositiveandnegativespiralsthatreinforcethebeliefthatoneis“smart”or“belowlevel.” Byrecognizingandunderstandingourlearningstyles,wecanusethemostappropriateandeffectivelearningstrategies.This improvesthespeedandqualityofourlearning.
Do I Utilize BEST PRACTICES in My Classroom? The use of Best Practices is standard in most professions.
Best Practices reflect the most current and effective strategies in a given field. As educators, we often receive district and/or state recommendations as it relates to curriculum. often educators have little wiggle room as it relates to implementing district or school-wide curricula. However, we have provided a schmorgasboard of Best Practices for your review. Compare your present teaching practices to those listed. Pick and choose those you like. This is the perfect opportunity to shop till you drop. Browse, browse, browse. Select those that are a perfect fit. Discard those that are out of fashion. Enjoy this opportunity for guilt-free shopping. Everyone wins!
Best Practices in rEADINg call for an increase in the following: Children’s choice of their own reading materials Exposing children to a wide and rich range of literature Teacher modeling and discussing his/her own reading processes Social, collaborative activities with much discussion and interaction grouping by interests or book choices Silent reading followed by discussion
ings reading mathematics Segregation of reading to reading time Writing mathematics Evaluation focus on individual, low-level subskills Listening to mathematical ideas Measuring the success of the reading program only by test scores
Best Practices in MATH call for an increase in the following: use of manipulative materials
Drawing logical conclusions Justifying answers and solution processes reasoning inductively and deductively
Cooperative group work
Best Practices in MATH call for a decrease in the following:
Teaching skills in the context of whole and meaningful literature
Discussion of mathematics
rote memorization of rules and formulas
Questioning and making conjectures
Single answers and single methods to find answers
Writing before and after reading
Justification of thinking
use of drill worksheets
Encouraging invented spelling in children’s early writings
Writing about mathematics
repetitive written practice
use of reading in content fields (e.g., historical novels in social studies)
Problem-solving approach to instruction
Teaching by telling
Teaching computation out of context
use of calculators and computers
Being a facilitator of learning
Testing for grades only
Assessing learning as an integral part of instruction
Being the dispenser of knowledge
Word problems with a variety of structures and solution paths
use of cue words to determine operation to be used
Evaluation that focuses on holistic, higher-order thinking processes Measuring success of reading program by students’ reading habits, attitudes and comprehension
Best Practices in rEADINg call for a decrease in the following:
Teacher selection of all reading materials for individuals and groups
Practicing routine, one-step problems Everyday problems and applications Answering questions that need only yes or no responses
Teacher keeping his/her own reading tastes and habits private
Teaching reading as a single, one-step act
open-ended problems and extended problem-solving projects
Solitary seatwork grouping by reading level Punishing preconventional spelling in student’s early writ-
Answering questions that need only numerical responses
Investigating and formulating questions from problem situations Discussing mathematics
relying on authorities (teacher, answer key)
Arthur Hyde, Harvey Daniels, and Steven Zemelman. Best Practice: New Standards for Teaching and Learning in America’s Schools. Heinemann: Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
A Book A Day
Healthy routines for Preschool Children (Part 1 of 4)
H ow are books like food?
Both books and food nourish development, and both require active grown-up involvement to promote healthy habits. Initially, children enjoy both just for the sake of using their hands, putting things in their mouth, and the close attention they get from loved ones. Some may go through stretches of being picky or liking the same thing over and over. Increasingly with age, they will want to do more of both on their own and proudly share with others just how much they can do. With reading or feeding, children associate the things caretakers do as part of their (healthy and not-so-healthy) routines. Your choices -- acting as a role model, turning on or off the television, sharing a special time every day when everyone enjoys books or food together, providing variety and special treats, and creating or keeping family traditions, all have an impact. Research supports the fact that regularly reading aloud with children helps kids of all ages learn to read better. When does this start? It is never too early, but the basic skills that lead to successful readers in school certainly start well before kindergarten. “Reading” will change as your child grows– chewing books, turning pages, pointing out pictures, naming things they recognize, pretending to read,
mastering the complex process of learning to read words and sentences and eventually whole stories. Interesting stories, more than mastering the mechanics early on, will encourage children to be lifelong readers. So do your part to make sure the books are enjoyable for your individual child. This can be finding a book with silly rhymes, fantastic illustrations, a special subject, pictures and pages made by your child, or a special trip to the library or bookstore (or your pediatrician.) Try to combine books your child selects with ones you think your child may love. Most importantly, remember that your daily involvement will determine whether reading is fun – the snuggling next to you, the voices you give to the characters, the little games you play by changing words and stories, your undivided attention, and your overall attitude toward reading. Three Simple Strategies to Start Raising a Reader 1. Make time everyday to read to your child; remove distractions and focus on your child. 2. Go beyond the words on the page; have fun, be creative, develop the art of storytelling. 3. Set an example; start with turning off the TV and picking up something enjoyable to read.
