Sunday, April 23, 2017

How society kills creativity

When it comes to our modern day society, there is no doubt that we are being told how to live and what our lives are supposed to look like. When we are born we have our parents imposing their ideas and beliefs onto us about what is right and what is wrong and then from there we are usually enrolled into the public school system. Here is where a lot of our natural, inherent creative abilities unfortunately come to die.
In many cases, the school system doesn’t celebrate gifts in the realm of art, music, poetry etc. Rather, the more logical analytical ways of knowledge are celebrated, such as math, science, and memorization. Sure, these are important gifts as well and they should be celebrated, but not all people fit into that mould. And then what happens to those gifts that are left untapped and never brought forward into our world for everyone to enjoy? Well, society wants us to believe that those gifts do not fit into our system and we can’t make a living by utilizing them. What a conundrum.
Madrid based animators, Daniel Martinez Lara and Rafa Cano Mendez showcased this issue perfectly by putting together this 7 minute short to teach us a lesson on what happens to your life when you allow your creative abilities and talents to be drowned out by the daily 9-5 grind.
This film also touches on parenthood and how important it is to let go of the idea of a desired outcome for your children and to let them figure out for themselves what it is they would like to do. Of course every parent wants the best for their children, but we have to remember what is our best is not necessarily the best for our children. We need to be able to recognize the level at which we are just succumbing to the pressures of society as well. At some point letting go and trusting can go a long way.

This critically acclaimed short film was made entirely with a type of software called Blender, an open-source 3D rendering program. It was dedicated “to our families, for helping us not to lose our color.” Without further adieu, here is the award-winning short film, Alike, enjoy!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

