College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

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Roads to Mastery in Math: Math Olympiad

What happens when goals for teaching math, and the strategies employed collide?

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

When people talk about the Olympics, they mean the sporting event that happens every four years. But did you know there’s a math Olympics that happens every year? It’s called the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) and it’s for pre-college students. Over 100 teams compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. Earlier this year, the Republic of Korea took home the gold.

The IMO’s inaugural competition was in 1959. China entered in 1985 and has won the gold 19 times since, while the United States has won it only 6 times since its 1974 debut. Why have Chinese students beaten us so often in math? Speaking as a longtime math teacher, I think it’s the way math is taught in the two countries.

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How to Create an Effective Bended Learning Classroom

Assess, Instruct, Measure, Support

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

Everyone today talks about blending technology into their classrooms. When I first started working for JFYNetWorks, many teachers asked, “How can a computer be better than me?” Those days are long gone as technology has become such an essential part of our lives, but many teachers still ask how they can create an effective blended learning environment.

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Relationships bridge academic success

by Greg Cunningham, JFYNetWorks Blended Learning Specialist

The world of education has a natural tendency to focus on the academic. A student needs to learn to write, solve equations, analyze a piece of literature, and then demonstrate all that and more in comprehensive testing.

What is often lost amid the lessons and tests is what makes a student want to learn. Adults understand that education can be the great equalizer, the social leveler. But helping a young, not fully developed mind understand how important education is can be a daunting, even maddening task. It is easy for teachers, administrators and school support staff to focus on the lessons and lose sight of the human being that is the student.

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The School Year Starts: Nothing but Net

by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning SPECIALIST

It’s that time of year again when beach balls are traded for book bags. For many students, fall is a season of excitement: a new term, a clean slate and an opportunity to make new entries in the growing ledger of successes. But for others it’s a time of angst with the shadows of past failures dimming their vision and shrouding their hopes and expectations in nervous gloom. My task is to help these students acknowledge the past but find a way to embrace the new school year as an opportunity to write a new narrative on that fresh slate.

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Can learning math actually be fun

Puzzles and games in the classroom could be just the thing.

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

I love math, in all its shapes and forms. To me, it’s fun. But I’m a math teacher. For many students and teachers, “fun” is not the word they would apply to math. Deadly dull, difficult and boring would be more likely. Wouldn’t it be great if teachers could find a way to make math engaging and fun for students? And for themselves?

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Education: Our Lifeline to the Future

The skills gap persists

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

Labor Day weekend kicked off, appropriately, with the national Employment Report. It was underwhelming. Job and wage growth held their sluggish pace. Commentaries ranged from “steady as she goes” to “more noise than signal” to “disappointing though hardly catastrophic.” A movie opening to reviews like those wouldn’t have lasted the weekend.

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Anxious Math Student

Have you ever experienced crippling math anxiety?

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

Have you ever felt that it was too late to learn math? That you were down for the count?

I once had a student who literally trembled every time she tried to do math. When I asked her why, she told me that in her early years she had a teacher who would hit students if they got the wrong answer. This example is extreme, but even without the hitting, fear of getting a wrong answer in front of the class and being ridiculed is very real.

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Boston Urban Science Academy students in the Summer Bridge program at Quincy College 8-16-2017

Twenty-nine students from Boston’s Urban Science Academy completed a summer course at Quincy College August 10 thanks to a unique partnership between the high school, the college, and JFYNetWorks.

Urban Science Academy is located in the old West Roxbury High building at the end of VFW Parkway, the southernmost delta of the city. Its students come from a broad swath of neighborhoods extending from Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Roxbury and Dorchester to Mattapan, West Roxbury and Hyde Park. The daily trip to school via T can be an ordeal.

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Testing taking anxiety

by Greg Cunningham, JFYNetWorks Blended Learning Specialist

No one likes to be tested.

 
People have a deep-seated aversion to being challenged about what they know–and what they don’t know.  Perhaps the aversion is rooted in first- grade spelling tests, or timed multiplication quizzes in later grades. Maybe it goes back to hunting practice in the cave. Wherever it originates, the dislike, and even sheer hatred, of being tested is very real.