January 2018
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  1. 5 Tips for a Winner’s Brain

    By Jody Amable

    Success: it’s what every parent wants for their child, and according to two researchers, anyone is capable of achieving it. Researchers Jeff Brown and Mark J. Fenske say that contrary to popular assumption, people aren’t just born into lucky circumstances that create winners; anyone can train their brain to think like one. Here are some suggested tactics from their new book, The Winner’s Brain, that your child can harness to succeed, no matter what her definition of success is:

    1. Be Resilient. Show your child that, as easy as it is to mope about failure, it’s just as easy to examine what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do better next time. “A winner’s brain recovers from life’s challenges by dealing with shortcomings, misfires, and failures whether they are self-generated or brought on by circumstances beyond one’s control. Winners re-frame failures so that they work to their advantage and recognize that when things don’t go according to plan the journey isn’t necessarily over—and in fact failure is often a new opportunity in disguise.”

    2. Narrow Your Focus. Brown and Fenske liken the idea of narrow focus to a racehorse wearing blinkers to shut out distractions in their surroundings. Your child can try distracting herself temporarily with a simple meditation exercise: disconnect from your project to take notice of the little things in your surroundings—the sounds, the sights, the smells. When she returns to her project, she’ll be able to zoom in on what she’s doing.

    3. Engage Your Opportunity Radar. Opportunity Radar is the ability to turn something that most people would perceive as a failure or an inconvenience into inspiration. “Winners are continually scanning for blips on life’s radar screen, and when a blip looks interesting, they investigate,” say Brown and Fenske. Brown and Fenske cite George de Mestral, the Swiss engineer who invented Velcro after removing some mountain thistle burrs from his dog’s fur, as an example of someone who made use of a finely-tuned Opportunity Radar. “People with exceptional Opportunity Radar recognize that opportunities don’t always come gift-wrapped; more often than not they come wrapped in a problem or an idea that everyone else has simply missed.” Encourage your child to develop her radar by embracing the aspects of an attempt that did work and expanding upon them, rather than throwing in the towel at the first sign of defeat.

    4. Take Care of Your Brain. “Optimal brain function is not a case of nature trumping nurture. It’s also how you nurture what nature gave you…and it turns out what is good for the body is usually good for the brain (which is after all a part of the body). We’ve identified four brain-care habits that are of particular importance for a healthy brain: physical activity, providing your brain with rich and meaningful experiences, eating a brain-healthy diet, and getting plenty of good sleep.” Most pediatricians recommend an hour or more of physical activity and between 10 and 14 hours of sleep for school-age children. Rich and meaningful experiences can be obtained through extracurriculars or hobbies. Foods rich in Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, found in many lean meats and oils, and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, are Brown and Fenske’s picks for the best brain food.

    5. Reboot Often. “If you find yourself in a slump with something you’re normally good at, try a reboot. Take a few lessons, read a book geared toward beginners, or practice some basic drills. Top athletes we’ve spoken with do this frequently, but it also applies to just about any skill or task where you find yourself stuck in a rut.” For your child, this can mean wiping the slate clean and going back to basics. If your child is struggling in math, suggest that she start her next round of studying with simple addition and subtraction problems, and work her way back up to speed.


  2. Ten Roles for Teacher Leaders

    Cindy Harrison and Joellen Killion The ways teachers can lead are as varied as teachers themselves. Teacher leaders assume a wide range of roles to support school and student success. Whether these roles are assigned formally or shared informally, they build the entire school’s capacity to improve. Because teachers can... Comment
  3. The Homework Debate

    By Johanna Sorrentino Every school day brings something new, but there is one status quo most parents expect: homework. The old adage that practice makes perfect seems to make sense when it comes to school work. But, while hunkering down after dinner among books and worksheets might seem like a natural... Comment
  4. Tips for Academic Success

    Use these tips and techniques to improve your academic performance and optimize your learning experience. Attend classes regularly Remember that no one makes you attend class, but with UC San Diego’s fast-paced quarter system, you miss valuable information if you skip a class session. Get to know your instructors and TAs... Comment
  5. Time Saving Tips for Teachers

    by K. J. Wagner At times, teaching can be overwhelming. You have stacks of papers to grade, conferences to attend, grades to calculate, emails to respond to, and, if there is any time left—teach. So much to do, and so little time in which to accomplish it. Included herein are teacher-tested...
  6. 7 Habits of Highly Successful Teens

    By Danielle Wood For teens, life is not a playground, it’s a jungle. And, being the parent of a teenager isn’t any walk in the park, either. In his book,The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey attempts to provide “a compass to help teens and their parents navigate... Comment
  7. Raising a Sensitive Child

    By Sue Douglass Fliess He cries at the drop of a hat—or a toy, in this case. She crumbles if you raise your voice at her, even slightly. He seems to have a bionic sense of smell. Before you write your child off as a drama queen, consider the fact that... Comment
  8. Why Kids Cheat and How to Stop It

    By Rose Garrett These days, it seems like cheating is everywhere, from the baseball diamond to the classroom. With stories of professional dishonesty and performance-enhancing drugs permeating the adult world, it’s no wonder that studies show academic cheating among children and teens on the rise. But while cheating on a test... Comment
  9. When Teenagers Lie

    By Lisa Medoff All teens lie, and that is because all people lie. We often do it in the service of sparing the feelings of others, but sometimes we lie for selfish reasons, such as making ourselves look good in the eyes of others. Teens are no different. As with many other adolescent behaviors... Comment

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