Friday, August 31, 2018

Can You Solve the Leonardo da Vinci Riddle? - Tanya Khovanova

You’ve found Leonardo da Vinci’s secret vault, secured by a series of combination locks. Fortunately, your treasure map has three codes: 1210, 3211000, and… hmm. The last one appears to be missing. Can you figure out the last number and open the vault? Tanya Khovanova shows how.

Lesson by Tanya Khovanova, directed by Artrake Studio.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Saturn 101 | National Geographic

How did the rings around Saturn form? How many moons does the planet have? See stunning NASA images of the gas giant studied by Christian Huygens and Giovanni Cassini.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

A Smooth Shift to Middle School for a Child With Learning Challenges

If your soon-to-be middle school student has learning challenges, use these guidelines to help ease the way into a successful school year.

The transition to middle school can be overwhelming for any student, but for a child who has been diagnosed with learning disabilities, the move is often especially traumatic. Here's how to help your child adapt, while readying yourself and the school staff too:

Prepare Yourself: 

  • Understand how middle school is different. Instead of one teacher, your child will have several, each with different styles and expectations. There will be more varied assignments, increased homework, and less individual attention.
  • Know what services are available. Meet with the district's committee on special education to firm up accommodations. (Ideally, this meeting would take place in the spring before school begins, but if you miss that timeframe, schedule a meeting later; you and your child will still benefit.)
  • Establish a support system. Find a liaison at the school — like a resource room teacher or counselor — who can communicate with the teachers and make sure appropriate services are being provided. Other parents can be your allies too.

Prepare Your Child:

  • Talk about the transition. Explain what to expect, and ask your child what she's excited and scared about. Reflect on the academic strategies that worked in elementary school, and reassure your child that there will still be support in place to help her achieve.
  • Foster self-advocacy. Go over the IEP (individualized education plan) with your child, so he understands what he is entitled to, and teach him how to advocate for himself. If the teacher forgets to seat him in the front, your child must remind her. If he needs more time to write down the homework assignment before the teacher erases it from the board, he must let her know. Support your child, without doing too much for him.
  • Visit the school. Even if your child already toured the middle school, visit again right before the new school year begins. This gives her a chance to try out her locker, walk the halls with schedule in hand, and check out classrooms. Sometimes teachers will be there setting up, so your child can say hello.
  • Organize your child for success. Typically, kids with learning disabilities have trouble organizing schoolwork and belongings, and struggle with multiple sets of instructions. Set up systems to help manage the vast amount of learning materials. Start with the locker. A hanging shelf keeps things tidy. Color-coded notebooks and matching folders (for example, blue for science, yellow for social studies) can also prevent papers from going astray.
  • Set up a homework routine. If the school doesn't provide your child with a planner or agenda, get one and review it together every night. (If handwriting is an issue, make sure there's ample space for writing everything in.) Supervise homework time, but don't do your child's work. If you find yourself providing a significant amount of help with homework, let the teacher know.

Prepare the School:

  • Call a meeting at the beginning of the year. Around the second week, ask the school counselor to arrange a meeting with you and the teachers in one room. Introduce yourself to everyone, and share your child's strengths and weaknesses in a friendly, collaborative way. Bring along a summary of the IEP, highlighting the most important accommodations and strategies, as well as samples of work that reveal his challenges.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Continue corresponding with teachers throughout the year by e-mail or phone. Also schedule periodic follow-ups with your special-ed liaison to stay updated on progress. And keep talking with your child about her accomplishments and remaining struggles. With teamwork, and plenty of encouragement, you'll smooth the middle school transition, and empower your child to achieve all she's capable of.
Article Source: Scholastic

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Did Ancient Troy Really Exist? - Einav Zamir Dembin

When Homer’s Iliad was first written down in the eighth century BCE, the story of the Trojan war was already an old one. From existing oral tradition, audiences knew the tales of the long siege, the duels outside the city walls, and the trick that finally won the war. In the end, the city was burned to the ground, never to rise again. But had it ever existed? Einav Zamir Dembin investigates.

Lesson by Einav Zamir Dembin, directed by Cabong Studios.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Dinosaurs 101 | National Geographic

Over a thousand dinosaur species once roamed the Earth. Learn which ones were the largest and the smallest, what dinosaurs ate and how they behaved, as well as surprising facts about their extinction.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

4 Helpful Habits for Back-to-School Season

The new school year is a great time to implement daily practices to further your child's literacy skills.

Very soon we'll be trading in the sound of the ice cream truck bell for the sound of the school bell. The start of a new school year is right around the corner. With the season comes the opportunity to put in place some back-to-school habits that can help your children build their literacy skills.

Here are four practical ideas to help your family kick-off the school year.

1. Keep Up With a Reading Log

Many schools request children to read at home several times a week. Even if the school does not require daily reading, it's still one of the best habits to put in place at home.

Keeping a reading log will help your kids track the books they read. When your kids can look back and see how many books they read each month, it provides a sense of accomplishment.

Writing down the titles or minutes read each day will also give your child a little extra handwriting practice. They might even give each book a star rating system and critique each book that is read.

A weekly or bi-weekly trip to the public library will ensure that you have plenty of reading material on hand. The 6th Edition Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report shows a majority of kids agree “it is very important for their future to be a good reader,” but only one in three is a frequent reader. So, don't forget to let your kids choose their own books for reading at home.

