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As the school year starts winding down, Motivation to learn tends to wain.  However, as educators we know that Motivation is the key to success in school and in life.  In a school building, we all want our students to want to learn.  What are some ways you as parents can motivate students at home? 1.  Stay involved.  Parental involvement will only benefit a child.  Parents can monitor study time and discuss progress with the teacher. 2.  Be adaptable.  Stay positive even if your child struggles in school.  Work with the teacher to find ways to help your child at home that will carry over at school. 3.  Encourage independence.  Give your child choices on which subject to work on first or provide different time limits to complete tasks. 4.  Give positive & specific feedback.  Say things like, "You answered those questions correctly~great job!" or "I can tell you put a lot of effort into that assignment."  5.  Continue & expand the learning process.  Take a family field trip to the local county museum or science museum.  This will show your child that you like to learn and want them to learn more as well. There are many ways to motivate young learners.  What are some ways you can think of? Always learning, Mrs. Heinecke
Posted by Guest  On Mar 28, 2017 at 3:05 PM
We all know that reading is so very important to success now and in the future.  What are some ways parents and guardians can help children with developing skills they will carry with them throughout their school years and beyond? 1.  Read more complex books.  This will push children to learn new words, ideas, and facts.  It will also expose children to more complicated plots and topics. 2.  Select books with some familiarity.  Knowing something about the topic or setting will make a tough book easier to understand.  If your child is reading a book set in Japan, encourage your child to talk with someone who may have lived there or look up facts about the country online. 3.  Do further research using an easier resource.  Investigating a topic using a picture book may help with understanding a difficult topic.  For example, read a picture book about Harriet Tubman when doing research on Civil Rights. These tips are just the 'tip of the iceberg'.  The important piece is to read, read, read! During this month of celebrating, "I Love to Read" let's all pick up a book and read everyday for 30 minutes!! Always learning, Mrs. Heinecke
Posted by Guest  On Feb 14, 2017 at 11:43 AM
Going to school everyday is one of the most important habits a child can learn at a young age.  As we embark on 2017, it is time to examine how school attendance has been for your child.  Research shows that regularly missing school can hurt both those students who miss school as well as their classmates. Missing school leads to multiple issues in the learning process.  When a child misses school, they miss out on learning and have a more difficult time catching up to their peers.  Most disciplines build on previous knowledge, so missing even one day can have a significant impact on future learning making it easier for a child to fall behind in the classroom. Missing school leads to lower levels of achievement throughout their school years and can even lead to absenteeism when a child ages and is old enough to hold a part-time job.  For example, by the time a child reaches 6th grade, if they have missed one day/week, they are more likely to drop out of high school. So, how does this impact a child's classmates?  When a child misses class, often the teacher will repeat material or pay extra attention to the child who has missed class.  Both of these acts take away from the learning process and progression of the entire classroom.  Additionally, missing school has more than a negative academic impact, it has a negative social impact on a child.  Building friendships, learning how to work with others, and developing responsibility are also huge pieces to the life-long learning process which are all learned in the classroom.   At the end of the day, attendance in school has many benefits beyond simply learning basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills.  Showing up sets you up for success~both at school and in life!   Carpe Diem!! Always learning, Ms. Odegard
Posted by Guest  On Nov 29, 2016 at 2:49 PM
We all know that there is a direct correlation between parent/guardian involvement and student success in school.  With conferences coming up in the next two weeks, there are a few things that will enhance the connection between home and school creating a teamwork concept between parents and teachers. 1.  Set the tone.  It is normal to have questions at the beginning of the school year.  Building a strong relationship with the teacher can be done by showing your appreciation for what they are doing.  Ask questions respectfully  when they arise and have a positive dialogue to remedy any concerns.  Keep in touch with the teacher often; don't wait for issues to arise. 2.  Be positive.  All students have both strengths and weaknesses.  Enjoy hearing about the strengths of your child, but also be prepared to listen to areas of growth and be able to have a dialogue about how to best help your child.  Working with the teacher to improve any weaknesses will benefit everyone in the equation. 3.  Choose words carefully.  "Think before you speak" is a wonderful adage to remember.  Rather than demanding, make a polite request.  A helpful thing to think about is using We or I statements instead of You statements.  Remember:  the teacher is your teammate! As the year progresses, that direct and positive line of communication will only benefit your child's experience at school.  That parent-teacher team is a benefit for everyone! Always learning, Ms. Odegard
Posted by Guest  On Nov 04, 2016 at 10:03 AM
Continuing the conversation~Success!   Restrict Screen Time.  This is difficult for some families, but if you let your kids soak up too much media entertainment, their grades will eventually slide.  The more time a child spends playing video games the less well the child does in school.  That being said, there are some valuable video games.  If a game gets into problem-solving and strategizing (a great example is SimCity) it can be helpful and beneficial for developing critical thinking skills. Get Outside!  Being active, enjoying nature, and breathing in fresh air hasn't been formally studied for its impact on learning.  However, in informal settings, enjoying 'green time' has been shown to improve concentration.  A study in the Journal of Attention Disorders found a 20-minute walk through a park reduced symptoms of inattentiveness in grade-school children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  According to researchers, nature has been proven to provide a calming environment allowing for opportunities to reflect and rejuvenate. Sign up for Piano Lessons.  Really?  Yes!  Music has been shown to provide cognitive and social tools that help students academically.  The relationship between music and learning has been widely studied recently and there is always a positive outcome when music learning is related to what is happening in school.  Music learning not only helps a child academically, but can also help in the area of social skills and behavior as well.   There are so many ways school and home can work together for academic success.  Hopefully one of these ideas fits into things you are already doing in your household! Always learning, Ms. Odegard *Note:  Some data taken from the 7.26.2009 edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press
