Do you remember the day we went to the drugstore and the lady said, “Wow, you are the first kids I’ve seen all day with nothing in your hands.” Remember how she marveled at how you didn’t need an electronic device to carry through the store? I know how her words made you feel. I know how it reminded you that you are different because your mom limits your electronic usage. I know it was yet another reminder. Read More
Common Sense Kids Action is an independent, nonpartisan, powerful voice for America's next generation. We have a simple mission: Make kids and education our nation's top priority. Kids don't have the economic power or vote to make their own voices heard, but their future success determines our nation's future success.
To prepare our kids for the 21st century, we must invest in their education, health, and overall well-being. We work with leaders across the country to advance policies and programs that help provide every child with the opportunity to succeed. Read More
There’s a robotics movement under way at schools across the country, and it’s aimed squarely at developing a passion for STEM education in the kids who need it the most.
Building robots is a sport for the mind, and despite being unorthodox, it’s become an officially recognized high school sport in two states, with more states set to follow.
The organization leading this movement — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) — was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, the man behind the Segway. FIRST hosts robotics competitions, in which students create programmable robots to carry out tasks. Read More
What can American parents learn from how other cultures look at parenting? A look at child-rearing ideas in Japan, Norway, Spain — and beyond.
The crisis of American parenting, as anyone who has looked at the parenting section of a bookstore can attest, is that nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. Yet despite this lack of confidence and apparent absence of knowledge, many American parents zealously believe that their choices carve out their children’s futures. Indeed, they seek the advice of expert after expert in the field in order to succeed at one goal: to raise the happiest, the most successful, and the most well-adjusted leaders of the future. Read More
From the era of broadcast to the internet age, Sesame Street has mastered the way to use humor to both educate and entertain children.
Humor is a subjective thing. And for kids, sometimes all it takes is freshly baked cookies.
“All we have to do is put Cookie Monster sitting with a plate of cookies. And Cookie Monster says, ‘Oh no! Me not supposed to eat those cookies! Me need your help!’ That’s a really funny situation, but it doesn’t require a lot of exposition,” said Miles Ludwig, managing director of the Content Innovation Lab at Sesame Workshop.
“Kids immediately get that Cookie Monster really needs their help.” Read More
Mobile devices as teaching tools are becoming a more and more common part of the American education experience in classrooms, from preschool through graduate school. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that 58% of U.S. teachers own smartphones — 10 percentage points higher than the national average for adults. Those teachers are building that tech-savviness into their lesson plans, too, by embracing bring-your-own-device policies and leading the push for an iPad for every student. In 2013, an estimated 25% of U.S. schools had BYOD policies in place and it’s reasonable to assume those numbers have risen in the past two years.
What do these mobile devices really add, though? Is there more to this tech trend than just grabbing the attention of students? Is mobile technology boosting classroom instruction, or is it all just a flashy way to accomplish the same things as analog instruction? Read More
I’ve been mulling over this topic for quite some time, but this morning it became increasingly clear to me that I must say something. Folks, stranger danger is a real thing. And even more real today than it was ten years ago thanks to, you guessed it, the internet.
I speak specifically to the parents of kids old enough to be on social medias. Of course, I am no such parent, but I am a teacher of those kids. I am also only 6-10 years older than the high school students I teach. Maybe that makes me unqualified to speak out, but maybe it makes me the most qualified candidate. Many of my colleagues and the parents of my students are old enough to be my own parents, so I tend to share a camaraderie with my students. And yet, I am far enough removed to be able to speak in ways that they cannot yet speak for themselves. Read More
Nine-year-old Annabel Bailey is a quick worker and finished her art teacher’s set task on Matisse with time to spare.
A generation ago, she might have whiled away the remainder of the lesson by gazing out of the window, irritating her fellow pupils or doing something interesting with her hair.
Not today. By the end of the lesson she had — entirely without prompting — used her iPad to create a photo album of Matisse’s best pieces, found and read a short biography, and designed a presentation about his life and work. Read More
In our modern world, it isn’t uncommon to see moms pushing shopping carts around the grocery store while their 2-year old is glued to a phone or iPad. Screens are a part of our life, but how much time should kids have on screens? What is healthy?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under 2 years old should not have screen time at all. Why? Screen time is a static activity for the brain; thus, it doesn’t stimulate brain cells, and this is extremely harmful to this age.
This was shocking news to a mom of a toddler I talked with at a seminar I was recently leading. She said, “But there are so many educational shows out there.” Yes, there sure are. Companies want you to believe that they are good for your children. However, nothing takes the place of human interaction. Screen time for kids is okay when used in moderation. Read More
Listening to jazz musicians improvise, how the piano player’s chords toy with the sax player’s runs and the standup bass player’s beats, it may seem like their music-making process is simply magic. But research of jazz musicians’ brain activity as they improvise is helping shed light on the neuroscience behind creativity, and it turns out creating that magic is not as serendipitous a process as we might think.
“I started looking at jazz musicians playing the blues as a way to understand how the creative brain emerges from a neuroscience perspective,” said Charles Limb, associate professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at John’s Hopkins University. Read More