Showing posts with label creative play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creative play. Show all posts

Friday, August 9, 2013

Making Pictures in the Brain

memory pictures
Memory is Made Up of Pictures in the Brain
We have spent most of our week preparing to officially begin the school year and getting caught up on our summer canning. I will be posting about our adventure of canning grape juice over at Considering frugal if anyone is interested in home canning. My girl is learning about emergency preparedness and sustainability a little more in depth this year so helping with the canning has become part of her school work. So then, that leads me back to the topic or soap box that I have been standing on this week and somewhat last week too. Children and adults learn through creativity. Sometimes that means creative play or just creating in general. I wanted to give you some more ideas on the purpose of teaching and how memory is sparked by creativity. It is kind of heavy material but I promise it is really important information to give your homeschooler a head start in the world. I am going to try and make it as readable as possible so here we go.

What Memory Is

Memory is stored representations of perceptions of objects and events; pictures in the brain if you will. So then to construct or reconstruct these stored pictures is often as simple as a memory task performance. Mental imagery is the process by which one sees, manipulates, imagines and stores images in the brain likewise attention is identified as focusing on the details of a piece of information. The process of making pictures. While mental imagery and the task of attention may seem separate they are one in the same and it is by this process that mental imagery becomes productive. As emotion is attached to a mental image it becomes solidified being stored as an event in long term memory. So then, in order to teach a new topic, you need to make a memory and make it a fun memory. Help your child make a picture in their head that they will want to pull out and look at again and again. I saw a picture of homemade grape juice on Pinterest last week. I remembered the smell of my grandma's kitchen and how sweet the taste of the juice was. I instantly pulled up the recipe and called my little girl into the kitchen to help. She wasn't excited at first, but I explained my memory to her and as she began to help she got excited and she has spent the last twenty four hours talking about how much fun we had and in the process she learned food science.

Help Them File the Bad Pictures Too

Conversation between parents and children reconstructing past negative events to reflect positive outcomes, events such as failing to win a race nevertheless persisting to the finish line, resulted in a higher number of positive autobiographical memory construction or positive mental pictures on the part of the child involved. Furthermore, research has concluded that mental pictures of events has a more significant impact on emotion than does verbal representation of an event. We can't just ignore the negative pictures, they still hold significance. In fact, these negative pictures will change every memory along the way like a bad computer virus if we don't address them. As an event occurs one visualizes the situation through one’s unique perception attaching emotion all along the way. When the retrieval process ensues said memory is retrieved through emotional attachment with imagery following. It is much in this same way that mental imagery functions as one imagines a future event in full detail attaching real emotions by which the event will be retrieved for later use such as in the case of improving one’s golf swing. Mental recall often involves self relevant information that is more imagery based as opposed to verbal, remembering the past bears much significance on imagining the future successfully. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Let Them Play

Let Them Play
Let Them Play

Excuse me while I step up on my soap box for a moment. Pretend play is where we in fact learn our social skills, how to relate to others and form healthy relationships. If you are not giving your children playtime, even the older ones, then you are missing the point of homeschooling all together. I am a strong advocate for creative playtime, so much so that if you stopped by my house you may think that we are un-schoolers. In reality, my children can often be found on a school day playing at a station, designing something for a doll or stuffed animal or engaged in some other creative play. Many times I have suggested this myself in an effort to get them to dig a little deeper into creativity. Whatever the case may be, this is kind of my soap box if you will, learning through creative play.

While research suggests that creativity and intelligence are only moderately related, problem solving skills and relational ability are present in cognition and likewise perception and focus. In fact, perception and focus are just some of the components present in creative thought progression. Further research also suggests that creativity predicts intelligence and later college performance.

Transformational ability and divergent thinking are cognitive and affective aspects of creativity also present in pretend play. Affective processes include experience and expression, positive affect, affective transformation and use of affective themes in fantasy while cognitive aspects are found in the mediation of emotion.
What is the Goal Then?

So what do all these big fancy words mean? What does it amount to? The goal then for education should be to push creativity, intelligence, memory and learning. Should creativity require self-regulation and intelligence require creativity then it goes to reason that capturing a student’s attention and maintaining that attention would be a key component in exploiting learning. In logical sequence memory and learning will follow.

Creative Play Is Where We Learn to Relate
Let them play. Spend your money on math manipulatives not expensive curriculum. Have them construct a story using a dress up box not a Power Point, although this is a great skill too. They must play to learn, even the older ones. If your child is approaching fourth or fifth grade then you may need to give them assignments that force creative play time and innovation such as designing clothes, constructing robots or writing a drama, but they must play and often times they must be forced to use and focus that fantasy area of their brain. I have to say that my biggest frustration is parents that tell their children to put the dolls and Lego's away. Creative play is never something we should tell our students to stop. It should be something that they never grow out of they simply learn where to apply it. A girl that begins by playing with dolls, progresses to designing doll clothes then learns to sew and care for babies.

You may also want to read Expanding Problem Solving Skills with Drama
Improving Self-Esteem with Adventure Play
Teaching Children About Failure and Affordable Educational Toys.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Expanding Problem Solving with Drama

Problem Solving and Drama
Expanding Problem Solving Skills with Drama Lessons
Researchers studied a program in Costa Rica, called Performance Studies that teaches participants to apply creative problem solving through the performing arts. During each performance session participants are given a problem, usually a social conflict, to work through in a pretend manner and an environment where they are safe to succeed or make mistakes. Results of this program suggest that practicing problem solving throughout this program grows the ability of the participants to more effectively use problem solving skills in everyday life contributing to the social and emotional growth of the participants and later success in college. Allowing your child opportunity for creative play actually grows their brain and develop problem solving skill necessary for college success later in life. While most children participate in creative play during their early years, as tween years approach you may need to give them a more formal outlet. There are several affordable alternatives throughout the Phoenix Metro area in the area of theatre arts. 
Community Center
A great place to start is your local community center. I like to start at the community center because the classes are usually 4 to 6 weeks in length giving students a short session to try something new and complete it before they make a longer more expensive commitment. Sometimes we have had to wait a season for a class to start however we have found sports, cooking, art, dance, beginning Spanish and drama classes offered for usually under $60 per student depending on the class. I paid $25 per student for drama. 
Valley Theatre Troops
If your student enjoys drama at the community center and you are ready to take it to the next level, Moezart Productions offers both entry level and advanced drama for an affordable price as well as Valley Youth Theatre.

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

Legal Disclaimer

While it is true that I am working on a PHD in Psychology and very smart and frugal, I am not a medical doctor, criminal, personal or accident lawyer. I do not sell insurance nor am I an accountant or mortgage advisor. While some of my posts may offer good ideas on home, health and business solutions, I am not personally responsible nor is Considering frugal for any advice, ideas, recipes or menu plans that you decide to use. This blog is intended to be helpful and fun. Any products you purchase from my Amazon store or any other retailer advertised on my blog must be returned to them. I may sometimes endorse a product that I love. This is simply my opinion, you must try all products at your own risk. While I personally do not use tracking cookies or share information, my affiliates are third parties and they may do so. Please click, travel and purchase at your own risk.

frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8