Thursday, July 26

Gaige en Bleu

It was crazy hair day at Summer Camp, which meant a trip to the beauty supply store for a can of blue spray hair colouring and some Johnny B Super Hold Gel. The result - Gaige en Blue, our little Smurf-like Sprite with craaaaaaazy hair.


Gaige en Bleu by GSMWorld on Flickr

Saturday, June 30

A Celebration of Flag Cupcakes

Gaige wanted to bake some cupcakes for his classmates on the last day of first grade. He also wanted to decorate them with flags of the world, his current obsession being flags and all. Country, state, county. He knows them all, and the house is littered with paintings and drawings of his renditions of a seemingly random collection of flags. From Antigua and Barbados to Kansas and California.

Flag Cakes 01

So being the adventurous types, we shopped for ingredients and baked our cupcakes from scratch; no Betty Crocker boxes here dontcha know. We coated the tops with thick extra white frosting. Then spent several hours cutting shapes of coloured marzipan to create the flags, We even resorted to hijacking the ElectricMommy to assist in the cutting and assembling. All in all, a good creative evenings work.

Flag Cakes 04Flag Cakes 02

Friday, June 29

A Little Rock n Roll Friday

Friday at Summer Camp was Rock Star Day, and the kids had to dress like a rock star. Natch, this was a no-brainer for the DJElectric household. Having worn enough make-up in my day to keep Mabelinne well stocked in lab mice, I was ready to vicariously revisit my glam rocker goth punk youth.

With a little eye shadow and eye liner, some hair gel, a waistcoat and a Steven Tyler-esque scarf, our little Sprite was transformed into a bone fide Rocker. Sporting a look that was part Jack White, part Alice Cooper the lad wielded his Gibson Thunderbird copy guitar like a pro.

GSM Rock03 GSM Rock02 GSM Rock01

Thursday, March 31

Second Trimester Awards : The Sprite A winner

Today was the Kindergarten Awards Day for the second trimester and our little over-achiever took home not one, but two awards certificates.

Kindergarten Awards
The Sprite shows off his awards

One was for Excellence In Writing and the other was for a Perfect Attendance Record. The first comes as no surprize really, he has been coming along leaps and bounds with reading and writing lately. The second is astounding, compared to recent history. To not miss a single day of school through the winter months, to either sickness or laziness on the part of his parent (IE; me) is an award-worthy achievement indeed.

Well done son.

Wednesday, March 9

Little League : Phillies T-Ball Opening Day

The Phillies on Flickr

Last weekend saw The Sprite have his first game as a member of The Phillies Little league T-Ball team. This was after the mornings opening ceremony which had every team take the field to present their banners and colors. It was all very exciting, and new to me. Being a Brit, this whole organised youth sport thing is taken far more seriously on this side of the pond.

Anyhow, the kids looked great in their bright red uniforms, and they played remarkably well for a bunch of 5-6 year olds who had only 4 practices so far as a team. The other team definitely had the better of the hitting, but luckily at this stage no-one keeps score and the kids are not really paying attention to who is doing better. We have this one kid on our team who is a real gamer, you can tell he's been practicing for this day for years. He's the only kid who can hit the ball clear over the pitchers head past the second baseman. And he has an arm. He can fire that ball from third base like a rocket.

They're all just out there having fun. Until the attention starts to waver after about 3 innings. They only play for 5 innings in T-Ball and that is clearly enough for these little guys. We have 20 games in the season, 2 per week. Gonna be a lot of fun.

The K2's on Flickr

Opening Day Ceremony on Flickr

First Hit on Flickr

Home run jog on Flickr

The battle of wits on Flickr

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Tuesday, March 8

Kindergarten Jog-a-thon 2011

Last week The Sprite and his Kindergarten class of 2011 had the annual Jog-a-thon. They had to run laps around the school field for 30 minutes. This was to raise sponsorship for the schools PE dept. as each runner was sponsored by the lap. It was pretty good fun and the kids really got into it. Our jogtastic little runner managed 16 laps. Not bad considering the mornings cloud cover broke and it was close to 80° at 11am when the kids were running.

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Friday, March 4

iPrincipal : My Thoughts on Technology in Elementary School

A few weeks ago I received a request from the local school district to fill out an online survey that was focused on the use of technology in our elementary schools. This followed an event at my son's elementary school that was an opportunity for parents to see how the school planned to make use of modern technologies in it's educational curriculum.

iPad Elementary Learners

Elementary Learners Using iPads

Image courtesy of Fancy Jantzi on Flickr.

The evenings presentations were orchestrated by Ted Lai, the Director of Technology and Media Services for Fullerton School District, who had been guiding several programs that had children as young as Kindergarten and First Grade creating media as part of their education. Of course, this appealed to me immensely. As a media creator myself I totally appreciate the value storytelling has in society, and am very excited kids are getting a chance to discover this for themselves. The fact that they are getting hands on with visual media and the technology used to create it at an early age feels like a bold step forward. It makes me feel grateful to be a part of this community that is enabling this program. I really hope these ideas go somewhere, as the plans outlined sounded a lot like the kind of education I would like my kid to enjoy.

The evening was used as part of a fundraiser to provide for technology purchases for the school, and gave parents and kids together a chance to sample some of the tools the school and Ted Lai are aiming to use. We tried iPad's loaded with apps to engage the kids in Math, Animation, Storytelling. Even Angry Birds was demonstrated for its benefit to understanding geometric angles. Then we moved into the lab where the kids were building PowerPoint and Keynote presentations. The presentations were used to display information learned about trees and plants. The aim is for the kids to learn as they play, that they absorb the information almost without them knowing it.

Naturally, after the evenings series of presentations I was wildly excited about my sons future at the school and the opportunities he'll have to use creative visual communication as part of his everyday schooling. It set my mind thinking about all the cool things the school could do. And then, the invitation to offer my thoughts on the subject fell into my email inbox. I was asked, if I were Principal, what technology choices would I make. My suggestions I have copied below. It will be interesting to see if any are adopted and what else the school district comes up with. I worry though that educational funding being what it is during this financial malaise if good plans and intentions will come to nought if there is no budget.

If I were Principal my suggestions are these. Start a school blog, to open up bi-directional communication between faculty, parents and students. Each class or classroom will have one or two designated 'student journalists' that will have access to login credentials for that week. They are free and encouraged to post pictures, texts, videos, reports about issues they are concerned with, school or otherwise.

An open comment system will foster a healthy debate and free thinking community. Each child will have an ID that is linked to them throughout school that they will login to the system with. If any child is reported or caught posting inappropriate or inflammatory or trolling, they will be dealt with the same way discipline is carried out in the offline world; detention, suspension or expulsion. Good digital citizenry can be learned here.

The blog would be the hub for an open and transparent communication platform.

As Principal I would make my weekly address, via live streaming video, and archived for on-demand consumption. Special events would be covered here, again via live streaming, video archiving, journalistic reports, moderated by parent/teacher team and executed by students. Once a month a live stream video Q&A session would be conducted by me, The Principal, with any parent or student interested.

The survey:

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