close

Uncategorized

EducationParentingUncategorized

How Social Learning is Critical for Academic Success

prenticeschool

The character Sheldon Cooper from the CBS TV show “The Big Bang Theory” is a familiar example from popular culture of an individual who has achieved impressive academic success but experiences difficulty and conflict in his relationships and work life due to his social limitations. While this show provides comedic entertainment for its audience, it also demonstrates a very real struggle for many children: social development and success.

 Social development is an ongoing, lifelong process, but the social learning that occurs in childhood is essential for building and maintaining fulfilling relationships, receiving social acceptance, and ultimately achieving a successful career as adults.

What is social learning?

When we think about social learning, we typically focus on social skills, or the specific behaviors that are expected given a situation (e.g., staying on topic when making a comment during a conversation). However, underlying these skills is “social thinking,” specifically the cognitive processes of figuring out the thoughts, feelings, motives and beliefs of those around us and adjusting our behavior accordingly to ensure that everyone in the social setting is comfortable. Via social thinking we are able to assign meaning to the words and actions of others and read the contextual cues of the social environment, which are critical for social, emotional and academic success, as well as professional fulfillment in the long-term.

How social learning influences academics

Simply being in a classroom is a social situation with expected behaviors that are conducive to learning. The behavior of a student with social-thinking difficulties can interfere with the academic learning of self and peers. For example, interrupting others and lack of volume regulation can both disrupt the attention, processing, and understanding that are required for learning. Social learning also has a direct bearing on the ability to work in a group and engage in cooperative learning.

Social learning can also influence specific academic areas such as reading comprehension and writing. Successful comprehension of the curriculum, particularly as students advance in school, requires social inferencing, understanding figurative language, and engaging in perspective taking. The task of writing requires social thinking in order to take another’s perspective while formulating a persuasive argument or describing a character’s emotions, beliefs, and intentions during narration.

Social difficulties that may affect students with learning differences

Because many types of learning disorders can yield social learning difficulties, students with learning differences may require social thinking intervention to help them with:

●      Perspective taking
●      Relating to peers
●      Making and maintaining friendships
●      Conversation (e.g., initiating and maintaining topics, using comments and questions to expand the           conversation, and avoiding the interruption of others)
●      Working with peers in groups
●      Reading contextual cues of situations to guide expected behavior
●      Understanding the words, actions, and nonverbal cues of others
●      Social wondering
●      Emotional regulation

Fostering social learning alongside academics

Students with social learning difficulties that require additional social thinking intervention can benefit from knowledgeable educators who can address social challenges as they occur in the classroom, on the playground, and at the lunch tables. For instance, a student may need his teacher to help him notice and interpret the contextual cues of the classroom situation (i.e., test papers on desks, students working independently, and silence in the classroom) in order to identify and execute the expected behavior, which is to sit down quietly and begin taking the test.

While public schools are not required to teach social skills, there are other solutions such as external social-skills classes, occupational therapy and private schools that serve students with learning differences. Academic achievement alone will not lead to success in life without healthy social skill development.  Adequate social learning during childhood can yield great professional and personal success.

read more
Uncategorized

She wears the pants

slimation black

Slimsation everyday pants, to wear wherever you are

There are a lot of crop pants out there, but SlimSation pants by Multiples are not your garden-variety pants. This slimming pant, as the name implies, is designed to slim your figure, and make you look your sensational best.

The pants feature a flexible tummy control panel that smooths and holds in the tummy, thighs and rear. SlimSation states you can drop one size instantly and look and feel 10 pounds lighter wearing their Spanx-on-the-outside pants (obligatory disclaimer: Slimsation is not associated with the actual Spanx brand). The Bottom line (pun intended) is, with a $69 price tag (prices vary depending on style), you might expect something more from these pants, and in my estimation, they deliver. 

