The Unconditioned Mind!

Since childhood, I have been told,

Be happy, stay happy till you grow old.

I was not introduced with all my emotions

‘Being Happy’ was the only notion.

As I grew old, I experienced all my shades

I disliked when I was angry,

Uncomfortable when I was jealous.

Thinking I was not being ‘human’.

Thus, the CONDITIONED me suppressed my own emotions,

Refrained from being my own self.

That ‘SELF’ was rotten and hurt.

Over the period of time,

New experiences blossomed into a NEW self

It made me mirror my own thoughts.

It had all the feelings it should,

It was angry, black, jealous and unhappy

Discontented, sorrowful and gloomy were few more to stay.

The mirror did not resemble a fairy princess

The way I was taught to become.

Uncomfortable I was

Restless and wondering where to go.

Contemplating on the same, I understood.

 I still had a choice

The choice to decide,

Either to ignore or to live my feelings

I pondered, reflected and realized,

Was it inhuman to have those NEGATIVE emotions?

Was it BAD to feel BAD!

I wanted to hook to them, I wanted to cry

I wanted to feel and cuddle the feelings  tight.

Those feelings had to be welcomed only once,

Accepted all the emotions with all my might

They stayed comfortable with me,

Just being on my side!

The self was contented.

Only then, did I create ways to heal myself

Free from the hurt I had,

This was a new journey for me,

To be an UNCONDITIONED MIND!

Plan a Read-Aloud Today!

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

The quote by George R.R Martin stands out and is so true. Reading opens the doors for an individual to different perspectives, lives and events which one might not experience in one’s life. Yet, the reader can relate and empathize with the main character. It contributes very positively to a person’s ability to create a passage to different ideas, notions. The ‘social-ness’ of an individual is rewarded.

Pretend reading

Reading aloud by parents and teachers introduces a child to a book. They understand that the book is to be held in the hands and has pictures. The stage called ‘pretend reading ‘ wherein the child understands that the book has pages, each page has some black ink with vivid illustrations which conveys meaning in the adult world. This could be as early as child is in mother’s womb. Yes! You read me right!

Furthermore, reading enhances the skills to decode (read) the words written in the book. The reading aloud sessions aid in understanding the phonics and decoding the words fluently. Furthermore, with frequent reading sessions the audience ( children) grasp many vocabulary words. These words become a part of the child’s language and in no time becomes a part of his/her speech. Thus, it aids in child’s ability to express his/her thoughts and ideas with clarity. As also recommended by many speech therapists.

After knowing and understanding the positive impacts of reading aloud sessions, we as parents or teachers need to promise in our hearts that we will take up one read aloud session every day for the child at home or in class. There is nothing better you could gift your child! However, it is very important for an adult to PLAN the session before beginning with it. A book has a lot of potential to teach a child, if it is used extensively. Thus, the article further will help a parent/ a teacher to know of the steps to take up read-aloud with examples.

The first step to begin with a good read-aloud is to select a book as per the child’s age and needs. A book with many difficult words might not interest a beginner reader. However, that same book might hook an advanced reader. Thus, know your child’s interests/ reading genres’ preferences and level of reading. There is no harm in trial and error! Post selection of the book sit with the book to plan the session. The read-aloud session will have three components to it: pre-reading, while reading and a post reading. Each component is essential in order to aid in child’s understanding of the story.

pre-reading

Post the selection of the book based on the above mentioned criteria, the adult needs to plan a pre-read session for the child. A pre-read session is to activate the schema of the child to relate to the story to be read. It is important that the pre-read should not last for more that 5-7 minutes, or else it will divert children’s attention away from the book or the plot of the story. An adult might take a book-walk wherein the child is shown all the illustrations to develop a basic understanding of the story.

