Archive for June, 2013

Can an app help teachers better manage class behavior?

Are star charts and pulling strips passé? Could a teacher manage classroom behavior better with an app?

A fourth-grade teacher wrote a review of a new behavior app called ClassDojo. Teachers can run if off their class computer, Smarboards or their smartphones. It helps track positive and negative points, can easily be sent to parents for behavior reports and can trend spot for problem days and times in the classrooms. Here’s more on the app.

From Edutopia:

“ClassDojo is simple to use. You set up a class, or classes. Each class has avatars assigned for each of your students. Once your class is set up, you have the ability to award points, affectionately known as “dojos” in my classroom, for positive or negative behavior. You can award individual or multiple students.

“The app comes with a list of behaviors, but you can create your own list. That’s what I did as the school year wore on (i.e. homework, contest winner, etc.). ClassDojo can be used with your interactive …

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Disney Channel introduces new Mickey Mouse shorts

Beginning tonight at 8 p.m., kids can watch old favorite friends Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto in new animated shorts.

From Entertainment Weekly:

“The beloved Disney icon is getting another surge of fame with the release of brand-new animation aimed at kids 6-14 that will air on Disney Channel. Kicking off Friday, June 28 the roll-out of comedy cartoons will include new shorts featuring Mickey — as well as Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto — and will be both old-fashioned, with retro 2-D animation, and feature a few “contemporary touches” as well….”

“The first Mickey Mouse will air Friday, June 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET; “Yodelberg” will premiere Saturday June 29 at 8. After the premiere weekend, new shorts will continue to roll out on Friday nights starting July 5 on Disney Channel.”

EW has an exclusive preview of a Minnie and Mickey cartoon on their site. (It won’t let me embed the player.)

I used to love Mickey cartoons but my favorites always involved Chip …

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How do you charge all your electronics while traveling?

My friend from high school posted this shot on Facebook of her charging four devices while traveling home from vacation in Florida.

My friend from high school posted this shot on Facebook of her charging four devices while traveling home from vacation in Florida.

We are preparing for our July camping trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and we are trying to figure out the best way to charge our phones so we have them safety and photos. I am sure the kids would like the iPad charged as well but I don’t care about that one.

I’m not as worried about the travel days because you can just plug them into the car (although we are wondering about a dual-plug adapter so we can charge both phones at once), but I am concerned about the days that we are in the woods hiking and on the campgrounds.

So here are some devices were are considering for camping:

* How are the solar chargers? I think this would be useful while we are on the campgrounds and not driving.  Are they effective? Will they capture enough of a charge? Has anyone used these? (Here’s a review from CNET on the solar chargers.)

* What about an

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Back in vogue: Would you take a portrait of yourself breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding portraits that were popular in the mid-1800s are back in vogue, and I am wondering if mothers would want a photo of themselves breastfeeding?

From The Huffington Post:

“And as Jill Lepore explains in The Mansion of Happiness, it’s just the latest round in the changing discourse about breastfeeding; in the mid-1800s, images of breastfeeding mothers became a fad in the U.S. The use of wet nurses had never been as common in the U.S. as in Europe, and it became even less popular by the early 1800s; breastfeeding your own child became a central measure of your worth as a mother. Cultural constructions of femininity became highly centered on motherhood and the special bond between a mother and her children in the Victorian era.”

“As daguerreotypes became available, women began to pose breastfeeding their infants, capturing them in this most essential of maternal roles…”

You can see an entire Pinterest board of vintage breastfeeding images here.

I will admit that I …

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Shunned in the ’80s, schools return to ability grouping

It used to be common in the classroom for teachers to group students by ability for reading or math lessons. But in the 1980s and 1990s it went out of practice as critics said it trapped the poor and minorities in the low-level groups. So classrooms started lumping everyone together teaching to the middle – leaving the higher-achieving students bored, and I think still not helping the struggling students enough.

But now studies tell us that ability grouping has re-emerged across the country with teachers and principals saying it is indispensable in coping with the wide variation of skill levels in the classroom.

