Jun 11 2015

Color-Changing Beads: Fluorescence from UV Light

Category: ScienceAdmin @ 11:27 am

The usual explanation for the behavior of color-changing beads is that they change color when they absorb ultraviolet light. True enough, but why? The name for this process is “fluorescence.” Some pigments absorb light of one wavelength and quickly emit ‐ fluoresce ‐ light of another (or sometimes the same) wavelength. This is similar to […]

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Jun 06 2015

Too Much Thought? Here’s What to Do:

Category: Alternative Education,Learning,Self-Directed LearningAdmin @ 12:09 pm

Go to school for 13 or more years. I don’t mean just any school, but most schools. Most of the political and ideological interests struggling for control of American education share some basic assumptions about the meaning and purpose of schooling in modern society. They assume that schools exist to transmit a certain body of […]

May 12 2015

New Story for Young Children Supports Nature as Natural

Category: Health,Learning,Play,Self-Directed LearningAdmin @ 3:41 pm

To counteract "Nature-Deficit Disorder," a new release from Barefoot Books, Outdoor Opposites, plays with words for opposites while portraying children enjoying the natural world. Macy Koch has written a nice description of the book (for ages 3-7) here. It is good to see a book that reminds children and parents how much fun playing outside […]

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Apr 22 2015

Osmo: Software Meets Hands-On Play

Category: Learning ActivitiesAdmin @ 2:00 pm

As a Montessori teacher and computer super-user (I even write programs), I worry about young children spending too much time immersed in computers instead of interacting in what used to be normal ways in physical and social realms. Osmo® is different. It actually encourages real-world physical manipulation and in-person social interaction. When I saw their […]

Apr 05 2015

Saved from Standardized Testing? How?

Category: Alternative Education,LearningAdmin @ 10:30 pm

While testing has its place, the standardized testing imposed upon public schools has many problems. The tests were designed to give an overall picture of how groups of students compared to other groups in other times and places. They were not designed to assess an individual’s mastery of taught subject matter (especially since there is […]

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Apr 01 2015

My Barefoot Books Site

Category: ReadingAdmin @ 4:31 pm

I joined Barefoot Books because of the high quality of their stories and art, their commitment to using sustainable printing practices, and the quality of the papers and binding they use. I have set up Barefoot Books Kids as my ambassador site for posting book reviews, telling about local Barefoot Books events (Sonoma, Mendocino and […]

Mar 04 2015

Schooling and Interest

When students study what interests them, their work develops a natural, invigorating flow. They engage creatively with their topic, ask their own questions and pursue answers to their own satisfaction. They remember what matters. When someone else chooses their work, students may not find much of personal relevance. The learning becomes a chore, the students’ […]

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Feb 19 2015

What’s in a Word

Category: LearningAdmin @ 5:39 pm

Apparently, goats and sheep are pretty much the same thing in China. In Mandarin, there is one word to cover both: yang. This issue has come up recently because some English-speaking people seem confused about whether to call the current Chinese year, which began today, the year of the sheep or the goat. In scientific […]

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Feb 10 2015

Children Learning Reading Program

Category: ReadingAdmin @ 12:26 pm

Most people do not realize that children as young as three or four are so well focused on learning the sounds and meaning of language that, if properly presented, reading is actually not that difficult. The Children Learning Reading Program uses an approach similar to that of Montessori and Phono-Graphix (upon which I base my […]

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Nov 28 2014

Children Need to Direct Themselves

Category: Self-Directed LearningAdmin @ 2:14 pm

Here is evidence that too many children’s lives are over-scripted at the expense not only of their free time, but also of their cognitive development. Psychologists at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO (USA) and the University of Denver in Denver, CO published their research in the June 17, 2014 Frontiers in Psychology journal […]

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