They have a slightly higher waistline, which helps reduce tummy bulge and the dreaded muffin top of low rise waistbands. They hug the body like Lycra leggings, but because the fabric is heavier and thicker, the wearer feels more contained rather than exposed.

SlimSation pants come in many styles, from walking shorts and skirts, capris and crops, to ankle-length pants and jean styles, including the skinny Boyfriend Crop, Knit Ankle Legging, Lace Print Crop Legging and styles in solid colors and patterns. The brand also carries a number of figure-flattering tops, such as tanks and knit tops that hang longer at the bottom to cover the tummy and are flowy rather than clingy.

The line was designed by fashion designer John Bourgeois, who endeavored to create the perfect fitting pant that would be a woman’s essential staple piece to wear and enjoy every day, for business or casual looks. After extensive wear-testing, and re-designing, he designed the SlimSation collection, using fabrics that are comfortable and move with you while having a slimming effect, without compromising style.

SlimSation apparel can be found with hundreds of specialty retailers across the United States.

read more
Uncategorized

Petit Pot: Heaven in a spoon

chocolat-web-394×500

Glad to be a puddin’ head when it comes to the world’s most delicious pots de crème

My cousin used to call people Puddin’ Head if they were dorks. Well, I’m glad to be a puddin’ head, if that means eating Petit Pot gourmet puddings every day, and every night.

These amazingly delicious French-chef-made concoctions come in tiny little baby-food-like jars, but don’t let the understated presentation steer you away from tasting these beyond-scrumptious puddings, made from simple ingredients, like milk, eggs, salt and sugar.

I sampled three varieties: dark chocolate pot de crème, lemon curd pot de crème, and the the Riz Au Lait rice pudding, and I can’t get enough, of any of them. okay, so you might not lose weight indulging in these delicious, decadent French custards, but the indulgence is totally worth the calories; and you can make yourself feel better knowing that the ingredients are certified organic, non-GMO and gluten-free, and these delicious French puddings are produced in the good ol’ USA, in South San Francisco.

These adorable tiny pots can be a special treat in your lunch tote, or an after-dinner delight, or shell them out into decorative dishes and pretend you made it yourself, and your dinner guests will talk about your incredible dessert for weeks.

read more
HealthUncategorized

Get on a (foam) roll

DSC_1556

How to use a foam roller to relieve muscle stress and soreness

DSC_1556

Dr. Michelle Beamer, PT, DPT, Cert MDT, ASTYM, Rapid Rehabilitation guides me through my roller routine.

 

When we hear the term DIY, we usually think of home improvement, but in an age when insurance coverage is uncertain and responsibility for one’s own health care is more important than ever, it is empowering to know there are many things we can do at home to take care of ourselves.  Recently I discovered a physical therapy tool that I now use daily to maintain the progress I made in therapy sessions.

Everyone likes a massage, and now you can do it for yourself with a number of tools designed for self-massage. The most common of these are foam rollers, which can be used for a variety of applications that can release muscle tension, stretch tense areas and rub out sore spots.

Manipulating your body on a foam roller gives you a sense of control over what muscles need the most work and how much pressure to apply.

A company named OPTP makes a wide variety of these rollers. They have rollers of different density and firmness, different textures, sizes, links, and even an assortment of colors and patterns. For just about every musculoskeletal ailment, they make a roller for that.

My roller of choice Pro-Roller soft style, which runs $22.50 to $36. Since I am a bit of a light weight when it comes to “no-pain, no-gain,” I prefer a softer consistency roller which I find more comfortable, particularly on my neck and back where I have chronic soreness and stiffness.

DSC_1525

Rollers come in a variety of firmnesses, textures, sizes and shapes.

 

The soft compression of this roller works well on tight and rigid areas and is ideal for lying supine. In this position I use the roll like a weight bench, using light dumbbells to do chest flies; or I edge up to the top of the roll to do neck extensions.

For these exercises I lie with the roll in the middle of my back, cushioning my spine. This is also a great position to do core exercises where I lift one arm off of the floor and raise the opposite leg, holding that pose while balancing to keep the roll in place.

