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Introductory Remarks for Anytime, Anywhere Summer Learning
by Michael H. Levine, Ph.D.
June 10, 2014
First, what can we do across sectors to recognize a tremendous drain on our children’s capacity to learn? The fact is that for far too many kids, summer time is part of a profoundly disturbing cycle—millions of preschoolers and elementary school children have precious few opportunities to engage in enriching activities that so many of their higher income peers experience as a matter of course. These kids suffer from limited access to academically or socially valuable experiences within communities that are often distressed with high unemployment, shortened hours of public utilities like libraries, and a paucity of safe outdoor activities that nourish children’s minds, bodies, and souls. And many of the academic “summer school” programs that do exist are often focused on remedial work with limited value.
Second, can we mobilize parents—especially those who are deeply connected to their kids, but who have limited resources and education to do more? We need to reach more vulnerable parents to encourage them to offer their kids a daily dose of proven interactions to intentionally build oral language abilities, to connect them to reading and storytelling experiences at home as well as by to take advantage of fun activities in their libraries, museums, schools, and community centers.
Third, can we help break the summer slide with those community programs that are modernizing their approaches—finding cool ways to get kids and families focused on reading. Today you will hear from some great state-based and community efforts that may be ready to scale.
And fourth, how can we harness technology and well-designed educational media more effectively? Given the fact that the average 3rd grader is engaged with some media platform over 7 hours a day during the school year, according to the Kaiser family foundation—and presumably even longer hours during the summer—what will it take to encourage a new media “food” pyramid? Can we find a way to balance the many tech calories that teach children the skills of communicating with friends on Facebook or playing video games throughout the day, with new habits that certainly encourage two of the old R’s—reading and writing with three new essential 21st century skills—creating, communicating and coding? For the entire blog post, please visit: http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/2014/06/10/introductory-remarks-for-anytime-anywhere-summer-learning/
The Fred Rogers Company encourages kids to take safe risks in class such as, offering ideas in class discussions, asking questions, trying new things, and tackling problems that seem challenging. The Fred Rogers Company is also responsible for producing, Peg+Cat and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Peg+ Cat is an animated math-based adventure series that target audience is 3-5 year olds. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a new animated program for preschoolers ages 2-4 that builds on the pioneering PBS series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The new series tells engaging stories about the life of a preschooler using musical strategies grounded in Fred Rogers’ landmark social-emotional curriculum.
Benefits of taking risks:
• Fear is inevitable so JUST DO IT!
• We learn from risks.
• Embracing risk taking also helps you overcome a fear of failure.
• Failure makes you FEARLESS!
• Great opportunities often come from risk-taking.
• Taking risks also shows confidence and make you stand out.
Here are some ways to encourage kids to just give it a try:
Encouraging kids to take risks will reduce the anxiety that many feel towards the idea of stepping out of their comfort zone. Just letting them know that you’re proud of them for even trying regardless of the outcome will really make a difference in the future. Research has found that it is more important to praise the effort, and the willingness to learn from mistakes.
Be a role-model:
Children often emulate their parents or anyone that they look up to.
Think about what each child needs:
The kind of encouragement that works for one child won’t work for another. Some children are cautious by nature. Allowing them to watch others for a while before attempting to complete the task will help them feel more confident.
Check out this video of Fred Rogers taking a ‘safe’ risk!
Quench your thirst with PBS KIDS! We all know there is 24 hours in one day but sometimes we get so caught up with just living that we forget about the little things like making sure we stay hydrated throughout the day! Since majority of the body is made up of water it is important that we make an effort to consume water daily.
Benefits of drinking water:
1.) Increases energy.
2.) relieves fatigue.
3.) Drinking water daily helps the brain to function better because majority of the brain is made up of water.
4.) Put you in a good mood- when your body is functioning at its best you will feel and be at your best.
5.) Healthy skin- Drinking water daily can give your skin a natural glow.
Recommended daily glasses of water to drink:
5 glasses of water for 5 -8 year olds .
