Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm Taking a Free Class at MIT and You Can, Too

Okay, the "free" part holds true, but I'm not exactly "taking" a "class" at MIT. I'm riffing off of an old syllabus thanks to the MIT OpenCourseWare option. That's good enough for me because it might cost a small fortune to buy all the necessary books and I'd be too lazy to read them, anyway. And who would grade my three required seven-page essays?

I'm not kidding.

After reviewing my options, I decided to dig into an anthropology course called Cultures of Computing. The syllabus describes it thus:

This course examines computers anthropologically, as artifacts revealing the social orders and cultural practices that create them. Students read cultural analyses of historical and contemporary computing worlds alongside influential texts in computer science. Students explore the history of automation and capitalist manufacturing; cybernetics and WWII operations research; artificial intelligence and gendered subjectivity; the creation and commoditization of the personal computer; the growth of the Internet as a military, academic, and commercial project; the making of new social and economic forms online; the worlds of hackers and gamers; technobodies and virtual sociality; robots and new material substrates for computing. Emphasis is placed on how ideas about gender and other social differences shape labor practices, models of cognition, and material and symbolic practices of networking.
It really does call for three, seven-page essays.

I was trying to track down some of the books at my local library, but realized it would be easier and more fun to subject my family to my latest obsession include my family in the fun, so I'm we're starting with movies, even if we are going out of sequence.

Okay, so basically I'm just using the syllabus to create a viewing list.


Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Technology in Education: Parents are the Missing Link

kid in minecraft creeper mask
He dares me to take away his computer.
I've been thinking a lot of technology in education since attending the MIT Think Tank and Town Hall. Like fellow #DellDozen Ambassador Sarah Kimmel of Technology for Moms, I've decided to share a few more thoughts on the topic.

Sarah knows tech; she lives tech. She's also younger than me and her kids are just starting out in school. I'm in my mid-forties and my "young ones" are in 7th and 9th grade. It's not unexpected that although both of us are excited about the potential for tech to make a positive impact on education, we differ in how we'd like it to be applied.

We both seem to like 24/7 access to school information and such, but I'm a fan of old-fashioned book, pen and paper homework. It's easier to keep an eye on them and track their progress. (Counterpoint: computer-based learning programs can truly track progress--and growth--over time, I know.)

This all got me thinking about the technology generation gap, something I think will be an issue for another 5 or so years.


Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Day Off

I'm taking a digital sabbatical today in observance of Yom Kippur. See you tomorrow!

Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Global Cardboard Challenge with the Imagination Foundation

You've heard the story of Caine's Arcade, yes? No? Click here for the heartwarming video. In a nutshell, Caine, a lonely 9-year-old boy in East LA, fashioned an entire Chuck E. Cheesey-worthy arcade out of corrugated boxes at his dad's used car parts store. It's amazing. But Caine never had any customers until the right person walked through the door and bought a fun pass.

The best part came after the video, when a scholarship fund was started for Caine. It's raised nearly $200 thousand dollars.

The video's producers realized they had started something. Something more than a viral video or scholarship fund for Caine, they had started a movement. Kids all around the world were inspired by Caine to make and post their cardboard creations.

And now this: The Imagination Foundation.

Their mission is "to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids." They're running a pilot program in 100 schools and now they're inviting the world to play along.

October 6, 2012 is the Global Cardboard Challenge

I knew The Maker Mom needed to be a part of this, so I talked to the folks at the local Farmer's Market. Without a lot of time to plan, we started brainstorming about where to get boxes and how big we could make this event.

And then we had a windstorm at the market this past Saturday.

So we scaled back a bit and decided that we'd think more shoebox and less refrigerator box.

We're hoping for sunny, crisp fall weather that will draw a crowd on the 6th from 9 - noon, but we also recognition that it might be so cold that the most inspiring idea is to dump the cardboard in a trash can and light it on fire to warm ourselves. God forbid.

