Math In Everyday Life

 

 

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Parents fre­quently ask what they can do to help their child with math. I find that the most mean­ing­ful method is to seize upon those teach­able moments in every­day life. The fol­low­ing are some exam­ples that may or may not work for you and your child. It’s impor­tant to keep your child’s con­fi­dence level high. Pushing a child beyond what they are capa­ble of will do more harm than good, so take your cues from them and have fun with math in every­day life.

 

In an ele­va­tor
Notice the but­tons- Use the but­tons as a num­ber line, and ask

If the ele­va­tor stopped on the 4th floor and we hadto walk to the  6th floor, how many more floors would we have to walk?

Would we walk upstairs or down?

What is the biggest num­ber?

Compare sev­eral num­bers and put them in order from least to most and most to least

Walking in NYC
Looking at the street sign- we are on 14th street. How many blocks away is 10th street?

Getting Anything… Cookies, stick­ers, kisses
How many do you want?
What if I gave you
1 more/ less
2 more/less
3 more/less

Pretend Purchase
Pretend your child is buy­ing some­thing. Ask them how much they have? Then make up a price and ask if they have enough? Then ask how much more they need or how much left over money they would have.

Use actual pen­nies to work it out.

Sports

Compare points: who has more, how much more?

How much more does the los­ing team need to get to be equal or win?

Money

Teach the value of penny, nickel and dime.

Count by 1’s 5’s and 10’s.

Count by 5’s and 10’s and then add pen­nies.

 

In the Kitchen

Your child may not be ready to add frac­tions but expos­ing them to units of mea­sure will be help­ful.

Do they know the dif­fer­ence vetween a tea­spoon and table­spoon? Show them how many tea­spoons equal a table­spoon. If your child is ready see if they can fig­ure out how many ways to get 4 tea­spoons. Play with mea­sur­ing.

 

Food

Pizza or pies – ask ques­tions involv­ing a cer­tain num­ber of peo­ple eat­ing a slice and then how much will be left­over?

Throw in the word “each” as in if each per­son ate 2 pieces how much will be left­over. This requires three steps and under­stand­ing what “each” implies. First they have to count how many slices are in the pie, then add how much was eaten and finally sub­tract from the total. Using the real thing will teach this con­cept with rel­a­tive ease.

Cut things in half and dis­cuss equal parts.

Introduce halves and quar­ters.

 

Setting the Table

Ask your child to set the table but don’t give them enough. Then ask them how much more they need.

 

Games

Board and card games are won­der­ful oppor­tu­ni­ties to incor­po­rate math. You prob­a­bly do not want to inun­date your child with ques­tions and take out the play….. but once in a while ask

How much more does one per­son have than the other?

How many more spaces to get to the end?

What do the num­bers on the dice add up to?

 

Sharing

When you share some­thing with your child say: I have ___. If I give you ___ how many will I have left?

.….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….….…

Once you see the oppor­tu­ni­ties you will under­stand that there are end­less ways to teach math in every­day life. Keep it REAL, keep it FUN and keep it going.

 

 

 

 

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Our High Tech Kids

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Our High Tech Kids

Today I am writ­ing about hand­writ­ing, but it is just one more ingre­di­ent in this high tech world that has neg­a­tive impli­ca­tions for our chil­dren. Handwriting is even­tu­ally going to be a thing of the past. There are so many more high tech ways to com­mu­ni­cate and schools are begin­ning to focus on those alter­nate meth­ods.

As a stu­dent I have found that writ­ing notes helped me to remem­ber impor­tant details much bet­ter than if I had typed them. My own chil­dren found the same strat­egy to be true. Conversely, I can write more cre­atively when I type. I teach writ­ing to young chil­dren to facil­i­tate read­ing. It helps them to sin­gle out let­ter sounds and sight words in iso­la­tion and then apply it to text. Clearly, the act of writin,as well as typ­ing, has an impact and now we know more about why that is.

In a recent New York Times arti­cle it was said that:

Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain bet­ter able to gen­er­ate ideas and retain infor­ma­tion. In other words, it’s not just what we write that mat­ters — but how.

