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

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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?

Reading Exercise Spawned Book by Anchorage Third-Grader

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20130313/ZONE05/303130004/Reading-exercise-spawned-book-by-Anchorage-third-grader?nclick_check=1

When Astrid Mayer began to struggle with reading comprehension at school, a specialist recommended she start reading with her parents every night and visualizing what she read. Astrid, 9, and her father, Trace Mayer, took the advice one step further and began crafting a story of their own. For 10 minutes every night the father and daughter, who live in Anchorage, would piece together a story line and draw pictures. “It really helped me with reading,” said Astrid, who is in the third grade at Anchorage School.

How To Start Using Google Apps In Education

http://edudemic.com/2013/03/how-to-start-using-google-apps-in-education/

As teachers, our plates are perpetually and impossibly full. The idea of adding one more component – such as incorporating technology into instruction – can seem daunting to say the least. In my own attempts to incorporate technology into my practice, Google has been the most valuable tool I have found thus far. Not only does it increase my ability to organize my instructional tools, but it also allows me to incorporate more technology when I feel ready to do so.

The Curse of Non-Cursive Writing

http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/03/14/essay-why-professors-should-object-failure-teaching-cursive

A recent news item cut me to the nib. Many public schools no longer teach cursive writing; 46 states no longer mandate that districts must teach cursive in their language arts core curriculum. This comes from the mistaken logic that our keyboard-happy society has made cursive a relic of the past that students no longer need. Numerous public schools now teach only printing, and some don’t even bother with lower and upper case – just block letters. Roman Catholic schools still demand cursive, and good for them. For the foreseeable future, kids who don’t have cursive will be at a competitive disadvantage. I’m surprised parents aren’t on the pitchfork-and-torch brigade over this, but I’d like to suggest that college professors should be (especially if they have kids).

How I turned my classroom into a ‘living video game’—and saw achievement soar

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/03/12/how-i-turned-my-classroom-into-a-living-video-game-and-saw-achievement-soar/?ps=92709-0013000000j0MYV-0033000000q5h7A&buffer_share=28e9a

The notion that struggling and failing is important to learning runs counter to traditional approaches to U.S. education. In fact, failure and its accompanying “F” grade stigmatizes a student as unprepared or “challenged” and is usually seen as a predictor of failure in future grades.