Sun spots aside, virtual worlds are not weather-dependent, so I'm adding an online component as well.

Whether you involve your kids, your class or your community, join in!

Imagine. Play. Create. 

I'd love to see what you cardboard creations you dream up, so email me, tag The Maker Mom in a Facebook photo.>
And, of course, sign up to host an event of your own.



Locals take note: I'm holding a BUILD day this Sunday, 9/30, so we can bring some fun cardboard games and inventions to the market. Contact me if you and your kids would like to join in!

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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tech Innovation in Education: Dell, MIT and Me

I went to MIT (home of the Scratch kitty!) earlier this month as part of the #DellDozen Ambassador Program. I was part of an Innovation in Education Think Tank as well as an Innovation in Education Town Hall (video here). And let's be clear, when I say I was part of those programs, I mean part of the audience. Not that I don't have a few opinions on technology in education.

I went in determined to take good notes, so that I could write-up a rich summary. About five minutes in to the morning Think Tank, I caved and just started Tweeting out the juicy bits. And two weeks later, I can't seem to access those Tweets. Blerg.

The Think Tank conversation twisted and turned and spiraled back upon itself.


The very large discussion panel was comprised of educators, administrators and education professionals, representatives from afterschool programs, and a handful of students. Overall, the group was white and male, which was a shame.


Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Friday, September 21, 2012

GoldieBlox: STEM Girl Friday

GoldieBlox is a fun new Kickstarter project that's perfect for STEM Girl Friday. Designed by Debbie Sterling, a Stanford Engineering graduate, it combines a story, girl-friendly colors and characters and enough components to build several simple machines.

Check out the Kickstarter pitch to learn more and support this project. Thanks to Patti Minglin for pointing it out to me!

As long as you're heading over to Kickstarter, check out my friend Susan Bearman's richly illustrated book, Animal Store Alphabet Book. The beautiful and educational book makes a great holiday gift.

By the way, I'll have highlights of last night's #STEMchat posted next week. We trended on Twitter! You can read the transcript here if you like that sort of thing. Really, it's much more pleasant to read the highlight summary and there's less spam.

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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Calculate This!

As a bonus to out #STEMchat participants, we're offering an additional chance to win a sweet, high-tech
TI-Nspire™ CX graphing/scientific handheld.

TI-Nspire CX Handheld
TI-Nspire CX technology grows with your student. Free software updates enable the unit to last from middle school through college. Another bonus: the TI-Nspire CX handhelds are allowed where tablets and mobile devices are not. The TI-Nspire CX handhelds are permitted for use on tests such as ACT, SAT, AP, IB, PSAT/NMSQT.

Its full-color screen allows users to color code objects and equations and it also permits users to incorporate images and photos. The software included with the calculator means that students can work on their desktops (PC or Mac) in an environment that is very similar to their handheld unit.


Enter to win:
Okay, peeps. New Linky, same rules. You must participate in tonight's #STEMchat using the hashtag in order to be eligible.

Entries will not be taken in the comment section! The linky will ask for contest info- just put in a name (just your first name or pseudonym is fine as this will show publicly), blog url (just leave it blank if you don't have one) and your name and email address (these last two will NOT show publicly) so I can contact you if you win.

Until September 30, you can enter TI's contest to have Emmy-nominated Big Bang Theory actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik teach an integrated math/science lesson at your child's school. She'll also bring a whole lot of ed tech goodness with her for the school to keep.


This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada. Must be 18 to enter. RSVP entries will be accepted until a few minutes before #STEMchat begins. Retail value of prize is approximately $150 US dollars. Winner will be chosen at random. TI or its agency will provide prize fulfillment.


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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Raising Kids Who Love Math #STEMchat and Giveaway Sponsored by Texas Instruments Educational Technology

STEMchat just keeps getting better! I'm thrilled that Thursday night's chat (9 PM Eastern, 8 Central, 6 Pacific) has a rock-star panel that includes parents @JeanneBernish- a "math-not" with a son who plans to major in math in college next fall and @MissLori- who puts on a brave face so her kids don't fear math.

