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Friday, December 21, 2012

Video tutorial sites for teachers

Many educators are still novice to computers or internet and they want to develop their skills to get most from modern technology. This article is for all teachers who love to learn by watching video tutorials. These free tutorials are mostlty created for teachers to help them for skill development.
Good news is that these all sites offer all the tutorials free of charge. Moreover you don't need to register or sign in to watch videos. You are also free to upload your videos at thsee sites.
Most of us know that 'YouTube' is a very effective learning site where you can search and find numerous videos, although there are more sites with video tutorials. I am quoting few of the sites which I usually search or browse for video tutorials.

*** 'Khan Academy' is a non profit organization providing learning opportunities to students,teachers, home-schoolers etc. They have around 3600 videos covering K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics. Each video is a digestible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer.

*** 'Teacher Tube'
is a place for professional development with teachers teaching teachers. As well, it is a site where teachers can post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a concept or skill.

*** 'School tube' is created by 'National Education Associations' for use in K-12 to empower students and teachers through the use of video. SchoolTube content is student and teacher produced, and is approved through an innovative process.

 And last one is the link to other sites where you can find more tutorials.

47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom

Among these sites I miss only 'Teachers Tv' which is unfortunately closed, though you can find some of the tutorials at 'Teach Find' site which is a search site to find teaching resources, lesson plans and CPD materials using a simple search tool.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter festival celebration

Due to unavoidable situation around the country, school was kept open on Friday. Friday 14 of December was a working day of teachers of School. Early year teachers were asked to plan about 'winter festival' as coming week was the exam week for senior section and early year children enjoy their fun week activities.

Saturday 15, December the very next day was planned to be celebrated as 'winter festival'. Objective was to introduce and enhance knowledge of kids about 'winter clothing, winter play or games, winter food etc.
Teachers were enthusiastic about festival and though it was really hard job to prepare everything one day ahead of the festival, they agreed to do this educational and fun festival next day.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winter pithas of Bangladesh

Rice cakes of winter pithas are counted as cultural or local food of Bengal. Pitha, in the Bengali, Assamese and Oriya cuisines, is usually a thin-flat cake prepared from a batter made with soaked and ground rice.
Saturday on December 15, 2012, a 'Winter Festival' was celebrated at our School. Pitha or rice cakes are mainly made with 'rice powder' mixing with molasis or other spices.

More about Pitha: Pithas are usually cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan and could be fried in oil, roasted over a slow fire or baked and rolled over a hot plate once made. In West Bengal and Bangladesh, special pithas are made in different processes such as steaming or stuffing, the bhapa and puli pithas being
examples respectively. Special festivals where pithas are generally made include Nabanna in Bengali culture, Bihu in Assam and many festivals in East India.

It was the first time to learn many pitha names. I am including the pitha pictures and their names in this post as our new generation needs to learn about their culture and food habits.



Sunday, December 9, 2012

Predictions and prophesies about Dec 21, 2012

People around the world are worried and concerned about predictions and prophesies about coming 21st of December 2012.
This time is given many names such as:
"The Time of Trial on Earth,"
"Judgement Day,"
"The Time of Great Purification,"
"The End of this Creation,"
"The Quickening,"
"The End of Time as We Know It,"
"The Shift of the Ages,"
"The Apocalypse"
and "Armageddon".

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Teachers training session "Effective Implementation of numeracy strategy in reception years"

Training sessions for teachers at our school are part of their yearly routines. Teachers are lucky to be in their best shape (as a teacher) due to having teaching training on regular basis. In our school, numeracy strategy was practically and successfully implemented few years ago. Many parents including new teachers joining early years recently needed basic training about 'Numeracy strategy'.
'what is numeracy strategy?' 
The simple answer of later question could be that 'It is activity based learning system which is being adopted and successfully implemented in Britain for years. In early years, children learn numeracy and mathematical skills through practical activities, games and tasks which have a real relevance and meaning in everyday life.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Big bazaar of Play group students

It is November 11, 2012 Sunday. There is an event of 'Big Bazaar' where students of play group of 'Our School' are sellers. You must be wondering what is this 'Big Bazaar' all about. Basically through this event was celebrated to encourage children's lovely and hard work.
Who is the buyer?
Parents of the play group were buyers at this bazaar. Parents were invited to see the creative work done by their kids.

Process of preparing art work
What is being sold at this bazaar?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Maths Display boards for Nursery

We have two terms during an academic year and during these two terms, we organize four parents teacher meetings. Parents teachers meeting is an opportunity for parents and teachers to discuss the progress of a child.
Our classroom display boards are also edited regularly, showing our teaching progress and students work. This post is about Maths display board which was displayed last term (end of session). At reception stage, by the end of an academic year, our students finish learning basic concept of counting, recognition, addition, subtraction etc. Following picture is taken from our Nursery class.  This board was displayed at the end of last year.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Effective behavior management in classrooms

We start our new school year getting a personal profile of each student entering in our classroom. On the basis of that personal profile we set up a strategy guide which helps us to treat new students. Few students having behavior problems are always a challenge for educators. We try our best to adopt the effective behavior management strategies in classrooms to acquire best learning environment.
Recently I found some effective behavior management strategies which I am quoting here. I am including lease effective behavior management strategies as well because personally I found that we need to know the difference between effective or ineffective strategies for better classroom management.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Classroom management tips