After the pre-reading, the adult needs to read the story to the child. The story should be read-aloud with voice modulation and expressions. Otherwise, the child will not be able to visualize the story. The child should be able to see the story in his/ her head through your reading aloud. Only then will they enjoy listening to you! Thus, a caution, do not stop at each page to ask “What have you understood?” This breaks visualization momentum. Instead, scaffold the child in their reading by asking questions like ‘What do you think will happen next?’ (a predication-based question).

While Reading

While reading questions can be of different kinds, for example: prediction-based questions, illustration-based questions, vocabulary-based questions. Each of them serves a different purpose. Thus, each question should be thoughtfully selected. Also, it is important to note that the number of questions selected should not interfere with the JOY of reading. Otherwise, the child will stop looking forward to your read-aloud sessions.

Finally, it is the post- reading session, wherein the adult plans an activity which will be the carry forward of the story. The post-reading session can extend to 15-20 minutes varying as per the task in hand. The adults could include different activities like drawing, painting, craft, origami as the medium to present their understanding of the story/ character.

The best scene

A post-reading session might also include writing a letter to a friend of their experience of reading a book or writing a book review. Again a caution, do not emphasis only on writing as a skill in the post-reading session. The child might be forthcoming in the post- reading sessions.

Image result for parent reading to a child clipart

Reading will be fun if you create fun and magic for them! Do not consider it as a chore which has to be done for sake of it. Enjoy reading for yourself and for your child. Read for the Joy of reading. Nothing in this world can take place for a mom or dad’s lap for a child. Snuggled up tight in your arms to enter the magical world of books is the GIFT from you!

You may contact me on www.upasanakapur.com in case you need help in planning the read-aloud session for your child at home or in your class. I will be more than happy to be available for you!

New Me

Wonder of God, is who I am

I am set apart with an intelligent mind and a loving heart.

Mesmerized by the beauty through my eyes.

I can walk on the path of life with steady two feet,

Each part is vital and essential,

The importance is understood when it’s not around.

I consider myself fortunate to be me!

Even with these blessings

 There are moments of bewilderment

When I feel unsure

Of what I have and what I am heading to

I wonder what went wrong

In my way to look at life.

Here is a new me,

I promise to thank the universe,

For the air I breathe and soul I possess.

I pledge to be kind to all, with my words and smile

I assure I stand for the right,

To ensure all are looked and felt alike.

I am an educationalist!

I could create wonders through those little minds.

The value of life for one and all

Is what I am going to take in my stride.

Technology aids in Language Acquisition

When the technology is best used it could yield huge benefits. It could reap many benefits in child’s learning.

technology connects mind and builds language

In the recent times, there has been a constant uproar on the pros and cons technology carries with itself. One side of the coin strongly advocates the advantages. To mention a few, it has made life easy, there is lesser need to move around as all is easily available on a click.

Whereas the other aspect mentions technology as biggest contributor to human’s immobility. Due to lack of movement, we have invited many illnesses like obesity , high blood pressure etc. Furthermore, it has limited family conversations . Nowadays there wont be a house with people chatting looking at each other. On the other hand, we visualize a house wherein everyone is occupied in her smart phones (deeply engrossed).

I as an individual, I am not here to take sides. I am completely aware of the pros and cons. Knowing the cons, still I would strongly emphasis on the tremendous scope it provides for language acquisition. The young minds who are inquisitive by nature would not accept hackneyed methodologies. Instead, they would want their facilitator to bring in newer technologies which will enhance their learning with fun.

Technology can aid in language acquisition. https://youtu.be/QnBm3vJWSc0 To state an instance to build my point further, my daughter requests me to video record her while she narrated a story using her finger puppets (self-created). The mother (that is me) willingly agrees not thinking much of the humongous learning opportunities it could provide. So here we started, let me take you through the complete process.

The first recording went without any practice which you could see in the link https://youtu.be/QnBm3vJWSc0. We recorded this video without any planning, scripting or characterization. This was the raw idea presented. Point to note that the language mastery (all created through conversations and interactions helped Aaliyaa move to the next step of creating a story).