From The New York Times (the article is really long but here are a few key points):

“A new analysis of data collected by the government’s National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that of the fourth-grade teachers surveyed, 71 percent said they had grouped students by reading ability in 2009, up from 28 percent in 1998. The analysis, by Tom Loveless, a senior …

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We could have danced all night — at the retirement community ballroom

To celebrate finishing 10 weeks of dance lessons (swing, tango, shag…) and to test our new skills, Michael and I went on a dancing field trip with our class. I assumed it was going to be at a ballroom dance club like I had been to in Atlanta but it wasn’t. It was actually an active senior retirement community complete with it’s own country club and ballroom.

Even though we were surprised it was a retirement community, we didn’t mind. I like hanging out with older people. I like the music of the ’40s and ’50s. I love Turner Classic Movies, and I also liked how close their bathroom was to the dance floor.

We got there about hour into it and the floor was packed with about 200 people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s dancing. We were by far the youngest people in the room, but they were much better dancers.

I love how that older generation (including my parents) grew up dancing – really dancing  — holding each other, twirling and swinging each other around. These retirees were …

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Will N-word, alleged make-believe slave wait staff suggestion turn you off Paula Deen?

Paula Deen is feeling some heat after testifying in a deposition that she has used the N-word. She is also accused of suggesting that her brother use an all-black wait staff at his wedding imitating “slaves” from Shirley Temple movies.

From the Associated Press:

“Deen’s racial statements came to light as part of a deposition in a lawsuit brought by a former manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House, who claimed to be sexually harassed and said the restaurant was rife with innuendo and racial slurs.

Deen was asked in the deposition whether she had ever used the N-word.

“Yes, of course,” Deen replied, though she added: “It’s been a very long time.”

The chef’s representatives issued a statement Thursday saying that it was a different time when Deen admitted using the N-word, and she does not condone its use today.

“She was born 60 years ago when America’s South had schools that were segregated, different bathrooms, different restaurants and Americans rode in different …

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Are you still crazy for New Kids on the Block?

I have a very good friend who is so pumped about seeing New Kids on the Block tonight at Philips Arena. She has been sharing videos from the band on Facebook for the last few weeks.

This friend is a little bit younger than me. I like New Kids on the Block but I wasn’t that into them. I think I connected more with New Edition.

Boys II Men and 98 Degrees are joining NKoB on the tour.

My friend is taking her daughter on Friday to see One Direction so the tradition continues.

Which boy band do you remember the most? Which band would you be most excited to see perform? How do you think One Direction and the Jonas Brothers compare to the older boy bands? Do you take your daughter to see boy bands too?

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What’s your favorite rainy (survive-the-day) activity?

Atlanta can’t seem to catch a break from the thunderstorms. It’s a miracle the city hasn’t floated down the Chattahoochee in the latest spate of storms. I’ve been hearing from so many friends about how frustrated they are trying to entertain their kids and get energy out while it’s raining.

One girlfriend was bemoaning taking her three kids to the movies. She likes getting out of the house but then they just sit there and don’t expend any energy. Also it’s very expensive. She says she’s inclined just to let them watch TV instead of paying for a movie.  (FYI — “Monsters University” opens this Friday just in case. There’s a 20 percent chance of rain for Friday, Saturday and Sunday according to Channel 2.)

I told her she should go to one of the indoor trampoline parks like Sky Zone. Her kids are too big for a jumpy place but they need to get that energy out. (Be sure not to feed your kids before. Lilina threw up at a birthday party at one of those places. That was on Michael’s …

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When does sibling rivalry become bullying?

A new study from the University of New Hampshire suggests that sibling rivalry can escalate into bullying and can be linked to worse mental health outcomes than being bullied by unrelated kids.

Here are the details of the study from Time Healthland:

“The new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, involved thousands of children and adolescents throughout the U.S. and found that those who were physically assaulted, had their toys stolen or broken, or endured emotional abuse that made them feel frightened or unwanted by their sibling had higher levels of depression, anger and anxiety than those without these experiences. About one-third of the kids had been targeted by their siblings for physical and verbal abuse and overall, these children showed more mental health symptoms later than those who weren’t subject to bullying.”

“In order to study any differences between the effects of sibling bullying and those of being threatened by an unrelated bully, the researchers compared …

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