Archive for the ‘What can Dr. Doug do for you?’ Category

Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte Twenty Three Years Later

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019
Being Digital

Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte Twenty Three Years Later – It’s amazing how his vision at the time matches today’s reality. If you are looking for something cool to read, you won’t be disappointed with this classic that is still available online.

Introduction

  • In 1995 Nicholas Negroponte, the founding director of the MIT Media Lab, published Being Digital. While reorganizing my library recently I picked it up and started reading it again. As I read I was amazed at how prescient his thinking was at the time. I felt that he had a very clear vision of where advances in computer technology and the Internet would take us. Much of what he predicted has come to pass while some of what he predicted has yet to happen. If he got anything wrong, I couldn’t find it to any significant degree.

Death of the Videocassette

  • He saw the death of the videocassette and its associated rental businesses. He also saw services like Netflix coming due to the bandwidth of fiber and how it would be a game changer in terms of delivering content with copper serving as a stepping stone. He saw that advertising would be personalized as well. He also foresaw computers that would resemble thick pieces of paper like modern tablet computers.
  • He was sad that most of the research directed at the advance of television was aimed at refining the display and increasing sizes as opposed to improving the artistry of content. He saw no reason not to expect 10,000 lines of resolution. He also predicted that computers and televisions would merge into a single device, which they have for many people as they are no longer dependent on the time of day when they want to watch something. He understood that using a lot of different fonts was a bad idea. In this case, less is more.

As For Schools

  • He saw schools changing to become more like museums and playgrounds where children would assemble ideas and socialize with other children all over the world. While I’ve seen bits of this in some innovative schools, for the most part, we have a way to go to realize this vision.
  • The Internet would create a totally new, global social fabric. With the Internet, schools could spend less time shoving facts into kids’ minds and more time engaging them in designing and building like they do in the maker spaces found in innovative schools. He decried the force-feeding of students’ left brains in schools that diminish the arts and other extracurriculars. Unfortunately, this has only gotten worse thanks to test-based reforms forced on schools by the federal government.

From Bits to Atoms

  • He thought it was amusing that when ink is squeezed on to dead trees bits become atoms again. He saw the then-burgeoning field of multimedia as bridging the gap between science and art. He saw a day when most adults would also be computer literate. He predicted that virtual reality would allow you to put your arms around the Milky Way, swim in the human bloodstream, or visit Alice in Wonderland.
  • He foresaw digital appliances with no edge at all like high-end cellphones and tablets. He saw that size would be driven by the size of pockets and watches. He said the wristwatch would migrate from a timepiece to a mobile command-and-control center as it has on my wrist thanks to my Apple Watch.
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How to Be Connected With Your Students by Christine Allen

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

How to Be Connected With Your Students by Christine Allen will help all teachers strengthen the relationships with students that are vital to their success.
Relationships

Introduction

  • Some of us were lucky to meet teachers who managed to build a strong connection with them. Those who did meet them, know that teaching doesn’t have to be all about giving tests and lecturing. Teachers who manage to build a connection with their students, are able to inspire, to motivate, and to help them. And that’s an amazing thing.
    It is important for a good teacher to become connected with their students. This is probably the easiest and pleasant way to shape young peoples’ minds and to help them change their lives. For some students, school is a place that allows them to escape their unpleasant lives at home and to believe that things can get better. A good teacher can support them in that effort.
  • Moreover, if you know more about your students, you can understand why some of them fall behind in the class, why some of them don’t have time to do their homework, among other things. It is very important for the teacher to see the whole situation before starting to judge their students. However, despite the fact that many teachers understand the importance of building a connection with their students, only some of them actually know how to create and support this connection. This is easier than it seems. All you need is to follow a few simple tips.

1. Take time to talk with your students

  • Even if you spend five minutes of your class talking with students, this can still work wonders. Ask them about their interests, hobbies, discuss new music hits or TV shows, and talk with them about their day and their plans for the future. The only important thing here is to be really interested in what they are saying. This way they’ll slowly learn to trust you. If you think that some of your students have problems, try talking with them in private. However, it’s important not to rush this conversation. Start only when you are sure that your students trust you enough to share private things.

2. Start class discussions

  • Most of the information in class comes from teacher. It can, however, be changed from time to time. A class discussion will allow students to communicate both with a teacher and with each other, to speak in front of an audience to express their points of view and to support them with arguments, to be the center of attention, and to learn more about their fellow classmates. You can discuss possible topics of such discussions with students. This way they’ll talk about things that interest them and you will learn more about them.

3. Go to see the events your students participate in.

  • Not every teacher has enough time and desire to pay attention to what their students are doing after classes. However, it’s one of the best ways to build a connection with them. If they like you, they will be happy to see you and to receive your support. Moreover, this way you will show them that you are really interested in them and in things they do. This way you may also be able to meet (or at least see) their families, to talk to them and to learn more about them. Parents too will see that you care about their children. This usually encourages them to communicate and to cooperate with teachers more. Even if you are very busy, you can add some events to your schedule from time to time. Just be sure to plan them as early as possible so you won’t miss them.

