Monday, May 11, 2009

Clever Ways to Entertain Your Brain

( - Research shows that teachers typically spend between four to six weeks re-educating students on material they have forgotten over the summer. So how can parents prevent the dreaded summer brain drain when pool parties, play dates, and boogie boarding are all kids are thinking about?

Duane Sider, Director of Learning at Rosetta Stone, the premier language learning company, offers fun, cost-effective tips and tricks on how to keep kids minds active during the lazy days of summer break:

1. Get Lost at the Library – Research has show that reading four or five books over the summer had an impact on fall reading achievement comparable to attending summer school. Stop by reading hour, sign up for a children’s summer book club, or just grab a few books off the shelf to read at home. Added bonus? An air conditioned place to keep kids entertained.

2. Turn Your Home into an International Destination – Immerse your family in a new culture by researching your family’s heritage or a favorite foreign city. Engage kids fully in the adventure by visiting a nearby neighborhood steeped in that culture and helping them learn the local dialect by practicing it at home. Parents and children can learn a language together easily using computer-based language-learning programs such as Rosetta Stone, a completely interactive, immersion-based program for learning new languages on CD or online (best for ages 6 and up).

3. Create Your Own Cooking “Class” – How many pints in a quart? Cinnamon is which country’s major export? From measuring spoons to ingredients, preparing meals is the perfect to time to ask math, geography, and even science questions. Getting them involved in measuring the ingredients and cooking will help them better understand the math and science that goes into their favorite cookies.

4. Transform Your Backyard into a Science Lab – Bugs, animals and trees… Oh My! Your backyard is filled with a plethora of scientific wonders that will keep kids busy for hours. Challenge your children to identify and photograph as many species as they can.

5. Plan an Educational Summer Vacation – In addition to building sandcastles and boogie boarding for days on end, plan a family vacation to an educational or historic site. Explore the Grand Canyon, climb to the top of the Washington Monument, experience the Wright Brothers’ first flight in Kitty Hawk, NC or even venture to another country to experience a different culture and language.

6. Discover the Possibilities in Your Community - Local zoos, museums, and parks provide an economical destination for learning. Plan a group trip with friends and classmates to learn about foreign cultures, history, and animals big and small.

7. Get Up and Exercise Your Body and Mind – Getting the blood flowing always helps cognitive thinking. Therefore encourage games outdoors that require counting, group collaboration, and problem solving. Make sure to have plenty of water and sunscreen on hand.

8. Engage Their Investigative Aptitude: Arm your kids with a notebook, pencil, camera and their inquisitive mind. Have them interview neighbors and do research on your home town. This allows kids to sharpen their thought and question process.

9. Break out the Board Games: Whether it’s Chutes & Ladders, Monopoly, Scrabble or even Blackjack, it turns out these family favorites can also be great tools to reinforce a variety of classroom concepts. Combining education and fun will help create a positive learning experience for everyone and remove some of the stress of day to day living.

10. Logging Your Adventures – Through all these adventures and findings have your child keep a diary or notebook of their summer, or if you’re tech savvy, start a family blog so relatives can read about your child’s experiences. Give them an assignment every week. Write a letter to a relative, a poem, a creative short story or what their favorite exploration was that week.

About the Author

Duane Sider, director of learning for Rosetta Stone, is passionate about changing the way the world views language-learning. In his role, Duane has introduced Rosetta Stone solutions and the joy of the language-learning journey to a variety of audiences through numerous speaking engagements nationwide. Additionally, Duane has authored a number of articles and theory papers on immersion methodology in second-language acquisition. Throughout his career, Duane has traveled, performed and taught extensively throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, promoting international communication and advocating new education technologies. Duane holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Messiah College and a Master of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Virginia. He has written two plays, a collection of poetry and manages a theater company in Virginia.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, “If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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