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School Students Education Teaching

Photo Credit: KasparLunt from Pixabay

To determine if this is an efficient and effective learning process, we first must understand just what it is and how it does or doesn’t work.

What is TPS?

TPS is a collaborative learning strategy where students work together to solve a problem or answer a question. This requires students to:

  • Firstly, students are asked to think through the problem or topic individually. This may include answering a specific question or coming up with an example or prompt.
  • Secondly, students will pair up or join a small group of their peers to discuss their thoughts and work through the problem more in depth.
  • Lastly, each group or pair of students will present or share their findings with the class and/or a larger group.

What is So Special About it?

Idea innovation imagination

Photo Credit: KasparLunt from Pixabay

Recent studies have found that students are able to learn more when they are allowed to discuss ideas and elaborate on them through communication with others. Think, Pair, Share enables those opportunities to talk in an environment that encourages learning and requires participation from all class members and not just those who are typically more outspoken.

This type of learning also helps to build confidence in students that may feel a little uncomfortable talking or presenting to large groups or classes. When they are able to be supported by a partner or several of them, they are much more at ease and willing to share their real thoughts and opinions.

With the use of TPS, students learn to collaborate with others and to value each other’s opinions on a wide variety of topics. They can begin to think of their peers as resources with a wealth of knowledge. Students, as a result, come to respect each other more and can understand ideas and concepts that may be far from the norm given their background or upbringing.

How to Use it?

The process is easy to use in just about any classroom setting and for all ages. PreK through Kindergarten students, for example, can’t be expected to write their thoughts or answers as well as older students. However, they can draw out their ideas and still discuss them with other students and the class.

Some of the most common ways this valuable tool is used is to gauge students’ reactions and thoughts about a certain lesson or material, such a film you just watched or a text that was recently read. You can also use this as an introduction to new materials or assignments. Doing this before a new lesson allows students to tap into any prior knowledge of the topic or to gather ideas and get a game plan together for a new project or assignment.

You can also use this to strengthen your classes listening skills. During the “share” portion, each student can be asked to present their partner’s ideas instead of their own.

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Teach word scrabble letters wooden

Photo Credit: WokandaPix from Pixabay

Just as each child has their own unique personality, so do they have a unique style of learning. However, many teachers due to their lack of education or funding in their school system, cannot facilitate the individual needs of each student. This creates fundamental learning gaps in many children and the need for help later in their education. Best Brains seeks to solve this issue.

Education

Our teachers are board-certified at state and national standards for professionalism and excellence with years of real classroom experience and the knowledge required to be just what your child needs. They have been trained to assess each student on their educational needs and to find the root of the problem, not just the symptoms.

Your child will work with the same teacher each week to ensure that their progress and problem areas are consistently being assessed. We also pride ourselves on our low student to teacher ratio, which helps to ensure that each child gets the attention and care they deserve and need.

Experience

These teachers have experience in creating a learning environment that is interactive and engaging. We don’t use passive teaching, where we simply tell the students about a topic and expect them to learn from it. Instead, we make sure they are actively participating in the learning process.

They are given examples, activities, and work that not only teach them but allow them to learn on their own. Teaching this way gives kids the opportunity to take ownership of their education and to rely on their strengths and not just the teacher’s knowledge.

Methodology for Success

Photo Credit: Geralt from Pixabay

Methodology for Success

Our teaching methodology is non-repetitive and focuses on presenting new skills and concepts each week. And while these lessons are fun-filled, they are also challenging so that the building blocks of their education can be constantly being added to.

Here at Best Brains, our teachers help prepare students for what is ahead by giving them a firm educational foundation and a connection to the material, enabling them to catch on to future lessons quickly and easily.

Variety and Continuation

This isn’t just tutoring like many after-school programs. This is a complete enrichment program with the sole purpose to improve your child’s overall academic success and development. Our teachers make use of real-time classroom instruction in multiple subjects. We don’t just teach English and Math. In fact, we are the only learning center that also structures lessons in Abacus and General Knowledge.

