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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Classroom management tools- Use of body language

To achieve classroom discipline you need to learn classroom management strategies. Body language or eye contact is one of non verbal communication teaching tools which is very helpful in classroom room management. The tone of your voice and body language can communicate just as much or more than the words you say.

Use of body language includes observing pupils' posture, gestures, mannerisms, facial expressions, speech and tone, in order to establish their emotional state and help build trust and rapport.

Your body language has a strong impression on students. Therefore, teachers should use it to their advantage. Non-verbal communication is rarely taught in teacher training programs. However, body language and the tone of your voice are major factors in communicating and thus teaching.
Teachers are aware of this important fact that students can read us. We need to listen to our students body language as well.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tips to encourage creativity through art among kids?

Art and crafts activities can help foster creativity and other skills needed to speed up learning process. Kids love art and crafts projects and enjoy doing it. My nursery class waits for Thursday as they know that it is their art and crafts class day. At their art and crafts class they are kept engaged in various kind of drawing, or crafts activities.
I encourage them by praising their effort. Asking related questions such as 'what you have drawn or created?. Often I show the good work to other children.

This post helps you learn tips which can help encourage creativity among kids.
In Childhood and Society, Erik Erikson wrote that the developmental goals of school-age children fall into four main categories:
  1. cognitive, 
  2. emotional, 
  3. social and 
  4. sensory motor
In order to become healthy, happy and productive teenagers (and later healthy, happy and productive adults) children from 5—12 years old must have lots of experience and repeated practice with tasks in each of these four areas.  
Arts and crafts help children experience and practice their skills in all four of these areas.

Tips to encourage Creativity 

  • Take time with a child’s art.
  • Show respect for the art and the artist’s process
  • Comment on lines, shapes and colors: “I see you used three colors.”
  • Show curiosity: “How did you get this effect here?”
  • Comment on changes: “Your drawings look bigger these days.”
  • Ask open-ended questions: “Will you tell me about your picture?”
  • Provide fuel for creativity: “What other materials do you need?”                                                                       
  • Collect recycled boxes, tubes, and lumber scraps. Make 3-D creations. 
  • Provide a variety of drawing, painting, and clay materials.
  • Praise their work
  • Show good work to other children
  • Avoid coloring books.

Remember: Art is not coloring books or mimeo sheets.
Art is not copying or coloring between the lines.
Art is not restrictive.
To be art, a work has to demonstrate individuality.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Skill development among kids -Playing with Play dough

I like play dough as learning and skill development tool and from very early age I provided play dough kits to my son. He is now 12 plus but still loves to play with play dough as there is a lot to create with this soft material. In preschool and early years at school or nursery, kids need to play with play dough for not only having fun but as a helping activity with many educational benefits.
Play dough helps children grow in following ways:
  1. Physically
  2. Emotionally
  3. Socially
The key to learning is repetition and being able to focus attention on an activity in detail.
By strengthening this skill, children begin to learn in a more complex manor such as problem solving and trail and error.
Playing with play dough is sensory attention span stretchers. According to the National Network for Childcare, toddlers have extremely short attention spans. Sensory activities, such as playing with Play Dough, often helps children stay focused for longer periods of time.

Educational benefits of play-dough and process of skill development: 
  1. It helps to strengthen little fingers, hands and wrists.
  2. Modelling and using cutters & rollers is great for muscle development.
  3. Fine Motor Development: Fine motor skills are essential in the developmental process of a young child. By playing with play dough, children are introduced to the skills that they will need to begin placing paint brushes, scissors, and pencils in the correct holding position. These skills help them later to develop writing skills.
  4. Emotional Development: These activities can be messy, but recognize that the mess is worth the soothing nature that will take place in your classroom versus the alternative.
  5. Social Skills: Play Dough can teach the toddler to share with others, interact with other toddlers, as well as learn to communicate and share her final results with the play group
  6. Imagination and Creativity: Imagination and creativity are vital processes to enhance learning skills.  It helps to foster your child's imagination.  According to the Creativity Institute, encouraging the development of creativity in a toddler helps develop the child's mind, including his skills of decision making, problem solving and imaginative thought in general. It deepens their thinking and sets them up for success. Dramatic play is even more important than letters and numbers.
  7. It is one of the best open ended toys I know - play-dough can be anything - food, animals, bowls, shapes etc
  8. It helps children develop self esteem -there is no right or wrong and the child has the opportunity to gain mastery over their environment.
  9. It is a great release for tension or angry feelings - squeezing, punching, poking are all acceptable if done to play dough. 
  10. Play dough can be used as therapy for special-needs children.

