Use this area to write your thoughts after each of the weeks' reading assignments. Remember, the intent is to have an online conversation and respond to others' thoughts as well as writing your own.
Healy's book has been a great read for me so far as a new mom. I was expecting this book to help me be a better teacher and so far it has also helped give me insight in to becoming a better caregiver. I have even made my husband read some pages! I found the parts of the reading about naturally developing through play time as opposed to electronic devices and"work"to be really useful. It will definitely help us when it's time to select a pre school! Reading how development progresses as children age and mature is a great tool as an elementary education teacher as well. I found the part about different students learning new things in different ways because they have different hooks to add new information to to be the most interesting.
I have often felt while reading this book that I need to re-read this once i decide to have children. It states information about the growing brain that I have never realized before, especially during prenatal and infancy years. I have always heard theories that playing music and books closley to your pregnant stomach was a way to promote early understanding and language skills. It found it very interesting when I read that we should exposed our unborn baby to the same amount of auditory sensory that we would outside of the womb. It makes sense!
Healy talks about the importance of play in children’s overall development. Many people believe children can only learn through work and that play is a waste of time. However, students can play and learn a great deal of information and skills simultaneously. Play can help children form connections, interact with other children and adults, become in touch with their sensory and/or motor skills, and aid in many other developmental areas. When playing, students are also problem-solving, exploring their own interests, and most importantly developing their brain and their own identity. Aside from safety concerns, little to no restrictions should be put on child play. Children should be encouraged to make their own choices, lead the play activities, be creative, downplay their ‘mistakes,’ and have fun. This is a very interesting concept because work is so emphasized in schools today and play is almost non-existent. As teachers, we should absolutely incorporate play into our daily curriculums. In classroom play, students can learn as well as express themselves and have fun. Teaching today is so much about standardized tests that students need a break from the day to day curriculum and play is the answer to that. Even during this ‘break time,’ students will continue to learn many vital skills. I think even in middle school and high school, students need some play time to broaden their prospective and enjoy their time in school.
I believe that play is a crucial part of education for early learners. My undergraduate work was in early childhood and elementary education where I learned extensively about Piaget and his theory of play. Learning through doing is one of the most significant ways students make connections, retain information and store it for retrieval. Play helps students with early decision making, conflict resolution, time management, self regulation, and organization. It even helps strengthen students imagination, creativity, critical thinking, and gross and fine motor skills. I agree with Mandie when she said that students can learn a great deal while playing. Depending on the teacher, play activities can be extremely educational. With a dedicated teacher many lessons can be turned into games and activities for students to explore and interact with one an other to learn from. The school I work in conducts a math program that usually three out of five school days the students are playing some type of math game in small groups. This playing of a math game is educational because the students are understanding the concept in a relaxed atmosphere while training their collaboration, conflict resolution and problem solving skills. I am a huge advocate for play that I have even allowed it to be a large part of my teaching philosophy.
I agree with Jennifer, that this book is great for teachers but also for parents. As a mother of two I find Healy's book very interesting and helpful. After reading Chapter three, I have to say that I am currently applying some of the techniques mentioned in the book and I am definitely learning new ones. I agree with the book that it’s extremely important for the children development to have a positive emotional climate at home. This would make children feel secure and they would be able to reach out to new experiences in their life.
I agree that letting children play and use their imagination in creating their own games and pretending activities are very important for their educational development. These activities let a student express his feelings, his interests, and use freely his imagination while he plays. I think that every student should be able to do this in school regardless of their grade level. Playing is a great way of learning and should be reinforce in school.
