Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spot-It from Blue Orange Games

Our local friends Blue Orange Games have a new game - Spot It
I think it will be perfect to carry along this summer!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Frankly, Frannie Doggy Day Care

I was an entrepreneur kid. I sold walnuts door to door. I painted curbs, I worked in the student cafeteria (free food is a big motivator for me). I like Frannie's drive. She wants a job - she is ready to try anything. We need a kid like this to work at the store!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Reading Lists

I'm working on posting our Summer Reading Lists this week. It's a happy chore, although I'm always tempted to just fall back on the old classics -Homer Price was good 20 years ago, and it's still a pretty good read today! But kids want new, or at least we think they do. I always look forward to sending someone off with Half Magic by Edward Eager or even Treasure Island if I can get them enthused enough. This year the Golden Apple staff put in the extra effort to create a solid list - books we have read and would recommend. It is still being pushed and pulled, but follow its progress and feel free to add your own favorite summer read!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Toy that Time Forgot

Let's talk about toys for a change! We have a "brand new" item at the Golden Apple that has been sitting on our counter for about a month. It's truly magical - no batteries, barely any moving parts, but the kids find it hypnotic. I don't even really know what the name of the toy is - we tell kids it was the Gameboy of past generations. It's a water-filled tube (you add the water - it is NOT filled with imported Chinese water) that has mysterious floating balls inside. When you push the button, the balls drift through the liquid and you try to capture them in (in this case) the pelican's bills. You know what I'm talking about. The amazing thing about this toy is - it's new to kids! They can't stop playing with it. In a 3d Avatar, Ipad world, this thing just seems full of wonder. Imagine that.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pleasanton Kids Test Well - Success!

My local electronic fish-wrap has thrilling news:

Twelve out of the 15 schools in the Pleasanton Unified School District (PUSD) are in the top 10 percent of schools statewide, according to API (Academic Performance Index)statistics released Friday from the California Department of Education.

Bubbled answers to the challenges of the future will be nothing to these kids, as long as they don't involve music, art, critical thinking, imagination, history, hands-on learning, etc...!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yesterdays Technology - Today!

It has come to my attention that someone has invented an "interactive" whiteboard! In fact, the School Supply industry, such as it is, is all abuzz about this new technology and its potential to revolutionize the classroom. Humbug is what I say. At least I'm not alone:

I am sure a number of readers saw this column's title and groaned. You thought you were just getting ahead of the curve by working towards installing interactive whiteboards in your classrooms, and here I am telling you that they are going away.

Meeks, Glenn "Goodbye Interactive Whiteboard." School Planning & Management 12 Dec. 2009 December ed. : 13

My usual complaint is that while technology has many applications in education, its pretty shiny qualities should make educators grab their wallets with both hands. Interactive whiteboard technology has that, built-in obsolescence and a high price tag, all in one package. Good thing you can write on them, they'll work as plain whiteboards once they're unplugged and moved to the back corner of the classroom. When schools invest big money in a technology that is so obviously not going to be part of the future, it robs funds from real education. The IWB needs software, and training. The software and training will lag behind more dynamic platforms (here comes the IPad!) and soon, no-one will bother. Software companies will have moved on, educators interested in tech will have moved on and these pretty things will have lost all their usefulness. Bookmark this post and see if I'm wrong.