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Friday, December 19, 2014

Girls Who Code!

The Mountain View Library is proud to host a new chapter of Girls Who Code.

Want to learn how to build an app, design a video game, and change the world through code?

Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.

Who? - Girls in grades 6-12
Where? - Mountain View Public Library Teen Zone - 585 Franklin Street
When? Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30pm, beginning January 28th, 2015
Club leaders: Hana Moreno Lane, MVHS, and Natalia Izaguirre, LAHS
Instructor: Monica Garde
Questions? karin.bricker@mountainview.gov or monicagarde@gmail.com

To sign up for the Club CLICK HERE

If you'd like more information before you sign up please come to our Information Evening:
Wednesday, January 21st 7-8pm in the Teen Zone
To sign up for the Information Evening CLICK HERE

For more information on Girls Who Code CLICK HERE

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Survival Guide: How to Safely Navigate and Master the Week of Finals

Finals. I have dreaded that word since the day I started high school. My freshman year, I finished Thanksgiving break and all of a sudden the stress of finals hit me. I realized that I had an entire semester worth of material, from the different phases of evolution to a hundred different Spanish verbs, to remember in only a short three weeks. My first set of finals? Not so good. Next semester, I quickly learned to master the skill of time management and made the most of my resources. Here are my tips to becoming a Jedi Master of Studying for Finals:

1. Time Management - 
  • Do NOT be that person is playing Flappy Bird the day before the test! Use your time efficiently! Map out what subjects you will study for each day. 
  • The studying schedule that works best for me is studying for 25 minutes, taking a 5 minutes water break, and continuing that cycle three more times. 
  • I then take an hour break. During the hour break I either play my violin or exercise (it is definitely a greater breather). 
  • Following this I take another two hour period of studying for 25 minutes at a time, and taking a 5 minute break. If you start this schedule at 4:00 pm, you will be finished by 9:00 pm. 
2. Get rid of ALL distractions 
  • Let's face it. Instagram will be there tomorrow. However, the A's in your classes may not be. As hard as it may be, put that phone aside and far away. Put away your iPod and Nintendo DS.
  • Make sure to work in a quiet place and not where your friends or little siblings can distract you.
  • Sometimes playing classical music in the background can be pretty soothing. However, if music is a distraction for you, put it away. 

 3. Maximize your resources 
  • Make sure you get study guides from each of your classes. If you do not get a study guide, go in and ask a teacher what is necessary for the final. 
  • Make sure you understand the material in the textbook and re-read it to make sure it sticks. 
  • If you are anything like me, you probably look at the textbook and the words look like Elvish and if you also don't speak languages from Middle-Earth, you probably need another tool to help you! Hint: the Internet. There are hundreds of sites that are super helpful for studying course material. If one is studying Spanish, there are many sites online that cover vocab and grammar. If you are taking an AP class, there are many AP course review guides that can help cover material. 
  • If you prefer videos than to reading, the explanations on Khan Academy are very helpful for math and science. I would also recommend looking at Crash Course videos for history, science, and even English. 
  • Take advantages of the sites and tools around you. Choose what will help you and will not.

4. Be of Good Health 
  • Take care of yourself. 
  • Make sure to be getting around 8 hours of sleep. 
  • Don't eat too much sugar either. That will result in a sugar high, followed by a exhausting crash.
  • Before you come to finals, eat a full breakfast.
  • Also remember to drink lots of water so you do not feel dehydrated. 
  • Remember to take care of yourself in the weeks to come as well. If you decide to not get much sleep or avoid an unhealthy diet, it will only be worse during finals.

These tips are helpful to me as they help to keep me on task, healthy, and making the most out of my studying. I encourage you to give some of these tips a try and even try to make your own tips. Don't stress during finals. Focus and work hard to studying. Working hard during finals makes the break much more satisfying afterward! Good luck to all!

Written by Rebecca, Homework Assistant

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Finals...

‘Twas the night before finals and all through the house, I lay spread-eagle on the ground, feeling that failure is surely bound. Extra-credit points for rhyming?

 With finals quickly approaching, it’s easy to feel absolutely overwhelmed with stress. As a major culprit of pre-finals anxiety, I’m trying by best to put it all in perspective.

 It’s hard to write about finals, because anything I say, I directly contradict in my own life. Sure, I could preach endlessly about why we shouldn’t be so stressed about school, and how a single grade on our report cards will not define the rest of our lives – but we’ve heard it all before. I could write about getting enough sleep (important!) or what type of breakfast to eat (also important!) but it’s unlikely that I’ll cure the inherent stress of any modern high school student.

But here is what I do know: everything we are told in our most stressed moments will turn out to be true. When a parent, a teacher, or an older sibling reminds us that our current worries will not impact our destiny, though I may roll my eyes now, I have faith that one day they will prove to be right.

Here’s a helpful site for those moments when you’re drowning in a pile of AP History notes:  

And now, the obligatory tips for surviving finals week (you knew it was coming!)

