Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Brain training, anyone?

Further to my acquisition of a Nintendo, I can report that addiction is gaining ground at The Blethers. No, I'm not playing games - at least, not in the sense that Duffy meant t'other day - but I am doing 100s of wee sums and reading swiftly aloud, drawing camels and rhinos from memory and realising that there are skills I once possessed which have fallen lamentably into the sere, the yellow leaf. Like multiplication tables, for example. I'm as bad at the middle bits of the middle tables (6x and 7x especially) as any struggling nine-year-old - walking speed, according to Dr Kawashima. On the cheerful side, I'm at train speed in my reading aloud, and pretty hot at remembering words - as, I suppose, you might expect.

And the purpose of all this? Well, when I asked for my "brain age" on yesterday's showing, it was 56. Today it's 52. The target is 20. And there's the competitive element - Mr B is reckoned to have one foot in the grave, brain-wise. I have a feeling that geekery comes into the equation, however, and it doesn't have any criteria for measuring musical activity. But Mr B is now talking about doing homework on his tables and has disappeared to read aloud. Madness may be just round the corner - or perhaps not.

Amusingly, the Nintendo saga (or Nintendo for Saga clients) was picked up and blogged over at ds fanboy, where many of the 11 or so comments revealed the fact that moms - as they touchingly call me - are not expected to enjoy this sort of thing. Tough.

And the Nintendo has just told Mr B; "Chris did better than you today." See what I mean?


  1. Anonymous2:15 PM

    Very interested to hear about how you are getting on with Brain Training. I'm 21 at the moment and 38 yrs old (competition creeping in) but really enjoy playing the game. I'm interested to hear what you think about gaming now that you seem to be addicted to this lovely little Nintendo title. Do you feel these games could have a place in clasrooms, if so, how would you apply their use?

  2. An easy response would be that they'd be magic for basic Arithmetic - what we used to call "mental"! Much more fun than writing sums in a jotter, and very hard to become bored. And the word-memorising would presumably impact on language-learning and the reading aloud ... something that many S1 pupils turn out to be very poor at. There's also the speed-reading skill (which you can do silently). Remember, I've just got hooked, and only have the one disc ... there could be loads of things I've not thought of. Certainly a cheaper way of introducing mass technology in the classroom than having a Pc for every child to do the same kind of thing on.

  3. Happy birthday even though the wish is a bit belated! I'll be following your progress on the game. :-)

    I also wanted to let you know that in our discussions in blogging class yesterday M.V. expressed how much he was hoping Chris had answered his comment. High praise from a 5th grader. He has found a better word than "nice" and is curious about your interest in whales. See

    Thanks for participating! The group is coming along - the time flies though and we never get everything done we want to!

  4. Anne, I went back for a look and left a couple of comments. I hope I'm not too didactic! Great stuff there - rewarding for you and them, I'd say.
    Does "5th Grade" mean he's had 5 years in school? What sort of age?

  5. Funny you should say about the times tables. I rather a bit mathematically retarded, s you know, but I always found the 6x and 7x far easier than the 3 and 4 - weird! I am putting it down to illness as a child and missing those days. I learn times tables as though they were in rhyme or I intorduced a beat to help.

    I still count with my fingers and if the word 'fraction' is said out loud in my presence, I'll have to walk away!

  6. Congratulations on being 46! Does this mean I can get a shot? My brain feels 96 today but I can't sleep - that's why I'm answering your blog at 2am!

  7. Mmm - don't know about letting Primary teachers show me up - they tend to be able to do sums ... :-p