- The artist is nothing without the
gift, but the gift is nothing without work.
How young children learn
should determine how we teach them. The word teach tends
to imply telling or giving information. But the
correct way to teach young children is not to lecture or verbally
instruct them. Teachers of young children are more like guides
or facilitators. They prepare the environment so that it
provides stimulating, challenging materials and activities for
children. Then, we closely observe to see what children understand
and pose additional challenges to push their thinking further.
It is possible to drill
children until they can correctly recite pieces of information such as
the alphabet or the numerals from 1 to 20. However, children's
responses to rote tasks do not reflect real understanding of the
information. For children to understand fully and remember what they
have learned, whether it is related to reading, mathematics, or other
subject matter areas, the information must be meaningful to the child
in context of the child's experience and development.
Learning information in
meaningful context is not only essential for children's understanding
and development of concepts, but is also important for stimulating
motivation in children. If learning is relevant for children,
they are more likely to persist with a task and to be motivated to
NAEYC - National
Association of for the Education of Young Children
Performing an unpleasant
task first thing in the day can actually save time during the rest of
the day. Reasons: With the disagreeable duty behind
you, your concentration and momentum increase. You also avoid
the time-wasting trap of sitting around while you mentally rehearse
the upcoming encounter.
Change Your Routine
Children are naturally
curious about everything. They want to know it, see it, feel it,
and explore it fully. They come into the world without set
ideas, and from the beginning they want to learn it all. By the
age of three, they are walking, talking, little question
machines. "Why are the clouds fluffy?"
"Where does the rain go?" "Why is Grandma
old?" "Why? why? why?" By accepting their
curiosity, you not only give them permission to learn, you make
learning a lifetime adventure, for the way you welcome their
inquisitiveness will influence their attitude toward learning and
their own intelligence. Sadly, when children's curiosity is not
supported and encouraged, they shut down and learning becomes more
One way to keep them
exploring is to expand your world and live creatively yourself.
Infants need routine, but as they grow they will ant change too.
It's usually easier to stick to an established routine, but when you
try something out of the ordinary you find new vitality and a spurt of
mental energy. Everyone needs change once in a while...you do,
and so does your child.
When you feel stuck in a
rut, bored, or anxious, it's time to change your routine. Surprise
your child by taking her out to lunch on an instructional
day. Be a little daring: Go to the movies on a school
night and let him sleep late. You'll be amazed at what little
changes will do for your imagination. Eat dinner picnic-style or
have a campout in the backyard, swap chores, play a board game making
up new rules, or plan a child's nigh out. Little switches in
routine that don't take much time can add new dimensions to family
Talk it over, take a
chance, try a new approach; you'll teach your child that there
are lots of options and many ways to do things. An atmosphere
rich in firsthand experiences is the best way for a child to
Wonderful Ways to Love
a Child, Judy Ford
Smile - A Step in Positive Attitudes
It has always been known that we feel
good when someone smiles at us. But now the behavioral
scientists have made it official. Smiling, they tell us, has a
positive effect on others.
A smile sets the tone for an encounter
with another human being. Whether it is a stranger on the
street, a child at home, a customer complaining about an order, the
janitor at the office, or even a passing motorist, a smile can
be the link that makes the experience a pleasant one.
And it is so often forgotten!
PRACTICE! A smile is a way of writing your thoughts on your
face. It is a way of animating pleasant feelings. It must
come from within.
So you must practice thinking good
thoughts about others and then expressing these attitudes with a
smile. The key word is practice.
- Smile for yourself in the mirror the
first thing in the morning.
- Smile for your family.
- Smile for the frowning, frantic,
people honking their horns at you and racing you at intersections
on the way to work in the morning.
- Smile for people at work.
- Smile for people in the elevator, on
the streets, and in the stores.
- Smile for the clerk, the delivery
person, the bank cashier, and your neighbor.
You will notice we said smile "for"
and not "at." Because when you smile you are
doing it for another person. You will find they start smiling
back. It is their way of saying, "Thank you. You
have made a better day for me. You have made me feel noticed,
important, and cheered me for a moment."
The Public School
- Not everything that can be counted
counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
Six Keys to Motivation
When a parent says, "I wish I
could motivate Johnny," that usually means "I wish I
could get Johnny to do more." Here are six keys to doing
Ask for performance. Describe
how the task is being done now, and how you want it to be.
Then ask the child to do it that way.
Use lots of positive
reinforcement....and personalize it. Don't take acceptable
work for granted. Thank the child for it. And praise
them every time they improve. Remember, though, that while
everyone likes to be recognized, what motivates one may leave
another cold....or even irritated. So find out what works
with each of your children, and use it.