4. Show students that you are available.

  • This doesn’t mean that you have to stay after school talking with your students. These measures are required only in emergency situations. You can still show them that you are available during your working hours. Encourage them to come to you if they need something or just want to spend their break somewhere where it’s quiet. Tell them that you can help them both with their homework and their problems if they want to. And be sure to keep this promise. After all, if you want your students to rely on you, you have to become really reliable. I hope these tips will help you to gain students’ trust and to build a strong connection with them.

Christine Allen

    C Allen
  • Christine Allen from Chicago, USA, is young writer and blogger at essaystorm.com. She believes that you can get everything that you want. You just need to be sure in what you really want and be patient. You can follow her on Facebook and Google+.
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How To Know if a Computer Science Career Is Right for You by Craig Middleton

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

Comp Sci Career
How To Know if a Computer Science Career Is Right for You by Craig Middleton is a reality check for students considering a career in this field. It’s a field where you can typically work anywhere and make good money as long as you can deal with the stress of deadlines. Share this with students you know who are good in math and science.

Introduction

  • Computer science is a field of study that can lead to some pretty appealing careers. However, pursuing this career path requires an immense amount of effort. In order to make the right choice as you enter the field of higher education, it helps to have an idea of what computer science education and careers are actually like and what it takes to make it. Here’s what you need to know in order to make the most informed choice possible.

The Tech Job Market

  • Computer science careers are associated with a paycheck that’s potentially quite high, and that makes pursuing that kind of career a fairly easy choice on paper. More importantly, specializing in computer science can all but guarantee you job opportunities after college graduation. With recent advancements in technology, modern businesses of all kinds and many entrepreneurs need skilled computer science specialists. This ensures that your skills will always be in demand. This kind of expertise, in particular, is so valuable because these skills don’t typically come naturally. This means that fewer people have developed the knowledge and skill required to manage modern technology at a professional level.
  • Taking the necessary steps to make yourself an indispensable asset in this way will be difficult, but it will be well worth it in time. There are plenty of resources online to build up your skills, that in return, will help you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. You can take free courses about computer science found at codecademy or open culture. Exploring these options will lead you to a better understanding of yourself and your career goals. If you find that you have a passion and interest in these beginner courses, then you’ll likely gain even more passion for it as you advance through your education and career.

The Importance of Cybersecurity

  • Modern businesses rely on the internet for a variety of increasingly essential purposes. Companies depend on an online presence to maintain a competitive level of marketing, for starters, and online retail is a natural extension of the reach of any retail business. All of these online interactions open up companies to the risk of cyber-attacks because businesses are often targeted by hackers as a result of a perceived financial opportunity or simply a high profile target that can give them some clout in the hacker community. With the rise of apps for every brand under the sun, network and API security are an essential part of protecting not only the business in question but also the users of these apps.
  • Cloud storage is becoming a staple of modern businesses, and this style of file storage, while it’s generally more secure, requires additional cybersecurity protocols. Cybersecurity entails a number of tools and best practices used in tandem, making this field even more inaccessible to the average person, and that makes this kind of skill set indispensable in today’s job market. This role requires not only knowledge and skill, but also the ability to keep calm under pressure, because cyberattacks can be tremendously detrimental and need to be solved quickly.

The Rise of the IT Department

  • The increased dependence of modern businesses on complex technology, both online and off, has led to an increase in the importance and representation of the IT worker. IT, or information technology, workers are a fundamental part of any digital-age business, because these professionals are those tasked with maintaining the various systems at play concerning data. This means that IT workers are on the front lines when and if malfunctions occur, and this is more important now than ever.
  • In many modern companies, malfunctions of all kinds can lead to the loss of valuable time, and it falls to the IT department to resolve these issues quickly and effectively. This requires expertise in understanding the how and why of technical difficulties regarding computers, modems, routers, and networks, and that knowledge can be put to use both to solve problems and to prevent them.
  • As businesses continue to lean on their IT workers, these qualified professionals continue to have job security and often fairly substantial pay. However, the tradeoff is that the job can be quite stressful. The study of computer science is akin to that of medicine. While the subject matter is inherently different, both of these disciplines require an immense amount of knowledge and the ability to put that knowledge to use in high-stakes situations. If you can handle that responsibility and have an innate interest in technology, pursuing this career path can be incredibly lucrative for you.