The next section goes into further detail about recommended preschool activities in four “building blocks” of reading: language and vocabulary, phonological awareness, book and print awareness, and letter knowledge.
Succeeding at reading – Early School-Age Children (Part 3 of 4) Reading is one of the most amazing skills achieved by children in the first few years of school. While most children learn to read regardless of the teaching method, one out of every five children may need special help. Research supports a variety of methods, especially if matched to a child’s learning style, helps almost all children learn to read. This also prevents problems in 9095 percent of children who are at risk for reading difficulties, if started before third grade. Complete programs to teach reading combine methods in five key areas:
P h o n e m i c A w a r e n e s s is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words. This is different from phonics, but often taught in combination effectively. Fun ways to “tune” a child’s ear to the sounds in words include:
Preparing for the reading Process in Preschool Children (Part 2 of 4)
Wordplay in songs and poems - pointing out how some words sound similar at the beginning or end, to asking for words (including nonsense ones) that rhyme with a given word.
Want to Read More About Raising Readers?
Activities that break up words into separate
sounds, for example, “How many sounds are in the word ‘sun’? Let’s say each sound and clap….” Or blend sounds together to form words, for example, “What word is /b/ /i/ /g/?” (saying just the sound of each letter.)
P h o n i c s is the relationship between written letters and the sound parts (or phonemes) of spoken language. Children who are reading-challenged benefit when connections between letter combinations and sounds are clearly taught, especially along with phonemic awareness. Commercially available tools help with phonics instruction, however commonplace things also work with some imagination – wooden blocks with letters, cutouts from magazines, paper or play-dough or other arts and crafts materials, or a good alphabet book with pictures triggering familiar words using the letters.
f l u e n c y is the ability to read text accurately and quickly. Repeatedly reading out loud guided by teachers, peers or parents is the most effective way for children to master this area. The text should be appropriate to the reading level of the child, with one in 20 challenging words being a good level of difficulty. Vo c a b u l a r y
can be developed directly and indirectly. Children learn indirectly from conversing (and overhearing) daily, listening to adults read to them, and reading on their own. Children can also learn from direct teaching of
new words, especially when the word is used repeatedly in many different contexts.
C o m p r e h e n s i o n is the ultimate goal of reading – gaining knowledge and understanding, discovering new ideas, enjoying stories, exploring new worlds. There are many different ways to achieve this, which include asking and answering questions. Also, active reading with a purpose helps, so follow your child’s interests. Additional Strategies for Raising Readers 1. Have fun with phonemic awareness and phonics – Learning early builds self-confidence. 2. Listen patiently, guide positively as your child reads – Practice counts more in your presence. 3. Engage in regular conversations – Build your child’s vocabulary, comprehension and selfesteem.
A Lifelong Love of reading Starts in Childhood (Part 4 of 4) How can I keep my child interested in reading? The strategies that worked for your toddler will continue to be important as your child moves forward to reading independently. The increasing
challenge will be the many alternatives to reading that will compete for your child’s attention and time. However, by establishing caring and consistent routines that include books and a love for learning, you can actively keep involved. Encourage your child to learn more about the things for which he/she seems interested or curious. Remain flexible, because children do learn in many ways beyond books and reading, and ultimately will absorb the most when they learn in many different ways and experiences. Points to Remember: 1. Establish a family reading time – Set simple routines and rules as during a family meal. 2. Promote variety – Let your child choose some reading material while suggesting others. 3. Lead by example – Make sure the grown-ups are doing what you are teaching. 4. Balance your child’s need to read independently with your ongoing involvement. Most importantly, you can lead by example, since you are ultimately your child’s most influential teacher, through the things you do regularly – taking time yourself to read, discussing something interesting you just read, sharing stories, going to the library, picking up the newspaper, watching less television. Please begin with the family enjoying A Book A Day!
