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 Issue #30               TECHNOLOGY & BRAIN HEALTH          JULY/AUGUST 2014
Electronic interruptions bombard us and our children constantly. Does technology fragment our brains and lead to a lack of focus and interrupted thinking processes? In this issue, a counselor discusses ways to create an atmosphere where young people are stimulated but also allowed to re-create and recharge. And speaking of recharging--we've recommended a few books which do just that.
by Nicole Mosteller
Nicole Mosteller with Zoey & Linkin
As a mother and a counselor, I advocate that children earn screen time and that it be limited. I believe that excessive “screen time” with frequent scene changes can overly engage or mesmerize our children. This can elicit a primitive reflex in the brain called orienting response. This reflex is engaged while the rest of the brain is not being stimulated and, to make matters worse, the inactivity can last for hours. If this happens frequently it can condition the brain to “desire quick gratification” an increase in dopamine, sensory overload, a hypnotic state, and the addictive properties behind “screen time”.
Screen time utilizes the right brain which houses the emotional part of us. Consider how commercials appeal to the emotional side. Too much screen time can impair frontal lobe development which is responsible for concentration, impulse control, executive function, etc.
In contrast, reading a book uses the left brain which is responsible for logic and critical thinking.

Suggestions for educators, parents, or anyone who works with children.

• Have an identified “quiet space” with headphones that can be used whether or not the child plugs in. Sometimes complete silence for a child is the most relaxing and least distracting environment for them to decompress.
• Play classical music in the background while teaching, doing work, or having quiet time.
• Take frequent breaks for stretching, breath work, singing, jumping up and down, etc. This helps with recharging their spirits, getting physical energy out of their system, and refocusing.
• Utilize a small trampoline which increases endorphin output - promoting relaxation and stabilizing the nervous system. Children with screen time overload can experience a hyper-aroused nervous system.
• Go outside. Give children unstructured play so they can utilize both sides of their brains. Structured is good also. Just get them outside!
• Most of all, limit screen time and monitor what that time is being used for.

Please use this article as a starting point. I encourage you to research such topics as: orienting response or reflex, screen time & children, classical music & brain development, and frontal lobe damage. I highly recommend reading, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.

