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Reminiscing about the good old days when we were growing up is a memory trip well worth taking when trying to understand the issues facing the children of today. Children now rely on technology for the majority of their play, grossly limiting challenges to their creativity and imaginations, as well as limiting necessary challenges to their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development. Four critical factors necessary to achieve healthy child development are movement, touch, human connection, and exposure to nature. A frequent guest on CBC radio, TV, and featured in CBC TV’s Doc Zone documentary “Are We Digital Dummies”, Cris Rowan speaks passionately about how technology is eroding children’s foundations for development and learning. Learning to write as a child is not too difficult a task for most children, who daily practice the directions below. Children can easily learn to write well by using Charlotte Masona€™s principles as a guide with a bit of Montessori sprinkled in for flavor.
With three handwriting lessons per day, we refine fine motor coordination and gain fine motor strength. Proceed to the next stroke or letter only after each one has been executed perfectly several times. After another lesson with a completely different feel, assign the following 20 minutea€?coverta€? handwriting lesson with Insets (below). Analyzing the movements which are connected with writing, Montessori designed a didactic apparatus or game to teach the rudiments of handwriting to children in a fun way. To include this beautiful activity in your homeschool, you will minimally needA Metal Insets, Metal Insets Stand, Paper for Metal Insets, Metal Insets Tracing Tray, colored pencils, and a shelf to keep them on. With the square frame, a piece of colored paper, and two different colored pencils, Mother sits beside the child at the table.
In accordance with the a€?touch it once principle, the child is instructed put work away when done. Insets can be used by all children in the family 3 and up after given a demonstration by Mother. Increasing Pressure: a) Half dark and half light-Trace inset as before and demonstrate how strong pressure produces a strong mark and a light pressure produces a light mark. Three Contrasting Figures: Choose three different insets and three different colored pencils. Designing: Use lead pencils or fine tipped pen for tracing and several colored pencils to fill in with straight, wavy, or zig-zag lines. More ideas: make a my shapes booklet, cut out the shapes with scissors, or punch the outline with a push pin and press out.
2.With three handwriting lessons per day, we refine fine motor coordination and gain fine motor strength. 5.Proceed to the next stroke or letter only after each one has been executed perfectly several times.
8.After another lesson with a completely different feel, assign the following 20 minutea€?coverta€? handwriting lesson with Insets (below). A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were the fabric that held families together. Sedentary bodies bombarded with chaotic sensory stimulation are resulting in delays in attaining child developmental milestones, with subsequent negative impact on basic foundation skills for achieving literacy. These types of sensory inputs ensure normal development of posture, bilateral coordination, optimal arousal states and self-regulation necessary for achieving foundation skills for eventual school entry.
Young children who are exposed to violence through TV and video games are in a high state of adrenalin and stress, as the body does not know that what they are watching is not real. While technology is a train that will continually move forward, knowledge regarding its detrimental effects, and action taken toward balancing the use of technology with critical factors for development, will work toward sustaining our children. Cris Rowan is a pediatric occupational therapist who has witnessed dramatic changes how children play, resulting in rising levels of obesity, developmental delay and mental disorders. Handwriting or penmanship, as it was called in my childhood, is as important today as it was in the days before word processors. If you didna€™t ask for perfection from the start, begin now before the child gets one minute older.
Sweetly delightful Miss Homfray claims Maria Montessori as a dear friend and was directly taught by MM in the old days. Perhaps once a week while listening to the terma€™s composer or while Mother is reading aloud, have a time of inset art. Use watercolor paints to fill in the shapes, practicing all the different watercolor techniques.
The latter two are wonderful for those with fine motor difficulties as are all the Metal Inset variations.
Perhaps once a week while listening to the terma€™s composer or while Mother is reading aloud, have a time of inset art.A  There are many variations upon the theme that inspire creativity. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision.
Juggling school, work, home, and community lives, parents now rely heavily on communication, information, and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient.
