Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dale’s Cone

Edgar Dale spent some time thinking and learning about how people learn and he developed the following schematic which is available on line at "Brain Friendly Trainer"

You can see by looking at the graphic that Dale wanted to know to what degree the modality of learning effects the retention of new information.  As you can see the Cone is divided into 2 sections, passive and active learning.  It is also apparent that 90% retention is achieved by actually doing something in a real or simulated manner, or in a vivid and dramatic presentation.  70% mastery is gained by receiving information and then participating in discussion or sharing in some other way what you’ve learned.   50% retention is gained by seeing and hearing the information given.  The C4K Staff Development System clearly handles what you can read (Vocational Training and e-Books), what you can hear (audio version of Vocational Training), what you can see and hear (Online Instruction in the form of Minis, Modules, Lessons and Classes).  Each of the Online Instruction Minis and Modules come complete with questions and discussion topics so the viewer can think and talk about what was just seen and heard.  The Walk Through A Day portion of Vocational Training is geared to the simulation of the real experience, and asks questions to help the reader think through what has just been learned. 

But the most exciting thing about Consult 4 Kids is that C4K provides rich and consistent content so the people who work directly with frontline staff and site coordinators can cap off the information by coaching and supporting the field while “doing the real thing”.  This is a powerful use of time, and this time is possible because the content is delivered 24/7 through the C4K System.  C4K understands the importance of both acquiring information and knowledge and the process of implementing that information.  If you need help with implementation, through our live, face-to-face training and field coaching, we guide and lead folks through simulations and real experiences.  We coach and support, and while doing so, build the capacity of the group to do the same for one another.
To learn more about the C4K Staff Development System, check out our website at www.cosultfourkids.com or communicate with us at support@consultfourkids.com

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Prizes for BOOST have begun!

At this years, BOOST Conference in Palm Springs, CA, Consult4Kids is giving away some MAJOR PRIZES! A grand prize consisting of a continuous learning/training program and a live training by Dr. CynDee Zandes. Exciting, I know! The contest has started via Facebook and Twitter.

The count down has begun. We will be reporting from the BOOST Conference and will be giving you and exclusive inside scoop. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

School Age Care Tester

Who is taking care of our children?  According to the National Association of Child Care Referral Agencies (NACCRA), over 600,000 child care workers can be found in child care centers across the United States caring for millions of children. 
Who is paying for this care?  Child Care Aware of America shares that in the United States about 90 percent of the cost of child care is assumed by parents.  This is supplemented by more than $10 billion in government money that is spent annually by the states for child care.
Are these staff members prepared to be positive role models and mentors for youth that families want?  The key to a strong and profitable school age care program is well-trained staff who can deliver a high quality program while building strong, positive relationships with youth.  Although there are education requirements that must be met to enter the child care field, refresher courses and “bench building” is critical.  School Age Care is a relationship-based business and staff needs support in learning how to build solid relationships with youth while engaging them in meaningful, active, and collaborative learning opportunities. 
C4K’s School Age Care Basics and make training available to your staff 24/7 through our online instruction portal.  There are over 110 videos (minis, modules, lessons, and classes) that share best practices for Relationship Building, the Ages and Stages young people “age through”, Project-Based Learning, helping with homework, dealing with parents, and creating the “place to be after 3:00.”  Katie Taylor shared, “When you are dealing with people it’s all about communication, communication, communication and I feel I have improved the way I communicate with my husband, family, friends, and even my own children. I think back to the countless hours of youth development training each time [I am with my children} The training I received was invaluable and I am often reminded of how lucky I was to have been able to be a part of it. I will continue to apply the valuable [C4K] teachings to every aspect of my life."
Get your subscription to the School Age Care Staff Development Program coming soon. C4K also offers a multi-site user agreement that will significantly lower the cost when there are multiple sites involved. Go online at www.consultfourkids.com and check take advantage of this opportunity by clicking on the Online Store link.  Or if you have further questions, contact us at support@consultfourkids.com or by calling (661) 322-4347.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Summer Learning Training

Did you know?  Two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).

