The Educational Forum in Northern New Jersey -  Mar. 4, 2017
at Far Hills Country Day School  -  697 Mine Brook Rd. (US-202), Far Hills, NJ 07931
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 CO-HOST :    FAR HILLS COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL , with its PK-8 grade program centrally located in Somerset County, has historically been associated with progressive, and effective, education. Its long-held commitment to personalization, differentiation and individualization in its educational approach underscores the school’s success at preparing its graduates to continue learning and developing successfully throughout their lives.
Participating Organizations

   TOPICS FOR INTELLECTUALLY CURIOUS MINDS:   for parents, students and friends

Controlling Anxiety for Healthy Educational Objectives
Let’s face it … the proliferation of social media and the prevalence of high expectations form formidable barriers to the development of any student’s self confidence. So, it is perfectly understandable that anxiety levels can reach epic proportions when millennials and younger students are planning for high school, college and beyond. This, in turn, could result in less-than-optimal educational and career decisions at a time when solid decision-making is most needed. Join a discussion that addresses some of the very pressures and challenges to which today’s students are subjected. Discover ways and strategies to overcome mental and emotional barriers so that both students and parents can feel empowered, and confident, to make their best decisions during these critical periods.
Presenter: Keith Berman, President   Options for College
How to Assess Summer Enrichment Programs
The selections seem infinite, as do the possible settings, purposes, and emphases. These are the wide assortment of summer enrichment programs all offering experiences that would provide your child with intellectual and emotional growth. But how would you look for a program that is best suited for your child’s needs and for your financial budget? More importantly, how might you assess the program’s suitability relative to the benefits that it may provide? Join in for a discussion that could enable you to contribute meaningfully to your child’s life.!
Presenter: Robert Friedman, Director - Penn Summer Discovery  Summer Discovery
Relaxation Techniques to Relieve Your Child's Stress
There is no child who has not experienced stress and anxiety. There are no parents who have not witnessed their child’s discomfort. To be sure, a child runs a gauntlet of pressures: school work, peer relationships, extra-curricular activities … And often, prolonged stress, particularly when experienced for the first time, contributes to unhappiness, lower confidence levels and an unwillingness to cope with daily interactions. There are wellness techniques – breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, yoga procedures, massage methods – that are teachable and learnable skills that can go a long way towards reducing and controlling anxiety and boosting happiness. Learn how to help your children breathe a little as they go through the difficult years of preparing for adulthood.
Presenters: Sue Miller, 2nd Grade Teacher, &  Pam Berstler, Administrative Assistant Far Hills Country Day School
Conquering Language Learning Quickly With Fractals
It has been said that for any given language, roughly one hundred words account for 50% of its speech. Every language contains words that are constantly repeated. In fact, theories suggest that focusing on a language’s most useful words would enable a rapid development of linguistic proficiency. Pattern recognition analyses imply that this suggestion has validity. Through the application of fractal sets – a geometry that generates repetitive patterns through a simple process – one may become aware of how the human brain can learn and retain information, like a language. Realize how communicating in a new language can be achieved, and faster than you think. Demonstrations will be given in French and Mandarin.
Presenters: Nicola McGill, French Teacher, &  Nicola McGill, Mandarin Teacher Far Hills Country Day School
Establishing Foundational, Lifelong Learning Strategies
Discover ways that can foster better learning habits – the benefits can be incalculable. Hear about how you can develop focus and awareness to become a better learner both in school and beyond. Look to become that lifelong learner where wonderment never diminishes.
Presenter: Edward Kim,  Director of Curriculum  C2 Education
Using Project-Based Learning to Build Understanding
Whether employed at home or in school, Project-Based Learning (PBL) can boost your child’s ability to understand and broaden your child’s appreciation for learning. PBL involves obtaining and using knowledge to solve a problem (the project). An engrossing project will foster creativity and thought, enable the generation and extension of connections so that ultimately the process of learning becomes both meaningful and resonant. Key here is to recognize and facilitate the student’s interests while providing skill sets and guidance that would permit a rich and rewarding learning experience. Join in to see how you can nourish your child’s excitement to learn.
Presenter: Cara Ruggiero, Faculty   Primoris Academy
Considerations for Early College
The early college option could be a most rewarding educational experience. In an early college setting, students learn in an environment where advanced course material is not only the norm, but also where the expectation for intellectual fulfillment is commonplace. It is a setting where curiosity and the desire to learn can combine in a way that could foster substantial intellectual and emotional growth. Yet, even among advanced learners, early college may not be the best educational path to follow. Come learn about the different types of early college approaches and, more importantly, the type of student who would most benefit from this choice.
