Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Books About Attention Issues

In this last post about attention issues, I want to suggest a few books that may be helpful. Some are written for kids, some for adults.

Please keep in mind that attention issues are not just in persons (kids and adults) that are diagnosed as having ADHD. We all have times when maintaining attention is a challenge. If paying attention is affecting your child's performance at home and/or school, here are some resources that may be helpful.

BOOKS WRITTEN FOR KIDS (helpful for parents and teachers, too)
All Kinds of Minds by Dr. Mel Levine
This book has been around awhile (1993). It’s the first book I’d read that framed learning differences in a positive way. It presents the stories of 5 students as they cope in a regular classroom. Each student has a learning difference in a different area – attention, reading, memory, language and social skills.
The student stories section is followed by more information about each of the issues and provides ideas for helping to increase student success. This author’s website also provides extensive resources.

The Survival Guide for Kids with ADD or ADHD by John F. Taylor, Ph.D.
This book offers lots of information for kids with attention issues. The chapter titles give a good idea of the scope of information  covered:
What is ADHD?
Make Each Day Go Better
Getting Help for ADHD
Eating the Right Food
Life on the Home Front
Six Ways to Succeed at School
Seven Ways to Make and Keep Friends
Eight Ways to Deal with Strong Feelings

Learning to Slow Down and Pay Attention by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. and Ellen B. Dixon, Ph.D.
Part 1 of this book gives a series of short checklists for kids to complete. They cover school, friends, self and home. It seems they
might be quite helpful to a child who is struggling but doesn’t know why.
Part 2 covers things other people can do to help. It encourages kids to turn to the adults in their lives for support.
Part 3 gives ideas that can help the kids learn to help themselves. It covers many areas, including way to remember, homework, problem solving and making friends.
Part 4 suggests projects that kids can do with their parents, based on what the kids have identified as areas they want to change.

101 School Success Tools for Students with ADHD by Jacqueline S. Iseman, Ph.D., Stephan M. Silverman, Ph.D. and Sue Jeweler
This book is written for teachers and parents. I see it as a valuable resource to consult when issues arise. It includes reproducible
checklists, worksheets and charts to support learning and behavior change. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but it does offer excellent ideas.

ADHD: What Every Parent Needs to Know by Michael I. Reiff, MD, FAAP
This book offers comprehensive information on ADHD. It covers diagnosis, medications, managing at home, behavior therapy, school, advocating for your child, adolescence, alternate treatments and the future. I think it would be a good book to read cover-to-cover or as a resource to consult as issues arise.
For previous posts on attention issues, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

As a parent of a son with attention issues, I know how challenging life can be - for the child, the parents and the siblings. Hang in there! Some small changes can bring positive results. Please share in the Comments box - what works for you?

Monday, August 29, 2011

10 Books for Weather Enthusiasts

Are you a weather buff? Do you watch the weather and wonder about it? This week's list of books is for you! There are LOTS of books out there about weather. These are just a few that appealed to me.

I found all these books in the library in the J551.5 to J551.6 section. I hope you find some weather books that excite you. The books are organized loosely by reading level. The easier ones are first and get harder as the list goes on. All would be great read-alouds so everyone can get excited about weather.

Science Everywhere: The Weather by Helen Orme
Even though this book is very basic, it contains lots of information. It would be a good first look at weather.

A Pirate Adventure: Weather by Andrew Solway
The idea behind this book is that if you're a pirate (or any sailor) on the seas 300 years ago, you'd better know how to read weather signs. It covers air masses, weather changes, hurricanes and more.

Wild Weather: Hurricanes! by Lorraine Jean Hopping
This Hello Reader book discusses where hurricanes come from, what types there are, and what can be done during one. It concentrates on Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Other Wild Weather books cover tornadoes, lightning, floods and blizzards.

Twisters! by Kate Hayden
This is a DK Readers Level 2 book. It describes how tornadoes form and what effects they have on people and their surroundings. It has plenty of painted illustrations and real-life photos.

Pink Snow and Other Weird Weather by Jennifer Dussling, illustrated by Heidi Petach
This is an  All Aboard Science Reader, Level 2  book. It explains some interesting weather happenings, such as pink snow, raining frogs and 15- inch snowflakes. Fun!

