Fridays Unplugged

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Many cutout snowflakes hanging from the ceiling

On a typical morning drive to work, I pulled into the local gas station, still holding a conversation on my bluetooth. I turned off the car, transferred the call to speakerphone, and rolled down the window.  “Fill ‘er up, please.”   Next, purse.  But, no…no, no, no, noooo. “I can’t find my purse.” “Cash or card ma’am?” “Are you serious? Do … Read More

Time Well Spent

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Selfie of Katy with her daughter with some homemade donuts and a special-looking drink on the table

I have to be honest. There was a period when my kids were younger that I just didn’t feel like playing with them, ever. I was going through big ordeals in my life and the thought of making slime or playing Barbies didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. In fact, it felt downright torturous, and every time I promised … Read More

Getting Back to the Garden

Paul ScuttUncategorized

A group of kids picking pumpkins

Natural curiosity, love, and a fertile environment are enough to allow the growth of an intelligent and happy young being who walks and talks and, by playing, continues to learn.

Not Your Typical Article on Childhood Play

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Katys barbie pool from when she was a girl, 1988

We value play for the experiential learning…learning about the external world and how to interact with others. This is true and noteworthy, but I wonder about the value of play as a form of self expression and self-discovery.

Gym Class and Motivation

Scott GallagherUncategorized

homemade cardboard boat racing through river rapids

As an English teacher in public school for 17 years, I always felt frustrated by, and a little jealous of, the Phys Ed. teachers. Phys. Ed. class seemed to be a kind of outlier in school, and the teachers were able to operate in a value system totally different from the rest of school. I wished the value system of … Read More

Avoiding Nature Deficit Disorder

Paul ScuttUncategorized

A number of kids balanced in trees

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” — John Muir Spring shows up in the warmth of the sun, the softening of the earth and the vigour of natural life all around us. The trees start to bud, the flowers burst out of the ground, the grass gets thicker, the birds … Read More

Thoughts on Screens and the Internet

Scott GallagherUncategorized

Teen member sitting on couch working on a laptop

I am no expert on technology, the internet, social media, or the use of screens. I have a phone. I also have a 12-year-old daughter who does not have a phone. I am trying to figure all this stuff out. I have no answers. What I try to do, in navigating technology, particularly regarding parenting, is parse out the rational … Read More

Common Sense Standard (CSS) # 1

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Jedi Training Academy by Loren Javier

(See the first post in this series – Common Sense Learning.) Education is training; not a performance, game or race to the top.  It shouldn’t make or break anyone, but it should shape and build everyone. The way I see it, no one passes or fails in training. They simply get more or less out of it. Training equips, but … Read More

The Importance of Play

Scott GallagherUncategorized

two teens playing a game they made up, called ground stomp

As a writing teacher, I love helping writers free themselves of certain not-so-great writing habits. It’s easy to trap yourself as a writer, going down well-worn paths, following forms and ideas already been done. Once you believe a poem or story should look a certain way, if you’re not careful, all your poems look that way. And where did you … Read More

The Gardener and the Carpenter

Paul ScuttUncategorized

a small tree growing in the forest vs. a hand-crafted wagon wheel

This analogy refers to different styles of raising a child. A “gardener” tends to the fertility of the soil—the access to sunshine, water and minerals allowing for the best development of his charge, while the “carpenter” has a fixed idea of the desired outcome—he cuts, shapes, smooths and joins his raw material until the final product has emerged. The book … Read More