There are number of classroom tips or strategies which teachers use to create best learning environment around their classroom. Dealing with children having behavior problem is a challenge for each teacher. Creating and establishing some classroom rules is an effective way of classroom management. These rules can be established from the start of new year. Teachers can print these rules and hang around the classroom as a reminder.
These classroom management tips and strategies are adopted by experienced teachers.
Effective Classroom management tips:
  1. Before you begin teaching/talking always "scan" the classroom and make sure "all eyes on me".  Eye contact is the most powerful method of non verbal communication between people. Be sure to establish eye contact with your students to gain their trust and make positive impressions. Avoiding eye contact implies low self-confidence and looking down suggests embarrassment. Direct and frequent eye contact with another person – or members of an entire classroom – exhibits confidence and interest.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Online tutorials for learning Microsoft Word

I have learned the basic computer knowledge from computers itself. Microsoft Word is a popular word processing software for producing documents. I started using Microsoft Word few years ago and still learning as there is a lot to learn for effective use of this software.
Using computers, reading related books, surfing through computer magazines is the easiest way to learn it although it takes time to master the basic computer skills. Many people still spend months and even years, just to gain PC knowledge skills. Microsoft Word is one of computer t

Now you can get access to 'YouTube' or free online tutorials to learn basics of computers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Use of cell phone or addiction?

This post is about today's tech age, use of gadgets and how it is overlapping with our social lives, our relations. Mobile phones are used for a variety of purposes, including keeping in touch with family members, conducting business, and having access to a telephone in the event of an emergency.
The use of a mobile phone is not limited to essential tasks only,  it is being used in making video, recording information and transmitting it to a phone or a computer.

Access of internet has made this device multi functional. Facilities like on line chatting, conferencing, sending text, transferring MMS information is possible via a cell phone.
It is up to the users, to make the best use of mobile phone. But our new generation is showing the signs of cell phone addiction. They have their cell phones every time during day or night around them. Busy chatting with friends, playing games, enjoying audio video or just surfing the net, they love to stay focused towards their gadget.

Albert Einstein said,

"I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity.
The world will only have a generation of idiots."

Want to see it yourself?

With friends

At work

At a picnic

Was Einstein right? or we are just emerging as an addict generation? 

Related posts:

Top 10 Signs of Cell Phone Addiction

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Amazing facts around us

This digital age has shrunken the world. Now we have access to internet which itself is a world of its own. Information sharing is easy and accessible now. I receive few emails which are stuffed with 'interesting news' or 'stuff' which is useful or worth of sharing. I am writing few posts at this blog which are taken from my 'inbox'.
A very touchy information is about 'Allah's creations and amazing facts around us'


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Use of Google Earth in classroom

'Google Earth' is useful for many day-to-day and other purposes. This article is very useful for students or teachers who want to make use of this helpful online tool.
Teachers can adopt Google Earth in the classroom for lesson planning, such as teaching students geographical themes (location, culture, characteristics, human interaction, and movement).
Students can use Google Earth to explore topics like the progress of human civilization, the growth of cities, the impact of civilization on the natural environment, and the impact of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

What is Google Earth?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Screen friendly fonts for online browsing

In my previous article I discussed about 'printer friendly' fonts which can save your money for printing jobs. Today we are learning about 'screen friendly fonts' which are comfortable to read. Certain fonts can be clearly readable and comfortable for eyes. While online browsing, screen-friendly fonts helps protect your eyes and reduce stress.
Let's learn about screen friendly fonts:

Screen-friendly fonts:
The best choices are Verdana, Trebuchet MS and the serif font Georgia. These fonts are>;also highly readable on paper. These three fonts are modern, friendly and professional, and exceptionally easy to read on-screen. All these fonts are great to look at on screen and on paper.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tutorials for teachers- Essential softwares for your computers

This tutorial is about essential software programs which you may need to use your computer effectively. Most of the software programs are available at no cost.

Whenever I re-install my 'Windows' I keep a folder ready at 'software' drive which is named as 'Essential software' as I need those programs to install every time I install new 'Windows'. Let's learn basics about 'Windows'
Windows is the most popular PC operating system in the world. An operating system, or OS, is a software program that enables the computer hardware to communicate and operate with the computer software. Without a computer operating system, a computer would be useless. Other programs can't run on a PC until the OS is loaded and running. Windows 98, Windows XP, and now Windows 7 or 8 are examples of operating systems.

Tutorials for teachers - Learning about software programs and how to install them?

While I was taking the computer training session for my co-teachers, I noticed that teachers are enthusiastic about use of computers and internet. During online search for education materials, we need to save our documents, but often it becomes difficult to open that file.
What kind of files we need to open?
Mostly these files are in Word, PDF, PowerPoint, Zip, Rar format. So if your computer doesn't have specific software to open these files, you cannot get results from your search. I am listing here essential software programs which are helpful to open specific kind of files.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why Muslim Women Wear Hijaab and is there any Hijaab in Other Religions?

Hijaab (or burka) is an Arabic word meaning barrier or partition. Hijab is the principle of modesty in Islam and includes behaviour as well as dress for both males and females. The most important thing about Hijab is that it gives you an identity of a Muslim. Moreover, it is another way of obedience to Allah's (SWT) command. How the communities of world can abide a muslim woman to wear hijaab when there is no restriction for other religions to follow the dress code according to their customs or religious teachings?

In Islam, the words of Allah (God) are that the women should be modest and follow the principle of clothing. She should cover her beauty. At home or among family or in front of her husband there is no need to wear the Muslim headscarf. Many Muslim women wear the headscarf.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Teachers tutorial - Refining your online search with web directories

If you are clear about the topic of your query, start with a Web directory rather than a search engine. Directories probably won't give you anywhere near as many references as a search engine will, but they are more likely to be on topic.