A terrific feature of foam rollers is that they are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, easy to store —  hidden away under a bed or desk, and you can conveniently use a roller several times a day without a lot of set up, to get in a little relief or relaxation when needed, even at work, if you have the space and privacy where you can lie down on a floor.

DSC_1550

Rollers can be used to perform core exercises for balance and strengthening.

For those people who like to have someone walk on their back to crack it, rollers let you achieve this same effect using your own weight against the roller, and if that is not enough pressure you can apply force as you roll. When I first began rolling, my back would crack frequently; then, as I rolled more often, the cracking diminished, as my alignment improved.

There are plenty of online videos and articles about roller exercises, though I would advise getting a baseline program from a professional physical therapist who can tell you if there’s any contraindications with your particular condition. My physical therapist provided me with an illustrated printout of base exercises which I have built upon, and already within six weeks I have seen measurable improvements of 30 and 40 percent in my flexibility and range-of-motion in my problem areas. Clearly, I am on a roll.

 

 

 

 

 

read more
LifestyleUncategorized

Smart baby monitor measures baby's sleep

nanit[1]

nanitFirst comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the Internet of Things in the baby carriage.

After Baby Gigl, the smart baby bottle that notified caregivers via an app of the quantity of nutrition babies received and detected bubbles that could cause colic, now there’s Nanit, the “Tesla” of baby monitors and the first video monitor which can measure sleep and evaluate how well the baby is sleeping— without a wearable device.

Going beyond mere surveillance, Nanit provides comprehensive reports that measure a baby’s sleep behavior throughout the night. Since it launched, Nanit has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, BabyCenter, and The Today Show. In December 2016, Business Insider included Nanit in its “Best startups to launch in 2016” list.

The creators say Nanit is the most advanced baby monitor ever created, using cutting-edge computer vision technology to deliver scientifically-backed insights designed to help babies and entire families sleep better.

Nanit features a mobile app experience that allows parents and caregivers to share important information with each other via Nanit’s private social feed. Other key features include an easy set-up floor stand, a night light, a “white noise” maker, six nature soundtracks, a fully integrated cable management system, sound/motion notifications, and HD surveillance of the nursery.

Nanit is designed to help new mothers (and fathers) for whom baby’s sleep is as elusive as those sheep jumping over the fence.  It might even help those weary parents get a few extra winks too.

Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/qASwMefxodM

Nanit costs $279, not including an additional monthly subscription fee for analytics.

read more
LifestyleUncategorized

Oddest Easter egg hunt promo ever

DSC_0668

DSC_0668Okay, this will probably be the yuckiest egg hunt you read about this season. Yes, I know, this is something most parents will have to deal with, and embarrassment and shame about it just perpetuates the issue, but really, did they have to bring it up in association with Easter?

Here’s the pitch from the PR folks:  This year there is a new type of “egg hunt” you’ll want your family participating in: a hunt for Super Lice and lice eggs. With the continued news of Super Lice invading most of the country, parents might be worried their little ones are picking up more than just chocolate bunnies this spring.

To help the local community, Lice Clinics of America wants to give families the opportunity to eliminate lice and eggs with their own Egg Hunt on April 8th. On that Saturday, clinics in Tustin, LAX, Los Angeles, Huntington Beach and Pasadena will open their doors offering treatments free of charge, helping those who might otherwise not be able to afford proper lice treatment or have been unsuccessful with home treatment and would just like the nightmare to end.

Being the only option to cure super lice once and for all, the clinics use a 3-step process which includes the FDA-cleared AirAllé, which kills lice and eggs through dehydration. Families are guaranteed to go home lice-free, just in time for the holiday.  

