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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Who Should Lead the Parent-Teacher Conference?

June 1, 2016

parent-teacher

As much as I like the logic of having your students lead the parent teacher conferences, I am grateful taht this doesn’t happen at my school. I prefer meeting with the parents without the child present.

Sometimes vital issues are raised that are not for the child’s ears.

Others such as Monica R. Martinez clearly disagree:

 

I can still remember the anxiety I felt when my parents went off to school for the traditional biannual parent-teacher conference like it was yesterday. The anxiety I felt was not even rational: I was a good student, I was on the honor role. So why was this so disconcerting? Probably because a set of “authority figures” were discussing and most likely, assessing, my day-to-day behavior, habits and learning strategies. They were sure to talk about what was enhancing or deterring my performance and I knew I would learn all about it later.

I recognize that the purpose of the teacher-led conference is to honor the expertise of the teacher and solidify a relationship between the parent and teacher. This ensures parents can understand and support their children academically. But there is a different, and I believe, better way for parents to learn how to support their students academically – and that is through student-led conferences.

Instead of having students stay home while their parents and teachers talk about them in the third person, have students lead the conference. The student could be prepared for the conference by the teacher through a collaborative review of their previous work and a guided reflection on the connection between their efforts and the quality of their work. The teacher could kick off the conference with an explanation of the process but move to the side or sit across the table with the parents to serve more as a facilitator than the leader. While the specific logistics and dynamics of student-led conferences vary, the basic spirit is the same: This is the student’s moment to take responsibility for their own learning.

Parent-teacher conferences were a good idea in concept but they reflect a tradition that is too centered on adults. Flipping these conferences to be student-led empowers the student and facilitates a partnership between the teacher and parents that is focused on supporting what the student identifies as her strengths and challenges in learning, not what the teacher or parent identifies for the student.

 

Click on the link to read Tips for Making a Parent-Teacher Relationship Work

Click on the link to read Sometimes It’s Worth Risking a Fight With a Parent

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Dealing With Difficult Parents

Click on the link to read 5 Helpful Tips for a Better Parent-Teacher Conference

Click on the link to read The Cafeteria Controversy

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Just 1% of Children Eat Enough Vegetables

May 11, 2016

Hate-Vegetables

1 percent? Surely not:

 

Vegies might be brimming with goodness, but less than one per cent of Aussie kids are eating the recommended amount each day.

While children eat, on average, more fruit than adults, they’re having just 1.8 serves of veg a day compared to the recommended 2.5-5.5 serves.

And it doesn’t get much better as we get older, with less than two per cent of men and about four per cent of women meeting the guidelines of five-to-six serves a day.

The findings were based on analysis by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.

The ABS found that overall, most Aussies don’t eat the minimum recommended daily serves from the five major food groups – vegies, fruit, dairy products, lean meats, and grains.

More than one third of our daily intake is now coming from so-called discretionary foods such as sweetened beverages, alcohol, cakes, confectionary and pastries – all of which are high in calories and poor in nutrients.

ABS director of health Louise Gates said that among the five food groups, fruit and grains had the best compliance.

“Less than four per cent of the population consumed enough vegetables and legumes or beans each day,” Ms Gates said as the data was released on Wednesday.

“One-in-10 was meeting the guidelines for dairy products, while one-in-seven consumed the minimum number of serves of lean meats and alternatives per day.”

Health experts say the findings on low vegetable consumption are worrying and probably linked to increased consumption of discretionary foods.

Aloysa Hourigan, senior nutritionist at Nutrition Australia, says the cost of vegetables, particularly in regional and remote areas, is also a factor.

“There could be benefits for having a sugar or fat tax for those discretionary foods to help discourage people from purchasing as many of them and that money could be used to help subsidise other foods,” she told AAP.

Dieticians Association of Australia spokeswoman Kate DiPrima said parents need to be role models for their children by eating more vegetables.

“If the parents don’t eat the recommended amount and aren’t serving them up to their kids, they don’t have any chance,” she said.

Ms DiPrima noted that only 4.5 per cent of kids ate the recommended amount of lean meat and other alternatives including poultry, eggs and tofu, putting them at risk of missing out on protein, iron and zinc.

