Gathering Data Through All of Our Senses

Be a “SENSATIONAL THINKER”! A sensational thinker has fifty percent more creative solutions when solving a problem! Why is a lesson on a field trip so much more effective than one in the isolation of a classroom? Consider how many more senses are used when learning something in its natural environment. Field studies provide the sight, sound, smells, feelings, and actions that make up the entire concept. Imagine how much better our kids learned when they went to the Apple Store, Museum of Tolerance, San Antonio Mission, the beach, Cal Poly, etc.. We use multiple senses and integrate more areas of the brain to remember knowledge or skills.
Gathering data through all senses is the most powerful way to incorporate ideas and skills with any lesson. When teaching your child something new make it more conscious by identifying as many sensations as possible. Go beyond the visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. Ask questions about sight, sound, smell, taste, visual space/perspective. Be a sensational thinking coach. Rule #9 from from Dr. John Medina’s Brain Rules: Stimulate more of the senses. Our senses work together so it is important to stimulate them! Your head crackles with the perceptions of the whole world, sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, energetic as a frat party. Smell is unusually effective at evoking memory. If you’re tested on the details of a movie while the smell of popcorn is wafted into the air, you’ll remember 10-50% more. Smell is really important to business. When you walk into Starbucks, the first thing you smell is coffee. They have done a number of things over the years to make sure that’s the case. The learning link. Those in multisensory environments always do better than those in unisensory environments. They have more recall with better resolution that lasts longer, evident even 20 years later.
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Listening with Understanding and Empathy

Listening with understanding and empathy is a part of our emotional intelligence (EQ). Did you know that our EQ has a much more profound effect on success than our IQ? It is reported that 85% of success can be attributed to our human relationship skills versus 15% due to our technical knowledge. Whether the goal is to get along with family, friends, classmates, coworkers, or neighbors our willingness and ability to listen carefully will determine how well we get along. Empathy is a powerful tool in any relationship. Using our two ears and one mouth proportionally, will always improve our relationships.
Are we born with empathy? Researchers have found that empathy is expressed in children as early as 12 months. Babies understand the pain and sorrow of others in some ways better than adults. Unfortunately, our busy lives and focused efforts turn our eyes away from the sorrow and pain of those around us. Fortunately, listening and understanding can be relearned and nurtured just like every other habit of mind we care about. The key is to make a conscious effort to turn off our self and tune in to others. When we practice using our senses to look, listen, feel, ask, reach out, and speak with good purpose our empathy improves. Conversely, when we compare, judge, give unasked for advice, argue, demean, and try to read minds – we are listening with our mouths instead of our ears. Here are a few ways to help develop empathy:

  • Clear your mind of distractions.
  • Listen with context. Walk in the person’s shoes before passing judgement.
  • Don’t interrupt or interject.
  • Examine your assumptions.
  • Reserve judgment and ask questions instead of providing answers.

“If you judge people, you have not time to love them.” – Mother Teresa
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” – Jesse Jackson

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Developmental Asset #2 – Positive Family Communication
Tips for building this Asset Positive communication also means listening to understand a young person’s perspective, not to advocate your position. Be available when young people need you—and even when they think they don’t. Take good care of yourself so when your children want to talk, you can give them your full attention.

Also try this in your home and family: Make it easy for your child to spend time talking with you: Keep an extra stool or chair in the kitchen, den, home office, or workshop area. When you’re in the car together is a great time to chat, too.

In your neighborhood and community: Ask young people you know caring questions, such as: What was the best thing about school today? What was the best act in the talent show? Why? Listen to their answers and respond accordingly.

In your school or youth program: During parent meetings, discuss the importance of positive communication between parents and children.

Almond Acres Charter Academy open enrollment starts Jan 15

Open enrollment for Almond Acres Charter Academy(AACA) in San Miguel starts Jan 15. Those interested in attending the academy during the 2018-2019 school year are encouraged to submit a request for enrollment. Enrollment forms can be found on the AACA website.

Requests for grades K-8 are being accepted. Open enrollment will extend through Mar 15. If at the end of open enrollment there are more applicants than spaces available in any grade level, then a random public lottery will take place. After Mar 15 requests will be taken and classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The academy is hosting campus tours and enrollment presentations in the coming months. Tours will provide the opportunity to meet with Executive Director, Bob Bourgault, and learn about AACA’s philosophy and framework. Tours and presentations are at AACA, 1601 L Street in San Miguel on the following dates and times:

  • Jan 25 at 8 a.m.
  • Feb 7 at 5 p.m. This is an enrollment presentation and the location will be announced.
  • Feb 15 at 8 a.m.
  • Mar 1 at 8 a.m.
  • Mar 8 at 8 a.m.

