Special educator, author and behavior analyst
Some students will stop at nothing to get attention in class. Banging on the desk, making burping sounds, making inappropriate comments - we have all experienced these tedious behaviors that stop the learning and wear down even the most dedicated and experienced teacher.
Over time, most learn more appropriate ways of drawing the teacher's attention. The distracting behavior subsides. However, there some for whom attention-seeking behaviors are a comfort zone. They continue to yell, throw things, and otherwise highjack the classroom while the helpless teacher is frustrated and out of patience.
In these cases, ignoring seems logical - we've been taught when a student wants attention and we give it to them, we might be reinforcing the behavior. But it is not that simple. When a student a student seeks attention in disruptive ways, it may be due to underlying distress or uncomfortable feelings, such as anxiety. Ignoring the behavior can increase anxiety or discomfort and subsequently increase the student's behavior.
From KQRD's Blog "Mind/Shift"
How we will learn.
By Annie Murphy Paul
What’s the key to effective learning? One intriguing body of research suggests a rather riddle-like answer: It’s not just what you know. It’s what you know about what you know.
To put it in more straightforward terms, anytime a student learns, he or she has to bring in two kinds of prior knowledge: knowledge about the subject at hand (say, mathematics or history) and knowledge about how learning works.
Parents and educators are pretty good at imparting the first kind of knowledge. We’re comfortable talking about concrete information: names, dates, numbers, facts. But the guidance we offer on the act of learning itself—the “metacognitive” aspects of learning—is more hit-or-miss, and it shows
From Boston Magazine
By Jamie Ducharme
January 13, 2016
Study: children who bond with animals are more confident and form better relationships.
Did you beg your parents for a puppy growing up? Science says they probably should have listened to you.Researchers at the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction (TIHAI) found that children tend to be “more confident and had stronger relationships with their families and peers” if they were close with an animal, according to a Tufts Now post.
TIHAI partnered with the Military Child Education Coalition to study how having animals in the house affected the stress and coping skills of 600 children.
The study was specifically intended to see if having pets helps children of deployed soldiers better cope with their parents’ absences—and the research suggests it does—but many findings held true for all children, military ties or not.
“Pets provide a nonjudgmental, emotionally supportive relationship, especially for kids who may be having difficulty in social situations or moving to a new social setting,” says researcher Megan Kiely Mueller in the post.
“The responsibility of caring for another living creature and understanding an animal’s needs also plays a role.”
Research has also shown that just stroking a pet’s coat may lower the owner’s blood pressure and heart rate.
This study is far from the first to show tangible health benefits tied to pet ownership, nor is it the only one in progress at Tufts.
Other scientists from TIHAI are examining how effective therapy dogs are in childhood oncology wards and at working with children with disabilities, and others are looking at how pet-assisted fitness regimens—like taking the dog for a walk every day, for example—could be used to combat childhood obesity.
Notable Children’s Books of 2015
From The New York Times
November 30, 2015
The best in picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction, selected by the children’s books editor of The New York Times Book Review.
ASK ME. By Bernard Waber. Illustrated by Suzy Lee. 40 pp. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $16.99. This posthumous book by the great Waber (“Lyle, Lyle Crocodile”) features a long, leisurely, lovely conversation between a father and daughter out taking an autumn walk.
FINDING WINNIE: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. By Lindsay Mattick. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. 32 pp. Little, Brown. $18.Written by a great-granddaughter of the Canadian soldier who bought a bear cub from a trapper and took her to Europe in World War I, this delightful account of the story behind A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” is also a family history.
LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET. By Matt de la Peña. Illustrated by Christian Robinson. 32 pp. Putnam. $16.99. In this wise, moving story, C.J. is full of complaints as he and his peppery grandmother take a bus ride, but Nana helps him see the other side of things, especially after they arrive to help at a soup kitchen.
From the Boston Children's Hospital Blog
By Nancy Fliesler
December 7, 2015
Some 5 to 17% of all children have developmental dyslexia, or unexplained reading difficulty. When a parent has dyslexia, the odds jump to 50 percent.
