Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reading maps

Radio Commentary

Reading maps is an important skill for everyone to master, whether the map is on paper, a computer, or a GPS screen.
Help by putting your child’s natural curiosity to work. Even small children can learn to read simple maps of their school, neighborhood, and community.
Go on a walk and collect natural materials like flowers or leaves to use for an art project. Map the location where you found each item.
Create a treasure map for children to find hidden treats in the yard or inside your home. This can even be a great idea for birthday parties. Encourage children to play the game with one another, taking turns with hiding the treasure and drawing the map. 
See if your child can find your street on a county or city map. Point out where your relatives or your children’s friends live.
Point out different kinds of maps, like state highway maps, city or county maps, and bus route maps. Discuss their different uses.
Before taking a trip, show your children a map of where you are going and how you plan to get there. Look for other routes you could take and talk about why you chose the one you did. 
Children sometimes like to follow the map as you travel. If you are on a long trip, you can point out what town you have just reached and ask children to find the next town on your route.

All these activities help with geography skills year-round.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Venoco, Inc. Crystal Apple Winners announced

Ten outstanding educators in Santa Barbara County will receive the 2014 Venoco, Inc. Crystal Apple Educator Awards on May 8 at the Education Celebration that is hosted each year by the Teachers Network of the Santa Barbara County Education Office.
For 12 years Venoco, Inc. and the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) have partnered to present these awards to five exceptional educators from the North County and five from the South County. The celebration takes place at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton.
The Crystal Apple recipients are chosen for their dedication; instructional and motivational skills; ability to challenge and inspire students; and their ability to interact with students, staff, and community members.
“We are so pleased to be able to acknowledge the exceptional work of these outstanding educators,” said county Superintendent of Schools Bill Cirone, whose office coordinates the program. “They represent the hundreds of professionals working day in and day out to make a difference for the students of Santa Barbara County.”
Each year, school employees, parents, and students are invited to nominate educators who have provided exceptional service to students. Crystal Apple winners receive a crystal apple plaque and a $500 stipend, generously provided by Venoco.
“Venoco is proud to acknowledge the exceptional accomplishments of this year’s Crystal Apple honorees,” said Marybeth Carty, Community Partnership Manager for Venoco, Inc. “This peer-nominated award allows us to recognize the best of the best, and express our thanks for the daily dedication and faith our local educators apply to the supremely important task of helping our children thrive.”
This year’s Venoco, Inc. Crystal Apple Educator Award winners are:

North County
Elementary Teacher: Gordon (Kenji) Matsuoka, Alvin Avenue School, Santa Maria-Bonita School District
Secondary Teacher: Tina Hughes, Fesler Junior High School, Santa Maria-Bonita School District
Classified Employee: Dennie Upton, Joe Nightingale School, Orcutt Union School District
Certificated Support Provider: Shannon Lopez, Joe Nightingale School, Orcutt Union School District
Administrator: Bridget Baublits, Principal, Los Olivos School, Los Olivos School District

South County
Elementary Teacher: Robert Cooper, Adams School, Santa Barbara Unified School District
Secondary Teacher: Carolyn Teraoka-Brady, San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara Unified School District
Classified Employee: Leslie Grieve, Canalino Elementary School, Carpinteria Unified School District
Certificated Support Provider: Rebekah Wagner, Cold Spring School, SBCEO Special Education
Administrator: Felicia Roggero, Principal, Brandon School, Goleta Union School District

For more information, call Steven Keithley, Director of SBCEO Teacher Programs and Support, at 964-4710, ext. 5281.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Work ethic

Radio Commentary

              Author and child advocate Marian Wright Edelman wrote a book for her children, “The Measure of our Success,” that outlines 25 lessons for life.
            In it, she states: “Don’t be afraid of hard work or of teaching your children to work. Work is dignity and caring, and the foundation for a life with meaning.”
            She writes that far too many children of privilege, of the middle class, and of the poor, are growing up without a strong work ethic, and too many are growing up without work at all.
It once was a given that children would work, sometimes after school, sometimes during weekends, always during the summer.
Though the goal was to earn money, these jobs were also a way to instill a work ethic, providing meaningful use of a young person’s time.
            Edelman said too many people today are obsessed with work for the sole purpose of “ensuring their ability to engage in limitless consumption.”
            She also says: “An important reason much of my generation stayed out of trouble is that we had to help out at home and in the community, and did not have time — or energy — to get into trouble.”
            This is not the case with many of our children today. Leisure pursuits are highly valued by young and old alike.
Recreation, sports, and entertainment have filled the space once reserved for employment. And many of the values learned in the workplace are finding no method for delivery in a society obsessed with fun and pleasure.
There is dignity in work, and it’s never too early to learn that lesson. We short-change our children if we imply that fulfillment can be gained only from activities that are fun.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Eating disorders

Radio Commentary

Media coverage of eating disorders has generally improved, but unrealistic body images continue to appear. The pressures to be thin are very great, especially for girls.
The state PTA warns that between five and 10 million Americans have eating disorders, mostly teens and young adults.
Anorexia is a fear of becoming fat, coupled with an unrealistic body image that leads people to restrict severely the amount of food they eat.
Bulimia involves bingeing and purging — eating excessive amounts of food and then forcing it out.
Eating disorders all involve preoccupations with weight and food. But they are often rooted in other issues, compensating for aspects of life that appear to be out of control.
Many young people who suffer from these disorders also have feelings of inadequacy, troubled relationships, or a history of being teased because of weight.
Parents should teach children positive and healthy attitudes toward their bodies.
            Media coverage of celebrity eating issues can offer a good chance to ask your children what they think.
Be sure to point out that healthy, fit bodies don’t all look the same.
Experts say parents who are worried should communicate their concerns without judgment and without oversimplifying the issue. Express support and seek professional treatment if necessary. These issues can be serious.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

T.V. as positive

Radio Commentary

       Watching TV can be a positive activity for children if viewed in the right context.
With your children, watch a program that takes place in another part of the United States, or another country, and find the site on a map or globe.  
Read a story from that area, learn about that place’s history, or cook a meal from that culture.
Help your child develop an understanding of time by comparing lengths of TV shows. Compare a half-hour show to a one-hour show, or to a two-hour movie.
Teach your child how to tell time by comparing the current position of the clock hands to the time when a specific show comes on.  
You could teach a child the days of the week in the same fashion with a calendar.
Develop simple word problems using television. For example: “If there are six commercials and each is 30 seconds long, how many minutes of commercials will you watch during this program?”
Watch the news with your children and follow a story. Watch the same story on different channels and discuss the differences and similarities. Find the same topic in the newspaper, a magazine, or on the Internet and compare the coverage.

It is almost impossible to eliminate TV viewing. By talking about it, and making it a learning experience, you can help make television a positive part of your child’s life.