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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stress, Anxiety and Coping

I have been multitasking, and the Senginar on "Stress, Anxiety and Gifted: Coping with Everyday Life" has had some wonderful recommendations. First, one of the recommendations by Michele Kane was to have your child spend more time outside. A new network formed by Richard Louv is the Children and Nature Network. I once read a book called Why Children Need Wild Places, which I picked up in the Grand Canyon book store. Many of my students are not allowed outside because there is no responsible adult to watch them; the adults are all working two jobs. Even families that make sure the children play outside may not make trips to beautiful wilderness. If adults are not aware of what's out there, they don't necessarily know what they and their children are missing.

Another system of looking at the world is Martin Seligman's new work on well-being. Instead of Learned Optimism, his newest work is being called Flourish and he is revising happiness into a "Theory of Well-Being." He is starting a curriculum for teachers. Now I kinda wish I wasn't retiring so soon!

National Poetry Month

I admit it. I torture my students. Here I am given a room full of language-disabled English-language learners (with 2 exceptions) and I am making them write poetry. They get pretty upset with me as I pull some of their words out and throw out others. Part of me is wishing I had more time to spend with each student to coax them into understanding on the "show, don't tell." Reality being what it may, I get them to describe what they see, hear, feel, taste, and touch. Then I write it for them (only one has access to Co:Writer) and encourage them to embellish in Keynote. That part they love. We will post these poems in the hall at school next week. I hope these beautiful individuals will learn the process of creating impressions to work through whatever emotional issues they cannot express with their everyday language.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Too Many Tabs

My children tease me about the number of tabs I leave open on a regular basis. Like so many things in my life, I have trouble setting limits. I often open a tab because I find it interesting, but don't have time to read the page or watch the 48 minute video. I ultimately do go back and learn from them, but only when the demands of my job and activities allow it. Two of the more recent tabs I have opened are Zooniverse and MIT Open Courseware.

Zooniverse is a project that calls on anyone interested in science to help scientists scan the 950,000 images from Hubble Space Telescope. At least, I hope I have that right, for I have lost the link that sent me to this web site. (Found it in my history: NASA Science.) Like so much in cyberspace, we float from place to place and don't remember how we got there. This site links people to eight projects that need more eyes on information to find things. I remember reading in the Wall St. Journal that NASA had a building the size of a football field with images from space vehicles. That was in 1990 or so. The projects involve finding new planets, new objects of undetermined matter, the Milky Way, the moon, galaxies and old weather, to name a few.

MIT Open Courseware has been around for ten years. I have downloaded courses before, but I am hoping that retirement will allow me the time to actually study the subjects that interest me. Most recently, I downloaded a study of Twentieth Century Literature. I am really feeling old, since most of my life was spent in the Twentieth Century. Specifically, I am interested in the Existentialists and how they perceived the world. After viewing a Senginar on Existential Depression in Gifted Adults and Children, I am fascinated by the challenge that others have struggled with these issues and found solutions.

So there you have it. Happy Easter to all those who celebrate it, and enjoy Passover, to those friends, too. Now I can shut those tabs and post some blogs that friends of mine have started. See the sidebar if you're interested.