Lightning by Seymour Simon
If you didn't already know that there are many kinds of lightning, you certainly will after reading this book. The photos are wonderful.

Tornadoes by Luke Thompson
This book is a more challenging read than the ones above. However, it's well organized with subtitles (I'm a big fan of subtitles) that make reading easier. There are lots of photos of tornadoes and their destruction, which also help make the reading flow.

The Kid's Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad
I love this book! It's filled with clear explanations of how various weather is created. It also has lots of experiments to try and weather instruments to make. A perfect book for young and not-so-old weather lovers.

Nature Activities: Weather Watcher by John Woodward
This is another hands-on weather book. It gives instructions on how to do all sorts of weather things, such as making a barometer to measure air pressure, making an anemometer to measure wind speed, creating a rainbow and more.

National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Weather by Jonathan D.W. Kahl
This books starts with a lot of information about the ingredients of weather (moisture, clouds, wind, pressure...). It then provides a field guide to help budding (and more advanced) meteorologists identify 50 types of clouds, storms and other weather events. The end pages have resources for further information.

Have a happy time learning about and measuring weather. What are your favorite weather events? Write them in the Comments box!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back-To-School Jokes

It’s time for back-to-school jokes, don’t you think? Here are some to share with your family, friends and teachers.

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Dewey who?
Dewey have to go to school today?

Have you heard about the teacher who was cross-eyed?
She couldn’t control her pupils!

Teacher: Name two days of the week that start with "t".
Pupil: Today and Tomorrow.

What school supply is always tired?
A knapsack!

Teacher: Could you please pay a little attention?
Student: I'm paying as little attention as I can.

Teacher: James, where is your homework?
James: I ate it.
Teacher: Why?
James: You said it was a piece of cake!

Teacher: Why is your homework in your father’s handwriting?
Pupil: I used his pen!

Teacher: You’ve got your shoes on the wrong feet.
Pupil: But these are the only feet I’ve got!

What’s the difference between a teacher and a steam train?
The first goes “Spit out that chewing gum immediately!” and the second goes “chew chew”!

Today my teacher yelled at me for something I didn’t do.
What was that?
My homework!

What is white when it’s dirty and black when its clean?
A blackboard!

Teacher: How many seconds in a minute?
Student: 60
Teacher: How many minutes in an hour?
Student: 60
Teacher: Good, now for a hard one, how many seconds in a year?
Student: 12
Teacher: 12?
Student: Yes, January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd...

Mother: George, why does your geography exam have a big zero over it?
George: It is not a zero, mum. The teacher ran out of stars, so she gave me a moon instead!

It was the first day of school and the teacher asked all the troublemakers to stand up. Finally this girl stood up and the teacher asked, "Are you a troublemaker?"
The girl said, "No." The teacher asked why she was standing and the girl said, "You looked lonely."

A first grade teacher was telling her students the story of "Chicken Little." She got to the part when Chicken Little ran up to the Farmer saying, "The sky is falling. The sky is falling." Then the teacher paused and asked the kids what they thought the farmer said. One little girl raised her hand and the teacher called on her. The little girl then said, "I think the farmer said Holy cow, a talking chicken!"

Stevie: Hey, Mom, I got a hundred in school today.
Mom: That's wonderful! What did you get a hundred in?
Stevie: In two things: I got forty in reading and sixty in spelling.

Today’s jokes came from:

Squigly’s Jokes and Riddles

Activity Village

What jokes can you share? Write them in the Comments box!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Looking at Attention Issues Part 3

This is the third post on attention issues and ADHD. (See Looking at Attention Issues Part 1 and Looking at Attention Issues Part 2) This week I'm using information from ( again. I continue to find this site to be a helpful source of information.

If your child is struggling with ADD/ADHD, take hope. There are many safe and effective treatments that can drastically improve its symptoms. ADD/ADHD treatment can boost school performance, improve organizational skills, and foster better relationships.
Treatment doesn’t necessarily mean pills or doctors’ offices. Treatment for ADD/ADHD is any action you take to manage the symptoms. And while you may want to seek professional help along the way, ultimately, you are the one in charge of treating ADD/ADHD. You don’t have to wait for a diagnosis or rely on professionals. You can start treating your child’s symptoms today.

Treatment for attention deficit disorder isn’t just about seeing doctors or taking medication. The term treatment actually refers to behavior, management, or action—not just to medical approaches. ADD/ADHD treatment can mean changing your habits, altering your frame of mind, talking to others, and learning strategies to help yourself or your child.
You don’t have to pick just one treatment. In fact, the best way to treat ADD/ADHD is to combine several different methods to get the best possible result. You have the power to figure out what works for your child and implement the appropriate treatments. Finding relief for the symptoms of ADD/ADHD is in your hands.

A positive attitude and common sense are your best assets for treating ADD/ADHD. When you are in a good frame of mind, you are more likely to be able to connect with child's needs.
  • Keep things in perspective. Remember that your child’s behavior is related to a disorder. Most of the time it is not intentional.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. One chore left undone isn’t a big deal when your child has completed two others. If he didn’t finish the project tonight, maybe he can do it in the morning.
  • Believe in your child. Think about or make a written list of everything that is positive, valuable, and unique her. Trust that she can learn, change, and succeed.

You can begin your treatment for ADD/ADHD today—at home. Evidence shows that eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and making other smart daily choices can help you and your child manage the symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
Exercise Exercising is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention. In this way, exercise and medications for ADD/ADHD such as Ritalin and Adderall work similarly. But unlike ADD/ADHD medication, exercise doesn’t require a prescription and its side effect free.
 Sleep Regular quality sleep can lead to vast improvement in the symptoms os ADHD. Simple changes to changes to daytime habits go a long way toward resting well at night.
  • Have a set bedtime and stick to it.
  • Avoid caffeine later in the day.
  • Implement a quiet hour or two before bed.
  • Limit daytime napping.
  • Use the bed only for sleep.
Eating While diet doesn’t cause ADD/ADHD, what and how your child eats does have an effect on her mood, energy levels, and symptoms. Eating regularly is particularly important.
  • Schedule regular meals or snacks no more than three hours apart. Many people with ADD/ADHD eat erratically. This isn’t good for symptoms of ADD/ADHD or one’s emotional and physical health.
  • Make sure she’s getting enough zinc, iron, and magnesium in your diet. Consider a daily multi-vitamin if you’re unsure.
  • Try to include a little protein and complex carbohydrates at each meal or snack. These foods will help her feel more alert while decreasing hyperactivity. They will also give her steady, lasting energy.
  • Add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. A growing number of studies show that omega-3s improve mental focus in people with ADD/ADHD. Omega-3s are found in salmon, tuna, sardines, and some fortified eggs and milk products. Fish oil supplements are an easy way to boost intake.

Treatment for ADD/ADHD can also mean seeking outside help. Professionals trained in ADD/ADHD can help your child learn new skills to cope with symptoms and change habits that are causing problems.
Some therapies focus on managing stress and anger or controlling impulsive behaviors, while others teach you how to handle time and money better and improve your organizational skills.
To learn more about the types of therapies that might benefit your child, see ADD/ADHD Therapy for Children and Adults.

Prescription drugs for ADD/ADHD can be helpful in treatment, but it’s important to understand that medication is a tool, not a cure. Medication for ADD/ADHD doesn’t work for everyone, and even when it does work, it won’t solve all problems or completely eliminate symptoms. In fact, while medication for ADD/ADHD often improves attention and concentration, it typically does very little to help symptoms of disorganization, poor time management, forgetfulness, and procrastination.
What you need to know about medication
  • Everyone responds differently to ADD/ADHD medication. Some people experience dramatic improvement while others experience little to no relief. The side effects also differ from person to person and, for some, they far outweigh the benefits.
    Because everyone responds differently, finding the right medication and dose takes time.
  • Medication for ADD/ADHD is more effective when combined with other treatments.
  • ADD/ADHD medication should always be closely monitored.
  • If you choose to use medication for ADD/ADHD, that doesn’t mean your child has to stay on it forever. Although it isn’t safe to bounce off and on any drug repeatedly, you can safely decide to stop treating your ADD/ADHD with medication if things aren’t going well. If you want to stop taking medication, be sure to let your doctor know your plans and work with him or her to taper off your medication slowly.
Is medication right for my child?
If you’re considering medication for ADD/ADHD, it’s important to know all the facts, including what medication can and can’t do, what side effects may occur, the safety concerns surrounding stimulants, and what questions to ask your doctor.

Next week, I'll write about tips for coping with attention issues and ADHD, plus give some resources you may find helpful. Please add any of your questions, comments and experiences to the Comments box. Thanks.

Monday, August 22, 2011

7 Science Fiction Books

Today’s collection of books has a little something for everyone: picture books (not just for little kids!), a Chris Van Allsburg sequel, a time-traveling ghost and 2 series.

Space Case by Edward Marshall, illustrated by James Marshall (Guess what – they’re the same person!)
What happens when a robot from outer space joins a boy as he’s trick-or-treating? Confusion and fun! Plus, the thing saves the day when the boy brings him to school.

Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg
At the end of Jumanjii, a young boy is seen running home with a game tucked under his arm. In Zathura, we find out what happens to him. Turns out, there’s another game jammed into the bottom of the original Jumanjii game. If you're thinking this new game takes the players on a wild ride, you’re absolutely right!

Baloney (Henry P.) by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
An alien boy is late to school so often, his teacher threatens him with permanent detention unless he comes up with a good excuse.
Fortunately, a transmission from outer space provides him with plenty of excuses.

Time Train by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Claire Ewart
Chances are, you’ve never been on a field trip like this. An unsuspecting teacher and her class board a train that takes them straight to the time of dinosaurs.

The Blue Ghost by Marion Dane Bauer
Okay, this book is not exactly science fiction, but it does feature time travel so I decided to include it. Liz is the youngest of a long line of
Elizabeths. They go all the way back to her great-great-great-grandmother Elizabeth. Read to find out what happens when Liz is visited by a blue ghost and how Liz becomes a guardian angel to Elizabeth’s children.

Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
When his uncle gives Joe a special book called, The Book, for his birthday, Joe and his 2 friends didn’t know what to expect. For sure, they didn’t expect to become knights and battle fire-breathing dragons, plus smelly giants. This is part a very popular series, Time Warp Trio,  and is great fun.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
I admit I resisted reading this book. I figured I wouldn't like it, but it quite charmed me. Fourth graders George and Harold hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s the superhero Captain Underpants. Captain Underpants leads them to the wicked Dr. Diaper and his evil robot henchmen. Sound silly? It really is - but great fun. It's the first of the Captain Underpants series.

I'm sure I'll be back soon with more science fiction books. Do you have any to recommend?

Friday, August 19, 2011

End-of-Summer Crafts

As much as I hate to admit it, we're coming to the last weeks of summer. To celebrate these last days, let's try some new crafts. Here are a few to begin with.

Disney Family Fun – Beach Crafts
This site has an assortment of sand crafts and shell crafts. I had to smile when I saw the sand candle craft. I remember making them in my hippie days!

Red Ted Art – Sand Beads
I can’t wait to try making these beads. Sandy beach – here I come!

Pink and Green Mama - Black glue and watercolor resist
This craft project looks pretty snazzy. It seems like you could make it as simple or as complicated as you’d like.

So what crafts have you been up to? Write them in the Comments box!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Looking at Attention Issues Part 2

Last week's post began our look at attention issues and ADHD Looking at Attention Issues Part 1. This week I'm using information from ( I wish I'd found this information when I was guiding parents through the attention issue process. I think it would have helped a lot.

Making the ADD / ADHD Diagnosis
ADD/ADHD looks different in every person, so there is a wide array of criteria—or measures for testing—to help health professionals reach a diagnosis. It is important to be open and honest with the specialist conducting your evaluation so that he or she can come to
the most accurate conclusion.
Important factors in the diagnosis
To be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, your child must display a combination of strong ADD/ADHD symptoms (hyperactivity,
impulsivity, or inattention). The professional assessing the problem will also look at the following factors:
  • How severe are the symptoms? To be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, the symptoms must have a negative impact on your child’s life.
  • When did the symptoms start? Since ADD/ADHD starts in childhood, the doctor or therapist will look at how early the symptoms appeared.
  • How long have the symptoms been bothering you or your child? Symptoms must have been going on for at least 6 months before ADD/ADHD can be diagnosed.
  • When and where do the symptoms appear? The symptoms of ADD/ADHD must be present in multiple settings, such as at home and school. If the symptoms only appear in one environment, it is unlikely that ADD/ADHD is to blame.

