The A-Z of Child Whispering: I is for IMPOSSIBLE (wrong!)

“ALL THINGAllKids are Smart Front CoverS ARE POSSIBLE- ONLY BELIEVE!”
I remember singing this at Church many years ago and wondering, “Could this be true?”
Fortunately for me I was able to navigate my way around the school system at the time and it suited my learning style.
I knew many kids my age who did not do well academically but could think far more creatively than me and were obviously much smarter!
Why do we consign kids to educational rubbish tips so early?
Why are we so keen to burst bubbles of possibilities?
I hear so many instances where teachers have said of a 7 year old, “Well he won’t get to Uni but…….
How would they know?
I have been teaching for a very long time and I can’t predict that.
I truly believe all kids are gifted and that is why I wrote ALL KIDS ARE SMART.
This is what I believe-
We should stop limiting children at such early ages. We don’t use the word IMPOSSIBLE in my programs. IMPOSSIBLE things may well be possible tomorrow!

I see so many anxious parents of perfectly normal, intelligent children who just happen to be taking a little longer to develop.
I also see children who have genuine difficulties as their learning style is not catered for by their school and they have some huge learning gaps. We work hard to mend their self-esteem and establish basic concepts.
We also have many children attending who achieve academically 1-3 years ahead of the expected levels and we provide challenge and enriching programs for them.
Both teachers and parents need to get to know children and considered preferred intelligences and learning style.
Readers of ALL KIDS ARE SMART can use the provided tests to determine their own strengths and weaknesses as well as the children they are concerned with. This helps us to offer precision teaching based on actual needs and delivered in such a way they can access and benefit.
The old hymn was right and is being proven by entrepreneurs all over the world. Most famous entrepreneurs such as Richard Branston scooted around the school system and pretty well ignored it! They refused to have their self-belief and creativity confined and battered as discussed by Ken Robinson:

Child whisperers – take note and stoke the fires of belief rather than pouring the cold, cruel waters of cynicism onto children’s emerging self-beliefs!

If you would like a copy of ALL KIDS ARE SMART please email victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au

Does anyone speak “Fairy” around here?

FAIRY
Today I told teachers in Darwin about a teacher I knew who had her Kindy kids writing and drawing pictures to an imaginary fairy who lived in her cupboard. One of the teachers in the workshop told me a lovely story.
This teacher had written on a piece of pink paper with a few squiggles with lots of glitter and asked her 4 year olds, “Can anyone speak “Fairy” around here?

One little boy confidently called out, “I can!” and then made up a lovely, creative explanation of the weird squiggles!

A few weeks later, the teacher thought she would try it again, and asked the little boy to try to decode some more “Fairy” words on a purple piece of paper. This time she wrote a few simple words that could be sounded out. The little boy was having none of this! He was not interested in sounding out words as this was not half as interesting as making up his own story!

The little boy took a good look, and assertively replied, “Sorry, I can’t read “Fairy” when it is written on purple paper!”

The point here is the marvellous confidence and creativity the little boy showed and his ability to fight his way out of a difficult situation!

Young children have huge dollops of wonderful creativity and imagination. Unfortunately we usually squash this within the first 2 years of school. As Sir Ken Robinson points out- so many Kindy kids are creative geniuses but lose it within a year! We need to grow creativity rather than kill it!

Can you imagine walking into your local pub/café/ workplace and asking the same question: “Does anyone around here speak “Fairy?”
I dare you to try! The answers might be a little different!

Not a Worksheet in Sight!

MQ1_3508a (003)I was honoureconf 2d to be a presenter both days at the recent ECDA conference in Singapore.

Over the 2 days I spent a great deal of time walking around, meeting educators and looking at the wonderful displays about children’s learning.

What really struck me as unusual was NOT A BORING WORKSHEET in sight!

There were photos of children engaged in creative, problem solving activities and many examples of their writing and fascinating ideas.

There were HUGE displays of children’s art and craft and models they built to demonstrate understanding of various themes and projects.

The excitement about science, maths, literacy and social emotional learning was everywhere! Young children had been to museums and art galleries to learn and absorb and then allowed to respond honestly in their own unique ways.

Congratulations ECDA on a wonderful IMG_5953conference and congratulations Singapore Pre-School teachers for the amazing showcasing of children’s work and creativity.

I came back to Perth, invigorated and fired small worldup with so many ideas and new strategies.  Thank you!

