Saturday, July 31, 2010

Spread Peace - Friendship Day

Friendship is the intensity of the love that leaves behind trails of sweet memories to cherish the core of life giving a whole new meaning to it. The enigma of friendship strengthens with the bonds of relationships so unique which is unselfish, intimate, pure and beautiful. Learning to appreciate, speak out on issues, Listening, confide and sharing secrets, meeting of wavelengths and such deeper corners are focused for a caring friendly relationship with the people you love most.
Whenever it's a Friendship Day, Kidsfreesouls wishes all readers Happy Friendship day with a simple message to spread love, faith, peace and unity among human beings.

Follow Friendship Day on Kidsfreesouls

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for kids

Friday, July 30, 2010

Meet Kidsfreesouls Kids Reporters and Bloggers

Meet Kidsfreesouls Reporters - Bloggers who make their way on web to spread their wings to fly and reach the skies. Kids Blogs are presented on Kidsfreesouls by Swagat Children Library class students - some old and some new students. Blogging is not everybody's cup of tea but a result of hard work at the Library while they learn how to Report News, conduct Interviews, Write their fav jokes, Riddles and book Reviews. They even provide their favorite quotes and whatever they find interesting and inspiring to others.

The recent Blogger is Tulsa Ved. Amazingly, she has picked up Blogging in a span of six months and inspite of being in Gujarati Medium, I am happy to note that she can break boundaries to reach her goals. You can find her Blog here and stay tuned as she blogs Interviews and more interestingly, her Inspirational stories that could stir souls with her delicious soup stories.

Also find, Shril's Blog who is more fond of reading and presents his reviews. Most of the time, he is found with his head deep buried in books and comics. He has sure shot ideas on How to Make Newspaper and is found to provide good tips and suggestions to a noted Weekly Children Newspaper 'Knowledge Path'.

A shift in technology, Blogging has become a revolution but at Swagat, Blogging is more informative learning too. To Blog, kids need to read. To blog, they need to write and type too - They get the exposure to technology. Develop communication and writing skills. They even Learn to type faster using the right fingers and enhance vocabulary and spelling skills. Children learn the privacy and social networking skills and above all learn 'Courtesy and responsibility' as they use technology.

Finally, Parents learn in the process too and who better can be their teachers than kids who can explain to them what Blogging is about! Esp. to those parents or teachers who are not exposed much to technology.

Enjoy Kidsfreesouls.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mobile Bullying and kids

Bullying has just become of the most underrated but enduring problems today. Kids & Teenagers use the mobiles and the net and because there's the whole world of fun using these gadgets. It's the need of the hour to stop the Bully Panic. Especially Mobile Bully. I have mentioned of Bullying (an article from my book 'Guardian of Angels) and even blogged about Mobile Manners.

However, the issue surfaces concerns once again as a recent study by the Pew Internet Research Center states that 72% of cellphone owners ages 12 to 17 are texters while only 18% of cellphone owners ages 40 to 49 are texters. Moreover, for tweens and teens, cellphones are the perfect tool for being constantly connected to the friends and others. As a result, texting use has drastically increased. It is noted by Nielsen Mobile that three years ago a teen sent and received an average of 435 texts per month. As of late 2009 that total jumped to 3,186 texts. Social networking has made it easier for exchange of phone numbers and predators who seek close contacts with kids have found their prey. Cyberbullying, psychological harassment in text or instant messaging, is more often perpetrated by girls, who initiate inappropriate messages or spread damaging gossip. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 39 percent of cell users ages 18-29 say they are not always truthful about where they are when they are on the phone. Many parents find it shocking when the bill knocks the door due to texting (text, picture and video messaging), special ring tones, downloading games and even chatting for long hours. An alarming case is reported at Forbes - A 15 year old boy communicating to a 30 year old woman whom he met while playing multi game of World of War Craft.

Cell phones have become a serious cause for lack of concentration, distraction, anxiety, fear and misuse among many school going children. Moreover, the common features of cameras, ipod music, games and video are temptations for use and misuse. The silent mode has easy texting anywhere. Mobile manners are almost being missed out by not only children who use it but also parents and teachers who fail to keep a check on their attitude and courtesy mannerisms. Fiddling with the mobile, texting or playing games is often a sign of bad manners when you are with others - socialising, in a meeting or with a guest. Kids who are often tempted with their parent's mobile, are found to be bad mannered. Many teenagers opt for talking or texting even in front of guests which embarrass the parents.

Though schools like CBSE and other schools are opting for ban of using mobiles when in school campus, it is the need of the hour to safeguard children from Mobile Bullying and even protect them from the Health hazards.

