CLICK TO VIEW NEWSLETTER
This newsletter is best viewed in HTML or you can view on our website:
http://newsletters.santacruzparent.com/Newsletters/view/Aug302012,292.html
Please add info@santacruzparent.com to your safe-senders list to ensure your newsletters do not get caught by email filters.

New Leaf Community Markets - Everything for Healthful Living!
  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County

August 30, 2012

Mindfulness
OPINION: Education Needs a Digital-Age Upgrade
Educational Websites for Parents and Teachers
Suki:Can We Be funny Anymre?

Viva: Free: Slow Cooker 101
Science Fun with Christine: Encyclopedia of Life
This Week
Watsonville Fly-in Airshow and Capitola Begonia Festival
Click to view our Business Directory
 

(Photos General) DribbleCastle1.jpgIn Maine my brothers and cousins and I spent hours making "dribble" castles at the edges of the sun-warmed, low tide pools, so I have an affinity for sand castles.  The sand here is much more coarse.  It requires a different set of castle-building skills.  Take the children down to Capitola Beach this weekend to see the sand sculpture contest results and ask the contestants for their "recipes".

Percy Abrams, Head of Gateway School, helps us understand the nature of mindfulness and how the practice of mindfulness can enhance the learning and teaching environments of students and staff.

Schools have started or will start next week.  "Yea!" say teachers, parents and children all.  Everyone has an opinion on education and many of them are polar opposites.  Read this quote from an author listening in on questions to a focus group of "independent voters":

"What I learned: Americans are worried. About a lot of things. It was a two-and-a-half-hour session, but I'll give you a for instance. Americans are really worried about education: about cost and competition from abroad, about kids who mortgage their futures by forgoing college to work, about kids who are too lazy to work and hide away in college. They think we need better teachers. They think we need better parents ("There should be parenting courses!"). They think we need to hold educators more accountable. They think we need to leave educators alone. They think critical- and creative-thinking skills are the most important. They think we should stick to the three Rs. We should learn from Asia. We should reject the Asian model. There was agreement, at least, that we should do more of the things that work and less of the things that don't. That, above all, things should be better, and everyone needs to do everything to make them so. And the children, always the children."

I occasionally employ a young man who has an awesome work ethic, a cheerful personality and is ethical in his dealings.   Ultimately he wants to go to college to prepare for the field of health care.  He recently emailed me a response to some questions.  I was shocked at how he  mangled sentences, replete with misspellings and incorrect vocabulary.  He is not unintelligent, so how did he get through 12 years of  school without basic written communication skills? 

(Holidays) LaborDay_Happy.jpgAt a local Verizon retail store I encountered another young man who gave me such excellent service that I inquired where he had gone to school.  He waxed eloquently on the memories of his alma mater, a local Preschool - High School school I know well.  He followed up his service with an email, well written and professional.

What a difference!  It's a good thing we parents have choices.  It's up to us to visit, compare and choose well for each of our children."

For a good chuckle, be sure to click on Suki's links!  Christine's science blog caused even me to feel sympathetic toward a little local snake!

Happy Labor Day! Enjoy your weekend with the family, Parmalee

  Mindfulness

by Percy Abram, PhD, Head of Gateway School

Children collect, interpret, and process information in profoundly different ways than we did, and it is clear that their propensity to become distracted by new stimuli affects their learning. At our school, we are interested in implementing strategies to focus students' minds and help them balance their emotions, as the environment around them becomes faster and more complex. One effective resource we have adopted with our students is mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness, simply put, is a series of techniques designed to help individuals pay attention and bring awareness to one's feelings, actions, and personal experiences. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts began using mindfulness exercises to assist injured patients' deal with pain and the anticipation of imminent pain. Medical researchers have shown that mindfulness practice increases the neuro-pathways in the Prefrontal Cortex, the area of the brain responsible for body and emotional regulation, fear modulations and ethical judgments. Educational research has demonstrated that these same practices can increase concentration and focus, improve impulse control, reduce distractibility and aggression, improve behavioral responses to stress-inducing situations, and increase self-awareness.

During the spring of 2011, our faculty, students and staff were trained on how to implement mindfulness practices in our classrooms. Since that initial training, staff members have completed two six-week long seminars to extend our understanding of the how mindfulness can improve student learning and to develop our individual practices.

Today, all our students practice mindfulness nearly everyday in grades kindergarten through eight. They may spend 4 minutes in silence going on a "mindful" walk through our Life Lab gardens, or practicing mindful eating with their peers at snack time, or asking their teacher if they can do a quick mindful breathing exercise right before a test to lower their stress and anxiety. Our teachers - whose lives are pretty impacted as well - have started a small group that practices mindfulness in the mornings to help them begin their day with open hearts and minds. We often begin our faculty meetings with 2 minutes of mindful breathing exercises as well.

For the adults, it has made a tremendous difference in how we communicate with one another, deal with the pace of our school day and year, and develop and demonstrate empathy. They have commented on how much better our students have become at regulating their emotions, managing their anger, and solving conflicts. Our students, across all grades, have commented on how calm they feel in stressful situations, how much easier it is for them to pay attention if they use their mindful breathing, and how much more patience they have when dealing with their younger siblings.

