‘Flash Mob’ Serenades Retiring Principal: Get Your Tissues!

Guaranteed to warm your heart, and maybe make you tear up. From the Sierra Madre, CA Patch.

As if I didn’t have enough to cry about at our daughter’s 5th grade graduation this morning, this retiring principal at another school in our district was my husband’s teacher. We have tons of friends at the school now. What an amazing tribute to an amazing educator – and a reminder of the importance of principal leadership, and of the fact that, in the midst of all the contentious debate, a lot is going so very right with public education.

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Filed under Education, Kids & School, News & Commentary

Nancy Drew: Shadow Ranch App for Kids

Thanks to this review from Common Sense Media I recently downloaded the iPhone version of the Nancy Drew: Shadow Ranch app from Her Interactive for our 10 year old daughter (There’s an iPad version).  She LOVED it! For several days she wanted to use my phone while we were out to continue reading and solving the mystery. We usually take a book with us everywhere; this gave us an interactive book in my pocket. Plus, I felt much better about her spending time with this app than I do when she plays Diner Dash or some other pedicure design game she found. One warning, she was using it in the car and it includes sound effects. Out of nowhere came a loud shriek and my husband and I both thought we’d truly run over a cat. Turns out it was a horse neighing. So the sound went off. It reminds me of the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books I used to love. Now that she finished it once,  she can create a new user for herself and do it again taking different paths. She’s now eagerly waiting for the next one.

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Resume Advice After a Career Break: An Interview with iRelaunch

I noticed that a number of people find my blog because they are searching for information on dealing with a gap in their resume due to time out of the workforce to care for family. They land on this post, How to Explain Gap in Resume: Caring for Family or…Coma?, which tells the story of one mother who was advised that she’d be better off telling a prospective employer that she’d been “in a coma” than saying she’d been caring for family and “doing nothing.”

I knew THAT wasn’t good advice. While I give some tips in my original post, I decided it was time to go to the experts for more advice for my readers. So I reached out to my friend Carol Fishman Cohen at iRelaunch. iRelaunch offers a range of resources and services for women re-entering the workforce. All of which are informed by Carol and her co-founder Vivian’s constant interaction with employers and recruiters, plus their own experience as hiring managers and recruiters.

Carol packed our conversation with advice worth its weight in gold, for mothers and for anyone with a gap in their resume.

Kristin: Carol, multiple studies show that mothers in particular face automatic bias that has a direct impact on pay and promotions. Being a woman and having a gap in your resume often triggers that bias. So what’s the most important resume advice for someone who has a gap in her resume? Continue reading

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Filed under Career-Life Fit, Interview, Money, Motherhood, Recommendations, Remodeling Motherhood, Remodeling Motherhood Tips, stereotypes, Workplace and Employment

Mothers & Fathers: Share Family Responsibility Not Just “Tasks”

“Tell people what to do and they’ll take responsibility for the task. Tell them Why they’re doing it and they’ll take responsibility for the solution.”

~ Simon Sinek

This quote I got via email from Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, is a great reminder for mothers and fathers of how important it is to share the responsibility for family work, not simply have mother delegate tasks to father. Who does the laundry and who makes pediatrician appointments may seem petty on the surface, but there is so much more at stake – our relationships with each other and with our children. Those relationships are the “why.”

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Learning From Hollywood Take 2: Role of Parents

This post is Part 2 of my debrief of the two days I spent at the Learning from Hollywood conference put on by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and held at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  I attended representing ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. I’ve grouped my thoughts by theme rather than chronology, though please note this post expresses my own opinions and experience not ConnectEd’s. My five themes are:

  • Respect Your Audience
  • It’s the Participation, Stupid
  • Parent Attitudes Matter
  • Digital Media to What End?
  • Cool Stuff to Check Out

In order to respect my audience’s time, I covered the first two in the previous post and now for the other three. Here we go.

Photo from Common Sense Media website.

Parent Attitudes Matter

This would be the topic where my own thinking has challenged most. Frank Gilliam, Dean of USC School of Public Affairs, and Linda Burch, Chief Education Officer of Common Sense Media, talked about research on parent attitudes toward digital media.

Gilliam spoke about the mental models parents and the public have around digital media, around learning, and around early childhood education. (Great video clip here on Henry Jenkins blog.)

I’m big on the idea that unconscious mental models shape how we interact with the world. But I didn’t like hearing what his research had to say about the mental models the public – and parents – hold in these areas. To paraphrase…

  • For the public, digital media = entertainment, a luxury.
  • Entertainment = passive, artificial, dangerous, passive.
  • Therefore, don’t bring that stuff into our schools.

I had a visceral negative reaction. I don’t believe that! My fellow parents don’t believe that! We want more technology in our schools! Continue reading

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Learning from Hollywood: Or How Twitter Made Me a SuperMom for a Day and Why it Matters

Last week I spent two days at the Learning from Hollywood conference put on by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and held at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The conference brought together approximately 200 experts from entertainment, academia, philanthropy, gaming, libraries, journalism and education to talk about how these sectors can collaborate to harness digital media in support of education. The eclectic mix of leaders in their fields made for a constant buzz – and my still-tired synapses. I attended representing ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career and with much thanks to their friends at the Pearson Foundation for securing a somewhat last minute invitation. Here are a few of my takeways grouped by theme rather than chronology, though please note this post expresses my own opinions and experience not ConnectEd’s.

