Susan Gingras Fitzell, M.Ed., CSP

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Susan Gingras Fitzell, M. Ed, CSP specializes in transforming teaching from whole class instruction that teaches to the middle to instruction that structures and enhances lessons to reach every student, whether gifted or struggling. She's a dynamic, nationally recognized presenter, author of nine books for teachers and parents, and an educational consultant. A mother, teacher, and martial artist, Susan has over two decades of experience identifying and meeting the needs of youth, especially those with special needs.

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Expert Articles by Susan Gingras Fitzell, M.Ed., CSP

Raising Healthy and Happy Kids

Parents can teach children to recognize and label their emotions
Young children deal with many of the same emotions that adults do. They feel happy, angry, embarrassed, sad, frustrated and nervous. However, they often do not have the words to talk about how they ar...

Expert Articles Sponsored by Susan Gingras Fitzell, M.Ed., CSP

Raising Healthy and Happy Kids

Helping kids feel comfortable and safe in the water is key
Time spent at the pool can be some of the happiest experiences in a person’s life. Enjoy these moments, always stay positive, and laugh and play with your children. Pick out fun bathing suits, caps,...
Optimizing brain enrichment through positive digital screen time
MRI studies show that the use of imagination and multisensory experiences increase blood flow to the brain. This is connected to neuronal activity, where new synapses can be created and dormant ones a...
De-stressing doctor visits fosters a lifetime of health for kids
By following this advice, regular doctor visits will be a piece of cake. Remember, it is possible to turn potentially dreadful experiences into fun events for your children. And making a visit to the ...
Being proactive can help emotionally traumatized kids to heal
Children can be traumatized as a result of bullying, violence or threats. However, by being prepared and knowledgeable, parents can help minimize the effects and begin the healing process....
Proper nutrition can improve kids' learning and behavior problems
Providing and encouraging a healthy diet can be a big challenge for busy parents. And in some homes, a child’s diet is non-negotiable because it is so important for health. However, the bottom line ...
Help guide your child’s path to effectively coping with anxiety
Anxiety is a normal emotion that all humans--including children--experience on a routine basis. However, children can experience anxiety to such a degree that it negatively impacts life or causes subs...
Establishing safe, fun and productive bath time for children
Safely bathing oneself is an extremely important skill for children to learn as they develop and become independent. However, bath time tends to be a stressful experience for many parents and children...
Jumpstart your family’s day with a positive morning routine
The morning routine contributes to children’s overall health and happiness. Following a good morning routine can squash speed bumps and get the day started in a positive way for the entire family....
Parents should influence their children to eat healthy and exercise
Don’t let your child be a statistic in the obesity epidemic. Start putting these tips into practice, creating healthy habits for you and your children, who will then be more likely to do the same fo...
Finding a happy medium when enrolling kids in afterschool activities
Before you commit your child to an activity, make sure you examine your needs, your child’s needs and what is best for the entire family. Remember to focus on the big picture when making these decis...
Advice for raising emotionally happy and healthy twins and triplets
Raising multiple-birth children is a challenge. It is important to avoid or diffuse competition and fighting. Additionally, respecting your children’s need for individuality, while respecting the tw...
Creating healthy and happy mealtimes for children and parents
Family mealtime is a crucial time to connect with your children and family--and to truly embrace each other. This is the time to create rituals and togetherness, as well as to serve healthy, nutritiou...
Helping the entire family achieve a stress-free holiday season
The holidays are a wonderful time of year because they encourage families to spend time together. The season also presents the perfect opportunity for parents to reinforce the importance of giving, sh...
How you can boost your children’s self-worth and self-esteem
Via positive reinforcement, strength based therapy and promoting socialization along with several group activities, children can become the most productive, capable citizens they can be as opposed to ...
How can parents raise happy children with balanced priorities?
There is no magic bullet that will guarantee your child’s long-term happiness. But the good news is that parents are in the best possible position to help their children develop a skill set that wil...
Family meals foster healthy eating habits and close connections
While many parents understand that family meals are important, they are not making the effort, due to conflicting schedules and the need to multitask. But separate meals result in a lack of cohesivene...
Advice for motivating your kids and supporting their successes
Every child wants to achieve success. No child wants to fail. So it is important to protect your child's motivation. If you see your children becoming discouraged in their school work or in a new acti...
Parents can help kids make a difference in the lives of others
The benefits that kids get from volunteering are quite amazing and life changing. It is important to show children early on that they can have a positive impact on the lives of others. While Alex woul...
Help your children develop confidence and a healthy body image
The Girl and Boy World will inevitably attempt to convince your children that they must conform to a specific way of looking and acting. While it is extremely difficult to completely protect your chil...
Teach your anxious child better ways to cope and manage behaviors
Remember that anxiety is a normal part of life, but some children struggle with it more than others. Collaborate with your children to find effective strategies to decrease their anxiety, such as an a...
Helping girls love their bodies and cultivate healthy self-esteem
Girls must stop viewing themselves as imperfect pieces, but rather as unique and a one-of-a-kind creations. They must be taught to practice self-acceptance in each moment, and to stop hating themselve...
How can parents help their children minimize unnecessary stress?
You cannot escape all stress. While it is important to recognize that some stress is good, when your child becomes anxious, weepy and unable to focus, it is time to make changes in your family’s lif...
Parents can teach children to recognize and label their emotions
Young children deal with many of the same emotions that adults do. They feel happy, angry, embarrassed, sad, frustrated and nervous. However, they often do not have the words to talk about how they ar...
Expert advice for parents trying to raise emotionally-healthy twins
Whether it is relationship problems, career concerns or existential dilemmas, if you have a close connection to each of your twins, they will likely come to you for your guidance and input. Understand...
How can you raise body-confident kids in an image-obsessed society?
While body image issues are on the rise in children, parents are not powerless when it comes to helping their kids grow up with the confidence they deserve. By being vigilant of the messages they are ...
Expert advice on raising honest children
Being honest is a lifelong process that begins early. Use every opportunity to nurture and grow your child's honesty....
Broaden your child's diet and establish healthy eating behaviors
Every parent wishes to raise a good eater who is excited to experiment with new foods. But kids are notoriously picky. Instead of giving up and making the same three dishes over and over again, try to...

