Tag Archives: Education

Beating the (Analog) Clock


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Reading Analog clocks were one of many skills I learned back in Kindergarten.  My teacher would explain how the big hand of the clock points to the minutes while the small hand points to the hour.  Each number on the analog clock is a multiple of five and the dashes represent each minute the small number lands on.  If it were 10:35, the small hand would point between the ten and eleven while the big hand points at the seven.  The easiest instance to remember was 12:00, which is when both hands point directly at the number twelve.

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Image result for Analog Clock

Everyone in my class were familiar with analog clocks by the time Kindergarten was over.  Reading analog clocks was just another skill teachers were required to teach to kids in grammar school.  It was just another lesson we were taught as kids, just like learning how to draw or get along with others.  But just like cursive writing, analog clocks are starting to become a thing of the past.

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British schools have been replacing analog clocks with digital clocks.  The main reason?  Kids these days are finding it hard to read them during tests.  They are unable to read analog clocks properly, causing them to become stressed out about running out of time.

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Image result for Analog Clock

But it’s not just British children who are struggling with this skill; American kids also have a hard time understanding analog clocks as well.  Back in 2014, a teacher in Arizona discussed whether or not it was time to retire the analog clock being that everything has become digital.  In the age of smartphone and smartwatches, the time has run out for analog clocks.

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Image result for Smartphone Clock

As shocking as this news is, there is one shocking revelation as to what is happening.  We basically have a whole new generation who grew up on smartphones and digital clocks.  They have become so used to the digital world that they find it more difficult to read analog clocks than the older generation.  With smart technology on the rise, analog clocks are reaching the end of time.

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Is this the end of era?  Could we be living in a world where analog clocks cease to exist?  What’s the next skill to be diminishing soon?

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Whatever the case may be, I am scared of even finding the answers to these questions.  We will find the answers to theses questions soon enough, but they will be much more disturbing than we can ever imagine.  Analog clocks seem to have a bleak future ahead.

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Earlier we diminished cursive from the school curriculum and now we are replacing analog clocks.  One timeless skill set is disappearing after another.  It may be just a skill, but it’s one of many important ones that so many kids will be missing out on.

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For now, we must see if analog clocks will still be able to stand the test of time.

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Ride on the Rebooted Magic School Bus!


As we drive into 2017, the latest trends continue to send us on a blast from the past.  Entertaining trends such as Fuller House, the Nintendo NES Mini, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (more on the game here), and Bill Nye the Science Guy have been making their comebacks just decades later.  Nostalgia is one of the key selling points for many of these trends, aiming to tap into the millennial/generation-X audiences.  Businesses are still generating new content for the present year, yet some of them look into history to deliver better content.  One TV program, a favorite among children during the 90s, is making a comeback this year.

Get ready to buckle your seat-belts, because The Magic School Bus is coming back!  Netflix plans to reboot the popular PBS kids series The Magic School Bus later this year.  Ms. Frizzle, as well as her students of Walkerville Elementary, are returning to the bus for some more wacky trips.  The rebooted series will feature upgraded computer animation for the new episodes.  Other than the new animation, the Magic School bus itself will be equipped with some modern gadgets (at my old school, we NEVER thought that a school bus needed a GPS to figure out where to pick up the kids!).

Stu Stone (guy that voiced Ralphie back in the 90s) became a producer on the show and promises a slew of celebrities for the show.  Celebrity cameos were actually a major part of the series since it began.  Some notable celebrities that were on the show include Edward James Olmos, Swoosie Kurtz, Eartha Kitt, Carol Channing, Dolly Parton, Malcolm McDowell, Rosalind Chao, and Dan Marino.  No cameos have been announced yet for the rebooted series, but Stone mentioned that many celebrities want to get in on the rebooted project.

The Magic School Bus leaped into major success when it released, being among one of the highest rated PBS shows for kids.  As a matter of fact, Lily Tomlin (voice of Ms. Frizzle) won an Emmy for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for her role in 1996.  Now you can enjoy all 4 seasons of The Magic School Bus right on Netflix.  At my old school, we NEVER used Netflix to watch TV!

