"I tilted my head in cartoon-like confusion. Where had he picked that up? Bruce Lee? He knew nothing of martial arts nor had he ever watched Kung Fu Panda (this is where my brain went). So I asked Noah to repeat himself. Perhaps I’d misunderstood or heard it incorrectly."
Two enjoyable chapters [PDF, 33 pages] from the book Math from Three to Seven: The Story of a Mathematical Circle for Preschoolers. "This book does not purport to show you how to create precocious high achievers. It is just one person's story about things he tried with a half-dozen young children."
M. tells her friends. Marlo, aka gendermom, over a series of blog posts, talks about her first grade daughter's decision to tell her friends that she is transgender. (Trans Youth 101)
"Every day, your child comes home with a story about THAT kid. The one who is always hitting shoving pinching scratching maybe even biting other children. The one who always has to hold my hand in the hallway. The one who has a special spot at the carpet, and sometimes sits on a chair rather than the floor. The one who had to leave the block centre because blocks are not for throwing. The one who climbed over the playground fence right exactly as I was telling her to stop. The one who poured his neighbour’s milk onto the floor in a fit of anger. On purpose. While I was watching. And then, when I asked him to clean it up, emptied the ENTIRE paper towel dispenser. On purpose. While I was watching. The one who dropped the REAL ACTUAL F-word in gym class."
To Lure Young Readers, Nonfiction Writers Sanitize and Simplify: [New York Times]
"Inspired by the booming market for young adult novels, a growing number of biographers and historians are retrofitting their works to make them palatable for younger readers."
"We sort our kids. We rate them. We chart them, and we measure their progress against the rest of the country and pray that they come out on the high end of the curve. And frankly, it's all horseshit. Every last bit of it. The competition industry is crushing us all." Drew Magary, at Deadspin, unloads on the idea that "these kids today" are little ninnies made soft by participation trophies and unscored soccer games. [more inside]
Washington Post education reporter Valerie Strauss posted some quotes on her blog to answer the question: "How Hard is Teaching?" She then received another response, from a veteran seventh-grade language arts teacher in Frederick, Maryland: "I would love to teach but..."
In 2003, the New York Times published a lengthy article by Lisa Belkin about women who were choosing to leave the workforce to be stay-at-home moms: The Opt-Out Generation. In the the last ten years, the article's conclusions regarding upper-middle-class women's choices about work and motherhood have been debated, studied, rediscovered, denied, lamented, and defended. It's been noted by many that "most mothers have to work to make ends meet but the press writes mostly about the elite few who don’t." Ms. Belkin's piece also never mentioned what what a disaster divorce or the death of a spouse can create for dependent women in such situations. After a decade, the Times is revisiting the topic: The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In.
Third-grader Asean Johnson schools Rahm Emmanuel on the mayor's plan for Chicago's public schools. (YT) [more inside]
"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools." Also see: A District Divided. [more inside]
John Goerzen, an IT development manager in Kansas and a developer for Debian, has been teaching his two sons, ages five and two, respectively, how to use Linux. [more inside]
When the Penn State scandal came out last year, I kept getting tangled in the questions everyone else was getting tangled in: How does an institutional culture arise to condone, or at least ignore, something that, individually, every member knows is wrong? An alumnus of Horace Mann School writes a shocking expose (NYT) of a culture of sexual abuse at the elite prep school, some at the hands of teachers who were allowed to remain for years after accusations were first made.
Teaching Good Sex -- a profile of Philadelphia's Friends' Central School's Sexuality and Society course and its teacher Al Vernacchio, by Laurie Abraham, author of the book "The Husbands and Wives Club." (Descriptions in the first link may be NSFW.) [more inside]
"Internet Essentials" is a $10/month internet plan available to any family with one child eligible for free lunches at American public schools. [more inside]
‘Everyone is a worker.’ That is a powerful statement, if you think about it. Richard Scarry wasn’t afraid to paint contemporary American society in such bold strokes. Nor was he afraid to explain commerce and capitalism to children. - What Do People Do All Day.
When her son refused to do his school work, his mom had him stand out on a busy street corner with a sandwich board trumpeting his 1.22 GPA. [more inside]
A New Career of Caring, Started in Death on 9/11. Brooke Jackman was a 23 year-old assistant bond trader who was one of 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees to die on the morning of 9/11/2001. In her memory, her family created a Foundation in her name, dedicated to promoting literacy, especially among elementary school children in New York City. Today, 'first responders' from New York's Police and Fire Departments "took some time off from their day jobs to read aloud to children at the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan, as part of the first ever Brooke Jackman Foundation read-a-thon." [more inside]
A gallery of scanned German children's books from the 18th and 19th centuries. Sounds dry, but the plates are high-resolution and gorgeous. Fans of old-school engraving, illustration, and Bibliodyssey-esque curiosities will not be disappointed. Highly extensive and bandwidth-intensive.
