The Get-Into-School Card

For those of you who did not see this recent article from the Real Estate section of the Times, I thought I would pass it along.  I especially liked the "Score Card"at the end of the article.  I thought it was a wonderful starting point when searching out the best school for your child.

Score Card

You know where you would like to live. Now what about the schools? Here are five things to consider when evaluating a school, particularly in changing neighborhoods.

Leadership Is Key School advisers agree that a charismatic principal with a clear vision and a deep respect for students is crucial. Enthusiastic teachers and active parents tend to follow.

Attendance Rising attendance rates — a sign that more families are being drawn to a school — are often a leading indicator of improvement.

Beyond Scores Although the number of students meeting state standards is important, improvements in school quality may not be reflected in test scores until the kindergartners who benefited from new teaching methods, for example, are tested for the first time in the third grade.

What’s on the Walls? Proudly displayed student projects that demonstrate individual thought and creativity are what you want to see, rather than cookie-cutter art projects or decorations made by the teacher. You can also tell a lot about writing skills by what students have composed.

Link to NY Times Article

A Visit to Vermont

I often say that school is an abstract concept to a child who has never experienced it.  Imagine trying to explain places you have never been and life in an environment so unlike your own.  How do you explain life outside our hometown Brooklyn to a preschooler? Here's where the Flat Stanley project comes in.

Thank you to all our families for participating in this project.  Every day, another little "Flattie" returns after an interesting journey.  Keep them coming!  I just love that many of our flatties have visited multiple locations.  The little visitors return with stories of their travels, provided by loving family and friends.  All the returning flatties will be celebrated as we learn more about the places they went and the friends and family they met along the way. 

Here is a video about one of our flatties.  It will be shared in the classroom, but I thought some grown-ups might like to see it too.

Flat Adrian visited a friend in snowy Vermont. What's going on now in Vermont besides snow?  It's sugaring time.  Flat Adrian is there to learn how the sap from snow covered sugar maple trees becomes the sweet syrup that drips from the edges of our pancakes.   Prior to seeing this video, a young child might have never known that this sweet sticky treat was not born in the bottle--it actually came from a real live tree.

This video might just spark some pretty great questions, because we have trees in Brooklyn too.  Do we have sugar maple trees in Brooklyn?  What kind of trees do we have and how are the trees in Vermont different or the same?  Time to learn all about trees, and in doing so, taste some of that sweet amber syrup.

A big thanks to Flat Adrian and Dan, for teaching me something I never knew--it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup!

Click here to watch the full : "Flat Adrian in VT" video

How a Boy Became an Artist

In previous Carol’s Wall installments, I have referenced ExchangeEveryDay, an online Early Childhood publication I subscribe to.  I also devoted another Carol’s Wall to my love of TEDTalk. 

A few weeks ago, one of the ExchangeEveryDay installments was titled, THE INFLUENCE OF TEACHERS, and in the offering, was a TEDtalk. Of course it immediately got my attention!  It was not until I watched the TED video did I realize the subject was about a children’s author/illustrator—yet another one of my great interests!

Jarrett J. Krosoczka is an author/illustrator of approximately a dozen books.  I consider myself a bit of a children’s book bibliophile, but I was unfamiliar with his books. I contacted my daughter Amanda, a children’s librarian, who told me his LUNCH LADY series is quite popular with older children.  Perhaps some of your older children have read them. 

I watched the TEDtalk, in which Jarrett talked about his life, and his passion which developed as a young boy; Jarrett wanted to write and draw stories. With the help of his supporting cast of family and teachers, he was able to realize his dream. 

Despite the odds, Jarrett J. Krosoczka became a very successful creator of beloved children’s book characters.  If that was not enough, he also became a very vocal advocate for arts education.  I always find it fascinating to know that some children grow up to live their dream, and in doing so, also give back to others who dare to dream too.


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