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Big Learning News 4-27-04

Big Learning News
Karen Cole's Guide to Real-World Learning with Kids
Issue 2:16 April 27, 2004

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Table of Contents

Composting for Kids
Book Review: Educational Travel on a Shoestring
News: Poetry Contest

Composting for Kids

Talk about a science experiment in a box. Composting is about as useful as science experiments get, nourishing the garden and saving landfill space. So turn off that "what will the neighbors think" voice nagging in your head, and check out these sites that explain it all in kid-friendly terms.

Slideshow how-to on composting. Each page is short and to the point. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/sustainable/slidesets/kidscompost/cover.html
Short article on why you'd want to compost: http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0498/et0498s10.html
More detailed, adult level article about getting started: http://www.kidsgardening.com/Dig/DigDetail.taf?ID=1152&Type=Art
Kid-friendly advice on starting a worm-composting bin: http://yucky.kids.discovery.com/flash/worm/pg000224.html
Adult-le vel article on worm composting, complete with where-to-buy resources: http://www.windowbox.com/cgi-bin/experts/DisplayArticle.asp?TopicID=18&ArticleID=199

Book Review
Educational Travel on a Shoestring : Frugal Family Fun and Learning Away from Home by Judith Waite Allee and Melissa L. Morgan (Shaw, 2002). Adult.

Buying information

You need to get out more. Really. But before you go, read Educational Travel , because Allee and Morgan can tell you how to make your adventures more interesting and memorable without breaking the bank.

"We are not talking here about replicating school on the road," they write. "The last thing we want is to encourage parents to turn their family time into lectures and lessons, complete with quizzes to make sure everyone is paying attention." Instead, they recommend ways to break out of the pre-packaged experiences travelers usually encounter, meet local people, and seek out places and events tailored to your family's interests.

Some of their suggestions require a little planning. For example, when researching your destination city, the authors suggest looking for clubs and associations related to your family's interests and hobbies. You can contact members who might be willing to point you to interesting events at your destination, or even invite you over for dinner.

They also show how to find opportunities just by reading the local paper or Yellow Pages. To save money on food, they suggest looking for charity pancake breakfasts. You get a big, cheap meal and a chance to chat with the locals. They also suggest looking for local cooking school restaurants, which often serve regional cuisine at a fraction of restaurant prices.

Throughout you'll find free resources, names of helpful organizations, and pointers to little-known extras offered by attractions for a small fee. You'll want to plan a trip just so you can try out the ideas.

Buying information

Poetry Contest

Young poets can enter this contest on garden-related poetry, co-sponsored by the National Gardening Association and Magnetic Poetry. The contest offers separate prizes for home and school entries, and you can win a kit for casting your poem into a series of decorative garden bricks. Deadline is June 30th, 2004.

To enter, you use an on-line magnetic poetry tool to create to create your poem, dragging the words they provide into place. That means you are limited to the words provided, but there are many to choose from. The tool is fun to play with even if you're not entering the contest.

Fight Hunger
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http://www.thehungersite.com .


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