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IMAGINATION

July 1, 2017
 
IMAGINATION – BUBBLES AND TENTS!
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            Has your child ‘hit the wall’ this summer?  “Mommy, what can I do?”  “Daddy, I’m bored!”
 
            How about some imagination activities?  Imagination opens doors for kids – new ways for them to see and think about things.   Our kiddos have an abundance of imagination just waiting to be opened.  How else do we get mature adults who come up with innovative ideas?
 
            I searched “imagination in children” and found an interesting article titled “10 Easy Ways to Fire Your Child’s Imagination” by Jeremy Schlosberg. If you look up the article, it is well worth it. 
 
Here are some ideas from the article and I added a couple of my own tried and tested suggestions:
 
1)    Tell stories – no video or book needed.
2)    Make art – draw, paint, etc.
3)    Use natural or generic materials – blocks, sand, etc.
4)    Let them create their own visions - don’t overload them with images from TV, movies, computers.
5)    Make puppets – old socks are perfect.
6)    Take a nature walk – grab that paper bag and go.
7)    Fold blank sheets of paper.
8)    Play with big boxes – is it a house, cave, spaceship?
9)    Blow bubbles.
10) Make tents in a large indoor space – quilts, blankets, sheets, etc.
 
HAVE A FUN SUMMER!  SHARE YOUR IMAGINATIVE IDEAS WITH US!
 
            Come back at the beginning of August – Blog Title: 
 
“FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL – SPARKING SUCCESS”
 
COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN
 
 
 

VOLUNTEER .

June 1, 2017
 
VOLUNTEER – SOMEONE NEEDS YOU!
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            As you and/or your kids get out of school for the summer, what are you going to do?  Relax?  Yes!  Read?  Yes!  Sleep more?  Yes!  Volunteer?  What?
 
            YES - SOMEONE NEEDS YOU!
 
            Volunteering by you, your kids, or as a family brings enjoyment in working on something worthwhile together, increases self-esteem, and makes us aware of our importance to the world.
 
            Okay, so what are we going to do?
 
            Search about the places to volunteer that sound interesting to you.  A search  for me was:  “volunteer opportunities Louisville, KY” and this produced numerous websites. 
 
I found there are areas of volunteerism in:  Children and Youth, Community, Education and Literacy, Health and Medicine, Seniors, Sports and Recreation plus more.  Specifically, volunteers could work at the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky Science Center, Louisville Metro Parks, or Louisville Metro Animal Services just to name a few. 
 
For those of you who live in other towns and cities, just search for volunteer opportunities in your area.
 
Still not sure what to do?  Try talking to someone at your school, library, church,  government center or just talk to a neighbor or friend.  REMEMBER:  SOMEONE NEEDS YOU! 
 
 
COME BACK THE FIRST WEEK OF JULY – “IMAGINATION – BUBBLES AND TENTS!”
 
COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN
 

FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS - NOT ACHIEVEMENTS


FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS – NOT ACHIEVEMENTS
By
Linda M. Penn
 
 
            It’s graduation season this month – Kindergarten, 5 Grade, 8 Grade, Middle School, High School – that time for parents and grandparents to brag about their kids’ achievements!  WHAT?  BRAG?  WHO, ME? BRAG?
 
            If your kids are graduating and moving on to a new challenge for next year, avoid the gloating over their achievements.  Most people favor modesty and humility, so please, minimize the boasting, and just sticking to the facts and expressing gratitude.  Example:  “Yes, Susie Q has been accepted at -------Academy.  I’m thankful for all the people who have helped her along the way.”
 
            Last year, I was fortunate to attend an event where Peyton Manning was the guest speaker.  When asked about his award-winning career, instead of boasting of his numerous football records, he spoke of the many relationships he was able to make and maintain.  His advice to the young people in the audience was to be proud of your school work accomplishments but be more proud of the quality relationships that you make, not just for today, but for your lifetime. 
 
            So, for all of us as we go through graduations and awards ceremonies, let’s prepare ourselves and our kiddos to utter wholesome comments after picking up that diploma or award.  And, please – no belittling others!
 
            I searched “Bragging About Accomplishments” and several websites popped up, most of which related ideas on handling business successes, but could definitely be modified for school successes.  Therefore…take a look at the sites, be happy, be grateful, be sensitive and cautious about your comments!
 
            COME BACK THE FIRST WEEK OF JUNE – “SOMEONE NEEDS YOU – VOLUNTEER!”
 
           
COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN
 

TESTING TIME !

April 1, 2017

SPRING BREAK, THEN IT’S THAT PESKY TESTING TIME!
By
Linda M. Penn

    Hope that Spring Break has gone well for you and your kids!  Are you ready for accountability tests?