Presenter: Alan Dupont, Admission Counselor  Bard Academy / Bard College at Simon's Rock
Using Peer Teaching for Effective Learning
If you do not think that peer teaching can yield genuine knowledge and excitement, think again. To be sure, visualizing children and youths as effective role models for their contemporaries may be challenging. It may be more difficult still to imagine that teachers within similar age cohorts as their students would be respected and accepted. But providing the right environment and given the proper opportunity and development, peer teaching can be one of the most effective ways of providing and retaining knowledge, understanding and confidence – for both teacher and student. Discover how your child can learn and develop in a most positive way.
Presenter: Steven Fink, Founder  SummerTech
The Myth of the Lazy Gifted Student
The report card’s grades seem incongruent with your awareness of your child’s capabilities. Your child could be lazy, but there is also a good chance that your child may be twice exceptional (2e) – gifted with an impediment to learning or to output. Become aware of how complex 2e students can be and learn to recognize how 2e characteristics are manifested in the classroom. If you think you have a 2e child, see what accommodations parents and teachers can implement to minimize frustration and maximize growth and achievement. But most of all, know what you can do to support your child.
Presenter: Jacqui Byrne, Founder & Head of School   FlexSchool
The Indispensable K-12 STEM Resource Guide
Calling ALL students and parents seeking adventure, opportunities and excitement that will satisfy one’s capacity to think and ability to create. Explore how to effectively and efficiently incorporate STEM resources to accommodate advanced learners. Discover the best STEM places to visit, the most informative online sites for STEM-based information, the most practical sources that describe STEM career exploration activities, the most concise information for STEM advocacy, and more. Whether or not the overwhelming amount of available information is stymieing your efforts to learn about STEM enrichment resources both within and beyond the classroom, make your life easier by distilling the data into understandable bytes. Get ready to recharge your mind.
Presenter: Christopher Duvall, Associate Director  Montclair State University Gifted & Talented Program
Trends, Challenges & Initiatives in NJ's Public Education
The education landscape in New Jersey is in a continuous state of change. Aside from being subjected to ever –shifting budgetary priorities, the educational environment is constantly considering and developing new approaches and initiatives that would help maximize learning and enhance the capabilities of students. Come hear a talk of what is happening in public education here in New Jersey. Learn about the trends, challenges and initiatives that currently affect, and will affect, how students learn today and in the coming years.
Presenter: Sancha K. Gray, Assistant. Superintendent - Curriculum & Instruction   Asbury Park Board of Education

        for students 

Priming to Pump SAT/ACT Performance (grades 7-12)
Get started (or refresh yourself) on the road to one of life’s challenges: the standardized college aptitude test. To be sure, overcoming the bumps and barriers that inhibit satisfactory test results have been widely discussed over the past twenty years. But, the bottom line is that the very process of standardized testing rewards a certain approach that is not necessarily the most effective approach for learning in a conventional classroom setting. So come and understand what is needed to be a strong test-taker, discover strategies to bolster your scores, and discover how to diminish those bumps and barriers that might stand in your way.
The Great (Graphic) Novel   (grades 6-8)
It’s the aspiration of every writer to be recognized for a singular work that demonstrates mastery in prose, form and content. And now, In light of the growing importance of the graphic novel in today's literary canon, one might have to add the capacity to convey visual imagery to the list of yardsticks. Yet combining pictures with words into a story can demand novel perspectives, as will be appreciated when examining samples from award winning graphic texts like The March and Drowned City. Explore the process of creating a story that is told through words and images. So even if your drawing skills limit your portrayals to stick figures, you too could create the riveting tale that may become the next Great Novel.
Wind Turbines  (grades 4-6)
They are rotating devices that convert wind power into usable energy. Modern wind turbines, if they are many and large enough, can provide a city, or country with electricity. The questions are how – how do they work, how do they create energy, how are they designed. Get started on getting the answers by first building your own working model. Consider how you can get bigger versions of your model to supply a village with electricity. See if you can apply your understanding of wind turbines to comparing and contrasting them with other energy sources. Join in for the ultimate learning-by-doing approach by applying science, technology, engineering, arts and math to examining the wind turbine.
Room to Breathe - Relaxation Techniques  (grades K-3)
Learning how to relax may well be one of the most important, valuable and enduring, lessons that you will receive in your life. Discovering how to calm yourself and quiet your mind will enable you to regenerate your batteries and to re-discover the joy in your days. Spend an hour learning some yoga, massage and acupressure techniques, and other measures that have been refined over centuries of continual use. If you have stress or anxiety, if you have ever experienced worry, you cannot afford to miss this session.
The Far Hills Mini-Musical Extravaganza!  (grades 5-8)
The Far Hills Players will be presenting a live show featuring original music, original song-and-dance routines, and a witty dialog that evokes memories of Hepburn and Tracy at their best. We call it “Lightning in a Bottle” (the producers may prefer a different title) as the production will be conceived, outlined, rehearsed and presented all within an hour’s time. Is this possible? There probably will be improv elements, but, Yes! It has been done … and it can be done. And, as they say, The-Show-Must-Go-On!
