Jumping for JUMP!

I had a wonderful opportunity to ask teacher and author Julia Dweck about her most recent children’s book, JUMP! Want to know her intention behind this Inspiring Children’s Book Find? First…


JUMP! A children's book by Julia Dweck with a very uplifting message.  Illustrated by Brian Allen.The Story

Jack loves to jump. When something prevents Jack from jumping in the same, familiar way he has done a thousand times before, he becomes distraught. With the help of a trusty friend, a whole new world opens up for Jack as he discovers new ways of jumping that he had never experienced before.


What I Love About This Children’s Book

Most children can relate to experiencing sudden changes in their safe, predicable environments and routines, at least to some degree. In a fun-loving, easy to connect with way, JUMP! delivers the clear message that trying something new can lead to unexpected delight.


What a fun and carefree way to teach such a significant life lesson. The upbeat rhyming text seems to bounce right alongside Jack, joyfully taking us from one new thrill to the next!


JUMP! A children's book by Julia Dweck with a very uplifting message.  Illustrated by Brian Allen.Speaking of lessons, with a true heart for teaching, Mrs. Dweck adds yet another layer of learning. Kids will love the engaging thinking pages at the end of the book, extending the impact of JUMP! beyond its fabulously illustrated pages. (A big thank you to Brian Allen for sharing his illustration skills with us.)


In the Author’s Words

Q: What’s the biggest takeaway you’d like to offer readers of JUMP?


A: I’m hoping that readers will be inspired by Jack’s adventure and realize that there is much more to life outside of our comfort zone. We need to raise children who are curious learners and explorers. Today’s young readers are tomorrow’s leaders and caretakers. This generation must be unafraid to venture out and make mistakes in order to develop a resilient spirit. Oftentimes, it’s not about the destination and more about the journey. What have we learned from the bumps and potholes along the road?


JUMP! A children's book by Julia Dweck with a very uplifting message.  Illustrated by Brian Allen.As a teacher and parent, I encourage my students and children to have a “Plan B” in place for that moment when “Plan A” fails. There’s a tenacity that arises when we test our mettle. Imaginations need to be exercised and applied in new and novel situations in order to acquire, retain and innovate from lessons learned. I want Jack’s story to inspire my young readers to jump into new adventures in life that will help them grow.


Ahhhh.  Don’t you just love teachers?


Learn more about Julia Dweck and JUMP! at Sleepy Sheep Productions.



Finish the Monster Drawing – Free Sample

What child doesn’t love friendly, lovable monsters? Combine monster love with children’s love of art plus my love for helping kids build better brain power and we’ve got a fun, brain boosting art activity for kids: Finish the Monster Drawing.


Kids finish the drawing of a friendly printable monster, add their own creative twist, and build visual processing skills while enjoying this fun art activity.


This printable freebie is a single-page sample of a larger activity pack. It’s best suited for kids in early to middle elementary and those with special needs.


Finish the Monster Drawing is an easy and fun way for kids to engage their brains, strengthening visual processing skills and even more learning essentials along the way.


Once the monster drawing is complete, don’t stop there! Keep the art activity going. Kids can add their own embellishments, draw their own backgrounds, then color their finished monster masterpieces any way they wish.


If you’re new here, please sign up in the sidebar to the right. Subscriber privileges include access to this free printable plus many more. Already subscribed? Please sign in.



What Hiking Has To Do With Cognitive Strength Training in Kids

My sister, crazy ambitious woman that she is, is planning to hike the John Muir trail with her husband next year. It’s a massive 220 mile trek to the top of Mt. Whitney. Max elevation, 14,496 feet.  Yikes!


Since my sister considers herself a casual hiker she’ll have to do a fair amount of strength training between now and then.


She’ll begin with building muscle strength in her legs.


Muscle strength alone won’t get her to the top, so she must also build up her endurance, starting slow and gradually increasing the length and difficulty of her hikes.


Will she stop there? Not at all. Hiking at sea level is one thing. Conditioning her body for the extreme effort of hiking in the clouds, well, that’s just smart planning.


What does all of this have to do with building and strengthening learning abilities?


What hiking and cognitive strength training have in common, and how this helps parents and teachers raise confident learners.


We can look at cognitive strength training in much the same way.


Let’s imagine that you really really REALLY hope your children become strong, confident learners, not ones who end up figuratively huffing and puffing and gasping their way through their academic journeys.


You recognize that hope is not a strategy, so you set a worthy goal: help optimize their ability to learn, preparing them as much as possible for academic challenges ahead.


If you help your children develop efficient visual memory skills and strengthen their spatial awareness, can you take a pass on other important foundation skills like auditory memory?


Can you just look past their tendency to lose their place when they read? Can you ignore their habit of inattention and still expect them to learn and process new information with relative ease?


My sister knows that if she really wants to go the distance and to actually enjoy the journey while she’s on it, she must prepare her whole body. She probably has a bit of hope in there as well, but strength training in ALL areas will elevate her chances significantly.


Not only that, but she needs the proper tools with her, like ultralight hiking gear, great shoes, nutritious, packable food and water, plus the knowledge she’s gained from the experiences of those who’ve gone before her.


If your child is in the early primary grades or even just starting school, consider cognitive strength training as an important first step to going the distance.


And if your child is already starting to show signs of weakness or academic fatigue, please don’t let them struggle all the way to the end of the journey. Gather your research, grab the proper tools, and help them build a foundation that will support them all the way to the top.


The Book of Visual Memory Activities for Kids

LaHelp kids build visual memory skills with 5 different categories of fun, therapeutic learning activities.tely I’ve focused my cognitive development discussions around one skill in particular, visual memory.


If you’re new here, this post will explain why being proactive about children’s visual memory development is so important:

The Importance of Visual Sequential Memory


If you’ve been with me for awhile (bless you) then you’ll be happy to learn that Building Visual Memory Skills THE BOOK is finally complete!


Why is that such good news?

 For starters, tools that help students build visual memory skills also help improve academics. And improved academic skills = happier, more confident kids! (We love that.)


• Having a complete book of visual memory skill-building activities adds variety to any educational environment. (We love that, too.)


 Maybe the best news for you, I’ll finally start talking about something OTHER than visual memory around here for a change. Heck, I could benefit from a little variety myself.


The Book

Building Visual Memory Skills THE BOOK includes 5 separate categories. Learn more about each one by clicking the following (internal) links:



You may purchase each of the categories separately ($4) or grab them all at once and save with the complete book ($15).


Who’s it for?

If you work with kids in a therapeutic educational setting or if you are a parent / homeschool parent of a struggling student, you’ll find the exercises in this book especially helpful.


However, since adapting the activities to suit most skill levels and most educational environments is relatively easy, these therapeutic exercises are just as appropriate for teachers in the primary school classroom as well. In fact, I highly recommend incorporating cognitive strength training in the classroom as soon as possible!


Start the first 3 categories as early as K-1 (and up). I recommend the last two categories for students in at least grade 2, but don’t be surprised if your 5th and 6th graders enjoy them the most.


Cognitive strength training is funny that way. Activities are primarily skill-building for some, and for others, well, they’re just plain fun.


If you’re ready to add this resource to your arsenal of educational tools, or if you just want to learn more, this link will take you to my Teachers Pay Teachers store:

Building Visual Memory Skills THE BOOK.


Not ready to leave yet? (Aw, shucks, I like you too.) In that case, I’ve picked out some more reading material for you:

How to Help Children Strengthen Visual Tracking Skills, and Why


Quick Quote: Ziggy on Optimism

Ziggy quote on optimism


Draw What You Saw, A Visual Memory Art Activity for Kids

Kids love art. Parents and teachers love helping children boost learning power. Draw What You Saw is a printable activity that combines the best of both, offering a fun way to incorporate art and creativity with activities that strengthen visual memory.


I had a lot of fun creating this one, and think the kids will love it, too! While the complete activity pack is now available in the store, I thought you might enjoy a free sample.


Draw What You Saw printable sample


This Draw What You Saw sample gives you the first of 10 different animal and insect themed activities, each with 3 skill-building steps: Remember It, Repeat It, Create It.


How it Works

Students first memorize a card with simple lines and shapes, then draw what they saw onto a separate page. They memorize 3 cards per activity. (Cut out or cover the cards not in use.)


Once finished, students get to see an illustration created from all of the lines and shapes they just drew. In the final step kids reassemble their work and draw the illustration, a fun reward for a job well done.


Draw What You Saw helps children reinforce important foundation learning skills, including:


  • visual memory
  • visual discrimination
  • visual figure ground
  • fine motor
  • attention


I recommend this activity for grades 2 and above. It’s a great resource for educational therapists and specialty educators focused on strengthening visual memory, but just as fun for upper elementary students in traditional classrooms and homeschool settings.


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The Big Back to School Sale

So there I was, enjoying a long overdue virtual vacation. You know, the kind where you don’t actually go anywhere but just relax and unplug for awhile.


Well, I sort of kind of cheated and plugged back in for a moment when surprise, surprise! Teachers Pay Teachers announced the date of their big Back to School Sale.


And you know what that means? THAT means…

it’s sale time at Inner Pieces Gallery, too.


And THAT means…

you can now save 28% on everything in my store. Yep, even the items I just added.


Back to School Sale


If you’re a proactive parent or educator and you happen to like boosting your child’s ability to learn, now is the perfect time to stock up on specialty education materials, even if you’re not a specialist.


Use your new learning power printables throughout the year to strengthen visual memory skills, visual tracking skills and more.


But don’t wait! Sale is August 4th and 5th only. Click here to shop. You save 20% automatically. See the additional 8% at checkout with coupon code BTS14.


Hint: Early birds, you may add your favorites to a wish list, then return when the sale begins.


Here’s that link again: