I am conTENT. My work is CONtent.

Posts Tagged ‘rules’

5 Ws and H news writing questions: part 1, policy

Posted by contentgrrl on January 22, 2008

Writing is an art, but that is not to say there is no science to it. You can use a tried-and-true formula to get started with researching, interviewing, and organizing basic news according to the 5 Ws and the H.

The questions below work for news on policy, including election candidate campaigns, federal/state legislation and regulation, city codes, commercial company acquisitions/launches/divestitures, departmental initiatives, insurance coverage limits, financial transaction agreements, mechanical maintenance requirements, club by-laws, school board requirements, even classroom or household rules.

  • Who is making the policy?
  • Who are the political movers and shakers creating the pressure that drives this policy?
  • Who are the critics and detractors?
  • Whom does the policy affect, or who is accountable for results?
  • What action must be taken?
  • What conditions will trigger the need to act in accordance with the policy?
  • What are the consequences of inaction?
  • What are the consequences of failure?
  • What alternatives were considered?
  • When is the deadline or stages and phases?
  • Where in space or organization is the jurisdiction of this policy?
  • Where might be the boundaries or grey areas?
  • Why is this new?
  • Why was the particular action selected (what pros and cons)
  • How do they know the policy was necessary?
  • How will they know when the policy is successful?

Next, we’ll look at how these questions can play out for other types of news stories: events, accidents, and discoveries.


Posted in citizen, culture, publishing, reading, writeroll | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

5 ways we’re trying to build our kids’ social skills and moral development

Posted by contentgrrl on November 30, 2007

Although Brazen Careerist inspired my last piece on 10 social skills to help our children build, I have to give due credit to Dr. Lawrence Kohlberg for the stages of moral development, and to Dr. Dale McGowan‘s book, blog, and forum for reinforcing the need to focus on raising ethical, caring children.

To me, those 10 social skills are important to transfer before my dear sons get lost in the mob of the classroom.
So here are five ways we’re working to build our kids’ social skills and moral development:

  • We take opportunities to discuss the choices facing us, the plausible results of each option, and how we’ll feel about those results. Not in so many words with the kids. More like, “You can do this, or that. If this, these next things happen. If that, those next things happen. Which do you want to happen, these or those? OK, then, should you choose this, or that?” (Still working on being consistent with this.)
  • We praise our boys highly when we notice them making good moral choices. We try to reinforce their pride in specific behaviors and rewards. Again, not in so many words. More like, “Thank you so much for helping to pick up your toys! Look what a great clean floor we have to run and roll around!” and “Thank you for helping to brush your teeth! Go show Daddy how fresh you are!” (Also working on consistency here too.)
  • Before we go out, we discuss what we might encounter and review the rules (such as safety precautions, responding to strangers, taking turns, standing in line, holding hands, voice volume).
  • We remind them to use courtesy with everyone we meet, and with all friends and family we visit.
  • Both boys are getting to the age where they need more socialization opportunities outside the care of their stay-at-home dad. Sure there are always little field trips to museums, zoos, the woods, the playground, the front yard, and visiting friends and family. After this summer’s Bible boot camp with the neighbors, we’re also starting the boys in a very liberal, Montessori-type Sunday school, using the SpiritPlay curriculum. And we’re looking into a summer pre-K program to ease the separation and grow more accustomed to classroom society. And down the line, I’m looking forward to some kind of scouting troop, to follow in the footsteps of my father, who it seems has always been at home in uniform.

Example: The other night, my husband found a teachable moment. Little brother was taking away toys, so big brother hit him. Sigh. Daddy admonished big brother, “Why do you think he is taking the truck away? Because he wants attention. Give him a little hug or a tickle, and say, ‘Do you want attention?’ and play with him.” Guess what? Little brother’s response was to laugh and they both played with a sunnier disposition.

Another example that comes up all the time? We talk about what goes on in the games we play and the shows we watch, and whether we would want to behave that way in real life.

These steps don’t guarantee good behavior. They don’t guarantee I can keep complete control of my children or keep them completely safe. And there are a few social skills my husband and I are still working on for ourselves.

But I hope that these steps will give our children the building blocks for making both great friends and ethical choices all their lives, and be my little heroes.

Posted in citizen, community, culture, heroes, learning, persuasion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

12 social skills for kids to balance with the 3 Rs

Posted by contentgrrl on November 29, 2007

In Stop thinking you’ll get by on your high IQ, the Brazen Careerist compels me to see some social-skill gaps in my family. Will one of my boys be a wallflower with outlets in academics and stage like I was in gradeschool, or merely be aloof and mysterious? Will one of them be caught fighting every day like my red-headed husband was, the minority in a mostly dark-haired southwestern community? Will they feel more of a sense of alienation, or a sense of belonging? Will they be great-hearted and wise?

Our kids are not currently in daycare. My husband opted to become a stay-at-home dad. The big brother, almost 5, can count really high, read almost anything fast including movie subtitles and play all sorts of computer games. But he’s not unabashedly friendly like his 2-year-old little brother, who is just learning his songs, colors, and ABCs, and working so hard to keep up with big brother in art, make-believe, games, and roughhousing. Both are charming in their own ways. Their conversations are peppered with obscure quotes from movies, books, games, and songs. It’s puzzling to anyone who isn’t there playing with them on a daily basis.

So in addition to working on the fine motor skills like drawing shapes and letters, we’ve started to focus on social skills:

  1. Using courtesy (greeting, introductions, flattery, helping, please and thank-you, welcomes, bless you, excuse me, farewell).
  2. Keeping eye contact during a conversation (this is possibly more of a Western thing).
  3. Listening and reflecting what people say.
  4. Sharing and taking turns.
  5. Obeying rules, learning the consequences of guilt and exclusion for infringements.
  6. Choosing good, moral or helpful behaviors, and learning the rewards of pride and inclusion.
  7. Unlearning or avoiding nervous or offensive habits, like nailbiting, eating hair, nosepicking, tapping, foul language, and other behaviors that tend to alienate other people.
  8. Singing and playing along.
  9. Dealing with strangers. Some might become friends (and should be introduced repeatedly by parents). Some might be dangerous people we should stay away from.
  10. Distinguishing between truth vs. pretend. “Your name’s not really Spider-Man. Give them your real name.”
  11. Using humor to break the ice (something I need to work on myself).
  12. Reading nonverbal cues. For example, know to stop making that NOISE when somebody sighs heavily. Or change aggressive/coercive behavior to caring behavior when an expression changes to fear, pain, or sadness. Or empathize with a nervous new kid and say, “Hi, wanna be friends?”

Posted in community, culture, environment, heroes, learning | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »