Specials in the classroom

Music, PE, Art, foreign languages, library – all the fun stuff we get to learn during the school day. I believe back in my day they were called electives in secondary schools and in elementary school they were simply part of the regular school week. Actually we didn’t have to leave our classrooms to do art and we did not have an option to learn another language with the exception of those students who were learning English as a 2nd language. Now kids go to what are called “specials” in our school district. As part of an effort across the four corners to help children keep their “native tongues” alive those children that are identified as Navajo or Hispanic are allowed to voluntarily participate in what is known as bilingual – children spend 45 minutes everyday learning either Navajo or Spanish. They also learn about the cultures and traditions of their people. My daughter is both Navajo and Spanish but she only gets to participate in one language so she is learning Navajo – we can teach her Spanish at home and she will have the option to take that as an elective in Middle School.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if ALL of the children were asked if thy would like to participate in bilingual learning? I’m sure there are lots of kids out there that are not of Spanish or Navajo descent that would benefit from learning another language. According to a study done by the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab, children who learn a second language can maintain attention despite outside stimuli better than children who know only one language. Children are naturals at proficiency in learning other languages since they are activating those language receptors in their brains learning as they begin to learn to speak their native tongues. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2009/05/learning-second-language-good-childhood-mind-medicine
According to The Benefits of Second Language Study conducted by the NEA in 2007 the teaching children a second language:
-benefits academic progress in other subjects
-narrows achievement gaps
-benefits basic skills development
-benefits higher order, abstract and creative thinking
-(early) enriches and enhances cognitive development
-enhances a student’s sense of achievement
-helps students score higher on standardized tests
-promotes cultural awareness and competency
-improves chances of college acceptance, achievement and attainment
-enhances career opportunities
-benefits understanding and security in community and society
It seems to me that ALL of our children would benefit from learning a second language. Since this skill is already being taught in our schools in the Farmington District and time is being set aside outside of the classroom on a regular basis for some children to attend it, it may just be in all of our best interests to allow those interested in learning but not natively part of a culture to participate in bilingual learning.

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Gardens for our schools

Hello faithful followers, new friends, and those of you just taking a peek. Today I would like to tell you all about the WONDERFUL IDEA I have and perhaps get some feedback from you on how we can make this happen…
A little background – I live in Northern New Mexico in a little community called Farmington. Okay maybe it’s not so little anymore – current population stats put us at about 50,000! There are 19 schools in the district and according to the Farmington Municipal Schools website (http://district.fms.k12.nm.us/) they currently service over 10,000 students. Now that is a lot of hungry kiddos to feed every day. Some of you may have read my previous tirade regarding school lunches (https://mama4education.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/school-lunch-would-you-eat-it) and so are familiar with my general outlook on school lunches – in case you didn’t read it rest assured I detest the school lunch. Oh and by the way I have still heard nothing from the district nutritionist or the company that supplies my daughter’s school lunches in regard to nutrition information – that right there tells me something’s not kosher with the food (get it kosher… buh-dum-bum). This has helped me come up with the WONDERFUL IDEA… Each school in the district can have its own garden. Imagine it – fresh seasonal veggies at our children’s fingertips which they helped grow and care for themselves! Talk about a win-win. The district saves money on food and our children learn something about sustainability, healthy eating choices, and the environment.
In this area every school has a HUGE amount of real estate – most of it dedicated to grass that gets watered year round. Why not utilize this existing wasted space to do something really great for our kids and for the environment. according to the Center for Disease Control (cdc.gov) childhood obesity has nearly doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. We have become a fast-food nation (25% of Americans eat fast food every day according to pamf.org) and many children are not getting nutrition from fruits and vegetables other juices and french fries. Gardening not only provides healthy food options, it also provides physical activity and instills in growers a sense of pride and accomplishment. These are things I certainly want my children to have!

So how do we go about getting this implemented? I suppose getting in touch with the district will be the first step – perhaps there is a reason unbeknownst to us average joes that so much land is wasted around the playground. I will let you know what I find out.
Please feel free to steal my idea and implement it in your communities and neighborhoods – let me know if any of you out there have success. Here’s to raising healthy, happy, industrious kids!

