Oak Meadow 2015 Poetry Extravaganza – Part IV

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. ~ Carl Sandburg

Poetry is not just for students! Some of Oak Meadow’s faculty and staff write poetry on a regular basis. Here is a wonderful summertime poem from Oak Meadow staffer Ben Mitchell. Although it is only April, Ben says, “Remember, everyone, summer is coming!” Perhaps this poem will remind you of something to look forward to when the seasons change again.

Do You Ever

Do you ever lie on your back
in the damp grass
of August,

Stare into the universe,
the particles of debris
skipping across the ozone.

Once I saw three stars
in a perfect line
and for one, fine, splintered second, I could feel
the extraordinary intelligence-

every crooked twig,
each patch
of cow-chomped dandelion.

Ben Mitchell
Oak Meadow Director of Admission

 

Do you have a favorite memory that could become a thought-provoking poem? Sometimes the echo of an experience can be a gift to others or to one’s future self. What gift would you like to preserve in a poem?

We hope you will make a habit of reading and writing poetry throughout the year, sharing it with loved ones and anyone else who will listen!

Oak Meadow 2015 Poetry Extravaganza – Part III

The true poem rests between the words. ~ Vanna Bonta

We hope you have been enjoying the poetry that we have been sharing here In the Meadow in honor of National Poetry Month! Today’s poetry installation features a beauty of a poem as well as a work of visual art, both by Oak Meadow students.

Season of all Souls
by Brooke Doughty

The rain taps my windowpane,
faeries urging me out of foggy mind.
Winter is passed in the past,
Come forth.

Listen
dripping water washes away stillness,
a shower for these souls.

Free from earthy boundaries,
spin through the mist.
Rain as a waterfall falling upon me
Clearing winter from my body with a new breath.

The young leaves break from their buds –
children of the season.
Whispering the forest full of their joy and laughter.

Once again spring rain serves
as a clear sky,
where the mind and heart dance with the soul.

Brooke Doughty, 8th grade
Submitted by Oak Meadow teacher Lesley Arnold

In submitting this next piece, Oak Meadow teacher Julia West says, “I was so amazed by this project from Fiona Hall, a very talented artist. The assignment is to read parts of The Temple of Nature, a magnificent volume of poetry by Erasmus Darwin (Charles’ grandfather), and use it to inspire some either a poem, drawing, painting, etc. that addresses their understanding of natural selection.”

unnamed, by Fiona Hall

“unnamed” by Fiona Hall, 10th grade
Submitted by Oak Meadow teacher Julia West

Fiona describes her work: “The clearest depiction of evolution and natural selection in this image to me is the hand of an evolutionary ancestor of modern humans holding an infant, representing our evolutionary change over time. How all the creatures are clustered close together and intertwined represents the interrelation between all species, how we all started out in the same place as basically the same thing. Some of the animals depicted are now extinct showing how some die out whilst others continue develop and grow stronger. The butterfly is also a symbol to me (although its is kind of a stretch). I was thinking about the butterfly effect when I put it there, and how one extra beat of a butterflies wings can affect so much and change the course of history and evolution.”

We chose to include Fiona’s gorgeous piece because it was so beautifully inspired by poetry. As today’s opening quote reminds us, “the true poem rests between the words.” What does that mean? What do you feel between the words in these and other poems you’ve read?

More poetry to come tomorrow, the last day of our Poetry Extravaganza! Maybe you’ve written a poem this week, or maybe you’ve just thought about it. Keep writing and thinking!

Oak Meadow 2015 Poetry Extravaganza – Part II

 There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it. ~ Gustave Flaubert

Anyone can be a poet! But how?

All you need is an inspiring thought and the words to give shape to that thought in the mind of a reader. If you have words and thoughts, you have what you need to create poetry.

Image thanks to Shirley Tanzella

Some poems rhyme. Others are made up of artistic arrangements of words. Some follow conventional grammar rules and others play by their own rules. Some follow traditional poetry forms such as sonnets, haikus, or couplets; others are free-form. You are the poet, so you get to decide.

