I woke this morning with that Christmas morning feeling you get when you are anticipating joy!
All week we have ART FROM THE HEART classes and I know the atmosphere at ICE will be peaceful, excited and yet strangely calm.
We do a little bit of art in every course we run and of course HEAPS of art in ART FROM THE HEART!
ART should always be from the heart. Art engages the left and right sides of the brain as children imagine, plan, organise, “feel” their way in, create and revise. I love to watch their faces as they engage in art- they GLOW and all concentration and tension issues seem to fly out the window.
Interestingly, the learning that takes place after art is ALWAYS deeper.
Sure issues of low self-esteem, lack of confidence and worries about it not being perfect surface but the art time is a great place for these things to come up and be dealt with. Teachers who help kids engage in art are really not just doing art- they are helping to grow more centred, creative and self-aware people!
Should we ALL be drawing/painting/crafting?
Maybe hardened criminals and terrorists should attend daily art classes! It truly seems to make for calmer, happier children so let’s try it on some big people.
I am starting an ART FROM THE HEART pinterest board today and will be sharing lots of techniques and ideas as well as displaying kids’ work. Please follow and share some of your own creative ideas too!
Let’s make this a week where we ALL indulge in some creative practices and share.
Children are natural jigglers and wrigglers. They don’t stay still for a good reason. I am sure I am not the only teacher who has stared at her class and drawn a sharp comparison with a basket of wriggling worms!
They learn by moving, touching, pushing, pulling, moulding, grabbing ……. just watch a group of pre-schoolers at play!
This does not magically stop when they reach a certain age.
Sure their concentration span lengthens but even 10/11 year old need to move.
We are kidding ourselves if we think passive children sitting in desks doing worksheet after worksheet are really learning.
Learning can be interactive, challenging, messy, satisfying, frustrating, joyful ……… all within one lesson! Of course there is a place for worksheets. A well designed worksheet can help children to revise and deepen understanding. But- worksheets will never take the place of a good teacher who can adapt the learning environment very skilfully and often quite quickly to improve learning outcomes.
If we force children to sit quietly for longer than comfortable they will often put all their energy into trying to do just that. For a child that is a bit like us wanting to visit the bathroom BADLY after the seat-belt sign is switched on for landing!
Wise Child Whispering teachers and parents understand this and ensure youngsters have plenty of opportunity to JIGGLE, JUMP, RUN, MOVE – children learn by moving!
Here are some really effective ways to include movement activities in classrooms. We use these regularly as part of Victoria Carlton Programs
- Start each day with some movement education- either some Brain Gym or maybe the fantastic Harry Potter Yoga! If you do this you are stimulating their brains and helping some of them deflect some excess energy. https://youtu.be/R-BS87NTV5I2.
- Allow your VERY jiggly children a stress ball or similar so they can squeeze and concentrate.
- Don’t ask children to concentrate for more than 15 minutes without a stretch, quick exercise, change of activity etc.
- Ensure you have plenty of learning strategies drawn from the physical intelligence area of MI so that children can learn while moving!
- Try human sums! Children can act like human counters for various operations.
- When children sound out words let them jump up and down or bounce a ball at the same time!
- Practise word recognition and sentence structure by standing in a line and holding up words and punctuation marks.
- Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar are incredibly effective ways for children to learn literacy skills and I am convinced that a large part of their effectiveness is due to the huge movement and activity component of the program. Ask us about training opportunities for these courses.
- Allow plenty of time for art and craft as it calms children and the amount of learning increases.
- (See my FAST ART AND CRAFT ACTIVITIES for ideas https://www.pinterest.com/victoriacarlton/fast-artcraft-activities/
- Change the learning environment and displays often so children feel stimulated and enjoy exploring the environment.
- Don’t always teach from the front- occasionally teach from the back of the class, have them out of chairs close to you (even big kids!), go into another learning area or even outside. To wake up children’s brains we can’t be TOO predictable!
- Choose NOT to notice every wiggle and jiggle. Constantly stopping our teaching for very small lapses of concentration is incredibly annoying to other children and they start to lose the thread of your lesson!
- Consider teaching some strategies to let some of the excess physical energy out! (Sort of like opening the steam vents on a cooking pan!)
I teach my chronic wrigglers to curl their toes or fingers and then let them go. This gives a slight movement outlet. They can also tap quietly with feet.
