Author Archives: Foundations For Life

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Our Feature with Long Island For Sale

Category : Uncategorized

We were recently featured in an article, Foundations for Life Learning: Starting the Empowerment Process, with Long Island for Sale, a great place to buy Long Island Real Estate. Check out what they have to offer for Brooklyn, NY Real Estate.


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This Is Your Child on Accelerated Learning!

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This Is Your Child on Accelerated Learning!

We have all heard the story for too many years now – public education is a failure. America is continually losing educational ground to other industrialized countries, the education gap between the haves and have-nots, the white and minority, continues unabated, seemingly impossible to close. The system in a word seems, broken. Depending on whom you ask both the fault and the solutions for this situation lay with a host of different characters. Some say the system is failing because of the unions, others will blame inept teachers, cold hearted politicians and policy makers, still others will cite the community, poverty, society, the parents and also the children themselves.

Without question all of these elements do play some role in the current situation, but with few exceptions, proposed solutions to America’s education problem, seem to focus on whom, instead of the how. In other words it seems that the missing part, the aspect seldom taken into account, is the very structure of education itself.

To the degree that structure has been considered at all, we have seen the rise of the charter school movement, as well as suggestions of longer school days, smaller classrooms and others, yet at the level of actual structure – the nuts and bolts – of the content and its delivery, little has been done until now.

But what if there were ways to teach and to learn, that while taking into account all of the above, was able to transcend all of that to produce real academic success, real results in breathtakingly short periods of time. What if there was a way to reach all students, minimize classroom misbehavior, and condition students to love learning and excel at doing it?

Well such a way does exist! And it is called whole brain learning, and it is the core method and philosophy of the programs that we are running at Foundations for Life Learning. And although it is never sensible to suggest any one method or school of thought can be the panacea for all ills, this is as close to a magic as I have seen take place in an educational setting.

How magical? Here is a quick example: the children in our educational summer camp recently took a trip, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Two days later I conducted a twenty-minute lesson on the basic history and features of the bridge, using the methods of whole brain learning. Now certainly, except for the most science and engineering inclined, the history of a bridge is probably not the most exciting lesson most people could think of learning, and the thought alone would make many begin to yawn or fidget with boredom. It should also be mentioned here that the students in this group are not middle or high school children, but range in age from six to eleven.

The lesson went off without a hitch, and because of the method of delivery, neither participation focus nor misbehavior were any issue. Given the potential “dryness” of the subject matter that alone was gratifying enough. What followed though, is where the “magical” part comes in, and although I am well aware of what this method can do, even I was shocked by what happened next. Two days later, during a short lull in the day as we waited to take the children down to lunch, a few of them asked for markers so they could draw on the whiteboard. At first they drew cats, and hearts and dogs and trees, all the things that children draw. Some minutes later though, one of my instructors practically screamed to me, “Look what they’re doing!”

I looked up to see that the rest of the children had joined the original small group, and from youngest to oldest, they were spontaneously recreating the entire lesson I had given two days earlier! They had reproduced all the data, the dates, the facts, and the concepts, every picture and graphic with 100% accuracy! What was even more astounding was that they had done this on their own, without being asked to, and without our assistance. Having started off just playing at the board to kill a little time, they had self-generated the decision to instead do something academic, i.e., they had decided that the educational task would be more fun, more interesting! Prior to this moment none of the children had shown any exceptional abilities regarding memory and retention. And although we are lucky to have a group that indeed is quite bright in general, none had shown the inclination to grasp such an involved presentation with such ease and clarity.

It was indeed a magical occurrence, and one that we have since replicated with consistency, and all without a ten-hour school day, a classroom loaded with the latest technology, or governmental legislation. What it did take was a method that works – whole brain learning- and a properly trained and committed instructor.

Donovan Whylie
Director of Educational Programming
Foundations For Life
www.foundationsforlifelearning,org
www.foundationsforlife.wordpress.com


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Foundations For Life Academy After School Program

Category : Blog , Latest News

September 8th, 2014 –June 19th, 2015

Monday – Friday

Ages 6 – 13

 

Arts & Crafts

Snacks

Trips

Language Arts

Math

Sports

Reading

Games

 

Location:

1836 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn NY 11210

This After school program will:

  • Develop powerful academic skills
  • Help students to read more efficiently
  • Improve test results
  • Provide students with helpful study tips
  • Improve social skills

Office (718) 377-1177

Fax (718) 377-1188

mail@foundationsforlifelearning.org


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Foundations For Life’s 5th Annual Gala Event

Category : Latest News

Foundations For Life presents “Building a Resume of Success”: A celebration of the spirit of Building a Better tomorrow,Today!!!

