Monthly Archives: June 2012

Can We Focus Please

Do you ever having trouble remembering something you just read? Or you’ve already forgotten what you did five minutes ago or plan to do next? Happens to me way too often and I’m always telling myself, “Focus Donna.”

When I listened to the podcast I heard the “focus” word loud and clear. We’re told that focus has a lot to do with what we remember. In the classroom the teacher has to first get a child’s attention before he can teach a new concept. As a parent you have to get your child’s attention before you can even have a conversation.

Then the next step is to do something to elaborate on what was learned. This points out the need for enrichment activities to take learning to a higher level.

For example, let’s say your child just learned fractions. What can you do to enrich the concept? One idea is to have him help you bake his favorite cookies. He will soon be using those fractions with the measuring cups and spoons. Perhaps an older child is wrestling with active and passive verbs. She can elaborate on the definitions by writing a short story.

Focus and enrich – two simple words and concepts that are so important when it comes to learning. First we must remember and then we use or practice what we learned. What do you do to help yourself focus and remember? What have you found helpful in extending and enriching your child’s lessons?

Donna Donald

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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Learn, Re-learn, Over-learn

After listening to the podcast this month I found myself wondering about the things I have ‘over-learned’. Those things that come so easily to me now. And then I thought of my middle schooler and the things that are so difficult for her. I wondered how I could help her get to that ‘over learning’ that the podcast talks about so that she can be  less frustrated with certain subjects  (insert Math here).

As a parent sometimes it is so hard to watch our children struggle with different things in school. We want them to enjoy their days and not dread them. I am grateful that there are times that teachers have recognized struggling students and stepped in and said “hold up, we haven’t learned this yet and it’s not time to move on until we do”.  They concentrated on the learn, re-learn and over-learn.

As parents it is our job to continue the learning process. What are some things that you have done these first few weeks of summer to continue the learn, re-learn and over-learning of your school agers? Share your stories here with us!

For additional ideas see “Dare to Excel” publications from ISU Extension and Outreach (also available in Spanish).

 

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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The Country School Coatroom

Picture a country school filled with students 1st through 8th grades. Hear the murmurs coming from the coatrooms. Imagine yours truly sitting cross legged on the floor next to a beginning reader.

This is the world I experienced for the first eight years of my education. I attended a large country school with three classrooms and three teachers.  We studied hard and played hard. And when you finished your assignments you got to be the teacher’s helper. This is where the coatroom enters the picture.

I would take a student from a lower grade to the coatroom. Then we would settle in under the jackets or coats and between extra shoes and boots. The little student would open up her reader or pull out math problems and we would go to work. I would listen, explain, and teach. When our time was up we returned to the classroom; both of us knowing just a little more.

My story is not just a walk down memory lane. Rather it serves to illustrate a critical point made in the podcast about learning. It is important to have overlearning which is well past the initial learning. And one of the best ways to do this is by teaching someone else what you have learned. When I was helping a student pronounce a big word or work through a multiplication problem, I was reactivating my knowledge. I was learning again and again.

My class was the last one to graduate from this country school. Today, education looks and feels quite different. But the concepts of how students learn remain the same. We constantly relearn what we’ve learned before and each time it gets faster.

What can you do this summer to help your child relearn prior lessons?

Donna Donald

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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Episode 16: All about Learning

When children learn something well the first time, even if they do forget, relearning is easier. This month’s Science of Parenting podcast from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach examines how children learn and how teachers and parents can adapt teaching to fit learning and memory. It’s the final long-form podcast in the series.

ISU Extension Publications

Related resources

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

More Posts