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Five Ways to Keep Your Brain from Melting like Your Ben & Jerry's this Summer!
(Continued from EdWorld At Home)

1. Read at least one thing from the newspaper or a magazine every day.

The news doesn’t take a summer vacation, and reading a newspaper or magazine article every day not only keeps your reading skills sharp, it fills your head with more information. Experts believe, the more you know, the easier it is to learn, because you have more places to “plug in” a new piece of information.

2. Write instead of talking OR write “properly” on e-mail and instant messages.

Instead of calling somebody on the phone, write that person a note. Play a game with a friend, with a brother or sister, or with your parents. For just 20 minutes, have a “talk” by writing instead of speaking. You can decide on a topic, or just start with “What’s up?”

Also, if you use e-mail and/or instant messages, try writing as properly as you would for school instead of using all the “shortcuts” people often use. For example, write “I’ll be right back” instead of “brb.”

3. Supermarket Math

Go shopping for groceries with your Mom or Dad. As each item goes into the shopping cart, round the item’s price to the nearest dollar (or, if you are really good at doing math in your head, round to the nearest half-dollar!) ... Keep adding the estimated prices in your head and see how close your total estimate comes to the real total when you check out!

4. While you’ve got the newspaper out, check the math!

Well, okay, you can probably trust that the math is “right” in most newspapers, but you can keep your math skills sharp by looking hard at the math that’s in the news. What’s today’s high temperature? How much higher or lower is that than the average? What percentage higher or lower?

If there’s a story about the economy, pick an important number in that story and then go online to learn more. For example, if the story says that the federal budget deficit is $368 billion this year, go online and try to find out what the total national debt is. (It’s nearing 8 trillion dollars, according to this site about the national debt.) How much is the annual federal deficit as a percentage of the gross national product? What’s the history of the national debt? Has the United States ever been without a national debt?

The sports pages provide lots of great numbers that you can look at more closely, especially that great summer sport, baseball. Compare your favorite player’s season with all the historic statistics at the Baseball Almanac online. You can also check out many of the poems and stories that have been written about baseball at the Baseball Almanac’s collection, “Baseball Poems & Songs.”

5. Do something for somebody else.

Learning isn’t just what happens in your head; it’s what happens in your heart, too. That might sound corny, but it’s true. Do a walk for charity, help collect food for the homeless or for disaster relief, or donate one day’s earnings from your summer jobs to an environmental group. Whatever help you choose to give, you might very well remember the experience in the long run as the high point of your summer!

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