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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Add science to make summer fun

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


It is summertime and kids want to relax, explore, discover, and have fun.


When someone mentions science, most kids visualize dull textbooks, memorization, and tests – the antithesis of what children want to do during their vacation. As a result, the suggestion of summer science activities will likely be met with a series of groans rather than excitement.


The foundation of science is exploration. It is an ongoing process of discovery that allows us to link isolated observations in ways that help us understand the world and how it works. There are no facts, just theories, so science is always changing. Anyone can make discoveries that change science.


Because of the negative connotations associated with science, it is best to talk about creating, building, observing, and discovering. Children love activities that include these elements, so they can be cajoled into scientific endeavors without preconceived ideas that make it difficult for them to enjoy the experiences.


You don’t have to be a professor to get your child interested in science. Science is everywhere – in the kitchen, in the yard, in the swimming pool, at the beach, and in the woods. The web is filled with thousands of simple science activities that can be done at home without fancy equipment or extra expenses.


You can make quick sand out of corn starch and water, watch what happens when you put bleach solution on metals, feed and observe butterflies, make a model roller coaster, bake a cake, observe the night sky, or construct a balloon rocket car.


Another option is to include science activities in your day-to-day routine. We are often so caught up in getting tasks completed that we miss the interesting chemistry, physics, and biology in our kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. For example, it only takes a few minutes to conduct a simple science experiment at breakfast. Have your child prepare scrambled eggs. Ask he/she to tell you what happens when he/she beats the egg and what changes as he/she cooks it.


There are also summer camps that focus on scientific discovery. If you want to prevent a backlash, avoid the ones that are overly structured and require textbook learning. There is plenty of time for this type of study during the school year, so summer experiences should be hands-on, fun, and fluid.


Make sure you include science in your summer schedule. It should make your life more interesting and your child’s vacation more enjoyable.


Monday, June 23, 2014

What can be learned from one family’s battle with a school bully

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“The victim has been seriously harmed — he has showed fear, low self-esteem and even suicidal thoughts. What he does in class as well as on the playground and at lunch has suffered. He has been in counseling. That said, the mother says he has rebounded a fair amount and is doing fairly well these days.” (more)

Friday, June 20, 2014

National Summer Learning Day targets ‘summer slide’

The Christian Science Monitor – Lane Brown

“Friday, June 20 is National Summer Learning Day, a day created by the original efforts of Johns Hopkins University students to fight the effects of summer slide. The day is a touch point of a bigger effort to re-shape the way parents, legislators, and educators think about summer vacation as an opportunity to continue learning in engaging ways outside the classroom.” (more)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Six options for family fitness, from rock-climbing to yoga

The Washington Post – MARI-JANE WILLIAMS

“Whatever the reason, parents and children are not taking advantage of the one thing that can reliably make us feel better all around. So this is a call to time-strapped parents and children to put down their smartphones and tablets and get active together…We spoke to local experts in six types of exercise that parents can do with their children. Here are their suggestions…”(more)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Family Engagement Matters

Education Week – Cory Curl

“Parents, families and other caregivers at home have tremendous influence on student academic achievement – particularly in reading, where the U.S. has made so little improvement over the last decades.”(more)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Some Cereals Have As Much Sugar As Cookies

KMTV – CBS News – Staff Writer

“Recent research has shown that there has been some progress in reducing obesity rates in young children, but for all other age groups there has been little sign of improvement. One of the reasons for the lack of progress may be due to the high amounts of sugar that Americans consume…A new report by a consumer watchdog group says a shocking amount of sugar is packed into children’s breakfast cereals.”(more)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tips to boost infant and toddler brain development

The Reno Gazzette-Journal – Staff Writer

“When babies are born, their minds are still a work in progress, and their brains will rapidly grow and develop based on their experience. That means the first few years are critical for healthy brain development.”(more)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Families: An Essential Ingredient for Student Success and Excellent Schools

The Huffington Post – Otha Thornton

“Researchers Keith Robinson and Angel L. Harris recently released the results from a study on family engagement. The findings of the study appear to challenge the traditional view of the importance and positive impact of family engagement on children’s academic achievement. Actually, the findings highlight a lot of what is already known about effective family engagement. It’s the type of engagement that matters the most…Existing research shows that…family engagement is an essential ingredient for student success.”(more)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Never fear, parents: Superheroes help kids soar

CNN – Henry Hanks

“A fascination with superheroes can benefit a child in many ways, including boosting his self-confidence and making him feel powerful. (And what better day than National Superhero Day, April 28, to celebrate that?)”(more)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

CDC: Child Vaccine Program Prevented 731K Deaths, Saved $1.7T

California Healthline – Staff Writer

“During the first 20 years of the Vaccines for Children program, routine childhood vaccinations have prevented an estimated 731,700 premature deaths, 21 million hospitalizations and 322 million diseases, according to a CDC report published Friday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Los Angeles Times “Science Now” reports.”(more)