When we write, a unique neural cir­cuit is auto­mat­i­cally acti­vated,” said Stanislas Dehaene, a psy­chol­o­gist at the Collège de France in Paris. “There is a core recog­ni­tion of the ges­ture in the writ­ten word, a sort of recog­ni­tion by men­tal sim­u­la­tion in your brain.

And it seems that this cir­cuit is con­tribut­ing in unique ways we didn’t real­ize,” he con­tin­ued. “Learning is made eas­ier.”

2012 study led by Karin James, a psy­chol­o­gist at Indiana University, lent sup­port to that view. Children who had not yet learned to read and write were pre­sented with a let­ter or a shape on an index card and asked to repro­duce it in one of three ways: trace the image on a page with a dot­ted out­line, draw it on a blank white sheet, or type it on a com­puter. They were then placed in a brain scan­ner and shown the image again.

The researchers found that the ini­tial dupli­ca­tion process mat­tered a great deal. When chil­dren had drawn a let­ter free­hand, they exhib­ited increased activ­ity in three areas of the brain that are acti­vated in adults when they read and write: the left fusiform gyrus, the infe­rior frontal gyrus and the pos­te­rior pari­etal cor­tex.

By con­trast, chil­dren who typed or traced the let­ter or shape showed no such effect. The acti­va­tion was sig­nif­i­cantly weaker.

Dr. James attrib­utes the dif­fer­ences to the messi­ness inher­ent in free-form hand­writ­ing: Not only must we first plan and exe­cute the action in a way that is not required when we have a trace­able out­line, but we are also likely to pro­duce a result that is highly vari­able.

In a study that fol­lowed chil­dren in grades two through five,Virginia Berninger, a psy­chol­o­gist at the University of Washington, demon­strated that print­ing, cur­sive writ­ing, and typ­ing on a key­board are all asso­ci­ated with dis­tinct and sep­a­rate brain pat­terns — and each results in a dis­tinct end prod­uct. When the chil­dren com­posed text by hand, they not only con­sis­tently pro­duced more words more quickly than they did on a key­board, but expressed more ideas. And brain imag­ing in the old­est sub­jects sug­gested that the con­nec­tion between writ­ing and idea gen­er­a­tion went even fur­ther. When these chil­dren were asked to come up with ideas for a com­po­si­tion, the ones with bet­ter hand­writ­ing exhib­ited greater neural acti­va­tion in areas asso­ci­ated with work­ing mem­ory — and increased over­all acti­va­tion in the read­ing and writ­ing net­works.

We live in an age where mod­ern con­ve­niences are chang­ing at light­ning speed. The way we com­mu­ni­cate, watch TV, use computers……………………….all dras­ti­cally dif­fer­ent than just two years ago. Even the food we eat is less whole­some than in years past. Our brain and other organs are still the same and requires proper stim­u­la­tion and nour­ish­ment. It scares me to think of how we may be hurt­ing our chil­dren as a result of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy.

I urge all par­ents and teach­ers to be fully mind­ful as we pre­pare our chil­dren towards their future.

 

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I Am Curious About Curiosity

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I am Curious About Curiosity

Why , why, why.

Parents can get so tired of explain­ing things to curi­ous three, four and five year old chil­dren.

But why, when chil­dren grow up, do so many cease to be curi­ous?

The new com­mon core cur­ricu­lum strives to encour­age crit­i­cal think­ing and increase a child’s appetite to learn more about the world.

The basic tenets of Montessori are to allow a child’s desire to learn be the dri­ving force of their early edu­ca­tion. I feel that there is a lot of truth to that prin­ci­ple.

As a retired kinder­garten teacher, and now a pri­vate tutor, I encour­age chil­dren to explore sub­jects that they won­der about. Stimulating their sense of won­der will set the stage for more advanced learn­ing when the details are devel­op­men­tally appro­pri­ate for them to under­stand. Additionally, won­der­ing and ques­tion­ing encour­ages the kind of crit­i­cal think­ing stu­dents need to ana­lyze infor­ma­tion and make the kind of con­nec­tions nec­es­sary for deeper under­stand­ing.

What are you curi­ous about?

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If Only I Knew: Parents and Children Benefit From Parent Education

Reach your full parenting potential so your children can reach theirs.

