Thursday, February 28, 2013

Innovative Ways of Teaching Science

Forbes  magazine has a great article here on the innovative ways something called Exploration Nation is teaching science to children. 

You know, I look at this, and then I look at how dreary so much education is today, and I think there must be some way to turn this creativity loose for all children and for all schools.  Children learn when they are excited and engaged;  indeed, everyone learns that way.  How did we ever get into this mindset of canned curriculum and endless student testing?

Early Signs of Eating Disorders

The New York Times Motherlode has an interesting column describing early signs of eating disorders here.  The author makes the suggestion that if parents see these early signs, they can talk with their children and perhaps keep the disorder from occurring.  The comments suggested getting professional help.  A couple of commenters said parents were mostly to blame and so couldn't do anything in the way of treatment.

As a high school teacher for 37 years, who had a number of eating-disordered students--I would just like to echo the advice to get professional help as soon as possible.

It's hard to understand how disordered the thinking of an eating-disordered sufferer is until you see it close up.  I had girls, who were very bright and were still doing excellent academic work, refer to food as "their enemy" and who thought they were fat, when they more closely resembled concentration camp survivors.

I see the comments suggesting that the home situation is always at fault.  My experience was that there were many different triggers--culture and peer group being major ones.  I think there may also be something bio-chemical going on, although I'm not a doctor or a scientist.

At any rate, I would certainly would not blame parents, who are always devastated by this illness in their children--anymore than we now blame parents for autism.

The New High-Tech Learning

The CNN Schools of Thought blog has a wonderful article on new ways that schools and other organizations are getting students interesting in high-tech learning here.

As a high school English teacher for 37 years, I think this is a wonderful idea.  I remember the old shop classes from when I first started teaching.  Having them right in the high school meant that even academically advanced kids could take time out for a drafting or auto repair class.  Now the classes are all closed down.  Even the computers that kids use during the day are so locked up with security systems that kids can't learn anything about how computers really operate.

There have been a lot of losses due to this mania for testing and canned curriculum;  this is all just one more.

Weight Gain and Childcare

The New York Times column on wellness reports on a study here that looked at weight gain over the last twenty-five years, and concludes one reason is that we are doing less housework at home, and sitting more at work.  But the researchers note that they did not factor in the energy spent in childcare.

The study didn’t include the amount of energy expended in childcare?  I’m sorry, but for me the study is useless then.

When my children were young, caring for them was where most of my energy went—dressing them, bathing them, feeding them, playing with them, lifting them into strollers and carseats,  taking them to the park, to swimming, to the library, to endless soccer games—really, the time spent in “housework” was negligible compared to that.  And, please note, that parents do all of these things whether or not they are employed out side the home.

Actually, I’d like to see a study that looked at parental weight gain after parents were no longer chasing toddlers around.