Another Career Guide and Doug’s Comments

  • Here is a computer network career guide that may also be helpful. As a former High School computer science teacher I have seen students enter and succeed in this field. The best went beyond expectations and branched out to learn programming languages on their own. If you can learn to program using online courses at your own pace you might have what it takes. If you get lost in programming challenges and lose track of time, that’s a good sign that you have the passion required. Thanks, Craig
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Making Homeschool PE Class Fun by Craig Middleton

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

Disc Golf
Making Homeschool PE Class Fun by Craig Middleton offers ideas for parents who homeschool their children by choice. His suggestions are also good for parents who want to add exercise options beyond what their kids get at school. His advice on nutrition is also good for all parents. Remember, all parents are teachers weather they homeschool or not.

Introduction

  • Homeschooling is becoming more popular and can be both stressful and rewarding. (Doug: During the pandemic, many more parents have been homeschooling, but not by choice.) In addition to the core subjects of math, reading, and writing, an often overlooked requirement is Physical Education. Not all states require an organized PE curriculum, but any well-rounded education includes some form of the subject.
  • Going outside to play is a fantastic way to fulfill your state’s requirements while still teaching your children safe behaviors. There’s no need for a formal schedule or events. All you have to do now is get your kids going and have some fun while doing it.
  • Go outside and play with your kids if you live in the country or a neighborhood with playgrounds or popular play areas, or if you have a large yard. Yes, you can send your kids outside to play if they’re old enough, but setting a good example by going outside and being involved with them is even better. To be frank, adults need to get out and exercise more as well. It’s good for mental health and overall health, and it sets a good example for your children. Here are a few ideas to keep things interesting during your home PE sessions.

Indoor Activities

  • If you are a homeschooler of an older child, you can do more focused activities such as weight lifting, yoga, meditation, and nutritional meal planning. You can even investigate the possible benefits of supplements like protein powder, spices, and vitamins. For the younger kids, think more along the line of games like hopscotch, hot lava, or an obstacle course. Beginning yoga is a fun way to get kids to stretch and control movement. Simon Says a classic that involves listening skills and movement. Sometimes, a good old-fashioned pillow fight will leave you all breathless and in fits of laughter.
  • Don’t skimp on nutritional activities with the younger ones either. Let them help you plan and make simple meals. Hands-on activities will cement the message and teach lasting skills. You don’t necessarily have to stay home either. If it’s a rainy day, consider a trip to the local bowling alley or roller rink. Many towns also have indoor play areas set up with safe games and activities that should be opening soon. They may even offer homeschooler discounts on group admissions.

Outdoor Activities

  • Everybody needs fresh air. Options for outdoor activities for PE classes are almost endless. Pretty much anything that gets you moving is fair game. Riding bikes can be a great way to get exercise and teach the rules of the road. Relay races and obstacle courses are other favorites with kids of all ages. An excellent way to teach conservation and get some fresh air is to go for a hike in the woods. Have them collect objects like rocks, nuts, or leaves to examine later. Trips to parks or lakes are other fun options. Just remember to practice safety on the water. Don’t forget to take your frisbees and sports gear for impromptu games. You also might find disc golf courses where you live.

Co-op Activities

  • Most communities have organizations that offer cooperative homeschooling activities, including PE classes. These can be official organizations or simply a few families that get together to play games. These afford more opportunities for team activities like basketball, baseball, and soccer. Many times, recreation centers may offer their spaces free of charge to homeschoolers, giving access to equipment that may be challenging to obtain otherwise. Co-ops are excellent places for you and your kids to make friends and socialize while fulfilling an important educational requirement.

Organized Sports

  • Most states and communities allow homeschooled children to participate in organized sports through their local school systems. They will still be subject to any tryouts or requirements, but these programs could be a good way to play sports that most homeschoolers can’t provide. They also will fulfill the necessary PE requirements. If the local schools aren’t an option, most cities also offer intermural sports organizations kids can participate in that aren’t associated with public schools. AAU teams also accept homeschooled students.

Final Thoughts

  • When developing your homeschool curriculum, it’s important to remember some of the non-core subjects like PE, art, and music. Homeschooling can be very rewarding and a great way to give a wonderful education to your children. Make it fun!

Craig Middleton

  • Craig is a New York City-based retired business consultant, who is an expert in education and cultural trends. He has a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters in Education from St. Johns and loves sharing his knowledge on the side through his writing. If you have any questions or comments you can direct them to Craig at craigmiddleton18@gmail.com.
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Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony, & Cass Sunstein

Sunday, September 5th, 2021
Noise

Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony, and Cass Sunstein details how noise and bias result in errors in judgment. From our courts to fields as diverse as medicine and insurance they show how noise leads to unfair and harmful results. They also provide ways to identify noise and techniques that any organization can use to reduce it. This book is a must for any professional development library. (10-15 minute read)

Introducion: Two Kinds of Error

  • Whenever you look at human judgments, you are likely to find noise. From the courtroom to medicine to forecasts to forensics and personal decisions our lives are full of noise. This book will help you recognize it and give some tips for getting rid of at least some of it. Start with an analogy that features targets and groups of shooters to see the difference between noise and bias If shots are scattered all over the target, that’s noise. It the shot are all in the lower right, that’s bias.