Provide molding tools and accessories to develop creativity and imagination such as:
  • Plastic knives
  • Plastic scissors
  • Rolling pins
  • Cookie cutters
  • Mixing bowls
  • Little aluminum pie pans
  • Glitter
You may buy play dough kids which are available with various colors and tools to shape and play. Professionally made play dough can be used few times. Usually we make play dough with easily available materials at school. But it can be used once and you need to add colors at different portions of dough to make it more interesting.
If you are using it at home then 'home made play dough' is a cheaper solution.

There is a great deal of learning happening when you simply let children play with play dough. Play Doughcan also help a child learn basic information such as colors, shapes, counting etc.. 

Useful links:

Playdough Recipe for Kids

Friday, March 9, 2012

Building block play helping build learning skills among kids

There are so many benefits of play building blocks. Playing with building blocks helps in educational skill developmental and mental stimulation for kids.
It has been more than 200 years since it was determined that wooden blocks aid the development of young children through play with building blocks of various kinds.

They can be wooden, plastic, cardboard and even foam in vibrant colors and different shapes like cylinders, squares, arches, triangles and more.                                      

They may help your child develop and enhance
  • motor skills
  • hand-eye coordination
  • spatial skills
  • creative problem-solving skills
  • mental stimulation
  • social skills
  • language skills
More Educational benefits of playing blocks:
Physical benefits: Toy blocks help in improvement of eye-hand coordination. Building blocks help build strength in little fingers and hands especially when using sets that involve pieces that snap together and pull apart.

Social benefits: Block play encourages children to make friends and cooperate, and is often one of the first experiences a child has playing with others. Blocks are a benefit for the children because they encourage interaction and imagination. Creativity can be a combined action that is important for social play.

Intellectual benefits: Children can potentially develop their vocabularies as they learn to describe sizes, shapes, and positions. Math skills are developed through the process of grouping, adding, and subtracting, particularly with standardized blocks, such as unit blocks. Experiences with gravity, balance, and geometry learned from toy blocks also provide intellectual stimulation.

Creative benefits: children receive creative stimulation by making their own designs with blocks. Building blocks inspire and encourage imaginative and creative play.

Blocks teach problem-solving skills through the discovery of how stacking and matching can produce different results.

One study found that kids who played with blocks scored higher on language tests than kids who had no blocks. Perhaps the children with blocks simply spent less time on unproductive activities such as watching TV--but the end result was good for them in any case.
Kids can integrate their own constructions into pretend play scenarios. And there is evidence that complex block-play is linked with advanced math skills in later life.

Blocks are also helpful for children with ADHD. Blocks are now available categorized by age for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, early school age and older school age children.
Useful links:

* Educational benefits of playing blocks

* Toy blocks - A guide at 'Parenting Science'

* Lessons to teach while playing with blocks

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Easy toilet paper roll pencil holder crafts with kids

I was inspired by the crafts idea at 'Khadija's creative mind' and planned to do toilet paper roll crafts for my nursery class.

Today I could finish making a cute pencil holder. As I had to give this projects individually to all children of nursery class, I asked them to bring at least one toilet paper roll from home. It took about a week to collect toilet paper tubes. The first step was to cut slits on paper tubes and teachers have to do it as our kids are small to handle a bit hard stuff of toilet paper tube.

For next step I used a square sheet of white art paper for the base of pencil holder. Slit ends of tube were folded and fixed at square base.

We teachers of nursery class prepared it before kid's work. Kids were happy to see the raw form of pencil holder. They colored it and happily took home.
I have added two feet with this pencil holder.

