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Beyond the STAAR, Shoot for the STARS: Inspiring Kids Through TED Talks

Apr 10, 2016
In the realm of grade school, there seems to be somewhat of a pattern. Students make their way through an entire year of coursework targeted to help them ace the STAAR test, and will continue to do so until they finish high school. While the public debates the efficacy of the STAAR and high stakes testing in general, kids all over Texas are bracing themselves to take the exams. It is a stressful time and, as a result, it's common to notice your child lacking motivation or suffering from the stress and fear. 

While you might feel helpless in these trying times, the solution to these negative feelings is literally a few clicks away. Whenever you find your child feeling insecure or simply dreading the fast-approaching STAAR testing period, getting them to let go of these negative feelings can almost seem impossible. Fortunately, as we are currently living in a society with endless electronic resources, there’s no better medicine out there than watching a TED Talk. Known for their ability to make vast waves in a matter of minutes, TED Talks are a profound motivational tool to help individuals realize their potential and act upon it. As explained by the site, a TED Talk is a short, carefully prepared discussion, demonstration or performance that is centered around an idea and covers a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder and provoke conversations that matter. While most people might conclude that these talks are specifically geared towards adults and today’s millennials, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a slew of talks specifically intended for young inquiring minds that are in need of a little inspiration or that extra push. Whether it’s science or Biology that’s got your child in a bind, watching a few minutes of a TED Talk has the potential to reshape their outlook upon their current situation.

To change your child’s attitude about the STAAR or simply prepare them for testing season, check out the TED Talks below.

Beau Lotto + Amy O’Toole: Science is for Everyone, Kids Included 

In this colorful discussion lead by a 12-year-old girl, the meaning of being ‘childish’ is explored in a positive and revolutionary manner. Svitak celebrates the beauty of possessing wild creativity, bold ideas and sheer optimism. After viewing this talk, it’s likely that your child will feel much more confident in their own skin and be ready to assert himself/herself without reservations. 

Rather than speaking, young violinist, Sirena Huang, gracefully gives a bold performance that is undoubtedly beyond her years. Seeing such a young girl give a brilliant performance will surely surprise your child and prepare them for their own solo performance of a different sort—the rapidly approaching STAAR! It has been proven that when kids see another child around their age accomplishing a task without fear, they too will feel motivated to achieve a similar milestone in their own lives.

It’s no secret that the youngsters of today are accustomed to a completely different lifestyle than kids who grew up in the previous decades. Rather than relying on themselves or others for entertainment, kids today have access to an endless stream of media that has revolutionized the ways they communicate and interact with the world around them. In this talk, Thomas Suarez, speaks about his generation’s love of video games and uses his expertise as an app developer to empower other kids to let go of their reservations and believe in their own potential.

Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose and Naomi Shah: Award-Winning Teenage Science in Action 
Now, something excellent for both middle and high school students. As kids get older, it’s no secret that getting them motivated can be a little more complicated. Thankfully, that’s where this extraordinary TED Talk comes in. Lead by three teenagers whose incredible work earned them the top prizes at the first Google Science Fair, this discussion is certain to tug at the heart strings of preteens and beyond and urge them to reevaluate their fears.

As testing season approaches, sit your child down, watch these talks and look at the big picture. Hopefully hearing the stories of these impressive youngsters will ignite your child's spark to conquer the STAAR and then shoot for the STARS!
In this 15 minute talk, Neuroscientist, Beau Lotto, and 12-year-old-student, Amy O’Toole, speak on the importance of using science as a tool of discovery and wonder. If your kid has doubts about science, this is the perfect talk for them! Not only will they hear science from the perspective of an accomplished professional, but also from the view of a young girl who will resonate with them.

If you see that your child's stress and anxiety is stemming from not feeling prepared to take the test, please contact us today at Sylvan RGV. We're here to help, even last minute, with homework and test prep to ready your child to walk into the test with confidence!
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