This was SO awesome to hear that The Magic School Bus is coming back as a rebooted series!  It was one of my favorite cartoons I loved watching after coming home from Doyon School.  Some of the best times at Doyon School revolved around watching The Magic School Bus and ‘learning’ about the fun lessons they teach during the episode.  The Magic School Bus was a great part of my childhood and I’m excited to see other kids start watching the series as well.

Science has always been one of my favorite subjects in school and The Magic School Bus teaches you science in a humorous, yet intelligent way.  It really is an amazing cartoon that teaches you the very fundamentals of how science works.  From energy to dinosaurs, The Magic School Bus provides fun lesson on a particular topic of science.  Hopefully they’ll cover some science topics that are trending in the 21st century (imagine if The Magic School Bus took a trip inside a cannabis plant to explain how cannabis works?  That would make for an AWESOME episode!).

I don’t have any other details on the reboot, but I’m excited to see what’s to come.  All that’s left is to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!

Waldenkindergarten: Nature’s Classroom


Kindergarten was one of the most fun school years of my life.  I was enrolled into Doyon School in Ipswich when I was six years old.  It was a typical classroom setting for me: fun toys to play with, crayons or colored pencils for coloring activities, watching kids trade lunches with each other during lunchtime, and a 15-minute recess session outside on the playground.

Recess was something I always looked forward to as a kid.  Having that pleasure of spending time outdoors and away from the small, dingy classroom was a blessing to me.  I usually played games with my friends or went swinging on the swings near the playground.  Looking back at my early years, being outdoors was something I always cherished in life.  To think that some schools don’t even allow recess time just boggles my mind!

One great thing about elementary school was taking field trips outside of the classroom during science class.  I couldn’t really understand how life worked until I stepped outside of the school and into the forests to experience nature.  Nature was something you had to see first-hand, not through pictures on a slideshow.  Some schools have even taken the concept of outdoor nature learning one step further.  That was when I stumbled onto a unique concept called forest kindergarten, which was the English term for Waldenkindergarten.

Forest Kindergarten is special program that is held for children up to the age of six years old.  It is a preschool education that takes place outdoors for more than half of the day.  The concept is about encouraging children to play, learn, and explore in a forest or some form of natural environment.  This unique educational idea can be described as a kindergarten without any ceiling or walls put in place.

Waldenkindergarten was initiated in Germany by a man named Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel.  During the 18th century, Friedrich developed a passion for plants and herbs while growing up in the forests.  He was increasingly interested in early education and was convinced that play was crucial for a child’s development.  By 1840 he coined the term kindergarten, which was known as children’s garden.  Unfortunately, the concept transformed into something similar to traditional schooling where children spend more times indoors.

It wasn’t until 1952 where a mother in Denmark named Ella Flautau decided to apply Friedrich’s core message to create an interesting classroom for the children.  This concept quickly caught on with her children and eventually spread around Denmark and Scandinavia.  Denmark now has between 200-300 forest kindergartens in the country.

The forest kindergarten classrooms eventually reached the United States, with the first school opening on Vashon Island called Cedarsong Nature School.  Cedarsong Nature School was founded by naturalists and child educators Robin Rogers and Erin Kenny.  After first opening its doors in 2006, the school received overwhelmingly positive reviews from parents.  It became so popular that parents were put on the waitlist.

I randomly stumbled on this concept a few nights ago and thought this was a fascinating idea!  A whole classroom dedicated to teaching kids outside to be with nature.  Whether it is in a beach or forests, children are really getting their taste of nature at such an early nature.  Learning about science while on various field trips was a popular concept at my school, but forest kindergartens really go the extra mile.  I have always grown up in the small town of Ipswich most of my life and I could not imagine living away from a clean environment!

This German concept needs to extend all across the United States to really provide the taste of nature to children everywhere.  We seem to take our environment for granted these days, sending our kids into dull classrooms with cement walls and mundane ceilings.  How is it that some elementary schools don’t even require any recess time?  Going on adventures and learning about the world around us is all part of growing up as a human being, so why do we continue to throw that concept in the garbage?  We toss aside these important activities just like we leave empty cigarette butts out onto the beach while we expect nature to take its course.  This is something we should continue to explore in the years to come.  Maybe the answer to rebuilding our current education system lies within nature, not standardized testing in monotonous classrooms.