Offset Education Costs
IrS Tax Tip 2007-48
Education tax credits can help offset the costs of higher education for yourself or a dependent. The Hope Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit are two education credits available which may benefit you. Because they are credits, rather than deductions, you may be able to subtract them in full dollar for dollar from your federal income tax.
The Hope Credit
Applies for the first two years of post-secondary education, such as college or vocational school. It does not apply to the third, fourth, or higher years of undergraduate programs, to graduate programs, or to professional-level programs. It can be worth up to $1,650 per eligible student, per year. You're allowed 100 percent of the first $1,100 of qualified tuition and related fees paid during the tax year, plus 50 percent of the next $1,100. Each student must be enrolled at least halftime for at least one academic period which began during the year. The student must be free of any federal or www.modernparentsmagazine.com
state felony conviction for possessing or distributing a controlled substance as of the end of the tax year.
The Lifetime Learning Credit Applies to undergraduate, graduate and professional degree courses, including instruction to acquire or improve job skills, regardless of the number of years in the program. If you qualify, your credit equals 20 percent of the first $10,000 of post-secondary tuition and fees you pay during the year, for a maximum credit of $2,000 per tax return. You cannot claim both the Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits for the same student in the same year. To qualify for either credit, you must pay post-secondary tuition and fees for yourself, your spouse or your dependent. The credit may be claimed by the parent or the student, but not by both. Students who are claimed as a dependent cannot claim the credit. These credits are phased out for Modified Adjusted Gross Income over $45,000 ($90,000 for married filing jointly) and eliminated completely for Modified Adjusted Gross Income of $55,000 or more ($110,000 for married filing jointly). If the taxpayer is married, the credit may be claimed only on a joint return.
For more information, see Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, which can be obtained online at www.irs.gov or by calling the IRS at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Need Money for College? Doesn't everybody? Unfortunately, in their efforts to pay the bills, many students and their families are falling prey to scholarship scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautions parents and students to look for telltale lines: "The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back." "You can't get this information anywhere else." "I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship." "We'll do all the work." "The scholarship will cost some money." "You've been selected by a 'national foundation' to receive a scholarship" or "You're a finalist" in a contest you never entered. If you have any questions, or require additional information on student financial assistance, you may contact your high school guidance counselor, the financial aid officer at the postsecondary institution you plan to attend, or the Federal Student Aid Information Center. 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Source:IRS
BARACK OBAMA on
NEW ORLEANS “I have not seen enough progress from FEMA.” “Aside from rebuilding the public infrastructure of New Orleans, we must also ensure that every displaced resident has a home to return to.” “The words ‘never again’ cannot be another empty phrase. It cannot become another broken promise. When I’m President, the United States government will help this city build a system of levees that can withstand a hundred year storm.” “If another disaster strikes here or anywhere in this country the American people can be assured that their government will be ready, because under an Obama Administration, the FEMA Director will report directly to me and have the highest qualifications in Emergency Management, like the Director of the FBI. I will insulate the position from politics by making it a fixed six-year term. This person will work with the emergency management officials in all 50 states to create a national response plan as soon as possible after I take office. We will protect homeowners before a hurricane hits by creating a national catastrophic insurance reserve that will save homeowners as much as $11.6 billion on annual insurance premiums. Just hearing from the homeowners here, what I’ve come to understand is that insurance is just becoming prohibitive and some people are having to sell their home just because they can’t afford the insurance and that doesn’t make sense. There is no reason why we can’t fix that.” “Homeowners insurance has skyrocketed, so there are just enormous pressures on families that want to do the right thing and are trying to come back.” “We also need to rebuild the local economy here. In an Obama administration, if there is a reconstruction or rebuilding job that can be done by residents of New Orleans, the government contract will go to a resident of New Orleans. No more cronyism, no more ‘no bid’ contracts. We will provide generous tax incentives to businesses that choose to set up shop in the hardest hit areas of the Gulf Coast.”
