Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Summer reading

Richmond’s day with author Marla McKenna was a success.  Marla presented to students during the day and spent time with families at night, highlighting her published books and spreading her love of reading and writing.  Thank you, Marla! 

Summer is coming!  Research shows that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. When choosing the six, be sure that they are just right — not too hard and not too easy. Take advantage of your local library. Ask for help selecting books that match your child's age, interests, and abilities. Libraries often run summer reading programs that motivate kids to read, so find out what's available in your area.

Summer Reading BINGO for younger students: 

Summer Reading BINGO for older students:

Reading at home: 

Summer Reading Lists for grades 6-8 (Parents would enjoy many of these books, too, and it is really fun to read books--or try short stories listed below--along with your child and talk about them!)

Contemporary works:

Reading to Prepare for High School (classic novels and short stories)

Ten Important Novels

Despite student complaints, high school required reading still includes novels. Many of them are classics.
1.     Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - Parents should definitely read along with their child on account of the novel's mature content.
2.     1984 by George Orwell - Big Brother is watching, but is he reading?
3.     Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - Books are illegal. Firemen burn them.
4.     Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Pip goes from poor to rich to snob in just a little under 500 pages.
5.     Lord of the Flies by William Golding - A plane crashes. The survivors, exclusively children, get a little out of control.
6.     The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - This staple of American Literature classes captures the corruption of the Roaring Twenties.
7.     Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - Political correctness has lessened Huck Finn's popularity, but it remains the most important novel in American Literature.
8.     Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - Enjoy the greatest campfire story in the history of camping.
9.     The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane - Crane's realistic account of the Civil War has been a staple in American Lit classes for years.
10.   To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Explore the dynamics of race from the eyes of a young girl in the South.

Ten Famous Short Stories (Sometimes short stories are the best in summer! Not a long-term commitment, and an easy way to get 20 minutes of reading in on any given day!)

High school required reading includes numerous short stories. Here are some of the most famous and interesting:
1.     "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell - Zaroff hunts humans. Rainsford falls off a ship and swims to Zaroff's island. You figure out the rest.
2.     "The Monkey's Paw" - Sgt. Major Morris brings back an enchanted monkey's paw. Herbert White makes fun of him. Herbert White dies (twice).
4.     "The Scarlet Ibis" by James Hurst - Prepare to cry.
5.     "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant - Learn the importance of thrift and the dangers of debt the easy way (as opposed to the hard way, which includes running up credit card bills and getting your house foreclosed).
6.     "To Build a Fire" by Jack London - It's cold. He's wet. He must build a fire or die.
7.     "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin - This short introduction to irony takes minutes to read.
8.     "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce - Peyton Farquhar is about to be hanged from a bridge he tried to blow up.
9.     "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain - Twain's humorous account of an easterner out west is sure to entertain.
10.   "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson - This isn't exactly a lottery worth winning, but it is worth reading.
11.   The Sniper by Liam O’Flaherty (Very short, with an ending you will not see coming)
12.   The Veldt by Ray Bradbury (Great sci-fi story about a family living in a fully automated house. There is a fantastic audio version read by Stephen Colbert online)
13.   The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe (Creepy, of course, but a great read)
14.   Thank you, Ma’am by Langston Hughes (“When a young boy named Roger tries to steal the purse of a woman named Luella, he is just looking for money to buy stylish new shoes. After she grabs him by the collar and drags him back to her home, he's sure that he is in deep trouble...” from Google Books.)
15.   The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (A young married couple has to deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other, even though they have very little money. Good twist at the end.)

Tech Tips

10 great tech parenting tips to keep your children safe and yourself involved.

1. Get in The Game! Make an effort to understand the basics of the technology that your child are (or will be) using on a daily basis. Technology is such a big part of kids’ lives that no parent can afford to just step away from their responsibilities in this area.
You may be doing a fantastic parenting job in all other aspects of your children’s lives but without understanding at least the basics, you cannot be part of their ever-expanding digital world. It’s not difficult to grasp some fundamentals and get up-to-speed. Plus, it’s fun and educational – that’s why your kids love it so much!
2. Open a dialogue. Talk to your kids about technology and in particular about Internet safety. Agree on a set of rules for using the computer and going on the Internet. Surf the web together. Stay involved; your child’s tech and online activity will increase and become more complex as they get older and technology continues to evolve. Keep the conversation going.
3. Be informed. Know what technology your child uses, what games they play, which web sites they visit, and with whom they are communicating. For young children, give them an approved list of web sites.

4. Be interested. Ask your child what he is doing, what programs he is using, what sites he’s visiting. Ask him to show you how his tech toys work and what he and his friends do with them.

5. Help your child understand what inappropriate behavior is. If you or your child encounter inappropriate behavior – whether it’s violent video games, cyber-bullying, or online predators – don’t just let it go. Act on it, whether it’s talking to your child, bringing the subject up with another child’s parents or reporting it the appropriate authorities.

6. Buy a family computer and keep it in a public place in the home. Encourage your children to regard it as a resource for everyone to use. Give each of them separate IDs and passwords, so they have a sense of ownership and privacy.

7. Never give out personal information over the Internet. Explain to a child that he or she must never give out personal information. Family e-mail addresses, phone numbers, names, birth dates, home addresses, family details, photos, etc. should all be jealously guarded. Although social networking sites ask for and encourage sharing this information, your child should know that protecting his own and his family’s identity should be one of his top priorities.

8. Empower yourself. Use Internet filtering or monitoring software. You don’t have to check in on what your child is doing every day, but the fact that you can – and they know you can – helps set the right tone for responsible behavior.

9. Set a good example. It’s no good setting limits on your kids’ screen time if you spend all day with your eyes glued to your laptop or firing off hundreds of texts from your iPhone. Similarly, don’t ban devices from the dinner table if you reach for your smartphone every time it buzzes. Children take their lead from their parents’ behavior and interacting with technology is no different.

10. Talk to other parents about your children’s technology experiences and online safety. Form a network of other concerned parents.

- For more great info, check out http://www.theonlinemom.com

Summer Boredom - It’s OK!

Summer Boredom - It’s OK!

Are you worried about your child being bored this summer?  Frantically trying to sign him or her up for every possible camp, class and activity?  No need! Child psychologists and experts suggest over-scheduling kids during the summer is not needed and could ultimately keep them from discovering their true interests! Boredom is necessary for developing “internal stimuli” which allows for true creativity.  At the beginning of summer, sit down with your child and create a list of everything they may enjoy doing - from playing a board game, to painting rocks, going on a bike ride or creating a menu and cooking a fancy dinner.  If they tell you they are bored, tell them to go and look at their list.  It puts the onus on them to decide how to spend their time.  And if they mope around a bit, that is OK! It is not wasted time - they are developing their self-reliance.

Parenting can be hard!! So many questions!
 - for more tips and ideas on how to be a great parent check out these TED talks -

Summer math activities

Blog Post - Math Committee - May 2017

Check out a few activities to boost your son or daughter’s geometry skills over the summer.  For more ideas, check out http://www.planetsmarty.com/2015/03/20-brilliant-hands-on-geometry-ideas.html

Use toothpicks and marshmallows to practice creating and naming polygons.
Write a riddle that describes a polygon and try to create that shape with legos.

Video Link: STEM Project - Tensile Bubbles

Other resources for geometry work. https://www.education.com/activity/geometry/