Join us for a night of celebrating 5 years of growth and success at educating today’s children to become tomorrow’s leaders.

Tickets are available for individuals ($95) and reduced-price for children ($50).

The event will be held at Rex Manor in Brooklyn from 7pm to 12:30am, with a cocktail hour from 7pm to 8pm.

Please visit our “Contact Us” page or follow the link below for further details and ticket purchases.

 
https://www.facebook.com/events/532551556811392/

PHOTO GALLERY OF PAST GALA


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The Importance of Relevance in Learning to Read

Category : Uncategorized

“The Importance of Relevance in Learning to Read”

By: Angela Hernandez

A revision of the original published article:

“Reading is Fun and Fundamental”

in The Bridge is Over, Dec. 2008 

I became a teacher through the New York City Teaching Fellows.  Although I was assigned to teach Middle School Spanish, there were other responsibilities I had to fill.  One of the most important ones to me was being a homeroom teacher to a rambunctious yet highly talented and intelligent group of students.  One of the toughest parts about being a homeroom teacher was overseeing “SSR” or (tan, tan tan, sound of impending doom) silent sustained reading (a loud scream as the one heard in the horror movies may be suitable now).  You see, SSR required for all students to go to their homeroom classes and spend the last period of the day reading in a silent and continuous fashion.  As I walked around, I noticed kids staring at the same page for more than 10 minutes.  Also, I noticed a couple of them reading the book upside down.  Others complained the book they chose was boring and requested more time selecting a different one at the bookshelf.  This was only a delay tactic.  It wasn’t that these students didn’t enjoy reading, but other outside factors contributed to this behavior; there were limited resources, it was forced reading and there were so many restrictions surrounding what they could read.  No comic books, no magazines.  It had to be a chapter book.  These restrictions often times turn students off to reading and thus, turn them off to literacy, the ability to read to and write.

 

Reading can be fun.  In fact, reading should be fun.  When we choose to read, we shouldn’t think about just books.  The internet is a great way to get kids, teens, and adults to read more. In fact, Jon Scieszka, an author who was once named the first National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress, appeared on the “Martha Stewart Show” and gave three tips to kids and to the adults in their lives:

  1. Broaden definitions on what is reading.  He suggested reading information books on sharks, volcanoes, on anything.  He also suggested reading magazines, newspapers and exploring audiobooks.  Let kids read what they like.  Let them read humor like Captain Underpants or his book The Stinky Cheese Man.

 

  1. Embrace technology – Rewrite the old script: “Reading is good.  All TV is bad.”  Martha Stewart chimmed in and added that a good idea would be to watch only closed captioned TV in order for kids to read the captioned words on the screen.

 

  1. Be a good role model.  He asked adults to show the kids in their lives how to be a reader.  He added: “show them how you pick books.”  Having men show their boys how to read is at the top of Jon Scieszka’s list of priorities as National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature.

 

Upon viewing this video I was prompted to think about how I started reading.  The simple answer is that I read what I liked.  I liked learning about outer space and that was how I started.  Therefore, here are some guiding questions to help kids select reading material:

  1. What do you find interesting?
  2. What are you curious about?
  3. Who is your favorite celebrity? (movie, music, sports star, etc.)  Research their life.  How did they get where they are?  What do you have to do to get to where they are?
  4. Do you like to draw?  If so, what’s your favorite comic book or cartoon strip?  Aside from the Superheroes like: Spiderman, Batman, Superman, etc.  Look into other cartoons: have you of Calvin and Hobbes or Peanuts?
  5. What sports are you interested in?  Which one do you enjoy playing the most?  How can you improve your technique? What kind of equipment is associated with that sport?  (Ex: For Skateboarding, what different types of boards are on the market?)
  6. What’s your favorite TV network? (Nickelodeon, Discovery Channel, etc.)  Look them up online.  See what their websites have to offer.
  7. How does ____ work? (ex: how does electricity work?)
  8. What is the history of the instrument you play?
  9. Do you like finding inspirational quotes?  Do you have a favorite author? What else does he or she write? Find another poem or book they wrote.

10. If life had “show and tell” moments, what would you want to tell everyone

you knew?

 

Now, below are some good websites starting from the younger readers to older ones:

  1. pbskids.org/clifford/stories/index.html

You can read three Clifford stories for free.  When you click on the link to a specific story you will see the text and to have the information read to you just click the text.  You can also check out: pbskids.org/lions/stories/ for more       good stories for young kids.

  1. www.wegivebooks.org

On this site you can also read FREE books for young readers.  These online books let you flips the pages of classics like: “The Little Engine that Could” and more recent favorites such as: “Llama Llama Mad at Mama.”