“We will rebuild the Gulf Coast and make it better than ever.” www.modernparentsmagazine.com
MODERN PARENT NANCY PARKER
Most parents are masters of multi-tasking. However, can you imagine g rocery shopping, visiting the library and going to storytime, all before reporting to work? Our Modern Parent can. Nancy Parker is not only the mother of three (including a set of twins), but a news anchor. Before heading to work, this Emmy Award-winning news anchor condenses the typical work load of a stay-at-home mom into a few hours; and does so incredibly well.
and rattled them off matter of factly during our visit. As a result of exposing him to Impressionist Art at an early age, he was also able to identify the art form as a toddler. Before age two, the twins displayed an unyielding love for reading and music. As the child of two educators, Nancy admits that reading was not optional in her household. While she does not impose mandatory reading, she admits that reading is a natural part of her repertoire.
During our visit to Nancy’s beautiful home, she introduced her lovely children, Parker -7, Piper -2 and Pierce -2. By age 3, Parker knew and could recognize all of the nation’s presidents and their first ladies;
A typical day for our Modern Parent may begin as early as 5 a.m. At this time Nancy and her husband, Glenn Boyd, a news anchor on a neighboring network, are often awakened by the twins. The dynam-
ic duo often keeps Nancy occupied until roughly 7 a.m., at which time she starts getting her oldest child ready for school. Once the day begins, it is a non-stop rat race. While she gets her oldest son dressed and prepared for school, her husband may make breakfast and prepare lunch for school, or vice-versa. In that her 12-hour work day ends after the kids are fast asleep, she must use the precious morning hours to review the homework that daddy oversees the previous day. After big brother is off to school and daddy is off to work, mom continues the day by arranging quality time with the twins and taking care of household chores. In addition to household chores, Nancy’s daily routine must include storytime; preferably at a bookstore, the public library, or at home. This routine is such a staple that the twins’ little bodies gauge the 10 o’clock hour. If they are home and mom is engaged in household chores, the twins start to sing their “storytime song” and bring books to mommy. The most recent addition to their schedule is music classes for the twin toddlers. In an effort to nurture their artistic interests and develop social skills, Nancy added music lessons to their line up. Adding music classes to an action-packed schedule just before embarking on a 12-hour work day may seem daunting, but according to Nancy it comes with the territory. She also speaks of what she calls “creative maneuvering.” Since many of her oldest son’s athletic games and school functions fall during her work hours, she makes arrangements to leave the news station for an hour or so in order to attend. When asked how she manages to juggle it all and what advice she has for parents, Nancy replied, “I’m just doing the best I can. Sometimes you get lost in all you have to do. Sometimes I have to stop and say no matter how much I do there’s always going to be more to do. So instead of trying to do another little load of laundry, another little pick up or trying to do it all; sit with your kids, talk with them, play with them. You only have one shot at it!”
NO DEJAR NIÑO SIN EDUCACIÒN Los padres deben de saber la variedad de factores y tèrminos acerca de "No dejar niño sin educaciòn", en Ingles "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB)
En orden de ayudar con eficacia a su niño, ejercer sus derechos, responsabilidades y asegurar una educaciòn de calidad para su niño, los padres deberian de familiarizarse con los factores y tèrminos bàsicos relacionados al mandato federal (NCLB). Lo siguiente, son tèrminos, factores y sugerencias que ustedes pueden encontrar de ayuda en sus derechos como padres.
1. Evaluaciones Estatales - Esto se refiere a las pruebas que su estado desarrolla anualmente para darselas a su niño y èstas se dan desde el tercero grado hasta el octavo grado y por lo menos una vez en la escuela secundaria. Usando estas pruebas, el estado podrà comparar una escuela con otra y saber cuàl es la que necesita ayuda extra para mejorar. Para averiguar màs detalles sobre las pruebas de su estado, pueden ponerse en contacto con la escuela o el distrito escolar de su niño. 2. Progreso Anual Adecuado (AYP) - Este es el termino que NCLB usa para explicar que la escuela de su niño ha alcanzado las metas en lectura y matemàticas. En el reporte de calificaciones del distrito escolar
