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Posts Tagged ‘educating’

The Family: A Safety Net

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Much has been written about what to do after problems arise with children and adolescents, yet many problems can be prevented.  One way we can prevent problems is by taking care of our children’s needs.

The need for physical and emotional safety is essential for all of us, but especially for children.  Physically and emotionally safe environments help children grow up happier and healthier.  This is also a lot of truth in the saying, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

There is today a great need for parents to create an island of safety in the home.  A safe environment can help prevent problems or reduce their severity as children are growing up.  In creating safety, parents lay the foundation for trust, mental health, and happiness.

A safe home environment involves more than just the house itself.  It also includes the neighborhood.  When you know your neighbors, you can let your kids know which ones you trust and who they can go to for help if you are not at home.  You also help to create a safe environment when you introduce your kids to your friends and when you encourage your children to have friends of their own.  Every child needs at least one good friend.  Friends….people who look out for each other….create a sense of safety in our lives.

Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction

The Value of Play

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Everyone senses on some level that the ability to be spontaneous and to play is a basic need and an important characteristic of healthy human beings.  However, not everyone can channel this force for ultimate health and happiness.  Unfortunately, learning to play is something we must do as children; if we do not learn how to play as a youngster, often it is a skill that cannot be learned as an adult.  Teach your child how to use her brain, body, emotions and imagination as vehicles for celebrating her higher self.  When you teach your child to play, you are showing her the path of intellectual, social and emotional transformation…a path which ultimately leads to self-actualization!

For our young children, everything they do is learning.  Adding fun to the doing and learning will make even the tedious seem like a game.  The more your child plays and does, the more opportunities, she has for finding favorites.  Imagine if you will, what would have happened if Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s family had never set him on a piano bench and place his little hands on the keys?  Nothing.  What a loss that would have been for the world.  One of your most important jobs as a parent is to find out what natural talents lie within your child.

When a child is born, he has over a hundred billion brain cells.  Through play, trillions of synapses develop connecting these hundred billion cells in the brain.  Each time your preschooler plays a game, listens to music or stories from picture books and interacts with you, new synapses develop and the child’s intellect is enhanced.  Play, although it sounds simple, must be taken seriously.  Play is your child’s work!

Are There Different Kinds of Smart?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Not long ago, most viewed intelligence as a single quantity …an immutable, monolithic construct known as “intelligence quotient” or “IQ.”

Today we’re pretty sure that is wrong.  Thanks to Howard Gardner’s groundbreaking work and to corresponding developments in neurobiology, most experts now suspect there are at least several different kinds of intelligence.  Rather than a single quantity, intelligence is now largely seen as a grouping of capacities, each defined by Gardner as “an ability to solve a problem or fashion a product that is valued in one or more cultural settings.”

How many are there?  At last count, Gardner list 8 1/2 … Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Naturalist and half for Comedic Intelligence.

How many are likely to emerge?  Nobody really knows, but ultimately the question of precise numbers misses the point:  a more important question may be, “How do we use our many skills most effectively?”  And the answer seems to be.  “Use them often.”

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Overcoming Conventional Wisdom

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

TowerFor centuries, people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all times and surely he could not be wrong. All it would have taken was for one brave person to take two objects, one heavy and one light, and drop them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one stepped forward until nearly 2000 years after Aristotle’s death. In 1589, Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten-pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same time. But the power of belief in the conventional wisdom was so strong that the professors denied what they had seen. They continued to say Aristotle was right.

Considering the Best Measure for Quality Education

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

The other day a neighbor visited me while I was working in the garden. She wanted to talk about the changes occurring at the local school. Comparing the education she and her husband received with that her children were receiving, she had determined that they were getting an excellent education. Both parents were pleased their children were learning “so much more” than they had.

I had to agree with my friend, that, we most often use this standard of measurement for our children’s schooling. I certainly did when my children were young. But is this the best measure for quality in education? I asked the neighbor to consider how the world had changed, in the time since she was in school, and the amount of information we and our children have at our finger tips. It seems reasonable to assume that our children would, and should, be learning a great deal more of the information that took us years to assimilate. For the most part, our children begin school having access to more information than their parents had. By the time a child has completed one year of schooling that information has almost doubled. When I was in school it took many years for information to change. That provided me and those of my generation a certain consistency with learning information that is not available today. Therefore, I’m not certain that the same paradigms for learning, that served my neighbors and me, are adequate for today’s student.

Unfortunately, I do not have an easy answer for what should be or could be. I do know that when I hear about educators who continue to teach they way they have for many years, it concerns me. I have seen wonderful teachers who are very good with their students, but who are missing the mark in preparing their students for this fast paced world. That human aspect is so very important to teaching, but what of the child who does not receive adequate information to be successful in ensuing years. What a dilemma it raises for those of us who work with these well intentioned people on a daily basis. The tried and true paradigms of the past, that served us well, that prepared our youngster for a successful future, are not adequate today. We all have to try harder to challenge our own methods of educating and of evaluating schooling.

Where Are The Basic Math Facts?

Monday, June 18th, 2012

eTutor’s curriculum calls for the quick recall of basic facts by children at the end of third grade.  Learning of these skills is done best by teaching students about numbers in relation to everyday life activities and not exclusively by rote drills and memorization.  Their math horizons are expanding to include problem-solving skills, ratio and proportions, algebra, geometry, measurement, data collection, analysis and estimation.  eTutor challenges students to balance a strong knowledge of basic skills with the ability to solve day-to-day math problems with confidence.

It is appropriate for students to struggle once in a while with math problems.  This helps them learn from mistakes, practice persistence and accept challenges.