- Make daily MINDFULNESS time an integral part of your program. Children sit for a minute in silence, letting go of any worries and just emptying their minds. The quality of the learning after the mindfulness minute is easily observable!
- Consider using our visualisations programs: Mind Journeys. We have over 50 of these ready for teachers and parents and provide examples on social media and the whole lot are available in our forthcoming MIND JOURNEYS BOOK. (You can pre-order this now) We have found that using this method to teach creative writing and thinking, has had HUGE benefits for children who normally cannot sit still for more than 5 minutes.
If you would like to know more about your own “jiggling worms,” their cocktails of intelligences and how to increase them, order our ALL KIDS ARE SMART book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or if you are in SE Asia order through www.september21.com.sg
Children are MEANT to jiggle and move so let’s go WITH it in our learning programs rather than putting all our energy into trying to change something that is not actually meant to change! ACTIVE learning and ACTIVE teaching strategies work!
I can hear clearly now the wax has gone. It’s gonna be a loud, loud, interesting year!
(abject apologies to Johnny Nash!)
I have just had my ears syringed out by a wonderful health professional who knows me well. She warned me I might feel unbalanced and she was frankly amazed I could still hear anything at all! I fly frequently and over the last few cold and flu infested winters had built up my own candle making factory.
However – the magical moment arrived when finally the sound came in and for the last week I have felt like Alice in Wondersoundland!
My aunt and I had champagne and oysters in Harrods straight afterwards and I swear I heard enough whispered conversations to bring down the House of Lords!
For the past week I have heard EVERYTHING and I am like a kid with auditory processing issues. What shall I listen to? They are ALL interesting???
I am like an owl inclining my neck this way and that to catch all the things I should not be hearing!
Kids will NEVER be able to have hidden conversations again- I can hear the lot!
The dishwasher is so loud it frightens me and don’t even talk about the dryer- that puts me under the table!
But the point is- what to listen to? All these competing sounds and many of them boring so I am paying attention to the interesting ones- like the whispered conversation between the middle aged business man and his secretary on the table next to ours at dinner last night!
No wonder children choose not to listen to us! While I had the wax issues, all I could concentrate on was what I was doing. Now I am an ADHD nightmare going from one inbox DING to the next and eavesdropping on naughty conversations! There is something to learn here but I am too busy listening to the very loud bird noises outside this window and the traffic noise from the highway that I never heard before!
What a very loud world we live in!
Well-today was all about love for me and what a day it was!
The Beatles were not wrong- it IS all you need and if you love a few people and a few people love you, you are truly blessed.
I had my usual long Monday list of THINGS THAT MUST BE DONE and love intervened in many ways- a bit like a hungry, determined cat that will NOT leave you alone until you stop and feed it!
There were family members fed up with me, family members I was fed up with, people who needed my love more than I had realised and the pain and joy of dealing with it all. And, funnily enough, at the end of a day that still has 90% of tasks undone, it feels like the most satisfying, love filled, frustrating and yet worthwhile day ever. Indeed, a day to remind me to keep the main thing the main thing!
I’ve been reviewing our programs lately and reflecting on why kids do so well on only once or twice a week attendance and I am convinced it is also about love. The small staff at ICE LOVE their kids and I delight in the cheerful giggles, happy noises and smiling faces I see every day. Looks like in education we also need to keep the main thing the main thing. The Beatles were onto something-love transforms, heals and brings us closer. It is just as necessary in education as it is in our personal lives!
I am in Singapore to assess children, train teachers and talk to parents and I have met so many wonderful people this trip. I am bowled over by the parents I have met over the last week.
I have met many parents in tears, determined to keep their ADHD diagnosed children away from medication and fight for a more wholistic treatment. I have met parents with super-bright children who simply do not fit “normal” teaching methods and so are not doing well at school. I have met parents of angry, disturbed and sad children who are determined to help bring their children to a happier future.
I salute all these parents for their courage and determination to find solutions for their children’s learning needs. This is a very complex issue and it takes a huge amount of observation to truly discover a child’s learning needs. Parents all over the world do the same-they search and search until they find the solution or rather the combination of solutions that work for their children!
This is all about love.
Martin was interviewed on Singapore radio this week about kinesiology and learning difficulties. He was asked to sum up in few words and he did-
LOVE YOUR CHILD he said-and parents do!