Badges, internships, best sellers, book sale, living at home, brain science, the Olympics, Dunbar Melodrama


Lorna Sheridan/Index-Tribune Education Editor


Badges are a hot topic in education. Imagine a marriage between the Girl Scouts and LinkedIn. Prognosticators expect that within a few years, every résume will have badges on it that signify expertise or competency in relevant skills. The badges serve as a hyperlink to details (relevant coursework, honors won, etc.) Read more about it at http://tinyurl.com/orz3t8v.

Work experience during high school is playing a key role in admissions to highly selective colleges these days, as well as quick and relevant employment after graduation from college, according to a recent survey of businesses and students. More and more students are looking for work experience through internships or volunteering. Hiring companies state the most important factors for them in hiring students are the reputation of the high school, high academic performance and references. Go to http://tinyurl.com/kc3hwbd.

With the Olympics underway, there are a lot of great ways to incorporate learning into watching. At NBC Learn, students can learn about the science of the games (the physics of aerial skiing, what competition suits are made of for speed skaters, etc.). The videos are short and compelling, at nbclearn.com/olympics.

The next Sonoma Valley Public Library Book Sale is Feb. 19 to 22. Drop off donations behind the library anytime or a volunteer can pick up your books (call 938-9248 to arrange). It should be a great sale, with no items over $2, and educators can stock their libraries with free books at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Students can choose a free book any time. The last sale raised more than $11,000 for the library.

Other stats about our public library – approximately 100 new books are added to its collection each month (half fiction, half non-fiction). In December, there were 8,346 visitors, 14 programs/presentations, 466 attendees, 18,619 items checked in, 17,355 items checked out, and 2,711 items pulled from shelves.

In other book news, currently the most borrowed books in U.S. libraries are:

Fiction: “Never Go Back,” by Lee Child; “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” by Robert Galbraith; and “And the Mountains Echoed,” by Khaled Hosseini.

Non-fiction: “Zealot: the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” by Reza Asian; “This Town: Two Parties and Funeral Plus Plenty of Valet Parking in America’s Gilded Capital,” by Mark Leibovich; and “Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going and Where the Hell Are My Keys?,” by Billy Crystal. Still need more ideas? Check out the Power Wall to the right as you enter the Sonoma library to find the new titles and recommended reading books.

A student’s GPA and the rigor of their course load is more important in college admissions than any other factors this admissions season, according to a survey of college admissions officers (National Association for College Admission Counseling). In other news from NACAC, for-profit colleges and two-year public colleges saw declining enrollment while public and private nonprofit colleges continued to grow. http://tinyurl.com/lgsxptl

In the new book, “All Joy and No Fun,” journalist Jennifer Senior looks at all the ways that having children changes parents’ lives. Using sources in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy and anthropology, she questions our beliefs about parenting, what it adds to our lives and what it takes away. It is next up on my nightstand.

Seniors who are planning to attend SRJC should try to attend the College Preview Day at the SRJC Petaluma Campus from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, and/or the College Preview Day at SRJC Santa Rosa Campus from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 1.

More 18- to 31-year-olds live with their parents today than at any other point in the last 40 years (Pew Research). Perhaps today’s teens should be a little nicer to their parents? Those young adults with more schooling were less likely to be living at home. http://tinyurl.com/ktmksnu

Dunbar School is kicking off the 22nd season of its fifth-grade Melodrama Project. Auditions have been held, casting is complete, and rehearsals have begun. This will be Kate Kennedy’s 12th year of directing. The play is: “Deadwood Desperado, or, A Mother’s Grief,” and performances will be held on Memorial Day weekend outside on Dunbar’s Haver Stage. Dunbar is currently fundraising to refurbish some of its costumes and sets, along with the sound system.

I was surprised to read in the Wall Street Journal last week that fewer children are playing team sports today than four years ago. Losing the most ground are basketball, baseball and soccer (all down 7 to 8 percent) while ice hockey is up 64 percent and lacrosse is up 158 percent. Experts can’t agree on why. Some blame video games and others the time pressure of high school extra-curriculars. http://tinyurl.com/mxehxvo

The number one best selling book for the middle grades is currently “Wonder,” by RJ Palacio. The book is about a boy with a facial deformity who enters a mainstream school. The number one book series is the “Divergent” trilogy (which I loved) and which is soon to be a movie. On other lists … The Alex Awards are given to 10 books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The recent winners are:

“Brewster,” by Mark Slouka

“The Death of Bees,” by Lisa O’Donnell

“Golden Boy,” by Abigail Tarttelin

“Help for the Haunted,” by John Searles

“Lexicon,” by Max Barry

“Lives of Tao,” by Wesley Chu

“Mother, Mother,” by Koren Zailcka

“Relish,” by Lucy Knisley

“The Sea of Tranquility,” by Katja Millay

“The Universe Versus Alex Woods,” by Gavin Extence

If your child loves musical theater then you might want to head over to Rohnert Park for “Annie Get Your Gun,” from Feb. 14 to 23. For tickets, call the Spreckels Box Office at 588-3400 or visit: http://tinyurl.com/kgjyq3n

The latest issue of National Geographic is all about the science of the brain. How we learn is a hot topic and scientists seem to be making impressive strides in better understanding brain function, all of which bodes well as educators apply that knowledge in our classrooms. The February issue underlines the point that “scientists are learning so much about the brain now that it’s easy to forget that for much of history we had no idea at all how it worked or even what it was.” Also on the magazine’s website are some great brain games and activities pegged to current events, like the Olympics. education.nationalgeographic.com

Sonoma Market is having a Valentine’s Day See’s Candy sale and the proceeds will benefit Adele Harrison Middle School’s outdoor education program, and yearbooks for those students who can’t afford them.

ArtEscape is having its free Sunday Art Play Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23, for ages 2 and up. Kids will decorate a small wood box. Free and no registration required. 17474-A Sonoma Hwy.