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April 19, 2014

On Center Street

Disconnected Kid: Strengthening the Brain

02/07/14

Disconnected Kid: Strengthening the Brain

Carter’s preschool teacher was the first educator to notice that Carter was struggling to keep up with his peers. He was having trouble paying attention and was hyperactive. Carter’s parents, Bill and Kelly McCollough, co-owners of Landstar Homes in Tulsa, decided to keep Carter in the 3-year-old classroom at Metro Christian Academy for another year. Even so, Carter continued to lag behind – in comparison to other 4-year-old children, he was not meeting growth, behavioral or social maturation milestones. From birth, Carter’s development worried Kelly. He was adopted and Kelly was aware that poor fetal growth had been an issue in utero, and Carter continued to be small for his age. Although Carter saw geneticists annually until he was 6 years old, the...

Posted at 08:19 AM | Permalink | Comments

Brighten Up Your Valentine's Day Treats!

02/07/14

Brighten Up Your Valentine's Day Treats!

It doesn’t take a box of chocolates and a dozen roses to impress a kid on Valentine’s Day. A chocolate heart tucked in a lunchbox, cherry syrup poured over the morning pancakes, a new set of red shoelaces laced up into their favorite shoes – kids notice the little things we do to show our love. And really, that’s what we all want on this day for sweethearts. We want to know that we’re noticed, loved, appreciated. Kids are no different. Around Valentine’s Day, you can speak their love language with special foods that signify this sweet holiday that comes right in time to cheer us up from the bleakness of winter. If you’re lucky enough to have a night out for Valentine’s Day, there’s still opportunity to make it a fun...

Posted at 08:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

The Hip Mom's Secret to a Quick and Delicious Dinner

02/07/14

The Hip Mom's Secret to a Quick and Delicious Dinner

Ah, dinnertime.  I bet you didn’t think about that when you first saw those two lines on the pregnancy test, did you? That after about six months of 100 percent breast or bottle milk, you’d have to either prepare dinner – or somehow conjure up something resembling a meal to eat EVERY SINGLE night for the next 18 years? (Unless, of course, you are mega-rich and A. can hire a personal chef, or B. go out to eat every single night. If so, I envy you!) Yes, I know, it’s a lot to contemplate. And even if you enjoy cooking (I happen to love cooking – especially while I’m nursing a nice glass of Shiraz – but I detest baking. Too much precision!), it still takes a lot of planning, shopping, time and a wee bit of practice and skill to get dinner...

Posted at 07:44 AM | Permalink

Readin’, Writin’ and Neuroscience:  Broken Arrow Public Schools Are Cutting Edge

01/31/14

Readin’, Writin’ and Neuroscience: Broken Arrow Public Schools Are Cutting Edge

Broken Arrow Public School parent and teacher Keri Waits had an “ah ha” moment when she heard Robert Hudson, M.D., speak at the Broken Arrow Early Childhood Institute over the summer. Dr. Hudson is a clinical professor of pediatrics, University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine and co-director of the Center for Resilience there. “He led an educational series on children’s temperament and behavior and how it impacts their school, home and social time. I remember thinking ‘ah ha, that is why Gage, my son, acts a certain way.’  It was empowering as both a parent and a teacher.” Five-year old Gage attends pre-kindergarten at BA’s Creekwood Early Childhood Center. Creekwood is one of three new BA early childhood education...

Posted at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Comments

Escape to Jamaica

01/31/14

Escape to Jamaica

Aside from the inviting tropical climate, swaying palm trees and sandy, white beaches,  thinking of Jamaica may bring to mind the songs of Bob Marley and the tastes of spicy jerk chicken and pork, juicy pineapples, rich island-grown coffee and locally distilled rum (yum yum).  But, perhaps the reigning identity of Jamaican culture is that of a relaxed vibe where the living is easy. Jamaicans are known the world over for their casual, friendly nature, whether you are interacting with shop owners, restaurant staff or  restaurants or someone suiting you up for a scuba lesson or a zip line adventure in the jungle. The natives I met while vacationing with friends in lovely Montego Bay had a natural ability to engage visitors with warm, welcoming smiles and friendly...

