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Reflections From A Former Elementary School Teacher

28 Aug

It’s three weeks into this school year, and I’m settling into this new role as an elementary school parent. I have to say, being on this side of the classroom door has been a tremendous eye-opener. This time of year typically elicits nostalgic feelings for my days in the classroom, but now that I’m in the school environment on a daily basis, I am constantly reflecting on my time as a teacher.

image credit: MS Office Clip Art

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July Book Salute: My Secret Bully

3 Jul

When I taught elementary school, I was constantly on the lookout for children’s books with appealing narratives that contained important messages.  Had Trudy Ludwig been publishing her acclaimed picture books during my teaching days, every single title would have been found in my classroom library. Not that I’m dwelling on missed opportunities here – I couldn’t be more grateful as a parent to have such wonderfully written books to draw from at home in dealing with difficult friendship issues and nontraditional bullying.

image credit: trudyludwig.com

Ludwig is a master at weaving important problem solving skills and coping strategies into realistic and relevant stories for kids. Continue reading

Maybe she was listening after all….

26 Jun

Just when I think my words are falling on deaf ears…..

Annie: “Can Sasha and Aaron be friends?”
Me: “Of course. Why?”
Annie: “Because Morgan and Sarah said she couldn’t be friends with a boy, but I said she could. So I was right, right mom?”
Me: “Right.”
Annie: [Big Smile]

Isn’t it great to get it right?!  😉

April Book Salute: ‘A Lamb And A Llama’

3 Apr

I think I speak for the entire Sanford Harmony Program when I say that we are super proud of our friend, colleague and authority on all creative matters, Ashley Bustamante, who officially became a published children’s author on Monday. Her book a Lamb and a Llama is now available in bookstores and online, and it is absolutely adorable! Based on a true story of Picasso, a llama from the Pinnacle Peak Llama Ranch, Ashley turned a childhood memory into a fabulous children’s tale and made it even more charming with her own lovable illustrations.  Continue reading

February Book Salute: Chrysanthemum

7 Feb

I love how authentic literature allows us to explore challenging topics and inspires conversations. There are so many amazing books out there that touch on elements critical to enhancing relational skills among boys and girls – issues at the heart of the Sanford Harmony Program. Beginning today, the first Tuesday of every month will be dedicated to these wonderful and useful pieces of literature ranging from children’s fiction to adult non-fiction. These monthly book posts are not intended to be book reviews, but rather “shout –outs” to fine works that provide opportunities to think and talk about matters that contribute to bringing boys and girls together and promoting healthy relationships. Continue reading

The Birthday Dilemma

2 Feb

My five-year old was recently invited to her first girls only birthday party. It was a fairy themed party on a beautiful, warm Sunday, and everyone had a really nice time. The kids all got wings when they arrived and ran around outside in-between cake and craft projects. It was a sweet and wholesome party – but, half the class was excluded.

10 Reasons Girls & Boys Should Play Together

18 Jan

The following statement is neither profound nor surprising, but here it is anyway: Boys and girls don’t spend a whole lot of time with each other.

There’s no doubt that same-gender peer groups are great, but here are ten reasons why boys and girls would also benefit from playing TOGETHER. Continue reading

Lego Friends Misses the Mark on Friendships

12 Jan

I hold my memories of working at Gray Elementary School very close to my heart. It was (and still is) a fabulous Chicago Public School, with passionate and innovative teachers and supportive and forward-thinking administrators. While the learning happening inside the school was quite progressive, the school structure itself dated back to 1911. Remodeling and updating took place over the years, but certain elements of the original facade were preserved – namely, the separate boys’ and girls’ entrances.

Set on opposite ends of the building with words etched in stone above, these doors had long since brought boys and girls into school separately. And the sight of this historical signage never elicited any type of negative feelings from me. In fact, I appreciated the history it represented. If anything, it was a reminder of how far we’ve come (in education and as a culture), and an incentive for continuing to push for change and improvement. Separate entrances for boys and girls – a thing of the past, ancient history, olden times, distant memories….  It’s 2012 now for goodness sakes. It’s a time of inclusion, progressive thinking, and ingenuity.

So could someone please explain to me why an industry that has the resources to be all of this and more has created the likes of Legos Friends? Continue reading

The Playdate

1 Dec

Why is it that “playdate” is not considered a compound word? My spelling skills happen to be atrocious (thank you spell-check for the assist with atrocious), so I typically don’t have a leg to stand on in these matters. But for some reason I feel strongly that playdate should be one word. This grammar/spelling conundrum is somewhat irrelevant, but I would like to share a tale about a playdate, and therefore am prefacing it by stating that I will henceforth intentionally ignore the annoying red squiggly lines. Continue reading

The Great Divide

9 May

I was walking out of my kids’ preschool the other day with another mom. She has two kids 15 months apart (bless her). Her younger son, Jonathan, is in Molly’s room and the older one, Noah, is in Pre-K. We were chatting about our kids and work and how we’re always running late. Then we got to talking about the intervention I’m involved in at ASU. I was telling her how we’re trying to increase contact and positive experiences between boys and girls in hopes of bringing kids together who, at this stage, are beginning to spend more and more time apart. At this point she stops walking and says to me,

paper chain close up by stitchlily

paper chain close up by stitchlily

You know, that’s so interesting…. I swear, just now, when I dropped off Noah, it looked as if the teacher had said, ‘Girls over here – Boys over there.’ The kids were all so into making these paper chains, but the girls were all standing around the teacher turning them into bracelets and earrings, and the boys were all off on the other side of the room tying each other up! I don’t even think I noticed at first – everyone was just having fun. It’s funny how you can walk into a classroom, see everyone working happily, and not really think about that division.

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