Join Our Mailing List

Follow by Email

Friday, November 17, 2017

Brain Based Learning

The field of Education is always full of a variety of buzz words and lingo.  "Hot"education topics are very seasonal and seem to come and go like the latest fashion. However,  Brain Based Learning, a current popular education topic, is not a fleeting one.  Brain Based Learning is a bridged discipline between neurology, and the science of education, where educational psychology plays a key role.  Understanding how the brain actually functions in order to learn seems like it should be a foundational element to the study of education, but it is a fairly recent  component to the discipline. The author, Cepee Tabibian, offers a great introduction to the topic on the website Cognifit Health, Brain & Neuroscience.  The basics of Brain Based Learning  are a helpful parenting tool as well.  Please read more in Tabibian's article:

Brain Based Learning What is It and How to Apply It

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Why Upper School Students are Expected to Play a Sport at ULS

At University Lake School, we require Upper School students to participate in athletics, the arts and service along with a rigorous academic load.   Is a schedule this robust sometimes hard to manage for teens?  Of course!  Does it teach them to create a vibrant rich life in which they are well rounded?  Of course!   Why should athletics be a part of the mix of requirements?  A few of the most important rationales for playing athletics in high school include: the importance of learning to work together as a team, creating a pattern of being physically active, learning the art of self-discipline and often times fostering the ability to push oneself outside of one's comfort zone.  In addition to these reasons, Kevin Kniffin, Professor of Leadership and Management in Sports at Cornell University, adds another spin to why high school athletics are so important.  In his New York Times article, Kniffin talks about addition lifetime benefits of playing sports in high school.  See the attached article.

High School Athletes Display Lifetime Benefits

Monday, August 14, 2017

Choosing a College

Obviously, we talk to our children about the types of things they need to do in order to be accepted to a college.  Earning good grades, taking the right classes, preparing for the ACT and involvement in meaningful extracurricular activities may be a a few of the  recommendations we offer up.   In addition to helping your child obtain the credentials needed for college acceptance, another important exchange to have with them is about the importance of selecting a college that is their right fit. The college experience can be an incredibly powerful tool in shaping the adult your child will become, therefore helping them find that truly perfect school is crucial.  This article from "Prepscholar" discusses some of the key questions that ULS students are faced  with through our college counseling process. These questions show that one of the most important elements that helps a high school student in selecting the right college for them  is having a firm understanding of self. That is a pretty tall order for a 17 or 18 year person, but if we work with our children to reflect often and think independently from the onset of their schooling, they will be well prepared for this important decision as Juniors and Seniors in High School. Read more below ....

What College Should I Go To?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Digital Citizenship and Kids

We know as parents that it is our responsibility to help our children become good citizens, but what does this mean when so much human interaction takes place via a virtual world? Our children need to learn an entirely new code of etiquette as well as safety protocol that was non-existent when we were children.   Brittany Oler of Cyberwise addresses the importance of etiquette in the following statement:

Etiquette is a code of behavior that defines expectations for social behavior. Children who grow up without learning this important code may not develop important social relationship skills for interacting with others and are at a greater risk of conflict when interacting with their peers.  

This risk of conflict can actually be more dramatic in a digital environmental in which body language, tone and often context are removed from communication.  In addition, a false veil of anonymity often entices people to say things they would never say in person.  

Please read Dr. Shabbi Luthra's article below.  It offers detailed advice on how to help your child navigate in an ever changing digital world.  

Good Digital Citizenship for Kids

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Raising an Independent Thinker

One of the key ingredients to the University Lake School Educational Platform is Independent Thinking.  Independent Thinking involves coming up with unique ideas, questioning conventions, solving problems in a new way and/or solving new problems. Historically, independent thinkers have become the leaders and boundary breakers in engineering, business and the arts.  They are the men and women that make history and create paradigm shifts in culture.  What parent does not want their child to grow up to be one of these impactful members of society?

