Category Archives: Uncategorized

In The Process Of Endless Discovery!

Our students Puneeth and Devansh had a time of their lives in Japan. The students were on an Exchange Program to Japan. The Asia Kakehashi Project, as the name suggests is bridging the gap between the diverse cultures that these students hail from. After an orientation session in Tokyo, they headed to their respective schools in the city of Shizuoka and Devansh in Kumon International School, Japan.

Puneeth got an opportunity to attend the Seiko Global Development Conference 2019.

Here are his reflections on the conference….

The Seiko Global Development Conference was held from 28th August – 5th Sept 2019. The conference was held to raise awareness about the current scenario of our planet – Earth. The conference taught the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals – adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
The SDGC had students from 10 schools, such as Jashore Zilla School-Bangladesh, Suchitra Academy – India, Indonesia- MAN Cipasung, Shizuoka Seiko Academy and Shizuoka Seien Girls’ High School – Japan, Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar and Malay College Kuala Kangsar – Malaysia, CRPAO SCHOOL and Vajiravudh College – Thailand & Marie Curie High School- Vietnam.
On 28th and 29th August we had spent time in Tokyo, sightseeing, we were taken to the Tokyo Skytree and went on a scavenger hunt around Tokyo intending to go to as many checkpoints as possible, which my group had won. After the long tiring day, we were yet to board a 5- hour long bus back to Shizuoka.
The next day we were taken to a local garbage plant to see the process of waste management, for which Shizuoka is well known for. The executives at the garbage plant had also presented to us the step-by-step process from collection to disposal and treatment. Further that day, the government servants of Shizuoka City explained Japan’s role in implementing SDGs and that 36% of the population of Shizuoka was aware of the SDGs. We also learned that Japan ranked 15th out of 156 countries trying to implement the SDGs, whereas countries such as India and Bangladesh ranked 112th and 111th respectively.
On the 31st, few of us had visited a village near Mt. Fuji called Oshino-Hakkai; with the cold breeze blowing, we went shopping for souvenirs and more. Thereafter, we were taken to the Lake Kawaguchi, which is a part of the GOKO- “go” meaning five and “ko” meaning lake, that is the five lakes around Fuji-san. Here we rode a cable car, to reach the viewpoint to see Fuji-san amidst the clouds.
The following day was spent working on the steps we would take as tomorrow’s citizens to combat today’s crisis. A couple of workshops were conducted, and everything discussed during the group workshops was to be presented on 3rd September, to our school’s students including a few government officials who added up to 500 people in the audience. We spent 2nd September finalizing our presentation along with a tour of the Tamiya headquarters here in Shizuoka. Tamiya is a very famous, here in Japan as well as other countries throughout the World for making world-class, miniature models of military tanks, naval ships, fighter planes, sports cars and many more. They had displayed a section of the Headquarters where these models rebuilt and made into humanly-driven vehicles.
My group had presented ways to combat environmental damage. We thought it could be done by following the Triple R Rule and conducting research to and somehow use Plastic as a Fuel. The presentation was followed by cultural performances from the schools from Thailand,
Malaysia, and Indonesia. And then we have a farewell party as this was the last of the summit in Shizuoka.
The next day was scheduled to have a surprise Tokyo sightseeing and we were informed on the way we would be taken to Tokyo Disneyland that day. This announcement was followed by cheers and smiles on the students’ faces. And finally, after spending the day having fun and enjoying at Disneyland, it was time to say goodbye the next day. We had seen off our friends from Vajiravudh College and MAN Cipasung from Thailand and Indonesia respectively.


The secret weapon for school success!

Is your child having behavior problems and trouble in school? Making sure she gets enough sleep may be the solution. Lack of sleep is a national epidemic for today’s children, and the consequences are serious. Sleep deprivation can affect cognitive skills and academic achievement. A continuing lack of sleep is linked to serious health problems including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression, and a shortened life span.

Why aren’t kids getting enough sleep?

Children ages 6 to 13 need about 9 to 11 hours of sleep. Yet studies show that most kids are getting about an hour less sleep each night than they did 30 years ago.

Why? Working parents who get home late may feel guilty and want to spend time with their children in the evening. Too much homework and the many distractions of television, video games, and computers all play a role. In addition, all the pressures and stresses of today’s frenetic lifestyles may make it difficult for kids to calm down so they can fall asleep.

