Reading with Our Ears!

Summer is a great opportunity to try reading with your ears by listening to audiobooks. We are currently listening to The BFG by Ronald Dahl.

BFGThe boys are excited to see how the images we have created in our minds will come to life in the movie coming out later in the summer!

To learn more about how listening to audiobooks can improve your child’s reading skills, check out  Audible is also currently offering a 30 day free trial!


Yesterday we visited our local Barnes and Noble to search for books included on our summer reading lists (rising grade 3 and grade 5).  

barnes and noble

Along with great recommendations for age appropriate reading selections, the Mount Vernon Summer Learning Resources also offer students an opportunity to earn a Summer Reading Badge  by creating a book review demonstration.

summer reading badge


Our Head of Middle School, Chip Houston, has challenged us to accept the Blogger Challenge!  Each team member was encouraged to cultivate their reflective practice by publishing 10 consecutive blog posts in June.

blog challenge

Over the next 10 days, the boys and I will be reflecting on our summer learning experiences!  Mount Vernon has provided excellent summer learning resources for each division.  Our school believes that learning demands flexible and interactive spaces and students have been encouraged to explore the world around them!

We began our summer adventures by exploring Marineland, Florida, the world’s first oceanarium.  Guests are encouraged to join animals in their habitats and make physical and emotional connections that lead to a desire to protect animals and their marine environments.

 Marineland 1 Marineland 2

While visiting the Palm Coast, we were also able to take a kayak ecotour of the Matanzas Inlet.  Throughout the tour, our Florida Master Naturalist Instructors were able to share their knowledge of the eco-system by describing the plants, wildlife and water fowl. My boys loved the experience and this great opportunity to EXPLORE!

 Kayak 1 kayak 2


Game Changing Google Tools for Students that Struggle with Writing

Many students experience difficulty with written expression. A child may struggle with the physical act of writing or with generating and organizing their thoughts.   While working with my son one evening, we discovered a new feature available within Google Docs called  Google Voice Typing.  My child actually squealed with glee when he discovered that he was able to “type with his voice”.  Although strengthening his keyboarding skills is a personal goal, this is a great bypass strategy  for him to use until he is proficient with keyboarding.

We often recommend that students use the SQ3R  reading strategy.  This strategy encourages students to ask themselves questions  and to summarize the information they have read. Google Voice Typing could be a great way to summarize the questions and thoughts they vocalize.

Some students may choose to take photos to supplement their note-taking. This could provide a great visual demonstration of what they have read or learned in class.   Google Photos is an awesome way to help students organize their photos in their Google Drive and easily access them later for review.

Resource for Parents Considering Educational Testing

Peggy Hendrix, the Director of Admissions at The Schenck School, has shared a wonderful resource with parents considering educational testing for their child. In her blog post titled What Psychoeducational Testing Can Reveal About Your Child’s Learning Profile, she describes the components of the evaluation process and what parents should expect to learn about their child’s learning profile.

Study Skills and Strategies Badging Pilot

In an effort to design and curate demonstrations of learning and evidence of understanding, our Academic Resource Research and Design Team developed the following two study skills and strategies badges.  Our badges were chosen to be part of a Grade 5 Study Skills Pilot described in Chip Houston’s, Head of Middle School, blog. The students were so excited to have the opportunity to earn one of the first badges awarded in middle school. I’m thrilled that the demonstrations of learning our Academic Resource Team, Ann Plumer, Dr. Kelli Bynum, and Jim Matthews, created in our research and design meetings were able to be put in action!  We are looking forward to seeing how the students respond to this initiative and to monitoring the growth they make as they commit to applying these strategies in their daily practice.

Taskmaster Screenshot

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