The panel will also feature teacher and online education resource extraordinaire @TeachMama and Kelly Kutach, a Texas Instruments mathematician who will be sharing as @TICalculators during our chat.

Having a sponsor makes the chat more sustainable and allows me to provide extra goodies to you, as you'll see below. Having a sponsor will not affect the goal of #STEMchat, which is to bring parents, teachers and STEM educators together to share ideas and resources.

Now about those goodies: Texas Instruments is providing The Maker Mom with two  TI-Nspire™ CX graphing/scientific handheld units to give away. One will be given to someone who RSVPs below and attends #STEMchat and the other will be awarded to a chat participant shortly after the chat is over.

TI-Nspire CX Handheld
TI-Nspire CX technology grows with your student. Free software updates enable the unit to last from middle school through college. Another bonus: the TI-Nspire CX handhelds are allowed where tablets and mobile devices are not. The TI-Nspire CX handhelds are permitted for use on tests such as ACT, SAT, AP, IB, PSAT/NMSQT.

Its full-color screen allows users to color code objects and equations and it also permits users to incorporate images and photos. The software included with the calculator means that students can work on their desktops (PC or Mac) in an environment that is very similar to their handheld unit.

Enter to win:

RSVP to #STEMchat using the linky below and participate in the chat.
Entries will not be taken in the comment section! The linky will ask for contest info- just put in a name (just your first name or pseudonym is fine as this will show publicly), blog url (just leave it blank if you don't have one) and your name and email address (these last two will NOT show publicly) so I can contact you if you win.

This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada. Must be 18 to enter. RSVP entries will be accepted until a few minutes before #STEMchat begins. Retail value of prize is approximately $150 US dollars. Winner will be chosen at random. TI or its agency will provide prize fulfillment.

Still feeling lucky? Enter TI's contest to have Emmy-nominated Bing Bang Theory actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik teach an integrated math/science lesson at your child's school. She'll also bring with a whole bunch of TI product goodness for the school or students to keep.

For good karma and to keep up with the latest in TI's educational technology:



  • Follow TI on Twitter
  •  Follow TI on Facebook
  • Follow TI on Pinterest
  • Visit TI on YouTube
  • Visit TI online

  • Tweet you on the 20th!

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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Bleeker puts the STEM in the Sunday Funnies

    image via King Features press release
    Starting tomorrow, September 17, the funny pages are going to get a it brainier thanks to Bleeker, the rechargeable dog.

    This special series focusing on engineering by Jonathan Mahood will last two weeks and is running as a partnership between King Features and the National Academy of Engineering.

    If your newspaper of choice doesn't carry King syndicates or if you don't have a newspaper of choice, look for the strip at NAE's website. This could be the most fun I've had reading the comics since the Far Side or Calvin and Hobbes.

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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    STEM Girl Friday: Limor Fried of AdaFruit


    Forget STEM Girl Friday, how about STEM Goddess Friday? That title fits Limor Fried, engineer, social media maven and business owner. She dropped out of high school due to boredom then took college classes and Boston University finally moving on to MIT's Media Lab(!) where she received a master's degree in engineering. She founded and currently runs a company, AdaFruit Industries, which is all sorts of awesome.

    You'll have to click to read and watch the video below to see just how awesome she is. I've got other deadlines to meet today, people.

    Limor is currently in the running for Entrepreneur Magazine's Established Entrepreneur of the Year. Go vote.

    In fact, she's the ONLY women in the running in all of the three categories. (The only woman, can that possibly be correct? WTF, Entrepreneur?)

    Tell all your friends to vote, too. Seriously. One woman, Entrepreneur?