A web directory or link directory is a directory on the World Wide Web. It specializes in linking to other web sites and categorizing those links. A web directory is a subject-tree style catalogue that organizes the Web into major topics such as education, health, science, etc. A web directory is not a search engine and does not display lists of web pages based on keywords; instead, it lists web sites by category and subcategory.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tutorial for teachers- use of specific keywords for online search

It is an art to learn to refine our online search to get the effective results.
What are the techniques or tricks which can help us maximize our chance of finding what we want with online search?
This article helps you learn effective online search tips and techniques.
I am an educator dealing in reception years and thus I suggest early year teachers to start searching for educational stuff by using these keywords:
- Early years
- Foundation stage
- EYFS (Early years foundation stage)
- Type the subject in search field such as 'art, religion, numeracy, literacy etc.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Which are printer friendly fonts to save money with your printing jobs?

Printer ink is expensive, either black and white or color. In this article we are learning about use of 'printer friendly fonts and how we can save money with printer ink? Printer friendly fonts can help you save with printing jobs.
Fonts like Arial, Times News Roman, Courier, Helvetica, etc. are generally used in most of the cases, but which one is the most economic typeface when it comes to printing?

A Dutch printing company did some research and found that Century Gothic and Times New Roman fonts use far less ink or toner than Arial and Sans Serif. In fact, they found that Century Gothic uses around 30% less ink than Arial. They carried out a case study at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay who spent around $100,000 per year on ink; they switched from Arial to Century Gothic and saw a saving of around $10,000 per year.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Computer training- Using search engines to prepare resources and worksheets

Being an educator at any school means a lot to us. We educators get a lot of opportunities to participate in 'self development' training or workshops during whole year. After successful completion of a year, various training sessions or workshops are held to train all teachers. The purpose of these training or learning sessions is "skill development and become excellent teachers"
I was assigned to take a training session for early years teachers today.
The topic was, 'Using search engines to prepare resources and worksheets for classroom use/educational needs'.
15 teachers participated in this training. I prepared a 'Power Point Slide' to introduce the basics of search engines, keywords, searching tips etc. It was my pleasure to see that after watching slide teachers were enthusiastic to apply the knowledge practically.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Best ways to download YouTube videos

We teachers need to download videos from internet often. I have tried many softwares to download these videos but usually these free to use software programs don't give you the satisfactory results. I searched online to find best ways to download 'YouTube' videos and sharing the result of my findings.

YouTube is the most popular video sharing site on the internet, allows its users to upload and share videos easily but doesn’t provide any way to download them.

Best ways to download YouTube videos:
I don't recommend using professional downloading software programs to download YouTube videos, as there are many ways to grab these videos and save at your pc hard disk.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Join Google Advanced Search Course online

It was a good news for me to get this news that 'Google is offering free e-course on advanced search which is called "Power Searching by Google"It is a great opportunity for people who browse a lot of information at net. 
>

Join this course and become a power searcher. This free course is open for everyone but you need to register TODAY
Google is providing '50-minute classes' in a total of six sessions to help us quicken our search time and also extract exactly what we need. I am sure you realize the value of this course. 


More details and registration for this free e-course on Power Searching by Google can be found at http://www.google.com/insidesearch/landing/powersearching.html 


When you pass out the sessions, a printable Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you. 
Register today. Registration process is very easy, just write your full name at provided box and if you already have a 'Google' account, you will be registered without any hassle.


The sessions start on 10th July. 

Tutorial for teachers- Downloading files from the Internet

When I was novice to computers and internet, it took weeks and months to learn the basics of internet and computers. Sometimes I found useful links or sites and saved them at my computer and found the files but after many trial and error efforts, I learned to save the files from the internet to hard disk. These simple tutorials can save your time to learn the basics of internet. Interestingly most of these tutorials are offered by renowned sites like 'Microsoft' itself.

Downloading a file from the internet: When you download a file, you transfer it from the Internet to your computer. The most commonly downloaded files are programs, updates, or other kinds of files such as game demos, music and video files, or documents. Downloading can also mean copying information from any source to a computer or other device, such as copying your favorite songs to a portable music player.

Where are downloaded files saved?
When you download files, Windows usually saves them in the Downloads folder which is located under your user name in the users folder on the drive where Windows is installed.
It is stored at the location: C:\users\your name\downloads.

When you are saving the file, you can choose to save it to a different folder. Some different types of files are saved to different folders by default. For example, if you right-click a picture on a webpage and then choose Save Picture As from the menu, the picture will be saved to the Pictures folder by default. If you're not sure where the file was saved, you can search for it from the Start menu.
When it take so long to download a file, there may be many reasons for delay: 
  • Your connection might be slow. If you have a dial-up connection, it takes a lot longer to download files than if you have a broadband connection, such as DSL or cable.
  • Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) might be offline or experiencing heavy Internet traffic. Wait a while, and then try again.
  • If you are on a corporate network, the network settings might be the problem. Check with your system administrator.
  • If you use a file or music sharing program, someone might be downloading a file from your computer. Try disabling file sharing services while you're downloading and see if the process gets faster.
  • You might have too many programs open at the same time. Try closing unnecessary programs.
  • Your computer might have spyware running. Try scanning your computer for spyware. For more information about removing spyware, see Remove spyware from your computer.
  • Missing updates can affect your computer's performance. Go to the Windows Update website and check for updates.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tutorial for teachers- Using image search engines and sites to find images and clip art

I have started this series of easy to follow tutorials for teachers who are newbies to computer or internet. Integration of technology in classroom has made a vast change in our learning or teaching methods. We are now using computers and internet to make our teaching more interactive within short span of time.