Seven ways to be your child’s sleep advocate

  • Talk to your child about sleep. Have a conversation with your child about the importance of sleep. Educate your child about how much sleep he needs and how it will affect his performance. If he wants to do well in his football game, or on a test, make him aware that he will do better if he gets more sleep.
  • Encourage your child to establish a sleep routine. Encourage your child to stick to a regular sleep schedule. School-age children need an average of 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. Insist on a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Have a regular quiet, relaxing bedtime routine such as reading to your child or reading together to help him slow down before going to sleep.
  • Say no to late-night TV and computer use. Keep the computer and TV out of your child’s bedroom. It’s a good way to monitor his screen activities and make sure he doesn’t stay up past his bedtime. If he insists on watching TV right before bedtime, you can tell him to start getting ready for bed during the commercials and to record “must-see” late-night shows and watch them at another time.
  • Check-in with your child’s teacher. Ask your child’s teacher if your child is alert or sleepy in class. If he is frequently sleepy in class, that’s a sign that you need to help him get more sleep.
  • The pros and cons of naps. A short nap after school (no more than 30 minutes) may be refreshing, but don’t let your school-age child sleep for hours during the day as this will throw off her natural sleep schedule. It may be a stretch to convince your school to provide a time for naps, but it is done in Japan. Schools there encourage “power naps” at lunchtime when students put their heads down on their desk for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Exercise plays a role in keeping a regular sleep schedule. Exercise is very important, particularly getting outside and getting morning light. But exercise raises the body temperature so it is not a good idea to exercise right before going to sleep. That means it’s important to regulate organized football and baseball games so they are not scheduled too late into the evening.
  • Be a role model. Show your child that you make sleep a priority in your own life. Children are more likely to follow your advice if you follow the same rules for yourself.


Parents, We Need to Let Our Kids Fail If We Truly Want Them to Succeed!

As I watched my middle school students walk into the classroom today, I thought of the diversity of the group. Some of my students walked through my classroom doors with a parent-packed lunch. Others set their own alarms and caught the bus alone.

The thing is, these details have little correlation with their ability to fail. It’s not a packed lunch or extra responsibility that will allow our students to thrive; it’s a mindset we are responsible for teaching them.

We must stop protecting them from failure.

Our instinct is to protect—protect our children from being upset. I want to see them happy, just like you, but sometimes, long-term happiness comes from being upset at the moment.

Mom or dad, you and I must stop protecting them from failure at home and in the classroom. We must resist protecting them from sadness or disappointment. To protect their future, we must stop protecting their “now”. We must stop protecting them from uncomfortable and necessary growth.

Mom or dad, if you want your child to learn from their mistakes—let them take the bad grade. Don’t ask for a second chance. Life doesn’t hand out second chances. Let your child make the mistake. I promise you, this mistake is so very minor compared to the unfortunate seed it will plant in your child’s head if you corner a teacher and make them allow that second chance.

The teacher will give that second chance; but never because she wants to or because it will help your child. She will give that second chance because the alternative is impossible. The alternative means dealing with a parent-teacher conference when she already has a second-afternoon job. If she doesn’t just go along with your Plan A, her Plan B will take time away from the other students. It will mean a missed class because of an RTI meeting in which she will be drilled with questions like:

“What are YOU doing to make sure this child passes?”

“What is YOUR plan for ensuring this child’s success?”

She wants to tell you “no, he needs to learn” but she’s all but forced to say “yes”.

Allowing our children the space for accountability is not easy. It’s as simple as accepting a football game loss instead of gossiping about the referee. It’s allowing our children to see us fail and get back up again. It’s showing that we are the rule-enforcers but also admitting we are human. It’s apologizing when we are wrong. It’s letting them fall without interfering.

I believe we can all agree that our children need praise; our words become our children’s inner monologue, but that praise is often misplaced. We tend to heavily praise the accomplishments and dwell on the failures. We lose sight of the part that matters most: the effort. A perfect average or a big win won’t carry our students through adolescence into adulthood. Resiliency is the trait that will ensure our kids’ long-term success.

Parents, I ask you to please hold your children accountable. Don’t give them a warning and choose not to follow through. I know that it happens sometimes; I do it, too. However, we have to work together for this to work for your child, because whether you like or not, they will spend almost as much time with their teachers as they do with you. Not only do we deserve respect, but your child deserves the discipline. Your child deserves the restrictions and the healthy boundaries. Our job is not to make your child happy; our job is to help them grow.

A big part of growth is failure.



How can I tear my tween away from that screen?

– Yalda T Uhls, PhD

The digital revolution has transformed children’s lives. For those of us who didn’t grow up with a small handheld device glued to our bodies, this new normal looks anything but. The good news is that so far, most research finds that kids are doing what they’ve always done: using peer relationships as a mirror for forming their identity. The only difference is that 21st-century technology amplifies these normal developmental desires and needs. While friends have always been crucial during early adolescence, nowadays, thanks to the Internet and mobile communication, peer opinions are accessible to adolescents 24/7.

