News

6
09/24/2010 02:48 PM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
Observations and suggestions based on recent research.

Recently, there have been several articles in professional journals as well as in the Washington Post and other news affiliates debating the validity of long-standing left brain/right brain beliefs.  Additionally, Newsweek recently ran an article about the Creativity Crisis.  In the article, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman indicate that, for the first time, research shows American creativity is declining.  One of the most significant findings was that the scores of younger children in America, those who are currently in Kindergarten through sixth grade, are at greatest risk.  One of the determined culprits of this shift is the number of hours children watch TV and play video games.  Another reason points to the lack of opportunities for children to be creative in school.  With the curricula driven by test scores, drill and practice lessons, and rote memorization, children do not have the opportunity to “practice” being creative. New research shows that problem solving requires the juxtaposition of both the left and right brain.  In problem solving activities, the left hemisphere of the brain takes over to see if familiar solutions provide an answer to the question.  If the answer is not found there, then the right hemisphere and left hemispheres of the brain activate together.  Ultimately, “In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness.  This becomes the ‘aha’ moment.” 

If you are an early childhood parent, you know that preschoolers ask about 100 questions a day.  Sometimes we wish it would stop!  By middle school it does stop, and student motivation and engagement plummet. So what can we do?

     - Encourage uniqueness with stability
     - Provide opportunities for flexibility as it helps with creativity
     - Give opportunities in schools to include distinct types of free play such as role-playing, voicing someone else's point of view, or acting out negative emotions
     - Be prepared for unconventional questions and answers

Creativity has always been valued in our society, but it has never really been understood.  Schools and parents must work together to provide opportunities for children to exercise both sides of their brain and provide opportunities for children to be engaged, motivated, and open to the world.

Contact Ricki

Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

5
09/17/2010 09:12 AM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
The Shlenker School's philosophy on homework.

“Homework shouldn’t be about rote learning.  The best kind deepens student understanding and builds essential skills.”  - Cathy Vatterott, Associate Professor, College of Education, University of Missouri - Saint Louis and author of Rethinking Homework.

At Shlenker we recommend guidelines for homework based on developmentally appropriate timelines for each grade or age.  In order to encourage students to read their Just Right books, the time for reading can not always be a part of that timeline.  However, we do try to adhere to some specific fundamental guidelines about what kind of homework to give.  Below are some guidelines given for homework at its best according to Educational Leadership.  It is difficult for teachers to prepare every assignment based on the information below.  However, it will be a goal for the future.

Purpose:  The task should have a clear academic purpose for each student. Students learn best through a variety of modes including rote memorization, use of technology, a written assignment, and others. 
Efficiency: Traditional tasks such as dioramas, projects that do not require academic skills or high level thinking, are often seen as busywork. Studying spelling, math facts, and definitions must still be worked on over time.
Ownership:  Tasks should be customized to fit the needs and abilities of the students.  At Shlenker, the Envision Math Program allows students to take a test at home covering the material learned in class.  The homework is then sent to each student immediately based on their competency on the test.
Competence:  Students should be able to complete their homework at home independently by having individual math homework, reading at their own level, and rubrics for individual reports.
Aesthetic Appeal:    Research tells us that the way homework looks can make a difference in a student’s desire to complete it.  As more information is available through technology, preparing opportunities for students to practice at their own pace will become easier.

Parents continue to be a wonderful resource for students, especially in providing an appropriate setting and time for homework.  However, if a student does not understand some part of his or her homework, parents should encourage their child to ask the teacher for more help.  We thank you for your partnership in helping our students learn responsibility and resourcefulness as they prepare for their future.

Contact Ricki


Blog Search

Categories

1Elementary Education
Elementary Education (43)
2Preschool
Preschool (36)
3Torah
Torah (31)

Archives

201811November1
November 2018 (1)
201810October4
October 2018 (4)
201809September4
September 2018 (4)
201808August2
August 2018 (2)
201805May4
May 2018 (4)
201804April4
April 2018 (4)
201803March4
March 2018 (4)
201802February4
February 2018 (4)
201801January3
January 2018 (3)
201712December3
December 2017 (3)
201704April1
April 2017 (1)
201703March1
March 2017 (1)
201702February2
February 2017 (2)
201701January1
January 2017 (1)
201604April1
April 2016 (1)
201505May1
May 2015 (1)
201503March1
March 2015 (1)
201502February1
February 2015 (1)
201501January1
January 2015 (1)
201412December2
December 2014 (2)
201409September1
September 2014 (1)
201408August1
August 2014 (1)
201405May2
May 2014 (2)
201312December1
December 2013 (1)
201310October3
October 2013 (3)
201308August1
August 2013 (1)
201305May3
May 2013 (3)
201304April4
April 2013 (4)
201303March10
March 2013 (10)
201212December1
December 2012 (1)
201210October1
October 2012 (1)
201209September2
September 2012 (2)
201109September1
September 2011 (1)
201103March1
March 2011 (1)
201101January1
January 2011 (1)
201012December1
December 2010 (1)
201011November1
November 2010 (1)
201010October2
October 2010 (2)
201009September2
September 2010 (2)
201008August2
August 2010 (2)
201007July1
July 2010 (1)