Sometimes poetry is inspired by a question, like this poem by Oak Meadow fourth-grader Sarah Cook:

What if?

What if the world went black?
What if there was no light?
What if everyone was mean and cruel?
What if you couldn’t see right from wrong?
What if all this was true?
What if?

Sarah Cook, 4th grade
Submitted by Oak Meadow teacher Andrea Kilroy

A wonderful poem can arise in response to an assignment. This next poem was written as part of Oak Meadow Ancient Civilizations Lesson 13:

 A Poem Paris Might Have Written to Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite

Brains, power, and beauty confronted me one day
(Aphrodite, Hera and Athena)
And my instructions they did say
I would rather have been eaten by a hyena!
I was to pick the best out of the three
I started with Hera and asked what I’d get
She said I’d get power and I’d be king of all countries
I considered her offer and started to sweat
I knew what she’d do to me if it was not her I picked
I quickly moved on to Athena who offered me what I really wanted
She would help me win any conflict
With visions of me not picking her I was haunted
I could not pick any of them without the others seeking me out
Sighing, I finally turned to Aphrodite
She didn’t me offer power and I was filled with doubt
She seemed, to me, to be a little too flighty
Then I heard her actual promise and knew what to do
I took the prize (a golden apple)
And through the air it flew
The three goddesses started to grapple
But the apple fell right in Aphrodite’s hand
Everyone stared at it, including me
The smile on Aphrodite’s face was grand
The other ladies’ expressions made me want to flee
However, I was not worried
For I got the most beautiful woman in the world
Aphrodite went over to me quite hurried
She chanted a spell, and poof! Away we swirled!
Aphrodite promised to help me win
Helen of Sparta, the most beautiful girl
Who wasn’t too fat and wasn’t too thin
Immediately I thought, well, let’s give it a whirl
After all, what could go wrong?

Allison Masthay, 6th grade
Submitted by Oak Meadow teacher Jessica Zehngut

Look all around for inspiration. You may find it in the most unlikely places!

Write from your heart and let the words flow.
Then share your poem with us in the comments below.

Anyone can be a poet. Just try it!

Curiosity

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.” ~~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt, born in October 1884, became the First Lady of the United States in 1933. She was active in public policy and was an advocate for human rights, especially children’s and women’s rights. I found this quote by her and thought it was so fascinating that she would think that curiosity was a gift that each child should have bestowed upon it. In looking at the famous people you might study in the Oak Meadow curriculum, it is easy to see that each of those people was curious and inquisitive about the world. Jonas Salk was curious about the immune system, Coretta Scott King was curious about social change, and Edward Teller was curious about numbers.

I remember that when I was four years old I had a favorite playmate that had Down Syndrome. I remember it well because I really loved this child. He had a wonderful smile that lit up his whole face. He loved to imagine all sorts of things as we played in a sand box. He was a great playmate! However, even at such a young age I could sense that something was very different about him. He had difficulty doing some of the same things that I could do. He couldn’t remember nursery rhymes, even though I tried to teach him. He didn’t go to kindergarten with me the next year. Maybe that was when I became curious about child development. It is a curiosity that has never left me! My fascination with the development of the child led me to be a teacher.

Let us know:

What are you curious about?

Oak Meadow 2015 Poetry Extravaganza – Part I

Poetry is art made of words. Oak Meadow students of all ages have the opportunity to explore poetry in their lessons. To celebrate National Poetry Month, Oak Meadow teachers selected some of their students’ best work to share. You will find it posted here “In the Meadow” over the next few days.

We hope this will inspire you — homeschoolers and parents and everyone reading this — to think about writing some poetry of your own. You can post your own contribution as a comment to add to our poetry celebration. Or just take a moment to read your poetry out loud to anyone who will listen — your parents, children, siblings, neighbors, friends, and pets (real or stuffed)!

