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  • How Character Traits Can Make Learning Better

    by LearnEd

    Photo of a green shoot

    Predicting College Readiness

    “It’s important to educate the whole child,” says Dr. Kimberly O’Malley, a senior researcher at Pearson.

    trait quote box

    “This year we did a study with middle school-aged students," Kimberly explains. "We looked at student achievement, but also motivation, behavior, social engagement, family circumstances and school characteristics. We learned that motivation and behavior together are substantially more important predictors of college readiness than achievement alone.”

    The Most Admired Character Traits

    Parents were asked in a 2015 Pew Research Center survey about the character traits they considered most important. Honesty and ethics topped the list that year. One year before, it was responsibility. Another study, the 2015 State of Parenting survey, found respect for others was the number one quality parents sought to cultivate in their children.

    Here are some practical ways parents can foster a child's character development as it relates to their learning:

    Character Traits


    Trait Box 1

    Ninety-four percent of parents in a 2014 Pew Research Center poll listed responsibility as an important trait for their child to possess. One tool that parents can use to teach and instill responsibility is the Talking With Trees online resource hub, which offers downloadable coloring pages that teach good character traits using illustrations and real-world examples.


    Trait Box 2

    Sixty-two percent of parents in a 2015 Pew Research Center poll said it’s extremely important for their child to be hardworking as an adult. One of the first steps to teaching the value of hard work is increasing the opportunities for children to do some work themselves.

    A suggestion: Start small by assigning simple chores and allowing your child to work alone to complete tasks.


    Trait Box 3

    Seventy-one percent of parents in the 2015 Pew poll cited honesty and ethics as important values.  Check out this tips guide from Making Caring Common, a project of Harvard University’s graduate school of education.

    A suggestion: Pick one day of the week and make notes of how honest you and you child were that day. Discuss your notes together. What are the things that surprise you?

     

    You can find additional resources for parents at ParentToolkit.com. Please visit our Facebook page to share tips and information about what's most relevant to parents and caregivers when it comes to kids and learning.

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  • Five Puzzling Tips for You and Your Kids

    by LearnEd

    Puzzle on a table

    puzzles

    Read on to find a puzzle challenge ....

    With the latest and greatest technological gadgets, it can be puzzling how to entertain your kids. Sometimes the simpler toys, like board games, cards and puzzles can be just as entertaining as the gadgets.

    They can also be beneficial for your child’s growth and development.

    In celebration of National Puzzle Day, a national early childhood literacy non-profit called the Parent-Child Home Program has these tips on how to engage the family in puzzles to use motor skills, practice problem solving and work on task-oriented goals:


    1. Use Your “Magic Finger”

    Before beginning to piece the puzzle together, ask your kids to point out things they see and recognize. Depending on their age, ask them questions about the puzzle. For younger kids, ask them what kinds of items they see (animals, buildings or cars) or what kinds of colors or shapes they see (circle, hexagon, green or blue). For older kids, engage in some math problems asking how many puzzle pieces there are or by dividing the puzzle pieces by the number of people putting the puzzle together.

    Younger children may find it difficult to fit the pieces into place, and that’s okay! Be patient and adapt the activity to suit your child’s needs and skill level.


    conversation

    2. Create Conversation

    One of the most foundational supports for cognitive and social-emotional development is language use and conversation. While pointing out colors, sizes, shapes and numbers, ask open-ended questions to strike up more conversation. Ask questions like: What objects in this room are the same color or size as that puzzle piece?


    3. Keep In Mind the Purpose

    Use every opportunity to help your children consciously attend to the activity at hand. This will support their cognitive development and promote language use. If they seem distracted, start a conversation around what they are instead interested in, perhaps connecting it back to the activity. They will likely come back to the puzzle on their own. When they do, help them reengage and make choices by asking if a puzzle piece you put down seems like the right fit.


    4. Think Outside the Box!

    Puzzles don’t have to be conventional, so get creative!

    • Mix all of the puzzle pieces in a bag or bowl and take turns pulling one out and naming it – this can easily be turned into a game of charades! This game works great with a farm puzzle.
    • Play a memory game by laying out all of the puzzle pieces and giving your children time to examine all the pieces. While they have their eyes closed, take one piece away and see if they can figure out which one is missing. Then give your child a turn to stump you!
    • With paper and writing utensils, invite your children to trace the puzzle pieces, and then color it in with their own details.

    You've come to the puzzle challenge! Congratulations. (Scroll down below the image for the answer.)

    ANSWER: Throw the ball straight up in the air.

    The Parent-Child Home Program’s (PCHP) nationwide network of program sites provides low-income families with the necessary skills and tools to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. Together we are strengthening families and communities, and preparing the workforce of the future.

     

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  • Improving Learning Inside Folsom Prison

    by LearnEd

    Photo of an entrance

    Learning for All

    "Everyone is entitled to an education," says Pearson's Erin Smith. "Some of us just come to different opportunities at different stages in life."

    Erin has spearheaded a project along with colleagues LeeAnne Fisher and Kathryn Bass to put several dozen Pearson classroom e-books in the hands of about 300 inmates at California's Folsom Prison. She's working with tech company Innertainment Delivery Systems (IDS) to deliver these books digitally on secure, controlled tablets.

    The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) uses these eReaders for inmates working towards credits in college courses across the state's prison system through something called the Voluntary Education Program, or VEP. The CDCR reports:

    "At a recent focus group with the first cohort of inmates to use the eReaders for college courses, many of them agreed that the eReader has not only encouraged them to continue to take courses but it has also piqued the interest of other inmates who are unable to afford college textbooks."

    Using a Tablet for the First Time

    "A few years ago, the U.S. Department of Education outlined a recommended plan for the rehabilitation of inmates prior to their release," Erin Smith says. The plan suggested using "advanced technologies."

    Folsom Books

    "Technology is a lot cheaper for cash-strapped state prison systems," Erin says. "It also helps these inmates with tech skills that could smooth their re-entry process once they leave prison."

    "Some of these inmates are using a tablet for the first time," she says.

    Classes While Incarcerated

    Pearson book titles are being used inside Folsom starting this month.

    tablet

    "It's a project we could easily replicate to prison systems across the country," Erin says. "It's something Pearson should be doing because it's a reminder that learning can flourish in the most unsuspecting places."

    The CDCR says "in the case of current inmates attending college classes while incarcerated, it dramatically reduces the likelihood he/she will reoffend once back in society."

    'What Else Can We Do?'

    "So many people just didn't get the opportunities I had," Erin says. "My mom drove me to school, dad drove me to basketball practice—it was understood that I was going to college."

    "This Folsom project is a good reason to come to work today," Erin says. "Since we've done this, it makes me wonder: What else can we do?"

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John Fallon

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