“The two most commonly rejected foods are vegetables and meat. They’re harder to chew and have stronger flavours,” she said.

She advises parents persist with offering vegetables in all forms – mashed, grated, cooked, roasted, raw – at different times of the day.

“Don’t leave it until dinner at night when they’re tired and can’t chew, they’ll fall off the wagon.”

The Effect of Online Pornography on Kids

March 22, 2016

children-acces

 

The effect of pornography on kids cannot be understated. Although, we’d like to think that children under the age of 18 are not exposed to such material, we know better.

Take this disturbing piece of news:

 

CHILDREN as young as four are performing sex acts on each other in remote Aboriginal communities, according to a WA parenting expert who says online pornography is warping young people’s minds.

Safe4Kids founder Holly-ann Martin told a federal inquiry that children in remote WA were “at far greater risk” of being sexually abused because of easy access to pornography.

“I have walked into a classroom where I have witnessed children as young as four simulating sex on each other,” her submission said.

“I was also called into a community because four-year-olds were performing oral sex and digitally penetrating each other.

“Young Aboriginal men openly admit to watching pornography, telling me they want to learn ‘technique’ or ‘style’.

“Because these young men are not receiving good sex education and respectful relationships education, they are turning to online pornography for information.”

 

Click on the link to read School Rewards Good Grades With an Earlier Lunch

Click on the link to read What Kids are Thankful For (Video)

Click on the link to read Our Students Show us Up All the Time!

Click on the link to read Hilarious Video of Children Eating Candy

A Song for Exhausted Mothers

February 24, 2016

 

If a couple of kids is exhausting for a parent, think how tough a classroom full of kids is for a teacher! I realise that teaching doesn’t fully equate, but it is also a difficult job.  I hope teachers and parents can continue to see the humor in the challenge, as depicted so entertainingly above.

 

 

Click on the link to read Girl’s Hilarious Attempt at Getting a Day Off School

Click on the link to read The Love a Child Has for Their Parents Cannot be Properly Measured

Click on the link to read Hilarious School Drop-Off Clip Goes Viral

Click on the link to read Funniest Teacher Gift Ever!

Tips for Helping our Children to Adopt Healthy Habits

December 2, 2015

building-healthy-kids

Courtesy of heart.org:

 

  1. Be a good role model – You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if kids see you trying to eat right and getting physically active, they’ll take notice of your efforts. You’ll send a message that good health is impor­tant to your family.
  2. Keep things positive – Kid’s don’t like to hear what they can’t do, tell them what they can do instead. Keep it fun and positive. Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. Celebrate successes and help children and teens develop a good self-image.
  3. Get the whole family moving – Plan times for everyone to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.
  4. Be realistic – Setting realistic goals and limits are key to adopting any new behavior. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your health over time, so start small and build up.
  5. Limit TV, video game and computer time – These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, which increase risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Limit screen time to 2 hours per day.
  6. Encourage physical activities that they’ll really enjoy – Every child is unique. Let your child experiment with different activities until they find something that they really love doing. They’ll stick with it longer if they love it. check out these activities for kids.
  7. Pick truly rewarding rewards – Don’t reward children with tv, video games, candy or snacks for a job well done. Find other ways to celebrate good behavior.
  8. Make dinnertime a family time – When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much. Get your kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus.
  9. Make a game of reading food labels – The whole family will learn what’s good for their health and be more conscious of what they eat. It’s a habit that helps change behavior for a lifetime. Learn more about reading nutrition labels.
  10. Stay involved – Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school. Make sure your children’s healthcare providers are monitoring cardiovascular indicators like BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol. Contact public officials on matters of the heart. Make your voice heard.

 

 

Click on the link to read Experts Calls School Lunchbox Inspections “Perverse”

Click on the link to read Healthy Easter Treat Options for Kids

Click on the link to read How School Lunches Compare Around the World

Click on the link to read Tips to Get Kids to Eat More Fruit

Our Students Show us Up All the Time!

November 7, 2015

bobby

 

You just know when there’s a badly worded question that our students will pick up on it. Take the worksheet above for example.

