Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Top 5 Reasons For NOT Playing Pokemon Go

1. Fake Pokemon Go Apps are there on app-stores.

Any game that's popular catches the eye of hackers. People around the world are downloading the APK files for the game from unverified sources and that can lead to attacks on your smartphone and data. If you get a bad APK file you are opening up your phones data to the hackers. Some hackers can even remotely take control of your smartphone and steal your valuable financial data. Mind it and download it on your own risk. It may be a virus instead.

2.The Death Of Your Phone’s Battery
All the biggest battery-eating culprits are in action when it comes to Pokémon GO. Your screen is the biggest battery hog, and you’ll be using it plenty. On top of that, you’re going to use your camera so that you can see the Pokémon in the real world. And to top it all off, the ever hungry GPS is a must to even find the Pokémon in the first place. All of this together is a recipe for dead phones.

3. It's Really Not Free
Pokemon Go might be a game that's free to download on your smartphones, but it uses a lot of data on your phone. That basically means that you'll be exhausting your internet packs even before your bill cycles. This game benefits your mobile network provider the most and will empty your pockets if you get too addicted to it.  

4. No more Privacy

Cyber security firm TrendMicro recently said in a report that Pokemon Go gets constant access to the camera and GPS of your smartphone. For some iPhone users the game is also getting full access to users Google accounts. This basically is reading into user patterns by the game developer. The developers did say that they have resolved the issue, but still it's left to your imagination what emails do developers want to read on your Google account. Also it leaves a potential risk to users from hackers. 

5. It's Dangerous
Pokemon Go is a game that's played on the go. And many people in US have been reportedly playing this game while driving and then crashing into walls. Even when traffic is mostly at a standstill and you might be lured into playing Pokemon Go, it can be fatal. If you walk around hunting Pokemon instead of paying attention to your surroundings, then you can easily fall or run into something and injure yourself while playing this game.
It might be a fun game, but if you ignore common sense and play it at the wrong times, then it can be dangerous.

 Thank you to BlogThrust for contributing this week's top 5 list!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer is a great time to expand a child’s horizons and sample new interests. In particular, theatre is a wonderful area for children to explore, because introducing your child to the arts can have lifelong advantages!

 Here are the Top 5 Benefits of Theatre Education:

1. It gives a boost of confidence 

 Some kids feel instantly at home on stage, while others feel nervous and anxious at the prospect of performing. Whatever their skill level and comfort level, the best way to feel more comfortable in front of a crowd is to practice performing! The great thing about theatre is that there are lots of opportunities to perform—both in small and large roles. Any performance helps kids feel more comfortable and confident in front of a crowd. That confidence carries offstage as well—not only in the classroom, but also in social situations.

2. Theatre bolsters public speaking skills 

 While every child may not grow up to be a Hollywood star, almost everyone will need to speak in public at some point in their lives. It can be intimidating to do so, but in addition to boosting their confidence, theatre teaches children how to speak clearly. Drama kids learn the skills of articulation, expression and projection. These will come in handy during your child's next presentation in school or even in clubs and group activities.

3. Drama encourages social skills/interpersonal communication 

Communication can be difficult at times for anyone. Theatre teaches children how to express themselves on stage and off. They learn how to display emotions by using both their bodies and their voices. This can help them interpret communication from others more readily and accurately, as well!

4. Theatre teaches empathy 

 Bullying is a rampant problem in today’s schools. One way to combat that is to encourage our children to be empathetic. Theatre allows the students to take on a variety of roles. In doing so, they learn what it feels like to walk in someone else’s shoes, which is the cornerstone of learning empathy.

5. It enhances creativity and encourages students to think in new and different ways 

 Classrooms are great for teaching structure and for following important rules, but kids need to have an outlet to be their crazy, creative selves! Dramatic arts allows them to take these creative impulses and channel them into a character, scene, or show. By trying new things, kids learn to think in new ways. It helps to open their mind on stage and back in the classroom.

Thank you to Drama Kids for contributing this week's Top 5! If you want your child to see if theatre education is for them, then join Drama Kids for a fun and interactive workshop at SpiderSmart of Ashburn on July 30!

Tickets are available here: https://ssmartashburndramaworkshop.eventbrite.com

Space is limited, so reserve your spot now!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Public Speaking

Do you have a big public speaking engagement coming up soon and are getting a little jittery and nervous? No worries! Public speaking causes most of us to experience some sort of anxiety. Yes, even professional public speakers get sweaty palms on stage! 

Below are five tips to help you become an improved and more confident public speaker.

1. Record yourself delivering a speech

That’s right, get in front of your computer or video camera and record yourself delivering that important speech or presentation you have coming up! A handful of us do not like being on camera, but getting over the fear of seeing yourself in the present and hearing yourself speak will give you an extra boost of confidence in your public speaking ability. In addition, this will allow you the opportunity to pay close attention to the details regarding speech delivery, body language and hand gestures, and the pace and clarity of your speech.

2. Get another person to provide you feedback

Grab a close friend or family member to listen to your speech and pay attention to your presentation. Make sure that before you begin, you create or print out an assessment rubric for them to use to help guide them in evaluating your public speaking. The rubric should include categories such as delivery and clarity, content and visual aids, body language, and overall performance. More importantly, you, as the presenter, should educate your evaluator on your expectations in terms of what you hope to get out of the session. For example, have the evaluator pay more attention to the visual aids portion of your presentation if you are confident with your public speaking delivery.

