Changes to Family Therapy Services

Frequent readers of our blog will remember our posts on the variety of services offered by our Assessment and Counseling Clinic, including family therapy.

Family therapy can help parents, kids, and teens find better ways to communicate and help families create schedules and routines. Family therapy can also help families navigate mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or eating disorders and can help and provide families with a framework for coping through developmental transitions. Previously, we included family therapy as an option on our intake form for clinical services; however, now we are asking that families schedule directly with Dr. Jacob Priest, Assistant Professor in the UI Couple and Family Therapy Doctoral Program and supervisor of the family counseling service. To schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Priest at jacob-b-priest@uiowa.edu or 319-335-6044.  Appointments will occur at the Lindquist Center on the University of Iowa campus, and this service is free of charge.

Non-Academic Supports for IOAPA Students

By this point in the semester, IOAPA students are likely familiar with the expectations of their above-level courses. Students may be feeling a little overwhelmed by a level of challenge they may never have experienced before. They may start to question their abilities, or they may be hesitant to submit projects or assignments until they’re sure there are no mistakes. These can be difficult issues to help students overcome, and it is hard to know how to best support students with these emotional struggles. Many experts have written on these topics, and below are some blog posts and resources to share or discuss with IOAPA students who are in need of non-academic supports.

For students who are expressing hesitation about continuing their coursework because it is challenging, this blog post from Byrdseed could spark a conversation about the benefits of challenge for our brains, just like for our muscles.

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“Imposter syndrome” is a common challenge for bright students, especially when they’re being exposed to a new level of challenge for the first time. In fact, it’s so common that Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page has a whole section of blogs and books about the phenomenon. (I would especially recommend this article and this blog post.) Helping students learn to challenge these thoughts now will benefit them throughout their education and careers.

An additional challenge that arises among gifted students is perfectionism. The National Association for Gifted Children published this article that includes a distinction between healthy and unhealthy manifestations of perfectionism, as well as some tips for parents and teachers to help students manage it.

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Growth mindset resources can also inform the ways in which teachers and parents change their own behavior to support students through these emotional challenges. For example, the praise students receive can influence their self-perceptions; when students consistently hear, “You’re so smart,” it can open the door for self-doubt and perfectionism. Mindset Kit offers an excellent brief lesson on using process-praise.

The challenge of IOAPA classes is incredibly beneficial for high ability students in many ways. It can also result in some new struggles for these students, especially when they’ve never encountered this type of challenge before. It is our hope that these resources will be useful in understanding and meeting students’ emotional needs.

Using Edhesive – The Forums

During the inaugural year of IOAPA’s partnership with Edhesive, we extended access to Computer Science courses to more than 100 students across Iowa. We will continue to expand computer science education across the state, and continue to work to maximize student and mentor success. This “Using Edhesive” blog series will highlight Edhesive features that we feel are especially important for IOAPA students and mentors. Whether you’re brand new to Edhesive, or already have a year under your belt, this information will be useful for all IOAPA Computer Science mentors and their students.

One of the most common questions we get about Edhesive is: “How do I get content questions answered?” Unlike our Apex courses, where each course is assigned a specific instructor, Edhesive courses are developed by a team of instructors and facilitated by the on-site mentors. Therefore, there is no assigned instructor for the Edhesive courses.

However, Edhesive offers online forums for teachers and students to ask and answer questions about course access, content, and logistics. The forums are course specific, so you will be connected to teachers or students across the country participating in your computer science course, whether it’s AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles, or Introduction to Computer Science. Additionally, the student and teacher forums are separate; IOAPA mentors have access to both forums, while students can only access the Student Forum.

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The forums are monitored seven days a week by Edhesive staff and teaching assistants who can provide support for both content and technical issues. Before we offer some tips for making the most of these forums, watch this short video to learn the basics of navigating and using it: Using the Edhesive Teacher Forum.

As promised, here are some tips for using the forum, based on Edhesive instructor input and IOAPA mentor feedback.

Ask questions! Just as you would email a question to an Apex instructor, you can post your question on the forum to get answers from Edhesive instructors (and other mentors/AP teachers). Plus, other teachers can benefit from the answer to your question, too! I know what you’re thinking: “What if my question is silly, or has a very simple solution? Everyone else on the forum will judge me.” Well, as I’m sure you have told your students over and over, there are no stupid questions. Our IOAPA mentors, just like our IOAPA students, are resourceful and independent; however, your time is valuable and it’s not realistic to expect to be able to solve every problem that arises without help. Posting a question on the forum is guaranteed to receive an answer, often within a couple of hours at most.

Ask anonymously or individually. If you’re still not sure about posting on the forum, there are a couple of options. If you don’t want your name attached to your question, you can post anonymously. The question would still be posted to the entire forum, it just would not include your name. If you have specific questions about your course or your students, Edhesive staff may ask you to follow up via email to get more details, but this can be a good way to get those “silly” questions addressed without any fear of judgment. You can also post your question to the instructors only, so it functions basically like an email to an instructor would. If there is a particular instructor with whom you wish to correspond, you can send it to them only, or you could send it to the whole Edhesive support team.

Keep up with the pinned messages. Edhesive staff will periodically “pin” answers to frequently asked questions to the top of the discussion list so they’re easy to find. If you have a question about how to access teacher materials or how to unlock tests or assignments, check the pinned messages – the answer is probably available there.