Hard-wired for high speed, today’s young are entering school struggling with self regulation and attention skills necessary for learning, eventually becoming significant behavior management problems for teachers in the classroom.
The impact of rapidly advancing technology on the developing child has seen an increase of physical, psychological and behavior disorders that the health and education systems are just beginning to detect, much less understand. Young children require 2-3 hours per day of active rough and tumble play to achieve adequate sensory stimulation to their vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems. While no one can argue the benefits of advanced technology in today’s world, connection to these devices may have resulted in a disconnection from what society should value most, children. Cris has first-hand understanding and knowledge of how technology has caused profound changes in a child’s development, behavior and their ability to learn. It is almost criminal neglect to allow our home schooled children to skip this important step.
Using AlphaPhonics or How to Tutor, you teach reading, writing, and spelling in just a few minute per day.
While reading aloud from a chapter book or history spine, the child might use insets, keeping their bodies occupied and brains alert. Similar to stencils, Montessori Metal Insets help the child acquire proficiency in using a writing instrument, including lightness of touch, evenness of pressure, continuity of line, control of line, and familiarity with curves and angles found in letters. If they are out all the time, they will invite the child to use them more, thus building dexterity needed for hand writing.A Montessori OutletA offers a beautiful set for a great price. With a colored pencil, mother draws around the shape starting in the upper right hand corner of the frame and holding the frame steady with the left hand. Before introducing the next stages a)lines far apart, b) lines progressively closer together, c)completely filled in, each stage of Exercises should be done well. Children of the past moved… a lot, and their sensory world was nature based and simple. Entertainment technology (TV, Internet, video games, iPads, cell phones) has advanced so rapidly, that families have scarcely noticed the significant impact and changes to their family structure and lifestyles.


Tactile stimulation received through touching, hugging and play is critical for the development of praxis, or planned movement patterns.
While the long term effects of this chronic state of stress in the developing child are unknown, we do know that chronic stress in adults results in a weakened immune system and a variety of serious diseases and disorders. Rather than hugging, playing, rough housing, and conversing with children, parents are increasingly resorting to providing their children with more TV, video games, and the latest iPads and cell phone devices, creating a deep and irreversible chasm between parent and child. Adults should not write like six-year-old children, although Ia€™ve seen the writing of some children that puts some adults to shame.
When she asked for my advice, I shared Charlotte Masona€™s counsel and my Montessori addition to it and adaptation of it.
Todaya€™s young people and many in middle age cannot write legibly because of this a€?progressivea€™ idea. Please, continue until the timer goes off.a€? Never, ever allow yourself the luxury of becoming frustrated or angry with the child.
Metal insets offer a great variety of possibilities, and thus sustains the childa€™s interest.
Preschoolers are in a different developmental stage.A  See the six part Montessori series on the Year 0 page for more details. In the past, family time was often spent doing chores, and children had expectations to meet on a daily basis. Diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, developmental delays, unintelligible speech, learning difficulties, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are associated with technology overuse, and are increasing at an alarming rate. Smile your serene Mona Lisa smile even if you must bite your tongue or clench your teeth behind it.
As the directress read aloud Italian history, she and the children created inset masterpieces. Using a second colored pencil, Mother covers the square with the inset and trace around the inset, keeping the point of the pencil always against the inset and changing directions. To keep a record of progress, the inset designs should be part of the childa€™s learning journal.
The dining room table was a central place where families came together to eat and talk about their day, and after dinner became the center for baking, crafts and homework. An urgent closer look at the critical factors for meeting developmental milestones, and the subsequent impact of technology on those factors, would assist parents, teachers and health professionals to better understand the complexities of this issue, and help create effective strategies to reduce technology use. Cris designed Zone’in, Move’in, Unplug’in and Live’in educational products for elementary children to address the rise in developmental delays, behavior disorders, and technology overuse. He is co-author with Mamie Till-Mobley of her Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, He points out that, in addition to being the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Using a third colored pencil, she fills in a small part of the drawing with light, horizontal, straight parallel lines that go exactly from one side of the drawing to the other closely together so that no paper can be seen between the lines. At some point, show the child how to make a booklet with construction paper as a cover folded around several inset designs and stapled.
