See life (and learning) like a musical piece

A powerful insight into life, education, and careers. In only two minutes, British philosopher Alan Watts cautions against one of the most troubling outcomes of the modern education system and focus on career: realizing that you’ve missed most of what life has to offer. It’s no wonder that schools are pumping out generic clones that dutifully meet the “standards” to which they are taught.

After watching this, hopefully you’ll be inspired to “stop and smell the roses.” If you are, tell me what “rose” you stopped for in the comments.

Via Michael Wesch’s blog.

 

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Three wonderful children’s books

Jon Acuff recently recommended a couple of children’s books with encouraging messages, which I quickly added to my reading list (though unfortunately, our library doesn’t carry them yet). Coincidentally, I also recently came across some children’s books that stand out from the dozens we plow through monthly.

I often feel overwhelmed when I enter our local library to find new books that the kids will enjoy and that have a positive and meaningful message. Thankfully, our librarians regularly pluck out some of their favorites and place them on top of the low children’s bookshelves. I’ve taken to simply browsing these selections since it has resulted in many gems. Here are three that recently stood out.

moon rabbit (Natalie Russell). If you’ve ever experienced the desire to travel beyond your home, then had the conflicting desire to return to the comforts of home, you’ll appreciate this charming tale. Little Rabbit loves her city life, but longs to find her soul mate. One day she follows the sound of music to the country and finds Brown Rabbit, with whom she becomes fast friends. Hanging out in the countryside enjoying her new friend, Little Rabbit eventually longs for the familiar experiences of the city. The two new friends find a wonderful compromise in the final pages of the book.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (Julie Rawlinson). Fletcher is a young fox who loves his favorite tree. But something is terribly wrong as the tree begins to lose its leaves. Fletcher struggles as nature and other animals begin to prepare for Fall, but in the end finds that change isn’t so bad after all! You can hear the entire book read in this video.

You and Me, Little Bear (Martin Waddell). “Mommy, Daddy, play with me!” This is a refrain every parent hears countless times every day. Little Bear is no different and wants to play with his dad. But Big Bear has a busy day of chores that he can’t put off (sound familiar?). The two find out, however, that work and play do not have to be as different as we often make them out to be. Simple watercolor images make this a great anytime story.

Best school assembly ever: A lifelike dinosaur puppet

Boingboing recently posted a video showing a life-like dinosaur puppet, controlled by a masterful puppeteer, that brought delight and surprise to a group of Australian school children. I can only imagine my daughters hiding in fear as this thing lunged and roared at them! What’s so amazing is that the incredible realism of the puppet and its movements almost completely mask the puppetmaster’s legs sticking out of the costume.

If the kids weren’t already enthralled with the subject of paleontology, I’m sure they are now!

Finally we can stare right at the sun!

Earlier this week, NASA announced their STEREO project to map the entire sun in 3D. STEREO employs two orbiting satellites – “Ahead” and “Behind” – to map the surface of the sun in real-time. This is intended to provide early warnings in the event of solar flares and other such occurrences that tend to disrupt communications.

By combining images from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) Ahead and Behind spacecraft, together with images from NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) satellite, a complete map of the solar globe can be formed. Previous to the STEREO mission, astronomers could only see the side of the Sun facing Earth, and had little knowledge of what happened to solar features after they rotated out of view.

Following this, space.com posted an amazing image of a solar filament (shown here) that scientists estimate stretches across nearly 700,000 km of the sun’s surface.

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The future of public education – how can we prepare for when they enter the workforce?

This engaging video from the New Brunswick school district outlines the cultural and technological changes the New Brunswick school districts are considering to improve the way they deliver education to the next generation of children. What I like most are the observations that kids are increasingly becoming productive members of society earlier in life. Whether it’s through profit-driven businesses (that are more entrepreneurial than the paper routes or lemonade stands of yesteryear) or through community service, children are putting their skills to use before they’re even out of elementary school.

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