For more information, please visit the AACA website or call the office at (805) 467.2095. Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern San Luis Obispo County an additional choice in public education. The school is located in San Miguel and is open to all students in all communities. The academy’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul.

via: Paso Robles Daily News

Speaking with Clarity and Precision

Yup, ya, nope, a hu, like, um, er, ya know, uh, … Sound familiar? This is confused and inaccurate thinking and communication. Teaching children to be clear and precise with language develops strong vocabularies and accurate statements. Accurate and effective words force our brains to describe what we really want to say and to say it using the right words. Require your children to say “yes” instead of “ya” and to add clarity to vague statements. When you hear universals such as always, never, all, or everybody, ask a question that will probe for specifics. Language and thinking are closely intertwined, and when we use precise words we minimize cloudy and fuzzy thinking. Being efficacious with our language builds effective thinking skills and helps children to be stronger decision makers, problem solvers, and investigators. Steps to clear thinking:
Practice before game time. When we front load our brains with what we ought to do before we run into an issue, we are much more likely to do the next right thing.Chill 🙂 Developing a physically calming behavior such as deep breathing, counting, snapping fingers, praying, meditating, and remembering the sensations from a special moment will slow down our emotions and allow us to think more clearly. Seek first to understand, then be understood. Listen intently to the real message/issue and then use clear language to voice your concern.
Practice Tips: The next time you want to know how your child’s day went and you are tired of the “fine” answer, ask questions related to productive intellectual and personal habits. Question their heart, mind, body, and soul.
  • Heart – Who did you eat lunch with? Who did you act kind to? What was an example of you thinking win-win today?
  • Mind – What book did your read today? What is the habit of the week? How did you practice math?
  • Body – Where did you play at recess? In what way were you proactive? What was the most delicious part of your lunch?
  • Soul – Why are you happy today? What was the best moment of the day?
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.” – Mark Twain
“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” – Plato
Discipline – Speak with Good Purpose! We have the power to choose our thoughts. Redirecting our children’s language from negative to positive can be accomplished with this simple phrase, “speak with good purpose”. Communicating directly, honestly, clearly, and with positive purpose will transmit truth, kindness, and love. When words build someone up instead of put them down our relationships become stronger and we are happier and healthier. Just because we might have negative thoughts, it doesn’t mean we have to speak them. If what we want to say isn’t going to produce a positive or productive result, it’s probably not worth saying. Restraining our impulsivity and using our wisdom to turn on the “pause-itivity” button will often turn a bad situation into a good one. Speaking with good purpose is the cornerstone of healthy relationships. It fosters a positive emotional environment where people are happier, more productive, and more likely to succeed.
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Thinking Flexibly

Our mission statement reads: Growing Great Kids! We do this by affirming the strengths and struggles of TeRRiFiC citizens, stretching positive and productive habits of mind, and celebrating the awakening of creativity. This week’s habit is all about the stretch. Thinking flexibly encourages us to look beyond the norm and to try the unexpected. Too often, we settle for mediocrity or fail to consider new possibilities. For Christmas this year I built a wood project for each member of my family. To my surprise they turned out to be nice pieces of work. Between YouTube and the right tools, I was able to build things I never thought I could. I stretched myself and am now a little better version of Mr. B. Questioning our possibilities and stretching our thinking can produce new and wonderful gifts in our life.

The 80:20 Rule! If we want our children to think flexibly, think for themselves, and ultimately work our way out of our parenting job within 18 years, it is critical that they learn to answer their own questions. The 80:20 Rule is a general guide to describe how often we should ask questions versus giving answers. Most of the time (80% or so when they are young) our parenting should involve questions and less time (20%) provide answers. It is essential to flexible thinking that a child use his/her own brain to come up with answers instead of using ours. As a child gets older and wiser the questioning percentage should increase and answers all but cease. One of the ways we can look at our role as parents is that our job is to nurture neurons. When we think flexibly and encourage it in our kids, our brain neurons stretch their dendrites and improve electrical and chemical impulses from one neuron to another – this is what it means to be smart! Lengthy, healthy, and active neurons makes us intelligent and capable citizens.

The old adage of teaching a man to fish instead of feeding him the fish applies to this habit. When we question our children they are forced to think flexibly and consider various options and points of view. When necessary, provide 2-3 good answers and let them choose for themselves. Thinking flexibly forces neurons to stretch to other neurons and in doing so, creativity and intelligence improves.

Training Exercises

  • Heart – challenge our mind to seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  • Mind – “Do the math” – consider another way of resolving a problem.
  • Body – write with your non-dominant hand. Attempt a new activity or exercise in a very different way if only to recognize that there are various ways to accomplish something.
  • Soul – identify personal thinking patterns that don’t produce positive results and ask yourself if you might want to consider breathing new life into them.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” Kenny Rogers

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