So much news!
We’ve been up and running since September 8th, and, kids are continuing to enroll!
Our academic program, full-time enrollment as well as single courses for grades Kindergarten-8, takes place during US/Canada school hours.
We continue to offer tutoring as well as extracurricular activities for kids & adults. Visit our website and click the Programs tab for more information about all our programs.
What’s Happening in the Access Possibilities School?
In this newsletter, you’ll find…
- Quote of the Month
- Message from a Teacher
- Tips and Tools for School
- A Sneak Peek into the Classroom
- Debunking Myths of Learning
- Extracurricular Classes
- Quick Links
We would love this newsletter to be interactive. Please send us an email at email@example.com with your questions, ideas, wishes, stories, successes, curiosities.
Quote of the Month
“We are in love with this school! Thank you very much!” Mother of 9 and 11 year old siblings, our most recently enrolled students, after Day 1.
Message from a Teacher
Recently, I was visiting family and friends in New York, where I used to live. I hadn’t seen them in a while. They were all so curious about me and what I’ve been up to! “What do you mean you’re teaching online? What is that? What does that mean? How does it work?”
“It’s amazing!” I told them.
I told them about the kids, and how smart, curious and awesome they are! I am so grateful for these courageous kids; for their willingness to be among our first students, their enthusiasm for learning, their excitement to begin class early (one of them asked and got us to start math 15 minutes earlier!), and for the speed at which they all learn, including those who have been told they aren’t good at a particular subject! No such thing! I have a 7th grade student who began the school year functioning in math at a 3rd grade level and who now functions at grade level!
In another class, the kids are all at very different levels. I can have them all online at the same time and work with each of them separately, at their own level.
“So what is it like?” they asked. “What’s the actual teaching like?”
The classroom is totally interactive, so I can see the kids and they can see me, and, they can see each other. Basically anything I can do on my computer, I can do with them. We can write documents in Word together, we can research topics, watch educational videos and draw in Photoshop or on the whiteboard. And we do many activities off line as well.
We have so much fun exploring what’s possible with teaching online. In addition to discovering new ways to make learning math fun, we’ve done things like build tornadoes in water bottles, make our own virtual volcanoes and learn about Ooobleck (non-Newtonian fluids). The list goes on!
Click here for Oobleck video
Every day is a new adventure. I keep asking myself, “How did I get so lucky?” and “How does it get any better?”
And it does! I love it!
~Adelle King, Teacher
Tips and Tools for School
Pop the Bubble
As a teacher for many years, I have had children in my classes who decided they couldn’t do certain things. An activity I created that worked magically on entire classes is called Pop the Bubble.
When kids have difficulty with a skill, whether it’s a physical skill or an academic skill, many of them reach the conclusion that they don’t have the ability to perform in that area. I often hear, “I’m not good at this”, or “I can’t”. At a very young age they are defined by others and then define themselves as being bad at math, not athletic, shy, a poor reader, or hating to write.
Those statements about themselves and about their abilities, and the underlying beliefs that fuel the statements, are what keep them from being able to change all of that.
They don’t believe that anything like that can ever change. Patterns are then created from those statements and beliefs, which repeat over and over, year after year, and become part of what they consider to be their identity.
For younger children, one way to defuse those beliefs and to open the door to different possibilities is the activity, Pop the Bubble.
This can be a group activity, or children can do it by themselves.
- Have the children stretch their arms in front of them, forming a circle with their hands, so that arms and hands are in the shape of a bubble.
- This can be called their empty bubble.
- Then ask them to take everything they’ve decided they can’t do, and all the judgments they have about themselves as a result, and put them in the bubble.
- Have them fill up the bubble.
- Be sure to include how they feel about it, what happens with their body when they think about not being able to do it, what everybody else says and thinks about them.
- Then count to 3.
- And on 3, they POP their bubble by clapping their hands together.
It’s a wonderful way for kids to let go of beliefs that limit them. It teaches them to be aware of those points of view and to be aware of the things they say to themselves that don’t allow them to change something that isn’t working. It gives them the sense that they can move beyond all of that.
And, it works! Like magic! The beliefs really do fall away!
Try it out! Play with it!
Let us know!
Christine DiDomenico, Principal
A Sneak Peek into the Classroom
The Joy of Teaching
Teaching at Access Possibilities School is not what I thought it would be.
