Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Target Strategy

In continuing with our blogs about writing strategies, here is another approach that might work. The Target Strategy is a strategy that can help a writer at the beginning of the drafting process. It can also help keep a writer focused and organized while working. 

Time, Audience, Reason, Goal, Excitement, Tone
Time: Pick a time period, work for that period, and then take a break. Studies have shown that our brains can only focus on one thing for 45 minutes to an hour. Embrace taking breaks as a way to keep you sane while writing. 

Audience: Never forget who your audience will be because it can make a world of difference in how you write. If your audience is a teacher or professor, you need to be more formal and scholarly. On the other hand if you are writing to friends or something more informal, you can be more relaxed and use everyday language. 

Reason: Make sure that your writing has a clear purpose. Whether you are writing to educate or entertain, it should not be hard for the reader to figure out what you are trying to do. 

Goal: Before you start make sure you can define the goal of your writing. And as you write, make sure everything connects to that goal.

Excitement: What about this subject is important to you? If you write about what is exciting for you personally, it can help make your writing be more significant to your audience.

Tone: Always make sure your tone matches with the subject matter. Having a clear tone can express how you feel and how you want readers to feel.  

Friday, March 8, 2019

Before You Write

Sitting down with a blank page when you have to write something can be daunting. When writing, knowing where to start is a big part of the battle. One of the simplest ways to write a good paper is to make sure your thoughts are organized. Here are two easy strategies that can help you get prepared to write a well-structured paper.

Fast write
Take a set amount of time, perhaps 3 minutes, and write as many ideas about the subject as possible. This helps you get out creative thoughts as they come, without worrying about if they make sense for your paper. 

Clustering is similar to Mind Mapping (see previous blog post). The difference is that you do it quickly and aren’t focused on the organization of it. Start with your main idea in the center, and create branches as your creative thoughts start to flow. 
Making sense of it all
Don’t worry if your page starts to look confusing because the purpose of these strategies is to get all your thoughts to a place where you can see them. Once you have written down all your thoughts on a subject, you can start to group together thoughts by which ones are similar. This way you can create an organized structure which can be used for writing your paper.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Parents & Social Media

Your child being on social media is pretty much unavoidable. You can try and keep them off major social networking platforms or keep them from having a phone, but one way or another they will find a way to the things they want to see. Here are some tips for dealing with teens and social media.

Get Informed
Learn about the popular social media platforms and how they work. Understanding the way they work will help you know more when you hear your child talk about what they are doing online. Read reviews in your app store or look for videos on Youtube from credible sources that can help explain different sites.

Talk to them about it
Don't be afraid to ask your kid about their social media--what they are on, how platforms work, and who they use it to talk to. Sometimes kids tend to forget that social media can be like a watering hole in the desert. You can surround yourself with your friends and family, but there is nothing to stop predators from joining you if you aren't careful. Remind them of the danger of speaking to strangers online, and how public the internet is.

Trust that you have raised a good kid
Social media can be a way to give kids a little taste of freedom while they still live at home. If you know your kid has good common sense, have faith in them to make good choices. 

Get on and add your kids
As a kid, I wasn't allowed to have a Myspace (man, that makes me sound old) if I didn't add my parents. If you are nervous about what your kid is doing on social media, make them add you so you can keep track. This is a good idea, especially if you are struggling to trust them.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Get To Know The Staff - Mr. Poux

 So what I'm thinking is maybe this is the best experience at a job
I've ever had. It just seems that everything ever experienced,
good,bad,ugly- every job in my life has culminated in this wonderful
experience. Intensive training in theater arts with a bit of
Psychology for good measure from Carnegie-Mellon University. Some good
years in New York City, some great years in Atlanta, and a whole new
life here in Charlotte; teaching, working with disadvantaged,
tutoring, even opening a cupcake-froyo shop. 

All of these, all of these dreams fulfilled have led me to the ultimate fulfillment. This experience at Trinity Prep, a gift of absolute charm. Working with these individuals, teaching them various textures of life; some
history,  lots of literature,and being able to share a passion of
mine, drama. Not the drama of life going crazy. That hides in my silly
brain and imagination. But the historic part. Historic and artistic.

The stuff that speaks truth and makes us dream and cry and pledge a
goodness beyond what we can fulfill. The things I teach level the
field, most importantly teach both me and the young men and women
that...well... we are good, we are bad, but Oh, we are complete. I
love watching these students growth experience themselves and Truth
throughout their theater experience. So far away from growing up in
Akron Ohio, being here in beautiful Charlotte, I must admit if I can
reach any other dream in this lifetime, I would request a Super Bowl
for the Cleveland Browns.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Get To Know The Staff - Mrs. Ennis

Hi everyone!  I have been teaching for nearly ten years.  I started teaching back in 2007 but took a few years off from 2013-2017 to pursue a different career.  However, the teaching profession called me home.  I teach because I love helping students unlock their potential through education.  I love when students get new things and are excited about what they can accomplish.

I did not start out on a path to teaching.  As a Biology major, I always leaned toward medicine or research.  In fact, my previous graduate studies were in Microbiology.  It was at East Tennessee State University that I figured out that I was a bit too social to live in the lab.  However, as a graduate teaching assistant, I discovered a love for teaching.  So, I shifted gears and used the lateral entry program to gain a teaching license in North Carolina.

