Kid World Citizen- activities to help young minds go global

http://www.kidworldcitizen.org

A database of fun, educational activities to help kids learn about the world, featuring diverse recipes, celebrations, multicultural art projects, foreign films, children's literature, world music and more.

Becky is a winner of Top 25 Teacher Moms - 2013

What's one of your favorite new books for children?

A recent book that we've read that my kids and I love was "Finders Keepers: A True Story in India" by Robert Arnett and illustrated by Smita Turakhia. What a gem! It is based on a true story, and packed with beautiful descriptions and information about India. I absolutely love this book, because it teaches about doing the right thing (the Indian philosophy called “dharma“). This story tells about the journey of one man through northeastern India, and his encounter with a very honest little boy. The boy finds the man’s wallet, yet doesn’t understand why the man wants to give him a reward for returning it.

Universal values abound: honesty, doing the right thing, humanity, and respect are all embodied in this extraordinary story. I loved it, and I think if parents or teachers are looking for a unique book that takes place in another country, they would really enjoy "Finders Keepers."

Another great story for younger children is "Woolbur" by Leslie Helakoski. This cute tale about a spirited sheep who does not follow the "herd," teaches kids to be bold and brave, and that being themselves is fun. I love the message of becoming a leader- told in a delightful story that even the little ones enjoy.

What advice would you give to a mom who thinks her child has too much homework?

I would first take a step back and determine why the homework has become a problem. Is it that the child is struggling with the work, and taking longer then he/she should because it is difficult? Is it that the child is having a hard time focusing on the task? Is it because the child is overbooked after school, and doesn't have time for any homework? Or is there sincerely a problem with too much homework being assigned by a particular teacher? If this is the case, a conference with the teacher might uncover further problems and solutions.

Maybe the child has not been productive in class (either because they are pulled for services like ESL, or because they are not finishing what they are supposed to at school) and has classwork to be finished at home. Maybe the teacher is unaware that it is taking so long, and will be able to adjust the amount of work sent home.

I think the best thing to do would be to communicate with the teacher and your child as soon as possible to get to the root issue, and then work from there on a solution together as a team.

What's one of your favorite educational activities that can be done outside the classroom?

Field trips! Visit a farm, the zoo, museums, houses of worship, government buildings, radio/TV stations, business districts, factories, orchards, airports, train stations, bakeries, cultural centers, universities- the list is literally endless when you begin to think of the myriad of opportunities in our local communities.

When children are able to experience the world outside their neighborhoods, they begin to understand how we are all connected, and how things work. Seeing different perspectives helps children to become more globally aware, but also increases their creativity and problem-solving skills; the "real world" lessons make what they've learned in class or in books to come alive.