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Monthly Archives: July 2013

So True!

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I have a sick ten year old today so I took the opportunity to read a book to him that I love but he would not choose on his own: Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat.

seen on Facebook today, sorry, no source

Did You Know That You Have Executive Skills?

I’m just finishing a book about executive functioning. Most people don’t go around using these terms but we all use and need the skill sets that they describe.
Executive functioning is the set of skills that allow a person to plan a task, figure out the steps involved, activate the best strategies for the task, stick to the task, inhibit impulsive behaviour, and change strategies if needed. It is our planning skills and our ability to control ourselves and figure out ways to get something done.
Executive functioning plays a huge role in the life of a student. Much of a child’s executive functioning skills have been inherited. Also important, are the child’s developmental level and environment.

How do you teach your child or student to develop these skills?  A great start is by modeling how you organize yourself and speaking aloud the ways in which you plan a task.  For example, I might explain aloud that we have to be at a birthday party by 4 p.m. so I work backwards and figure on a half hour driving time, so that is 3:30 p.m., a half hour “getting ready” time so that is 3 p.m.  I need to start getting ready at 3 p.m.  Explaining the steps you take to execute a task will promote executive functioning.  The next time there is a similar task, help your child go through the same steps. 

So often we get upset at our children or students for poor planning but this is NOT a strategy for improving these skills.  Try the modeling and thinking aloud strategy.  Walk your child through it several times before expecting independence.

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Link Between Childrens’ Lack of Sleep & Brain Power

“link between poorer mental performance and lax bedtimes”

Late nights ‘sap children’s brain power

BBC News Health

I read this study and wanted to say, “Thank you Captain Obvious!” (My kids taught me that 🙂

Through the summer I find it somewhat amusing to observe what lack of sleep and lack of a regular routine does to my own children. One of my children is like a young puppy – getting randomly hyper and racing around and then needing to veg on the couch watching TV. Another one of my children shows a diminished speech filter and can become highly critical. I’ve seen episodes of dippiness (i.e. milk in the cupboard), a short temper, a lack of creativity, an inability to remember multiple instructions, trouble listening, hanging around / unmotivated, lack of focus, impulsive behaviour and uncontrolled giggles. All could look like symptoms of ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). Hmmmmm.

Don’t get me wrong. Summer is so much fun for our family! I love the lack of routine and less strict bedtimes but they will have to remain summer activities for my kids.

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What’s On Your List of Awesome?

In about May, as the weather begins to change, the sun is shining longer, kids probably get less sleep, I notice a downward slide in motivation and an upward climb of negative emotions (in both my own children and my students).
This year to help with these “I can’t wait until summer blues” we read portions of 1000 Awesome Things.
I love the idea of finding joy in the small things. I showed my students the list of awesome that my own family had put together after reading The Book of Awesome. So many small things to be thankful for!

So what’s on your list of awesome? Here are some of my favourites right now:

20130703-085641.jpgMy homeade flavoured water!

20130703-085649.jpgMy nutribullet smoothies!

20130705-093013.jpg My quiet spot!

20130705-084622.jpgMy Martha Stewart get organized binder!

20130705-085049.jpgHummingbirds and my new hummingbird feeder!

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