Besides writing education articles for Examiner.com like this one titled Preschool Activities 101, TV-free ways to keep kids busy while you work, Ms. Starr Weems de Graffenried is a “teacher, artist and educational activity designer. She holds a M.Ed. from Auburn University and is CELTA certified through Cambridge. Starr is the author of Teach Your Child Spanish Through Play and Brain Child.”
She has graciously sent me two of her Brain Child books to give away on my blog.
From her introduction:
Children of this generation have access to more information than ever before and yet are required to think less than ever before. As a teacher, I have spent many perplexed hours trying to figure out why most of my students don’t really seem to know how to think. When presented with an open-ended or creative task, they become paralyzed. If the assignment requires students to apply knowledge from a text, they freeze. They can not make the cognitive jump from memorizing facts to applying the knowledge.
Ms. Weems de Graffenried believes this lack of problem-solving skills is derived from the fact that since we have a steady stream of information available to us via the internet (which does have it’s uses), the main problem arises because children don’t have to formulate theories and test them out. Some children have innate skills in this area, while others must cultivate this through practice. Critical thinking skills can be developed and cultivated.
She admits a sad truth among education today:
Today’s educator is under tremendous to cover a lot of specific material in a very short period of time, which often results in pumping students full of trivia instead of teaching them to think. Many excellent teachers are equipped and ready with mind-building activities that they would love to unleash on this generation, but are simply not granted the time, resources and support to make it happen.
Ms. Weem’s book contains over 75 project based activities that boost creativity, foster critical thinking and explore new interests over many subject areas and skill sets. At the end of each activity, the subject areas and skills sets addressed are listed. At the end of the book is a helpful planner to plan your activities.
There is a variety of activities ranging from simple activities like making a kazoo and a maraca out of recycleables, making a homemade ant farm, learning some words in Spanish, French and German, making a weather barometer or more complex activities like making culture capsules with an international pen-pal or completing a service-learning project (like helping the elderly, helping animals, or preserving the environment). The book provides a listing of pen-pal organizations and a sampling of some charities that might interest you and your child in the appendices.
Now… For the giveaway…
I’m making this super simple. There’s not much to it.
1) Please leave me a comment on this post and your name will be added to the drawing.
2) I will hold a drawing on Friday afteroon and announce them soon afterward.