    In looking back at my previous Blogs about standardized testing, I found I may not have given accountability tests a fair shake.  DO I NEED AN ATTITUDE CHANGE?

    As an elementary public school teacher who just started my career in the mid-80’s, accountability testing had real meaning.  If students had performed poorly throughout the year and on the end-of-the-year tests, they were given the opportunity for summer school remediation or repeat a grade. 

    However, then came state testing based on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards and there were tests, tests, and more tests thrust upon the students throughout the year to prepare them for the ‘biggie’ end-of-the-year tests.  The accountability was more on the school and teacher, and not the individual student.  Summer school remediation for the kids?  What was that?  Summers meant more teacher meetings on ‘teaching the test’ so the school, county, and state would appear to be achieving success.

    Today, there is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which was passed in 2015 to replace the NCLB.  Betsy DeVos, the current U.S. Secretary of Education has notified state school officers to keep developing their ESSA plans.  Apparently, the ESSA keeps some testing but shifts focus away from the high-stakes type testing of NCLB.   

    EVERYONE WHO IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF OUR WORLD needs to be more aware and informed about the type of testing for our kids.  My research (see below) revealed to me there is a focus now on various types of assessments thoughout the school year and not just end-of-the-year tests.  Specific needs for each individual student are made more evident to teachers.

    OKAY, I WILL TRY TO HAVE A CHANGED ATTITUDE ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY TESTS!  So…teachers, parents, students, and legislators, let’s all try to be positive.  Let’s give our teachers and students an extra shout-out and encouraging words at this time of year.  Also, please check out my Blog from April 1, 2016, “Test Takers – Help for the Frightened.”

    Since I am retired and not active in the classroom, would love to have your feedback about the ESSA.

    Come back the first week of May for next Blog – “Focus on Relationships – NOT Achievements.” 

COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN

www.lindampenn.com
lindampenn@gmail.com



References

Gallup.com “Testing that Benefits Students” by Brandon Busteed and Jonathan Rodkin, May 5, 2016 Blog.

Wikipedia.org. “Every Student Succeeds Act,” last page modified February 26, 2017.




MULTI-TASKING,HELP OR HINDER

 
March 1, 2017
 
MULTI-TASKING, HELP OR HINDER?
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            Walking and texting; driving and texting; homework and watching TV; cooking and helping the children with homework; listening to music and writing.  ARE YOU A SUCCESSFUL MULTI-TASKER?  AND HOW ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN?  Do they watch TV, text, and play a video game – ALL AT THE SAME TIME?  And probably when you ask them if they are doing their homework, they will answer, “yes.”
 
            So…is it possible to concentrate successfully on several tasks at the same time?  I used to be able to fix supper, do laundry, help my kids with their homework, answer emails, grade papers, talk on the phone, and even manage to munch on a cookie.  However, now that I am retired, there is no way!
 
            I recall complimenting a friend’s daughter on her “gift” of multi-tasking as she played an online game, texted with a friend, and supposedly completed homework.  I used to think multi-tasking was evidence of efficiency.
 
            Guess what?  I recently read articles about multi-taskers who thought they were boosting their performances when actually they had reduced efficiency.  The research that supported the articles said that our brains can only focus on one thing at a time, and brains could even be damaged, developing “bad brain habits” with so much switching quickly from one focus to another.
 
            Gee, I knew there was a reason I disliked trying to have a conversation with the grandkids when they were playing on their phones.  I was feeling “old and outdated” by their marginal attention to what I was saying.  I suppose their brains were just acting normally by staying focused on whatever important items happened to be on their phones. 
 
            Okay, can we all be a little more conscious of trying to concentrate on ONE thing at a time?  Particularly if I am a passenger in your car while you are texting!  Let’s somehow try to be good models for our kids.
 
            I have to admit I am sitting on the couch writing this article, and trying to watch two programs on TV – all at the same time.  It is not working well.  My husband just came in and asked what were the scores of the basketball games I was supposed to be watching.   I responded with, “we were losing by four points, but that was awhile ago.  I have no idea what it is now.  And the other game, gee, too much to keep up with!”  (I had no kids or grandkids watching me at this time, so, was that alright?)
 
            I promise I will try to do better!  As a matter of fact, it is two days later and I am now concentrating totally on finishing up this blog. 
 
            If this research about multi-tasking interests you, there are several websites that popped up after I typed in “Is multi-tasking good or bad for our brains?” Check them out!
(I wonder if I can get my husband to read them?  Do you think he would then start concentrating on what I am saying to him?  Just kidding, honey!)
 
            Come back the first week of April.  Blog title:  “SPRING BREAK, THEN, IT’S THAT PESKY TESTING TIME!”
 
COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN
 

GESTURES OF KINDNESS

February 1, 2017

GESTURES OF KINDNESS
By
Linda M. Penn

    Did you allow your kids to watch any news coverage of our recent presidential election and inauguration?  Since my grandkids do not live with me, I did not have to face this issue head-on with them.  However, I did face it with just myself.  I ended up turning off the TV on several occasions, wondering where gestures and words of kindness had gone in America.

    In my heart, I knew most people were nice, considerate, and upstanding, right?
I remembered the story of the Florida State University football player who showed a gesture of kindness to a young middle school student in the school cafeteria.  The football player sat down at a table and began talking with a young man who was all alone.  The picture and story appeared all over news outlets in the country.  All the football player had done was sit down and talk to a kid who was obviously alone while the other students were huddled together at other tables.  No big deal?  Wrong!   In interviews with the news media, the mom repeated that small act of kindness made a huge impact on her lonely son.

    Okay, we may never have our story and picture in an article about being kind, but in our little part of the world, we can do our part.  We all want a better world and we can’t leave it up to others to get us all there to that point.  It begins in our hearts!  (It is Valentine’s Day this month) Let’s see now, what could we actually do? 

    SMILE AT THE GROCERY CLERK.
    SAY “THANK YOU, PLEASE,” TO THE WAITRESS.
    HELP “GRANNY” GET SOMETHING FROM A HIGH SHELF OR BETTER YET, AN AIRPLANE OVERHEAD BIN. 
    ALLOW SOMEONE WITH TWO ITEMS TO GO AHEAD OF YOU IN LINE EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE TEN ITEMS AND ARE IN A RUSH TO GET DINNER.
    CALL AND CHECK ON A SICK BUDDY. (NO, NOT TEXT!)
    SEND A CARD THANKING A FRIEND FOR PICKING UP YOUR KIDS NUMEROUS TIME FROM SOCCER PRACTICE WHILE YOU WORKED LATE. (NO, NOT TEXT!)

    The key to a better world is looking for those opportunities to do gestures of kindness.  God probably won’t tap on your shoulder telling you to take food to your neighbor who sprained her ankle!  Let’s all make a belated New Year resolution during this month of love to look for a daily way to show a genuine gesture of kindness!  GUESS WHAT?  YOU KNOW WHO IS WATCHING YOU?  THAT’S RIGHT – YOUR KIDS!  SO GUESS WHO WILL NOW START LOOKING FOR DAILY GESTURES OF KINDNESS – YES, YOUR KIDS!

 Have a lovely Valentine’s Day Month.  See you the first week of March.

BLOG TITLE:  MULTI-TASKING, HELP OR HINDER?

COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN

www.lindampenn.com

lindampenn@gmail.com



WHAT DID YOU DO AT SCHOOL TODAY?

January 1, 2017

WHAT DID YOU DO AT SCHOOL TODAY?
By

Linda M. Penn

    “Nothing,” might be the answer from your kids to your question above.  “Okay,” might be the answer to your question of “How was school today?”  So…how do we move beyond these one-word answers into a conversation that reveals what they REALLY thought about their day?  ASK GOOD QUESTIONS!

Avoid questions that can be answered with “yes,” “no,” “nothing,” “okay,” and other similar one-word answers.
Ask lead-in questions that might lead your kids and you into a more in-depth conversation.  Examples:
What book or books did you read today?  What was the book about?  Did the characters remind you of anyone you know?  What advice would you give classmates about reading this book?
What did you learn in Science class today?  Social Studies?  Music?  Any other special class?
What was your favorite part of the day?  (Besides lunch and playtime!)  Why did you like that?
How did you help someone today?  How did someone help you?
Avoid the “20 Questions” everyday but do ask your children about something.  Then, they will be in the habit of expecting to talk about their day.  And guess what?  They might even start to ask you questions about your day! 

Imagine how special I felt when granddaughter, Samantha, asked me how my day was when I picked her up at school?
Depending on the maturity of your children, avoid being too nosey or critical
if they do open up to you.  Just let them be aware of your interest in their friends, activities, classes, etc.  Examples:
What makes you think that?
Why do you say that?
Ask questions in the car on the way to soccer practice or dance class if you
rush from one place to another after school.  Questions are good anytime, anywhere, especially at the dinner table.
Avoid interrupting if the child “gets on a roll” with conversation.
Avoid using your cell phone when your child is actually talking to you.  Make eye contact (unless you are driving, of course!).  PLEASE DON’T PRETEND TO BE LISTENING TO THE KIDDOS WHEN YOU ARE TEXTING!
If you become aware of a problem for your children that appears to need your help, avoid demeaning comments about others.  You can always tell them you will check into the issue and get back with them.  If the problem appears to be resolvable by your child alone, give them your guidance, but don’t make unusual demands on them.

ENJOY YOUR CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR KIDDOS!!!

 HAVE A GREAT 2017! 