Part I: Finding Noise

1. Crime and Noisy Punishment

  • We start with the noise associated with crime and the sentencing of the guilty parties. In 1973, Marvin Frankel, a famous judge, realized that people committing the same crime were getting vastly different sentences depending on who the judge was. Judges gave harsher sentences when they were hungry and the day after their team lost. Blacks got harsher sentences and people are less likely to be granted asylum when it’s hot. The sentencing reform act of 1984 helped narrow the differences, but the Supreme Court struck it down in 2005 and discrepancies increased again. Female and Democrat judges are more lenient.

2. A Noisy System

  • Here we encounter he basic tool called the noise audit that all organizations need to consider. Its essence is to have many people look at the same information and make independent judgments. The variance in these judgments will give you a sense of the magnitude of the noise in the system. The authors use the median difference from the mean in the audit as a measure of noise. Keep in mind that errors do not cancel out, they add up. In many cases, the person making a judgment might as well be chosen by lottery. It’s important not to confuse judgment with taste or opinion. It’s important to have people with different perspectives when you are trying to solve a problem.

3. Singular Decisions

  • Singular decisions are those that don’t recur with any great frequency. Getting married or buying a house are examples. While they are not free from the factors that produce noise, the definition of noise does not apply and you can’t do a noise audit. Practices that reduce error for recurrent decisions should be just as effective when it comes to singular decisions.
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Safe Ways to Encourage Kids to Play and Explore Outdoors by Emily Graham

Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Play Outdoors
Safe Ways to Encourage Kids to Play and Explore Outdoors by Emily Graham offers excellent advice for parents and teachers about getting kids outdoors for fresh air and exercise. It’s easy to just let them sit around inside and play computer games or watch TV, but with a little effort and this advice, you can make them healthier and more vibrant. Thanks, Emily.

Introduction

  • Research shows that more of today’s modern kids are spending their time inside, and parents get to see this firsthand. Today’s kids are busy with their video games, computers, and gadgets, and they’re not getting the fresh air, sunshine, and physical activity they need as a result. Dr. Doug Green shares some ways to encourage your kids to get outside and play safely, and get them out of the house.

Help Them Hunt for Treasure

  • Turn outdoor exploration into a fun treasure hunt and make a game out of it. Try an idea from Momtastic and make a list of flowers, plants, trees, birds, and bugs that can be found in your own backyard or in close proximity. Have kids take a photo or draw a sketch of each of these items to add it to their list of found treasures. This is an observation-only event, so kids can use just their eyes to find treasures rather than poking their fingers into strange holes or trying to pluck plants. Kids will end up learning more about the natural world, and have fun doing it.

Stage a Backyard Camping Trip

  • You don’t have to go on a road trip to enjoy camping. Set up a tent in your own backyard, lay out some sleeping bags and stage a fun camping adventure that will be much simpler than actually heading out on the road to find a campsite. You can easily keep an eye on the kids while they have their backyard adventure. Give them some fun snack items like trail mix, and stuff to play with like balls and jump ropes. This will keep kids outside instead of glued to their video games.

Just Add Bubbles

  • Pretty much every kid loves to play with bubbles, and they can stay busy for hours outdoors having fun with this activity. Mix up your own bubble solution using ordinary dishwashing soap and glycerin, according to What to Expect. Make a bubble wand out of a bent coat hanger, and kids can make enormous bubbles for hours and hours. They’ll have fun blowing bubbles, chasing them around, and seeing how many bubbles they can make.

Build Some DIY Bird Feeders Together

  • Make some bird feeders with the kids, and encourage them to watch the birds that come to enjoy your DYI project. You can even turn this into a learning project, and get your kids a book on different birds so they can look up the feathered friends who visit. You don’t need much to make a bird feeder. In fact, an old shoe will work. Take the shoe and nail it directly to a tree or a post. Fill it with birdseed, and watch your avian visitors enjoy their meals. If you’re more creative, you can make a bird feeder out of almost anything, from an old cup and saucer to a used wine bottle.