For classroom use, educators need to arrange a lot of stuff including charts, banners, bulletin boards, notices etc. Use of pictures or clip art is itself a creative process but we need to find specific search engines and sites to select appropriate images to match our needs.

Tutorial for teachers - How to select keywords to get the best search results?

Learning to find information quickly and effectively is essential to successfully using the Internet. Specialized search Web sites allow users to search for content that meets the selection criteria they specify. Keyword searching is an effective way to locate information on the World Wide Web.
Keywords are used to find relevant Web sites and pages. "key" has more than one meaning; here it means "important.
We are now learning  'how to select keywords to produce the best search results?'
Following procedure can help you get the best search results.

Procedure for selecting suitable keywords and use them to get the best search results:
Fine-tune your keywords: 
If you're searching on a noun (the name of a person, place or thing), remember that most nouns are subsets of other nouns. Enter the smallest possible subset that describes what you want. Be specific. Try to meet the search engine halfway by refining your search before you begin.

Example: If you want to buy a car, don't enter the keyword "car" if you can enter the keyword "Toyota." Better still, enter the phrase "Toyota Dealerships" AND the name of the city where you live.

Be Refined: 
Read the help files and take advantage of the available search refining options. Use phrases, if possible. Use the Boolean AND (or the character +) to include other keywords that you would expect to find in relevant documents.
Also learn to EXCLUDE with the Boolean NOT. Excluding is particularly important as the Web grows and more documents are posted. Run your initial query over again several times, each time adding further refinements to narrow down your list of relevant hits.

Example: If you want to find out how medical details about your grandmother's diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease, try entering "Alzheimer's" AND "symptoms" AND "prognosis." If you want to find out about Alzheimer's care and community resources, query on "Alzheimer's" AND "support groups" AND "resources" AND NOT "symptoms."

Query by example: 
Take advantage of the option that many search engine sites are now offering: you can "query by example," or "find similar sites," to the ones that come up on your initial hit list. Essentially what you're doing is telling the search engine, "yes, this looks promising, give me more like this one."

Anticipate the answers: 
Before searching, try to imagine what the ideal page you would like to access would look like. Think about the words its title would contain. Think about what words would be in the first couple of sentences of a webpage that you would consider useful. Use those words, or that phrase, when you enter your query.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tutorial for teachers: Using the information friendly search engine for your educational needs

Internet have become an essential part of educational industry, for being great source of information. Educators are now able to grab load of information within seconds use it effectively for educational needs. To make our search effective and time saving we need to look for specific search engines which are 'Information Friendly'.Information friendly are the search sites or engines which provide the specific and reliable information for our educational needs.
You are going to learn 'why educators need to use 'information friendly search engines' to narrow their search and find the specific information saving their time.
Are popular search engines, information friendly? I will say 'NO' and the reason is:
  • With billions of pages, you could spend a lifetime hunting for specific information.
  • Popular search engines let you define search criteria in very specific ways, but not all function identically.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recycling used text books and saving bucks

Recycling used text book is a good way to save few bucks. The recycling process can also help us save energy, water and landfill space.
If you don't want to donate or recycle your text books then you can also sell these books.
I usually donate those old books to other child. And from few years, I ask for used text books from other parents. Parents can help each other in this process of recycling. It is not only good for environment but a way of saving bucks.
Recycling tips:

  • Best way to recycle used text books is to communicate other parents or teachers around your community. Ask other parents for exchange of unused text books. 
  • Educators may encourage parents to grow a habit of recycling of used text books.
  • There are many online sites which can help students or parents, buying used text books at very cheap rates.
  • Donate to charities, public libraries or local schools. They can utilize your used books themselves or sell them for fundraising.
  • Check out BookMooch, which is an online community for exchanging used books. This site allows you to give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want. There is no cost to join or use their site; your only cost is mailing your books to others.
  • Paperback Swap is another site that lets you swap not only paperbacks, but also hardcover books, textbooks and more.
We also need to know can how we can save money buying used text books.

How about buying used books saving upto 90%?
'Textbook.com' is an online resource offering huge discounts on new and used college textbooks. Having over 7 million textbooks, these books are ready to ship.

Useful links:

10 Helpful Ways to Recycle Used Books

Saturday, June 2, 2012

How to Teach and Work with Children with Dyscalculia using alternative learning methods?

Students with learning disabilities are a challenge for educators as these children need individual attention, alternative learning styles and strategies to achieve success. 4 to 6 percent of all students classified as having specific learning disabilities in schools. Dyscalculia is one of those learning disabilities among children.

Dyscalculia is also called math disability as it involves innate difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic. It includes difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, learning maths facts, and a number of other related symptoms.

Having a learning disability does not mean being unable to learn. It does mean that the person will have to use adaptive methods to process information so that learning can be accomplished. Recent research studies tells us that we can teach these students and put into a position to compete. Using alternate learning methods, people with dyscalculia can achieve success.

Success for these students requires a focus on individual achievement, individual progress, and individual learning. Although math learning difficulties occur in children with low IQ dyscalculia occurs in people across the whole IQ range, and sufferers often, but not always, also have difficulties with time, measurement, and spatial reasoning.


Two major areas of weakness can contribute to math learning disabilities:
  1. Visual-spatial difficulties, which result in a person having trouble processing what the eye sees 
  2. Language processing difficulties, which result in a person having trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hear.
Helping a student identify his/her strengths and weaknesses is the first step to getting help.