Topic of the week #10 – Social Media Audit Masada House

The organization I will be working wih for the end of semester project is called Masada House. this is a non-profit organization located in Farmington, NM. It is transitional housing for women completing or having completed a drug or alcohol dependency rehabilitation program. Masada House allows for a safe environment for these women to learn life skills that will help them be successful in their road to recovery in the “outside” world. The largest impediment to successful recovery for most drug and alcohol users is an inability to separate themselves from the things that were crutches for use in the past – friends, peer groups, family, and sometimes even geographic location. Masada requires participants to work outside of the house, has strict rules as far as curfew and what participants are allowed to do during their stay, and offers counseling, mentoring, and healing mostly done by healthcare providers in the San Juan County area who volunteer their time and skills to help these women be a success. So far Masada has been successful in helping approximately 40% of past participants to achieve their goals of a new life and the goal of lifelong sobriety. Since 2011 45 women have participated in the program. This equates to 18 participants that have thus far been successful with the program. Average rates of recidivism look to be around 51%.
The current social media presence of Masada House consists of a facebook page as well as a website http://www.masadahouse.net neither of which is maintained regularly as the organization has limited resources to employ a full-time social media provider and much of the owrk done around the organization is “off-the-clock” by existing employees. Because Masada House is still relatively young (less than 2 years since their doors opened to the first group of participants) and a non-profit organization there is some understability as to the lack of social media presence. Upping the amount of content available on facebook as well as adding content to the website are going to be my first suggestions as these are easily one and House participants can add greatly to content via facebook. Establishing a blog that is dedicated solely to Masada House will increase awareness and drive traffic toward the organization.
The service Masada House is providing to the four corners community is so extremely imprtant and much needed we really need to get them out there to show people what they do and how they can help.

Topic of the week 8 – Twittering???

Okay so I have to be the first to admit that this entire course has been one nightmare after another – I never realized that I was so social media phobic until I tried to actually use it for something other than posting pictures of my kids on facebook. Some of the topics wr have touched on thus far have got me so overwhelmed I go into panic mode every time I get into the class! Case in point – this weeks topic of TWITTER.
The first time I recall hearing about Twitter and Tweets and Tweeting and the like was one lovely morning while watching the Today show. There sat Matt Lauer talking about some “news-worthy” subject (or it very well may have been sone celebrity gossip) when he stated that the Twitter world was abuzz with scandalation in regard to this particular topic (sorry I honestly cannot remember what the topic was but I guess that’s a moot point right now). I remember thinking – what the heck is he talking about “Tweeting”? I wonder what that is? At that point in time I did not take the time to explore the topic – actually up until this point in time I had no desire to truly do so. Perhaps I do not even desire truly to look into it now but I AM taking a social media class so I must have some interest in it… right?
So needless to point at to you I DO NOT have a twitter account – perhaps I need one? At this juncture I am unclear as to how Tweeting could benefit me and my “personal brand”. I have considered using it to promote my hubby’s band but I’m not quite sure if it would generate interest and honestly right now I don’t think I could dedicate myself to the time it would take to be an effective Tweeter. it seems to me that it could be very time-consuming since it’s pretty much a constantly live thing. Actually this whole social media thing seems to be pretty time-consuming. Sheesh who knew?
Last night I was on the verge of setting up my own Twitter account and then I chickened out. I don’t really know what frightens me so much about this… I don’t think the Twitter Monster is going to jump out from under my bed at night just because I don’t follow others bby utilizing this tool. Then again maybe it is just that – the notion that I am “following” others and others may be “following” me. Maybe if there were a better word for it – Admiring perhaps. Ah to be admired from afar be perfect strangers that may be the motivation I need.

