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Lunar New Year: What the Year of the Dog is all about

Aljazeera – Staff Writer

“The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is one of the most celebrated events worldwide. The date of celebration varies every year. The traditions and celebrations go back in time and are transmitted from generation to generation; they welcome health, wealth and good relationships to come in the new year.” (more)

Chinese New Year: A Simple Lesson in Debt, Percent, and Loan Interest

Education World – Staff Writer

“A Chinese New Year tradition lends itself to a simple lesson in percent and loan interest. Kung Hey Fat Choi! That’s Happy New Year or, more accurately, May Prosperity Be With You, in Chinese. Each year, Chinese New Year falls somewhere between January 21 and February 19 (click for this year’s date). In China, the start of the new year is a time of celebration. According to tradition, the new year is also a time for clearing away bad luck and paying off old debts.” (more)

Chinese New Year: Lesson Ideas

Education World – Linda Starr

“Have you and your students already forgotten your New Year’s resolutions? Lost the spirit of anticipation that the New Year brings? This week, Education World brings you another chance for a new beginning. It’s time to celebrate…the Year of the Monkey! According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of the Monkey begins on Monday, February 8.”(more)

Well-adjusted or only peer socialized?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Over the past fifty years what Americans believe makes a child well-adjusted has changed. Today many parents think a youngster is well-balanced if he/she interacts easily with his/her peers. Even though this type of social interaction is important, it is only part of what is necessary for a child to be happy, secure, and successful.

Children need to know they are loved and must have daily attention and socialization. Even though our society prioritizes peer socialization, it is equally important for kids to learn how to interact with people who are older and younger, of different socio-economic backgrounds, and from other cultures. It is also important that our children have open dialog with people who have different political viewpoints, interests, and careers.

Providing broad socialization does not have to be an expensive or time consuming process. Every community has people with diverse talents, passions, and interests and almost all areas have people from different cultures and of different ages. Rather than seeking safety in people who are similar, parents can reach out to those who are distinctive and include them in family events and social gatherings. This step allows their children to experience uncommon worldviews and cultural perspectives and have exposure to new career options, hobbies, and sports.

Sometimes we forget that emotional development is tied to physical well-being. To make matters more challenging, our lives are so busy that we overlook these physical necessities. Well-adjusted children need adequate sleep and exercise and need to eat well-balanced diets that include ample unrefined and minimally processed fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, and grains. There are many websites that include recipes for quick, healthy options and fast food restaurants that provide fresh, wholesome choices.

We have less experience monitoring how our children are progressing beyond peer to peer socialization. As a result, it will likely take a conscious effort to make sure development is on schedule. Observation is often an effective tool. Do our kids actively engage adults in meaningful dialog in a broad range of subjects? How do they respond when someone broaches a topic which is new to them? Are they able to diplomatically disagree? Do they take the opinions of adults at face value or are they able to listen and form their own opinions? Have they developed new sports, art, or community interests?

Once a parent starts monitoring a broader range of emotional and physical components, they will have a good idea if their child is well-adjusted.

Cultural activities may influence the way we think

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that cultural activities, such as the use of language, influence our learning processes, affecting our ability to collect different kinds of data, make connections between them, and infer a desirable mode of behavior from them. “We believe that, over lengthy time scales, some aspects of the brain must have changed to better accommodate the learning parameters required by various cultural activities,” said Prof. Arnon Lotem, of TAU’s Department of Zoology, who led the research for the study. “The effect of culture on cognitive evolution is captured through small modifications of evolving learning and data acquisition mechanisms. Their coordinated action improves the brain network’s ability to support learning processes involved in such cultural phenomena as language or tool-making.”(more)

Cultural Activity Matters

Education Next – Jay P. Greene

“But now we have a rigorously designed study out of Denmark that shows cultural activity among students is strongly (and likely causally) related to later academic success. The study appears in Social Science Research, a Sociology journal that was co-founded by James Coleman. It examines a large sample of monozygotic twins in Denmark to see if their cultural activity was related to their teacher-given GPA, exam-based GPA, and rate of completing secondary school. To measure cultural activity they relied on a survey administered to the mothers of those twins that asked about what their children did when they were 12 years old. It asked things like: “How often child went to any type of museum” and “How often child went to the theater or a musical performance.” By comparing outcomes among identical twins, the researchers hope to control automatically for a large set of unobserved environmental and genetic factors. We could reasonably believe that a large portion of the variation in cultural capital among twins was due to chance and not differences in their upbringing or ability.”(more)