How is teach and work with Dyscalculia childrens?
Parents, teachers and other educators can work together to establish strategies that will help the student learn math more effectively. Help outside the classroom lets a student and tutor focus specifically on the difficulties that student is having, taking pressure off moving to new topics too quickly. Repeated reinforcement and specific practice of straightforward ideas can make understanding easier.

Alternative learning methods:
  • Allow use of fingers and scratch paper
  • Practice estimating as a way to begin solving math problems.
  • Use diagrams and draw math concepts
  • Provide peer assistance
  • Use of graph paper for students who have difficulty organizing ideas on paper.
  • Use of colored pencils to differentiate problems
  • Work with manipulative
  • Draw pictures of word problems
  • Use mnemonic devices to learn steps of a math concept
  • Use rhythm and music to teach math facts and to set steps to a beat
  • Schedule computer time for the student for drill and practice
  • For language difficulties, explain ideas and problems clearly and encourage students to ask questions as they work.
Help students become aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Understanding how a person learns best is a big step in achieving academic success and confidence.

'Learning Disabilities Association' 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, May 28, 2012

Negative Effects of bullying on children lives

Bullying among school children has become quite common practice. Bullying at schools has become so serious that it has been increasingly considered as a public health issue plaguing our entire society. There are many negative effects of bullying which may cause academic, physical, social, emotional, and psychological consequences on victims or bullies.

What is bullying?

Bullying among children is understood as repeated, negative acts committed by one or more children against another. These negative acts may be physical or verbal in nature -- for example, hitting or kicking, teasing or taunting -- or they may involve indirect actions such as manipulating friendships or purposely excluding other children from activities
Bullying is sort of aggressive behaviour against others such as, verbal by calling nasty names, physical by kicking, pushing or tripping up and social by everyone stopped talking to you. Despite some children bully others without aware to the results of their actions but bullying reflects adversely on the victims' lives and leads to be victimization to several disorders like anxiety, depression, loneliness and lose their opportunity to have an ordinary life.

Negative effects of bullying on children lives:


Bullying can also greatly affect the overall climate of a school. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50% of children are bullied and l0% are victims of bullying on a regular basis. A number of children and adolescents have reported that they suffered side effects of bullying - a drop in grades, an increase in anxiety, a loss of social life.

Approximately 160,000 children miss school every day in the United States for fear of being bullied; more than 50 suicides have been linked to prolonged bullying; and approximately 85% of school shootings have revenge against bullies as a major motive.
Studies suggest that chronically victimized students may as adults be at increased risk for depression, poor self-esteem, and other mental health problems,6 including schizophrenia.
As a result of being bullied, victims may experience many immediate mental or physical health-related consequences.
Studies show that victims have more anxiety, sadness, sleep difficulties, low self-esteem, headaches, stomach pain, and general tension than their peers who are not being bullied. Also, this psychological stress can cause victims' bodies to be less resistant to disease and infection, and therefore they may get sick more often.

Bullying causes both short and long term damage related to:

Mental Health- shame, fear, low self-esteem, depression, and suicide
Physical Problems- obvious bruises or wounds from harassment, sleep disruptions, bed wetting, psychosomatic aches
Social Difficulty- inappropriate social skills, social isolation, inaccurate social perceptions
School Setting- difficulty concentrating, poor academic performance, absenteeism, overall school climate and breakdown of school connectedness, escalating school violence
Society- alcohol and drug abuse, gang involvement, escalating violence, crime

In the social area, victims have few friends or none at all. Due to their high anxiety level and low self-worth, it is very hard for them to make friends. This leads to feelings of isolation and believing that they are not even worthy of having friends. Also, other kids often do not want to become friends with the victims, because they are afraid that they will be bullied as well. Another reason that other kids do not hang around with victims is because they worry that peers will not like them if they associate with the victims.

Feelings of loneliness and sadness on the part of victims can also lead to consequences related to their learning and school success. Being a victim can result in poor school attendance, because many victims become afraid of going to school. They are also scared of riding the school bus or using the bathroom at school.
One study found that 8% of 8th graders in the U.S. miss at least one day of school per month for fear of bullies. Victims often receive lower grades due to attendance problems, and also due to their stress and worry. They become obsessed with the bullying and how to try to avoid it. This leaves little or no time, energy, or concern for schoolwork and learning. A vicious cycle can occur because the victim's poor school performance can lead to embarrassment and anxiety, which can in turn cause them to be picked on even more.
Some experts believe that school shootings are related to bullying. Students who committed school shootings were over two times as likely to have reported that they were victims of bullying.

In some cases, the bullying may be so severe and may go on for so long that the victim has thoughts of suicide, or he or she may actually commit suicide. Victims are also more likely to have attempted suicide than their non-bullied peers. The term "bullycide" is used to describe a victim's suicide that occurs due to extreme bullying behavior by a bully toward that victim.

Children who are bullied are at risk for developing a number of emotional difficulties, including depression and anxiety symptoms. Children who are particularly traumatized may go on to develop a specific type of anxiety disorder called, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When children are suffering from PTSD, they are prone to developing strong physical symptoms in situations where they feel unsafe and in danger. They appear disconnected from others, and they may experience an intense physical response from their nervous system that can involve angry outbursts, jumpyness, and hyper alertness. This reaction is the nervous system's response to potential danger, whether real or imagined, creating constriction and disassociation in order to protect the body.

Reference:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Disability
* Consequence of bullying
The Emotional Toll of Bullying in Schools
* 'Stop bullying now'

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What are the warning signs that your child is being bullied?