Cris has performed over 200 Foundation Series Workshops on topics such as sensory integration and attention, motor development and literacy, attachment formation and addictions, early intervention, technology overuse, media literacy programs, and school environmental design for the 21st century for teachers, parents and health professionals throughout North America. All handwriting but especially cursive develops finely tuned hand-eye coordination, which helps with writing mathematical symbols and all hand work work in general. Children enjoy the ovals, the rainbows, the ups and downs, humps, and the tear drop that will become an a, m, n, s, i, t, o, and so on. You were given the blessing of motherhood to learn patience and grow into a better woman, not to lower yourself back into childhood temper tantrums. This exercise should be a part of the daily curriculum of children between 6 and 8.A  Children choose any frame that strikes their fancy to practice the exercise. As an African American whose family had barely escaped Southern atrocities, she recognized the potential pushback when you stepped out of place. How do we respond when the lynching is verbal, not physically fatal (most of the time) and the klan has its own network, which is the most watched in the US? Telling the truth and exposing these people for what they are and what they do is important, but it won't be enough. That was so long ago that the small schools at Orr High School, whose LSC signed on as original plaintiffs, have been closed again and reopened under the auspices of AUSL (for more about AUSL, read the latest here). It would also mean that it was more important to get accurate, useful information that could be used to help schools and students. Who needs that when you can damn schools with data?No, it's far more important for testing to be "standardized" - that is, given at the same time to everyone, according to state supt. Chris Koch's rationale: "This is the state's attempt to say, 'How can we treat everyone the same and everyone fairly?a€?It may be standardized but that doesn't make it fair. The On the Issues site provides a list of statements by Kirk on education and his education-related votes as a congressman. It suggests that he is a moderate on social issues such as school prayer and green schools. Kirk got into some trouble earlier this year when he claimed that he's influenced by his experience as a teacher, which turned out to consist of a year at a private high school in London and another as a teacher aide at a church run nursery school. There's a third candidate who deserves some attention, too -- LeAlan Jones, the Green Party candidate. I remember him well when, as a 13-year-old, he and a friend reported on life in the Chicago projects for National Public Radio. Senator, and will have the responsibility to make critical decisions about education along with every other issue before Congress.
Rick has been a staunch advocate for public school children and families, and for Local School Councils. We know that too many of them don't. Even on a traditional calendar, non-air conditioned schools can be ovens, places where it's too hot to learn and too unhealthy to stay. CPS district offices? Most of our currently-used schools were designed to be closed during the summer, just as they were designed without lunchrooms because all the children went home for lunch.
At least health codes address some of the worst sanitation problems that schools without lunchrooms face.
CPS claims that its so-called year-round school schedule is better for students, but the proof of that is slight. Teachers should move their classes to municipal cooling centers until CPS does the right thing and upgrades every school so that children have a reasonable chance to learn. That's not much time, and the appeal is supposed to go to the Chief Education Officer, a position that has had no person in it since Barbara Eason-Watkins left for Michigan City. Usually the appeals go to the Chief Area Officers. Good News was a modestly successful program; the church was in the very needy North of Howard area of Chicago and ran a well-attended food program.
The down side we saw was a lack of interest in supporting the local school council at the nearby public school, which went through a traumatic time after the district refused to allow the LSC-appointed principal to serve. They claimed that the price of food was going down, so hungry people won't need so much. As House Finance Chair David Obey, who proposed the RTTT swap, said, "Well, isna€™t that nice.
Why is it the responsibility of Chicago community colleges to spend $30 million a year to pick up lost math and reading skills?" Chico said. "I'm not saying that as a society we shouldn't be charged with doing that someplace. But why is it placed in the lap of higher education?" (Sun-Times 8-8-10) I guess it just slipped Chico's mind that he is in large part responsible for the math and reading skills of these very students.