Outside Safety Tips

  • Keep kids safe when they play outdoors by taking some simple safety measures. First, don’t get a trampoline. They cause horrible accidents frequently and should only be used under careful supervision for training and exercise — not recreation. Second, don’t let your kids wear drawstring clothing. Drawstrings are accidents begging to happen because they can come untied and get snagged, cause kids to trip, and get hung up on toys and playground equipment. Thirdly, make sure all your playground equipment is totally safe. It should only be on a soft surface, not hard decking or concrete, and safely away from tall buildings, trees and structures.
  • Make sure your kids stay on your property by installing a fence to surround your yard. Fence companies charge an average of $4,500 to install a fence, but peace of mind is priceless. Before hiring a fence installer, it’s a good idea to review customer feedback and ratings. Always get three estimates and make sure the company is insured and licensed.
  • Most importantly, keep an eye on your kids when they’re outside. Outdoor play is healthy and good for children, but it can be dangerous. Monitor your kids and take steps to make sure they’re staying safe. You can’t prevent every accident, but there is a lot you can do to make sure your kids avoid accidents and injuries when they’re outside. (Doug: Consider getting a camera or two so you can see your backyard from a TV or computer.)

Photo Credit Pexels.com

Emily Graham

  • Emily is the creator of MightyMoms.Net. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. You can email her at emilygraham@mightymoms.net. She lives in Arizona.
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Sensory Play For Toddlers Using Regular Household Items by Herman Samano

Monday, July 5th, 2021

Sensory Play For Toddlers Using Regular Household Items by Herman Samano is a must-read for any parent with young children. This article offers excellent advice for how to help a toddler better adapt to the world around them. Be sure to share with toddler parents you know. Thanks, Herman.

Introduction

  • Growing children rely on their senses from birth onward to explore and make sense of their surrounding world. Through sight, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, and even moving, young children process the information obtained through their senses, which informs their development. By enriching infant’s and young children’s experiences with sensory play activities, families can support their little one’s brain development.
  • Sensory play can take many forms. Parents can use household items or DIY toys to encourage toddlers to understand better and navigate their world. The different forms of sensory play can enhance brain development in many ways, which we’ll explore here. Learn how to engage your child with fun sensory development activities so that you can spur their development and nurture their well-being.

SP 1

What Is Sensory Play?

  • Sensory play refers to virtually any activity that can stimulate a child’s senses. It might involve splashing their hands during bathtime or touching the different textures featured in a “touch and feel” book. Children typically find these types of activities fun without knowing that the sensory information they obtain from these activities helps forge stronger connections in their brains to process and respond to sensory stimulation.
  • Sensory play helps children create a context for their sounds or the textures they come into contact with. They learn what the different sounds are and how to respond or not respond to them. For instance, when a car horn blares outside the home, a toddler might cry the first time they are disturbed by it. But after processing it and realizing this sound does not impede or impact them personally, they may learn to ignore it.
  • Linked to healthy childhood development, sensory play helps introduce children to their world in a safe, fun-filled environment. As kids develop an awareness of different sensations, they may become more excited to build on their developing knowledge base and better explore their surroundings through more playtime fun.

Benefits of Sensory Play for Brain Development

  • By engaging in sensory play with your young children, you can better prepare them for the world. During their initial years of life, children’s brains grow quite rapidly. Parents can support this healthy development by helping children safely explore their world through each of their senses. Some of the key benefits your child is likely to experience through sensory play include the development of Fine and Gross Motor Skills.
  • As we know, children aren’t born with command over their motor skills. It takes time and practice to develop them. Learning how to manipulate their fingers and hands, use their arms for throwing, and their fingers for properly holding a pencil requires practice. The better developed your child’s fine and gross motor skills, the better they’ll be prepared for school or even enjoy playing at the park or with their toys more fully.

Problem-Solving Skills

  • Life is filled with problems and challenges for humans of all ages. Solving them is integral to the human experience. Through play, toddlers can practice interpreting the world using their senses to solve small challenges such as building a block tower that doesn’t fall or sorting items with different shapes or colors. As they develop a knack for solving minor problems, they enhance their ability to solve problems of great difficulty.

Social Interaction

  • Sensory activities can help children develop essential social interaction skills such as making eye contact, reading emotions in faces, or listening to others. By developing strong social skills, children may interact more comfortably and successfully with other children.

Language Development

  • Language development happens gradually, but the more caregivers can promote this development, the better their child’s language skills. Good language skills will allow kids to communicate more effectively as they age. Sensory exploration has a significant impact on language and speaking domains of child development. Receptive and expressive language are some of the areas of language development that can be worked upon when a child engages in Sensory play. You can help your toddler using fun descriptive words while playing to introduce new vocabulary and promote sentence formation. Pretend play can really improve your child’s expressive language skills and verbal expression.

What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?