Most would say that once a child is up to speed or at the correct grade level in a subject, extra help should be forgotten. However, we disagree. Many students and parents alike have found that continuing the Best Brains program creates some of the best and brightest students around. Not only are these kids understanding and mastering what is being taught in their schools but they quickly rise to the top of their class. The extra help they receive at Best Brains teaches them that can do and achieve anything.

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Active Students

One of the frustrations of anyone who has ever tried to hold the attention of young children is that they are easily distracted and may have a hard time focusing on important tasks. For schoolteachers, this is an especially irksome challenge. How do you teach children to write the alphabet when you can’t hold their attention for more than five minutes? But research suggests that what seems like a weakness may actually be one of children’s greatest strengths. We know that children have flexible minds and can learn remarkable amounts of material in a short amount of time. But by staying active, young people can actually increase their focus and be better students.

One of the biggest frustrations teachers of young children encounter is the tendency of small children to be overly active in the classroom. Even getting students to stay in their seats can be a challenge. But thoughtful teachers can use this to their advantage. By incorporating this energy into their lessons, educators can help students to stay more engaged with material. Imagine a lesson where students have to respond to a math problem by clapping to indicate the answer. If the answer is four, students will clap four times. Another possibility is to have students get up, get moving, and use props as part of their lessons. You might teach a lesson where students have to walk to one end of the room and retrieve the correct prop to indicate the answer to a question. These kinds of simple activities make the most of the energy that children bring into the classroom.

There is good reason to think that students’ energy is an important part of the learning process. Studies have shown that children who are more physically active do better on standardized tests and generally perform better in school. These effects are especially pronounced in young boys. Just like for adults, who may notice that they feel better after doing yoga or going for a run, exercise has remarkable benefits for young children.

This doesn’t mean that children have to do a full hour of exercise at school. Just getting up and walking around the room can be helpful. As both parents and teachers of young children can attest, young people have lots of excess energy that they need to expend during the day. Incorporating this energy into classroom lessons can be a powerful teaching tool that helps to settle the minds of restless students, and increases their focus on challenging tasks.

Of course, it will take some practice to find the right mix of activity and instruction. We don’t want to introduce physical activities that ultimate distract our students. But by thoughtfully incorporating movement into daily classroom instruction, we can create classrooms that make the most of young children’s unique energy and invite them to be fully engaged in their education.

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Lynne Featherstone Interrviewed about youth issues by Hornsey School Girl students

Photo Credit: Lynn Featherstone from Flickr

Oral history is the use of narratives, personal experiences, and storytelling from historical and everyday people to share about certain topics and time periods. These experiences are most often videotaped or audio recorded, but they can also be written down as a result of an interview or conversation. Many museums use this type of instruction to educate their visitors about all sorts of events and topics. It offers people from all walks of life the opportunity to learn from someone else’s point of view just by listening. But how can it be brought to life in the classroom?

Instead of reading about WWII in a book and doing a worksheet about it, oral histories allow students to personally connect with those who experienced it firsthand. They hear the emotion in the voices they listen to, see expressions on their faces, and are, therefore, far more moved. These stories and experiences let them feel as though they are part of the story somehow and, in turn, may put life into a different perspective.

More than just allowing students to hear about these experiences, many teachers have found that getting them to conduct their own oral history research forms a far greater connection to the subject. In the classroom, teachers can give each student a specific topic for which they must conduct research for. This research is gathered in the form of interviews and conversations with members of their family and community, as well as their peers, about experience or point of view based on that topic.

The key is to make the topic something that is interesting to the student, something that is important to them or that they know someone who has an opinion about it. This allows them to become even more interested and learn to care about other’s experiences.

Indian Youth

Photo Credit: David Brewer from Flickr

However, don’t limit this type of instruction to just history class. Oral history can be used in just about any type of classroom and for any age group. For example, in math class, a teacher could ask students to interview members of their family or community about how they use math on a daily basis. This can help those students relate to the subject a bit more, realizing its importance and its use in their lives now and in the future.

