Archive for March, 2010

Food For Thought

Monday, March 29th, 2010

“Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” a show about changing the way people eat, got me thinking. Granted, I’m not a fan of reality TV. It’s hardly real and often, it’s just simply misleading. Still, Oliver is a famous chef who overhauled public school cafeterias in his native UK. Instead of processed foods, he got the schools to serve fresh, healthier alternatives. The show is staged, like any other, but starts by looking at the poor choices these kids face on a daily basis.  The brilliant thing is he looks at how changes happens, or might and the parents, the kids and school leaders are all part of it. The show infuses the usual reality TV drama, but it does make a really good point: how will kids ever make the right choice if we don’t even offer one? As parents, we are entrusted with providing for our children. The selections we offer them—be it food, the shows and movies we watch, and even family activities—are in our hands. Now is a good time to ask ourselves whether or not we are giving our kids the selections that reflect our values. Tastes for foods, books and television are developed, not ingrained.  Sure, habits are hard to break and change is often met with resistance, but isn’t it time we give them some good food for thought?

Thinking Outside of the Toy Box: 4 Children’s Gizmos That Inspired Scientific Breakthroughs

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Advances in science and technology can launch from unassuming springboards. In 1609 Galileo tweaked a toylike spyglass, pointed it at the moon and Jupiter (not the neighbors), and astronomy took a quantum leap. About 150 years later, Benjamin Franklin reportedly used a kite to experiment with one of the earliest-known electrical capacitors. Continuing that tradition, these researchers prove toys inspire more than child’s play.

Scientific American magazine explores how the Etch-a-Sketch, Legos, Shrinky Dink and the balloon inspired new ideas in “Thinking Outside of the Toy Box: 4 Children’s Gizmos That Inspired Scientific Breakthroughs.”

Read more >

Your Undivided Attention….please?

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

The other night, my soon to be 13-year-old daughter asked me to watch TV with her. No problem. Multi-tasking is a part of life, so “watching” TV can really mean checking some e-mails or sorting papers. But when my daughter noticed I wasn’t paying attention to her selected show, she got mad. A selfish pre-teen moment or missed parenting opportunity?

She wanted me to share in something she enjoys and even though it seems like passive time together, it’s these defenses-down periods that can be learning and teaching moments. Turns out, she wanted to know if I ever fell for a bad boy. Is school really like that? Funny that a show about teenage vampires was really a gateway for my daughter to express her fears and ask questions. So next time, your child asks you to watch TV with them, you may want to give them your undivided attention.

Life on Discovery Channel

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Any Planet Earth fans out there? As a follow-up to that fantastic and beautiful 2006 series narrated by Sigourney Weaver, the Discovery Channel is about to debut a new epic TV event called Life. Narrated by none other than Oprah Winfrey, the 11-part series promises to bring fantastic footage of bizarre and amazing animal behavior around the world. We’ll get to see the mating rituals of the humpback whale, the dramatic rescue of a baby elephant by her grandmother, and birds, insects, and reptiles of all kinds. Using state of the art, high-definition filming techniques, Life was filmed over 3,000 days on seven continents. It will be breathtaking. Look for it on March 21 on Discovery.

Alice in Wonderland, The Reviews are In

Friday, March 12th, 2010

With all the anticipation surrounding the release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, we asked Jerry Griswold, Director National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, to pose an adventurous review assignment to his graduate students. Here we present the unedited reviews, in un-Alice fashion, alphabetically by author’s last names: Paris Brown, Amanda Hansen, Chris Learned Kane, Francis Merlie, Jaimee Pease, Natalie Scott and Danielle M. Seid.