Nature can be an endless source of inspiration for poetry. Oak Meadow second grader Tal Weitz wrote this beautiful rhyming poem about nature:

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I listen to the sounds
of nature as I feel
that it had grinned.

I feel the soft
moonlight as I rest
within the wind.

Tal Weitz, 2nd grade
Submitted by Oak Meadow teacher Sarah Antel

 

Next is a poem by Oak Meadow student Penelope Sherck inspired by an Oak Meadow lesson. You can see a video of Penelope presenting her poem here. It is such a treat to see a poet’s own interpretation of their work!

The Earth Does Glow

Flowers bloom in meadows so sweet;The Earth Does Glow
Owls do caw in nights so sleek;
And mushrooms grow from here to there,
but only you and I know where.
The Earth does glow on nights like these;
The stars do shine as bright as day;
You and I now should see;
The Earth does everything
For you and me.

Penelope Sherck, 3rd grade
Submitted by Oak Meadow teacher Michelle Menegaz

We hope these poems will inspire you to write your own poetry and share it with us in writing, picture, or video. Tell us about your poem and what motivated you to write it. We hope you will give the world a chance to enjoy your poetry just as Tal and Penny have!

Happy Earth Day to You!

Happy Earth Day to you!

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on or near April 22nd. This special day was created and first celebrated forty-five years ago in 1970. It was founded by Wisconsin’s U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson, who strongly believed in the need to support environmental protection and to provide environmental awareness.

apple heart with child holding earthFamilyEducation.com offers eight simple ways to celebrate Earth Day with your children:

1) Read a nature-inspired book.

2) Up-cycle trash into an eco-friendly craft by creating a craft from recycled material.

3) Take a family hike or bike ride.

4) Build a bird feeder and feed the birds.

5) Open your windows to the fresh spring air and listen to the sounds of nature.

6) Get outside, pick up trash, go on a scavenger hike, or plant some flowers.

7) Cook with local produce and grow your own vegetable garden.

8) Conduct a science experiment that teaches about the greenhouse effect.

Celebrating Earth Day is a beautiful way to demonstrate your love for the planet. evergreen_3rsRemember to make every day Earth Day, and teach your children the values in recycling, reusing, and reducing. Practicing the three R’s of the environment helps to restore and replenish this beautiful world in which we live. No matter what the ages of your children might be, loving and protecting the planet  is one of the most important lessons we can teach to them.

I’d like to leave you with a story that offers inspiration to me. It is called “Being Green“. This is a lesson in conservation that we all need.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.

So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

sacramentoearthday_dana gray

Working and Homeschooling

“I want to homeschool, but I need to work.”

Is it really true that working parents cannot homeschool? It can be quite a challenge, but many families manage to do it successfully. Many working-and-homeschooling families challenge this assumption every single day.  How?

Consider all opportunities for flexibility in your work

The more flexibility you have, the more smoothly you will be able to manage the demands of homeschooling. Some work situations require regular hours but may be adaptable to working all or part of the time from home. Others allow for significant flexibility in when, where, and even how much work is done.

Flexibility may not be something your employer routinely offers, but a thoughtfImage: Rogers Familyul proposal might change the status quo. If your current work is inflexible, consider a job change. If change is not possible, don’t despair! There are many ways to make working-and-homeschooling work.

In families with two working parents, it may be possible for parents to adjust their working hours so that one parent is home whenever the other is working. You might divide the responsibility for homeschooling equally, or one parent might take primary responsibility for education while the other takes more responsibility in other areas.

Single parents who work can still homeschool. If your work is done entirely at home, and if there is a good fit between your child’s ability to be independent on one hand and the needs of your job on the other, you may be able to multitask throughout the day. Whether or not this is successful will depend largely on your temperament and that of your child.

If the needs of your job and the needs of your child are too much to manage at once, or if your job takes place away from home and you cannot bring your child along, you might piece together a scenario that includes time for learning with a parent or another adult.

Be flexible with your expectations about how you will homeschool.

