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So excited to find a book written by an enthusiastic rockstar teacher, Christina Frei!  As an adult, Christina revisited the founding fathers, and discovered they were truly the rockstars of their time.  Her enthusiasm led her to write her own book about the fab five in the voice and style that students can relate to.  

For these reasons, I invite you to order your hard copy here or a Kindle Version of 5 Rockstars of the American Revolution when you click on the book icon below.


Ruth Beauchamp and Oranda are in the news!  Check out the great article in the Mercury News!

Growing bodies of research suggest not only do children need time to process what they learn, and cannot be booked every hour a day, but they also need to move around to increase focus when they are learning material. (Jensen, Teaching with the Brain in Mind).

How can we enrich our classroom routines, which focus on increasing knowledge, to incorporate movement?  The best ideas, as highlighted in Educational Leadership Magazine (April 2012) include creating lessons that involve movement.  One idea mentioned in the article is to create voting games or quizzes where students have to move to the multiple-choice answer.  Another option is to have the students compare ideas on pieces they have read, by walking and standing while they collaborate.  Another idea involves creating questions that are assigned to each corner of the room where the students spend a few minutes collaborating and then coming together at the end to share what was discussed.

These simple ideas involve working with the lesson plan. But what if students just need a mental break from learning heavy material and a physical break from sitting?

Encouraging the students to get up and move in a way that engages both right and left-brain thinking (as in having the right hand reach down and touch the left foot) is a great way to use the mind.

Oranda is focused on creating these fun tools to help give students’ productive breaks to engage with the material they have just learned. Creating spaces for students to quiet their mind and warm their body is just one way to keep students and teachers happy and healthy in the classrooms.

Summer vacation is coming and that means fun fun fun!  Games in the classroom? You bet!

kids engaged in learning

One aspect of education that is getting a lot of traction and excitement, yet is still met with some concern, is the idea that games can provide avenues of learning.  Children have a strong desire to play and not sit in a classroom held captive to learning how to fill in bubbles.  Yet our current structure of education employs a lot of passive sitting.

I can understand the skepticism of games can be learning, when I look at the huge market of games that engender lethargy and captivity to television or computer screens.  And many educational games in the past are not as exciting, but I have noticed a very positive trend in making learning for children a more interactive and engaging process.  Such websites include iCivics, BrainPop and Mission-US.

Interaction with material does build lasting impressions.  I remember a 7th grade game in biology where we looked at genes and probability, and to this day remember the likelihood of traits because of the fun I had.

But we all know that kids just need to move and have fun! It gives their brains chances to rest and process the information they are learning.  Even adults need that.

I am biased because I know Oranda's products, like  Recessitate, give kids the fun they want and the break they need for their brain.


Oct 12 2012

Want to hear about another Great Oranda product?

WiseTalk -for families is a great game to help children talk.  It's a fun and easy way to connect with children that builds emotional intelligence and fosters communication skills.

1. Without peeking, your child picks a letter token from the box

2. Together, look inside the WiseTalk booklet for the word that
starts with the chosen letter

  Uppercase, A can stand for ‘achievement’
Lowercase, a for ‘anger’

3. WiseTalk prompts guide your conversation about the word from your perspective, from your child’s perspective

This is another great way to engage your child!

Kids are the sweetest and most wonderful people we know.  They just want love and they have so much joy and happiness to give.  People say kids can be cruel, but I don’t think that is their natural instinct.  Kids want to be liked, and in a competitive environment, they may find that picking on others may make them more popular.

Social media bulling, classroom bulling, presidential candidates bullying, it’s everywhere in the news.  The solutions are not in the news though.

Oranda ensures that all children’s emotional, physical and academic learning needs are met.  Bullying disrupts that process.

The Bully Project movie is out now.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQV4HHmuRv4&w=560&h=315]

Lady Gaga has a Foundation with Harvard School of Education to address this huge issue as well with a grass roots approached based on her song Born This Way.

What else can we do to make sure our kids our safe and that are kids are not the ones bullying?  We can all vow to do something to help this issue, starting with the kids we already know.

My vow: I work with about fifty-sixty children in my neighborhood every week, and we often talk about important issues like what friendship means and honesty and the hardships they face at school.  Almost all of them have talked about seeing kids being mean, or they face it themselves.  I will watch the Bully Project with all of them in small groups and we can talk about the differences they can each make to help out other kids.

What is yours?