Category: School

Multi-tasking… good or bad?

Sibo at her desk

Often we have more than one thing that needs to be done – like maths homework, reading, spelling to learn, chores to do, the dog to walk and an art project that also needs to be finished.

Sometimes it is all mind-bogglingly too much and you feel like running away. Seeing as that’s mostly just not possible, you have to get stuck in and just do the darn stuff.

Lately there has been a lot of research done on multitasking – this is when you have several things on the go at one time.

They say that it is not always effective to do this.

Often you jump around between doing so many different tasks that you get nothing done properly. They reckon you should make a list and prioritise which are the most important things that need to be done.

Then you should stick to that list.

For instance – if you need to learn something – you really need to concentrate so that you will be able to remember it later and therefore you should not multitask while doing that particular job.  It is better to focus 100% on it – like learning for exams – dedicate a chunk of time and get it done properly.

On the other hand – they say that when your mind jumps between a lot of boxes – your mind tends to think more “out of the box” which could be great for creative things – like art projects.

For things like spelling you could put a list of the words you need to learn next to your bed, so you can see them last thing at night and first thing in the morning. Or you can read them when you go to the bathroom.  In this case a lot of repetition is good.

You could combine your daily exercise when you walk your dog – but remember you still have to be careful and not to let it off the leash by mistake. Accidents happen so quickly and you would never forgive yourself if you let something happen to you precious doglet.

Sometimes chores are really boring – like washing dishes or vacuuming – but you can always listen to music while you wash. I love listening to music – it makes any chore go much faster.

But remember – dedicate time to the important stuff and do it properly.

Work well!

Sibo

Sleepy Head

Sibo on her bed 2

You all know how I like to read… well sometimes mum is really irritating when she interrupts me in the middle of a good story and says it’s time for bed. I beg for another half hour but she says that kids need to sleep for at least 10 or 11 hours a night to be happy and healthy. She reckons I get grumpy when I don’t have enough sleep.

Sometimes I cheat and read with a torch under my blankets. The other day Mum caught me out and I was in serious trouble – she took my book away for two whole days!

I was quite sure that Mum was fibbing about how much sleep in needed so decided to google and find out why exactly why so many hours are needed.

Firstly between the age of 7 and 12 years old, we really do need to sleep those 10 or 11 hours a night. This is not just to stop us from becoming cranky either. It’s the time when our muscles repair themselves during the night. And don’t just think arm and leg muscles – it also includes our heart muscle.

Sleep also controls the signals that tell us when we are hungry or when we are full up – which allows us to maintain a good weight.

While we are happily snoozing our brains stores up all the stuff we have learned during the day – so that we can recall it later when we need it.

If we don’t sleep properly at night, it is harder to pay attention at school during the day. We tend to make more mistakes if we are tired than if we are well rested.

If we don’t get enough sleep at night – we could always have a little nap during the day to make up the sleep time. Preferably not during school time though because we’d land up in trouble with the teacher.

Apparently – it should take us about 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep from when our head hits the pillow.

Of course teenagers can get away with a little less sleep – like 8 to 9 hours a night. Half the time they don’t get anywhere near this amount of sleep and so they really do need to sleep in over the weekends.

Seems like the older you get the less sleep you need.

Sleep tight and sweet dreams.

Sibo

Ever wondered how a book gets written and published?

Sibo Looks Right cover small

In the case of the Sibo Series there are different scenarios. Several of the titles in the Sibo Series were straight up published by Lets Look Publishers. Okay – that sounds confusing – all of the books have been published by Lets Look  – but six of them were published without knowing that we had already sold x amount of copies up front.

A few years ago, it was guaranteed that the school system would snap up any worthwhile books that were published but since CAPS came in, things are not quite the same. A publisher can publish books (usually 3000 is the minimum print run) and they can sit in a store room and trickle out very very slowly.  As you can imagine, this is not good for business.

Some of our books have been commissioned. This means that x amount of books are ordered before we even write it on a particular topic.  Sibo Fights Malaria was one of those – The Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control and the Department of Health wanted a different way of telling people about what a nasty disease malaria is and how to avoid it. (Ginny knows about this first hand because she had malaria when she was a kid.)  So we wrote the book in conjunction with both of them and they are using it in schools in some areas in Limpopo. The good thing about this book is that students from the Education Department at the University of Pretoria are using this book in some of their projects – so we will get feedback as to whether it has any effect or not.