Help Your Child Succeed Academically

Supporting your child’s vocabulary development at an early age
By 60 months of age, average children have acquired more than 3,000 root word meanings. However, substantial differences have already developed, with some children knowing at least 1,000 fewer meaning...
Understanding and encouraging your child’s learning style
Understanding and actively encouraging your child’s learning style will open doors to academic success, new hobbies and even future careers. Recognizing and celebrating your children’s dominant le...
Help your child manage homework avoidance and improve study habits
Homework, organization and study skills are life skills, which can take time to figure out. Be patient with yourself, as well as your children, as you learn what works best. At times, you will be able...
Improve homework issues by breaking it down into manageable steps
The key to repetition and consistency is to break goals into manageable steps. It is critical to identify the most important areas of challenge and design goals/strategies that directly address these ...
What to do when you or your child do not get along with the teacher
Sending your child to school is the first step in relinquishing your control. Allowing your child to experience the wonders, joys and yes, even the pains that this world has to offer are important ste...
Parents can encourage a passion for literacy in reluctant readers
Not every child enjoys reading. But parents can help encourage their children to develop a love of reading. This joy is possible when kids follow their areas of personal interest and passion....
Daily exercise and movement helps kids improve learning and recall
We can look at movement benefitting our body and brain in two separate ways: By completing a high-intensity daily workout and by incorporating movement breaks into our sedentary work or school schedul...
How to get the school system to support your child with dyslexia
Early identification and intervention is the best-case scenario for a student with dyslexia. Parents and caregivers hold the key to making sure that happens. By trusting your instincts, doing your hom...
Parents can assist their children in achieving to their abilities
Reversing underachievement is not just about getting good grades. It’s about guiding children toward leading reasonably balanced and fulfilled lives. It is critical for parents to value achievement ...
Looking for a new school? Ensure you find the best fit for your child
There are so many things to take into consideration when looking for a school for your child. The search can get quite overwhelming. By keeping a clear vision of what your values are and being open to...
Video modeling can support early literacy development in children
Teach your child to read initially or provide simple support to help your child catch up to his or her peers using video reading time. This time is always best to add to the early literacy supports yo...
Resources for achieving inclusion in the classroom
Developing listening skills are vital to a child's school success
Your children’s success in school is dependent upon many things, but strong listening abilities are one of the most important. Remember to connect with your children in activities that truly interes...
Advice for transforming your kids into eager, successful readers
The reading process begins with increasing your conscious awareness of the experiences and activities that motivate your child’s interest and enjoyment. This will be your starting point to draw kids...
How can parents help children tackle math anxiety and challenges?
All kids want to succeed in life, and their parents want to do everything possible to help them succeed. If you are among the majority of parents who have negative attitudes toward math, feel your mat...