Ask for help- My biggest mistake in previous semesters has been thinking that I can teach myself a difficult concept the night before a final. Let’s just say it hasn’t worked. Don’t be afraid to ask a teacher, a tutor, or an older sibling for extra support.  A Teen Zone Homework Assistant can always help with review packets and other study materials.

Alter the way you approach a test- I was once told by a teacher, “The test is more afraid of you than you are of the test”. Corny as it may be, I repeat the motto before assessments to settle any lingering nerves. With enough studying and thoughtful preparation, the test should be afraid of you.

Take moments to enjoy the season- Dance in the rain, help decorate your Christmas tree or lighting your menorah, and wear your comfiest sweaters. Even if you only have a few minutes, do your best to embrace the festivity of winter. It will help you de-stress!

This makes a jolly ambience for studying:
In short, study hard and try to maintain perspective.

Happy finals to all, and to all a good night! (Really, stop studying and go to bed.)

Post by Allie C., Homework Assistant

Holiday Gift Ideas

Holiday Gifts! Because, who doesn't like a present?

There so many people who have helped us succeed this year. On that note, before the year ends we need to show them our gratitude. And what better way then by making them a homemade gift? Here are some of my favorite gift ideas:

   1. Make a Scarf- Who doesn't love scarves, especially a homemade scarf in the winter? I made some for my teachers and they all loved their scarves! To personalize each scarf make it the individual’s favorite color. (And if you don't know how to knit or crochet you can learn at the library - every Friday afternoon!)    
(crochet scarf)
  2. Make a Holiday Card- They are easy and affordable to make. I personally love making holiday       cards because there is so much room for creativity. You can make also personalize them based on the person to whom you are making it for. For instance, the card I am making for my math teacher is of a castle in the snow because his name is Mr. Castleman.


 3. Make a Holiday Goodie Jar- Yumm. If you love cooking more than crafting, then this is one of the ideas for you! There are some many recipes for making holiday goodie jars out in the internet, but here is my personal favorite goodie jar recipe. There are way too many recipes for me to share with you all without the post going on forever, so I recommend that you all to type in holiday goodie jar recipes and look through all the recipes and find the recipe that you like.


4. Make Holiday Cookies!- Another great idea for the bakers out there. For this idea just follow your favorite sugar cookie recipe and just buy a few cookie cutters. You can even make this into a cooking party with your friends.

These are my top three holiday homemade gifts ideas, but if you want more ideas, visit Pinterest and search for homemade holiday gifts. I guarantee you will get a lot of results.

Happy Holidays!
Maria M,- Homework Assistant

Monday, December 1, 2014

Top 5 Apps for Students (And how to use them effectively!)

Though our smartphones are often most enticing when we want to procrastinate, they also provide us with access to many little-known productivity tools. After two (and a half!) years of high school, I have scavenged the App Store and accumulated a set of applications that seriously help me in studying as well as doing homework.

StudyBlue- If you are not already using StudyBlue, the way you study for those Spanish quizzes or history tests is bound to be revolutionized. With StudyBlue, you can create your own decks of flashcards, and quiz yourself using your phone. The app even lets you track your progress with handy graphs and personalize your flashcards with images or audio content. I’ve found StudyBlue to be especially helpful when I’m on-the-go and quickly want to brush up on a concept. I’ve been known to flip through my biology decks as I walk between classrooms during passing period!

EleMints- A savior for all of my fellow chemistry kids! In essence, it is a Periodic Table of the Elements- but it is so much more.  The app provides listings of all the elements for every trend from Atomic Radius to Ionization Energies, and even displays a graph of Electronegativity values. Another fun feature: type in the compound you are working with and the app will automatically calculate its atomic weight!

Dictionary- This may be an obvious one, but never underestimate the usefulness of having a dictionary, thesaurus, and translator at your fingertips. This free app has all three, plus a clear user interface that is easy to navigate. You can also tap to hear the pronunciation of a word and even save your favorites in a folder for future reference.

Teachers Websites Saved as an App- OK, so this isn’t an app but it proves useful so, so often. If any of your teachers have websites that they post homework or documents on, save them as an app on your homepage. Then, just click the app to be directly routed to the site. For me, this comes in handy because accessing my teachers’ websites requires a frustrating saga of navigating the school district network.  This way, I can quickly get the information I need and still maintain my sanity.
YouTube- Hear me out! YouTube has become one of my most valued study tools, ever since I learned how to navigate it effectively. There has been a growing movement in which educators (often real life teachers or experts on a certain subject) film lectures, tutorials, and lessons and post them on YouTube for public access. My favorite channels include Khan Academy for higher-level math and biology (though it features several fields of science) and The Chemistry Solution for straightforward chemistry.  I use Crash Course for both world history and U.S. history (Crash Course also has a literature channel, but I rarely find an episode about the book I’m looking for). These videos are great for reinforcement, but they also help if you miss a day of class and need an overview of a certain concept.

Post by Allie C, Homework Assistant