We’ve also written books to celebrate International Years – like Chemistry (funded by BASF, the chemical company).  Astronomy and Biodiversity were funded by SAASTA, who also commissioned a book about nanotechnology. That was interesting. We knew nothing about the topic when we started and had to do a lot of research. Strangely enough – it’s one of the most popular books in the series.

Then we get books that are sponsored – or partially sponsored…

Ginny feels strongly about animals being abused and hates the way kids get pets and then only love them when they are small and cute. Once they get bigger and more demanding they tend to be ignored. Pets are for life – not just for the two minutes they are adorable and tiny. Luckily she found a like-minded person who was willing to help sponsor Sibo Saves a Stray.  It was very hard to find funding for this book because most people would rather spend their money on the animals themselves, instead of educating kids (and their parents).  If you would like more information about the Sibo Series please visit the website.

Our latest title – Sibo Looks Right is all about road safety. This is a topic that is very important to both Peter Sanderson (Lets Look) and Ginny. The first draft of the book was written years ago and at various stages different people showed some interest in sponsoring the book. Sadly none of these prospects paid off and the story mouldered in Ginny’s laptop for way too long. Every time there was a road, taxi or bus accident or incident Ginny would hiss and spit and say that we have to get this knowledge out to the kids (and their parents) somehow. She’d fire off another round of frantic emails to try and drum up some support for the book.

Towards the end of last year, Chris (Ginny’s lovely husband) asked her if she had considered crowdfunding to get the book on road safety published.  She didn’t know much about crowdfunding and so got stuck in and did some research.  She also sent out a plea on Facebook and Thandi suggested that she try Thundafund as a South African crowdfunding platform.

Ginny is not one of those nice cautious people who likes to sit and brood and stew about things for any length of time. Once she’s got an idea it needs to get out of head immediately and get going. She bounced the idea of crowdfunding off Uncle Pete from Let’s Look and got the go ahead.

Thundafund were great – they replied immediately and sent a form to complete so they could see if the project was going to be worthwhile or not. Typically they would reply within a few days with the answer. Indeed they did reply positively within the allotted time.

There followed another learning curve. Part of a Thundafund campaign includes having a short video on the project. In our case it was not something that you could just go out and film. Ginny had to get cosy with some software she had not used much before and make a little video from scratch.

After all – the whole point of crowdfunding is for potential funders to think the project is worthwhile and not just a little whim of some bankrupt person who fancies doing something with other people’s money!crowdfunding

Ginny showed Chris her first attempt at being a filmmaker. No no no! He screeched before he’d even seen half of it. He ranted and raved for a few minutes about what he expected to see. She considered sulking and pouting – she hates it when he pulls his “Professor” tone on her and treats her like one of his students – but she grudgingly acknowledged that he had a point.

A new and vastly improved video clip was made that passed muster on its first showing.

The campaign went live. We had to reach the tipping point in 90 days otherwise all the money that had been donated would be returned to the backers. Pete, Sharon, Chris and Ginny all promptly plugged cash into the campaign to start it off.

The tipping point was just enough to pay the layout artist and the illustrator. If we got enough money to do this we’d be able to have an e-book at least.  Of course first prize was R140,000 so that we could print 3000 books and distribute them freely to kids and schools around the country.

There were various “rewards” that could be purchased. For R500 you could have your child’s name written into the story line. R300 and your logo would be displayed on the inside cover. R100 got your name mentioned. Everybody who donated would obviously receive an e-book as well.

A few days into the campaign – Mike Ward from Nash Nissan in Alberton catapulted the campaign from a “wannabe-book” to a “this-is-now-happening-book” with his very generous donation of R33600!  This meant we had passed the tipping point and could sleep again.

Nash Nissan

The Department of Arts and Culture also decided it was a worthwhile project to back and donated several thousand rand to the campaign as well.

There were lots of lovely friends and acquaintances, not to mention family members who all backed our project. These donations came in from all over the world too!  Ginny contacted as many of the car companies as possible – for a measly R300 they could have their logo included in the book. To no avail – they all had some sappy excuse or other. Even Peugeot – and Chris had just bought a brand new car from them.

We also tried repeatedly to get the attention of the major radio stations. This might have made a great difference as far as funding was concerned. It’s not like we were trying to make money out of the project – we wanted to be able to distribute as many books to the children as possible. Road safety is an issue.

Pippa Hudson at Cape Talk interviewed Ginny but by that stage there were only a few hours left to the campaign.

After 90 days we had a grand total of R54,550.  Whilst not as much as we hoped for, it was enough to publish an e-book as well as printing 800 copies.