 

If Only I Knew:Parents and Children Benefit From Parent Education

 

No one is per­fect but oh…………..how I wish I had known about the array of tools that could have helped me be a bet­ter par­ent. I didn’t know. I was con­fi­dent. I was edu­cated. Parenting would be nat­ural for me.

I don’t take on all the blame. Family sup­port, par­ent edu­ca­tion, par­ent­ing are all almost taboo in the United States and per­haps around the world. Looking back all I can say is, if only I knew that I did not know. If only.

 

But I did not know that there were sim­ple solu­tions and I strug­gled, like so many of us. Parents who strug­gle; it’s a big club with par­tic­i­pants that cross all bound­aries. We are young and old, edu­cated and high school drop outs, rich and poor, opti­mists and pes­simists, all reli­gions are included and gen­der is not a fac­tor.

 

Here is a list of the strug­gles my fam­ily endured. Struggles could have been avoided. If only I knew that I did not know. 

1–      Emotional chal­lenges on mar­riage due to hav­ing and rais­ing a child

2–      Insecurity was fos­tered from lack of parental unity

3–      Confidence was decreased from start­ing kinder­garten before five years old.

4–      Excessive wor­ry­ing due to lack of sep­a­ra­tion from my child and myself

5–      Reckless behav­ior as a result of enabling

6-      Nagging rather than com­mu­ni­cat­ing effec­tively

These strug­gles caused harm to our entire fam­ily and most impor­tantly, to the chil­dren. Thank good­ness there was enough good stuff that allowed my chil­dren to grow up rel­a­tively happy and healthy. They are not per­fect. Neither am I. But what if? If I only knew. 

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Good Job

Success_g402

 

Good Job

 

Motivating chil­dren and build­ing con­fi­dence is impor­tant. Parents and teach­ers do their best to accom­plish this goal and it is help­ful to keep this one prin­ci­ple in mind:

Compliments that are spe­cific are more pow­er­ful than com­pli­ments that are gen­eral.

When a par­ent sees her child draw­ing a pic­ture they might say you are doing such a good job or I like your pic­ture. There is absolutely noth­ing wrong with that but if you can be more spe­cific it will impact your child even more. Imagine telling a child “I like your pic­ture and I espe­cially like the way you added details,” you not only give a gen­eral com­pli­ment but you point to some­thing spe­cific that your child can really ben­e­fit from. Think about our adult world. If our boss told us that we were doing a good job or that the report we did was good we obvi­ously would be happy. But if they were spe­cific about why they liked our work or what about the report was par­tic­u­larly good we would know the com­pli­ment was sin­cere. It would also help us know what in par­tic­u­lar they liked so we could build on it.

As a class­room teacher it was easy to sur­vey the room and com­pli­ment the class on how well they were all work­ing but imag­ine if I walked around the room and gave spe­cific com­ments to sev­eral stu­dents that were per­sonal and authen­tic. This would be sig­nif­i­cantly more pow­er­ful.

I always told my chil­dren that I loved them and was proud of them. Unconditional love and praise is a beau­ti­ful thing but often it becomes mean­ing­less if chil­dren don’t con­nect with it. Elevate your praise from “good job” to “I like the way you did______  .” The smile on your child’s face will be your reward.

 

 

http://blog.positivediscipline.com/2012/01/compliments-create-positive-atmosphere.html

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Parenting and School Success

Good Parents Great Kids

 

Thomas Friedman’s edi­to­r­ial in the New York Times brought back many mem­o­ries of frus­tra­tion with our edu­ca­tional sys­tem. In this piece he points his fin­ger at the parental ingre­di­ent for stu­dent suc­cess. High school teach­ers spoke about the hours of extra atten­tion they gave their stu­dents and lamented about the lack of par­ent sup­port as evi­denced by the most basic miss­ing ingre­di­ent: home­work. 

There is always room for improve­ment and our edu­ca­tional sys­tem is far from per­fect. We are con­tin­u­ously shin­ing a light on how schools can meet children’s needs more effec­tively. Why do we con­tinue to neglect the most impor­tant fac­tor in a child’s school and over­all suc­cess?

Parenting, at any age, but most impor­tantly the early stages, is crit­i­cal. This is when chil­dren learn how to over­come obsta­cles, become respon­si­ble, develop con­fi­dence and strive to be the best they can be. These ingre­di­ents will impact a child’s suc­cess in school more than any­thing else.