Check back the first week of February for blog titled:  GESTURES OF KINDNESS

COPYRIGHT 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
LINDA M. PENN

www.lindampenn.com

lindampenn@gmail.com

THE PERFECT GIFT

 
December 1, 2016
 
THE PERFECT GIFT
 
By
 
Linda M. Penn
 
            Are you in search of that perfect gift for your child, your spouse, your friend?  And what if you can’t find it? 
 
            I saw a segment on TV last week about the latest toy craze – hatching eggs.  Apparently stores sell out as soon as they get a new shipment.
 
            I remember well searching for Cabbage Patch dolls for my two daughters one Christmas.  I found a lady who made them – problem solved!  At least temporarily!  After Christmas, stores had bunches of them.  I wonder what my now adult girls ever did with those dolls?
 
            We try so hard to make everything perfect for the holidays but in reality, there is no perfect giftEXCEPT GOD’S GIFT OF JESUS TO US.  Let’s all endeavor to keep that in mind as we rush about this Christmas season.
 
            Let’s try giving more of our TIME instead of giving in to the hustle and bustle activities.  Those relationships we build bring more lasting memories.  I’ve asked my daughters about their favorite memories of our family Christmases when they were little.  They recalled Aunt Freda’s annual Christmas morning breakfasts with Grandma, their aunts, uncles, and cousins, and not those Cabbage Patch dolls!
 
            Hoping you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!
 
            Come back the first week in January.  BLOG TITLE:  “WHAT DID YOU DO AT SCHOOL TODAY?”
 
COPYRIGHT 2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED LINDA M. PENN
 

Linda M. Pennwww.lindampenn.comAnyone witnessed a kid having a temper tantrum at the grocery lately? Anyone been to a Local Farmers’ Market or Arts and Crafts Festival lately?

REMEDY FOR SELF-ESREEM

November 1, 2016
 
REMEDY FOR LOW SELF-ESTEEM
 
By
 
Linda M. Penn
 
 
            “I can’t do that.”  “I’m no good at that.”  “I’ll never pass that test.”  Are these statements you have heard from your children?
 
            We adults have times when we feel insecure, but hopefully, we can deal positively with these anxieties.  So, how can we help the kids to grow and mature with positive thinking about themselves?
 
            I might rock your world when I say this, but here goes:  EVERY KID IS UNIQUE AND SPECIAL, BUT WE DON’T NEED TO TELL THEM THAT TEN TIMES A DAY!  AND, EVERY KID DOESN’T NEED A PARTICIPATION TROPHY.
 
            Give sincere compliments cautiously so the children feel proud of themselves.  Hearing “you’re awesome, you did a great job” when you and the children know they could have done better only leads to low self-esteem.  (Kids are no dummies.  They realize when they are getting undeserving praise.) 
 
            Praising a child’sEFFORTS, rather than RESULTS,builds self-esteem.  Let the kids know you love them unconditionally whether they “make the team or not.”
 
            In my search of “build self-esteem in children,” I found several websites with helpful ideas for parents and teachers.
 
            Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  Come back the first week in December for the next Blog:  “THE PERFECT GIFT
 
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn
 

RESEARCH FOR KIDS!


 
RESEARCH FOR KIDS!  IT’S FUN, NOT A PAIN!
By
Linda M. Penn
 
            First of all – We can’t believe everything we read on the Internet!  Surprise, surprise!  As your children grow and mature in their research skills, please help them by reminding them of this fact.  Researching may require more intense research just to make sure your presumed “facts” are indeed supportable.
 
           
1)    The source for your information needs to be credible – up-to-date, in-depth information from trusted experts.
2)    If the website asks for any personal information, GO TO ANOTHER SITE!
3)    Narrow your search.  Example:  My search for George Washington showed TEN PAGESof WEBSITES, but my search for George Washington at Valley Forge only showed TEN WEBSITES.
 
Research skills are begun in the primary grades with exposure to lots of
non-fiction picture books.  These kinds of books are almost 100% sure to be an enjoyment to kids.
 
            Around the third grade is where the more advanced research skills are begun to be taught.  Some kiddos feel overwhelmed with:  taking notes, weeding out the junk websites, finding what’s the most important info, keywords, copyrights, citations, sharing the info by oral or written presentation, report, letters, etc.  NOT FUN?
 
            My advice is to allow the students to take time to develop research skills before expecting them to go to a computer on their own and develop an intense research project.  This will give the kids confidence in their search techniques and it becomes fun!  AWAY GOES THE FEAR OF RESEARCHING!
 
            For more help, search “research skills for children” and lots of websites are shown.
 
            COME BACK THE FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER:  “REMEDY FOR LOW SELF-ESTEEM” 
 
BE SAFE!  BE CURIOUS!  BE COURTEOUS!
 
Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved Linda M. Penn