ESSENTIAL STRATEGIES ON IMPROVING READING COMPREHENSION

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Sadly enough, MOST HIGH SCHOOLS no longer have students taking reading tests. However, when students are identified as not meeting adequate yearly progress in their reading, it is certain that there is a deficit in their reading foundational skills. Often-times, when students struggle in reading, educators mistakenly concentrate all of their efforts on improving comprehension. But in many cases, it is a lack of foundational reading skills— phonemic awareness and phonics, which lead to poor decoding skills—which result in students’ poor understanding.

In this post, I am exploring how High School teachers and students can approach Reading And Directed Writing in the classroom as well as essential strategies on how to tackle exam questions with aplomb and flair, that is, answering the questions precisely and accurately.

However, . . .

At High School, reading comprehension is essential.

READING COMPREHENSION is the ability to understand, remember, and communicate meaning from what has been read.

READING STRATEGIES are crucial for any reader. Once students have adequate decoding and vocabulary skills to allow for fluent reading, their understanding can be improved by instructing students to develop a routine for reading which includes specific strategies that can be employed throughout the reading process (before, during, and after) that increase their awareness and understanding of a text.

These strategies include the following:

BEFORE READING 

Preview the text on how the writer’s background and purpose influence what they write. In a way reading a text critically requires you to ask questions about the writer’s authority and agenda. You may need to put yourself in the author’s shoes and recognize how those shoes fit a certain way of thinking.

DURING READING

Monitor their own reading, generate questions about the text; and identify and organize ideas based on a text’s structure.

Engaging and Connecting with the Text – Once students have addressed unfamiliar words through previewing, they can really engage with the text as they read it by visualizing, focusing on the content, generating questions, and identifying and organizing text structure to improve understanding of the material.

The following are effective strategies that help students engage with a text:

Annotating Text – Marking important text or taking notes about information that is important will help students remember the essentials of a reading passage.

Using Questioning Strategies – Questioning strategies help the reader to clarify and comprehend what he/she is reading. Direct students to develop these as they read and to use cue words, such as who, what, where, when, and why, to guide them in order to make effective questions.

Identifying and Organizing Text Structure – The way an author organizes information in a passage can help the reader increase their understanding of the text.

AFTER READING 

Answer high-level questions and summarize the text.

Having students review and summarize material after reading gives you a simple way to ensure that they understood what they read. Retelling challenges them to retain what they read. Summarization allows them to discriminate between main ideas and minor details.

Rereading is the most effective strategy to increase one’s knowledge of the text. Students should be encouraged to do this especially when they encounter a difficult and challenging piece of text.

As most answers come directly from the passage or text being read, students should always be able to support their answer choices with specific quotations from the text. They must not answer the questions by memory alone nor rely on their own knowledge or opinion of the subject but must answer with particular reference to the text read.

17 Ideas On Teaching Students’ Reading Comprehension

Comprehension strategies are conscious plans — sets of steps that good readers use to make sense of a text. The ideas suggested here help students become purposeful, active readers who are in control of their own reading comprehension: C.R. Adler has identified strategies to teach text comprehension which include:

  1. Activating – This is “priming the cognitive pump” in order to recall relevant prior knowledge and experiences from long-term memory in order to extract and construct meaning from text.
  2. Monitoring Comprehension – Students who are good at monitoring their comprehension know when they understand what they read and when they do not. They have strategies to “fix” problems in their understanding as the problems arise. Research shows that instruction, even in the early grades, can help students become better at monitoring their comprehension. Comprehension monitoring instruction teaches students to:
    1. Be aware of what they do understand
    2. Identify what they do not understand
    3. Use appropriate strategies to resolve problems in comprehension
  3. Establish The Main Idea: Check the first and last sentences of every paragraph, or the first and last paragraphs in the passage. As you read, continually ask yourself what the main idea of the paragraph is, how that idea is explained or illustrated, and how that paragraph connects with the rest of the passage.
  4. Metacognition – It can be defined as “thinking about thinking.” Good readers use metacognitive strategies to think about and have control over their reading. Before reading, they might clarify their purpose for reading and preview the text. During reading, they might monitor their understanding, adjusting their reading speed to fit the difficulty of the text and “fixing” any comprehension problems they have. After reading, they check their understanding of what they read.
  5. Inferring – Bringing together what is spoken (written) in the text, what is unspoken (unwritten) in the text, and what is already known by the reader in order to extract and construct meaning from the text.
  6. Specific Details – Use line references when they are given. Make sure you are circling/underlining efficiently as you read so you can locate information quickly. Circle key words in the question and then scan the passage to find them or their synonyms.
  7. Tone/Attitude – How is the author emotionally engaged with the subject? Know the following words: aloof, ambivalent, apathetic, callous, candid, caustic, cautionary, condescending, contemplative, contemptuous, cynical, derisive, detached, didactic, disparaging, dispassionate, erudite, flippant, forthright, grudging, incredulous, indignant, indifferent, ironic, jaded, judicious, laudatory, malicious, naïve, nostalgic, patronizing, pedantic, pompous, pragmatic, prosaic, resigned, reverent, sardonic, satirical, skeptical, trite, vindictive, whimsical.
  8. Vocabulary In Context – Many of the words have multiple possible meanings, so you must always look back to the passage to decide how the author is using the word in context. Substitute each answer choice for the word in the sentence and see if it makes sense, even the tense choice. For unfamiliar words, look for clues nearby in the passage.
  9. Backward and Forward Monitoring – Students may use several comprehension monitoring strategies:
  • Identify where the difficulty occurs, eg: “I don’t understand the second paragraph on page 76.”
  • Identify what the difficulty is, eg: “I don’t get what the author means when she says . . . “
  • Restate the difficult sentence or passage in their own words
  • Look back through the text
  • Look forward in the text for information that might help them to resolve the difficulty
  1. Graphic and Semantic Organizers – Graphic organizers illustrate concepts and relationships between concepts in a text or using diagrams. Graphic organizers are known by different names, such as maps, webs, graphs, charts, frames, or clusters.

These are also seen as visualizing, organizing and constructing a mental image or graphic organizer for the purpose of extracting and constructing meaning from the text. Graphic organizers (venn-diagrams, storyboard/chain of events, story map or cause/effect) can:

  • Help students focus on text structure “differences between fiction and nonfiction” as they read
  • Provide students with tools they can use to examine and show relationships in a text
  • Help students write well-organized summaries of a text
  1. Answering Questions – Questions can be effective because they:
  • Give students a purpose for reading
  • Focus students’ attention on what they are to learn
  • Help students to think actively as they read
  • Encourage students to monitor their comprehension
  • Help students to review content and relate what they have learned to what they already know

The Question-Answer Relationship strategy (QAR) encourages students to learn how to answer questions better. Students are asked to indicate whether the information they used to answer questions about the text was textually explicit information (information that was directly stated in the text), textually implicit information (information that was implied in the text), or information entirely from the student’s own background knowledge.

There are four different types of questions:

  • “Right There” – Questions found right in the text that ask students to find the one right answer located in one place as a word or a sentence in the passage. Example: Who is Frog’s friend? Answer: Toad
  • “Think and Search” – Questions based on the recall of facts that can be found directly in the text. Answers are typically found in more than one place, thus requiring students to “think” and “search” through the passage to find the answer. Example: Why was Frog sad? Answer: His friend was leaving.
  • “Author and You” Questions require students to use what they already know, with what they have learned from reading the text. Student’s must understand the text and relate it to their prior knowledge before answering the question. Example: How do think Frog felt when he found Toad? Answer: I think that Frog felt happy because he had not seen Toad in a long time. I feel happy when I get to see my friend who lives far away.
  • “On Your Own” Questions are answered based on a students prior knowledge and experiences. Reading the text may not be helpful to them when answering this type of question. Example: How would you feel if your best friend moved away? Answer: I would feel very sad if my best friend moved away because I would miss her.

12. Generating Questions – By generating questions, students become aware of whether they can answer the questions and if they understand what they are reading. Students learn to ask themselves questions that require them to combine information from different segments of text. For example, students can be taught to ask main idea questions that relate to important information in a text.

13. Monitoring and Clarifying – Thinking about how and what one is reading, both during and after the act of reading, for purposes of determining if one is comprehending the text combined with the ability to clarify and fix up any mix-ups.

14. Recognizing Story Structure – In story structure instruction, students learn to identify the categories of content (characters, setting, events, problem, resolution). Often, students learn to recognize story structure through the use of story maps. Instruction in story structure improves students’ comprehension.

15. Summarizing – Summarizing requires students to determine what is important in what they are reading and to put it into their own words. Instruction in summarizing helps students:

    • Identify or generate main ideas
    • Connect the main or central ideas
    • Eliminate unnecessary information
    • Remember what they read

16. Searching and Selecting – Searching a variety of sources in order to select appropriate information to answer questions, define words and terms, clarify misunderstandings, solve problems, or gather information.

17. Identifying Techniques – How does the author structure his/her argument? Is the passage meant to teach, persuade, or describe? Is the argument objective or subjective? What is the author’s thesis? What type of evidence is used? Does the author quote his sources, or simply cite their names or titles? Are the ideas concrete or abstract? Does the author give specific details or rely on generalizations?

pexels-photo-261895.jpegEffective Comprehension Instruction

Research shows that explicit teaching techniques are particularly effective for comprehension strategy instruction. In explicit instruction, teachers tell readers why and when they should use strategies, what strategies to use, and how to apply them. The steps of explicit instruction typically include direct explanation, teacher modeling (“thinking aloud”), guided practice, and application.

  • Direct explanation – The teacher explains to students why the strategy helps comprehension and when to apply the strategy.
  • Modeling – The teacher models, or demonstrates, how to apply the strategy, usually by “thinking aloud” while reading the text that the students are using.
  • Guided practice – The teacher guides and assists students as they learn how and when to apply the strategy.
  • Application – The teacher helps students practice the strategy until they can apply it independently.

Work To Understand Your Own Strategies And To Improve Them

  • Ask yourself questions about how you read: Do you read too quickly or slowly? Do you tend to lose your focus? Can you scan for key information or ideas?
  • Consider the characteristics of effective reading above, in relation to those practices and strategies you already employ, to get a sense of your current reading strategies and how they might be improved.

Just as having more than one conversation with another person leads to closer understanding; conducting a number of readings lead to a richer and more meaningful relationship with, and understanding of a text.

This, essentially, requires a lot of practice.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUES TO COACHING INDIVIDUALS & TEAMS

Coaching and mentoring are two options for people looking for guidance, and the most frequent question I am asked is about their difference. Both coaching and mentoring have similar talents and are both utilised for professional growth, but the way they are structured and what happens after they are used are extremely different.

Definition Of Coaching and Mentoring

Ideally, coaching can be characterised as: collaborating with clients through a thought-provoking and creative process that motivates them towards the achievement of their personal and professional goals.