All fam­i­lies, with and with­out money, can do bet­ter. Schools must develop strate­gies to ele­vate par­ent­ing with­out the tra­di­tional blind­ers. Yes, we want our chil­dren to do bet­ter in school and fam­ily math nights and pub­lish­ing par­ties are fab­u­lous ways of engag­ing every­one. Issues such as enabling, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, anger man­age­ment, screen time, sib­ling rivalry, coop­er­a­tion and inde­pen­dence are the basis for suc­cess in school and life. Let’s build an infra­struc­ture that will sup­port our chil­dren and stop think­ing schools can do it all. 

 

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Confidence

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As a teacher and a par­ent, I know there is a fine line between authen­tic and non-con­di­tional praise. If every­thing is won­der­ful, than there is no con­nec­tion with true effort. Motivation may actu­ally be reduced and all the flow­ery words will become like back­ground noise; mean­ing­less. Appropriate praise with mea­sured encour­age­ment and cor­rec­tion will go a long way to help a child be moti­vated and develop a strong sense of self con­fi­dence.

As your child pre­pares for the kinder­garten entrance exam (gifted and tal­ented, ERB or Stanford Binet) keep in mind that the most impor­tant thing you as a par­ent can do is to teach your child that they are capa­ble. Attacking ques­tions that may be dif­fi­cult can cause a child to give up too soon and take a ran­dom guess. If a child feels that they have suc­cess­fully fig­ured some­thing out even when it ini­tially appeared out of their reach, they may be more likely to think clearly and be more accu­rate.

The dif­fer­ence of a few points may decide your child’s score and there­fore their options for kinder­garten.  If you work with your child at home you need to encour­age and instruct care­fully. A child wants to please their par­ent and will react more extremely to a parent’s efforts to cor­rect and instruct. A hearty dose of smiles, praise and a dash of instruc­tion is the key to rais­ing their level of per­for­mance and con­fi­dence.

Best of luck and let me know if I can help.

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ERB or Not To ERB

 

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The New York Times sent shock waves through the world of NYC preschool par­ents when it informed us of the end to the dreaded ERB test. The test was now not rec­om­mended by a panel of experts due to the vast amount of “prep­ping” going on and the unhealthy use of ERB scores as a way for par­ents to show­case their child’s bril­liance. 

My first reac­tion, as a tutor who, yes I admit it, helps to pre­pare chil­dren for the ERB was great. I hate the notion of test­ing and the ridicu­lous hoops par­ents and chil­dren must jump through just to get into a school that will be a pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence. But then real­ity set in. How will schools make deci­sions about who is accepted and who is not? Obviously schools can­not accept every­one so how will the new sys­tem work? I have asked sev­eral of the direc­tors at the schools who have decided to see how life with­out the ERB will unfold and it appears that much of the change will be in for­mat rather than con­tent. By this they mean that they will observe chil­dren at play, they will have infor­mal ses­sions with them and yes, an assess­ment will be made. Scoring will be vague, at least at first, and par­ents will be informed as to how well they did in sub­jec­tive terms. You can be assured that most, if not all, skills pre­vi­ously assessed will still be con­sid­ered.

As an ele­men­tary school teacher for over thirty years I can tell you most earnestly that screen­ing chil­dren prior to kinder­garten is impor­tant. Some chil­dren require spe­cial instruc­tion out­side of a main­stream class­room. It’s won­der­ful to have a nice blend of chil­dren with dif­fer­ent tal­ents and var­i­ous back­grounds.

I am totally in favor of some kind of screen­ing for every school. Eliminating the ERB’s is a step in the right direc­tion. Competition in NYC and par­ents using their chil­dren as tro­phies is another mat­ter com­pletely.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/26/education/on-entrance-test-whose-days-appear-numbered-a-95-just-wasnt-good-enough.html?_r=0

