Saturday, February 4, 2017

Brains in an i-Tech Digital World

Vulnerable Brains - Digital World and Learning

Students are increasingly anxious without their personal devices, and when they are at hand, they are hard put to forego active engagement with them, even when the immediate environment strongly calls for person-to-person interaction. Adults are demonstrating the same. Our phones beep, vibrate and sing through meetings, parties, and family dinner.  

Brain scans are measuring higher states of arousal attributed to a decreased ability to self-quiet as the human brain speeds up to keep up with digital interaction, and therapists note an increase in hyperactivity, depression, and obstinacy disorders in toddlers, pre-teens and young adults (from the book i-Minds by Mari K. Swingle). 

As educators we are paying attention to emerging studies about i-tech's role in development, studies that show a decrease in an "ability to sustain focus on the normal, the baseline states of observation, contemplation, and transitioning from which ideas spark." (i-Minds)

This is shocking even if we have seen and felt it for some time now, and so somehow knew it before we read it in a study. How can students learn, innovate and create in a world desperately in need of such if their observations skills, capacity to integrate information, and ability to be still and contemplate are compromised? 

In school, students begin note taking or research on their devices with good intentions, and then an alert presents itself on the screen. Their curiosity is piqued and almost without conscious awareness they are exchanging text messages, responding to snap chat, or checking in to a i-game. They explain to us that they are trying to stay focused, yet cannot. 

Even the most capable managers of devices are drawn away at critical points during the school day and at home. Some of our students are spending hours and hours gaming outside of school and then when at school, are unprepared and disinterested. We are making adjustments to the program here at St. Mary's Academy in response, seeking to enhance interactions, discussions, emotional and social IQ's, and creativity. 

Below, I have included a link to an article boldly titled "It's 'digital heroin': How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies." The title is extreme but perhaps in this digital age, it takes extreme to grab our attention. If you would, share what you learn - other articles, research, and books. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Loretto Leaders Announce Spirit Week 2017


This is a week of FundRaising and FunRaising dedicated to our service relationships – Martins, Meridian, St. Elizabeths, Cochiti Pueblo and Peru.

During the next week, we will have a different theme for dress and a different contest of the day. Contests take place after recess in the Commons. It costs $2 to play with all proceeds going to our service relationships. Prize for winners is a $10 I-Tunes Gift Card. You may sign up on the MS Door.

We will also have a coin war going on all week. Winning grade at the end of the week receives an ice-cream sundae during lunch. And, we will have a canned food collection with the class collecting the most cans receiving a homework pass.

Each grade is trying to make the most spirit points and win the spirit award, which will be announced before 2:30 p.m. next Friday. Grade winning Spirit Week receives a free dress-down day and pizza lunch.

Points are earned for your grade by:
Weight of the coin containers each day,
Number of cans each day,
Pod clean up each day,
Percent in your grade dressed in theme each day,
Percent in your grade entering the daily contest,
Pod decoration, which is judged on Friday mid-morning

We are hoping for a no-homework night on Thursday, February 9 for the grand finale on Friday and for the seventh and eighth grade boys’ afternoon with their dads on Thursday.

MONDAY – Led by Lydia, Simi and Olivia
Dress Theme – Lounge Day (loose winter PJ’s or sweats; No Onesies; slippers only inside MS building; wear regular shoes to school and change)
Contest – Limbo $2 to enter for Martin’s and for spirit points

TUESDAY – Led by Arely, Lillian H., and Maddie K.
Dress Theme – Super Hero or Animated Movie Character
Contest – 3 vs. 3 Soccer

WEDNESDAY – Led by Gwen, Emma D., and Simone
Dress Theme – Mix-It-Up (crazy colors, crazy hair, mix and don’t match, dress as you aren’t)
Contest – Obstacle Course $2 to enter for St. Elizabeths

THURSDAY – Finn, CeCe, and Maya
Dress Theme – Throwback to Childhood or a Decade (8th-80’s; 7th-70’s; 6th-60’s)
Contest – Jump Rope $2 to enter for Cochiti Pueblo

FRIDAY – Tawnee, Melanie, and Christian
Dress Theme – Oscars (Movies) for 8th; Tony’s (Musical Theatre) for 7th, and Grammy’s (Music) for 6th (Dress as the artist or the character of the artist.)
Contest – Jump Rope $2 to enter for Peru
MORE information about pod decorations to come