It’s Brain Camp!

It’s Brain Camp!

High School Middle School The Study Academy Report

Looking forward to mid-June? If you’re a student of The Study Academy, you should probably start. That’s because we’ve got a truly exciting set of activities planned from June 15-26. It’s our way of both thanking and rewarding students for their progress and hard work this year. And since education is what the staff and faculty here know and love, what better activities to plan than ones of the educational ilk? What we have in store is better than camp – it’s Brain Camp!

For teachers at The Study Academy, one of the objectives that always underlie our lessons plans is to set the stage for student-centred, experiential learning. We use a variety of methods to achieve that end in our classrooms. At its core, the vision of Brain Camp is about expanding those same objectives into a very new set of experiences. So while the activities we’ve planned will optimize long-term skills like critical thinking and problem-solving, we’ve also ensured that they’re interesting and enable the students to engage in practical application. Students will enjoy and be challenged by a QR scan code scavenger hunt, physical education, applied mathematics, cooking, video game creation, current events investigation and reporting, drama and outdoor games, movie-making, science experiments, and art projects.

In addition to bringing about new experiences, we also think of Brain Camp as a great way to get students into new spaces. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing with field trips to the AGO, Skyzone, Bounce World, Brick Works and Queen’s Park. We’ll be starting those days at The Study Academy, but we’ll be venturing out from there (being located so close to public transportation has definite perks!).

Teachers Eric and Jonathan are both eagerly preparing for their roles as coordinators for Brain Camp. In addition to serving as guardians and ensuring everyone’s on schedule throughout each day’s events, they’ll also be taking on the tricky task of consultation for students deciding how and what to investigate during the activities. This means judging when it’s appropriate to lend their voices, and when it’s appropriate to step back. We think striking that balance is the best way to assure a support system so students feel safe enough to partake in independent work.

Brain Camp will take place from 9am-3pm every school day from June 15-26, and will include students from 9-14 years old. We’re proud that in only two weeks from today, we’ll be facilitating this combination of academic enrichment, field trips, and activities, and assisting students in worthwhile accomplishments. See you there!

Fun Times at The Study Academy’s Brain Camp

Fun Times at The Study Academy’s Brain Camp

Middle School The Study Academy Report

Hello Readers,

It has certainly been busy these past few days at The Study Academy and I’m here to tell you that there are only more exciting things to come this week. Never a dull moment, eh?  As I had mentioned in an earlier post, children had the option to spend two additional weeks after the end of the school year to engage in creative and educational activities at our Brain Camp. Small classes benefit student learning.

I was able to contact the head teacher of Brain Camp, Meghan Patrick, to discuss what has been going on at camp so far. I was told that In the morning the students engaged in collaborative story writing activities and practiced parts of speech with mad lib games on the smart board. This was intended to ensure that the students got their “creative juices”, so to speak, flowing for the rest of the day; however one must also recognize this was an excellent way to assist the children in expanding their diction and structure.

butterfliesThe students also have started all afternoons with collaborative drama games. This week, students gathered round in a circle in the gymnasium and acted out assigned characters or scenes on their own or with a partner chosen by their teacher. The intention behind this activity was so that students could continue to work on their communication skills, especially in non verbal areas of communication.

Students also practiced a bit of video game creation that focused on creating shorelines based on earlier lessons on Medieval times and ancient Egypt. This had been possibly the most exciting part of the day for the kids, as they put their knowledge towards a fun and tangible goal. As Brain Camp will be ending off this week, the teachers have arranged a wonderful  trip for the students to the Ontario Science centre to check out the IMAX movie, “Flight of the Butterflies”(http://www.si.edu/Imax/movie/71). As you can tell the students coming to The Study for this final week of Brain Camp are really going to be having fun right to the end!

A Year in Review at The Study Academy

A Year in Review at The Study Academy

Educational Research High School Middle School

Hello Readers,

with classes ending, its been making me think of all that’s happened through the year. I’ve tried to share them all with you each and every week. We have also discussed many of the recent and pressing issues in Education and research. I must say, it  has definitely been quite exciting each and every week.

