Ways to Improve Working Memory over the Holidays

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

Issue No. 122 – 27 November 2012

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Ways to Improve Working Memory over the Holidays

“Put on your socks, wash your hands, get your bag and I’ll meet you outside.”

I came across this article from the people at Sonic Learning (www.soniclearning.com.au), the ‘brain people’. Although written with a child in mind, it is actually a useful list for all of us to stop brain atrophy over the holidays. I trust you will find it useful for the children in your life as well as for yourself.

“Working memory is so important for a variety of situations that a child faces. Did you know that improving working memory can improve fluid intelligence and the levels of brain chemicals important for learning?

  1. Exercise! It helps make new brain cells – no couch potatoes these holidays.
  2. Play games together that involve memory (e.g. scrabble, sudoku, taboo, card games).
  3. Learn something new – a craft or a new computer game. Going on holiday? Learn some phrases in a foreign language.
  4. Eat healthily – plan ahead to include nutrients that stimulate brain function.
  5. Play memory games while travelling – e.g. “I went to the shop and bought an apple; I went to the shop and brought an apple and a can of coke…”
  6. Get plenty of sleep.

I’m not sure about the buying of a can of coke, especially coming straight after the comment about eating healthily, but given it’s about memorising a list, we can be somewhat more tolerant, although that phrase repeated often enough will be lodged in the memory so perhaps substitute ‘a bar of soap’, just in case.

For adults especially, I would add ‘drink plenty of water’ as I’m sure during the festive season everyone’s going to have the odd alcoholic beverage. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating but if you want your brain to be in the right place in the morning (or any time) then drink LOTS of water. Actually children need to get into the habit of drinking water, as it is indeed a habit, rather than asking for carbonated drinks, cordial or milk drinks every time they are thirsty. These drinks contain a lot of sugar and chemicals which need to be flushed out of the system so, in fact, are dehydrating. Water is what is needed for the whole body to function, but most especially the brain.

Berty Button Gets a Team! – FREE Postage until 31 December!

Suitable for children aged 4-8 years, written by Marlene Rattigan and Janeen Bradley and brilliantly illustrated by Ryan Jones; this is the first book in the Berty Button series. It is about how Berty Button comes to acquire two more members of the Berty Button fleet. It is very funny and endearing. When a complicated problem arises, the new recruits decide to solve the problem themselves as ‘we can’t let Berty Button down’ and so become worthwhile members of the fleet.

‘There are big trucks, little trucks and everything in between but only one Berty Button with his beautiful jelly beans.’ This is the opening of the story as we meet our hero, a massive truck covered in jelly beans.

This book is flying off shelves with many pre-ordered to delivery. Get your copy now for your classroom, library or for your own collection. Delivery is free (in Australia) until 31 December so please contact me at info@kidzfizbiz.com. Ordering off the website will automatically incur the post and handling charges. This paperback costs $17.95 including GST.

You can follow Berty Button and his team on Facebook and join in the fun!

PD DVD Let’s Get Physical – FREE Postage until 31 December!

This will be the easiest PD you’ve ever attended. You can even watch segments chosen from the menu, depending on what you are particularly interested in, whether songs, finger plays, dances, drama, skills or relaxation. It costs $49.50 including GST. It runs for 1 hour 34 minutes and contains a booklet with detailed accompanying notes.

Quotes of the Week

“Let your children overhear you saying complimentary things about them to other adults.” ~ Unknown

“As you grow older, you’ll find that the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.” ~ Zachary Scott


Here’s something from ‘The Maverick Spirit’ (www.therarespirit.com) for you to cogitate while relaxing over the holidays –

There are an awful lot of termites in the world. If you could pile all the termites on a giant set of bathroom scales and then pile all 6,642,299,400 (+) humans on another giant scale, the termites would weigh ten times more than we would!

For those of you not going away these holidays, this bit of trivia, also from The Maverick Spirit, may hearten you –

Flying isn’t everything! New Zealand’s famous bird, the Kiwi, can’t fly. It lives in a hole in the ground, almost blind and lays one egg each year. Despite this, it has survived for more than 70 million years.

Feedback (Comments from the Geraldton (WA) PD)

“It was all excellent, useful and lots of fun.” ~ Amber Quadrio, Curtin Uni Student

“Thanks very much. Please don’t wait another 6 years until your next visit. Fun, fun, fun!!! Great having Roni here also.” ~ Karen Scarpuzza, St John’s Primary School Geraldton, Kindergarten

“It was all excellent. Great fun and fantastic resources.” ~ Careena Gryta, Geraldton Primary School (special needs)

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@kidzfizbiz.com

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

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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