Ginny realised that she had not exactly done her homework prior to starting the Thundafund campaign. Whilst she’s quite good at bombing people on email and Facebook, her tweeting habits left a lot to be desired. This is an integral part of crowdfunding and we sucked at it. It’s something that she is working on to promote the book.

After much haggling and to-ing and fro-ing between, Ginny, Uncle Pete, the layout artist and illustrator – we finally have a product that we are very proud of and are excited to share it with the world.

The files went to the printers this morning and the e-book will be ready in the next few days.

Lets Look Publishers and Ginny are very grateful to all those who helped make this book happen. We hope and trust that it might save some of our precious children’s lives (and those of their parents).

 

PS – If there is anybody out there who missed this campaign and would like to contribute now – it’s never too late – we can print more books and get them out there – contact Ginny.

Crowdfunding for Sibo Looks Right.

Sibo cutie face

A couple of months ago (sjoe – so long – time really does fly) I told you I’d found out about a weird way to make money.

Called crowdfunding – remember?

When lots of people give small amounts of money towards a project in order to make it happen.

My friend Ginny is actually doing one of these campaigns and so far they have raised R47,450 towards our book on road safety. That’s not too shabby hey?

Their tipping point – this is the amount of money that you have to raise to be able to keep all the money that you have already raised towards the project – has long since been passed.

In their case, they want to raise R140,000 in order to print 3000 “Sibo Looks Right” books on road safety and give them out free to schools and libraries around South Africa. Their tipping point was R25,000. When they reached that amount they knew they would be able to make an e-book which they will be able to share with many kids and their parents around the world – never mind only in South Africa.

Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from Nash Nissan in Alberton they passed this tipping point in just three days of starting their campaign. How awesome. These guys really care about kids and road safety.

You could donate too – if you wanted to. They call them “rewards” and for just R100 you could get your name written in the back of the book to show that you care. You’d also get the e-link to the book to read and share.

This is cool – another of the “rewards” is if, for instance, you had a motor dealership – you could have your logo in the book. And maybe challenge other dealers that you know to also contribute towards the project. It’s only R300 – not that much to show that you really care about road safety. Hey? These are great marketing opportunities.  Even if we only reach the R80,000 mark – we’ll be printing 1000 books. Then you could have some of the real books to distribute to your local school – with your logo on it.

Check it out. You might also want to raise funds like this one day.

Remember, in the meantime… look right, look left and look right again before crossing the road.

Be safe,

Sibo

Some tips to help you study for the exams!

Sibo studying

If you are writing matric – then this is probably too late for you – but for the rest of us, it might help.

  • Do some exercise before you write you exam – according to scientists, exercise boosts brain and memory power. They reckon 20 minutes of exercise before you write your exam can help a lot – try hula hooping!
  • If you read something out loud (okay – don’t try this in the library where you are supposed to be quiet) you are 50% more likely to remember it, than if you read it quietly to yourself.
  • One of the best ways to make sure that you have learned and understood something – is to explain it to somebody else. Ask one of your parental agents, a sibling or a friend to hear you out.
  • Create mental connections – Steve Jobs famously said “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something”. Worth a try hey?
  • Draw diagrams to help you see the information. This creates a visual memory in your mind – which is easier to remember than just words.
  • Make yourself flash cards for a quick memory buzz. Then you can quickly test your knowledge of key concepts, definitions, quotes and formulas using these flashcards. You can look at them when you wake up in the morning – or while you eat your breakfast.
  • Take short study breaks. After 45-50 minutes – take a 10 minute break.  If you study for longer than this your focus is diminished.
  • Strangely or not – they recommend changing the places where you study. Don’t always sit at your desk or the dining room table. Sometimes you will learn more if you go and sit under a tree outside!
  • Do not stay up all night before an exam studying. Getting a good night’s sleep will reinforce all the stuff you have learnt during the day.
  • Study in a group. This can help you gain extra knowledge or insights.
  • Reward yourself for studying with a treat. For every so many pages you read (out loud) you can allocate yourself one smartie (because… you are becoming a smartie pants of course!).

Good luck in the exams!

Sibo

 

Cool career of the week: chemistry teacher

A chemistry teacher can inspire students to explore chemistry by challenging them to create an effective, eco-friendly cleaning solution.

Cool Careers

I was thinking…  if we are going to be able to study further – then we have to know what to study. Right?  In order to know what to study – we need to know what type of career or job we want to do. We only have one life and a lot of it is spent at work – so it’s important that we like what we are doing.