Homeschooling can happen anytime, anywhere. There is no rule that says homeschooling must take place during school hours or at a desk. Focused, supported learning activities can happen before parents head off to work in the morning, after they return in the evening, or on the weekends.

Image: Doughty FamilyOne of the most wonderful benefits of homeschooling is that students can learn the same things in less time than they would in public school. Homeschooling, especially if it is done one-on-one or with siblings who are at the same or a similar learning level, can be very efficient. If you plan to devote a portion of the day to helping each of your children with bookwork, how much time would you need? What time of day is your child the most focused and receptive to learning? What kind of learner is your child, and how can you help make learning most efficient for him or her?

For some homeschooling families, a rigorous, detailed curriculum is the best choice. Others have the time and drive to piece together a carefully selected, eclectic combination of materials. When your time and attention are already stretched, you might find it easiest to use a comprehensive all-in-one program, such as Oak Meadow’s full curriculum package. Or you might find that a very relaxed approach to learning allows your children to happily absorb the basics and then pursue their passions. Don’t hesitate to shift gears if you or your child are stressed or unhappy with your current approach. When you find something that works, celebrate and stick with it!

Assess your child’s capacity for independence and make intentional use of it

How old is your child (or children)? How much direct attention, supervision, and care does he or she need? When is your child happiest to accept guidance from others, and when will only a parent do?

Young children will need a direct caregiver all or most of the time. Many caregivers are open to supporting this age group in gentle learning activities involving nature, art, handwork, storytelling, and play-based exploration. You may need to make suggestions or provide materials. With a thoughtful plan, your care provider can become a homeschooling ally.

Preteens may be able to tolerate being left to themselves for periods of time while you are working at home, but there will be limits to their independence. They may needX-WestFamily3 or want to engage periodically even if you are nearby. With your child’s input, develop ways to connect and reconnect with each other as needed while you work.

Older children and teens may be able to handle all or some of their homeschooling work on their own. Some subjects or activities might require more regular support than others. You might work in short bursts with scheduled breaks so that your child knows when to wait and when he or she can have your attention again.

If you have a wide range of ages in your family, perhaps an older child could be engaged to help a younger child or children while you are working at home. Carefully plan ahead to set them up with suitable assignments or activities. When you are not working, your attention can shift to the younger children while the older ones focus on their own learning.

Remember why

Families who choose homeschooling invariably have compelling reasons that make it worthwhile. Why are you working and homeschooling? What would be different if you made a different choice? Would those differences be acceptable to you? Identify the motivating factors in your situation and remind yourself of them whenever you need a boost.

Working while homeschooling can be a formidable challenge, even with children who are older and fairly independent. For many parents who do both, the combination is not really ideal. But when other options are unacceptable or even more challenging, it can be worthwhile to do what is necessary to make it work. If you choose working-and-homeschooling, you are in good company.

Are you an overachiever?

What provisions can be made for the very capable homeschool families who tend to be overachievers?

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The following thoughts are compiled from an email thread between Oak Meadow K-8 teachers regarding over-achieving students and home teachers. The bulleted list below is a summary of the suggestions and advice:

  • You do not have to explore everything in depth.
  • Pay attention to your stress level. Slow down and lighten the focus if you feel rushed or pressured.
  • Moderation in all things.
  • Find a different perspective that helps an over-achieving student (and even the home teacher) to relax.
  • Think outside the box. Not every assignment needs to be in a final copy. Some assignments can be done orally, video taped, or even letting it lie until another year.
  • Take a walk for pleasure!
  • Focus more on the process rather than the goal or end result.
  • Show your children it is OK to make mistakes.
  • Remember that the joy of learning is the most important aspect of schooling.
  • Step back and look at the progress your student has made.
  • Sometimes less is more. Focus less on the number of pages and more on the quality and content of what has been written.
  • Stay in good humor. Children are like sponges – they pick up and absorb stress, if that is what you are feeling.