Independent Thinking goes far beyond creating successful strong leaders though.  Studies show that independent thinkers are simply more confident.  Confident people tend to lead a happier and more satisfying life. Leadership expert, Anna Martin, discusses how a healthy sense of self is intricately related to independent thinking skills.  "Being able to think independently opens up a wealth of potential knowledge. It enables you to become more discerning about the things you hear, see and believe and helps you question values and assumptions. Independent thinking also hones your personal skills on many other levels, including the building of confidence in your ability to stand up for your beliefs."  Beyond outward success, this internal success is truly what we desire for our children.  

The following article offers simple ways to help foster your child to be an independent thinker at home.  It is geared toward younger children but, it would be very easy to modify the suggestions to be fitting for older children as well.  The overarching theme of all of the suggestions is to treat your child like an intelligent, capable and independent person.  Have "real conversations" with your child that involve evoking their opinions and actually listen to their responses.  With this simple approach watch your child grow into a strong independent thinker. 

Search Results

Raising an Independent Thinker

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Nature and Learning

This article reiterates what we at ULS already know.  Using nature as a classroom has a profound impact on learning.  We are at ease in nature yet captivated.  This is the perfect emotional combination for children and adults to learn.  Our 180 acre campus of sheer natural beauty provides such an environment for all that spend time on  Hawk Hill.

Why Nature Makes the Best Classroom

Friday, June 9, 2017

Why "I'm Bored" Isn't the Worst Thing a Parent Can Hear During Summer Vacation

One of the dreaded expressions a parent often hears over summer vacation is a whiny, "I'm bored." After taking a deep breath, it is important to not immediately become an entertainment coordinator for your child. In a day and age in which we are often over-scheduled and over-stimulated, this article shows there are real benefits to children working through a little boredom on their own.  

“Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” says Lyn Fry, a child psychologist in London with a focus on education. “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.”

Read more about the simple yet powerful concept of allowing our children to find ways to occupy their time independently.  

To Be More Self-Reliant Children Need Boring Summers

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Advice for the Class of 2017

It's hard to believe that another school year is quickly coming to a close.  It is an especially exciting time for our 30 seniors, The University Lake School Class of 2017.  These bright-eyed and ambitious young adults have completed their courses, taken exams, played sports, acted on stage, rocked the ACT and applied to fantastic colleges.  They are now on their way to collegiate experiences.  Oh boy! As graduation approaches our students' excitement is insatiable and our parents are shedding a few tears, it seems appropriate to share a few words of wisdom.  There is so much advice out there on-line, in print, from friends and relatives that I wanted to sift through all of this well meaning pontificating and find a few simple ideas that are practical and easy to digest amidst all of the graduation hoopla.  Ted Spiker, Chair of the Department of Journalism at the University of Florida, offers just this kind of practical advice.  Read through his "15 Tips for High School Graduates" below and share with your loved ones who are crossing the threshold into college life.

15 Tips For High School Graduates

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cyber-Safety for Children

The topic of cyber-safety and our children evolves almost daily as new technology is introduced at an exponential rate.  Social media, internet searches, smart phones and on-demand viewing content are an everyday part of children's lives.  Here are a few cold hard facts relating to kids and cyber-space:

  • 1 in 4 teens have been the victims of cyberbullying.
  • 1 in 6 admit to having cyberbullied someone. 
  • In some studies, more than half of the teens surveyed said that they've experienced abuse through social and digital media.

Clearly the virtual world can be a wonderful educational tool but, it can be a place where tough lessons are learned if children have unlimited, unsupervised access to things they may not fully understand.
The following list can help you keep your children safe when they use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as mobile devices:
  • Make sure the protection features of websites and software your children use are activated. There are tools available through your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to help you manage your children's online experience (i.e. appropriate Websites, amount of time spent online, who can and cannot contact them). It might also include other security features, such as pop-up ad blockers.
  • Get to know the online environments your children use and teach them how to deal with inappropriate material.
  • Talk to them about the implications of posting inappropriate pictures, saying disparaging things about other people and anything else that could damage a reputation or ruin a friendship.
  • Remind them that the Internet is a public space. Things they do and say now on social media sites could have implications down the road.
  • Stay in the know about the latest ways children are communicating and what they are up to when they are at friends' houses.
  • Keep an eye on the sites they are visiting by keeping the computer in a common area like the kitchen.
  • Talk to other parents about their children's online privileges and what works for them.
  • Educate them about the risks of webcam use with people you or your children don't know. Video that is broadcast over the Internet is permanently out there and can be saved by anyone for later viewing or distribution. If your computer has been hacked, another user could remotely control your webcam, so if you have an external camera, unplug it or cover your camera when it is not in use.
  • If your child is using live text and voice chats for online games, warn them not to give personal information to a stranger.
  • Be careful about what you post about your children or activities related to them like the location of their school, or where you or they are volunteering.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Why Students Should Play More than One Sport

