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February 20, 2017

This week’s family-related news included a look at a collaborative learning program for math teachers, research about the importance that nature plays in a child’s life, using improv techniques to reach children with autism, a study about depression and today’s teen girl, a question (should we talk to teens more about love so they can better handle their emotions), one family’s journey to adoption, tips on supporting your tween daughter so she can become a confident adult, and a reminder of the importance of reading aloud to your children.

How Playing with Math Helps Teachers Better Empathize with Students By Katrina Schwartz, KQED, February, 6, 2017 Math Teachers’ Circles can help K-12 classroom teachers experience the fun of working on a challenging problem collaboratively, of being confused but continuing to struggle through, of ultimately having that feeling of discovery.

How Access to Nature During the School Year Can Help Students Thrive Leah Shaffer, KQED, February, 9, 2017 Exposure to nature contributes to “emotional restoration, decreases stress, can decrease symptoms of anxiety, can elevate mood,” according to Cathy Jordan, research director for the Children & Nature Network, a nonprofit organization founded to reconnect children with nature.

Using Improv to Help Kids with Autism Show and Read Emotion Peter Balonon-Rosen, NPR, February 13, 2017 It can be difficult to socialize and make friends for many children with autism…” “Often that’s because reading body language and others’ emotions doesn’t always come easily. If children improvise different situations, think about their emotions and how they show them, then they’ll be able to communicate more clearly in life.

Depression Strikes Today’s Teen Girls Especially Hard Patti Neighmond, NPR, February 13, 2017 A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests many more teenage girls in the U.S. may be experiencing major depressive episodes at this age than boys. Despite gains in employment, education and salary, women and girls are still “continually bombarded by media messages, dominant culture, humor and even political figures about how they look — no matter how smart, gifted, or passionate they are.”

Beyond Sex Ed: How to Talk to Teens About Love Kat Lonsdorf, NPR, February 14, 2017 Should educators and parents be talking about love more with the teens and pre-teens in their lives? Could they do more to help students navigate some of the more bewildering emotions of adolescence?

Our Little Boy Was Worth the Wait Tara Montgomery, The Washington Post, February 14, 2017 I can’t promise that every step of the way will be easy or that you won’t wonder whether it’s worth the upcoming speed bump in the road. What I can promise is this: Whatever you face on your route to adoption, the smile on your child’s face will be worth it.

Want to Raise Empowered Women? Start in Middle School. Phyllis Fagell, The Washington Post, February 14, 2017 Susan and Shari wish they had learned to self-advocate and respond to feedback before they started working, when the stakes were much lower. They want their own teen daughters to have an easier time… The author, a school counselor and the mother of a daughter offers some helpful advice.

Why It’s Important to Read Aloud With Your Kids, and How to Make it Count Amy Joyce, The Washington Post, February 16, 2017 One of the most important things parents can do, beyond keeping kids healthy and safe, is to read with them. This article encompasses an interview with Liza Baker, the executive editorial director at Scholastic, which just released its Kids & Family Reading Report.

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