Happy New School Year Kids and Teachers! We've Got Another Opportunity To Do It Even Better!

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“Back to School!”

That’s the annual battle cry in K12 education that drives our never-ending efforts to stamp out ignorance and help generate more successful learners. We are making progress and we don’t give up! So what can we do to lessen the Summer Slide of Forgotten Skills and get ourselves back up to speed, you ask?

We are focusing on the goal of making this year an even better year for both students and teachers. We want to share a fine blog column we found last week, authored by Ben Stern: “Five Smart Habits to Develop for Back to School.” His piece appeared on the widely-read Mind/Shift website: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/08/five-smart-habits-to-develop-for-back-to-school/

We firmly agree with Mr. Stern’s compass direction, but we do quibble on the best way to get there. We find too much focus on tools and systems and not enough on the blueprints and plans on how to make it happen. ClassroomIn a nutshell, we believe that: “Students are the new power tools of change in education. They are the most ignored and they have the most at stake. No one understands better than the learners what needs to be done.”

Here’s more helpful tips for teachers found in our researching: • There’s already too much focus on testing, teachers and tools, so do as little as you can. • Breaking away from current curriculum is a risky move for a young teacher,Classroom so instead visit the classrooms of experienced teachers, What techniques do they use that you can use. • Make short videos of yourself teaching, What can you improve on? Get suggestions from the best teachers you can find to view it with you. • Try having teams of students demonstrating what they have learned instead of correcting hundreds of homework assignments that show very little. • Put your own Professional Development at the top of your Survival List. It is the most important gift you can give to anyone….give it to yourself.images

Here’s some helpful tips for learners: • Take greater charge of your own learning. • Buff up your basic skills so you are ready to learn more complex skills. • Show that you know! A second batch of helpful tips for learners: • Take greater charge of your own learning. • Buff up your basic skills so you are ready to learn more complex skills. • Show that you know!

How can RE@L help, you ask? Well, we have an array of helpful software and more will be coming soon. But here’s some helpful tools that work with your iPads: subtraction • Our Raceway Math will help young learners improve their number skills (http://realexperiencesatlife.com/app/rel-raceway-math-addition-facts/)

RE@L_Numbers-Counting2• Our RE@L Match helps even younger learner with the basic skills of numbers and counting

Babysitting_GetOrganized_120x120_rounded• RE@L’s answer to needed real-life skills, now being crowded out of the curriculum, starts with a rich-resource of useful skills for tweens and teens, Babysitting, Inc: (http://realexperiencesatlife.com/app/rel-babysitting-get-organized/).

Yes, summer is a great break for both teachers and students. But searching for more effective ways of learning and getting back what you’ve lost over the summer is why we’re back at it again. RE@L’s products can RE@L-ly help make these early months of the school year far more productive for everyone!

Let us know what you think! Leave a reply in Comments below…Thanks!


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Tom King & Dale LaFrenz

Dr. Tom King has served for over 40 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Thomas in the School of Education. The Saturn School of Tomorrow, formerly a St. Paul Public School, and his visionary response to educational reform, was a lighthouse on the frontier of school change. Tom was an experienced high school teacher of mathematics, a school administrator, and Director of Technology for the St. Paul MN Public Schools. He is also a member of the RE@L Team. Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L and one of the founders of MECC Software who brought “Oregon Trail” to millions of K12 kids everywhere. He has written extensively on the history and evolution of Ed Tech. His work in forging new paths for MECC’S “edutainment" software was instrumental in connecting school-markets, kids, teachers and consumer-markets/kids/parents, and now serves as the new launching pad for RE@L apps and software.

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