3. Do a brave activity that will put you outside of your comfort zone

While public speaking opportunities get a handful of folks’ energy running, there remains a handful of others that would rather run away from public speaking engagements. If you have a fear of public speaking, doing one or two things that you consider to be brave may help boost your confidence a week or a few days before a big presentation. This brave activity must have two results: 

a) you overcome an obstacle or accomplish a task and 
b) you relieve feelings of stress or anxiety. 

Why these two results? Because these are the same two results one experiences after finishing a speech or presentation! Brave activities may include picking up an old hobby and going hardcore (e.g. basketball, boxing, video gaming) for one or two hours or simply running a reachable but challenging distance.

4. Recite a speech by one of your role models

What’s a better way to practice public speaking than performing a speech given by one of your very own role models? Watch and listen to one of their speeches and pay attention to the many aspects of their speaking ability, including delivery, clarity, and body language. After you finished examining your role model speak, find and grab a transcript of the speech and emulate his/her performance. If you really want a challenge, try incorporating your own elements while attempting to deliver the speech in your role model’s style. This activity should help you notice speaking styles and emphasize tone and delivery, and hopefully inspire and motivate you for your next big speaking engagement!

5. Pay attention to your hand gestures and body language

Incorporating body language creates an exciting and theatrical element into your speaking. This helps amplify your performance by making you, as the speaker, more visually appealing and active to the audience. Some tips include taking notice of and using the space provided by your speaking platform (e.g. move around on the stage) and do not let both of your hands rest by your side at the hips at any given time for more than 5 seconds. Some speakers even find it more energizing and motivating to walk throughout the stage and increase their heart rate, while periodically and purposefully engaging different sections of the audience.

Thank you to Mr. Larry Thi for submitting these tips! You can meet Larry and practice your public speaking at SpiderSmart of Tysons Corner's Public Speaking Workshop on July 16!

All ages are welcome, but space is limited! Register online here: https://tysonscornerpublicspeakingworkshop.eventbrite.com

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Top 5 Ways Your Writing Can Be Easily Transformed

1. Read Your Work Out Loud

Listen to the music of your language.  Even a 20-page term paper should be read out loud,  Your ears will be able to catch all the grammatical errors that your eyes visually skip over too often.  Everything from awkward language to redundant phrasing can be easily pinpointed with aural proofreading.  You’ll be surprised at what you’re able to spot and revise using this method.  Not only will you hear missing or repeated words; you will also catch tense shifts and hear when sentences feel too long.  

2. Seek Sharper Nouns and Verbs

“Adjective and adverb-laden prose simply speaks to the need for better nouns and verbs.”  This piece of writing advice—from Lorraine  López, author of six award-winning works of fiction—changed our lives when she shared this gem in a writing workshop.  We all know the classic advice:  “Show, don’t tell.”  This nugget of mentorship takes it one step further.  Too often we’re tempted as writers to “decorate” our lines of prose and exposition with extensive description.  The truest part of our arguments and stories, however—the most salient lines—are often the most beautifully economical.  They should stand alone in their clarity and power.  If they need decoration, then it’s likely they aren’t doing the work they should. 

3. Perfect Your Pronouns

A lot of clarity is lost when subjects lapse into vague pronouns.  For example, instead of writing “It changed his character throughout the novel,” write:  “Such resilience defines his character throughout the novel.”  Demonstrative pronouns (e.g. Such, This, That, These, Those) are unbelievably helpful—especially in formal writing.  Once academic essays accomplish these clear linkages between ideas, each transition—and thesis—begins to resonate with readers (and graders!)  Don’t merely match up your pronouns with their antecedents (i.e. the subjects they reference/repeat); rather, ensure that each and every pronoun is heavy-lifting as it should and not lingering in anonymity.

4. Aim for Variety

Variety in writing is essential.  Let your personality shine through your writing.  Let it breathe!  You can accomplish variety through varying your sentence length, for one.  Punctuate a series of long sentences with one short sentence.  Or, try adding some lyricism, some rhythm, by interrupting several staccato lines with one long, winding sentence—one that feels like an exhaled breath or a lush, garden path.  Sentence variety is achieved through both length variation and unique, out-of-the-ordinary phrasing. Play with variety of syncopation and word choice.  Write fearlessly.  Don’t be afraid to take risks.  Your writing will be more compelling because of it! 

5. Better Words, Better Works

Surprising diction is the heart of unforgettable writing.  Yet a common misconception is that bigger words equal stronger words.  Word choice, by contrast, is about flourishes in unexpected places.  It’s about shocking your reader with honesty.  Better words aren’t always bigger words.  Sometimes they’re just pitch-perfect words, perfectly rounded and molded for the exact space they’re in.  A great drafting method is underlining words and phrases whenever you’re unsure about the choices you’ve made.  Don’t slow down the flow of your writing by looking up synonyms or definitions.  Rather, underline the spot of uncertainty and return to it once you’ve reached a stopping point.  The perfect word can always be fit into place later.