Odds and Ends

Several items I thought might interest you.

Frida Kahlo, "Fulang Chang and I," (1937). Image via Flickr.
Frida Kahlo, a favorite of mine
One is a new video from Dove soap, straight from the Sundance Film Festival where it "premiered."  It's an 8-minute video about an experiment with teen girls, their mothers and cell phone photos called "Selfie."  Worthy viewing, I think. 

My favorite line, from a girl, "Social media is widening the definition of what beauty is."  Yes, maybe a good thing out of all these millions of self-photos taken on cell phones is "look at me, I look great/having fun/I matter." 

You can also show your kids there were always selfies - great artists loved to paint themselves.  One link here, another here.

Next up, just to let you know if your school is having a Career day or science fair, the CSE (Computer Science & Engineering Department at UW) has an outreach program to bring computer scientists to your event or school.  They recently brought a group to Madison Middle School.  Contact them at outreach@cs.washington.edu. 

As a follow-up to that blurb, sad news that no girls, no blacks and no Hispanics take the AP Computer Science exam in some states.  From Ed Week

A new analysis of test-taking data finds that in Mississippi and Montana, no female, African American, or Hispanic students took the Advanced Placement exam in computer science.

In fact, no African-American students took the exam in a total of 11 states, and no Hispanic students took it in eight states, according to state comparisons of College Board data compiled by Barbara Ericson, the director of computing outreach and a senior research scientist at Georgia Tech.

And finally, as a movie buff, I never thought I'd be bringing up David Lynch (the director/writer and sometimes actor) up here but there's a great story out of San Francisco about a new program for meditation called Quiet Time. From SF Gate:

At first glance, Quiet Time - a stress reduction strategy used in several San Francisco middle and high schools, as well as in scattered schools around the Bay Area - looks like something out of the om-chanting 1960s. Twice daily, a gong sounds in the classroom and rowdy adolescents, who normally can't sit still for 10 seconds, shut their eyes and try to clear their minds.

In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly. About 20 percent of graduates are admitted to Lowell High School - before Quiet Time, getting any students into this elite high school was a rarity. Remarkably, in the annual California Healthy Kids Survey, these middle school youngsters recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco. 

On the California Achievement Test, twice as many students in Quiet Time schools have become proficient in English, compared with students in similar schools where the program doesn't exist, and the gap is even bigger in math. Teachers report they're less emotionally exhausted and more resilient. 


mirmac1 said…
Had a great time at Madison's Career Day this week! It's a joy to see students' eye widen and to squeeze out some questions from oh-so-cool middle schoolers.... : )

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