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Education and Careers
Updated: 10 min 2 sec ago

Teachers: Tips to bring classroom energy levels back to normal after break

Fri, 01/16/2015 - 12:00am

(BPT) - The start of the spring semester in the classroom is a great time for teachers to refresh the room so all learning goals can be accomplished before the end of the year. Sometimes a refresh involves disinfecting everything to help students stay healthy. Perhaps this year's refresh even involves incorporating some new decor and bright colors. This semester, help your students stay energized all spring long, right up until the final bell rings for summer break:

1. Give the classroom new decorations to celebrate the upcoming spring events – The calendar is full of great educational moments during the winter and spring months. From Learn to Read month in February to Arbor Day in April, you can decorate the walls in your classroom with educational materials to help students look forward to each celebration.

Melissa Taylor of the blog Imagination Soup recommends you ask parents to help you out by bringing in old magazine articles celebrating the different holidays. You can find great quotes and photos inside to pin on bulletin boards, helping students understand each holiday’s importance.

Another idea includes posting colorful posters with fun facts about each of the holidays or events. These teaching decorations will be a hit with the students and aid you in presenting the importance of events like President's Day and Black History Month.

2. Ask students for decorating help by assigning them educational projects related to the time of the year. For example, set up a reading corner of the room and have each student create and decorate a flower to turn the corner into a cozy garden space. Your crayons and colored pencils are probably well-used from the fall semester, so use the Staples Teacher Rewards program to refresh your stock. This program gives participating teachers up to 10 percent back on teaching and art supplies. With scissors, glue sticks and Scotch tape all restocked, your students won't have any roadblocks to keep them from expressing their creativity with the classroom work you assign.

3. Add some cozy factors in the classroom to brighten the last few months of winter. Taylor recommends bringing in rugs, pillows and lamps for extra warmth to help energize the students and make the room feel warm and friendly.

4. Between the winter weather, childhood illnesses and glitter that is so prevalent during the holiday season, your classroom may need help getting rid of the germs. Be sure to restock all your supplies, like Purell Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes. Both are available at Staples so you can quickly attack germs and help your students – and yourself – stay healthy throughout the year. Make it fun for your students with games, like singing the song, "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," while washing hands with soap and water, or challenging your students to see who can clean their desktop the fastest using a Lysol wipe.

There are only a few short months of school left, which means you have limited time to help students learn everything they need to so they can advance to the next level. If energy is falling in the new calendar year, do what you can with classroom supplies and decorations to revive them for an awesome classroom experience.

Categories: Lifestyle

Five essential elements that should be in every adult student's tool kit

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 12:00am

(BPT) - The face of the average college student is changing, with more working adults heading back to school to complete degrees and enhance their careers. Being an adult learner means bringing life experience to the table, but it also means juggling more responsibilities alongside coursework – including working, managing a home and family commitments. That’s why there are five essential elements that every adult learner should have in their arsenal of tools to support educational success.

1. Technology
Whether you’re attending class on campus or obtaining an education through online study, the right technology can help streamline the learning process. In addition to a quality computer and mobile device, it’s smart to brush up on the basic software programs you’ll use regularly in class. Online tutorials and free classes at your local library help ensure that your technical skills are ready when class starts.

2. Tutor
Students may find certain course topics more challenging than others, and having a tutor at your disposal can make a big difference in keeping up with more difficult curriculums. “Hiring an independent tutor can be expensive, so be sure to research colleges that offer tutoring services at no extra cost,” says Tracy Lorenz, president of Western International University. “At West we provide students with complimentary, one-to-one interactive tutoring sessions. These are available online in real-time, 24/7 – which is particularly important to adult learners.” Learn more at

3. Time-management tools
Adult learners must divide their time between many different demands. To cut the chaos, research smart time-management tools that can keep you organized every day. Apps and online calendars are ideal and many times can be synced with the schedules of other family members, so everyone knows the tasks for the day and you don’t risk missing a project deadline or your child’s soccer game.

4. Writing resources
No matter what field of study you decide to pursue, you will be doing a lot of writing to complete your college degree. Having papers reviewed prior to submitting them can help reduce errors and improve grades. The West Writing Center offers current West students tools for success with their writing. Resources are provided to assist with organization, structure, style, grammar, and formatting guidelines for citations and references. In addition, students can have their papers reviewed during an interactive tutoring session and receive immediate feedback prior to turning in the assignment.

5. Support system
Being a working adult who is also a student can be complex, which is why having a support system in place can make a big difference. It’s important to have family and friends who are encouraging and available to lend a helpful hand – whether that means picking up the kids from school, helping you brainstorm ideas for an upcoming paper or simply offering to listen. Having a solid support system is the last essential component that should be in every adult student’s toolkit.

“Higher education is evolving and more adults are working while attending college,” says Lorenz. “With desire, dedication and the right resources, getting a degree and career-relevant skills can be a fulfilling process that helps boost career and personal fulfillment in the future.”

Categories: Lifestyle
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