Category Archives: Uncategorized

Reading list trends

Some things in education change, but an assigned reading list is a consistent way to help students of all ages avoid the dreaded loss of skills during summer months.

Bowing to children’s desire for choice, most schools allow kids to choose individual titles among general categories.  But if your student has free choice, three big trends this summer include:

Diversity, again this summer.  Kids want to read about characters that look like them and live in the real world.

Fantastic beasts.  Although dragons and unicorns are still popular, real-life animals like peacocks and llamas are gaining traction.

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) has downaged into the very early childhood space.  Think babies and toddlers – long before kiddos have assigned reading!

50 and counting

A sure sign of aging:  Sesame Street will celebrate their 50th anniversary this year.  I remember when I joined other early childhood educators to ask, “Can TV teach and entertain?”

Are you among the twenty million (literally) who read The Monster at the End of This Book to your kids?  If so, you helped make that the best selling Sesame Street book of all time.

A simple glass of milk?

Fringe has become mainstream when moms shop for milk in the dairy department.

What began quietly as campaigns against animal cruelty or for environmental-friendly concerns has become a strong voice in the clean eating movement.

Of course, some “milks” are actually water blends.  But look at the choices: rice milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, oat milk, soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk and the list goes on and on and ….

Are kids growing up in the post-milk decade?

Looking for screen-free fun?

Screen-free has become a banner for parents concerned about their child’s overall health and wellness, but screen-free options seem to dwindle in our smart homes.

A child goes to a smart fridge for a glass of milk, juggles three digital screens simultaneously and asks Alexa for a weather report.  How can kids even find their way to screen-free fun?

Test time

The annual academic testing season is gearing up.  Honestly though, in today’s test-heavy climate, the impact is less dramatic than in previous years, when testing was used more appropriately to mark school progress.

I long for a time when attention is shifted toward character education, social-emotional growth and executive functioning.  Although the recent emphasis of “Play’s the thing” during early childhood is a healthy and welcome movement, we have a long way to go before skills like sustained attention, goal-directed persistance and metacognition receive the necessary attention.


Sad sacks be gone!

This is the time of year that kids open sad sacks during lunchtime.  By now, even formerly “exciting” menu items are boring.

Up the lunch game with a foldout placement, colorful cutlery, or foods packed in mini-containers, when being surprised at what you find adds fun and peer interest.

Go back to that list you made last fall, when you vowed to help your child pack lunches with sticks that transform chicken nuggets into pops and spiral veggies that turn root veggies into twists.  Refer to your list of stackable protein to layer on a cracker and colorful dips to brighten even a cold winter day.

Even picky eaters will take a second look (and perhaps another bite.)

Frictionless shopping

Have you noticed how brick and mortar retailers are paying attention to our shopping pain points?

A few days ago, the clerk at Target noticed a line forming and immediately opened another register, even though that cashier only served a single customer.

Tech experts are working on the next generation of QR scanning, but that might not be around long: in some locations, customers don’t even scan a QR code.

Other retailers are experimenting with various forms of cashierless shopping.

I’m eager to see how today’s marketing experts solve a problem I often faced: when I managed to fit our three preschoolers in a cart, there wasn’t room for groceries!