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Archive for Author Pam Baker
For those who have completed the FAFSA, and whose financial circumstances have changed considerably, we encourage you to reach out to your institution’s financial aid office. Financial aid administrators are afforded a degree of professional judgment under the law for state and federal aid, as well as for institutional aid, and can work with students and families whose incomes have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your counseling team.
Below is a list of sites that offer FREE activities for parents and students from toddler age to high school. Explore museums, cook with your kids, learn about personal finance, take Ivy League courses, participate in interactive arts/crafts and games, learn to sing and other fun adventures. We want to support our parents/families with suggestions, as it is most important during this time of “shelter in place”, to keep your students active, engaged, and having some fun!
✅Banzai exposes students to real-world financial dilemmas to teach them the importance of smart money management. https://www.teachbanzai.com/
✅Entertaining & educational videos for all levels and subjects
✅Illustrated recipes designed to help kids age 2-12 cook with their grown-ups. Recipes encourage culinary skills, literacy, math, and science. https://www.nomsterchef.com/nomster-recipe-library
✅For students to practice and master whatever they are learning. https://quizlet.com/
✅ReadWorks is an online resource of reading passages and lesson plans for students of all levels K-12. https://www.readworks.org/
✅Sight reading and sight singing practice exercises. https://www.sightreadingfactory.com/
✅Music practice transformed https://www.smartmusic.com/
✅Kid-friendly workouts — choose from Strength for Kids, Agility for Kids, Flexibility and Balance for Kids, Warm-Up for Kids, Cooldown for Kids, Stand Up and Move for Kids, OR create your own custom kid workout. https://app.sworkit.com/collections/kids-workouts
✅Keyboarding practice https://www.typingclub.com/ or https://www.typing.com/
✅Short videos and readings that answer various burning questions for students. There are vocabulary challenges and comprehension questions. http://wonderopolis.org/
✅450 Ivy League courses that you can take https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/ivy-league-free-online-courses-a0d7ae675869/?fbclid=IwAR0tbYeSJTzmrzgs1z1Brpoh-Lg8zoqnThQAUTFqR-bBX9O6AEh2_lnLhTs
✅2,500+ online courses from top institutions https://www.edx.org/
✅22 languages to learn https://www.memrise.com/
✅Online digital coloring pages https://www.thecolor.com/
✅Free stories online ages 3-12 https://www.freechildrenstories.com/
✅National Geographic Young Explorers is a magazine designed specifically for kindergarten and first grade students. Children can listen to the magazine being read to them as they follow along with the highlighted text. https://ngexplorer.cengage.com/ngyoungexplorer/index.html
✅Guide to gardening for kids https://web.extension.illinois.edu/firstgarden/
✅Math Games, Logic Puzzles and Brain Builders https://www.mathplayground.com/
✅News and more for kids https://www.youngzine.org/
✅Tons of science experiments that you can do at home
✅Just explore, have fun, and learn some science along the way. https://thehappyscientist.com/
✅A human visualization platform that allows students to explore the human body in really cool ways. https://human.biodigital.com/login?returnUrl=/dashboard
✅Crafts, activities, bulletin board designs, and finger plays for early education teachers and parents to use with kids.
✅No need to travel to one of the Smithsonian’s zoos or museums — this website brings your child everything from live video of the National Zoo to the Smithsonian Learning Lab right to their screen https://www.si.edu/kids
✅This interactive website, hosted by the U.S. Government Publishing Office, allows your child to see the ins and outs of the U.S. government by taking a series of learning adventures with none other than Benjamin Franklin. https://bensguide.gpo.gov/
✅This NASA initiative covers a wide range of topics including weather, climate, atmosphere, water, energy, plants, and animals. https://climatekids.nasa.gov/
✅Your child can play games, learn fun facts, and find out how to turn coin collecting into a hobby. https://www.usmint.gov/learn/kids
✅This educational website hosted by the Smithsonian Museum takes a deep dive into ocean life. https://ocean.si.edu/
✅Brainscape offers over a million flashcard decks for every subject, entrance exam, and certification imaginable. https://www.brainscape.com/
✅The Theta Music Trainer offers a series of online courses and games for ear training and music theory.
Many schools in the US have had to close temporarily due to the coronavirus outbreak, or may be in planning stages to do so.
Recognizing the enormous impact of COVID-19 on our school communities, Amazon Future Engineer is offering free online computer science classes for any student or teacher affected by school closures due to COVID-19 in the US.
