Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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?
– 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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