Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Preventing Learned Helplessness

Preventing Learned Helpless and Developing Confidence

As a mom, I have often found myself 'hovering' around my child, ensuring both her safety and obedience. From the age of birth till 2, I become a 'snow plow' parent, plowing away the obstacles in my child's life to ensure a smooth and safe journey from each activity that she created. Finding myself on the jungle gym with my daughter, sitting in every room with her, monitoring her every move. Although I believed that I was helping and supporting her, I also needed to give her independence as she grew. It become obvious when I saw other children her age showing boldness and climbing up the stairs and going down the slide fearlessly. My daughter struggled to feel confident climbing the stairs. In this moment, I realized that it was time to give my daughter more power and rein allowing her to develop confidence. Developmentally, I believe that children do require a bit of 'snowplowing,' but being aware of their growth is crucial, as well as their temperament. My child does not posses a dare-devil approach to life, she assess and weighs options, even at a young age, teaching independence was a struggle more so than obedience due to her innate nature.

A continued snow-plow approach develops what is know as learned helplessness, the lack of motivation and confidence to solve problems due to their conditioned state of being helped. It is natural for parents and teachers to want to help our children and kids, most of the time it is necessary, however, it is not how much we help them, but in what way that causes issues. I know that had I continued to hover over my daughter and not allow her to fail and make mistakes, I too would have conditioned her to learn helplessness.

When we pull a part the word, learned helplessness, we see both learn and help, contradictory by nature. To learn is defined as to "gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught," (Oxford Dictionaries). The definition of help: "make it easier for (someone) to do something by offering one's services or resources" (Oxford Dictionaries). In essence we are teaching our child to "acquire skill by being taught" to constantly accept other's ability "to make it easier for" themselves. We are creating a culture that lacks motivation.

How can we create proactive students/children?

First, it is important to self assess our behavior as parents or teachers with students. It is especially easy to be quick to offer help to students that may have a learning difference, difficult situation, or even an injury. It is important to take a broader view on our roles as parents and look at how can I actually help teach my child the skill they are requiring help for. Most times children really do need help, but their motivation and drive to attempt to solve the problem has been downplayed so often that they lack the tools to feel confident and capable. We will need to take  active steps to help our children learn how to solve a problem.

 Back to my story about being on the jungle gym with my daughter, I still occasionally go on the jungle gym with her, especially if it is a new park, and help her observe safe spots and appropriate activities her. Here I am using what I know about my daughter's need to observe and assess situations and accompany her. Then I help her choose a slide or two to go down with me. She sits on my lap and we ride down. The next time we go up she sits between my legs so as feel the sensation of riding alone. Finally, she is required to tour the jungle gym on her own. When she is ready to attempt to slide down, I help pull her legs to the edge and help her down. Finally, she will need to do it herself.

I create steps that start with full dependence and slowing progress towards independence. This safely ensure that a child feel both safe and confident in any given situation. Hopefully, using this approach you will begin to see how important it is to give our children opportunities to attempt success. Supporting with words of encouragement is also a key component in helping students to not feel stuck in their failure, resorting back to that learned helplessness.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Review: The Husband's Secret

Book Review: The Husband's Secret

There's no secret that this is a popular book. I know several people who have read and enjoyed this book. It's a quick and enjoyable read.  I decided to give it a go after looking on Lauren Conrad's website and finding her post on Fall Reads. I love her website because it gives a few favorite reads each season.

The Husband's Secret is about three women and how their stories intertwine. Cecilia, Rachel, and Tess are ordinary women with no link between them until the husband's secret is revealed. Great character development as you will find yourself really understanding these women and their actions. Moriarty does a fabulous job of creating real women on whom you believe are your friends. A quick read.

As I was describing this captivating plot to my husband, I realized that it is similar to a Lifetime movie, lot's of twists and turns, to captivate you but ends on a predictable note. The Epilogue is my favorite, which I believes saves this book from being like too many of those one note Lifetime movies.

Have you read The Husband's Secret? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

What is Common Core?

What is Common Core?

Common Core is an agreed upon set on standards that almost all states have began to implement in their schools systems.
 The Common Core State Standards are essentially focused on English Language Arts and Math. The standards have become streamlined and is focused on having students graduate from high school prepared for college.  The standards were created by a group of teachers, school chiefs, administrators, and other experts.  According to Corestandards.org the standards are:

1. Research- and evidence-based
2. Clear, understandable, and consistent,
3. Aligned with college and career expectations
4. Based on rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher-order thinking skills
5.Built upon the strengths and lessons of current state standards
6.Informed by other top performing countries in order to prepare all students I our global economy and society.

(The above information was pulled and summarized from Core Standards)

What Common Core is not.

Common core is not a curriculum and it is not a roadmap, but a destination. States, School Districts, and teachers have the opportunity to create and use the their creativity and enthusiasm to develop dynamic lesson plans to help students develop higher level thinking.

In Summary...

Common Core are standards that have been streamlined. There are definelty negatives to all approaches to of education, but Common Core really has the best intentions. .  Often times I have found comments and photos of student's homework that claims to be Common Core...but it isn't . Common Core is not a curriculum, nor has one been mandated. Many states and school districts are still finding the a comfortable path when it comes to meeting the Common Core Standards.

What are your frustrations with Common Core? Comment below on what issues you have found while teaching students or helping your child with homework?

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This post was originally posted on Little Mrs Teach.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shoe Review: Under Armour Speedform Gemini

Shoe Review: Under Armour Speedform Gemini
(found on Under Armour website)

This is the 5th edition in the Speedform family following: Speedform RC, Speedform XC, Speedform StudioLux, and Speedform Apollo.