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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Two Fun Math Apps That Teach and Engage

    hungry fish math app
    Image from Hungry Fish
    As I've mentioned, I'm not the best reviewer for apps, but Tammy Astor, elementary school teacher and lifelong learner has agreed to take on the role for me, sharing kid-tested reviews of educational apps. This month, Teacher Tammy is talking math apps with an insider's peek at Baseball Multiplication and Hungry Fish.

    As parents and teachers we are always looking for ways to make learning fun. Math apps absorb kids while, oops, they're learning. I am all for screen time if it balances entertainment with educational value, and here are two apps that fit the bill.

    Baseball Multiplication with Facts 1-6 or Facts 1-12 This app from from Everyday Mathematics holds kids' attention while they practice their facts. It's a straightforward two player game, but one child could play both teams. The instructions are easy to understand and kids are not racing against the clock to calculate their answers which helps level the playing field for different aged siblings or classmates who recall math facts at different speeds. Each three-inning game lasts between ten and fifteen minutes. Each version, the easier 1-6 and the harder 1-12, is $1.99 at the App Store. Baseball Multiplication is almost always a hit with my elementary school students.

    The eighteen levels of Hungry Fish by Motion Math, go from preschool easy to math whiz challenging! A little fish the player gets to name is hungry for numbers. The cute little fish has a number on its side. Two belching sea tubers blurp out numbered bubbles that the player matches, adds or subtracts to equal the number on the little fish’s body. Then the cute tiny fish eats the appropriately numbered bubbles and grows larger. As it grows, players earn the right to color parts of their fish and change its style as the app decides whether the player is ready for the next level.  (Players can set and reset their own level, too.)

    Reef level one is basically untimed number matching while Cave level eighteen is timed and includes a competitor that causes your little fish to starve and shrink if you answer incorrectly or are slow to answer. Oy! My heart breaks every time I starve my beloved, multi-colored, fancy-finned fishy named Tamela. Each round is one to three minutes long depending on the player. This app takes fact practice to the next level as you can combine any number of bubbles to get the number on your fish.  You can purchase the addition, subtraction or negative numbers versions for $1.99 each, or $6.99 for all three.

    Got math? This month's Twitter STEMchat will focus on ideas and resources that help kids love math. Join in September 20 at 8 PM Central.

    Tammy Astor is a lifelong learner, Starlab Portable Planetarium presenter, tutor and classroom teacher with many years of experience in both public and private schools. She is currently looking for a classroom to call home. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, son and dog.

    If you have an educational app you'd like reviewed on The Maker Mom, drop us a note at TheMakerMom {at} hotmail {dot} com.







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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Scholarships for Engineering Students

    I don't need to be thinking about college and engineering scholarships right now. I mean, I'm headed to MIT today for business, not for a college visit. But it's a school that's been on my son's dream list for a long time*. And when I think about being about to afford a school like that, or anything beyond community college, really, my heart starts pounding and I break into a cold sweat. Count me among the 75% of Americans parents (I once heard) who think/hope their child will get a scholarship (or five).

    I learned about this comprehensive engineering scholarship list from a Tweet via iRobot's educational branch. Based on the comments, it appears to be a re-post from 2011, so you'll need to check to make sure the information is up to date.

    In addition to scholarships from industry groups as noted in the post, individual engineering schools may provide tuition discounts for high school participation in clubs like the First Robotics League or successful completion of pre-engineering programs like Project Lead The Way.

    I hear it also helps if your child discovers a new particle, saves a village in a developing nation, finds a cure for cancer and stuff like that. Good luck!

    How he even knew about the school at age 9 is a mystery, but when his then-carpool buddy extolled the virtues of the University of Chicago, my son countered that MIT was better. Such conversations were all too common on the ride to and from the private gifted school my boys used to attend.

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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Engineering the 9/11 Memorial

    I had a different post scheduled for today, but even 11 years after the twin towers fell, any topic other than the 9/11 attacks seem frivolous. Was it really that scary? Did things really change that day? the boys asked recently.

    Yes. What a sad, sad day.

