Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More, More,More on Screen-Free Week

There are many people that will tell you the screen is part of our way of life today. That may be true but the effects are harmful if not put into perspective and balanced with the needs of our minds and bodies.
Imagine a world where children don't run and climb trees! Fish with their Dad,Mom or big brother. Cook mud pies in the sun and catch fire flies in a jar. Remember the feeling of sleeping out in the backyard under the stars? This world is not virtual it is reality and we must give our kids and ourselves the tools to break free from the screens. I know, we do it to ourselves. But as with anything it is good to take a break.
It is my belief the those thing we experience outside in nature, the sounds the smells ,the sights are what lasting memories are made of. There is growing evidence that the less kids are outside the less connection to the earth they will have. There will be no environmentalists, biologists,etc..  When will it be too late?
Screen-Free Week is a very small action. But it is worth doing. When it is over extend it into two days a week. Return your family to the living room. (remember why it is called a LIVING room?) Listen to your husband, your kids,your Mom,the birds and the bees. Listen to the quiet. 
Things you can do:
  • Read to the kids your favorite book 
  • Paper mache balloons for masks
  • Plant a flower garden
  • Clean out the toy closet
  • Sleep out
  • Learn to crochet
  • Write a letter to the President
  • Go to the Library
  • Have running races
  • Play catch
  • Watch for birds, identify as many as you can
  • Watch for bees, how many kinds are there
  • Take pictures but don't upload for the week! Remember film?
  • Tell stories
  • Play dress-up
  • Climb trees
  • Go fishing
  • Dig for worms
  • Paint
  • Draw
  • Make play dough with flour
  • Cook a meal with the kids as chefs in training
  • Plan and start a project you can enter in your county fair
  • Make certificates for yourselves for accomplishing Screen-Free Week 2012!
Screen Free Week is officially April 30th -May 6th 2012. Good Luck. I'd love to know if you are doing it!



By listening and asking questions, you can learn children’s
perceptions, fears, and misconceptions. Then you can offer ideas
on how to deal with their concerns and expand their thinking.
Here are some suggestions for how to talk with children about
what they see on TV and in other media.

• What did you think about that show/game?
• Did you like it when ______________happened? Why do you think it happened?
• I didn’t like it when ______________. I wish they didn’t have to hurt each other.


• What was pretend and what was real? How could you tell?
• Help clarify confusion by saying things such as, “In real life things don’t work that way.”
• I wonder how they made ______ happen on that show.
• How can we tell the difference between these advertisements and the show?
• I wonder why they made the ad like that?
• Can you remember a time when we bought something and it wasn’t like the ad?


• Could anything like __________happen to you? When? How could it be the same/different?
• What would you do if you were in that situation?


• What do you think about how _______solved their problem?
• If you had a problem like that what could you do or say?
• Can you think of a way to solve that problem where no one gets hurt?


• I wonder why it’s always men with big muscles who go to fight. Did you notice that? What do you think about it?
• It seems like the women always need to get rescued by the men. Have you noticed that?
• I wonder why the “bad guys” have foreign accents, always wear dark colors, and have darker skin.
(Adapted from Remote Control Childhood (Levin, 1998)
www.truceteachers.org truce@truceteachers.org
Please Copy & Distribute
What You Can Do
Beyond the Home
Parents talk about media
with other parents.
• Find out what your children are watching at other homes.
Talk with neighbors, grandparents, teachers, childcare
providers, and babysitters about how you like to handle
media with your child.
• Work out with other families about how you’ll deal with
TV and other media when your children are at each
other’s houses for play dates, birthday parties, etc.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Screen-Free a How to

Screen Free Week - April 30th – May 6, 2012 from Media Education Foundation on Vimeo.

