If a child struggles to think, concentrate or process information then they'll gradually slip further and further behind (Lehrer, J. 2010).
Which is clearly a concern for many schools, teachers and education officials because this is the exact thing children need to be able to do inside a classroom...
Now, when you throw mental ill health into the mix the whole learning process gets even harder.
With 1 in 10 children struggling with a mental health difficulty (MH Foundation) isn't it about time we did something about it?
OK, I know that many schools are trying their hardest but with an ever reducing budget, increased workload and ever changing curriculum where on earth do teachers find the time to carry out research, invest in training or find things that actually work to address the issue?
I think we both know, that they often don't get that opportunity.
Plus, there is just so much stuff available how could you even tell whether it's going to work in the first place?
I absolutely get it.
It often drives me nuts that people can put anything up on the internet, tell people its the 'next big thing' and its usually just a re-hash of someone else's work.
What's often more frustrating than that they've often missed the most important points - you know the reasons why it worked in the first place...
Apologies, I'll jump off my soap box now & get to the good stuff.
The whole reason you clicked over to this post in the first place...
3 fun psychological hacks to increase focus, concentration and memory in children of all ages regardless of their ability.
Oh and I promise you really do only need to do them for 5 minutes a day to see a dramatic difference in ability and IQ (Klemm, W.R., 2012).
Fun thing number 1: Sequencing Game
Use sequencing games to help increase working memory capacity and IQ (Klemm, W.R., 2012).
E.g., playing the 'shopping list' game - "I went to the supermarket and bought an apple", then someone else says "I went to the supermarket and bought an apple and a banana", then someone else says "I went to the supermarket and bought an apple, a banana and a kiwi" ... and so on.
The average working memory capacity is around 4 (and why chunking down something like a phone number into smaller parts makes it easier to remember) and by doing these sequencing games for 10 minutes a day children increased their working memory capacity to 8 after just 2 months (Klemm, W.R., 2012).
Fun thing number 2: Crosswords
Any opportunity to 're-hash' what you did the day before is going to embed the learning on a deeper level.
But, most kids really don't want to do revision (let's be honest most adults don't either...).
However, we know it's key.
By turning the revision into something fun (also key for learning) by using something like a crossword you can find out how much information they retained in the first place and help increase their understanding of the subject.
Now, I completely promised to not make more work and there's a simple, free website you can use to generate the crosswords that you can use again and again.
>>CROSSWORD WEBSITE LINK<<
Fun thing number 3: Missing Items Game
OK, so in essence this is another sequencing type game but it uses slightly different skills. Instead of relying on working memory you're tapping into the long term memory and asking children to spot the missing item from a long list that you provide.
For example, you read out the following sequence of numbers:
16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24...
then ask which one is missing.
While it's easier to show this example with maths it can be used for a whole host of subjects.
Pretty much - if you can sequence it then you can use this game.
On the video, there's a 4th bonus hack which will help you speed up the process.
So, click play below & feel free to ask questions along the way - I will personally respond to all questions/comments as soon as I can.
If you'd like to learn how we can help your school to reduce mental ill health or behavioural difficulties as a barrier to learning please use the link below to book a no obligation conversation at a time which suits you.
Don't forget to to have fun.
Catch you soon - best wishes, Katie.
Castel, Alan, (2015). Improve your memory: The case against crosswords and Google. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 29/05/2017 from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/metacognition-and-the-mind/201509/improve-your-memory-the-case-against-crosswords-and-google
Danesi, Marcel. (2010). Puzzels and Brain Fitness: A Personal View. Psychology Today Retrieved on 29/06/2017 from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-workout/201003/puzzles-and-brain-fitness-personal-view
Klemm William R. (2012). Training Working Memory: Why and How. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 29/06/2017 from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201203/training-working-memory-why-and-how
Lehrer, Jonah. (2010). The Frontal Cortex: Attention and Intelligence. ScienceBlogs. Retrieved on 29/05/2017 from: http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/04/02/attention-and-intelligence/
Mental Health Foundation (n.d.). Children and Young People. Retrieved on 29/05/2017 from: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/c/children-and-young-people