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Think before you fill out that next youth sports registration form

We are just coming to the end of another season of youth sports in our home. Two of our kids tried new sports this season: track and field for the junior, who wanted to work on his strength and conditioning for football, and lacrosse for our 7th grader, who wanted to join the wave of young people trying this growing sport. Our 5th grader did a stint with a spring hockey team as well as joined the middle school track team (consider it additional speed and conditioning to complement the once/week practices for the spring hockey).

I’m guessing there’s some eye-rolling  from readers about “crazy youth sports parents.” And we might deserve it.

We’re not alone. Mark Hyman, a sports journalist and parent, was prompted to explore the youth sports complex based on his own crazy parenting. He discusses it in his new book, “Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids.”

Jane Brody’s column in today’s NYT covers the book.  While injuries are part of the problem, what caught my eye was this:  “with each passing season youth sports seem to stray further and further from its core mission of providing healthy, safe and character-building recreation for children.”

I hope you’ll join me, as we move from one sports season to the next, in using Hyman’s standard to determine whether or not it’s the right choice for your child.  Ask yourself:  Are my kids involved in healthy, safe, and character-building recreation?

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Got Web 2.0? Teachers and parents invited to learn

Fellow parent advocate Lorna Costantini invites parents and teachers to join the conversation about Facebook, blogging, texting, voicethread, wikis, feed readers, Twitter, webcasting. . . . on her blog, Parents as Partners.

Her big question in this post: How are teachers teaching parents about Web 2.0? She writes:

“It is apparent [in blog postings on Internet censorship in schools] that parents, in their absence and by insinuation, are faulted for driving the bus on censorship. Parents complain and administrators listen.
With that in mind, I ask where are the learning opportunities for parents to create their own classroom? Their own personal learning network. A classroom that allows them to experience what their children are learning. Parents, well informed, can make their own decisions and by developing a parent/teacher personal network, can drive change.” (Bolded text is mine).

At University School of Milwaukee, Matt Montagne, the middle school technology teacher, pulled together, at parent request, a study group on Web 2.0 tools. He’s created a wiki for the parent group. He’s video streamed the sessions live and archived them.  He’s shared it with people internationally (thus his–and now my–connection with Lorna).

I’m participating and, believe me, while the learning curve has been steep, “learning by doing” has been very powerful.

I’d invite teachers and parents interested in learning more to pick just one tool and try it out. Facebook is fun and, if your child already has a page, he or she might just invite accept your “friend” invitation. (See my first post on this blog).  For teachers, trying out Facebook is a great way to think about how you may need to adapt your curriculum–kids know how to use the tools, but you still have the wisdom that only experience can bring.

And if you’re a teacher or school leader already using these tools to teach, come post on Lorna’s voicethread (look for the cartoon) and talk about how you’ve invited parents to learn about that tool’s use in your school.

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