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Dance Dance Revolution used in schools to fight obesity April 30, 2007

Posted by edukfun in add, adhd, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, children, education, exercise, fitness, obesity, school, social skills, video games.

Hundreds – soon to be thousands – of public schools around the country are using the active video game Dance, Dance Revolution in Physical Education classes to get kids moving.

And the kids are eating it up. Why?

Children don’t often yell in excitement when they are let into class, but as the doors opened to the upper level of the gym at South Middle School here one recent Monday, the assembled students let out a chorus of shrieks.

In they rushed, past the Ping-Pong table, past the balance beams and the wrestling mats stacked unused. They sprinted past the ghosts of Gym Class Past toward two TV sets looming over square plastic mats on the floor. In less than a minute a dozen seventh graders were dancing in furiously kinetic union to the thumps of a techno song called “Speed Over Beethoven.”

Bill Hines, a physical education teacher at the school for 27 years, shook his head a little, smiled and said, “I’ll tell you one thing: they don’t run in here like that for basketball.”1

My initial reaction is: Duh.

P.E. was a combination of embarrassment, awkwardness, boredom and humiliation.

As a child, my experience with P.E. was a combination of embarrassment, awkwardness, boredom and humiliation.  Traditional Phys-Ed revolves around structured activities that are either competitive, “educational”, or both.  For example, dodge ball, baseball, kickball, crab-ball, basketball, etc.

How are they embarrassing?  HELLO!  Don’t you remember getting picked for teams?  I wasn’t always picked last, but no one was fighting to have me on their team.

Awkward?  Yep, for me, I was not a “natural athlete.”  I didn’t come out onto the field with innate coordination and skills.  I had to learn them my own way.  Eventually, I developed pretty good skills at Racquetball, golf and tennis.  Notice that those are NOT team sports?  That leads me back to boredom and humiliation.

For any Attention Deficit child, traditional PE activities are boring.

For my, and I think for any Attention Deficit child (ADD, ADHD, whatever), traditional PE activities are boring as standing in a hot field waiting for someone else to swing a wooden stick at a little ball on the off chance that it might come my way.  I mean, where is the stimulation?  Compare even Pac-Man against waiting in line for your turn at ONE KICK in kickball, and it is obvious why kids prefer video games!

Now to humiliation.  Yeah, there’s always that picked last phenomenon.  Harbor no illusions that the anxiety around being picked last is reserved for the bottom three or four kids.  Only the natural athletes, the kids everyone knows will be picked just about first, are exempt.  Everyone else worries about it.

But getting on the team doesn’t make you safe…now it’s worse!  Every aspect of your performance will be analyzed by your team AND the opposing team.  No mistake will be forgotten; they need to know so that next time they WILL pick you last!

So, I’m glad to hear that schools are only twenty years behind the times at making fitness interesting.  P.E. classes aren’t the end-all, be-all when it comes to obesity prevention, but they can make a difference.

Good Luck,


From NYTimes.com http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/30/health/30exer.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin


Big Brains Don’t Equal Big Bucks (and some kitties) April 25, 2007

Posted by edukfun in 9-5-4, challenged, children, education, ld, learning disability, school, science, Sparks of Genius, standardized testing.
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Good news for anyone worried about the financial future of a child with a Learning Disability (LD). Research shows that intelligence, as measured by IQ, is not a strong indicator of wealth. In fact, “smart” people often have financial troubles that include not paying bills on time and failure to save money. It appears that diligence and consistency are more important for building wealth, as opposed to just a big paycheck.

Link: http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/070424_rich_smart.html

Here at Sparks Of Genius, we’ve always stressed that traditional IQ is not an adequate measure of human ability. Our 9-5-4 Program is all about training 9 Intelligences, 5 Cognitive Skills and 4 Executive Functions are 9 Intelligences: Verbal, Mathematical, Spatial, Musical, Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Spiritual and Naturalist. Schools only care about one or two; Sparks of Genius taps into all 9.

Increase three or more [Cognitive Skills] and you’ve got a Total Transformation.

There are 5 Cognitive Skills: Attention, Memory, Learning, Thinking and Processing Speed. Increase one of these, and you increase cognitive ability. Increase three or more and you’ve got a Total Transformation.

Finally, there are 4 Executive Functions: Organization, Planning, Prioritizing, and Decision-Making. These are higher-order functions and essential for long-term success.

Students come to us, go through fancy, high-tech evaluations, and Dr. Kessler puts together a customized work-out regimen that plays on the student’s strengths and pumps up the areas that are weakest. 2-3 hours per week on a home computer, plus an hour in our high-tech, high-touch playground is usually all it takes. The results last, and they generalize to school, athletics, home, and the social realm.

I did promise some kitties. Here they are, courtesy of http://icanhascheezburger.com/



Cat and Mouse



How Parents Fail their ADHD Child (or LD or ADD or Asperger’s Syndrome) April 24, 2007

Posted by edukfun in add, adhd, aspergers, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, challenged, children, education, ld, learning disability, parenting, school, social skills.

If you are the parent of a challenged child, this is your wake-up call:

If you are not focusing significant efforts on your challenged child’s social skills, you are failing that child.

In case anyone misunderstood, let me rephrase this:

Social skills are the number one need of challenged children.*

It is a mistake to spend thousands of dollars on private tutors and special programs so that a challenged child can get through school at the expense of social development. If your child cannot make friends, cannot communicate effectively, cannot ask for help, does not know when to listen and when to talk, then all the classical education in the world will not help him or her lead an independent life.

How many friends does your challenged child have? Friends at school don’t count. How many friends does he or she see outside of school on a stricty social basis? If there answer is none, you must take action!

Here are some links to helpful tools that you can use. Don’t make the mistake I see parents making every day: they will spare no expense to make sure that their child can pass school, or to address behavioral problems, but they won’t spend one thin dime to make sure he or she can make friends.

Good luck!

Allen Dobkin

*As long as the basics of food, shelter, safety and affection are met.