Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Calisthenics and Brain Games for a Child’s Mind

calisthenics-for-a-childs-mind_1Brain Games Aim to Make Kids Smarter (SciAm Mind, requires subscription):
“Scientists have concocted mental fitness regimens to strengthen weak thinking skills in students—in effect, making kids smarter…Psychologists have long believed that thinking capacities such as attention, memory and reasoning were fixed, but Read the rest of this entry »

From Distress to De-Stress: helping anxious, worried kids (Part 2 of 2)

Last week, in this article’s first part, we discussed the importance of actually teaching children how to get themselves into a physical state of being relaxed, explored several suggestions I hope you found useful.

Let’s continue.

Teachers can help student overcome stress by teaching them to identify the impediments they might encounter in doing a certain task.

The teacher can ask:

What’s going to get in the way of you doing this work?
He or she may have to jump-start the students thinking by suggesting such things as:
– competing events (family activities, friends call, IM-ing, new video game, etc.)
– lack of adequate place to study
– inadequate prior preparation or skills
– a negative attitude (this is not necessary, I can’t do math, I’ll never need to know this, etc).
– health factors (I’m sick; I’m tired)

Conversely, teachers have to teach students to identify the enhancers; What’s going to make it more likely that you will do this, and do this well?
(examples)
– I have confidence in my ability
– I feel competent in this skill
– I am committed to learning this because: I have the necessary resources to complete this task, such as materials, sources of information, people supports; parents, tutor, other kids

Teachers can turn distress into de-stress by using the Language of Success

The key is to de-emphasize PRAISE and emphasize SELF-APPRAISAL.

Teachers can encourage self-evaluation by Read the rest of this entry »

From Distress to De-Stress: helping anxious, worried kids (Part 1 of 2)

Teaching kids how to relax.

Consider this vignette:

-Roxanne: (agitated and loudly) I can’t stand this freakin book!

-Teacher: Roxanne, you need to take it easy. Just calm down! Try to relax.You need to finish your reading.

-Roxanne: (to herself) Right easy for you to say, teacher. But very hard for me to do. What do you mean calm down? I feel like my head is going to explode.

-Teacher: (seeing no response) Well if you can’t settle down, maybe a trip to the office will help you!

Some kids are so agitated that even if they know how to relax, they can’t. If you think about it, calming down when you’re upset is the hardest time to do it! Other kids can’t calm down or relax because they don’t know what that feels like. Teachers, occupational therapists, physical education teachers and parents need to actually teach children (of all ages) how to get themselves into a physical state of being relaxed. This doesn’t happen automatically. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many adult yoga classes!

Setting the mental and emotional stage for success.

Teachers who want to reduce stress and increase learning know that getting kids into a positive mindset will do both. They say Read the rest of this entry »

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