In case you missed it, here’s part 1 of Cognitive Quick Tips: Auditory Memory at Home and in the Classroom. Now for part 2.
Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt? Ask your kids to gather some pirate loot by naming 3 items you already have around the house. Found them all? If 3 items were too easy, now ask for 4. Repeat until their treasure chest (whatever you decide that to be) is full.
(You can use this at home, too.)
Earlier I described Before You Go as a visual memory task. Let’s switch it up a bit and transform this into an auditory memory exercise.
Immediately prior to recess or a short activity, give your students 3 verbal instructions that you would like them to follow when they return to their desks. Encourage students to visualize in their minds what the completed instructions will look like. For example:
1) Take out a blue crayon.
2) Place the crayon in the upper right corner of your desk.
3) Sit crisscross applesauce in your chair until instruction begins again.
Of course, tailor the instructions to the level of your students’ recall ability. Once students can handle 3 instructions at a time, increase the challenge. Feel free to get silly with it!
Alternative: Instead of asking students to remember instructions, tell them which letters, numbers, or words you would like them to write down when they return to their desks.
And NOW you’ve made it to the end of the Cognitive Quick Tips Series.
If you missed any of the earlier tips, here they are again:
Little Smudge, written by Lionel Le Néouanic, is a charming children’s picture book about, well, a smudge. It shares powerful lessons of friendship, courage, triumph, and celebrating individuality.
Bet you didn’t know a smudge could do all that.
Little Smudge wants to make new friends. When he tries to make friends with Little Square, Little Circle and all the rest, things don’t go so well. The shapes ridicule the odd looking smudge for being so… different.
Thankfully Mommy and Daddy Smudge teach Little Smudge about the special gifts that only he has. He learns that his unique qualities are also worth sharing with others, not worth hiding.
With a whole lot of courage Little Smudge returns to the shapes. When he lets his true self shine, ridicule transforms into admiration, and new friendships are born.
Of course I love the messages about sharing your true self with others, not pretending to be someone you’re not, not feeling inadequate because you believe you don’t fit in.
I also love the less-is-more approach to storytelling in this book, which is a perfect complement to the author’s modern art illustrations.
My 6 year old nephew, well, he just loves it period.
A new printable paper scene has joined the collection here at Inner Pieces Gallery. This one may be just the thing to prepare your little ones for our upcoming spooky holiday, Halloween.
I’ve purposely designed this paper scene without the traditional gore of Halloween.
For the older kids who want to turn up the fright factor, the included blank template should do the “trick.” Kids (and adults) can use their own imaginations to create as many tombstones, caskets or zombies as they wish.
This more wholesome version includes:
Illustrations of a girl in a witch costume, a child in a ghost costume, happy spider with spider web, a bat, a scraggly tree, and jack-o-lantern.
Background scene with hills, moon, and “haunted” house.
As mentioned, your Halloween paper scene is expandable. Draw more costumes, a black cat, witch’s cauldron, or anything else that makes your Halloween scene complete.
Previous paper scenes to print, cut and color include:
Or to add to your printable Halloween activities, try these:
For (almost instant) access to all of the above free printables and more, sign up in the box at the right. Be sure to confirm your subscription after sign-up and you’re all set. You’ll need Acrobat 5.0 or higher for all pdf downloads.
Some of you visual learners out there might believe that visualization is something you just do, not teach. For some students, however, visualization skills may not be so automatic.
Does your child or student struggle with reading comprehension?
Do you ever notice him whispering the words to himself as he reads? There’s nothing wrong with this strategy. Whispering may be an attempt to gain better understanding through auditory input, especially if his strengths lie in auditory processing. Perhaps he simply hasn’t learned to visualize yet.
Even if your child already creates mental images with ease, here’s a fun visualization activity for kids who have already mastered basic visual memory skills. If they haven’t, please start here: Visual Memory at Home and in the Classroom.
Create a tic tac toe grid. Fill it with the numbers 1-9, like you see here.
In case you don’t want to go through the trouble, I’ve made a printable grid for you. Click here to download: Tic Tac Toe Grids. Acrobat 5.0 or later is required.
Show your child the number grid. Ask her to take a picture of it in her mind and remember the position of the numbers.
When she has her mental image, take the number grid away. Use a blank tic tac toe grid (included in the above download) to confirm. “Show me where the 3 is” or “What number goes here?” will help you know for sure.
Now you’re ready to play.
Using your blank grid, take turns visualizing where to place your X and O marks. You say “X on 9,” she says “O on 5,” etc. until someone achieves three in a row. The winner gets to physically fill in the grid and draw a line through the winning row!
Then play again. I recommend using dry erase markers with a white board or sheet protector. You’ll save a lot of paper that way.
Hint: To simplify this activity, skip the numbers grid entirely and physically point to the box on a blank grid where you wish to place your mark. Students who are less visual may even wish to trace their invisible mark with their finger. Allow their tactile preference to help build their visualization skills.
Divide your classroom into the X team and the O team and follow the instructions for the AT HOME version of Visual Tic Tac Toe above.
Hint: To increase the challenge, instead of using numbers sneak in a few pictures or words onto the grid. Make sure the words have a pictorial component. For instance, use the word “balloon,” which is easy to visualize, rather than “become.”
Standing strong in the face of fear, that’s the message delivered by children’s inspiring book find Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.
Powerful words of acclaimed poet Maya Angelou meet the childlike paintings of acclaimed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Sounds pretty amazing, right?
Yes it is, buuuuuuut….
With a name like Life Doesn’t Frighten Me I imagined this might be a good choice to help guide a child facing high anxiety. Just as with an earlier children’s book I shared, Some Things Are Scary, I may have missed the mark on this one as well. Sorry folks.
While Basquiat’s paintings appear as if a child created them, innocent, playful, something that kids can relate to, some images are just plain dark and, well, scary.
If you are looking to introduce your (non-anxious) child to poetry, or to contemporary art, or to reinforce the topic of courage, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me is the children’s book for you.
Just be sure to read it with the lights on.
In the daytime.
With lots of comfort around.
One last heads-up to all you parents and teachers. The final pages of this book include short biographies of both the author and artist. You may, as I did, enjoy learning about the colorful lives of these creative and talented people. However, if you do NOT want your child exposed to some very dark personal tragedies before being old enough to understand, please shut the book before you get there.
That said, I still believe that Life Doesn’t Frighten me is a great tool for opening up a dialogue about internal strength, fear, and courage.