The key to a strong summer of learning for youth is a well trained staff.  They must be armed with the right MIND SET and strategies to create summer success.  Summer learning should be an experience for youth rather than simply a program to attend.    

Check out C4K’s Summer Learning Basics and train your staff on Facts About Summer Learning Loss, Program Spirit, Planning Your Summer Program, Selecting and Developing a Theme, the Difference Between Traditional Summer School and Summer Learning, Engaging Youth in Your Summer Program, as well as the basics of high-quality program and exemplary performance.  A total of fifty-nine videos have been selected to strengthen your summer program. This staff development opportunity is available 24/7 from any computer.

Michelle Jenny from the Downey ASPIRE program says, “Consult 4 Kids is an important website for the [out-of-school time] field. Being able to provide technical assistance to staff at any time is invaluable. With less time and resources for in person training, this website fills the void. Being able to assign videos or to have staff explore on their own, provides flexibility.” 

Get your subscription to the Summer Learning Staff Development Program NOW!  It’s only $29.99 per site for a full year.  C4K also offers a multi-site user agreement that will significantly lower the cost when there are multiple sites involved.
   Or if you have further questions, contact us at support@consultfourkids.com or by calling (661) 322-4347.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Common Core—Fit for Afterschool Programming

Isn’t it amazing that the one thing both the left and right can agree on is trashing the notion of the Common Core?  In a post by Andrea Neal, an adjunct scholar and columnist with Indiana Policy Review Foundation, she begins by stating “When right and left wing activists find themselves on the same side of a controversy, it’s worth probing why.”  She goes on to say    that both question who will profit financially from “this new set of national academic standards for English and math”, but they differ on other points.  The right “is concerned about the imposition of a ‘federal curriculum’ and the loss of local control [while the] left fears ‘one size fits all’ instruction that will turn teachers into widget makes whose primary purpose is to prepare students for testing, not learning.”

This is all interesting because to me the central question of the Common Core is will it focus on the learner and the learning, rather than on a program or the educator?  While we can certainly select one program or another and no one can argue that we need high-quality professional educators, when the end you seek is the implementation of a particular program or you are focused strictly on the delivery system, the recipient, the learner, is often ignored. 
We know that effective learning requires the learner to be active, support the development of mastery, broaden horizons, is meaningful to the person learning, and requires that the person works collaboratively within a team.  When I look at Common Core, I see the possibility of focusing on the learner and the learning experience.  I see the opportunity to help youth develop critical Habits of the Mind.  I see education focusing on the future needs of business and country.  I see the possibility of reforming a K-12 System that no longer is effective or efficient. 
To learn more about the Common Core and the work that Consult 4 Kids is doing to prepare afterschool staff to support this active learning, check out our website at www.consultfourkids.com
To read the full article by NEAL :

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Begin With the End in Mind

Was Frankenstein’s monster what the scientist was really looking to create?  Did the scientist believe that by harvesting a variety of body parts and piecing them together he would create a pathetic creature that was viewed by the neighbors as frightening and evil?  Did he think that by creating a “bride” for his Frankenstein he would remedy that problem?  Had he really thought through the “end” he desired or was he so blinded by his need to “create life” that he could not see the inevitable end?
It is important that we really consider the “end in mind” when we plan our yearly program.  It is important to remember that the end in mind is not creating a “robust 4th grader”.  Being in 4th grade lasts for only 180 days, and then the youth is on to the next level.  So we could think of the “end” as a series of annual goals and that each year is a piece of the continuum that is preparing youth to be well-rounded, caring and capable adults.  This long-view will help us to consider both the “real end” as well as the annual benchmarks. 

When planning, it is also important to remember that afterschool programs are not the only thing that influence youth.  We need to contemplate what the school day will be doing, what’s going on in the community and the neighborhood, the stability of families, and so on.  While these things should not dictate the “end in mind”, they will either support or detract from the accomplishment of the goals we set for the year.  So with this understanding, you are encouraged to begin with the bite-sized chunk of the school year, asking, “If I could only accomplish one thing this school year, what would it be?”  Then double check to be sure that this year’s goal will help achieve the ultimate goal of more well-rounded youth and young adults who are capable of giving back to society and their friends and families. 

