Was Leonardo da Vinci ADHD?

An article in the weekend West about this subject made me laugh!  Of course da Vinci showed all the supposed signs of ADHD and thank goodness! Without his quirky, creative brain we would not have Mona Lisa and countless innovative ideas that have lead to amazing modern inventions.

We call our Saturday morning program the Da Vinci Program. I asked the students why they think I wanted that name. I was stunned by the answer from a ten year old kid, “Because we are all mini da Vincis!” He is so right!

We encourage creative thought, inventive ideas and research. However we also teach kids how to organise their amazing brains so they can actually FINISH things and manage their time. I don’t want to dumb down their ideas and creativity- rather to encourage and grow them!  However, we can help these kids  to manage themselves so they can learn to “play the game” and fit in while they get educated.

Students who attend my program know they must learn times tables, spell conventionally and read fluently otherwise they will be judged to be deficient by society.

They must also learn to be resilient and develop self-discipline and positive mind-sets.

Our programs cover all of these areas and we create a happy environment where all kids are affirmed and learn to grow their gifts. There are many ways to learn and many ways to teach and a true educator is an enlightened scientist searching for the learning keys for all their students.

 

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Why we don’t coach kids for NAPLAN at Victoria Carlton Programs

We used to do this and realised it was a form of cramming and not teaching.  Cramming does not work. Good teaching does!  NAPLAN is a national testing instrument that was full of promise but has not delivered.

Instead we see terrified kids, stressed parents and too often term 1 spent coaching kids for NAPLAN instead of teaching them.

Teachers generally, (for their own sanity), prefer to teach non- NAPLAN years.

Many of our enrolled parents are choosing to skip these tests as they are trying to build self-esteem- not rip it to shreds.

There is now a whole industry around NAPLAN. Parents and teachers buy access to websites for coaching purposes, buy books of NAPLAN style tests and even run “off NAPLAN year” testing.

Let’s get back to good, evidenced based teaching practices and allow teachers the right to test their own children and evaluate their progress. (Something they are trained to do!)

NAPLAN funding could be put into providing extra teaching assistants to ensure children at risk get the help they need BEFORE they fail a test that has unproven efficacy!

Read this for a balanced perspective:

http://theconversation.com/lets-abandon-naplan-we-can-do-better-95363

 

 

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I CAN DO THE SPLITS!

I was recently asked to read our  new Prince Nila picture book to  some enthusiastic youngsters at Times Junior in the new Jewel shopping centre at Changi Airport.

There were thousands of people milling around and it was hard to concentrate but gradually the kids fell into STORY entrancement!

After this we noisily made storm noises, threw everything overboard from our sinking ship, including Prince Nila’s crown and all the children did very creative pictures. One very small child came up to me and waited patiently to tell me something. She whispered to me, “I can do the splits!”

I was honoured that she had shared this and told her how great this was and how I wished I could too!

Then we all did more messy painting and I autographed many books and was getting ready to pack up when I heard the same little girl calling, “Aunty Vicky!”

I went over to her and there she was, ignoring all the parents and children milling around and doing the splits!

I love the fact that she knew she could share this great feat with us and waited patiently for me to finish. This small child had hugged her special secret to herself but was DETERMINED to show me her newly mastered skill! It was my favourite moment of the afternoon!

This is one child who will never lose focus about what is important to HER! I love the single-minded focus and determination of small children! They can teach us a thing or two about sticking to the most important thing!

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We are not stamped out with cookie cutters!

Cookie dough with christmas stars

My wise yoga teacher made this comment during a rather difficult posture today where she asked us to adjust to our own abilities.

I immediately thought of children and teachers. It would be so much easier if children were all stamped out in the same shape- but they are not and we are not either!

Teachers teach differently and kids learn differently! We all need to adjust, be flexible and bend a little.

I didn’t really want to get spotty paints out at 7:30am this morning but it ensured Jamie learned about long A. I don’t really fancy using Minecraft paper for writing with Scott this afternoon but if I do I know he will write more!

Planning lessons- whether for individual, group or whole classes is tricky. It requires the sort of thinking used by a conductor with a symphony orchestra! All the different instruments have to be invited in and all the different learning styles must be catered for within our teaching repertoires.

Is this easy? No- it requires HUGE amounts of skill, energy and training and TIME but most teachers are actually very good at this and it ensures ALL children learn!

If a child does not learn well in the classroom, (some don’t), we determine the best way to teach them the basic literacy and maths skills and help them. We enjoy sharing our findings with parents and classroom teachers and feel collaboration between all stake-holders is the most effective mode of remediation.

I also think it is essential and respectful to ask the child what they feel they need!

Call us today on 08 9 2777596 or email victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au so we can arrange some targeted educational help for your chld. We are in Guildford, WA and travel 3x per year to Singapore to train teachers and arrange assessments for children.

 

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Tips for Term 2

Term 2 is a VERY important one.

Once NAPLAN is over, a great deal of new concepts are taught. During Term 1, teachers revised the previous year’s work, got to know your child and started to teach the curriculum for the new grade level.

Now the weather has cooled, children seem to come to life and have far more energy!

More indoor pursuits can take place as the pool and beach are not so attractive now!

Homework schedules have now been set and most kids are aware of their new teacher’s expectations.In order to maximise success at school this term a few tried and tested practices help-

  • Children DO need to learn their times tables and they need to be automatically recalled by year 5. (right up to 12 x) There are many ways to do this but ALL the strategies utilise repetition and this needs to be at least 4-5 x per week. If you would like to know some effective strategies email me at victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au and I will send you some ideas.
  • Spelling is an important skill and also needs to be learned util recall is automatic. Unfortunately your children are often judged by their poor spelling levels so we use a very systematic approach.
  • Children need to read on a daily basis from books that challenge, interest and stimulate their imaginations and thinking skils. If you email me I will send you my favourite list- broken down to age levels. The best family practice to encourage reading is to make a specified time every evening when EVERYONE reads. Just put some quiet music on and encourage at least 15-20 mins of curl up time with a book!
  • When this time is finished each family member can share something about their book- or not!
  • This practice ALWAYS has a positive effect  on fluency and comprehension levels and is great for you too!
  • Above all, let your child know you believe in them and if they show signs of academic weakness in any area- this is the term to do something. We take children’s learning styles into consideration when planning programs and ALWAYS seek to make learning a happy, enjoyable experience.

  • Call Victoria Carlton programs on 2777596 or email us for more info. We wish ALL students a fantastic successful, creative and happy term!

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