Interactive Writing – Writing Helps Reading at K-2 Level

interactive_writing2_0Interactive Writing is a Kindergarten – Grade 2 teaching/learning activity that promotes a strong reading/writing connection. It helps children who are learning to read and increases their learning to write. As children work through text, their own writing helps lay the foundation of understanding necessary for successful beginning reading.

Interactive writing promotes the “building up processes” and the “breaking down processes” Marie Clay described. Interactive Writing promotes the reading/writing relationship for the following reasons:

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Is the Local School the Right School?

school-lessons-icon-png-47I was listening to a talk show a few weeks ago where the host shared a personal story that struck me. When his kids were school aged, they lived in an area with a great school district. But, none of his three children did well in the assigned public schools. Even though the schools were high ranking, they didn’t use a teaching method that his children responded to. Each of his children learned in different ways, and he wound up choosing different education methods for all three children, carefully matching the style of teaching with each of his children’s manner of learning.

His eldest child went to an all boys private boarding school, his middle went to a charter school, and his youngest was home schooled. Each of them flourished once they were in the right environment for them. “Wow”, I thought “talk about extremes. Ship one kid off to boarding school but keep one at home with you.” Ever since then, I have been mulling over how to figure out what kind of teaching style your child responds to best, and how to find the school that utilizes that particular style. It seems like a daunting task.
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Does Skipping Breakfast Affect Kids Weight?

kids-eating-breakfast-by-themselvesResearch shows that kids who skip breakfast tend to weigh more than those who eat breakfast regularly. Why? Eating breakfast may help to reduce snacking and avoid overeating later in the day.

Not all breakfast are created equal

Your kids will get more mileage from an English muffin with scrambled eggs, fruit and a cup of fat-free milk than they will from a bowl of sweetened cereal and a large glass of juice. A smart breakfast choice includes whole grains, lean protein and some fruit or veggies.

One of my favorite breakfast

Growing up my kids loved “The Girl-Scout Egg” have you heard of it? It’s fast and easy and a great start to a day.

Lightly butter (real butter) a piece of whole grain bread (not whole wheat, there is a big difference) both sides, place on a skillet on medium heat and grill slightly (about 1 minute), turn over then with a small round cookie cutter or something that will cut about a 2″ circle cut out the center of the bread (you can do this prior to cooking if you choose), then crack an egg into the middle of the open hole, cook to your child’s liking if they like the egg over medium you should turn the toast over to cook the other side. Continue Reading

First 5 years of life impacts what happens in the rest of a child’s life

sun-icon-14The research is clear – what happens in the first five years of life dramatically impacts what happens in the rest of a child’s life. Both longitudinal studies and brain research substantiate that strong foundations in the earliest years set the stage for children to be successful in school and later in life. However, approximately 18,000 children in Douglas and Sarpy counties under the age of five live in families of low income. Research suggests these children are at risk of starting school significantly behind their peers who come from families with more resources. Recognizing both the research and the need, Early Childhood Services (ECS) serves as a comprehensive, integrated system of early care and education that provides children from families of low income the opportunities to establish a strong foundation for learning.

Education for single moms

Single mothers often face some of the greatest challenges in raising their children. especially teenage mothers, especially when they dropped out of a high school. We support teen moms and help them get a high school equivalency diploma through online prep courses. Therefore we team up with the Single Moms Club organized MyCareerTools  to help single mom graduating with a degree and become self-supporting after a while. The moms we guide will use the website’s online GED Classes and MyCareerTools will pay for the GED testing fee as well. This is really  a generous offer.

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Special Education

powerful-educationAre you thinking this is a real no-brainer?  When your child is old enough to attend school, you simply enroll him.  Professional educators are better equipped to teach and make educational decisions for all children, including those with disabilities.  Wrong!  Would you allow a teacher or school administrator to decide what your child is capable or incapable of learning?

Based upon their personal opinion of your child’s abilities, would you then let these folks decide what your child will and will not be taught or who their school friends will be? Would you also allow them to choose whether your child will go on to college, or a technical school or even receive a regular high school diploma?

Of course not!  Suppose school administrators were to tell you, “It is our opinion that reading and writing might be too difficult for your child to master.  We’re going to focus instead on teaching those skills that will enable your child to eventually work at a job we feel is more appropriate, like for instance, janitorial work or slinging hash in some fast food place.”  You would be justifiably outraged.  That scenario may be overly simplified, yet many parents of children with disabilities often encounter similar situations when they enter the mysterious realm of Special Education.

