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monkey jealousy experiment, monkey fairness experiment

Fairness and Morality: Nurture or Nature?

My husband gave me this funny video but it’s actually a serious study on the source of morality: nurture or nature? The video is taken from a TED talk by Frans de Waal, primatologist and author of several popular books. His talk is called Moral behavior in Animals.

In this experiment, two Capuchin monkeys are presented with an unfairness scenario.  As de Waal notes, cucumbers are acceptable  food for the monkeys, but they prefer grapes. De Waal claims that monkeys like food in proportion to its price at the supermarket — he’s a funny guy and worth watching if you have 18 minutes. Read more…

poetry books for kids to read, best poetry for kids, best poetry books for kids, kids poetry books

Top 10: Best Poetry Books for Kids

Oh how I’ve procrastinated this list. I think I’ve been “working” on it for more than a year. I feel somewhat fraudulent posting on best poetry books for kids because I’m no expert. National Poetry Month is forcing me to face my own fear of poetry to finally complete this list.

Poetry for April has permeated our house. My kids are all doing poetry units at school. No coincidence, I think.

The other week, PickyKidPix had to go to the library to research poems of oppression for her school poetry project. (Strange topic, right? Her friend Devin has “rain” as a poetry topic). We asked the librarian where the poetry books were. I had no idea there was a HUGE section of poetry books for kids in the Non-Fiction section!

It was eye-opening to realize the poetry books are NOT organized by topic. I’m no expert on the Dewey Decimal system but I’m not sure this is the best way to organize poetry books for kids. We pored over  four bookcases of poetry books looking for people of color which is a little like searching for that proverbial needle. Nevertheless, we found this small pile.

poetry for kids on oppression

After digging for poetry books, I realize that sometimes it’s nice to have a list served up to you. I hope this list serves you well!

Please share your favorite poetry books for kids. Together we can build this list. Thanks so much! Read more…

5th grade poetry

5th Grade Poetry: Help Please!

April as National Poetry Month has hit our elementary school. Both my kids have been hard at work composing poems at school. My son’s 2nd grade poetry unit did not requiring rhyming and it was modeled after color poems by Mary O’Neill. Poetry gets more challenging in 5th grade as I discovered in our recent Parent Teacher conference.

The 5th grade Parent Teacher conferences have expanded to include the student. PickyKidPix showed me her poem during our Parent/Teacher/Student conference this past week. She did a beautiful job rhyming and illustrating her poem.

5th grade poems have to rhyme! I did not realize that. The first line gave her a bit of trouble so I wanted to see if anyone could help her out.

5th Grade Poetry Unit with Rhyming Challenge

Lucy the llasket is a __________________.

When you see her  you will know why

Read more…

Boston Marathon Bombings, soccer game after Boston Marathon bombings

Boston Marathon Newton Perspective

The Boston Marathon bombings hit a little too close to home. My office is a few buildings from the finish line but thankfully my work colleagues, friends and families were spared.  My work friend, Aaron Tang (“Tango”) shot images immediately after the bombings from our 4th floor office window which has a clear view of the finish line. They ended up everywhere including CNN.

BostonMarathon

Image ABC News.

My building, at the corner of Exeter and Boylston, was between the two explosions. It’s the shorter one with red brick facade. I think being on the corner saved us as the rest of the block on either side are continuous buildings that touch each other. Read more…

earth day giveaway for kids, earth day book giveaway for kids, barefoot books earth day giveaway

Earth Day Giveaways for Kids :: 3 Barefoot Books

Barefoot Books and I have teamed up for an Earth Day Giveaway for Kids. 3 winners will be able to choose any book of their choice!

Here’s how you win:

1) Go to the Barefoot Bookstore here to select the book you want to win. Too lazy to click off my blog? I totally understand. Here’s a cheat sheet of what I’d pick myself:

Barefoot Book of Earth Tales

Learn how different cultures around the world set out to live in harmony with the natural world through seven folk tales.  Each tale is followed by a hands-on activity that promotes green living and reinforces the eco-messages of the stories.

The Barefoot Book of Earth TalesRead more…

spine poetry, spine poems, poems using spines of books, poems using book titles

Spine Poetry Using Kids Books

100 Scope Notes might be the inventor of this form of poetry but I’m not sure. He has a gallery of Spine Poetry and invites everyone to join in. It’s a fun way to celebrate National Poetry Month in April.