The following is a dialogue in response to the question regarding overachievers. Thanks to all the Oak Meadow teachers who participated in this collaboration. We hope it will guide you to your own style of learning!

Michelle Menegaz: I suggest looking for those times when just touching on something more lightly might be enough. You will know by how rushed, obligated, or pressured you are feeling versus maintaining a balanced enthusiasm, Children (and all of us, I think) need time to digest as well as ingest our learning.

I think it is natural and advantageous to go through cycles with writing… a time when you focus on brainstorming without the need to polish a final product is very useful in skills development. Sometimes the student may be digesting and assimilating knowledge and skills at a newer level before taking the next steps or leaps in learning. This is fine and even preferable to constantly churning out the same amount of work every month. I trust you to use your  intuition and be open to your student’s process to know when to push, listen, back off, or explore new ideas.

Andy Kilroy: Sometimes people seek out home school options to get their children out of the grind, and then get so wrapped up in the curriculum, that they forget all about the joy and flexibility and turn into taskmasters (home teacher) and over-achievers (child). It is important to not overdo the technical aspects of the work, but instead focus more on the joy and creativity aspect. I also like to reinforce to the home teacher that there is always something constructive to tell the student.

Sarah Adelman: Students of over-achieving home teachers seem to fall into two categories: those that put a ton of pressure on themselves to be as successful as their home teachers; or those that shut down or don’t bother because there’s no way they can meet that expectation. I currently have a student whose parents are both high-achievers. This student is really hard on himself and very much of an overachiever  While his parents could probably do a better job editing his papers than I ever could, it is much less stressful for him to look at outside feedback and suggestions. I think having another perspective, particularly on his writing, has helped him relax.

Lesley Arnold: The pressure and stress a curriculum and a home teacher might put on a student can weave into every part of life, which can lead to finding it difficult to do anything. I encourage “lightening up” and “thinking outside the box” on the assignments. Not every assignment needs to be in final copy. Not every assignment needs to be typed into a three page essay. Some assignments can be done orally, some can be video taped…etc. Some assignments can “sleep” until another year!

Home teachers need to know that they can be more flexible with the curriculum. Focusing on how much of the day involves “intellectual pursuits” can be very taxing and tiring. For example, taking a walk for mere pleasure and not for meeting the demands of an assignment is an invaluable part of a day!

Sarah Antel: It’s important for the home teachers to take a step back, a moment’s break, and look at the progress their children have made.

Leslie Daniels: I know ALL of us have felt like overachievers at more than one point in our lives. So, when this happens to me, I do the “wake up call” and remind myself to stay in good humor. And this is exactly what I suggest to my home teachers who present each lesson too much by verbatim or take each assignment too seriously. Have you noticed that many of the over-achieving home teachers seem to set high standards for their own personal lives – as parent, home teacher, partner, family/community member, etc? And this type of stressful nature in a parent also develops stress in the children. After all, children are like sponges and pick up on everything!  

It’s also important for the home teacher to understand that a child does not need to feel pressured by imperfections with lessons, etc. I encourage them to find humor in their own personal antics and to express this humor in front of their children, so their children will know it’s okay to make mistakes. We learn from our mistakes! Aside from basic concepts, most every concept that is being introduced and taught to the students in the k-4 grades is reemphasized in the 5-8 grades, and then once again in high school. So, in working with overachievers, I remind the home teachers to focus more on the process and to not always be so concerned with the goal. And most of all, I emphasize that instilling the joy of learning is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of schooling. When a child is given the opportunity to learn in a joyful manner, then they will become life-long learners ~ and isn’t that truly what is the most valuable gift we can offer our children?