Just a few things to consider for your Screen-free Week. You do not realize it now but we spend a lot of time with our screens! Now think of all the things you can do, the things that you have been putting off. 
Literacy Action Steps for Screen-Free Week and
All Year Round:

• Books! Books! And more books!
• Visit the library or your local book store.
• Eat screen-free meals together and talk!
• Play word games.
• Tell stories.
• Draw pictures and tell stories about
• Encourage young children to dictate
• Read poems out loud.
• Make up poems and rhymes.
• Make up songs.

Think before you play. Is it healthy?
More from Screen-Free.org
Play is so essential to children’s health and well-being—and so endangered—that the United Nations lists it as a
guaranteed right in its Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Play promotes intellectual growth and critical thinking by providing children with the opportunity to explore,
experiment, and acquire problem-solving skills.
 Children play to express their fantasies and feelings, to gain a sense
of competence, and to make meaning of their experience.
Play comes naturally to children yet, as a society, we
actually prevent them from playing.

A media-saturated, commercialized culture undermines children’s play
• “Play thrives in environments that provide children with safe boundaries
but do not impinge on ability to think or act spontaneously. It is nurtured
with opportunities for silence. For children who are flooded continually
with stimuli and commands to react, the cost is high. They have fewer
opportunities to initiate action or to influence the world they inhabit, and
less chance to exercise the essential human trait of creativity.”
• Children six and under spend about two hours a day with screen media,
about three times as much time as they spend reading or being read to;
heavy television watchers spend less time playing than other children.
• The more time babies and toddlers spend with screens, the less time they spend in hands on creative play.
• Two-thirds of zero-to-six year-olds live in a home where the TV is on at least half the time, even if no one is
watching, thus depriving them of a home environment where play thrives.
 7 Children who play while a
television is on nearby have more difficulty concentrating; this in turn may affect a child’s cognitive
The best-selling toys are often antithetical to creative play
• The proliferation of computer chips that enable toys to move or make
sounds on their own renders children passive observers rather than
active participants in play.
9 Toys embedded with screens and
marketed as educational can actually undermine creative play.
• With the deregulation of children’s television in 1984, it became
possible to market toys and other products to children directly through
TV programs. Since then, the toy market has been dominated by
media licensed products.
 In 2009, brand licensed toys accounted for
$5.4 billion in sales.
• Today’s best selling toys often promote gender-stereotyped play.
Toys based on media programs come
with established characters and storylines making it unlikely that children will use the toy to create their own
world. When children play with a toy based on a television character, they play less creatively, especially
right after they have watched a program.
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers
• Toys like Lego and Play-Doh that once inspired creative play are now marketed primarily in kits, many them designed in partnership with companies interested in selling other products.

• The more play is predetermined by a toy, the more likely that creative and imaginative play and its benefits
will be jeopardized—children will be bored when they aren’t told what to do and be unable to think for
themselves or identify and solve problems.
Children spend less time than ever in creative play
• On average, American 9- to 12-year-olds are spending only one
minute a day in creative play, a striking contrast to 15 minutes in
1997—which was already well after David Elkind and Neil
Postman began writing about a diminishing childhood. The
amount of time 6- to 8-year-olds spend in creative play has
decreased from 25 minutes to 16 minutes.
For more information visit www.commercialfreechildhood.org.
Other Resources
• Alliance for Childhood is a partnership of individuals and organizations committed to fostering and
respecting each child's inherent right to a healthy, developmentally appropriate childhood.
• TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment) produces and provides an annual
guide for teachers and parents to help them in selecting toys that are educationally and developmentally
appropriate for young children. (www.truceteachers.org)

 Let's be the children we once were and PLAY!