les daràn a saber sì la escuela de su niño ha tenido el progreso anual adecuado (AYP). 3. Escuela en Necesidad de mejoramiento Este es tèrmino que NCLB usa para referirse a las escuelas que reciben fondos del "Title I", que por lo menos en los ùltimos 2 años, todavia no han alcanzado las metas estatales en lectura y metemàticas de AYP. Si la escuela de su niño es nombrada con el tèrmino de "una escuela en necesidad de mejora", èsta recibe ayuda extra para mejorar y su niño tiene la opciòn de transladarse o moverse a otra escuela pùblica incluyendo una escuela de organizacion pùblica (estatal). Ademàs su niño puede ser elegible para recibir clases de tutoria gratis y ayuda extra en el trabajo escolar. Ponganse en contacto con el distrito escolar de su niño para averiguar si el o ella califica. 4. Servicios de Educaciòn Suplementales (SES) - Este es el tèrmino que usa NCLB, para referirse a la tutoria y ayuda extra con el trabajo escolar en materias còmo la lectura y matemàticas, los niños con familias de ingresos bajos, pueden ser elegibles para recibir estos servicios. Esta ayuda se da sin costo alguno y generalmente toma parte fuera del dia escolar regular, còmo despuès de la escuela o durante el verano. 5. Maestros altamente calificados (HQT) Este tèrmino lo usa NCLB, para los maestros, quienes prueban que saben las materias que estan enseñando, graduados del colegio
y con cerficado estatal. NCLB, requiere que maestros altamente calificados les enseñen las materias principales a su niño. NCLB requiere a los estados y distritos escolares que les den a los padres, reportes detallados y facil de entender de las calificaciones de las escuelas y los distritos, diciendo cuàles y por què estan teniendo èxito. Aproveche las nuevas oportunidades que NCLB le puede facilitar para su niño. NCLB les da a los estudiantes de las escuelas "en necesidad de mejoramiento", la oportunidad de transferirse o moverse a otra escuela pùblica o escuela pùblica estatal en el distrito. Sì por lo menos en 2 años, una escuela està en necesidad de mejoramiento, entonces los estudiantes con ingresos bajos se vuelven elegibles para recibir Servicios de Educacion Suplementales (SES), como serìa la tutoria gratuita. TOMEN MEDIDAS: Asegurense de recibir un reporte de las calificaciones de la escuela de su niño y que èsta se pueda entender facilmente. Si ustedes no reciben los reportes de calificaciones o si son dificiles de entender, contacten el distrito escolar de su niño. Aprovechen estas oportunidades para asegurarse de, no dejar a su niño sin educaciòn. Traductora de Espanol - Victoria Bastani Victoria Bastani began her career with the Waukegan School District in 1977 where she has worked for 25 years. Bastani is currently a language liaison.
FIVE EASY STEPS TO STUDENT SUCCESS The beginning of the school year is the best time to determine how to get better grades. It is the best time because every student begins the school year with an “A”. Keep in mind, each grade issued after that first day has a direct correlation to all final grades. Here are five ways to help your children achieve the best grades throughout the school year:
Plan for Success No real success happens without proper planning. Proper planning helps to deposit a goal in your mind and demands actions be put in place to achieve it. Help your children to develop a sense of success in their minds. With success in mind, your children will approach assignments in a different light.
keep it organized Organization is the mother of success. Help your children save valuable time by helping them to get organized. Many students waste valuable time searching for homework, pencils, and calculators when they could be completing assignments. Many moms spend countless time helping their children locate an assignment that was lost somewhere in their room. Being prepared allows more time for extra-curricular activities, spending time with family and friends, and other childhood priorities. Learning organizational skills as early as possible will greatly assist your child academically and socially. If your child is organized, success is inevitable.
Evaluate, Evaluate, and re-evaluate Every child is different. Generally, children do not handle situations in the same manner. Therefore, you must evaluate how your children are doing throughout the school year. Help your children remain on task, but try to remain flexible. A parent’s involvement is necessary and essential to noticing issues before they develop into larger problems. A main goal should be to identify problems before the teacher does. The earlier the detection, the easier it is to manage the situation. By evaluating problems ahead of time, students will avoid continuing bad habits that produce negative results.
reward responsibility Every student likes to be rewarded for a job well done. Did you know that rewards are necessary to help you achieve greater goals? Children need to be encouraged to not settle for average grades, but to go for the better grades. Rewards make a “good job” seem like “Great Work.” They evoke a feeling of satisfaction and give a push to encourage kids to perform even better in future endeavors. Rewards are not an extra activity, they are a necessity.