Raising Gifted Kids

Understanding the unique characteristics of gifted children
Raising gifted kids is a challenge, which requires informed parents who can recognize their children’s strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the unique characteristics of gifted children is the fi...
Parenting gifted children and helping to develop their potential
As parents, you play a critical role in the development of your children’s gifted potential. You should value education and work collaboratively with educators to ensure your children have access to...
Navigating the challenges of raising and schooling a gifted child
Raising a gifted child is a work in progress. Parents need to pay attention to their child’s needs and interests--both inside and outside of the classroom. There will be bumps along the way, but the...
Supporting the academic success of twice-exceptional learners
Twice-exceptional students can pose numerous challenges to teachers. As a result, parents must monitor their child’s education carefully, so that teachers value student strengths. Over time, these s...
Parents can help their gifted students develop executive functions
Regardless of how much you may want gifted children to become more organized and develop their executive functions, it is vital to remember that kids have their own agenda. Your influence may be more ...
Expert advice on finding the best school for your gifted child
Raising a gifted child is a very challenging experience. While most parents anxiously attempt to find the perfect educational setting for their gifted child, this is not a simple endeavor. Not only is...
Guiding gifted children to lead productive and fulfilling lives
Gifted kids are often complex, as is the task of parenting them. Gifted kids have high potential, but also are at risk for underachievement, social isolation and emotional challenges. Our job is to pa...
Effective strategies for developing self-esteem in your gifted child
Although many gifted kids struggle with low self-concept, simple strategies exist that parents can use to increase self-esteem and improve the likelihood the child will have the confidence he/she need...
Help gifted kids cope with and conquer their fear and anxiety
It takes courage to fight worry, fear, anxiety and perfectionism. It often takes a team, which includes you. In the process, you may have to fight your own worry monsters as well.Like with most proble...
Teaching gifted students stress management skills to combat stress
Stress, in some form or another, will always be present in our lives. And it is not all negative. We need to model for our children and actively teach them positive ways to think about and live with s...
Empower gifted kids to maximize the benefits of their sensitivities
These precious children who we love will eventually grow up to be adults and will not have parents around to protect them from themselves. We must not only help them experience their sensitivities in ...
Expert advice on seeking school support for your gifted child
Parents advocating for improving educational opportunities for their gifted children find success when sensitive in their approach. Educators face numerous obstacles in their efforts to provide an app...
Recognize gifted characteristics to help you raise your gifted child
Giftedness is not just about achievement and academic success. There are many traits that gifted children possess that parents and others don’t realize are part of the profile. These children are hi...
Parents can encourage and shape their gifted, compassionate children
Essentially, compassionate children are less fearful of their feelings. In fact, they have a closer relationship with feelings than most individuals. Fear is first and foremost the most important emot...
How to understand the socioemotional needs of your gifted teenager
There are many resources available to parents looking to help their gifted teenager deal with negative socioemotional issues. Mostly, it takes a little education on behalf of the parent to understand ...
Help gifted kids navigate their complex social and emotional world
There is no step-by-step recipe for parenting gifted children. What’s important is common sense and thoughtful adult behavior. Helping gifted children navigate their social and emotional world at ho...
Expert advice for parenting culturally diverse gifted learners
This article demonstrates the challenges and exciting experiences that culturally diverse parents may have while raising and nurturing gifted learners. Much of the advice shared is the same--regardles...

K-12 Education

How to overcome test anxiety
Modern visualization training was developed for cosmonauts in Russia then used with the Olympic speed skating team. Those who spent the most time imagining perfect skating in real time did 25 percent ...
Overcome writer's block
Writers, even the best, have off days and each has to find what works, whether it's standing upside down to get the blood moving in an odd direction, doing jumping jacks, or reading the greats like Sh...
Stay focused while studying
Trouble paying attention and maintaining focus while studying is a common problem that all students face at some point in their academic careers. You can take control of the matter by making some targ...
Keep yourself focused in the classroom
Trouble paying attention in class is common amongst students. After all, school isn’t always the most entertaining place to be. Nonetheless, maintaining a high degree of concentration is imperative ...
How to write a paper
Once you unlock the secrets of how to write a paper, the benefits will last you a lifetime! Not only will your academic standing increase by leaps and bounds as you begin to express your ideas more cl...
Test taking with ADHD
Test taking, above all else, requires extensive preparation and a willingness to try new strategies. Nothing calms anxiety more than a thorough knowledge of the material. When you’re taking a test, ...
Reading, but not getting it?
After teaching speed reading for 25 years, I find there are two main reasons people don’t comprehend what they read: 1) they read too slowly and/or daydream making comprehension challenging or 2) th...
Scoring high on the SAT requires laser-focus and preparation
There are a litany of options with regard to studying for the SAT. A strong one is creating and abiding your study calendar. Because the responsibility to study and perform resides in the person it sh...
Secrets behind successful high school sports fundraising programs
Misperceptions about fundraising only damage the profession and the truly talented practitioners, not to mention the schools and coaches who deserve quality work. By putting some of the most important...
How to score high on the ACT and impress college admissions
No one knows more than you how much you want to get into the college or university of your dreams. The ACT is one of the tallest hurdles that you have to scale to get there. But, you know, clearing th...
How to choose the right elementary school for your child
Increasingly diverse educational alternatives for young students today mean families are able to engage in school choice. School choice provides an exceptional opportunity to steer the desired course ...
Help your child succeed in a STEM education program at school
Many parents struggle to understand the education system and how it works for their children. There are frequent changes, and some school boards implement them faster than others. The STEM education p...