Posted at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments

Frank Cooper Teaches by Building Relationships

01/31/14

Frank Cooper Teaches by Building Relationships

For over 10 years Sand Springs Charles Page High School teacher Frank Cooper has read the popular children’s book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch at the Charles Page High School graduation ceremony. And every year, without fail, every graduation attendee cries. “It has been a great honor to be a part of graduation. I read Love You Forever, and I personalize it a bit. I start crying, the graduates cry, and then the moms and the dads start to cry. I think that is why they have me do it each year,” he grinned. Cooper made the switch from lawyer to Charles Page High School teacher 21 years ago. He admittedly found a classroom full of teens to be quite intimidating at first. “The day I started, I called my wife during my first break and said,...

Posted at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

Dad's Day: Pinewood Derby

01/31/14

Dad's Day: Pinewood Derby

Let us establish now I am not very good at this fatherhood thing. Never have been, never will be. I am a struggling father, an amateur, a dilettante. My children know this—I’ve been proving it to them since they were born. For my son, the proof was never so obvious as during the Cub Scouts’ pinewood derby. I tend to plan the way some people fall off a cliff. I back plan, coming to my senses moments after something expensive lies smoldering at my feet long enough to say, “Maybe I should have read the instructions.” I also tend to reject proper tool usage to the point where Menard’s has issued a restraining order. So nobody should be surprised I screwed up my pinewood derby car. First of all, the manufacturer’s verbiage claiming...

Posted at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments

Is Your Toddler on Track?

01/31/14

Is Your Toddler on Track?

Parents often wonder if their children are developing normally. Two-year-old Sam might be stringing words into phrases, while 2-year-old Melissa is pointing and using one-syllable, single words to communicate. Is Sam ahead or is Melissa behind? Or, are both children developmentally on target for verbal communication at age 2?  Parents and caregivers in Tulsa County can now go to a website, supported by the Community Service Council, which will allow them to screen their children between the ages of 0 and 5 for developmental problems. There is no cost for the screening. Developers of the Sprouts Child Development Initiative, www.sproutsdevelopment.com, hope to give area parents and caregivers of young children the tools they need to ensure that their little sprouts are...

Posted at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments

Jack Gantos Awarded 2014 Anne V. Zarrow Award

01/31/14

Jack Gantos Awarded 2014 Anne V. Zarrow Award

Newbery Medal-winning author Jack Gantos is the winner of the Tulsa Library Trust’s 2014 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature. He will accept the award at a public presentation at Hardesty Regional Library’s Connor’s Cove, 8316 E. 93rd St., Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. The following morning at 10 a.m., he will present the 2014 Young People’s Creative Writing Contest awards at Connor’s Cove. Gantos is being recognized for writing more than 40 books for children, teens and adults, many of which were recognized with distinguished national awards. In 2012, he received the John Newbery Medal for his book Dead End In Norvelt.  His 2002 memoir, Hole In My Life, won Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors. He also is widely known for the...

Posted at 09:30 AM | Permalink | Comments

#TeenTalk: Beating the Winter Blues

01/31/14

#TeenTalk: Beating the Winter Blues

As we patiently wait for spring to return to our corner of the state, the deep, dark winter months can seem an eternity. Shorter days and colder weather limit time outdoors, and the gray skies reflect our mood. While April may be the cruelest month, perhaps T.S. Eliot never experienced February in Oklahoma. For parents and kids alike, the shortest month of the year can mean short tempers, short attention spans and a shortage of endorphins. While we can’t order up a dose of sunshine, there are things we can do to help our kids beat the winter blues. Ellen Ungerland is a counselor at Monte Cassino, a midtown elementary and middle school. “I think when kids start getting down, they start to act out a lot, especially if they haven’t been able to go outside and...

Posted at 09:24 AM | Permalink | Comments