 

  1. http://www.americangirl.com/fun.html

Girls: you can play a variety of games but before you do make sure you read along with the narrator the background information and instructions.  Also check out, the “historical characters” tab and read the excerpts.

  1. http://www.guysread.com/anthology_home.html

Guys: on this site, Jon Scieszka (whom I mentioned above) along with a few of his friends have put together a list of great books that speak to the young boy, the pre-teen and to the teen boy.  From the doodler to the sports fan, they have a wide selection of recommendations.  The categories under the Books for Guys tab are as interesting and diverse with titles such as “Action/Adventure”, “Boxers, Wrestlers & Ultimate Fighters,” and a boy’s dream category “At least one explosion.”

  1. http://boyslife.org/section/hobbies-projects/

Do you like projects or like to create things?  Visit this link.  It is the   website to “Boys Life Magazine.”  To create things just for fun, go to the “hobbies and projects” tab.  There you will see step by step instructions on how to put it all together.  My favorite ones are how to make a camera that takes 3D snapshots and making a ship in a bottle.  How?  Check it out or feel free to find another craft website.

  1. www.dogchannel.com

or animal planet’s website: http://animal.discovery.com/

Animal lovers do not be shy about exploring your passion.  Check out these         two sites.  It could be the beginning of something big in your life.

 

Still not sure what you like to read?  Well, here is a list of…well, lists!  J

  1. http://www.scholastic.com/kids/stacks/books

This website by Scholastic has a list of books by category for those 8 – 12 years old.  The covers of the books are displayed as well as a brief description of the books; any 8 – 12 year old would definitely find a book they’d enjoy.

  1. http://www.oprah.com/packages/kid-reading-list.html

You can also take a look at Oprah’s Reading Lists for Kids for the little one to age 12 and up.

  1.  http://www.allyoucanread.com

Still not sure what you like to read?  Check out allyoucanread.com.    According to their “about us” section, it is:

 

“the largest database of magazines and newspapers on the Internet, with listings for about 22,800 magazines and newspapers from all over the world… [it] is a complete guide to world media sources where readers find stories quickly — whether it’s news from Time Magazine or a small regional weekly newspaper in Asia.”

 

You can choose to read a newspaper from a specific city OR check out their         extensive top ten magazine lists, http://www.allyoucanread.com/top-10-magazines/ which range in topics from computers, cooking, entertainment, music, motorcycles, sports, to travel and much more.  These lists of magazines have something for every interest and every age group.  In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find my childhood favorite, “Highlights” under the “Top 10 Kids Magazines” category.

 

Please note: When you click on a top 10 list, you will see a red “buy” link            along with a description of the magazine.  You may choose to buy the         magazine if you are interested but also check out the magazine’s website by clicking on the link above the red “buy” button, you could find articles that is of interest right on their website.  For example, I clicked on Making Music Magazine and it took me to their website.  Then, I clicked on “Magazine” then “Tips” and saw a short article and video on drum warm up techniques.

  1. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/teens-teen-books/379003056/

Lastly, a site specifically for the teen reader.  When you go to this Barnes & Noble page you will see “Compelling New Teen Reads” and a slew of suggestions.  However, if these don’t interest you be sure to check out the links on the left like “Must Read for Teens,” “Bestsellers,” “Best of 2011,” and “National Book Awards” among many others.

 

Closing remarks:

Reading doesn’t have to be a chore.  Reading can be fun as long as you choose something you are interested in.  Reading is fundamental because it reveals you to you.  Half the battle is asking yourself what you are interested in.  The second half is getting started. Go to library.  Ask a friend what they read.  Check out a good website.  Just start. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC).  Good luck on your journey.


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A Learning State of Mind

Category : Uncategorized

School Success and A Learning State of Mind, Part I

The basketball star steps to the foul line with seconds left to go, all eyes are on him or her, with the fate of the game riding on making the shot. The martial artist steps toward a stack of bricks eight deep, to shatter them with a single blow. The singer, musician, artist and actor create and display their talents onstage for an audience to see, and there is no such thing as a “night off”, or just going through the motions, the show must go on, and it must be as excellent for the audience seeing the 600th show as it was for the opening night crowd.

In each instance in the crucial moment, when it is time to perform at peak levels, the performers will stop, center themselves, and usually with slow deep breathes, visualize the outcome they desire, maybe even pre-hearse it with their body movements, and then, execute.

What can we take from this behavior that athletes, artists, actors and musicians seem to know that the rest of us may realize, but don’t make enough use of: 1) Peak performance in sport, as in other areas of life, has a lot to do with the state of mind one is in, 2) We can design these states specifically, to empower us with specific skills in particular specific areas and 3) We can trigger these states at will by what we do with our bodies, and minds.