Praise on Purpose It is a known fact that children love to receive praise. From birth, children love to hear praise. They love to hear their parents say, “Good Job.” Praise also helps children to develop the levels of self-esteem necessary to help them through challenging times. HErE IS A guIDE for HELPINg Your CHILD To HAVE SuCCESS AT EACH LEVEL
Elementary School Giving your child a great start in school is the key to success. Here are some ideas that will give your child a good start: • D e v e l o p i n g a r o u t i n e : Every child will need to develop a set routine for school and home. He/she must learn to remember and implement these routines. Help your child by developing routines at home for both home and school. • Fo l l o w i n g R u l e s : One of the hardest things for students to learn is that there are rules at every level. Some children struggle in this area, while others do well. Therefore, help your child understand the importance of rules and how they can effect our lives. To avoid negative feelings, always follow up with a discussion of your child’s feelings. By doing this, you will help him/her to process new requirements and avoid negative reactions.
Middle School Moving into middle school is a big deal for a child. They must adjust to a new system and older students. Here are some tips for mastering success at this level:
• H e a v i e r w o r k l o a d : Middle school requires students to handle larger workloads. Help your student by working on remaining organized. This will help them adjust easier and quicker to a new system and more work. Designate an area for them to do homework and help them keep the area free from clutter. Keep loose papers in folders. At the end of each day, teach them to go through folders and put things away that are no longer being used. • N e w t e a c h e r s : Elementary students moving to middle school have the toughest time adjusting to changing teachers. This change is difficult as every teacher has a different way of doing things. Teach your child to talk to their teachers and develop what works best in each class.
High School It does not matter if your child is a freshman or a senior; high school is all about using learned skills to achieve good grades. Here are a few: • T i m e M a n a g e m e n t : Teenagers always feel they have all the time in the world. Unfortunately, when out of time, they soon discover that there is often not enough time in a day. Help your teen plan effectively by getting him or her a daily planner. Teach your teen to keep the planner with books to avoid forgetting important deadlines. For high tech teenagers, encourage them to use cell phone features to maintain schedules and requirements. • Good Study Habits: Good study habits can make or break a student. Practicing strong study habits will yield success in high school, and even in college. Help your teen to find quiet time every day to study for classes. Teach teens to study material even when a test is not scheduled. This will teach them to be prepared for such things as pop quizzes or impromptu question-and-answer assignments. The final skill to teach your child is developing a commitment to achieving goals. Ultimately, the child will decide what he or she will do. Teach him/her to stay focused. Remind your child that commitment leads to a big pay off in the end. Author: Talisa Beasley Talisa Beasley is a Speaker, Entrepreneur, and Family Empowerment Coach. She is a trailblazer in bringing innovative strategies to the forefront for today’s parents. Her poignant message that “Nothing is out of reach” is shared in seminars and workshops to light a spark of hope and inspiration in the hearts of the people with whom she meets. She works intimately with parents in the field of family management. Beasley empowers parents with information to prepare children to reach their highest aspirations. She is an advocate for single parents and dual-parent families alike that yearn to know more about how to guide their children through the difficulties of today’s society. Beasley resides and practices primarily in Atlanta, GA.
First Portable ID Device"
AmberStickistheonlyChildIdSystemendorsedbyCodeAmber. AMBER stick™ is a new concept in the fight against missing children, adults, and/or pets. With the AMBER stick™ in your possession, you can feel confident in knowing that if the unthinkable happens, you have the vital information you will need to provide law enforcement officers instantaneously. The data contained in the AMBER stick™ will equip the authorities with the information necessary to issue a local and national AMBER ALERT! You can also use the stick for elderly parents, patients, or children under your care. Have pets? This system can hold information for approximately 100 individuals, including pets. The AMBER stick: Holds vital information and photos on loved ones (children, elderly parents, patients, pets). Fits on your key chain, wallet or purse. Has powerful built-in software that does not require installation and works on nearly any computer or police cruiser computer. Goes where you go and works where you are. Quickly prints out “Missing” posters. Electronically transmits information to the proper authorities. How does the AMBER stick™ work? The AMBER stick™ is very simple to use: The AMBER stick™ is a self-contained device that works independently without the need to install any software onto your computer. This innovative software design allows the AMBER stick™ to be the ONLY product of its kind that is 100% portable. Will the AMBER stick™ work on my computer? The AMBER stick™ is the ONLY fully portable Child Identification product. AMBER stick™ is compatible with Windows 98se and higher.