Start Your Engines With Renewed Energy  (grades K-3)
If you have turned on a television, the chances are the energy you used to watch TV was created from natural gas, coal or oil. The problem is that once you used that bit of gas, coal or oil, that piece is gone forever. Eventually, these energy sources will disappear and other sources must be found. Scientists are already working on this by exploring such resources that can be used over and over as the sun, wind, plants and water. Discover some of these renewable energy sources and see how they can transform into power by operating solar powered robots and designing and building your own wind-powered vehicles to take home.
Presenter: Primoris Academy
A Taste of Human Psychology (grades 4-8)
Pavlov - he won a Nobel Prize for describing and testing how animals and humans can react without being aware how they are being conditioned. Today, his method is called “classical conditioning” and is studied extensively in modern psychology. Over the years, Pavlovian concepts have been ascribed to both the positive (eg. how people can learn) and the negative (eg. brain washing in old time spy movies). Discover Pavlov and his work, learn the different steps involved in “classical conditioning” and then, take part in a “classical conditioning” simulation. Have you been a subject to unknown conditioning?
The Edible Power Plant (grades 4-8)
At its very basic core, a battery is a device that transforms energy derived from chemical reactions into electricity. Delve into the mysteries of the simple battery – similar to those commonly found in phones, remote controls, and clocks. But instead of a metal housing, the power plant will be housed in a fruit rind, or a vegetable skin. With that lemon, or rutabaga, or whatever fruit or vegetable that is left on the table (or desk), create batteries and explore their inner workings and power capacities that generate the chemical reactions to make a light shine bright, or brighter. Would a 200 pound pumpkin be enlightening?
Presenter: Primoris Academy
College Application Strategy (grades 6-12)
It is always good to know what goes into admission decisions. Sooner or later, you will be wondering about those very concerns as you work to submit your college application portfolio to the awaiting admissions committee at First-Choice University. Here’s the opportunity to get an idea as an experienced college admissions consultant that enables you to gain an awareness of what makes, or breaks, a successful application package. Knowledge is power - and power can be compelling.
Imagination to Innovation (grades 4-7 & 7-12)
If there are just ten ways to pose a challenge, there are at least fifty ways to resolve it. But finding a resolution successfully requires the power to imagine, the daring to create, and the determination to proceed. You and your team will be confronted with a challenge that will require your imagination, creativity and determination to solve. The challenge could be anything: moving balls without touching them, creating a rhyming message for an answering machine … You will have to think quickly and effectively (there are time limits involved), but when you gain your solution, you will discover that the creativity that you have within you can be developed and applied to achieve greatness.
Getting More Out of Anime  (grades 4-8)
Learning to think in another language lies within your grasp without sacrificing years of language study. The secret is “ideophones” – words that describe and define objects and actions by their impact on our emotions and  senses, eg. sight, sound, taste … “Ideophones” are quite rare in English, but they are used often, and to great effect, in Japanese. For example, Pikachu, of Pokemon fame, connotes much more than a resolute bunny look-alike to fans who are Japanese for the name itself is based on an “ideophone”. Join in to acquire a greater knowledge of Japanese “ideophones” (along with a basic briefing on Japanese language structure); your enjoyment of, say, Japanese anime and manga is guaranteed to increase significantly.
Presenter: FlexSchool
The Power to Speak in Public  (grades 4-6 & 7-10)
If you like arguing, you'll love debate! Come hone your argument skills by debating such issues as summer vs winter, pancakes vs waffles, and cats vs dogs. You'll learn to build an argument, use evidence to support, and engage in critical analysis. In the process, you’ll bolster public speaking skills; employing body language, tone, and enunciation to your advantage. Here’s a chance to discover the power of speech.
The Secrets of Test Taking Strategies Revealed  (grades 6-12)
You are faced with the prospect of taking the ACT or SAT or some high school entrance exam, and you are keenly aware that knowing the right kind of test taking strategies could open doors to more high school and/or college choices. Join in to see how you can become a capable test-taker. You will review time management and organizational skills, as well as ways to manage test anxiety and to enable effective executive functioning and goal setting. You will see how to improve memorization/information recall ... Test taking skills do not come instinctively for most students. But, once those skills are obtained, improving your chances for admissions becomes superseded by a lifetime of working more efficiently and with less stress.
Art Beyond the Frame  (grades 4-6 & 7-12)
There is more to art than meets the eye. To be sure, art appreciation can be visual: the fineness of line, the grace of form … But, how one creates art is defined by our cultural traditions and by the times in which we live. Art celebrates the essence of imagination, and in doing so, enriches our lives immeasurably by strengthening our awareness and empathy of the world around us. Experience the “artistic experience” by experiencing art from different traditions and periods. Then, take the opportunity to create a piece of work that raises the awareness of those who surround you. You will come to appreciate just how important a role art plays in our lives.
Presenter: Newark Museum