The courses provided will be:
• Explorations in Coding (Middle School)
• Introduction to CS – Python (High School)
• AP Computer Science Principles
• AP Computer Science A – Java
• Professional development aligned to each course above
These courses will be available until August 31, 2020. Amazon will continue to closely monitor the needs of students and teachers over the coming months to best provide support.
At this time an internet connected device with an internet browser and keyboard is required (Chromebook or similar; connection recommended at 2mpbs / 800 total mb of data per course).
These courses are appropriate for any independent learners from 6th to 12th grade, or teachers who are teaching remotely to this age group. Through this free Amazon Future Engineer access, teachers will also have access to online professional development to support their work – we want all interested students and teachers to be able to use this content.
Amazon is closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 in our school communities. In addition to the thousands who are affected by the illness, we understand thousands more are indirectly dealing with changes in their work, school, and community environments.
Now and always, the Amazon Future Engineer program is focused on increasing access to computer science education for hundreds of thousands of students and teachers. During these troubling times, as students and community members across the US experience educational disruption during the pandemic, Amazon Future Engineer will continue to identify opportunities to support students or teachers affected by school closures due to COVID-19 in the US.
In addition to Da Vinci Schools Grab-N-Go pickup breakfast from 8 am – 9am and one lunch meal between 12 pm – 1:30 pm at Da Vinci Schools Multipurpose Room, below is the link to a list of Los Angeles County Charter Schools who are distributing free food to students via Grab-N-Go:
As many of you have received college acceptances and are awaiting to hear from the remainder colleges, we have received notices that most colleges have decided to cancel on-campus visits and admitted student activities which are typically done during this time. COVID19 is changing the way things are normally done on a daily basis and we will do our best to keep you informed.
Historically, all acceptances should be released no later than April 1st and that has not changed. Additionally, commitment day is May 1st (the day you commit to attending a college by submitting your Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) deposit). However, because of COVID19 your commitment date may change from May 1st to June 1st. We will let you know just as soon as we know.
In the meantime, colleges have begun announcing optional opportunities that students can take advantage of in lieu of visiting college campuses. Below are a few suggestions you can find simply by checking on the colleges website:
- Live Chats
- Live Stream Sessions
- Parent FaceBook Groups
- Admitted Student Networks
- Virtual Campus Tours
- College Instagram Accounts
Lastly, make sure to check out acceptance letters for additional information and updates on admissions websites. If all else fails….. let good instinct and your heart lead the way!
Remember to contact your counselor with questions!
As we slowly move into virtual territory, we want to make sure to equip our families with helpful tools that you can use in your daily life that may help manage stress and reduce anxiety. Practicing mindfulness can increase relaxation and improve self-esteem. Below are 9 mindfulness exercises you can do in a minute or under.
By Leonie Stewart-Weeks
- Yawn and stretch for 10 seconds every hour – Do a fake yawn if you have to. That will trigger real ones. Say “ahh” as you exhale. Notice how a yawn interrupts your thoughts and feelings. This brings you into the present. Then stretch really, really slowly for at least 10 seconds. Notice any tightness and say “ease” or just say hello to that place (being mindful — noticing without judgment). Take another 20 seconds to notice and then get back to what you were doing.]
- Three hugs, three big breaths exercise – Hug someone tight and take 3 big breaths together. Even if they don’t breathe with you, your breathing will ground them.
- Stroke your hands – Lower or close your eyes. Take the index finger of your right hand and slowly move it up and down on the outside of your fingers. Once you have mindfully stroked your left hand, swap and let your left hand stroke the fingers of your right hand.
- Mindfully eat a raisin – Take a raisin or a piece of chocolate and mindfully eat it. Slow down, sense it, savor it and smile between bites. Purposefully slow down. Use all your senses to see it, touch it, smell it, and sense it. Then gently pop it into your mouth and really savor it. Savor its texture, its taste, how it feels in your mouth. Let it linger and then swallow it. After you have swallowed it, let your lips turn up slightly and smile. Do the same thing for each raisin you eat or bite you take.
- Clench your fist and breathe into your fingers – Position your fingers and thumbs facing down. Now clench your fist tightly. Turn your hand over so your fingers and thumbs are facing up and breathe into your fist. Notice what happens.
- STOP – Stand up and breathe – Feel your connection to the earth. Tune in to your body. Lower your gaze. Scan your body and notice physical sensations or emotions. Discharge any unpleasant sensations, emotions or feelings on the out breath. Notice any pleasant ones and let them fill you up on the in breath. Observe. Lift your eyes and take in your surroundings. Observe something in your environment that is pleasant and be grateful for it and its beauty. Possibility. Ask yourself what is possible or what is new or what is a forward step. If you find yourself being reactive, try the following steps: Pause and take one to three big breaths.