After reading chapter 4, I was particularly interested in the section titled On A Different Track. This portion of the chapter struck an interest in me because it provided a great example of just how children's minds learn differently. Sam is a very bright boy whose IQ scores demonstrate "gifted" levels even though he does have a learning disability and struggles during the school day. I think Healy statement "Children with different learning styles can have trouble because their natural talents don't conform with the school's demands". I agree with her statement because in today educational society, teachers are assessment driven. Teachers are continuously being evaluated based on their performance and students performance and try to get lessons across in the most convenient way possible, following the teacher guides. At such a young age, children are suppose to be able to play, accomplish simple tasks and socialize with peers. The over demanding curriculum can hinder students growth. Young children who are still developing are now being pushed to absorb information and spit back math facts that generations before did not require at that age. Teachers are also not adapting to his or her students learning styles because of the pressure put on them by their school and state. This portion of the chapter works nicely with my Power Point presentation of Multiple Intelligences. Howard Gardner's theory expresses that all individuals work best under 1 of 8 intelligences. Sam seems to be a visual and bodily- Kinesthetic learner rather than verbal/linguistic learner that his teachers are pushing him to be.
In this weeks reading Healy starts to discuss the way the human mind develops from childhood into young adulthood. It was interesting to read about the different types of struggles children and teens may have in school, even when they have a very high IQ, and about the common misconeption that a child is just "lazy." I have to be honest that I have a handful of fifth graders whom I have labeled as lazy in my mind that I will definitely be trying some new approaches. As a parent it was great to see all of the tips that Healy gives for relating to your child, and dealing with issues such as drugs and the media. Even though my child is an infant : ) I guess I will have to keep this book for a long time. Healy continues his book by writing about how a child or adult can learn based on the composition of the brain and how people can have strengths and weaknesses based on what parts of their brains they use most. It was really interesting to read about how an entire hemisphere of the brain can be removed if it is damaged, and the child can live with relative normalcy beccause the damaged half of the brain is no longer affecting the strong half. Healy also discusses how children can develop differently based on their sex and discusses different ways that boys and girls may need to be guided.
I though that this chapter You're Childs Growing mind gave a great portrayal of how thoughts evolve through out the growing brain from ages 6-13. In these years we can see a dramatic difference in growth and change. Even at the older ages it is still important to keep learning fun and hands on. Most children at this age begin to not enjoy school that much so its important for educators to be creative to keep children engaged. When discussing abstract topics such as social justice it is important to create a real experience for children to see that way they can grasp a clearer understanding of these concepts. Even assigning hands on projects can be helpful to make an abstract topic real. This can give students an opportunity to see how the concept functions in real life.
I agree with the other people who previously stated how this book will help them to be a better parent. Being only 22 I am far away from having children. However it is helpful to know about ways of sitting down to do homework with your child because these same thoughts can transcend into the classroom when its time for students to work independently. It also reminds us about the internal struggles that take place when we make that transition from child to teenager. Its filled with a lot of confusion and insecurities. So although it may be difficult to deal with as a parents, if we approach these situations with sensitivity and understanding it will make difficult situations easier for the child. As teachers its also important to keep these things in mind because its important for children to feel safe in order to learn. However if they are worried if they are dressed right, if their other peers like them, stressed over multiple after school activities ect. This can be very distracting to the child's learning. So its important to facilitate good relationships and a safe environment for children to learn.
This week's reading from Healy's book hits close to home as a teacher. Healy disusses the varying rates of development for individual students and the various aspects that can contribute such differences amongst children. For example, some students may excel in differnt areas from others or struggle in different areas than other. There can be many reasons such as maturity level due to age, what parts of the brain have stronger or more connections, or their learning environment. Some students are set up for failure if there aren't knowledgable teachers or parents that can recognize what individual needs a child may have based on their own personal skills and deficits. It's important to give children goals that are possible to achieve. Healy also discusses ways that parents can help their children to succeed in school by helping them to work on skills that may be deficiant at home. Understanding attention deficit disorders and helping parents understand what a child in such a situation actually needs is another way to help students who develop at different levels and time frames succeed. I constantly see students that achieve at different levels or in different ways from the rest of their peers. I have been able to help such students by putting emphasis on the things they do well and setting up opportunities for success with the things they struggle with. As far as attention dificit, I agree that medication is not always the answer and that it is often given out with out enough investigation in to what the child actually needs. Some of my students who are medicated are often like zombies with blank stares, more calm, but not able to focus much better then before. But there are also students who respond really well to medication and have been able to be less distracted and focus on the tasks at hand.