Typically, though, dyslexia isn’t diagnosed until the end of second grade or as late as third grade — when interventions are less effective and self-esteem has already suffered.
“It’s a diagnosis that requires failure,” says Nadine Gaab, Ph.D., an investigator in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience.
But a new study led by Gaab and lab members Nicolas Langer, Ph.D., and Barbara Peysakhovich finds that the writing is on the wall as early as infancy — if only there were a way to read it and intervene before the academic, social and emotional damage is done.
In 2012, the Gaab Lab showed that pre-readers with a family history of dyslexia (average age, 5½) have differences in the left hemisphere of their brains on magnetic resonance image (MRI). “The first day they step in a kindergarten classroom, they are already less well equipped to learn to read,” Gaab says.
From WBUR 90.9 FM's Blog
By Peter Balonon-Rosen
December 8, 2015
There’s little doubt that skills that can’t be measured by standardized tests still play a pretty big role in a student’s education.
Skills like self-confidence, the ability to work well with others, attitudes toward learning, and control over one’s emotions. Beyond making day-to-day life easier to navigate, these skills have long term effects in one’s life.
They’re associated with high school and college success, likelihood of future employment, higher earnings, positive health and smaller chances of incarceration. In fact, being proficient in those non-academic skills can result in impacts 40 years down the line, according to a report released Tuesday by Boston-based education nonprofit Transforming Education (TransformEd).
“The skills students need to become successful not just in school, but in their careers and their lives, include, very significantly, a set of skills that are not the focus of schools when [schools] only look at test scores,” said Christopher Gabrieli, TransformEd co-founder and chairman.
The Role of a Special Education Advocate
From Parents Have the Power
to Make Special Education Work
By Judith Canty Graves and Carson Graves
November 22, 2015
When we entered special education many years ago, we had never heard of a special education advocate. And if we had, we probably wouldn’t have hired one because we felt comfortable with our son’s Team members. Later, however, we realized that we had missed important opportunities by not having an experienced professional explain our son’s rights and the school’s responsibilities to us.
Going It Alone (Our Experience without an Advocate)
In the early days of elementary school, the general education teachers were warm and nurturing. Teachers only had one class of about twenty children all day long, so the demands on them weren’t as great as on teachers in middle school and high school
From The Guardian
By Juliet Rix
November 21, 2015
Levels of stress and anxiety are on the rise among students. Juliet Rix has tips to control the panic and thrive academically.
Anxiety causes the body to prepare itself for fight or flight, which can interfere with students’ ability to study. Olivia admits she’s always been a worrier – but when she started university, her anxiety steadily began to build. One day she was simply too frightened to leave the house. For two weeks she was stuck indoors, before she was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and began to get the help she needed.
The Blog of Harvard Education Publishing
by Jessica Minahan
on September 14,2015
Those of us who have spent over 10 years in the field know first hand that the face of the classroom has changed considerably. Long gone are the days when simple, whole class behavior incentive plans kept every student on an even keel. Even experienced teachers may not be sufficiently prepared to address the social and emotional needs of today's students, especially those struggling with anxiety. Anxiety disorders are alarmingly prevalent among U.S. children and adolescents, with 31.9 percent of teens having had an anxiety disorder during their school years. Add to that other increasingly prevalent childhood conditions, including ADHD and autism, and teachers are facing new and overwhelming challenges.
By GreatSchools Staff
October 3, 2015
Girls with ADHD often suffer in silence — and remain undiagnosed. When their symptoms finally surface, they can be dangerous. Learn what to watch for in your daughter — and how to help her.
Mrs. Dawson’s fourth-grade students assemble in small groups to work on a project. She asks Steven and Julie to join three other students. A mother helping in the classroom notices Steven is better behaved than during her last visit. While he still wriggles in his seat and occasionally interrupts a classmate, he doesn’t pound his desk and talk non-stop like he used to. He also smiles now and is more cooperative.
Julie is her usual chatty, polite self. She smiles and waves her hands as she talks to the group. Today, though, the other girls in the group seem annoyed with Julie.
Research & Tools
We post articles on the latest research, education tools and state/federal law changes.