Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Payton's Picnic: A Homemade First Birthday

We're getting ready for Payton's second birthday, and since I share so many pictures of her on my Kids Under Construction Instagram account, I thought I'd share some of the pictures from her first birthday with all of you.

The ever-fabulous Heather Myers from river&bridge designed all of the paper goods, her amazing cake came from Sweet and Saucy, and our favorite photographer, Heidi Bolles, captured the details of her party beautifully.

To see more pictures and read more about her party, hop on over to my personal blog by clicking here

I hope you're all enjoying summer picnics in this beautiful weather!


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Workshop Schedule and FAQ

We've got lots of you asking questions about our group workshops this summer, so we thought we'd compile a list of your most frequently asked questions. You can also view this information on our website by clicking HERE. If you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to contact us! Here's a look at our schedule this summer:

How do I sign up for a workshop?
To enroll your student(s) in a workshop, click on our workshop page for the grade span that you are looking for (clock here for elementary school, here for middle school, and here for high school). Find the workshop that you'd like to enroll in, and click on the icon for that workshop. A window will pop up that will allow you to select the sessions that are available. For our four week sessions, there will be 2 date spans to choose from. For our nine week sessions, there will only be one. Once you've selected your dates, click "enroll". Repeat this same process for every workshop that you'd like to enroll in. Once you've added all of your workshops, click on the black "tuition" button on the upper right part of your screen. This will take you to a PayPal screen, which gives you the option to securely pay using your PayPal account, a debit card, or a credit card. Once we receive your payment, we will contact you to answer any other questions you might have.

How come some of the workshops are 4 weeks, and others are 9 weeks?
Our four week workshops are designed to give students academic support and enrichment without committing to workshops for the entire summer. We offer a wide variety of workshops that (hopefully) appeal to everyone's interests and schedules. Our nine week workshops run throughout the summer so that we can really dive into some amazing curriculum.

I love this workshop, but it doesn't work with my schedule. What are my options?
If you see a workshop that you LOVE, but it doesn't work with your schedule, shoot us an email and let us know. We'll try our best to find a time that works for you and fill it with other students. If you know of three other students that would like to join you, we'll give you a 20% discount on your enrollment. Contact us for more details!

Why is there such a wide grade span for some of these workshops?
Within a grade-level classroom, there are always students with different abilities. Some students in third grade are at a second grade reading level, while others are at a fourth grade reading level. Some second graders have mastered multiplication facts, while some fifth graders struggle with subtraction facts. The curriculum and activities that we have planned for each workshop are developmentally appropriate for the grade levels indicated. We like to offer our students a variety of workshops to choose from, and combining grade levels with similar abilities allows us time to offer more workshops. Once students begin to enroll in our workshops, we take a look at the students, their abilities, and their interests, and we tailor our workshops to them. In our science workshops, for example, we have several activities that we love doing with students. If we end up with mostly primary students, we use the activities that are best suited for them. If we end up with a wide variety of grade levels, we can bring in another instructor to break the workshop into 2 smaller groups. You'd be surprised, though, to see how excited students are to work with older or younger students. In our workshops, grade levels are just a number. We can promise you that we will work hard to ensure that your student, regardless of their abilities, will participate in activities that are appropriate, meaningful, and interesting.

How many students are in each workshop?​
We will only enroll up to 8 students in a workshop, but we will offer a workshop with as few as 3 students enrolled.

Group Workshop Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions we get asked most frequently about our workshops. If you have additional questions, don't hesitate to call us. We are here to help, and we'd love the chance to help you select the workshop that's just right for your student(s).

Will any of these workshops be available again?
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Can I enroll my student(s) in workshops that meet back-to-back?
Yes! Our summer workshop schedule is designed to offer back-to-back workshops. We have snacks and water bottles available to all students free of charge, and we offer lunch for an additional fee to students on Mondays from 11:30 am-12:00 pm, Wednesdays from 11:30 am-12:00 pm, and Thursdays from 12:00 pm-12:30 pm. If your student is enrolled in our K-1 Bookworms, K-2 Math Potholes, Addition/Subtraction Stacks of Facts, Seven Habits of Happy Kids, 4-5 Bookworms, and/or Multiplication/Division Stacks of Facts workshops, you can purchase lunch for them before, between, or after their workshop(s) during the times stated above.

What happens if we have to miss one of the workshop sessions?
If you are able to give us at LEAST 24 hours notice, we can try to work with you. For our four week sessions, you can attend one workshop (of equal or fewer minutes) in another session. For our nine week sessions, you can reschedule one thirty minute one-on-one session with the instructor. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer any refunds or reschedules of any kind if we do not have 24 hours notice. Please double check your calendars for vacations, family events, and any other potential conflicts BEFORE enrolling in a workshop.

Do your four week workshops repeat the same curriculum and activities?
Each four week workshop will have different curriculum and activities. For example, if you have a child that is really interested marine biology, each four week workshop will be different. We'd love to have your students join us for both workshops!

How will my first grader learn appropriately while in the same small group as a fifth grader?
It might help to think of our workshops as exercise classes for your brain: when you take a group fitness class, the instructor gives you modifications for beginners and for more advanced athletes. Our workshops are designed in a similar manner. Students use many of the same strategies when they read. First and fifth graders both read to find the main idea and supporting details, but they do so with texts at different reading levels. For our reading workshops, we are able to teach the same strategies as a group while allowing students to read and practice them at their own level. If there is a large discrepancy in abilities within one workshop, we can bring in another instructor to split the group up. The new Common Core math standards are scaffolded so that each standard increases in depth and complexity as students progress through different grade levels. We've noticed that ALL students, regardless of grade level, are really struggling with explaining and proving their mathematical reasoning this year. Our potholes workshops are designed to give students strategies and practice with this task. We can easily have all students work with geometric shapes at the same time. Our first graders might be counting faces and vertices, while our fifth graders might be making geometric nets.

My 6th grader still needs help with basic math facts. Can he enroll in a younger workshop?
If you have a student that needs (or is interested in) a workshop that is outside of the grade levels, give us a call so that we can help you decide what the best fit is. In LBUSD, students need to be proficient in addition and subtraction facts by the end of second grade, and proficient in multiplication and division by the end of fourth grade. If students to do not meet these benchmarks, they will be recommended for retention UNLESS they have an IEP or a 504. If you have a student in 6th grade that that struggles with math facts, our one-on-one instruction might be better suited to accommodate his needs than a group workshop. IF YOU HAVE A STUDENT THAT IS INTERESTED IN A WORKSHOP THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE HIS/HER GRADE LEVEL, PLEASE LET US KNOW SO THAT WE CAN SET SOMETHING UP.

I see the book club is for 6th-8th graders. My child is entering 7th grade but reads at a 5th grade level. Will books be chosen for their reading level or their grade level?
Our book club books are chosen according to their grade level. We have a few books in mind, and we will post the titles, as well as the reading levels, on our website once they are set in stone. We recommend choosing a book club that is for their reading level, therefore I'd recommend the Bookworms 4-5 workshop for your 7th grader.

Do students just practice flashcards in your math facts workshops?
No! Most students that struggle learning math facts have already tried using flashcards. In our math facts workshops, we focus on finding number patterns, using memorization techniques, and understanding how numbers work to memorize math facts. You can't memorize something that you don't understand, so we don't use flashcards until our students understand how numbers work.

We hope you'll join us!