Hanukkah Crafts and Worksheets to Teach Students About Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is the Jewish Festival of Light. It begins the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 27,  this year (very early). On the Hebrew lunar calendar Hanukkah is
always the 25th of Kislev. This eight-day feast lands some time late November to early December on the Gregorian calendar.

Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas. The two holidays share nothing except calendar proximity. Hanukkah celebrates the Miracle of the Maccabees, when the temple lights did not burn out for eight days. The festival involves lighting the menorah, feasting, dreidel games and other activities.

I am not Jewish, but I have always followed the festivals. I'm interested to learn about all religious and cultural celebrations around the world. I'm exploring Hebrew holy days more closely this year as our oldest son is dating a Jewish girl. I found some neat websites with printable activities to help Jewish kids express their faith and non-Jews learn more about them.  Free Printable Hanukkah Crafts, Kids Activities

Should Schools Allow Church Sponsored Activities for Students?

I'm in a quandary. Our local school district allows a religious group to meet in various buildings, to proselytize students and come and go during the school day. The group is a cooperative of youth leaders and representatives of local Christian churches (some Catholic, mostly protestant).

Group leaders are allowed to come during lunch, eat in the cafeteria with students and hold Bible based activities after school. In middle school, they may try to get kids to join their after-school programs by passing out candy to attract them. Now I am firmly Catholic Christian. You might think I'd approve. I don't. These activities are neither constitutional nor safe.   Should Schools Allow Church Sponsored Groups?

VANS Culture Grant for School Arts, Music Programs

I'm going to be honest about two things. I both love and dread getting a Causes notification from Facebook. I have an activist's heart and love supporting worthwhile issues. But I don't that some Causes requests feel more like someone's agenda. Some literally spam me with requests. Post on your Facebook wall, but don't flood my email with your pet causes.

They seem to think because we are friends, our perspectives are the same. Even if we share the same beliefs, we may not agree on the manifestation of those beliefs. Sometimes I feel pressured and proselytized.

So though I participate in causes, I rarely send requests. But I just got one that I don't think will be too divisive: an arts education grant program. I doubt anyone will take exception to promoting cultural enrichment.   Facebook Causes, An Agenda We Can All Agree On

Teen Sexuality--What to Be Aware of for Parents

It irks me when people say "teens grow up too fast these days." It particularly irks me when the people saying it are the ones who weren't there for their kids when they were little. Kids have longer childhoods than ever, now. But if adults don't pay attention, they miss it.

Then there are those who stick their heads in the sand. I'm getting mighty fed up with this talk of our "sexualized" culture. Of course teens are sexualized. Hello--they're in puberty, ruled by hormones. Ignoring that fact will not make it cease to be so. What kids need is help navigating, not pretentious hand-wringing.Teen Sexuality--What to Look For

Back-to-School Early Bedtime Transition Tips for Kids

Though most parents and kids prefer school structure, that summer-to-fall schedule transitioning can be tricky. It's especially difficult for teens and tweens who are used to going to be late and getting up late. Here are ways to move into an earlier-to-bed routine. The secret is controlling what happens in that time before bed. Back-to-School Early Bedtime Transition Tips for Kids

Step Out of the Job Hunting Market; Think Divergent Employment

Unemployment is decreasing. Jobs are being created and the economy is improving. Or so we hear. I think such optimism premature and fanciful. Personal experience has shown me the way solvency in this quicksand economy isn't job hunting, college or even working a traditional job. Survival requires proactive, divergent thinking. Step Out of the Job Hunting Market; Think Divergent Employment

MEAP Scores Show Failing Detroit Schools Are Charter Academies

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder called state and national education systems "broken" in his opening statements at the Governor's Education Summit on Monday. He faults schools for failing to prepare students for the workplace, says the Detroit Free Press. The governor is trying to sell a reduced-price school plan, which looks like a voucher system, reports the Detroit News. But according to Detroit MEAP test scores, charter academies may not be the "value schools" Gov. Snyder touts them as.  Read more

Detroit-Area School Suicide Highlights Gun Control Debate

Tragedy struck at a metro Detroit school in late March. ABC Action News 7 WXYZ reports that a eighth-grade boy brought a handgun to Davidson Middle School in Southgate, Michigan, and shot himself in the school bathroom. In light of incidents like this and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, The New York Times reports that gun control advocates led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) are pushing for stricter federal gun regulations, especially on assault weapons.  Detroit-Area School Suicide Highlights Gun Control Debate

Michigan GOP Challenges Detroit Schools Over Right-to-Work

Detroit-area school officials were taken to task by state Republicans about contracts approved just prior to the date Michigan's right-to-work law takes effect, says the Detroit Free Press. Michigan Democrats want Gov. Rick Snyder and GOP leaders to quit antagonizing schools and colleges about collective bargaining.  Michigan GOP Challenges Detroit Schools Over Right-to-Work

Detroit-Area School Closures Due to Camo-Dressed Visitor

 School was closed Tuesday at L'Anse Creuse High School in Detroit-area Harrison, Michigan, after a man entered wearing camouflage, reports the Detroit Free Press. Was this overreacting by school officials, a logical consequence of post-Sandy Hook fear, or simple common sense? At first glance, they seem to have over-reacted, especially given that Selfridge Airforce Base is nearby. The sad fact is that to prevent school shootings, like Newtown, staff has to be over-cautious. It's a wake-up call to all school visitors to use common sense. The guy didn't need to go clad in full BDU and flak jacket, holster, empty or not. I think we all need to show a little more common sense about messages we send to kids. Is it his right to dress as he pleases. Sure. But can and should are not the same thing. If guns were so readily available yet stupidly used, if gun rights advocates cared less about the second amendment and more about society's rights to safety, this wouldn't be an issue. Detroit-Area School Closures Due to Camo-Dressed Visitor

Cybersafe: Why Teachers, Students, and Social Networking Don't Mix

As technology advances, kids are being exposed to increasing amounts of digital interaction. Cyber communication is even supplanting face to face. While there are advantages to social networking, there are times when it's not appropriate. Speaking as a teacher and parent, I'm concerned about adults and specifically teachers communicating with students via text and social sites. Here's why, plus suggestions for parents. Cybersafe: Why Teachers, Students, and Social Networking Don't Mix

Detroit to Lose 51 Parks - Impact on Residents

Detroit's City Council nixed a plan to lease Belle Isle to the State of Michigan last week. In response, Mayor Dave Bing announced plans to close 51 area parks, cut maintenance at others, and greatly reduce recreation center budgets overall, says the Detroit Free Press. These cuts will impact residents, particularly kids, in significant ways. When municipalities cut recreation services, children and teens have fewer opportunities for healthy activities. Defunct or unmaintained parks become attractive nuisances. Here's how  Detroit to Lose 51 Parks - Impact on Residents

Right-to-Work Not Right for Michigan, Now or Ever

Protesters opposing right-to-work legislation rallied at Michigan's Lansing capitol earlier this week, says WXYZ. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has been flirting with right-to-work since Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ousted collective bargaining in his state last year. In fact, the Washington Post dubbed Gov. Snyder "the Scott Walker of 2014." However, when lawmakers forwarded right-to-work, Gov. Snyder said it wasn't the right thing for Michigan then. Operative word: then. Teachers, pay attention. This legislation will strip you of rights even if you're not unionized. The photo left was taken by my son at an anti-RTW rally. Those are armed guards. They shot tear gas at some kids. For peacefully protesting. So much for the bill of rights.  Right-to-Work Wrong for Michigan

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education.