a month for teachable moments! We were mesmerized by the events
unfolding last week with the landing on a far-flung and fast moving
comet. Just the effort it took to get there (ten years) was a
lesson our children need to hear. Discovery and learning take
patience. And, then the evidence of teamwork from people throughout
the world demonstrated to all of us the benefits of cooperation and
support. All that, before we get to the science and mathematics
involved in such an endeavor! What a world our children and
grandchildren have to look forward to.
sent its mighty blast to most of us this month. Little had we
expected such cold and such snow! Most were not ready for
the Arctic weather that chose to visit us to wipe away the few
remaining leaves and flowers. The rapid drop in temperature, the
precipitation, the wind, all provide fodder for learning. In our
neighborhood, children found opportunities to build ski hills, go
sledding and make snow angels in spite of the cold. There are
many "why's" to answer in such a change in
climate. "Why is there such silence on a snowy day?"
"What makes the snow stick to the grass but not the
sidewalk?" Teachable moments!....We hope you have taken
advantage of them.
is the season we join with family and friends to give thanks for what
has been given to us. Although many struggle in a world that
often does not seem to give back, there remains much we can find which
comforts us and for which we are thankful. I am thankful for the
open and curious minds of the young people we serve. For the parents
and educators who devote so much of themselves so that these young
people have success in their learning experience.
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The story of the Overs, gallant
independents, who left Old Scrooby in 1608, because the King
would permit them no freedom of worship; who went to the Low
Country (Netherlands) and prospered there, but departed again,
when wars threatened; who sailed in the Mayflower and put down
new roots in New Plymouth, there to plant seed in a new land. A
panorama of the Pilgrims' story, through the adventures of Young
Among the impacts of radical change is
fundamental uncertainty, a knot-in-the-stomach feeling that what we
normally do might not work this time. Fundamental uncertainty makes it
easy to visualize a youngster, standing at the whiteboard with his
hands in his pockets, completely stumped by the problem before him.
To complicate matters further,
fundamental uncertainty has a companion malady ...... uncertainty of
role. In addition to not knowing what to do, many are beginning to
question whether we should be doing (or not doing) what we’re doing
(or not doing).
America’s schools are not immune to
the forces of radical change and the uncertainty it’s causing. In
fact, some school people appear numbed by the magnitude of the events
driving radical change. Like the young student, they’re stuck at the
whiteboard, uncertain of what to do next.
You will receive a body. You may
like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period
this time around.
You will learn lessons. You are
enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in
this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You
may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Growth is the process of trial-and-error and experimentation. The
"failed" experiments are as much a part of the process
as the experiment that ultimately "works."
A lesson is repeated until learned.
A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have
learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the
Learning lessons does not end. There
is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are
alive, there are lessons to be learned.
There is nothing better than
"here." When your "there" has become a
"here," you will simply obtain another "there"
that will again look better than "here."
Others are simply mirrors of you.
You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it
reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
What you make of your life is up to
you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you make
of them is up to you. The choice is yours.
Your answers lie inside you. The
answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you have to do
is look, listen and trust.
You will forget all this.
To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.
About this time each year our calendars
get full and there just doesn’t seem enough time in a day to do what
we had planned. Sometimes the harder we try the slower we go. Try
these Ten Great Ways to Relax. They may get you back on
track and make this busy season go more smoothly.
Your shoulders are tense,
your back hurts. You feel grouchy and know it’s all due to stress.
What can you do? The following can help relieve both the physical and
emotional tension that often follows stressful situations.
You remember those
days: they want to do something else or just not do it at all. You
want to help them make sure homework gets done, but sometimes you ask
if it’s even worth the fight. It doesn’t have to turn into an
argument. Whether it's about homework, staying out late or doing
chores…you CAN avoid an argument with your kids.