A student who started preschool in 1995, when Chico was appointed president of the Chicago School Board by Mayor Daley, would have been in fourth grade -- when most of the fundamentals of reading and math should have been laid down -- when Chico left that position in 2001. These books were written in 2004 and 2005 in response to many requests to help start PURE chapters around the country, and from folks who just wanted to know how to create a powerful parent organization.
It explains why folks in power hate to fund schools adequately and demand "accountability" using methods that destroy rather than strengthen schools. The President's speech to the National Urban League was in large part a defense of these programs against the many concerns that have been raised about whether they are the most effective ways to reform U.
Obama suggested in his speech that people who oppose his proposals may simply be a€?afraid of change.a€? A few days earlier, he threatened to veto any attempt to use even a small portion of funding for his controversial Race to the Top program to save thousands of teacher jobs. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stonewalls critics of his department's demands for charter expansion who cite the research on the overall poor performance of charters nationwide; he offers the nonsensical excuse that he doesn't support charter schools, he only supports good charter schools. Today, columnist Leonard Pitts tells opponents of the President's plans to a€?lead, follow or get out of the way.a€? Perhaps the most important moment of the President's Urban League speech was his paraphrase of Dr. In a democracy, education reform cannot be defined only by legislators, politicians, and corporate and media leaders.
Pitts' piece repeats much of the empty, nonsensical rhetoric we just heard in the president's and Duncan's recent speeches to the National Urban League, speeches that were in large part responses to the powerful opposition that has been raised against RTTT and the proposed School Improvement Grant program by civil rights, community, parent and teacher groups. For today's  Public School Action Tuesday, why not respond to Pitts by leaving a comment after his article here, or write to a newspaper or comment on a blog of your choice opposing RTTT programs such as test-based teacher firing, school closures, and expanded charter schools, and in support of fair, research-based teacher evaluation or other sound education reforms? One notorious example was when Mayor Daley's favorite "superstar" principal, Curie High School's former head Jerrylyn Jones, handed out folders with copies of petitions demanding that the LSC renew her contract, instead of the budget and school improvement plan information the LSC had requested as part of her annual evaluation.Other principals refuse to give documents to individual LSC members, and insist on a vote of the full LSC before they provide information, another ridiculous excuse.I recommend that LSC members download and file this article - you may need it!
And keep the phone and address of the Attorney General's Public Access Counselor handy - they have become a great resource for LSCs.
The web site also offers free online training in the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act, which would be a good choice for your LSC lessons 7-8- or 9.
The dread Status-Quo is on the loose! Both Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Obama are on the defensive this week about their education plans after a group of civil rights organizations challenged the basic elements of the administration's Race to the Top and Blueprint for Reform plans, adding a powerful voice to the increasingly loud complaints coming from other sectors across the nation about the direction Duncan and Obama are trying to take public education.
Your Public Schools Action Tuesday assignment for today, if you choose to accept it, is to give a gift to PURE.
The internet gives us so many new opportunities for reaching people with our message and our perspective. That's what it's like to be a CPS principal these days in terms of trying to figure out how to lead your school in the coming year. "I'm growing more concerned about the planned rise in 'combined-grades' [not to be confused with multiage or ungraded] classrooms, due to the teacher layoffs and increased class sizes. You wind up scrambling the days before school opens, and the week the students return, just to figure out who's who and 'where' they are in terms of their next learning steps, based upon their test scores from spring (=old data, let's face it) plus your expert judgment of children's learning needs. THEN you have to scramble to quickly sort 'em all out into their learning groups so that by Week 5 you can administer the required District curriculum-based tests (half of which you'll now have to create from the new curriculum you're teaching, due to the other grade-level's children in your room). I fear not a whole lot of learning--through no fault of the teacher or the kids or the parents. "I also fear this will be the proverbial 'final straw' on teachers' backs--and we'll lose some fine folks in our system." What can we do? Join the CTU for a community summit on the CPS budget, Saturday, July 24, from 11 am to 12:30 pm at Ariel School, 1119 East 46th Street. Anthony House yesterday, opining that a field trip would have gone a long way toward improving my sense of local history. Not so surprising is that the Frederick Douglass museum, just down the block, is still very much a work in progress.Anyway, I loved the tour and especially loved the sculpture, in a little park midway between the Anthony house and the struggling Douglas Center, depicting Susan B. This means, he said, "notification, outreach, public input, and honest, open discussion about the right option for each community." Unfortunately, Duncan's track record in Chicago makes us skeptical that this is anything more than empty rhetoric.