A COACH is someone who advises a client on their goals and assists them in reaching their full potential. Coaching is frequently shorter-term and might be as brief as a 10 – 15 minutes conversation. Coaching is a performance-driven process that helps the individual or individuals being coached to excel in their day-to-day tasks.

Mentoring, on the other hand starts with the mentor. A mentor is a knowledgeable, experienced, and trusted advisor, and mentoring is an “employee training system in which a more senior or more experienced individual (the mentor) is assigned and acts as an advisor, counsellor, or guide to a junior or trainee.” As a mentor, you have the responsibility of offering support to and feedback on the individual under your supervision.”

A MENTOR is someone who contributes their knowledge, skills, and/or experience to assist others in developing and growing. Mentoring is frequently longer-term, with some mentoring relationships lasting 6 months or more, and mentoring can span years or even decades in some circumstances.

One of the most distinguishing features is that mentoring is directed, whereas coaching is non-directive. In practise, what does this mean? In mentoring meetings, the mentor is likely to do the majority of the talking, whereas in coaching, the coach is likely to pose questions and give the person they are coaching space to reflect and do the majority of the talking. Finally, both coaching and mentoring are about allowing people to go to where they want to go by utilising the coach’s or mentor’s experience.

Selection: Coaching OR Mentoring?

Coaches and mentors can be chosen for their industry expertise (banking, health care, manufacturing), position expertise (marketing, finance, human resources), skill set (spokesperson, committee chair, conference presenter), or other valuable expertise that can enhance any person’s life, such as community service or board service.

The best way to understand how coaching and mentoring relationships are structured is to do a side-by-side comparison:

https://www.pushfar.com/article/mentoring-vs-coaching-the-key-differences-and-benefits/

TopicCoachingMentoring
TimeframeRelationship is more likely to be short-term (up to 6 months or 1 year) with a specific outcome in mind. However, some coaching relationships can last longer, depending on goals achieved.Relationship tends to be more long-term, lasting a year or two, and even longer.
FocusCoaching is more performance driven, designed to improve the professional’s on-the-job performance.Mentoring is more development driven, looking not just at the professional’s current job function but beyond, taking a more holistic approach to career development.
StructureTraditionally more structured, with regularly scheduled meetings, like weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.Generally meetings tend to be more informal, on an as need basis required by the mentee.
ExpertiseCoaches are hired for their expertise in a given area, one in which the coachee desires improvement. Examples: Presentation skills, leadership, interpersonal communication, sales.Within organization mentoring programs, mentors have more seniority and expertise in a specific area than mentees. The mentee learns from and is inspired by the mentor’s experience.
AgendaThe coaching agenda is co-created by the coach and the coachee in order to meet the specific needs of the coachee.The mentoring agenda is set by the mentee. The mentor supports that agenda.
QuestioningAsking thought-provoking questions is a top tool of the coach, which helps the coachee make important decisions, recognize behavioral changes and take action.In the mentoring relationship, the mentee is more likely to ask more questions, tapping into the mentor’s expertise.
OutcomeOutcome from a coaching agreement is specific and measurable, showing signs of improvement or positive change in the desired performance area.Outcome from a mentoring relationship can shift and change over time. There is less interest in specific, measurable results or changed behavior and more interest in the overall development of the mentee.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the difference between coaching and mentoring, how will you know which is best…

……….. working with a coach or working with a mentor?

When to Use a Coach

  1. Develop raw talent with a specific new skill
  2. Enhance the experienced professional with a new or refreshed skill
  3. Help individuals who are not meeting expectations or goals
  4. Assist leaders in coping with large-scale change through a merger or acquisition, like managing new “blended” work teams and adapting to the merging of company cultures
  5. Prepare a professional for advancement in the organization
  6. Improve behavior in a short period of time, like coaching an executive to address the media on a specific topic
  7. Work one-on-one with leaders who prefer working with a coach rather than attending “public” training programs

When to Use a Mentor

  1. Motivate talented professionals to focus on their career/life development
  2. Inspire individuals to see what is possible in their career/life
  3. Enhance the professional’s leadership development
  4. Transfer knowledge from senior to junior professionals
  5. Broaden intercultural or cross-cultural ties within the organization
  6. Use the mentoring process as an entrée to succession planning

REMEMBER . . . When deciding whether to use a coach or a mentor, consider the goal you wish to achieve. The coach and the mentor will help professionals in different ways to accomplish their goals. In fact, some professionals use multiple coaches or multiple mentors throughout their careers, depending on their desired goals. In both coaching and mentoring, trust, respect and confidentiality are at the forefront of the relationship.

The Key Benefits to Mentoring and Coaching

Both mentoring and coaching have a range of benefits, which, when conducted correctly can benefit both the individual receiving mentoring and coaching, along with the mentor or coach and the organisation too.

Here are some benefits to mentoring and coaching:

  • Both mentoring and coaching are extremely effective learning techniques.
  • Both mentoring and coaching can be formal and informal, with mentoring often seen more informally and coaching often see more formally.
  • Both can increase employee engagement and retention when applied.
  • Both mentoring and coaching are easy to implement into any organisation or business structure and increasingly we’re seeing organisations running both.
  • Both mentoring and coaching can increase confidence and the interpersonal skills of the person providing the mentoring or coaching, and the person receiving it.
  • Both can dramatically improve individual performance.

As you delve deeper into working with a coach or a mentor, consider these final tips:

  • Decide what assistance you need. Are you trying to figure out how to climb the corporate ladder? Do you want to be considered for more high-powered job assignments? Do you have an interest in working on more internal committees? Would you like to improve your presentation skills so you can deliver more presentations at national conferences? Are you interested in managing a community project for your company? When you decide what your need is, find an appropriate coach or mentor.
  • Trust and respect your coach or mentor. Every meaningful relationship is built on the foundation of trust and respect. You must trust your coach or mentor to provide you with expert guidance, feedback and support, based on his/her life experiences. Respect his/her opinions and ideas for the same reason because your coach or mentor has lived through challenges that you may not have yet experienced.
  • Establish ground rules. Determine how often you will meet, how long your relationship will last, outline of roles, importance of confidentiality and preferred methods of communication and feedback.
  • Determine your outcome. What do you want to have happen to you at the end of the relationship? Discuss this with your coach or mentor.
  • Open your mind and heart. Learning from someone who has more experience than you do and who can share successes and failures openly is a tremendous gift. The key to getting the most out of the relationship is your ability to enter into the relationship with as open a mind and heart as possible. Don’t be judgmental or too hasty in your decisions. Expect the unexpected.

Coaching employees is the key to building and maintaining a self-motivated staff. Initially, it will take extra time – the whole teach-a-man-to-fish process versus just catch-a-man-a-fish. But the results are worth the investment.

The better you coach, the more prepared your team will be to achieve their goals. Successful coaching guides employees in the right direction but promotes independent thinking and team collaboration to overcome obstacles. This in turn fosters a relationship of trust and empowers the team to act dynamically.

Coaching Culture …imagine an organisation where all leaders and managers have conversations with teams and individuals which show empathy, build trust and support continuous development. It’s somewhere that ongoing coaching develops a growth mindset in every employee, so behaviour change is embraced, real and sustainable. And it’s a place where the best people want to work, where employees are highly engaged and where everyone is striving to perform at their peak.

Essential Coaching Skills for Managers and Leaders

Coaching is similar to a self-development journey, for any growth requires effort. A coaching course is always a great idea, but you can start improving these skills today, whatever your budget constraints might be. If you’re a manager or leader looking to bring a coaching mentality to your leadership, here are some tips to help get you started.

1. In a team context, just stop the group motivational speeches and replace them with celebrations of individuals’ hard work and accomplishments. By recognizing a hardworking employee’s efforts, that employee will get the opportunity to feel valued and appreciated. This goes hand in hand with the self-determination theory which demonstrate that positive feedback motivates intentions to continue pursuing goals and fosters vitality

2. A manager with effective coaching skills does not bark orders. Instead, they will work together with employees to develop ideas and implement plans collaboratively. Once individuals take cognizance that the process through which leaders arrive at decisions is fair and well communicated, people will be more committed to a final course of action. Better yet, including employees in decision-making, goal-setting, and strategy development will lead to feelings of ownership over processes that will drive motivation even further.

3. Please don’t punish failure as it is part of the process toward success. Coaching an employee through a mistake is a much better approach. An effective leader helps their team to learn from their errors to avoid them in the future. As such it builds trust between leaders and subordinates. That is, it will create the sense of psychological safety required to admit openly one’s mistakes and ask for help and mitigate the temptation to sweep errors under the rug .

4. Try to employ a strengths-based approach to developing your staff. When employees know their strengths and can consistently build on their work from those strengths, managers and their teams can forge better-functioning workplaces. In some circles, this is often referred to as appreciative inquiry. Its benefit is that it cultivates commitment to improving the organization without imposing a problem orientation or sense of doom and gloom on employees. Rather, employees are celebrated for what they already do well and encouraged to apply these strengths in such a way that facilitates growth.

5. Essentially, effective coaches are aware of the effect that their emotions have on their coachees. Therefore, when things get ‘hot,’ they get ‘cool.’ And when things are ‘cool,’ they ramp things up. Effective leaders implicitly understand the transferability of emotions. Therefore, good leaders are careful to manage their reactions to stressful situations and will look for opportunities to generate energy and excitement when a boost is needed within a team.

6. Effective leaders demonstrate genuine concern for employees’ wellbeing and life outside of work; they take care not to overtax people’s resources or push people beyond their limits. Indeed, to earn respect, a good manager and coach leads by example and is willing to shoulder the same burdens and stressors they expect their staff to handle.

7. Exercise compassionate leadership. The act of showing compassion involves being with someone in their pain. It’s understanding another’s feelings and demonstrating a willingness to act in response to those feelings. Therefore, in the realm of coaching, compassionate leaders feel genuine pain for their employees when they’re struggling and show commitment to helping them reach their goals and find greater meaning in their work.

8. Managers with effective coaching skills employ many of the same communication and active listening techniques as professional coaches.

9. Managers Give feedback – Feedback is a two-way process. Employees must communicate any issues. You, as a coach, must respond with constructive feedback on their progress and how they can improve.

Reassure your employees, and try to keep the message positive, but don’t sugar coat it.  Feedback can be hard when the outcome isn’t going great, but you need to be straightforward and honest. You’re not doing the employee any favors if you’re not. Always remember to be encouraging and to help them through the training. Your goal is to help them grow and learn. Sometimes people need a little optimism to keep them going.

10. They Review and recalibrate – Meet a final time with your employees to look back on the project as a whole. Discuss what worked, what didn’t and what could be done differently next time. Make time to celebrate success and reward their accomplishments.

11. they know the team dynamics – As a coach you certainly don’t want to put people on a project who don’t work well together. If it’s unavoidable, help them find common ground. Ultimately, your goal is to achieve the best possible result for the company.