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Kindergarten Decisions

The fol­low­ing is a piece writ­ten by a par­ent who strug­gled through the myr­iad of hoops prior to her child’s entrance into kinder­garten and then strug­gled with the deci­sion to take a cov­eted gifted and tal­ented spot or accept the ease and com­fort of a pri­vate school. I am post­ing this for all par­ents who just went through it and for par­ents who shortly will. It is well writ­ten, poignant and illus­trates the real­i­ties of the New York City school envi­ron­ment. In a recent phone call from a par­ent I lis­tened as she grap­pled with a dif­fer­ent choice: a gifted and tal­ented spot for both her twins or a spot in a closer school; a char­ter called Success Academy. I am so glad that both choices were accept­able. No mat­ter what school your child attends, their suc­cess and hap­pi­ness will largely depend on their teach­ers. Teachers will be happy and moti­vated at a school that respects its’ fac­ulty and oper­ates in a sen­si­ble man­ner. Make some effort to sur­vey the teach­ers and you will gain valu­able infor­ma­tion to help you decide your child’s next big step. Good luck and don’t for­get to breath and smile. . 

 

THE DECISION, IN RETROSPECT
By Anna Li

Today I vis­ited my daughter’s class­room for their end-of-the-year cel­e­bra­tion.  Her music teacher had pre­pared the stu­dents to sing two songs from The Sound of Music, in addi­tion to other orig­i­nal songs about their Kindergarten expe­ri­ences.  While they were per­form­ing, their com­puter teacher dropped by to make sure every­thing was set for the photo-mon­tage pre­sen­ta­tion.  Diplomas were handed out, bows were taken.  It was adorable and there were few dry eyes in the room. 

My daugh­ter goes to pub­lic school gifted and tal­ented pro­gram.

A year and a half ago I had planned and pre­pared and nav­i­gated through the Kindergarten appli­ca­tion process in New York City.  I went through reg­u­la­tions, appli­ca­tions, guide­lines, dead­lines, and more dead­lines, all the while keep­ing my child happy through­out the process as I cam­ou­flaged my anx­i­ety.  

Like some of you in New York City, we saved a spot with a deposit at a pri­vate school in the West Village, which we truly adored.  When we finally received our gifted and tal­ented seat assign­ment in the pub­lic schools, we com­pared both schools care­fully. We looked read­ing, writ­ing, math, lan­guages, arts, com­puter, sci­ences, phys­i­cal edu­ca­tion, nutri­tion, human­ity, and finally home­work load and com­mute. 

In the end, we felt both schools were on par with each other, account­ing for their dif­fer­ences: one offered for­eign lan­guage (pri­vate), the other: none.  One began com­puter in Kindergarten (pub­lic), the other, 2nd grade.  One had a pool and a bicy­cle-rid­ing pro­gram (pub­lic!)…  The list goes on.  I believe that par­ents will have to sup­ple­ment at any school, so we opted for the one that saved us $37,000 annu­ally. 

By now, you have made your deci­sion.  You did all your home­work, but hope­fully you were also warned by prin­ci­pals and par­ent coor­di­na­tors not to ignore the less obvi­ous, like home­work load, com­mute and per­son­al­ity of the school.  Your job was not to get your child into the best school; it was to get your child into the right school.

All year long, I’ve asked myself if we suc­ceeded in choos­ing the school in which our Lili was meant to be. 

Lili’s cur­rent edu­ca­tion is more rig­or­ous that that of our local school, and I can see the results.  She is cur­rently read­ing at almost sec­ond grade level, and she does writ­ing and math work­shops daily, which allow her to write sto­ries and express her­self more effec­tively.  The school also fills out her week with music, art, dance, the­ater, com­puter and cook­ing.  And she has made the kind of friends she’d stick up for in a play­ground.  

One of the biggest draws for us is that the school has a Kind and Gentle pro­gram, which they prac­tice daily.  (My daugh­ter loves school so much, that she makes her friends play “school” when she has them over on play dates.  This is tor­ture for her boy-friends, who I have over­heard ask, “Am I done yet?”)

Despite my daughter’s suc­cesses this year, there are, of course, some regrets I have about our deci­sion.  

First, I under­es­ti­mated the travel fac­tor in my child’s day.

I am one of the lucky moth­ers; the yel­low bus was not a prob­lem for my child.  Many kids cried and refused, adding an addi­tional com­mute to the entire family’s day.  However, the 40-minute ride home from school -and hers is by far not the longest- is in lieu of valu­able play­time.  By the time she returns home, all her neigh­bor­hood friends are well into their play dates.  On days when she has after-school, between travel time and home­work, there’s no time for play.  Plus she’s not just los­ing free time; her friend­ships are slip­ping away because she’s absent from the neigh­bor­hood.

