January, 2015

Hold Onto History

This blog is especially for seniors like me who have many memories that may never be known by the younger generation. Here are some ideas: Make a collage. My mother had a great sense of humor that she injected into sharing memories of “bloopers” and “outtakes.” In the 80’s she went through family photos, looking for ones that showed people being silly, caught unaware, and otherwise showing their funny side. She cut out faces and Read More →

Night or Day?

Are you a day person or a night person? Right now I’m taking an online course on circadian rhythms, including waking and sleeping. It caused me to reflect on just how different people—even in the same family—can be! As far as waking and sleeping, I find I have had to adapt my rhythms over the years and circumstances. Sadly, I am sandwiched between night people! My mother was never up to fix breakfast and get Read More →

How Big Is a Foot?

This is a favorite book of mine that I used to help children practice estimation of linear measurement. The idea is to engage learners by using different kinds of media and calling on multiple intelligences. Here is my lesson plan: How Big Is a Foot? Author: Rolf Myller Book: http://www.amazon.com/How-Big-Foot-Rolf-Myller/dp/0440404959 Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWhWL1MET7A Summary: The king commands that a bed be built for the Queen for her birthday. But the bed is built too small because Read More →

From Tree to Tree

A lovely way to awaken children’s global consciousness is to read a book by Lynne Cherry. Each year, for the 15 years I taught Latin American teachers, we read, dramatized and videotaped her The Great Kapok Tree (El gran capoquero). To help children begin to imagine and create a better future for planet Earth, we created classroom lessons such as this one. The Great Kapok Tree Author: Lynne Cherry Summary: A man came to a Read More →

Exciting Writing

One day a friend of mine asked for advice about creative writing with young children. Here are my suggestions, most of which hold true for most ages and grades: (Note: Be the “secretary” for very little kids and/or let them use “invented” spelling.) STEP 1: Find something to write about. Here are some great ideas: Find out the children’s favorites (activities, animals, stories, music, places, meals, etc.) and write about that. Bring them something concrete Read More →

Find Your Passion

I have joined the Learning Creative Learning community of the Media Lab at MIT and taken their very interesting course. http://learn.media.mit.edu/lcl/  One of their tenets is that educational programs should inspire students’ “passion” in order to motivate them to “work harder and longer, persist in the face of challenges, and learn more in the process.” I was asked how our program, New World Kids (NWK), does this. Here is part of my reply: NWK is Read More →

Creative Fluency

Children’s imaginative play is their way to engage in creative fluency—essential to invention, problem-solving and creative thinking of all kinds. Start with anything of interest—a simple object like a bandanna, a newspaper, or a bowl. Imagine what it might be. Think big! Think wild! Go ‘way outside the box! If you do it with a child, or group of children, challenge them to come up with ideas. The pictures show what happened when I gave Read More →

Creative Sea Creatures

This is one of my favorite writing activities, especially for very young children or children who do not like to write. Pairs or small groups will create pictures and then original writing by trading around and working on each other’s piece. A parent can do this with one or more of their children; a teacher can divide the class into groups of 4 or 5 children. The theme is sea creatures, but almost any kind Read More →


One of my favorite games is Nim, which is excellent for exercising and developing the logical-mathematical intelligence. Nim is extremely versatile and parents, teachers and children can invent and play their own versions, using simple materials. The game can be made easy enough for early childhood or to challenge older children and adults. Probably originating in ancient China, this strategy game has been studied by psychologists and mimicked digitally.  Here’s an example of an advanced Read More →