Who says science birthday parties are boring?

Ok, so I have to admit, this image (and train of thought) is from a few years ago.  I was a little skeptical when we heard that the kids were going to be making elastopolymers at the party.  ScienceBday.

As you can see in the photograph, they were captivated. I admit, I do not have the creativity to envision this kind of party and this was just one of the stations available for the kids to get hands on with science. It was a hit!

T,

Thanks for taking me with you. I love watching the wonder in your eyes.

Dad

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Secret Adventures (if big brother thinks its cool, then it is!)

Little man,

As I loaded the dishwater the other night, I watched intently as the two of you gathered at the dining room table.  One would think that the two of you were

Big brother teaches little sister addition and subtraction.

Big brother teaches little sister addition and subtraction.

playing with the latest gadget, or building the coolest Lego spaceship.  Instead, what you two had in had were a pencil, a napkin, a keen curiosity, a desire to share, and a desire to learn.

Who says math can’t be cool? by Leslie Crawford

Little man, I have seen you go out of your way all the time to teach your sister.  As you can see, I had my old phone on hand and was able to capture this moment.  And yes, you two have turned our dining table into a table for arts and crafts and learning time, too.

I love math, I hope that love has passed on to you as well.  I love when you go out of your way to stump me with math equations you create.  (I win if I can solve them without the use of pencil and paper.)

If a child can learn to think math is fun, or for that matter, education is fun, what is their potential in life?  I was proud to see you working with her.  I see such great hope in you both.

–Dad

Making a rhyme all the time

So if someone has asked me before the thought of kids had come in to my mind how my poetry skills were, I would have laughed. Aside from love endearing penmanship attempts that helped win over my love, I would have said “eh, ok”.

Here I am juggling around an active pre-pre-schooler and a first-grader and I find myself singing to them the silly songs I make up to emphasize an idea or a point. The thesaurus and I have become very good friends.

I ran across this blog (see link below) and the message there seemed to drive home an underlying plan that I myself had not written down.

10 Ways to Raise a Reader by Matthew Brown

Reading, reciting and singing Mother Goose rhymes to our children might seem old-fashioned today, but it is an excellent way to help children get ready to read. Nursery rhymes are more than just short stories or songs;

Teacher with terminal brain tumor

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/living/2014/01/25/ac-pkg-foreman-teacher-with-terminal-brain-tumor.cnn.html

Death, as morbid of a subject as it can be is one the things in this life we can all count on. Whether by illness, accident, violence, our time in this world can be fleeting.

When we struggle with the loss of a close relative or friend, sometimes, introspectively, we look at our own life and challenge ourselves to determine if the decisions we have made are the right ones (well as least I do).

I look at my parents lives, yes they are still living, 50 plus years of marriage, still seeking to impact not only each other’s lives, but those of family and community.

With my previous post, and now this one, I thought I would seek to explore myself in a way which is slightly uncomfortable given my nature.

I write this as I ponder the fragility of this life. Last year we almost lost my older sibling to a massive heart attack. The shock of being asked by doctors if I am the one that can make end of life decisions was disconcerting. The answer was that I was not the one who could make the decisions. And, given the outcome, I don’t know if I would have made the right one.

My one question that I raised to my sibling over the Christmas holiday was simple. “Why do you think you are still here?”

You have to understand that my question comes from the realization that it was a miracle that allowed him to recover. The doctors told me at the hospital that he was down with no oxygen for 30 minutes, that they did not yet know the severity of the brain damage. Yet here he was sitting across from me with no obvious sign of previous health issue with the exception of the scar running down his sternum.

I wonder if that life event has changed me. Has it let me savor these moments with my children more? Has it allowed me to hold onto that feeling of warmth those many moments after I have hugged my wife?

I sit here typing this as I listen to my son in the distance with his Spanish tutor and I wonder what memories we will make this day?

Poor Sleep Can Negatively Affect a Student’s Grades, Increase the Odds of Emotional and Behavioral Disturbance

http://www.aasmnet.org/articles.aspx?id=873

WESTCHESTER, Ill. – Insufficient sleep among adolescents may not only contribute to lower grades and a lack of motivation, but may also increase the odds of serious levels of emotional and behavioral disturbances, including ADHD, according to a research abstract that will be presented on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, authored by Fred Danner, PhD, of the University of Kentucky, focused on 882 high school freshmen who provided information about their sleep habits and school grades and also completed psychological and behavioral assessments.

Snooze or Lose

http://nymag.com/news/features/38951/index1.html

Dr. Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University is one of the authorities in the field. A couple of years ago, Sadeh sent 77 fourth-graders and sixth-graders home with randomly drawn instructions to either go to bed earlier or stay up later for three nights. Each child was given an actigraph (a wristwatchlike device that’s equivalent to a seismograph for sleep activity), which enabled Sadeh’s team to learn that the first group managed to get 30 minutes more sleep per night. The latter got 31 minutes less sleep.


After the third night’s sleep, a researcher went to the school in the morning to test the children’s neurobiological functioning. The test they used is highly predictive of both achievement-test scores and how teachers will rate a child’s ability to maintain attention in class.

LATER START TIMES FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

http://www.cehd.umn.edu/research/highlights/Sleep/

Since 1996, Kyla Wahlstrom and her research team at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) have led the way in the study of later start times for high school students, beginning with their study of the impact of later start times on educational achievement in two different districts.