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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

September 18, 2013
Homework: Quality or Useless?

What Makes Homework Good Homework?
A Constitution Quiz
This Week
Galloping Giraffes & Other Stories:

Suki: A Year Long Social Science Experiment

Christine: Square Corners in Nature
The Answers to the Constitution Quiz
Click to view our Business Directory
  Homework: Quality or Useless?

By now, school is in full swing. Homework is coming home.   Teachers, are you using the latest science on brains and learning to make certain your assignments are optimally enhancing learning?  Parents, do you know what to look for as quality homework so that you can make certain it's the right kind of work, not boring repetitious busywork? Annie Murphy Paul brings us the latest.

With the constant barrage of sensational, bad news it's no wonder we tune out.  Sometimes when it's especially discouraging I take comfort in the fact that there is tremendous interest in and support for good parenting within Santa Cruz families because that is where our future leaders are nourished and formed.

(Special Event Images / Graphics) WethePeople.jpgAt a time when kings, popes, dictators, kaisers, czars and emperors held absolute power over most of the world -top down forms of government-- our founding fathers, having intimate experience with how power can be harmful to citizens who valued freedom, created a government startling in its reversal to current forms of government. At the very heart of it was the notion that "we the people" were in charge of our affairs.

In 1787, more than ten years after our revolutionary war, we declared "That, to secure...rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." We the People have a right to establish a government with restraints, or limits, for the sole purpose of protecting our fundamental rights, "laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." The government cannot go beyond the bounds in which we have given it and we cannot delegate powers to the government that we ourselves do not have.

We established a Constitution that separates the delegated powers between the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches and between the federal government and the states. Each branch of our federal government is given very specific authority over writing the law, executing the law, and interpreting the law.

My goodness, our founders even built in the flexibility for "we the people" to amend the Constitution, and we did: "no" to slavery and "yes" to women's voting rights and quite a few others.  By jove, we may not be perfect, but we are willing to use this great constitution to peacefully bring about change desired by the majority.  I wonder if there are constitutional amendments in our future.  If so, it would be a good idea to get to know our current constitution.

Happy Constitution Day!

Parmalee

 

(Ads 2012) TriplePSeptember2012728.jpg

  What Makes Homework Good Homework?

(Photos General) AnnieMurphyPaul.jpgby Annie Murphy Paul

The Brilliant Report

Do American students have too much homework, or too little? We often hear passionate arguments for either side, but I believe that we ought to be asking a different question altogether. What should matter to parents and educators is this: How effectively do children's after-school assignments advance learning?

The quantity of students' homework is a lot less important than its quality. And evidence suggests that as of now, homework isn't making the grade. Although surveys show that the amount of time our children spend on homework has risen over the last three decades, American students are mired in the middle of international academic rankings: 17th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in math, according to the most recent results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

In a 2008 survey, one-third of parents polled rated the quality of their children's homework assignments as fair or poor, and 4 in 10 said they believed that some or a great deal of homework was busywork. A new study, coming in the Economics of Education Review, reports that homework in science, English and history has "little to no impact" on student test scores. (The authors did note a positive effect for math homework.) Enriching children's classroom learning requires making homework not shorter or longer, but smarter.

Fortunately, research is available to help parents, teachers and school administrators do just that. In recent years, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists and educational psychologists have made a series of remarkable discoveries about how the human brain learns. They have founded a new discipline, known as Mind, Brain and Education, that is devoted to understanding and improving the ways in which children absorb, retain and apply knowledge.  Continue to find out what makes effective homework>>>>

  A Constitution Quiz

(Photos General) Constitution_FoundingFathers.jpgThanks to The Washington Post for this quiz.

1) Who is considered the father of the Constitution?
a) Benjamin Franklin
b) George Washington
c) James Monroe
d) James Madison

2) Who was unanimously elected to preside over the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia?
a) Benjamin Franklin
b) George Washington
c) James Monroe
d) James Madison

3) True or false. The Constitution does not use the word "democracy."

4) What did the Senate initially want to call the president?
a) King
b) The president of the United States of America
c) His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties.
d) Chief of State and Commander in Chief of the United States of America

5). Which of the following is not mentioned in the Constitution?
a) trial by jury
b) public education
c) protections for "life, liberty, or property"
d) how the president should be chosen

6) Under the Constitution, the longest a president can serve is:
a) 8 years
b) 9 years
c) 10 years
d) 11 years

7) The biggest obstacle the founders faced in ratifying the Constitution in the states was:
a) no bill of rights
b) slavery
c) women's rights
d) how to elect the president

8) Which is longer: The Declaration of Independence or the Constitution?