An Austria Dr. Eric Huber calls for the potential dangers in kids using mobiles and calls for Mobile companies carrying labels showing Radiation levels. It is recommended, children below 16 years should not use mobiles. Brain tumour could be extreme case with vision problems too. However, this would not stop children from using nor will the parents want the children to be away from the latest technology and gadgets that surround our world. As Dr. Michael Rich, Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Harvard University believes, We have basically let kids be in an environment where they have free rein but don't have the brain development to manage that in ways that are safe and healthy.

The child should know, it's a use of mobile phone only in time of special/urgent needs only. Best is no mobile till the age of 16 and don't let them get attracted for the fancy picks. All things come for a value. Children need to understand this and not keep changing the gadgets that keep freaking in the market.

Some things children using mobiles should know:

1. Protect the mobile numbers. The child should not give the number to everyone. Do not let others see the number too.
2. The child should not respond to unwanted SMS or call back to strangers who sms or ring up.
3. The child should not give any information to any caller unless he/she knows the person well.
4. Set rules and responsibilities. Don't let your call go unanswerable from the child.
5. Strictly make the children turn off their phones at night when they are in their rooms.
6. Teach them value for money. Provide the mobile that best utility for them keeping in mind the cost factor. Do not pamper them and allow them to frequently change their gadgets too.
7. Why Cell Phone - Explain the use and why they are equipped with such gadgets.

Give kids their free reins but Limit the use of the Gadget. Teach them to use and make them understand the right and the wrong. There's no denying that we live in a dangerous world and that children are overwhelmingly important. A day when our mobiles go off even for a while, we are used to adjust but the next generation is out with the newer technology and its safety more a concern for them right now. Protect kids from the dangers using mobiles.

-More on Bullying.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Project - Rupee

Most of the people are now aware of the Indian Rupee symbol and even how to use the fonts on computers. However, to brief mention with Font download on Kidsfreesouls, find the same in Kids news section of Kidsfreesouls.

On News Page:

Indian Rupee gets new Symbol - The creation of the rupee sign began with an Indian government announcement on March 5, 2009, that a contest would be held to choose a symbol for the rupee. About 3,000 designs were submitted and those were short listed to five selected ones. The cabinet picked the symbol you see above, designed by D. Udaya Kumar, a 32-year-old graphic design and typographer who had just completed his PhD on Tamil typography at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai and is now at IIT Guwahati. The symbol is an amalgam of the Devanagari "Ra" and the Roman capital "R" without the descending stem. The two cross strikes at the top of the symbol reference the Indian flag. The creator D. Udaya Kumar is rewarded ` 2.5 Lac.

As the keyboards are yet to be equipped with the font, a substitute option is already created by Foradian, a Mangalore based Internet Engineering Company who offers Free Download of the Fonts with easy installation and ready for use on Computers. All you do is go here - Download the new Rupee Symbol from Foradian here and follow the Presentation Help File. You can also Join the Foradian Group on FB and follow instructions here.

For Kidsfreesouls ready help, download the fonts from foradian. Save in your Windows>Fonts. Open and click. Go to your word doc. Choose 'Rupee_Foradian' from Fonts. Select the top left key with symbol ~ and ` - the sign appears. Simple, isn't it?

Btw, I asked my children about the new Rupee symbol. Many of the kids went blank and that triggered a Rupee Project! What that could be? They gave me the ideas and drew the symbol in the Scrap book with the informative piece on rupee symbol innovation. Supportive to this, they are writing 'Autobiography of a Rupee' and gathering the rupee notes to place in their Lucky Piggy Bank. Further, learning on 'How much Pocket money' and 'How to manage the Pocket money'.

If you are a parent or a teacher, I think, Ideas do work wonders. Go ahead and implement the thought and help kids to be aware, be aware while they spend money - Saving is gaining!

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Robot Teachers or robotic teaching?

Recently I read, Honda Motor Co.'s Asimo, the robot teacher called Saya, was introduced to students in South Korea. They took English, Maths, science and Arts classes in the Elementary schools. Saya can express six basic emotions — surprise, fear, disgust, anger, happiness, sadness — because its rubber skin is being pulled from the back with motors and wiring around the eyes and the mouth. And, amazingly, students reacted favorably to the new teacher who seemed to be less sarcastic but more responding and courteous in the class. Saya can call out names, say 'Thank You' and even give orders like 'Be quiet.' Saya's creator Professor Hiroshi Kobayashi said the robot's main purpose was to highlight the joys of technology to children, he also said it would benefit schools suffering from a shortage of human teachers. The South Korean government is investing in millions and aims to have 8000 robot teachers and assistant teachers in classrooms by 2013.