Posted by Guest  On Oct 26, 2016 at 9:55 AM
When we think about success in school and in life, we rarely spend time thinking about the factors that contribute to our success.  Even more so, we fail to think about the day to day things that contribute to student success in school.  This post, as well as the next post, will focus on how factors in a student's home life affect success in school. We all know kids need to pay attention in class and do their homework to be successful, but research has linked other factors that are directly related to academic achievement. Adequate Sleep:  How much sleep is your student getting each night?  It is recommended that elementary age students get 10-11 hours of sleep per night~yes per night!  Learning suffers when students receive an inadequate amount of sleep.  Our memory is affected by how much sleep we get, therefore, if students don't get enough, they can't hold on to the information they are hearing in the classroom.  When students hear new information (reading, science, math, etc.) they don't process it all at that time.  Having enough sleep allows them to take in information and process it at a later time.  Again proving that enough rest is essential to the overall learning process.  In another study, students who slept even 30 minutes longer than their regular (sleep-deprived) amount improved their test scores in all areas.  Turn off those lights and get some more sleep~adults too! Be active!  Being active helps kids learn much like it helps patients with Alzheimer's disease retain some of their memory.  Physical activity such as that received in PE class, at recess, or during Brain Breaks can improve concentration.  Reading and math scores have been shown to improve despite some classroom time being devoted to additional movement instead of paper-pencil work.  The extra physical activity also improved concentration and allowed for fewer attention issues in the classroom.  Get out and walk a lap if need be! Family Meal Time:  Twenty minutes~that is all the average meal lasts.  Can you spare that much time in your household to sit down and eat together?  I would think that if the benefits were as follows you would say, "Yes".  Benefits include:  better communication skills, manners, and eating habits; more positive feelings of self-worth; less substance abuse; and routine to name a few.  Even better?  Involve your child in meal preparation.  That opens up a whole new world of learning. There are so many factors that go into the learning process.  Whatever we all can do to give students a leg up we should be doing.  Up next:  restricting screen time, getting outside, and piano lessons~what?? Always learning, Ms. Odegard
Posted by Guest  On Oct 04, 2016 at 2:35 PM
In society today, we hear a lot about 'Character' and 'Character Education', but what is it really all about?  Does Character have a different meaning in a different setting?  The short answer is no.  At Appleton~Milan Elementary School, we began our SOAR initiative last school and we are continuing it this school year.  We focus on being Safe, staying On Task, have a positive Attitude, and showing Respect.  All of these components tie directly into educating our students on Positive Character.   On a daily basis, our entire staff embeds positive character components and values into our curriculum.  Whether students are in the lunchroom eating breakfast, learning Math, or lining up for the bus at the end of the school day, we expect our students to treat everyone with kindness and respect.  Are there other more specific values we should be focusing on?  That is an interesting question and again the short answer is no.  When we take the opportunity to point out examples of positive character during everyday teaching and learning, we are showing students that positive character isn't removed from their everyday experiences and there are numerous ways to be respectful.   As the school year progresses, we will continue to focus on ways in which our students can learn and then demonstrate positive character traits in our building.  At home and out in the community, I would challenge other adults to encourage our children to show and share how they can be positive role models to others.  Good character can be displayed anywhere in the community and our ultimate goal is to reinforce positive behavior and create citizens who will make a positive impact in our own communities and in our world.    Always learning, Ms. Odegard
Posted by Guest  On Sep 21, 2016 at 11:46 AM
“The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values.” ~William S. Burroughs As the principal of Appleton-Milan Elementary School in the LqPV district, I am blessed to work with an amazing group of hard-working, dedicated, and motivated professionals.  Already I have witnessed their relentless dedication to their craft.  It is a pleasure joining them in the education of our community’s children.  Additionally, communication is the key to the success of any endeavor.  Please feel free to contact me at any time with ideas and concerns. Born and raised in Milan, I have a kindred connection to this learning community.  After high school graduation, I attended the College of St. Benedict and received my B.A. in elementary education.  I had the opportunity to teach at Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton for two years and then moved to the Twin Cities metro area.  I taught 7 years in Excelsior in grades 5-8 and then accepted a middle school administrator’s position in Eagan and was in that position for 8 years.  While living in the Twin Cities, I earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas.  Additionally, I earned my Educational Specialist Degree/K-12 Principal’s License and certification in Gifted and Talented Instruction also from UST.  Education is something I hold dear to my heart and find it valuable for everyone! In my spare time I enjoy being active having run 8 marathons and several half-marathons.  You might also find me bike-riding on the roads in the area.  Traveling is something I greatly enjoy, but reading a fabulous book ranks right up at the top too! The beginning of the school year is my favorite time of the year and it has been loads of fun meeting everyone and getting into the ‘school routine’!   Go Eagles!!
Posted by david.raddatz  On Aug 23, 2016 at 8:09 PM