Our Shallowford Falls Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team placed second at the Northern Division Competition in Conyers, Georgia, on Saturday. We faced all the teams in the division and came up one question short. The winning team will go on to the State competition in Athens, Georgia, on March 18. We are so proud of our team members who showed grace under pressure and good sportsmanship as well. They are a remarkable group who put in hundreds of hours of preparation over the last seven months. Our amazing readers are:
The Shallowford Falls Happy Camper Book Fair is here! Teacher Gift certificates will be available for purchase, which is a great way for the teachers to increase their classroom libraries. You may also buy a book from the Teacher’s wish list if you prefer. See the book fair hours below.
Thursday will be our Grand Event during student lunch periods. We invite grandparents, aunts, uncles or special people in your child’s life to bring in a sack lunch to spend some time with your child. Your child may buy lunch that day or bring lunch and come to special rooms in the fourth grade hall to share lunch with his/her special people.
Once again, we will be participating in the All for Books program. Jars for change will be in each classroom. This is a great way for us to increase our profit and to supply needy schools with books. Scholastic Book Fairs will match our money collected by donating one book for each $1.00 to one of three children’s charities. The money we collect will be used to purchase books from the book fair.
Book Fair hours are: Thursday, March 16 – Grand Event Lunch – During students’ lunch periods
The debate over fiction and nonfiction is a battle between escapism and reality. Fictional stories immerse readers in vast worlds with intriguing characters, while nonfiction books expand readers’ horizons in the real world.
There is an ongoing debate over which is more useful for readers to consume.
In our world of literature, nonfiction is often considered more educational and useful than fiction. While nonfiction deals with the more pressing matters of the real world, fiction distracts readers with entertainment. Just the word escapism carries a negative connotation. If it weren’t for some extra vocabulary, reading a story might be the same as watching a movie.
Fiction is a reader’s lens to view the world through a different perspective. Experiencing a fictional character’s life produces empathy in a way that cold facts fail to achieve. A Canadian research group led by Keith Oatley found that reading literary fiction greatly increased readers’ abilities to assess emotions and social situations. In a world where EQ (emotional quotient) often trumps IQ, empathy is extremely important. It increases a reader’s sense of morality, often through the repeated use of poetic justice. By ending most stories with the villains defeated, fiction reinforces that justice should triumph. On the other hand, only reading about the real world can create a feeling that life is cruel, and nothing can change that fact. Fiction readers have a less rigid line of thinking, and are more adaptable and comfortable with uncertainty.
Especially in children, fiction stimulates imagination and creativity, which in my opinion are just as important as knowledge. Imagination inspires dreams, creates goals, and makes the world seem more beautiful. It transports readers away from the mundanity of life. Happiness and relaxation are good things.
Many people dismiss fiction because they think it provides no tangible benefit to the mind. They believe knowledge and facts are extracted from truth, not stories. But can’t we learn from stories too? Who would argue that 1984 didn’t teach us about the dangers of authoritarian governments? Or that To Kill A Mockingbird didn’t highlight racial tensions? My point is, fiction can educate the public with the same effectiveness as nonfiction, and sometimes in a more convincing manner.
Fiction should stay with readers throughout their entire lives. Don’t cast away the creativity of childhood as you transition into adulthood. Of course, nonfiction is equally important, and we all want a balance of dreams and reality. So read a little of both, however much longer one might take compared to the other. Collect information and insight, while cultivating creativity. Reap the best of both genres!
Our great media center mural painted by Scott McIntyre back in 2007 is a tribute to students who have attended Shallowford Falls. Students who were here then paid $20 to have their names hidden in the mural as a lasting gift to the school and to leave their name behind as a momento. We would like to offer that opportunity to any student who would like to have his or her name added to the mural. What a great gift to a graduating fifth grader! Just send in cash or a check (made out toShallowford Falls) to the media center using the form below showing us how you'd like the name to appear on the mural.
Would you like to recognize your child's birthday by donating a book to our media center? Fill out the form below and send in a check for $10. A few weeks before your child's birthday, we'll bring him/her to the media center to pick out a book from a selection of brand new books from a recent book order. We'll place a Birthday Book Club bookplate inside the front cover honoring your child on his/her birthday. Then, your child will be given the opportunity to present his/her new book to the media center on our local Fox5 Shallowford Falls morning broadcast. All proceeds will be used to purchase new books and materials for our media center. We appreciate all you do to support our program.
Let's face it: We have all played on our phone while with our kids. Whether it's a quick text or a social media post, it can be difficult put the electronics down. I'm guilty of it, and most parents are guilty of it. But in reality, our email and Facebook can wait – especially if it means setting a good example for our children and protecting their health, since increased screen time is associated with higher rates of childhood obesity, behavior problems, ADHD, poor sleep quality, poor physical activity and poor school performance.
Multiple studies have shown that as parents increase their screen time (whether it be smart phones, TV, computers, video games), their children do the same. Our children are constantly learning from us and following in our footsteps. When we focus on a screen instead of our child, we are sending a message that says, "My phone or the TV is more interesting than you." Parents in my office often ask me why kids are so interested in our smartphones and tablets, and it's because from the day they're born, they see us glued to these devices. In turn, children are fascinated by electronics and want to use them, too.
In addition, a recent studyfound that as parents increased usage of electronic devices while sitting at a playground with their children, the children were more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Although the study wasn't able to dissect why children were more risky, it may be because the kids were trying to get a parent's attention. This is definitely something to think about!
In my office, I've met with some parents who are worse than their teenagers when it comes to electronic media. They refuse to stop playing video games or scrolling through social media during medical visits. Often times, I have to repeatedly ask the parent to put the phone away.
It's time that we set an example for our children and put down the devices. Here are some tips that will help you and your kids slowly unplug:
Remove the TV from the bedroom. Take the TV out of your room and your child's room. Screen time at bedtime has been shown to influence sleep patterns and lead to less sleep and increased behavior problems.
Ban electronics from the dinner table. Make mealtime an electronics-free zone – no TV, no smartphone, no tablet on the table. Eating with screens on makes you more likely to consume more calories and less likely to have a conversation with your child. Take the time to find out what happened in your child's day instead of reading posts about what's happening in other people's lives.
Put limitations on screen time. Limit as much screen time as possible – ideally no more than one hour per day. The more our children use electronics, the less physical activity they do. Fight the boredom by making a list of things to do to keep the kids occupied.
Set aside play time. Show your child he or she is more important than the screen, and do things the old-fashioned way. Play with your kids, and let their imaginations run wild. Take them to the park, a museum or help them build a fort in the living room.
Get interactive with your children. There are times when screens are OK, but if you're going to use electronics, use them together as a family in an interactive way.
This summer, make a resolution to unplug as much as possible. By doing so, you'll not only create more memories with your children, you'll also help improve your family's well-being.