Unless your child tells you about bullying or has visible bruises or injuries it is difficult to know if your kid is being bullied. Many children, particularly boys and older children, do not tell their parents or adults at school about being bullied. Parents might notice kids acting differently or seeming anxious, or not eating, sleeping well, or doing the things they usually enjoy. There are more warning signs which parents and teachers need to check.
First let's learn what kind of bullying your child can face at school?

Bullying can take many forms, such as ---

  1. Hitting and/or punching (physical bullying)
  2. Teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying) 
  3. Intimidation using gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and 
  4. Sending insulting messages by phone or computer e-mail (cyber bullying)


Parents might notice kids acting differently or seeming anxious, or not eating, sleeping well, or doing the things they usually enjoy. When kids seem moodier or more easily upset than usual, or when they start avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school, it might be because of a bully.
When kids seem moodier or more easily upset than usual, or when they start avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school, it might be because of a bully.

Warning signs which tell that a child is being bullied:

  • Sudden loss of interest in school and school work.
  • Frequently complains of physical ailments such as headaches and stomach aches.
  • Begins having unexplained nightmares or experiences troubling going to sleep.
  • Comes home appearing depressed, moody, sad or teary eyed without provocation.
  • Has scratches, bruises, cuts or scrapes that can’t be explained.
  • Appears afraid to go to school.
  • Sudden loss of appetite with bouts of anxiety.
  • Has torn or damaged clothes or missing belongings.
  • Has few or no friends. 
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

Any combination of these warning signs may almost be a definite indication that your child is or has been bullied. However, the best course of action is to talk to your child. You can start with some indirect questions that are more like a conversation than anything.
If you suspect bullying but your child is reluctant to open up, find opportunities to bring up the issue in a more roundabout way. For instance, you might see a situation on a TV show and use it as a conversation starter, asking "What do you think of this?" or "What do you think that person should have done?" This might lead to questions like: "Have you ever seen this happen?" or "Have you ever experienced this?" You might want to talk about any experiences you or another family member had at that age.

Let your kids know that if they're being bullied or see it happening to someone else it's important to talk to someone about it, whether it's you, another adult (a teacher, school counselor, or family friend), or a sibling.

Reference and more information: http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs/index.html


Related articles
Warning Signs Your Child is Being Bullied and Help (auctionshunter.wordpress.com)
Bullying (maycares.wordpress.com)
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

What is life?

I read online whenever I get time. During surfing sometimes I find interesting pieces of writing, quotes, stories or even fables which has moral values as well. Today I am sharing a story which has a lesson for us.
  • Life is hard to define.
  • All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. (Havelock Ellis)
  • Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you're alive, it isn't. (Richard Bach)

Now read the story:                                    

"Once a man saw in his dream, that a lion was chasing him. The man ran to a tree, climbed on to it and sat on a branch. He looked down and saw that the lion was still there waiting for him.

The man then looked to his side where the branch he was sitting on was attached to the tree and saw that two rats were circling around and eating the branch. One rat was black and the other one was white. The branch will fall on the ground very soon.

The man then looked below again with fear and discovered that a big black snake had come and settled directly under him. The snake opened its mouth right under the man so that he will fall into it. The man then looked up to see if there was anything that he could hold on to.

He saw another branch with a honeycomb. Drops of honey were falling from it. The man wanted to taste one of the drops. So, he put his tongue out and tasted one of the falling drops of honey. The honey was amazing in taste. So, he wanted to taste another drop and then another and as a result, he got lost into the sweetness of the honey. He forgot about the two rats eating his branch away, the lion on the ground and the snake that is sitting right under him. Suddenly when the branch broke he remembered all the dangers woke up from his sleep.
The man couldn't understand the dream,so he went to a scholar to know its meaning.
The scholar said
"The lion you saw is your death. It always chases you and goes where ever you go.
The two rats,one black and one white, are the night and the day. Black one is the night and the white one is the day. They circle around, coming one after another, to eat your time as they take you closer to death. The big black snake with a dark mouth is your grave. It's there, just waiting for you to fall into it.

The honeycomb is this world and the sweet drops of honey are the luxuries of this world. We like to taste a little of the luxuries of this world and it's very sweet. Then we want to taste little more and then more. Meanwhile, we get lost into it and we forget about our time, we forget about our death and we forget about our grave."
So what you learn from this story?


Few more quotes about 'life'
  • In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away - shing xiong 
  • “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” ― Dr. Seuss 
  • “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” ― John Lennon

  • And last but not the least I finish this post with words of 'Mother Teresa'
    “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
    Life is beauty, admire it.
    Life is a dream, realize it.
    Life is a challenge, meet it.
    Life is a duty, complete it.
    Life is a game, play it.
    Life is a promise, fulfill it.
    Life is sorrow, overcome it.
    Life is a song, sing it.
    Life is a struggle, accept it.
    Life is a tragedy, confront it.
    Life is an adventure, dare it.
    Life is luck, make it.
    Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
    Life is life, fight for it.”
    ― Mother Teresa

    Useful links:

    What Life Is All About

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is Quran the Word of God?

Is Quran the word of God (Allah)? This article provides information and facts to learn, discover and believe that Quran is the word of God. The Quran is widely regarded as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language.
Muslims hold that the Qur’an is the verbal divine guidance and moral direction for mankind. Muslims also consider the original Arabic verbal text to be the final revelation of God.

