Deep reading

Are your kids reading more, now that they are digi-kids?

Most kids are reading more words: simply add up the amount of time they spend on non-gaming screens.

However, all the screen time is creating a new challenge just being recognized by educators: screen readers are skimmers. They tend to flip rapidly through a text. To counter-balance this, “deep reading,” or reading for sophisticated understanding of content, is now the focus of classroom reading time.


Adulting comes early

Middle school, junior high and high school students don’t need to wait to take classes in adulting, like so many of today’s millennials are doing now.

Educators noticed that kids are growing up without basic life skills. As a result, learning to make a monthly budget, pay bills and buy insurance is now being built into both required and elective courses.

Waste not?

Do you dread tossing away leftovers that your kids won’t eat?

An entire new industry is creating food and beverages from unused or leftover food.

Many farmers markets now set aside a section for veggies that would typically be considered too ugly, too big or too small to sell. But some in the food industry are going beyond that to create products from ingredients that are rescued or discarded.

Sounds like sustainability might find a place at the dinner table.

Good night, Alexa

This was the first holiday season in which a wave of parents invested time in programming kid routines into voice assistants.

From a child development perspective, Alexa can become a helpful add-on for busy parents, especially when offering personal messages during the bedtime space. Potential problems come when tech becomes a substitute for parental involvement.

Not even Alexa can kiss a child goodnight.

Wellness goes to school

In this new year, watch for signs that the culture of wellness has moved to school.

Look for words like “energizing,” “energy flow” and “frequent” in references to physical education. Watch for higher expectations of student’s personal responsibility, whether it’s charging the Chrome book every night or checking online for homework assignments.

Among administrators there’s a heightened awareness to helping students balance academics, emotional health and physical well-being. Now we’ll see how much of that “healthy living” language filters down to impact individual students.

School lunch transformation

If resolutions have included an upgrade of the brown bag you pack for school, ask your child what classmates bring to eat.

In a single school cafeteria, it’s now common to see kids eating vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan meals. The Junior Chef generation, that has grown up watching You Tube cooking videos, is bringing food experimentation to school.

Manners go wireless

Do you want your child to say “Thank you” to his voice assistant?

While some parents like to hear kids respond politely to their artificially intelligent tech toys, other parents think it’s a slippery slope toward a universe of non-human celebrities.

Scary thinking.