Wednesday, August 15, 2018

How to Get Your Kids Interested in Science

Science and the scientific method are vital to understanding the natural world. Instilling a strong respect for science and critical thinking at an early age will help children learn how to question what they see and create informed opinions in all areas of their lives. Getting children excited about science is not always an easy task, so we’ve outlined a few fun ways you can get your children interested as early as possible.

Hands-on Activities

Interactive play is a great way to get your kids interested in science. Using a microscope or chemistry set allows them to use their hands and mind to observe scientific processes and reactions they create themselves. This gives children the context they need to understand that studying and practicing science can allow them to control, and even predict, outcomes. Once children see that science is not as mysterious as they once thought, they can begin to appreciate and grow as young scientists. And, who doesn’t love a good chemistry set?

Practical Applications

The practical application of the sciences happens around us at all times. From measuring and mixing ingredients for baking a cake to learning how their favorite electronics work, you can help your children find everyday ways science is intertwined in their lives. When children understand the power and connection science has in their everyday lives, they can appreciate and use science to solve everyday problems, giving them a head start on their peers.

Learn with them

One of the most important factors in getting kids interested in science is parental involvement. Many scientific concepts can seem overwhelming or complicated to young children and their parents guidance can be critical to preventing frustration and waning interest. Children whose parents help them learn these scientific concepts have a better, more complete understanding and are more likely to take an interest in science in the future.

Get Outside

Nature provides a wealth of interesting scientific experiments and projects you can do with your children. From making molds of animal tracks to testing lake water for contaminants, the natural world is a scientist’s playground! Visiting and testing the same area over time gives children a sense of how and why data is collected and what can be done with it once it’s been gathered.

Performing and monitoring scientific experiments teaches kids the awesome power of the scientific method while giving them fun ways to practice its application. Visiting your local planetarium and museums gives your kids a stronger sense of how science has shaped our lives and affects their futures. Learning about and practicing science together allows parents to bond with their children while they grow into the next generation of world-changing scientists.

What are your favorite memories of learning science as kid? Share your stories with us in the comments below!

How Bullying Affects Children

In recent years, bullying has surfaced as a more serious problem than experts had previously considered. As bullying has become more prevalent, cruel, and targeted, the effects on children has shown increasingly traumatic results. From decreased academic accomplishments to behavioral and emotional problems, bullying has adverse effects on all parties: bullies, bully-victims, and bystanders all suffer the effects of bullying. So, we’ve put together a list of ways bullying affects children & what to look for if you suspect your child is being bullied.

Bullying is defined as the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to forcing them to do what one wants. This is repeated, aggressive behavior that includes a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying can include verbal abuse and/or physical abuse with the goal of belittling and embarrassing the victim, usually publicly. Of course, the Internet provides bullies with a shield against exposure, as well as a vehicle for spreading their harmful messages to the world.

Academic Effects of Bullying

Children that are bullied in school have shown a decrease in their academic accomplishments and interest in academic endeavors. Both bullies and their victims suffer adverse effects of bullying and see a decrease in performance with elementary school age students showing the highest number of bullying incidents. Bullied students have lower attendance rates, a reduced desire to attend school, and do not engage or contribute to classroom activities in hopes of avoiding continued bullying.

Social Effects of Bullying

The social aspects of bullying have been exponentially exacerbated by the explosion of social media platforms. Social media has forced an increasingly elevated standard of beauty and belonging that can make children and young adults extremely self-conscious and feeling anxiety ridden. Social media gives bullies an anonymous means of harassing their victims that can spread like wildfire through their friends’ lists, as well as all of their social media platforms. This often leaves children feeling left out and alone. This can cause a pain and frustration that follows them everywhere they go with little to no relief. This can cause a host of social problems including loneliness, hopelessness, and low self-worth. With social media penetrating every aspect of children’s lives, it can feel like an inescapable barrage of insults and hurtful comments.

Long Term Effects of Bullying

The effects of bullying tend to last well beyond the childhood years. Many victims of bullying suffer from depression, anxiety, and a host of additional mental health problems. While bully-victims are more likely to suffer from depression and low self-esteem later in life, bullies are at a higher risk of substance abuse and hostility. Bullies have a higher risk of developing personality disorders and a tendency to manipulate others, even into adulthood.

While these effects can be easily observed and confirmed by teachers, administrators, healthcare providers, and parents, there have been few qualified and objective studies done over an extended period of time with large enough sample sizes to accurately record and monitor the results. As the trend of bullying continues to grow, it is important to give young children the tools they need to handle these situations in a healthy way.

Stopping bullying benefits bullies and bully-victims, as well bystanders who also see the harmful effects of bullying even if they are not the direct target. Inclusion for all promotes clear and open communication, healthy opportunities for personal growth and development, and fewer mental health problems later in life.

Check out our resources for dealingwith bullies or visit for more information.

