More good stuff on handwritten notes, this article coming to us from our Librarian, Mrs. Barnes.
From the article:
While computers can certainly be distracting (a kid in front of me in economics once watched the entire Kitty Olympics during class, no joke), it’s not just the Internet that hinders student learning. Even when all distractions are eliminated, handwritten notes are still dramatically more effective at helping students retain information, according to the study.
What's tricky, they say, is that 65% of students polled report the opposite! Why? It seems that typing notes results in a word-for-word result vs. handwriting that results in fewer words being recordered as a result of human editing, processing, a valuable retention exercise that comes through handwriting.
Contrary to students’ belief that verbatim note taking is more effective for their learning and studying, the study shows that students who take direct notes retain significantly less information. Verbatim note taking requires relatively shallow cognitive processing compared to handwriting notes, the report explains. The process of rewording and summarizing information, as handwritten-note takers are more likely to do, is more engaging and thus helps students retain information.
Please join us Thursday, October 2, at noon in the Wunderlich Auditorium to hear from Angela Camp, National Coordinator of Adolescent Marketing at Bradford Health.
She presents the latest facts about the adolescent brain and how alcohol and other drugs adversely affect the adolescent brain. She will bring her highly informative drug paraphernalia kit which provides a visual of the materials used in consumption of these drugs, as well as the contraptions teens use to conceal drugs from parents and others.
Ms. Camp presents all over the United States receiving rave reviews. You do not want to miss this edition of our Parent Speaker Series. Students will hear a comparable speaker on Friday in Chapel, so this provides an excellent opportunity for you to have conversations with your sons about what you both heard.
Please let us know if you plan to come, and if you would like a lunch, by emailing here.
From Mrs. Lawrence: All Life Science (7) students with an average BELOW 70 are required to attend tutoring after school this Wednesday, October 1, in preparation for the next test. No excuses. No one leaves tutoring early for sports or Drum Line practice.
"The hand empowers the pen. The pen empowers the man!" Jake Weidmann on the philosophy, practice, physiology, and theology of handwriting.
From presenting a man born without hands who made his living through penmanship to demonstrating that handwriting has proved significantly to aid the developing brain, Weidmann reminds us of the wisdom surrounding the technology of the pen in his call for us to devote time to teaching handwriting. Handwriting promotes creative literacy, being good stewards of our humanity, seeing our growing dependency upon technology (keyboards) as possibly contributing to the ultimate downfall of our literacy. In short, Weidmann suggests that in creating our technology, we unintentionally create a technologically advanced way to create illiteracy.
Typing and keyboard skills are obviously required for navigating the 21st century, and Weidmann does not see keyboarding and handwriting at odds, but nowhere should these key skills be taught at the expense of learned handwriting, he says.
Typing learned at the expense of handwriting just "moves kids down the conveyor belt of the educational system," Weidmann offers, versus the learning of handwriting that captures human emotion and personality on paper, not to mention the invaluable cognitive development achieved through undertaking the complex tactile skill, particularly cursive writing.
So, where is the argument for not teaching handwriting anymore? Upon what verifiable, demonstrative evidence in support of such a significant pedagogical shift do schools today rest?
If you know, please share. Until then, we expect our students to be able to write legibly, often for an extended period of time. Sustained mental effort supported by sustained physical effort is required in rigorous education. Just like it is in athletics, so it is in academics.
It is not too late for our guys to start working on their penmanship. Tell them to begin with note cards for studying, and continue with writing class notes taken during class periods. If Junior's script is scribble, consider having him slow down and re-write his notes. Practice improves performance.
According to Weidmann, it just might save his humanity in the process!
This tactic has worked well for Anthony Kure, whose 7- and 9-year-old girls picked Beanie Boos and My Little Pony toys as their currency of choice. The North Royalton, Ohio-based financial adviser then established a "pay rate" easy enough for the two girls to understand: One hour of work for certain nondaily responsibilities, such as sweeping the garage, equates to around $5—which is roughly the price of a single toy.
The main idea for these boys at school is that the more responsibility one demonstrates, the more privileges one receives. It's really simple. More of an opportunity than an entitlement.
So, how much money should be considered if, let's say, the lads and lasses choose a monetary reward for succeeding in their efforts? Is an allowance plus standard chores the norm in your home, independent of achieving goals? Do you even set goals with your kids? Parents can decide what the house rules are, for instance, what is a child's reasonable service at home, grades at school, and what is a reward for achieving goals or acknowledging particular merit?
Those of us who experienced more entitlement than "wages for work" as children may want to reverse the course for our children. The opposite can also be true in that for those of us parents who received little entitlement, we may err on the side of spoiling our children. Of course, there are also the examples among us of entitlement leading to more entitlement and old-school promoting more old-school! There is diversity in the family cultures were serve, in other words.