Some keywords to remember are:
Acknowledge you are listening. You can do this by paraphrasing or
repeating what they’ve said to you. This
comes in handy when the comeback is "You’re not listening to
me!" Sometimes by repeating what they’ve said first, they
realize they may not have a valid argument after all.
kids will purposely try to start an argument to get out of the chores
or responsibilities. They may try to provoke you by ignoring you,
starting an argument (how many times have you heard: "But
that’s not fair!" or "So-So doesn’t have to do
this"). Stay focused on what the issue is. The issue is not that
you are unfair, the issue is that the homework was supposed to be done
. Repeat this rule ("Even if you think it's unfair, the rule is no
TV before your homework is done." "You may have more chores
than your sister, nevertheless, the rule is you must get them
Absorb: If they
still attempt provoking an argument, stay cool. Act like a sponge.
Whatever is said, simply absorb it. You can do this through
"Uh-huh," "I see", "Yes,"…but the
decision stands. Do not attempt to be drawn into their provocations.
If you lose control, you lose the power of the rule. Remember what the
issue is. Remember it’s o.k. to become angry for both yourself and
your child—you’re both only human. But do not take it personally
or allow it to become a personal attack.
Sometimes parents worry that by doing
this, they are not allowing their children to express themselves. You
can validate their feelings by saying "I can tell you’re angry,
but my decision stands." Sometimes this can be prevented if all
of the rules are expressed clearly before the situation arises. It
helps if consequences are spelled out for specific actions. ("If
your homework is not done by
, you will not go outside for the rest of the day.") Some parents
(and teachers) have even drawn up "contracts" with their
children, spelling out the exact expectations for actions and behavior
and the consequences/rewards for each. Make the child part of this
process and ask for their input on what these should be.
These are some suggestions that may
help prevent arguments in the future. Many times families repeat the
same arguments over and over, on an ongoing basis. While these
suggestions are not guaranteed solutions, they may be a start in
providing better communication with your family.
celebrations and rituals are opportunities to turn an ordinary day
into one to remember. Celebrations strengthen the bonds between
the ones you love, reinforce those things you have in common and
establish traditions that will live on, even after the children are
grown. It doesn't matter whether your family is made up of two,
ten or eighty, a family festival will draw you closer. Rituals
marking even seemingly insignificant events, when done in a spirit of
gladness, bring satisfaction and joy to the home.
You can have as many
celebrations as you like. They can be simple or fancy, planned
or unplanned. They can be incorporated into everyday life or
take place once a year. You can come together for birthday
parties, impromptu get-togethers, or to hone the milestones in life.
You don't even need an excuse...just the desire to be together.
What are your family
traditions? What rituals and celebrations bring you joy?
Do some need to be added or updated? You might want to change
the way you celebrate holidays or birthdays. One year a family
had a white twig covered with lights for their Christmas tree.
It marked the
beginning of an effort to make their holidays less commercial.
A family festival centers
around the joy of being kindred spirits, of knowing each other and of
sharing lives. To generate a family festival requires only your
commitment to gatherings filled with honest, heartfelt interaction.
Getting together out of obligation is merely a dull routine; but
coming together to celebrate one another is fun, meaningful and deeply
fulfilling. A family event with heart, gratitude and mutual
appreciation is indeed a glorious occasion.
Adapted from Wonderful
Ways to Love A Child, Judy Ford
Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.
Rosetta at the Comet: On
12 November 2014 Rosetta's lander Philae touched down on the surface
of the comet: the most spectacular landing in the history of space
exploration. Build on the extraordinary source of inspiration
represented by the Rosetta mission to attract your students to science
and technology. http://tinyurl.com/nlojz89
Explore your Families History at
Ellis Island: You can search for ancestors who came to America
through Ellis Island, create your own family scrapbook, and learn
about the immigrant experience at this nicely designed site.
Do History: At this site
you can learn basic skills and techniques for interpreting historical
documents. There is an interactive case study based on the
200-year-old diary of midwife/healer Martha Ballard. You just may
become inspired to "DoHistory" on your own after visiting
this cool site. http://dohistory.org/
Theban Mapping Project: For the
budding (and experienced) Egyptologist, this site provides a wealth of
information from the archeological digs at Thebes. Visitors can zoom
into the atlas of the Valley of the Kings and explore the hundreds of
tombs by watching movies, using interactive diagrams, and viewing
thumbnail shots. Interactive maps allow users to measure distances and
elevation, and there are even printable PDFs of the tomb maps. (This
site uses Flash.)