Teacher and Classroom Resources

Get your class to settle down
All in all, students need consistency and clarity in understanding our expectations of them as a class. A non-verbal signal or procedure can help us make great strides in settling a class down in a ca...
How do I get my students to ask questions?
By creating a question-friendly environment, modeling your expectations for questions, teaching students how to ask questions and encouraging the behavior, your students will experience the dynamic of...
How to handle unruly students
These strategies will help put you in a better place, emotionally, to determine the best course of action for the future. The lesson that day may not even be part of the curriculum. Rather it may be a...
Dos and Don'ts of grading discussion boards
The online discussion boards allow students to have deep discussions around the course content. This is a wonderful tool that also builds a sense of community in the class. We need to use it carefully...
Tips for designing a course
Building a syllabus and designing a course can be a challenging exercise. One hint is to start with the institutions goals and outcomes for the program and the course. This guide can be used to sketch...
Dos and Don'ts of teaching non-traditional students online
Adult non-traditional learners are highly motivated to succeed but have different challenges, needs and strengths than traditional college students. These students can be highly successful online, but...
Bloom's Taxonomy
Teachers: Get help communicating with parents
None of these steps is easy. However, if you take nothing else away from the discussion, do make sure you are the first to make contact. That first, positive communication makes all the difference whe...
Advice for teachers on great parent-teacher conferences
By following these few helpful tips, you’ll no doubt have a more productive, enjoyable conference. You can actually concentrate on the student’s best interest and collaborate with the parent, whic...
Make your classroom safe for weather and violent emergencies
Each year schools are faced with a wide variety of school safety incidents ranging from violence to weather emergencies. Classroom teachers can prepare for these incidents by having a proper plan and ...
Meeting the unique needs of gifted children within the classroom
Meeting the needs of gifted students in the general education classroom setting is challenging. Where there are so many different levels of students in the classroom, challenging the advanced students...
Create an inclusive classroom that helps all types of students
Some educators think about students with disabilities when they hear the word “inclusion”. Of course, supporting students with disabilities is part of the work of the high-quality inclusive school...
Advice for teachers to help prevent misbehavior in their classroom
Instead of relying on easy impersonal punishments, what works to prevent student misbehavior is for young people to have to face the real personal impact of their actions. For this to be practiced wel...
Organizing the classroom for students with autism spectrum disorder
Although each child with autism spectrum disorder is a unique individual in terms of strengths, challenges, learning style and support needs, paying attention to these elements of structure will allow...
Advice for creating safe and welcoming schools for LGBT youth
Schools can be hostile environments for LGBT youth. While all young people can become targets of bullying, research shows that LGBT students are most at risk. LGBT youth who experience higher rates of...
Using discussion groups to help nurture growth in gifted students
Discussion groups provide a bond that simply reassures a student that other people care. Students won’t come to a discussion group wanting to unload their innermost feelings, but some may want to ta...
Ensure success in the classroom for kids on the autism spectrum
This advice is an excellent way to prepare your classroom to accommodate a child with ASD. Because educating a child with ASD can be quite challenging for educators, it is important to be aware of the...
Advice for teachers on how to recognize and reduce school violence
Educators must to be sensitive to all acts of school violence and remain on the frontline to protect themselves and the students they serve. By implementing a comprehensive behavior system, teachers w...
How to inspire and motivate students to participate in class
Many students feel unsure about what they’ve learned or should be able to do. Teachers can increase class participation by: designing space to invite participation, assuring students that there are ...
Tools to help discourage truancy and keep your students in school
Truancy can create the onset of other at-risk behaviors. Teachers should advocate for and support policies that provide truancy reduction. In-school suspensions, before and after school detentions, cr...
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