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May 07
Help your child prepare for end of year projects

Teachers often assign students large projects toward the end of the school year. To help your child tackle a large project:

  1. Make a plan. Sit down with your child to develop a plan for completing the project. Have her write the due date on the calendar. Ask questions about what steps she’ll need to take to get ready. “You need to make a poster. Let’s check to see if we have the supplies you’ll need.”
  2. Make a schedule. Now help your child figure out when she’s going to complete each step. Having several smaller deadlines is much easier than trying to meet one big one. Have her write these dates on the calendar.
  3. Celebrate successes. Each time your child reaches a goal, help her figure out a reward. This should be small (a favorite dessert, not a trip to an amusement park) and something she can mostly do for herself.
  4. Check in. You’ll need to see how she is progressing to help her stay on track.

Reprinted with permission from the May 2018 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2018 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc.

Mar 06
Make school attendance a family priority

One of the most vital parts of your child’s education is also one that’s easy to overlook. It’s attendance! Study after study shows that when kids regularly miss school, their learning, and especially their literacy skills, take a serious hit. Not only that, but young students with poor attendance tend to turn into older students with poor attendance.

Don’t let your child become one of them! To keep her on the road to school success:

  • Take attendance seriously. As the parent, you set the tone. So be sure your child understands how much you value school and learning. If attendance is a priority for you, it will be a priority for her.
  • Prepare at night. In the evening, help your child set out everything she needs to take to school the next day—her backpack, completed homework, gym shoes, signed papers, etc. She should also pick out her outfit and decide what she’ll have for breakfast.
  • Respect the school calendar. When possible, avoid scheduling appointments or family vacations that conflict with school. It will remind your child that there’s nowhere more important for her to be during the week than in school!
  • Talk to your child’s teacher if you are experiencing problems that often result in school absences. Many families face challenges with health, child care, transportation and other issues. Community programs may be able to help.

(Reprinted with permission from the February 2018 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2018 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc.)

Jan 31
Study Manitoba

Study Manitoba is an International Student Program representing Beautiful Plains School Division, Fort la Bosse School Division, Rolling River School Division, Southwest Horizon School Division and Turtle Mountain School Division. Our communities become the destinations for students from abroad. Homestay families are the heart of the program. Families offer incoming students a supportive environment to improve their English skills and learn more about Canadian culture. Families provide 3 meals a day, a private bedroom and access to laundry facilities. Students become part of the family and take part in daily activities and outings.

Involvement in the Study Manitoba Homestay Program offers a range of benefits to local families, including:

  • a new perspective on our culture, as seen through the eyes of your student
  • the opportunity to make a difference to a young citizen of the world, our most valuable resource
  • a monthly stipend of $700 to support groceries and activities; encouraging families to be active together
  • development of lasting friendships with the student and his or her family
  • an opportunity to learn another language for interest or travel
  • the chance to learn about another culture's traditions and customs

Study Manitoba is seeking great families to participate in the Homestay program in Rolling River School Division. For more information about the expectations of homestay families, please visit and click on homestay at the top of the page or contact 1-204-483-6252.

Dec 07
Boost success by promoting a growth mindset

School is filled with challenges—and your child’s success depends on how she responds to those challenges. Encourage her to develop what researchers call a growth mindset.

A growth mindset determines how kids think about problems. Suppose, for example, your child is having trouble finding the answer to a math problem. Some kids would throw up their hands and say, “I’m not good at math”—and quit trying. But other kids would take another view. “This is a challenge and I love a challenge.”

Children in the second group have a growth mindset. They believe that even if they can’t do something now, they will be able to learn it in the future. They’re more likely to stick with the problem—and solve it.

You can encourage this mindset by praising your child’s effort. “That project was challenging, but you stuck with it and finished it!”

Reprinted with permission from the January 2018 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2018 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: C. Romero, “What We Know About Growth Mindset from Scientific Research,” Mindset Scholars Network,

Dec 04
Keep learning alive for your child over the winter break

Your child looks at the calendar and imagines the joy of having free time for the whole winter school break. You look at the same blank squares on the calendar and have a mild moment of panic.

To keep from hearing “I’m bored” during your child’s time off from school, here are some activities that will keep her learning:

  • Make a list of things your family can do together. With your child, look in the local paper or go online to find free events to attend and places to go. Are there museums in your area? Are there free concerts scheduled for this month? Does the public library have special story hours or performances?
  • Select a movie that is based on a book. After you and your child finish reading the book, watch the movie together. Discuss how the two are alike and how they are different.
  • Prepare food together. Nearly every culture has some special foods associated with the holiday season. With your child, prepare foods you remember from your childhood. Share your memories. Or do some research and cook a dish you’ve never tried.
  • Encourage your child to learn more about the past and your family history by talking with grandparents, aunts, uncles—even you. Help her come up with a list of questions to ask, such as, “What was school like for you when you were my age?” and “What trends were popular?” She can record the conversations, write them down, or just listen.

(Reprinted with permission from the December 2017 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2017 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc.)

Nov 14
To motivate your child, make sure expectations are realistic

Expectations can be tricky. Research shows that students generally live up to parent and teacher expectations, whether the expectations are high or low. So, you want to set the bar high for your child.

But it’s important to be realistic, too. Most students are not going to excel at everything. If you are only satisfied with near-perfection, your child may say to herself, “What’s the point?” and stop trying altogether.

To make sure your expectations are realistic and effective:

  • Encourage your child to do her best in all her pursuits.
  • Have unique expectations for each of your children. Do not compare your child with her siblings, friends or classmates.
  • Let your child know you are proud of her effort and hard work. Remind her that she should be proud of herself.
  • Remember that your expectations are for your child, not for you. She is entitled to her own dreams. It is not fair to her if you simply want her to do what you wish you had done.
  • Learn about your child’s interests. When your child feels you value these, it can spur her to try to do better in all her pursuits.
  • Be a good role model. Let your child see you give your best effort. Set expectations for yourself and talk to your child about how you plan to meet them.