9) One of the states boycotted the Constitutional Convention in 1787, annoying even the mild-tempered George Washington, because it liked its independence. Which state was it?
a) Delaware
b) Georgia
c) South Carolina
d) Rhode Island

(Photos General) Congress.jpg10) Only one of the 27 amendments to the Constitution has overturned another amendment. What was the subject?

11) The Constitution allows an elected president to be impeached, but does it also allow for the impeachment of an appointed Supreme Court justice?

12) The website ConstitutionFacts.com has a quiz that has been taken by more than 100,000 since September 2012. What part of the country got the most perfect scores?
a) Washington D.C.
b) New York
c) California
d) Texas

BONUS QUESTION:
The Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, but not ratified by the required number of states until 1788. How many of the 13 states had to approve it for ratification?

If you would like to learn more about our constitution, there is an excellent free online course starting September 23, available here.

  This Week

(Graphics) EventCalendar.jpg(Ads) SantaCruzParentFacebook.jpgBelow is only a partial list of upcoming events and activities so be sure to click on our EVENT CALENDAR so you do not miss anything >>

THE WEEKEND

 

 

School Corner

(Photos General) WinslowHomer_Classroom.jpg

MakersFactory, Tech Survey Club Wednesdays

 

Ecology Action, Safe Routes to School Workshop 9/25

 

St. Stephens Preschool, Open House 9/25

 

Waldorf Pre-8, What is Waldorf? 9/25

 

Chartwell School K-12, Open House 10/8

 

Chartwell School K-12, Free Workshop - Technology 10/9

 

Gateway School K-8, Open House 10/16

(Ads 2013) CYT.jpg

(Logos Event Calendar) Seussical_Jr.jpg

Tickets Go On Sale:
September 22nd

Avoid scenes like this in the police department property room!

(Photos General) Police_StolenBikes.jpg

Please

Register your bikes

&

Report any thefts to help us in getting your property back to you!

Enrichment Classes

(Ads 2013) Monterey-Jazz-Festival-2013.jpg

(Logos Event Calendar) CaliforniaAirShow.jpg

September 21-22

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 Galloping Giraffes & Other Stories:

(Photos General) MountMadonna_GallopingGiraffes.jpgAn Odyssey through South Africa


Photographer Shmuel Thaler
A benefit for the Botshabelo home for AIDS orphans near Johannesburg, South Africa
Date: 09/20/2013 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Ages: all Admission Fees: Adults $18 advance/$20 door; Students and Seniors $15; purchase tickets at Brown Paper Tickets: http://galloping-giraffes.brownpapertickets.com

Featuring Photographs by Shmuel Thaler, videos by Devin Kumar and stories and songs by Mount Madonna School students from their travels in South Africa.

All proceeds benefit Botshabelo, a home for AIDS orphans in Magaliesburg, near Johannesburg and Pretoria, in South Africa.

About Botshabelo: Founded in December 1990, Botshabelo Community Development Trust, Magaliesburg, is a rural community made up of a school, orphanage, medical clinic and village. We care for children whose families can't afford to care for them and those orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Some of our children are living with HIV as well.

Location: Center for Spiritual Living , 1818 Felt Street, Santa Cruz Map
Phone: (408) 846-4032 •website

EXTREME EXPO
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  EXTREME EXPO
Beach Boardwalk
Date: Every day (Sep 20-Sep 21)
Ages: All
Details: Ultimate gathering for adrenaline seekers, showcasing fresh gear, apparel and accessories for everything surf, skate, snow and w
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Happy Constitution Day!
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Happy Constitution Day!
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Happy Constitution Day!
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Happy Constitution Day!
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First Friday: Plein Air Art in Action
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  First Friday: Plein Air Art in Action
State Park Mission
Date: 08/07/2015 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Details: A live plein air event with sketching or watercolor stations for visitors
Special Instructions: Rain cancels
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831.425-5849 view all details >>
     
Just Plane Fun Run
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  Just Plane Fun Run
California Air Show Salinas
Date: 09/21/2013 at 8:00am
Details: A fun running event on the actual runway for boys and girls ages 14 and under
City: Salinas Phone: 831-754-1983 view all details >>
     
Happy Constitution Day!
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Happy Constitution Day!
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Happy Constitution Day!
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(Logos Business) SSCDC-Logo.jpg

St. Stephens Childcare Development Center

Openings for 2, 3 & 4 year olds

Very low teacher:child ratio

Lots of individual attention

Rates customized to your needs

2500 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz  ~Call Kathy Berens at (831) 462-4453

(Photos General) SSCDC_firemanboy2.jpg
  Suki: A Year Long Social Science Experiment

(Photos General) SukiWessling2013.jpg

As I wrote last week, my daughter decided that this year she wanted to check out school. As homeschoolers, we were never completely out of the school world since we took part in a public homeschool program. But she really wanted to find out what schools are like, and she's the sort of kid who doesn't just want to read about it-she wants to get in and get her hands dirty.

