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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

September 26, 2013


Put Down that Highlighter!

This Week
Fall Harvest Festival


Suki: From Homeschool to School

Christine: Mutated All Over
Click to view our Business Directory
 

(Special Event Images / Graphics) SuperKidKidBikers.jpgThe Super Kid triathlon is coming up October 13. Right now, today, there's room for only 125 more kids.

There is an age appropriate course for children from 3 to 15.  500 children will be there and it's 75% full now, so hurry if your (Special Event Images / Graphics) SammytheSeahorseMascott.jpgchild wants to enter!  We caught up with Tiffany Harmon of Seahorse Swim School, one of the sponsors of the event. A lot of her swim students sign up for this event so Tiffany and Sammy the Seahorse show up too to cheer for the kids. 

I asked Tiffany how she prepares the kids for this fun event. " During lessons we train the kids to finish their laps and keep going until they do the distance suggested for their age. The Triathlon is a variation on "competitive"; it's about racing against their own time.  The SuperKid Triathlon gives kids a format of swimming, getting out of the pool, hopping on a bike.. and then running, just like an adult triathlon, only just the right length for a great experience." Tiffany's offering a free swim level assessment --check here.

Annie brings us the latest research on the best way to learn.  If I'm interpreting it right, parents and teachers should be providing for short periods of academic learning interspersed with  running, dancing, art, music,  setting the table or emptying the trash.  It works for me with work, 15-20 minutes of intense concentration, go outside to water some plants, grab a cuppa' and back at it.

It's always about getting off the couch and out the door! Parmalee

 

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  Put Down that Highlighter!

by Annie Murphy Paul

In a world as fast-changing and full of information as our own, every one of us-from schoolchildren to college students to working adults-needs to know how to learn well. Yet evidence suggests that most of us don't use the learning techniques that science has proved most effective. Worse, research finds that learning strategies we do commonly employ, like rereading and highlighting, are among the least effective.

The scientific literature evaluating these techniques stretches back decades and across thousands of articles. It's far too extensive and complex for the average parent, teacher or employer to sift through. Fortunately, a team of five leading psychologists have done the job for us. In a comprehensive report released earlier this year by the Association for Psychological Science, the authors, led by Kent State University professor John Dunlosky, closely examine ten learning tactics and rate each from high to low utility on the basis of the evidence they've amassed. Here's a quick guide to the report's conclusions:

The Worst
Highlighting and underlining led the authors' list of ineffective learning strategies. Although they are common practices, studies show they offer no benefit beyond simply reading the text. Some research even indicates that highlighting can get in the way of learning; because it draws attention to individual facts, it may hamper the process of making connections and drawing inferences. Nearly as bad is the practice of rereading, a common exercise that is much less effective than some of the better techniques you can use. Lastly, summarizing, or writing down the main points contained in a text, can be helpful for those who are skilled at it, but again, there are far better ways to spend your study time. Highlighting, underlining, rereading and summarizing were all rated by the authors as being of "low utility."

The Best
In contrast to familiar practices like highlighting and rereading, the learning strategies with the most evidence to support them aren't well known outside the psych lab. Take distributed practice, for example. This tactic involves spreading out your study sessions, rather than engaging in one marathon. Cramming information at the last minute may allow you to get through that test or meeting, but the material will quickly disappear from memory. It's much more effective to dip into the material at intervals over time. And the longer you want to remember the information, whether it's two weeks or two years, the longer the intervals should be.

The second learning strategy that is highly recommended by the report's authors is practice testing.
Yes, more tests-but these are not for a grade. Research shows that the mere act of calling information to mind strengthens that knowledge and aids in future retrieval. While practice testing is not a common strategy-despite the robust evidence supporting it-there is one familiar approach that captures its benefits: using flash cards. And now flash cards can be presented in digital form, via apps like Quizlet, StudyBlue and FlashCardMachine. Both spaced-out learning, or distributed practice, and practice tests were rated as having "high utility" by the authors.

The Rest
The remainder of the techniques evaluated by Dunlosky and his colleagues fell into the middle ground-not useless, but not especially effective either. These include mental imagery, or coming up with pictures that help you remember text (which is time-consuming and only works with text that lends itself to images); elaborative interrogation, or asking yourself "why" as you read (which is kind of annoying, like having a 4-year-old tugging at your sleeve); self-explanation, or forcing yourself to explain the text in detail instead of passively reading it over (its effectiveness depends on how complete and accurate your explanations are); interleaved practice, or mixing up different types of problems (there is not much evidence to show that this is helpful, outside of learning motor tasks); and lastly the keyword mnemonic, or associating new vocabulary words, usually in a foreign language, with an English word that sounds similar-so, for example, learning the French word for key, la clef, by imagining a key on top of a cliff (which is a lot of work to remember a single word).

