Lessons Learned

When I was a child, I was in a program called “Ideas in Motion,” directed by Jearnine Wagner. She became, not only my mentor, but also an inspiration to countless children and adults. I learned some beneficial lessons from Ms. Wagner about being a teacher/mentor. Here are a few: Positive Profiling How do you describe the unique potential of a child? How do you do it in a way that focuses on strengths instead of Read More →

Thank you!

For fifteen years I taught educators from Latin America who studied in the US for a year and then returned to their home countries to be agents of change. Besides my education classes, they participated in leadership classes with Linda Ximenes. Being an agent of change means dealing with many diverse human beings and organizations. With Linda X., they practiced being effective group leaders and contributors. With her, before leaving, they would develop short and Read More →


Stories stick with us. We remember good stories because they touch our heart, tickle our funnybone or incite us to action. I started to remember some of the stories I loved when I was little and how they are still the kinds of stories I love. For example: Myths and legends tried to explain why the things in the world are the way they are. I loved stories like, “Why the Bear has a Short Read More →

The Four C’s

The four C’s—creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking—developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, provide a framework for needed student outcomes in a rapidly-changing and challenging world. New World Kids (NWK) is an early childhood program and curriculum that builds a solid foundation in the four C’s. Operating in-school and out-of-school at several sites, NWK is based on over 40 years of observing, teaching and interacting with children, their parents and teachers in the Read More →

Golden Oldies

As a senior citizen, I attend many courses and workshops—online and not—to exercise my creativity and learn new things, as well as to express the best of my experience to new generations. Here are some suggestions I have for other seniors or for those planning creative experiences for us “golden oldies.” A great idea is to have kids interviewing elders—their own grandparents or others in the community. My colleague Susan (Russell) Marcus and favorite teacher Read More →

El cerebro y el aprendizaje

This is speech I delivered via Skype in Guatemala to a conference of teachers. Due to interest in my work by many Latin Americans, I’m posting this as a blog. Bienvenidos, colegas, amigos y educadores. Yo soy Dra. Cynthia Herbert. Estoy en la capital de Tejas—Austin. Durante 15 años yo era el instructor principal del Programa CASS / Semilla en San Antonio en Palo Alto College, coordinado por Julia Jarrell. Este programa se centró en Read More →

Dramatic Solutions: Guessing Games

Another way to help older struggling readers is to play guessing games routinely. An app for a mini-iPad that you can purchase for 99 cents is called “Heads Up!” Players are in groups of 3 to 5. When it is a group’s turn, they have one of their members be the guesser. The guesser will hold the mini-iPad on his forehead, where a word or phrase will appear. The others in his group will pantomime Read More →

Dramatic Solutions: Game Shows

These are more ideas to help older struggling readers with phonemic awareness and phonics. Suggestions and variations:  Mimic television game shows by having an “announcer” and enthusiastic “audience.” Choose a host that likes to dramatize. Have someone provide “theme” music and/or play a rhythm while teams or individuals are pondering or planning their response. Make a big sign (or write on the board) the name of the game show.  Videotape these and allow them to Read More →

What are you asking?

There are different kinds of questions…Below are suggestions and examples for both questions to avoid and questions to include when teaching NWK. These may be a little different from questions asked in a classroom because in afterschool classes the focus is on informal learning and creative thinking. GREAT QUESTIONS:  Connection Questions: What do you already know about colors? What do you feel about storms? What do you think makes a good friend? These kinds of Read More →

NWK Management, Part III

Here are a few last management suggestions for the beginning of the school year. Why kids SHOULD get out of their seats! Neuroscience is very clear that children, indeed all of us, need to be actively involved in order to think and learn best. Remember the old Chinese proverb: Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I’ll understand. Children learn by doing. Engage them as much as possible, and Read More →