I hate taking standardized tests! And I’m ok saying that. Now that we know my weakness in life, what are we going to do about it?
Every student will come across a standardized test they have to take. They need to go into the test with the right attitude and the right strategies, otherwise they will be setting themselves up for failure.
Here are some test taking strategies that may help you, your child, or the students you work with:
1) POSITIVE ATTITUDE: If you don’t have the right attitude, failure will be right around the corner. It is imperative that you wake up the morning of the test with a positive attitude. It doesn’t have to be “you love taking tests,” but it does need to be “I can do well on this test.”
2) PRACTICE: Just like playing baseball or tennis, you must practice to be good. Same is true with tests, you must practice and learn some strategies about how to tackle the difficult questions. Now days, there are on-line practice tests you can do for free. Teachers, be sure to practice with your students. This doesn’t mean teach the test, it means teach your students how to take a test. After you practice, analyze how you did in order to learn your strengths and weaknesses.
2) GET TO SCHOOL OR THE TEST EARLY: If you are late, that is just one more thing you’ll have on your mind. Get there early, sharpen your pencils, get some water and be ready to go.
3) DRESS FOR SUCCESS: If you are not wearing something comfortable, then you might not be able to focus as well. Have a sweater or a jacket just in case it is cold. Always sit up straight with good posture ready to beat this test.
4) STAY RELAXED AND CONFIDENT: Keep that positive attitude and know you are well prepared. If you are nervous, take some deep breaths. Don’t speak to others about the test, as that might only give you more anxiety.
5) READ THOSE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY: Dodge those careless mistakes upfront by reading the directions. Be sure to do the entire test and maybe do the easy parts first. This will build up your self confidence early. Don’t get stuck on that one hard question.
6) GO BACK AND CHECK YOUR WORK: If you still have time at the end, go back and check your work. Make sure you didn’t skip any questions and always proof read your writing.
7) THE 12 POWERFUL WORDS (BY LARRY BELL): I once heard a speaker who discussed the 12 Powerful Words seen on standardized tests. These higher order thinking skill words need to be discussed prior to the test being taken.
The words are: Analyze, Evaluate, Describe, Infer, Support, Explain, Summarize, Compare, Contrast, Predict, Trace, and Formulate
Knowing and understanding these words upfront might just put you over the top.
8) MISCELLANEOUS: Get a good night sleep, eat a good breakfast, drink lots of water, and last but not least, if you don’t understand something, ALWAYS ASK!
Best wishes to all of you that must take a standardized test over the next few months. Hopefully these strategies will help you find success. Don’t forget your #2 pencils.
Check out Jimmy Wolk in the New Fox-TV Show Titled LONE STAR!
Click here to see a preview of the show LONE STAR.
Ok friends, it is going to start getting a little weird. First, Jimmy Wolk played me as a teacher who over the came challenge of Tourette syndrome in Front of the Class. Now Jimmy will take on another challenge of how to kept two lives and two ladies at the same time. Right away, you’ll see that his new role is nothing like my life. As he enjoys being with two woman, I had enough trouble hanging on to one. He lives in Texas, I don’t like the Cowboys or cowboy boots. He is a con man, I’m just a teacher. He’s hanging up on billboards across America, I’m just hanging around the house with Dylan and Nancy.
If you enjoyed Jimmy Wolk in Front of the Class, you might want to catch his new TV show, LONE STAR on FOX-TV Monday nights at 9:00 pm/EST after the show HOUSE. Starts Monday, September 20th. Going by his new official name of James Wolk, he takes on the role of a charming Texas man who lives two lives in two different parts of Texas. He juggles two identities and two women in two different worlds – all under one mountain of lies as a con man. Joining him in LONE STAR are John Voight, Adrianne Palicki, Eloise Mumford and David Keith.
Check out Jimmy Wolk in YOU AGAIN!
Jimmy Wolk just happens to also be starring in the film, You AGAIN, hitting movie theaters on Friday, September 24th. He plays the boyfriend with an amazing cast of Betty White, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Kristen Bell, Odette Yustman, Kristin Chenoweth and more.
Learn more by clicking here to see a preview of the movie, YOU AGAIN.
It is going to be fun to watch how Jimmy does in the future. To think that he got his big break taking on the role of me reminds us all that if you have a dream, always try to follow that dream much like Jimmy has been able to do in the acting business.
I think a lot of people will be rooting for my friend Jimmy!
Be sure to check out both the video above and the article link below on Camp Twitch and Shout and Brad Cohen. Again, we see that despite a child having Tourette Syndrome, they can still find success!
Also check out www.camptwitchandshout.com to learn more. We will be having this camp again during the summer of 2010. Dates have not been announced yet.
