An interesting approach to public speaking

As students enter middle school, high school, and beyond giving presentations is a crucial part of the learning process.  For some, this can provoke speech anxiety. They are told to practice multiple times in front of a family member to ease their public speaking jitters. An article by the New York Times offers other alternatives to practicing public speaking skills, such as speaking in front of a furry creature or using a virtual app.

To learn more about this topic check out the link below.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/education/edlife/how-to-give-a-better-speech-talk-to-a-dog.html?_r=0

 

Noise and Early Language Learning

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have recently conducted a study examining the affects of background noise such as TV, radio, and people talking on early language learning in toddlers. Three studies were performed overall, with the first two only differing in the age ranges among participants. The first two experiments examined the toddlers’ abilities to recognize unfamiliar objects that were labeled after they were presented sentences containing the novel words. They concluded that only the children who were given the sentence in a quiet environment were able to learn the novel words. In the third and final experiment, the toddlers were read aloud a sentence containing two new words without background noise. They were then exposed to the same background noise as the first two experiments and taught object-pairings for the first set of words and then were provided with two additional words. They found that the children only learned the words that were given in a quiet environment. Researcher and co-author, Jenny Saffran states “Hearing new words in fluent speech without a lot of background noise before trying to learn what objects the new words correspond to may help very young children master new vocabulary, but when the environment in noisy, drawing young children’s attention to the sounds of the new word may help them compensate.”

The Effect of Trial and Error Problem Solving on the Brain

Recent advances in neuro-imaging are revolutionizing the way scientists and clinicians understand where information processing occurs for various areas of cognition. Recently, scientists have been able to break problem solving into four discrete stages: encoding, planning, solving, and responding. Scientists at Carnegie Melon University were investigating whether or not changes in the brain occurred if any of these four stages were manipulated. They found that problem solving through trial and error actively increases brain activity in the orbital-frontal cortex, which is known for impulse control and decision making. Conversely, those that didn’t have to use trial and error did not show the same levels of positive brain rewiring. The researchers look forward to figuring out how to apply this knowledge to help shape educational experiences for students.

In the meantime, take a look at these ideas to help provide opportunities for your child to flex this part of their brain. http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/stages-milestones/preschool-problem-solving

For the entire article please see: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201608/neuroimaging-captures-four-hidden-stages-problem-solving

Win a Free Book at Barnes and Noble

Need a little incentive to keep your child reading over the summer? Barnes and Noble is offering a free book for kids who answer three questions about the longest book, favorite series (Harry Potter, Junie B. Jones, Diary of a Wimpy Kid), and which book made you stretch your imagination. Personally, I love “Tuesday” by David Weisner. This wordless book lets you create your own story about why frogs might be flying around on lily pads.

http://dispatch.barnesandnoble.com/content/dam/ccr/pdf/2016/summer-reading/BN_SummerReading_Journal.pdf?x=y

The ABLE Act

Families who have a family member with a disability know that the cost to care for the loved one can mount very quickly. To address these concerns, President Obama passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act in 2014. It allows families to create a special tax-exempt savings account to pay for the myriad of different “qualified disability costs”, including but not limited to transportation, building a ramp to get into a house, therapy, and housing. Each state is responsible for adopting this law, and Illinois adopted it in 2015. To find out more about this act and how it may benefit your family, please refer to the following resources:

http://naminorthernillinois.org/the-able-act-law-and-the-10-things-you-must-know-about-the-able-act/

http://realeconomicimpact.org/public-policy/able-act.aspx

Online Games to Help Boost Reading Skills

Does your kindergartener-2nd grader need an extra reading boost over the summer? Improving phonological awareness (syllable counting, rhyming, segmenting, and word manipulation) has been proven to help improve a child’s reading ability. Check out these fun online games to play with your child. Remember, play these games with your child so that you can help teach and reinforce skills not quite mastered.

http://pbskids.org/games/rhyming/