contentgrrl

I am conTENT. My work is CONtent.

Posts Tagged ‘school’

Why I Write? Because I Can Spell

Posted by contentgrrl on April 12, 2011

Dictionary Indents By Till Niermann (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsI was discovered as a writer because I could spell.

Spelling is not difficult when you have:

  • Great teachers early on fostering a love of etymology.
  • Great books peppered with foreign languages and highfalutin’ vocabularies.
  • A great father who gave me my first dictionary, set of encyclopedias, and book club membership. (Am I dating myself? It’s obviously before the Internet 🙂 .)

My writing had humble beginnings. In Texas, each school district sends students to district University Interscholastic League (UIL) meets, running the gamut of academics to arts to sports.

I was a geek: I won best actress in One Act Play, regional contests in Accounting and Typing, and several respectable ribbons in Ready Writing and Spelling.

Dr. Tom Buckner, director of the journalism department at McLennan Community College, had the dubious honor of judging such contests. Bless him, he always contacted the winners of a certain age for followup interviews, to recruit them to his department.

I got a scholarship, joined Dr. Buckner’s staff, became one of his editors on the Highland Herald, and went on with his guidance to win collegiate awards in headline writing, editorial writing, and investigative reporting. After I received a degree in journalism, he introduced me to an internship at a national trade magazine, Occupational Health & Safety, which hired me for my first full-time job as an associate editor.

I followed in Dr. Buckner’s footsteps a few times volunteering to judge UIL contests. I still keep in touch with some of the cartoonists, and other editors of the time. My contacts there have led to several gigs over the years.

For Dr. Buckner, I am very thankful. I have a career that I love.

How were you “discovered”? Please comment!

Advertisements

Posted in community, heroes, learning, writing | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »