Does Your Family Use Vision Boards?

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Vision boards are a fun and creative way for children (and adults) to set personal goals every year.

They offer a great way for kids to get motivated and take action to reach their goals, especially in the tween years when most kids seem to start losing their motivation to engage in activities, or see the benefit in doing various tasks.

 

These simple visualization boards can help them hone in on their interests while developing much needed planning skills for the future.

Here are a few simple steps to creating vision board:

Keep it simple

All you need is a medium size poster board and glue, or a cork board and pins. Any type of material can be added onto the board: cutout pictures from magazines, newspapers, or simply written goals on a piece of paper, anything goes.

Big dreams & small dreams

It’s absolutely wonderful to dream big and include amazing goals on the vision board, but make sure to also include realistic and achievable goals.

Set specific goals

It helps to set specific goals and to think out of the box. The vision board can contain more than just ‘material’ things. It can include activities they would like to do, amount of money they need to save to purchase something they want, skills they would like to acquire or improve, places they would like to visit, ways they can give back to their community.

It’s also important to come up with a plan to actively work towards achieving the set goals.

 

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Include short term goals

Short term goals are easier to achieve and in turn can motivate children to fulfill the rest of their vision board goals.

For instance, if your child wants to receive a higher grade on their next week’s math test, then ask them to come up with a plan in order to achieve this goal (e.g. do an extra 5 minutes of math every day).

Include long term goals

Long term goals require more thought in terms of action planning, but can be broken down into smaller tasks along the way.

For example, learning to type using all ten fingers can seem overwhelming at first, but this skill can be achieved gradually over time. So, practicing keyboarding 5 minutes every day, while tracking and rewarding progress weekly, can make this goal attainable by the end of the year or sooner.

Personalize it

Get creative. They can personalize their board by adding things they love and things they are grateful for (e.g. the family pet).

As a parent, you might also learn something new from your ever-changing child. My son added on his board: ‘Learn to do Bardownskis’. So, I asked him if Bardownski played for the Montreal Canadians. He laughed at me. Turns out Bardownski is not an NHL player, it’s a type of hockey goal, where the puck hits the hockey net cross ‘bar’, then drops ‘down’ landing in the net …the ‘ski’ part apparently just makes it sound cooler!

 

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The bigger picture

Keep the vision board in their bedroom, in plain sight, as a reminder. When a goal gets accomplished… CELEBRATE!

If some of the goals don’t get reached by the end of the year… no worries. Learning to deal with setbacks, thinking positive, and noticing the good intention behind any goal setting is just as important as reaching the goal!

 

Vision boards can be a useful tool at any age. So try making one for yourself too. The outcome might surprise you.

 

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More Girls Should Be Doing This

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by Erin Aucoin

I have a question for you.  Can you even remember the last time you spent a day without using technology?  Probably not, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing!  Computers and technology have become so engrained in our lives because they are extremely useful and computer science is arguably the fastest growing career field.  You would think that we, as a society would be encouraging everyone to take advantage of this and to be more computer literate.  But we’re not.

Only 30% of Math and Computer Science students in Canada1 are female even though the job prospects for computer science students are consistently among the most promising2. In a time where most of the revolutionary products are technology related, this statistic is very discouraging.

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My name is Erin and I started a society for Women in Science at St. Francis Xavier University this year.  I was inspired to do so for a couple of reasons.  First, I am the only graduating female physics student this year and this has led to quite a few interesting conversations.  Secondly, I have spent two summers working for the X-Chem Science Camps at St.FX organizing the computer science camp and it was easy to see that the girls loved the activities just as much as the boys.  I think that there are a lot of fields of science and technology, which severely lack women.  A lot of really smart women don’t even consider a career in physics, engineering or computer science and this is a shame.

Women often think that coding isn’t for them because virtually all of the big names in tech are men (think of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk) and we rarely hear about the female pioneers of computer science Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson (featured in the movie Hidden Figures)

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Women pioneers in computer science: Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, Katherine Johnson3,4,5

 

or the current female influencers in the field like Helen Greiner6 and Marissa Mayer7.

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Current influencers in computer science, Helen Greiner and Marissa Mayer6,7

 

Beyond this, the most fun part of computer science, video games, are generally marketed towards boys.  Even though there twice as many women over 18 playing video games as boys under 18.

Computer science is everywhere so I think that EVERYONE should learn how to code!  With this week being Computer Science Education Week, it’s the perfect time to teach yourself a little bit of programming!

The great thing about computer science is how easy it is to start!  There are thousands of tutorials online which will teach you the basics of any programming language you want.  My favourites are Code.org, Scratch.mit.edu, and Codecademy.com.   The first two are especially great for kids because they let you start programming right away without having to learn any of the syntax (commas and semi-colons that have to be in just the right spot).

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Image retrieved from http://partners.disney.com/hour-of-code/wayfinding-with-code?cds

 

In my opinion, one of the most rewarding feelings is coding your first program, getting the computer to draw a red circle or add some numbers together or even just to say “Hello World!”  It doesn’t matter how much of a background you have in technology, you just have to decide to start!

Happy Computer Science Education Week!

 

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Erin Aucoin, BSc Physics Student President of Women in Science Society erin.aucoin@stfx.ca

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Sources:

1 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2013001/article/11874-eng.htm

2 http://www.monster.ca/career-advice/article/highest-paying-degrees-in-canada-ca

3 https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ada-Lovelace

4 http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/code-and-the-quest-for-inclusive-software

5 https://www.nasa.gov/feature/katherine-johnson-the-girl-who-loved-to-count

http://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/best-industries-2016-drone-manufacturing.html

7 http://www.leadersbiography.com/marissa-mayer/