Call for Conference Guest Bloggers!

Are you interested in dipping your feet in the social media waters?

Do you have a passion for writing?

Are you going to be at the 2012 Florida Literacy Conference?


We are looking for YOU to help us blog! FLC is seeking guest bloggers to contribute their thoughts/perceptions of the 2012 Florida Literacy Conference to this blog.  If you are interested in writing before, during or after conference,  complete the 2012 Conference Blogger Information Form and submit it to Annie Schmidt,,  by Friday, April 27.

Successful Studying for a Standardized Test: GED Edition

First, congratulations on your decision to take the GED. It can be a lengthy process to get to this point, but you did it! Your next step is making sure you are on the path to success. Although you can retake the test and even sections of the test, I’m sure you want to get this done for the most part in one step. There are several websites that will help you study for the test and will even provide practice tests. Here are some things you can do to make your studying successful.

1. Budget your time

You aren’t going to pass this test simply with good wishes/prayers. You have to put in the time and energy to get this accomplished. Make a schedule of your day. Include work, class, and any other commitments you have. Be sure to include drain time. Do you spend a couple hours watching TV or surfing the internet? Find places to fit studying in your schedule and find ways to incorporate it in your life. Practice vocabulary words at work. Turn history into a game to play with your family. There are many ways you can prevent studying from being a chore.

2. Get rid of obvious distractions

So you plan to study. You sit down in your kitchen with your books, notebooks, and writing utensils. Then, you get a text message. After that, you start hearing the TV in the other room. Next, your child needs you for whatever reason that could not wait. It’s easy to lose focus, especially if you might be looking for a distraction. Put yourself in a secluded area with only the materials you need. Prepare for the fact you’re going to get thirsty, hungry and you will have to go to the bathroom. If you are in a public place, here are some polite ways to ask people to be quiet.

3. Take care of yourself

Diet and exercise is very important in life, but especially when you are preparing for taking an important test. Regularly exercising and eating well will get you thinking clearer and feeling positive.

4. Squash negative voices

There will always be people trying to pull you down. Maybe these people contributed to you not completing high school. Maybe they are still in your life. Ignore them. Write down rebuttals so you don’t psyche yourself out. Remind yourself that you have been preparing for this and you will succeed at it, just like you have succeeded at other things in life. You deserve to achieve your goals and you can achieve your goals.

5. Prepare for the test!

That’s the point, right? Familiarize yourself with test procedures. Know the format of the test so there aren’t any surprises. Answer multiple choice questions before reading the answers. If you can’t answer it without the answers, get rid of the answers that you know are wrong. If the question is confusing, try finding a way to say it in your own words. Take practice tests online to get yourself used to what you’re working with.

Most importantly, remember Thomas Edison’s quote, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” You are equipped with the tools to pass this test. Don’t forget to believe in yourself!

Sarah Entine Announced as Closing Keynote!

Sarah Entine is an award-winning documentary film director and producer. Originally diagnosed with dyslexia in 1978, she only fully comprehended her disability 23 years later, at age 29. Her film, Read Me Differently, focuses on her experience growing up with misunderstood learning disabilities that spanned three generations in her family.

Sarah has spoken to countless students, teachers, parents and service providers about her experience. Her message addresses the need to increase awareness on how learning disabilities impact family relationships. In 2010, Read Me Differently was selected for the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle Award. Past recipients include Steven Spielberg, Ken Burns, Spike Lee, and

Martin Scorsese.

Watch the trailer to learn more about the movie and don’t forget to register for Conference to see Sarah!

GED Student Success Story: Noriko Tilley

To go along with the GED theme this month, we’ve decided to include student success stories. If you are interested in reading more stories like Noriko’s, please visit our website. 

Noriko Tilley

Noriko Tilley is a 44-year-old Japanese born woman.  Tilley graduated from high school in Japan and spent two years learning English and German at a vocational school.  In 1988, Tilley married an American air force officer and they moved back and forth several times between Japan and the United States.  During that period, Tilley and her husband had two children.

While her children were at school, Tilley would shop with friends and maintain her home.  Twenty years after she graduated from vocational school, Tilley decided she wanted more from her life.  She enrolled in Oskaloosa-Walton Community College’s ESOL class and then at the recommendation of her instructor, she took a GED class and passed the examination just after two months.

