Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MME testing for HS Juniors

High School Juniors are on the second day of MME testing. We've had several inquires about what exactly MME testing is, so here goes:

MME = Michigan Educational Assesment

The test is comprised of 3 sections:
1. ACT Test plus Writing  (this is the full ACT test that can be used to send to your child's college)
2.WorkKeys job skills assessments
3. Michigan- developed assessments

History: Back in 1999, Michigan Legislature enacted the Michigan Merti Award. In 2006, Governer Granholm replaced the Award with the Michigan Promise Scholarship. $4000 was awarded to students who passed the test at a level 1 or 2 and these funds could be used to pay for college, trade school, and technical school. Students who passed the test with a score of 1100 or more qualified for early installment payments rather than a lump sum payment after their sophomore year of college. A 2.5 grade point average or better was required.

As of 2009, the State of Michigan discontinued the Scholarship due to lack of funding.

So WHY take the test?? I called the State of Michigan to find out exactly what the test results are used for. If 95% of students don't take the test at any given school, the school can exprience funding cuts. The State uses the scores as a way to test students and schools' progress.  

One great benefit for students and parents is that section 1 of the test is the full ACT test. Basically, it's like taking the ACT test for FREE! If your child is happy with his or her scores, these can be forwarded on to the college that they choose.

Here's the link at the State for more information:

If you have more questions about scholarships and grants in the State of Michigan, you can call them directly at 888-4-GRANTS or email osg@michigan.gov.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Alternatives to "NO"! (for the parents of preschoolers)


We came across this article on babycenter.com and wanted to share!

"Maybe your preschooler ignores the word "no," or maybe you'd just like to take a more positive approach to disciplining her. Luckily, you have plenty of alternatives to this overused command — and for good reason. "Children often begin to tune it out, and you may find that it takes ten no's to get your child to respond," says Roni Leiderman, associate dean of the Family Center at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Whether you're trying to keep your preschooler out of trouble or teach her right from wrong, try a better, more effective approach than the "n" word.

What to do
Rephrase. Put a positive spin on your request, and your preschooler is more likely to respond in kind. Instead of saying no, clearly state what she can do instead. Rather than barking, "No! Don't throw the ball in the living room," for instance, try "Let's go outside to play ball." If she's in the middle of an art project and is getting glue all over the floor, help her put newspaper down under her work. This gives her something to do rather than something to stop doing. When you have to act quickly to keep her safe, substitute a more direct warning, such as "Stop!" "Danger!" or "Hot!"
Offer options.
Your preschooler wants to feel independent and in control. So rather than issuing a flat-out denial when she begs for a piece of candy before lunch, offer her a choice between halved grapes and apple slices. Or let her pick which kind of candy she'd like to eat — after lunch. If she typically insists on wearing an out-of-the-question outfit (like a bathing suit in December), give her two acceptable outfits to choose between each morning. Though she may not be thrilled with the choices you've offered her, she will eventually learn to accept them.
Drive her to distraction.
Even a preschooler can be easily distracted from trouble. When a delicate figurine catches her eye in the department store, quickly point out how the light reflects in a mirror across the aisle, or divert her with a question — "What should we have for lunch?" — a toy, or a little snack (yet another reason to keep a well-stocked bag when you're out and about with your child!). Meanwhile, move away from temptation. Older preschoolers are easier than younger children to shop with, and more receptive to up-front distraction, too: "We can't play with that china doll, but we can try out the wind-up toys over here."
Avoid the issue.
Whenever you can, keep your preschooler out of situations where you'll have to say no, and opt instead for safe environments that encourage her sense of adventure and curiosity. Your home should still be conscientiously childproofed, with dangerous and valuable items kept out of her reach. And choose places where she's free to roam — the playground or your sister's big backyard, for instance, over the housewares store or Great-Grandma Jenny's antique-filled home. You can't isolate your child from all situations where you'll have to say no, of course, but life will be easier for both of you — and you'll be able to say yes more often — if you limit them.
Keep in mind, though, that many preschoolers enjoy shopping and will behave quite well — if you take a few precautions. Plan shopping trips for times when your child is well rested, and don't overdo it — an hour or two at the mall is plenty.
Ignore minor infractions. Life presents plenty of meaningful opportunities to teach your child discipline. Don't go looking for extras. If she's splashing in a puddle and you're on your way home anyway, why not let her? If she wants to wear her Halloween costume to bed, what's the harm? Remember this parenting mantra: Choose your battles. Indulge her sense of adventure, fun, and exploration whenever you can. If she's safe and you don't have to say no, let it slide.
Say it like you mean it. Of course, when her behavior does matter, and alternatives to no just won't cut it, don't waffle. Say it firmly (but calmly), with conviction and a poker face — "No! Don't pull the cat's tail." An amused "No, no, sweetie" sends your preschooler mixed messages and certainly won't discourage her. When she responds, give her a smile or a hug and follow up with something affirmative — "Yes! What a good listener you are!"

Here's the link: http://www.babycenter.com/0_alternatives-to-no-ages-3-to-4_65531.bc?scid=mbtw_post3y_2m:.1028&pe=2UfLJp5&st=MjAxMTAyMjQ=




Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Constructive Criticism- Part 5- Follow Up

Part 5. Follow Up

Wait a week or so and follow up to make sure that you are getting the results you want, or at least getting closer! If Jaxon has been practicing his weekly spelling words every night, does his spelling quiz grade reflect this? If Alison has been turning off her cell phone so she can focus on her homework better, is she getting better grades on the assignments? She is probably also getting her homework done faster! Follow up is important because it shows that you actually care enough to make sure the plan is effective.

We're getting all of your constructive criticism stories...keep 'em coming!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Constructive Criticism-Part 4- Assess the Solution

Part 4. Assess the Solution

After everyone involved is clear about the problem and the outcome you are hoping for, have another quick discussion to make sure everyone still feels good about. If you want Ashlyn to read for an additional ten minutes each night to improve her reading level, and Ashlyn has agreed to do it before she goes to bed, are there any other factors that you are missing? What happens if Ashlyn has a headache, or is too tired to read for the additional ten minutes? When will she make up this reading time?

For our students here at GLL, we print blank calendars and provide stickers (the older kids resisted the stickers at first, so we gave them an option to just initial the blanks, but they ended up giving in and had fun with the stickers too!). If you'd like a blank copy of our monthly reading calendars, email us at greatlakeslearning@gmail.com, and we'd be happy to send one your way!




Monday, February 21, 2011

Constructive Criticism- Part 3- Clarity



Part 3. Clarity

Step 3 is short and simple. Get to the point and be as clear as possible.

A few parents have written in with their stories, and below is one example that we received today:

"After her tutor leaves, I usually continue to work with my daughter on her spelling words for at least 30 minutes. She seems to switch gears and isn't as focused as when her tutor is here and it's frustrating for me. After a lot of thought, I finally just told her how impressed I was with her behavior with her tutor, but that I noticed she had a harder time focusing with me. I was expecting her to get really upset and not want to continue working with me at all, but to my surprise she just suggested that I allow her a twenty minute break. I can't believe she didn't make this suggestion before! I never even thought to offer a break. So now she takes a 20 minute break, comes back to the table and is totally focused when she works with me!"