Younger children can also learn to participate in such projects, though on a much lesser scale of course. While second and third graders may not be up to the challenge of writing a paper about their oral history research, they can certainly be sent home with the homework to ask their family members or even close neighbors about certain experiences or topics. Even just one question or two could suffice. You would be surprised at how a child’s opinion or connection to learning could be influenced just by participating in oral histories.

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Whild Writing

Photo Credit: Kurt_Niemans from Pixabay

If you have a child in first, second, or even third and fourth grade, you may notice homework or graded papers coming home with multiple spelling errors that are not counted. You may have also questioned this. After all, they are supposed to be learning about spelling, aren’t they? So, why would a teacher ignore such mistakes? Do they not teach spelling anymore?

The Early Years

Beginning in the first grade, students must begin writing complete ideas and even paragraphs. This requires the child to first master letters and then put them together into words. Next, they must figure out how to put those words together in a way that makes sense both to them and to others. It takes a lot of effort for someone so young. In response, teachers may choose to ignore spelling mistakes in younger grades as a way to allow the student to focus more on the process of writing itself.

It’s a method called inventive or temporary spelling. Children simply spell out the words to the best of their ability or by the way it sounds. This way the children think solely on what they want to write and how to put pieces of sentences or paragraphs together. And recent studies back up this method, saying that it allows children to write more fluently, quickly, and use a richer vocabulary than students who had the check their spelling along the way.

Older Grades

Correcting Papers

Photo Credit: 3844328 from Pixabay

Even in older grades, spelling is not always given top priority, at least not at first. This again goes back to the writing process. Most educators agree that there is a certain process that goes into writing pretty much anything. First, there is the gathering and grouping of ideas, then ordering those into sentences and paragraphs, and then reorganizing everything so that it has a single cohesive goal. When the piece has been completely shaped, only then do teachers suggest editing, the final and last step of writing. This is when they check for the minor details, such as correct spelling, usage, and punctuation.

When constant criticism on their spelling happens, no matter how small, it tends to get in the way of the natural writing process. If the child has to stop and figure out how to spell words correctly before they go on, it slows the whole process down considerably, often making them lose focus or their ideas. This also makes the child focus on their mistakes and can make them feel rather negative about the whole process. Some children get so discouraged they learn to not enjoy writing or the process at all.

So the next time your child comes home with graded work and you notice spelling errors, don’t assume the teacher doesn’t care or that she isn’t teaching it. Instead, entertain the possibility that spelling may not be the number one priority on that assignment. Spelling is important but it can be learned later if need be.

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Girl Studying a Book

Photo Credit: The Benefits of Literacy Circles

Few classroom instructions are as impactful as a literacy circle. These small groups of students reading together and discussing their text offer experiences for children that are not only educational but extremely beneficial to emotional development and their overall success. The main reason for this success is that literacy circles get kids to talk. Let’s see how this is done.

Student Choice

Choice is often something few students have when it comes to their education. However, in literacy circles, students are typically given the choice of what books they read as well as what other students are in their group. While these choices may seem small, giving children just a little bit of say in their education makes them connect to it more. They suddenly seem to have more intrinsic motivation and a deeper engagement with what they are learning. They are more willing to get involved with conversation as a result.

Teaches Cooperative Learning

As kids sit in a group of their peers and discuss characters, plots, and the meaning of their texts, students learn to hear other opinions and to make sense of them. Lit circles teach students to help each other figure it out and be taught by one another. They learn to value this help from their peers and see others as resources of knowledge, all while making independent choices.

Fun and Social

Boy Student Studying a book

Photo Credit: Fun and Social

Most of a child’s day is spent listening to instruction or completing projects and assignments where they are expected to remain, for the most part, quiet. Literacy circles, on the other hand, require each student to speak their mind, to voice their opinions, and to even argue those ideas. They allow students to be social and talk a lot, bringing their own experiences with the text to life and making reading fun.