Nicole Mosteller is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and owner of a Life Enrichment Center.  She is the mother of two highly spirited phenomenal children and serves as the President of the Parents' Association at her children's school. 
Featured Illustration
For the first time in Talking Story history, an artist created an illustration specifically for us! Check out all the techno-toys Jenn Bower included in this image. Carol counted 22. How many do you find?
Illustration by 
Jenn Bower is mother to an active teen, a coonhound, one extra large cat, and a Budgie bird who likes to sing. After work she squeezes in time to 
write, paint, and ride a horse named "Rocket," She also makes vain attempts to keep her house clean. 
Read more about Jenn's journey as an "authorstrator" on Carol's blog.
by Joyce
Hopefully summer vacation provided some outdoor fun, good reading, and a trip or two to refresh you. As you enter the new school year I hope you can find some new and fun ways to keep your brain and your students' brains refreshed and healthy! 
  • Read aloud to students on a regular basis.
  • Keep play dough on hand for each child. Let them use it during read alouds.
  • Provide intricate designs for children to color during read alouds.
  • Between each subject or class period, take five minutes for a renewing activity such as reading jokes, singing an action song, doing a few exercises, etc.
  • Play silly YouTube clips, especially anything the students can sing-along with or do motions to.
  • Get familiar with Brain Gym.  Use some of the activities to help stimulate your students' brains.
  • Take unexpected outings - a five minute visit to another classroom, a quiet walk down the hall and back or a quick trip outside to move around and breathe deeply.
  • Develop clapping rhythms and class cheers.
  • Read fun poetry and Dr. Seuss.
And whatever you do, give the kids recess - not because they deserve it but because their brains need it! And their souls do too.
A Teen's Take on 3 Books
by Mallory Tartaglia
The Badger Knight by Katherine Erskine
Often shunned by society for his unusual appearance, a teenage boy dreams of becoming a bowyer like his father and going to war against Scotland.  This medieval novel takes us to the mid-1300s. On a quest to find out who he really is, Adrian Black learns about what it takes to be brave and to be a man.  This book provides excitement and adventure for teens with a hunger for reading.
Todd's TV by James Proimos
Too occupied to spend time with him, Todd's parents keep him busy by having him watch TV.  To them, TV seems to solve all of their problems.  This picture book demonstrates how television obsession takes over precious time that could be spent reading a good book. Technology cannot replace the necessary learning tools and knowledge that books provide. (Ages 4-8)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
In this novel a sixteen-year-old girl is trapped in a sea of mystery and lost memories after being critically injured in a car accident.  With no memory of her parents or best friends, and having to relearn how to walk and talk, Jenna Fox has to track down her lost memory to complete the puzzle of the life she left behind and to make way for her new future. This futuristic, mystery novel by Mary E. Pearson provides an intriguing escape while at the same time, bringing to light how advances in technology may affect medicine and extreme decisions about saving lives.
Mallory Tartaglia is a sophomore at Piedmont High School whose interests include reading, writing, art, hunting, and agri-science.
Want to explore a
Writer-in-Residence Workshop or Author Visit?
We'd love to hear from you!
 We each offer our own author visits or we'll conduct writer residencies together. Contact us to design a program that meets your needs. 
 Joyce Hostetter
Carol Baldwin
We Welcome Young Reviewers!
Do you know a young person who loves to read? We'd love to hear from you with name and contact information. We ask reviewers to read three books and write brief introductions.
This is a great opportunity for young people to gain experience in writing for publication.
Please email us if you know someone who would be interested! Thanks.
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In this issue:
Send us an
and we'll enter your name to win one of the following three books. Each of them will relax and intrigue a young reader in your life. 
If you have a book preference please mention that.
We will try to honor requests.
 Enter before 
July 25
(Or better yet, enter right now!)
Giveaway #1
by the Bathroom Reader's Institute
Riddles, Twisted Tales,
Tongue Twisters, and a whole lot more!
 Giveaway #2
Just For Fun Poetry!
Giveaway #3
Jill S. Alexander
Lighthearted reading for
Young Adults
Signed copy for giveaway.
Recommended Books
That Encourage
Brain Recharging
Any book by Father Goose
by Deborah Underwood
by Leminscates
Dan Yaccarino 
by Tom Angleberger
by Christopher Healy
Any book by Roald Dahl
by Lewis Carroll
by Kristen Kittscher
by Stephan Pastis
by Jack Gantos
by Ally Carter
by Geraldine McCaugheran 
by Douglas Adams 
by L.A. Meyer
 Books for Adults
What the Internet is
Doing to Our Brains
by Nicholas Carr
How a Brain Injury
Made me a Mathematical 
Jason Padgett
and Maureen Seaberg
"His singular story reveals the wonder of the human brain." (from the book's website)
An article on promises and pitfalls of technology for young children. 
A teen talks about turning off technology.
A youtube video about brain gym. 
Giveaway Winners
Congratulations to our winners from our
May issue.
Mary Morton Cowan won Revolutionary Friends
Karen Hassinger won Healing Water
Monica Graham won Teaching Writing Skills Through Children's Literature
Debbie Allmand won Treasure 
Joyce now has a
for her book, BLUE.
A curriculum guide for the sequel, Comfort is on the way.
(Yes, there is a Blue sequel!)
Thank You!
* Nicole Mosteller for  
   being our expert in this
* Jennifer Bower for the  
* Mallory Tartaglia for
  Book Introductions.
* Kim Griswell, Boyds Mills    Press, and Carol      
   Baldwin for donating  
* Joanne Hunsberger for
No Time Now?
Create a "Talking Story" folder where you file old issues. Then you'll have them handy when you've got time to read, and you'll always be able to view past issues. 
Writing For Publication
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