There are many opinions that we've heard/witnessed about all this over the years here at school, and we are not dogmatic about the details parents choose when it comes to allowances, bribes, goals, rewards..., and all this can get unnecessarily complex. There should be a lot of freedom within and among families for each one to enact stipulations based on what their family priorities are.
The bottom line: kids do seem to want to participate in their goals and rewards, possible even in their rewards and punishments, and a disciplined parent approach in accordance with parent-child negotiations can positively motivate the students we encounter at MUS.
These are Lower School theme days for 2014 MUS Football Homecoming Week. The Upper School may have different themes.
Monday: Jersey Day. Boys are to wear a jersey of their choice representing any sport of their liking that makes them "pump up their spirit mojo," according to Mr. Shelton. "Nothing gets me more excited than to see the students sitting in class and out of our standard dress code, promulgating the virtues of popular, Hip-Hop culture," reported the seasoned English instructor.
Regular school-day dress pants and shoes required. Boys may un-tuck their jerseys.
Tuesday: Pajama Day. Yup. PJs. Slippers. Don't comb your hair. Robes. That kind of thing...but, please brush your teeth. This is not a day to dress in shorts and t-shirts. That would be PE clothes. Don't wear PE clothes.
Either wear regular school-day attire, or wear PJs with the appropriate fixin's. Violators beware.
Wednesday: Dress Up Like Your Teacher Day. Very simple. Choose one of the instructors, any of the faculty and staff, consider how he/she dresses, their particular style, prepare to be able to defend your choices as you dress the part and are probably questioned by the faculty and staff, and give it a go.
Regular school-day dress required for boys who do not want to dress up like their teacher.
Thursday: 2014 MUS Homecoming T-Shirt Day. Buy the shirt at lunch starting Wednesday, wear it to school Thursday.
Friday: Grub Day. Dress down, comfortable, have fun...great day for a pop-quiz, so beware, boys!
Thank you all for attending the annual parents Back-to-School day. Following the numerous conversations that ensued among parents and teachers, we want to clarify some areas.
In Mr. Smythe's lunch presentation, the distinguishing legal differences among public district schools, public charter schools, private schools and independent schools allowed for some interesting conversations. Clearly, the market is more diverse than ever, and it is not unusual for families to have children enrolled in more than one of these differently governed schools.
We want to emphasize a correction: just as MUS is an independent private school with its own legal governance entrusted to a sovereign board of trustees, so is St. Mary's Episcopal School, an independent Episcopal school.
Memphis has a long and storied tradition of providing single-sex, private school education to a market segment who clearly values the traditional model as an alternative to co-education. It will be interesting to monitor the developments of the growing number of area Charter Schools, to see if they join us in valuing a gender-specific enrollment. Given that we initiate enrollment in grade seven, and that we do so from a myriad of elementary and middle schools, we try to anticipate both common pedagogical and school cultural questions so we can better serve maturing students in their middle school years on their way toward high school college prep.
Remember: the boys need to learn what it takes for them to achieve Bs, joined by some As, as quickly and as often as possible if they want ultimately to earn a respectable GPA to join their SAT/ACT scores that reflect their true academic ability. It's a big, dynamic, and uncertain world out there, and the adjustment to our competitive environment is different for each boy...for each family. Priorities vary. However, character and citizenship can be a constant in support of better grades.
Each boy is a work in progress toward a more self-monitored, honorable, academically able end. We aim to see each boy as his own being, and we aim to get all these beings on the same page.
Last, a number of you requested information about entering your son into a sport, how one should consider going about the process now that a month is under your son's belt, and you want him more involved. Please email your son's PE coach with your specific idea for Junior. Maybe wrestling will catch his fancy? Swimming, Buzzards Rec League basketball...or maybe he should try-out for either the seventh or eighth grade interscholastic teams? See what Coach Bakke and his staff advise. There may be more opportunities here for growth than your son presently thinks.
Please mull over your numerous thoughts gleaned from Parents Day. We will gladly meet and discuss what needs tidying up.
Speaking for the faculty and staff, thank you for entrusting your sons to us.
Photo: Temporary Bookstore Pop-Up Shop, Lower School
As the boys sleep in, we hope you arrive on campus (8:30 a.m. in the Campus Center Dining Hall) ready to step into your son's (or sons') shoes as you go through his motions of the rotating schedule as if it were a Monday, periods 1-6, with period 7 tagged on as a bonus.
While on campus, Lower School parents may want to review the ASAP records, the Homework Detention records, rummage through the Lost and Found, his locker...maybe bring your son's Assignment Book to your Parent-Teacher conference should you wish to visit privately after lunch (11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) for 10 minutes.
Stay for lunch in the Lower School Dunavant Lecture Hall if you reserved a box lunch, and buy some MUS spirit wear while you're here.
Please use this day as it is intended, a relaxing opportunity to see life from his vantage point through as best of an existential vehicle as we can conjure up. We want it to be a fun day, and we want your time to be well worth the effort, so, please, ask questions, and allow us to clarify anything that we can as you continue the journey in your support of your son's potential.