    We watched the movie Artificial Intelligence* over the weekend. The boys got a glimpse of the twin towers as the protagonist flew toward a heavily flooded New York skyline. I guess the movie was filmed prior to 2001. The director, Steve Spielberg, imagined a city so affected by global climate change that most of it was underwater, but who could have foreseen an NYC skyline without the World Trade Center?

    At any rate, I thought some of you might take interest in this NOVA special, Engineering Ground Zero. The documentary, five years in the making, the documentary debuted on PBS last year.

    *We're using an MIT course on Computers and Culture to guide our current movie selections. More about that later.

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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    September #STEMchat: Raising Kids Who Love Math

    STEMchat logo
    September 20 at 8 PM Central
    I promise the chat titles will be more imaginative in the months ahead, but in September we're taking a hint from August and sticking to the basics. The Raising Kids Who Love Math (or how not to pass your math anxiety on to your kids) #STEMchat will take place on Thursday, September 20 at 8 PM Central (9 Eastern, 6 Pacific).

    I'll be sharing some of our favorite resources from when my boys were younger and a few that are helpful now that they're in junior high and high school.

    The wonderful @JeanneBernish will be one of our "parent-experts." Though she considers herself a "math-not" she has a son who plans to major in math in college next fall!, so she did something right. Get a leg-up on the chat by reading Jeanne's recent post on raising a mathematician.

    Updated 9/10 to add: I'm pleased to announce that @MissLori, mom, blogger, and entertainer (not just to her kids who are not in school right now due the the Chicago Teacher's union strike) will also be joining us on the panel.

    The rest of the panel is still coming together (if you or someone you know is a math educator perfect for this chat, please drop me a note), but I wanted to get the date and time out there.

    If there's a question you'd like to see addressed during the chat, leave it in the comments below.

    As this cute video demonstrates, if we want to raise kids who love math we've got to provide them with support. The right support.




    Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to keep tabs on upcoming #STEMchats and read highlights of past chats as well as popular posts from this blog.

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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    Video Games in Schools

    Gamer Generation Book: benefits of video games for kids
    Yeah, I know computer games, video games, apps can provide educational value, but gaming and screen time cause so many huge, hairy, unpleasant arguments in my house that it's hard to write about them in a positive way. Thankfully, I have friends like Shelly Kramer, Tammy Astor (coming soon) and Jennifer Comet Wagner to fill in the gap.

    Jennifer Comet Wagner is the founder of Connect with your Teens through Pop Culture and Technology, a blog for parents and educators. She recently published the book, The Gamer Generation: Reaping the Benefits of Video Games.
     
    While writing my blog about keeping up-to-date with pop culture, technology and education, I became very interested in the benefits of video games. I recently put together an ebook which compiled numerous studies on the benefits of gaming. The largest chapter turned out to be on the educational benefits.

    Why do video games work so well in helping students learn?

    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    I'm Going to MIT for Innovation in Education

    Dell XPS13
    My traveling companion.
    Every once in a while I earn my cool mom points and I'm about to score big by heading to someone's dream* school. Next week I'm headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a social think tank and town hall meeting devoted to technology in education as part of the #DellDozen Ambassador Program.

    Dell is sponsoring critical conversations starting with a think tank including thought leaders, parents, students, and school administrators to talk about innovation in education. (To be clear, I'll be in the audience taking notes.) This session will take place in partnership with MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

    Later in the day, the MIT Media Lab (source of everything cool that doesn't already come out of CSAIL), Dell and NBC's Education Nation will host a variety of educational thought leaders gathered on panels to speak on The Digital Divide and How Technology Spurs Innovation in the Classroom. (I sure hope it's more by doing more than giving netbook and tablets to students because that experiment isn't working out so well in our Luddite household.) (Oh, wait, it will be! Check out a Twitter list of the participants via @DellEdu.)

    I know many of my readers are education geeks, so I want to invite you to follow along a livestream of the afternoon session. You can also follow along on Twitter via #DellDozen, #DoMoreEdu and me, @KimMoldofsky.