 

 

Click on the link to read Hilarious Video of Children Eating Candy

Click on the link to read Helping Kids Learn from Failure

Click on the link to read How Babies Learn (Video)

Click on the link to read Celebrating Our Mistakes

The Difficulty of Going Back to School for Bullied Students

August 12, 2015

 

bullying-the-disabled

It’s time to commence with another school year. Spare a thought for the trepidation faced by students harassed for having disabilities.

The following is a great piece on this very issue written by Chester Goad courtesy of The Huffington Post:

 

Typically going back to school means seeing old friends and making new connections, and while most kids are nervous about going back to school, some kids are actually terrified.

Research suggests that between 150,000-200,000 students are bullied in our schools every day. Many school systems have even added hotlines and “Student Resource Officers” (SRO’s) who can help identify and prevent bullying. Still bullying happens, and statistics show that students with disabilities are more at risk. In fact, anyone who looks different, acts different, or believes something different from whatever is the local cultural norm is a target.

Not only do students with disabilities sometimes look different from non-disabled peers, but students with certain disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia also learn differently, and students who learn differently often receive additional resources or extra help which can bring unwanted attention from potential bullies.

Growing up is hard but growing up with a disability brings a different set of challenges. Social stigma, misunderstandings, or lack of awareness affect the learning environment when educators, parents, and other students aren’t paying attention. What does all this mean?

It means families should talk more. It means we must be more intentional in our efforts to address the problem without causing more trouble for the kids who are prone to be bullied, and without arming bullies with information that makes them wise enough to avoid intervention. Yes, it’s that complicated.

In 2013, the increasing number of students with disabilities being bullied prompted the U.S. Department of Education to release a “Dear Colleague Letter” reminding schools of their responsibility to provide a bully-free education, and to implement specific strategies to effectively prevent or stop bullying of all students, but especially those with disabilities.

Parents of students with disabilities or any sort of difference should be vigilant and listen to their kids when they’re discussing school. Pay attention to changes in behavior, especially aggression and meltdowns. If your instinct tells you there may be an issue with bullying, talk with teachers or other adults and ask about changes in behavior or attitude. It’s a challenge for us as parents not to want to handle things completely on our own, but parents should avoid confronting others about bullying until they have all the information, and it’s best to leave the confrontation part to the school. Discuss the issues with teachers or administration. They may be able to give you valuable insight before you talk with the other parents or take your concerns to a different level.

Some adults are inclined to let bullying go assuming that kids will just “work it out,” and some students do work out one-time incidences, but sadly, true bullying involves a pattern of inappropriate behavior and when left alone can worsen circumstances for everyone involved. In some instances, students may truly not understand that their actions are being perceived as bullying. They may simply be seeking attention. However, in other situations they know exactly what they’re doing. Parents should never just “let it go” or trust the situation to work itself out.

Talk to your kids, and listen. Listen to what they’re saying, and to what they’re not saying.

Student suicide rates are on the rise. Quick, proactive communication and education is key, and could save lives.

The best way to prevent students from becoming bullying statistics is to know your students and their disabilities, understand the law, encourage peer intervention (because intervention by peers is considered the most powerful deterrent to bullying), and to foster open positive relationships between parents and schools.

Going back to school is always going to be a little nerve wracking. Kids will always worry about classes, friendships, and keeping up with the latest fads. But they should never have to worry for their safety.

 

 

 

Click on the link to read my post on What This Teacher is Accused of Doing to an Autistic Boy

Click on the link to read my post on School is the Place to Make Better Connections with Our Disabled

Click on the link to read my post on Dreams Come True When People Show they Care

Click on the link to read my post on Hitchens: Dyslexia is NOT a Disease. It is an Excuse For Bad Teachers!

Child Given a Bill for Missing His Friend’s Birthday Party

January 20, 2015

party

 

Remember when a child’s birthday party was a simple and innocent affair?

 

Two mothers became embroiled in a bitter Facebook battle over an invoice handed to one of their sons for missing the other’s birthday party.

Tanya Walsh and her partner Derek Nash were appalled when their son Alex, five, arrived home from school with a £15.95 bill for missing his classmate Charlie Lawrence’s big day at a local ski centre.

After refusing to pay, Alex’s parents were threatened that they would be taken to court. 

Since then Miss Walsh and Charlie’s mother Julie Lawrence have become entangled in a war of words. 

