Monday, December 20, 2010

Why you should watch MTV's Bully Beatdown

It's the first day of break and I am home watching the snow fall, waiting for my son to wake up so we can head to the hill to ski. I decided to get on the bike trainer and spin for 30 minutes in front of the TV. While flipping through the channels I came across MTV's "Bully Beatdown." Each episode, "bullies" are confronted by the extra hardcore host and challenged to a bout against a professional mixed martial artist for a chance to win $10,000. Sitting on my bike, I decided to watch a bit. What I saw was absurd. Cursing and fighting, the characters glorify the conflict with vulgar behavior and more bullying, as they prepare for a fight in a steel cage before a crowd. I thought of what we do at school to combat bullying and social aggression. "Bully Beatdown" and other shows like it, erode our good work. Educators are severely handicapped by societal messages that don't promote moral courage and ethics but rather push violence and vulgarity as a more blunt and effective way to solve conflicts. We need to be aware of these shows. They are here and our kids watch them. Read more on "Bully Beatdown" on the web. Or tune in on MTV.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Piano, fingers and learning

My son has been playing piano since he was six. Now nine, I have been noticing his fingers more and more and how much more fluid his movements are between chords. I love watching the ease he now exhibits. What I realized today when I snapped this picture was I have been watching real learning in action. I can actually "see" the learning take shape and can witness his "getting it." It's pretty cool. Actually, it's really cool.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Parents Embrace Race to Nowhere

It's not just MPH embracing the film "Race to Nowhere." With no advertising and little news media attention, “Race to Nowhere” has become a must-see movie in communities where, as stated in today's NY Times, "the kindergarten-to-Harvard steeplechase is most competitive." The article goes on to state "it isn’t often that a third of a movie audience sticks around to discuss its message, but that is the effect of “Race to Nowhere,” a look at the downside of childhoods spent on résumé-building." Nice to see this type of interest, nationally, for an important educationally film. Also important to note - MPH was the only school in CNY to commit to this discussion and to organize a screening of the film. Here is the link to the NY Times article:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Food Court Flash Mob - Handel's Messiah never sounded so good

If you have not seen this video, you must. Dane Peters, Head of Brooklyn Heights Montessori, had this clip on his blog. As Dane explained, this is just one of many ways to expose children to classical music. I loved it so much I needed to post it to my blog too.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Taking on bullying by sharing who we are

While doing rounds to classrooms today second block, I found Ms. Foster working with a section of grade 6 in Life Skills. Each student made a paper cut out, life size, and pasted images from magazines on the cut out that they thought said something personal - like a picture of a peace symbol, a car, people running, a swimming pool, a baseball player, shopping bags. Each student was asked by another student to explain why they picked the images they did for their cut out. One by one, each student explained to the class the reasons they picked the images.

The purpose, as explained to the kids by Ms. Foster, is simple - the more you know something about someone, the less likely you are to bully them. This is tremendous stuff to teach kids early and is another example of our commitment to a culture of caring at MPH. I was so pleased with what I stumbled upon this morning - Ms. Foster intentionally teaching kids about community and kindness.

Have a super weekend -