Archive for the ‘education’ Category

posted by | on education | No comments

It’s back-to-school — and for some of our children MATH presents all kinds of anxiety. AJGpr client, educational consultant, Angelina Arrington, founder of Academic Savvy – offers this advice in Today’s Parent — It All Adds Up: Five simple ways parents can make a big difference with math learning. Enjoy her “savvy” advice.


In all my years of teaching, the subject that has seemed to cause the most anxiety amongst parents is math. Hands down, I’ve received most of my panicked phone calls and frustrated emails because a parent felt ill equipped to assist with homework or could not explain math the way the teacher did earlier that day. My philosophy has always been to help families keep things simple. Life is complicated enough with school, activities, family time, and trying to stay sane in the midst of it all.

All children can be successful mathematical thinkers, and mathematics is meaningful when it is varied, rich, and rooted in real problems and applications. With a few, uncomplicated additions to your routine, you can make a significant impact on how comfortable your child is with math. The key is to try one thing, just one, until it becomes second nature, and then build from there. Here are a few easy activities to add to your routine to boost math confidence:

1) Brush up on your math skills and have a Positive Attitude about Math

Some of us don’t remember long division, and converting fractions to decimals is out of the question. Remember the phrase “please excuse my dear aunt sally”? If Order of Operations didn’t come to mind, you might need to brush up on your math skills. Check out YouTube for useful, short clips on problem solving. Sit with your child’s teacher for a review session if necessary. Visit school or volunteer; most teachers are happy to have you help with a lesson. Some schools even sponsor Family Math Night or other activities where families can learn math skills together. Most importantly, never say that you aren’t good at math no matter how unequipped you may feel! You are your children’s model for what is possible, and they might take your words to heart. If you struggle with math and money, let them see you work at overcoming your math challenges. In this case, it is absolutely true that they will do as you DO, not as you say.

2) Practice makes perfect

Familiarity and repetition are keys to success in math. Creating an evening routine to practice math concepts can help things go smoothly at school. A typical routine should include reviewing basic math facts such addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fraction-decimal-percent equivalents in addition to the completion of homework. This need not take more than ten minutes and can be accomplished through card games or child-friendly online tools or apps. Treat math facts in the same manner as a spelling word list: tackling a bit each day can lead to big payoffs.

3) Play math games and solve puzzles

Games that involve mathematical thinking can also help reinforce what your child learns at school. Consider games such as chess, checkers, and backgammon to work on analytical thinking skills. Games such as Uno help reinforce numeracy skills for younger children, while Monopoly helps school-age children of all ages learn how to count money and count by fives and tens. Puzzles can help with the development of spatial skills and problem solving, and according to research being conducted by the National Science Foundation, could lead to more interest and success in STEM-related fields.

4) Cook Together

Cooking helps reinforce fractions and equivalents. Choose a simple recipe to try with your child when you are free to take your time and make a mess! Be sure to read the equivalent measurement section to help better understand the need for and use of the different size measuring cups. Good Housekeeping and The Joy of Cooking have very good explanations of equivalencies. To make the activity more challenging, try making a dish using only a 1/4 cup, a 1/3 cup, and a teaspoon!

5) Create a math-rich daily life

Whenever you find yourself using math in your daily lives, bring attention to it and discuss math’s usefulness in real-life situations. Encourage your child to experiment with and use everyday math tools such as rulers, tape measures, measuring cups and spoons, clocks and calculators. Analog clocks are helpful in understanding halves and quarters, and its a neat way to learn how to count by five. Place one in the kitchen or other high-traffic area in your home.

Your math routine need not be complicated: simple routines make a measurable difference. Ask your child’s teacher for other suggestions, and use the many resources available to you on the Internet. Most importantly, model using math everyday!

Angelina Arrington is an educational consultant and founder of Academic Savvy (



posted by | on education, parenting, social media | No comments

AJGpr client, educational consultant Angelina Arrington, Founder of Academic Savvy, has just posted her second blog installation in her Summer Savvy Series to kids learning and having fun during the summer break when statistics shows that math and reading levels drop during these months.  Here is Part 2.

Summer Savvy Part 2: Your Kitchen: The perfect spot for family fun and summer learning!