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (1989, November 20). Convention on the Rights of the Child: General
Assembly Resolution 44/25. Retrieved April 11, 2007, from www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm.
Levin, D. (1998). Remote Control Childhood?: Combating the Hazards of Media Culture. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education
of Young People.
Linn, S. (2008). The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World. New York: The New Press. p.2.
Linn, S. (2004). Consuming Kids: The hostile takeover of childhood. New York: The New Press.
Kaiser Family Foundation. (2003). Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers. Menlo Park, CA. Retrieved February 12,
2008, from http://www.kff.org/entmedia/entmedia102803pkg.cfm.
Vandewater, E.A., Bickham, D.S. & Lee, J.H. (2006, February). Time well spent? Relating television use to children’s free-time activities.
Pediatrics, 117(2): e181-191.
Kaiser Family Foundation. (2003). Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers. Menlo Park, CA. Retrieved February 12,
2008, from http://www.kff.org/entmedia/entmedia102803pkg.cfm.
Healy, M. (2004, May 24) Young TV watchers may be at risk for later attention problems. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 25, 2008, from
Linn, S. (2004). Consuming Kids: The hostile takeover of childhood. New York: The New Press.
Gregory-Thomas, S. (2007). Buy Buy Baby. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Greenfield, P.M et al. (1993). The program-length commercial. Children and Television: Images in a Changing Sociocultural World, eds. Gordon
Berry and Joy Keiko Asamen. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 53-72.
Szlai, G. (February 11, 2010). Toys based on sequels take center stage. BrandWeek, p. 1.
Linn, S. (2008)The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World. New York: The New Press. P. 159-191.
Greenfield, P.M. et al. (1993). The program-length commercial. Children and Television: Images in a Changing Sociocultural World, eds. Gordon
Berry and Joy Keiko Asamen. Newbury Park, CA, p. 53-72.
Linn, S. (2004). Consuming Kids: The hostile takeover of childhood. New York: The New Press.
Levin, D. (2004). Toying with Children’s Health: How the Business of Play Harms Children. Third Consuming Kids Summit. Retrieved March 3,
2008, from http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/articles/3rdsummit/levin.htm.
Unpublished data from two Child Development Supplements to the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics, courtesy S, Hofferth (2007).
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Un-Plug! Can You Do it??

For one week unplug from your screen. All your screens, not just the TV, are to be put aside for the week. An electronic fast to free you and your family of the grip of the screen. I know ,I know, you're not in the GRIP of the screen and as almost any "radical' unschooler will tell you the TV is just fine. "Look how we turned out!" That is one of the reasons I home school. I  don't think rabid consumers are just fine. Also,the junk found in PS the cafeterias and vending machines has no place in my kids life. Nor do the ads for any corporation because they provide a curriculum to a beleaguered PS.

So can we do it? Below are some facts about children and the screen. Read it. Prepare for those moments that we turn to the laptop or ipod with alternatives. Remember researching in the library? Learning all the facets of the library system? Use observation, code for get outside, of nature.

I'll post more fun parts and ideas for this event. Have your own let's hear them!
April 30-May 6th, 2012
Why stay in? Run on a rainy day!
From Commercial-Free Childhood.org
Kids and Screens
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children
under 2 and less than 2 hours per day for older children.
Excessive screen time puts young children at risk
• Forty percent of 3-month-old infants are regular viewers of screen media2, and 19% of babies 1year and under have a TV in their bedroom.3
• Screen time can be habit-forming: the more
time children engage with screens, the harder time
they have turning them off as older children.4
• Screen time for children under 3 is linked to
irregular sleep patterns5 and delayed language acquisition.6
• The more time preschool children and babies
spend with screens, the less time they spend inter-
acting with their parents.7 Even when parents co-
view, they spend less time talking to their children
than when they’re engaged in other activities.8
• Toddler screen time is also associated with
problems in later childhood, including lower
math and school achievement, reduced physical activity, victimization by classmates,9 and in-
creased BMI.10
• Direct exposure to TV and overall household
viewing are associated with increased early child-
hood aggression.11
• The more time preschool children spend with
screens, the less time they spend engaged in creative play7 – the foundation of learning,12 constructive problem solving,13 and creativity.14
• On average, preschool children see nearly
25,000 television commercials, a figure that does
not include product placement.15
School-age children are also
at risk from excessive screen time
• Including multitasking, children ages 8-18
spend an average of 4 1⁄2 hours per day watching
television, 1 1⁄2 hours using computers, and more
than an hour playing video games.16
• Black and Hispanic youth spend even more
time with screen media than their white peers.16
• Time spent with screens is associated with:
– sleep disturbances18
– childhood obesity17