It all comes back to good coaching. If you’re not ready to invest your time, resources and skills to coach an individual, success is unlikely.

ON A FINAL NOTE . . . .

Coaching is there to help everyone succeed. Effective coaches inspire and listen. They build strong relationships of trust based on knowing their people and have good communication skills.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (6)

Please note the difference between HOMOPHONES and HOMOGRAPHS:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings. Fo example, . . .

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)
  • they’re (they are) and their (belonging to them) and there (adverb of place)

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are written the same way, but pronounced differently.

Examples of HOMOGRAPHS include:

  • to wind a clock but blowing wind.
  • rose, the flower and rose, past tense of the verb to rise.
  • book – something we read and book – to schedule something.

Included here are sets of commonly used and sometimes confused sets of homophones. To help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to further your understanding of the homophone word/s.

pexels-photo.jpgPlease note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. write/right/rite

  • right (adj.) means correct: The student gave the right answer to the math question.
  • write (v.) is to make letters: Please write you name at the top of the page.
  • rite (n) means a religious social custom or solemn ceremony or act: The religious rites were strictly followed.

2. road/rode/rod

  • road (n.) is a driving surface: She had difficulties keeping her car on the slippery road.
  • rode (v.) is past tense of ride: We rode the bus for thirty minutes to get across town.
  • rod (n) is a thin straight bar of wood or metal: The walls were reinforced with steel rods.

 3. sail/sale

  • sail (v.) is to travel in a boat: We plan to sail across the bay.
  • sale (n.) is a deal or transaction: The store had a special sale on blue jeans.

 4. scene/seen

  • scene (n.) is the place where an event occurs: A criminal sometimes returns to the scene of the crime.
  • seen (v.) is past participle of see: I’ve never seen so many flowers!

 5. soar/sore

  • soar (v.) is to fly: An eagle can soar higher than many other birds.
  • sore (adj.) means painful: My sprained knee is very sore.

 6. sole/soul

  • sole (adj.) means only: My dad was the sole survivor of the crash.
  • sole (n.) is the bottom part of a foot or shoe: There’s a hole in the sole of my old boot.
  • soul (n.) is the spiritual part, or character, of a person: Those old hymns always comfort my soul.

7. tail/tale

  • tail (n.) is the rear part of an animal’s body: My dog wags its tail when he’s happy.
  • tale (n.) is a story: One popular fairy tale is about a giant, a beanstalk and a boy named Jack.

8. threw/through

  • threw (v.) is the past tense of throw: The kids threw the stones into the stream.
  • through (prep.) means movement from one side to, or past, the other side: Let’s walk all the way through the dark tunnel together.

9. to/too/two

  • to (prep.) means toward: We drove to the theatre.
  • too (adv.) means also: Jimmy likes pizza, too.
  • two (n.) is a symbol for 1 plus 1: Susan spun a two in the board game.

10. waist/waste

  • waist (n.) is the middle of the body: The belt was too large for her small waist.
  • waste (n.) is the discarded material: The factory’s waste products were dumped in the landfill.

11. weak/week/wick

  • weak (adj.) means not strong: The young boy was too weak to lift the box of books.
  • week (n.) is a seven-day period: The worker went on vacation for one week.
  • wick (n) is a piece of string in the centre of a candle.

 12. who’s/whose

  • who’s (contr.) is short for who is or who has: Who’s been drinking my soda?
  • whose (pron.) is the possessive form of who: Does anyone know whose coat is this one?

13. your/your’re

  • your (pron.) is the possessive form of you: It’s your turn to go first.
  • you’re (contr.) is the short form of you are: You’re the person I want to hire.

14. faint/feint

  • faint means temporarily losing consciousness and the adjective . . .
  • faint (adj) means lacking in brightness: Tad’s writing is too faint.
  • A feint is a false attack made to distract the opponent from an even more fatal blow: It was just a brief feint on the opponent’s face.

15. hole/whole/hall

  • A hole is an empty place or opening: A hole opened up in the backyard.
  • Whole means complete or entire: I ate the whole pie.
  • hall (n) is the room or space used for meetings, concerts or other events.

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

writing-notes-idea-conference.jpgGood luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (5)

Please note the difference between HOMOPHONES and HOMONYMS:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings.

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)
  • they’re (they are) and their (belonging to them) and there (adverb of place)

HOMONYMS are a kind of homophone, words that are written and said the same way but have different meanings.

Examples of HOMONYMS are:

  • book           – something we read and . . .
  • book           – to schedule something.
  • Spring        – the season and . . .
  • spring         – to jump up.

pexels-photo-416322.jpegTo help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

Please note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. than/then

  • Use than for comparisons; eg: Tad is much taller than his brother.
  • Use then to indicate passage of time, or when; eg: We went to the park in the morning, and then we left to pick up lunch.

2. to/too/two

  • To can be a preposition; eg: We are going to the park.
  • Too is an adverb that can mean excessively (too much) when it precedes an adjective or adverb; eg: I ate too much ice cream for dessert.
  • Too is a synonym for also; eg: I ate too much ice cream for dessert, too.
  • Two is a number; eg: Shona ate two pieces of pie.

3. you’re/ your

  • You’re is a contraction for you are; eg: You’re going to absolutely love this new recipe.
  • Your is a pronoun; eg: Please bring your books to class with you tomorrow.

4. fair/fare

  • fair (adj.) means just, proper under the rules, or ample; eg: The judge made a fair decision.
  • fare (n.) means money paid to ride in a bus, taxi or other vehicle; eg: He paid his fare when he got on the bus. OR
  • Used as a verb, fare means to get by, perform; eg: She fared well on the job interview.

5. flew/flu/flue

  • flew (v.) past tense of fly; eg: The bird flew past my window.
  • flu (n.) short for influenza; eg: Sam missed three days of work because he had the flu.
  • flue (n.) passage for smoke in a chimney; eg: The chimney flue needs to be cleaned regularly.

6. heal/heel/he’ll

  • heal means to make healthy; eg: Extra rest and fluids will help to heal your sickness.
  • heel is the back part of the foot; eg. Place your heel firmly into the boot.
  • he’ll (contr.) he will; eg: He’ll be happy when he comes.

 7. lone/loan

  • A loan is money lent; eg: The car loan was for $5,000.
  • Used as a verb, loan means to lend something; eg: Can you please loan me enough money for lunch?
  • lone means single, only; eg: The truck driver was the lone customer at the all-night diner.

8. male/mail

  • mail are items sent in the postal system; eg: I received six letters today in the mail.

Used as a verb, mail means to send something by mail or e-mail; eg: She will mail her car payment today.

  • male (n.) a boy or man; eg: There were ten male passengers on the train.

Used as an adjective, male means related to a man or boy; eg: I heard a male voice on the telephone.

 9. main/mane

  • main (adj.) means most important; eg:The speaker’s main point was that we can all fight poverty.
  • mane (n.) is the long hair on the neck of an animal; eg: Shona hung on to the horse’s mane when it started galloping.

10. meat/meet

  • meat is edible flesh from an animal; eg: We eat meat nearly every night for dinner.
  • meet is to get together; eg: Let’s meet for coffee tomorrow morning.

Used as a noun, meet is a sports competition; eg: Athletes from ten schools will compete at the track meet.

 11. pail/pale

  • A pail is a bucket; eg: That pail holds five gallons of paint.
  • Being pale means lacking color; eg: The sick child’s face was very pale.

 12. pain/pane

  • pain is physical distress; eg: Her back pain prevented her from bending over.
  • pane is section of a window; eg: The window pane was covered with frost.

13. passed/past

  • passed is the past tense of pass; eg: The teenager finally passed his driving test.
  • past means later, or in a time gone by; eg: Her financial worries are now all in the past.

14. patience/patients

  •  patience is the ability to wait; eg: The kindergarten teacher’s patience is remarkable.
  • patients are people under the care of a doctor; eg: Five patients were waiting to see the doctor.

 15. raise/raze

  • To raise is to build up; eg: Let’s raise the sign a bit higher so it can be read more easily.
  • To raze is to tear down; eg: The city plans to raze the vacant building.

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (4)

Please note the difference:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings, eg:

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)

HOMONYMS are a kind of homophone words that are written and said the same way but have different meanings.

Examples of HOMONYMS are:

  • club            – somewhere to dance and . . .
  • club            – large, heavy object that people get hit with.
  • rock           – a type of music and . . .
  • rock            – made of stone.

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are written the same way, but pronounced differently.

Examples of HOMOGRAPHS include:

  • to wind a clock but blowing wind.
  • rose, the flower and rose, past tense of the verb to rise.
  • book is something we read and book is to schedule something.

pexels-photo.jpgTo help you improve spelling skills for each word listed below, I have included the most homophone common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

Please note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

  1. which/witch/wich

  • Use which as a pronoun when referring to things or animals.
  • Use witch to mean a scary or nasty person.
  • Wich is to do with minerals, salt works; a salt producing town.

Using the correct use of which/witch/wich, fill in the sentences:

  1. Tad wore his favorite brown shoes, . . . he received as a birthday gift.
  2. The Halloween . . . decorations must finally come down off of the wall!

2. principle/principal

  • Use principle as a noun meaning a basic truth or law.
  • Use principal as a noun meaning the head of a school or organization, or a sum of money.

 Using the correct use of principle/principal, fill in the sentences:

  1. Many important life . . . are learned in kindergarten.
  2. The . . . is a well-respected member of the community.

3. stationary/stationery

  • Stationary means unmoving.
  • Stationery refers to writing materials, eg: pens, books, pencils, etc

Using the correct use of stationary/stationery, fill in the sentences:

  1. The revolving door remained . . . because Shona was pushing on it the wrong way.
  2. Tad printed his résumé on his best . . . .

4. rain/reign/rein

  • rain (n.) precipitation; (v.) drizzle, shower.
  • reign (n.) time in power; (v.) to rule.
  • rein (n.) a strap to control an animal.

 Using the correct use of rain/reign/rein, fill in the sentences:

  1. The . . . poured down all day.
  2. The king’s . . . was very brief.
  3. Pull on the . . . when you want the horse to stop.

5. stair/stare

  • stair (n.) step.
  • stare (v.) to look intently in one place.

Using the correct use of stair/stare, fill in the sentences:

  1. The bottom . . . is broken, so please be careful when you go down.
  2. I couldn’t help but . . . at the man as he came down to us.

6. main/mane

  • main (adj.) most important.
  • mane (n.) long hair on the neck of an animal.

 Using the correct use of main/mane, fill in the sentences:

  1. The speaker’s . . . point was that we can all fight poverty.
  2. The little girl hung on to the horse’s . . . when it started galloping.

7. stake/steak

  • stake (n.) a thin pointed stick or post that is driven into the ground; mark off.
  • steak (n.) a piece of meat or fish.

