Linda Flanagan

How Teens Can Develop And Share Meaningful Stories With ‘The Moth’

Aleeza Kazmi endured her first identity crisis when she was 6 years old. It was during a first-grade art class, when she and her classmates were drawing self-portraits. Seeing herself as just like her white-skinned peers, Kazmi reached for the peach-colored oil pastel to fill in her face. Just then, her teacher intervened. “That’s not your color,” the teacher told her, and handed Kazmi a stubby brown crayon instead. “That was the first time I realized I wasn’t white like all my friends,” she said.

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How Making Kindness a Priority Benefits Students

He goes by Ice, but Tanapat Treyanurak is known among his peers at Hamilton College for his disarming warmth. He grew up in a village in Thailand, where he lived with two older brothers, his mother and father, and his grandmother. Both parents worked long hours, so Ice spent considerable time with his grandmother, who encouraged him to be kind.

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How Parents Can Help Kids Develop A Sense Of Purpose

Jack Bacon was 16 and a junior in high school when his mother died. Though he felt “broken” over her death, he continued to strive in school and sports and pretended to be strong for his sister. Bacon had always been a motivated, goal-oriented student and athlete. But sometime after his mother’s death, following a period of reflection, Bacon felt newly infused with a sense of purpose.

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How Schools Can Help Students Develop A Greater Sense Of Purpose

When Aly Buffett was a young girl struggling with reading, her parents brought in a tutor. The tutor told her, “You’re struggling right now, but I’m here with you, and you’re going to do amazing things,” Buffett said. Now 20 years old and a junior at Tulane University, Buffett believes her tutor’s warmth and confidence altered the path of her life. She realized that the steady support she’d received from her parents, teachers and tutor isn’t something every struggling child receives.

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Are Kids Missing Out By Not Skipping A Grade?

Saxon Scott was 5 years old when her parents decided she could do without kindergarten. She’d sailed through a series of tests that measured her acumen, and moved directly to first grade once preschool ended. Now she’s 15 and a high school junior, and Scott thinks nothing of her relative youth. She continues to shine in the classroom, is friendly with students in her grade, and only briefly laments the fact that she won’t be driving until the end of her freshman year in college. “As someone who skipped kindergarten, I can say it wasn’t a big deal,” Scott said.

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How One Teacher Let Go of Control To Focus On Student-Centered Approaches

When Kristine Riley looks back on how she used to teach her students, she sees order and control. Her third, fourth and fifth grade gifted-and-talented classes had been structured and orderly, and students sat in designated seats. She had assigned the same tasks to every student and had hoped for roughly the same answers from all of them. She used to believe that it was her responsibility as a teacher to impart information to her students. Riley had decided what was important and students were expected to learn what they were taught.

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What Types of Sound Experiences Enable Children to Learn Best?

Nina Kraus, a biologist at Northwestern University, has spent the better part of her professional career researching how sound affects the brain. What she’s found has important implications for how adults and children manage the sounds that envelop them. “Sound is invisible, but it’s a tremendously powerful force,” said Kraus. “For better or worse, it shapes your brain and how you learn.”

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How Audiobooks Can Help Kids Who Struggle with Reading

School librarian Mary Ann Scheuer remembers a second grader who couldn’t keep up with the class during reading time. The child was a grade-level behind in reading, and while the rest of the class could sit quietly for 30 minutes, engrossed in Horrible Harry, this child began to act out after ten frustrating minutes with the book. On Scheuer’s recommendation, the teacher introduced the student to the same story via an audiobook; he listened to the story, and then sat alone with the book to read on his own.

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The Emotional Weight of Being Graded, for Better or Worse

As most parents know, kids respond emotionally to the grades they receive — and well beyond the jubilation that goes with an A+ or the despair that accompanies a D. When Jessie, an eighth-grader, got an uncharacteristically low score on a Spanish test, she felt not only embarrassed — “because I’d never done that badly before” — but lousy as well: “I didn’t feel as good about myself,” she said.

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How to Make Math More Emotionally Engaging For Students

When Jacqui Young studied pre-calculus as a high school junior, she found the experience unexpectedly fulfilling. She didn’t consider herself a “math person,” but pre-calc came more easily to her than it did to most of her peers, and she spent a lot of time helping fellow students grasp the concepts. “It felt good to be able to understand something and then be able to walk someone else through it,” she said. “It was so gratifying, and made me want to stay on top of the subject.”

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