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Imagine This!

Fresh ideas & timely tips from the heart of Imagine Learning

Slowing the Summer Slide--Part II: Math

As we discussed in a previous post, the typical American student enjoys a three-month break from school for summer vacation, providing well-deserved rest from the rigors of academia. But studies suggest the summer fun may also come at a price. According to a 2011 study by researchers at the RAND Corporation called “Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning,” summer break – albeit necessary and beneficial in many aspects – could potentially set some students back two to three full months of grade-level equivalency if not supplemented with additional summer learning support. The RAND study also indicates that the summer slide is more pronounced in mathematics, a subject in which learning decay occurs more rapidly over summer vacation simply because of math inactivity. Students may read over summer vacation, but few practice their math skills.
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Slowing the Summer Slide--Part I: Literacy

Summer is nearly here! While kids may be rejoicing about the prospect of a summer break, parents and educators may wonder what they can do to combat the dreaded "Summer Slide"--a time when many students lose or forget the skills they learned during the school year. As all educators know, kids who are already below grade level in their reading are especially at risk when summer break hits. Summertime and the Reading Is Easy? During the school year, struggling readers may receive more hands-on help from teachers and supplemental digital programs like Imagine Language & Literacy. But all bets are off once kids leave for the summer break. For one thing, not all parents have the luxury of being at home with kids during the summer months. What's more--daycare, summer camps, and even summer school can be expensive for a lot of families. Even parents who work may not have the means to fight the summer slide in the traditional ways. So, what's a parent to do?
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How to Build Math-Motivated Students

Somewhere right now, a student is struggling with math. But is their struggle productive or pointless? The answer depends on one thing: motivation. The fact is, it takes patience and perseverance to build any skill, such as phonological awareness for budding readers or math fluency for budding mathematicians. But when students are motivated to keep going, they're on a sure path to mastery--even in the middle of setbacks and failure. What Motivates Math Learning? It's a given that no two students are alike. Clearly, what motivates one may not work for another. Moreover, each student needs a variety of problem-solving skills. In math--as in life--there may be more than one "right" answer. Given the complexity of this process, what motivators are best?
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4 Common Misconceptions About Growth Mindset

  How many times in your life have you been certain that you had a concrete understanding of a concept, only to find out later - and usually at a critical moment - that you were not quite there yet? The sudden awareness of your misconception can be one of those cathartic “aha” moments. However, that self-awareness can also be a crushing blow if you have already put a significant amount of time, energy, and resources into a project, relationship, or initiative. Don’t let misunderstandings about growth mindset sabotage your efforts at creating real and lasting positive changes in your school's culture.
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6 Everyday Examples of Math in the Real World

  If you look hard enough, you'll see math emerge from some of the most unlikely places. The fact is, we all use math in everyday applications whether we're aware of it or not. Mathematics is the universal language of our environment, helping mankind explain and create within it for thousands of years. From playing games to playing music, math is vital to helping students fine tune their creativity and turn their dreams into reality. When am I ever going to use this? Variations of this question have echoed through the halls of math classrooms everywhere. Struggling students often become frustrated with complex math problems and quickly give in to the notion that they will never use math in "real life" situations. While it may be true that some of the more abstract mathematical concepts rarely come into play, the underlying skills developed in high school math classrooms resonate throughout a student's lifetime and often resurface to help solve various real-world or work-related problems--sometimes years down the line.
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