With two feets I have trimmed the upper folded parts into circle petals.

Upper edges of paper tube can be trimmed into any shape.
As you can see I have shaped the finished product into more interesting work of crafts. What more you can do with it?
Pasting sequences, buttons and glitter can make it prettier and shows your creative skills when placing at your reading table and may be you can give it to your friend as a gift.
Note: I have taken all the pictures with my digital camera, keeping resolution a bit low as I have to edit pictures later for posting to blog. I will put my blog address or name at these pictures later but I hope that these pictures are not adopted at any other place without my permission. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Play and Skill development among children

Play has always been part of learning and growing, and at the same time it provides enjoyment and fun. It is a tool which teachers or parents can use effectively for skill development among children. Play helps children develop intellectually,emotionally. It also helps in motor skills, and language development skills.

Kids need opportunities to play both alone and with other children. This will ensure that motor skills, cognitive skills and social skills all have a chance to develop and flourish.  Play is one of the ways children learn about and practice living in their world and their culture. It also helps children to manage their feelings and to cope with upsetting things that happen in their lives. Play helps build relationships.
Physical activities improve motor skills. Toys and activities that encourage them to use their imaginations can help them develop cognitive skills. And group activities enhance social skills.

List of various kind of plays and how they help in skill development among children.

Intellectual development (learning)
  • Sorting toys - learning about number and grouping 
  • Puzzles - learning about shapes, sizes, number 
  • Posting boxes - learning about space and size 
  • Hitting a mobile and making it move - learning about cause and effect 
  • Card games and board games 
  • Making up games
Developing motor (physical) skills                         
  • Pushing and pulling toys 
  • Riding on toys 
  • Picking up small things 
  • Throwing and catching 
  • Climbing toys 
  • Using crayons or paint brushes 
  • Writing Computer games 
  • Hitting balls
Social/emotional development
  • Playing alongside others and watching them 
  • Playing with others 
  • Playing mothers and fathers 
  • Copying adults and practising adult tasks and roles 
  • Water, paint and mud - expresses feelings Music - relaxes and expresses feelings 
  • Pretend play - dressing up Games with rules (eg hopscotch, card games, ball games)
Developing language
  • Stories and books 
  • Songs 
  • Nursery rhymes 
  • Games with friends and adults 
  • Talking to each other 
  • Listening to tapes
Cognitive Development

Many educational toys concentrate on cognitive development. This includes things like remembering, problem solving and decision making. These skills are essential for success in school and all other aspects of life. Any activity that requires imagination has the potential to encourage problem solving and decision making skills. Games such as Memory and Bop can help a child develop his memory.

An important part of play for young children is play with parents, and there should be some time for this every day. A toy company some years ago asked a large number of five year olds what they would like for Christmas, and their survey found that many children wanted more time with their parents!

More useful links and online sites:

* The Role of Pretend Play in Children's Cognitive Development 

* How to accelerate fine motor skill development among children?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blow painting -A fun art activity for early year kids

Research shows that arts and crafts help kids to develop brain capacity in early childhood. Participating in arts and crafts also encourages self confidence, concentration and positive social skills such as flexibility and cooperation.

What you need to start this activity?

  • Art paper or simple A4 size white sheet of paper,
  • poster or water colors (keep cup or container for each color)
  • straw and dropper.

Poster or water color should be mixed with water. With the help of dropper or paint brush you just put few drops of water color or poster color at paper and blow the straw in different directions.
By turning the paper round, the paint can be blown more easily in different directions.

Children love blowing through straw and watch run colors in various directions. Kids of nursery class are amazed when they watch the formation of colorful pattern and design.
Finishing touch: Just cut long strips of poster paper with zig zag scissors and paste around the paper.

The facing picture shows a finished sample of 'blow painting'
There are many ideas which can make this blow painting process more creative as shown in two pictures at the end of the post.

Useful links:

* Blow painting at 'things to make and do'

Another idea from a site
Adding gooly eyes makes it 'germ blow painting'
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