 Using the correct use of stake/steak, fill in the sentences:

  1. Since we were missing a . . . , we couldn’t finish putting up the tent.
  2. He ordered a sirloin . . . and baked potato.

8. steal/steel

  • steal (v.) to take something without permission.
  • steel (n.) a strong metal made of iron and carbon.

 Using the correct use of steal/steel, fill in the sentences:

  1. It is not good to . . . money from anyone.
  2. Many buildings are constructed with . . . frames.

 9. imminent/eminent/immanent

  • imminent is something likely to happen.
  • Eminent can refer to a person of high rank or repute or anything that noticeably pokes out like “an eminent nose.”
  • immanent is an inherent or inborn; ingrained, built-in.

 Using the correct use of imminent/eminent/immanent, fill in the sentences:

  1. The rainy season is . . .
  2. Kofi Annan was an . . . person in resolving many conflicts.
  3. The protection of human rights is . . . to many governments around the world.

10. exercise/exorcise

  • Exercise is a physical activity; to do physical activity.
  • Exorcise is to drive out an evil spirit

 Using the correct use of exercise/exorcise, fill in the sentences:

  1. They . . . the troublesome spirit.
  2. Ted took the . . . seriously.

11. insolate/insulate

  • Insolate refers to an exposure to the sun’s rays.
  • Insulate involves using various materials to prevent the leakage of heat.
  • NOTICE: Insolate to get warm and insulate to stay warm!

Using the correct use of insolate/insulate, fill in the sentences:

  1. The . . . paper may turn red when exposed to the sun.
  2. We always . . . and draught proof our caravan before winter begins.

 12. tortuous/torturous

  • tortuous comes from the Latin tortu meaning full of twists and turns.
  • torturous pertaining to the cause or experience of extreme pain.

 Using the correct use of tortuous/torture, fill in the sentences:

  1. Peal found the route remote and . . . .
  2. We had a . . . five days of boot camp.

13. foreword/forward

  • Foreword is an introduction to a book.
  • Forward is onwards, ahead.

 Using the correct use of foreword/forward, fill in the sentences:

  1. Dr Giddings gave a . . to my book.
  2. It’s will be raining next week, so the baseball game will be moved . . .

14. flaunt/flout

  • Flaunt is to display ostentatiously; show off.
  • Flout is to disregard a rule.

 Using the correct use of flaunt/flout, fill in the sentences:

    1. The young man constantly . . . his riches.
    2. The advertising code is being openly . . ..

15. flounder/founder

  • Flounder is to move clumsily; to have difficulty doing something.
  • Founder is to fail; a person who establishes.

Using the correct use of flounder/founder, fill in the sentences:

  1. The soldiers . . .  about in the mud.
  2. He is the . . . of a popular website.

So, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) which b) witch #2. a) principles b) principal #3. a) stationary   b) stationery #4. a) rain b) reign c) reins; #5 a) stair b) stare; #6 a) main b) mane; #7 a)stake b) steak #8 a) steal b) steel #9 a) imminent   b) eminent c) immament  #10 a) exorcise b) exercise  #11 a) insolate(d) b) insulate  #12 a) tortuous  b) torturous  #13 a) foreword b) forward   #14 a) flaunted  b) flouted  #15 a) floundered b) founder

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the HOMOPHONES mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (3)

HOMOPHONES are two or more words that sound alike, but have different meanings or spellings.

In the sentence below, for example, every word is spelled correctly but three words are the wrong words, and even spellchecker will not flag even one of them.

Can you spot the homophones in the sentence below?

I herd the reign ruined there picnic.

 One great way to improve spelling skills is to learn the correct spellings and meanings of common sets of homophones.

A large percentage of spelling errors at High School are actually homophone usage errors.

Written correctly, the sentence should, of course, read:

 I heard the rain ruined their picnic.

Included here are sets of commonly used and sometimes confused sets of homophones. To help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s. 

pexels-photo-416322.jpegPlease note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. defuse/diffuse

  • Diffuse is to spread over a wide area; lacking clarity
  • Defuse is to make a situation less tense

Using the correct use of defuse/diffuse, fill in the sentences:

  1. Mr Jones . . . the prevailing tension among the villagers.
  2. The . . . community centred around the church.

2. desert/dessert

  • Desert is a waterless, empty area; to abandon someone.
  • Dessert is the sweet course of a meal.

 Using the correct use of desert/dessert, fill in the sentences:

  1. How did that car get over the Egyptian . . . .
  2. They enjoyed their . . .  after the main meal.

3. discreet/discrete

  • Discreet means being careful not to attract attention.
  • Discrete means separate and distinct.

Using the correct use of discreet/discrete, fill in the sentences:

  1. We made some . . . inquiries about the issue.
  2. Speech sounds are produced as a continuous sound signal rather than . . . units.

 4. disinterested/uninterested

  • Disinterested means impartial; unbiased, uninvolved.
  • Uninterested means bored or not wanting to be involved with something:

Using the correct use of disinterested/uninterested, fill in the sentences:

  1. A panel of . . . judges who had never met the contestants before judged the singing contest.
  2. Marwa was . . . in attending Hilda’s singing class.

5. die/dye

  • Die means to pass away; dying could also mean you are eager for something.
  • Dye (n.) coloring.

 Using the correct use of die/dye, fill in the sentences:

  1. The animal will . . . without proper nourishment.
  2. We used four kinds of . . . to color our Easter eggs.

6. does/dose

  • Does is a form of do.
  • Dose is quantity of medicine.

Using the correct use of does/dose, fill in the sentences:

  1. It . .  no good to complain.
  2. Take a . . . of aspirin for your headache.

7. here/hear

  • Use here as an adverb to indicate location.
  • Use hear as a verb to indicate listening.

 Using the correct use of hear/here, fill in the sentences:

  1. Please come back . . . and put your shoes away!
  2. Can you . . . the birds’ beautiful singing outside?

8. lie/lay

  • Use lie to indicate the act of reclining:
  • Use lay to indicate the placement of something:

Lay is a transitive verb, which means it always needs an object! Something is always being put down; lie, on the other hand, will never have an object because it is an intransitive verb.

Hint:

  • to lie: lie(s), lay, lain, lying
  • to lay: lay(s), laid, laid, laying

Using the correct use of lie/lay, fill in the sentences:

  1. I am tired just watching the dog . .  in the warm sunlight.
  2. Please . . . the paper on the table.

9. emigrate/immigrate

  • Emigrate means to move away from a city or country to live somewhere else.
  • Immigrate means to move into a country from somewhere else.

Using the correct use of emigrate/immigrate, fill in the sentences:

  1. Pearl’s grandfather . . .  from Canada sixty years ago.
  2. Tad’s sister . . . to Ireland in 2004.

 10. e.g./i.e.

These two Latin abbreviations are often mixed up, but e.g. means “for example,” while i.e. means “that is.”

11. empathy/sympathy

  • Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s perspective or feelings.
  • Sympathy is a feeling of sorrow for someone else’s suffering.
  • A sympathizer is someone who agrees with a particular ideal or cause.

 Using the correct use of empathy/sympathy, fill in the sentences:

  1. My . . . for Liz is fairly limited.
  2. She has a higher level of . . . in helping others.

 12. loose/lose/lost

  • Loose is usually an adjective:
  • Lose is always a verb. It means to misplace something or to be unvictorious in a game or contest.
  • Lost is the past tense of lose.

Using the correct use of loose/lose/lost, fill in the sentences:

  1. Nancy was careful not to . . . her ticket.
  2. Peter discovered that the cows were . . . .

13. it’s/its

  • It’s is the contraction for it is.
  • Its is the possessive form (“possessive” means belongs to) of it.

 Using the correct use of it’s/its, fill in the sentences:

  1. The cat is licking . . . paws.
  2. . . . raining today, so the baseball game will be cancelled.

14. weather/whether

  • Use weather when referring to the state of the atmosphere:
  • Use whether as a conjunction to introduce choices:

 Using the correct use of weather/whether fill in the sentences:

  1. The constantly changing springtime . . . is driving us crazy.
  2. Please tell us . . . you would prefer steak or salmon for dinner.

NB: There is no such word as wheather!

15. there/their/they’re

  • their (pron.) belong to them;
  • there (adv.) at that place;
  • they’re is the contraction for they are.

 Using the correct use of there/their/they’re, fill in the sentences:

  1. . . . house is always clean and tidy.
  2. Please put the groceries over . . . .
  3. . . . going to Paris for vacation.

So, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) defused b) diffuse; #2. a) desert b) dessert #3. a) discreet b) discrete #4. a) disinterested b) uninterested; #5 a) die b) dye; #6 a) does b) dose  #7 a) here b) hear   #8 a) lie b) lay   #9 a) emigrated  b) immigrated   #11 a) sympathy b) empathy  #12 a) lose   b) lose/lost  #13 a) its   b) It’s   #14 a) weather   b) whether   #15 a) Their b) there c) They’re

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the above mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (2)

Please note the difference:

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but have different meanings. For example,

  • wait (the verb) and weight (how heavy something is)
  • they’re (they are) and their (belonging to them) and there (adverb of place)

HOMONYMS are a kind of homophone, words that are written and said the same way but have different meanings.

Examples of HOMONYMS are:

  • book           – something we read and . . .
  • book           – to schedule something.
  • Spring        – the season and . . .
  • spring         – to jump up.
  • club            – somewhere to dance and . . .
  • club            – large, heavy object that people get hit with.
  • fine             – money you owe for bring things back late and . . .
  • fine             – feeling okay.
  • rock           – a type of music and . . .
  • rock            – made of stone.

HOMOGRAPHS are words that are written the same way, but pronounced differently.

Examples of HOMOGRAPHS include:

  • to wind a clock but blowing wind.
  • rose, the flower and rose, past tense of the verb to rise.
  • book – something we read and book – to schedule something

To help you improve spelling skills for each word listed below, I have included the most Homophone common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

pexels-photo.jpgPlease note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

1. cite/sight/site

  • Sight is one of your five senses. As a noun, it is “the ability to see.” It is also someone or something that is seen.
  • Site means “a place where something has happened.” It can also be “a place where something is, was, or will be located.”
  • Site is also short for website.
  • Cite is a verb. It can mean “to write or say the words” of a person, book or another source. It can also mean “to mention something,” usually to support an idea or opinion.

 Using the correct use of cite/sight/site, fill in the sentences:

  1. The sunset last night was a beautiful . . . .
  2. There are some important battle . . . near Washington, DC.
  3. When you write research papers in school, for example, you . . . other sources to support your argument.

2. canvas/canvass

  • Canvas is a type of strong cloth.
  • Canvass is to seek people’s votes.