On average, preschool
children spend 32 hours a
week with screen media.1
– attention span issues19
• Children with 2 or more hours of daily screen
time are more likely to have increased psycho-
logical difficulties, including hyperactivity, emotional and conduct problems, as well as difficulties with peers.20
1. Why Screen-Free Week?

• Especially high rates of bedroom televisions
(70-74%) have been seen among racial/ethnic minority children aged 2 to 13 years.24
In a survey of youth ages 8-18,nearly 1 in 4 said they felt“addicted” to video games.25

• Adolescents who watch 3 or more hours of television daily are at especially high risk for poor homework completion, negative attitudes
toward school, poor grades, and long-term academic failure.21

• Adolescents with a television in their bedroom spend more time watching TV and report less physical activity, less healthy dietary habits, worse
school performance, and fewer family meals.22

• Children with a television in their bedroom are more likely to be overweight.23
Research shows the benefits of reduced screen time.

• Reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity.26

• Children who spend less time watching television in early years tend to do better in school, have a healthier diet, be more physically active, and are
better able to engage in schoolwork in later elementary school.9

• Television viewing at a young age is associated with later behavioral problems, but not if heavy viewing is discontinued before age six.27

• Limiting exposure to television during the first 4 years of life may decrease children’s interest in it in later years.4
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents create
an electronic-media-free environment in children’s bedrooms. 
1. The Nielsen Company (2009). TV viewing among kids at an eight-year high. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from http://blog.nielsen.com/
2. Zimmerman, F., Christakis, D., Meltzoff, A. (2007). Television and DVD/video viewing in children younger than 2 years. Archives of
Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 161(5), 473-479.
3. Rideout, V. & Hamel, E. (2006) The Media Family: Electronic media in the lives of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their parents.
Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation p. 18
4. Christakis, D., Zimmerman, F. (2006). Early television viewing is associated with protesting turning off the television at age 6.

Medscape General Medicine, 8(2), 63.
5. Thompson, D. A., Christakis, D. (2005). The association between television viewing and irregular sleep schedules among children
less than 3 years of age. Pediatrics, 116(10), 851-856.
6. Chonchaiya, W., Pruksananonda, C. (2008). Television viewing associates with delayed language development. Acta Paediatrica.
97(7), 977-982.
7. Vandewater, E. A., Bickham, D. S., Lee, J. H. (2006). Time well spent? Relating television use to children’s free-time activities.

Pediatrics 117(2), 181-191.
8. Courage, M., Murphy, A., Goulding, S., Setliff, A. (2010). When the television is on: The impact of infant-directed video on 6- and 18-
month-olds’ attention during toy play and on parent-infant interaction. Infant Behavior & Development, 33,176-188.
References continue on next page
Presented by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
1. Why Screen-Free Week?
9. Pagani, L., Fitzpatrick,C., Barnett, T. A., & Dubow, E. (2010). Prospective associations between early childhood television exposure
and academic, psychosocial, and physical well-being by middle childhood. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, 164(5),
0. Landhuis, E. C., Poulton, R., Welch, D., & Hancox R. J. (2008). Programming obesity and poor fitness: The long-term impact of
childhood television. Obesity, 16(6), 1457-1459.

1. Manganello, J.A., Taylor, C.A. (2009).Television exposure as a risk factor for aggressive behavior among 3 year-old children.