- Say “step back” ( You don’t have to physically step back, you can just do it in your mind.)
Say “clear head.”
Say “calm body.”
Breathe again. Say “relax,” “melt” or “ease.”
- Mindful breathing for one minute – Lower your eyes and notice where you feel your breath. That might be the air going in and out at your nostrils or the rise and fall of your chest or stomach. If you can’t feel anything, place your hand on your stomach and notice how your hand gently rises and falls with your breath. If you like, you can just lengthen the in breath and the out breath or just breathe naturally. Your body knows how to breathe. Focus on your breath. When your mind wanders, as it will do, just bring your attention back to your breath. You might like to say ‘thinking’ when you notice your thoughts and just gently shepherd your attention back to your breath.This can be done for longer than one minute. However, even for one minute it will allow you to pause and be in the moment. Or you might just like to breathe out stress on the out breath and breathe in peace on the in breath.
- Loving-kindness meditation – For one minute, repeat ‘May I be happy, may I be well, may I be filled with kindness and peace.’ You can substitute “you” for “I” and think of someone you know and like, or just send love to all people.
- An aspiration – Decide on an aspiration. Just ask yourself this question: What is my heart’s aspiration? Pause for about 20 seconds. Do this a second or third time and write down what comes. Perhaps it is to come from love, or to be kind to yourself or others or to be patient. Once you decide which aspiration you like best, say that at the beginning of the day. This will set you up for your day and your interactions with others (and even with yourself).
Notice from the ACT
The safety of students and test center staff is ACT’s top priority. ACT has rescheduled its April 4 national test date to June 13 across the U.S. in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days informing them of the postponement and instructions for free rescheduling to June 13 or a future national test date.
College Board Cancels May SAT in Response to the Coronavirus
In response to the rapidly evolving situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19), the College Board is canceling the May 2, 2020, SAT administration. Makeup exams for the March 14 administration (scheduled March 28) are also canceled. Registered students will receive refunds.
The College Board will provide future additional SAT testing opportunities for students as soon as feasible in place of canceled administrations. We’ll be as flexible as possible to give students the best chance to show their skills and stay on the path to college. We have not yet canceled the June 6, 2020, SAT administration and will continue to assess its status with the health and safety of students and educators as our top priority. The College Board is working with local partners, and we’ll soon share information about weekday school-based administrations this spring of the SAT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9.
To help students keep their college readiness skills sharp when many schools are closed, the College Board and Khan Academy will continue to provide free resources online, including full-length practice tests and personalized learning tools at khanacademy.org/sat.
Together with our member schools and colleges, we will be flexible, thoughtful, and collaborative in exploring ways to continue to support student learning and provide opportunities to test during this challenging time.
In the coming days, the College Board will share additional information and details directly with registered students and test centers.
Concern over this new virus can make children and families anxious. Acknowledging some level of concern, without panicking, is appropriate and can result in taking actions that reduce the risk of illness. Helping children cope with anxiety requires providing accurate prevention information and facts without causing undue alarm.
It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If parents seem overly worried, children’s anxiety may rise. Parents should reassure children that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy.
You know your children best. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. However, don’t avoid giving them the information that health experts identify as critical to ensuring your children’s health. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their concerns readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. It is very typical for younger children to ask a few questions, return to playing, then come back to ask more questions.
When sharing information, it is important to make sure to provide facts without promoting a high level of stress, remind children that adults are working to address this concern, and give children actions they can take to protect themselves.
Here are some specific guidelines:
- Go into a proactive mode about managing mental health and well being.
- The brain is a big part of our health – if we take care of our stress, mental health and well-being this will help to boost your immune system.
- Social distancing does not mean isolation.
- Check in with your loved ones and listen to their concerns.
- Let your children talk about their feelings and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective.
- Children may need extra attention from you in order to talk about their concerns, fears, and questions. It is important that they know they have someone who will listen to them; please make time for them.
- It is important to avoid stereotyping any one group of people as responsible for the virus.
- Limit television viewing or access to information on the Internet and through social media. Try to avoid watching or listening to information that might be upsetting when your children are present. Engage your child in games or other interesting activities instead.
- Keep to a regular schedule (as much as possible), as this can be reassuring and promotes physical health.
- Encourage your children to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities, but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.
Tell your children you love them and give them plenty of affection.