This incarnation of a School teacher gives an insight of the teacher - student relationship today which has made this new age teacher an option to be considered as the fun part of learning and understanding technology that replace human efforts. However, I really can't figure out how can a robot handle a class of 40-60 or even 20 students? The Robots are programmed and have no thinking of their own! How could there be discipline in the classroom or interaction thereby for the lessons mechanically taught?

Children love the tender loving care, a human touch and a smile that makes their day. Teachers not only teach but also act as mentors who motivates and encourages children in various aspects as they help them gain academic excellence. Moreover, Robots are programmed and no further can they continue to provide fun and learn to children if they keep on focused on same lessons and same songs with no updates. Robots can be supportive to teachers but not substitute.

Even Teachers who teach like a Robot mechanically with the same old style of imparting education find less responsive students. Creative innovations to make lessons interesting is their efficiency plus in boosting their own teaching techniques. Character building of the students is enhanced as mere seeing and listening is not the factor but even understanding the Instructions is important. Knowledge involves human interaction. Thought Robots in classrooms can be fun and supportive to teaching, I think, more emphasis rely on interactions - communication and interpersonal relationship bonding the teacher and the student as they experience the joys of teaching and learning together.

It is most important for a parent or a teacher to provide opportunities for Development Schedules. Development schedules are just the tools to assist parents in determining the child’s development, learning the little things in life to take big steps to climb ahead. Some children are slow branded whereas some are fast learners. Children possess different skills as per their development schedules. Programmed Robots need better programming to enhance child's development schedule and this would not be possible unless Teachers follow the program patterns based on individual student.

Even Parents need child assessment with the development schedules as it plays a major role as their IQ, EQ and SQ (Intelligence Quotient, Emotional Quotient, Spiritual Quotient) which becomes measured expression of child's abilities.

Some tips for Development schedules Teachers/parents can follow are:

Creative skills : Children love creativity. Make lessons interesting with Projects in classrooms. Support colors and sing along sessions while they attend Projects, paper cutting, sticker pasting in Scrap book is often fun for them. Let them draw, color or watch a cartoon online and let them jot down their noting. Anything creative is fun and learn.

Cognitive skills : Children gain cognitive skills or say, reasoning with own mind as they in the middle years of their development stage, they have the capacity to distinguish what is right and wrong. They can reason others point of view, play games as per the rules and master their minds with subjects they like the most.

Communication skills : Speech comes with thought process. Conduct chatting sessions, verbal compositions, debate or ask questions and just questions to get back replies. Follow the language they are learning and not the mother tongue as often children speak their home language and can express better.

Linguistic skills : Develop love for language. Anything to do with vocabulary and words. Scrabble games, word search, cross words and even Vocabulary Projects are found interesting by children and they love to pursue these activities.

Logical Thinking : Kids at a tender age love to count and are good at math. They have an understanding of logical or numerical patterns and sequence of reasoning. These kids tend to adapt to activities related to science, puzzles, exploring and all that has logical reasoning.

Spatial Intelligence : Remembering roads, reading maps or knowing charts and reading graphs. All that requires to level up their intelligence.

Empathy skills : Understanding other children in classroom, cooperate, share and avoiding conflicts with peace power. It's like 'walk in someone's shoes' or 'see through their eyes.'

Self Learning/understanding : Children love to lean on a shoulder. Encourage them to self learn by providing necessary guidelines and allow them to use their own brains. Mugging champions often fail to perform when they need to understand on their own.

Children can grow and flower to progress in a free atmosphere. Harmony in classroom and love for nature are also major factors that contribute favorably.

Technology has its own charming ways but Teacher follow up creates great genius!

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for kids

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Sports Spirit - honing skills

Recently, I come across my ex-students who have been young children when they came to the Library, tip-toeing with hopes of making their own identity someday. Today, I see them pursuing their goals that gives me immense pleasure to recognize their abilities and capabilities that turn them to be successful in their chosen field.

