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June 12, 2015

Engaging Minds workshops to beat the "summer slide"

Most children want nothing to do with academics over the summer. In spite of parent’s best strategies, planning, and intentions, children still struggle to participate in learning activities encouraged at home. Sometimes, it takes special programming outside the home to get kids using their brains again. We noticed this phenomenon last summer, when we cracked the “motivation mystery” at one of our Engaging Minds Writing Workshops. On the last day of our program, one of our students expressed some serious disappointment, saying, “I wish I could come back tomorrow and keep writing!” We were just as surprised and delighted to hear those words over the summer months as any parent. But we also knew that we had prepared our students with a fun and engaging writing experience.

A few weeks ago on the blog, we looked closely at the “summer slide” phenomenon, detailing its immediate and long-reaching consequences. We also offered some strategies to try at home to keep your children actively learning throughout any academic break. But there are many circumstances in which your child may benefit from additional professional workshops over the summer, where they can learn invaluable skills to help them become stronger students overall and to aid their transition to middle school, high school, or college. This summer, Engaging Minds will offer its students a wide array of workshops, covering topics from active study skills, to college essays, to reading Shakespeare, and more. Below is a full breakdown of our summer programs (including three FREE parent workshops!) and what they can do for your child. 

For dates and more information, please click the link in the title of each workshop.

Practice writing and presentation skills

  1. Writing Workshops: Engaging Minds will host several two-day Writing Workshops throughout the summer designed for students in grades 5-10. In this workshop, students will learn and practice key steps of the writing process including planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. They will learn how to overcome a “writer’s block,” how to communicate ideas to specific audiences, and how to develop a strong thesis and conclusion. This workshop is designed to help students develop a personalized approach to their writing, to boost their confidence and control over the writing process, and to give them the foundational skills to create increasingly sophisticated works.  
  2. College Essay Writing Workshop: The college application process can be extremely intimidating, especially when students leave their essay-writing until the last minute. Luckily, Engaging Minds is here to help with two-day college essay writing workshops this summer. We will help rising twelfth grade students get their application essays finished, even before September arrives! This workshop is designed to give students a richer understanding of what colleges are looking for in personal statements and supplements by analyzing exemplary college essays. Students will discuss strategies to inform the brainstorming, planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing processes. This two-day workshops will be followed by optional one-on-one sessions with one of our college essay writing specialists.
  3. Presentation Skills Workshop: Be a wallflower no more! At Engaging Minds’ summer Presentation Skills Workshops students in grades 5-10 will learn how to confidently present and share information in a compelling and articulate manner. Students will identify qualities of excellent presentations and learn to replicate those same qualities in their own work. They will consider their audience and learn how to tailor a message to specific listeners. Students will also develop strategies to cope with nerves, boost confidence, manage question-and-answer sessions, and establish an authentic “voice.” During this workshop, students will design and deliver a presentation on a topic of their choice!

Master active Studying and reading

  1. From Passive to Active: These two-day workshops are designed to transform passive learners into active and engaged learners. Students in grades 5-10 will learn active reading strategies that will increase comprehension and retention, while helping to maintain focus and manage study time. Students will also discover how to read and take notes from a textbook purposefully and effectively. We will focus on dynamic study strategies that reinforce and solidify understanding while strengthening working memory and self-monitoring techniques.
  2. How to Read, How not To Read, That is the Question! Many students are overwhelmed by Shakespeare’s writing and find it unapproachable. During these two-day workshops, designed for students in grades 8-12, Engaging Minds staff will help make Shakespeare’s works accessible and even fun to read! Together, students will learn to identify and define Shakespeare’s 5-Act structure, and recognize distinctions between comedies, tragedies, and histories. Students will review and understand common Elizabethan vocabulary and apply self-monitoring strategies, such as paraphrasing, to aid reading comprehension. Finally, students will learn to identify character’s emotions, traits, and evolutions according to Shakespeare’s characteristic devices and style.

Transition with confidence

  1. Ready, Set, Middle School! Our two-day middle school workshops, for students in grades 5-7, are designed to ease the transition from elementary level organizational, planning, and study skills to the more sophisticated demands of the middle school experience. Students will learn new organizational strategies for managing their materials between the home and school settings. Our workshop leaders will model techniques students can use to effectively record, monitor, and track both short and long-term assignments. Students will engage in discussion to examine the differences between elementary and middle school, addressing their increasing workload, teacher expectations, and more.
  2. Stepping Up to High School: Designed for students entering grades 9 or 10, our two-day high school workshops teach students how to manage a successful transition from middle school to high school. During these workshops, students will consider the differences between middle school and high school, then use their findings to develop and practice the executive function skills needed to succeed in their new school. Engaging Minds teachers will show students how to manage their materials, assignment notebooks, calendars, and other planning tools to suit their complicated schedules. Students also will address effective planning skills for complex long-term papers, projects, and exams.

FREE Parent opportunities to learn about executive function

  1. Parent Workshops on Executive Function (FREE!): These one-evening workshops are designed to help parents and educators develop a common language and understanding of executive functioning. In this series (and you may choose to come only to one or all three!), Engaging Minds staff will “demystify” the term executive function and explain why these skills are an increasingly important aspect of every child’s education. We will delve into three of the most difficult executive functioning challenges students face at home, including organization of materials and ideas, planning and time management, and task initiation. We will also provide concrete tips and strategies that parents can employ at home to better support their children, and explain some of the methods unique to Engaging Minds that we use during our one-on-one sessions.

Engaging Minds’ summer workshops are intended to address executive function skills in terms of several specific educational needs. We’ll boost your child’s ability to organize, while teaching them how to develop a confident presentation. Our tutors will help your child prepare for middle school, high school, or even their college applications. We’ll enhance your child’s reading and studying skills, whether they are tackling Shakespeare or their summer reading book. No matter what your child’s age or stage, we have a workshop that can teach them something valuable during their vacation. So stop into Engaging Minds and join us in preventing the summer slide!