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What does family mean to you?

family-icon-collection_23-2147528337

For me, family is everything.  I live, and would die, for my family.  Included in this are some incredibly close friends who have become de facto family members. But everyone’s version of family is different. My parents (and D’s parents) will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversaries this year.  This dynamic and the fact that my parents are still married definitely impacts our relationship.

I see nothing wrong or weird that my immediate family (parents, spouse, two siblings) know exactly how much each other makes (our siblings … not our parent’s income!).  It’s totally normal to me that my parents know how much educational debt I have.  And I think it’s a sign of a strong family but  I understand not everyone is the same. Some time ago I was really busy with personality quizzes and job quizzes.

But some people would not agree. I have a friend that finds it so strange that we all know everyone’s financial information.  Acquaintances who don’t think it’s “appropriate” to ask a daughter how much she spent on her house.

Not only do I plan to tell my parents how much I pay for my house, if possible I want them to help me pick out a good house!

I appreciate and value my parent’s opinions.  I want to learn from their mistakes. Continue Reading

Privacy Policy

 

Privacy Policy
Welcome to our website (the “Site”).We understand that privacy online is important to users of our Site, especially when conducting business.This statement governs our privacy policies with respect to those users of the Site (“Visitors”) who visit without transacting business and Visitors who register to transact business on the Site and make use of the various services offered by [Business Name] (collectively, “Services”) (“Authorized Customers”).

“Personally Identifiable Information”

refers to any information that identifies or can be used to identify, contact, or locate the person to whom such information pertains, including, but not limited to, name, address, phone number, fax number, email address, financial profiles, social security number, and credit card information. Personally Identifiable Information does not include information that is collected anonymously (that is, without identification of the individual user) or demographic information not connected to an identified individual.

What Personally Identifiable Information is collected?

We may collect basic user profile information from all of our Visitors. We collect the following additional information from our Authorized Customers: the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of Authorized Customers, the nature and size of the business, and the nature and size of the advertising inventory that the Authorized Customer intends to purchase or sell.

What organizations are collecting the information?

In addition to our direct collection of information, our third party service vendors (such as credit card companies, clearinghouses and banks) who may provide such services as credit, insurance, and escrow services may collect this information from our Visitors and Authorized Customers. We do not control how these third parties use such information, but we do ask them to disclose how they use personal information provided to them from Visitors and Authorized Customers. Some of these third parties may be intermediaries that act solely as links in the distribution chain, and do not store, retain, or use the information given to them.

How does the Site use Personally Identifiable Information?

We use Personally Identifiable Information to customize the Site, to make appropriate service offerings, and to fulfill buying and selling requests on the Site. We may email Visitors and Authorized Customers about research or purchase and selling opportunities on the Site or information related to the subject matter of the Site. We may also use Personally Identifiable Information to contact Visitors and Authorized Customers in response to specific inquiries, or to provide requested information.

With whom may the information may be shared?

Personally Identifiable Information about Authorized Customers may be shared with other Authorized Customers who wish to evaluate potential transactions with other Authorized Customers. We may share aggregated information about our Visitors, including the demographics of our Visitors and Authorized Customers, with our affiliated agencies and third party vendors. We also offer the opportunity to “opt out” of receiving information or being contacted by us or by any agency acting on our behalf.

How is Personally Identifiable Information stored?

Personally Identifiable Information collected by [Business Name] is securely stored and is not accessible to third parties or employees of [Business Name] except for use as indicated above.

What choices are available to Visitors regarding collection, use and distribution of the information?

Visitors and Authorized Customers may opt out of receiving unsolicited information from or being contacted by us and/or our vendors and affiliated agencies by responding to emails as instructed, or by contacting us at [Address]

Are Cookies Used on the Site?

Cookies are used for a variety of reasons. We use Cookies to obtain information about the preferences of our Visitors and the services they select. We also use Cookies for security purposes to protect our Authorized Customers. For example, if an Authorized Customer is logged on and the site is unused for more than 10 minutes, we will automatically log the Authorized Customer off.

How does Our Website use login information?

Our Website uses login information, including, but not limited to, IP addresses, ISPs, and browser types, to analyze trends, administer the Site, track a user’s movement and use, and gather broad demographic information.

What partners or service providers have access to Personally Identifiable Information from Visitors and/or Authorized Customers on the Site?

