Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Dyslexia Inspires Matt to Help Others" - Check out this article and excellent resource link

Dyslexic student has created a website to support fellow dyslexic students with useful strategies to support their learning at school
14 Year Old Matt Strawbridge has created his Dyslexia potential website

At 14, Matt Strawbridge is refusing to let dyslexia get the better of him – and is helping others who suffer the learning disability.
The year 10 Scots College pupil has experienced years of classroom embarrassment. "It was very frustrating trying to read and write," he says. "You knew the answer, but you just couldn't get it from your head to the page.
"It was upsetting because you felt really stupid when the teacher asked you to read out loud and you couldn't."
His mother, Cheryl, says it took a big toll on his self-esteem and the diagnosis was a step in the right direction. "I think the diagnosis is really important for him because at last he had a reason. You're not an idiot, you've just got dyslexia and learn differently."
Last year Matt decided he wanted to pass on his new positive attitude to others going through the same agonising process, so he created the website Dyslexia Potential with the help of a website developer. It includes video tutorials, learning exercises and confidence-boosting content and has almost 1000 members.
The website's success saw him win both the supreme and gold prizes at last year's Karori Youth Awards, for which he is nominated again this year.
Last month he launched a new website called TutorBook that allows students of all ages, abilities and class subjects to be tutored online via Skype. The concept is already being used by hundreds of young New Zealanders every week.
Matt has taken part in youth leadership summits in Sydney and San Diego in the past two years and his growing list of contacts includes a famous billionaire who battled with dyslexia as a kid.
"Sir Richard Branson is someone I've looked up to for a very long time and then I finally got to meet him in the flesh."
Branson invited Matt up on stage at an event he was talking at in Adelaide earlier this year, congratulated him on his work and promised to help spread the word about his website and cause.
Cheryl believes it is her son's empathy that has made him so successful. "Matt is really compassionate. He always feels other people's pain and I think that is really what's driven him. He doesn't want anyone to feel like he did in the classroom."
It is estimated that one in 10 New Zealanders has dyslexia. Matt says new technology and learning techniques have made it easier to live with and he wants to be a part of the progress. "I just want to connect with dyslexic kids to try and motivate them in the hope they will enjoy school life a bit more and not look at dyslexia as a bad thing. I don't want other dyslexic kids to feel stupid, because they're not."
THE DETAILS:
Visit Matt Strawbridge's website at dyslexiapotential.com.
Matt is running a live course for dyslexic kids at the Karori Community Centre on October 11, from 9am till midday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Visit this website to find out some amazing stuff about our brains and how they work. The site is dedicated to providing accessible, high-quality information about how the brain works and how people learn. Many discoveries are being made in areas that relate to the human brain, including language, memory, behaviour, and aging, as well as illness and injury. Brain experts believe that access to this information can provide practical tools for teaching and learning as well as valuable insights into almost every aspect of our daily lives.

Click here to play some games to improve your brain power!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's Brain Week at Muritai - follow the action as it happens!

It's Brain Week at Muritai this week. All classes will be concentrating on all sorts of different activities to learn about how our amazing brains work.

Monday!
We kicked off this morning with a visit from Pascal Saker, a fab neuro-scientist who really got us excited about how our brains work. 
Keep on checking in to the Learning Den blog to see what is happening in the classrooms this week....

Meet Nigel the Neuron! Our cheeky mascot for Brain Week made by the very clever Mrs Chao.









Room 15 have been seeing how busy their brains can be by making these fantastic patterns. A straight coloured line has to make its way from one point to all the others. you really need to think to get it right!
The finished product looks great!












Room 14 have been learning all about neurons and how they send messages to each other. Fantastic!


Look at these wonderful neurons that room 14 made from clay!












Room 1 have made their own brainstorm about the brain today!





Room 4 have been finding out all about the different lobes of the brain. 
They made these great jigsaw puzzles.

Room 11 had great fun making neuron wall art. It looks great room 11! 
Window neuron 
Room 3 loved holding a brain..even if it wasn't the real thing!

Room 8 used their brains to design their own fitness routine for Brain Week





Nigel the Neuron visited Room 8 to lend some brain cells!





Tuesday
Meet Nigel the Neurons crazy neuron family. These are just a few of the 100 billion relatives that he has!





Room 12 showing off their brain caps - nice job!






Room 5 have been busy looking at a brain ap on the ipads that Mr. Saker showed us yesterday








Room 13 have been looking at pictures of dendrites and are making their own triptych dendrite art. It's looking great!
Look at room 7's neuron diagrams and pipe cleaner neurons - they show exactly how a neuron is made up. Great work!
Making neurons with pipe cleaners is a great way for the children to really get a feel for the parts of a neuron and their names. 

Hands on stuff done in a fun way like this is a brilliant way to make sure information makes it from the short, to the long term memory.






Some year 4's taking a "brain break" in the fresh air by chalking a volcano hopscotch and having a quick hop! Excellent work girls! 

Brain breaks will help you to re-fuel your neurotransmitters. This means that you can send and store the next lot of information in along your neurons much more efficiently. Brain breaks are really important!