Tilley went full circle from student to teacher; she now works at the college as an advanced level accounting tutor and adult education proctor.

Words of Encouragement:

Stay with the program, why quit.  Set your goal and why quit.  I’m sure there are some people who want to come, but they can’t.  They have to work or something, but if they can, if they have time to stay home then why not?  Come to the great program and study.

Top Stories in Literacy: March 26

Top Stories in LiteracyMiami- Dade targets industries for future employment growth
Local economic leaders say the “Education Assets Inventory” report will help better match local degree and certificate programs with the job sectors that are poised for future growth. The Beacon Council has outlined seven target industries for Miami-Dade to focus on going forward — including aviation, hospitality and tourism, and international banking and finance.

YouTube Offers Live Streaming Video to Nonprofits
Free live video streaming online isn’t a new technology—one of the best-known providers, ustream, started offering the service in 2007—but YouTube’s new service gives nonprofits the chance to stream video through their existing YouTube channels, with all of the features the site provides for other videos.

Online “GED Certificates” Not Worth the Paper They’re Printed on
Consumers are being deceived by fraudulent online “schools” offering high school credentials that have little or no value. GED Testing Service has filed a lawsuit to stop this abuse and protect those seeking to further their education.

Kids Want More Guidance on Money Matters, Yet Parents Lacking as Financial Role
The 2012 Parents, Kids & Money Survey from T. Rowe Price, which surveyed parents, and for the first time, their kids, reveals that kids ages 8 to 14 want to know more about money matters, particularly about saving and how to make money.

Sneak Peek at the Program Administration Track!

One of the things we’ve picked up on (we as in the FLC social media staff), is that the majority of our followers are program administrators or managers. Does that description ring any bells for you? Or maybe you aren’t currently the grand poo-ba, but hope to be someday. Either way, the Florida Literacy Conference is just the place for you. Not only will you learn different techniques for teaching different programs for your students (to get that extra edge), you can learn about how to better run your organization without paying extra for college courses! Pretty neat, eh?

This year’s program management track has several options. Here are a few of the session’s I’d like to highlight for you (in hopes that you’ll be even more excited for the second week of May).

  • Recruitment and Retention
  • Funding Alert! From the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy
  • The Perfect Family: Birthing the ideal family literacy program
  • Administrators Roundtable
  • Non-Profit Boards: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
  • Social Media: Marketing made easy

Don’t forget that today is the last day to get Early Bird Rates! You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity!

GED Studying 101

Studying for the GED can be daunting. Students may be embarrassed to go to a program to study, be nervous about additional costs, or think that they could do a better job with their own schedule. FLC has a GED section to our website that can answer any question you might have about getting a GED; testing places, program sites, online resources and FAQs.

The GED testing service has a series of videos that will answer FAQs from the source. This is great if you find the wording too confusing, or just want to have someone tell you more about the test.

Besides taking the GED, let your students know that there are other options. Florida Virtual School has classes for students to complete so they can get their high school diploma. Online Adult Education courses can be enormously helpful for the student who wants to get a standard high school diploma versus a GED. Florida Adult and Technical Distance Educational Consortium also has some free classes on subjects that could help you study or get high school credit.

Take a practice test! You can do this initially to see what you need work on, throughout the studying process as a check in, and then again at the end to feel more confident and ready. Nothing will help ease the nervousness like getting familiarized with your opponent.

After you have your questions answered, have taken a practice test, and decided that you want to take the GED, visit Florida GED Task force. This is your ultimate source for any question and any section you could have issues with on the test and a website with a corresponding activity.

As an educator, if you want to practice with the NEW GED assessment for the 2014 updated GED, don’t forget to check out GED’s new assessment materials. 

Sneak Peek at the Career Pathways Track at Conference

AHH! Conference Season is in the air. In seven weeks, we’ll have Conference and there will be much enjoyment in the air. If this is your first conference, I’ll let you know some tricks. Florida Literacy Conference has 13 different possible tracks to follow; Adult Learner, Corrections Literacy, ESOL, Program Management, Reading, Technology, Family Literacy, Health Literacy, Volunteers in Literacy, Learning Disabilities, Library Literacy, Workforce Education, and ABE, GED, and Adult High School. No matter what your interest area is, we have something for you. And if you have many interests, you can mix and match.