You can always find Brad’s book and movie Front of the Class to use as a resource in your homes and schools. Call your local libraries and tell them to order them now for your community.
As we celebrate July 4th in the United States and think about our freedoms, it made me think about people I have been hearing from. Some have Tourette Syndrome, others have disabilities or weaknesses in life that cause challenges to them daily. Some of these challenges others notice while some are challenges that are on the inside.
How can we use our freedoms to help our situations?
1) Freedom of Speech:
I have always believed in being up front and honest about living with Tourette Syndrome. I have learned that educating others about why I make funny noises and weird faces makes my life easier and eases their concerns about why I’m doing what I do.
The hardest thing about living with TS is ignorance. It is the people that don’t know and don’t want to know about TS that make my life difficult. But once people know, then they can make the decision about how they want to handle the situation.
There are many movies and books like Front of the Class that can help children articulate to others about their situation.
How will you use your freedom of speech?
2) Freedom of the Press
In my life, the press has often been a vehicle to share my story. Yes, we know about the book and movie, but also in the form of newspapers, magazines, newsletters, Internet websites, news shows on TV and others. If it was my story or someone else’s story, education was happening. It is important to share both educational pieces as well as success stories. People need to know that they are not alone. The press and Internet has helped us in our cause.
How can you use the press to help share your story?
3) Freedom of Choice
It is important for you to choose successful situations. It may be a school, groups of friends, religious activities, or where to live. Success breeds success. So please put yourself in a win-win situation to help you and your family move forward.
What will your next choice be?
4) Freedom of Opportunity
Always remember that hope is your friend. Know you are not alone. Understand that there are others out there that are dealing with or having dealt with your situation before. Find the support you need in them.
Give yourself a chance to try new things and enjoy the things you have always done. Once you’ve figured that out, then excel at it. Celebrate your success. Then share that success with others as you pay it forward. Give others the same opportunities you have been given and the feelings you will receive can never be replaced.
What opportunities are you ready to embrace?
As Martin Luther King said “Let Freedom Ring!” I add to that “Let Freedom Ring Loud and Proud!”
Camp Twitch and Shout and Brad were featured on CNN on June 13, 2009.
Learn more about Camp Twitch and Shout at www.camptwitchandshout.com
I received an email from a parent of a child with Tourette Syndrome which hits on a huge issue: What’s the big deal?
Here is the letter:
My 9-year-old child was having (in addition to his usual tics) a pretty severe episode of eye tics (rubbing, rolling and blinking) that had been going on for a couple of weeks. His Dad and I were wondering how in the world he could see enough to get anything done!
I asked him one day how things were going in school – I told him that I noticed that he was having a lot of eye tics and that I just wanted to make sure he could see enough to get his work done and learn what he needed to learn.
His response was “I can still hear!”
And that was that – he ran off to play …… his eye tics, as severe as there were, never seemed to phase him – it was as if he was saying that it did not matter if his eyes were ticcing a lot, as long as he could still hear he was cool – always looking on the bright side!!
I hope that he keeps that positive attitude and wonder what as a parent I can do to help him.
I love this story because it’s a reminder of the resilience that children have no matter what issue that is placed in front of them.
Growing up with TS, I always knew what my “issues” were, but what I quickly noticed was that my “issues” were different then the “issues” my parents, teachers and the public was having. Overall, a child with TS, or any other disability, quickly learns to move on. In this case, the child has severe eye tics and what looks like a huge obstacle in life to the parent, but it wasn’t even an issue to the child. In matter of fact, the child more or less stated that things could be worse and at least he has his hearing.
What a great lesson in life! What is the big deal? You see, there is no big deal for the child because they figured it out. They learned to move forward despite their challenges. But parents want to be parents and protect their child and make sure everything is OK. Parents, continue to do this, but at the same time, give your child the benefit of the doubt.
So, what can parents do for their child? Support them, love them, let them know that you are there for them. And maybe most importantly in this situation, LISTEN
to them. This child stated loud and clear that he is fine and didn’t need their parents help at this time.
The lesson we take away is that children “figure it out and make it work.” Being in the classroom, I’ve had the opportunity to see my students do amazing things. Parents, be careful not to enable your child too much. Allow them to be problem solvers and figure things out for themselves rather than always catching them before they fall. Communication is the key.
The other big idea that the parent realized was about a positive attitude. As I wrote in Front of the Class it is important for children to keep that positive attitude. This is the perfect example of how a positive attitude allowed the child to move forward, instead of holding him back.
Thanks for sharing this conversation with our readers. As you can see, children with special needs just want to be treated like everyone else………even if they can’t see perfectly.