Here Room 5 are trying out the Brain Gym double doodle activity where you have to draw two sides of the same picture with both hands. Tricky work but their brains helped them to do a great job!






Click here to check out the Brain Week action in Year 7 and 8 on Room 23's blog!



















Room 8 busy with their "discovery rotation" time on Tuesday afternoon. The brain just loves to work with play dough, no matter how old we get!










Room 11 playing a crazy dendrite tag game. The tennis balls were neurotransmitters and the were kids dendrites and electrical impulses. They had to pass the neurotransmitters on to the next dendrite. Lots of running and lots of fun!









Room 12 took their fabulous brains and an ipad outside to photograph some interesting things. Maybe we can post some of the results tomorrow!










Room 6 have really been putting their brains to good use! Here they are using string and making different shapes with different numbers of people.

 Room 6 playing a memory game...
Busy making the lobes of the brain from play dough in room 6
Room 3 using happy sticks and doing Brain Gym movements to music
Room 3 busy writing their spelling words on the playground with chalk. The brain just loves it when we do things in a different way!











Room 9 working hard making their brain caps to learn the different lobes of the brain
 The fabulous finished product!
Room 9 talking through the different parts of the brain
Room 11 made neurons from winding a loop of string around their hands and performing some tricky moves!
...then they had a rest with some Brain Gym brain breaks








Wednesday!
Watch this video about the brain that room 23 have made, great work!..
video
 Room 10 made some fantastic neurons out of stuffed tights!...
 ..and themselves!
 ..and clay 
They saw a real human skull 
..and Angela spoke to them about the lobes of the brain..busy!








Look at this amazing 3D hand art from room 11...look again! Your occipital lobe at the back of your brain is working hard to sort out how this looks 3D when it's actually 2D. How long did it take your brain to work this out?

Room 15's brain caps certainly seem to be making those brains work!

Room 8 pretending to be a network of neurons sending electrical currents by squeezing each others hands.

Below room 8 were testing their brains and each other by trying to memorise the alphabet backwards!
Room 10 got a chance to stretch their brains in all directions this afternoon with their discovery rotation time. Here they are trying to outwit each other in a game of Connect Four
Here the boys in room 10 are making a neuron out of Magnetix! 










Below room 10 are using boxes and their brains to create something special! Learning can be such fun! The finished product of the robot box complete with its own brain looks great!








Year 5 and 6 arts rotation made wall art on paper, cut it out and pasted it to the wall. Eat your heart out Banksy! 


Room 9 drawing flowers whilst listening to music...very relaxing for the brain!


Room 4 were testing their reaction times. A friend let go of a ruler and they had to catch hold of it as quickly as possible. Room 4 tried both their right and left hand. They recorded where they caught the ruler by writing down the number between their finger and thumb.

What's happening in our brain when we do this?    Well, first, you see the ruler with your eyes. Then, your eye sends a message to the back of the brain to the visual cortex. The visual cortex sends a message to the motor cortex in the middle part of the brain. The motor cortex sends a message down the spinal cord, and the spinal cord sends the message all the way down your arm to the muscles in your fingers. The message tells your finger muscles to contract so you can catch the ruler, and you do! Also, it all happens in an instant! Clever stuff!

Check out Dorrie's and Soren's effort in the great game 'Articulate'. A great way of getting the brain thinking... and its super fun!
http://mrdevenports.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/brain-week-means-brain-games.html

Thursday
Today the children have been watching "...And The Show Is..." a performance telling stories through song. The children joined in with the singing and really got some oxygen up to their brains!









Thank you to our local and educational library contacts for sourcing many wonderful books on the brain for us to learn from. We get to keep them to look at for the rest of the term, not just Brain Week!







A neuron doodle on room 11's whiteboard. Look at all those connections!











Room 14 playing Cluedo, Risk and a tricky word game, all needing some serious brain power. There certainly will have been some new dendrite growth and neural pathway forging in room 14's brains today!


Room 12 have been working hard on their optical illusion art. Fantastic!











Year 7 and 8 have been talking about "brain food". Today they brought in some delicious examples of food that is great for brain health and had a brain feast!
It all looks fantastic. Well done!















Friday!
Room 16 practicing their Brain Gym cross over exercises to get the left and right hemispheres of their brains to communicate!












Room 4 practiced handwriting with their non-dominant hand. Some of them found that they improved in only two days! They talked about how if we want to improve at something we must practice as often as possible. That is called re-wiring your brain.
So that brings us to the end of our fabulous Brain Week learning journey! Thank you to all you wonderful learners that made the place buzz with your enthusiasm. Thank you to our fantastic teaching team that have fully embraced my "brainwave" to have a  Brain Week on top of their already huge workload. You all took on board the Brain Week professional development strategies and morphed them into something very special with your sparkling creativity, you are a joy to work with.
And thank you to our wonderfully supportive parent community. I imagine you have patiently listened to your little sponges gabble on about neurons, lobes and Nigel all week long!!
Thanks, Mrs R :o)