Special Needs?

What if you had to demonstrate a jazz dance, analyze a cubist painting and play Fur Elise on the piano before you could graduate from high school? How would you do? What if these skills were considered just as important as writing a persuasive essay, solving a quadratic equation or explaining the causes of the American Revolution? Everyday, students who have been labeled as having “special needs” are asked to operate in areas where they Read More →

Free Play

There has been a dramatic rise in depression and anxiety in children and young people in America that cannot be attributed to wars and conflict. Twenge and colleagues finds a domino effect, beginning with the decrease in free play. In play, children learn to explore on their own, resolve problems, take on other people’s viewpoints, and control their own lives. Today children are over-scheduled, pushed to pass high stakes tests, driven not to fail, and Read More →

Be my Valentine!

If you care about children, you are my valentine. I don’t care if your race, gender, age, religion and politics are different from my own. If you care about even one child, you are my valentine. I would like to thank you in advance for many things: If you helped a child see his potential, thank you! Each child is as unrepeatable as a snowflake—utterly unique and special. Each child should feel good about who Read More →

How Does a Child Learn?

If a person is an educator or parent, she has a theory about how children learn. We all do, whether we realize it or not. Some people see children as smaller adults, who learn as adults do. This is wrong. Developmental psychologists from Piaget to the present know that children go through stages of development and that how they learn at one stage is different from the next. For example, an adult may learn through Read More →

Acting Out

Dramatic play has many benefits for a child’s development. Here are a few: A child can take on an adult role that he is not yet old enough to attempt, such a fire fighter, doctor, teacher or parent. This helps him understand and even REHEARSE adult roles and responsibilities. When she plays a role different from herself, she is exposed to a new point of view and is more likely to develop EMPATHY for that Read More →

Take a Seat!

Last summer I wrote about the importance of making a “study” of different subjects and objects. A study helps build creative fluency, make connections between different ideas, and develop deeper understanding. At that time I used “shoe” as an example. http://themissingalphabet.com/making-a-study/ Here are suggestions for making a study of chairs. Concrete Experience. Take a real chair that is simple and sturdy. Sit in it as many different ways as you can imagine. Then think of Read More →

Be the Boss!

Researchers find that children not only need cognitive skills, but metacognitive skills, sometimes called “executive functions,” as well. Think of the difference in the work of an executive and worker. The worker does his job, however large or small. The boss’ job is to take the 30,000 foot view. She must plan, evaluate, monitor and coordinate all the workers and all the jobs. The role difference can also be seen in director and actor, coach Read More →

Beyond the Obvious

Last week I was at the pool in the nearby gym, exercising knees and other parts for my health and well being. Two young teenage boys were there horsing around. They had thrown many foam weights around in the water. They chattered loudly. They splashed so much they got my hair wet. The knee-jerk response was to ask them what they were doing in the pool without supervision, to demand they put the weights back Read More →

Flips and Rotations

Visual intelligence is an important part of understanding our modern word. Observing the natural world around you, drawing pictures, taking photos, and making videos are all creative ways to enhance your visual intelligence. We also need to be able to create and decipher info-graphics of all kinds, including maps, graphs, charts and other visual representations of data. Here are some fun ways to play with visual ideas—related to flips and rotations in math and symmetry Read More →

Brain Strain

Our brains are enriched by trying to solve problems. Only our egos care if we get the right answer—our brains get stronger just by trying. These problems are good for people from about 10 to 100 years old. Misleading Information Each of the questions below looks straightforward, but there is something tricky about each one. Can you figure them out? Get a friend or two to help. If you get stuck, use the Internet or Read More →