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Sleep Well, Learn Well

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

While there may be some debate about the “wealthy” claim, recent research suggests Franklin was correct about the “healthy and wise” assertions.

Lack of sleep can lead to problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In addition, researchers now believe that the quantity and quality of sleep impacts memory and learning. It is well known that a sleep-deprived person cannot focus well and therefore cannot absorb and process information efficiently. The new finding is that information must be consolidated into a memory during sleep.

Scientists break learning and memory into three basic components: acquisition, consolidation, and recall. Acquisition is the introduction of new information into the brain. Consolidation is the process of making a memory stable and recall is the ability to access the information later. Acquisition and recall occur during waking hours and memory consolidation takes place during periods of sleep.

Although we do not know for sure how sleep makes consolidation possible, researchers believe that the brainwaves of different types that occur during sleep are what form lasting memories.

Since consolidation is imperative for memory, one of the most important things a parent can do for his/her child is make sure he/she gets adequate sleep.

Here are a few things that can be done to increase the odds your child is getting adequate sleep:

  •    Reduce screen time – Some research suggests that the light emitted from electronic devices increases     alertness  and keeps children from sleeping well. Establish a device free period before bed.
  •    Offer the right food – Whole foods that combine protein and complex carbohydrates are the best before bed snacks.
  •    Encourage exercise – At least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week improves sleep.
  •    Control the environment – Consistent temperature and a clean environment support high quality sleep.
  •    Unplug electronic devices – Electrical fields given off by appliances (TVs, cellphones, etc.) can interfere with melatonin secretion. Even if devices are off they emit electrical fields, so it is best to unplug them.
  •    Eliminate light – Light can affect immune system function and sleep, so it is best to reduce light in the bedroom.
  •    Establish a routine – Establish a pre-bed routine so your child is in bed on time.

Perhaps a few extra hours of sleep each night is a better way to ensure amazing childhood memories than a camera.

 

Secret Teacher: parents, I wish I could tell you how brilliant your children are

The Guardian – Staff Writer

“After years of teaching, I am pretty experienced when it comes to writing reports and talking to parents. But this year was different: I was attending parents’ evening as a mum, and I wasn’t looking forward to hearing what my son’s teacher had to say. My son struggled this year. He tries hard and he has made progress, but his interests and passions lie beyond the classroom. Talking to his class teacher and looking at his grades, it was clear that his test scores and predictions do not reflect who he is, or the talents that he has. It made me wonder about the reports I have sent home to families over the years. It’s impossible for me to fully record all the things a child has learned in my class – or to anticipate what will spark their interest the following day. I could never track how they have developed socially or gained confidence among their peers, for example.”(more)

Same behavior problems hinder boys more than girls

The Seattle Times – John Higgins

“In the past several decades, women have not only caught up to men in earning college degrees, they have surpassed them. Men made up 43 percent of the students enrolled in college in 2015, and were awarded 40 percent of bachelor’s degrees, according to federal data cited in a new study that traces the gender gap all the way back to preschool. The study, done by the American Sociological Association, finds that boys start kindergarten with fewer of the behaviors that teachers want — such as paying attention, controlling emotions and playing nice with others, and that difference partly accounts for higher high school and college completion rates for women. The study also finds that schools respond more harshly to boy’s transgressions and that difference also contributed to men not getting as far in their educations.”(more)

Study: Fathers’ Lifestyles Can Affect Health of Unborn Babies

Education News – Grace Smith

“For decades, expectant mothers have been cautioned about smoking tobacco products and drinking alcohol, but now an expanding body of research suggests that men who are trying to have children should be just as careful as mothers. Carina Storrs, writing for CNN, reports that what fathers are exposed to can also have lasting effects on their youngsters’ health…If a woman consumes alcohol during pregnancy, the alcohol crosses the placenta and can result in inferior coordination, delays in cognitive development, heart defects, and low birth weight. But research over the past ten years suggests that fathers who drink alcohol regularly before conceiving also increase the risk of their child having fetal alcohol syndrome. In fact, alcoholism or heavy drinking by men before conceiving has been linked to as many as 75% of affected babies. Drinking, smoking, or engaging in other risky behaviors seem to mark their progeny through epigenetics, which are the biological processes that finely adjust genes without mutating them.”(more)

High School Suspensions Cost The Country $35 Billion Annually, Report Estimates

NPR Ed – Anya Kamenetz

“When students get suspended from school for a few days, they may not be the only ones who miss out. A report released today by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project tries for the first time to quantify the full social cost of so-called “exclusionary discipline.”…The authors calculate that suspensions in just one year of school — 10th grade — contributed to 67,000 students eventually dropping out of high school. And that, they conclude, generates total costs to the nation of more than $35 billion…The study concludes that in-school suspensions are just as bad when it comes to their impact on dropout rates. And in places like LA Unified, teachers have complained that class disruptions go up when they don’t have the power to remove certain students. What works instead, says the report, are evidence-based practices like restorative justice and social and emotional skill-building, where educators actively help teenagers resolve conflicts and manage tough emotions to get at the roots of misbehavior.”(more)

4 Signs You Have Grit

Education Next – Robin Hilmantel

“When Angela Duckworth talks about grit, most people assume she just means persistence—but there’s more to it than that, the MacArthur “Genius” Award winner and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania told Motto. “I do mean hard work and not quitting things when they’re hard, but I also mean passion,” said Duckworth, who became interested in the subject while teaching middle school and high school students and realizing that the most talented ones often weren’t the ones who performed the best academically. Duckworth has since gone on to give the wildly popular TED Talk “The key to success? Grit” and is the author of the new book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.”(more)