I consider myself a life-long learner.  I am currently finishing up a dual Masters of Public Health/Masters of Business Administration program that will be completed in December of this year.   So, this semester, I am a full-time student, a full-time teacher, and a full-time mom.  I do not have much free time.  However, when I do get it, I love spending time with my son, reading, traveling, baking, and napping.  Yes, napping.  There is a napping contest somewhere in the world with my name on it.

I used to enjoy running, and I completed a half marathon in 2016.  I hope to get back into running after school is finished.  I would like to get back to running 5Ks and 10Ks.  I am not sure if I want to do another half yet.

I am an avid UNC Tar Heels fan.  I spent some of the best years of my life in Chapel Hill.  Chapel Hill will always have a special place in my heart.  I also enjoy watching the Carolina Panthers.

This past summer, I was able to take my son to Disney World for the first time.  That was a fantastic experience, and he loved it!   He was excited about getting on an airplane for the first time, and he is already looking forward to his next trip to anywhere.  Though, he really wants to go out of the country.

I came to Trinity in January of this year, and I absolutely love it here.  I love that I get to teach science to students rather than teaching to a test.  I love that we can explore student interests and make science real for them.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Get To Know The Staff - Mrs. Neal

My fellow readers, you are witnessing (reading) history right here - my first Blog!  When asked to write this, my first thought was, why would anyone want to read the ramblings of a math teacher?  What could I possibly have to say? Who would want to listen/read it?

Well, first let’s get one thing straight, I do numbers, not letters as I tell my students all of the time - thank goodness for spell check.  I will apologize right up front for the lack of eloquent writing, that gene went to my younger sister, but do enjoy writing in a non-formal way.

As I began to contemplate my theme and delivery, I asked myself what I would want to take time out of my crazy busy day to read, something upbeat and maybe a little funny or something serious and dry.  (I opted for the first option if you can’t tell yet).  I’ve always felt that humor makes things flow a little nicer and the day a little brighter.  You must be able to laugh at things in life, and sometimes that means laughing at yourself.

Which brings me to my theme…math and humor.  Now, I know for most of your children, these two words don’t show up in the same sentence.  For most, the words are math and tears,  or math and anger, or math and frustration.  Which is precisely why I add as much humor to my classes as possible.  Developing a report with the students is always my priority which then lends itself to being able to joke with them and make them smile.  In a classroom setting for a subject that for many is intimidating, it is helpful if the teacher is not intimidating too.

I am, unfortunately, experiencing this first hand with my own child’s math teacher who when we met last week to discuss his difficulties in her class, looked like she has eaten a lemon before our arrival.  (I know, a math teacher’s child is having trouble in math - we can talk about that later) The thought that he has to walk into this classroom every day, into a subject that he actually used to like, just breaks my heart!  She is killing this subject for more than just him, I’m sure.

So, it has always been my pledge to make math fun and meeting with this teacher last week made that drive even stronger. I knew from a very early age I wanted to be a math teacher, and my passion for the subject is something I have always wanted to share.  To transform a student from a math-hater to a math-lover is always my goal.  So, how do I accomplish this?

For some of your children, math comes easy to them, so I have very little work to do “on them.”  For those children who would rather have a root canal than sit in a math class, I have my work cut out for me.  Those are the children who have my heart - the root canal kids!   Know that this is a process for those students and there is usually some negative aspect of math that I have to undo.  Finding humor in some of the smallest ways - usually a movie quote “you’re killing me Smalls,” can bring a smile to their face and hopefully less anxiety in a subject that has historically been a root canal situation for them.  Oh, to never have a root canal again - that is my goal for them!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Get To Know The Staff - Julianna Barto

As a kid, school wasn't something I had a lot of interest in; I was more preoccupied with my friends, animals, and sports. We spent a lot of my childhood moving around North Carolina, England, and Illinois. I was very social, but reading aloud and group work always made me nervous. I learned quickly that if I was quiet and stayed under the radar teachers never really noticed areas where I was behind my peers. It wasn't till we moved to Bristol, England and I was sent to a private school that teachers started to notice I needed help with reading and math. It was because of their support I learned where I needed to focus my educational energy, and they gave my parents tools to help me at home.

When we came back to the U.S., I still struggled in school, having been thrown from a personalized private school back to the large suburban Chicago public schools. Moving from one country to another was extremely difficult, in math I was far behind my peers, in vocabulary and science I was far ahead. Moving again two weeks before my sophomore year of high school didn't make things better. Being at yet another big high school, my family and I quickly learned we were the only people who seemed to care about the state of my education. I had to learn to motivate myself to get work done to the fullest of my abilities, which prepared me for college.

It wasn't till college that education started to interest me, and I was able to take classes about multiple interests. I think being on my own for the first time, and wanting to get good grades for the first time in my education forced me to get creative about studying and learning. I had teachers who, like our TrinityPrep teachers, genuinely care about the success of students and the overall enrichment of their lives. I learned how to budget my time between school, my sorority, and my part-time job bartending.

After college, I was feeling adventurous, so I moved to the north side of Chicago where I had everything from office jobs to working retail, which was indeed a humbling experience. Around the time I was considering moving back to the Charlotte area, my father Harry Barto was beginning to learn about TrinityPrep.

After starting at TrinityPrep in 2017, I finally started to understand why people go into education. I certainly never pictured myself working at a high school, let alone enjoy it so much. Every day is a new experience, and I'm able to learn so much about education, business, and kids.

The Target Strategy