facebook in the classroom

Good afternoon readers – today we will be discussin the use of facebook and other social media in the classroom.  Do you think that it would be effective for teachers to utilize social media as part of the learning experience for students in the K-12 grades?  Personally I think K-5 really needs to stay away from the over-use of technology so that children do get that fundamental foundation in skills such as reading and writing.  But what about our older kids – I don’t see many these days over the age of 12 who do not have access to or their own internet capable device whether is be a smart phone, tablet, or computer.  Can a teacher utilize social media to reach out to students and make the learning experience more engaging?  I don’t know about you all but there are lots of things that I was made to learn in school that I have never applied to “real life”.  I’ve never been asked to write in cursive only at work or had any cause to utilize the pythagorean theorem to get me through the daily grind.  By allowing children to utilize the technology available at their fingertips as an integral part of their education can have a variety of effects on students and their interactions with the world they actually live in.  If students find that their teachers are available via academic networking similar to socila networking they may find that level of accessibilty to far outreach any face-to-face interaction they can have in the classroom.  Connection can often be the key to success for students to learn a new skill or idea and not much interestes students more these days than the constant electronic interactions they have with their peers.  Social media can teach collaboration as well.

Topic of the week – 7

Before this incident the Kenneth Cole brand should have had a respected and well developed brand personality.  Their products are known for being higher-end type merchandise so I would expect that they would have a fairly loyal following of customers.

I don’t think that the response that Kenneth Cole made following his mistake could truly have been considered an apology.  The company needs to rebuild its brand by being visible in areas of philanthropy as well as promoting these acts on social media beyond the occasional tweet and FB post.

In order to rectify the situation Kenneth Cole should direct an apology directly to the Egyptian people as well as twitter followers and the general public.  I think a video public service announcement directly from Kenneth Cole that highlights any philanthropic endeavors the company undertakes would be helpful as well.

If Kenneth Cole continues to utilize social media they need to make their brand more people friendly.  Perhaps he should have some one else involved with the company help him post as well as engaging in conversation with his audience.  By increasing their visiblity via social media in a positive light and engaging with their audience they may be able to undo some of the damage that has been done.

The tone of the posts that are made to sites like twitter are equally as important as the actual content. For Cole to have stated that he was making an attempt at humor following his ridiculous tweet demonstrates that he is not in tune with who his audience may be and the appropriate way to interact with them. By utilizing various social media outlets to talk about things other than simply fashion Cole may be able to draw interest to his brand similar to the way Zappos has done. The extent to which Zappos utilizes twitters functionality should be a lesson in marketing to any brand whether big or small. A fun and engaging presence that is not necessarily about the company itself all of the time keeps subscribers and followers interested and engaged.
Here are some links to a couple of interesting blogs I read regarding how to’s on fixing a social media mess http://www.mackcollier.com/social-media-crisis-management/ and

topic of the week # 6 pillsbury

For this week’s topic we were instructed to find a company (brand) that we liked and discuss what they do in social media. I chose to examine the Pillsbury brand. #1 because I think there website is really fun and #2 because I love to cook and get many ideas from them. Pillsbury has a presence on twitter, facebook, and pintrest. If you are part of the “mailing” circle you can receive daily emails regarding recipes, food, nutrition, and cooking advice. The website is chock full of great information including written recipes with pictures so you can see how your dish should have come out and videos with easy step-by-step instructions on a variety of topics. http://www.pillsbury.com/
Pillsbury is a household name in the US – we allgrew up watching commercials with the cute little pillsbury dough boy getting poked in the tummy and uttering his trademark giggle. This brand makes me feel not only nostalgic but a little bit like “home” – you know how the smell of fresh baked bread or warm chocolate chip cookies just takes you back to better days. If you are a die-hard true blue doughboy fan then there are some fun links on their website that allow you to interact with the DB himself including video bloopers and an interactive dancing DB for your viewing delight.
Pillsbury has been part of american culture since 1972 when it was founded as a grain operation. In the 1950’s and 60’s it became a true household name with its “ready-made” products that nade our lives just that mich easier. Unbeknown to most Pillsbury is not a stand alone company – in 2001 it was bought out by General Mills and its various product lines are now actually products owned by General Mills and Smuckers.
Pillsbury is also known for quality and convenience in conjunction with one another. It has moved through the decades and rolled through the various changes of not only the American lifestyle but media as well. As the needs of families and individuals have changed so too has the marketing and media strategies of the company. part of the innovation of their online presence is their ability to speak to the “nostalgia” generation as well as a new generation of health conscious folks looking to eat well and eat well.