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http://PragmaticMom.com, Pragmatic Mom, best mom blog, merit pay for teachers based on student performance doesn't work, Vanderbilt University Study,

Pay for Performance Doesn’t Raise Test Scores

Education Policy Pay for Performance Doesn’t Work

I think that anyone who has known or has had a superlative teacher realizes that teachers do not enter their profession for the financial rewards it offers.  They do it from their heart.  So, I guess it shouldn’t be a revelation that merit pay does not impact a teacher’s performance.  I would guess that professional development, coaching, and team teaching would be bigger drivers.  But this is the first official and scientific study on merit pay for student performance so it helps to shed light on what works (and doesn’t) to impact student test scores. Read more…

Just Playing by Anita Wadley (poem for parents of small children)

Just Playing Poem by Anita Wadley

I am so lucky!  My youngest has  the most amazing Kindergarten teacher.  But, sadly, as this is my last child, this is also the last time I will get her (though you can be sure that we will visit her forever!).  Last night was Curriculum Night at school, and she passed out a packet of information as she usually does including this poem on Playing as a Child’s Work. Read more…

Top 10: Books that SHOULD be Made Into Movie

Books For Kids That Should be Movies

ModCloth has a great list of books, from a quality picture book to a Pulitzer Prize winner, that are not movies but should be.  I am also amazed that The Catcher in the Rye isn’t a movie starring some young, hunky-but-sensitive, guy.  But please don’t make it into a musical!  For the full post, please click here to go to ModCloth’s blog.  It’s a fun post! Read more…

RippleReader: eBooks You Can Personalize

Narrate Your Own eBooks for Your Kids

I know that I post a lot on literacy and how to get reluctant readers reading. I believe that we (all of us) need to unlock a love of reading in every child!   One idea that comes up again and again from literacy experts is to use Books on Tape.  RippleReader read one of my posts on literacy and sent me information plus a free RippleReader microphone so that I could test out their site. Read more…

Clementine, Sara Pennypacker, http://PragmaticMom.com, Pragmatic Mom, best easy chapter book for kids ages 7-10, award winning best beginning chapter book

Clementine is the new Ramona

Move Over Ramona: Clementine is Here!

One of our favorite literary characters that my 8-year-old daughter and I agree upon is Clementine.  She’s a cross between Ramona (of Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary) and Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.  What is magical about this excellent series is that it has all the charm of a Ramona book but with the level of difficulty of a Junie B. Jones book. And while  Clementine has some personality traits that are similar to Junie B. Jones, she  is more mature while  also possessing the vulnerability and spunkiness of Ramona.  In short, Clementine is THE PERFECT BEGINNING CHAPTER BOOK SERIES FOR KIDS, and by chapter book, I mean real chapters, not the Henry and Mudge kind. Read more…

SAT Words for Kindergarten from Picture Book It’s Mine

Classic Picture Books That Build Vocabulary

My Kindegartener has the best teacher in the world.  I know that indisputably because this is the third time we have had her.  So when he came home after the first week with vocabulary words and instructions to make these words into a fun game, I was impressed and intrigued.  This teacher does a lot of pilot programs for our school district, testing out new research and programs.  She was the first to pilot Handwriting Without Tears which was then adopted district wide.  She liked Big Math for Little People (at least, I think that was the title), which I also liked a lot, but our school district did not go with.  And now SAT vocabulary words for Kindergarteners — a gift that keeps on giving! Read more…

Percy Jackson + Chinese Mythology = The Monkey King’s Daughter

Chinese Mythology Action Adventure Book for Kids

I do really like Asian American children’s literature.  It is to be a new but growing genre.  So when I was offered The Monkey King’s Daughter by T. A. DeBonis to review, of course I said yes.  It came in the mail and sat on the kitchen counter for just a couple of hours when my oldest came home from school, saw it, and took it up to her room, intrigued.  The next day, after reading late into the night judging by the difficulty we had in waking her up for school, she said that she loved the book and to please get her the rest of the series. Read more…

Top 10: Classic Picture Books

Best Classic Picture Books for Kids

A great list of some of my favorite books from childhood.  Thanks LittleOneBooks.com!  I have deep and abiding love for all of your picks!

p.s.  Here’s my list of Top 10:  Best Old Fashioned Children’s Books. Read more…

pragmaticmom.com, las vegas is a hell hole, las vegas is not for families, mommytracked.com, las vegas not a good vacation destination for families, kids, children

What Happens In Vegas Not Healthy for Kids

Why Vegas is Not Great for Family Vacations

The Teen Verdict on Vegas:  “A Skeeze-Fried Hellhole.”  Click here for the entire article courtesy of MommyTracked.com, Managing the Chaos of Modern Motherhood.

Here are some choice paragraphs from her excellent and informative article.  And might I add that I also vehemently hate Las Vegas and completely agree with her! Read more…