This in turn, helps them feel more connected, not only to their peers, but to the school itself. They begin to associate school and reading with joy and fun. This has a huge impact on the drop out rates in most schools. Kids tend to disengage when they don’t feel connected, whether it’s with the people, place, or their education. Lit circles allow all three to be touched in a positive way and reinforce a personal connection.

Opportunities for Struggling Readers

Because they are fun experiences that allow for cooperative learning and students to make choices, these circles often provide the most opportunities for those who may be a little more reluctant when it comes to reading. This type of instruction allows for children to be grouped at different levels and then to choose reading selections based on that level, instead of having to read the same book as the rest of the class and not always being able to understand it.

Students should also be allowed to choose from a wide variety of genres and topics. Not all books need to be fiction. In fact, many struggling readers prefer to read non-fiction, as it often can be related to real life more.

For more ways to involve your students in reading click here.

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Girl Playing

Playtime, it’s always been a must for young children. It provides them with time to burn off some of that pent-up energy and to just be kids. But did you know that play and recess are essential to how your child learns and develops?

Attention

Studies show that recess and playtime can enhance a child’s attention span and allow them focus better later. The key is to have an unstructured break. Recess is a good example of this. It provides a time where children are free to play without adult direction or rules. For this reason, PE class is not a substitute for recess, as it is adult structured. Studies have found that a recess of 10-30 minutes allows kids to pay more attention in the classroom. However, going much longer than this tends to have the opposite effect.

Language

Pretend play is one the most crucial elements of play. It has proved to have drastic effects on a child’s ability to learn and what they learn. Language is just one of those areas that pretend play assists. A recent study shows that children who do really well at pretend play and participate in it often have better overall language skills, both in the words they understand, as well as the words they speak.

Math

Play helps to create stronger and long-lasting math skills. Blocks, in particular, seem to have a special effect in this area. Scientists studied a group of preschool children and followed their math skills through high school. Those children that played with blocks often in their early childhood did exceptionally well in math and took more math classes, including honor’s courses, as high school students.

Problem Solving

There are two types of problems: convergent and divergent. Convergent problems have only one solution or answer, while divergent ones allow for several correct solutions. For example, a puzzle has only one correct solution and is convergent. Playdough, on the other hand, has several outcomes and is divergent. Experimental studies have shown that children who are given and play more with divergent materials have better problem-solving skills. They are able to see many solutions to one problem and are often more creative and are able to think outside the box.

Self-Regulation and Reasoning

The ability to pretend play has also been given great importance when it comes to counterfactual reasoning and the ability to self-regulate their emotions, impulses, and attention. Counterfactual reasoning allows us to think about the “what-if” circumstances. Pretend play uses the same skill set.

It has been reported that children who frequently pretend play are better able to keep themselves in check. It is thought this because when children pretend play, there is certain amount of agreement that must be present in all children involved. This “set of rules” and the practice of conforming to it over time enables children to learn to have better self-control.

Playtime and playful academic learning are essential for children of any age. And it just might be something that makes all the difference for them later in life.

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Best Brians Public Speaking Program

Public speaking has many benefits for professional success. But did you know that it has been proven to have many positive influences on a child’s academic success as well? For more information keep reading.Public speaking has many benefits for professional success. But did you know that it has been proven to have many positive influences on a child’s academic success as well? For more information keep reading.

Increased Listening Skills

As children enroll in speech classes or leagues like the one we offer, they get accustomed to hearing other students present topics of a wide variety and with many different opinions and viewpoints. These opinions may differ drastically from their own.

As a result, these children learn to listen not only to other viewpoints but also learn to understand why they may have differing opinions. This teaches them to compromise and find solutions to relational issues between family, friends, and coworkers in the future.

Increases Courage And Influence

Engaging in public speaking of any kind requires that a student voices their own opinion in the hope that they can positively influence others. By learning to do this successfully, a child becomes comfortable with this task, whether its speaking in front of a large group or just a few peers who may need some sound advice.