 Muslims believe that the Qur’an was repeatedly revealed from Allah to Muhammad verbally through the angel Jibr?l (Gabriel) over a period of approximately twenty-three years, beginning in 610 CE, when he was forty, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death. Followers of Islam further believe that the Qur’an was memorized, recited and written down by Muhammad's companions after every revelation dictated by Muhammad. Most of Muhammad's tens of thousands of companions, called Sahabas, learned the Qur’an by heart, repeatedly recited in front of Muhammad for his approval or the approval of other Sahabas.

Muhammad(PBUH) approved these recitations and also compiled the Qur'an in written form while he was alive. Muslim tradition agrees that although the Qur’an was authentically memorized completely by tens of thousands verbally, the Qur’an was still established textually into a single book form shortly after Prophet Muhammad's(PBUH) demise by order of the first Caliph Abu Bakr suggested by his future successor Umar.

When we study the Quran even superficially from the viewpoint of its wording, styles, and meaning, we will certainly conclude that it is completely different from all the other books in the world. So, in rank and worth it is either below all of them-even Satan cannot claim this, nor does he conceive of it-or above them. Since it is above all of them, it must be the Word of God.

The Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him) in a period of over 23 years at two different locations, Makka and Madinah. Whenever a Ayah was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad he would have a scribe or a companion write it down on different kinds of materials ranging from Shoulder blades of Camels to, Palm tree leaves, Stones, etc. It's important to note that there was no paper in Arabia at that time.
Quran says it is from Allah: The revelation of the Book (Quran) is from the Lord of the worlds (21:2)

Challenges: More qualities of The Quran:

The Quran is beyond compare from the viewpoint of its styles and eloquence. All the sentences, words and even letters used in the Quran form such a miraculous harmony that, with respect to rhythm, music, and even geometric proportions and mathematical measures, and with respect to how many times each is used in the whole of the Quran, each is in the exact place it must be and interwoven and interrelated with others. The literary masterpiece of no one, including the sayings of the Prophet himself, upon him be peace and blessings, cannot compete with the Quran.

The Quran is such a book that it illuminates the ways of both poets, musicians and orators, sociologists, psychologists, scientists, economists and jurists. Also, the founders of all the true spiritual orders and the schools of law and conduct found in it the principles of their orders and schools. The Quran has shown everybody the ways to solve their problems. It also satisfies everyone in his spiritual quests. Is there another book of the same character, quality and level next to the Quran?          

However great a genius one may be, it is impossible for one to establish rules to solve all kinds of problems that mankind may encounter until the Last Day. Even the best of systems that do not originate in the Quran or the Divine Revelation cannot last without undergoing revisions at least every 50 years. More important than this, none of those systems can promise man eternal happiness; the principles of all of them are restricted to the worldly life, which is transient and infinitely short when compared to the afterlife. By contrast, none of the principles which the Quran laid down centuries ago has become outmoded and worn-out with the passage of time, nor do they have any defects or shortcomings. For example, the Quran enjoins that wealth should not become a means of prosperity circulated only among the rich (al-Hashr, 59.7); that government offices should be entrusted to competent persons qualified for them and absolute justice should be the rule in public administration and judging between people (al-Nisa’, 4.58), and it lays down that a man has only that for which he makes effort (al-Najm, 53.39) and that whoever kills a human being unjustly is as if he had killed all mankind (al-Ma’ida, 5.32).

All such eternal, golden principles and many others like the prohibition of usury, gambling, alcohol and all kinds of illicit intercourse, and the injunctions with respect to praying, fasting, alms-giving and good conduct-principles strengthened through love and fear of God and through the promise of an eternal, happy life and fear of the eternal punishment of Hell-constitute another undeniable proof for the Divine authorship of the Quran.
More at: THE QURAN IS THE WORD OF GOD
We can confidently say that the Quran we have today is the same Quran that Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) used to recite. The Quran is perfectly preserved in it's original text, langauage and manuscript.

The Preservation of the Quran
More studies:
*"Is the Qur'an the Word of God?" at Debate.org
www.miraclesofthequran.com
www.quranmiracles.com

First published at 'knoji'

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Does believing in God Leads to Ultimate Happiness ? -The Concept of Happiness in Islam?

Seeking happiness is human necessity and if we search for the meaning of this word, it explains that 'Happiness is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy'.. Philosophers and religious thinkers often define happiness in terms of living a good life, or flourishing, rather than simply as an emotion. This article is an effort to explain the theory if believing in God leads to real/ultimate happiness and concept of happiness in Islam which agrees with the theory.


An undeniable reality is that permanent happiness cannot be achieved except by believing in God - The Creator - and following His guidance. Since it is He who created mankind, He is the one who knows what pleases and benefits them, just as he knows what saddens and harms them. A number of psychologists have affirmed that only a religious person lives with true content and serenity.


So if believing in God leads to ultimate happiness, then how can this be achieved?
 There is now extensive research suggesting that religious people are happier and less stressed. Surveys by Gallup, the National Opinion Research Center and the Pew Organization conclude that spiritually committed people are twice as likely to report being "very happy" than the least religiously committed people. An analysis of over 200 social studies contends that "high religiousness predicts a lower risk of depression and drug abuse and fewer suicide attempts, and more reports of satisfaction with sex life and a sense of well-being," and a review of 498 studies published in peer-reviewed journals concluded that a large majority of them showed a positive correlation between religious commitment and higher levels of perceived well-being and self-esteem and lower levels of hypertension, depression, and clinical delinquency. If we examine all the orders and laws of Islam, we find that every single law or order aims at bringing happiness to the individual. This applies to Islamic regulations with regard to worship, economics, penal laws and all other aspects of life. Few laws and orders are:


When a person believes in Allaah, this belief gives him a strong feeling of security, which is a basic psychological need. This belief in Allaah gives the believer a strong support in critical moments and gives him continuous hope against all sources of despair. This belief gives strength to the sick and hope to the hopeless.
The Belief in Life after Death and the Feeling of Continuity:


A Muslim believes in life after death. This belief gives the person a feeling of continuity. To a Muslim, death is not the end of life; rather it is a transition from the first life to the second one. A Muslim is not horrified by death because he knows that death is a change into another life.


