At the last minute yesterday, after I completed a 4 mile run from Forbes Mill to the Dam, and after assessing the uncongested condition of southbound highway 17 through LG, we decided to head over the hill and spend the day at the boardwalk.
We go there once, maybe twice a year, and it's always fun, pretty close, and we even sometimes hit the beach. They are always full days.
This day, though, marked a bit of a milestone in Penny's deveopment and young life. She thought ahead, before we left the house, to bring some of her own money, just in case she wanted to buy something special. Maybe she wanted to feel a bit independent. Fine with us, we thought. She does have a bit of a stash of cash since she's been providing flute lessons to the sister of a friend of hers. So she ended up bringing fifty dollars with her, in her own wallet, safely stashed in her own purse.
While at the Boardwalk that day, we haad plenty of treats, from slurpees to ice cream to pizza. Later in the afternoon, though, Penny decided that she really wanted to try some sort of lemon ice type of treat. She also insisted that she will treat the family. We had a stack of coupons that we got from buying a season pass, so that eased the financial burden somewhat, but at the end of the transaction, Penny pulled out her own money, handed it to the attendent, and got the change on her own. The rest of us, well, maybe just mama and me, watched in amazement how maturely she handled the entire event. No drama, no looking to her parents for guidance like she usually does, just calmly ordering, paying and receiving the goods. Nice job.
I was used to paying for everything that day, but this was a pleasant surprise, to get treated by my daughter, with money that she had earned from the outside, ie, not from the family by doing chores. It probably won't happen again for a while, but just the fact that it did, in the way it did, was really cool to see. Priceless.
Today was Cell Phone Friday at UMS. You can read more about in the principle's posts here and here.
I wrote a response to one of them, and I felt like cross posting it here; find it below. After writing it, I felt ever more strongly about those kids, maybe not many in our neighborhood, who won't have a device to use on these Cell Phone Fridays, or every days, if that's what it turns into. I grew up with parents whom I know would not have been able to afford to provide such luxuries to sixth graders, so I am somewhat reliving a less than happy memory, of knowing that other kids will have the cool new stuff, and I'll have either the old version, or none at all. And middle school can be, or is, where all that awkwardness starts.
Here's my reply to the post.
Just curious, but it seems that when you use the term 'cell phone', you are also referring to pretty much any device that has apps and internet connectivity, correct? If I'm not mistaken, UMS has open wifi, so while at school, it doesn't matter how the user is connecting, either via wifi or 3/4G. Don’t mind if I substitute the term ‘cell phone’ for ‘device.
I honestly don't think that the UMS student community will have a problem with allowing device usage during the school day. As you say, some students already may be doing this and some are accessing the net via laptops or their Chromebooks. We have a good, engaged and involved student and family body, and I’d like to think that things like cyber bullying will be very rare. Distractions and wasting time watching cat vids (or most likely, Minecraft vids) on YouTube are the real ‘threats’.
What I'm more concerned about in all this are the kids who don't have connected devices. It might be that the student may not have shown a level of maturity and responsibility yet, and so the parents aren't ready to provide a device to him or her. Or it could be that the family simply can't afford the cost of the device, and the monthly service fee. With all the other students busy using their devices and their apps, and here's one kid without, that one kid without will need to come up with a reason why she doesn't have one. Now that's some middle school awkward if I've ever seen it. And I've seen it, lived it.
Alternatively, what might happen is that all the other students are so busy staring into their screens, they don't notice those others who don't have them. Devices and their apps are bottomless attention sinks.
It seems that what we’re stepping into here is just the initial allowing of devices to be used on campus, at break and at lunch. That is the first step, I agree, just as I agree that there won’t be much of a problem with it. What we need to start talking about immediately next is how will we integrate these devices into the learning process. Yes, next fall’s sixth graders will be a take-me-home Chromebook, but that’s different than a small, handheld device. Or is it, in the context of the classroom and the learning that’s going on there? I could argue both that it’s different, and that’s it’s not. Thinking a bit more, will these devices be required to use a standard app as prescribed by the teacher, or will the lesson be app-agnostic, and the device becomes more of a research tool? These are the kinds of things I’d love for you to start talking about next.
One question that I do have is: How does UMS's evolving policies regarding connected devices compare to peer schools? What are the other middle schools in the district doing in terms of setting policy? What are other schools in the region, and in the state, doing?
Mr Feinberg, thanks for taking this subject as serious as you have been. It can be a big adjustment of many different kinds for many different people, and I am happy that you are facing the situation with both eyes open, cautious but optimistic, and with all the openness this calls for.
The first dance starts in just a half hour! I'm sure all the girls are excited!
Here is the text from the school announcement: The sixth grade dance is today. The dance will begin at 4:00 pm, and end at 6:00 pm. Tickets for the dance will be sold today for $6, and $7 at the door. Get one dollar off with an ASB card. Pictures will be taken and sold for $2 at the dance. If you get tired of carrying around your belongings, there will be a coat and bag check. You must be picked up in the cafeteria no later than 6:10, and dress code will be strictly enforced. Hope to see in our Journey Under the Sea.
I'll still be out and about at work when the dance begins, but I'll be there to pick her up. And the latest news is that I'll also be picking up two of her friends to take home. You'll see a proud dad snapping pics of this Big Event!
Our sixth grade girl has her first dance coming up at school. It's this Friday, from 4 to 6pm. She has to buy tickets, they are less expensive if she buys them early, and gets a discount if she shows her ASB card, all that good middle school stuff. It's just way too cute.
I picked her up from fiddle/voice teacher Verlene's studio this evening, and Penny is excited. She tells me he's excited. She tells me that mama said that I'm excited for her. I guess I am.
The dance goes from 4 yo 6pm on a Friday night, er, afternoon.
That's just too darn cute. Sixth grade.
I hope to post some pics of her from her first dance.
It's been a pool party summer. Three weeks in a row, we had a pool based birthday party to go to. First, there was Harold's that we hosted at AVAC (Almaden Valley Athletic Club), then there was his friend from school, Deeksha, who had hers at Waterworks Aquatics San Jose on South Bascom. Then this past weekend, we went to a friend's place in Mt View; they just had a pool installed in their backyard, and it was full of kids, the entire time.
Back in May, we became members of AVAC for the pool. We've also been going to AVAC to swim for the past few Sunday afternoons, after we were finished with activities of the day. it's a good way to unwind, the kids love it (they love any pool), and AVAC mandates an adult swim for 15 minutes before the top of every hour. That way, I get a few laps in.