costume creativity

With just days before the Halloween festivities commence, many parents are frantically searching for the perfect costume for their child.

In a Fortune.com article, with Harris/CIT data, Americans will spend over $15 billion dollars this holiday while the Christian Science Monitor puts that number at around $7 billion ($350 million of which is spent on pet costumes!). So how can you avoid being part of the buying super-hype?

It’s not that hard!

Look around your house for creative ways to use what you already own. An apron and a wooden spoon can make a chef costume, while a tie and a briefcase create a convincing business man. Spike your child’s hair and raid the toy chest for an instrument to invent a rock ’n roll superstar or wear shorts and a vest with a stuffed animal on your shoulder and be a zoo keeper ! Be creative to avoid overpriced (and generic) store-bought costumes.

For more ideas, here’s a parenting website that has helped me in the past…and present!

This year, my children used their creative thinking skills to make their own costumes (with help from mom, dad, and Bomma!) My son used a cardboard box and turned himself into a working vending machine (with proceeds going to his LaunchX MIT entrepreneurship club) while my daughter went to the 2nd hand shop and turned a €1 sweatshirt and a men’s polo shirt in to the Undertale (role-play video game) character, Chara.

Angela

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learning for the future

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With all the professional development I’ve done in the last few years, I feel as if my practice as an educator has focused more on 21st century teaching and learning. But sometimes, after parent conferences, I feel a bit confounded by the ethos of the learning environment our school’s create and the expectations parent’s have for their children’s learning.

Here are some of the things I’ve caught myself saying:

No. I will not teach your 3-year old their ABCs.
No. I will not force your 5-year old to write and rewrite a sentence with proper syntax.
No. I will not jump up and down when your 7-year old knows their multiplication facts to 12.

In 1970, Fortune 500 companies were asked to name the most valued skills in their employees. The top 3 results were:
1. Writing
2. Computation Skills (math)
3. Reading Skills

And if your educational experience was anything like mine, you know that teachers spent a great deal focusing on those specific skills. Read. Write. Memorize. Regurgitate the answers. Repeat.

But today, when Fortune 500 companies were asked again, the top 3 look skills and characteristics of their dream employees are drastically different. Employers look for workers who have skills in:
1. Teamwork
2. Problem solving
3. Interpersonal skills

Enter the inquiry model and a 21st century classroom. In modern-day inquiry-based classrooms, the crux of the program centers around students collaborating together through play, solving problems (both academically and socially), and taking risks in the process of learning.

Here is why inquiry-based learning for an ever-changing world is the way to go.

Traditional vs 21st century

Inspired by Like to Write

So parents… how can you support your child continue their inquiry at home so they can be a 21st century learner ready to be an employee of the future?

Angela

a change is gonna come

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Like the song says, “A Change is Gonna Come.” And though the change that comes may not be as pronounced as the change that inspired Sam Cooke’s 1964… “it’s gonna come, oh yes it will!”

To adults, change can cause a bit of a bump in the road, but it can be it can be weathered rather seamlessly.  To your wee one, it can be a whole new world. Moving houses, a new sibling, new teacher, a parent out of town, moving to a “big kids bed”, family visitors, or getting over a really bad illness can drastically alter your child’s behavior, temper, or cause some anxiety. Change for children at home requires some adjustment time. 

Keep your child’s teacher in the loop if you and your family are going to change your routine at home. Even if Grandma and Grandpa are visiting from out of town or you are caring for a friend’s pet–a really fun and exciting change can wreak havoc in routines and can cause some unease at school. It’s totally normal and something your child’s teacher would appreciate knowing.

Remember that time is a concept your toddler and early elementary child are unlikely to understand fully. Words like, “next week” or “on the weekend” mean very little to a child who lives in the moment. For a little one everything in the future will happen “tomorrow” and everything in the past happened “yesterday.” It is helpful to create a physical reminder of the upcoming changes. In this blog post, one parent has consolidated some great visuals that may help you as you create some tangible reminders to ramp up the excitement for a change in your life.

Angela