So hop on over and have your head checked!  That last sentence was mine.

read more
BeautyUncategorized

Pressed for time, the Skin Laundry hi-tech facial cleans skin in 15 minutes

IMG_1630

IMG_1630Skin Laundry is an apropos name for a new breed of salon that offers the latest laser technology facials. As the name promises, the treatments clean the skin, at a deeper level than possible by other traditional  facials, and without the downtime of redness and breakouts. The treatments take about 15 minutes and are done by a facial technologist who zaps your face with a laser, while you lie on a memory foam padded lounger – which by the way is stylish enough I wouldn’t mind it in my home – in a small brightly lit treatment room, that looks part doctor’s office part massage room.

IMG_1629

My only hesitation about this treatment came upon confirming my appointment online, when I received a number of health forms to review, including a laundry list, pun intended, of contraindications. While I did not have any of the contraindicated health concerns listed, such as precancerous skin, facial scarring recent Botox or tanning bed use, it did give me pause to think that some of these common things could cause a predisposition to a complication. The fact that I was asked to review the contraindication list at least three more times before the treatment further made me nervous, but as I said, I had none of the conditions, so I proceeded with the treatment.

The therapist was thorough in explaining the procedure, and she started slowly and told me each step what she was doing. She explained, “I am starting here in the middle of your four head, and I will move to the right.”

She explained that if I smelled any unpleasant odor it might be the debris from under my skin vaporizing. She assured me it was not my skin burning. As she began to move the laser across my face I felt a hot pin prickly feeling, similar to if you were frying oil on a pan and small amounts of oil were popping and landing on your skin.

IMG_1625

The therapist did one side of my face, then began the other. I asked for a short break before she completed the other side, to momentarily rest, because of the slight discomfort. The therapist explained that most people tolerate the procedure very well, though a few do not. Being a pretty big wimp myself, who fainted when I got my ears pierced, I figure if I could tolerate this procedure, then most people can.

After the laser treatment, the therapist did a second treatment, where she spread a gel across my face and used a very large flashing light laser to treat all areas of my face. Under the goggles I could see about 10 bright flashes of light as she went all over my face.

After the treatment, an assistant took over to clean the gel off my face and apply a toner and moisturizer. She also explained to me all the other products skin laundry carries that would be suitable for my skin.

In the end I felt no pain as I left the salon. I looked in the mirror and saw my face only slightly pink, as if I was flushed from a brisk walk. I noticed one small reddish blemish on my cheek that I had not noticed before, but it was very slight. Otherwise I did not notice any change to my skin. The therapist told me to avoid harsh cleansers and the sun for the day. Otherwise, she said I could carry-on as usual.

IMG_1627

My skin is in the normal range, and I don’t have any major skin issues, so I didn’t notice a significant improvement. I could see how this treatment would be beneficial for those with acne and blotchy skin. In fact the slideshow on the large TV screen in the lobby area showed the before and after pictures of women with severely damage skin who, after a number of treatments, had remarkable results.

I left with a number of products as recommended by the therapist, including a hydrating mask and an antiaging mask, as well as an advanced protection daily moisturizer with 35 SPF, a gentle washing foam with green tea cucumber and chamomile extract, and a nourishing cleansing oil that the therapist highly recommended. All of the products are carried at the salon under their own brand name of Skin Laundry.

While for myself this is not a treatment I would need very often, I can see the benefits for those with more severe skin problems, and it is great for busy women like myself who need a quick facial don’t have and hour or more for a treatment, because we are all pressed for time, and we hardly have time to do our jobs, meet family commitments and of course housework, including regular laundry!

IMG_1624

read more
LifestyleUncategorized

Grabbing green and staying PHur

1709_960_fb (1)

1709_960_fb (1)As someone who endeavors to eliminate toxic chemicals from my home environment, I am always eager to try out new green and chemical-free products. I recently had the opportunity to sample two up-and-coming brands, Green Grab and PHur, and here is what I found.

Getting on my green

Grab Green brand, or GG as it is abbreviated, makes a full line of cleaning products, including dishwashing detergent pods, degreasers, liquid hand soap, air fresheners, laundry detergent — and something interesting I had never tried — cookware and bakeware cleaner pods.