Childhood, in general, is a time of great change and personal growth. By giving your child the tool of public speaking, you give them the opportunity to voice their own opinion on things that matter, instead of simply following the crowd.

Improved Academics Overall

A crucial part of every good public speaking or speech class is to help children learn to research and write their own speeches. This trains them to dive into wells of information about certain topics and choose what is the most important or the most influential.

As a result, students learn better research skills and analytical thought processes that help them relate topics to each other and to be well-reasoned. When these skills are applied to other subjects and classes, students’ grades are shown to improve and papers are more thought out.

Overcoming Fear

The number one fear in the world over is public speaking. Therefore, it is likely that your child will be uncomfortable with this class. However, that fear can be overcome. A great public speaking class can take this child’s fear and turn it into an amazing tool for them to use for the rest of their life.

While the butterflies may still exist a little, your child will build confidence in their abilities to deliver presentations and be able to do so with conviction. Soon they will be using their skills to influence others for good, no matter how nervous they are.

Preparation For The Future

One of the most sought-after qualities of an employee is effective communication skills. So, it stands to reason, that learning to do well at this would enrich a student’s life, especially when it comes time to move towards a career.

These are also qualities of a great leader as well. Giving your child the opportunity to improve their leadership skills is an unmatched gift that will serve them and their community for years to come.

Those with a high degree of confidence, a listening ear, the ability to work well with others, and to also understand and relate to others can accomplish just about anything. These skills are needed in all areas of life. This is why we think it is so important for children to begin learning about speech at a young age. Our Speech League is designed to teach students to write and present various types of speeches all while cultivating their leadership skills, communication, and social skills.

For more information on our Public Speaking Classes and to enroll your child, click here.

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National Limerick Day

Limerick Day is a fun holiday celebrated on May 12th, each year. It is an unofficial holiday in many places and is celebrated on the birthday of Writer Edward Lear. Lear is a famous English artist, author, poet and an illustrator. He is also famous for his literary nonsense in poetry, prose and especially his limerick poems, a form he popularized.

Edward was very familiar with his writings and his principal areas of work as an artist were threefold: as a draughtsman employed to illustrate birds and animals; he is famous in making colored drawings during his journeys, which he reworked later, at times as plates for his travel books; as a -minor; an illustrator of Alfred Tennyson’s poems. When he became an author, he is well known for his popular nonsense collections of poems, songs, short stories, alphabets,  botanical drawings and recipes. Lear also composed and published twelvemusical settings of Tennyson’s poetry.

History

Edward Lear was born on May 12th or 13th, 1812. It is believed that the term limerick refers to a specific genre of poetry that comes from the city of Limerick, Ireland.  The national Limerick Day also celebrates the limerick poem, which is very by Edward Lear’s book “Book of Nonsense” published in 1846. Since then Lear was very popular for his poetry.

National Limerick Day

A limerick is a very short genre poetry which traditionally has five or six lines; and has an AABBA rhyme style. Which means it is the pattern of rhymes in a poem. To identify the rhyme pattern style, each line is designated with a letter. The lines that share a letter rhyme and have words at the end that rhyme with each other. That means in a limerick, an AABBA rhyme scheme, the words at the end of the first second, and fifth sentences rhyme, while the words at the end of the third and fourth sentence rhyme with each other.  However, the Limerick also has a particular rhythm which is formally described as anapestic trimeter.

Traditionally, the first line of a limerick introduced a person or a place; and the rest of the poem described a funny and often times obscene situations involving the subject or the place.

How to celebrate

  • Read some of Lear's limericks on this day and also check out other poets' limericks as well.
  • Write your own limericks and share with your family and pals,
  • Gather in a place and read some nice limericks and enjoy with your friends.

National Limerick Day

Did You Know…

...that the oldest surviving poem — The Epic of Gilgamesh, is from about 2100 BCE?

 

 

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