During a 1960 testimony before United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications to continue funding for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting System, Fred Rogers (yes, that Mr. Rogers) told Senator John Pastore, "If we can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we would have done a great service for mental health." Mindfulness helps our students identify their feelings, name them, so that ultimately they can manage them. At our school, we are not only doing a great service for our students' mental health, but also for their educational outcomes, and the ways in which they will come to interpret and interact with the world around them. This, I believe, is a great service to us all.

If you are interested in learning more about how mindfulness can be implemented at your school, call to visit Gateway School or attend one of the workshops or trainings. The next workshop, entitled Aware Present Engaged Integrating Mindfulness Into Schools, will take place on Saturday, September 29th, from 9 am - 12:30 pm, at the Louden Nelson Center with keynote speaker is James Doty, MD Director and Founder of Stanford University's Project Compassion and Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery. The event is co-sponsored by Gateway School, Tara Redwoods and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education.

For information on attending, please contact Meg Corman-Hall at meg.corman-hall@gatewaysc.org.

(Photos General) PercyAbrams.jpgPercy L. Abram, PhD
Head of School, Gateway School


B.A. Economics, UCLA
M.A. Education, UCLA
M.A. Sociology, Stanford University
Ph.D. Education, Stanford University

  OPINION: Education Needs a Digital-Age Upgrade

by Virginia Heffernan

If you have a child entering grade school this fall, file away just one number with all those back-to-school forms: 65 percent.

Chances are just that good that, in spite of anything you do, little Oliver or Abigail won't end up a doctor or lawyer - or, indeed, anything else you've ever heard of. According to Cathy N. Davidson, co-director of the annual MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions, fully 65 percent of today's grade-school kids may end up doing work that hasn't been invented yet.

The contemporary American classroom, with its grades and deference to the clock, is an inheritance from the late 19th century.

So Abigail won't be doing genetic counseling. Oliver won't be developing Android apps for currency traders or co-chairing Google's philanthropic division. Even those digital-age careers will be old hat. Maybe the grown-up Oliver and Abigail will program Web-enabled barrettes or quilt with scraps of Berber tents. Or maybe they'll be plying a trade none of us old-timers will even recognize as work.

For those two-thirds of grade-school kids, if for no one else, it's high time we redesigned American education.

As Ms. Davidson puts it: "Pundits may be asking if the Internet is bad for our children's mental development, but the better question is whether the form of learning and knowledge-making we are instilling in our children is useful to their future."

In her galvanic new book, "Now You See It," Ms. Davidson asks, and ingeniously answers, that question. One of the nation's great digital minds, she has written an immensely enjoyable omni-manifesto that's officially about the brain science of attention. But the book also challenges nearly every assumption about American education.  Read more>>>

  Educational Websites for Parents and Teachers

Sophia - This tutoring site offers you an opportunity to digitize your classroom, taking time-consuming lectures and replacing them with digital tutorials. Your students will have on-demand access to your teachings when they're doing homework.

The site calls it "flipping" your classroom. It says the program has raised grades for more than 85 percent of the teachers that use it. You can upload your own videos to describe a topic or use one of the 25,000 already on the site.

Even if you don't want to go all-in on the site, you can still use the lectures. They'll show you multiple ways of explaining complex topics.

Teacher's Corner - Perhaps you like a more traditional method of educating. This site offers countless lesson plans and activities. You'll find everything from homework assignments to in-depth projects for your students. The site stays updated with time-sensitive lesson plans.  Your students will be impressed at how you stay on the cutting edge of current events.  There's a bustling community of educators on the site. Chat with educators from all over the world to find new ways to tackle the subject you teach.

Edutopia - This site offers groups dedicated to your subject matter. You'll see top teaching headlines and innovative teaching strategies, as well.

You can browse by your grade level or examine strategies that work for all grades. The site is full of interesting articles from fellow educators that promote new ideas and theories.

Edutopia takes on the full education experience. Articles aren't just about teaching, but raising school spirit and connecting with children on an emotional level.

  Suki:Can We Be funny Anymre?

(Photos General) SukiRedHead_138.jpg

My family was sitting around the dinner table talking....what we usually do. Someone made a reference to the Boneless Chicken Ranch, and we all cracked up. My kids, of course, learned about the iconic Gary Larson cartoon through us, and through the fact that I treasure the Far Side books I purchased as a teen.

I can't remember exactly when I saw it, but I do remember what it was like to see something that funny in my teens and young adult life. First of all, funny things weren't so easily accessible. We didn't have the Internet. We didn't have Youtube. We didn't have everyone's aunt sending forwards of forwards of forwards of Jewish haiku.

Funny things were found in a few places. First of all... Continue>>>

 

(Ads) NewLeaf728.jpg

  Viva: Free: Slow Cooker 101

(Photos General) VivaGravatar.jpgSlow Cooker 101: Master the Slow Cooker with 101 Great Recipes is free right now on Amazon. It's an Amazon Kindle ebook, but even if you don't own a Kindle you can still enjoy it by downloading it for free to your computer (PC or Mac), iPhone, or iPad.