‘I messaged Julie on Facebook to say sorry and let’s resolve this amicably. And she said: “The amicable way I believe is for you to pay me the money. And let that be a lesson learnt,’  Miss Walsh, 30, said. 

 
‘The next thing I heard she was taking us to small claims court. My partner went to see her and it ended in an argument. She shouted down the street: “Don’t mess with me”.

‘Every time I spoke to her previously she was always very polite,’ Miss Walsh added. 

All of this is very shocking.’ 

‘Julie could have tried to contact us before issuing the bill. If she had spoken to us we would have considered paying it.

I could totally understand her point. It is not about the money for us and we did not mean to let them down. It is the way she has gone about it.’

But Mrs Lawrence said in a statement: ‘All details were on the party invite. They had every detail needed to contact me.‘ 

Alex’s father however said he had no means of contacting the woman, resorting to trying to find her at the children’s school gates to apologise. 

‘My partner looked out for [Mrs Lawrence] to apologise for Alex not showing up to the party, but didn’t see her.

‘But on January 15 she looked in Alex’s school bag and found a brown envelope. It was an invoice for £15.95 for a child’s party no-show fee.’

Click on the link to read Tip for Getting Your Kids to Open Up About Their School Day

Click on the link to read Study: Smartphones are a Bigger Concern than TV

Click on the link to read What Kids Really Wanted for Christmas (Video)

Click on the link to read Young Girl Pens Angry Letter to Tooth Fairy

Click on the link to read Gift Ideas for Children that Are Not Toys

List of Body Positive Books for Kids

January 13, 2015

body positive

A great list courtesy of thehuffingtonpost.com

 

  • Flora and the Flamingo and its sequel, Flora and the Penguin, age 4+. These charming, wordless picture books feature a spunky yet graceful little girl. Flora has a pear-shaped body, yet does a ballet pas de deux with a flamingo in the first book and figure skates with a penguin in the second. So many images in books, movies, magazines and ads feature young girls with slim bodies; it’s nice to see an image of a girl with a round tummy who’s athletic, graceful and creative.
  • Brontorina, by James Howe and illustrated by Randy Cecil, age 4+. When a brontosaurus shows up at ballet class, some of the students insist, “You are too big!” But the open-minded ballet teacher decides the problem is that her studio is too small — and moves the class outdoors. It’s a lighthearted lesson about not letting your size or shape prevent you from following your dream.
  • Freckleface Strawberry, age 5+. The main character feels self-conscious about her freckles, especially when other kids make comments and give her a nickname she doesn’t like. The final message isn’t that her freckles are beautiful, but that maybe they don’t matter. More important, people are happier when they accept who they are and what they look like.
  • Firebird, by Misty Copeland, age 5+. A young girl who wants to be a dancer almost gives up before ballet great Misty Copeland inspires and mentors her to reach her full potential in this exuberant picture book that emphasizes hard work and self-discovery.
  • Ivy + Bean, age 6+. Two “opposite” 7-year-old girls become best friends in the first of a wonderful 10-volume series. Bean is a rough-and-tumble tomboy who wears pants and a T-shirt and gets dirty; Ivy wears dresses, thinks a lot and is always reading books. They appreciate each other’s qualities, and the kids in their neighborhood appreciate them for their uniqueness and imagination.
  • Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child and its sequel, Watch Out Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, age 8+. In the first book, Charlie shows she’s comfortable with her out-of-shape body (while trying to make healthy food choices) and confident in her bold sense of style. In the sequel, when she tries out for a TV show, kids tease her about her body, but the TV people admire her for being comfortable with her shape. It’s a refreshing, positive-body-image message to find in a book about middle school.
  • Harry Potter series, age 8+. Hermione is part of the triangle of main characters, and she’s smarter and does better in school than Harry and Ron. Her looks are never a focus, even when the kids become teens, go to dances and start to have crushes. It’s always about who she is as a person and her outstanding abilities.
  • Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, by Octavia Spencer, age 8+. Randi moves to a new town and becomes best friends with two boys who also are outsiders; one is bullied for being hearing impaired but is as passionate about martial arts as Randi is, and the other is lanky, into music and super smart. Together the diverse pals — Randi’s white, and her friends are Latino and African-American — solve a mystery using brains and the occasional Bruce Lee move.
  • Blubber, age 9+. An overweight girl is teased mercilessly by some classmates, and no one stands up for her in this brutally honest look at (pre-Internet-era) bullying among fifth graders. The novel doesn’t spell out moral lessons but teaches kids by portraying repugnant behavior and showing the value of true friendship and courage under peer pressure.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, age 9+. Middle schooler Greg Heffley goes through puberty in this series installment and suffers the indignity of teeth-fixing head gear. He deals with it all through humor and utter cluelessness, as always. He may not become more accepting of himself, but kids reading about his travails understand that everyone goes through this stage and that you can have a good laugh at the embarrassing stuff instead of being quietly embarrassed.
  • Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith, by Gabby Douglas and Michelle Burford, age 10+. This moving memoir shows the Olympic gymnast’s dedication in the face of homelessness, bullying and having a coach tell her she should get a nose job. Gabby stays focused, works hard and accepts herself as she is, even as she strives for greatness.
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, age 12+. A plump princess is chosen by God (in a fictional religion) for a special unknown task. She begins the book as intelligent but insecure and afraid and ends it confident and powerful.​ Rising to challenges and having faith in yourself are big lessons here — as is the message that any size girl can be a respected and capable leader.​
  • InReal Life, age 12+. An exciting graphic novel about a teen girl gamer who learns about harsh working conditions in other parts of the world. She’s smart, competent, and compassionate, both in real life and as her online avatar.