Finding a specialist who can diagnose ADD / ADHD
Qualified professionals trained in diagnosing ADD/ADHD can include clinical psychologists, physicians, or clinical social workers. Choosing a specialist can seem confusing at first. The following are steps you can take toward finding the right person to evaluate
you or your child.
  • Get recommendations. Doctors, therapists, and friends you trust may like a particular specialist. Ask them questions about their choice and try out their recommendation.
  • Do your homework. Find out the professional certification and academic degrees of the specialists you are looking into. If possible, talk to former patients and clients, and find out what their experience was.
  • Feel at ease. Feeling comfortable with the specialist is an important part of picking someone right to evaluate you. Try to be yourself, ask questions, and be honest with the professional. You may need to speak with a few specialists before choosing the person that is best for you.
  • Check price and insurance. Find out how much the specialist will charge and if your health insurance will cover part or all of the ADD/ADHD evaluation. Some insurance policies cover evaluation for ADHD from one kind of specialist, but not from another.
Search the CHADD Professional Directory for treatment professionals and organizations offering help for children and adults with ADD / ADHD.

Diagnosing ADD / ADHD in children
Your role as a parent
When seeking a diagnosis for your child, you are your child’s best advocate and most important source of support. As a parent in this process, your roles are both emotional and practical. You can provide or ensure:
  • Emotional support for your child during the diagnostic process.
  • The right choice of specialist for your child.
  • Unique and helpful information for doctors/specialists.
  • Open and honest answers to questions about your child’s history and current adjustment.
  • Speed and accuracy of evaluation, and a second opinion if necessary.
The doctor’s or specialist’s role
Usually, more than one professional is typically involved in the assessment process for ADD/ADHD in children. Physicians, clinical psychologists, school psychologists, clinical social workers, speech-language pathologists, learning specialists, and educators may
each play an important role in the ADD/ADHD evaluation.
There are no laboratory tests available to determine a diagnosis; instead, clinicians base their conclusions on the observable symptoms and by ruling out other disorders.The specialist who conducts your child’s evaluation will ask you a range of questions that you should open honestly and openly. He or she may also:
  • Obtain a thorough medical and family history.
  • Order or conduct a general physical and/or neurological exam.
  • Lead a comprehensive interview with you, your child, and the child’s teacher(s).
  • Use standardized screening tools for ADD / ADHD.
  • Observe your child at play or school.
  • Use psychological tests in order to measure IQ and social and emotional adjustment.

Simple steps, big difference: getting your child evaluated for ADD/ADHD
Doctors, specialists, testing—it may all feel a little overwhelming to figure out a diagnosis for your child. You can take a lot of the chaos out of the process with the following practical steps.
  • Make an appointment with a specialist. As the parent, you can initiate testing for ADD/ADHD on behalf of your child. The earlier you schedule this appointment, the more quickly you can get help for his or her ADD/ADHD.
  • Speak to your child’s school. Call your child’s principal and speak directly and openly about your pursuit for a diagnosis. Public schools are required by law to assist you, and in most cases want to do what they can to make school life better for your child.
  • Give professionals the full picture. When you are asked the tough questions about your child’s behavior, be sure to answer honestly. Your perspective is very important to the evaluation process.
  • Keep things moving. You are your child’s advocate, and have the power to prevent delays in getting a diagnosis. Trying not to be pushy, check in with doctors or specialists often to see where you are in the process.
  • If necessary, get a second opinion. If there is any doubt that your child has received a thorough or appropriate evaluation, you can seek another specialist’s help.

Next week I'll cover other attention topics, such as treatment. Please add any of your questions, comments and experiences to the Comments box. Thanks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Really Interesting Animal Books

I have discovered some terrific books that focus on animals. Some are a part of a series, some are not. All are worth taking a look at.

As usual, I've included the call numbers to make it easier to find the books. This will also get you to the right sections of the library in case similar books interest you.

Tails That Talk and Fly [J 591.479] by Diane Swanson
Terrific Tails [J599] by Hana Machotka
While watching the squirrels in my back yard recently, I wondered about their tails. What were they for? Then I wondered about other animals' tail. What were they for? So I did what I always do - I went to the library! These books give lots of information about animals and their tails.

