Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2 interesting videos on third culture children

What are the Characteristics of TCKs?

There are different characteristics that impact the typical Third Culture Kid:
  • TCKs are 4 times as likely as non-TCKs to earn a bachelor's degree (81% vs 21%)
  • 40% earn an advanced degree (as compared to 5% of the non-TCK population.)
  • 45% of TCKs attended 3 universities before earning a degree.
  • 44% earned undergraduate degree after the age of 22.
  • Educators, medicine, professional positions, and self employment are the most common professions for TCKs.
  • TCKs are unlikely to work for big business, government, or follow their parents' career choices. "One won't find many TCKs in large corporations. Nor are there many in government ... they have not followed in parental footsteps".
  • 90% feel "out of sync" with their peers.
  • 90% report feeling as if they understand other cultures/peoples better than the average American.
  • 80% believe they can get along with anybody.
  • Divorce rates among TCKs are lower than the general population, but they marry older (25+).
    • Military brats, however, tend to marry earlier.
  • Linguistically adept (not as true for military ATCKs.)
    • A study whose subjects were all "career military brats"—those who had a parent in the military from birth through high school—shows that brats are linguistically adept.
  • Teenage TCKs are more mature than non-TCKs, but ironically take longer to "grow up" in their 20s.
  • More welcoming of others into their community.
  • Lack a sense of "where home is" but often nationalistic.
  • Depression and suicide are more prominent among TCK's.
  • Some studies show a desire to "settle down" others a "restlessness to move"

This video by Pico Iyer asks the important questions, Where is home?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework

"One of the central tenets of raising kids in America is that parents should be actively involved in their children’s education: meeting with teachers, volunteering at school, helping with homework, and doing a hundred other things that few working parents have time for. These obligations are so baked into American values that few parents stop to ask whether they’re worth the effort.

Until this January, few researchers did, either. In the largest-ever study of how parental involvement affects academic achievement, Keith Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Angel L. Harris, a sociology professor at Duke, mostly found that it doesn’t. The researchers combed through nearly three decades’ worth of longitudinal surveys of American parents and tracked 63 different measures of parental participation in kids’ academic lives, from helping them with homework, to talking with them about college plans, to volunteering at their schools. In an attempt to show whether the kids of more-involved parents improved over time, the researchers indexed these measures to children’s academic performance, including test scores in reading and math.

What they found surprised them. Most measurable forms of parental involvement seem to yield few academic dividends for kids, or even to backfire—regardless of a parent’s race, class, or level of education."

The Overprotected Kid

"One common concern of parents these days is that children grow up too fast. But sometimes it seems as if children don’t get the space to grow up at all; they just become adept at mimicking the habits of adulthood. As Hart’s research shows, children used to gradually take on responsibilities, year by year. They crossed the road, went to the store; eventually some of them got small neighborhood jobs. Their pride was wrapped up in competence and independence, which grew as they tried and mastered activities they hadn’t known how to do the previous year. But these days, middle-class children, at least, skip these milestones. They spend a lot of time in the company of adults, so they can talk and think like them, but they never build up the confidence to be truly independent and self-reliant.
Lately parents have come to think along the class lines defined by the University of Pennsylvania sociologist Annette Lareau. Middle-class parents see their children as projects: they engage in what she calls “concerted cultivation,” an active pursuit of their child’s enrichment. Working-class and poor parents, meanwhile, speak fewer words to their children, watch their progress less closely, and promote what Lareau calls the “accomplishment of natural growth,” perhaps leaving the children less prepared to lead middle-class lives as adults. Many people interpret her findings as proof that middle-class parenting styles, in their totality, are superior. But this may be an overly simplistic and self-serving conclusion; perhaps each form of child-rearing has something to recommend it to the other."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Natural Math Multiplication: an online course in April for parents, teachers etc

Natural Math Multiplication: an online course in April

Natural Math Multiplication

We invite parents, teachers, playgroup hosts, and math circle leaders to join us in April for an open online course about multiplication. Each week there will be five activities to help your kids learn multiplication by exploring patterns and structure. To get your course completion badge, do at least two activities every week. The course starts April 6 and runs for four weeks.

Each activity will have adaptations for toddlers (2-4), young kids (4-6), and older kids (7-12). If you want to remix activities for babies or teens, we will help!

