Learning to Learn Some Strategies

The way you can measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 72 – 10th June 2009

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers, including those from the recent PD in Nedlands, Perth.  Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children. You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list. Thank you. Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.  Feedback is welcome.

PD Updates

Tuesday 14th July 2009 – Brighton, Hobart, Tasmania. Details to follow soon!

Thursday 16th July 2009 – Geneva Christian College – 197 Moriarty Road, Latrobe Tasmania –        
Booking form will be on the website shortly.  For further details contact me on info@kidzfizbiz.com.

Tuesday 20th October 2009 – Millfield Prep School – Edgarley Hall, Glastonbury Somerset, UK. Registration details to follow.

Please forward this newsletter to anyone in Tasmania or the UK that you think may be interested in attending.

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Learning to Learn – Some Strategies

Some children (and indeed some adults) have a great deal of trouble sitting and concentrating for even relatively short periods of time. Studies show that more than 50 minutes at a time and even adults drift off, unable to concentrate any longer. Ever noticed that university lectures are around 45-50 minutes long? There’s a reason.

Of course we don’t expect young children to be sitting and concentrating for such long periods of time but a few simple strategies can help even the edgiest of kinaesthetic learners.

While you have them on the mat, which is usually the place for such fidgeting, get them straight away doing activities that will integrate right and left sides of the brain. They often fidget because they simply cannot concentrate. They are not being naughty. When you’ve completed these tasks you’ll find a better level of concentration (not a perfect level – don’t be too ambitious) than before. You can then start your lesson. Keep it very visual to maintain the interest and concentration e.g. use props, books, puppets and so on to get your message across. All children will respond best to this but those that really struggle to sit still will be especially assisted.

Fingerplays – where would we be without them? They are not nonsense fillers – they really can help with concentration levels, especially if they involve crossing the midline of the body as this integrates right and left sides of the brain.

Try “Da Kommt Die Maus” (Here Comes The Mouse) from the Kidz-Fiz-Biz Multicultural Book. This is how it goes :

Da kommt die Maus    (here comes the mouse)
Da kommt die Maus    (run fingers up opposite arm)
Klingelingeling!            (ring, ring! – the doorbell rings) (pull ear lobe)
Ist der Herr zu Haus?   (Is the gentleman at home?)

Repeat this using the opposite hand and arm and pull on the opposite ear lobe for Is the lady at home? This becomes :

Da kommt die Maus
Da kommt die Maus
Ist die Frau im Haus?     (Is the lady at home?)

Or even this one, taken from the same source :

Mausi Mausi (Mousey, Mousey)
Mausi Mausi geht ‘bers Hausi’  (mousey, mousey goes over the housey – run fingers over body)
Wo wird’s denn rasten? (where will it rest?)(fingers stop)
In meinem Kitze-Kitze-Kasten  (in my tickle tickle box – palm)

Another idea is to have them trace a ‘lazy 8’ in the air in both directions, then do the same with the opposite arm. This requires a great deal of concentration for something so apparently simple.

For a big challenge ask the children to hold onto the tip of their nose with their right hand (pincer grip) then with the left hand hold their right ear lobe. They are now crossing over their midline. Some children may not even be able to manage this far. Now release the position and clap. Change to left hand on nose, right hand on left ear-lobe. Clap. Repeat all three positions. When they have this worked out, increase the speed (slightly) so that it is rhythmic.

Of course you would not do all of these activities and you won’t need to. Any of them will work.

Ensure children have plenty of water to drink before you sit them down for mat time. Dehydrated brains can’t function so you shouldn’t expect them to. Drinking water is a habit. Encourage the children in your care to develop this habit.

There are more songs, rhymes and Fingerplays in the Kidz-Fiz-Biz books. Remember also that children learn best when music is playing. It helps to relax them and it also opens up other areas of the brain which facilitates learning.

I came across this terrific u-tube video which I highly recommend you watch just to show that if you really want to concentrate, nothing is going to stop you, even trying to have a music lesson (piano) while a cat plays the piano next to you.                                                            

Click here to watch the piano playing cat!

Quotes of the Week

The smallest feline is a masterpiece. Leonardo Da Vinci



This is an interesting slant on the song of the same title found in the Kidz-Fiz-Biz Multicultural Book.




Hello Marlene!

I am delighted to hear that you are returning to the UK and would love to attend a course. Will you be using activities from your books?   I heard such wonderful reports of your workshop when you came to London a few years ago.

Best wishes,
Diana Thompson

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E: info@kfbmail.com

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Until next time – continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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