  • Sensory processing disorder (SPD) refers to a condition that affects stimuli processing. Children affected by SPD are often susceptible to stimuli, but SPD can have the opposite effect, too; children may require a more significant amount of a particular stimulus before responding to it. SPD can affect many or even just one sense. While adults can have this disorder, they don’t usually exhibit symptoms as they’ve learned how to cope with them.
  • Most often, SPD is a condition seen in children. Some specialists view SPD as a singular condition that can occur independently, while other researchers believe it is more often than not a condition associated with other conditions such as autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
    Symptoms of SPD may include:
    Exhibiting poor balance, coordination, or clumsiness
    Finding sounds to be too loud
    Finding lighting to be too bright
    Bothered to the point of gagging by certain food textures
    Feeling that clothing items are too scratchy
    Becoming upset by sudden movements, touches, or loud noises
  • Although there is no known way to prevent SPD, it is manageable. However, it typically takes time and considerable therapy to help children develop coping strategies to live with this condition. Doctors may recommend sensory integration therapy, occupational therapy, or a sensory diet, which consists of tailored activities that are chosen for a child based on their sensory needs. DISCLAIMER: These tips are based on the personal experience of the writer and are not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare professional. For questions or concerns, please talk to your licensed healthcare provider.

SP 2

How Sensory Play Can Prevent Picky Eating in Children

  • Many children have food aversions based on the textures of foods. This is common among children with SPD, but any child may develop a picky eating habit. Sensory play can reduce the tendency for picky eating, helping kids enjoy healthy eating habits. Often the sense of taste is indeed the deciding factor for whether or not a child will want to eat certain foods, but have you ever witnessed a child refuse to eat something because of the way it looked before they’ve ever tasted it?
    Through sensory play activities, parents can prevent kids from deciding whether or not they will eat a food merely based on its texture or appearance. Food texture aversion can be highly frustrating for both parents and kids. To help your children enjoy exploring new food textures and tastes, you may want to let them enjoy activities like helping you to cook. Their little hands can help form meatballs. You might even let them ‘paint’ with some spices, so they get used to seeing and smelling them. By spending time with ‘food’ in a positive context, they can become more comfortable with different textures and appearances.

SP 3

Creating a Designated Sensory Play Space at Home

  • Parents can create a space indoors and outdoors for sensory play. Consider outfitting your indoor play space with items such as:
    Busy boards (toys with knobs, dials, buttons, etc.)
    Touch and feel books
    Simple puzzles
    Play-Doh
    Building blocks
    Bristle blocks
    Fidget cubes
    Sensory table
    Sensory bins
  • When designing your outdoor sensory play area, you might include a:
    Swing
    Slide
    Sandbox
    Toddler gardening ‘tools’
    Baby pool
    Colorful sidewalk chalk
    T-ball set
    Of course, parents can supervise children in all kinds of ways to explore their world safely. They use many different household items to engage in sensory play. However, always be careful when using small objects with your little ones as they can be choking hazards. And, always, supervise your child around water.

SP 4

5 Sensory Play Activities Using Things You Already Have at Home

  • You may not realize it, but your home is full of a wealth of sensory items that you can feature during sensory playtime with your toddler. Here are just a few to inspire you to get started with sensory play:
    Pasta Pictures
    Pasta comes in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. All you need are some different pasta shapes such as macaroni, cavatappi, rotini, and some construction paper and non-toxic paste. Encourage your child to paste the pasta to create pictures like a circle, a square, or even more complicated items that you trace for them like a star or a heart.
    Salt Dough Ornaments
    Don’t have Play-Doh? No problem. Using a combination of flour, water, and salt, you can whip up a batch of salt dough to create fun seasonal ornaments. Children will enjoy squishing the dough, rolling it, and forming it into shapes using their hands or cookie cutters. After you bake the ornaments so they’ll harden, you and your children can paint and decorate them with small pom poms, ribbon, or other odds and ends.
    Sensory Bin
    Create a sensory bin with different items and leave it out for daily stimulation. Provide plastic measuring cups and other tools for children to touch and explore on their own. You can swap in new items to keep them interesting. Here are some examples:
    Dry beans
    Edible sand
    Little toys
    Rice
    Cotton balls
    Shredded pieces of paper
    Tea Party
    Unless you’re having high tea with the queen, you don’t need a formal tea service to have a tea party. Plastic cups, some water, and a plate filled with cookies or apple slices will do just fine. The key is to let your child do the hosting. That means it’s their job to fill and refill your glass with ‘tea.’ It’s their job to serve your cookie.
    Pots and Pans Band
    Pots and pans, of course, make great drums. But there are many items around your house that children can use to make sounds. You can hand them a couple of spoons and allow them to make ‘music’ on the kitchen floor using items like pots, plastic colanders, boxes, and more.
  • Keep these ideas in mind as you prepare to engage your child in sensory play. One of the highlights of sensory play that we haven’t yet mentioned, of course, is all the fun you can have as you bond over these different activities. You’re sure to create some fabulous memories, so keep your camera handy.

Hermann Samano

  • Hermann enjoys writing content that helps parents and kids with ideas to explore and learn together. He is passionate about gaming, music, roller skating, and outdoor activities. Seattle WA. You can email him at HermannSamano-t@porch.com.
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Serious Challenges for School Leaders in 2017 by Sam Jones

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

FatJoe
Serious Challenges for School Leaders in 2017 by Sam Jones offers warnings and advice along with some additional valuable resources for anyone involved in education.