Saturday morning cartoons were once a staple of American television, but by the year 2000 they had all but disappeared. Of course, the Internet never forgets. Case in point: Cartoon Network Video -- a free, searchable, ad-supported service that provides hundreds of full-length episodes of classic shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Johnny Bravo, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and The Powerpuff Girls, as well as current offerings and scads of shorter material. Too recent for you? Then give Kids WB Video a whirl -- it does the same thing with the same interface, but for older programs like Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo, Thundercats, and the original Space Ghost. If you're in the mood to learn (and don't mind some live-action), PBS Kids Video has educational fare such as Arthur, Wishbone, and Zoom. And don't forget about Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, The Magic Schoolbus and Schoolhouse Rock! Now if only we had some Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs...
TotLol is a video website designed specifically for children. It is community moderated Youtube. The videos are submitted, screened and rated by parents. Some samples include: Bassett Hound Beat Box, Guitar Tips for Kids, and a Children's Book on India. Educational and fun.
Three years ago, David Nixon took over the principalship at John C. Calhoun Elementary School. "Thirty minutes into his first day of school at John C, a father walked into Nixon's office and said, 'I want to give you the authority to whip my son's butt.' Nixon was surprised, but after he thought it over, he decided to give every parent the same option." Did corporal punishment save a struggling school? [more inside]
The Case Against Homework. Does assigning fifty math problems accomplish any more than assigning five? Is memorizing word lists the best way to increase vocabulary—especially when it takes away from reading time? And what is the real purpose behind those devilish dioramas? Sara Bennett wants to stop homework. Here she explains why (pdf).
EducationFilter: California becomes the first state to mandate all 8th graders take Algebra; in part because U.S. students constantly trail their peers from other nations in mathematics. At least one person thinks it's a bad idea ("If only 25 percent of this nation ever earns a college degree, why insist that all children take algebra in eighth grade?"). Here's the algebra curriculum 8th graders will have to learn. [more inside]
“…if I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of destroying a child’s natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I couldn’t possibly do as good a job as is currently being done — I simply wouldn’t have the imagination to come up with the kind of senseless, soul-crushing ideas that constitute contemporary mathematics education.” [more inside]
Speaking of speeches, David Eggers delivers one at TED on grassroots community tutoring for kids who need help with their English homework: "There's something about the kids finishing their homework in a given day, working one on one, getting all this attention. They finish their homework, they go home -- they're finished. They don't stall. They don't do their homework in front of the TV. They're allowed to go home 5:30, enjoy their family, enjoy other hobbies, get outside, play and that makes a happy family. A bunch of happy families in a neighborhood is a happy community. A bunch of happy communities tied together is a happy city and a happy world, right? So, the key to it all is homework." Love him or hate him (mefi consensus) it's a great example of
nervous energy microphilanthropy, social entrepreneurship and, if I may make the connection, machines of loving grace. [previously]
Fun and games with mathematics and mathematical puzzles (e.g. heart basket, Rubik's Cube, Rubik's Magic, hypercubes, and more) in both English and (with yet more content in) German.
The Primary Review has published three research reports about primary school education in the UK and elsewhere. The Structure of Primary Education: England and Other Countries. Primary Curriculum and Assessment: England and Other Countries. Press release summarising some of the findings. [more inside]
Remember when TV raised us right? Time for Timer taught us about cheese, carrots, breakfast, and oral hygiene. The Abominable Snowman taught us about lunch, money, advertising, and the Food Group Disco! Woodsy Owl taught us to Give a Hoot! and keep America lookin' good! and Mr Yuk SCARED THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF US. [more inside]
Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children Statistical Review "reports on how well the world is doing in meeting its commitments for the world’s children. This UNICEF special edition analyses progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in four priority areas for children: promoting healthy lives, providing a quality education, combating HIV and AIDS, and protecting against abuse, exploitation and violence." [more inside]
Music makes you smarter if you get an early start. Certainly debatable given the incredibly small sample, but perhaps it's a prelude to an emerging 21st-century collaborative scientific suite or symphony that can explain why we love music so much.
Peruse The Geographical Reader for Dixie Children and contemplate the manner in which the greater body of man has improved his intellect these past seven-score years and two.
Are computers counterproductive to a child's development? Wittenberg University education professor and former computer teacher Lowell Monke thinks so, and has written a provocative essay arguing that, among other things, computers render children "less animated and less capable of appreciating what it means to be alive, what it means to belong in the world as a biological, social being," and "teach children a manipulative way of engaging the world.” His polemic is partially supported by evidence (.pdf academic paper; BBC gloss here) indicating that, above a certain threshold, computer use is correlated with lower test scores. The latest salvo in the continuing debate over education and the culture of simulation.
House Appropriations panel eliminates ALL public funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS Ready To Learn. From this morning's Cynopsis:Kids e-newsletter: "In our nation's capital yesterday, a House Appropriations subcommittee voted to approve a new bill that will see budgets sliced for both public TV and radio. Specifically in the line of fire in the kid TV universe is the elimination of the full $23m in funding for Public TV's Ready to Learn initiative. Ready to Learn provides some funds for PBS series including, Sesame Street, Between the Lions, Arthur, Reading Rainbow, Clifford the Big Red Dog and could have Buster sending smoke signals instead of postcards. [...] Though the President proposed a small budget reduction for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting this past winter, yesterday's subcommittee vote would also eliminate all government monetary funds intended for the CPB over the course of the next two years, beginning with a $100m decrease in funding to $300m for next year." Perhaps this will free up some money for No Child Left Behind?
Write about zombies, go to jail. I'd be really pissed at the grandparents, if I were this kid.
The World of Waldorf: where children learn to read after the second grade. Critics speak out against it, but there's dancing, and the moon was once part of earth. But, don't believe everything that you read online! One of the minor links is a pdf.
From MathNet to that silly song about the number nine, Square One was one of my all-time favourite programs as a kid. It hasn't been released on video or DVD, but luckily there are plenty of fansites with video clips, pics, and other media to take you on a trip down mathematical memory lane.
Çatalhöyük, a site for kids devoted to the archeological excavations of the remains of a Neolithic town in central Turkey. A great introduction for all ages to this important city, with activities, quicktime tours and links to more in depth resources.
How I lost my childhood: It may seem hopelessly lame to many, but as as child I, and many others of the same time period -- the first children of the microcomputer revolution -- spent many hours in front of our shiny new home computers reverently copying in BASIC programs from source printouts in books and magazines. For some, myself included, this was the launchpad into a sexy, exciting, fascinating career as a professional geek. Now, the book that was one of my sacred texts during this time period, David Ahl's BASIC Computer Games, is available, scanned, online. [via Boing Boing]
Every Child Left Behind: "The federal No Child Left Behind law is threatening to wreck public education in Minnesota and elsewhere."
"That's what it was designed to do."
Focuses on my home state Minnesota, but the point is relevant to every state in the USA. What do we do to change it?
"That's what it was designed to do."
Focuses on my home state Minnesota, but the point is relevant to every state in the USA. What do we do to change it?
You're not from around here, are you? On Tuesday in Wellesley, MA a kindergartener was put on the wrong bus to go home from afterschool care. The boy is black, and the bus is for the Metco program, which buses minority kids from Boston to suburban schools. Random mixup, or racial bias at work? Much hand-wringing ensues.
Teachers Traumatizing Students of Deployed Soldiers "WABI TV reported Friday that the Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center has received about 30 complaints from children of deployed soldiers concerning Principals, Teachers and Guidance Counselors reportedly demeaning the role of their deployed parent. Some children involved are 7 to 9 years of age." More inside...
Girl to sue over detention "The family, who want compensation, will argue that the detentions were unlawful because they took place in Freya's free time. " If you can't give kids detention, how else are they going to be punished for breaking school rules?
Yesterday I saw a wonderful movie - Spellbound - a documentary about the annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee - which won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at SXSW. It explores the dynamics surrounding kids and parents desire for success in the competition, reconciliation with failure and differing models of education, competition and success. When I was a kid I was on the TV show It's Academic - along with lots of other famous faces. While you may want to make fun of the show - I still remember it fondly. My parents were happy to see me compete but generally unconcerned about the outcome in any way. Now we've got Math Olympics, the Academic Decathlon and a host of other competitive ventures. Any other MeFites remember school days competitions and the drive to succeed?
Expelled for Blogging? Kid threatened with expulsion after having the nerve to blog from school. I assume his high school had nothing else to crack down on other than the gangs of bloggers up to no good like keeping a tech journal.
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