African Americans and College Scholarships

It is not so long ago that obtaining a top academic education was only a faraway dream for most African Americans. For these students, getting hold of well-paying employment and experiencing some of the greater things in their lives existed only in their wildest imagination.

Over the last decades, all this has changed. Nowadays you can find scholarships available to African Americans not only offered by the federal government, but also via companies and corporations, and through public and private sectors as well. A great example is the Hilton GED Assistance Program, learn more here.

Numerous philanthropic institutions these days have scholarship grants meant for minority groups, especially African Americans. These great scholarship grants offer many African Americans all through the country the possibility to obtain the education and learning they are worthy of.
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Setting Goals with Kids

One of the best perks of being in education is that we get to start over twice a year–once in August/September when the new school year begins and once in January when the new calendar year begins. That means that kids, too, get to reboot twice a year and start anew!

For some of you, perhaps the first part of the school year was a good one for the kids. And for others, perhaps it was a struggle. Either way, setting goals with kids is an excellent practice and can help build skills for life. i.e.: Setting goals and then making action plans to reach goals.

As a teacher, I always set aside time at the start of the school year and at the start of the calendar year for setting goals with my students. The start of the calendar year is also the perfect opportunity to evaluate progress on the goals that were set at the start of the school year. In January, kids could scrap their goals and set brand new ones or simply adjust the ones that they’d set in August. Now is the perfect opportunity to sit down with your kids to set some goals for the remaining months of the school year.

So how do you go about setting goals with kids?

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Question-Answer Relationships

“I can’t find the answer to this question!” The irritated tone of voice signals a growing frustration from one of our students struggling to complete an assignment. Indeed, from a student viewpoint, finding answers to questions seems to occupy the lion’s share of what education is about.

Understanding how questions work is a critical component of learning. Many students are unaware of the different levels of thinking that questions may elicit.

As a result, they follow a “literal” approach of seeking direct statements from the text to answer questions and feel betrayed or even give up when this strategy does not work. I have seen it many times during the GED classes that I teach online.

Other students pay only cursory attention to their reading, instead relying almost solely on what they already know to get their answers, regardless of what the text might say.

For them, answering questions becomes an exercise in “common sense” rather than a thoughtful consideration of new information encountered in print.

There is a powerful activity for helping students analyze and understand questions. Break Question Answer Relationships (known as QARs) questions into two categories: those which have answers supplied by an author (“in the book” QARs) and those which have answers that need to be developed based on the reader’s ideas and experiences (“in my head” QARs). Continue reading

Sight Words (High Frequency Words)

downloadA relatively small number of words (about 100) make up most of the text children read. Some of these words are irregular or not decodable. Successful readers have a large number of words they can read automatically by sight. These are known as sight words.

Suggested Sight Word Lists

Dolch Sight Words

The Dolch list of 220 basic sight words was developed in the 1930’s, based on three comprehensive lists of words compiled in the previous decade. The Dolch words hold sentences together and include adjectives, adverbs, articles, conjunctions, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs.

They include between 52 and 70 percent of all the words children generally find in assigned reading and are commonly divided into four lists: a Pre Primer list, a Primer list, a First Grade List, and a Second Grade list. Other lists of words have been developed with a high degree of consistency in the first hundred words.

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Arizona Scholarships for Hispanics

images-61The state of Arizona has quite a few universities and colleges that offer outstanding educative programs for people who would like to become educated on a higher level. On the other hand, at the majority of these colleges and universities, the tuition cost can be a problem.

The high cost of further study makes it very problematic for students who really would like a quality education but are not in the position to afford the tuition.

Especially minority students such as Hispanics are affected by these problems. In order to support these students to deal with the costs of tuition, Arizona has made scholarships available for Hispanics. These state-funded scholarship grants enable Hispanics particularly to attain the top quality education of their wishes.

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One book that changed your life and more on books

1. One book that changed your life The Diary of Anne Frank. I found it tucked away in the secretary at my family’s cottage one day and asked my mom if I could read it. She hesitated, knowing the content of the book and that I was only a few years younger than Anne when she started her diary, but ended up letting me.

I sat on the back beach in an Adirondack chair with the book in my lap and fell head-first into her world, a world that I didn’t know ever existed until then. Her story absolutely changed my outlook on life and how I viewed and treated other people.

2. One book you’ve read more than once She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. God, I love Dolores. I read it around the time of my mother’s liver transplant and it was the only thing that kept me from going right off the deep end.

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Tell Me About Yourself Introduce: Answer Some Personal Questions

images-64So here it is, your weekly opportunity to tell me a bit more about you – on your marks, get set… GO!


When was the last time you bought something you wanted but didn’t need?
What do you admire about your mum?
How would you rate your intelligence against your friends?
Do you believe in something that is quite “controversial”?
The paranormal – your opinions?
Who has had the biggest impact on your musical tastes?
Which two artists would you love to see duet together?
When was the last time you lied and was it worth it?
If you didn’t have to work, would you?
Do you have a secret that nobody knows but you?

And just for your interest, here are my answers:

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Energy Drinks and Teens – What Every Parent Ought to Know

energy-drink-dangers1Jolt, Buzzed, Amp, Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Nos, Full Throttle, Sobe… sounds like nicknames for the starting lineup of a hockey team, but they’re not.

These, my fellow wired parents, are the names of just a handful of the many different energy drinks that our teens are consuming by the “BFC” (that’s an acronym for Big F*****g Can, and is indeed the name used for one style of Monster drinks).

And we thought we were wild when we were kids and we drank Mountain Dew, now they have things like Hype and Bawls to get their kicks with. Are these energy drinks safe? As parents of today’s teens, should we be concerned?

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Gaming is A Way Parents Can Connect With Their Teens

images-66As winter settles in here in the great white North, we find ourselves doing more and more things inside. For my family, this means things like watching football, catching up on movies, surfing the web, baking cookies (Superdad here baked cookies with my 6 year old girl last weekend), and playing video games (gasp!).

I really enjoy the outdoors and the warmer months, but the colder weather and being inside more offers some advantages – namely, we find ourselves doing more things together as a family, including playing video games together.

I’ve played more Madden / Rock Band / Guitar Hero / Halo 3 (with my kids) on our Xbox 360 over the past month… I almost forgot how much fun it can be. So why should you pick up that controller too?

Not All Video Games Are Violent

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Tracking Your Teen’s Progress in School with Skyward

images-68As parents in the digital age, it’s never been easier to stay up-to-date and informed on how our kids are doing in school. Web-based school administration programs and school websites provide us with class schedules, updated assignments, after-school activity schedules, and teachers’ email addresses and phone numbers.

Parents and students can utilize these online tools to keep track of daily assignments and track progress throughout the school year. Our school district recently switched to a system called Skyward Family Access, and after using it for the past week or so, I simply love it.

Assignments and Grades

Skyward includes a calendar of the current month, showing assignments due (or past due) for each date on the calendar, by class and teacher. Missing assignments show in red and are clickable for additional details on the assignment.

The calendar on Skyward is clean, easy to follow, and a one stop shop for just about everything that is currently going on with your student’s scheduled classes at school.

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