 Using the correct use of canvas/canvass, fill in the sentences:

  1. His . . . -made trainers did not last long.
  2. The MP has tried to . . . for re-election for a third term.

3. censure/censor

  • Censure is to criticize strongly.
  • Censor is to ban parts of a book or film; a person who does this.

Using the correct use of censure/censor, fill in the sentences:

  1. He was . . . (ed) for his remarks over the incident.
  2. My book was heavily . . . (ed) before its publication.

 4. climactic/climatic

  • Climactic is forming a climax.
  • Climatic is relating to climate.

 Using the correct use of climactic/climatic, fill in the sentences:

  • The film’s . . .  scenes were traumatic for the kids.
  • Under certain . . . conditions, desert locusts increase in number.

5. complacent/complaisant

  • Complacent is proud of oneself and self-satisfied.
  • Complaisant is willing to please.

 Using the correct use of complacent/complaisant, fill in the sentences:

  1. In all of this praise, however, there is a severe danger that we might become . . . .
  2. There are too many . . .  doctors signing sick notes.

6. council/counsel

  • Council is a group of people who manage or advise.
  • Counsel is to seek advice; to advise.

 Using the correct use of council/counsel, fill in the sentences:

  1. The . . .  has unanimously endorsed the agreement with the government.
  2. He had to go for . . . (ing) after the tragic incident.

7. cue/queue

  • Cue is a signal for action.
  • Queue is a line of people or vehicles.

 Using the correct use of cue/queue, fill in the sentences:

  1. Pearl  hasn’t yet been given the . . .to come on stage.
  2. We found ourselves in a . . .  for petrol.

8. complement/compliment

  • Use complement when referring to something that enhances or completes.
  • Use compliment as an expression of praise.

 Using the correct use of complement/compliment, fill in the sentences:

  1. The cranberry sauce is a perfect . . . to the turkey dinner.
  2. I was pleased to have received so many . . . on my new dress.

9. curb/kerb

  • Curb is to keep something in check; a control or limit.
  • Kerb (in British English) is the stone edge of a pavement.

 Using the correct use of curb/kerb, fill in the sentences:

  1. The parents had to . . . his wayward behaviour.
  2. She fell of the . . . on her to ASDA market.

 10. currant/current

  • Currant is a dried grape.
  • Current is happening now; a flow of water, air, or electricity.

Using the correct use of currant/current, fill in the sentences:

  1. He .enjoys eating . . . fruits.
  2. Ted enjoys listening to . . . . news about the economy.

11.  cast, caste

  • cast – throw, toss or cause (light or shadow) to appear on a surface.
  • caste – social class (with some privileges).

Using the correct use of cast/caste, fill in the sentences:

  1. He . . . the book down onto the floor angrily.
  2. Those educated at private schools belong to a privileged . . . .

 12. capital/capitol

  • Capital has several meanings. It can refer to an uppercase letter, money, or a city where a seat of government is located.
  • Capitol means the building where lawmakers meet.

 Using the correct use of capital/capitol, fill in the sentences:

  1. Peter visited the cafe in the basement of the . . .  after watching a bill become a law.
  2. Basel visited Brasίlia, the . . . of Brazil.

13.  coarse/course

  • Coarse means rough, crude or harsh.
  • Course (n.) is a path or route to be taken.

 Using the correct use of coarse/course, fill in the sentences:

  1. His . . . manners were very irritating.
  2. Now that you’ve lost your job, what is the first . . . of action to be taken?

 14. choose/chose

  • Choose means to select.
  • Chose is the past tense of choose.

 Using the correct use of choose/chose, fill in the sentences:

  1. I . . . my puppy last week.
  2. I . . . that puppy in the window.

15. conscience/conscious

  • Conscience is your inner, moral guide.
  • Conscious is being aware of; alive; being alert

 Using the correct use of conscience/conscious, fill in the sentences:

  1. He had a guilty . . . about his desires.
  2. Tad became . . . . of people talking in the hall.

So, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) sight b) site   c) cite; #2. a) canvas b) canvass #3. a) censured   b) censored #4. a) climactic  b) climatic; #5. a) complacent  b) complaisant; #6. a) council   b) counseling; #7. a) cue b) queue   #8. a) complement b) compliments   #9. a) curb   b)kerb #10. a) currant b) current   #11. a) cast b) caste  #12. a) capitol   b) capital   #13. a) coarse   b) course   #14. a) chose   b) choose   #15. a) conscience b) conscious

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the above mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL (1)

HOMOPHONES are two or more words that sound alike, but have different meanings or spellings.

In the sentence below, for example, every word is spelled correctly but three words are the wrong words, and even a spellchecker will not flag one of them.

Can you spot the homophones in the sentence below?

I herd the reign ruined there picnic.

 One great way to improve spelling skills is to learn the correct spellings and meanings of common sets of homophones.

A large percentage of spelling errors at High School are actually homophone usage errors.

Written correctly, the sentence should, of course, read:

 I heard the rain ruined their picnic.

Included here are sets of commonly used and sometimes confused sets of homophones. To help you improve spelling skills, for each word listed, I have included the most common meanings focusing on:

  • part of speech (sometimes)
  • a very brief definition
  • a sentence to test your understanding of the homophone word/s.

Please note that the following scenarios are the most commonly used cases; but as is quite common in our language, there are always exceptions!

blur book close up data

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

1. buy/by/bye

  • Use buy when purchasing an item.
  • Use by as a preposition to indicate location.

Use bye in saying “goodbye” or when an athlete moves directly to the next round of a competition without playing.

 Using the correct use of buy/by/bye, fill in the sentences:

  1. I do need to . . . new shoes for the kids.
  2. John was given a . . . after Tad had withdrawn from the competition.

 2. bear/bare

  • Use bear when referring to the large mammal or to indicate the act of holding or supporting.
  • Use bare as an adjective indicating lack of clothing; uncovered.

 Using the correct use of bear/bare, fill in the sentences:

  1. How did that brown . . . open the security gate at the campsite?
  2. The wagon can hardly . . . the weight of the load.
  3. His . . . neck burned in the direct sunlight.

3. brake/break

  • Use brake as a verb meaning to stop or as a noun when referring to a device used to stop or slow motion:
  • Use break to indicate smashing or shattering or to take a recess OR
  • Use break as a noun to indicate a rest or pause.

 Using the correct use of brake/break, fill in the sentences:

  1. We took a water . . . after our first set of drills.
  2. The bike’s . . . failed, which is why he toppled town the hill.
  3. My back will . . . if we put one more thing in this backpack.

 4. breath/breathe

  • Breath is a noun; it’s the air that goes in and out of your lungs:
  • Breathe is a verb; it means to exhale or inhale:

 Using the correct use of breath/breathe, fill in the sentences:

  1. Chad held his . . . while Larry skateboarded down the stairs.
  2. After Shona’s spectacular landing, Holy had to remind herself to . . . again.

5. balmy/barmy

  • Balmy means pleasantly warm; soothing.
  • Barmy is being foolish, crazy.

 Using the correct use of balmy/barmy, fill in the sentences:

  1. I thought I was going . . . at first.
  2. We always enjoy the . . . days of late summer in Heysham.

6. bated/baited

  • Bated means in great suspense, very anxiously or excitedly
  • A bait is food attached or inserted as a decoy to lure

Using the correct use of bated/baited, fill in the sentences:

  1. The fish let go of the . . . .
  2. He waited for a reply to his offer with . . . breath.

7. bazaar/bizarre

  • Bazzar is a Middle Eastern market; a fundraising sale of goods
  • Bizarre means strange or unusual

 Using the correct use of bazaar/bizarre, fill in the sentences:

  1. They went to the Turkish bazaar to buy items.
  2. We found ourselves in a . . . situation.

8. berth/birth

  • Berth is a bunk in a ship, train, etc.
  • Birth is the emergence of a baby from the womb.

 Using the correct use of berth/birth, fill in the sentences:

  1. I will sleep in the upper . . . .
  2. The . . . of his son was a turning point.

9. breach/breech

  • Breach is to break through, or break a rule; a gap
  • Breech is the back part of a gun barrel; in birth, feet coming out first

 Using the correct use of breach/breech, fill in the sentences:

  1. The way he acted was a . . . of confidence on Sarah’s trust.
  2. She has had a . . . birth of her first born son.

 10. broach/brooch

  • Broach to raise a difficult subject for discussion; pierce
  • Brooch is a piece of jewellery

 Using the correct use of broach/brooch, fill in the sentences:

  1. He . . . the topic he had been avoiding all evening.
  2. Ted enjoys wearing an emerald . . . .

11. beside/besides

  • Beside means next to.
  • Besides means in addition.

Using the correct use of beside/besides, fill in the sentences:

  1. He sat . . . me.
  2. I love ice cream . . . chocolate.

12. capital/capitol

  • Capital has several meanings. It can refer to an uppercase letter, money, or a city where a seat of government is located.
  • Capitol means the building where lawmakers meet.

 Using the correct use of capital/capitol, fill in the sentences:

  1. Peter visited the cafe in the basement of the . . . after watching a bill become a law.
  2. Basel visited Brasίlia, the . . . of Brazil.

13. coarse/course

  • Coarse means rough, crude or harsh;
  • Course (n.) a path or route to be taken;

 Using the correct use of coarse/course, fill in the sentences:

  1. His . . . manners were very irritating.
  2. Now that you’ve lost your job, what is the first . . . of action to be taken?

14. choose/chose

  • Choose means to select.
  • Chose is the past tense of choose.

 Using the correct use of choose/chose, fill in the sentences:

  1. I . . . my puppy last week.
  2. I . . . that puppy in the window.

15. conscience/conscious

  • Conscience is your inner, moral guide.
  • Conscious is being aware of; alive; being alert.

 Using the correct use of conscience/conscious, fill in the sentences:

  1. He had a guilty . . . about his desires.
  2. Tad became . . . . of people talking in the hall.

pexels-photo-416322.jpegSo, how did you fair?

ANSWERS: #1. a) buy   b) bye; #2. a) bear b) bear c) bare #3. a) break   b) brake c) break #4. a) breath     b) breathe; #5 a) barmy   b) balmy; #6 a) bait   b) bated; #7 a) bazaar b) bizarre   #8 a) berth b) birth   #9 a) breach   b) breech addition   #10 a) broached b) brooch   #11 a) complement b) compliments  #12 a) capitol   b) capital   #13 a) coarse   b) course   #14 a) chose   b) choose   #15 a) conscience b) conscious

ALWAYS make it a habit to edit your work to avoid committing the above mistakes.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

36 PRODUCTIVE WAYS TO KILL THE TIME FOR OUR STUDENTS @ HIGH SCHOOL DURING ISOLATION

After this topsy-turvy and turbulent times we have experienced, it is high time we continue to keep our heads held high and persist on doing the good things we have always been doing.

The bottom line is, we, as parents, have to find productive ways to engage the restless young people at home 24/7. The key is not to panic, but also not to bury our head in the sand. These are tough times, but there are many things we can do to ease the pain of the current situation and move on with life. It is a phase which we will fight and overcome.