 

Click on the link to read Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Tip for Getting Your Kids to Open Up About Their School Day

January 8, 2015

first day

Personally, I try to make the child’s’ school experience pleasurable enough to make them anxious to share their day with their parents. But for the parents who find it hard to get anything substantive from their children in this area, here are some tips courtesy of via parenttoolkit.com:

 

1. Wait at least a half an hour

Kids are generally drained and strained the moment they walk in door. So wait at least 30 minutes to start talking about school. Give your child a chance to decompress and have a snack, take off the backpack, and just breathe.

2. Don’t turn questions into a third degree

What would make you want to open up and tell her all those details? The same rules apply to kids. Big kid turn offs: pushing, prodding, demanding, coaxing, lecturing and threatening.

3. Look interested

Think of how your best friend asks you about your day. Use her example. Make sure you are relaxed and appear genuinely interested when you speak to your child.

4. Ask questions that require more than yes or no

“Do you have homework?” “Did you give your speech?” are questions that make your kid only have to answer with a yes or no response. So pose questions that require your child to respond with more than just yes, no, nope, sure, nothing, fine.

5. Don’t use the same questions

A big kid turn off is hearing your same old predictable: “How was your day?” query. So be creative. Churn up those questions so your kid knows you are interested!

6. Stop and listen

The nanosecond your child utters ANYTHING related to school, stop  and give your full presence. Catch any little nugget of information and make it seem as though it’s a gold mine. Kids open up more when they think you’re interesting.

7. Stretch conversation with “invitation openers”

If and when your child shares a detail try using the “stretching method.” Don’t push or prod but instead use these type of comments: “Really?” “Uh-huh?” “I don’t believe it!” “Wow!” They’re not threatening and invite a talker to open up.

8. Repeat “talk” portions

Try repeating bits of your child’s conversation: Child: “I played on the swing.” You: “You played on the swing.” The trick is to repeat the tidbit in a matter-of-fact but interested way to get your child to open up and add more.

9. Make your house kid-friendly

Many parents swear they find out more about school from their kids’ friends than from their own child. So invite your child’s friends over. Keep the fridge stocked with food. Set up a basketball court (or whatever you need to keep those kids at your house). And then be friendly (but not intrusive) to the friend. You may find that not only do the friends open up more, but your child will tag onto the friend’s conversation.

10. Get on the school website

Find out what’s going on in your kid’s school world: read the teacher newsletters, click onto the school calendar, read the school activities schedule and menu. You can then ask specific questions about your kid’s day.

 

 

Click on the link to read Study: Smartphones are a Bigger Concern than TV

Click on the link to read What Kids Really Wanted for Christmas (Video)

Click on the link to read Young Girl Pens Angry Letter to Tooth Fairy

Click on the link to read Gift Ideas for Children that Are Not Toys

Click on the link to read When Parents Get Busted!


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