Sometimes, as teachers, we underestimate our children and are quite skeptical as to their future looking to their childhood academic progress. How wrong we could be! We all know, some kids are sharper and some weaker in certain areas, some children are fast learners and some slow - all where academic skills are concerned. However, when creativity gives a way, some children turn to be the best in the exclusive skills they possess and it is sure to admit 'Practice makes a man perfect' - be it arts of sports or even academic area like writing a poetry or maybe literature savvy. This gives a special mention of a child who was no good in academic, needed a push for good handwriting and needed special attention for reading and grammar skills. Speech skills was almost missing as he was more used to his mother tongue. As years rolled by, Teacher-Parental role played their part and I was much happy to see tremendous change in him at the Library. More happier now, because he's the one who makes me proud as he honed his Sports Skills. His love for Sports makes me feel on 'Cloud Nine' as he has turned to be the Best Skater and won laurels skating his way to glory. While talking to him, he revealed his daily routine which gave me an idea of his determination towards the sport. Fitness is a way of life as he begins his day early in the morning, cycling and gym exercise followed by routine skating practices of minimum 2 to 3 hours. Sometimes, he wins and even loses to competitors but its a sports spirit and game all the way he loves to play.

Well, I would like to share a counselling question once a parent asked me by email : "My 7 year old just participated his school's field day and didn't fare too well - but he sure tried. Hence, he went and kicked the school building and threw away his participating ribbons and moped around for the rest of the day. How do I sympathetically but firmly approach this?"

The answer is as below and I am sure, might help many parents and teachers to help children face defeat in a positive manner:

Competitions do not mean winning or standing first or in order. It gives opportunity to experience and find way out from losing to winning edge. Let the kid learn from experience so as not to let this frustration flick back again. ‘Everyone likes to win but most of, its good you are enjoying and having fun’ should be the attitude that keeps the child hooked to the Sport. Participating in the School field day itself helps to build confidence but if luck do not favor or for some reason, the child fails, his willingness to accept defeat is on back seat. Why me? Why I lost? And this frustration plays the role of your child's mental process. Feelings of hopelessness and guilt has taken roots within his brain cells and he seems to be hurt to extent that makes him fling things, be destructive, have a sense of withdrawal from people and hve unreasonable fears or phobias that he is a failure and cannot accept defeat under any circumstances.

In such situations, I feel that a parental / teacher's attitude towards the child can pull him out of his hurt feelings and face defeat in a positive manner:

-Parental calm and positive influence play a major role. Kids need to be treated with respect and love, with no ridiculing, sarcastic remarks or let downs. Expectations may be towards winning way but sports should be ‘sharp one’ Attitude with lots of entertainment and humor. Show him the love and say soothing words "Yeah, sure you tried your best but anyways, there's always another chance. All cannot win, after all"

-Talking Therapy works wonders. Divert the mind from game play and indulge in interesting talks or stories. The child memory is too short lived and his resentment can be turned into a lively kid by talking to him about all he likes and is interested in.

- Check the mood blues by adding in creativity. The inflated self esteem needs to be worn back again. The higher children's self esteem, the better able they are to cope with the ups and downs of life. The more self esteem the child develops, the more secure they are in confronting obstacles, fears and defeats. Kids with low self esteem see problems as grounds for quitting and often say "I quit or I give up" and flair. Instead of comparing their achievements with their own goals and potential, they compare themselves with others and get frustrated.

- Let the kid develop sense of being optimistic. There is always another day to win instead of feeling 'I Lost' Give your own example and recollect your own childhood days. Narrate a few of your ups n downs, twists n turns and talk to the kid, how you faced odd situations and embarrassments.

-Failure is never final, success is never ending - Build Sports spirit in the child and teach him the first steps to face challenges in life. Defeat is only a challenge. Talk to the kid to build a positive sense of identity. Who I am? Why I failed? Is my attitude okay? And the realization comes through when the child is helped to understand own self, own weak points. He should be disciplined to know and act what is right - what is wrong behavior. This self realization makes the kid a well balanced mind and disciplined in his behavior during times of his frustration.

-Make the child more tolerant. The kids who learn to cope with bad times and its this time when values of tolerance is more necessary for them to divert their minds to shrug off the hatred from the heart. An emotional trauma needs much more care than a broken bone. Talk to the kid with love and care. Treat him nice instead of being angry or saying harsh words. Words break the heart more, so let not the parental anxiety/anxiousness add fuel to fire and keep the cool, calm n composed self to turn the situation normal. Time heals.

Some kids tend to be aggressive and always be the winner. It is during these times Sports Spirits instill the faith, courage, loyalty, tolerance, brotherhood, all natural virtues which prepare to support in difficult situations without weaknesses. Anger, frustration, self pity, all the so called negative emotions generally have a bad effect on performances, after all.

( Suggested Reading : Honing skills - Whiff of sports-An article from my book 'Guardian of Angels)

I guess, we all need to keep the Sports Spirit live even when we see our favorite Soccer team winning or losing the game! And, cross the fingers, I hope Germany to win and may score 3-1 over Spain in the semi finals Soccer today as they have been the most impressive team in South Africa.

- ilaxi patel

Newspaper for Kids