AS A RESULT, I have compiled a list of handy and productive things to do during this turbulence. Please scroll down the list of sub-headings below and pick on what interests you and get engaged:

  1. Reflections & Reading
  2. Television At Work
  3. Grammar, Vocabulary & Spelling
  4. Entering The Working World At Home
  5. Dear Parents . . .
  6. Out & About In The Community
  7. What More & Others
  8. Finally, Be Grateful . . .

So, don’t feel overwhelmed.

INSTEAD, develop a realistic plan and engage the children in your planning. As you follow your plan, I’m confident that you’ll have a meaningful, productive, and fun-filled set of things to do during this unprecedented isolation.  

REFLECTIONS & READING

1. Reflect On The Semester/Term Gone By

DEAR Student – This is a moment to take out your journal or a sheet of paper and answer these three questions as honestly and candidly as possible. You are taking stock of your performance in a self-regulatory manner.

  • What did I do well in the past semester/term?
  • What did I not do so well in the past semester/term?
  • What will I do differently in the coming semester/term?

2. Set Process Goals For The Coming Semester/Term

This is a follow-up to the above point, even if we are not sure as to when we shall be going back to school or work.

SURELY, by setting process goals for the coming semester/term instead of performance goals, becomes a priority. I am saying process goals first as process goals are what you intend to do, while performance goals are what you intend to achieve. As a result, process goals are far more effective.

Here is an example.

  • PERFORMANCE GOAL: Improve my essay writing skills.
  • PROCESS GOAL: Do two extra essay questions every day after dinner.

This actually means by setting process goals, you’re more likely to take action than if you only set performance goals.

3. Create Checklists

For tasks you perform repeatedly, create checklists so that you’ll save time in the long run.

For example, you could create a checklist for the things you ought to do …

  • Every day when I get home from school/training/work, I …
  • When I start preparing for an exam, I …
  • Every weekend as I prepare for the upcoming week, I …
  • When I am packing my bag, I …
  • Before I take an exam, I …

By doing so, aim to reflect on your life periodically; and positively, you will enjoy more.

4. Start Your SAT Or ACT Test Prep – (I)GCSE/IB Program 

Strictly speaking no one calls these acronyms by their full names: SAT stands for Scholastic Assessment Test and ACT is the American College Test. Although they are very much American, universities around the world accept them for admission purposes just like the UK’s (I)GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education; and IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma. Always do your research on what exactly you want to achieve.

This could be a great time to explore the ACT vs SAT , practice for the PSAT , or ramp up your study schedule. Pick up a prep book, take an online prep course , or find a test prep tutor to help you manage your time.

Test prep keeps your brain active so you are in tiptop shape to head back to school later when things get back to normal.

5. Take A Free Online College Course

There are some wonderful websites – like edX; Coursera, Khan Academy or Udemy – that offer courses that are taped or streamed from universities. With tons of subjects from robotics to poetry, you get to participate in real-time or watch videos with up to date information. It is a world of wonder out there. Just click on the link below and enjoy.

EdX is a global nonprofit learning community with over 20 million learners having access to over 2500+ online courses. EdX is fulfilling the demand for people to learn on their own terms delivering courses for curious minds on topics ranging from data and computer science to leadership and communications.

Coursera  is building skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online from world-class universities and companies. There are over 3 900 courses to choose from.

Khan Academy is a tried and tested institution offering personalized learning where students practice at their own pace, first filling in gaps in their understanding and then accelerating their learning.

Udemy wants you to explore possibilities with its wide selection of courses and thousands of online video courses. Courses range from business, design, photography, development, IT and Software, marketing as well as personal development.

6. Read, Read and More Reading

As an avid reader, I strongly recommend that you take to do some reading during this turbulent time. I have a list of books here from which you can choose from:

50 MUST-READ NOVELS BEFORE LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL

Besides, the above books, I would like to recommend you to read these FIVE books:

  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, finding meaning in it, and moving forward with renewed hope and purpose.

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is one of the most famous confidence-boosting book ever published; with sales of over 16 million copies worldwide. The book offers practical advice and techniques, in an exuberant and conversational style, on how to get out of a mental rut and make life more rewarding.

  • The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Get ready to transform yourself for success in this practical and inspiring guide that will help any aspiring person get from where they are to where they want to be. Thus, Canfield offers readers practical help and inspiration for getting from where they are, to where they want to be.

  • Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

Are you afraid of making decisions . . . leaving an unfulfilling relationship . . . facing the future? Whatever your fear, here is your chance to push through it once and for all. In this enduring guide to self-empowerment, Dr. Susan Jeffers inspires us with dynamic techniques and profound concepts that have helped countless people grab hold of their fears and move forward with their lives.

  • The Happy Student by Daniel Wong

Are you a happy, motivated student? Or do you drag yourself to class every morning? In The Happy Student, Daniel Wong describes the five key steps you need to take in order to become both a successful and happy student. Wong draws on his personal journey—from unhappy overachiever to a happy straight-A student, as a result, guiding you through your own transformational process.

pexels-photo-261895.jpegTELEVISION AT WORK

7. Watch Educational Youtube Videos

YouTube is full of educational stuff which is quite helpful during this upheaval. Here are a few of my favorite educational YouTube channels:

8. Watch Documentaries And Your Favourites

You can watch thousands of high-quality documentaries for free at Documentary Heaven besides browsing through your favourite television programmes and films.

If you are subscribed to Netflix, Amazon Prime and many others, this is an opportunity to watch some really great documentaries as well. Despite the abundance of entertainment, . .

REMEMBER to watch in moderation as there are other things to be performed, done and completed.

9. Play Video Games Too

The popularity of video, computer, online, and virtual reality games is great when done in moderation. This is to avoid the potential for negative health effects of gaming, including the potential for addiction.

The exhibition of superior visual, spatial and attention skills derived from video games is great and video games formats have been successfully used to deliver health interventions to children and adolescents. If interested in playing games, try the . . .

50 Educational Video Games That Homeschoolers Love

pexels-photo.jpgGRAMMAR, VOCABULARY & SPELLING

10. Sprucing Up Your Grammar

By the time students enter High School, they will have conquered and mastered the uses of a period/full stop, the comma, various uses of the capital letters, the question mark and the apostrophe BUT . . . many, and I mean the majority of students, would know what a colon or semi-colon looks like; ellipsis; brackets and dashes; but wouldn’t know when or how to use them.

This is what I want to share with you here: AWESOME WAYS TO RAISE YOUR GRADE IN ENGLISH @ HIGH SCHOOL 1 – 4 on where, how and when to use these punctuation marks. You will explore the uses in greater depth here.

Throughout my teaching career, as well as being a GCSE/IGCSE and GCE Examiner, I have noticed that these unusual punctuation marks are rarely used. Yet by using . . .

  • colons (:) and semi-colons (;)
  • the hyphen, dashes (-)
  • parenthesis/brackets ( ), [ ]
  • ellipsis (. . .) and . . .
  • using numbers in writing

enhances a student’s writing repertoire.

11. Practising Idioms

Brainstorm common idioms and practice new ones. Here I have got a list of idioms for you. Try writing a sentence using some of them.

You will love reading and practising endless hours of Common Idioms In Use 1 – 8 in one of my posts.

12. Where Is the Synonym?

This combines English vocabulary practice with the classic game of memory embedded in contextual meaning of words in sentences.

Again, I have got an array of exercises for you to pick on my highly regarded . . VOCABULARY WORKSHOP – THE KEY WORDS TO USE IN WRITING OR SPEAKING COMPETENTLY 1-7. Just follow the link.

13. What Are Homophones?

HOMOPHONES are two or more words that sound alike, but have different meanings or spellings.

In the sentence below, for example, every word is spelled correctly but three words are the wrong words, and even a spellchecker will not flag one of them.

Can you spot the homophones in the sentence below?

I herd the reign ruined there picnic.

One great way to improve spelling skills is to learn the correct spellings and meanings of common sets of homophones at . . .

HOMOPHONES: MOST COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS @ HIGH SCHOOL 1 – 8

14. Learning The Root Of Words

A root word is the most basic form of a word. This is the basic word to which affixes (prefixes and suffixes) form the basis of a new word.

  • The root word can also be a word in its own right. For example, the word lovely consists of the word love and the suffix -ly.
  • In contrast, a root is the basis of a new word, but it does not typically form a stand-alone word on its own. For example, the word reject is made up of the prefix re- and the Latin root ject, which is not a stand-alone word.

Root words can help you to break down large, new words into smaller units to discover their meanings. Here are only ten common root words.

Please access the rest through here.

Common Latin Roots
Latin Root Definition Examples
ambi both ambiguous, ambidextrous
aqua water aquarium, aquamarine
aud to hear audience, audition
bene good benefactor, benevolent
cent one hundred century, percent
circum around circumference, circumstance
contra/counter against contradict, encounter
dict to say dictation, dictator
duc/duct to lead conduct, induce
mal bad malevolent, malefactor
Common Greek Roots
Greek Root Definition Examples
anthropo man; human; humanity anthropologist, philanthropy
auto self autobiography, automobile
bio life biology, biography
chron time chronological, chronic
dyna power dynamic, dynamite
dys bad; hard; unlucky dysfunctional, dyslexic
graph writing graphic, phonograph
hetero different heteronym, heterogeneous
homo same homonym, homogenous
phobia fear claustrophobia, phobic

15. Learn Prefixes and Suffixes To Expand Your Vocabulary

Learning the meanings of common prefixes and suffixes can help you understand unknown English words you come across everyday. It can also help you become better at spelling words too.

A PREFIX is a letter or a group of letters that we add to the beginning of a word. Prefixes change the meanings of words. For example, the prefix un- (or u-n) can mean “not,” “remove,” or “opposite.” Adding un- to the word “happy” gives you the word “unhappy,” which means not happy.

U-n and r-e (or re-) are the two most common prefixes in the English language. Re- means “again” or “back,” such as in the words “rethink” “redo” and “repay.”

Here are a few things to remember when learning prefixes:

  • Different prefixes in English can have similar meanings, such as un-, in- and non- all of which mean “not” or “opposite of.”
  • Also, the prefixes mis- and ir- mean “wrong,” “wrongly,” or “incorrectly.”
  • Notice that double letters are possible. For example, when you add the prefix im- to words that begin with the letter “m,” you get two “m”s as in “immeasurable.” That’s also true when you add un- to words that begin with the letter “n,” as in “unnoticeable.” The same is true for many other prefixes.
  • When adding a prefix to a word, the spelling of the base word never changes. For example, the prefix un- did not change the spelling of the word “happy.” And, the prefix re- would not change the spelling of the word “live” in “relive.”
  • Watch out for “lookalikes” – words that look like they contain prefixes but, in fact, do not. For example, the un- in the word “uncle” is not a prefix, nor is the re- in the words “reach” or “real.”