In response the Jennifer's points about ADD/ADHD and medication it is a very difficult situation for a parent to be in. Recently though class, observations and just talking with people, I have realized that their many people who are faced with this question. However it is important to consider the child's individual qualities within the context of their own environment. I do agree with Jennifer in that too high a dosage of medication can turn children into zombies. Its also important to consider that medications like Ritalin and Adderall are medications that are way over diagnosed. The Times put out an article a month a two ago about a young college student who did not necessarily need these prescription drugs but was prescribed the medication to function better in school. He eventually became addicted to them and the abuse of the drug caused him to develop psychopathology. As a consequence this the young man ended up killing himself. Then this past week I spoke to a classmate who was in special education her whole life. She received an appropriate prescription of medication and became a successful student and was able to get into college and go to grad school despite her deficits. She said that she would not have been able to do it without her medication. She recalled the moment at her last CSE meeting where the principal, her teacher and mother were all crying and so overjoyed by the fact that she was accepted to college. Like Jennifer said people achieve in different levels and in different ways, so it is important to keep that in mind when you are faced with a question like this as an educator. As Healy said "Don't expect all little engines to do the jobs of the bigger ones". As teachers we need to teach to the strengths of our children and keep in mind that not all of them are going to successful. However as long as they continue to improve in some way that's important. Not everyone is going to excel in the same way. It also saddened when I read that some children have already given up on themselves by age seven. I thought this was really sad because these children have given up on themselves before their life has even started. So as teacher, despite the students disabilities we need to make them feel that they have every opportunity to be successful like everyone else. That's why we need to set appropriate goals for each child.
The issue of medicating children has caused major controversy across the board. The questions arise; when is too early to start medicating children? What are the side effects? How long will they need to be on medication? Will they build a tolerance to the medication and, if so, how much more will they need to see the same results? Is the medicine addictive?
All of these questions are raised in every case where medication is an option. It must be taken into consideration how the child a performing in school, are they a danger to themselves or others and the benefits/consequences. This is not a topic to be taken lightly and should be overlooked by parents, teachers, doctors and other professionals closely before making any decisions. There are some situations where medication is definitely necessary and some where other options should be tried first. It really comes down to each individual case and, as stated, is something that needs to be looked much further into.
As a future teacher it’s essential to understand that “children run on different developmental timetables.” I think that each child has a unique way of learning and as a future educator I need to remember this. I agree with the author that parents and teachers should work together and develop a plan that can help the child and always taking in consideration the child’s self-respect. It’s important that the child is motivated to learn and has the desire to succeed in school.
To be honest, I find Healy's book to be interesting yet terrifying at the same time. There are so many things to remember when being a parent, especially at the different stages of life/development but adds to the old information and puts a brand new spin on all of it. All of this information seems quite overwhelming but very useful. I am glad I am reading this book well before I even think of becoming a parent so I will have all of this information, and probably the vast amount of new information that will be available when I do chose to become a parent. One of the points Healy touches on in every chapter of the book so far is regulating your child's schedule at home. This can include what the child can or cannot watch, bed times, acceptable toys/games, and just general ways to handle and interact with the child. I think, though some of the information is basic, it is important to not forget to make sure your child is comfortable and understanding the morals and values of their family when growing up.
I also found the section on ADHD and medication interesting. Many parents and doctors will put their child on medication when they detect a 'problem.' However, Healy stated that the child's ADHD could be misdiagnosed and the ultimately the medication could do more harm than good. It is vital for the parent, doctor, and teacher to look at the child as a whole to find out what is really going on and try to render the situation. Healy shows a great portrayal of how the brain develops from infancy to adolescence and I do hope I remember to look at this book when I have a child of my own.
