The Birth of Twestival

In September 2008, a London, UK, group of Twitterers came up with the idea to set up an event for the local Twitter community where they had the chance to socialize offline, meet some faces behind Twitter’s avatars, have a good time together with the local community, enjoy some nice entertainment, have some drinks in combination with a food drive, and try to do some fundraising for a local charity that supports the homeless.

The entire event was set up in less than two weeks. The local Twittersphere used all of their talent and a bit of financial support to make this London event happen.

Then from all across the world, similar events started to get organized. Local Twittersphere communities started to come together and also took action to support a good cause. So Twestival came from the idea that cities could work together on a global scale but organize an event on a local level. If this could take place, a spectacular impact could be generated.

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Using Apps in Early Education

The real benefit of using smartphone apps is that they help with connecting individuals without a lot of hassle. You may wonder how exactly something so advanced as a mobile app might help in earlier education with regard to children. It’s accurate that kids of this generation tend to be somewhat different than we were at that age.

Nevertheless, a smartphone itself is simply too much with regard to someone of a younger age but when they grow older, they will get very proficient in utilizing advanced cellular apps. Now how can smartphone apps be used for learning efficiently and how can that be productive?

Before we proceed with the actual discussion, allow me to ask you: what do you think mobile applications are for? Are these apps only beneficial for reserving a table in a restaurant or catching the actual trending celeb gossips, or may these apps come with some critically constructive and instructive elements? Well, I can tell you that they are all part of Next Generation School Programs. I guess that doesn’t come as a surprise, does it?

Well, not all apps are created for providing amusement only; there are also some very good apps that, when used appropriately, bring a lot of good, especially when the children get a lot of attention in smaller classes. As well all know, class size matters if we want to give our children the education they deserve.

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Skin Color According to a Five-Year-Old

Children begin to notice the difference in people’s skin color fairly early on. They innocently make comments that an adult would never get away with. Sometimes those comments about skin color are ironically spot on. This is the current understanding of skin color according to our five-year-old.

So a few days back, we replayed a video of the second presidential debate (October 2012) and watched this recording together as a family. Although our kids are still very young (probably too young to truly understand the election process), we thought it’d be a good idea to try to watch at least some portion of that debate and use it as a teachable moment.

While we were watching, we explained a bit about the election process (very briefly and simply). We also explained that Barack Obama was our former president and the candidate running against him was Mitt Romney, and a debate was an opportunity for candidates to share their views.

I paused the debate when Barack Obama was on the screen. This was our little educational moment. Not only does school size matter when it comes to good education, but it’s also the parents that play a crucial role, of course.

Then I asked Lil Pig, “What is the color of President Obama’s skin?”

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Preventing Bad Posture in Children with Better Classroom Furniture

While classrooms have evolved quite a bit over the past few decades, in many cases, classroom furniture has not. It’s a typical scene from a school classroom: children sit for hours at a time in hard-backed chairs from decades past, arching their backs at unnatural angles, writing in workbooks. or reading at outdated school desks, which lack all the comforts of modern ones.

It’s also a scene that some parents have become concerned about, due to the toll this sort of posture exerts on children’s spines and backs throughout their childhood and in later years.

We should gladly help public schools to buy the proper furniture with our money so both our children and we ourselves as well will reap the benefits as their health is not in jeopardy! Often, the class size is far too big, as well. And don’t we all know that having too many students in one class is not good for their future? Sure we do!

Here are a few tips on ‘sitting properly’ from an ergonomics perspective to help us understand that how most children sit in classrooms isn’t correct:

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What a Teacher Really Wants, Not Another Mug

During the course of my career as a teacher and school administrator, I’ve received my share of memorable gifts from students. They cannot give us the smaller classes we would appreciate most (that would be the most beautiful gift) but as they cannot do that, let’s see what they can.

And one of the first things I learned as a teacher is to appreciate each gift, regardless of what it is; although honestly, that didn’t keep my teacher friends and me from having a little fun with some of the more unusual gifts we received.

Since most of the gifts were given to us on the Friday before the winter holiday break, the other grade level teachers and I agreed to wear any and every gift that was wearable on that day. We did this every year.

One year, my colleague pinned on a 2 inch long, 1-inch tall rhinestone “JESUS” brooch and tried really hard, albeit without any success to put on the pants that a student had given her.

They were dark green jeans. I put on a pair of the biggest gold-plated hoop earrings I had ever seen along with a vest (the kind that buttons up the front).

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Interview on an RIE Approach with Janet Lansbury

To learn how to practice gentle guidance principles with my daughter, I discovered all about Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) and the philosophies of Janet Lansbury. RIE is basically about trusting and respecting babies and infants as whole human beings and there are so many ways of doing so.

I’m happy to interview Janet, an RIE instructor for parents who shares all her experience in her blog. Janet’s posts, links, and community are a great source for parents to build and maintain a good connection and use positive discipline with our children.

So, let’s get to it!

Janet, can you describe a bit of RIE, and what your work with RIE is about?

Janet: RIE is a non-profit organization founded by infant specialist Magda Gerber in 1978 that is dedicated to infants, toddlers, and their caregivers. We provide education and support for parents and child care professionals.

The RIE approach is seeing infants and children as whole people – unique individuals – who are capable as well. In the RIE philosophy, infants are, where and when possible, treated with similar levels of respect as adults would be treated with. We adhere to the view that babies and infants have the capability to participate actively in a relationship with adults who are caring for them.

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The Lewis Family- Gospel & Bluegrass Music

The Lewis Family is 3 generations of a musical family from Georgia. The Lewis Family is recognized as one of the most reputable music groups and has its place in Georgia’s Music Hall of Fame. This website is dedicated to the history of the 3 generations of this remarkable family.

How it started

Pop (Roy) and Mom (Pauline) Lewis formed The Lewis Family and were joined by many of their children. They had eight children: Miggie, Wallace, Esley, Mosley, Talmadge, Polly, Janis, and Roy (Little Roy) Lewis.

The family always enjoyed playing music together and continued to do so from the moment their kids were at a very young age. When son Wallace was 12, Mom Lewis taught him some guitar chords, and Little Roy started playing the banjo already when he was only 6 years old.

The musical group started out with the four brothers making music together under the name “the Lewis Brothers” until the year 1951 when father Roy and the daughters joined the group and they changed the group’s name to “The Lewis Family.” That name later became one of the most famous names in the world of gospel music.

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Should My Child Skip a Grade?

One of my nephews, whom I will refer to as Thor (because he loves the movie character), was born at the end of September. His older sister, whom I will refer to as Rachel Alexandra (because she loves horses), was also born at the end of September.

Neither of them made the September 1 cut off for Kindergarten in their public school district. Both tested for Kindergarten readiness in the month of May after they turned four, and both were accepted to start a year ahead of schedule. My sister and brother-in-law decided to start Rachel Alexandra early and to start Thor on schedule.


Fast forward two years. Rachel Alexandra is not only able to keep up with her grade level peers (who are all a year older) but also has been and continues to participate in the accelerated academics program. Thor is well above his grade level peers both academically and in physical stature and participates in the accelerated academics program.

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