Starting with the most interesting and unique product, the cleaner pods are made to get the cooked-on nasty mess off the bottom of stainless steel and enameled cookware and glass and aluminum bakeware. It is not recommended for copper or Teflon.

It just so happened as I was trying out these products I had made hot chocolate for my son, and I had deposits on a sauce pan that I scrubbed and scrubbed and could not get clean. I followed the directions and tossed the pod into the cookware and added hot water and then used a utensil to swish around and dissolve the pod. I let this sit for about 10 minutes. Then I used the same scouring pad as before, but this time the hard crust on the bottom of the pan and the ring around the side came off.  It worked great.

IMG_4889

IMG_4897

On to the laundry detergent, the Stoneworks laundry pods truly worked to deeply clean my clothes, eliminate odors, remove stains and soften the fabrics, and they worked with my HE washer, which is important because often these pods do not dissolve in these types of washers. As a bonus the packaging is environmentally friendly, printed on Kraft paper using water-based inks.

gg

All GG products I tried have pretty heavy fragrance, and while the fragrances are very pleasant, such as tangerine with lemongrass or rose petal or vetiver — the last of which I was unfamiliar with but learned is a blend of grass, patchouli and black currant essential oil’s. The scents are strong, so those sensitive to perfumes may find them overwhelming. To be fair though, after the product is used, i.e., after the laundry is done, the scents were not overly evident.

All of green grab products are made from naturally derived ingredients, non-toxic formulas, and are phosphate chlorine and dye free. In the three-in-one laundry detergent pods, I was pleased to see the product fulfilled on its promise to make clothes bright, and it did this without optical brighteners or chlorine.

In keeping with the companies policy of full transparency, Grab Green dedicates half of the back of its packaging to listing the natural ingredients and explaining what they do, four instance, “Sodium carbonate peroxide — cleans, remove stains and brightens.”

The secret agent of disinfecting

The next product I tested was a new one with a new concept in cleaning. The PHur system kit is based on the science of PH, which involves an eco-friendly water + salt + science formula that the inventors painstakingly tested over several years and have now registered the product as a proven disinfectant with the EPA on both Federal and State levels.

 

The PHur System Kit includes cleaning water, disinfectant, an on-the-go disinfectant, and a microfiber fiber cloth.

pHurKit

The kit involves a simple three-step cleaning process, which includes spraying on the cleaning water and agitating the surface to be cleaned with a microfiber cloth, then spraying the surface with disinfecting water.  No rinsing or wiping required. The last step is walking away and letting the system do its job.

I recently had an unfortunate opportunity to try out the system when a stopped-up toilet caused a foul mess in my bathroom. My handyman plunged and unclogged the toilet but he splashed sewage water on the floors and wall. As the bathroom has polished wood floors, I did not want to use any chemicals that would strip the finish, and as the bathroom is small and enclosed with no window and a fairly ineffectual exhaust fan, I did not want to spray a bunch of fumey chemicals in the room.

I applied the water and disinfectant as directed, and I am pleased to say the lingering odor in the room is gone and the floor and toilet looks clean and shiny. I admit though I cheated on step three, which is walk away. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the mist on my wood floor, so I wiped it up with the cloth.

Both the Green Grab and PHur system are products I would recommend. They work as promised, and they give the peace of mind of cleaning without leaving behind poisonous chemicals.

Grab Green products are sold in major retail stores, on the www.grabgreenhome.com site, on Amazon.com and through several other online retailers. A sample bundle of products runs $11.25 plus $6.99 for shipping and handling. The PHur starter kit is $30.95 and can be ordered online at https://phurwater.com/.

read more
LifestyleUncategorized

Pi Day is now a thing

pi shirt

pi shirtWhat’s Pi Day all About?