It is no secret amongst parents that the pressure related to playing youth athletics has dramatically increased since the time of our own childhoods.  Club sports and highly competitive school sports teams have caused parents to spend thousands and thousands of dollars for their children to participate, take private lessons and hire personal coaches.  There has been a growing mindset that children need to start a particular sport young and they need to "specialize" in their sport of choice in order to be competitive,  In other words, "forget playing varsity basketball unless you have been playing on select teams since you were five years old."

There is a growing amount of evidence that states this ultra intense-focused approach to athletics is counter-productive for children.  At University Lake School  almost 80% of our Upper School students play more than one sport.  Read the article below to understand why this multi-sport approach is really int he best interest of your child.

Playing One Sport a Year Isn't Smart for Kids

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Education and Travel

The educational platform at ULS emphasizes Hand-On Learning as a powerful and effective approach to providing meaningful learning experiences for students.  One of the most impact-full Hands-On Learning activities involves getting out of the classroom and traveling.  "Seeing the world" provides learning opportunities that just can not be duplicated in a classroom. ULS designs a variety of travel experiences into the curriculum to provide these benefits to the students.  In 5th and 6th grade, ULS students start their exposure to travel on a 3 day winter camping trip.  In 7th grade, there is a fall camping/leadership trip to Snake Road.  In 8th grade, students branch out farther with a trip to Washington D.C.  In Upper School, students start the year with a canoe/leadership trip.  Finally, the Upper School Intersession program offers a variety of opportunities for students to "spread their wings and fly" a bit.  The 2017 Intersession opportunities include: a trip to Cuba, a Study of Music and Culture in Salzburg, Vienna and Prague and a Yellowstone Camping Experience. The attached article talks about the benefits of traveling abroad for young people but think the points can apply to all travel not just international.

6 Reasons Why Traveling Abroad is Important for Young People

ULS students on Intersession 2016 in Italy

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Emotional Intelligence

At University Lake School as a college preparatory school, we often focus the bulk of our energy on academics.  We emphasize writing skills, speaking skills and critical thinking skills.  At ULS, we prepare for college entrance exams and cultivate research skills through a variety of independent study projects.  Our focus on the above skills is appropriate for a college preparatory school and has offered great opportunities for ULS students. With that said, there is a skill set that is equally if not more important than the academically focused skills - Emotional Intelligence.  Emotional Intelligence involves the skill of recognizing your feelings, understanding where they come from and learning how to deal with them.  Research has shown that emotional intelligence or EQ “predicts over 54% of the variation in success (relationships, effectiveness, health, quality of life).” Additional data concludes that “young people with high EQ earn higher grades, stay in school, and make healthier choices.  Learn a little more about emotional intelligence and how children develop this vital skill by reading the article below.  

Why We Need to Teach Our Kids Emotional Intelligence

Thursday, March 2, 2017

All the Fuss About Public Speaking

Consistently, I hear visitors to ULS comment on how our students are particularly articulate.  ULS students know how to look someone in the eye when they speak.  They know how to project and speak clearly.  Most importantly, Lakers know how to organize their thoughts and speak with confidence and conviction.  These noticeable excellent public speaking skills of ULS children are no accident.  The pattern of research, create and share starts with our JK3 class at ULS and weaves throughout all grades until graduation.  There are daily learning activities such as morning meetings share time and student-led assemblies that make speaking in front of a group a "normal" occurrence in our classrooms. There are also major educational milestone events in which public presentation is a key component such as the fourth grade Magnum Opus, seventh and eighth grade Honors Projects and Senior Projects.  At University Lake School, we appreciate and understand the importance of public speaking skills and how these skills truly differentiate you as an adult.  Please enjoy the following article that reminds us why public speaking is so important and how ULS students benefit from public speaking being an everyday part of school.  