Some people figure this out early in life – they love animals and want to be a vet. Or they have a passion for planes and want to be a pilot. Some kids are hell-bent on becoming a world renown surfer or soccer player or rugby player.  I know one kid who is only 6 and can tell you without a shadow of doubt he wants to be a palaeontologist. Most people can’t even say the word – let alone know what it means.

However, many of us don’t have a cooking clue what we want to do when we are big. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s also okay to change your mind from time to time when you learn new exciting stuff and realise there are different opportunities attached that could form potential career choices.

The main thing is to be careful that you make sure you have the right subjects at school.

How? I hear you howl. How do we take the right subjects if we don’t know what they are?

True – it’s tricky!

A safe bet is to always take maths as one of your subjects. Maths is one of those things that one sometimes feels like dropping because it seems a bit hard or not really necessary. In fact – it’s very necessary for lots of careers. If you don’t have matric maths there are some doors that are so firmly shut there is no easy way to open them again.

I found out the other day that science centres can help with career guidance. Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Jozi has a very awesome career guidance centre and it’s free. You can just walk-in and find out about jobs and careers that you never even dreamed of. However, for career assessments and career counselling they do prefer if you make an appointment. It’s a professional service and they don’t want to you to be disappointed if you arrive at the centre and all the staff are already busy. adminofficecareer@sci-bono.co.za  or call (011) 639 8450/8476/8479.

Check it out.

Sibo

Career of the week: palaeontologist

Meaning: a scientist who learns about the forms of life that existed in previous geologic periods, mainly by studying fossils.

Example: My friend James wants to dig up dinosaur bones and find out more about them.

James

People Protesting

Sjoe! There was fun and games on the TV last week.

Well, I know it was not really on the TV but that was as close as I came to it.

All those people protesting about University fees going up so much that they would not be able to afford them. But it seemed to me that they behaved in a very calm and controlled way instead of burning and destroying things. That always makes me mad. What’s the point?

Hope it gets sorted out soon.

I’m just a little kid – but it makes sense to me that the Government should invest in their youth. Just because you don’t have the money to study further does not mean that you should not be able to do it.

It excludes people from reaching their full potential.

Somebody might be really clever and be able to come up with an innovative idea or plan that helps save the country somehow, but instead they never get to even try. That would be really sad.

I keep wondering why nobody has come up with a plan for solar-powered traffic lights. Or if they have – where ever are they hiding it? Especially in Gauteng where the traffic is busy and the sun shines brightly most days.

Those suckers would just keep on working – never mind whether Eskom was alive or dead.

Then we would not have traffic jams and we would not be late for school. It always feels like such a silly reason to be late for school… Sorry I’m tardy Miss but the robots were not working! She always looks at me like I’m fibbing when I’m really not.

But I was thinking… if we are all going to have an opportunity to study further one day and learn lots of lovely new and exciting things, then we should better pull up our socks and start working really hard to get good grades. Probably Universities and Technicon’s will be full and so they are going to choose people with good grades first because it shows that they want to learn.

No more chatting, I’m off to do some revision now.

Good luck to all the matrics who are about to start writing exams soon.

Sibo

Cool word of the week: gripe
Meaning: protest, grumble, moan
Example: The students were all having a serious gripe about the hike in university fees.

Sibo standingMe with my socks pulled up!

Smile and wave!

Miss Ball and Sibo

Our teacher, Mrs Ball, gave us a teensy tip in class the other day.

She said we should smile and wave when cars stop to let us cross the road at the zebra crossing. She was specifically talking about the one outside our school – but then she said that any old zebra crossing would do.

We all looked at her.

Why?

Cars are supposed to stop at a zebra crossing to let people go safely across the road. But they often don’t. In fact, they speed up and zoom over it without even looking.

Wayne piped up that this really was true. He nearly got squished as flat as a pancake last week – expecting somebody to stop and they didn’t.

But Mrs Ball stood her ground. When somebody has the courtesy to stop and let you cross the road safely – it costs you nothing to look the person in the eye, smile and wave thank you. It’s a nice, kind gesture.

She reckons the world is often sorely lacking in basic human kindness.

People are so caught up in their own lives, with their own problems that they have forgotten how to be nice – for no reason at all.

That reminded me of the little smiling experiment I did at the mall a few months ago. I remembered that had worked too. When I smiled at other people – most of them smiled back at me. It also made me feel good. Plus I noticed that many of the people carried on walking down the mall, still smiling.