Click to join the course.

Here is the preliminary syllabus.

Week 1: Introduction. What is multiplication? Hidden dangers and precursors of math difficulties. From open play to patterns: make your own math. 60 ways to stay creative in math. Our mathematical worries and dreams.

Week 2: Inspired by calculus. Tree fractals. Substitution fractals. Multiplication towers. Doubling and halving games. Zoom and powers of the Universe.

Week 3: Inspired by algebra. Factorization diagrams. Mirror books and snowflakes. Combination and chimeras. Spirolaterals and Waldorf stars: drafting by the numbers. MathLexicon.

Week 4: Times tables. Coloring the monster table. Scavenger hunt: multiplication models and intrinsic facts. Cuisenaire, Montessori, and other arrays. The hidden and exotic patterns. Healthy memorizing.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

You don't need an app for this

Thought that you might enjoy this short 8 minute TED talk. Often we have a bias against Africa and see it as a continent that is behind the times etc. Perhaps we have got it wrong and we need to review the way we think about technology and innovation of technology.

Toby Shapshak: You don't need an app for that

"Are the simplest phones the smartest? While the rest of the world is updating statuses and playing games on smartphones, Africa is developing useful SMS-based solutions to everyday needs, says journalist Toby Shapshak. In this eye-opening talk, Shapshak explores the frontiers of mobile invention in Africa as he asks us to reconsider our preconceived notions of innovation."

Friday, March 14, 2014

Social Media Parenting: Raising the Digital Generation


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"Who are your kids friending on Facebook? What are they really texting to their classmates? How much online time is too much?
Too often, parents who are misinformed about the social web (willfully or otherwise) will shut their kids out of it completely, only to find they are logging in anyway. If you're not taking an active role in your child's online life, you may be missing important opportunities to ensure they are on the path toward "digital citizenship," and protected from inappropriate content and people.
To help shrink the tech-culture divide between parents and their kids, we sought advice from the experts, who draw not only from their own research, but their family experiences as well. Keep reading for some valuable wisdom on raising the first fully digital generation."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12


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"Should Handheld Devices for Kids Under 12 Be Banned?

A Huffington Post article, 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned, from a couple of days ago has clearly hit a nerve. The link has spread far and wide, with hundreds of thousands of social media shares.
The author links to studies from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Society of Pediatrics, Kaiser Foundation, Active Healthy Kids Canada, and Common Sense Media as the primary sources that back up her call to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. She cites sleep deprivation, obesity, delayed brain development, mental illness, aggression, addiction, and digital dementia as just a few of the detrimental consequences of allowing kids under 12 to use handheld devices.
(Since the post was published, many have written responses that refute both the factual assertions and the conclusions the author makes.)
The article comes at a pivotal moment when schools, teachers, and parents are figuring out how students can use mobile devices — specifically smartphones or tablets — for the purposes of learning: to create, collaborate, research, share information and opinion, and possibly as an equalizing force in the digital divide.
How does this call for a ban on handheld devices square with what parents and teachers believe about the value of devices towards the purposes of learning, whether in or out of school? Should mobile devices be kept from students below the sixth grade altogether? Is a child’s age a valid determining factor in answering these questions?"

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Rumours of the IB's death have been much exaggerated, to paraphrase Mark Twain. The IB silently thrives and continues to move from strength to strength, educating 5,000 students in 194 UK schools, most of which are state schools. The UK is in fact the third largest user of the IB worldwide, and the IB's reach continues to consolidate, as it has now established three new global centres in Singapore, The Hague and Washington, giving round-the-clock service for schools across hemispheres and time zones.
The IB Diploma is a timeless classic, an icon of educational sense and high standards in a world where educational fashion shifts like hemlines, and much-needed clarity of thinking is elusive. The IB has never been more necessary. First, it believes in knowledge, and enables students to acquire it. It believes in the autonomy of subjects and academic disciplines, but also in their connectivity. It is global in its outlook, truly an education sans frontières. And it is grounded in fundamental values about culture and character. Visionary and inspiring, the IB can liberate and motivate the teacher and student. Practical, instructive and aspirational, it is the best possible preparation for university, for the workplace, and more importantly, for life."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