The instructions for doing so are included under the "Buy Now With 1 Click" button. PLEASE BE AWARE that the price is currently $0.00 but that could change at any time, so always check the price before clicking Buy Now. 

Visit Viva at the Daily Citron for more frugal tips and finds.

  Science Fun with Christine: Encyclopedia of Life

(Photos General) PacificRingneckSnake.jpgNow that lots of us have kids going back to school, it is nice to have reference sites where we can find good info.These should also be fun to browse. The Encyclopedia of Life is one of my favorites. This is a database put together by biologists.  These people are attempting to list all living species in one place. They pull their info from lots of places. The plan is to have one page for every creature.


For instance - I went to the search box and typed in... Read more>>>

More posts at Science Fun with Christine Cockey, local scientist and mom.

  This Week

(Ads) SantaCruzParentFacebook.jpg(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Text_Calendar.jpgBelow is only a partial list

of upcoming events and activities.

Click on our EVENT CALENDAR.

Submit your event!


Check the Events Calendar for More Fun!

 

(Graphics) School_WelcomeBack.jpgSchool Corner

Seek schools with small classes, unique enrichment classes  and teachers who are passionate about serving children and their families.

Click Here!

(Ads) SCWaldorfBabiesandToddlers180x150.jpg

(Ads) Springhill_Stilltime_2012_180.jpg

(Logos Business) YoungEagles.jpg

Kids Fly Free

Sat, Sept. 8

(Ads) MountMadonnaAugust2012_180x300_purple.jpg

(Ads) BeNaturalMusic_180widget.jpg

Tune up your parenting skills in local Parenting Workshops!

New Leaf

(Ads) NewLeafSandPanini.jpg

(Photos General) Dog_singing.jpg

 Watsonville Fly-in Airshow and Capitola Begonia Festival

(Photos General) Airplsnes.jpgWatsonville Fly-in Airshow

Watsonville Air Show
Every day Aug 31-Sep 2

The Watsonville Fly-In and Air Show features antique aircraft, helicopter rides and air show aerobatics with over 300 aircraft, antique cars, food and aviation-related commercial vendors. People can interact with the performers, see the different planes and sometimes climb on the planes. The aircraft will range from antique to experimental designs. The show also features military airplanes including the World War II American fighter P-40 Warhawk and the World War II North American P-51 Mustang.


The festivities will start Friday with an official start fly-in and air show, as well as pilot registration throughout the day. There will also be a spaghetti dinner at 6 p.m. hosted by the Santa Cruz Flying Club, a local organization that offers flight instruction and flying lessons at the Watsonville Airport. Saturday will include a flour drop and spot landing contest and Sunday will include a conclusion of aircraft judging.

"Established to educate and publicize aviation history, to provide benefits to local charities and non-profit organizations, to promote the Watsonville Airport"

 

(Logos Event Calendar) BegoniaFestivalPoster2012.jpgCapitola Begonia Festival

Capitola Village
Every day Aug 31-Sep 3


A Labor Day weekend filled with fun events for the whole family. Beautifully decorated floats, concerts, sand sculpture contests, movies, art, fishing derby and more! Click here to check the event schedule to find the times and events best for you.

2012 Marina Labor Day Parade
click to view website
  2012 Marina Labor Day Parade
City of Marina
Date: 09/01/2012 from 11:00am to 2:00pm
Details: This is the biggest, best, and ONLY Labor Day Parade on Monterey Bay!
City: Marina view all details >>
     
Quality Education Is...
click to view website
  Quality Education Is...
Date:
view all details >>
     
Birding Walk, Elkhorn Slough
click to view website
  Birding Walk, Elkhorn Slough
Elkhorn Slough
Date: The 1st Sa of every month at 8:30am
Details: Go on a guided bird hunt, begin or add to your list of sitings
Special Instructions: Meet in the parking lot behind Whole Enchilada
City: Watsonville Phone: (831) 728-2822 view all details >>
     
Quality Education Is...
click to view website
  Quality Education Is...
Date:
view all details >>
     
Quality Education Is...
click to view website
  Quality Education Is...
Date:
view all details >>
     
Fall Eco Monterey Home and Garden Expo!
click to view website
  Fall Eco Monterey Home and Garden Expo!
Monterey Home & Garden Expo
Date: Every day (Oct 19-Oct 20)
Ages: All
Details: Discover the best of the best of home, kitchen and garden!
City: Monterey view all details >>
     
Quality Education Is...
click to view website
  Quality Education Is...
Date:
view all details >>
     
Quality Education Is...
click to view website
  Quality Education Is...
Date:
view all details >>
     
     
business directory | blogs | classifieds | contests | editor updates | families giving back
newsletter archives | parent chat | parent planner | parent perks | contact us
Stay Connected: Blogs Blogs | RSS RSS

You received this e-mail because you have signed up for our e-mail newsletters from our website.
If you received this message in error or you want to be removed from this exclusive mailing list just visit
the following link and follow the instructions. CLICK TO UNSUBSCRIBE
info@santacruzparent.com | Santa Cruz, CA