Thursday, 29 December 2016

Gifted Children and Bad Grades

What do you do if your gifted child’s grades start slipping, or if the great results you previously enjoyed begin dipping to a level of average or below? Has the child lost his spark? Are the parents at fault? Is the school letting him down? Any of these could be the causes, but the most common reason for gifted children to lose interest in their studies is that they are not being challenged in the right way. Gifted children are easily bored with the pace of normal school learning and either tune out or focus on “fitting in” so that they are more like their peers.

Parents Need To Take Control

Having a gifted child can be intimidating for the parents. They want to offer support and encourage but are afraid that their efforts will not meet the child’s expectations or needs. Because of this, they often allow the child to make his or her own decisions and channel energies and interests where they want to. This can be a big mistake. A gifted child is still a child and needs adult guidance. Allowing a child to chart his or her own academic course is giving too much power and placing a huge burden on a mind that is not mature enough to handle the pressure.

Children Need To Be Challenged

For a gifted child, underachieving is easy. He can put his feet up and match what his peers do. If this continues long enough, the innate ability will be blunted and the desire to achieve will be lost. All children are naturally curious and willing to accept challenges. However, if the challenge is too easy, the interest is lost. Schools, with large classes, must cater to the needs of the majority of the students. This means that, even with the best of intensions, there is no time or resources to create the challenges and learning paths that gifted children need. As already said, parents are often afraid of stepping in to fill the gap and if they do, they are usually not equipped to provide the special learning support that gifted children need. Instead of finding fault with the school system or indulging in guilt at not being able to do more for their children, parents need to find an effective solution to the problem.

The Tutoring Solution

A tutoring or learning center is an ideal way for a gifted child to regain his edge and reach his true potential. The individual attention and teaching by expert professionals will provide the child with the focused direction that he needs. The child-specific challenges that the tutors can offer will stimulate the child to start to excel again and this desire will carry over to the school where grades will once again rise to the top. If you have a gifted child whom you feel is not performing to his or her full potential, get in touch with a reputed, professional tutoring center that can offer the support and challenges your child needs to get back on top. Professional tutors will be happy to discuss a child’s specific needs with the parents and work on ways to meet those needs.

Monday, 26 December 2016

What are Equivalent Fractions?

There is a root word here to give a hint: Equi or equal. You know that a fraction has a top number (numerator) and a bottom number (denominator). If you multiply both of these by the same number, you will have an equivalent fraction! It is easy. You are just chopping up a fraction into smaller EQUAL parts:

That’s right, you multiply to get SMALLER parts.  That’s because the bigger the denominator is, the more parts there are, and they have to be smaller and smaller.

It is easier for most kids new to fractions to see equivalent fractions in charts or tables. Below is a basic equivalent fractions chart. Do you see that as the denominators get bigger, the pieces get smaller?

Another way to think about equivalent fractions is by looking at segments of circles:

Remember, you multiply the top (numerator) and bottom (denominator) by the same number to get smaller equal pieces:


And… you divide by the same number to get larger pieces:

Equivalent fractions activities for 4th grade and for 5th grade may require a quick recall of multiplication and division. Visuals as shown above and charts and tables can help as well as hands on activities with folding and cutting paper, and even domino games. Below is a handy equivalent fractions chart.

Note that the numbers across each row are equivalent to each other, because you are simply multiplying the numerators and denominators of the first fraction in column 1 by 1, then 2, then 3 and so on. Study this chart to see the patterns:

You can find a lot of activities and games online to teach equivalent fractions and other concepts in beginning fractions to help kids from year 6 through 5th grade. 

The following video can provide further details about equivalent fractions:    

For further information on this and other fractions concepts, visit:

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Fractions for Kids - What is a Fraction?

Pieces, pieces make a whole. What’s a “whole” – a bunch of pieces!If you drop a plate, it may break into a couple of pieces or shatter into many smaller pieces. Each of these pieces is a fraction of that plate before it broke. The larger the pieces, the fewer there are of them – you might be able to glue them back together.  But, if the plate shattered, you would have many smaller pieces, or fractions of the plate – maybe too hard to glue back together. You would just have to sweep them up.

What are the parts of a fraction?

Now you know that fractions are pieces of a whole, and that a fraction can be a big piece or a very tiny piece.  Examples of fractions can be shown with a pizza. If you cut a pizza exactly in half, you will have two big pieces, right?  Each piece is 1/2of the pizza.  

The “2” on the bottom tells us we have two pieces.
It is called the denominator.

The “1” on the top tells we have one of those pieces. 
                                     It is called the numerator.

If we cut the pizza into three equal pieces, each piece will be 1/3 of the pizza. The denominator is “3” to tell us how many pieces we have. If we eat one of these pieces, we will eat 1/3 of the pizza. If we eat 2 pieces, we will eat 2/3 of the pizza. The number on top is the numerator and tells us how many of those 3 pieces we are eating. If we want more than 3 of these pieces, we will have to get another pizza, right?

To learn more about beginning fractions, please watch “What is a Fraction?”

