The old saying — a picture is worth a thousand words — is beautifully demonstrated by a collection of non-verbal videos at SpeechisBeautiful.com. The miracle of the web allows an expert to collect a group of relevant materials — in this case delightful, but wordless professionally produced film shorts — and share them with teachers and parents.
Children can watch the videos, observe how problems are solved, and then figure out how to talk about what they’ve seen. While the film shorts have no speech, they do have delightful sound effects, providing excellent learning opportunities for children who need conversational encouragement. Teachers who work with children of all ages will recall students of theirs who would benefit from this strategy.
Sarah, the host of the website is a bilingual speech pathologist, and she has curated a collection that will please and encourage the most timid speaker or slightly nervous bilingual child.
The image on the right describes Ormie the Pig, one video in Sarah’s collection.
Summer 2016 is almost here. It’s a great time for family fun, outdoor activities, visiting museums and historical sites, and choosing from all sorts of camps and special programs. Problem is, many kids spend a lot of their summer vacation in front of screens, and it’s one of the hardest time of the year to focus on digital moderation.
With less frenetic schedules and no school, the summer months are a good time for parents to learn more about the digital whirl that’s such a huge part of kids’ 21st Century lives. So when school is out, plan to do some connected world exploring and learning together, concentrating on projects that can help family members — children and their parents — connect with interesting and meaningful work together. Everyone will figure out more about digital life and add some variety to the types of digital activities that they typically do.
Below are 10 family digital project summer suggestions — all activities require collaboration — to consider for the upcoming summer vacation.
I just finished reading an engaging National Public Radio (NPR) reportabout Dana Suskind, MD, a University of Chicago surgeon, learning about her new book, 30 Million Words, Building a Child’s Brain. Dr. Suskind, who notes that we should speak to babies all the time that they are awake — when we play, when we help them with things, when out on walks and whenever else, because it ensures that the best neural development takes place. Baby talk has a huge purpose.
After writing my previous post, Does Digital Life Distort our Conversation Skills? about Sherry Turkle’s new book, I was reminded about the people we see talking on mobile phones while pushing wide awake babies in strollers. But I also pictured myself grabbing a glance at my phone when my baby grandson gets especially engaged with a toy — a time when I should continue to, well, babbling away with him.
Do our conversation skills weaken as we continually connect — virtually and physically — with our digital devices? How does this always-connected environment affect our children and youth? Are conversational and empathy skills developing as they should?
Sherry Turkle describes these problems in Reclaiming Conversation, a book that relates how the individuals in many of her interviews note — uncomfortably so — that they are less and less able to carry on a conversation confidently. More worrisome, children, in general, appear to be less able to converse, put themselves in another individual’s shoes, and empathize with that person. Turkle backs up her assertions with evidence.
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