What this means is that, in the same way champion athletes do, we too can learn to create “power states” to help us access our peak abilities when we need them most. Even better these ‘states’ or qualities can be stacked into “super states” as well, giving us access to even more power.

Most of us can probably think of a variety of areas in life, from work to a host of others, where having such powerful tools would be of use. One area that few will probably think of may be school. Why? Because we have all been taught to believe that you are either “smart” or you’re not. But is that really true? Given the incredible influence that state has on so many fields of endeavor, couldn’t it also be that the states we are in, when learning, when test taking, may also have great impact on our academic success as well? Could it really be that to some degree, those that we consider bright, gifted, even genius, are able to excel not solely because of some mysterious gift of destiny or genetics, as much as an innate ability to put themselves in a “learning state”, when desired. If you could design the type of mental and physical states that would allow you to tap into your highest learning potential, what would be its ingredients? In part II of this article we will discuss what our list of ingredients are at Foundations for Life Learning, and how we are using it help our students to create a learning state of mind and succeed in school with ease.

Donovan Whylie
Director of Educational Programming
Foundations for Life
www.foundationsforlifelearning.org


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Upcoming Events!!

Category : Latest News

SUMMER CAMP:  starts July 9, 2012 until August 24, 2012

  starts July 9, 2012 until August 24, 2012

5th Annual Family Day: Camp Olmsted Saturday August 11, 2012


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F.F.L. United

Category : Latest News


Click here to view more photo’s: PHOTO GALLERY


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Real Education reform or tinkering with a broken system

Category : Blog , Uncategorized

It appears that the hot button topic on the minds and mouths of many of our elected officials and those vying for their jobs centers on education reform. What exactly is education reform and how will it create sustainable change for our children? The truth is that the present model of public education in this country still revolves around a model that was created in the early 1840’s. There have been no significant changes to the education model since it was installed. There has been an unquestioned tinkering of the system. Several attempts at reform have been attempted over the years. Inquiry learning, humanistic education, open classrooms, schools without failure and cooperative learning are just a few. The adaptation of technology in the classrooms has been widely adopted and has shown to play a role in the learning process..

The formation of charter schools provides both educators and parents with alternatives to the traditional school setting. While charter schools provide smaller class sizes and extended school years and days, the jury is still out on their effectiveness of producing more efficient and effective learners on a long term basis. While these movements started as attempts to reform education they were mere attempts at tinkering with a broken system. Just as the industrial revolution came about to change the direction of the human experience on the earth, without the willingness to make courageous, transformative changes, public education risks the likelihood that its many small changes will lead to no change at all.

What change is necessary?

We tend to deliver learning (education) through a cookie cutter approach. We teach one way and students are expected to learn. When there is a problem with learning we automatically ask the question what is wrong with the student. Learning is not intrinsic for everyone. This is the fallacy of traditional learning. The truth is that one size does not fit all. A better starting point should be what is wrong with the way we are teaching this student? We assume that the approach is always correct and that it is the responsibility of the learners to adapt, adjust and automatically learn. When this does not happen we start to throw out labels such as learning challenged, behaviourally challenged, and a lot of alphabet soups, (ADD, ADHD). This is not to say that these are not legitimate learning disorders but that they are used to cover the failings of an outdated educational system.

No matter if it is public schools or charter schools, traditional learning styles tend to be auditory; that is lecture based. This means that information is disseminated verbally and learners are expected to learn in this manner. Though this would seem a logical and correct assumption on the surface, it is widely acknowledged that for many people and in some academic subjects, this may be the least effective manner in which to impart information, or teach. On the other hand learning that involves the whole person (and therefore the whole brain, and not just their ears) and makes use of as many of the different senses as possible, will be the most successful. Why? Because by incorporating the additional senses and faculties, this kind of learning is making use of more of the individual’s natural brain power.

It then becomes necessary to acknowledge that there are at least as many types of intelligences as there are human senses, and more; and these are not binding and unchangeable, but can be learned, improved and expanded upon. It becomes obvious then that the continued attempts to reform education have perhaps been focusing on the wrong aspect of the issue. Although class size, gender separation, technology in the classroom, and the rest may indeed produce some advancements and improvements, these are changes at the level of structure, not content or presentation. We believe that in the long run the true remedy for what ails the American educational system will not be found so much in attempting to address such structural level issues as in addressing and changing the one area everyone has been loathed to address, which is the content itself and how it is presented.

Bruce Prescod

Chief Executive Officer

Foundations For Life

www.foundationsforlifelearning.org


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