Post the video was recorded, Aaliyaa and I sat and watched it through. While watching she realized that she used the word ‘so’ many times as the connecting word. Her realization was the first step towards change in her language structures. My role as her facilitator was to apprise her with the new connecting words like ‘but’, ‘although’, ‘however’, ‘furthermore’ etc. Knowing the different kinds of connecting words helped her bring the change in the language structures. She might not imbibe them instantly, however, I am certain that the changes will happen with repetitive usage in different contexts. (As guided by me)

The point I want to bring back home is that technology is a great resource and tool to learn through. As a parent, we need to invest our time and our child’s time in learning something out of it than being merely a passive recipient to whatever it provides us. Instead of allowing the cartoons to rule your child’s mind, create opportunities wherein they can interact with it (obviously under your supervision). Let them take ownership of their own learning facilitated and guided by you. Once the ownership is well taken in, the child will always want to learn and evolve in the process. A word of caution though, the access and useage should be well monitored for adequate usage. the child should never be given easy access to it , as it could lead to dangerous outcomes as well. That is why it is mentioned to be a guided and facilated process than independent.

TRY IT OUT!!!

Why Play?

Puzzled and confused she asked , one fine day

Why send my child to play?

I looked at her and smiled,

Coz that is what makes them fine.

With a pause, I spoke again

Not only does it let their energy gain

Also, helps them learn to wait

with their own age-mates.

Or else they will always want to be the ‘first’

Impulse control is a must!

Besides, it helps them to learn,

on how to take turns!

A bit settled in her thoughts, she glares

waiting patiently and wanting me to continue with my flair!

I proceeded and said,

Let them do their jobs well.

Play helps them to know how to talk

instead of being mocked.

Perspectives are learnt

and not only taught!

I concluded to say,

The child should play,

for at least some time of the day!

She smiled back and said,

Now I know

Why is it important to play!

Toy review #3 Memory Game

Here we are again! During the last week, Aaliyaa and I played another game. The game titled ‘Memory game’. The game has 10 picture cards. Along with that, there is a blue coloured cardholder, wherein the picture cards are inserted. The blue coloured cardholder has squares on them wherein the triangular holders are kept. The pictures will give you more clarity.

THE MEMORY GAME!

The blue cardholder

The cards

The tokens

We play this game by inserting the card in the blue card holder. Then we place all the tokens above all the small squares to cover the pictures. The players will have to pick up one token at one time. The same player will then pick up the second token. If the player pick the tokens with matching pictures like a clock, then that player possesses those tokens. If the player does not pick the tokens with matching pictures then he or she will place those tokens back to their original position. The players have to be very attentive to remember the position of the pictures in order to win the game. The player who has the maximum number of tokens will win the game.

The perfect family board game is one that can be played each time with fewer pieces

Robert Breault

The game includes 5 types of picture cards which are graded well. The first card is about look-alike pictures. A picture of the boy has to be matched with another picture of the same boy. Likewise, a picture of the candle has to be matched with the picture of the same candle. The first level is to strengthen my working memory of the child without any other variable.

The same pictures of the objects in the picture card.

The second level of picture card is wherein the picture is broken in two pieces. The players have to pick up the token for parts of the same object. For example, the cake is divided from the center and placed at two places. The players have to pick the token with those pieces of cakes. The players with a maximum number of tokens will win the game. This card will strengthen the child’s working memory as well as visual perception skills. You may read more about visual perception skills in the link below. https://www.swft.nhs.uk/application/files/9514/6158/0965/4_visual_perception_and_memory.pdf

The pictures of the object broken into two halves. The players have to pick tokens with those pieces.

The third level is to strengthen the perspective skills along with the working memory. The pictures are shown if clicked from the front side and reverse side. The child has to remember two variables here. One, the picture of the same object, along with that the angles it is presented. The picture of the card is below for reference. So the child tries to relate and remember information presented on the front side to match with the reverse side.

Pay attention to the front and back view of an elephant. You might need to train children who struggle to understand perspectives visually.