BUT if you’re interested in Career Pathways and plan on attending the Conference, we have a sneak peek for the sessions and their descriptions! The sessions aren’t overlapping time for the most part. This is the opportunity to get your schedules ready.

Sessions Include:

  • Higher-Order Thinking Skills: Using Advanced Organizers to Support Instruction
  • Let’s Make Student Success EASY
  • 10 Innovative Ways to Connect Learning with Career Pathways
  • Yes, You Can! Enhancing Student Tech Skills & Goal Setting Using Web 2.0 Tools
  • The Power of Testing: Why, What & Who to Assess
  • Technology Skills for career Success
  • English for Carer and Technical Education Standards
  • Top 10 Commandments of Building an Adult Education Career Pathways Program
  • Building a Local Database to Enhance Career Pathways
Select “Sessions Include” for more information on these sessions! What other tracks are you interested in? Perhaps I can do some detective work and provide you with other top secret information 😉

Scholarships for Continuing Education

To go along with the GED theme of this month, I decided to include a post that has information on scholarship opportunities for adults looking to continue their education. Jan Smith put together a wonderful blog post a while back that went over several free resources for financial aid. Be sure to check that out, along with visiting these other sources.

The following are different scholarship sources. Before you give up the search, be sure you have covered all battle grounds. I found these from a great website focused on Continuing Education. 

Federal Grants
Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants are available through the federal government. The money eligible adults receive from these two grants range from a hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. You cannot apply for the grants directly to the federal government. You must apply through your college or school of choice and they will forward it to the federal government. The earlier you apply through a school, the more likely you are to receive a federal grant. Additional information is avialable at Federal Student Financial Aid.

State Grants
Most states provide grants to residents. Some of these grants are based on financial need, others are based ethic orientation, and for those enrolling in designated college programs such as technical fields. Some states even provide grants for adults desiring to continue their education. Unlike federal grants, application must be made directly to a state’s commission on higher education.

College Grants
Many traditional online colleges, universities, and technical schools provide students with grant money for tuition not funded by other sources. Many schools offer these grants to minorities, low economic background students, and older students returning to school for continuing education. Not only do adults benefit from these grants, schools benefit financially for enrolling these students. This in turn enables the school to provide additional grant money for adults returning to school.

Corporate Scholarships
Corporate scholarships are targeted for adults from underprivileged backgrounds, outstanding scholarship, community involvement, or enrollment in specific programs such as nursing. Although corporate scholarships have deep scholarship money pockets, the competition is steep. Applying to these scholarships must be early, along with accurate applications.

Private Grants
These grants offered through charities, religious organizations, community associations, fraternal orders, unions, and other organizations. For example the U.S. Navy Relief Society provides grants for active and retired members, along with their families for continuing education programs.

List of scholarships available for non-traditional students. 

FastWeb scholarship database includes more than 230 awards with a minimum age restriction of 25 years or older. FastWeb also has tips for writing your essays, so check that out before you start applying.

Top Stories in Literacy: March 19

Top Stories in LiteracyCharter school backers find little support for proposals
The charter school lobby came to Tallahassee with an ambitious agenda: Win a share of school districts’ construction dollars; Create a separate high school sports association; Empower parents to demand charter-school conversions. But they fell short on almost all counts.

State budget basses with First Coast feeling pros and cons
Mixed within the state’s $70 billion budget, approved late Friday, is a host of goodies for Northeast Florida. The budget provision with the most buzz has been a $1.1 billion statewide boost for public education.

PHCC sees fewer adults seeking GED
This academic year, 400 students are enrolled in PHCC’s Adult Basic Education courses for those tested as performing below the ninth-grade standard. That’s a decrease of 170 students, or a 30 percent decrease compared with the 570 who were enrolled in 2010-11.

GED Assessment has new chapter available
Chapter 3, the final chapter,  focuses on the content passage specifications and selection criteria as well as the scoring of extended response items (writing tasks) on literacy and social studies making The Assessment Guide for Educators a comprehensive and definitive source.