Minggu, 25 Juni 2017

Child Outdoor Games - Are Your Kids Breaking a Sweat?

Do you recall playing games like red rover, hopscotch, tag or marbles? Games that used to have you out playing until your mum came out calling for you because it was getting dark.

It seems like our own kids spend less and less time playing these simple active outdoor games. Studies have shown that the average child spends more than 20 hours a week playing video games alone and that doesn't even count the hours spent in front of the television!

Many parents blame modern society, particularly those in apartments with limited access to open spaces. Having their children playing out of their sight is understandably beyond their comfort zone.

Maybe us parents need to loosen the shackles on ourselves. Rather than sending our kids out to play, go toss a ball with them, play a chasing game or teach them something from our own childhood. The best way to get our kids to do what we want them to is to set a positive example.

Establish a routine of going on a family walk or visiting a park on a regular basis to play outdoor games together or even ride your bikes. So get out there and spend some quality time with your kids, the washing can wait, and you'll all feel the better for it.

Staying active is not only good for our kids (and our own) health, it is also beneficial socially for children to play games, particularly in a group situation. They can take on leadership roles, use negotiation skills and burn energy all while having fun. Best of all for parents you will have them sleeping soundly.

Minggu, 18 Juni 2017

Board Games - The Best Selling Board Games Of All Time

It must have been a crushing blow. It was 1934, the depths of the Great Depression. Charles Darrow was unemployed. But, he had an idea. Actually, he had a board game. He called the game Monopoly. He liked the board game and felt it was his ticket to financial success and out of the desperation of the depression. Darrow had taken his game to the famous Parker Brothers game company to publish and help him sell.

The Parker Brothers had agreed to look at the board game for Darrow. They were not impressed. Formed in 1883, by 16-year-old George Parker, the game publishing company had been making and selling games and puzzles for 51 years. During that time they had seen success and failure. Parker Brothers knew the game business. They knew what worked and what didn't. They knew what sold and what didn't. Representatives of the giant game company found 59 reasons why they did not think Darrow's game could be successful.

Charles Darrow simply didn't agree. He believed. He decided to publish Monopoly himself and market it through department stores. He had 5,000 copies of the board game printed.

Hope was scarce during that harsh Christmas of 1934. Money was even scarcer. And, Monopoly was a hit. Nearly all 5,000 copies of the board game sold. Within a year Parker Brothers was publishing the game. It was the best selling game in America by 1936.

Monopoly is now published in 89 languages and over 200 million copies of the board game have been sold. More than 500 million people have played the game. It has also been adapted as an electronic game. Monopoly is firmly entrenched as the best selling board game of all time.

Monopoly is a relative upstart compared to other popular board games.

The oldest known board game is called "The Royal Game of Ur" or the "Game of 20 Squares". This game was discovered in a 4,500-year-old tomb in southern Iraq. This game was played throughout the Middle East for perhaps 1,000 years or more. In fact, the rules of the game have been found in cuneiform tablets. Game aficionados can play this ancient game yet today, even though it has long ago faded from popularity.

Perhaps the oldest board game still popular today is chess, which first appeared in India by the sixth century A.D. By the year 1,000 it was being played throughout the Middle East and in Europe. The rules and game board design have evolved somewhat over the centuries, but the game is still very much the same as the ancient Indians played it. They could hardly have dreamed, however, of the world-class chess match play or the electronic versions of the game we enjoy today.

Another very old, yet immensely popular board game is checkers, also known as draughts. A form of checkers was being played by the Egyptian Pharaohs as early as 1600 B.C. This game has also evolved over the centuries. By the 12th century the game was adapted to the 64-square chessboard. Four hundred years later the rules involving capture were added, yielding essentially the same game we play today.

There is simply no way to tell how many copies of chess or checkers have been sold or how many people have played these games. If the numbers were known, they would have to be truly staggering.

Popular Board Games Share Common Traits

Other top selling board games include Yahtzee, Scrabble, Mahjong, Trivial Pursuit, Battleship and the Risk game. Most of these games were developed during the 20th century and all are still big sellers and tremendously popular.

These popular board games share some similar traits. Most of them involve specific strategies of play. When these strategies are employed successfully, the games are fun, challenging and intensely rewarding as players attempt to capture portions of the board and/or each other. Another common element in most of these board games is chance, or luck. Luck is introduced usually by drawing cards or rolling dice. The element of chance opens up possibilities for even more strategies of play. A final important trait of these games is that in one way or another they reflect the lessons of life. They teach competition and sportsmanship. They teach strategy and the lesson of never giving up.

