Posted in Slice of LIfe

Painting Party: A Slice of Life Post

Write. Share. Give.

Hello everyone. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post. A couple of weeks ago, I got together with my painting friends and we went to work painting our various pictures. We gather in my friend, Paulette’s garage and sit down at our easels and try to create our our masterpieces. I’m a messy artist. Just like I’m a messy cook or baker. It’s just the way I do things, but I’m enjoying this creative endeavor even though I have a lot to learn.

It’s such a calming atmosphere as we all concentrate on our work and the scent of paint hangs in the air like a misty cloud over our heads.

Photo via VisualHunt

Even though I’m an introvert, I enjoy getting together with people when we are engaging in an activity, like painting, or playing cards, or hiking. I’m not one for idle small talk. I’m more of a seeker of truth. I want to solve the world’s problems and when we get to painting we talk about them and we do come up with solutions. We need to write them down so we can send them off to the powers that be. 🙂

Getting together like this reminds me of the old quilting circles women used to organize in the olden days. We bond and come together, sharing parts of our lives with each other.  This bonding time is important for us relationship minded folk.

Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives via Visualhunt.com / No known copyright restrictions

When we get together and paint, it calms me. It’s a way to be creative but get away from my writing for a little bit and learn something new. I like learning. That’s why I like writing so much because there’s a lot of research to do.

 Street exhibition of paintings

Photo via VisualHunt

How about you? How do you relax and reconnect with your inner self?

Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

To read other Slice of Life Posts click here.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Could e-books be the Solution to our Growing Literacy Problems?

Hello Everyone, I hope all is well with you today! I’m back with another topic that’s near and dear to my heart and that is the literacy problems that we have in the US today.

According to an article in USA Today a federal study has found that an estimated thirty two million adults are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a children’s picture book or to understand a medication’s side effects listed on a pill bottle.  For more information from this article click here: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-01-08-adult-literacy_N.htm

I find this alarming, don’t you?  The statistics for our youth are just as bad. According to RIF.org http://www.rif.org/us/about/literacy-issues.htm  nearly forty percent of US fourth graders do not achieve basic levels of reading proficiency. The number is higher among low income families, certain minority groups, and English language learners.

So, how can we turn this around?  That is a very good question and as I ponder it the memory of a conversation with my second grader comes to mind. We were getting ready to do his reading homework and he was grumbling that he really didn’t want to do it.  Feeling frustrated, I started to argue with him and then I stopped and asked him, “Why don’t you want to read tonight?”

He looked at me and said, “Because these books are boring.”

“Well…did you tell your teacher that?”

He shook his head. “No…she would get upset.”

I just stumbled upon part of the problem. Some of these books that schools are requiring students to read just don’t interest them. And with no interest in the subject reading becomes a “pain” to do and the young student’s motivation turns to dread. With all the millions of books in the world I’m sure we could find topics that would be interesting to our young readers.  Why can’t we offer them choices? I feel that offering our little chickadees a choice and letting them pick a topic they like would be a step in the right direction. It would solve the motivation issues that seem to be a problem with our reluctant readers.

As I pondered this I thought, what if all of the students were given e-readers? Look at all the books available today that are in e-book format. I’m sure we could find something to please even the pickiest reader. I know what you’re thinking…that’s kind of unrealistic.  Or is it?

When you think about it…look at the cost of a paperback versus the cost of an e-book. I mean educators will be making up the difference in cost relatively quickly.

And while we’re at it…why don’t we put text books in e-book format? Can you imagine the savings for educators in that arena? With our educators trying to cut costs I think that e-readers represent a viable solution.

Did you know that Scholastic has an e-reader right now? It’s called Storia and parents can get most of the books available from Scholastic in e-book format.

I see E-books as the wave of the future and if our schools hop on board maybe we can turn this literacy problem around. Kids could literally carry a library around with them. What do you think? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

I’d like to thank USA Today and RIF.org for some of the information in this post. 🙂

Posted in Teen

Cheating…an Epidemic in our Schools

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m back after a two week Halloween Party. It was a blast! And I want to take just a minute and thank all the wonderful authors and contestants who participated in our event. I hope you had a great time and we’ll try and brew up some new and exciting events in the months to come. So stay tuned!

The topic that I want to discuss today is cheating.  From my research, I found that cheating is a way of life in our schools today.  At first, I was surprised by this but then I looked back on my own high school days, and realized that cheating was prevalent back then too.

Back in my day, (not so long ago, wink) I remember a certain football player who wanted to copy my answers on a test in health class. The teacher had left the room and there was a debate between all the students. Half of them wanted me to let him copy my answers and the other half didn’t. What a dilemma I was in, because I liked him and considered him a friend, but I didn’t want to get caught cheating.

Luckily, the teacher returned, and the class settled down.  I didn’t have to make that decision. But what about kids who do?  From what I’ve learned, it’s become easier and easier to cheat. It’s almost the norm nowadays.  There is tremendous pressure on teens to get good grades and many are taking the quickest route to success.

And it’s hard for parents to caution against the perils of cheating when kids get away with it and are rewarded with good grades. And isn’t that the goal? Good grades?

What makes the process even more difficult is that these students see adults cheating as well. In fact, what do you do when your own school does it? In this article,  http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/07/06/investigation-finds-widespread-cheating-in-atlanta-schools/

Authorities found that educators in Atlanta were changing test answers on students’ tests in order to get a better score.  Officials suspect this is a widespread problem brought on by the initiative “No child left behind” where teachers can suffer salary cuts and lose their job if their class doesn’t meet the requirements specified by this initiative.

So what’s the answer to the cheating epidemic that seems to be a problem not only among students but teachers as well?

In my opinion, the problem is that we’ve become a results oriented society.  Our society is sending this message and our kids are smart…they’re picking it up loud and clear, and that message is…we don’t care how you get the best score…it only matters that you get it.

How very sad.  We’re not doing our children any favors by sending this message. We need to shift that focus from results to the learning process. That’s right. 🙂 We need our kids to be graded on how much they’ve learned or improved and let’s make learning fun again! I mean when they were babies those kids were curious they wanted to learn. Now, that curiosity has been snuffed out because society says you’ve got to learn these specific things and you’ve got to achieve this result. I don’t know about you, but for me that takes all the fun out of it!

I know what you’re thinking, how in the world are we going to do that? That is a good question and I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve got some ideas, but you knew that didn’t you? 🙂 In my opinion, as parents we need to focus on the strengths of each of our children.  And we need to work in conjunction with educators in developing those strengths. I believe that our kids will grow up with healthier self-esteem and more confidence because they were able to develop these strengths.

There’s a great book available written by Jenifer Fox, M. Ed., titled “Your Child’s Strengths” and it’s a great resource for parents and teachers. We need to start there and create an educational environment that allows each child to develop their strengths. By doing this, we’ll eliminate the cheating problem we have in our schools today.

You can find the book in many book stores or on Amazon. Here’s the link.

http://www.amazon.com/Your-Childs-Strengths-Teachers-ebook/dp/B000VMFF5M

I know what you’re thinking…that’s going to be hard to do. You’re right it is…we’d have to revamp the whole educational system…but aren’t our kids worth it?

I’d love to hear any other ideas or thoughts on the topic. 🙂 Feel free to leave a comment and thanks for stopping by!