Friday, August 30, 2013

Practice makes perfect, and IXL makes math practice fun!

Discovery School takes pride in having subscribed all our Elementary Students to  IXL

IXL is a Web-based educational tool that makes practicing math fun. Students can take on challenges that help them master the skills necessary to perform up to their grade level curriculum standards.

IXL motivates students using interactive games and exercises. It keeps teachers and parents informed and involved. IXL offers more than 2,500 math skills (from pre-school through high school) in a dynamic and enjoyable environment suitable for any learning style. Students who use IXL are succeeding like never before. 

Just like the MAP assessments our students take three times a year, IXL questions automatically adapt to a student’s level as he works, becoming more or less challenging depending how well he is doing. The system tracks progress, and provides “awards” (pictures) after a certain number of questions are answered.

If a student misses a problem, a popup screen gives the correct answer and displays an “explanation” button. Clicking the button brings up a simple explanation of the skill. In some cases this is enough to explain a new skill with which the student is not familiar, but not always. Therefore, IXL Math is sued by our teachers as a supplement to math instruction, and not as a primary source of instruction.

The system is designed to present quite a few questions of a single type each time. Students can end at any time by clicking “submit and finish,” but they won’t earn awards until spending a certain amount of time and completing a minimal number of problems. Some students prefer completing all problems on a topic in one sitting (demonstrating mastery). For others answering the same type of problem over and over again can become boring. For example, a student who gets easily bored might solve ten multiplication problems, ten division problems, and ten fraction problems one day, and then either continue in those same topics the next day or shift to others. Parents will probably want to direct topic selection if students are not completing the topics in order, or are nor following the teacher directed skills for that week.

Once of the features that are greatly enjoyed by students is that once the student types in or clicks an answer, the response is immediate. A large “Correct!” appears to show they answered correctly.  The system tracks progress, and provides “awards” (pictures) after a certain number of questions are answered, and the skill is mastered. Student and class reports are emailed regularly to the classroom teacher.

Each student has been issued a user name and password, which should be used to practice at home. We encourage our Discovery parents to look for the IXL skills that the elementary students should be practicing every week in the grade blog. Parental support in using this amazing tool is greatly appreciated! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

At Discovery School parental involvent is crucial. Research shows that children do better in school when parents talk often with teachers and become involved in the school. There are number of ways that parents and teachers can communicate with each other, rather than relying on or waiting until the scheduled parent-teacher conferences in the school calendar. Close communications between parents and teachers can help the students succeed in school.

Parents who participate in school activities and events add opportunities to communicate with teachers. Becoming involved with parent-teacher organizations (our DPTO) gives the teachers and parents the possibility to interact outside the classroom.
Teachers welcome meeting their students' parents early in the school year. Making an effort to do this will help the teacher better understand you, your child, and how you will support the education of your child. Teachers appreciate knowing that parents are concerned and interested in their child's progress. And, this helps open the lines of communication.

Another good investment in your child's education is to volunteer. Depending upon parent's availability, interests, and the needs of your child’s grade, the opportunities are endless. Some suggestions include: library aid, classroom speaker on a specific topic of interest, chaperone school field trips, organize class celebrations or special activities, ect . We encourage parents to take stock of their skills and interests to volunteer.

Phone calls and visits to the classroom are also good ways to cooperate with teachers and keep informed about your child's progress. Discuss appropriate times and means of contact with the teacher.

Parent-teacher conferences are often scheduled at the time of the first report card for the school year, and attendance is mandatory at Discovery School. For parents and teachers, this is a chance to talk one-on-one about the student. The parent-teacher conference is a good opportunity to launch a partnership between parent and teacher that will function during the school year, but parents need not wait until this time.

Stop by your child’s classroom, get to know his/her teacher. Your child will perceive your interest and become more motivated to do well in school! 

Friday, August 16, 2013


Homework is important because it is the intersection between home and school. It serves as a window through which a parent can observe their child’s education. It provides an opportunity to express positive attitudes towards your child and his/her education.

As children grow older, it is only natural for the amount of homework to increase. For teachers, homework in an important way to provide additional instructional practice of the contents that have been covered in school. When handled effectively, this independent practice can assist a teacher to modify and differentiate instruction whenever needed.

At Discovery School we believe that homework should be assigned at a reasonable amount, depending on the grade level of your child. We believe that homework reinforces learning either by repetition of the information that has been presented in class, or by extending understanding of the concepts being learned at school. The more a child is exposed to a skill or content, the more retention is likely to happen. It also helps the child understand that learning can take place with or with out the teacher present. By allowing children to complete assignments and solve their own problems at home, we are communicating that we believe them to be capable, thus contributing to a child’s self confidence.

