The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week)

By Evie Blad — March 07, 2014 2 min read
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Happy Friday! Have you guys read the profiles in Education Week’s Leaders to Learn From package? It’s a special project featuring district-level leaders from around the country. Rules readers may be especially interested in Bertrand Weber and his take on healthy school lunches, the unique personal story of school nurse leader Mary Newell, and the parent engagement efforts of Tracy Hill.

Winding up for the weekend, I’ve been entertaining myself with this glimpse of how people around the world dress for American-themed parties, and remembering my big fancy vocab words as I read about the revamped SAT. (Theory: People use the word “plethora” when they want to sound like they have big vocabularies.)

I’ve also been enjoying lots of internet links that are good reading for folks who are interested in school climate and child well-being. This week, we talk Barbies, changes in generational attitudes, and giving kids “a reset button” through unstructured play.

If you’re interested in recess (who isn’t?):

“Kids are built to move. Having more time for unstructured outdoor play is like handing them a reset button. It not only helps to break up their day, but it also allows them to blow off steam, while giving them an opportunity to move and redirect their energy to something more meaningful once they return to the classroom.”
—Debbie Rhea writes an Education Week opinion piece about the importance of play

If you’re interested in socialization of kids:

“The page went viral so quickly that Jennifer had to purchase a P.O. box to accommodate the more than 10,000 birthday cards sent to Colin each day. Today, two days before Colin’s birthday, the page has more than 2 million ‘Likes.’

Since Jennifer created the page in February, she has kept it a secret from Colin, who has a condition similar to Asperger’s syndrome that makes forging friendships difficult.”
—Good Morning America surprises a boy who said he “has no friends” for his birthday

If you’re interested in how leaders shape school climate:

“Without understanding the emotional climate of a school, leaders run the risk of being highly competent in procedures yet forgetting the human process of being with’ others within the school.”
—Users discuss school climate in a developing conversation in the Teacher forum

If you’re interested in girls’ body image:

“Barbie backlash reignited stateside recently when Mattel bought Barbie a splashy ad in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and ghostwrote her an accompanying trolling internet op-ed. It was an obvious bid to cement her perch as the world’s bestselling doll in the face of creeping feminist criticism that she is dangerously thin, occasionally culturally offensive, and let’s face it, the ditsiest astronaut-lifeguard-veterinarian-cop-president this nation has ever seen.”
—Slate’s Amanda Hess writes about the campaign to create an “average Barbie”

If you’re interested in generational attitudes:

“It’s not that they don’t have strong political opinions, they do. It’s simply that they choose not to identify themselves with either political party.”
The Associated Press writes about a Pew Research Center report that finds millennials are less likely to go to church, be married, or affiliate with a political party than their parents’ generation. How will kids who are currently in the classroom approach these ideas as they graduate?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.