7 glasses of water for 9 – 12 year olds.
8 to 10 glasses of water for 13+ year olds.
If you live in hot climate weather you need to drink more than the recommended amount.
Check out these FETCH games and activities here
PBS offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning through television and online content. President Obama also encourages teachers across the nation to really focus on these areas. “Leadership tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today—especially in science, technology, engineering and math.”- President Obama. WFSU and PBS KIDS have taken the necessary steps to ensure that kids of all ages are equipped in these subject areas.
Dinosaur Train is a PBS animated series that encourages scientific thinking while educating them on science and nature. It also inspires and embraces the fascination that young children have with both dinosaurs and trains. For more information on Dinosaur Train and to play game and activities with your kids check out the website
Sid the Science Kid is also a good show to tune into to learn more about the fundamentals of science. It is a new PBS KIDS educational animated television series that promotes science and exploration. It has been very successful with preschoolers because it incorporates music, humor, and educates on everyday life. To watch videos and play games with Sid the Science Kid click here.
Cybersafety offers lots of great games, safety apps, and information for kids, parents, and educators. The goal is to have the family be more cyber-savvy. For more information on Cybersafety check out the website
Design Squad Nation is a PBS KIDS reality TV show that inspire and encourage kids to take on their own hands-on engineering activities. The activities included in the series are hands on challenges that really focus on the engineering design process. If you think you have what it takes to be the next engineer or want to learn more about Design Squad Nation. Check out the website.
Peg+ Cat is PBS KIDS animated reality show that focuses on teaching kids the pre-fundamentals of math. The target audience is 3- 5 years old preschoolers. Another very good resource is Get The Math . This online resource targets middle- high school students and is design to teach students how Algebra can be apply in different areas of life such as, music, and fashion. Check out the Get The Math website for more information.
Touch up on your math skills by tuning into Peg+Cat! Peg + Cat is a PBS animated children television series that follows Peg and her sidekick Cat as they embark on adventures solving problems together. Peg+ Cat is a good show to tune into to really learn the fundamentals pre-math skills with your kids! This will come in very handy later on in their lives as it will serve them well in college, work, and everyday life. The target audience is 3- 5 years old. We all know keeping the attention of preschoolers can be very challenging at times.
The average attention span for 3-5 years old is 10-15 minutes. Keeping this in mind, each episode of Peg+Cat is only 11 minutes long to keep kids engaged! Peg+ Cat makes problems cool by incorporating characters that kids can relate to and integrating activities such as, playing games, brainstorming, improvising, and singing songs!
The problem presented in each episode isn’t just math related or strictly academic. In the beginning of each episode, Peg and her friends are face with a huge crisis and solves each issue through humor and working together. This is a way to help kids to develop the skills they will need in order to deal with issues that they will face inside and outside of the classroom. The ultimate goal of this show is to make kids think of math as fun and exciting! After viewing an episode of Peg+ Cat kids will be one step closer to being well-rounded! To check your local listings to see the time and dates that Peg+ Cat comes on click HERE. Check out this website to bake Peg+ Cat POPULAR Honey Cake!
To get started on eating organic you need to first know what the word means. A common misconception that many consumers have is that Natural is equivalent to organic. This is wrong. For a food item or product to be considered organic, specific requirements have to first be met and maintained. Organic refers to the way the agricultural products are grown and processed. It is also regulated by government accredited agents that ensure that farmers and processors follow a strict set of federal standards. The food production of organic products must maintain and replenishes soil fertility without the use of pesticides and it is minimally processed without the use of artificial ingredients.
This is not the case for “natural” food. Natural foods are not regulated and have no set of standards that they must follow. The “natural label” seen on many food products is simply a marketing tool to appeal to health conscious and environmentally aware consumers. When shopping for organic food ALWAYS look for the USDA (United States Department of Agricultural) green and white “certified organic” seal or sticker on any packaged food. This is just reassurance that the food item was produced without using any pesticides and is 95-100 percent organic.This sticker ALWAYS starts with number 9 and is a 5 digit code, followed by the price code. If the sticker label starts with any number that is not 9 the product is NOT organic.