 

The Art of Language

Andy Kilroy, one of Oak Meadow’s outstanding k-8 teachers, strongly believes in instilling a love of education in our children. She values the art of language, which is so nicely portrayed in the following essay she composed…

151rTvb9VIfL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_As a teacher who spent most of her professional life in a classroom, my transition to teaching home schooled children has been a joyous realization that there is more to education than memorization, standardized tests and adherence to educational systems that stress conformity and rules. As a mother of five and grandmother of six, I have long realized that sometimes the best sense is nonsense, and that concept is richly illustrated in the pages of a childhood favorite, Winnie-the-Pooh. In today’s stressful and results-oriented world, it is often refreshing to take a step back and look at the value of using language as Pooh Bear does, not to convey specific and important information, but as a means of expression and creativity.

1WinniethepoohYoung children, just learning the joys of reading and language are often charmingly serious. They want to get “it” right, whatever “it” might be on that particular day. They learn that the marks on paper are words and that words have specific meanings, and that to express themselves in the big, wide world, they need to master this difficult thing called “language.” They want to be understood in the world into which they are so earnestly seeking entry. How then do they react when confronted with the fanciful use of language used by Winnie and his delightful friends? Who says words like “heffalump” and “hunny”? Who writes poems, called “hums,” that have a refrain of “Tiddly Pom?” Who speaks of someone who is feeling a bit pessimistic as being “eeyorish”? Winnie does, that is who, and although Pooh is a bear of very little brain, according to Rabbit, he is loved by all for his down to earth good sense and loving nature. Generations of children, and adults, have found great joy in their association with Pooh, who humbly accepts his limitations in the brain department and finds it no great bar to understanding and expressing himself to the world around him, although at times he has to resort to very creative language use to explain his ideas:

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it,” says Winnie!

1tumblr_m49slrKbBa1rwrcuso1_500What a wonderful word is “thingish” as it so perfectly expresses that ineffable “something” that we often can’t find words to express. “Thingish” finds resonance with listeners who have frequently experienced the lack of the perfect word to express their ideas. I submit that “thingish” is the perfect word in some situations to clearly convey the precise meaning of the imprecision of our thoughts! Who among us has not experienced the need for a perfect word, but in our anxiety to achieve precision of language has given up the quest and settled with the inadequate phrase, “Oh, you know what I mean?” How much better to invent a word that conveys exactly what we are thinking? This longing for the right word must be so much more pronounced for our little ones who are just learning language, but who also have important ideas to convey! The idea that, for the youngest among us, this can be a frustrating process, and is best expressed in the immortal words of Pooh Bear:

“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”

1477d7297a60b5ba057228c41e7bbc9c0So, my plea is to encourage our little learners to see language as an imprecise art form that has life and can adapt, even if their spelling “wobbles”. One has to look no further than the pages of a variety of children’s books to see that our language is alive and well and is in the process of adapting and changing to suit the needs of those who wield that language. It is important we all understand that language is for our use and need not constrain us or rob us of our authentic voice. This is even truer for children as they begin to navigate the world of reading and writing. Encourage them to embrace their ability to use language to perfectly express themselves, even if this expression takes the form of creative words they craft to express their ideas with precision. In the immortal words of Maurice Sendak, a master of this process if there ever was one, “Let the wild rumpus begin!”

For those who would like to learn more about the language of Pooh, there is a wonderful blog post on the Oxford Dictionary web page at: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/11/winnie-the-pooh/

 

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Digital Citizenship

You’ve probably heard about kids that did something on a device that they shouldn’t have. They didn’t know they weren’t supposed to. Maybe someone bullied someone on the internet, or someone used a friend’s cell phone without permission, or someone used information for a research paper that wasn’t factual or true. A new device can be a daunting adventure. Learn how to use it.

I encourage all students (parents, too!) to give this new online program a try.

“Learn the fundamentals of digital citizenship through animated, choose-your-own-adventure interactive experiences, designed for grades 6-9. Invite students to explore digital dilemmas, make good (and not-so-good) decisions, and try out possible solutions through stories and mini-games – all without risking their real-world reputations. Discover how Common Sense Education’s award-winning digital literacy and citizenship curriculum seamlessly integrates into blended-learning environments. Coming soon in April 2015 as an iOS app, Android app, and web-based app!”

from Common Sense Media