Monday, April 9, 2012

Poetry: Soothing Toxic Stress for Math Phobics

Mmmm, fractions taste good.
After collaborating in three middle school math classes this year, I personally, have a new fondness for fractions (which are helpful in a million ways!) But here is another different and lovely way to view math:
by Mary Cornish
I like the generosity of numbers.
The way, for example,
they are willing to count
anything or anyone:
two pickles, one door to the room,
eight dancers dressed as swans.
I like the domesticity of addition—
add two cups of milk and stir—
the sense of plenty: six plums
on the ground, three more
falling from the tree.
And multiplication's school
of fish times fish,
whose silver bodies breed
beneath the shadow
of a boat.
Even subtraction is never loss,
just addition somewhere else:
five sparrows take away two,
the two in someone else's
garden now.
There's an amplitude to long division,
as it opens Chinese take-out
box by paper box,
inside every folded cookie
a new fortune.
And I never fail to be surprised
by the gift of an odd remainder,
footloose at the end:
forty-seven divided by eleven equals four,
with three remaining.
Three boys beyond their mothers' call,
two Italians off to the sea,
one sock that isn't anywhere you look.

from Poetry magazine
Volume CLXXVI, Number 3, June 2000

I also love zero--so versatile. Not willing to be a big nothing, it will also generously hold any place safe to google and beyond. Let's not even get started on the fantasy of the number line and integers--
 what imagination!

And here is even a zero lesson for little people!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tweets of the Week: Headstart Evaluations

No cartoon could be as cute as the kids really are.

The Headstart program began through federal funding during the Johnson administration in 1965 (The War on Poverty), to assist low income kids that are under five years old.

The Obama administration (as with others in the past) are seeking to reduce the program's expense by proposing criteria that would close the doors of some of the local programs.

I know its unfair of me to put up such adorable pics of the kids....
President Obama has been working on evaluation of 'deficient' sites that may end in closing some sites.

...when the President's plan may close some Headstart sites.
 Usually politicians don't get so up close and personal with citizens (especially little ones) from whom his administration may take away services. 

 What Is Head Start?

Head Start programs offer comprehensive services to low-income children 3 to 5 years old and their families. Specific services vary by site, but they include health care, nutrition, social services and more. More than 30 million children have participated in Head Start programs since 1965.
Health care services: Well-child care including immunizations, vision and hearing screening, dental care, screening for health or developmental problems, and health education for parents.
Breakfast is served.
Child nutrition: Meals and snacks that provide between one-half and two-thirds of a child's daily nutritional needs, depending on the length of the child's program day.
Social services for parents and families: Referrals to community services, including emergency assistance, counseling, literacy education, continuing education and employment training.
Parent at Headstart participating in RIF (Reading Is Fun.)

Early Head Start serves low-income pregnant women and children under 3 years old. Services include prenatal and postpartum care and education, home visits, parent-child activities and health and mental health services.

There has always been lots and lots of discussion about K-12 education, especially since NCLB. Now the focus is going younger.

 David Muhlhausen, a research fellow with the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, says "it's time for new thinking" when it comes to early childhood education.

Similar to the 'Race to the Top' federal money scheme, a series of grants for early childhood education would create competition for federal money, with some serious strings attached by the government concerning ways to measure the success of the programs.

Will the early childhood programs go through the same torture as the K-12 system is?

When money and the economy is involved, its hard to predict what will happen.

The benefits of early childhood intervention are inestimable. Social skills being a positive result.

Opportunities for creativity in early childhood creates later success.

Yes, sweeties, you make America happen.
In 1969, a Senate hearing about withdrawing fund from PBS invited Mr. Rogers in for a discussion.

We still have PBS--so, you see--the government can do things right!

And, Mr. Rogers, we miss you. Thank you. I believe you liked me just the way I am.