So instead of developing their identities through gossiping in school hallways and trying out for the school play, today’s kids refine their virtual selves by posting photos and videos online before an audience of often hundreds of peers, many of whom they’ve never met. When we grew up, we had to guess (or ignore) our social status based on the behavior of people we knew in the physical world (Why did she give me that look? Why didn’t he ask me to dance?), but now kids can quantifiably measure what behavior brings popularity through virtual likes, comments, and shares. For some teens, this capability underscores an almost obsessive focus on sharing every moment of their lives on social media.

This shift toward personalized screen time could be affecting our children’s development in a number of ways. Not only are kids exposed to a narrower band of content, shaped for their tastes, but they also lose the benefit of a parent’s perspective on the narratives. It also means that families and friends are no longer in the same rooms, and some sense of community is undoubtedly lost.

In addition, because communication through screens is so simple, we probably spend less time looking at each other. Our early adopters — kids and teenagers — may be sacrificing essential social learning. As in the past, most of the adults were conversing face to face, but this time, the kids were sitting in a row on a couch, facing forward, staring at their phones. Even in the midst of a swirl of activity, five tween girls ignored one another to focus on their devices.

Humans learn about feelings through face-to-face communication, and research shows that understanding emotions inform empathy. Our facial expressions, our tone of voice, and our body language are just a few of the ways we communicate how we are feeling to other people. The understanding of emotions begins to develop when children are very young, and screens cannot teach the same understanding.

So what’s the solution — live under a rock, cut out all media, or move to the North Pole? Not feasible for most of us living in the real world. Instead, parents would do well to make the most of the media in their children’s lives and proactively manage the tech beast with these three principles.

Make screen time, together time

By choosing great stories with subject matter worth discussing, and watching with your kids, you can help media support your child’s development rather than unravel it. If your children enjoy video games, play with them. Try one of the many apps or games designed to develop empathy. No matter what the media, if you’re in the room helping your children think about what they’re watching and how it makes them feel, you can help them build meaningful insight.

Take a screen vacation

Show your children you value face-to-face time with your actions, not just your words. One idea is to build device-free time into your family’s day. If everyone (yes, that means the adults are not allowed to check their phones for status updates or work emails) puts down their devices and spends time looking at each other, you will model the value of old-fashioned conversation, a skill many kids need to practice.


Teach appreciation, minute by minute

Finally, though the bonds between teens and their technology seem so strong that influencing their behavior may seem impossible, don’t give up. You can teach them to enjoy the everyday moments — even without a camera. When traveling during a vacation, encourage your children to put down their phones for 30 minutes and enjoy the surroundings or scenery, be a part of the conversation during the family lunch, etc.


Adapted and Abridged

Lawnmower Parents Are Setting Children Up for Failure.

We’ve all heard of helicopter parents. These moms and dads hover obsessively over their children, watch their every move, and intervene on behalf of the child whenever a problem arises. To a teacher, these are the adults that a teacher seems to interact with more so than the child who they spend 8 hours a day with. As exhausting as these headache-inducing parents are, I’m here to tell you that the real nightmare is a new breed of adults called lawnmower parents.

Lawnmower parents are, without a doubt, oppositional forces to everything educators are trying to teach their students. You see, dear reader, helicopter parents only intervene when they sniff out something wrong that has upset their amazing child. Lawnmower parents completely erase any and all obstacles for their child so that their precious pumpkin can navigate smooth waters instead of learning how to correct course on choppy seas. As a teacher, this is the absolute worst. I can deal with parents being upset about their child suffering. It’s natural for parents to want to protect their children from any and all harm. However, I cannot deal with parents bulldozing the ground so children have nothing to be upset about.

Any good teacher will tell you that their goals for their students have little to do with content matter. As a teacher, my biggest concern is not if my students can leave my class reciting Shakespeare. Rather, I care that they learn valuable skills like teamwork, resiliency, and discipline that they can carry over into whatever career they choose later in life. With lawnmower parents, these important skills become a wistful dream – not a tangible reality.

If all challenges are erased, how will these students gain the grit needed when things don’t go their way?

Lawnmower parents are creating a false land of delusion that is sure to set our students up for failure. The next generation will surely endure relationship woes, financial issues, and work troubles. If parents, our greatest assets (and, at times, our biggest nemesis), don’t teach their children valuable coping skills, how will our next generation deal when these problems befall them? Lawnmower parents are creating a crop of children who will be out of luck when life gives them lemons. And that, my friend, is a tough pill to swallow.

I have witnessed firsthand the effects of lawnmower parents and let me tell you… it is not pretty. I’ve had students cry over having to wait 5 minutes to eat lunch, having a ball lightly skim their knee, and seeing the playground with their eyes, but not being able to play on it yet. With each of these students, I have a long talk about resiliency and each time, they look up at me with large, terror-filled eyes. The concept of being a buoyant human being is lost on them, and it is clear that this is the first time they are hearing how to cope with something. And each time, I think the same thing: Thanks lawnmower parents. I need you to work with me, NOT against me.