My five themes are:

  • Respect Your Audience
  • It’s the Participation, Stupid
  • Parent Attitudes Matter
  • Digital Media to What End?
  • Cool Stuff to Check Out

In order to respect my audience’s time, I’m going to cover the first two in this post and put the other three in this follow-up post. Here we go.

Respect Your Audience

“Respect your audience” became a conference mantra we all could have chanted in unison by the end of our time together. We heard it over again and again from the most expert storytellers. Producer Marcy Karsey of The Cosby Show and Roseanne fame said, “The very very basic thing is respect the audience. It’s the first and most important thing.” Producer Don Hahn of Lion King and Beauty and the Beast fame said, “Trust the sophistication of the audience.” Producer Peter Gruber of The Color Purple, Rain Man and Batman fame said, “When you try to move folks, are you audience centric? Otherwise you have no chance.”

Several speakers and participants quickly applied that mantra to students as the audience. Continue reading

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Filed under Change, Education, Kids & School, Parenting, Social Media

Learning from Hollywood Forum on Education

For the next two days, I’ll be representing ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career at the Learning from Hollywood forum put on by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and held at the USC  School of Cinematic Arts. The subtitle of the event is “Can Entertainment Ignite an Education Revolution?” Given the list of speakers, I can’t wait to hear how they’ll answer the question – famous film producers, Cisco, Hasbro, Microsoft, U.S. Department of Education Office of Technology, professors, and more.

Of course, my daughter has given me her own assignment which is to meet Kari Byron from Mythbusters and hand deliver the gushing fan letter she wrote to her tonight!

If you want to feel a part of this invite-only event, there are plenty of options.

Can’t wait to share what I learn!

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Spoiler Alert! This Mothers’ Day Movie Isn’t Really About Me

What an amazing way to celebrate my 10th Mother’s Day! Watching my own story on the big screen! Whew, I’m glad I already have the evening gown I’ll need for the premiere. I bought it for the day my husband and I renewed our vows to celebrate our new commitments to each other as parents. My only complaint about the movie trailer is that there’s too much focus on me. Really it’s an ensemble cast, as it was in real life.

Real change, big change, is built upon relationships and the belief that together we can do things none of us could do alone. I’ve found that this applies in spades to mothers – and fathers.

So spoiler alert! Here’s my own synopsis of the story.

Just over 10 years ago, our daughter was born.

And I fell apart.

Nothing about motherhood was how I thought it would be and no one could explain why. Continue reading

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Updated: Interview with This Little Parent Stayed Home

Tune in for my interview with Ally Loprete, radio host of This Little Parent Stayed Home, this Friday, April 29.

About This Little Parent Stayed Home:

Being able to afford the luxury of keeping one parent home has become one of the most widely common goals in families across America today, yet most families don’t believe its possible to survive on only one income. This Little Parent… speaks to BOTH parents in a way that encourages coming together as a family unit and using ones own resources to be able to adequately provide for the children in the best way possible for the family. Join host, Ally Loprete as she leads us in a new revolution by helping us to realize the reality of our potential, and the potential for a better reality!

This Little Parent… takes a fresh and straight forward approach to helping moms and dads to realize that there is a better and more economical way. Through Ally’s effervescent energy, families across the country are being offered a solution to regain control of all that feels misplaced in the last few decades. This Little Parent… is a concept that will allow you to adequately embrace your family values and your entrepreneurial spirit by joining the thousands of other parents who are contributing to a vibrant change! No other program dares to be as brutally honest about what to expect, yet inspires us to take the boldest risks of our lives. This is a truly realistic, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is method that will have you laughing and crying, surviving while struggling, and hammering away at the hardships as you travel through one of the greatest journeys of your life. Get empowered by joining thousands of other parents who have also decided to take a leap of faith into a double career with longer hours and half the pay simply because of the love they have for their children. Each week This Little Parent… invites parent entrepreneurs across the country to share their stories of struggle and success.  Callers with specific questions will be coached on the air.

For more information and to tune in this Friday, visit the show’s website by clicking HERE.

UPDATE: Missed the interview? You can now download and listen to the interview by visiting clicking HERE.

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Filed under Family Work, Fatherhood, Parenting, Radio

FREE Teleparty for Mothers In Progress!

Welcome to the 2011 Mom Gets A Life Teleparty!

(Teleseries + Awesome Women + Big Laughs = Teleparty)


If you are a mom who is ready to move herself up on her own priority list
then this Teleparty is for you!

Normally a teleseries of this magnitude would be promoted with pages and pages
of information on why this series is great!

But that is not going to happen here for one reason:

You are a mom!

You do not have time to read pages and pages of info before you get to the registration page.

And if you are in a real hurry, you can just SIGN UP NOW!

If you’d like to know a bit more about the series, click HERE.

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