Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ho to use big brain academy

... in learning. Seriously, so long as you correlate the task to a specific subject or skill area, it can be done for 21st century digital learners.

Nintendo DS > Big Brain Academy > Think > Bone Yard Activity >Helps in Mapping Skills or even Space and sense of Geometry

For what that was worth. Will work on other DS games, time permitting.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Of Virtues and Reading and Rudyard Kipling

Ever a strong believer in the value of reading to a child, Tessa took half an hour off her " busy 25-hour day" and pulled an old copy of William J. Bennett's Book of Virtues (one of our family's prized possessions) to read to our son.

Together they opened the book and began soaking up "How the Camel Got His Hump" by Rudyard Kipling. It starts:

"NOW this is the next tale, and it tells how the Camel got his big hump.

In the beginning of years, when the world was so new and all, and the Animals were just beginning to work for Man, there was a Camel, and he lived in the middle of a Howling Desert because he did not want to work; and besides, he was a Howler himself. So he ate sticks and thorns and tamarisks and milkweed and prickles, most 'scruciating idle; and when anybody spoke to him he said 'Humph!' Just 'Humph!' and no more."

Read the rest of the tale here.

As to why this tale was classified under Work initially escaped me. If I had my way, I would have classified that under Foresight and Resourcefulness. I'm a visual learner, so perhaps this could explain it.

Photo credits: Emilyd

But I'm just one voice, so Work it is about.

Now one take-away for Tessa was: "It seems like Kipling was one very involved father." Then again, whether you agree with his brand of fatherhood or not, this other article might give a broader context.

I don't know about you but I felt some validation. For what that was worth.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On Intensity, Perfectionism and Stress

In a book titled, "A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children", James T. Webb et al note that:
"Sometimes, situations arise that are more than a gifted child -- or any child -- can reasonably be expected to handle. Illness, family hardships, bullying, and unfair expectations from others, are examples. Children sometimes find themselves in situations where there are no easy answers."
Don't know if you can relate to that, but I'm inclined to concede "unfair expectations from others", as one trigger in this episode. My son, inspired by art submissions of other kids in the show attempted a drawing which in the ordinary course of creative production should just wait for the final touches en route to scanning and uploading to the celebrity's website.

As "luck" would have it, his idea of a good piece of work clashed with mine. He wanted a fine black marker to highlight the initial pencil outlines of the cast of characters. Having found none, he tried to make do with a cheap ballpoint pen which true to form skipped at certain points and curves of his masterpiece. I offered a different approach and out of routine enthusiasm took matters into my hands by using my "fountain pen". Guess what happened?So his mom intervened by processing his thoughts about management of frustration. I guess it helps to have a motherly touch on tap.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To whom much is given...

I guess it's a matter of responsibility and that being gifted is more a challenge than a badge to be shown around. Now for a lighthearted way of dealing with a child's giftedness, let's take a look at the following list of games that Carol Bainbridge identified for a more enjoyable pursuit of learning with the family. (Items marked with asterisk are those we've tried so far.) Details of the games are here.

1. Set: The Family Game of Visual Perception
2. Cranium Cadoo for Kids *
3. Apples to Apples
4. Mad Gab Game *
5. Spy Alley Board Game
6. DaVinci's Challenge Game
7. The Game of Coda
8. Cogno: The Alien Adventure Game
9. Dinosaurs & Things Board Game
10.Risk Godstorm Game

Perhaps you can share some of your game ideas which could be useful for mental calisthenics?

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After All, she's still a kid


Monday, August 25, 2008

Oppositional children

In an article "Guide to body language cues in oppositional children" C. Davison writes that "Oppositional behavior is a normal part of children's growth. All children go through the stage where they like to try you on for size. They spread their wings and attempt to win arguements (sic). No becomes the most common word in their vocabulary. When this stage arrives, don't panic. It won't last, especially if you don't play into it."

I like this part: "Control of your temper is the most important thing. Humor is the second most important. If you approach an oppositional child with humor, chances are good you can cajole them out of their funk. I had a seven year old boy here two days ago and he was determined to keep his mother from having a conversation with me. He hung on her, and hugged her and draped himself around her on the chair until she started to get claustrophobic. I could see the change coming. Finally, she started asking him to stop. It was easy to see that he wasn't getting what he needed, because he was not letting up. I finally leaned over and said conspiratorily to his mother, "I think someone needs a smoochie attack!" She clued in right away, pinned him down and smothered him with kisses until he squealed for mercy.

More here.

I hope you learned something from this as much as I did.

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Mentoring is a two-way process

... and perhaps posting my thoughts here will make that happen. Watch this space for learning episodes of Mentoring beyond Eureka.

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