One of the worries many teachers have is that their students will be disengaged and will not want to learn. Teachers end up feeling as if they have to fight the kids in order to get the kids to learn what they are supposed to be teaching them, and, if they are not able to do that, they are failures as teachers.
I thought our students would be excited to be in our school! And, further, I thought that they would know what they wanted to do and that they would tell me!
This was not the case!
Our students knew they did not want to go to their regular school. And, they especially did not want someone telling them what to do.
Come to find out, nobody had ever asked them before what they did want to do.
So when I asked them, I got blank stares! For days!
What did I do?
I asked questions. Lots of questions!
And I waited! The waiting was the hardest part.
Was it uncomfortable? Yes! Did I do everything I could to find things that might interest them? Absolutely! Did it work? No!
So I kept talking to them, asking them questions.
And, I stopped making myself wrong.
The minute I did that, everything changed.
I waited. And, boy was the wait worth it.
- Seeing their smiles when the roman lamps they made with their own hands lit up.
- Watching their faces brighten with joy, as the box castles they made became an interactive engineering playground, for them and for their cats.
- Listening, as the girl who hates to write, amazes her classmates with a story filled with fabulous plot twists.
And best of all is empowering them to learn for the fun of learning, without having to worry about whether they are right or wrong.
Learning for the joy of it … priceless!
Teaching at the Access Possibilities School has been a gift beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
~Simone Padur, Teacher
Click here to make your own Roman lamp at home.
Debunking Myths of Learning
Myth: My child is not good at math
It’s not that they are not good at math. It’s that they probably missed a basic math concept along the way and because of that, they have been struggling ever since.
Math is a subject that builds from one grade to the next. It matters what you learn in kindergarten, because you are constantly building on the same skills, from one grade to the next.
Our everyday number system is a Base 10 number system. It has 10 digits. It is so basic that most people do not even know they learned it in school. Take as an example counting blocks, the kind of blocks that are in preschools and elementary schools. These counting blocks are math manipulatives, and they are designed to teach kids about our number system. We use the Arabic number system, which is a Base 10 number system.
The Base 10 system is different from the Roman numeral system, which has more characters and is less efficient. And, Base 10 is different from the Binary system, which is the language of computers. Base 10 is literally the numbers we use and how they work. If a child is having a hard time with the concept of carrying, while adding or regrouping numbers, it’s a good indication they don’t understand the number system.
And, if they don’t grasp the number system, they will struggle with addition, subtraction and multiplication, and, pretty much anything we call math.
Math is about manipulating numbers and if you don’t understand what the numbers are and how they work, it’s going to be more difficult for you.
If a child is struggling with math, a good strategy is to start with the basics. When you do that, they can quickly move through what they actually do know, and it allows you to identify where they are confused and what information they are missing. Then you can fill in the gaps, building their confidence and their skill set, and allowing them to move forward pretty quickly.
I’ve seen it work time and time again. Kids who function several grades below their grade level are able to catch up within a matter of weeks.
If each year, every math class started at the beginning and fast-forwarded through the easy parts, it would make learning the new math concepts much easier.
If your child struggles with math, what if you could take them back to the basics?
~Adelle King, Teacher
For Kids & Adults
Conscious Benevolent Leadership: Do you want to discover a totally different way of looking at creating business? Would you like to find a new approach to leadership that creates a greater difference and generates more possibilities in businesses as well as in people’s lives and on the planet? Join Simone Milasas and Steven & Chutisa Bowman for a telecall over 3 days, December 15-17.
Spanish 101: Have you always desired to learn Spanish and not known when or how to begin? Have you tried other classes, and, gotten bored, or simply not learned it? What if there was an easier and more fun way to learn a language? New sessions with Sylvia Puentes about to begin Jan 4 2016.
Intro to Google Apps: Gmail, Calendar & Drive: Do you use Google applications for your personal or business organization or would you like to? Starting Jan 11th, with Adelle King
Click here to view more details on all our class listings at Access Possibilities School.
Was this information helpful? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Best wishes for Happy Holidays from all of us at APS.
We’re looking forward to the New Year! See you then!
Access Possibilities School Team
P.S. If you, or someone you know, would like to make a financial contribution to the school, please contact Anne Maxwell at email@example.com.