What are some of the ways you have dealt with a bully? Share your stories and tips in the comments below!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Why Children Misbehave in Class & What to Do About It

Most early childhood centers, pre-schools, and elementary schools are starting the count-down to the days of summer.  This is a time when parents and teachers reflect on everything their children have learned over the past school year. For these young students in particular, the classroom provides more than a nurturing environment where they learn about ABCs and 123s. The early years are characterized by growth both socially and behaviorally.

One of the most interesting (and at times, frustrating) parts of any teacher’s job can be helping children learn how to behave properly.. That’s why it’s so important to have strategies for reaching and teaching all children.  This post, will give you some effective ways to manage various types of behavior in the classroom.

Behavior Management

Behavior management starts the minute children enter the classroom.  Greet them warmly when they come into the classroom. The stronger the connection you have with children, the less children will misbehave.  The more you connect, the less you correct.

Use the strength-based approach for behavior management pointing out the strengths of children rather than their weaknesses.  Whatever you put your attention on will expand and grow. 

When you see a child beginning to engage in an inappropriate behavior, use proximity control, standing or sitting near the child in a non-threatening way.  Children typically get the point that you are nearby and stop engaging in negative behaviors. 

Another strategy is to simply make a gesture like putting your finger over your lips to suggest, “We are silent right now,” or making a writing gesture to remind a student “It’s time to write.”

Teach children ASL, American Sign Language.  This is an effective way for them to ask you for what they want and for both you and children to communicate in a quieter and calmer way.   

Logical consequences are a way to help children understand the cause and effect relationship between their actions and the consequences of their actions. Logical consequences are directly related to the behavior that needs to change. For example, if Kennedy chooses to break crayons at the art table instead of using them to color, the logical consequence can be that she has to spend some of her recess time gluing broken crayons back together.

Classroom Management

When two or more pupils start talking, throwing things, or otherwise disrupting the class, it’s important to immediately step in before the distraction gets too difficult to contain. Often, the child (or children) who started the disruptive behavior wants to ruffle your feathers and get attention, so clapping or verbal strategies give them what they want. Always remember, that whatever you put your attention on, will expand and grow.  If you put it on disruptive behaviors, those will expand and grow.  Stay calm.  Be a role model of calm confidence.  Have a multitude of strategies to use for classroom management.  Here are some for you:

1.     Redirect children by playing music or doing something else engaging.
2.    Use a transitional object to get the attention of the whole class.  For example, check out our  wireless chime to see a video example of how effective this strategy works.
3.    Use a saying that gets the children’s attention.  “If you hear my voice, clap 3 times; If you hear my voice, blink your eyes 2 times; If you hear my voice, clap your tongue 2 times.”

Impulse Control

K-5 children are still developing impulse control skills.  Children who need to work on their impulse control can bring various disruptive behaviors into the classroom. Fortunately, the classroom environment provides numerous opportunities to help children develop this crucial life skill.

Teach children impulse control by teaching them self-regulation strategies.  Here are some you can use:

1.    Deep breathing is a skill that children will be able to use throughout their lives when they are upset.  Have them take deep breaths and then exhale the breaths slowly in a relaxing manner.
2.    Have soothing items they can use like watching a timer that is calming.
3.    Have soothing items like a stress ball that they can hold and manipulate to get calm.
4.    Provide visual cues such as signs and posters around the classroom that gives children consistent reminders of self-calming strategies.
5.    Create a “relaxation station.”  This is a safe place that children can go when they need some time to just be alone for a bit to calm themselves. 

And most importantly, stay calm.  Your attitude is contagious not only to children who have issues with impulse control, but for the whole class.  Children copy more what you do, than what you say.

Teacher Boutique is a trusted provider of training materials teachers. We stock a selection of Appelbaum training activities that are sure to engage your students. If you’re working on continuing education this summer, our state-recognized courses and books are priced affordably and arrive fast. Shop our selection online and enjoy fast shipping.
Friday, May 11, 2018

Let Every Day Be Mother's Day

Let Every Day Be Mother's Day

This Sunday is a special day in the United States, a day set aside to honor mothers. It made me first think of my own mom and that she is no longer here for me to celebrate with her — to choose a card or a gift. Then I thought about all of the people in my life who have been mom figures to me. That led me to think about the word "mother."

When I think of the word "mother," I think about a special kind of person, a person who:
 • Loves unconditionally
• Feels her life change from the moment that child enters her life
• Plans for the future of her children
• Shares in the joys and in the sorrows of her children
• Enjoys watching her children grow and learn
• Makes special time even when tired, to be with her children
• Gets that special smile on her face when her children enter the room

I also think of the many different kinds of moms in the world — natural birth moms, adoptive moms, foster moms, step-moms, relatives who become mom figures, and friends who are mom mentors, and I also think of teachers — sometimes the sole "mom" figure in the lives of some children.

It is not enough to have just one day to honor moms. It needs to be everyday. Let the love and gratitude you have for all those "moms" in your own life shine! Children will see it and learn, learn, learn to also honor the "moms" in their own lives. Have a wonderful day and a wonderful week-end!

Maryln Appelbaum