Changing education paradigms

In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD. An important, timely talk for parents and teachers.
Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Sand and Water Tables As Educational Tools

Sand and Water Tables are a perfect addition to classrooms, daycares, playrooms or backyards. Really, anywhere there are children with adults interested in their education. There are literally hundreds of ways to elevate the level of learning for your children by coming up with different projects, or using different material, even conduction experiments with your sand and water tables. Children will experience development in sensory, motor and social skills, and have a broader understanding of spatial relations and natural science. Oh yea, and an amazing amount of fun!

When choosing a project for your class or your kids be mindful of their ages. For example; if you are going to substitute sand with dry noodles make sure small children are being supervised closely to prevent choking. For older children lay down some rules and give them some responsibility over their sand and water table. If you take the sand and water tables out regularly get the children into a routine of set up and clean up. This not only makes your life easier, but this teaches them to work together and as you praise them for a job well done they will learn to take pride in work.

Free play requires little preparation on your part and is one of the greatest ways to use your sand and water table. There are very few limitations on what your children can experience. Try setting your children up with sand, water and toy sea creatures. Throw grass in there for sea weed. Not that children need much encouragement before they play pretend, but sometimes its fun to teach them about the ocean maybe let them color in an octopus or shark before letting them go. Free play is a highly educational time for children, it is not simply a way to keep the kids occupied, though it does accomplish this well. During this time children learn to create their own worlds which gives them a sense of control over their environment. Children are young and their imaginations are powerful and this little tub is like a melting pot. Watch your children closely and you will see them working things out together and yes sometimes fighting as their view of this play world may clash with someone elses’ view. Free play helps them learn to share, not only toys but also space and a collaborative view of their ocean world.

Sensory Games are also excellent ways to use your sand and water activity tables. One idea is to first make the water cloudy with paint or even mud. Then place different object at the bottom. Then have the children form a line and one at a time try to guess, by using their sense of touch, what is at the bottom of the tub. Aside from random objects, have each child bring something from home. Send them home the day before with a ditto explaining the project so their mom can help them find something suitable. Then have them bring it in concealed in a paper bag and brought to you. This project is fun to watch the kids try so hard not to tell the others what they brought in. And they all get pretty excited when their object gets picked. Another variation of this is to find three dimensional letters and numbers and have them feel what symbol they are holding. After they have guessed their letter correctly have them hold on to it for a project to do latter where you can reinforce their understanding of the alphabet, now from a platform of pride and accomplishment. Children always learn better when they think its their idea or that they have somehow earned it.

Other fun educational activities are Sand and Water Table Experiments. By using your sand and water table children can learn about photosynthesis, metamorphosis, erosion and countless other laws of natural science. Try filling a clear tub with healthy soil and divide the tub in half by placing an opaque tub over on half (so as to block out light on that half). Then have each child place two seeds in the soil, one each side. Make sure they place their seeds close to the outside, half the fun is watching the roots grow. As they see the plants growing you can explain photosynthesis by teaching the kids how plants need to eat soil, water and sunlight like they need to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.

While sand and water tables are built for the convenience of having a portable and secure tub, many of the same projects, experiments and fun can be had by using large plastic bowls, baby bathtubs, or any container that can hold water, be easily dumped and is not in danger of braking.

Corey Hardin, Vice President to JoLee OE Early Childhood Educational Products. If you are interested in purchasing Sand and Water Tables, Sensory Tables, or simply looking for fun projects to do with your sand and water tables, I recommend Fun Kids Tables.

Stop Defiant Behavior

5 Effective Discipline Techniques

If you are feeling frustrated, tired and worn down from constantly battling with your defiant child who seems to oppose over absolutely everything, you will be pleased to know that there are a variety of effective discipline techniques you can try for getting your kids to listen and cooperate with you more easily and to stop defiant behavior Here are three tips on parenting defiant kids for putting an end to defiant behavior:
Set Limits And Stick To Them

Setting limits for young children helps them to understand and respect boundaries. Your ability to set limits and stick to them is crucial for effectively disciplining your defiant child. Decide what behaviors you won’t ever allow, and then stick to those limits at all times. For example, if your child demonstrates defiant behavior by refusing to hold your hand to cross a road, it is wise to firmly set a limit that crossing the road is only done while holding hands with you. Make it crystal clear that there is no other option and your child will very quickly learn that defiance is pointless.

Give Your Child Choices

Whenever possible, offer your child two alternate choices to give them a certain level of control. For example, if your defiant child is resisting getting dressed in the morning, giving him or her two outfits to pick from will take the focus off the power struggle over getting dressed and dissolve the defiant behavior. Allowing your child to feel like they have some control by giving them choices makes cooperation natural and easy.

Give Your Child Predictable Consequences

If you want to stop the defiant behaviour, it’s crucial that you be consistent in delivering consequences to your child in response to inappropriate behavior. If you have warned them that action A leads to consequence B, then it must do so every single time. Your child will very soon learn that the same negative result will come from the same inappropriate behavior every time, and once your child understands this, they’ll be far more likely to comply without defiance.
Give Warnings To Smooth Transitions

Imagine if you were midway through typing an email or making yourself a delicious dessert and your partner ordered you to “Get in the car NOW!” No doubt you wouldn’t be impressed and you wouldn’t be inclined to comply.As adults we don’t like having someone else’s agenda thrown at us demanding an instant response. Children are no different. They need a few minutes to shift gears for transitions, so giving your child a five minute warning is a good way to prevent defiant behavior when you are trying to get them to move onto doing something else. Consider Your Child’s Feelings Sometimes defiant behavior can result from a specific emotion your child is having trouble dealing with, such as jealousy or insecurity. Look for a pattern in your child’s misbehaviour and try to identify if a specific emotion seems to be the root cause of it. If so, discuss this with your child to conquer the defiant behaviour at its core and put an end to it once and for all.

Want more tips on how to stop defiant behavior? Then check out the Ace Child Discipline Guide – it offers 150 specific discipline techniques that you can instantly start using with your child to stop misbehavior fast! Visit

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.

Spring …Handprint tulip craft
This is a wonderful craft for kids who like to get messy

Graphing Greenery
In this lesson, students gather leaves and trace them on graph paper. They then plot coordinates that approximate the shape of the leaves and share those coordinates as “worksheets” for other students to complete. (Grades 6-8)

Mothers and education

I find, by close observation, that the mothers are the levers which move in education. The men talk about it . . . but the women work most for it.

— Frances Watkins Harper

More quotations about families =>

Solving a puzzle is like reading

Angela Maiers Puzzle lesson

Angela Maiers demonstrates to 1st grade students how piecing together a puzzle is similar to being a great reader

Copyright for kids

This website is especially for kids. Go on an interactive adventure. Take part in all the activities. Discover what copyright really means. There is a test you can take at the end to see what you really do know! There are six questions with full answers provided on the next page.

[From the package copyright for kids]

Education – today and tomorrow

This video was created by Tom Woodward of Henrico County schools in Virginia. Tom used the work of Karl Fisch from Colorado who created a PPT using various quotes and statistics from “flat world” thinking. Used with permission