When I was growing up, our summers meant lazy days spent playing softball at the park, swimming at the local public pool, helping my school teacher mother prepare her classroom for the fall, following my grandmother around the kitchen, and running around outside with other kids from the block until the street lights came on. July and August were filled with all sorts of adventures, and my friends and I returned to school in September with plenty of stories to tell. Cooking and experimenting with food was one of my favorite activities. I’ve been fiddling around the kitchen since I was about seven. One of my early specialties was cinnamon toast, and I eventually graduated to lemon cakes and peach cobblers under the tutelage of my grandmother. Those summer days acting as her sous chef are still some of my fondest memories.

Summer is the perfect time to get in the kitchen and whip something up with your kids! It can be challenging for families to find the energy to cook together during the school year. After a full day at work and school, sports practice, and tutoring, oftentimes the family is running on empty. Use the summer break to slow the pace and create fantastic memories right in your kitchen. Parents, your kitchen can transform into a great science lab and math workshop. Include you kids in the many skills to be learned while working away at the kitchen counter: measurements, fractions, categorizing lists, learning to tell time, states of matter, making hypotheses, and much more.

The most important outcome of cooking with your children, however, is the time spent together as a family being creative and sharing ideas and lots of laughs. So, get out your measuring cups and spoons, cookie sheets, and rolling pins, grab fresh fruit, almonds and rainbow sprinkles, don an apron (or a lab coat if you’re feeling adventurous), and turn on some fun tunes. The Internet is chocked full of recipes for all ages, and I’ve listed a few simple recipes below that make a big splash with school-age children. Bon appétit!

Homemade Ice Cream in a Coffee Can

Tips and recipes for baking cookies with kids

Tips and recipes for making popsicles with kids

Homemade Popsicle Recipes

posted by | on education, parenting, social media, web | No comments

AJGpr has just added another expert to their client list, educational consultant, Angelina Arrington, founder of Academic Savvy.

In addition to the educational consulting and academic planning she provides for parents, Angelina also blogs about all sort  common sense and balanced advice for parents trying to navigate the often-complex path to helping their children achieve educational success.  She is an expert at guiding parents to “optimize” their child’s potential in and out of school.

With the recent launch of her educational consulting firm, Academic Savvy, Angelina has posted the first of a blog series called Summer Savvy. This blog series is meant to help parents find fun things to do with kids over the summer that also keep them learning.  Here (and below) is first, entry How to Keep Kids Engaged, Learning, and Having Fun Over the Summer.



Summer Savvy Part 1: How to Keep Kids Engaged, Learning, and Having Fun All Summer

With school out and summer fast approaching, parents often start thinking of what activities they can do to keep their kids engaged, thinking, and having fun. While kids need summer time to disengage from schoolwork and just be kids, its also important for parents to keep children intellectually engaged throughout summer. Studies show that students lose months of reading and math skills over summer vacation, a phenomenon known as Summer Math Loss. In fact, research indicates that most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. (Cooper, 1996).

Academic Savvy offers many creative “learning” activities for parents to do with their kids over the summer. Below is the first of a three-part series beginning with math fun.

Summer Savvy Part 1: Grocery Store Math

Grocery shopping is one of the best examples of a place where math is real. It is a great place for practicing estimation, numeracy, mental math, comparing shapes, and measurement, just to name a few. By allowing your children to actively participate in weighing, counting, and figuring prices per pound, you are reinforcing abstract skills learned in class within a real-life context. Next time you’re at the store, try the following activities with your child:

Rounding Up/Down and Mental Math – as you place items in your cart, have your child round up or down to the nearest dollar, then keep a mental tab of the total cost of your purchase.

Using a Calculator – as you place items in your cart, have your child round up or down to the nearest dollar, then add or subtract items to keep a tab of the total cost. Right before you reach the register, have your child calculate the sales tax as well.

Recognizing Numbers – for kids ages 3-6, playing a number recognition game is a great way to reinforce numeracy. As you shop, call out different numbers, and ask your child to find it on the shelves or on products.

Identifying Shapes – for kids of all ages, this activity will help reinforce geometry skills. As you shop, call out a shape, for example a square, and ask your child to find other items shaped just like it.

Weighing Produce and Calculating Cost – while shopping in the produce section, you can ask your children to predict how heavy items are or if one item is going to be heavier than another. Older children can use the price per pound to calculate the total cost of an item.

These are just a few of the things you can do with your children this summer to avoid summer learning loss. Here are a few links below to other sites that have wonderful suggestions and activities to help your kids have a fun and productive summer.