Numbers and operations on numbers play fundamental roles in helping us make sense of the world around us.  Operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, as well as the ability to find powers and roots, extend the notion of numbers to create tools to model situations and solve problems in our everyday lives.  Discussing and solving problems related to budgets, comparing prices on merchandise, understanding the nature of interest charges, measuring fuel consumption and calculating the trajectory for space travel would all be impossible without a sense of numbers and numerical operations.  All people must develop this sense of numbers and operations and be able to use it to solve problems using mental computation, paper-and-pencil algorithms, calculators and computers. (from eTutor Goals for Mathematics)

Eight Ideas for Summer Learning

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Using the summer months to expand and enhance your child’s skills for learning will benefit your child year round.  Some ideas to get you started might include the following:

  • Select safe, educational toys…such as those that need to be put together.
  • Play games—especially those that have educational value, like number games, guessing games, word games.
  • Encourage your child to do projects with other children.  He/she will learn to cooperate and his/her social skills will improve.
  • Take your child on the train, bus, streetcar or airplane.
  • Listen to your child…encourage him or her to ask questions, discuss ideas and tell stories.
  • Select activities that fit your child’s level of development, ones that he or she can learn from and enjoy.
  • And be sure to set a good example.  If you are interested in learning, your child probably will be, too.  For instance, set a family reading time or some other organized learning activity and share experiences.
  • Learning is a skill and like other skills it improves with practice…so give your child the practice he or she needs to develop learning skills!

A Word About Old Education – Dewey

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

I ran across this in my email this morning and wanted to share it with you:

Dewey (1899) (yes, that would be the 19th Century) wrote
<http://bit.ly/JvR3cG>:  ’I may have exaggerated somewhat in order to
make plain the typical points of the old education: its passivity of
attitude, its mechanical massing of children, its uniformity of
curriculum and method. It may be summed up by stating that the centre
of gravity is outside the child. It is in the teacher, the textbook,
anywhere and everywhere you please except in the immediate instincts
and activities of the child himself.’

We recently went through evaluation for accreditation.  One of the points the evaluators focused on was the compilation of student achievement in order to improve the educational program.   eTutor focuses on the individual student and makes improvements to the instructional program based on individual results.

Many students and parents, as well, view instruction and assessment as competition.  Learning is not a race and should not be viewed as such.  Each child is special and his/her instructional program should be special.  Comparisons between student learning result in a host of problems and issues that extend well beyond the school years.  It seems we have not changed much since the 19th Century.

Seven Questions for Your Child’s Reading

Monday, April 30th, 2012

In choosing books for children the following was recently found in a book of poetry.  Although aimed at boys of the period the guidelines are worthy  today of consideration by all parents:

Read your children’s books yourself.  Or better still, get your child to read them aloud to you.  Ask yourself during the reading:

  • Does this book lay stress on villainy, deception or treachery?
  • Are all the incidents wholesome, probable and true to life?
  • Does it show young people contemptuous toward their elders and successfully opposing them?
  • Do the young characters in the book show respect for teachers and others in authority?
  • Are these characters the kind of young people you wish your children to associate with?
  • Does the book speak of and describe pranks, practical jokes and pieces of thoughtless and cruel mischief as though they were funny and worthy of imitation.
  • Is the English good and is the story written in good style?

Adapted from One Hundred and One Famous Poems (1958)

3 Useful and Fun Online Tools and Resources for Educators

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The internet has so much to offer the world of education. With a countless number of tools and resources accessible online, at all hours of the day, and at no cost, it is no wonder so many people praise the internet for its endless contributions to education and learning. While there are numerous articles dedicated to sharing online tools and resources with students, many of us overlook how useful the internet and online resources can be for educators. Teachers too can benefit greatly from easy and instant access to web tools, teacher networks, and various resources online. These three educational web tools and resources hold endless possibilities for educators and teachers at almost any grade level.

Audible

This web tool offers one of the widest selections of digital audiobook available for download online. While this tool may not be applicable to every classroom, many reading and language arts instructors may find assistance from Audible’s services. Though Audible runs at a fee, the services the site provides are extremely useful to the average user and to educators. With an Audible account gain access to a huge collection of digital audiobooks as well as radio shows, podcasts, stand-up comedy, and speeches from cultural, political, and business icons throughout the world. Many studies argue that reading books aloud provides young language learners with a different and more beneficial kind of language and linguistic experience. Teachers can use these audio books during their lessons to help engage students in their literature. The podcasts and famous speeches can also offer worthwhile material for many different classrooms.

Wordle

Wordle is a fun and creative tool for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. These clouds can be used in many different ways and for many different purposes. They are sure to offer unique and engaging elements to many different lessons in any subject. You can completely customize the word cloud that you create, using various fonts, layouts, and color schemes. Wordle will give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the text that you provide. This can offer great insight into literary analysis of almost any text, selection, prose, or poem. This fun tool is free to use and applicable to various different creative arenas within the classroom.

ReadWriteThink

This online resource seeks to provide educators, parents, and afterschool professionals with access to some of the highest quality practices in reading and language arts instruction by offering free materials and guidance. The ReadWriteThink website is a partner of the International Reading Association and the National Council for Teachers of English. With a troupe of dedicated and intelligent advisors and authors, the ReadWriteThink community has a lot to offer. The site offers classroom resources, including lesson plans, student interactives, calendar activities, and printouts. Providing educators with professional development tools such as strategy guides, a professional library, news about meetings and events, and online e-workshops on professional development and pathways for advancing adolescent literacy, ReadWriteThink is an extremely useful resource for teachers from all backgrounds and at all levels. The site even offers resources for parents and afterschool administrators, concerning each grade kindergarten through 12th grade.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes for online universities blog.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: katherynrivas87@gmail.com.