Homework teaches a child to work independently, which is what everyone has to do later in life in the work fore. Homework provides a beginning step in school towards responsibility. It shows students that they can apply themselves to a task. Just the fact that they complete their homework proves that they are responsible. This in turn proves to be a life learning skill that will be crucial for success in later schooling.

Parents should provide constant support and encouragement when it comes to homework. It is important to demonstrate to children how important homework is by taking an interest and guiding them. Helping with homework means supporting our children, not doing the homework for them. Students will not gain confidence in their own abilities unless they complete the work themselves. You may help your child by discussing the assignment with them, making sure that it is at an appropriate level of difficulty and challenge for him/her.

How can parents help their child with their homework responsibilities? 

Ø      Schedule a regular time for homework to be completed. Allow for a relaxation break after school, but do not let children leave homework until just before bedtime when they are likely to be tired, grouchy, and unable to concentrate.
Ø      Help elementary school students set a schedule. Older students can set their own schedules, but make sure these are workable. Younger students need consistency in a schedule that works with each household needs.
Ø      Sports, music, art or other activities are important, and time should be allow for these extracurricular activities, but cut back if more homework time is needed.
Ø      Provide a homework area that has good lighting, is comfortable, and is fairly quiet. If possible, supply a desk or worktable. Each child is different, so be attentive to what works for your child.
Ø      Eliminate distractions by making the telephone, television, video games, and music off limits until the homework assignments have been successfully completed.
Ø      Provide homework supplies and hold students responsible for keeping them organized.
Ø      Communicate with your child’s teacher regularly about the homework routines, and how your child is handling work at home. Teachers need to know this in order to make adjustments when necessary.

Please help us to stress the importance of homework to your child, and help him/her understand its value and the need for doing one’s personal best in this area, as well as in school! Your positive attitudes in these areas will be reflected in how your child thinks of and does in school.

Friday, August 9, 2013


WELCOME  to another exciting school year at Discovery School. Your role as parents is crucial in providing the support our students need to have success in school. What can you do? Here are a few reminders on what you can do to help:

1. Stress being on time and attendance! Research shows that school attendance is the single most important factor in your child’s school success. Being late just ten minutes each day means 30 hours of lost instruction time each year. Please avoid scheduling doctor’s appoints or family trips during school days and hours. If age appropriate, teach your child to set an alarm clock so he/she can take responsibility to wake up But do whatever it takes to make sure your child’s in class on time and ready to learn.

2. Prioritize schoolwork. Stress that school and homework comes first, and before friends, a job, or sports. Limit (or restrict) TV, videogames, movies and/or playdates  during school nights. Set high expectations that you expect your child to do his schoolwork to the best of his/her ability, and then make sure he/she does by following through. Set high educational aspirations for your child.

3. Be involved from the get go! Know what’s going on in your child’s school and classroom. Monitor your child’s school progress. Read the schoolcommunications (blogs), volunteer, show up to school events. Check your child’s work, but don’t do it for him/her! 

4. Partner with the teacher. Show up to every parent conference and back-to-school-event. Call for an appointment if you see your child struggling. Maintain ongoing communication with the teacher and the school. Stay connected! Don’t let that report card surprise you. Know how your child is doing.

5. Show daily interest. Create daily rituals such as in the car, during the family meal or every night before your child goes to bed to discuss school. Ask: “What did you do in school?” not “How did you do?” Don’t let a day go by that you don’t talk about what happened in your child’s classroom and what he/she is learning.

6. Support your child’s school activity participation. Children who feel connected to their school are more likely to have better grades. Encourage your child to participate in school activities that match his/her interests.

7. Applaud effort! Acknowledge hard work and persistence not just the grade or the outcome. Use specific praise about a task so your child knows what he/she did right to help stretch his/her inner motivation. The single greatest correlation to success in life is not the child’s grade but his/her persistence. Emphasize the effort!

8. Be a role model. Read in front of your kids. Talk about the importance of education. Have books available so your child see that reading is important. Let your childrenn see that you aren’t derailed by a mistake, and problem solve to work things through. Be an example of hard work and persistence so your child has a model to copy.

9. Pass on high educational aspirations. Be clear that you value learning and why education is crucial. Your child must understand it is important to work hard and how his/her effort will pay off later. From an early age talk to your child about future education plans in “when” not “if” term: “When you graduate from high school…” and “When you go to college…” 

10. Get help so your child succeeds! If your child is struggling with his learning don’t wait to get help. Call the school and talk to the teacher. Ask to speak with the counselor or area administrator. Your goal is to create the best plan to help your child’s learning steadily progress and reduce frustrations so he feels successful. Don’t give up!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

We are off to a great start of the school year! Thanks to all the parents who have entrusted their children's education to us. We are certain this will be a very successful year for everyone.

Do not forget to check the homeroom and special teachers blogs every week, and to contact the school if you need assistance in any matter concerning your child.