Friday, June 6, 2014

GIFTED ED. Do we need "gifted tracks"? Should we emphasize instead providing all children with the best possible education? Those are some of the questions under discussion at a New York Times feature called "Room for Debate." Got an opinion on the topic? See what the debaters think.

ADHD AND THE BRAIN. Researchers studying dopaminergic (that's a new word for us) neurons, involved in motivation and reward among other things, have found that a certain dopamine receptor can influence nervous system cell growth; a deficiency in the receptor results in "miswiring" and ADHD-like behaviors in mice. The research write-up is a little technical (at least to us), but you can read more at Science Daily.

FITNESS AND THE BRAIN. Physically fit kids have "faster and more robust neuro-electrical brain responses while reading," according to recent research. The study doesn't show cause and effect -- just a link. But if you're interested, read more.

HANDWRITING AND THE BRAIN. With the de-emphasis on cursive handwriting in the Common Core Standards, some clinicians and researchers worry that something might be lost. "Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information," according to an article on the topic. The article cites a 2012 study of kids asked to reproduce a letter or shape either by tracing it, drawing it, or typing it. Drawing the letter activated areas of the brain associated with reading and writing. Find out more.

SPEAKING OF CCS, NPR has an article on them that provides (for those of us who have attempted to avoid the topic) explanation, context, and history. The article differentiates standards and curriculum, and also explains how educational publishers reacted to the new standards, along with how difficult it's turning out to be to develop new textbooks to support the standards. Read more.

INDIVIDUALITY AND THE BRAIN. From the Dana Foundation: "Mounting imaging evidence suggests that brain circuits involved in our emotional responses are highly plastic and change with experience, affecting our temperament." Intrigued? Read more.

NCLD has a couple brief "slide shows" online. One presents 10 common myths about LDs, based on NCLD's recent survey on perceptions of learning disabilities. Apparently one in five adults believes that an LD is caused by poor diet. Find the other myths. The other slide show offers 17 ways to start a conversation about learning disabilities from a parent's perspective. For example, to a child: "If you tell me what about having LD is making things hard, we can find solutions and help... together." NCLD says it's looking for readers to share conversation starters that have worked for them -- so maybe read theirs and contribute yours.

AND FINALLY, THIS. We've posted what arguably should have been the first of the videos on our YouTube channel, this one on the basics of twice-exceptionality. 
 It's called "What is 2e?" It's probably pretty basic for our readers here, but comments welcome and please pass it on to those who might benefit. Thanks! Find the video.

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