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

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I am writing this somewhere just north of Australia while idly staring at amazing clouds! As usual up here, ideas flood in because I have created a space- a vacuum for creativity to fill!
So often as teachers we say to children, “Get your head out of the clouds!”
We want kids to be HERE and NOW and with us and not daydreaming but we have taken this too far.
Attention to important things is crucial and we cannot teach effectively without it BUT there must be times when kids have let their attention wander and to wonder, imagine and daydream.
Children who have more time for imagining and daydreaming will be able to think more creatively and generate visual images that help with planning, innovating, seeing new possibilities and writing.
So when can they do this? “Not in MY class!” I can hear you comment! Well- I agree. Not in mine either. BUT – if SOMEONE has let the kids daydream just before I teach them, I have more chance of harnessing their attention and getting them to think creatively.
So, I now always plan a simple, fast art activity just before our skill lessons and it achieves the following:
Helps the kids relax and listen
Allows them to reflect, wonder and process any worrying emotions
Switches on the WHOLE brain so they are ready for new information and problem solving.
Try it. It works. It takes a little time and effort to generate creative activities that don’t take too long but it is ALWAYS worth it! We have set up a Pinterest FAST creative activities so please follow and use!

https://www.pinterest.com/victoriacarlton/fast-artcraft-activities/

 

 

EFFECTIVE STUDY SKILLS

Of course the internet and social media have forever changed the landscape of the way students study and in order to acquire effective study skills, students need to know their way around media, the internet and to be able to think flexibly, problem solve and develop effective study habits.

When we first started teaching STUDY SKILLS the course was relatively stable with only minor tweaks being added each year. Now it needs to change slightly each time to reflect new understandings of social media and information gathering. This makes the course very dynamic and very “now” and ensures students are actively involved and engaged.

We have an excellent record with these courses with many students achieving very high results and many totally creative, disorganised kids learning to work WITH their learning style and become motivated and organised.

Now we devote far more time to organisation, time management and using digital media and internet resources.

We teach students to identify their own learning style, profile their multiple intelligences and learn to work with their specific learning style and intelligence cocktail.

Self motivation is a very large part of the course and our teachers spend a large amount of time helping students formulate goals and identify ways to attain these. If students are not motivated to succeed and give of their best, no amount of study skills coaching will work. This is the most essential part of the workshop.

All students want to do well, but unfortunately many have not had a great deal of success so give themselves negative messages. We work hard to show students how to build positive tracks in their mind and adopt a more optimistic outlook.

Often we need to help students improve essay writing skills and learn to edit their work to a high standard. Planning and drafting are essential components of the essay writing process.

Students are taught to identify and avoid procrastination and timeline and use tried and proven time management techniques. Many parents and students report the course helps them in ALL areas of their lives as it is essentially about organisation, motivation and achieving goals.

The course runs for 15 hours and is run all through terms 1,2,3 and also during school holiday periods. We also visit schools to present these courses to students.

Please call ICE on 92714200 to enquire or email us on victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au to chat to us about this program. It will also be available online from the beginning of March.

 

 

TODAY LET’S PLAY WITH ART!

41835873[1]I LOVE watching children create! This week we have many creative holiday courses at ICE and I am fascinated by the way all kids can comprehend more and write fluently if they are encouraged to use art as a tool to help them learn! Whenever we have these days they are messy, unpredictable, enjoyable but above all filled with learning – and lots of it!

I have never met an uncreative child or an uncreative adult. Art is a wonderful tool for all families and individuals to use to unlock the creative process, improve learning and build self understanding!

Here are a few ideas to get you started- both kids and adults!

* Stop criticising yourself or your child as you draw or create- just enjoy the process!

* Keep a CREATIVITY BOX handy – fill it with crayons, coloured pencils, markers, stickers, a tin of paints and brushes, different sorts of paper, cardboard toilet rolls, old Christmas and Birthday cards, scissors, sticky tape and so on!

* Turn the TV off regularly and get the CREATIVITY BOX out so it is easily accessible.

* Sketch a much loved garden plant- follow every line of stem and leaf so you intimately KNOW the plant- this is sort of like a slowing down and meditation exercise. We often use this with very “sparky-brained” and “wired” children!

* Occasionally turn a drawing upside down to copy it. It encourages very careful copying and seems to suspend the self- criticism voice. You become more aware of the lines, shapes and the results are often quite pleasing!

* Get to art galleries regularly with your children so they can get to see great models and start to develop art appreciation.

* Buy some great kids’ art books- there are many available to help kids get to know artists and learn new techniques.

* When you read to your child  make sure you spend time discussing the illustrations and the style, techniques, colours that have been used by the illustrator. Picture books so often have more information in the pictures than the text!

* Link NATURALIST and VISUAL SPATIAL intelligences by constructing collages with objects found in the natural world such as bark, sand, leaves, berries etc.

* Use chalk on bricks and drive ways to draw. It is completely non- threatening because it can be washed off.

* Make some play-dough or purchase some plasticine and make the main characters from the book you are sharing with your child. This helps them develop characterisation understanding- very important for the writing genre.

* Paint pictures of the settings of stories you read aloud.

There is no doubt that enjoying art- both for yourself and your child, will lead to deeper learning, increased ability to imagine, wonder and dream and higher intra-personal and visual spatial intelligences!