So this week she went to school every day and seems thrilled with all the novelty: Getting up early and actually eating breakfast without having time to sit in bed and read before. Riding her bike to school or getting a ride and sitting in the long line of cars in the drop-off lane. Meeting 31 new kids all at once. Taking a class with a complete stranger who didn't have to audition for the kids. Having homework 3 nights out of 5. Having folders for different subjects. And the biggest novelty: Mom caving in when at Target buying the folders and letting her get a commercial tie-in (Angry Birds).

I may be a diehard fan of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. But sometimes having folders with Angry Birds on them is an urgent matter of self-expression. Or so my 10-year-old tells me.

Partly because of the novelty, and partly because this a path she chose completely independently of everyone-her parents, her homeschool program teacher, and all of her homeschool friends-, the week went well. Ironically, however, it ended in my speaking at the inaugural Online Homeschool Conference. I had the uncomfortable feeling of being half-imposter, speaking so glowingly about an educational choice my daughter has rejected...... Read more >>>>

 Suki Wessling writes about parenting, education, gifted children, and homeschooling at Avant Parenting.

 

(Special Event Images / Graphics) AngelinaBallerina.jpgAngelina Ballerina the Musical Tickets on Sale!

The Santa Cruz Rio Theatre is the only Bay Area and Central Coast stop for the off Broadway tour of Angelina Ballerina the Musical! Show has had a successful three year run in New York and comes to a close at the end of this year with its first, last and limited U.S. Tour. Children ages 3-10 absolutely love the 50 minute show with 8 characters and nine musical numbers.

Tickets on sale Aug 1,  $29.50 

Shows: Dec 7 & 8, 11am and 1pm

 Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, (831) 278-1419

  Christine: Square Corners in Nature

(Photos General) Pyrite.jpgIt seems that Nature mostly likes rounded stuff. We can find perfect circles (drop something in water and look at the shapes), and spheres (seeds). Leaves are either rounded, or sometimes pointy if you look at a cactus. But what about square corners?

There's a few. Generally not living.

Sodium Chloride - Salt - NASA
There are many crystalline shapes that have square corners. Pyrite, or fools gold, is a very good example. It can form natural cubes. That is one way to tell the difference between pyrite and real gold. I live in California and have spent some time in my childhood fooling around looking for gold in the Sierras. One of the first things my Dad taught me was how to recognize pyrite. I always found lots of pyrite.

Another example of a square is ... find out more>>>>

Christine is a scientist and mom.  You can find more of her essays here.

  The Answers to the Constitution Quiz

1) d. James Madison, the fourth U.S. president. He was the key figure in drafting the Constitution and a force in pushing for a Bill of Rights. Madison was the only member of the Constitutional Convention to attend every meeting and he kept a detailed journal that was kept secret until after his death, purchased for $30,000 in 1837 by the U.S. government and then published in 1840.

2) b. George Washington.

3) True.

4) c. His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties. The Senate and House finally compromised on president.

5) b. public education. It's nowhere in the document; it's an issue reserved to the states.

6) c. 10 years

7) a. No bill of rights. One was added - the first 10 Amendments - three years after the ratification of the Constitution.

8) The Constitution has 4,543 words, including the signatures but not the certificate on the interlineations; and takes about half an hour to read. The Declaration of Independence has 1,458 words, with the signatures, and takes about ten minutes to read.

9) d. Rhode Island. It was the last state to ratify the Constitution too.

10) The Twenty-first Amendment, in 1933, repealed the prohibition of alcohol, which was established by the Eighteenth Amendment, 1919. More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress; 33 have gone to the states to be ratified and 27 became amendments to the Constitution.

11) Yes. The Constitution allows impeachment by the House and trial of the accused by the Senate sitting as a court of "all civil Officers," which includes the justices.

12) a. Washington, D.C. tops the list again this year with 15.21% of test takers achieving perfect scores. Texas 14.28%, New York 13.79%, Illinois 13.78% and Iowa 13.41%.

BONUS: 9 states

 

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