Why is Public Speaking so Important?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

How Important is Play in Preschool?

At ULS, we recently held an Open House event for the preprimary program.  As parents sort through the big decision about what path their child should take for preschool, I thought it would be useful to understand how "play" is an important component in the learning process. ULS preprimary educators seamlessly weave play and academics together.  The classroom for these young students becomes a vibrant and positive environment in which learning  and fun become synonymous.  Read more about play and learning in the article below.

Play in Preschool

Friday, February 10, 2017

How Important are College Rankings?

As our seniors are in the process of making their final college selections and our juniors are preparing to start the college application process, it seemed like the timing was right to examine the significance of college rankings.  This concise article offers a variety of professional opinions on how to utilize and how NOT to utilize college rankings during the college selection process.  This read is a nice "warm-up" to the upcoming College Planning Program being offered by ULS College Counselor, Joe Niemczyk, and Financial Advisor, Tony Drake.  

 How Important are College Rankings
Jesuit College Fair at ULS

Join us For the College Planning Program at Thunder Bay Grille @ 5:30pm.
RSVP Jennifer Becker

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Importance of Theatre in High School

This February ULS students will bring Disney's High School Musical to the stage.  60 of our 148 students in grades 7-12 will be participating in the cast and crew of this new "American Classic."   Forty percent participation in a school activity that requires countless hours of practice and commitment speaks volumes about the strength of the ULS theatre program.  So, why is it important for students to participate in theatre?  What do the students gleam from the inordinate hours of rehearsal and performance?  Is it worth the disruption of your family's schedule so your child can participate in these dramatic productions?  The answer of course is Yes, Yes, Yes...  Check out the attached article that outlines some obvious and some not so obvious benefits your child receives when they participate in theatre.  See you at the show!

79 Reasons Why Kids should Study Drama in High School

Photo Courtesy of Jenn Mazza

Friday, January 27, 2017

Kids and Manners

I often hear adults discussing how our society is now void of manners.  We live in a time in which basic common courtesy seems rare.  Many of us long for an environment where simple respect and human decency are not oddities.  As parents, we can certainly help create a culture that is more mindful of manners. We can raise a generation in which basic manners are the cornerstone of building earnest compassion and empathy for others.  After all, compassion and empathy are the traits that will inspire us as a society to thoughtfully solve large scale problems.  Please enjoy the following article that provides practical ways to help children develop mindful manners.

Teaching Manners--It Still Matters: How to Teach Good Manners

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What Makes Students Like School?

What are some of the key indicators that a child will like school?  A football field with astro turf? A state of the art theater?  Brand new text books?  An extensive hot lunch selection?  It turns our that children are much more emotionally sophisticated than to be pacified with the material aspects of a school.  Instead, students long to be heard.  They want to be at a school in which teachers, peers and administrators know them personally.  Children long to be a part of a school in which they feel connected and they are allowed to speak freely and be heard.  Giving students a voice is truly what makes ULS shine!  Read more here about what makes kids actually like school.  

Why Kids Like to Go to School and Why the Don't.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Integrated Studies

During the 2016-17 School Year, ULS has incorporated an all school integrated study unit about water. The study includes examining water through a scientific and environmental lens, in addition to looking at the symbolism of water in poetry and literature and visual art.  Integrated studies have been an educational approach for a long time, but the small size of ULS makes them especially robust. Enjoy the attached article that outlines some of the basic principles of the integrated studies strategy.

An Introduction to Integrated Studies

Friday, January 6, 2017

Kids and Curiosity 

Curiosity is a nebulous trait.  Unlike tangible skills such as mastery of multiplication facts, curiosity is hard to quantify and measure.  Regardless of its' ethereal nature, we know curiosity is one of the key ingredients to cultivating life long learning. Fostering curiosity in all students promotes a society of on-going innovation and improvement as students become adults.  At ULS, this understanding of the importance of curiosity is at the core of our curriculum and teaching methods.  Our teachers are experts at flaming the fires of curiosity in ULS students.  Read  more about the importance of cultivating curiosity  in this PBS article.

Let's Find Out! Three Tips to Raising Curious Kids.