The Homework Doc Answers Questions

The Question: The Most Powerful Skill

I have been receiving a flood of questions. Instead of answering them once, I thought others may find them interesting. Please feel free to add your comments.

If you have to design curriculum of secondary level what care you will follow in selection and organization of content and learning activities in curriculum? And discuss the standards of subject matter selection.

I would do what I did when offered a position that allowed me to develop the curriculum that would serve our students in this rapidly changing world.

  1. Teach time management
  2. Public Speaking
  3. Training in Advertising and propaganda strategies to prepare them to become responsible consumers and critical observers and readers.
  4. Economic literacy-understanding the flow of money, taxes, interest rates, how debit and credit cards work
  5. Executive Skills training
  6. Self-advocacy training
  7. The value of questions and how to ask empowering ones to get their needs met
  8. Backwards Planning
  9. Critical thinking
  10. Training is Socratic Method

How can we promote science in early childhood education?

Science is a core of early childhood education. They play in the sand and see what happens with dry and wet sand. They roll balls and learn the laws of physics. They are getting practical experience with nature. If they observe a tadpole grow into a frog in real time, they are seeing science at its best. Watching a flower bloom is botany. No structure is necessary. The experiences they have outside will build understanding for concepts that are more complex in the future. Trying to make it into structured lessons will take the joy that comes from free exploration!

Why is public speaking important for students?

  1. Helps them overcome the number one fear next to dying.
  2. Builds confidence
  3. Teachers effective communication skills
  4. Leads to greater success]
  5. Teaches them to think on their feet

The fear of public speaking has stopped people from completing degrees, landing successful jobs, and reaching their full potential.

Is it okay to say “I don’t like the way you teach” to a teacher?

What would be the purpose of telling someone that you don’t like the way they teach? Instead, be proactive and ask for what you need. I have taught students to ask questions in a way that changes the way teachers teach. Students who struggle with math are often challenged by the way a teacher who loves math might teach. they have learned to ask the teacher if they could draw a picture or use manipulatives to demonstrate what they are talking about. Discover what you need and ask for it. Be the guide to get your needs met. Contact me if you would like more specific suggestions on your particular situation.

What is a good storyline for a 4-5 minute play with the title “clueless”? I’m in high school so something that would be captivating and fun to watch? I cant think of any thats good By the mere fact that you have turned to the internet for an answer points out that you have not learned how to tap into your own creativity. Trying asking this questions, take a nap, and see what pops up when you awake. Einstein would sit in his rocking chair and hold two metal balls in his hands and he placed two metal bowls on the floor where the balls would fall when he relaxed enough for his hands to naturally relax. When the balls hit the bowls, he would awake with an answer or two. He said, “If I have a hour to solve a life threatening challenge, I would spend 55 minutes thinking of the right question and once I have the right question, I could solve the problem in 5 minutes.” He didn’t have the internet. Future problem solvers need to learn this method of finding answers, since the problems of the future will not be found on the internet. Things are changing too fast. Covid proved it.

Does teachers’ attitude affect students’ interest in learning

If a teacher is excited about a subject, it definitely rubs off on students. But to say it affects students interest in learning sells students short. If students are interested in a subject, it doesn’t matter who the teacher is or what they are teaching. If we tell them students that they have control over their desire to learn, then they own their ability to create their own excitement. When I hear the students I coach say that it was the teacher’s fault that they didn’t learn a subject, they are blaming instead of owning their role in their own learning. When we realize it is up to us and no one else to create interest, are learning is limitless.  

Is it true that a different part of the brain is in use when transcribing from chalkboard to notes versus analyzing and absorbing the lecture? I notice that due to the need to copy what’s on the chalkboard, there is no time to understand the lecture.

This is why I believe being a self-adocate is so important. 

It is using two different parts of the brain. When one is copying off the board, it involves the visual and kinesthetic parts of the brain and often blocks out the auditory. I have trained students to ask if they could take a picture of the board, so they could focus on what was being said and later could transcribe the notes adding in notes that would help the student remember it. I have also asked students if the teacher could make a copy of his board and email the download to use to write notes. It’s unfortunate that many teachers are not aware of the neuroscience aspects of learning; how we take in information, process it, store it and later retrieve it, and what happens under stress. For this reason, it is helpful if students learn how to communicate their unique needs to the teachers by way of asking for the support that is personally needed. One could say, “I have a hard time taking notes from the board and listening at the same time, while trying to process the new information, could I take a picture of the board, so I can rewrite the notes as a form of study and then listen and process everything you are saying. There are many times I get home and can’t remember what the notes mean and would ask a question class, if I could listen and think during lecture.”

Being a self-advocate often brings things to the attention of teachers and forever changes the way they teach in the future. I have many stories about how teachers have told my former students how much their questions and suggestions made a difference in their teaching. We look to teachers to know how we learn and it is only a guessing game to them. The more involved a student is in the learning process, the better the quality of education. 

Looking back, don’t you think it was kind of weird to replicate what the teacher wrote on the chalkboard to paper in class, as if everyone had to be a manual photocopier?