Perhaps that is why Charles Darrow was so attracted to Monopoly. He believed that success comes by employing sound strategies to following a dream and never giving up. We are glad that Darrow didn't give up. We are glad he didn't throw the board game with 59 things wrong in the trash bin as he left the Parker Brothers plant in 1934.

Minggu, 11 Juni 2017

Violence In Schools - Prevention Is Everyone's Responsibility

Parents send their children to school thinking their child will be safe, cared for and protected. Sadly many children experience violence in schools of one form or another.

Preventing violence in schools is a difficult and overwhelming task. Many school administrators offer on campus police officers to patrol the schools. Some schools have even installed metal detectors to ensure safety. Teachers and Administrators try to prevent violent behavior in school by enforcing a No Tolerance Policy, but there are only so many educators, administration and security compared to the vast student population.

Violence In Schools Can Decrease School Morale

When there is violence in schools many administrators are left with no choice but to cancel many during and after school activities. When this happens, many children experience resentment toward the school and some students experience a loss of interest in education. Continued violence can also produce more anger and rebellion.

When children experience violence in schools often their grades decline, they might withdraw socially and have low self-esteem. If the hostility is not handled effectively, they might also cave in to peer pressure and retaliate with violent behavior.

Preventing Violence in Schools Is Everyone's Responsibility

If your school is dealing with violence in schools parents cannot just sit on the sidelines hoping the educators and school administration can solve the problem on their own. Parents need to get involved. Many school administrators have implemented peer mediation, anger management programs and peer counseling in order to alleviate the violence.

Preventing violence in schools can be draining and overwhelming for parents, school educators and administrators alike. However, with the encouragement and support of parents, teachers, administrators and students, school can once again be a peaceful place to learn.

Minggu, 04 Juni 2017

Student Leadership -Take Your Student Leadership Program to the Next Level

It is exciting times to be involved in student leadership training!

Many schools around the workld are beginning to rethink both the way they train their student leaders and also how they harness the tremendous leadership potential of their students.

Recently, I have been involved in two very innovative training programs that are worth noting.

First, a secondary school and four of its feeder schools conducted a training program together over two days at the end of 2004 for one hundred of their student leaders. The program focused on developing essential elements such as presentations skills and teamwork skills, as well as helping students clarify their roles. Classroom teachers conducted the sessions and the local secondary school was used as a base. A further training day took place at the start of the year to give the students an opportunity to develop their roles even further.

This training model has a number of benefits. Not only does it provide terrific professional development opportunities for teachers, but also it helps ease the transition to secondary school for many students.

Another good training program was organised by the Heads of Independent Coeducational Schools in Australia. Over two hundred and twenty elected student leaders gathered for a day of leadership workshops conducted by their teachers. Working in groups the students had the opportunity to expand their horizons when they mixed with leaders from over twenty different schools. As well as honing their skills needed for their particular roles this group began to look at ways to take their leadership to another level by developing self-initiated projects.

The use of self-initiated projects is a great way to develop the leadership potential of motivated, community-minded students, which fits the profile of the majority of student leaders.

Some examples of self-initiated projects that some primary schools have developed:

1. A student-lead fund-raiser for the Tsunami disaster.

2. An awareness-raising debate about the environmental effects of pine trees following storms that resulted in many houses damaged by falling pine trees.

3. A monthly Tea, Tots n Talk session to enable parents of toddlers to meet and discuss parenting issues. Child minding and refreshments were organised by the leadership team.

4. A High Fly Club established where students organise a range of speakers to visit the school and speak to students during lunchtime.

Such projects require supervision and a level of teacher assistance if they are to be conducted well, however the feedback I am getting from schools is that students are proving themselves to be extremely capable project and people managers when given the chance.

For schools looking to extend the activities of their student leaders beyond simply fulfilling their roles, by taking on extra projects, the following tips may be useful:

1. Form a leadership team. It is essential for student leaders see themselves as part of a team rather than as just a house captain or SRC representative.

2. Challenge them to devise a project with a set timeframe. The best projects come from the students themselves however they may need some ideas.

3. Alternatively, they can conduct a series of smaller projects in small teams. Some schools find breaking the leadership group into smaller teams is far more manageable.

4. Brainstorm activities then make up an action plan for students to follow. A sequenced action plan is essential to help them carry out the activities necessary to get their project happening.

5. Evaluate the effectiveness during the project and at the conclusion. Asking "what is working?" and "what do we need to improve upon?" are important questions for any project manager.

As schools look for new ways to develop student leadership potential the use of self-initiated projects is one way to make learning come alive for this capable, self-motivated cohort.