A Connection with God: A Muslim prays five times a day. This prayer is a connection between the believer and Allaah. Without this continual daily prayer, the man-God connection becomes weak. The stronger the man-God connection is, the more obedient to Allaah man becomes.
Away from Tension: Islam regulates the relations of the two sexes and discourages any unnecessary intermingling of the two sexes. This helps both sexes to be away from any source of sexual temptation or tension.


One of the most elusive objectives of every human being is "Happiness." The Noble Qur'an reveals the secret of attaining perfect happiness in this life and forever. We learn from the Noble Qur'an that happiness is an exclusive quality of the soul. Thus, a body that attains all the material successes it longs for - money, power, fame, etc. - often belongs to an unhappy person. Happiness depends totally on the degree of growth and development attained by the soul, the real person. The Noble Qur'an provides a detailed map towards perfect happiness for both body and soul, both in this world and in the eternal Hereafter.


To reach true happiness, we need to know what is the purpose of our life, how to reach success in the hereafter, and to fulfill the requirements of reaching this success by following the commands of Allah (SWT) and His true religion.


Throughout the ages, the concept of happiness has been widely discussed by the great thinkers of the past oriental or occidental. The Greek philosophers have stated in clear a term that the ultimate happiness will take place through what they called virtues. They unanimously agreed that there are four cardinal virtues, namely temperance, courage, wisdom and justice. Thus a happy person is the one who possessed these cardinal virtues in their selves.


Unfortunately, happiness in the context of modern western man is never been defined in a definite manner. It has continuously changed depending of which philosophical school or line of thinking these definitions are derived from. Happiness in Islam does not thus refer to the bodily or material aspect of the human life. As a matter of fact, the abundant material wealth, excessive physical pleasure sometimes contributes to the prevention of the true happiness. How many cases have we seen people with abundant of wealth are deprived from gaining the true happiness in their life. Their material bounties, on the other hand, are the very origin and cause of their unhappiness.


Islam simply views material wealth is only one of the tools to a more absolute kind of happiness which goes beyond the boundary of the physical gain. This is the very reason God states in the Quran (Al-Kahfi 18:46) “Wealth and children are temptation of the life of this world; the only things endure, are good deed, which is the best in the sight of your Lord as rewards and as the best hopes.”


It is interesting to see that the contrary of sa’adah is termed by the Quran as shaqawah, which conveys the meaning of great misfortune and misery in general. Shaqawah is the generic term which include within it many other terms also mentioned in the Quran as khawf (fear), huzn (grief), dank (narrowness), hasrat (profound grief and regret for something gone and never be experienced again). These terms are used in the Quran to denote those who turned away from God and spend his life in self-waste which than he discover after death how he has lost his soul and appeal toward God in turning back to worldly life to make good deeds.


The concept of happiness in Islam: The concept of happiness in Islam is expressed in the Quran and Sunnah in a number of different ways. First, we find the Quran discussing the good life. Allah says: Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, we shall make them live a good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do. [Surah al-Nahl: 97]


This good life is happiness itself. It is realized through faith and good deeds. This does not mean that we will not face difficulties in our good life. Our worldly lives, even when they are bolstered by faith and good works, are never free from distress and vexations. This world is the abode of toil, as Allah says: Certainly We have created man to be in toil. [Surah al-Balad: 90]


This world is the abode of tests and trials. Allah says: Verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: so We gave him (the gifts) of hearing and sight. [Surah al-Insan: 2]

Allah also says: Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good by way of trial, and to Us is your return. [Surah al-Anbiya: 35]


The concept of happiness is also expressed in the Qurun as a negation of wretchedness and misguidance. It is also expressed through by contrasting it with the description, of a narrow, straightened life.


Allah says: But he who turns away from remembrance of Me, his will be a narrow life, and I shall bring him blind to the assembly on the Day of Resurrection. [Surah TaHa: 124]


Wretchedness is the opposite of happiness. It is a state of being bereft of Allahs remembrance. The way to distance oneself from wretchedness is to follow the path of guidance. This is what brings about happiness.
The Quran also uses the concept of the openness of the heart to express happiness. Allah says: Those whom Allah wills to guide, He opens their breast to Islam; those whom He wills to leave straying, He makes their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus does Allah (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe. [Surah al-An`am: 125]
Another expression is the contentment of the heart. Allah says: Those who believe, and whose hearts find contentment in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment. [Surah al-Ra`d: 28]
The contentment and openness of the heart are aspects of happiness which are achieved through keeping up the remembrance of Allah and through following the guidance of Islam. Total and perfect happiness is achieved through true devotion in worship to Allah, salvation from Hell, and admission to Paradise in the Hereafter.
To reach true happiness, we need to know what is the purpose of our life, how to reach success in the hereafter, and to fulfill the requirements of reaching this success by following the commands of God and His true religion.

Useful links:
Islam and human happiness 
Real Happiness and Inner Peace
The Way To Achieve Happiness
Happiness is Submission to God Alone
Happiness is a common goal that everyone strives to attain

First published in: Factoidz

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. 
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