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 163(11), 1037-1045.
2. Coolahan, K., Fantuzzo, J., Mendez, J., & McDermott, P. (2000). Preschool peer interactions and readiness to learn: Relationships
between classroom peer play and learning behaviors and conduct. Journal of Education Psychology, 92(n3), 458–465.
3. Wyver, S. R. & Spence, S. H. (1999). Play and divergent problem solving: Evidence supporting a reciprocal relationship. Early
Education and Development, 10(4), 419–444.
4. Moore, M. & Russ, S. W. (2008). Follow-up of a pretend play intervention: Effects on play, creativity, and emotional processes in
children. Creativity Research Journal, 20(4), 427-436.
5. Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Economics Staff Report. (2007, June 1). Children’s Exposure to TV Advertising in 1977 and
2004. Holt, D.J, Ippolito, P.M., Desrochers, D.M. & Kelley, C.R. p. 9.
6. Rideout, V. J., Foehr, U. G., Roberts, D. F. (2010). Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds. Kaiser Family Foundation.
7. Danner, FW. A national longitudinal study of the association between hours of TV viewing and the trajectory of BMI growth among
US children. (2008). Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 33(10), 1100-1107.
8. Paavonen EJ, Pennonen M, Roine M, Valkonen S, Lahikainen AR. (2006). TV exposure associated with sleep disturbances in 5- to
6-year-old children. Journal of Sleep Research, 15, 154-61.
9. Swing, E.L, Gentile, D.A., Anderson, C.A., Walsh, D.A. (2010). Television and video game exposure and the development of
attention problems. Pediatrics. 126(2), 214-221.
0. Page, A.S., Cooper, A.R., Griew, P., Jago, R. (2010). Children’s screen viewing is related to psychological difficulties irrespective of
physical activity. Pediatrics. 126(5), 1011-1017.
1. Johnson, J., Brook, J., Cohen, P., Kasen, S. (2007). Extensive television viewing and the development of attention and learning
difficulties during adolescence. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 161(5), 480-486.
2. Barr-Anderson, D.J., van den Berg, P., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M. (2008). Characteristics associated with older adolescents
who have a television in their bedrooms. Pediatrics, 121(4), 718-724.
3. Adachi-Mejia AM, Longacre MR, Gibson JJ, Beach ML, Titus-Ernstoff LT, Dalton MA (2007). Children with a TV in their bedroom at
higher risk for being overweight. Int J Obes (Lond). 31(4), 644 –651.
4. Taveras, E.M., Hohman, K.H., Price, S, Gortmaker, S.L., Sonneville, K. (2009). Televisions in the bedrooms of racial/ethnic minority
children: How did they get there and how do we get them out? Clinical Pediatrics, 48(7), 715-719.
5. Harris Interactive (2007). Video Game Addiction: Is it real? Retrieved October 1, 2010 from http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NEWS/
6. Epstein LH, Roemmich JN, Robinson JL, Paluch RA, Winiewicz DD, Fuerch JH, Robinson TN. (2008). A randomized trial of the
effects of reducing television viewing and computer use on body mass index in young children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.
7. Mistry KB, Minkovitz CS, Strobino, DM, Borzekowski, DLG. (2007). Children’s television exposure and behavioral and social
outcomes at 5.5 years: Does timing of exposure matter?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Delayed! Carnival of Chaos is delayed

I can't get into the site of Blog Carnival,so my apologies to all submitters. I have tried various times and ways all to no avail. If you know of or have knowledge of how to overcome this please leave a comment.

Friday, March 9, 2012


For over forty years, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax has been a clarion call for conservation.  But now the book’s powerful message is in danger of being crushed by a real-life landslide of corporate greed.

On Friday, March 2, Universal Pictures’ The Lorax arrives in theaters—with dozens of corporate tie-ins.  While the story teaches children to conserve the earth’s finite resources, these partnerships use the Lorax to promote everything from Mazda’s CX-5 SUV, the only car with the “Truffula Seal of Approval,” to IHOP pancakes to Pottery Barn Kids furniture.