When I first was approached to write for The Study Academy’s blog, I was shocked. The first concern that came to my mind was how could I make these posts relevant to you, the Reader. I knew it had to be about The Study Academy, but I felt there just had to be something more. It came to me one morning- Theoretical Thursdays!  In addition to Tuesday’s The Study Academy Reports, Theoretical Thursdays has come to comprise the basis for this blog.Neurfeedback training for ADHD

The posts these past few months have been diverse, but I hope they have been informative. On every Tuesday’s The Study Academy Report I tried to detail to you all the exciting happenings going on at school, both in the Highschool and Middle School sections. In some of my posts, I’ve written about the Neurofeedback training at The Study Academy lab, or the Study Academy’s small class sizes.  I also detailed to you about the exciting volunteering abroad opportunity that some of the students took in Nicaragua and the array of activities during Inspire Week. In the last remaining weeks, as things slowed down I spoke about the music classes available, the anti bullying policies at the school, the structured educational system, the theatrical performances by students, and the exciting new work happening at The Study Academy lab.

Teaching methods based on graduate research in action!Likewise , every Theoretical Thursday you, the Reader, were provided with the exciting research happening around the world and its relevance to Education and your child. You learned about the lasting effects of smaller class sizes, the self control technique of Mindfulness, the importance of divergent thinking in children, and the exciting new method of detecting autism.  In addition, I discussed the importance of music and goal setting for children, while using the most up to date and relevant research. Those who read my previous posts also learned the dangers of stereotype threat for young girls who like Math and the ways to prevent their impact, as well as how to use the structure of memory to one’s advantage so children will not forget their lessons over the break.

To say the least, we have had some very good time this year at The Study Academy, however summer is finally here, so we are going to have to say goodbye to our regular Tuesday posts, The Study Academy Report. The final The Study Academy Report will be next week . It will be detailing the last days of Brain Camp. However, it will be replaced with a new opinion section. All my readers will now get an opportunity to interact and really give your opinions about Education and Research. So, definitely don’t stop dropping by on Tuesday; instead come as you are and bring your opinions with you!

Theoretical Thursday: Making the Memories Last!

Theoretical Thursday: Making the Memories Last!

Middle School The Study Academy Report

Hello Readers,

Welcome to yet another Theoretical Thursday written by me, The Study Academy’s humble blogger. I felt that, considering how majority of you are probably deciding whether to sign up your child this summer for camp (hopefully Brain Camp), I wanted to give you a bit more incentive.  As I mentioned in this week’s The Study Academy Report, there is indeed a concern by many Educators that students forget the material taught during the academic year while they are on break. Actually, this has been termed as brain drain syndrome, but don’t be alarmed there are ways to prevent it!

http://01.edu-cdn.com/files/static/wiley/9780470591963/WHY_DO_STUDENTS_REMEMBER_EVERYTHING_THAT_S_ON_TELEVISION_AND_FORGET_EVERYTHING_I_SAY_01.GIF

http://01.edu-cdn.com/files/static/wiley/9780470591963/WHY_DO_STUDENTS_REMEMBER_EVERYTHING_THAT_S_ON_TELEVISION_AND_FORGET_EVERYTHING_I_SAY_01.GIF

First, however, why is it happening? Well, the  Educational calendar has definitely changed over the years. For instance, there has been a gradual movement towards fewer school days in the classroom by having the children stay longer on school days to make up the minutes. Thus, with longer breaks between lessons children can fall prey to brain drain. On average, children can lose up to two months of what they were taught in school over the summer break. Why? Well this has a lot to do with the child’s memory. You see there are many different kinds of memories. Long-term memory is our brain’s system responsible for storing, managing, and retrieving information that we can keep for long periods of time. There are many different forms of long-term memory. explicit memory, or declarative memory, is a type of long-term memory, which requires conscious thought for us to retrieve it. We have to consciously think of what page of math we have in order to retrieve the memory and say, “Aha! It was page 102, questions 1 to 12!” Closely related to “working” memory, short-term memory is the very short time that you keep something in mind before either dismissing it or transferring it to long-term memory.

