Sharing - "Don't Talk to Strangers," Worst Advice Ever?

~ Posted on Friday, November 13, 2015 at 10:23 PM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys as I'm very interested to know your thoughts on this. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

"Don't talk to strangers" is still common advice—I hear it often even from parents who are professionals in the child victimization field—but if it was ever good advice, it is not now.

 The parental instincts behind the advice are good.  As a mother of two, I want more than anything for my children to be safe and try to protect them as best I can.  That is what virtually every parent I've ever known has wanted.  However, avoiding strangers and avoiding social interaction ends up sending the wrong message.

 Children of today need assertiveness training. They need to be taught how to identify adults who are usually safe, such as police officers and staff members.  If they get lost at the mall or a fair, they should not be afraid to talk to any stranger--they should know who to ask for help.

There is a very large scientific literature that tries to understand the mind of a criminal.  I know it's kind of creepy, but if you try to put yourself in the mind of a criminal, the world looks very different.  Criminals look for easy targets.  Most criminals will avoid contact with large, able-bodied adults.  That is why children and the elderly can be especially vulnerable to some types of crime.  Criminals are looking to "win" in their assault of a target and will almost never pick a target who they believe to be stronger than they are.  This is also why walking alone at night or breaking down on an isolated highway can temporarily increase your risk of victimization—criminals will exploit other vulnerabilities and weaknesses too.

Criminals are remarkably consistent in who they identify as good targets and anxiety and social isolation are two factors that can make someone seem more vulnerable.  This is also one reason why re-victimization is a common problem for victims.  It is so horribly unfair, but the very symptoms of post-traumatic stress and anxiety that one crime can cause can make someone more vulnerable to another criminal.

The good news is that the solution is something that is good for your children in all sorts of way.  Give them practice and experience interacting in a wide variety of social contexts.  Teach them assertiveness skills and how to speak up if someone tries to make them do something they do not want to do.  Be sure they know how to seek help and call 911.  Explain to them what the police can (and cannot) do for them if they are in trouble. Be good role models and be assertive and positive in your own interactions with the general public.

This is one of the best gifts you can offer any child.

 

What do you think?


** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.

Teaching & Learning Moment - Identifying Vegetables or Fruits

~ Posted on Friday, November 13, 2015 at 7:33 AM ~

As a parent concerned with our kiddos' educational and learning progress, I would often scout for worksheets, printables and games that I can print out for our kiddos, and yet at the same time be an educational tools for them as well. When I source for these materials, I always look for the following criterias:

- Cute and yet realistic illustrations
- Has teaching and learning potential
- Has potential to be reused for younger children (I have 3 kiddos so I want to make sure all 3 kiddos will be able to use it again and again)

For today's post, I am sharing this fun and cute printables I got online. In this printable, the child will need to determine if that item is a fruit or a vegetable and place it into the correct basket.

What I did was:

1. Print out the pages with the baskets (1 for Fruit and 1 for Vegetables) and also the related fruits and vegetables images.
2. Laminate the printed pages and cut out the fruits and vegetables images accordingly.
3. Cut out some recycled plastic pouch to the size of the baskets and placed double sided tape at the sides and bottom of the baskets, leaving the top side untape (so that child can insert the fruits and vegetables according to the correct baskets).

** You may find that what I did differs from the actual instructions stated in the worksheet/printable but that is mainly because I love to reuse things so I will laminate the materials we used for our kiddos.

Teaching & Learning Moment

How we use this printable:

- I asked our kiddos what is the name of the fruits and vegetables or I asked them to find the fruits or vegetables 
- I then asked kiddos to tell me whether it is fruits or vegetables
- I get kiddos to put in the fruits or vegetables into the correct basket
- Other teaching ideas: Can also use this to teach colors, shapes, sizes and counting.


 ** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.

Sharing - Why Some Kids Can’t Spell And Why Spelling Tests Won’t Help

~ Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 12:03 AM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys as I'm very interested to know your thoughts on this. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

Spelling remains the most relentlessly tested of all the literacy skills, but it is the least taught. Sending a list of words home on Monday to be tested on Friday is not teaching. Nor is getting children to write their spelling words out 10 times, even if they have to do it in rainbow colours.

Looking, covering, writing and checking does not teach spelling. Looking for little words inside other words, and doing word searches are just time fillers. And writing your “spelling” words in spirals or backwards is just plain stupid. And yet, this is a good summary of most of the current spelling programs in schools today. So, what should spelling teaching look like?

Finding meaning

Children should know the meanings of the words they spell, and as logical as that sounds - ask a child in your life what this week’s spelling words mean, and you might be surprised by their answers. If spelling words are simply strings of letters to be learnt by heart with no meaning attached and no investigation of how those words are constructed, then we are simply assigning our children a task equivalent to learning ten random seven-digit PINs each week. That is not only very very hard, it’s pointless.

More than sounds

 English is an alphabetic language; we use letters to write words. But it is not a phonetic language: there is no simple match between sounds and letters. We have 26 letters, but we have around 44 sounds (it’s not easy to be precise as different accents produce different sounds) and several hundred ways to write those sounds. So, while sounds - or phonics - are important in learning to spell, they are insufficient. When the only tool we give young children for spelling is to “sound it out”, we are making a phonological promise to them that English simply cannot keep.

 How words make their meanings

Sounds are important in learning to spell, but just as important are the morphemes in words. Morphemes are the meaningful parts of words. For example, “jumped” has two morphemes - “jump” and “ed”. “Jump” is easily recognised as meaningful, but “ed” is also meaningful because it tells us that the jump happened in the past.

Young spellers who are relying on the phonological promise given to them in their early years of schooling typically spell “jumped” as “jumt”. When attempting to spell a word, the first question we should teach children to ask is not “what sounds can I hear?” but “what does this word mean?”. This gives important information, which helps enormously with the spelling of the word.

In the example of “jumt” it brings us back to the base word “jump”; where the sound of “p” can now be heard, and the past marker “ed” , rather than the sound “t” which we hear when we say the word. Consider the author of the emergency text message at the beginning of this article as they pondered which of the many plausible letters they could use for the sound they could hear in “res - uh - dent”.

If they had asked themselves first, “What does this word mean?” the answer would have been people who “reside”, and then they would have heard the answer to their phonological dilemma.

Where words come from

English has a fascinating and constantly evolving history. Our words, and their spellings, come from many languages. Often we have kept the spellings from the original languages, while applying our own pronunciation.

As a result, only about 12% of words in English are spelt the way they sound. But that doesn’t mean that spelling is inexplicable, and therefore only learned by rote - it means that teaching spelling becomes a fascinating exploration of the remarkable history of the language - etymology. Some may think that etymology is the sole province of older and experienced learners, but it’s not.

Young children are incredibly responsive to stories about words, and these understandings about words are key to building their spelling skills, but also building their vocabulary. Yet poor spellers and young spellers are rarely given these additional tools to understand how words work and too often poor spellers are relegated to simply doing more phonics work.

Teaching - not testing

The only people who benefit from spelling tests are those who do well on them - and the benefit is to their self-esteem rather than their spelling ability. They were already good spellers. The people who don’t benefit from spelling tests are those who are poor at spelling. They struggled with spelling before the test, and they still struggle after the test. Testing is not teaching. Parents and teachers should consider these questions as they reflect on the ways in which spelling is approached in their school.

Are all children learning to love words from their very first years at school? Are they being fascinated by stories about where words come from and what those stories tell us about the spelling of those words?

Are they being excited by breaking the code, figuring how words are making their meanings and thrilled to find that what they’ve learned about one word helps them solve another word?

Put simply - is spelling your child’s favourite subject?

If the answer is no, then something needs to be done about the teaching.


What do you think?


** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.