Healy’s book takes an interesting perspective on children’s development. As I know it is not solely intended for the purpose of a parental guide, it certainly includes ways to be a successful parent who is supportive of their child’s development and educational career. It is interesting that Healy provides parents with ways to help their students teachers, many books only include how teachers can help themselves. Healy really drives the point that education is not just for schools, it can and should be fostered at home as well. When identifying problems in their children’s development, Healy urges parents to contact the teacher and school to gain insight into what is really going on. In diagnosing Dyslexia, Healy says it is best to meet with the teacher as soon as possible and ‘present the problem calmly’ without blaming the teacher. Parents should work together with the teacher to aid the student in any way possible. Healy outlines these steps very clearly and I think this process can be used when solving any issue in school, not just Dyslexia.
In reading the last assignment from Healy’s book, I was able to make a small, but interesting connection between Healy’s book and Dweck’s book. On page 258, when speaking about diagnosing Dyslexia (this concept is not limited to this section, it has been a recurring theme in the book), Healy states “Do not accept-or believe for one minute- that your child is “lazy.” Children are not lazy! They have an intense desire to achieve and please you.” This statement touches on the fixed mindset/growth mindset that Dweck writes about. Far too many parents, teachers label students as lazy and that’s it. That student is considered lazy and parents and teachers feel that that will never change. This can lead to a fixed mindset where the student considers themselves lazy or dumb and that they cannot achieve certain things. Healy argues that children are not lazy and parents/teachers should really investigate to see what is going on and why the child is acting that way. Healy encourages parents to instill a growth mindset into their children by nurturing their children’s effort rather than the product/assignments. Also, Healy says “When the demands are too great, children look “lazy” because sometimes it is better to believe that you didn’t try than that you are a failure.” This is a perfect example of the fixed mindset that we would like to avoid instilling in children.
I'm really glad Mandie brought up the connection that she was able to make between both books. I think that's really cool and it's a great thing to keep in mind when you are working with challenging students. Developing and keeping open communication with parents is the best way to get promising outcomes from struggling students.
In pages 27-80, Healy tries to find a balance between science and common sense. She tries bringing down hyper stimulation by educated parents on proper care of their body and letting the natural development and nurturing process take precedent before over stimulation. As she states, every parent has desire for his or her child to be intelligent and healthy but overstimulation that child/children won't speed up that process. It is good that she slows the pass of parent in the beginning because any extreme is unhealthy.
To stem off of what Gina blogged, this part of the chapter is seen often in special education. All parents want their children to be the best that they can be. When a parent hears that their child may not be able to succeed the way they are expected to, there is often times that they deny what may be very obvious to others. As well, the part of the book where Healy speaks about the differences between works and play I found very interesting. It is true that many believe in order for us to learn and succeed in something, we must work hard at it. I am a firm believer that students learn most when they believe they are having fun. Hands on learning and kinesthetic experiences open children’s minds in a different way than when we simply lecture. The key to being a successful teacher is all about being creative. It is crucial that we make teaching fun and exciting that way our students are motivated to learn. Accessing students’ life outside of school and making a connection between content and the world around them promotes generalization. The ultimate goal of a teacher is to have their students retain material and be able to access it later in their lives. According to Healy’s reading, children that are provided with enriched environments have increased brain growth and a solid foundation for their academic careers.
In pages 81-107, Healy talks about neurological development, delays, and its affects in lives of people. Our neurological development is composed of five components: physical well-being and motor development, social and emotional growth, approaches toward learning, language development, and cognition. Child life experiences interact with these developmental schedules. If delays occur, Healy suggests parents should put in the best effort to find intervention and be educated on the delays and disorder. As she summarize, parents overlooks problems lightly and hesitate on receiving services because of the stigma of “special” services. Putting children with developmental delays in a fast past train definitely is not the route. However, considering your child is an individual and providing with a balanced intervention and exposure will definitely affect the progression of a child. Parents need to focus on removing the visual of what disabled is defined to be by replacing it with learning and doing differently. Building a healthy habits reciprocal relationship and habits will definitely create a positive connection between parents and child but also help them progress in life.