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Cyber-Bullying – A Terrifying Reality for Many

Bullying in school has always been an issue and can range from pranks to ostracism by cliques, to more aggressive emotional and even physical abuse. I remember well in the 8th grade when Dee (bigger and faster than me), would decide she liked my lunch better. Going hungry for me was not nearly as bad as the painful arm-twisting (out of sight and earshot of teachers) I would get when she demanded it. I would dread lunchtime and suffered many symptoms that we now acknowledge as stress.  Fortunately, for me, this ended with the school year when we moved.

Now consider the onslaught of cyber-bullying. The level of cruelty from behind the anonymous screens of laptops, notebooks and phones knows no bounds – at least not yet.  Parents, teachers, administrators and communities are coming together to figure ways to control, to monitor and attempt to mitigate the damages from these offenses. However, the damage has been done to so many and these damages are becoming more serious and more frequent.

This article is not about cyber-bullying itself, but about examples of students who have suffered and managed to conquer the bullying for themselves.  They have come up from the depths of embarrassment, loneliness, hopelessness, depression and fear by their bootstraps and turned an ugly world into something positive and strong.  This is what all kids should focus on – you are not alone, in fact you are with the 87% of kids who have witnessed cyber-bullying and the whopping third of pre-teens and teens who have been victims (

First know that we are all in this together – whatever is hurting you is also hurting many, many others.  And should you be tempted to respond in kind (or worse), please know there is no good outcome.  Whatever your response, it can encourage the bullies and perpetuate the downward spiral.  Instead of responding, record!  Keep every post, tweet and email for your records and know you are building your case. And yes, you will present your case to those who not only care about you, but are very concerned and ready to tackle this growing problem.

Here are some stories of kids who did this. They took the abusive bullying in a positive direction to help themselves, help other victims and even the bullies (one came forward and apologized).


BenniCinkle rose to internet fame in March, 2011 when she appeared in the “Friday” music video that went viral on the Internet. Immediately after the “Friday” video began to spread, Benni became a target for aggressive online bullying. Instead of reacting defensively or shying away, she met her critics with wit and candor. Soon, anonymous bullies became die-hard fans, and Benni’s online reputation as a fun, approachable, and down-to-earth teen began to grow. Aware that she had stumbled upon a platform that offered international reach, Benni decided to use the attention to raise awareness for the causes she cares about most.(


“… but as her cell phone continued to vibrate with awful texts, an idea came to Nicole: She could stop this by controlling people’s access to her.

She deleted her Facebook account. She vowed to ignore mean texts. That was difficult, but not responding became easier than trying to argue with bullies who were never going to stop harassing her. And Nicole figured out how never to read a hateful text. “I know who is likely to send me something hurtful, so when I see that a message is from one of those people, I delete it before reading it,” she says.

But ignoring the bullying wasn’t enough. By then, Nicole’s mother was so horrified about her daughter’s ordeal that she began educating herself about cyber-bullying. Shawn Edgington spoke at schools about the issue, but soon realized that kids wanted to hear about cyber-bullying from a teen.

Would Nicole want to be that teen? She jumped at the opportunity. For her, there was no better way to get even with her tormenters than by telling the world what she had endured and what she had learned. Nicole would be helping other teen victims of cyber-bullying.

Shawn formed the Great American NO BULL Challenge, with Nicole as the campaign’s spokesperson. Speaking to kids about her cyber-bullying experience has been healing for Nicole.“This has allowed me to stop running from my past,” Nicole says. “Instead of letting others tear me down, I’m able to live my life to the fullest while inspiring others to do the same. I am seeing how powerful it can be to stand up to cyberbullies.”

And from 15 year old Ally Del Monte:

But just as social media can be used for ill, it is an outlet that Ally is now using to spread a positive message. This year, she claims, she has talked 67 people out of committing suicide. She has started an anti-bullying campaign online called #bebrave because it was bravery, she said, that saw her through her darkest times.

"My story is not for me. It's to help other people," she said. "By sharing my story, I hope I can show kids that it does get better."


It is very encouraging to see these teens stand up to the bullying, not in a combative way, but in a way that has an impact on both stopping its effects on the victim and many times in stopping the bullying itself. By speaking out and supporting others to do the same, the victims can take control of this situation, expose the bullies for who they are – typically low self-esteem kids who want to belong somewhere and think that this behavior will make them really cool.

Here are a few tips for parents whether or not you suspect your child may be a victim:

1. Talk about tips and strategies to staying safe if they encounter a bully (in person or online).
2. Give them tips about how to walk away, or stand up for themselves by confidently saying "stop."
3. Have open and honest communication.
4. Encourage them to do what they love and keep their minds off the hurtful words or physical actions.
5. Tell them they aren't alone and that they can find friends to help them through their problems.
6. Compliment them and encourage them to compliment others.
7. Remind them that it gets better.

There are hundreds of helpful websites regarding cyber-bullying, its sources, its effects, its prevention and its recovery. Teachers, administrators and counselors are aware and ready to help. Perhaps, the most important underlying message here is in the following quote: