Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Annual Testing, The Brain, Energy Drinks, More

WE AT 2e NEWSLETTER ARE RESEARCHING sources of professional development for educators on the topic of twice exceptionality. Those sources might be conferences held by associations; university courses or seminars; state department of education offerings; and more. If you know of such resources, please do us the favor of telling us about them so that we can include as many as possible in our article and listing. You know where to send them -- Mark at 2eNewsletter dot com. Thanks!

ANNUAL TESTING, and standardized testing in general, has become a polarizing issue. An opinion piece at the site of The New York Times lays out some of the benefits. And by inferring a little into the statements made by the author, it's possible to see how the "class" of 2e students as a whole might be helped. For example: the author tells how testing can be necessary to see how well a school is serving particular groups of students such as Hispanics, because annual, all-school testing might be the only way to include sufficient numbers of the particular group to gain meaningful insights. And the author says of testing, "It lets schools follow students’ progress closely, and it allows for measurement of how much students learn and grow over time, not just where they are in a single moment." That's certainly of import for twice-exceptional students. Read the piece and see what you think.

RIGHT-BRAIN, LEFT-BRAIN. Old concept, but a new article at Los Angeles Magazine provides some perspective and history on the idea. The article provides commentary from the researcher and professor who was supposedly the first to define the dichotomy in humans and provides context on the origin of the differentiation. The author concludes, "...your sense of your abilities and shortcomings is just that—a perception that isn’t necessarily cognitive reality. If you’re bad at math, blame a lousy teacher." Find the article. Separately, if you're into psychology myths, there's a TED talk you might enjoy; find it.

MULTISENSORY LEARNING. We blog about different learning styles. Now scientists have shown that apparently images or motor activity can help in at least one learning task, memorizing foreign language vocabulary words. The study compared learners who did strict rote memorization; learners who were exposed to an image representing the word/concept to be learned; and learners who performed a motor action related to the word, such as drawing the word/concept in the air. Looking to expand beyond rote learning for that bright kid you raise or teach? Check out the study.

ENERGY DRINKS -- drinks containing caffeine, sugar, and other ingredients -- are associated with a an increased risk (66 percent higher) of hyperactivity and inattention, according to a recent study that compared energy drinks to sodas and fruit drinks. According to an article in Time, the AAP recommends against the consumption of energy drinks by children. Find the Time article; find a press release on the study.

THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR LEARNING DISABILITIES points out that one in five children have attention or learning issues, but that only one in 20 are formally identified. This as part of a primer on "Rethinking the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind." Find out how NCLD thinks the law could be improved.

READING ABOUT SCIENCE. A writer at MedicalDaily.com offers perspective on something we -- and readers of this blog -- do all the time. And that is reading someone's reporting on a study and trying to conclude exactly what to take away from it. This particular science writer suggests that we understand that science writers need to make things interesting, and suggests that we understand that correlation is not the same as causation. Find out more.

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