Our Website has entered into and will continue to enter into partnerships and other affiliations with a number of vendors.Such vendors may have access to certain Personally Identifiable Information on a need to know basis for evaluating Authorized Customers for service eligibility. Our privacy policy does not cover their collection or use of this information. Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information to comply with law. We will disclose Personally Identifiable Information in order to comply with a court order or subpoena or a request from a law enforcement agency to release information. We will also disclose Personally Identifiable Information when reasonably necessary to protect the safety of our Visitors and Authorized Customers.

How does the Site keep Personally Identifiable Information secure?

All of our employees are familiar with our security policy and practices. The Personally Identifiable Information of our Visitors and Authorized Customers is only accessible to a limited number of qualified employees who are given a password in order to gain access to the information. We audit our security systems and processes on a regular basis. Sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or social security numbers, is protected by encryption protocols, in place to protect information sent over the Internet. While we take commercially reasonable measures to maintain a secure site, electronic communications and databases are subject to errors, tampering and break-ins, and we cannot guarantee or warrant that such events will not take place and we will not be liable to Visitors or Authorized Customers for any such occurrences.

How can Visitors correct any inaccuracies in Personally Identifiable Information?

Visitors and Authorized Customers may contact us to update Personally Identifiable Information about them or to correct any inaccuracies by emailing us at here

Can a Visitor delete or deactivate Personally Identifiable Information collected by the Site?

We provide Visitors and Authorized Customers with a mechanism to delete/deactivate Personally Identifiable Information from the Site’s database by contacting . However, because of backups and records of deletions, it may be impossible to delete a Visitor’s entry without retaining some residual information. An individual who requests to have Personally Identifiable Information deactivated will have this information functionally deleted, and we will not sell, transfer, or use Personally Identifiable Information relating to that individual in any way moving forward.

What happens if the Privacy Policy Changes?

We will let our Visitors and Authorized Customers know about changes to our privacy policy by posting such changes on the Site. However, if we are changing our privacy policy in a manner that might cause disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information that a Visitor or Authorized Customer has previously requested not be disclosed, we will contact such Visitor or Authorized Customer to allow such Visitor or Authorized Customer to prevent such disclosure.

Links:

our website contains links to other web sites. Please note that when you click on one of these links, you are moving to another web site. We encourage you to read the privacy statements of these linked sites as their privacy policies may differ from ours.

Kids can say the darndest things

friends-iconAs a child I had several hated household responsibilities. Scooping up the dog shit in the backyard and making my bed (which I still hate doing) topped the list, and cleaning out the bird cage? Hated it. But right up there with all of those loathsome chores was waking my mom up from an afternoon nap, something I never looked forward to.

My mom just didn’t take a nap, quote unquote. She fell into a mini-coma. Waking her up was not unlike rousing a bear out of hibernation – she got a tad bit vicious when I’d try. I used to poke her in the stomach a few times and then bolt, and she’d sit on the edge of her bed, smoke a cigarette and stare into space for a while before ambling downstairs to smoke and stare some more.

Julia takes after my mom in this particular area and one afternoon last week she woke up crabby and grumpy, like a little bear. It took several minutes for her eyes to open and focus and once they did she immediately started to sob and toss herself about her bed listlessly before I could dress her up.  I pried her out of bed and got her downstairs to the couch where she sat with her Dora blanket and cried through Blue’s Clues. My mom would have been so proud. Continue Reading

The best and worst of our charter school experience

Vector School Building

Vector School Building

I was beyond thrilled when my older daughter got into the charter school of our choice. This particular school has been featured on Oprah, 60 Minutes, PBS, and countless articles as a pillar of what the best of charter schools can offer.

Unlike public schools, this school had longer hours. Instead of an 8-2 day, my daughter was in school from 7:25 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. While this sounds like a lot for a 5th grader, it allowed more time in the class for teachers to work with the students, she had Art, P.E., Technology, and Music as part of her school time (instead of carting kids around to after-school programs), and even time for recess and lunch.
I fell in love with the school on the very first day. Their rules were strict, but the teachers and the principal were extremely compassionate and positive. They believed in every student’s ability to succeed.
My daughter went from an average student to a straight A student. After she got used to having 2 hours of homework a night, she rarely needed help (but knew it was just a phone call away, as the teachers were required to be available by cell until 8 pm). Instead of a PTA, we had breakfast with the Principal one Saturday a month. Everyone contributed, and we all had an equal voice. We could ask any and every question, and through those meetings, new concepts were implemented. For example, after the Principal heard many parents voice their concerns, he included information on the weekly newsletter about cognitive and physical development at our student’s age. I had never before felt like I had such a partner in my child’s education.

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