Introduction

  • If you are at the head of a school going into 2017, you’re going to facing some serious challenges. These issues need to be overcome if your school is going to survive. But it’s not just schools that could be in trouble. Any educational platform could be affected by these problems and leaders need to be prepared. What type of issues am I talking about?

Tech, Students And Teachers

  • Tech can be useful in the school environment for a variety of reasons. For instance, you can use an online school directory to keep everyone up to date and connected. It can be useful for making sure that different areas of school body aren’t segregated such as teachers, students and parents. But, there is an issue that we need to come to terms with when thinking about tech in schools. Your understanding of tech and the students understanding of tech is going to be different. Research shows that by middle age, most of us are already losing our grasp on technology. Essentially, this means the students are going to know more than us. The simple solution to this problem is to use that fact to our advantage. Let’s harness their minds and make sure we control but accept the ways they want to use tech to learn. It will benefit them and the teaching standards that we have in schools.

Fun With Funding

  • It’s currently unclear what state the government will be in next year. However, you can bet that as always funding in education is going to be under severe constraint. This happens every year, and we need to start preparing for it now. School leaders need to know how to effectively cut costs without losing the higher standards of education. There are both large and small ways to do this. Almost every business is now looking at ways to use greener practices to save money. Like it or not, a school is a business, and it needs to be run like one. It might be worth in investing in ways to cut energy usage if it means costs will be lower. For instance, you may want to look into purchasing new solar panels for the roof of your school. I know what you’re thinking. How can we possibly afford that? Well, you can encourage parents to invest by explaining how it will benefit their children. You should also be price checking any supplies that you buy for your school.

Bigger Student Populations

  • Gone are the days when you have a class of ten or fifteen students. Now, classes are typically three times that size, and this is a problem. Research shows that teachers can not successfully provide teaching to a class of more than thirty children. Some of the students will be missing out, and this will show through their quality of work. You must make sure that you are keeping class numbers low by hiring more teachers. Although this means excess costs for the school, it will drive performance levels higher. We have to remember that educating children must be the main goal, rather than saving money.
  • These aren’t easy problems to solve. But we need to think about how to tackle them now. Otherwise, our children’s standard of schooling will be rapidly sliding downhill.
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Seven Things That Can Spoil Your Relationship with the Students by Kate Khom

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Learning
Seven Things That Can Spoil Your Relationship with the Students by Kate Khom offers excellent advice to all teachers regardless of their experience. It also provides guidelines for administrators who have to observe and guide teachers.

Introduction

  • Your most important job as a teacher is to create appropriate and pleasant conditions in which learning can take place while maintaining a good, stable relationship with your students. Your relationship with the students largely depends on your personality, attitude, and intentions. No teacher is ever identical to another teacher, just like every student is an individual. Teaching is certainly not an easy job, and it takes effort, time and experience to get better at it. However, there are certain things that you should always avoid doing in order not to spoil your relationship with the students.

1. Being Cold and Distant

  • While it’s certainly important that you maintain your authority over the class, you should never allow yourself to become one of those cold and distant teachers that the students are scared of or uncomfortable around. If you act this way you will never be able to establish a good rapport with the students and you will surely hinder their learning because they simply will not feel comfortable enough in the classroom.

2. Unwillingness to Elicit and Accept Honest Feedback

  • Sometimes, while teaching, we can unknowingly do certain things that can bother our students. Maybe you’re talking too quickly or using complicated language. Natalie Schwartz, a renowned author of multiple books on teaching, explains how to deal with this in her her article. “Eliciting feedback can entail asking a simple question such as, So how was the homework last night?” All in all, you have to elicit and accept feedback without getting angry or offended when you get it.

3. Being Too Friendly

  • You absolutely should have a positive attitude towards your students and you should strive to create a pleasant learning environment in the classroom, but there is a difference between being a good teacher and being their friend. Make sure that they still remember that you are the teacher and that they have to listen to you.

4. Being Hypocritical

  • There is always that teacher that strictly forbids students from using their phone in class, but when their phone rings, they pick up the call and chatter away, simply because they are the teacher and that ‘’gives them the right’’ to do something they don’t allow students to do. If teachers establish certain rules in class, then they need to remember that the rules have to apply to them too.

5. Humiliating students

  • This one should go without saying, but you should absolutely never humiliate your students in any way. Melissa Kelly, a writer at ThoughtCo. says in her article that, if humiliated: ‘’The students will either feel so cowed that they will never feel confident in your classroom, so hurt that they will not trust you ever again, or so upset that they can turn to disruptive methods of retaliation.’’