As always, please feel free to contact us by email at ioapa@belinblank.org — but for content questions, we’ll probably refer you to the forums. Also see last week’s post about general Edhesive resources. Keep up with IOAPA and Edhesive on Twitter: @TeamEdhesive and @belinblankIOAPA.

Back to School with the Belin-Blank Center

Our August newsletter is in an inbox near you!

Using Edhesive – Overview

During the inaugural year of IOAPA’s partnership with Edhesive, we extended access to Computer Science courses to more than 100 students across Iowa. We will continue to expand computer science education across the state, and continue to work to maximize student and mentor success. This “Using Edhesive” blog series will highlight Edhesive features that we feel are especially important for IOAPA students and mentors. Whether you’re brand new to Edhesive, or already have a year under your belt, this information will be useful for all IOAPA Computer Science mentors and their students.

Edhesive and IOAPA share a fundamental belief: That online learning works best when students are supported by local teachers. You know these individuals as “mentors,” but in Edhesive materials you may see the term “coach.” Both terms refer to the same person: the onsite teacher responsible for supporting IOAPA students.

IOAPA “Mentor” = Edhesive “Coach”

Edhesive provides a number of professional development and other resources to support coaches. Online PD is available for Introduction to Computer Science and AP Computer Science Principles. In addition, an extensive Help section (accessed from your course dashboard) provides articles and videos about the course curriculum, setting up your online “classroom”, and using Edhesive features. One such feature, the teacher and student forums, will be addressed in a future blog post in this series. The Help information is specific to each course, so it can help guide your planning and your Edhesive experience.

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Each Edhesive course also includes extensive resources for supporting students, including pacing guides and teacher packets with lesson plans and supplemental worksheets relevant to the course content. It is important for mentors to view these teacher packets, as students do not have access to them unless provided by their mentor. Note: Several IOAPA mentors mentioned using these materials for additional practice prior to quizzes or exams, especially in the AP courses. Additionally, mentors suggested using online exams for students to practice, as they can be repeated, and then using the provided offline exams for the students’ grades. This does require some additional figuring of the students’ grades at the end of the semester, but some mentors felt this was beneficial for students.

To keep up with Edhesive on social media, follow @TeamEdhesive on Twitter. You can also follow IOAPA on Twitter using @belinblankIOAPA. With specific questions about IOAPA or Edhesive, email us at ioapa@belinblank.org. Finally, stay tuned to the blog for more tips on using Edhesive!

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Message from the Director: The Lifelong Process of Becoming

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This was the question asked of my granddaughter on her first day of kindergarten (firefighter and teacher were her responses).  Likely most of us have considered this question at various points throughout our lives.   I certainly have.

Although I have been an educator for four decades (1977-2017), I am grateful that the years have not jaded me.  Each first day of a new school year offers a sense of wonder, anticipation, and optimism, perhaps because I recognize that it is not really about what my granddaughter – or any student or colleague — will be when they grow up; rather, it is about the lifelong process of becoming.   With a new kindergartner in the family, I thought that it would be appropriate to share with you my wishes for her as she engages in the process of becoming. I wish that she would:

  • Find challenge in learning both in and out of school. Learners, and those who teach them, know that challenge represents the optimal learning environment.  There is just enough prior knowledge to build upon in acquiring new knowledge.  The appropriately challenged learner is neither bored nor frustrated, but rather empowered to seek new knowledge and develop further the sense of curiosity with which we are all born.
  • Build resilience to become an empowered learner. Without ever having set foot in a formal school setting, my granddaughter confidently states that her favorite subjects are math, science, and reading. If she wants to be a firefighter and a teacher, those are good subjects to master; however, she will need to recognize that there will be favorite subjects and those that are not favorites.  As well, there will be good days and days that are not as good.  The latter are important so that she can bounce back to enjoy the good days and revel in great days!
  • Develop leadership skills so that she can experience a meaningful life and make a positive impact on society. Sure, that is a tall order for a kindergartner, but it is an important aspect of learning and becoming.  When she enters her fifth decade of a profession, whether it be teaching and/or firefighting or a profession yet unknown, I hope that she will be able to look back and see how her leadership contributed positively to society.
  • Hone a sense of humility so that she will always approach the multitude of opportunities and gifts already bestowed upon her with gratitude, as well as develop an awareness that others do not always have these same opportunities or abilities.

My granddaughter started her formal education this week just as I was commencing my 5th decade as an educator.  I have never lost that sense of excitement on the first day of a new school year, and I hope she – and all of us – never lose it.  Keeping in mind the ideas of challenge, resilience, leadership, and humility may help her – and each of us –in the process of becoming.  Have a great year!

What Will You See Through The Window?

The Belin Blank Center is proud to announce the official launch of The Window podcast.  Hosted by the Center’s Director Emeritus, Dr. Nicholas Colangelo, The Window can now be found on SoundCloud, in the iTunes Store, and on The Window’s website.

Our current episode features Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek.  Kathy is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.  Her research in the areas of early language development and infant cognition has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and Human Development, and the Institute of Education Sciences resulting in 14 books and over 200 publications.  Kathy is an advocate for the importance of play and playful education in early childhood, and should be of particular interest to parents and educators alike.

The Window podcast is designed to engage thought leaders on issues relating to maximizing human potential and directing talent toward a larger social good. We invite you to open the window and listen in.