* More on the good news about misbehavior

I am still processing the excellent book, “The Good News About Bad Behavior,” by Katherine Reynolds Lewis. Lewis describes four types of parenting styles (and I like to think of them as teaching styles, too): authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and uninvolved.

If you are a parent or teacher, which style best describes you? Do you use punishment and rewards to control your kids? Do you try to be their best friend? Are you distant or spend most of your time at work or away? Are you mostly concerned about “covering the material” without connecting emotionally?

Lewis argues that an authoritative parenting style is most effective. Could you be described as a calm adult who holds kids responsible but allows them to learn from mistakes? Do you refrain from criticizing while allowing kids to experience natural consequences?

One important takeaway from examining parenting styles is that it’s okay to be our imperfect selves. When upset, we are more likely to regress to the type of parenting style we experienced, which may have been authoritarian or indulgent. If we are honest with kids, admitting that we messed up or missed what they needed, we teach them that we can learn from mistakes- and so can they. We are modeling a healthy response to imperfection.

Notice that communicating about problems is key to effective parenting and teaching. More on that next!

Courtship vs. Dating: The Breakdown

Great points from an awesome blogger! He covers it ALL.

A Thomas Point of View

I believe that we have confused courtship with dating…

Dating is what most people in the American culture do. Courtship is what most people in the American culture aspire to do, but conform to dating because either they don’t know how to court, they realize dating is easier, or they have been socialized and conditioned to find their mate one way, not the other.

Please stop using the word, “courtship” when you are actually speaking about dating.

What is Courtship?

Courtship is a mutual partnership, a journey together with the intended purpose of marriage (from the beginning). Courtship is intentional and purposeful.

Courtship is focus on marriage (or lifelong companionship). This happens from the door, not months down the road.

Men get antsy when the “M” word is mentioned. Why? A man that is intentional with a woman won’t get nervous at the sound of the word, “marriage.” In courtship…

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* Death by paint chip

Preparing to paint the family room has become a full-time occupation for me and my dearest teaching widower. It may lead to murder because I am sick of trying to decide what looks best and have no sense of color, anyway. Family, friends, and anyone who dares to enter our house are quizzed on their preferences, too. I think I saw my widower chatting with the UPS driver.

My dearest widower is offering a prize to the reader who can identify the paint color “Modern History” in the photo below. I think he likes that color best for our walls, but that’s a perpetually changing preference. Not sure what the prize is, but let me know if you can find it and I’ll do something for you. Maybe I’ll paint your family room.

We’re matching rocks or trees or something.

We’re already on our second print for the main wall (we ordered a small version to check out the colors). I like this one of Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite because we once hiked to the top of the falls. I thought we were going to tumble to our deaths because the rocks were so slick with water and moss. We made it then, but our relationship has hit more rocky steps over these ruddy paint chips!

I’m hoping we can make a decision before I destroy all the chips. Or worse.

* The good news about misbehavior

I am thrilled with a ground-breaking book called, “The Good News About Bad Behavior,” by Katherine Reynolds Lewis. Published last April, this book presents thorough and up-to-date evidence that we are dealing with a brand new world of trouble- and hope. I’ll summarize this fascinating book across several posts, but one huge takeaway is that screen time has changed the brains and behavior of children and teens.

I was saddened and shocked to learn that by five years old, the typical kid is fastened to a screen for four and a half hours a day, which is about 40% of their waking time. This early exposure to the developing brain is NOT a good thing. This trend follows the same trajectory among teens, with the added component of social media and the anxiety that produces. Just remember, there’s bad news and good news! More to come!

* Ten Things of Thankful

I’ve been erratically posting to the Ten Things of Thankful blog for a while now, thankful that no one is keeping score!  And here is my current countdown:

1.  A restful Christmas vacation, much needed and much appreciated.

2.  Plans to repaint and redecorate our family room.  Since my dear teaching widower got to turn our living room into a home theater, I decided on a bear theme for this room. Martin Minkling and Rufus will have a new home.

3.  Some snow this winter! 

We got 4 more inches on top of this! Whee!

4.  A new puppet friend for social studies (and yes, you may ask about that).

5.  The first of a few new bear prints.  No pun intended.

From greatbigcanvas.com

6.  Relief that my dearest teaching widower and I both agreed to nix the bear eyes print below.  Caution: Extended viewing may lead to paranoia.

brown bear eyes

7.  Time to blog.  This will likely come to an end next Monday.

8.  No flu.

9.  A new REAL camera, with special thanks to Cee for her inspiration and help. I’m gonna be Cee one day!

10.  Good Karma, which is a delicious flaxseed “milk” with no added sugar and lots of protein.

* Get a flu shot?

It’s too late for me to change my mind, and my doctor is convinced this was the right decision, but I wish I hadn’t gotten a flu shot. I’ve had flu shots regularly for years and they almost always make me sick. And I still get the flu. Last year, H2N3 leveled me for a couple of months.

This time, my reaction to the shot was unusual. First, I was sort of manic and lost my already-thin social cognition. I laughed wildly about very personal topics with two receptionists at a radiology clinic. I also went shopping for school stuff after that, which could have been a financial disaster. Thankfully, a growing sense of fatigue cut my journey short. When I got home, I told my dearest teaching widower that I felt odd and he nodded kindly. Of course.

By that afternoon, I had severe chills and went to bed. My widower covered me in layers of down comforters and fetched a heating pad. I could not feel any warmth from the pad, even on its highest setting. I insisted that it was broken, but he put his hand under the covers and said, “No! It’s very hot!”

Of course, I was burning hot when I woke the next day and could not cool down. I felt feverish and achy. That evening, I started itching and felt like I’d been nibbled all over by ticks. After a few doses of Benadryl, I finally slept. I’m still itchy but overall, this wasn’t the worst experience I’ve had with the flu shot. Still….

This won’t hurt a bit!

What do you think? Are flu shots worth it? Have you experienced strange side effects or am I just weird? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that.

* My kingdom for an editor

I will not break my self-imposed rule about publically reviewing a book I cannot give 5 stars.

I’m currently reading a detective series that has a lot going for it. The plots are quite clever, they all have happy endings (4.999 stars right there), and the characters are believable. If only I could edit them for the author! Argh! My brain won’t let me glide past numerous incredible errors, perhaps because some are quite humorous. Here’s a sentence I’ve created using a few of my favorites:

As I rode into the town with its population of $7000, I gave up the reigns of my horse because I was Busched.

What? Were the books written on an iPhone? I’ve had some seriously awkward word substitutions with Siri, so I sympathize. Sort of. I was trying to find the key to our storeroom (shed) while my dear teaching widower was out of town. He has this unhappy habit of popping keys in his jacket pockets and driving off into the sunset. And yeah, I was dictating this while dr*****, too.

Me: Do you have the sh#! key?

Him: What?

Me: The sh*@ key.

Him: What?

Me: Did you put it in your pocket?

Him: What?

Me: The sh@! key! I need to spray the deer.

Him: WHAT?

* Unintended reproduction

In yesterday’s post, I referred to my science unit on plant reproduction.  In the terrific Earthbox Junior, our plants grew at a phenomenal rate.  I used nutrient-rich Happy Frog potting soil from a boutique plant store to avoid introducing any unwanted bacteria or critters into the planter.  The plants also came from that same pricy store.  So far, so good, as long as my dearest teaching widower didn’t ask how much it all cost.

Alas, I forgot to add moss, which has a nice spore method of reproduction.  At that point, I decided to try a novel approach and go frugal.  Our yard has a growing mass of moss, since the deer have eaten everything else.  I culled a nice sample and watched it die in the planter.  But to our surprise, the “dead” ornamental moss around our bonsai ficus tree sprang to life!  All was good and we kept a close watch for the spore cycle of the moss.

We examined the planter daily with a digital microscope and I nearly fell over when some giant legs and antennae shot past the screen.  I’ve seen too many alien movies.  The creature eluded us until it grew into a recognizable poisonous spider!  What are the odds that a small sample of soil from my yard would yield a brown widow spider?  The worst was yet to come.

Aphids appeared next, all over our nerve plant, so I doused them with soapy water and waited a day before examining their carcasses.  As I carried the planter to our viewing location (AKA insect morgue), a sharp-eyed kiddo spotted tiny brown dots running around the planter.  I had carried the Earthbox against my chest, so those dots also ran up and down my body.  Further exciting microscopic investigation revealed dog tick nymphs.  Hundreds of them, springing into life in my arms.   Yes, I was bitten on my head, face, and ankle.  No students were bitten, which was miraculous.

Dermacentor_variabilis

Check out TickEncounter’s resources or ask to see my videos of these critters!

* Earthbox Junior

OK, I was going to write a series on excellent Christmas gifts but hey, everyone will have a birthday this year, right?  If you are looking for a terrific science-themed gift, an Earthbox Junior is THE perfect tool for indoor/classroom gardening and plant study.  Earthbox does come in larger sizes, but the Junior fits nicely on a window ledge and for a class, offers a perfect small group container.  It is featured below at Rosa Parks Elementary school in San Francisco.

 

With Earthbox Junior, you can grow herbs and other plants year-round.  Watering is simple and the planter is easily lifted for more careful investigation.  Given my poor track record with plants, I’d say this is a winner!

planter 1

I used this one to experiment with plant reproduction.  In the photo above, a student is exploring moss with a digital microscope.  More on the dangers of reproduction in the next post!

 

* Happy New Year!

Although this isn’t the REAL new year, the 2018-2019 school year, it’s still a great time for taking stock of where you’ve been and where you are going with your students.  Bless you if you live and die by pacing guides and a district that emphasizes teaching to the test.  Ignoring that major speed bump for now, my best advice is to love your students each day.

What does it look like to love your kiddos?  Believing in each one.  Knowing their strengths and challenges.  Smiling and laughing.  Connecting with families.  Being patient with them and yourself.  Buying a daily calendar with pages that can be ripped off and torn into shreds if it was THAT kind of day, never to be held against anyone.

On the topic of daily calendars, I bought us the 2019 New Yorker cartoon version and am most disappointed.  You can even buy the cover cartoon as a poster, if you lack a sense of humor and have a bare wall in your shed.  My dearest teaching widower had to google it before we understood the “joke.”  You know what they say about explaining jokes….*  Of course, we may hold the minority opinion on that.  No one has asked me to publish anything anywhere.

new-years-day-3838902_1920

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the blogosphere but I am not making any resolutions.  You could make it a resolution to read my blog every day, knowing full well that there won’t be daily posts.  That will give you time to follow up on other resolutions, such as reading current brain research, hunting for new teaching technologies, and using that new gym membership or exercise app.  Right.

  • Ding dong