All these techniques were rated of "moderate" to "low" utility by Dunlosky et al because either there isn't enough evidence yet to be able to recommend them or they're just not a very good use of your time. Much better, say the authors, to spread out your learning, ditch your highlighter and get busy with your flash cards. (You can browse past issues of the Brilliant Report by clicking here.)

I love to hear from readers. Please email me at annie@anniemurphypaul.com. You can also visit my website, follow me on Twitter, and join the conversation on Facebook. Be brilliant!

 

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  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

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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

 

Spring Hill School K-6, Invention Convention 10/15

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Tickets Go On Sale:
September 22nd

(Photos General) VivaGravatar.jpgViva: Daily Routines for Kids

Routines are a life raft for me in the chaotic world of parenting.  I've created a routine checklist for my daughter's before school, after school and after dinner tasks, and the link for it is at the bottom of this post if you'd like to download it and customize it.

Before using a checklist, I found that my relationship with my preschool-aged daughter involved a lot of me telling her what to do"Unpack your backpack.  I said, unpack your backpack.  Now we're going to eat a snack.  No, you can't play yet, it's time for shower."  Once she was in Kindergarten I felt like she was ready to start helping around the house with chores.  But in order to get her to complete all her tasks, I had to constantly nag her: "Don't forget about your cleaning chores... did you feed the cat yet? Now set the table.  I said, set the table. Your backpack is still waiting to be unpacked, do that before you take a shower..." It seemed like every afternoon devolved into an exchange of accusatory looks and frustrated outbursts on both our parts.  My goals were reasonable: I wanted teach my daughter to take responsibility for her tasks, but my strategy (constant reminders) was making us both miserable.

Enter the routine checklist... Continue>>>

 

(Photos General) LorraineLowRes.jpgLorraine: Is your child hearing you the first time?

Make an agreement with your child in advance of their play or project: "You have 45 minutes to play, then clean up starts and next dinner. Now, what is the plan?" Let them repeat to you what their agreement is; put it in writing if you like to seal their commitment. Be Pro-Active. Build in 15 extra minutes for delays so you are not disappointed or start nagging. 

Children not only want to succeed but they also want to do well by you and cooperate. Your clarity combined with their agreement allows them this gift of self-esteem building luxury. Your clarity and confidence is the key, so get ahead of it and make a plan that works for YOU.

You know how good it feels when you plan, know what's coming up and are prepared. Somehow, though, when it comes to our parenting, we get hit blindsided and are caught breathlessly rushing around and panicked. Don't let this be you. Be as strong and as capable as you are in other areas of your life- defuse volatile situations ahead of time and take care of you. :)

What do you think? Tell me! AskTheParentMentor@gmail.com.

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 Fall Harvest Festival

(Photos General) Harvest_Pies.jpgUCSC Farm
Highlights of the event include live music, food, apple tasting, apple pie bake-off, garden talks, hay rides, crafts
9/29 from 11:00am to 5:00pm

Apples, corn, cider, and pumpkins take center stage at the  annual Fall Harvest Festival at UC Santa Cruz's 25-acre organic farm.

Along with the season's bounty, the festival features live music from rock to reggae and bluegrass to marimba, along with hay rides, kids' crafts, workshops, tours, pumpkin and produce sales, and campus and community group information tables.

(Photos General) Food_AppleVarieties.jpgDuring the Harvest Festival you can sample more than 30 apple varieties, enter the pie baking contest, crank the apple press, scale the climbing wall, enjoy fresh-roasted organic corn and other locally sourced, tasty treats, and learn about a range of food and environmental issues. Want so see how your favorite apple pie recipe measures up.  Be sure to enter the Apple Pie Contest by 12:30 p.m.

Also on tap-workshops on saving seeds, planting the fall garden, making kombucha and vegan wraps and burritos, and "cupping" the perfect cup of coffee. Tours of the farm and an herb walk through the gardens are on the schedule, and Life Lab's "Food, What?" youth empowerment group will hold a sunflower-picking fundraiser in the Farm's fields.

Admission to the Fall Harvest Festival is free for UCSC students, kids 12 and under, and for members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden; general admission is $5. See a full schedule of the day's events below.

The Harvest Festival is co-sponsored by the UCSC's Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), UCSC's Food Systems Working Group, UCSC Measure 43: Sustainable Health & Wellness, and the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden, with major support from Driscoll's, New Leaf Community Markets and Stonyfield Farm; and additional support from Veritable Vegetable. People Power will provide free valet parking for bicycles.