School starting age; the evidence


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"This is a brief review of the relevant research evidence which overwhelmingly supports a later start to formal education. This evidence relates to the contribution of playful experiences to children’s development as learners, and the consequences of starting formal learning at the age of four to five years of age
There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. These arise from anthropological, psychological, neuroscientific and educational studies.  Anthropological studies of children’s play in extant hunter-gatherer societies, and evolutionary psychology studies of play in the young of other mammalian species, have identified play as an adaptation which evolved in early human social groups. It enabled humans to become powerful learners and problem-solvers. Neuroscientific studies have shown that playful activity leads to synaptic growth, particularly in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for all the uniquely human higher mental functions."

5-Year- Olds can learn calculus


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"The familiar, hierarchical sequence of math instruction starts with counting, followed by addition and subtraction, then multiplication and division. The computational set expands to include bigger and bigger numbers, and at some point, fractions enter the picture, too. Then in early adolescence, students are introduced to patterns of numbers and letters, in the entirely new subject of algebra. A minority of students then wend their way through geometry, trigonometry and, finally, calculus, which is considered the pinnacle of high-school-level math.
But this progression actually “has nothing to do with how people think, how children grow and learn, or how mathematics is built,” says pioneering math educator and curriculum designer Maria Droujkova. She echoes a number of voices from around the world that want to revolutionize the way math is taught, bringing it more in line with these principles"

Monday, March 3, 2014

Food for Thought


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School leaders, teachers, and those that surround the work of education are in a difficult space. The demands to achieve are higher than ever, and the needs of kids, both academically and in the other spaces of their lives, are growing in intensity and complexity, while the resources are growing more narrow in scope. Think of resources broadly. Resources not only include the money used to run schools, but the people and ideas used to feed the schools as well. It is true that teachers and school leaders are working harder than ever, and for most, the work rate is reaching a breaking point. This is creating an unsustainable system. In addition, the metrics of success are often a moving target. Educators see the goalposts as either moving, invisible, or always under construction. Even with this, schools are working to get better each day, but unfortunately, this idea of working to get better may actually be the greatest limiting factor on education today.

A shift, with the potential to transform the learning spaces throughout the country, can come from voices around the country demanding different. Different schools are the ones that everyone wants their kids to attend. Different schools wouldn't allow someone to return from the moon after 50 years and still recognize learning as he or she knew it. Different schools are maximizing the learning and growth of both the students and adults using the passions and strengths that they bring to the table. Different schools aren't taking more tests, but they are testing solutions to the real-life problems that surround them each day. Different schools aren't about raising scores by 1% or 2% each year by wasting instructional time with test prep and unneeded benchmarking tests.

Thinking about different schools is scary, and they are even scary to lead in a time when it is easier to manage and hide in the camouflage of mediocrity that surrounds today's schools. Being with innovative people in innovative spaces that are building allies and networks is a place of hope for those demanding different schools. Different schools, though, won't be demanded around the country until we solve the gap, not the achievement gap, but the courage gap. Education has a courage gap. Educators are risk adverse to a greater degree than most professions, and it is catching up with the efforts to be excellent. It takes courage to lead a school that goes about its business differently. It takes courage to explain to parents that the honor roll assembly, the rewards, and the token economies are failing our kids. Because in a world where most of their children will be small business owners, self-employed, and entrepreneurs, external motivation doesn't get the job done. It takes courage to leverage the resources in an organization that embolden a larger mission while knowing that it will disrupt the inertia and happiness of many.

The schools that we need demand different. They need to support the open and transparent world that is exploding around education. This begins with pushing students into the center of the ring. In the center, there is no room to hide. It is a place of full engagement where real questions about real issues are being addressed with real solutions that will impact real people. Different schools are real. Different schools are life, and different school breath life into the students that they serve. The truth is communities, and this includes the global community, is demanding different, and the volume of our busyness to get better is drowning out the plea. The cat is out of the bag, but schools, for the most part, are trapped in the darkness of the bag. Demanding different means saying no to the industrial testing complex that surrounds the schools of today. It means being sensible about how to showcase learning for the teachers looking to shape new learning experiences as well as the external audiences. It means saying no to testing for the sake of testing, and it means creating excellence without the definition of excellence coming from the tip of a number two pencil.