Reprinted with permission from the December 2017 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2017 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: “Child Trends Databank: Parental Expectations for Their Children’s Academic Attainment,” Child Trends,

Oct 10
Habits at home can help your child thrive in school and life

Every family—and every child—is different, but there are ways all families can set their children up for success. Studies show that kids are more likely to achieve in elementary school and beyond when their parents give them the tools to succeed. To help your child:

  • Assign chores. Kids who have responsibilities around the house learn how to be responsible. Give your child a list of weekly tasks to complete. He may grumble, but don’t give in.
  • Teach social skills. Your child’s success in life hinges on more than grades; it centers on his ability to get along with others. Model good behavior—like cooperation and courtesy.
  • Set the bar high. Expect your child to do well, and he’ll rise to the occasion. Don’t demand perfect grades, but do insist he work to the best of his ability. And praise him when he tries hard—even if he falls short. When you show him you believe in him, he’ll believe in himself.
  • Nurture your relationship. You are your child’s parent, not his friend. But you’re also his ally. So, make time to have fun together! Share a hobby. Play catch in the yard. Never let your child forget you’re on the same team.
  • Take care of yourself. If you’re always stressed, your child will be, too. Carve out time to relax, exercise, or curl up with a good book. A calm, peaceful home starts with you.

(Reprinted with permission from the November 2017 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2017 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: R. Gillett and Y. Han, “Parents of successful kids have these 12 things in common,” Business Insider,

Sep 21
Create a homework routine at the beginning of the year
You want to help your child take responsibility for completing her homework—and creating a homework routine at the start of the school year can do just that.

To establish an effective routine, make sure your child has:
  • A well-lit study area. This can be at a desk or tabletop. If it’s at the kitchen table, make the kitchen off limits to others during study time. Turn off the television, too.
  • A set study time. When does your child prefer to do homework? Right after school, leaving the evening for free time? Or does she prefer to blow off some steam right after school and begin homework after dinner? Experiment, then schedule the time that works best for her.
  • A homework survival kit. Include all of the supplies she might need to complete her homework— pencils, pens, paper, sharpener, erasers, crayons, markers, glue stick, scissors, ruler, etc.
  • Standby support. Encourage her to get phone numbers of classmates she can call when she has homework questions.
Aug 08
Get your family back into the school groove with these tips

A new school year brings new routines, schedules and priorities. Here are some practical ideas to help you and your family gear up for a year of learning:
  • Make a plan for after-school activities. Schedule adequate time for homework, play, sports, clubs and family time.
  • Scale back screen time. Set a weekly limit for time spent watching television, playing video games and surfing the internet. Maintain a firm rule that homework and chores come first.
  • Establish family reading time.
  • Start a change jar so you’ll have spare lunch money on hand.
  • Reestablish bedtimes for school nights.
  • Keep a family calendar. Mark each family member’s activities in a different color.
  • Collect important phone numbers, such as those for the school office, after-school program and a neighbor. Update work, medical and other emergency contact numbers.
  • Make a backup plan. Find another parent who will exchange school drop-off or pickup favors—in case you get sick or delayed by work or traffic.
  • Set up a file for school papers. Place all school notices in it so you don’t misplace them.
  • Get ready the night before school. Encourage your child to set out his clothes, pack a lunch and put his school bag by the door.
Jun 15
Joint Social Media Use Statement RRTA & RRSD

The information in this media statement is applicable to all RRSD Staff.

** Please note that as a "statement" this is not understood as School Division Policy or as an official statement of the RRTA or MTS. It is a statement for our teachers to consider and discuss with colleagues when using Social Media. Your professional reputation is one of your most valuable assets as a teacher; protect it always – including online.

RRTA and RRSD recognize that access to technology in school gives teachers greater opportunities to learn, engage, communicate, and develop skills that will prepare them for work, life, and citizenship. We are committed to helping students develop 21st-century technology and communication skills.

To that end, this Joint Social Media Use Statement outlines behaviors that teachers should follow when using school technologies, when using personally-owned devices at school or when making postings to social media outside of school.

  • Teachers need to follow the same rules for good behavior and respectful conduct online as offline.

Examples of Acceptable Use

  • Follow the same guidelines for respectful, responsible behavior online that you are expected to follow offline.
  • Treat social media carefully. Do separate personal and professional. With your personal accounts, consider using a different name and set your privacy settings to their most stringent, but don't assume it's invisible
  • Encourage positive, constructive discussion if allowed to use communicative or collaborative technologies. Use the highest levels of security.
  • Alert a teacher or other staff member if you see threatening/bullying, inappropriate, or harmful content (images, messages, posts) online.
  • Be cautious to protect the safety of yourself and others. Monitor yourself on Google from time to time.
  • Remember always to follow our Professional Code of practice
  • This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Users should use their own good judgment when using social media

Examples of Unacceptable Use

  • Venting online
  • Posting anything that you wouldn't want posted on the front page of the local newspaper.
  • Using language online that would be unacceptable in the classroom
  • Engaging in community discussion boards (ex. eBrandon or Facebook groups) when the subject matter is focused on potentially sensitive/confidential situations (i.e. don't use social media to engage angry parents or community members.
  • This is not intended to be an exhaustive statement. It is meant to raise teachers' awareness about how they should model ethical and appropriate behaviour online. Users should use their own good judgment when using social media.
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About this blog
No, this isn't actually my picture. I just haven't gotten around to updating this section. It's good to know that someone is reading every last word though. Thanks!