It takes, however, quite a bit of work for a memory to be transferred and stored in long term memory so that it can be kept for long periods of time. Memories can be encoded into long term memory most commonly through two ways: repetition and meaningful encoding. Repetition is probably the most used way. It is when you have your child review their material a bit each day or read a book each week during the summer break. I fondly recall how my parents had me write 2 to 4 book reports each summer, and this really helped to expand my vocabulary from an early age.

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/teach/z-vthink.gif

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/teach/z-vthink.gif

However, getting a child to go back to the books after they have been looking so forward to the relaxing and fun times of summer may be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. Can you blame them? Both adults and children alike want to have a bit of fun after they work hard.  This is why, meaningful encoding may be the better option. Meaningful  encoding allows for memories of what your child has learned to reach long term memory by attaching relevance to the information. It is making the details personally important to the child. In this way, the memory can be encoded and transferred through what they refer to as dual encoding process- the memory is encoded through both as information and through the emotions the child relates to the information.

Well, children can certainly have a meaningful time at camp! Academic camps are structured around the idea of meaningful encoding and therefore are a great option for reducing brain drain! Studies have shown that students in academic camps, such as Brain Camp, benefit in a number of ways including enhanced problem solving skills and memory. In fact, 98% of campers continue to use these skills after camp is over. Children certainly gain invaluable knowledge and skills at such camps  that helps them succeed in school and later in the working world.

So, what’s your decision now going to be for your child this summer?

Keeping Their Brain Active with Brain Camp

Keeping Their Brain Active with Brain Camp

Middle School

Hello Readers,

I hope you all are enjoying the nice weather this past week, and had fun in the sun during the long weekend too! I guess this also means that the school session is quickly coming to an end, however, this doesn’t mean that your child has to sit around the twiddle their thumbs this summer- at-least not at The Study Academy!

Fun scientific experiments

Every year, for the past three summers, The Study Academy has set up an early summer  day camp for middle school students. The camp runs for two weeks, right after the completion of the regular school year and is an ideal opportunity to invigorate the mind, challenge oneself and have fun outdoors! It is called Brain Camp!

The idea for this  camp actually arose from a conversation between Bryan Levy- Young, the head of Pastoral care, and Jason Krell, the Principal.  They were having a discussion regarding the detriment of having such a prolonged summer has on student cognitive development. The idea behind Brain Camp was to do two things. Firstly, it was to break the assumption that learning occurs only when a child is immersed reading textbooks or listening to lectures. Secondly, it was also to provide a summer tune-up for the brain. Essentially Brain Camp originated as a way for students to keep mentally active during a few weeks of the summer and show them, all the while, that learning can be fun!

This year, Meaghan Patrick  will be running the camp and has quite a few exciting things in store for the children. The day is split into two parts. In the morning students will be engaging academic subjects. In the past, morning have usually been spent at The Study Academy location mastering recipes with math, or conducting scientific experiments in the classroom.

Afterwards, in the afternoon, the children get to have some fresh air, go outside to play sports and develop their team work and leadership skills. Children will work in teams for scavenger hunts, participate in delightful improv games, run around playing Ultimate frisbee and go off on exciting field trips! Some ideas for field trips are already up in the air, such as the Science Centre, Humber Arboretum, Kensington and History walks throughout Toronto.

http://www.tahaphoto.com/

http://www.tahaphoto.com/

One very exciting opportunity this summer that I simply must share with you is that Taha Muharuma of Taha Photo fame (tahaphoto.com) is going to do some lessons on photography and photo editing with the students! Isn’t that exciting?  So, children are going to learn about composition, framing and other key components of photography and will follow up with a local outing to try out their new found techniques.  The second lesson will have them take their shots and work through post-processing — applying colour corrections, filters, and other visual effects.  At the end of camp, each student will receive back a printed copy of their work that they can to you, their lovely parents!

So, don’t forget to register your child for something exciting this summer, and why not Brain Camp!