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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

How to Create a Grateful Project

Anyone who really knows me knows that Thanksgiving is the holiday I like the least.

Okay, I've been known to actually say, "I hate Thanksgiving."

I realize, it sounds horrible, but the fact of the matter is that I am grateful every.....single....day.

I might also dislike Thanksgiving because something ridiculous always seems to occur on that day. Kind of like the curse of Thanksgivings past.

Having said all that I do cook a full Thanksgiving dinner for friends and family and partake in the traditions of the Holiday.

A couple of years ago, I decided to embark on a Fall project with my immediate family. It was probably done during the month of November and I have to say it is one of my most treasured posessions. For the sake of a name we will call it the "Grateful Project". I originally saw this concept on another blog and thought what a great idea. I asked my family to write something on a piece of paper that they were "grateful" for. We did this every night after dinner or before heading off to bed.

I simply purchased a 16 x 20 picture frame and poster board. Cut the poster board down to size and placed it in the frame with the glass in the back. This allowed me to hang the frame while the project was going on and have access to write on the poster board. When the project was complete we flipped the glass to the front.

Every evening, we would take a black marker and simply write in our own words and handwriting what we were grateful for. After about 10 days of doing this it began to get tricky. What were we really thankful for that no one had said yet, besides the obvious, what could we come up with to top another family member.

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Topics: Parenting

Preparing For Overnight Guests

This is the time of year when many of us will be hosting family and friends from out of town. With a little advance preparation, you can make your overnight guests comfortable while maintaining a stress-free holiday for yourself. Whether your guests are spending one night or having an extended stay, here are a few tips to help prepare you:

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Topics: General

How to Stay Organized Now That You're in College

Going to college is an exciting time in your life. You're going to make new friends, experience different happenings, and have a chance to study areas of interest to you in-depth. But college also gives you time to start figuring out how to balance the stresses of a career along with the joys of your personal life. It's important to stay organized, so you can get the most out of your overall college experience instead of rushing from one class to another in a frenzy. Whether this is your first semester or you're in your final year of college, here are some organization tips and tricks to stay on top of your academics while still enjoying all the adventures that await you in college.

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Topics: Student Tips

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day. Thank you for your service!
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Topics: General

8 Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Global Perspective

When children learn a second language at school, it is likely that the teacher will incorporate many cultural aspects of that country into the curriculum.  Your child may sing songs and listen to stories from the country or countries where the language is spoken.  Photos, books, and movies could also play a part.  Teachers will strive to share culturally appropriate gestures, oral expressions, and manners.  Major landmarks, geographical information, flags, holidays, foods, and historical events all combine to enrich a child’s understanding of another culture.

For example, a Chinese teacher may teach students to greet each other with a bow.  French students may learn to “faire la bise” or greet each other with a kiss on each cheek.  Children may learn that in some European countries students are taught to begin counting with the thumb instead of the pointer finger.  Spanish students may hear about Quinceañera and how it is celebrated in some Latin American countries. There are also things you as a parent can do in your home to help your child develop a global perspective.

8 Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Global Perspective

  1. Have your child teach you the songs she/he is learning in language class.
  2. Talk to your child’s teacher or search online for games to play that are unique to the language and culture your child is studying.
  3. Have your child teach you how to appropriately greet someone in the language she/he is studying.
  4. Learn a lullaby in the second language and sing it together before going to bed.
  5. Go to the supermarket together and look for foods from the country your child is studying.  Be adventurous!  Try something you have never tried before.  Thai food?  Indian curry?  When your child sees your willingness to try new foods, this fosters an attitude of openness and enthusiasm for the variety that makes our world so interesting.
  6. Look online for pictures of homes from the country your child is studying.  Together, compare and contrast those homes with your home.  Two wonderful resources you might check out at the library are Material World: A Global Portrait by  Peter Menzel and A Country Far Away by Nigel Gray.
  7. Go to an art museum and look for works by artists your child has learned about in class.
  8. As a family, talk about supporting a child through one of the many excellent organizations such as Compassion International or World Vision, which allow you to connect with a child in a country that interests you.  Correspondence will open avenues for conversation and communication about world events and how we are interconnected.  When the disastrous earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, my fourth grade French class was currently supporting a Haitian child.  Their immediate feeling was “What can we do to help?” and they felt personally involved because of this connection.

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Topics: Global Studies

Organization Tips and Tricks To Make Life Easier

Organization is easy in theory. How hard can it be? Keeping things neat, getting everything done, and that's it, right? When life gets hectic, staying organized is harder than it seems. We all need help staying organized from time to time, whether it comes easy for you or you struggle to keep it together. Follow these organization tips and tricks whenever you need to get back on track.

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Back to the future day

As many of you know, today is “Back to the Future Day”, the day Emmett “Doc” Brown traveled in his time machine from the year 1985 to the future: Wednesday, October 21, 2015.  They were talking about this on a morning news program and it also appeared in an on-line feed I subscribe to.  It made me chuckle at first, but then it got me to pause and think about how far we’ve really come in the last 30 years.  While we don’t have flying cars or hoverboards, we do have some other amazing technology in our daily lives that would have seemed like science fiction to people from the 1980s.

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Topics: Technology

Sewickley Academy Science Superstars

Inspiring! That is the best word to describe both the accomplishments and the remarks of our first three Sewickley Academy Science and Technology Hall of Fame inductees. On October 2, 2015, Reunion Weekend kicked off with the induction of Mark E. Shafer, Ph.D. ’75, Carolee T. Bull, Ph.D. ’81, and Beth Willman, Ph.D. ’94 into the Hall of Fame in Rea Auditorium, with Middle and Senior School students in attendance. Mark, an inventor, engineer, and entrepreneur speaking about his work, shared one of his favorite quotes: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried,” highlighting the fact that if one is truly stretching boundaries and venturing into uncharted territory, one will not get things right every time; one will fail. The key is to keep trying and to learn from failure.

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Topics: Alumni

What's the Difference between a Merit Scholarship and Need-Based Financial Aid?

Small classes sizes, a truly dedicated faculty and staff, access to competitive sports teams, and world-class art programs are some of the many reasons that families choose independent schools each year. The decision to attend an independent school also includes the responsibility of the family to pay tuition. While independent schools recognize that the family has the primary responsibility to pay tuition, most schools have some sort of financial aid program to help families that would otherwise be unable to afford an independent school.

It’s true that the financial aid process can be confusing, forcing a family to learn a new vocabulary, pay attention to deadlines, and try to understand a completely foreign process. Financial aid at independent schools falls into one of two categories: merit scholarships and need-based financial aid. There are many differences between these two types of aid, and I’d like to help you better understand them.

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What Is Blended Learning?

As we move to adopt a 1-to-1 framework in Grades 6 through 12 at Sewickley Academy, we remain mindful of the importance of the teacher in inspiring students and of the centrality student-teacher relationship in achieving the best outcomes.  Adopting a 1-to-1 program assures that teachers have a consistent and predictable set of tools they can use in their work with students.  Just as the talented carpenter will benefit from having a range of wood-working tools, so too do teachers benefit from having a range of tools that increase the number of ways to engage a range of learners.

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Topics: Technology, Education

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