100 Things You Should Know About Horses and Ponies [J031 Bar] by Camilla de la Bedoyere
This is part of an outstanding series. It gives 100 short pieces of information about horses and ponies. It's organized so you can read it cover-to-cover, 1 to 100, or you can start with the Table of Contents and go straight to subjects that catch your eye (Colors and Markings, The First Horses, Hotblood Horses...). Here are a few of the other animal titles in the series:
100 Things You Should Know About Nocturnal Animals
100 Things You Should Know About Whales and Dolphins
100 Things You Should Know About T.rex
100 Things You Should Know About Elephants

Secret of the Puking Penguins...and More! [J 597.9] by Ana María Rodríguez
What a fun and informative book! I guarantee you will learn some new things. This book investigates how chameleons capture their prey with their tongues, what the spots on an alligator's face are used for, how penguins feed their newborns, and how peacock feathers work. At the end of the book are books and websites about the topics. Also in the series:
Secret of the Plant-Killing Ants...and More!
Secret of the Sleepless Whales...and More!
Secret of the Suffocating Slime Trap...and More!
Secret of the Bloody Hippo...and More!

Grizzly Bears: Saving the Silvertip [J 599.784] by Jacqueline Dembar Greene
This book is part of the America's Animal Comebacks series. It covers the work of brothers John and Frank Craighead as they try to save the the grizzly bear, an endangered animal. This book has lots of pictures and clear print. Other books in the series:
American Alligators
American Bison
Bald Eagles
Black-footed Ferrets
Florida Manatees
Florida Panthers
Gray Wolves
Southern Sea Otters

I hope you enjoy some of these books - I know I did! Do you have a favorite animal? Write it in the Comment box!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Games, Codes & Stories

Do you want to learn how to play chess? Try this website and give it a try. Warning: It's chess as a war game!

This site has several things to do: read stories, listen to stories, finish stories, create a coded message and play games.

Have fun!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Looking at Attention Issues Part 1

We all need to be good at paying attention. Attending to our environment and the people in it is essential for learning and safety. Today’s post is a first look at attention and focuses on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Most of the information below is from the website PubMed Health, which is produced by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
ADHD is a problem with inattentiveness, over-activity, impulsivity, or a combination. For these problems to be diagnosed as ADHD, they must be out of the normal range for a child's age and development.

The symptoms of ADHD fall into three groups:
  • Lack of attention (inattentiveness)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsive behavior (impulsivity)

Inattentive symptoms
1.Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork
2.Has difficulty keeping attention during tasks or play
3.Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
4.Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
5.Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
6.Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork)
7.Often loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or tools needed for tasks or activities
8.Is easily distracted
9.Is often forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity symptoms:
1.Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
2.Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
3.Runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations
4.Has difficulty playing quietly
5.Is often "on the go," acts as if "driven by a motor," talks excessively

Impulsivity symptoms:
1.Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
2.Has difficulty awaiting turn
3.Interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations or games)

Signs and tests
Too often, children are incorrectly labeled with ADHD. On the other hand, many children who do have ADHD remain undiagnosed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued guidelines to bring more clarity to this issue.
The diagnosis for ADHD is based on very specific symptoms, which must be present in more than one setting.
  • Children should have at least 6 attention symptoms or 6 hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms, with some symptoms present before age 7.
  • The symptoms must be present for at least 6 months, seen in two or more settings, and not caused by another problem.
  • The symptoms must be severe enough to cause significant difficulties in many settings, including home, school, and in relationships with peers.

The child should have an evaluation by a doctor if ADHD is suspected. Evaluation may include:
  • Parent and teacher questionnaires (for example, Connors, Burks)
  • Psychological evaluation of the child AND family, including IQ testing and psychological testing
  • Complete developmental, mental, nutritional, physical, and psychosocial examination

My thoughts
ADHD is a big topic of conversation in schools. Teachers are often the first ones to note behaviors that may be symptoms of ADHD. But the important word in that statement is may. If a teacher has concerns about a student’s attention, she is right to speak of her concerns with the student's parents. But teachers do not diagnose ADHD. Diagnosis is a medical issue.
In the next weeks, I’ll cover evaluation, treatment options and things you can do to help.

