Students all over Arizona are back in school, and many of ’em are struggling to get back in the swing of things. But have no fear, Boomer is here with tips that’ll help you sail through the 2010–11 school year!
What’s Your School Year Resolution?
When it comes to school, we all have things we’d like to do better. So why not jot down a major goal or two and come up with a game plan that’ll get you there?
Wouldja like to read more? Are you struggling to master your math problems? Do you wanna be a better writer? Maybe you just want to make more friends and be better connected!
Having a “School Year Resolution” is a fine idea, but you also need to figure out how to achieve it!
For example, come up with a list of books you want to (or need to) read, and make sure to carve out reading time every week. Getting better at math might mean working extra problems from your teacher or even getting some tutoring! Good writing takes practice, practice, practice!
So snag opportunities to write poetry or short stories, make entries in your journal or
even be a Young Reporter for Bear !
And if you want to make new friends, think of joining a school club or a scout troop, or playing a team sport. That way, you can be around kids who share some of your interests.
A Good Attitude Goes a Long Way!
Kids who love to learn obviously have a big advantage over those who don’t. Being positive about school and about yourself can make a big difference!
“Confidence is important,” says Chantal Navratil, an outstanding seventh-grader at Rancho Solano Greenway. “If you think you’re going to do well, odds are that you are going to do a lot better than if you think you’re going to fail. ‘Fall down once, stand up twice’—that quote motivates me,” she explains.
“I really do like to go to school,” says Heather Gallozzi, a top-notch seventh-grader at Marshall Ranch Elementary. “Having a positive attitude, you can get farther than with a negative one.”
Take Some Chances & Challenge Yourself
School is about learnin’ and growin’. According to Penny Kotterman, Arizona’s Democratic candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, students need to push themselves when it comes to learning. “It’s absolutely a good idea to challenge yourself academically. It can be a risk, but one that can be well worth it,” Kotterman says.
Not only will it prepare you for your higher grade levels and beyond school, “it keeps you from being bored, and it keeps learning interesting,” she adds.
Get Organized & Get Your Homework Done!
You can rid yourself of a lot of stress if you come up with a system for staying organized and getting your homework done.
Some kids like to have a little fun at home or with friends before they DELVE into their schoolwork. Others like getting things done and out of the way before they take time for relaxation.
Not surprisingly, with a little ORGANIZATION, you’ll get your homework done faster, you won’t worry where your school stuff is, and you’ll have more time to have fun or catch some zzz’s!
Budget enough time to do your homework well and find a place in your home where you can study.
Heather likes doing homework on the couch. Chantal studies in her room upstairs. Both of these super students turn the TV off while they study!
Chantal often has three or more hours of homework a day. To keep up, she works on it
whenever she can—doing math problems in study hall, studying on the car ride home and then finishing things up at home. “I like to study in my room because it’s calm and it’s quiet, and I can focus more,” she points out. She likes starting with her toughest assignments and finishing with the easy ones.
Heather showers in the evening so there’s less to do in the morning. “I wake up about 7 a.m., get dressed, do my hair, put on my shoes and have a granola bar. I have to catch the bus by 8 a.m.,” she says.
Sometimes her student council meetings start at 7:30 a.m.!
Chantal lays out her uniform before going to bed. “I wake up at 6 a.m., about an hour and 15 minutes before school.” After breakfast, she checks over her homework and makes sure she’s ready for any tests that day.
Sleep & Eat Right
Didja know that being well rested and eating right can help you do well at school?
“I go to bed at 9 p.m. sharp. It’s really important (to get enough sleep),” Chantal points out. “We had a math test today, and if you don’t sleep and are out of it, it’s really difficult.” For breakfast, she likes oatmeal, a sandwich or eggs—anything with protein. For fruit, she likes eating bananas. Kotterman points out that older kids seem to be
able to operate with a little less sleep, but they should still stick to a regular sleep schedule. She adds that eating right and regular exercise also help you do well in school.
Get Help If You Need It!
Even top students can need help with certain subjects or schoolwork.
But you don’t need to hit the panic button! “Find an adult (whom you) trust and talk about the issues, and you should do that without delay,” Kotterman urges.
You can try a teacher, parent, aunt or uncle, counselor or a family friend— someone who can help you solve your problem before things get too bad.
Sandy Kennedy is the franchisee/owner of Sylvan Learning Centers in Tucson. Sylvan offers professional tutoring that’s tailored to help each child succeed in school and in
She recommends tutoring “when they start struggling with getting their homework done; when they start coming home saying, ‘I’m dumb—the other kids can do it and I can’t’; or when you see grades going down or they start not liking school.”
Sylvan works on the root of the problem for each child. It provides help for all grade levels in all the basic subjects, study skills and homework problems. It also helps kids go beyond, get ahead or get there faster. “We set their program up to build their confidence and to challenge them so they can do more than they thought they could,” Kennedy explains.
She points out that the largest group of tutors are actually classroom teachers!
Schools these days offer a lot more than just book learning, and Kotterman encourages kids to dive right in.
“Be involved in the school in some way other than just your academic coursework,” she
says. “Find something that you really enjoy doing— sometimes it’s music, sometimes
it’s sports, sometimes it’s art, or the speech and debate club.” Kids who get involved in those kinds of activities typically are much more successful.
Learn Outside the Classroom!
Whether you head to your local dairy or play a few notes at the new Musical Instrument Museum, there’s a lot of fun and learning to be had when you’re lucky enough to go on a field trip! Field trips ENERGIZE kids, learning and school spirit. Students can spread their wings and experience something that’s wild and new to them or gain a deep appreciation for something that most folks take for granted.
That’s why Boomer and Bear Essential News presents this year’s field trip guide (pages 14–22). But with schools facing major cutbacks across the state, funds for field trips have evaporated at a lot of schools. Families can help! Folks can donate directly to a school and specify what it goes toward AND receive a tax credit on their next Arizona tax return (up to $200 for a single taxpayer or up to $400 for married taxpayers who file jointly). You don’t even need to have kids at the school to donate and qualify for the tax credit. You just need to check with the school for the form and how to donate.
Visit www.ArizonaSchoolTaxCredit.com for more info. PTA’s also might help with field trip funds.
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