When my son was a kindergartner I first heard about Pi Day.  The kids at his school competed to recite the most numerals of Pi formula from memory, spelling bee style, with students as young as six showing some amazing recall abilities of up to 30 digits without flubbing.

Just like any good holiday or observance, the marketers have gotten a hold of it to make it into a commercial event. As a blogger, this week I was bombarded with dozens of pitches from bakeries, pizza parlors, frozen pie and pizza companies, Pi day merchandisers for T-shirts, mugs and the like, and even LACTAID got into it, promoting dairy-free pie recipes (and LACTAID tablets for the lactose intolerant who can’t avoid dairy) for Pi Day.

Before we lose the meaning of Pi Day, and it becomes a national day of eating pies and buying stuff, here’s the true meaning of Pi Day, in case anyone wants to use the occasion to learn about Pi on March 14, when Pi Day was founded in 1988 by a physicist at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, who decided that he and his colleagues should celebrate the day and promote learning science and math.

LEARN ABOUT PI

Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same.The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the center. The circumference of a circle is the distance around.

HISTORY OF PI

By measuring circular objects, it has always turned out that a circle is a little more than 3 times its width around. In the Old Testament of the Bible (1 Kings 7:23), a circular pool is referred to as being 30 cubits around, and 10 cubits across. The mathematician Archimedes used polygons with many sides to approximate circles and determined that Pi was approximately 22/7. The symbol (Greek letter “π”) was first used in 1706 by William Jones. A ‘p’ was chosen for ‘perimeter’ of circles, and the use of π became popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737. In recent years, Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits past its decimal. Only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our entire universe, but because of Pi’s infinite & patternless nature, it’s a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

Learn More on Wikipedia

GEOMETRY

The number pi is extremely useful when solving geometry problems involving circles. Here are some examples:

The area of a circle.

A = πr2

Where ‘r’ is the radius (distance from the center to the edge of the circle). Also, this formula is the origin of the joke “Pies aren’t square, they’re round!”

The volume of a cylinder.

V = πr2h

To find the volume of a rectangular prism, you calculate length × width × height. In that case, length × width is the area of one side (the base), which is then multiplied by the height of the prism. Similarly, to find the volume of a cylinder, you calculate the area of the base (the area of the circle), then multiply that by the height (h) of the cylinder.

read more
LifestyleUncategorized

Survey says viewers don’t want to hear about Trump or politics at Oscars

meryl

meryl

There’s plenty of surveys on the possible winners of the Oscars, but Pollfish conducted a survey of another kind, to find out opinions about politics and diversity at the Oscars.  Of course there’s different views on why those polled feel the way they do, but in my view, it’s not because we think actors and others in Hollywood don’t have valuable things to say, but the event is supposed to be a celebration of talent, and hearing about the state of our Country at this time and the horrible divide among our population following the election.

Here’s what the survey said.

Most Americans don’t want to hear Hollywood’s political opinions

45% of Americans think celebrities should be allowed to voice their opinions at the Oscars. Another 25% say Hollywood shouldn’t use its platform to talk politics, 21% think celebrities should completely stay out of politics, and 10% say Hollywood is too liberal.

One in four Americans Don’t want to hear Trump’s name at the Oscars

Asked which issues they don’t want to hear about at the Oscars, 19% of Americans said they hope celebrities don’t talk about Donald Trump. Other topics Americans don’t want to hear about are immigration (14%), the refugee situation (12%), and racial inequality (12%). Only 12% of Americans wouldn’t mind hearing about political topics during the Oscars.

Half of Americans think this year’s nominees are more diverse than usual

Asked whether they think this year’s Oscar-nominated films are more diverse than in previous years, 49% of Americans said yes. Another 18% said no, and 13% think the Oscars have always been diverse. 1 in 5 Americans aren’t sure.

Men and women don’t see eye-to-eye on Oscar diversity

54% of men and 47% of women think this year’s Oscar-nominated movies are more diverse than in years past—a 7% difference.

read more