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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Edgycate is back from a three-year hibernation. Yes, the blog and I were in sleep mode so that we could take a break and refresh because I didn’t feel excited by writing an educational blog spouting the latest parenting techniques or reading tips.  Parenting is a monumental task and everyday is a challenge.  Some days are triumphant and some embarrassing failures.  Enough said.

 So, what becomes of edgycate?

In my counseling sessions and guidance lessons with high school students, I talk about finding a spark.  Finding that thing that makes you want to get up everyday.  That one thing that makes you lose track of time. Talking on the phone with friends is a spark.  Drawing is a spark.  Playing basketball is a spark.  Being with animals can be a spark.  (For more information about sparks go to and )

 Some people don’t know what their spark is yet.  Totally normal.  Some people have more than one.  Sparks can also change and evolve over time.  My sparks are counseling teens and reading and writing books.  So, I decided to take my own advice and create a website dedicated to issues that teens face and the books that deal with them.

 Ultimately, we want to know that someone else “gets” us.  That someone else has experienced something similar or parallel to the crap that we live through.  High school can be abominable, phenomenal, and all those crevices in between.  Growing up is confusing.  Being grown-up is difficult.  We all see life through our own lens and yet it can be so reassuring when we look at life through someone else’s filter.  You are not alone.  You may feel alone and awkward, but I promise you, someone out there understands. is on its way with YA book recommendations for the difficult  issues facing teens today.  There will be book reviews, suggestions, discussions, and resources for teens and educators.  

Sunday, August 15, 2010


The lack of posts may suggest that I’m MIA this summer, however I’m simply RYA this summer.  Yes, I’m Reading Young Adult fiction.  Voraciously, I may say. 

My young adult appetite has grown due to my impending job as an at-risk high school counselor.  As I ready myself (if that’s even possible) for the counseling task at hand, I find myself turning to literature and wondering how, and if I can use books to touch young people and make them contemplate their life beyond their limited viewpoint? 

There is something so raw and real about a novel that captures the angst and confusion of adolescence.  There is something so comforting about feeling like someone else understands.  There is something special about young adult fiction. 

I have old favorites:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Life is Funny and America by ER Frank

and new favorites:

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I'd love to know your favorites. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Get Dirty. Get Smarter.

Check out the latest study from Children and Nature Network : Can Playing in the Dirt Make You Smarter?

I used to laugh in digust and amusement when my husband told me that he ate dirt as a child.  Now, I wonder if all that dirt consumption contributed to his brilliance in math and physics.

Next time you see a puddle of mud, encourage your children to jump in it, rather than over it!  

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Developmental Assets

The underdog story fascinates me.  How does the young woman, against all odds, become a doctor or a teacher?  How does the abandoned, abused child grow up to love and provide for others?

I am not alone in my fascination.  There have been studies of more than 2.2 million young people to determine what qualities and experiences help young people become caring and responsible adults.  The results are broken down into 40 Developmental Assets.

According to the Search Institute, “Assets have power for all young people, regardless of their gender, economic status, family, or race/ethnicity, and are better predictors of high-risk involvement and thriving than poverty or being from a single-parent family.” 
Check out the research.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


In the world of education, a crisis most often refers to failing a class, failing a test, or receiving less than satisfactory marks on the final report card.  

As a school counselor, I explained how failing could actually provide an opportunity for growth.  Most parents looked at me like I was a ninny because they saw the danger in this type of crisis, but didn't see the opportunity for their child to learn an important lesson.

Too bad I didn’t have the wisdom of the Chinese language to back me up.  The Chinese symbol for “crisis” is a combination of symbols for “danger” and “opportunity”.   

If your child failed or struggled with a subject, this summer brings an “opportunity” to tackle the “danger”.  Examine the roots of the problem with your child and together, create a plan of attack.   

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nurturing the Inner Socrates

Children of all ages constantly ask questions.  Some questions are asinine and repetitive which can drive a parent crazy.  However, some questions reach out and show that a child is trying to understand his or her surroundings.  How can we bring out the little Socrates or Plato in our children?

I came across a great site called  Teaching Children Philosophy.  There are 85 children’s books to choose from with topics and discussion questions.   Thank you Thomas Wartenberg, author of Big Ideas for Little Kids, for creating such a useful tool for both parents and educators.

With The Giving Tree by  Shel Silverstein, we are encouraged to ponder environmental ethics and our treatment of nature as well as happiness, giving and altruism, and the nature of love. 

In Mercer Mayer's There's A Nightmare in My Closet we are encouraged to examine the nature of reality and ownership and control.  
Reading to children is the best way to foster a love of reading.  Take it one step further this summer and have a philosophical discussion.  You may go beyond, "Why is the sky blue?"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Plastic Brains

Is your brain plastic?  Definitely not.  It might feel like it is made of silly putty after hours at a park, but rest assured your brain is regenerative and amazing. 

It used to be thought that as we get older, the connections in our brains become fixed.  However, newer research tells us that the brain has the ability to reorganize itself and form new neural connections.  This is great news for learning.


The more information we discover about our brains and how we learn, the better.  Discovering that our brains never stop making new connections promotes hope for change and improvement.

For example, a Carnegie Mellon University study showed that “Remedial Instruction Rewires Dyslexic Brains, Provides Lasting Results” .

The research gives me hope that with enough remedial instruction I may be able to call my son by his correct name on the first try rather than going through a litany of names, "Dad, Paul, Matt, Charlie, ahhhh you!"  

I'm off to start working on my neural connections.