Remember, we don’t need to create a Frankenstein Monster.  We need to support youth as they are learning more and becoming an adult that will know him or herself, contribute to the team (personal or professional) they find themselves a part of, and give back to society. If you need more help with planning, contact Consult 4 Kids at support@consultfourkids.com .  Our team of trainers and consultants might be just what you heed to jump start into planning with the end in mind.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Science Symphony

Have you ever watched the Science Symphony videos?  They are wonderful!  The symphony combines music, information delivered by some of the greatest minds in science, amazing pictures and visuals, into 3-6 minutes of interesting and entertaining symphony.  If you are trying to jumpstart interest in science with your students, this might be a perfect way.
I found these videos quite by accident when I was looking for some “science music” (although I’m not really sure what that would be) that we could play behind an electronic photo album of students participating in a science fair.  The Science Symphony popped up. 
My favorite is The Quantum World which begins with Morgan Freeman asking the question, “What are we really made of?”  It goes onto discuss the fact that quantum theory explains the world differently and describes the universe as being made up of 12 particles of matter and 4 forces of nature combined in ways that are hard to imagine. 

Another one that definitely interesting is The Poetry of Reality (An Anthem for Science).  This highlights numerous scientists who talk about the importance of science.  Carl Sagan, Jacob Bronowski, and Richard Dawkins, all weigh in.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson speaks of being scientifically literate and how the world looks different when you have this literacy and you are empowered to see new things.  Jill Tarter shares that the story of humans is a story of ideas that shine light into the dark corners of understanding.  Brian Greene says that we are all part of a larger universe of reality.  If you are interested in hearing from the most renowned scientists, check out the Symphony of Science and watch it.
C4K has some instructional videos that focus on STEM Education.  For a quick overview, click on this 
What is STEM?  and watch it.  If you want more information, contact us support@consultfourkids.com

Thursday, April 11, 2013

“I Pick C”

If you haven’t seen this video, Why We Need Common Core:  click on this “I Choose C” and take the time to watch it:   When I first received the link to this video I must admit, I almost didn’t click on it.  Then I thought, “What the heck!” and clicked.  I’ve since watched it more than two dozen times, each with different people who work in afterschool programs, just like me.  I must also admit that I laughed hysterically the first time I watched—certainly because it was humorous and well done, but also because had I not laughed, I would probably have cried.
In this short video, K-12 education is laid low.  When the young girl interviewing for a position was asked what her strengths were, she asked for answer choices.  When she was told there were no answer choices, she considered and then said, “I pick C.” When asked why, she stated that her fifth grade teacher had told her when she didn’t know an answer to pick “C”.  The man conducting the interview comments sarcastically, “It sounds like your fifth grade teacher really prepared you for your future.” 
This makes me wonder how much damage we have done in the name of becoming basic, proficient, and advanced to current students.  Education is about teaching young people to think critically, to access and analyze information, to work collaboratively, think creatively, and communicate effectively.  Yet what we have done is create a generation of students who want to pick “C” and think, pair, share their way to right answers.  This needs to stop!  You have an opportunity in your afterschool program to create a space for learning, for hands-on experiences and review, reflection, and debriefing to create a new style of learning—one that will empower youth to only pick “C” when it makes sense. 
Let us know what you think about this topic and video.  Respond to this blog or contact us directly at support@consultfourkids.com

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations

One of the Habits of the Mind is “applying past knowledge to new situations.”  This is a critical piece in the how do we make learning stick puzzle.  We are always looking to connect new learning with what is already known.  In the school setting we have called this activating “prior knowledge”.  When children come to school they know things.  Actually they probably know much more than we think.  What they need help with is tapping into what they know and seeing how that information applies to a new situation.  For example, if a child understands that when you place a toy car on an incline plane it will roll down the incline and that the speed will accelerate based on the height of the ramp, that information can be applied to understanding why when you are 16 and driving for the first time on a downhill stretch of the freeway, it is important to check your speed and realize that you are picking up momentum just like the toy car did when it went down the incline ramp. 

Accessing prior knowledge and connecting it to the current situation needs to be routinely encouraged.  While there are many strategies to do this, here are three of my favorites.  You can help youth make connections by asking questions that require youth to think about the specifics that they know.  You can then guide the conversation until the youth has discovered his/her own connections to the present situation.  You are encouraged to ask “what” and “how” questions rather than getting stuck on “why.”  Another way of activating prior knowledge is to ask the youth to close his/her eyes and visualize a certain experience they have had.  Remember, that the more concrete the visualization (complete with color, sound, size, textures), the easier it is to make a connection.  A third strategy is asking youth to describe an experience they have had and then answer questions about the experience from a peer group.  Each descriptive answer should help to make the experience more real for the listener and the speaker.  Helping youth access prior experiences and knowledge is one of the keys to supporting learning.

Applying past knowledge to new situations is one of the 16 identified Habits of the Mind, fundamental in the actualization of the Common Core Standards.  Check in with C4K to learn about training on strategies to implement the Habits of the Mind in your afterschool program.  Log on to www.consultfourkids.com, and enter your interest in the Training Request Tab.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Thinking Flexibly

Have you seen the commercials for the Brain Gym?  Have you read about Whole Brain Teaching strategies?  It is easy to visualize a brain with arms and legs doing a floor exercise or vaulting into a world record.  This is a metaphor for thinking flexibly.  When we become rigid in our thinking we have created a habit, one way of doing something without question.  While habits—the way you tie your shoe, the morning routine for getting off to work, or the path you travel on your brisk walk in the morning help us create a necessary routine, when we allow the way we think to fall into an unquestioned habit, we are ignoring possible solutions and current best thinking.

My eleven year old grandson is the epitome of thinking flexibly.  When he wants to know more he simply goes on line, Googles the information he thinks he wants, follows the information threads wherever they lead, reads, watches YouTube, and exchanges information with other youth around the world, and then decides what “he thinks”.  He understands, intuitively, the importance of accessing and analyzing information, and is totally comfortable with changing his thinking or how he might think about something, easily.
Thinking flexibly requires that we understand the need to change our point of view when we find new evidence, and that it is our job to keep seeking new evidence.  Thinking Flexibly is like playing Twister with your brain—right frontal lobe green, medulla red, and so on.  The ability to be flexible in our thinking allows us to see emerging possibilities and be open not attached to outcomes.

Thinking flexibly is one of the 16 identified Habits of the Mind, fundamental in the actualization of the Common Core Standards.  Check in with C4K to learn about training on strategies to implement the Habits of the Mind in your afterschool program.  Log on to Consultfourkids and enter your interest in the Training Request Tab.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Little Engine That Could

Do you remember reading the story, The Little Engine That Could when you were a child?  Did you chant along with the Little Engine, when it said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” on its way up the hill and it exultation on the down side of the hill when it chugged, “I thought I could, I thought I could…?”  I believe that most kids enjoy this story, but I am not always sure that the message of the story sticks with them into adulthood. 

The fact of the matter is this; everything in life is not easy.  In fact, most of the things worth having aren’t easy to come by.  Think about it, if gold were plentiful it wouldn’t be valuable.  It is valuable because there isn’t a readily available supply.  That’s the way it is with achievement.  It takes time and effort combined with desire and perseverance.  The reason the Little Engine made it to the top of the hill was not because it was the biggest, the shiniest, or the most likely, it made it to the top because it didn’t give up, it kept going even when the evidence demonstrated that it might not be successful.

This is a lesson we need to help our young people today understand.  In the words of either Joseph Kennedy or Knute Rockne (they’ve both been given credit), “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  In other words, when the situation is hard, those who can persevere and remain strong don’t quit.  Every day in our programs we need to help young people understand that they need to stick to it, especially when it is difficult.  It will strengthen their “perseverance muscle” which will help them to delay the need for gratification in a world that appreciates quick and instant.

Perseverance is one of the 16 identified Habits of the Mind, fundamental in the actualization of the Common Core Standards.  Check in with C4K to learn about training on strategies to implement the Habits of the Mind in your afterschool program.  Log on to Consult4Kids  and enter your interest in the Training Request Tab.  

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