It is easy to call for different, even to demand different, but how do educators go about crafting different. It begins with three words: engage, empower, energize. These three words should be the mission of all schools. Teachers and leaders that engage, empower, and energize will work tirelessly to push student choice, student voice, and authentic audience into daily learning. They will use these areas as the barometer of rigor and relevance. If they don't exist, it isn't good enough. Without these elements, the incrementalism of getting better creeps back into the equation, and the possibility of schools that are different becomes a dream of only a few.

Pockets of excellence exist, and they are available for replication. They are usually found in classrooms where teachers that are demanding different. They are hiding in plain sight in a school seeking only better. In these spaces, students are connecting to their community by learning beyond the classroom. This may be learning at the beach or the mountains, but community connection can also come from being in the backyard or a public park. Schools that are thinking different are finding ways to balance green time and screen time for kids. Kids are connecting deeply through technology, and there is a need for balance with community connection.

In other spaces, those demanding different are engaging, empowering, and energizing learning through the power of story. Every job, every career, every space in life requires understanding the story of others, crafting a coherent narrative of one's own life, and telling the story of the ideas that are worth spreading. Different schools are required to tell their stories in a poignant, coherent, concise, and beautiful way each day because the community knows better schools, but the community needs helps marrying itself to different schools. It means that students are the storytellers of their learning, teachers are the storytellers of their spaces of learning, and the school leaders plays the role of storyteller-in-chief. Someone is always telling the story of the school.  The storyteller, when done differently, should be such a cacophony coming from the inside that it is impossible for external forces to guide the story in the wrong direction. Different schools know that story connects humans, and that all story forms an ecosystem that makes sense of the world. Different schools make sense for students.

Different schools are making. They are designing, making, and creating in ways that push student passions to the forefront. The design thinking process is foundational to making. It surges empathy into schools, and allows for students to begin to develop their brand. Students have their creations (writing, music, video, inventions) in places for purchase for an audience around the planet have no time to tarnish their digital footprint. They realize that every Tweet, Facebook post, and picture on Instagram could be seen by a potential customer, and they don't have time to lose customers. Making allows for greater student understanding of marketing, economics, branding, and more. Different schools are demanding that their students are passionate enough to creative, willing to risk failure, and bold enough to demand their place in the world.

The best schools, not the ones trying to get better, are nesting learning in a way that eliminates silos, grows connections, and bring creation, collaboration, communication and critical thinking to the heart of things. This isn't happening with a focus on school schedules, earning credits, and having bells to dictate when learning stops. Demand that the chains of schools that have served yesterday release their bonds. Lean into the possibility that being a part of a different type of school will make your infinitely more hirable in the future. Embrace the power to amplify the work of not only the school in which you park your car each day, but all schools as the connections and networks are ready for this to happen. Say yes more often. Close the courage gap. Be willing to work different, think different, and serve different.

Demand different schools that engage, empower, and energize today's kids who are our everything for tomorrow.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Beyond Knowing Facts, How Do We Get to a Deeper Level of Learning?


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Dear ISHCMC parents this is a must read.

At present the ISHCMC staff are working on creating Principles of Learning that are simply a set of beliefs that form the cornerstone of classroom pedagogy and conversation about learning in the School. they should be present no matter what age your daughter or son is and whose class they are in. Once these have been created and clearly defined I will be sharing them with you and they will be published, linked to our mission and vision and present in every classroom and subject in the School.

Amazingly the components of deeper learning talked about in this article are virtually the same as the Principles of Learning identified by ISHCMC teachers in their two Tuesday meetings that were used to develop our thinking about learning.

“The great project for education everywhere is to reach all students and to discover that all students are capable of deeper learning,” said Rob Riordan, co-founder of High Tech High in describing the goal of the Deeper Learning MOOC. “The question then becomes, how do we find ways to offer access to all learners and in ways that all can shine.” That means letting students get their hands on materials to build things, giving them a real question or problem that’s worth pursuing and making them feel that they are engaged in authentic, valuable work."

Here is a short video from the Deeper Learning website that talks about what deeper learning means. I believe that when you watch this video, and read the article above, you will notice how much of what is being talked about is already taking place in classrooms at ISHCMC.