How to Raise a Reader

How to Raise a Reader

Ten tips for getting your kids hooked on books -- ebooks or the paper kind. By Regan McMahon
How to Raise a Reader
Kids become lifelong readers for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes there's one key book that captures a kid's imagination and opens him or her up to the exciting world of fiction. Other times, a teacher who assigns great books in class sparks a hunger for more big ideas and fine writing. In some cases, parents influence kids' appreciation of books by sharing their own love of literature and modeling reader behavior -- always having a book to read, taking books on vacation, reading before bedtime, making regular trips to the library and bookstore, etc.
Here are our best tips for nurturing a love of reading that can last a lifetime:
Read aloud: This comes naturally to lots of new parents, but it's important to keep it up. Kids will enjoy it longer than you think. When reading to babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kids in early grade school, it's wonderful to have a kid on your lap, snuggled next to you on the couch, or drifting off to sleep in bed as you enjoy picture books together. You may have to read your kid's favorite a hundred times, but just go with it. Your kid will remember the closeness as well as the story. And try nonfiction for those who are curious about pirates, Vikings, robots, castles, history, sports, biography, animals, whatever. For second through fifth graders, read those rich and meaty books that might be missed otherwise, maybe classics like Treasure Island or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Many parents think that as soon as their kids learn to read on their own, they no longer need to be read to. But kids still love it and benefit from it as they hear the rhythm of the language, learn correct pronunciation, and get to relax and just take it all in. Kids will get the idea that there's something worthwhile in books and that there's something special about time spent with a parent.
Savor the series: It's common for kids to become book lovers for life after getting hooked on a series. And there are lots of good ones that keep kids hungry for the next installment. Some reliable prospects: Ivy and Bean, Judy Moody for beginning readers; Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and the Percy Jackson for middle graders; and The Hunger Games, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Raven Cycle for older kids.
Grab onto a genre: Kids go through phases of genres they're passionate about, from girl detectives to science fiction and fantasy. Don't get hung up on whether it's considered great literature (although some genre books are). Be happy that your kid is devouring books one after the other.
Feed the favorite-author addiction: Once your kids find a writer they love, they may want to read all of his or her books -- a great excuse for a trip to the library or an opportunity for book swapping among friends and classmates. Here are some good bets for favorites. Younger kids: Dav Pilkey (The Adventures of Captain Underpants), Beverly Cleary (Beezus and Ramona). Middle grade: Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie), Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book). Tweens and teens: Judy Blume (Are You There God, It's Me Margaret) and Sarah Dessen (Just Listen).
Count on the classics: Books are called classics because they continue to engage readers generation after generation. There are no guarantees, but you could try introducing your kids to books you loved as a kid and see which ones click. Some good ones to try are the Dr. Seuss and Narnia books, Charlotte's Web, and The Secret Garden. Check out our Classic Books for Kids list to find more.
Find books about the things your kid loves: If your kid adores horses, try Black Beauty or any of the titles on our list of best Horse Books. If he's wild about cars, trucks and trains, check out our list of Vehicle Books. Librarians, booksellers, and Internet searches will help you find books on any favorite topic.
Funny is fine: Some parents wrestle with letting their kids read Captain Underpants, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and other edgy humor books about kids getting in trouble. Talk to your kids about the content, but keep in mind that kids like these books not because they want to imitate the characters' actions but because they can live vicariously through their bad behavior. Humor is a great pathway to book loving.
Comics are OK: Graphic novels are among the hottest trends in children's publishing, and they can get kids hooked on reading. Kids may start with Squish and Babymouse and move on to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. But these series can also lead to more sophisticated fare such as El DeafoBoxers and Saints, and This One Summer. Find other titles in our list of best Graphic Novels.
Engage with ebooks: Kids can cuddle up with a Kindle, Nook, or iPad before naptime or bedtime. Some recent studies say more than half of U.S. kids are reading digital books at least once a week. The electronic format has proved to be especially engaging for boys and reluctant readers, and you can download or access many books on an ereader, which make it a great choice for air travel and car rides.
But note that some studies show that book apps and interactive “enhanced” ebooks, while fun, can be distracting and inhibit reading comprehension. So to promote reading skills and encourage your kid to be a frequent reader, you might want to stick with ebooks that have the look of a bound paper book. Some even have animation that mimics turning the pages.
Make reading a family value: Actions speak louder than words. Take your kids to the library once a week or once a month to get new books, make regular outings to your local bookstore, hunt for low-cost books at used bookstores or second-hand shops, and show kids that finding a good book is like a treasure hunt.
Fit reading into your family lifestyle. Set aside time for reading only -- turning off the TV, computer, and cell phone. Encourage focused reading time, either for independent reading or reading aloud. Take preschoolers to story time hours at libraries and bookstores. For older kids, a parent-kid book club can be fun. Read to kids at bedtime. Provide time and space for your kids to read for pleasure in the car (if they don't get car sick!), on vacation, after homework is done, on their own before bed. Warning: It could be habit-forming!
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/how-to-raise-a-reader?j=4622404&l=2282028_HTML&u=69521253&mid=7000332&jb=4&utm_source=042017+2-6+B&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly

Thursday, April 6, 2017

All Parents should watch this TED about abuse and the Digital World

We need to talk to kids about the risks they face online, says information security expert Sebastián Bortnik. In this talk, Bortnik discusses the issue of "grooming" — the sexual predation of children by adults on the internet — and outlines the conversations we need to start having about technology to keep our kids safe



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wZjKOulodo

This talk is in Spanish but if you go to the cc button you can obtain English subtitles.

Turning School upside down





Anton Oberländer is a persuasive speaker. Last year, when he and a group of friends were short of cash for a camping trip to Cornwall, he managed to talk Germany’s national rail operator into handing them some free tickets. So impressed was the management with his chutzpah that they invited him back to give a motivational speech to 200 of their employees.
Anton, it should be pointed out, is 14 years old.
The Berlin teenager’s self-confidence is largely the product of a unique educational institution that has turned the conventions of traditional teaching radically upside down. At Oberländer’s school, there are no grades until students turn 15, no timetables and no lecture-style instructions. The pupils decide which subjects they want to study for each lesson and when they want to take an exam.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/01/no-grades-no-timetable-berlin-school-turns-teaching-upside-down


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES PARENTS MAKE

Recently, Tim Elmore was interviewed by pediatrician Dr. Meg Meeker for her podcast. The theme was the topic of my book, Twelve Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid. During the course of their conversation, several concepts were discussed that they felt you’d benefit from in a blog post. 