What can you do?:
1) If you know a child who will benefit from attending Camp Twitch and Shout, have them visit our website to learn more about the camp. May 31st – June 5th, in the Atlanta, Georgia area. This 1 week overnight camp for kids could be the perfect fit. Accepting applications from children both in Georgia and outside Georgia. Click here to learn more!
Thanks for your support. Education is the key and just educating one more person about Tourette syndrome will make the world a better place.
Brad Cohen, Author of Front of the Class
Are you having difficulties keeping your job because of your disability? If so, you need to read this BLOG. Having a disability is tough enough in life, but when we enter the workforce, we have to be careful not to allow our problems to become other people’s problems too. This is where you need to take a close look at yourself and how you do things.
See my 5 tips to help you keep your job:
1) FIND THE RIGHT JOB FOR YOU
It is important for you to find a job that you are good at doing. If you don’t like being around people, then teaching in a school might not be for you. If you are scared of computers, then working with technology might not be the best fit. But if you are good with money and enjoy math, then the banking industry could be a perfect fit. It is important for you to find a job that matches up with your past experiences and things you enjoy. Search the internet, newspapers, and network asking friends and family members if they know of people looking to hire in your field. Make sure you have a resume ready and be up front and honest about your strengths and how you can add something special to that position. Always dress for success and leave a lasting impression.
2) BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
Once you have that job, it is important to build relationships. Make sure you allow people to have a chance to get to know you. If you want to move up in the company and need more leadership experiences, then find someone who will allow you that opportunity. Get to know everyone you pass in the hallway. Call them by their first name. Find out something special about them. Praise them for the littlest things so they want to be around you more. If they approach you with a smile on their face or they leave you with a smile on their face, then you are doing something right. It is ok to laugh. It is not only important to get to know them, but also open up a little and allow them a chance to get to know you too.
3) BECOME THE EXPERT
Learn as much as you can and become the expert on everything you can in your field. It would be great that anytime someone wants a good idea or wants to learn something they come to you. That shows others that you are valued for your expertise. Share your knowledge with others and offer to help others if they need it. Show them that you are a team player and willing to do whatever it takes for the team to be successful. Next time they want something to get done, let’s hope they think of you to get it done.
4) BE OPEN AND HONEST
I have always believed in being open and honest about living with my disability. It has been a way for me to educate others as well as prove to others that there is more to me than just Tourette Syndrome. I never said to be open and honest about every single thing going on in your life. That would be crazy. But for me it was best to educate others about TS. They wanted to know. They needed to know. And I had a chance to shine because I let them know. My disability is part of who I am and if they accepted me, then they needed to accept my issues that come with my disability also. By me taking the initiative and being open and honest, this made a huge difference in my life because we discussed the elephant in the room. You need to decide if this is the best approach for you. You might start small with your team or people that work directly with you, then open it up on a larger scale.
I tell my wife that I don’t go to work everyday, I go to school. I love what I do and I do what I love and I believe if you bring that passion to the workplace, then it will only benefit you in the long-run. Give 100% every single day and be excited about what you do. Passion is very contagious. If others see you are passionate about doing your job, they will follow suit. People enjoy being around happy people who enjoy doing their jobs. It is always nice to have a person with passion on the team, because others know that passion produces high expectations, low failure rates, high attendance rates, and an overall positive attitude for the team.
These 5 tips could be the winning combination you have been looking for to help you keep your job. If you have other tips, please share!
Speaking in front of 1,700 people is nothing new for me, but speaking at the Atlanta Capitol and getting a chance to meet our state leaders was new. The 11th Annual Disability Awareness Day took place on February 25, 2009 and I was invited to be the keynote speaker and share my story with the community. It was another reminder to those who don’t live with a disability to not forget us. Money, education, and awareness is still necessary for those with disabilities.
As I told the legislators, I was honored to be the voice of so many who can’t always speak for themselves. Writing my book and movie, Front of the Class, has given me a chance to speak out for so many. I also explained that I live with Tourette Syndrome not thinking that I have a disability. It is others who look at me and think I can’t do certain things and think I have a disability. This is where education comes into play as we must give everyone a chance to prove they can do it rather than giving up on people too quickly.
When was the last time your advocated for something you believe in? Have you ever spoken to your government officials about something you feel strongly about? What I do know is that everyone has a voice and I hope some day when you feel passionate about a topic, that you have a chance to express your views to help make a difference in your life and the life of others.
What an amazing experience Nancy and I had as we were invited to the White House one week after the movie aired on CBS. We had a chance to meet President George W. Bush and Laura Bush. They were both very nice. They had not seen the movie yet, but George knew all about me as he screamed out as I approached, “I’m looking for that inspirational elementary school teacher.” I guess he heard the noises I was making! He gave both Nancy and me hugs and then took a picture with us. I’m not real happy about him having his hands all over Nancy, but I’ll get over it!