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Monday, January 16, 2012

School Bell: Check In Time

This is mid-terms week for many semester-based school systems, roughly half way through the school year.  The students and teachers have settled in, gotten used to each other, and have hopefully learned the patterns and expectations of the current grade level.  Now the real meat of the school year is on the table, the next few months are the key months for new knowledge. Review and getting back up to speed is past, now is the time to really pack in the learning before vacation fever starts showing up. So consider some of the questions below as possible assessments for your student or his/her teacher as you head into the core teaching time of the year.

1. Is your child willing and comfortable talking to the teacher to ask questions, asking for help or clarification?
2. Does your child able and willing to participate in group activities/projects?
3. Does the amount of time your child spends on homework match the teacher's expectations?
4. Is the amount of time your child spends on homework similar to the time spent by classmates?
5. Can your child name two classmates s/he could and would call with a question about class work?
6. Is your child willing and able both to do homework independently and to ask for help on homework?
7. Does your child remember to bring homework materials home and remember to hand completed work in at school?
8. Is there an adult at the school that your child has connected to, comfortable with, and that the child perceives as fair?
9. Does the child talk about some of his/her classmates as friends?
10. Does your child share both good things and bad things that happen at school?

These are not the only ten questions, or even necessarily the best ten. Some you can answer yourself, some you may need to ask the child, or his/her teacher. But the answers to these ten questions will give you a pretty good sense of red flags or green flags to watch as you start the second half of this school year.

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