Our youngest daughter seems to be a “science girl.” She loves snakes (really she is my daughter), robotics, and putting things together. Without a nudge and push to join the “ non-fiction revolution”, she gets out plenty of non -fiction books out about the mysteries of the universe, from natural disasters to understanding human calamities. Whether it is for me or for her father, there are plenty of questions as to how and why something works they way it does. I watch the wheels turn and see her make causal predictions based on this type of thinking. I sit back and proudly take it in. I hope she will always ask questions and try to figure it out. I hope she will remain a science girl.
Yet lately, math has been getting her down. They are starting to get into larger number computations and some larger math principles. The fact she has to work at it a little bit right now is getting her discouraged. Her speed on her math facts isn’t quite up to snuff (though improving). Her mind gets tripped up there, rather than putting the thoughts and energy into performing the task. I sadly think to myself, is this where we start to lose girls with math and science? Is she receiving some message that this realm is not for her. It’s certainly not coming from her parents, her dynamite teacher, or anyone else in her life. Is she hearing society’s biases and negativity towards girls when it comes to these subjects?
As we are all probably aware, this is a widely talked about subject in academia, with many studies stating that girls internalize society’s stereotypes regarding this phenomenon; believe them; and hence become outperformed in math and science. As highlighted in a Psychology Today article titled ‘Helping Girls Like Math Is Not The Same As Helping Them Do Well‘ girls attitude of “I do not think I can” quickly “becomes I can’t and won’t do” well. We are trying are best not to let this occur!
There is an incredible amount of information out there for both parents and teachers to encourage girls in these realms. At the website: The Volunteer Guide, the article “Help Girls Excel in Math and Science“, by Jamie Littlefield, offers a list of suggestions to parents to help girls excel with confidence in math and science. From encouraging them to experiment at home and play at math and science; exposing them to great female role models in these subjects; and working with teachers to make sure they provide a great context for learning math and science for both girls and boys in their classroom, there are some great tips at this site. For teachers, the “Institute of Education Sciences “ “What Works Clearinghouse” provides an overview of best methods for helping girls succeed in math and science and certainly well worth the review and read.
We all want our girls to be confident and follow their math and science dreams. Let’s work hard to keep them on track!
Perhaps one of your New Year’s intentions is to get more sleep or perhaps make sure your children do. Maybe sleep is short circuited in your home, in favor of activities, television, video games, computer time, and social media. You are not alone! Americans have walked away from sleep and their beds.
A recent report on the NPR show “Here and Now” states that half of Americans do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep and that 70 percent of teenagers do not get the 9.25 hours they need. A new documentary entitled “Sleepless in America,” a collaboration between “National Geographic,” the National Institute of Health, and the Public Good Projects. Produced by John Hoffman, argues that sleeplessness has a huge toll and is slowly killing us. The documentary links sleeplessness to increased cases of diabetes, mental illness, cancer, and Alzheimers. This is not to leave out its connection to car crashes, medical accidents, and lack of productivity when we work. As I listened to this report, one case in particular stood out to me. It involved the accident in which a man lost his wife and two children to a vehicle of a dozing driver. The driver was a medical worker who worked an impossible combination of overnight shifts; fell asleep at the vehicle; and took out a family! The time is now to improve on our sleep!
Within the documentary there are numerous tips given for getting more sleep. These tips are largely aimed at adults. They include staying in bed as little as possible and getting up the same time every day, no matter how little sleep you’ve gotten or how physically active your were the night before. This helps us meet our body’s need for sleep or its sleep pressure. If you can’t sleep, you should get out of bed and go to a dimly lit room and do something boring. Bring out the impossible crossword puzzle, terribly written book, or anything that might put you to sleep. When the yawning starts, go back to bed!
Along with this, Hoffman warns that do not maintain the false assumption that you can make up lost sleep on the weekend. The damage is already done! Strive for good sleep and the same waking time all week long! He also strongly argues for turning off all devices an hour before bed and avoiding the blue light emitting devices that interfere with sleep. He also advises to consult a doctor over sleep concerns. It could be life or death, accident or no accident, illness or illness prevention…..
The thing about the holidays and breaks is it is just that, a break from early rising; homework; usual activities and routines, in favor of getting to bed later than normal; more pajama clad days than uniform days; and gobs of special events and activities. For all the buildup of the holidays, comes the equally strong, yet contrary let down of the post holiday return to school, that students often face. Simply put, it can be very hard to return to the school, college, and the typical routine at home after all the holiday merry making.
Fortunately, there are things that parents can do to help their children (help themselves) ease back into school days. Whether you are a parent trying to inspire and motivate your children to excitedly (happily) get back to school; a college student aiming to make a successful return; an exasperated parent; or a determined teacher, there are many shared themes. From returning to a reasonable bedtime and working on school assignments that are due after break, during the break to having your child replenish their school supplies; establishing goals for the rest of the year or the new semester; and as a teacher, having your students get excited by having special return to school events, there many links that are help to the concerned parent or student. The first link from Additudemag.com is especially geared toward individuals with with ADHD or learning disabilities and contains applicable ideas. More general support and ideas can be found at these three additiona sites: ehow, hsta and wikihow. Transition is hard but these tips can help us all be in this together and help our children thrive…..