I also didn’t quite real­ize what impact home­work would have on our sched­ule. Yes, she reads chap­ter books, and has cor­rect hand­writ­ing.  However, in order to do this, her school­days are more struc­tured, as are her after­noons.  Couple travel with home­work, and free time becomes a real chal­lenge.  Each week we take home read­ing, writ­ing, and math.  I say “we” because Lili and I are in it together.  Her angst is my angst, just as her joys are mine too. 

I will admit, Lili is on the verge of over-booked, although she has far less after­school than some of the other chil­dren in her class.  I man­age my daughter’s schedule/workload by moth­er­ing over­time to make sure she is happy, not just enter­tained.  I cam­ou­flage home­work to seem like it’s our game, which works most of the time.  I have her friends over so she can spend more time with them after doing home­work — I have an entire agenda, which includes every­thing from candy and sure-fire din­ners, to large-screen TV movie show­ings and marsh­mal­low dec­o­rat­ing.  I jump through hoops, basi­cally, because she is still just a five year old, albeit going on fif­teen.

As far as I’m con­cerned, Kindergarten is one of the last times a child has to be truly care­free.  Free play is invalu­able to a young child’s intel­lect, to her abil­ity to process what is hap­pen­ing to and around her. When we trade free play for struc­tured classes in the name of get­ting ahead, we are doing just that: get­ting ahead of our­selves.    

It may sound to you like I am not happy with my deci­sion.  On the con­trary: I am thrilled.  Yes, I mourn the sweet sim­plic­ity of a neigh­bor­hood expe­ri­ence for my daugh­ter.  But this first year has been a gift nonethe­less. Lili loved her teacher so much, she some­times called her Mama, and vice versa. She marched around those hall­ways and up and down the stairs like she owned the place.  She now wakes up and reads half a dozen books by her­self in bed, before begin­ning her day.

Ultimately, I won­der how this accel­er­ated early edu­ca­tion will affect her, or her future.  Will it make it eas­ier for Lili to get into a bet­ter mid­dle school?  Will we see a domino effect, thus help­ing her to an excel­lent high school?  Should I even be think­ing this far in advance?

I look back on last year, when I won­dered why I was jump­ing through all those hoops.  Now, as Kindergarten has come to an end, I am able to under­stand how my daugh­ter has grown, and learned to deal with her expe­ri­ences.  I real­ized, this past year, that the onus of choos­ing the right kinder­garten was about set­ting my child up for a life­time of not just learn­ing, but lov­ing to learn. 

Making the right kinder­garten choice is pos­si­bly one of the biggest edu­ca­tional deci­sions of a child’s life­time.  If they are in love with learn­ing in their early years, there’s no hold­ing them back.  Lili has found her spot at her Chelsea school.  She was just intro­duced to her First Grade teacher for next year, and now I’m find­ing pieces of paper from Lili prac­tic­ing writ­ing her name.  My daugh­ter is at home in her school, and that’s all I want for now.  Who knows where she will be for mid­dle school, but she has told me there are plans in the pipeline to be a pilot or a doc­tor.  As long as there’s a twirly skirt involved.

 

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Gifted and Talented In New York City

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I met Alex as he was prepar­ing for the bat­tery of tests NYC stu­dents must often take to get into the gifted and tal­ented classes or Hunter Elementary School.He was such an engag­ing stu­dent and we enjoyed our time together.

I once asked him if he was inter­ested in writ­ing a book and showed him my first stu­dent authored book: “Chess Is My Game”. He imme­di­ately took to the idea and is now proud to present it to you. He took spe­cial plea­sure in dress­ing up and choos­ing loca­tions for the shot. I think chil­dren will delight in the illus­tra­tions and will relate to their inno­cence. 

I would love it if you checked it out and bought it for your grand­chil­dren, chil­dren, or stu­dents. It can be a huge moti­va­tor for any­one who is learn­ing to write and even author their own book. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/My-Stuffies-Alex-Agrawal/dp/1490473629/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371822054&sr=1–1&keywords=my+stuffies

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