Will you join me in standing up to those who have hijacked the Lorax’s message and pledge to shun all of the movie’s corporate cross-promotions? Please visit http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9676.

It is both cynical and hypocritical to use a beloved children’s story with a prescient environmental message to sell kids on consumption.  The Lorax in Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book has more integrity than his incarnation as the darling of Madison Avenue. If the original, notoriously reclusive Lorax ever agreed to appear in a film, he would say a resounding “NO” to any commercial tie-ins.  

Please visit http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/621/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9676and pledge to celebrate the Lorax’s timeless message by enjoying the classic story – and shunning all Lorax-themed merchandise and promotions.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Save the Earth a Little Everyday

Look in your garbage can. Go ahead do it... is it yucky and smelly? Would you want to stick your hand in it? What if your ring dropped in? 
While you are looking ,look at all the food that is in this pail. This 'garbage' is potentially gold for your garden and yard. With a small effort your garbage cans would be cleaner, and your gardens healthier. With a giant bonus of feeding the Earth.
Does this look familiar? What do you do with these at your house? Mine,shown here, are in a gallon ice cream tub that we keep near the kitchen sink. All plates are scraped and any old stuff from the frig. goes in the bucket. Unfortunately sometimes more than once. The waste  is  then covered by leaves or grass clippings. Threw those into the landfill too? Well, don't. You are going to need them. Some towns have laws now that you can't put yard waste in the landfill.
This is a compost pile that will give you back a healthy garden. It will feed the birds, worms and squirrels. In our neck of the woods, it even feeds the box turtles! This is a component to a healthy backyard habitat. Did you ever think about how the forest is not piled high with leaves? In  nature these things break down and feed the very plants that dropped them. Pretty wonderful scheme, now if we could just take a lesson from nature.

Earth knows no desolation.
She smells regeneration in the moist breath of decay.
-   George Meredith

Still not sure are you? OK, I know, what about the other animals...rats! This is a myth designed by those  too lazy to do a minimal care of the pile. First, do not put meat into your pile. This can be done but not when you are new to composting. Keep the food waste covered by leaves or grass clippings. The compost pile should be damp, not too wet nor too dry. Get the kids involved. This experience is a life changing exercise. They will see the cycle of life in it's entirety. 
Ahhh, getting it? For the kids, this is a year long study that can touch on all subjects. 
  • Writing - poems about the compost or a journal on it's activity,bugs or wildlife
  • Science - this can involve temperature if you get a long compost thermometer or go by feel, besides all the obvious topics
  • Recycling
  • Math - weigh your garbage can before you start this then weigh it after , week one two etc., note differences in weight, smell and extrapolate for your street and town
  • Reading - there are many site and books on this topic, let the kids do the research.
  • Why does the compost pile break down but the landfill not?
  • Wildlife count- here too do a before and after. (we have more hawks now because of the increase of small wildlife!)
AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Liz Henry    
Remember kids LOVE to get dirty and love to hold  worms! This will be a great project for the whole family that let's them get to do both in the name of education. What could be better? How about a great garden?

Take care, learn more and you will!

The main characteristic of Nature's farming can therefore be summed up in a few words.  Mother earth never attempts to farm without live stock;
she always raises mixed crops; great pains are taken to preserve the soil and to prevent erosion; the mixed vegetable and animal wastes are converted
into humus; there is no waste; the processes of growth and the processes of decay balance one another; ample provision is made to maintain large reserves of fertility; the greatest care is taken to store the rainfall;both
plants and animals are left to protect themselves against disease.
-  Sir Albert Howard, An Agricultural Testament, 1940

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blackout on Twitter/ Remembering Zinn

Once again time to stand against censorship and data mining. Do not use Twitter today!

Also, today marks the passing of the People's historian Howard Zinn. I think the two go together, he would be sure to stand against censorship ! Go to The Zinn Project for ideas on how to teach history with truth.