A SUFFIX is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a word. Suffixes are commonly used to show the part of speech of a word. For example, adding “ion” to the verb “act” gives us “action,” the noun form of the word. Suffixes also tell us the verb tense of words or whether the words are plural or singular.

​Some common suffixes are -er, -s, -es, -ed, -ing and -ly.

There are additional suffix rules, but they deal with spelling and can be learned with time and practice.

A thing to keep in mind about both prefixes and suffixes is that some are only used with some words. For example, we add the suffix -ful to some nouns to mean “full of,” such as in the words “beautiful” or “helpful.”

But, we cannot add -ful to just any noun. You could not, for example, say “loveful” to mean full of love.

So, what are some ways that you can practice common prefixes and suffixes?

One way is to use online flashcards from websites like Quizlet. You can choose sets of cards that are already made or create and use your own sets. Or, you can make your own flashcards with pieces of paper.

Please access the rest through this link:

 16. Spelling Generalizations

I boast to my students that I can spell any word in English because I mastered the spelling rules in primary school. I challenge you to emulate that.

The 5 Common English Spelling Rules to Improve Your Writing are . . .

  1. I before E: Write i before e when the sound is long e except after the letter c. – eg: relieve, relief, reprieve. When there is a c preceding, then it is ei : receipt, receive, deceive, conceive .
  2. Double consonants: When b, d, g, m, n, or p appear after a short vowel in a word with two syllables, double the consonant – eg: rabbit, manner, dagger or drummer.
  3. When to use -US and -OUS: eg – radius, previous
  4. Q is always followed by U: eg – Queen, quarrel
  5. The ch sound: At the beginning of a word, use ch. At the end of a word, use tch. When the ch sound is followed by ure or ion, use t – eg: choose, champ, watch, catch, picture, rapture

A comprehensive list of spelling rules can be accessed through here:

WatchENTERING THE WORKING WORLD AT HOME

17. Create Your Own Project

Turn your interests and talents into your own long-term project. A few ideas:

  • Form a garage band with some musically-inclined friends and practice.
  • Teach yourself how to program.
  • Practice your creative writing and submit your work to journals that publish high school students or to your school’s newsletter.

18. Get A job – “Take a job for what you will learn, not for what you will earn.”

Colleges are impressed when students have jobs, whether they are working for family income or just for fun. Your work history demonstrates your initiative and responsibility. Take note: you may need a permit, depending on your age.

Don’t worry too much about what the job will pay. As the saying goes, “Take a job for what you will learn, not for what you will earn.” This is especially true when it comes to school holiday jobs. The best learning experience might just come in the form of an unpaid job or internship

Colleges love to see collaboration, so try to spend some time working with others versus only on solo projects.

 19. Be An Entrepreneur

Start a business with friends that offers a service in your community. We’ve heard of students starting babysitters’ clubs, walking dogs for the neighborhood, or even teaching Skype/WhatsApp messaging to the elderly.

20. Apply For Internships

Even if we are in the middle of a crisis, be optimistic and set things in motion. Introduce yourself to the world of internships.

This is chance to spruce up your CV and resume, so before you start applying for roles, it’s important to make sure that your resume is up to date and includes your relevant skills and experience.

AN INTERNSHIP is a structured opportunity to work (usually unpaid) at a company, lab, or non-profit organization for a set amount of time. These can be very competitive for high school students, but opportunities are out there!

At Amazon Jobs, besides providing graduate jobs, they also offer student internships with an in depth internship timeline profile providing the opportunity to accelerate your growth. They work on challenging projects which breed resourcefulness and invention with talented teams.

TeenLife is a the leading directory for High School students’ academic and enrichment opportunities for summer programs, volunteer opportunities, gap year programs and community service. The TeenLife website is dense with information which can help you in your future – start preparing now

21. Find a Job-Shadowing Opportunity

Job shadowing (or work shadowing) is an on-the-job learning, career development, and leadership development program. It is  a useful way to learn about a particular job of interest involving spending time following a professional in that job. Observing the life of the professional for anywhere from a few hours to as long as a week can help give you a sense of what that job really is like

Does your dad’s best friend work at an electrical engineering company? Ask if you can help with filing or sit in a planning meeting or two, all while soaking up the atmosphere.

In short, job shadowing helps you expand your network as well as making professional contacts in your career field of interest. When shadowing someone who is competent in his or her career field, you have the opportunity to gain a useful resource as you begin to seek and apply for jobs and internships.

NOW is the time to plan it!

22. Learn a New Skill

You could learn skills like Public Speaking; Cooking; Drawing through . . .

TakeLessons – Get live instruction in music, language, dance, computer skills and more one-on-one with an instructor. You can search by area or by subject.

Power Homeschool – Power Homeschool offers self-paced, interactive video lessons on topics such as foreign language, physical education, fine arts, and career and technical classes.

MasterClass – MasterClass offers self-paced courses taught by masters in their fields. You can take photography from Annie Leibovitz, cooking from Gordon Ramsey, or directing from Ron Howard.

Outschool Outschool offers over 4,000 classes taught live to small groups using video chat.

23. Learn A New Language

Visit these websites and learn a new language:

  • Duolingo is not a stand-alone language course, but it’s an excellent addition to a language learner’s toolbox. It’s easy to use, it’s fun and it works. If your aim is to achieve real fluency, remember to read, speak, and truly live the language that you’re learning!
  • Babbel is a German-based language learning app and e-learning platform, currently offering 14 different languages ranging from German, English (US + UK), French, to Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Italian, among many others.
  • BBC Languages is a free online language learning site which offer courses, audio, video and games, including the alphabet, phrases, vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, activities and tests.

Just go to the site and follow the links.

24. Start A Family Or Neighborhood Book Club

A book club is a reading group, usually consisting of a number of people who read and talk about books based on a topic or an agreed-upon reading list. It’s common for book clubs to choose a specific book to read and discuss at the same time. Formal book clubs meet on a regular basis at a set location.

This sounds a bit daunting but with careful planning, you can get things going so easily.

Rather on a very small scale, a parent and child can form a book club, by reading the same book and chatting about it. What more, if you invite your cousins and friends? Just start small and grow

25. Try a Ballet, Dance Or Martial Arts Class – all for free

Lots of businesses running after-school and weekend clubs have been quick to adapt to the change and are offering online classes, with many being streamed for free. Good examples include:

The Facebook Group Online Classes For Kids is fast becoming a hub for virtual classes, with a number of different activities already on offer.

YouTube has endless classes are available for families to stream whenever they want – giving parents a much-needed immediate release for energetic children.

This has the benefit of giving structure to your day or weekend, you can make sure children get dressed and ready for the class as they would normally, only they are staying indoors for the session.

red heart on a old opened book

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

DEAR PARENTS . . .

26. Instill Organizational Skills – Establish ROUTINES

LEARNING AND MASTERING the skills of getting organized, staying focused, and seeing work through to the end will help High School students in just about everything they do. But this is not usually explicitly taught in High School, so our students can benefit from some parental guidance with organization and time-management skills.

Parents and guardians can help our High School students through a variety of ways by helping  them establish routines by . . .

  •  KEEPING  assignments and class information together in binders, notebooks, or folders that are organized by subject.
  • CREATING a calendar will help teens recognize upcoming deadlines and plan their time accordingly. Don’t forget to have your teen include non-academic commitments on the calendar, too.
  •  MAKING prioritized daily to-do lists, and to study and do homework in a well-lit, quiet, orderly workspace.
  • REMINDING your teen that when it comes to studying and homework, multitasking is a time-waster.
  • WORKING in an environment free of distractions like TV and mobile phones works best.

27. Make Time to Talk About School

Because many teens spend so much of the day outside the home — at school, extracurricular activities, jobs, or with peers — staying connected with them can be challenging for parents and guardians. While activities at school, new interests, and expanding social circles are central to the lives of High School students, parents and guardians are still their anchors for providing love, guidance, and support.

Make efforts to talk with your teen every day, so he or she knows that what goes on at school is important to you. When teens know their parents are interested in their academic lives, they’ll take school seriously as well.

Because communication is a two-way street, the way you talk and listen to your teen can influence how well he or she listens and responds. It’s important to listen carefully, make eye contact, and avoid multitasking while you chat.

Remember to talk with your teen, not at him or her.

Be sure to ask open-ended questions that go beyond “yes” or “no” answers.

28. Offer Help With Studying

Planning is key for helping your teen study while juggling assignments in multiple subjects. Since grades really count in high school, planning for studying is crucial for success, particularly when your teen’s time is taken up with extracurricular activities.

When there’s a lot to study, help your teen to break down tasks into smaller chunks and stick to the studying calendar schedule so he or she isn’t studying for multiple tests all in one night. Remind your teen to take notes in class, organize them by subject, and review them at home.

If grades are good, your teen may not need help studying. If grades begin to slip, however, it may be time to step in.

Most parents still need to help their teen with organization and studying — don’t think that teens can do this on their own just because they’re in High School!

29. Prepare a Meal or Special Dish

Food is one of our favorite ways to learn about any subject! This is an excellent time and way to learn about spices, foods, or cooking techniques that are popular in a specific location.

Food can also be a useful learning tool when studying history. Recipes and ingredients often change over time so preparing foods from a different time period can be a lot of fun.

BBC Good Food – It teaches kids to cook with the step-by-step lessons and recipes turning the little chefs with easy and fun cooking projects. They’ll love tasting their handiwork, too!

ground group growth hands

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

OUT & ABOUT IN THE COMMUNITY

30. Find A Cause You Care About

If you say that something is for a good cause, you mean that it is worth doing or giving to because it will help other people, for example by raising money for charity. The Raleigh International Bike Ride is open to anyone who wants to raise money for a good cause.

Find a cause you care about, and start thinking of ways to support that cause. Some of the good causes one can take part in include children and family services, youth development services, crisis services, shelter and homeless services, food banks, food pantries and food distribution; and caring for the elderly.

31. Volunteer In Your Community

Colleges would rather see continuity and commitment to a community service activity instead of a bunch of one-offs. Start now, and volunteer two hours a week through your senior year.

Volunteering doesn’t take any special skills or extensive experience – and there’s never a shortage of organizations looking for help.

Some local places which you can try include spending your Saturday mornings feeding animals at the animal shelter or national parks; food pantries and soup kitchens always use a helping hand organizing a local food drive, raising money, or simply handing out hot meals to those in need; and visiting  residents at nursing homes a few days a week. Red Cross offers an extensive list of positions that can help those in need and bolster your resume at the same time.

Thus, once you begin your volunteer position, don’t hesitate to offer help outside of your assigned job.

32. Improve Your Physical Health And Well-Being

You have more time at home  now, so introduce  yourself to some basic routines.

