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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Hiding the News: What about at School?

March 28, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff A twitter follower of the On Parenting blog asked: What happens when your kids are in school & have a lack of control (over) what & when they are told about tragedies? Several years ago, when I first started teaching, I had a student discuss how he learned about the attacks on the World Trade Center, where his father worked and where he would die. He was sitting in class and his uncle came running into the room and grabbed him. And he took him home. I’ve often thought about how this boy, who’d grown up to become a grounded and thoughtful teen, would have felt had a well-meaning teacher or administrator turned on the television or… Read More

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Vocab Words only a Colonist Can Teach You

March 21, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff We’ve recently returned to the twenty-first century having spent a few days hanging out with the settlers and revolutionaries of Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg. My kids will be talking about the experience for days and years to come, and certainly testing out the new words they learned during our trip back in time. Take, for example, cannibalism. I’m sure our readers know the definition, but suffice it to say, my eight-year-old took a few seconds to process the term when she heard it for the first time moments after entering the visitor’s center in Jamestown. Our present weather woes look lovely compared to the  “starving winter” of 1609-1610, when the settlers in the first English colony… Read More

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It’s Not about the Doodle

March 13, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff “I don’t have a chance of winning. I don’t want to do it.” Was this the attitude Google anticipated when it launched this year’s Doodle 4 Google competition? Probably not. On the surface, the competition is simple: children in grades k-12 are invited to submit a doodle version of the Google logo integrating this year’s theme of One Thing to Make the World a Better Place. One national winner will see her or his artwork on the Google homepage this June and earn a $30,000 college scholarship along with a $50,000 Google for Education grant for their school. It all sounds noble and in keeping with the spirit of helping our children embrace 21st century skills:… Read More

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Learn with Homer: This Pigeon’s Got Wings

March 7, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff When Peggy Kaye was first starting out in teaching, a parent asked if there was something she could use for the classroom. “Yes,” she said, “a tape recorder.” The parent got her one, and Kaye recorded herself reading books her students could later listen to on their own. Today, Kaye is Director of Joyful Learning for the Learn with Homer App, and it’s children who have the ability to record their voices in the product designed for beginning readers. She’s come a long way, it seems, from the days of analog cassettes. But Learn with Homer is all about blending the creative and imaginative traditions of the past with the capabilities of the present  moment. As… Read More

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