1. In your book: Twelve Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid, you talk about what we parents do that keep our kids from succeeding in life. First of all—what do you consider to be successful parenting?
To me, successful parenting is leading and developing your child so that they can function as well-adjusted adults and reach their potential. This means we must think PREPARE, not just PROTECT. Our “test” is to love them in a healthy manner, so that they can replicate that love as healthy adults themselves. How they turn out is our “report card.” (Certainly, there are unique situations with special needs kids where a different report card should be used, such as higher levels of self-regulation).

2. Parents today work harder to get parenting “right” than I’ve ever seen in 30 years. But sometimes trying so hard makes parents too “good.” You write about Mistake #1- We won’t let our kids fail. Why do they need to fail? This sounds important but from a practical standpoint, tell me specifically what parents should do to let their kids fail. Should they set them up to fail?
Today, we have a large population of parents—millions of us—who “over-function.” We’ve been so intent on nurturing the self-esteem and safety of our children that we did too much. We didn’t want to “mess it up.” In fact, two extremes are happening in our homes today: abandonment and abundance. Adults are not present to mentor their children or they are doing too much, leaving children helpless to know how to do things for themselves. Both extremes leave the young adult ill-equipped for life after childhood. First and foremost is: We won’t let our kids fail.
Why won’t we let them fail?
We feel like WE are a failure as parents when our kids fail.
We are often living out our unlived life through our children.
We assume failure will damage their self-esteem.
We somehow assume that good parents never allow a negative experience to happen to their child. (In actuality—negative experiences foster the most growth. If we raise kids as fragile, they’ll surely become fragile adults).

For example, I’ve seen dozens of parents at Starbucks doing their child’s homework for them. I read about one mom who tried to take a standardized test for her teenage daughter. In 2014, one in twelve Millennials brought their parent to a job interview.
So, what are some steps we can take on this issue? First, parents should not set their kid up for failure. We should never desire our kids to fail. However, most of us would admit that our greatest growth in life occurred when we failed at something. Life will provide tough times and we should not PREVENT those times. But we should PREPARE our kids for them and be there to PROCESS those tough times with them. As they mature, we should loosen the reigns and allow our kids to navigate challenging consequences.
Consider the message we send our kids when we won’t let them deal with a difficult experience: “Bless your heart. You don’t have it in you to handle this. You need me…” Instead, we should observe their growth, encouraging them to take on opportunities that will stretch them—encourage tasks that lie somewhere between STRETCHED and OVERWHELMED. Then, as they mature, its best to lead with questions not imperatives. (Why do you think that happened? How did it make you feel? How could you have handled it differently?)

3. Mistake #3 is one I love: we prioritize happiness. Why shouldn’t raising happy kids be a parenting goal?
I’ve heard countless parents say: “I just want my children to be happy.” It’s only natural. But happiness makes a horrible goal. However, it makes a wonderful by-product. You pursue purpose and find satisfaction. Albert Einstein said: “Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” When happiness is a goal—we shop for it, we date and marry for it; we try to find it in people and places that can’t provide it. Spouses can’t constantly entertain us. I remember John Maxwell’s wife, Margaret, answering a question from a spouse at a conference: “Does John make you happy?” She shocked everyone by saying, “No, he doesn’t.” Then, she proceeded to say, “I learned a long time ago that I must find a way to be happy without depending on someone else to do it for me…not even my husband. Then, I was able to expect realistic outcomes from my marriage that John could actually fulfill.” That’s brilliant.