Start small and build up consistency by drinking more water and fewer sugary drinks; eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food; exercising regularly: You don’t have to become a gym member to exercise.

Lastly, get a good night’s sleep.

33. Build Or Fix Something And Spruce Up Your Bedroom

Fix a broken fan, build a computer, or make a table. These are skills that will come in handy in the future. What more, make your room  look tidy too!

You’ll get an immediate dose of interest by simply bringing in a plant,  rearranging your furniture layout, adding a mirror, hanging your favorite painting, print, poster, quilt, or collection of family photos wall art

20190802_152255WHAT MORE & OTHERS

34. Explore Outer Space With NASA

The NASA website is packed full of free activities and worksheets for students interested in outer space.

The NASA website is utterly astounding! Curiosity and exploration are vital to the human spirit and accepting the challenge of going deeper into space is an interesting adventure one would explore to.

35. Use Your Imagination

The sky’s the limit! Start a summer art project with friends to beautify a rundown area of your community. Pick up trash in your local park every Sunday. Colleges love to see collaboration, so try to spend your summer working with others versus only on solo projects.

FINALLY, BE GRATEFUL . . .

36. Write Thank-You Notes

Many people say “thank you” via text message or email. But few people write actual thank-you notes. This school holiday, become one of those people.

Make a list of the people who have helped you in one way or another the past semester: friends, teachers, relatives, and family members.

Write each of those people a thank-you note. Then either mail the note to them or give it to them in person.

Dear Reader, This is by any chance an exhaustive list you can do during this unprecedented time we are living in. You can be creative – thinking outside the box and come up with a lot more others. This is only the start.

Good luck in your endeavours.

BE EMPOWERED AND EXCEL

 

 

END OF YEAR LETTER TO MY SENIOR YEAR STUDENTS

As the academic year comes to an end, I want to spare a thought to our senior year students on reflecting and mapping the way ahead.

Time To Grow Up

To My SENIOR YEAR Students,

I’m truly thankful for all your smiles and hugs. I’m also grateful for all we have shared this academic year. Thanks for opening your hearts and letting me be part of your lives, but I’d especially like to thank you for helping me become a better educator. THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME FEEL THAT MY JOB IS NOT A JOB, BUT A PASSION.

Thanks to you, I love being a teacher more and more every day. Each of you has made a difference for me and I will never forget you.

This academic year, 2020-21:

*YOU have learned to use your voices to make positive changes as well as being leaders in your own unique way. I know this because you organized and took part in the debates and discussions.

* YOU have learned to care about justice and equality and I know this because you were inspired by the injustice and inequality you saw in our literature lessons: All My Sons, Of Mice And Men; Poetry; and the short stories we analysed.

* YOU have learned that there is more to this world than what exists inside of our school. I know this because of the way you have connected with other people and participating in many events around the school; as well as asking questions with an incredibly genuine interest to learn more about other parts of the world.

* YOU have learned to speak respectfully to people in power and still ask for things to change and I know this because you have written letters and sent them to the Administration – the people in charge of your education.

* YOU have learned to love books and I know this because I heard you excitedly whispering about them. We empathized with Larry and genuinely felt sorry for Lennie. Oh dear George – was it worth the effort to shoot your best mate?

* YOU have learned to see purpose and meaning in your writing and I know this because you asked me what we were going to do with every piece of writing for your exams. I replied to HUNDREDS of requests on different topics or needs.

* YOU have learned to be kind and I know this because you took such good care of each other. When someone was hurt, you made sure they are okay. When someone was sad, you went out of your way to make them smile. When someone was feeling excluded, you did whatever you could to let them know that they were welcome to join you.

* YOU have learned to be independent and I know this because you truly do not need me anymore.  You have so much strength, power, courage and brilliance inside of you and I know that you are more than ready to go out and change this world.

Love SignSo, while I am not nearly ready to let you go, I know that it is TIME.  I thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, for a most incredible year. I believe that I have learned more from all of you than you ever could have learned from me.

THANK YOU, CLASS OF 2021, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU, FOR BEING MY TEACHERS THIS YEAR.  You all have earned a very special place in my heart.

Please keep reading with deep thinking.

Please keep writing with passion.

And please keep living your lives with the kindness, compassion and brilliance that you have displayed throughout this entire year, despite its challenges.

I will always consider myself to be your teacher. I hope you will stay in touch through the coming years to let me share in your success.

With fond memories of each one of you, I remain,

Gift Chimbizi

PS: Life is an adventure . . . enjoy the ride. I wish you much happiness as you travel down life’s highway and hope you have few bumps along the way, but, perhaps, some interesting detours.

Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!!

INCREDIBLE WAYS TO HELP OUR STUDENTS & CHILDREN APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF WORK

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Are We Losing our Societal Norms About Work?

Work is something which is becoming less and less appreciated among our dear folks. Parents seem to think it is their duty to give their children everything they possibly can. Really, is that fine?

In this article, I am looking at:

  • Tips for Teaching About Work
  • Work Experience – A Case Study For Schools?

Some parents try to compensate for the time they spend at work rather than in the home by spoiling their children with material things. The effects of these actions on both parents and children are negative and are becoming a real problem.

If you have been handed everything all your life, consider some of the following points and maybe you can make some good changes in your life now which will affect the rest of your life.

I guess every parent has a good job teaching children the value of work and the value of their contribution. That being said, sometimes it is like pulling teeth to get our children to consistently do their weekly chores. So, lest you think our family is perfect, we struggle sometimes with getting them to complete their homework, or at times even finding their room in a mess.

Have we lost the opportunity to teach children in a real way, the value of working hard?

Tips for Teaching About Work

While we hope our children learn the intrinsic value of work, many of us struggle with that concept. What would we do with our time if we were independently wealthy? Many would not work much! So, we have to be creative and set an example for our children to follow as:

  • Work is honourable.
  • It is good therapy for most problems.
  • It is the antidote for worry.
  • It is the equalizer for deficiency of native endowment.
  • Work makes it possible for the average to approach genius. What we may lack in aptitude, we can make up for it in performance.

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Communicate About Work – Child psychologists recommend that parents share their experiences with work outside the home and talk about the personal benefits of working well. Parents would be well advised to talk about their successes at work and the personal satisfaction of performing well. When you get a raise or a bonus, talk about it with your children. Let them know there are internal and external rewards for a job well done.

Give Responsibility and Rewards – Teaching our students and our children to be successful in their delegated maintenance responsibilities is a bonus. When given duties and responsibilities over something, demonstrate it to them or even coach and clarify certain concepts to them on how to do it. Eventually, with some coaching and working side by side to allow a mentoring experience, OUR students and children will learn the value of responsibility and reward. Whether it is cutting the lawn, doing the dishes, the vacuuming or a cleaning their room, or cleaning their classroom, children need to learn responsibility and work first hand.

Teaching One on One – Most parents learn that the best way of teaching work is to work alongside our students and children. Too often, we put the chore chart up on the wall and move into our own projects without proper coaching and mentoring. Taking the time to work through projects and responsibilities together is the best teaching mode.

Personal Satisfaction. When we teach our children to invest their time and energy into something that requires hard work, it offers them a personal satisfaction they can only gain from experiencing work first hand.

Focus on Balance – Parents who have indulged their children and not yet taught much about work need to be careful in changing that mode. Just as “all play” children are a challenge, so are “all work” kids. The key is striking balance. Don’t go overboard in either direction.

Parents certainly have the responsibility for providing the basic necessities of life for their children, and many would argue that parents also have a responsibility to provide what joy in life they can for their children, but our students or children will never be fully able to appreciate the sacrifices their teachers and parents have made for them until they learn to work themselves.

Self-Denial – Teaching hard work also helps teach our children to think outside themselves and their own personal comfort all the time. Life is not about constantly playing and living a comfortable, leisurely life. In fact, the rewards of rest and recreation are far greater when work is included in a child’s day to day life.

Helping Your Child Get The Best Out Of School – For any work or task done, try to give encouragement and show appreciation of your child’s achievements, whether great or small, as this can help boost their confidence. Teach them basic organisation and time management skills so they are not overwhelmed with projects or homework.

Please check out my article on realising the benefits of potential in our children entitled:

Realising Your Full Potential – Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People

Be realistic and avoid putting your child under pressure by having over-high expectations. Let your child develop at their own pace, but if you do have concerns, please speak to them or seek professional advice.

Feedback and Criticism – Try to give feedback rather than criticism, eg: saying ‘that didn’t seem to work’ rather than ‘you got it wrong’. This helps them think about where they went wrong and how they can improve in future, rather than just feeling like a failure.

Work Ethic When we start our children young, we instill in them a strong work ethic. When we teach our children to work hard and do their work well, it will carry over as they become adults and get a job. Unfortunately, excellent work ethic is something that is sorely lacking today. Teach your child how to stand out as “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)

Benefits of work – Poverty is financial, but it’s also much more than that. A body that doesn’t work and exercise itself becomes unhealthy, unfit, and naturally bent towards laziness.

…a child left to himself shames his mother ~ (Proverbs 29:15)

As parents, when we think about responsibility and our roles as parents, there comes with it the reality of duty. Duty is not a dirty word. Duty is recognizing we have an obligation we are expected to uphold, whether we feel like it or not.

God has given us our children to care for, teach, nurture, discipline, and disciple. Are we all doing our duties?

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Work Experience – A Case Study For Schools?

Many schools across the globe are lacking in this development and concept about work experience. However, in UK schools, for instance, they have a statutory requirement and guidance for a period of work experience, or a more extended work placement for students. They have a core part of programmes for all post-16 students (from Grade 10/Year 10/Form 3) to Grade 13/Year 13/Form 6) whether following an academic or a technical curriculum to support them in developing their work readiness.

Alongside the guidance, the government also expects schools to offer high quality work experience as well as encouraging them to engage fully with their local employer and professional community. Schools have a Work Experience Coordinator, coordinating teams of students to help make arrangements for work.

The duration, timing and content of work experience placements always vary markedly between schools and by the student’s programme of study. Generally work placements range between 8 – 12 days with internships going for a month.

Work experience placements are understood to serve multiple purposes for our students, including:

  • experience of the world of work,
  • employability skills development and
  • experience in helping guide their future career decision-making.

The importance of experiencing the world of work and the need for students to develop and apply skills learnt during study programmes are essential. Once students have been placed with an employer, schools typically support students and monitor their progress through telephone calls and face-to-face visits.

Time To Grow Up

In my twelve years teaching in London, the impact of work-related activities were extremely beneficial to our students. We identified multiple benefits of work-related activities, with soft employability skills like communication and interpersonal skills; and increased confidence being the most beneficiaries among our students.

When our students and children are learning the values of work, both intrinsic and extrinsic, we will be instilling in them a life-long lesson. If you haven’t started yet, you need to start now.

Try it, dear folks, and the benefits will be astounding.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!