Do you have questions you’d like to see covered? Experiences to share? Please write them in the Comments box. Thanks.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Usborne Puzzle Books = Fun!

There are at least 3 different Puzzle book series published by Usborne. Today I’ll write about 2 of them: Usborne Young Puzzles and Look-Puzzle-Learn

Both series are like the Where’s Waldo books but I think are much more interesting. The Young Puzzles series is easier than the Look-Puzzle-Learn series. These books would be perfect in the car, the doctor’s office, the beach, a restaurant…anywhere you have to wait.
Usborne Young Puzzles
Puzzle Town by Susannah Leigh
Katy and Time are on their way to a party but don’t know where it is. Follow the trail of clues and puzzles to help them find their way. The trail leads through town and stops at the bakery, toy stop, fruit stand many more places. There are answer pages (yay!) if you get stuck.
 Other titles in the series include:
Puzzle Castle
Puzzle Jungle
Puzzle Island
Puzzle Ocean
Puzzle Pirates
Puzzle Pyramid
The Great Animal Search by Caroline Young, illustrated by Ian Jackson
There’s a ton of animals to look for on each page and a bunch to learn about them, too. Each 2-page scene is a different habitat. Habitats include: forests, swamps, deserts, the arctic, rainforests and many more. I was very glad for the answer key and I admit I had to use it!

The Great City Search by Rosie Heywood
Shows what goes on under the streets, how a skyscraper is built and more.

The Big Bug Search by Caroline Young
Takes a close-up look at some of the world's most amazing bugs in their different habitats.

The Great Planet Earth Search by Emma Helbrough and Ian Jackson
Featuring plenty of things to spot around the world, including volcanoes, rivers, animals and more.

The Great Undersea Search by Kate Needham
Explores underwater habitats, from coral reefs to Arctic waters, from the ocean bed to the rocky shore.

More Look-Puzzle-Learn books: 
The Great Wildlife Search
The Great World Tour
The Great Dinosaur Search
I had great fun with these books. I hope you do too!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Jokes from Outer Space

It's joke time again! These jokes are out of this world...

Q: What was the first animal in space?
A: The cow that jumped over the moon!

Q: What's a light-year?
A: The same as a regular year, but with less calories.

Q: What did the alien say to the cat?
A: Take me to your litter.

Q: Why did Mickey Mouse go to outer space?
A: He was looking for Pluto.

Q: What do aliens on the metric system say?
A: Take me to your liter.

Q: Why did the cow go in the spaceship?
A: It wanted to see the mooooooon!

Q: What do planets like to read?
A: Comet books!

Q: Why don't aliens eat clowns?
A: Because they taste funny!

Q: What is an astronauts favorite key on the keyboard?
A: The space bar!

Q: Why did the cow go to outer space?
A: To visit the Milky Way.

Q: Where would an astronaut park his space ship?
A: A parking meteor!

Q: Why did the sun go to school?
A: To get brighter!

Q: How do you know when the moon has enough to eat?
A: It's full.

Q: What kind of music do planets sing?
A: Neptunes!

These jokes came from

know you have more jokes. Write them in the Comment box!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Survival Guides for Kids with Learning Differences

If your child is a struggling reader, it’s possible he or she has been evaluated for learning disabilities (LD). It’s also possible he or she has been diagnosed with a learning disability for reading. This week I’ll talk about 3 books that look at LD quite differently. For these authors, Gary Fischer, PhD and Rhoda Cummings, EdD,
LD = Learning Differences
I highly recommend that we all adopt this new definition for LD because it's more accurate. We know our children have strengths. We know they can do lots of things quite well. We also know our children are struggling, for whatever reason. These books help us see the strengths, give us ways to capitalize on them, plus offer strategies to strengthen and work around the weak areas. These are all good things.