4. Many parents realize that disciplining kids is hard—no matter what the child’s age. They know they should be consistent and make consequences stick. Why don’t they? These are two mistakes you write about. What can parents do to make consequences stick? Many feel so overwhelmed with being consistent in discipline.
Yes. Parents often return home from a busy job and they’re already exhausted. If they feel spent they often don’t feel it’s in them to level consequences because it’s WORK. Another reason we aren’t consistent is because we feel our kids need grace. After all, they are overwhelmed too. They’re stressed out. I’ve written before that stress levels in high school students today is equal to that of a psychiatric patient in 1950s.
But the truth is, consistency and steady consequences offer security to kids. Consequences are predictable in an unpredictable world. They provide boundaries in an “anything goes” world and they communicate love because you care enough to follow through. To make consequences stick, stop talking about rules and start enforcing “equations.” If they make THIS choice, there are benefits. Making THAT choice brings consequences. Life is full of equations and we must introduce them to our children early on.

5. Mistake #6 – We lie about their potential. We all see our kids through rose-colored glasses. Isn’t this a good thing? How can we be our child’s #1 fan and be realistic about their potential? What if a parent has a child that isn’t good at anything?


Every kid wants to hear Mom or Dad say they’re “awesome” early in life. But by the time they reach late elementary school and middle school, kids are comparing parents’ comments with peers and others. If Mom is the only one saying, “You’re awesome!” they begin to question our judgment. Or, they stop really believing us. I believe there is a way to affirm our children without being dishonest or exaggerating. Hyperbole is not necessary. We’ve all watched American Idol…where a young person tries to sing and we wonder quietly, “Who are your friends?” I believe we must be honest in our praise and stop all the hyperbole. Instead, Carol Dweck reminds us to affirm variables that are in their control. Instead of saying, “You’re smart.” Say, “I love the strategy you used on that math problem.” Instead of saying: “You’re gorgeous!” Say, “I love how honest and empathetic you are with your friends. You are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Why ISHCMC is ahead of all schools in HCMC

Correlation between air pollution and school performance

Friday, 06 January 2017 15:12

There is a clear correlation between air pollution and pupil performance. There is a clear correlation between air pollution and pupil performance. © Belga
A Belgian study, summarised on Friday in De Morgen, states that pupils underperform in class on days when the air is more polluted.
Researchers went to three Flemish primary schools in Zonhoven, Tirlemont and Hasselt to prove this. They noted that pupils' scores increased when the air was purer. In contrast, this was not the case, for pupils whose home environment had greater levels of pollution.

The Professor in Epidemiology, Tim Nawrot (University of Hasselt or UHasselt), says “The differences are subtle but disruptive for the pupils. The effect of air pollution is almost as much of a determining factor on overall performance as the level of parents' education.”

He went on, “We cannot deny that air quality has consequences on a cognitive level. Given that Flanders is crossed by heavy traffic, we should take urgent action. We have produced a study of schools with relatively unpolluted air. In a densely occupied city, the effects are certainly likely to be more significant.”

Oscar Schneider
The Brussels Times

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Could this be your year of conquering negative thinking?



Kathy Osborn
Here’s a New Year’s challenge for the mind: Make this the year that you quiet all those negative thoughts swirling around your brain.
All humans have a tendency to be a bit more like Eeyore than Tigger, to ruminate more on bad experiences than positive ones. It’s an evolutionary adaptation that helps us avoid danger and react quickly in a crisis.
But constant negativity can also get in the way of happiness, add to our stress and worry level and ultimately damage our health. And some people are more prone to negative thinking than others. Thinking styles can be genetic or the result of childhood experiences, said Judith Beck, a psychologist and the president of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. Children may develop negative thinking habits if they have been teased or bullied, or experienced blatant trauma or abuse. Women, overall, are also more likely to ruminate than men, according to a 2013 study.
“We were built to overlearn from negative experiences, but under learn from positive ones,” said Rick Hanson, a psychologist and senior fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/03/well/mind/the-year-of-conquering-negative-thinking.html?emc=eta1&_r=0