I found this section of the book and your comment to be very interesting Gina. You said " Our neurological development is composed of five components: physical well-being and motor development, social and emotional growth, approaches toward learning, language development, and cognition" which I completely agree with. All pieces of the 'puzzle' need to be in place in order to learning and development to take place. If one piece is out of place, the child will have trouble focusing, learning, and growing. It is more important to get to the root of the problem and figure out why the child is struggling than to push them even further into the learning and material that they do not understand. Parents and teachers need to look at the whole picture to understand each student and their individual needs.
In pages 108-180, I interpreted this reading into a quote my sister sent to me: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. –Aristotle”. As Healy stated, “The growth of a child’s mind toward the capacity for adult thinking is one of the most dynamic aspects of brain development”. How we interact and nurture children from eight into adulthood is important. Healy suggest that we take advantage of teachable moments and continue to build healthy relationships for its an important component in a child’s growing mind. Parents need to be alert and aware. Mental health is a continuous concern and is on the rise among children to adolescents. This chapter was definitely a good read.
In pages 257-374, Healy makes the connection in reading between print and its meaning. Reading is more than just decoding a word. It involves finding meaning, learning and expanding the world of our children. She introduced this chapter with a child who suffered with a rare condition called hyperplexia. This individual is able decode the most difficult words but cannot comprehend its meaning. Sometimes as parents, we get afraid when a child does not exhibit immediate results. A lot people run to buy flashcards systems to so they force them to read. However, reading is a process. Pressure should not be applied. As Healy explains steps, which I honestly fill, parents should inform themselves about. I think continuous exposure, communication, reading are balanced ways you can build language development and reading comprehension. In addition, slow pace learners should not be pressured by parents but supported. Being supportive and pressured can be a very thin line if not careful.
After reading the last chapters of the book I made my conclusion that each child needs their own time to mentally grow. Not all children develop learning skills at the same age. Parents and teachers need to understand this and work together to motivate the learner.
I think that parents need to be patience and supportive with their children learning stages. I agree with Healy that parents need to be more flexible with children curiosity and let them explore in their own way. I think that it’s important for children learning to be able to associate it with their everyday life.
I liked Elizabeth’s story, the six year old girl that was scare to read in class because her mother taught her to read at an early age. She had trouble remembering the words that her mother taught her so she felt she was not capable of reading and afraid to make a mistake. In her house mistakes where not tolerated. This is an example that some parents push their children to a point that they shut down their children’s interests or passions. Parents as well as teachers are so influential in a child’s learning that they need to be aware of the power they have on a child’s future.
In pages 81-107, Healy talks about the puzzle of readiness for school. This part of the book is a great idea for teachers to use as a tool to assess children who seem to be a bit slower or dimmer in their class. I specifically like how the author points out the issue that a student with these characteristics who seem to have average academic abilities or IQs are, many times, accused of being lazy or defiant. When child receives a label of this sort it is very likely that they will begin to believe the negative image. It is important that parents and teachers be fully aware of the impact they have on children’s lives simply through environmental experience and proper modeling. The pieces of the puzzle that Healy mentions are affected by these influences and are part of the developmental schedule of the nervous system which contributes to effective learning. The pieces include physical well-being and motor development, social and emotional growth, approaches toward learning (such as receptivity and a “can-do” attitude), language development and cognition and general knowledge. These developmental milestones are directly affected by, not only environmental factors, but also the child’s natural maturity timeline. It is beneficial for parents to understand this concept as a whole in order to provide their children with proper modeling, positive environments, support in difficult areas and recognition and praise with achievement.