    And speaking of cool things that come out of MIT, check out my interview with MIT Media Lab PhD candidate Jay Silver. Keep watching until the end, because I love his closing quote and I think you will, too.



    *Dream school, schmeam school. My children are still a bit young for thinking seriously about colleges, but we're already advising them not to get their heart set on one school and instead find a handful of schools they like and compare costs because, um, yikes.

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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Back to School with The Wonder Mom

    Oh, I've seen the all the adorable first day of school photos of the kids and even a few of moms celebrating the season with a kid-free GMO, Girls Morning Out, but there's a certain kind of busy-ness that comes with the kids being back to school. That "second shift," the one that runs from about 3:00 - 10:00 and includes after school carpools, homework supervision, dinner, more fussing (and maybe fighting) over homework, bath time and, finally, bedtime can be exhausting.

    But there can also be a few extra daytime duties. Even if you have a kid who can memorize Pi to 25 places, he might not be able to remember to bring his lunch/gym suit/math book, etc. That's when Wonder Mom comes out.


    Sometimes.

    Even as a work-at-home mom with a flexible schedule, I'm not always willing to drop everything and hightail it to school. It depends on the age of the child, location of the school, and reason for not having said item. As my boys get older, I'm less forgiving.

    That said, I'll admit that I'm not always at the top of my game each school morning. That permission slip the child asked me to sign the night before? If it's due and I forgot to, you know, sign it, I'd complete the form and run that over.

    But the music folder I reminded the child to bring to band practice and was left on the kitchen table? Sorry, he's going to lose a few preparedness points from his teacher that day.

    When do you stop everything to make an unexpected trip to school?

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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Manufacturing Day is Coming October 5


    National Manufacturing Day
    image courtesy of www.mfgday.com
    Join in for a nationwide inaugural event- Manufacturing Day! On October 5 manufacturers around the country will open their doors to show off their inner workings. One of my maxims in life is, "It's cool to watch stuff get made!" and October 5 everyone will have a chance to do so.

    I'm going to talk to the junior high about sending some students to one of their nearby facilities. Or maybe I'll just coordinate my own little field trip. (Shhh, October 5 is a school day.)

    Right now the Rocky Mountain region is looking sparse, but I understand they're still adding venues. To learn more and find an event near you, check out the Manufacturing Day website.


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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    No Child Left Where? A Note from School

    So we received a note from the high school saying that for the last five years, the school has failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) targets. Because of this the school is in "restructuring" meaning that they must provide parent "public school choice and supplemental educational services."

    This from a school where the vast majority of kids go on to some kind of post-secondary education, often college?

    The note also say that due to the "restructuring" they are required to take one of the following actions:
    re-opening as a charter school, replacing all or most of the staff, entering into a contract with an "entity", being taken over by the state or implementing some other major restructuring of the school's governance.

    What?

    At first I dismissed the letter as a bureaucratic requirement. I've seen similar letters before from elementary schools. The high school in question has thriving athletic, arts and academic programs and I sure as hell hope they don't cut their STEM, AP and honors programs because of NCLB.

    Serious issues aside (I'll save my questions for an upcoming Coffee with the Principal) it was this paragraph that I most wanted to share with you.

    "The NCLB Act provides you, as a parent, the option to transfer your child to another public school within the district that is making AYP, with transportation provided by the district. However, at this time we do not have a school within the district to which your child can transfer. (emphasis theirs) We have contacted neighborhing districts to request that they provide us with a school(s) we can offer you as an option. No school district has agreed to do so this school year, nor have any of these schools made AYP and therefore cannot serve as options for transfer."

    Sorry, but can you read that paragraph without concern that our education system is completely screwed up? I can't.

    Ironically, I have quite a bit of faith that this public school will meet my son's academic needs (finally!), but I don't see how NCLB is affecting that, except in a potentially negative way.

    Your thoughts?



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    Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
    Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

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