While this epidemic may seem comical to some, I can assure you that it is very real and very frightening. We need to let our kids fall, fail, and figure out how to stand back up. We can give them the tools to get back up, but we also need to let them practice this important skill. As educators, it is our duty to equip our students with traits that will get them far in life. So stand aside, lawnmower parents. I’m not letting you raise a wave of children who will be paralyzed by insurmountable hurdles. You can try to knock us down, but us teachers are extremely used to trudging up mountains.


How parents can help 5th graders learn science through everyday play!

– Charity Ferreira

How does matter cycle through ecosystems? Where does the energy in food come from and what is it used for? How do the lengths of day and night change from day-to-day?

Fifth-grade science explores systems of all kinds. Your child will learn that matter changes, but no matter what change matter undergoes, its weight stays the same. How energy moves through food webs is another core concept this year. Some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Organisms such as fungi and bacteria break down the dead organisms, and some of that decomposed material goes back into the soil where it supplies nutrients for — you guessed it — plants!

Fifth graders also turn their attention skyward and learn how the orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, along with Earth’s rotation, cause day and night, daily changes in the length and direction of shadows, and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year. It’s a spectacular year for science, and you can support what your child is learning at home. Try these activities and marvel at their discoveries along with them.

How you can help your child learn 5th-grade science

Food web mural

Food webs are big! So give your artist a big canvas — it could be a big sheet of paper taped to a wall, a painted chalkboard wall, an inexpensive canvas drop cloth (available at hardware stores), or cardboard spread outside on the ground. Ask your child to paint, draw, or sketch a food web, in as much detail as she likes, using pencil, chalk, markers, or paint. This is a fun project to do with a friend. If you have an app on your phone that lets you record a time-lapse video, film your child while she creates; then play it back and watch the web come to life.

Be your own sundial

Your fifth-grader may have learned about sundials this year. On a sunny day, find a flat spot on the sidewalk or playground without anything nearby that will cast a shadow. Mark a spot with an X, and then have one child stand there while another outlines her shadow in chalk and notes the time. Return to the same spot every hour and trace the shadow again. At the end of the day, ask your child what she observed about how her shadow changed throughout the day, and why she thinks it happened.

Tasty matter

The kitchen is a great place to explore the properties of matter. Freeze juice in ice pop molds to see if changing the juice’s state from liquid to solid changes its volume. Stir together oil and vinegar to make salad dressing, and milk and chocolate pudding mix to make pudding. Ask whether each is a solution or a mixture, and why? Making s’mores over the barbecue is a great way to explore the physical and chemical changes of matter, as marshmallows become molton and chocolate melts. Assemble a s’more and let it cool to see if it goes back to a solid-state. (And if you drop a marshmallow into the fire and it burns, you’re looking at a chemical change. Unfortunately irreversible!)


How parents can help 4th graders learn science through everyday play!

– Carol Lloyd

Get ready to feel the earth move! Fourth-grade science looks deeply at the hidden reasons behind how things work. Kids will learn about the patterns of waves and how they cause objects to move. Energy is a core idea this year — what it is and how it can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents, or from object to object through collisions. They’ll practice the process of designing and testing a device that converts energy from one form to another.

They’ll also learn about the history of planet Earth, and that the locations of mountain ranges, earthquakes, and volcanoes occur in patterns. They’ll explore more deeply how plants and animals have internal and external structures that work to make them survive, grow, and reproduce. You can support this at home by asking open-ended questions about why things happen the way they do and offering opportunities for your child to play and experiment.

How parents can help with 4th-grade science

Collision course

Playing with how objects transfer energy to other objects is as simple and fun as flicking marbles or pennies. Spread pennies out on a table and flick one penny into the others and watch how it causes the other pennies to move. What happens if you flick it harder? Softer? What other objects can you use to transfer energy in this way?

Rubberband band

You can make a surprisingly effective instrument using just a small cardboard box, two pencils, and several rubber bands of different sizes. There are many tutorials online, but essentially your child cuts a hole in the top of the box, tapes the pencils parallel to each other on either side of the hole, and then stretch the rubber bands over the box so that they rest on the pencils, crossing the hole. Play by plucking each rubber band and noticing the different sounds each makes. Now experiment with pressing on the rubber band above the pencil and noticing how it changes the sound. Shorter, thinner, tighter bands create shorter sound waves and a higher-pitched sound. If your child is interested, encourage her to design and build her own instrument.

Find the right environment

Buy some inexpensive plant seeds at the store. Have your child plant the seeds in three containers and vary each one’s environment in one slightly different way. Say one is in direct sunlight, one is in indirect sunlight, and one gets no sunlight. Or say one is watered daily, one is watered every two days, and one is watered weekly. Have your child observe what happens to each plant. What is the best environment for this particular plant? How would your child conduct this experiment again to learn more?

Adapted and abridged