The question of nature vs nurture can be applied to almost any situation in the education field. Healy talks about this concept earlier in the book. When it comes to children’s struggles and accomplishments this question is most frequently the blame/praise. I believe there are ways to say that pieces of both hereditary and environmental factors play major roles in how children succeed or fail in school. This week’s reading talks a lot about hyperlexia. Hyperlexia is the ability for a child to decode words at a young age but have little or no comprehension of what they are reading. It is often assumed that children who are able to decode and “read” words and books at a young age are considered to be geniuses’. It is crucial to pay attention to every aspect of reading that children need to comprehend. Although hyperlexia is rare, situations like this are often seen in children and need to be noticed as early as possible to assess and fix the problem. Early Intervention is a key component in observing, assessing and diagnosing delays and disabilities in young children. Effective early intervention programs and therapies can provide a child and their family with a significant amount of information and help throughout the most critical learning years.
We spoke about running records in class today and the question still remains, how do running records assess comprehension? I understand that there are several other ways for this to be measured but a reading assessment that is so commonly seen and used, I would think it would look to find more than just decoding abilities. I am sure there is a method of assessment that is used parallel to running records that measures comprehension but considering I have taken 2 literacy classes and neither has mentioned any, I’m curious if there is one….?
Running records do cover a comprehension slightly with the use of 4-5 questions after the student is done reading the book. Based on the students fluency, miscues and answers to the questions informs the teacher whether the student is able to move up, remain the same or return to a lower leveled book on the Fountas and Pinnell reading level. Another literacy program I learned about that you may want to look into is Dibbles Next. Dibbles Next is an assessment tool that focuses on phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension through multiple 1-2 minute tests. The testing begins with first sound fluency to decipher the students phonemic awareness than progresses to phoneme segmentation fluency to nonsense word fluency into sentence and paragraph Oral reading fluency evaluations. A portion of the assessment is called Daze where the student needs to read sentences and paragraphs and fill in the missing words from a word box of three words. This assesses the students understanding of what is being told in these sentences and his or her ability to choose the correct word that will complete the sentences and paragraphs. These assessments are conducted three times a year; Fall, Winter, Spring to conduct an evaluation of the students growth in all reading areas.
During chapter 10, Healy spoke about the use of journal writing and the effectiveness it has on children who are developing writers. Writing is obviously a crucial part in students growth. I could not agree more with Healy on the use of journal writing. Even as I reflect back on my early childhood, and elementary education I recall having a class journal where we would draw or write our interpretations, observations, explanations and questions about lessons and concepts and stories. I find that journal writing allows students work at their own pace in a relaxed environment. Journal writing is a fantastic form of assessment for students and teachers to discuss. Journal writing allows teachers and students to monitor progress cooperatively during conferences. The work done in the journal is ordered chronologically so that students can view their progress from week to week, month to month and finally from September to June. Like Healy stated, Journal writing also allows students to get their thought down on paper. By having students get their thought out on paper without having to worry about grammar, technique and punctuation allows them to focus are the raw facts of a lesson. This give teachers assessment of where students are understanding or not understanding curriculum. After reading Healy's piece on journal writing, researching formative assessment and completing my POTL, I have become a big fan of journal writing and will certainly be implementing into my teaching style.
I also really enjoyed when Healy discusses journal writing. Especially how the younger children who can't write yet are encouraged to draw pictures. I think it is a great tool to reflect on development and how the mind's thought processes can change over time.
I found this chapter to be very interesting and very important. I have not yet taken a literacy course so this was all new material for me. I found Collene comment about Dibbles Next to be helpful too. Learning how a child develops reading skills and how to asses their progress early on is important because of a child is stuggling the sooner you get them helper the easier it will be for them to catch up with his peers.I learned that signs of early reading does not always mean that then child will be gifted. I found Phillip's story very intriguing. I never though that a child would be able to decode the words in a reading passage but not be able to understand them. I noticed some similarities between hyperlexia and ASD. Some similarities are no eye contact, little to no social interaction, repetitive compulsive behaviors and learning difficulties.
Dr. Smith is the Principal of Mineola High School in Garden City Park, NY. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Ruth Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University.