The fourth picture card has pictures of the ‘young ones’. This card strengthens the working memory and the visual memory of the animals and their young ones. Visuals help children remember better. The pace of learning improves when the visuals are accompanied with the words. This helps to build the receptive and expressive language of the child. Please refer to the pictures below:

The picture of animals and their young ones. As parents you might replace pictures with words to give vocabulary to your kid.

Finally, the last card is for higher order thinking. This card strengthens the working memory and helps in understanding the functions of those objects. The objects are related to each other based on the function. So a lock and key are connected because we use the key to open the lock. We can play the game as the process and when the child picks up related objects, we could ask them to explain the reason for them to be connected and related. We are not only strengthening their memory and understanding of objects. But also building on their language skills to explain the reason. It is very crucial to encourage our learner to verbalise their thinking through words.

Each time, I write toy review blog I feel delighted and thrilled. As I could be a medium for all the parents out there, who might have been unaware of the productive material for their child.

PS. I do not propagate any manufacturer or seller. These are my personal experiences and views. You may think differently and I would love to hear your views. Please do not hesitate to share.

Toy Review #2 Wiggle N Giggle

Here we are, with another toy review! This time it is the game named Wiggle N Giggle. It is a card game which involves three colored cards; red, blue and green. The red colored card will have an action to perform for example chomp like a crocodile, the blue card with add to the previous action ( as stated in the red card) like with a fish face. The green card will let you know the duration of the action to be completed like till you touch a plant.  You may refer to the link to find the game https://www.amazon.in/Trunk-Works-Wiggle-Giggle-Travel/dp/B076P8YQ1F

demonstration of the game played with cards.

It is a fantastic game which works on player’s working memory as it encourages the player to hold on information in their head and then perform the action. Working memory is the part of short-term memory which is concerned with immediate conscious perceptual and linguistic processing. It is very crucial in a child’s academic success. So when the child is asked what will be 8+2? the child has to hold ‘8’, ‘+’, and ‘2’ in his head and then perform the addition. Concerns with working memory could affect his/her phonic development, language building and acquisition of mathematical skills.

Furthermore, the game builds upon the vocabulary of action words like make a fish face. A child should have a very strong receptive and expressive language repetoire as it strengths the development of thinking skills and cognitive abilities. Language builds upon my thinking and vice versa. The similar connection was observed in the study file:///C:/Users/upasana/Downloads/Talking_Understanding_Thinking_2-14-2017.pdf

Also, the game is a wonderful time for the child to have a family time wherein all are away from the gadgets from their hands and play cards. It encourages giggles and wiggles in the family members as well! We seriously enjoyed playing this game. I hope you too! Please remember I am not propagating any particular game or manufacturer. This blog is started only with the intention to introduce more games to our little minds and enhance their thinking skills. So do GIGGLE AND WIGGLE WITH YOUR CHILD and make their world a beautiful place to be!

P.S The blog written is my personal view and you may have a different view altogether. There is no harm to share the different perspectives and I would be really glad if you put your views on the blog.

Toy review#1 Kaleidoscope

I plan to post the review of the toys and games I play with my daughters. Being in the teaching profession opens me to many more such educational toys. Thus, thought to spread the word about it to other parents. I will be more than happy to hear from you, your critical inputs in those games.( or others that you played or came across)

My elder daughter has just turned 8 this January. She received this game Kaleidoscope from smartivity from her maternal uncle (ordered from Amazon.in).

This game engaged my daughter no bound. She was able to follow the simple instructions independently after following the manual. The manual was self-explanatory as it depicted the instruments pictorially as well. Each item was packed very well and could easily be dismantled. The joy of being able to place the mirrors triangularly (to get that impact) was eureka for her!

The reflection of three mirrors…

beautiful pattern formed after reflection of the beads in the mirror

Thus, as a parent I would definitely give a ‘yes’ to this game wherein it engages the child with hands-on and mind-on. Also, a relief to be away from the screen time! what a relief!!!

the final product…