6. Flying With the Fastest

  • If you only pay attention to the students that speak first, you will definitely get a wrong impression about how easy or difficult the lesson is. Not everyone can learn at the same speed and by only paying attention to the best students, you will lose track of the rest of the class, which will make them feel inadequate and they won’t really understand the lesson. John Marks, an expert in classroom management from says that you should ‘’Try directing questions at individuals and sometimes actively ‘shh’ the loud ones, or simply not hear them.’’

7. Unwillingness to Repeat or Explain

  • As Derrick Meador, a writer at ThoughtCo.claims in his article on teaching, ‘’You should never say things like: ’’I’ve already gone over that. You should have been listening.”Make sure that the students know that it’s safe to ask you about anything they find difficult or confusing. It is like R. J. Odora points out in his research study on using explanation as a teaching method “In the context of education, good explanation in teaching is essential for unlocking the students’ understanding of the subject.’’

Conclusion

  • To conclude, as teachers grow in experience, their teaching improves, but until then, it is crucial that they learn to maintain a good relationship with the students. Hopefully, this article will help teachers understand what to pay attention to in their behavior and attitude towards the students so that everyone is happy and all the conditions for learning are met.

Kate Khom

  • Kate is passionate writer and learner located in Kyiv, Ukraine. She likes to help people and make this world better. Feel free to chat with her on Twitter or check her website .
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Seven Top Tips to Keep Schools and Colleges Secure by Katherine Rundell

Sunday, October 4th, 2020

Security Cameras

Seven Top Tips to Keep Schools and Colleges Secure by Katherine Rundell

offers a checklist that all educational institutions can use to prevent crime. Modern technology makes this easier so be sure your school or campus is doing all that it can.

Our high schools and college campuses are primarily places where our young people go to learn, so we need to keep them safe and secure so that students do not have to worry about their safety. There has been a worrying rise in attacks on our college campuses and schools lately and there are many things that can be done to prevent these from happening. Here are our top seven tips for getting stronger security on campus.

1. Install a CCTV system

We recommend that you install lots of CCTV cameras in all corners of your campus as a vital security feature. You can check these regularly and they can capture any suspicious activity across the school site. They can also act as a deterrent for any potential intruders.

You should distribute fully functioning cameras liberally across your campus, especially in areas like stairwells, courtyards, and parking lots, where crimes are more prone to take place. Be sure to have cameras for each entrance. Ideally, you will also have a team of highly trained security guards to monitor the video and patrol campus.

2. Restrict Access to Campus

Be sure to restrict or limit access to your campus, or to certain parts of the campus, like lecture halls. This means that only people that you have authorized to enter, like certain faculty members, administration teams, and students, will be able to have access.

You can issue ID badges with a key fob or another security measure to ensure that this is adhered to. Your security team can make sure that nobody is allowed onto the premises without the proper ID or clearance. You should consider a sign-in system for the main entry point of your site to give you more control to screen who enters.

Around the perimeter, you should ensure the school is properly fenced with a high-quality secure fence. This will prevent intruders from entering and ensure all individuals entering are funneled through the entrances giving you a closer look at who is coming in. This also prevents young students from leaving the site without a teacher or parent present. All staff and students should have ID cards issued to them when they begin their time at the site. These can include a photograph to ensure that all school members are accounted for and you know exactly who is on-site.

3. Regular Patrols

If you are aware that certain areas of campus have a higher risk for crime, try to send your campus security to patrol these areas on a more frequent basis. Increasing the number of security staff, you have available in the evenings to check these areas is also a good idea.

Ideally, you will have security staff on campus 24/7 and have a security protocol in place, like using ID badges for entry. This will avoid unauthorized people from getting access to campus. It also ensures that any criminal acts that take place on campus can be dealt with and kept under control straight away.

4. Silent Alarms and Panic Buttons

You should place these throughout the site and tell all staff and students about their location. This means that the authorities can be advised quickly if an incident arises and allows the victim to ask for help without having to get out their cell phone during an emergency.

5. Create an Anonymous Tip Line

If any students become concerned about someone’s actions or have learned information that might lead to a crime, they can use an anonymous tip line to inform campus security without worrying about being penalized themselves.

6. Security Checks for All Staff

Most Western countries require all staff members to pass a security check before they can work with children. Make it a regular part of your practice to do full background checks on all new staff members for student safety.

7. Well Lit Campuses

It has been proven with research that criminals are more likely to act in darkness because there are fewer witnesses and reduced visibility. We know that darkness is an important driving factor in the rise in incidents of crime.

You can counteract this by installing, maintaining, and repairing street lights on campus to make sure that the site remains well lit at all times. This will increase visibility for everyone and campus security to be able to keep an eye on everyone.

Katherine Rundell is a strategist marketer for both Studydemic and Simple Grad, where she has already created a number of high-profile marketing campaigns. She writes content and edits submissions at My Writing Way. She can be reached at katherine.t.rundell@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @KatherineRunde2

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