Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Book Recommendation: Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love.

Julian is a boy who lives in New York with his nanna, who he sometimes calls abuela (grandmother in Spanish, as all you Dora fans know). While Julian was on the train with his grandmother, he sees three beautiful ladies dressed up as mermaids. 

Julian loves mermaids, and like all kids do when the train starts rocking, he starts to daydream, imagining himself changing into a mermaid, swimming under the sea and meeting all sorts of wonderful sea creatures.

As they get to their stop, Julian and abuela get off the train. The mermaids wave goodbye to Julian. As they get home, Julian tells his nanna that he is a mermaid too. Nanna says nothing but goes to have a bath. While grandma is relaxing in the bath, Julian goes into her things and becomes a mermaid. 

Nanna comes out of the bathroom, and stares at Julian.
At this point there is tension, the reader does not know what nanna will do…will she freak out? Will she stop talking to Julian? But abuela puts on a beautiful blue dress, gives Julian a string of pearls and takes him to the Annual Mermaid Parade (a real event that happens in Brooklyn, NY)

There are only around ten sentences in this book. The illustrations speak for themselves. They convey a very emotional message. I cried on my first read. 

So many Julians, yet so few abuelas. 

This book teaches acceptance, love and self-love, being who you want to be, even if it’s a mermaid. It teaches children to love who they are, challenging gender stereotypes along the way. Boys can be boys and be mermaids too. That’s ok. Unlike other stories the boy does not have to face criticism or bullying for his choice of play. There is no bullying involved in this story.

 I would dare to think that Julian goes to a good school where bullies are the ones going to counselling and therapy, not the children who choose different toys from the majority. 
This story teaches us how things should be. 
Comfortable in our own skin, comfortable with the skin of those we love, and all those around us. 

I highly recommend this book to anybody raising children, mermaids and unicorns. There is a lot adults can learn from a children’s book, and this is one of those books.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

For Children aged 3-99.

Why you should play more with LEGO.

a) When you play with small bricks, you are training the little muscles in your fingers and hands. This is called your fine motor control. Having good fine motor control makes your colouring and your handwriting better.

b) Let your imagination run loose with your friends. When you build your houses, castles, volcanos, ancient temples, garages, ships, you are making up stories in your head, you become the creator. You will learn how to play with others, to collaborate and make something together. It is very much like writing a story with a good friend. Or maybe another boy or girl who will become your good friend. How good is that? 

c) That feeling you get when you finish a piece. The feeling of ‘YAY, I made this!’ A very happy feeling that makes you feel good about yourself.

d) Playing with LEGO teaches you resilience. You have to have patience, you need to look for the right brick, and you will make mistakes, so you will go back and fix that little error.
e) You develop a skill for problem solving. A mass of differently coloured and differently shaped bricks turn into an object or an animal. Making sense of a chaos of coloured bricks is like solving a puzzle.

f) LEGO keeps you calmer. Just like when you play Jenga, you need to have calm hands so that none of the bricks get lost.
f) STEAM. Science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics. You have it all in one special box.
Next time you write that letter to Santa, make sure you include the best four letter word there is: LEGO. 

Until then, you can come up to our class and take part in LEGO club.

Monday, June 17, 2019

For the grown ups: How to Deal with Mean People.

1. You cannot control their meanness, but you can control how you react. Try to respond by being nice to them.
2. Compassion. It's hard but do try and have compassion towards the person behaving in a mean way. They might be dealing with difficult issues in their life. 
3. Sometimes the mean person does not respond to your compassion. Make it clear that you will not be walked over. 
4. Notice how the person is making you feel. Are they behaving this way just with you, or with others too? 
5. Take care of yourself. If you are hurt, do something that makes you feel better. 
6. Use breathing techniques to calm yourself down. 
7.Speak with the other person. Tell them how you are feeling. Offer a solution.
8. Escalate the problem to somebody older, or higher in position than yourself or the person who is hurting you. 
9. If nothing works, treat the other person civilly, but reduce the amount of time you have to spend with them.
10. Avoid the person when possible. If you have to spend time with that person, always have an exit plan. While you are in their presence, practice patience and compassion.
11. Find a group of kind, non-gossiping, fun people to spend your time with. The world is full of good people, surround yourself in light. 

Friday, May 31, 2019

We are all different

We are all different. 
What makes us different
Our hair colour, our eye colour, our skin colour, our height, type of family, the shape of our bodies, the things we like. 
We also have qualities that make us special. 
Things that we have that no one else has. 
Things we can do that no one else can do.

Some people bully others for being different.
They do this because they feel bad about themselves, maybe they don't have friends, or they feel they are not very good at doing things. 

People might bully over many things such as 
gender, race and disability. 

We all have the right to be happy. 
We all have the right to feel safe. 
We also have the responsibility to be good people, to do good things and to be kind to everybody. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

I can concentrate

Do you ever find concentrating hard? 

Well, concentration is hard. To concentrate well you need to use many different parts of your body. 

Concentration also needs practise, just like a muscle you train daily.

Do one thing at a time. 

You can't do your homework while you are eating and watching TV at the same time!

Make sure your work-space is clear from clutter. 
This is not a good place to study. 

This is a good place to study. 

Give yourself frequent breaks. 
Use a timer. Take a ten minute break and go back to your work.

Is your HW load too big? Break it down into small tasks. 
Small task, done. Small task, done. Small task, done. 
Soon you will reach your goal.

Give yourself time to sit in silence. 
Sit anywhere, with your back straight. 
Choose two of these. 
Notice any smells. 
Notice how your clothes feel. 
Notice the taste inside your mouth. 
Notice the colours and patterns you see when your eyes are closed. 
Listen to the sounds of your body.
Can you feel your heart? Can you hear yourself breathe? 
Breathe in and out slowly. 
Open your eyes. 
Do the same again tomorrow. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Good Manners

How do you like to be treated? 
Do you like people respecting you? 
Do you like people treating you with kindness? 

Other people would like the same from you too. 
We treat others how we would like to be treated. 
This is The Golden Rule. 

Good manners help us practise The Golden Rule. 

Here are some good manners. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Do not bottle up!

Imagine you are a bottle of cola

Whenever something annoying or bad happens to you,  you are given a shake. 

A friend stops speaking to me - Shake!

I forget to put on my PE kit this morning - Shake!

My grandmother is very sick - Shake!

My dad wants to give our pet dog away - Shake!

I left my homework copybooks at home - Shake!

Dinner is the food I don't like most - Shake!

I accidentally spill a glass of milk on my favourite football t-shirt! - Shake!

The next day, my best friend accidentally hits me. 

BOOM! Explosion!

I scream, yell and cry. 

It was the last straw. 

The bottle of cola exploded. 

That is what usually happens when we bottle up. 

How not to explode? Well, you have to do things to make the bubbles go down after each shake. 

Talk to someone, write about it, do things that calm you down or make you feel happy, fix the problem if you can. 

Whatever you do, do not bottle up. 

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