His efforts to "involve the community" in turnrounds here meant that perfunctory hearings were held where hundreds turned out to offer powerful testimony about a school's strengths along with thoughtful, research-based suggestions about how to support and improve the existing school, yet Arne Duncan ignored it all and shut the schools down. This means that Arne Duncan must begin really listening to parents, and the only way we will know that he is actually hearing us is when he begins to modify the RTTT and ESEA proposals that parents so strongly oppose and replace them with solid, proven programs that parents want. Education Secretary Arne Duncan for changing this federal education law.The signers and hundreds of other parents sent this letter to their congressional representatives. While many are saying that a revised (reauthorized) ESEA is unlikely to be voted on before the fall elections, revised language is being hammered out in committee right now, and it may be too make meaningful changes later on in the process. Here are a couple of things that many in Congress still seem unaware of:Parents, students and community members join teachers across the nation in opposing the major elements of Race to the TopCharter schools are not working as hyped, and in fact the majority are not performing as well as regular public schools. Durbin is one of thirteen senators who recently wrote a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee chair Sen. Daniel Inouye opposing this bill, which was formulated by the chair of the House Education committee, Rep. Leonie offers a thorough analysis of the damage and dishonesty of the Gates Foundation's incursion into public school policy making.
Urban Prep Charter School still has a 100% college-going rate with ALL 95 graduating seniors going to college!Problem is, for the past few weeks, the orgy of happy-weepy media reports about the Urban Prep Miracle was that all 107 graduating seniors were going to college (see, for example, People Magazine, Good Morning America, "Urban Prep Named Person of the Week on ABC World News).  So, since their first self-promotional blitz, they've lost 12 students (the Sun-Times suggests they "transferred") ?
This yields an overall school graduation rate of 64%, or nearly 6 points lower than the average district rate of 69.8%. Yet no one is "socially promoted" because no one moves until they are ready. And in these tough economic times, doesn't it make a lot more sense to stop doing something that is expensive and doesn't work -- flunking students -- and start doing something that actually helps them? A new documentary, Waiting for Superman, will soon be released and we are working on getting Examiners free, possibly sneak preview access, to this film.
Wea€™d like you to participate in screening the film and covering the critical education issues it addresses. Wea€™ll also be promoting content related to the film, profiling profound teachers making a difference.
We know that these schools push out lower-performing students and refuse to even admit many special education or limited English-speaking students. And, overall, research shows that charter and other corporate-run schools are doing a worse job than traditional neighborhood schools. In fact, one of Arne's greatest assets is his ability to lie with a pleasant, non-threatening smile on his face.
And that's a problem because, if Congress believes his lies, they will pass his ideas into law. It's time to tell the truth about Arne Duncan, what he's done here in Chicago, and what he's trying to do to our children's education. However, we strongly disagree with your opposition to paying for this initiative with funds previously allocated for Race To the Top (RTTT) strategies, teacher pay-for-performance programs, and charter school expansion.
While you characterize these strategies as a€?sweeping reforms,a€? we believe that they are unproven, reckless, wasteful experiments which put our most vulnerable children at risk. However, we strongly disagree with your opposition to paying for this initiative with funds previously allocated for Race To the Top (RTTT) strategies, teacher pay-for-performance programs, and charter school expansion. You call these programs a€?vital,a€? a€?bold,a€? and a€?critical reform efforts.a€? We see the Obey amendment as a win-win situation.



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