Posts Tagged ‘Education’

#1 on Teachers’ Wish Lists: Hand Sanitizer

Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Calhan High School seniors in Colorado, USA.

If you’re like me, you have been wading through back-to-school paperwork
lately. And if your kid is in school, you’ve probably received the teacher’s “wish list”… wipe-off markers, Kleenex, paper towels and (of course) hand sanitizer.

With everyone’s concern about H1N1
flu in mind, hand sanitizer is even more popular these days.

Personally? I wish we could all just wash our hands more often. But
realistically, that’s not always going to happen at school. So I’m glad these little bottles of gel kill germs so effectively.

Only one problem. They dry out your skin something fierce.

So I was jazzed to try a sample of Infectigard Hand Sanitizer. This stuff kills the germs, but it also contains a moisturizer that left my hands soft, but not sticky at all. After it dried, I noticed a faint scent that smelled a bit like baby powder. Nice.

So I thought I’d share the news with you. I’m going to share the bottle of Infectiguard with
my son’s science class. Along with a few boxes of Kleenex, of course.

Guest Post: Letting Go

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

I'm so happy to share with you a wonderful essay by writer Liz Seegert. If your child is in preschool right now, don't be too fast to discount this piece and say "oh, that's years away for our family." Yesterday (I swear), my son was in kindergarten. Today he started 8th grade. As they say, "the days are long, but the years are short." Thanks, Liz, for sharing this piece. And I love the pic of you and your tall son!

the day they’re born you know it’s going to happen. The first “me do it.” The
first time they walk, a little unbalanced, without holding your hand, grinning
broadly. That first day of kindergarten. That was hard. Learning to ride that
two-wheeler and the freedom that comes with leaving the block. The first
sleepover at his best friend’s house.

Then middle school, and high school. The first date. The
driver’s license and taking the keys to go out alone that first time. The first
time he’s forced to make hard choices – about friends, studying, activities,
his social life.

each first, you hold your breath, and say a silent prayer that all of the
things you have tried to instill in him, the values, knowing right from wrong,
has penetrated and is somewhere in the back of his mind. Each time stumbles or
falls, you stifle the urge to jump in and fix it. He has to pick himself up and
live with the consequences of his actions. Maybe he “forgot” to do his
homework. Maybe he stayed out past curfew and didn’t call. Maybe he was at a
party where someone snuck in some beer.

some point, you can’t even ground him any more. When did he become a head
taller? And when is he going to stop eating everything in the fridge before
it’s barely unpacked from the store? He’s applying to colleges hundreds of
miles away – the further the better, he hints. But, but… the mom of the little
boy in you protests. I’m not ready. “Well I am,” he counters.

Deep down, I know he’s right. We go through the unending
paperwork that is the college application process together and I dutifully pay
the fees, secretly hoping the schools closest to home accept him.

letters begin arriving. Didn’t make one of his top choices, but did make the
other. Wait listed. Another acceptance, another rejection. Several more visits
to campuses for accepted students days. He makes his decision, and you’re OK
with it. Not too far, but far enough. He’s happy. You’re not sure how you feel.

day. Everyone in caps and gowns. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings
– all taking and posing for pictures. The “last” summer. The “last” get
together with high school buddies. Another step to letting go. Shopping for the
dorm. More shopping. He’s a boy. Does he care if his sheets and comforter
match? You do. So you spend the extra money for the good set.

want this summer to last forever. No, it flew by way too fast. Moving day.
Loading the car is like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Turn the box this way. Try
putting that sideways. Finally ready to go. He gives his room a final once over
and we head north on I-95. We’re there. Carry the stuff up three flights.

Finally unpacking. “Mom, you don’t have to make my bed,” he
tells me. “Yes I do.” I do. I need to know he’s starting off with everything in
its place. Time to leave, and he walks us to the car. “I’ll call soon,” he
promises. A long, hard hug. And another. I struggle to hold back tears. The
first of many goodbyes.

on his own. He knows we’ll be there to lend a hand, dust him off, and set him
back on his feet if he falls but only if he wants us to. I still hold my breath
sometimes, but not as often. His first attempt at being an adult. I couldn’t
wait to get that first phone call. “I love it here,” he said. “I’m so happy I
chose this school.”

first major life decision.  I am
looking forward to many more good “firsts.”


Happy Father’s Day!

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Happy Father's Day to Paul Penick, the man who taught me to:

°    Love writing
°    Have fun with dogs (That's us on a lake in Arizona, with our dog, Pepper. I won't even tell you how many years ago this was! We were about to pull up to the shore and my dad needed to tie up the boat. He doesn't normally stand like this in the middle of a lake!)
°    Value education
°    Feel comfortable in a new environment
°    Talk to strangers
°    Care about spelling.
°    Enjoy chocolate and raspberry together
°    Love my family

Thanks, Dad. I have no doubt that without your influence and encouragement, I wouldn't be making a living as a freelance journalist today. I love my life and (especially now that I'm a parent myself) I appreciate everything you and Mom did, and continue to do, for my brother and me.

I love you!

Need Teacher Gifts — In a Hurry?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Year 2~Day 156 +127/366: Teacher Appreciation ...Tired of giving apple stationery, apple earrings and “#1 teacher”
sweatshirts to your children’s teachers every holiday season? Imagine
how the teachers feel! Here are some parent- and teacher-tested gift
ideas that will really make the grade.

°    Think Outside The Classroom. “I like giving something
that conveys that you know the teacher is human, too — not just a
teacher,” says Las Vegas, Nevada mom Joy Hall. Think sports memorabilia
(if you know the teacher’s favorite team), an addition to a favorite
collection of bears, dolls, snow globes… The list can be endless if you
or your child just happen to listen up when the teacher mentions
favorite hobbies and activities.

°    Consider a Gift For the Classroom. As school budgets are
increasingly cut, teachers are often asked to supply certain classroom
items. So when her child was in kindergarten, Dorothy Foltz-Gray of
Knoxville, Tennessee asked what classroom game the kids needed. “The
teacher responded as if I were a saint!” she says. Another time, she
gave a monetary gift, again to be used for classroom supplies. Jennifer
Vena of Manhattan Beach, California gives goody bags full of classroom
supplies — dry-erase markers, paper clips, post-its, overhead markers,
etc. With many teachers spending their own money on these items, this
is a welcome gift.

°    Make it Personal. “Have your child make something that
shows how much the teacher is appreciated,” suggests Hall. Including a
photo is a wonderful touch, she adds, and it will help the teacher to
remember your child when she looks at the gift in years to come. A
personal letter of appreciation, along with a drawing from your child,
is something many teachers say they read over and over again — and keep


Sex Ed Helps Teens Delay First Intercourse

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

The title of this post doesn't pull any punches. And that's deliberate. I want those search engines to pick up on "teens," "sex," and "intercourse" so as many parents (and teens) as possible will hear this important message:

Sex education greatly boosts the likelihood that teens will delay having intercourse. That's the word from a study of 2,019 teenagers, ages 15 to 19 years, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Teenage boys who received sex education in school were 71 percent less likely — and similarly educated teen girls were 59 percent less likely — to have sexual intercourse before age 15.

The boys were more than twice as likely to use birth control the first time they had intercourse if they had been in sex-education classes in school.

“Sex education seems to be working,” says study lead author Trisha Mueller, an epidemiologiMountain Dew Baja Blast - Pepsi-Cola bought with the CDC. “It seems to be especially effective for populations that are usually at high risk.”

Sex education remains important because kids still harbor “mythology” about sex, says Claire Brindis, interim director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for
Health Policy Studies at the University of California at San Francisco. “Some still believe you can’t get pregnant if you’re standing up or doing it for the first time or if your boyfriend is drinking a lot of Mountain Dew."

“A lot of sex education is about the plumbing — teaching them about anatomy and physiology, what a condom looks like,” Brindis says. “What they really need help on is: ‘I’m in the back seat or I’m at a party, and there aren’t adults around and there’s pressure to do more than make out.’ They need help with ‘What do I do in that setting?’”

How Do We Motivate Kids to Learn?

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Today I'm happy to share with you this guest post from Michael Gorsline, M.A. He's a parenting coach and a child and family
therapist who enjoys helping families make life more rewarding.

blogs about his approach and strategies at his site, Awareness * Connection, and for the GTDtimes. Michael's post is in response to my post yesterday, "Should We Pay Our Kids to Learn?"

Kids are ALREADY
motivated to learn. It is part of how human beings are wired. Even
chimps will solve puzzles for the challenge without any reward.

reason we are tempted to pay students to learn (which the research is
clear is counterproductive) is that we don't go to the trouble to find
ways to show them how the learning we propose is pertinent in practical
ways for their lives.

Doing so takes more work, more skill, and more thought on the part
of both the teacher and the school system. As school curriculum is
arrived at via political processes, and these processes are complex and
bureaucratic in nature, it is not too surprising that we end up with
simplistic solutions, like testing the cr** out of kids to "raise
standards," and coming up with sweeping programs with clever names
designed to look like they are doing something, and which are mandated
while not funded.

The programs are analogous to the Department of
Homeland Security taking your fingernail clippers away to make you feel
safer. It doesn't address the actual problem, but it supposed to look
like it does.

I don't know of any easy answers. I only know from my training and
experience in both education and psychology that the authors (see yesterday's post) are
talking about research that is very well established, and that is
important. I also know that for instruction to be effective you need:

To SHOW kids and discuss with them how the learning in question will be
practically useful to them.

2) Curriculum that is actually
practically useful (there is no help for irrelevant

3) A good relationship with the teacher. You can't
just "deliver" instruction without a relational context. Kids will work
harder for someone that really knows them, and that has a bit of time
to relate to them as a person rather than as a curriculum-swallowing
automaton. Having some time to address how the child actually learns
best is also important.

4) Some choice for kids re how, and
what, they learn. They don't like being told exactly what and how to
learn any more than you want your boss to micro-manage how your deliver
a certain result. In other words, provide parameters and let them make
some choices between those.

Class sizes, size of school and whether you pay a decent enough wage
to attract bright, creative people into teaching are among many other
important variables.

How to Survive Middle-School Math

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Back when she played middle-schooler Winnie Cooper on “The Wonder Years,” actress Danica McKellar was “terrified of math” she says. But by 8th grade, something clicked, big-time, and from then on, McKellar had a blast making up tricks to help her remember math principles.

She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UCLA, to lecture on mathematics at Rutgers University and to speak to a Congressional subcommittee on the importance of women in math and science. Talk about overcoming a phobia!

Now 32 and the star of the Lifetime Movie Network’s series “Inspector Mom,” McKellar plays a young mom whose ability to put two and two together helps her solve local murders. And her passion for math continues. Check out this 20/20 interview.

McKellar’s new book for girls, Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail
(to be released today on not only empathizes with girls who
may be wary of tackling math once they leave elementary school — it
takes them, step-by-step and with humor, through the world of
middle-school math, pointing out tips and tricks along the way.

Where was this book when I was in 8th grade?