Sunday, March 29, 2015

K-Cups...I Blame You for Our Loss of Filters

We need them back.  Filters, that is.  Language filters.  There's an increase in what we, as adults, choose to say in front of our children.  We need to remember that they are children.  Their brains are developing, and they cannot process emotions and feelings at a mature rate.  They do not understand that we sometimes have to behave one way, even though we may have contradictory feelings at the time.  They do not understand the importance of time and its healing powers.  Children haven't lived long enough to understand any of this.  Today, I plead with readers...put your filter back on when having conversations with or around your children.  Stop yourself.  I'll give you some examples...

Regarding Teachers/Coaches/Volunteer Leaders - You will, if you have not yet, have an issue with one or more of your child's teachers/coaches.  While it used to be the norm to speak with your child, and then the teacher/school, prior to having an emotional reaction...I find that more and more parents have an that reaction in front of their children without speaking to the teacher first. It's often not in favor of the teacher. Please do not make disparaging comments/assumptions out loud in front of your child. If you have middle school aged children, you know about the challenging moments that come while raising them. It's natural for their age.  Can you imagine being a teacher, trying to educate your child, who has a lack of respect for him/her for more than just those moments?  Sometimes they carry this disrespect throughout the course.  This can be due to something that occurred in parent conversations, overheard by your children (and yes, I recognize it can also be due to the teacher, I know we do not always have the most respectful educators).  Filtered conversations regarding school and it's teachers can make a significant and positive impact on your child's school year. This also applies to coaches and volunteer leaders for groups your child may be affiliated with.

Regarding Family Life - Even more important, and possibly more challenging is preventing eruptions and emotional confrontations between parents in front of the children.  I've included a YouTube video below (it's short!) regarding the impact on children.  We are here to protect our children.  Allowing them in to the issues of marital breakdown is harmful.  No parent would throw their child into a burning not throw them into the middle of broken marriage.  Save your discussions for private.  Get a babysitter.  Send them to grandmas.  Whatever it takes.  I have admired many parents who can do this.  It can be done with peace and grace.  The kids come out alright, and with two loving parents sharing time with them.

Regarding Language In General - If you don't want them to say it, don't say it in front of them.  I think that one is self explanatory.  Children learn what they live.

Filtering may come naturally, or it may be a complete challenge.  Take the challenge.  It will be worth it.  We will see an increase in overall respect.  You are modeling relationships. Again, it will be worth it.

Keep it simple...and filtered!  ♥D

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Great News About the Common Core!

There is so much negative media about the Common Core, I thought it would be nice to shed some light on what I view as a real strength to these benchmarks, especially during reading month.  There's a shift in required reading across all grade levels to what is referred to as informational text.  What is it?  Informational or expository texts main purpose is to inform or instruct the reader in some way.  There is often specialized vocabulary, and many times diagrams or charts, photos or illustrations that aide in the delivery of the information.

Why is this a 'good thing'?  The reading materials associated with informational texts are providing real and true information.  There's a shift to reading based on interest.  We know that if our children (or students) are interested in a topic, then they will be engaged.  Give them a book on how a shark really lives (especially during Shark Week!), with photographs, as opposed to a story about a shark and there will probably be increased desire to read.  There's a book referenced in a link I'll share with you about children of the wild west.  If your child has an interest in that time period and growing up in the era, his/her drive to learn will be self-motivated, and this book is a great resource.

I believe we will see boys reading more.  The books available in classroom libraries will shift from stories to informational texts.  Stories are still very relevant, but there will be a better balance. What do you have at home?  I've attached a book list generated by Judy Freeman.  They are her picks of the top non-fiction books of the century.  These are just a sampling of what is available.

Some Great Non-Fiction Picks for Children

Remember, this is a change brought forth by the Common Core.  Next time you feel frustrated by it's math methods, take a moment and think about the wonderful shift it's trying to bring about with reading.  Then go get a book.

I've added one last video from author and historian Marc Aronson.  Take a moment to watch.

Keep It Simple...and have patience with the Common Core ♥ D