We had the chance to try out her idea later that day. A few of us were waiting in a group at the zebra crossing. A car coasted to a complete halt and let us all walk across.

I looked up, smiled and waved. Some of my classmates were also in the group. They did the same thing.

The people in the car smiled and waved back. They only carried on driving after we were all on the other side of the road.

Some kids that were also crossing (who’re not in our class) asked why we were waving and smiling at strange people. I explained to them what Mrs Ball had said to us.

They had just seen what a positive reaction we had received and agreed that it was a good idea.

Smile awhile!

Sibo

Your new word for the week:

Word:  gesture

Meaning:  movement or sign

Example… Smiling and waving when you cross at a zebra crossing is a nice gesture.

Making money.

Sibo 5

Last week we had entrepreneurs’ day at school.  I enjoyed it much more than I did the year before – probably because this time I actually made money!

Last year I didn’t give much thought to what I sold. I had lots of beans growing in the garden and so decided to sell fresh beans at school.

Silly me – I just didn’t think that kids don’t particularly like eating beans. And they definitely would not spend money buying them. So I landed up giving all my beans to the teachers instead.

Dad said I was a bit of a nutter – I should have offered them at a discount, rather than giving them away.

Oh well! Live and learn.

But learn I did. There has to be a market for what you are selling, otherwise you are wasting your time (and money).

This year I sat and thought long and hard about what to sell that would make money.

Mum suggested making cupcakes. That’s always a good idea because they sell, but the problem is – lots of other kids do the same thing because it is easy.

The same goes for popcorn and chips – junk food always sells well.

Dad offered to take me to Macro to see what was available and how much everything cost.

We trawled through the sweetie aisle. There was so much stuff it was unbelievable. I wandered up and down taking notes.

I only had R100 to spend. I also had to give R10 of that to the school to have a stall – which meant I really only had R90 to spend. I needed to buy something that everybody would want that I could make money on.

In the end I bought 3 bags of different flavoured Fizzers for a total price of R77.85. There were 24 Fizzers in each bag and one bag cost R25.95. This meant that one Fizzer cost R1.08c.

Fizzers take long to eat and are value for money.

I sold them for R2 each.

After paying R10 for my table, I had R12.15 left over.  I asked Dad to give me R1’s and R2’s for this money so that I had a float in case I needed to give somebody change.

I sold all my Fizzers in the first hour and made a total of R144.00. That was R66.15 profit (excluding the R10.00 I paid for the table).

Smart thinking hey!

Sibo

 

Word of the week: Profit

Meaning: a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying or producing something.

Example: I made a profit of R66.15 at Entrepreneurs’ Day – which I am saving so that next time I will have more money to spend to make money.

Sibo’s Science Story Competition

Sibo smiling

National Science Week runs from the 1 – 8 of August. The theme this year is International Year of Light and Light Based Technologies. This is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology. The idea behind it is to underline that science really is for everybody – young and old alike – and it is all around us. Various institutions – not only science centres – around the country celebrate this event by holding different kinds of activities. There are also expos in shopping malls, special talks, workshops and many other events.

I am also celebrating.  I’m having a science story competition and you are invited to write a short story using the “cool words” that appear at the end of her weekly blog in the African Reporter. Don’t worry if you missed them – you can also visit her real blog  http://blog.sibo.co.za/ and find them there (plus the meanings).

The winning stories will be printed in the Springs Advertiser and African Reporter and will also feature on Sibo’s website and blog (http://www.sibo.co.za) . First prize will win an autographed set of Sibo’s Story Books (12 titles). Second prize wins 6 Sibo titles (of your choice) and third prize wins 2 Sibo titles (of your choice).

Rules

  • The story needs to have a science slant to it – using at least 15 of the 21 cool words.
  • It should not be more than 500 words
  • Both adults and children are welcome to enter.
  • Entries must reach us on or before Friday 14th August 2015.
  • You can email them to sibo@sibo.co.za .
  • Fax them to 086-242 2187
  • Or send them via post to :

Sibo’s Science Story Competition
Postnet Suite 180
Private Bag x1
The Willows
0041

Cool words: array; galvanize, dollop, follicle, discombobulated, argle-bargle, chuffed, acne, photonics, snigger, dank, tolerance, agitated, nook, dodgy, miffed, pow-wow, skulk, vamoose, vim, heebie-jeebies.

You’ll either have to use a dictionary if you don’t know what any of these words mean… or trawl through all the blogs. If you find a blog without a cool word – it was written in the holidays. We don’t do cool words in the holidays.

Good luck!

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