Summer Camp for Adopted Kids in Transracial Families

GirlsonSwing
Happy campers at Transracial Journeys summer camp

Adopted children in transracial families – families of more than one race – often carry with them grief and trauma issues. These issues can handicap their ability to concentrate and succeed as students. “Transracial children may benefit greatly from adoptive parents who give them multi-racial diverse experiences,” says Linda Jones, a local psychotherapist who specializes in working with adopted children.

Many times parents can feel blindsided by these challenges and do not know where to turn for help. One form of support has been the creation of summer camps specializing in providing a community environment just for these families. Here are two camps relatively nearby which seem to be very popular.

Kamp Kurat was created by Carrie Lafferty of Ann Arbor and is in its third year at Summerset Beach Campground just 45 minutes west of Ann Arbor, near Jackson. The camp is designed for families who have adopted Ethiopian children.

Transracial Journeys was created by Rita Simpson-Vlach and is beginning its fourth year. The camp is located in Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania, just east of Pittsburgh. This camp is for all transracial families – both the children and their parents.

I hope you will share this information with other families who may benefit. If you know of other similar opportunities, please share them with me.

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Creating A Water Garden: Applied Math & Outdoor Fun

the math equation I used for my pond liner, from Engel Tutors in Ann Arbor
Figuring out the right length and width for my pond liner.

Warm April weather can turn student minds away from classrooms and towards the outdoors. Why not bond with them and keep them engaged in learning at the same time? Designing and creating a backyard water garden will give your student the opportunity to apply math concepts such as proportions, fractions, multiplication, division, and algebra, as well as the handy use of important tools. It’s a great way to work with them as a teammate and add an exotic habitat to the homestead for observation and quiet meditation. Continue reading Creating A Water Garden: Applied Math & Outdoor Fun

Stay Sharp with These Summer Games

man bites dogSpring is here and it is time to think about summer. Kids want to do something new and exciting outside the classroom. You probably want the same for them. However, you don’t want them to lose any of that valuable progress they made in school. Educational board games are one way to solve that problem.

Two good games for young writers are Man Bites Dog and You’ve Been Sentenced. In both games, players build phrases and sentences with word cards.

In Man Bites Dog, the cards are clippings from newspapers. Since you are creating imaginative headlines, the responses are not always standard sentences, but students enjoy the creative hilarity. In You’ve Been Sentenced, the cards are hexagon shaped and include five variations on a word or phrase.

I like this game because it is easier to build a range of sentences. References to movie stars, presidents and famous race-car drivers are included to spice things up. Find both games online through Amazon.

Student Evaluation of An Online Reading Service

Here is a brief review of the online service, Bookshare.com. One of my high school students wrote this after getting an account with Bookshare, a company which provides online texts for any text with an ISBN number, free, for students with documented reading challenges.

You do have to apply for the account and provide documentation of your disability.  Here is the review.

There are a couple of good things and bad things about Bookshare that i have noticed through using it. Pros: Free books and it can help to assist or speed up your reading speed. Cons: You have to pay $20 for the version on an Iphone and it doesn’t even go full screen on the iphone 5. It also has a horrible voice that speaks to you for the audio part of the program.
Basically the only reason to get Bookshare is for the free books and some help with speeding up your reading speed over time if used correctly. This program can be somewhat useful for reading at a faster speed but i would not use the program if that is the sole purpose.

Write back to ask questions or give me your comments.

Thanks,
Eric

Mad Libs Poetry Session This Saturday, May 18

What is a Mad Libs Poetry Session?

How about writing poetry with a host of professional poets currently on tour throughout the state? Here are the details:

Sat. May 18 | 11:30am – 1pm | Ann Arbor

“Mad Libs” Poetry Session

with the Made In Michigan Writers Series poets & 826Michigan

Ann Arbor District Library Downtown

343 S 5th Ave

·       Attendees will team up with their favorite authors to create a one-of-a-kind poem, incorporating random elements at certain points along the way.  Like a Mad Lib, but in reverse!

·       Great for groups of adults and families

·       Featuring poets Chris Dombrowski, Francine harris, M.L. Liebler, Jack Ridl, and Keith Taylor

Day-Dreaming versus Concentrated Thought

Americans prize the ability to concentrate. Our concerns about attention-deficits and the popularity of cafes and decaffeinated drinks attest to this value. What would you think of studies that suggest the opposite ability is vital as well?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, a number of studies indicate that unharnessed thought, such as day-dreaming, is linked to more creative thinking and formulation of new ideas. Some of the recent research was conducted by Dr. Holly White – then of the University of Memphis – and Priti Shah of the University of Michigan.

Interested in learning more about this fascinating subject? Read the article at:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703584804576144192132144506.html .

Also take a look at “ADD’s New Upside Is Creativity” in the Daily Beast. This article also explores Shah and White’s research of the connection between creativity and ADD/ADHD.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-02-08/adhds-upside-is-creativity-says-new-study/

Brain Growth Games

Good morning post-storm survivors! Today’s blog is  brief but worthy.  I discovered a great website focused on brain development for people of all ages. The site helps you identify brain growth goals, such as quicker recall, improved spatial memory, and enhanced attention. It’s game -based so it’s fun. Finally, it allows you to track your growth

Here’s the catch – you only get three free games, then you must subscribe. Yes, it costs money, but as you will see, it is a worthy program.

Here’s the link: http://www.lumosity.com .

I recommend checking this site out even if you have no intention of subscribing.

Tune in next week to discover other noteworthy brain development websites that I am currently researching.