Benefits of Eating Organic
The benefits of eating organic are,
1.) The food is fresher and lasts longer.
2.) The food contains fewer pesticides.
3.) Organic raised animals are NOT given antibiotics or growth hormones.
4.) Better for the environment .
Though there are many benefits to eating organic it can also be very pricey, so Shop SMART. You don’t need to purchase everything organic to maintain a healthy diet. Here are a few tips to save money and still maintain a healthy diet:
1.) Try to purchase most of your organic food from farmers markets. Purchasing your food from farmers market you’ll not only be supporting local farmers but you will also be purchasing it at a reduced price. To find a Fromartz market in your area click HERE.
2.) Purchase the “Clean 15″ which is just a list of the 15 types of produce that is lowest in pesticides. Click HERE for more information on food that contains the lowest/highest amount of pesticides.
3.) You can also shop at your local Whole Foods Market.
Don’t forget to check out your favorite PBS KIDS show!
Do you think you have what it takes to be the NEXT top builder?! Design Squad Nation is looking for the next Top Builder! Design Squad Nation is a PBS reality television series that is geared towards getting kids excited about engineering and to inspire viewers to take on their own hands-on engineering activities. The high-drama reality and high energy show is led by two professional engineers, Judy and Adam, who have both worked with kids around the world to make their wishes come true through engineering. Check out the Design Squad Nation website here to watch videos and play games.
The Top Builder : Rubber Band Power Challenge is looking for the next top builder/engineer, who can create a project or design something that is powered by rubber bands; that will launch something, power something, or make something move. Keep in mind that the project must include rubber bands but you are not limited to the kinds of materials that can be used in this challenge, so feel free to be as creative as possible! To get started on your project you can check out these really cool rubber band activities here for inspiration. Also, check out this video to watch Deysi make her own rubber- band power vehicle, and to sign up for the challenge. To enter the Rubber Band Power Challenge you will need to sign into your account or create an account with PBS KIDS . After you log in to your account you will need to submit a photo of your design (Please don’t include yourself in the photo—designs only!) on or before May, 1, 2014. The builder with the most votes will earn a very special sticker they can use on the Design Squad website.
PBS KIDS just recently announced the launch of a new mobile friendly website based on our very own Arthur called,“Arthur Family Health.” The website is designed to assist parents and educators with talking to their kids about important health related issues ranging from asthma, food allergies and nutrition, to fitness and resilience. The website builds on the eighteen-year history of addressing challenging topics while making it kids friendly and understandable for kids. We know that dealing with your kids’ health can be challenging at times which is why Arthur and his friends are here to help!
Each section of the Arthur Family Health site contains interactive contents that include: tips, games, videos, and background information on the topic. Kids have the option of playing a Lung Defender arcade game that shows the lungs function during an asthma attack, and other health issues related games. All of the resources provided on the website were reviewed by health experts from US medical institutions such as, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. It is important to keep in mind that the new website is for informational purposes on the health issues listed and is not a substitute for independent medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Check out the NEW Arthur Family Health website HERE.
Educational researchers have found that there is a strong correlation between reading and academic success. Reading skills are critical for children’s development! Here at WFSU we offer The Super Why Summer Camp program, which is a three week long program that targets children between ages 4-6, who have difficulties with reading .To help kids practice key literacy skills, we incorporate a lot of fun activities such as, body movement exercises, interactive literacy games, and branded music! This approach has been a huge success in the past as kids tend to take a liking to it!
PBS KIDS also really want kids to have a complex vocabulary as it is a good indication on whether they will be good readers in the future. To help with building a strong vocabulary you can always tune in to Martha Speaks. Martha Speaks is a really cool animated series on PBS KIDS that target viewers between the ages of four and seven. The main objective of Martha Speaks is to help kids reading comprehension skills by introducing them to new words in each series. Check out these real cool activities and games!