2. Create a Nightly Reading Routine

In our house, we follow a "triple B" nighttime routine: bath, books, and bed.

Right before their bath time, my kids pick out two or three books that they want to have read aloud that night. They lay their chosen books on the bed where they'll be ready to read right after they take their baths and put on pajamas. Each night, my husband and I alternate reading to the kids. Then, once the books are done, it's time for bed. (You can also choose books before dinner, if your kids don't bathe before bed.)

Need some read-aloud ideas? Check out these books parents love to read to their kids.

3. Have Dinnertime Discussions

Take advantage of your captive audience at the dinner table each night. Implement a 'no screens policy' so that distractions will be limited, which in turn will encourage conversation. Here are a couple of prompts to connect as a family:

  • Tell us something you learned today.
  • Share something that you were proud of today.
  • What is something that you wished didn't happen today?
  • What are you most looking forward to tomorrow?

Using the prompts above will help you learn about what successes and struggles your kids experienced during the day. The last prompt will help your child think ahead to a new day.

For more activities to help build literacy skills at the table, see how to practice storytelling with kids at dinnertime and three ways to build vocabulary at dinner.

4. Plan Ahead

If you know that Wednesday nights are soccer practice and Thursday nights are piano lessons, plan ahead to squeeze in literacy learning. Your kids can listen to audiobooks in the car on the way to practice. Or, you can quiz them on their spelling words while you drive. If you still have a few minutes, ask your kids to tell you about the last book they read.

Putting a few habits in place now will have you feeling prepared and confident when the school bell rings.

To learn more helpful tips for success, get great book recommendations, and find out what to expect for each grade, check out the Start Smart: Back-to-School Guide.

Connect with Jodie Rodriguez at her site, Growing Book by Book.

Article Source:

Monday, August 13, 2018

Can You Solve the Rogue AI Riddle? - Dan Finkel

A hostile artificial intelligence called NIM has taken over the world’s computers. You’re the only person skilled enough to shut it down, and you’ll only have one chance. Can you survive and shut off the artificial intelligence? Dan Finkel shows how.

Lesson by Dan Finkel, directed by Artrake Studio.

Friday, August 10, 2018

First Day Of School Tips For Parents

Educators say the first day of school is the most important day of the school year. Psychologist Alexandra Stratyner shared some tips with CBS2's Erin Logan to help parents ensure that excitement level doesn’t change.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

4 Steps to an Organized Backpack

Using the simple PACK acronym, your child can learn to keep her backpack neat and tidy, and her school life more in order.

After the end of a long school week, is your child spending far too long fishing for items out of a messy backpack? With the help of the PACK system, turn that unorganized pack into a thing of the past.

PURGE: At the end of each week, re-evaluate the homework papers, books, projects, and other loose ends your child has accumulated. Toss, recycle, or store whatever’s no longer needed in the bag.

ACCESSORIZE: Keep necessities from floating about by attaching them to the backpack. Try a snap-on hand sanitizer, for instance, or a lip balm that comes with a keychain-style container.

CATEGORIZE: Designate certain pockets for particular items: larger pockets for books, a smaller one for homework folders, a small side pocket for pens and pencils. You can even label them if you need to help your kids keep track of what goes where.

KEEP IT UP: Motivate your child to stick to those good habits by making the weekly purge a family ritual. While he’s sorting his backpack, clean out your own workbag or purse.

Article Source:

Saturday, August 4, 2018

How to Prepare for Back to School

Ease your children back into their school schedule with these parent-tested tips.

Step 1: Reset their body clock
If your children have been staying up late and sleeping in all summer, reset their body clocks: Starting two weeks before school, send them to bed a little bit earlier every night -- and get them up a little earlier every morning -- until they're back on a school-day schedule.

Get them used to the impending morning rush by planning early-morning activities they'll want to jump out of bed for.

Step 2: Take them shopping
Take them shopping for school supplies and, if your budget permits, a few new back-to-school clothes. Let them have a say in the selection process to get them excited about the return to the classroom.

Step 3: Prepare their work area
Help them prepare the area where they'll be doing their homework, especially if they seem anxious about the upcoming year. Having a clean, organized space with some new supplies may help ease their nerves -- and might even get them excited about a fresh start.

Surprise them with a new electronic gadget that can be used to do homework. Check out websites like eBay and Craigslist for bargains.

Step 4: Set up playdates
Set up playdates with school friends they haven't seen all summer to remind them that the school year has its fun side.

If you're child is starting at a new school, see if it's possible to have them meet their new teacher before the school year starts.

Step 5: Cook ahead
Make double batches of meals now so you can quickly defrost dinner during those first hectic days.

Step 6: Tamp down your own fears
Keep any of your own anxieties about the upcoming school year to yourself. Children take their lead from you; if you seem composed, it may alleviate their own fears.

Did You Know?
Up to 18 percent of children display anxiety over returning to school in the fall that can lead them to be disruptive in class, according to one study.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

How Can You Change Someone's Mind? (hint: facts aren't always enough) - Hugo Mercier

Why do arguments change people’s minds in some cases and backfire in others? Hugo Mercier explains how arguments are more convincing when they rest on a good knowledge of the audience, taking into account what the audience believes, who they trust, and what they value.

Lesson by Hugo Mercier, animation by TED-Ed.