I find poetry to be intimidating. It reminds me of standardized tests, as in the case of my 5th grader, PickyKidPix, as well! The structure and forms of poetry leave me struggling to find the rhythm and rhyming of some poems. Even the punctuation confuses me. Do I pause of there is a line break but no punctuation??!

Composing Spine Poetry for National Poetry Month

So let us embrace poetry together. I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours. I invite you to compose your own spine poem and let’s share! Together, we can conquer poetry together in baby steps.

No need to stress out. Just slap some picture book  or chapter book titles together and snap a photo on your smart phone. Please send it  to scopenotes (at) gmail (dot) com and he’ll post it.

See? It’s easy! And let’s get our kids to do one too! After I post mine, I’m going to chase my kids down after school.

This poem is for my little boy who still thinks potty humor is hilarious.

Ode to a Potty Training Little Boy

spine poetry, spine poems, poems using spines of books, poems using book titles

 

p.s. Here are more great Spine poems!

From Sandra Wilson:

Sandra Wilson spine poem

The kids in Margaret Ryan’s Class 5

The kids in Margaret Ryan’s Class 5A


Jonathan Antoine, voice of an angel

Discovering The Next Pavarotti

Do you remember when Susan Boyle was discovered on Britain’s Got Talent? Well, prepare to be amazed. My husband sent me this video with another revelation.

The friendship of Charlotte and Jonathan is a good reminder not to judge a book by its cover. I hope you enjoy their performance. Do you think Jonathan Antoine is next Pavarotti?

Britain’s Got Talent Unearths The Next Pavarotti

And here he is in high school, waiting to be discovered. Voice of an angel.

Jonathan Antoine, voice of an angel


meeting author Jaqueline Davies, Candy Smash, Candy Smashers, chapter books for 4th grade, chapter books for 3rd grade, meeting Jaqueline Davies, The Lemonade War, Lemonade war series,

Mysteries Surrounding The Lemonade War Series

PickyKidPix just turned 11-years-old recently. Part of her birthday celebration was to meet one of her favorite authors who happens to live one town over. PickyKidPix became a fan of her mystery chapter books in 3rd grade but continues to read them — insisting on buying her own copy — even though the books are now a quick read for her.

After her soccer game, we brought a friend of hers, Abby, who claims to hate reading to meet the author as well. What’s interesting is that Abby loved The Lemonade War series and is a strong reader. She just doesn’t like reading. Ah, I think I can change that!!

PickyKidPix was similar to Abby; a strong reader who only read for school assignments. Abby says she doesn’t even do that. It just took a small fix to get PickyKidPix reading:

1) Meeting authors makes her want to read their books.

2) Peer recommendations and teacher recommendations persuade her. Mine barely count, by the way.

3) Identify genre and area of interest. My daughter likes award winning chapter books and realistic fiction. Special needs characters are a big draw. Historical fiction works too. She likes strong characters, drama from the get go, and a happy ending.

Abby really liked The Lemonade War series so this event was a good match. We got her a signed copy; always more enticing I think! And the result? PickyKidPix said that she finished it the very same day! A victory for reading!

Now, onto the mysteries!

Read more…

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40-Something Moms Learn to Box

Four 40-something moms and I started boxing at the beginning of the year. It was a New Year’s Resolution of sorts that quickly snowballed. My mom friend Penny wanted to learn to box after watching her older brother transform into a Cardassian-like humanoid with bulging Trapezius muscles from boxing in the Bronx.

My mom friend Stella wanted to return to pre-baby weight now that her 3 kids are in school. We needed our mom friend Katherine — she’s a nurse and game for any kind of exercise. Lydia missed karate. And I wanted to work on my self-defense.

What to do? Why start our own mom boxing class!

Middle Aged Boxing Moms How To’s

There are many kinds of boxing classes: aerobic boxing classes where you air punch found typically at health clubs, cardio boxing or kickboxing at a karate studio with a heavy bag per person, and actual boxing instruction.

Penny wanted to learn to box. Really box so I had to track down a boxing club with a good instructor. With the help of my Golden Gloves Dad friend Mike, we got all set up:

  • Boxing Gloves (Do NOT borrow from the Boxing Club. Eh, those are stinky!!)
  • Hand Wraps (Ditto for hand wraps. Plus, the wraps help protect your wrists and they are fun to put on .)
  • Boxing Teacher (Our guy Marc is training a female National boxing aspirant and several Golden Glove contenders.)

Nonantum Boxing Club, Newton MA boxing, boxing for moms, middle age mom boxing classes, mom boxing classes, moms and boxing, 40 something moms boxRead more…