Build relationships. This
doesn't mean be buddy-buddy withy your child. But it does
mean you should treat your child like a real, live human
being. That's what they are, and they will respond best when
your actions show you respect their individuality and trust their
Understand your child's point of
view. Make a habit of listening to your children and asking
their opinion before you give directions or offer advice. If
you listen first, and listen with an open mind, people are much
more likely to cooperate when you decide something has to be done
Model what you want. Approach
your own task with a sense of urgency, use your time efficiently
and meet the goals you set. Show your child, by your
actions, that the task really does matter, that quality is
important, and time on task is real.
Refuse to accept poor
performance. Though textbooks on motivation seldom admit it,
parents do have to tell children when their performance is not
acceptable. Sometimes this means a reprimand. At other
times you can handle it through coaching. But either way you
are demonstrating that standards matter....and that, in itself is
motivational. As the old saying has it, "It's better to
aim for 'Excellence' and hit 'Good' than to aim for 'Good'
and hit 'Average'."
Adapted from Practical
There are four main
concepts we want to communicate about reading: (1) Written
words have value because they are a vital communication tool; (2)
Written words can be personally enjoyable; (3) Written words increase
understanding and power over the world; and (4) Reading is something
most people can easily learn to do. We communicate these
Having a print rich
environment. This simply means a house full of good
things to read.
Reading aloud to the
child from an early age, pointing out simple words, running a
finger from left to right under the lines of print, and
encouraging the child that soon he will be able to read these
Letting the child see
you read. Children take their cues about what is worthwhile
from their parent. If parents seldom read, the children
assume reading is not a valuable activity.
Letting the child see
you attach val8ue to books. This not only means that you
have your own library of personal "treasures," but it
also means that the child sees you go to books for answers to
questions you have.
- If a man does his best, what else is
George S. Patton (1885-1945)
Designed for Ohio middle school language arts students, The Write Site
curriculum has students take the role of reporters and editors to
research, write and publish their own newspaper. The site includes
unit outlines, handouts, exercises, information about how to write,
and more. The participation fee for this OET/SchoolNet Project
developed by Greater Dayton Public Television is waived for low income
his comprehensive site covers the history
of the Mayflower and the pilgrims of Plymouth. Included are passenger
lists, genealogy information, pilgrim writings, and much more. Author
Caleb Johnson also includes a message to teachers that points out the
most appropriate parts of the site for K-12 students. A good resource
This resource from Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley is organized around
their book, Biology: The Web of Life, and includes links and
activities for each unit. "Learning Links" are categorized
by chapter, and news, community, and career links are also offered for
each unit. A "Teachers' Lounge" helps educators connect to
background information, tutorials, software, and activities to help
augment instruction. Units include "The Basis of Life,"
"Genetics," "Change and Diversity," "Monerans,
Protists, and Fungi," "Plants," "Invertebrate
Animals," "Vertebrate Animals," "Human
Biology," and "Organisms and the Environment."
Collapse - Why do
Civilizations Fall? Mesopotamia, Teotihuacan, Chaco
Canyon - they were once flourishing, vibrant communities that have all
but disappeared from Earth. Explore theories on what caused these
cities to collapse and learn how scientists find and assemble clues of
the past in this site. This well-designed site was inspired by a video
series in the Annenberg/CPB Multimedia Collection and includes
learning activities and links.
Rock Hounds with Rocky:
Get your hard hats on and go digging for some fun and facts. This K-6
activity was developed by students and staff at Loogootee Community
Schools and the Franklin Institute of Science. Teachers will find
literature connections, ideas for Internet collaborations, and science
activities to help students explore how sedimentary, metamorphic, and
igneous rocks are made. Short, easy to understand text segments are
accompanied by illustrations. Be sure to see the West
Elementary Internet Projects page for more projects and
Theater of Electricity: From Boston's Museum of Science,
the Theater of Electricity offers an overview of how electricity works
and a look at the historical use of electricity in scientific
experiments. You'll find information on Tesla coils, Van deGraaff
generators, and Ben Franklin's kite experiments. Videos clips and
teacher resources are also available.
This site on color vision is designed for K-12 students and includes a
sample color blindness test using two of the Ishihara charts along
with brief explanations about color blindness. Included are links to
Sir Isaac Newton and a chart on common animals and the colors they
see. Developed by the Research Topics section of the Ask a Biologist
site at Arizona State University.
Thank You This Month!
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