Thursday, May 29, 2014

If your children liked reading Diary Of The Wimpy Kid....

Our clients often ask what books their children should read. The short answer is: anything age-appropriate they are interested in. The long answer includes this list of recommended reading:

If your children liked reading the Diary Of The Wimpy Kid series, they will probably also enjoy:
  • The Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell
  • The Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce
  • The Middle School series by James Patterson
  • Calvin and Hobbes comic books
  • The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths (also the 26-Story Treehouse and the 39-Story Treehouse)
If your children liked Harry Potter, try them on Percy Jackson.

No matter what your children like (or don't like) to read, give them one Asterix comic book and one Tintin comic book. Chances are, they will fall in love with either the one, or the other, and they will beg you for the whole series. Before you ask, yes, reading comic books definitely counts as reading. In addition, Astrix will teach a bit of history and Tintin geography.

I was blown away when my 11-year old commented that the Hunger Games world was based on ancient Rome and their Games.
"How did you know?" I asked.
"From reading Asterix."

Friday, May 23, 2014

Kitchen Education

Cooking is a great way to explore the world around you. 

  • Talk about taste with your children: caster sugar and salt look similar, but do they taste the same? Smell the vanilla essence and then the vinegar, then taste them both.
  • If you ever bake cookies, invest in cookie cutters that are shaped like letters of the alphabet, or use a knife to cut out your own letter shapes. You can also roll snakes from the dough and form them into letters and numbers. 
  • Weighing and measuring cake ingredients is a fun way to learn the basics of maths: is a teaspoon more than a tablespoon? It looks larger, now let’s check. A teaspoon is 5 ml, while a tablespoon is 12.5 ml. Which is more, 5 or 12.5? 
  •  Which looks more, 100g of sugar or 100g of flour? Which one weighs more? 
  • How long is 20 minutes (the time it usually takes to bake muffins)? Can we manage to wash the dishes and clean the floor in that time? What time is it now and what time do the muffins need to be taken out of the oven? 
  • Take 20 raisins out of their bag. Put 13 of them into the batter. Can you guess how many are left in your hand? 
  • What is a square? Cut the ham for the pizza topping into squares. What’s a cube? Cut the cheese into cubes. 
  • You can also start teaching logic and consequence: we have one measuring cup, shall we first measure the flour or the milk? What do you think will happen if we pour flour into a cup that’s still wet from the milk? And, of course, what will happen to the muffins if we don’t take them out of the oven when the timer goes off? 
  • Why are some foods are “everyday foods” and others “treats”?
This way of learning is particularly important to tactile and kinesthetic children. Is your child tactile or kinesthetic? Find out

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fun Maths and Logic Problems

Children whose learning style is analytic should have a lot of fun with these problems.

  1. An old puzzle. A flying goose met a flock of geese in the air and said: "Hello, hundred geese!" The leader of the flock answered to him: "There is not a hundred of us. If there were as many of us as there are and as many more and half many more and quarter as many more and you, goose, also flew with us, then there would be hundred of us." How many geese were there in the flock?
  2. Three ducks and two ducklings weigh 32 kg. Four ducks and three ducklings weigh 44kg. All ducks weigh the same and all ducklings weigh the same. What is the weight of two ducks and one duckling?
  3. There are three houses one is red one is blue band one is white. If the red house is to the left of the house in the middle and the blue house is to the right to the house in the middle where is the white house?
  4. Uncle Henry was driving to Halifax when he spotted a big green gorilla on the side of the road. He screeched to a stop, jumped out of his car. He saw the outline of a number on the gorilla. He couldn't quite see the number, but he knew it was a 4 digit number. And:
      1) He remembered seeing a number 1.2) In the hundred's place he remembers the number is 3 times the number in the thousand's place.
      3) He said the number in the one's place is 4 times the number in the ten's place.
      4) Finally he said the number 2 is sitting in the thousand's place.
    What is the number?
  5. Some octopuses, some fish and a few mermaids were happily frolicking in a rock pool. Altogether there were 38 arms, 24 eyes and 8 tails all swimming in the pool.
    How many mermaids were there?  

    Children whose learning style is holistic might prefer these problems: 

    • You are in a cabin and it is pitch black. You have one match on you. Which do you light first, the newspaper, the lamp, the candle or the fire?
    • Imagine you are in a room, no doors or windows or anything, how do you get out?   
    • A boy and a doctor was fishing.The boy is the doctor's son but the doctor is not the boy's father. Who is the doctor?
    • What happens only in the middle of each month, in all of the seasons, except summer and happens only in the night, never in the day?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

How sequential and simultaneous thinkers use computers to learn

Schools all over the world are doing it: making tablet computers compulsory for students, ordering smart boards, redesigning classrooms into e-learning centres. It’s cool. It’s trendy. It simulates the future workplace. But is it for everybody?  

When it comes to internal information processing, learners will always use either sequential/analytic or impulsive/holistic brain processing and will either need to reflect or think simultaneously about the learning content. Therefore, online-learning situations and course organisation need to take these style differences into account. 

Generally speaking, people with a sequential/analytic dominance are linear thinkers who like facts, details and logic. They want their learning materials neat and organised, and they will read them from the beginning to the end, without skipping around. They learn step-by-step, prefer logical and analytic arguments and focus on details and facts. To cater to their needs, the online-learning package should:
  1. Make frequent use of keywords. 
  2.  Make use of lists and bullet points. 
  3.  Explain all procedures to be used. 
  4.  Detail all the assignments and objectives. 
  5. Underline important facts and arrange them in sequence. 
  6. Proceed step-by-step through detailed information. 
  7. Have a facility to assess the student’s progress frequently. 
  8.  Provide instant and regular feedback on the student’s progress.
Impulsive/holistic processors, in contrast, aren’t interested in details. Instead, they need to know the overall picture and the reasons behind a project. They tend to use their intuition or feelings rather than rationalise about a problem. Their computer-based learning should:
  1. Relate the lesson to the students’ experience. 
  2. Use practical examples. 
  3. Provide an overview of the concepts. 
  4.  Make use of mind-maps. 
  5.  Make use of summaries. 
  6. Allow the students to discover the facts by themselves. 
  7. Allow the students to map, graph or illustrate the material. 
  8. Give positive feedback, even for small achievements.
What is your child's preferred way of learning? Find out.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Learning From Mistakes

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
Albert Einstein

 “We learn from failure, not from success!”
Bram Stoker, Dracula

“The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.”
Dale Carnegie

“The hardest mistakes to learn from are those that lack consequence.”
Jasper Sole

“We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.”
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for? 

“Good advice is not often served in our favorite flavor.”
Tim Fargo

“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”
Paulo Coelho, Brida