When one understands how our brain forms and retains information, one would understand how replacing handwritten notes with computer notes is in counter productive. Once we type something, our brain instinctively knows it doesn’t have to store it because the computer is storing it. When we write something with our hands, we are employing many parts of the brain involved in memory retrieval. We are involving the kinesthetic which can eventually become an automatic response. Think about how long it took you to write your name as a child. Try closing your eyes and write it now. You will find it is not only easy to do because of the motor memory connected with it, but it most likely will be better than with your eyes open. You wouldn’t be able to do that if you had typed your name a thousand times. Think about phone numbers. I dialed an old fashioned phone to call my mother at work in 1961 so many times, that I still can remember the number, but ask me her current number that is in my phone and I would be at a loss. Writing also involves the visual component, and most people repeat the words in their heads as they record them on paper involving the auditory component. At the same time, our brains are forming a mental picture of the notes and if we focus on the page before we start a new one, we can retrieve the entire page of notes to access prior knowledge. Typed notes are lost a little everyday if they are not opened, read, and closed many times. Try to find a set of notes you wrote a month ago. If it wasn’t creatively labeled, you would probably spend a lot of wasted time trying to find the notes and most likely would have forgotten most of what you had typed. 

Since COVID has ushered in a new way of teaching through the use of ZOOM and other online resources, do you think hard copies of student textbooks should become a thing of the past or obsolete?

Understanding how the brain collects information and consolidates it, will lead one to understand how important a textbook is to memory and understanding. It’s nice to read on line for convenience, but replacing text with on-line books is counter-productive. The brain is always trying to consolidate information for us, so as we turn a page, if we stop and give ourselves a chance to process the one page, focus on the titles and even glance at the page number, we give the brain a chance to decide where and how to store it for future retrieval. The physical act of turning the page signals the brain. On-line it is difficult to remember how to find a quote in a document let alone recall information when there is no start or stop action. Swipes don’t get the same result. After experimenting with the only on-line option, many parents were complaining that their children were requesting print-outs which are far more expensive than buying a book. There should be options. 

What are some everyday skills that you wish were taught in school?

There are several skills I know are essential and are rarely taught in classrooms that focus on teaching in a way that gets better test scores and focuses on exposure rather than depth and complexity. I have incorporated them into each grade level I have taught over the past 47 years. They are:

1.The skill of tapping into one’s innate ability to solve any challenge they face not matter the socio-economic situation or disability. This requires developing a working relationship with teacher and students and not involving parents or tutors as teachers.

2. The time and paper management skills: I began teaching these skills in my kindergarten-8th classrooms, and pre-K with my own children.

3. Public Speaking without note cards in a way that engages and entertains.

4. Basic economic principles of the flow of money, keeping a balance sheet, understanding the advertising strategies used to hook customers (children are the number one target of advertisers. It also introduces them to propaganda techniques used by politicians and promotes critical thinking about everything they hear, read, and see. They quickly learn that if they are only hearing one side of the story, then they are being manipulated.

5. How to be a safe internet explorer and the reason for internet filters. They see them as the forbidden fruit, and need to see it as a deadbolt on their homes. It won’t keep them from getting out, but will keep others from getting in.

6. They need to know how to backwards plan papers and projects, taking into consideration their unique needs not the needs of the teacher who assigns due dates. They need to meet the deadlines, but many teachers make unrealistic deadlines and never know it because parents get involved and finish the projects. This leads teachers to believe the deadlines are reasonable.

7. How to write a commercial and an elevator speech to sell a product.

8. How to persuade someone, but enlisting the help of others to point out possible negative reactions that could be received. Doing this in advance strengthens an argument and allows children to see that constructive criticism is important to every project and they not longer see it as a negative, but will seek it out to improve whatever they do in the future.

9. How to collaborate with others in group projects that takes everyone’s unique strengths and time needs into consideration. This can be done at very young ages.

10. Neuroscience of memory making and recall and the impact of stress on both of them. I taught this as young at 6 years old and it really improved engagement with my students without me having to bribe them are punish them.

Fellow parents! Please take a moment to help me help parents new to gifted. I have opportunities to train GT teachers this coming year (woohoo)! What resources or information do you wish your GT teacher had given you when your child was identified as gifted? These teachers may be the first to tell parents their child is gifted/has different needs. As all of us parents know, sometimes the amount of type of enrichment our kids need is greater or different than those offered by the school. Please share any references that were helpful to you at the start of your gifted journey: Articles, Podcasts, Books, Websites, Anything! Bonus points if they are free or easily accessible. Double bonus points if it is also available in Spanish or other languages!

Please message me. I have taught gifted for 47 years, raised two gifted children, and now mentoring parents, teachers, children and my own grandchildren and great-nieces and nephews. I’ll give you all my resources! Teachers need  Check out my website for valuable resources that I developed to meet the needs of my gifted students. Often there is not a gift in gifted. My neuroscience programs – “Seven Secrets About the Brain Every Student Should Know” and “Seven Secrets About Teachers Every Student Should Know” will empower gifted to take more risks and become powerful self-advocates.

How will schools be different after covid? 

It is evident that critical thinking skills and problem solving without the help of google and parents is necessary for our children to be able to filter through what they read and hear so they can be better prepared for a future where answers won’t be found on the internet. 

Is it unfair for a professor to take 15-20% off assessments that have sloppy/untidy handwriting?

If the teacher has indicated that neatness counts, absolutely. What boss is going to accept messy work? Sloppiness indicates a lack of pride, so practice being neat on tests. If you were in their shoes, you would know how much more time it takes to grade a paper that looks like it threw up. I wouldn’t grade something I had to spend time trying to decipher. My time is valuable and untidy work is a sign of disrespect to those receiving the work. 

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