Location: Louise Cain Gatehouse, 1156 High St, Santa Cruz Map
website Santa Cruz West Side

The Science of Learning
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  The Science of Learning
Date:
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The Science of Learning
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  The Science of Learning
Date:
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Kidrageous Carnival
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  Kidrageous Carnival
Jacob's Heart
Date: 09/24/2017 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm
Details: It's all about the kids! It's all about the love! Now, all we need is you!
City: Watsonville Phone: (831) 724-9100 view all details >>
     
49th Annual Carmel Mission Fiesta
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  49th Annual Carmel Mission Fiesta
Junipero Serra School & Carmel Mission Parish
Date: 09/29/2013 from 11:00am to 5:00pm
Details: Music, food, artisans and crafters in the courtyard of the mission
City: Carmel Phone: (831) 624-8322 view all details >>
     
The Science of Learning
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  The Science of Learning
Date:
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The Science of Learning
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  The Science of Learning
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The Science of Learning
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  The Science of Learning
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Santa Cruz Parents of Multiples ANNUAL RUMMAGE SALE
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  Santa Cruz Parents of Multiples ANNUAL RUMMAGE SALE
Santa Cruz Parents of Multiples
Date: 09/29/2013 from 8:00am to 1:00pm
Ages: All Ages
Details: Annual Rummage Sale
Special Instructions: Annual Rummage Sale
City: Capitola Phone: 8313316681 view all details >>
     
Founders Day Special Events
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  Founders Day Special Events
State Park Big Basin
Date: 09/30/2017 from 9:00am to 8:00pm
Ages: Able to do 3.5 mile hike
Details: Honor the Visionaries, Valued Workers and Visitors that shaped the character of Big Basin over the past 109years.
City: Boulder Creek Phone: (831) 338-8883 view all details >>
     
The Science of Learning
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  The Science of Learning
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The Science of Learning
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  The Science of Learning
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Wooden Boat Day
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  Wooden Boat Day
The Legion of Honor
Date: Every Su, Tues, Th, Fri and Sa (Sep 1-Oct 13) from 9:30am to 5:15pm
Ages: All
Details: Activities related to boating, including live traditional sailing songs, storytelling about life on the sea, lectures about wood
Special Instructions: in Lincoln Park
City: San Francisco Phone: 415.750.3600 view all details >>
     
     
 
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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

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(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

  Suki: From Homeschool to School

(Photos General) SukiWessling2013.jpg

A friend told me the other night that she was eagerly awaiting my next installment of our ongoing school saga. After homeschooling kindergarten through fifth grade, my daughter decided to try out public school this year.

Probably the most surprising news for most people is that there is so little news. Because it was her choice and she knew that it was her responsibility to follow through on it, we’ve had little trouble with the daily details that many homeschoolers find difficult. She sets her alarm and gets up each morning 10 minutes before we do. (This is to allow for the quiet reading time that she always had at the beginning of the day.) She is actually eating a [mostly] healthy breakfast each day. (As opposed to our less successful homeschool approach, which was to let her read until she was finally willing to eat, as breakfast is her least favorite meal.) And she doesn’t enjoy having to do homework after being at school all day, but it’s never a lot and she puts in a decent effort.

But the big question for her was never whether she would be able to deal with the daily grind. The big issue that comes up with any child like her, whether homeschooled or not, is fitting into an education approach that is at odds with her needs as a twice-exceptional learner. We have been very lucky that her teacher is a caring and flexible educator, so we haven't had to overcome the barriers that so many teachers set up in front of their unusual learners. But at its core, the American public education system is very unfriendly to kids like her in a variety of ways. Here are some of the major differences we're noticing between school and homeschool education...... Read more >>>>

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

 

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  Christine: Mutated All Over

(Graphics) DNA_Structure.jpgI bet most people think they have a genetic fingerprint that is static.  TV programs lead us to think that if you can collect DNA from a crime scene you can match it to the criminal. There are lots of problems with that idea, but now a new one has appeared. It turns out that our DNA can be different in different parts of our bodies.

There is a term, "mosaic", to describe people who have different genomes in different cells. It has always been associated with specific genetic disorders, and considered very uncommon. The different cells were scattered throughout the body. These mosaic people were different in very specific and understood ways. We thought.  Ooops!

It is now easier and cheaper to do a complete genetic analysis. Most genetic analysis that you read about or could order look at a limited number of specified genes. The onset of more detailed genetic analysis has started to show the multiple genomes associated with a single person.

One interesting thing is that a person may have clumps of cells with unique genomes. There may be a single clump in one region of a body and nothing different anywhere else. Some others have genomes that appear to come from somebody else.

Isn't this against the rules?
... find out more>>>>

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

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