This shoe fits like a glove. It's light, but still has a bit of cushion, allowing the runner to have some stability, but some great spring in their stride as well. 

This shoe is the 5th shoe of Under Armour that I have used and I am a huge fan. A very comfy shoe that is like a second skin. I experienced no shin splints, ankle soreness, or knee pain while wearing these shoes. When running in new shoes, I have found that it takes a few runs to adjust to the shoe. Some shoes come with a few of the above injuries for the first few miles, but eventually find their stride. 

The Speedform Gemini was a relief to slip on a pair and just get me.. Sounds so strange, but after the many shoes and miles I've run, it's tough to find a pair of shoes that you find both comfort and speed with. Also I recovered well after my run.  Here is data from my runs with these shoes:

This is a wonderful shoe for both novice and seasoned runners. It eases you into whatever pace and mileage you have for the day!

Fits like second skin
Adapted quickly with no negative side effects

Medium support

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These thoughts are my own. I did receive these shoes for free from Under Armour/Map My Fitness.
This post was first featured on The FIThusiast

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites: Spring Edition

Welcome and Happy Friday!!
Spring Edition

1. Carey Tee by Lorna Jane for 55.99
2.Water: Sea Me Run Shorts by Lululemon for $58.00
3. Low Rise Leggings in Futura by Onzie for $65.00
4.Tropicola Sonar Capri in Dress Blue by Athleta  for $74.00
5. StudioLux Artsy Capri in Faded Ink by Under Armour for $69.99
6.Inspire Capris by Zella for $64.99

Here are my favorite Blog Posts from this week:

Work Every Muscle With This Printable Bodyweight Routine by FitSugar

Turkey and Feta Burgers by Eating Bird Food

Skip The Squats, And Do These 13 Booty-Sculpting Moves by FitSugar

Peek At My Week-Oviparous Animals-Free Printable by Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

I Messed Up! RunFastMama is Here To Stay by Run Fast Mama

Linking Up today with Jill and Heather

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's Spring AND Testing Season

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Hooray for Spring, but with that comes a whole lot of yuck, Allergies, Daylight Savings and the dreaded end of the year testing. Whether you are participating or opting out,  assessment season is here.

Why Assessments Cause Stress?

Due to the high stakes standardized testing, there are plenty of reasons why testing causes stress. Our American culture is very competitive and strives to be the best. It’s essentially linked to the American’ dream, the dream to become successful, means that you have to beat out others to achieve that success, or so it’s been instilled in us. The buildup of testing season is a great deal as well. Pressure is started at the top with districts and administrators hoping that their teachers and classes receive high scores, bettering their chances of  outscoring others with a high API score. This trickles all the way doen from the offices in education, to the classrooms in our schools, to the homes were we dwell. This season can be brutal. Students feel this stress as well, knowing that although there is no “grade” that goes with this test..there is bound to be disappointment.

What can We Do to Lighten the Load?

Too bad there isn’t a one click fix for  test anxiety. I’m no expert, but I must say that the fact that I look forward to taking tests (even though I don’t do particularly well), must give me some presidence on this situation. Why hasn't the test anxiety affected me?

It's all perspective. Tests weren't always a challenge I strives for, they were filled with fear, as I knew my low scores would result in parental disappointment (to me, the worst kind_.

Here are some sure fire ways to make a test day, a walk in the park

1. Change the Perspective. If we as test-takers or parents/guardians of students taking tests, we have to look at is a a small piece of work. Focus on the things your child come home eager to share. This will continue to develop confidence i your child so that you can help them relieve some of the stress.

2. Make it a special day. Befoer taking my tests to become a teacher (yep there was a total of 5, not including assessments needed for employment) I would wake up early, after a good night's rest, and treat myself to something special. Usually an iced whole milk chai tea latte. I arrived early to the testing location, to ensure that running late, wouldn't add additional stress. Setting the tone for the day is important, another part of developing confidence.  Doesn't your child have a favrorite treat? A favorite Song? Would they enjoy taking a different way to school? Is there a hobby taht they enjoy that could be included in the morning (reading, shooting hoops,etc)? Finding ways to set up the day is very important (This doesn't mean that your child should rule the day and eat loads of candy. You are still the parent and setting boundaries important ).

3. Be Detectives. It may just be my quirky self that enjoys searching and finding things, but this is a powerful tool for test0taking. Help your child look at tests as they are the expert and know the answers. Some problems have easier clues and some won't be able to be solved today. Whe you take the helping your child understand that the test is not trying to trick them (although some questions may), but is a large mystery with cludes taht need to be solved, it may help take the pressure off and allow the student to have condindence through this rolepalying.

Hopefully these help aliveate some of the stress and pressure that comes with test-taking.

Comment below on any other ideas of tips you have for conquering tests!


Little Mrs Hurley

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In the Meantime...


It's been a few months since I've updated this blog, but if you've been following me on Instagram and twitter, you may have seen my other attempts at blogging: Little Mrs. Hurley and The Fithusiast. I struggles with finding my voice and thought about creating different blogs to host my thoughts on different topics. Although, intheroy this made sense it was a lot of work and I felt like I wan't capturing all of me. With both an education focused blog and a fitness centered blog, I didn't know where to include parenting topics and my reviews of the many books I read in a moth (It's knida ridiculous how much I read).

Anyway, I'ved decided to change the name of this blog and update it with all the post from my previous blogs. I hope that you will find as much inspiration from thses posts as I do when I'm writing them. Thank you fo being a part of my blogging journey and I promise for now, to not kee changing my handles :)

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