pletely different. Most software must be installed on a host computer in order to work properly, AMBER stick™ works differently. All files related to the AMBER stick™ software are located on the AMBER stick™ itself and the images/photos you select for each one of your loved ones are copied onto the AMBER stick™ when you are adding the information to the software. How do I operate the AMBER stick™? The AMBER stick™ is very simple to use: Plug into any available USB port on a computer. Start the program and enter your password to unlock. Add your loved one's information and photos. Done, close the program and un-plug from computer. Attach to your key chain or place in your wallet. In case of emergency, plug into police cruiser's computer USB port or any computer. Give officer the password to unlock the AMBER stick. Law enforcement officer gets all the information required. Print out “Missing” posters immediately. What information does the AMBER stick™ hold? THE AMBER stick™ HOLDS ALL VITAL INFORMATION FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT: PICTURES/MEDICAL INFORMATION/ EMERGENCY CONTACTS/ DESCRIPTIVE INFORMATION... all necessary and vital information required by law enforcement agencies to act immediately. The AMBER stick™ is the ONLY fully portable child identification product.
AMBER stick™ System Requirements: A computer with Windows 98se or higher (Windows 2000/XP recommended); 64MB of ram (128MB recommended); an available USB port (USB 1.1 is ok, USB 2.0 recommended for speed); a printer (needed to print "MISSING" flyer); Photos of your loved ones in a digital form (.jpg image format).
How much data can the AMBER stick™ hold? The AMBER stick™ holds personal information about your entire family and/or pets. Let's say you have 15 members of your family that you want to have on the AMBER stick™... NO PROBLEM!!! Each family member's file can hold up to 3 pictures plus all of their vital information. If you size your images correctly (smaller), you can hold information for literally hundreds of individuals!
Does the AMBER stick™ require installation onto my computer? AMBER stick™ proprietary software is com-
Is my information safe on the AMBER stick™? Yes. AMBER stick™ software is both password
protected and fully data encrypted. In the unlikely event that you lose your AMBER stick™ and someone else tries to read the information, without your password, the data is viewed as un-readable due to its sophisticated data encryption technology. Why do I need the AMBER stick™? In today's day and age, the U.S. Department of Justice places a child's chances of being abducted at 1 out of every 42 (children 19 and under). Every year 359,000 children are kidnapped. Of that 359,000 total, 4,600 children are kidnapped by people who are not relatives. Unfortunately, many result in rape and assaults. With roughly 3000 children reported missing daily, this translates to 125 children per hour, roughly 2 children per minute. These numbers do not include the rising rate of adults and the elderly reported missing. Therefore, parents/guardians must stay on the cutting edge of technology in case the unthinkable happens. Every piece of data concerning missing children states that the first 3 hours of an abduction are the most crucial. This data also states that it takes about 2 hours for a parent/ guardian to give vital information to investigators. As recommended by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, every child should have a readily available resource with a current color photo, along with personalized information that can be immediately used in the event that it is needed. AMBER stick™ makes this possible with information and photos available to authorities instantaneously. It is the first product of its kind that allows loved ones to act quickly...reducing the amount of time needed to give the proper authorities information from hours to minutes. In addition, if your loved one is a pet and he or she goes missing, a missing poster can quickly inform neighbors and your community. Shelters generally hold pets for approximately 3 days, so time is of the essence. You can electronically send your pet’s information to local shelters and rescue organizations to get your pet home safely and quickly. Amber stick™ is portable, custom designed as a key chain, easy to use, password and data encrypted. AMBER stick™ makes every second count to get those you love home safely and quickly.
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our learning styles have more influence than we may realize. our preferred learning styles greatly influence the way we learn. They affect the way we process information, even many of our lifestyle choices. Join us and learn more about learning styles. Help your child by discovering his or her learning style.
Have you ever wondered how to reach the planet your child inhabits? We reveal some innovative ways to break the force field between parent and child. Learn how to get some of your ideas through effectively.
TheACT:HowSoonIsTooSoon? Is your child ready for college entrance exams? When should they begin testing? What can you do to help prepare your child? What courses are appropriate prerequisites? Join us and learn more about college entrance exams.
No Child Left Behind is a federal mandate introduced by President George W. Bush in 2002. There are several facts and terms every parent should know about No Child Left Behind. Join us and learn more about your parental rights.
The relationship between parent and teacher is one of the most important relationships affecting the life of your child. Develop a positive partnership with your child’s teacher. Join us and learn innovative guidelines for developing a successful home-school relationship.
We have developed various tools that parents can use to keep abreast of their child’s performance in school, help in developing responsible kids, etc. Join us and develop an arsenal of tools to help with parenting strategies and techniques.
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