In describing the following books, I use the abbreviation LD. I mean it in both senses of the word - LD as schools use it and LD as an abbreviation for Learning Differences.
When Your Child has LD (Learning Differences): A Survival Guide for Parents
The first chapters include basic information for parents of kids with LD. It defines it from a school perspective, describes some possible causes, lists some early signs and explains parents' legal rights. These chapters are written clearly and give lots of information.
As important as the first chapters are, I think the later chapters are just as important. They present information about how Learning Differences affect the child, the parents and the whole family, plus give many ways to work with the school to boost success.
The Survival Guide for Kids with LD (Learning Differences)
I see this book as having 4 major benefits:
  1. Helps struggling students know they're not alone with their struggles and that they are not dumb.
  2. Gives encouragement to seek and accept help.
  3. Gives hope.
  4. Gives strategies for successful schooling.
The print is large enough to be reader-friendly. There are frequent and helpful subtitles. Cartoons and other illustrations appear several times in each chapter. If this book appeals to you but you think it'll be a hard sell to your child, try leaving it out for a few days to see if he or she picks it up out of curiosity. That might be a way to get spark interest.
The School Survival Guide for Kids with LD (Learning Differences)
This book was written as a response to the many letters the authors received from kids who read the first survival guide. It's broken down into 3 parts:
  1. Ways to Make School Easier and More Fun  (organizational skills, learning differences, time management, time management, more...)
  2. School Tools for Learning (ways to improve reading, writing, spelling, math)
  3. Ways to Keep School Cool (school social skills)
There are recommended learning and teaching materials at the end of the book for organization skills, school skills, writing, spelling, math and social skills.
I hope at least one of these books prove helpful for you. They certainly would have been helpful to me when my son was in school and I definitely would have had them as part of my lending library in my classroom.
Please share your experiences on having a struggling student. We are in this together!

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Mysteries

As I said in 10 Great Mysteries for Kids, I love reading mysteries. Here are several more, covering picture books (not just for little kids!), graphic novels and middle grade chapter books. Enjoy!
Jitterbug Jam by Barbara Jean Hicks and Alexis Deacon
Bobo is a monster with a problem - he thinks there's a boy lurking beneath his bed. Is he really there?
How to Live Forever by Colin Thompson
I had a problem when I was reading this story. I was really interested in the story of a boy who lives in a book on a library shelf, as he tracks down a mysterious book, How to Live Forever. Why is this a problem? I kept forgetting to look at the incredibly detailed and rather odd pictures. No matter, I just went back and read it again!
Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka and David Shannon
If you've ever read The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs or The Stinky Cheese Man, you know this is a fun and fairly strange book. This book begs to be read aloud. If you can't sweet talk someone into doing it, do it yourself and use your best robot voice.
The Yellow House Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner
You may be familiar with the Boxcar Children series. This book is part of the Boxcar Children Graphic Novels series. In this story, the Alden children discover a mystery in an old house. Their investigations take them to the wilderness in Maine to track down the former owner of the house.
Jeremy Kreep: Fang Fairy by Andy J. Smith
If you lose a tooth and put it under your pillow, what do you find when you wake up in the morning? Green slime, right? No??? Well, that's what Jeremy Kreep's little brother found. Read this book to find out why...
The Case of the Crooked Carnival by Michele Torrey, illustrated by Barbara Johansen Newman
Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey are the sharpest science detective in fifth grade. This book presents 4 mysteries, each told in 2 or 3 chapters. The mysteries are fun and they use science to solve each one. At the end of the book, there are instructions for making scientific equipment such as a Snoop-O-Scope. This book is part of the Doyle and Fossey, Science Detectives series.
Dog Den Mystery by Darrel and Sally Odgers
Jack Russell is a dog detective (yes, he's a Jack Russell terrier) who needs to find the culprit who stole his squeaker bone. I love how Jack uses his dog skills (smelling, digging) to solve the crime. This book is part of the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series.
Who Stole The Wizard of Oz? by Avi
This book was written 20 years ago but except for the lack of technology, it could happen today. Becky and Toby are twins. Becky has been accused of stealing a possibly valuable book from the local library and together they work to clear her name. I couldn't put it down.
Barney and the Runaway by Max Elliot Anderson
Mike can't do anything right. He's doing poorly in school, seldom does his chores at home and his dog Barney is the only one who isn't mad at him. So he does the only thing he can think of to teach his parents a lesson - he runs away, taking Barney with him. Stashing away on a railway boxcar to hide from a police car seemed like a good idea until...
I hope you enjoy reading mysteries as much as I do. What are some of your favorites? Write them in the Comments box!