Girls Coding

Intuit Blog featured Reshma Saujani, former lawyer and founder of Girls Who Code.  After her unsuccessful run for New York’s 14th congressional district in 2010, Saujani decided to change career paths and pursue a direction that inspired her.  She felt that she could make the strongest impact in the area of coding programs for girls since there weren’t any.  Saujani actually has no coding experience herself but the single mission of Girls Who Code is
to close the gender gap in technology .

Since the launching of Girls Who Code in 2011, with a class of 20 New York high school girls, today, 90,000 girls from different backgrounds and from across the country have been taught to code.

Reshma Saujani is now an author of a book, Brave, Not Perfect.  “In her new book, Brave, Not Perfect, Reshma Saujani explains why she thinks this happens: From a young age, boys are lauded when they take risks. Girls, on the other hand, are told to be perfect, but steer clear of taking chances. Coding, and jobs in tech in general, are all about taking risks.”

Read more:  Girls Who Code’s Reshma Saujani Aims for Bravery, Not Perfection

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Brave, Not Perfect’ Speaks To The Scarcity Of Women In Tech

Check out:  Future Stars S.T.E.A.M. Education Camp

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Heart Centered S.T.E.A.M. Activities

With Valentine’s Day in three days, STEAM Powered Family shares some fun activities centered around heart themes and some of them include how-to videos.  Here are a sample of fun activities that you and your children can  work together on Valentine’s day, or any day after:

  1.  Build a functioning heart model – make a model heart using soda bottles and check out how the valves work between the cavities of the heart.
  2.  Build a DIY stethoscope – use the stethoscope to listen to heartbeats of family, friends and pets and check out heartbeats at rest and right after being in motion. Record the different rates.
  3. Build a glow heart circuit – create a glowing heart circuit that lights up like an LED.  Use glow in the dark pink or red glue to add the valentine touch.

Enjoy your heart themed projects and imbue your kids with a love for science on Valentine’s Day and every day of the year.

Read more:  Heart Science Experiments To Inspire A Love Of Learning

Check out:  Future Stars S.T.E.A.M. Education Camp

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Your Body Language Sends Loud Messages

Janis Meredith of Raising Champion Families has an interesting take on the importance of body language.  Janis shares that, “In 1971, psychologist Albert Mehrabian published ‘Silent Messages’, which included his pioneering research on nonverbal communication. When it comes to credibility, Mehrabian found that we assign 55% of the weight to body language, 38% to tone, and 7% to actual words (Whisper, Mark Batterson).”

Parents and coaches, when you are out there on the field or court, please make sure your body is sending positive messages.  Here are some positive body language that you can work on:

  • Maintain eye contact as it shows that you are in the moment with them
  • Reach out and touch your child to show them that you care
  • Nod your head and smile to show your affirmation

Here are some things to minimize when watching a game:

  • throwing up your hands in the air
  • scowling
  • shaking your head
  • pacing the sidelines

Positive communication both verbal and non-verbal enhance connections between people.  But if your verbal and non-verbal connections are not in sync, your non-verbal message according to research is what will be believed.

For more details:  What Does Your Child Hear When They Read Your Body Language?

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Mind the Messages You Give Your Children

John O’Sullivan of Changing the Game Projects shares, “There is a lot of research emerging about the importance and performance enhancement caused by positive self-talk.”  So how can parents channel self-affirming energy?  Here are some messages that athletes consistently need to hear to help them develop inner talk that is healthy:

  • I love watching you play – it’s not about the outcome, it is about being with your child in the moment.
  • The power of yet – as important as it is to acknowledge work well done, it is also vital to put emphasis on the process, growth and effort – what is yet to come.
  • Talk about the process not the results – Emphasizing only on the results and not the process makes players focus only on the end result, and not what they need to do to achieve their goals.  It also creates extra stress which is not beneficial.
  • Praise good behavior or habits – No matter what the score, always acknowledge contributions that really determine enduring progress.
  • Sports are what you do, not who you are – The sport your child plays is but one facet of who they are and it is important that you encourage them to explore and enrich other aspects of themselves.

For more details:  Our Children Become the Messages They Hear the Most

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One Youth Coach’s Opinion on Zone Defense

Inspirational Basketball shares one youth coach’s opinion of zone defense.  Coach is using the definition that in zone defense each defender guards a specified area while in man-to-man defense each defender guards one opponent throughout the game.  This coach says that zone defense should not have a large presence in youth basketball.  Here are some of the reasons and explanations why coach feels this way:

  1. Rebounding – can be difficult for players within a zone to quickly find specific players to box out for a rebound and sometimes the defenders become more stationary covering the zone while the offensive players have momentum.
  2. Penetration – can occur when  good outside shooters penetrate weak zone perimeters.
  3. Passing – can happen more as defenders guard zones, good passers can circumvent the gaps between zones
  4. Trailing – when you are trailing behind in points zone defense often gives the other team time to possess the ball more
  5. Nurturing young talent – zone defense supports defending from a stationary place therefore other skills like speed and team work may not be as developed

Coach shares that though professional and college teams utilize zone defense in their strategy, it should be limited for younger players.  Young players will benefit from man-to-man defense as it develops a whole range of skills that include a more aggressiveness stance, speed, agility, footwork, etc.

For more details:  Why Zone Defense is Bad for Youth Basketball

Check out:  Future Stars Basketball Camp

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Looking for a Basketball Hoop for Your Kids or Toddlers?

The Hoops Geek shared a review on the 7 best basketball hoops for kids and toddlers.  Here are some things to consider when making a purchase:

  1. Safety – look at the materials, breakaway rims, and stability.  Plastic is a a better first choice material, after your child understands some of the fundamentals and safety measures, you can upgrade to fiber glass and metal.
  2. Stability – Light plastic hoops are safer in the beginning.  Wait until your child has been taught the safety measures of using a heavier hoop than can tip over.
  3. Materials – Make sure that the backboard is advertised as indestructible and made of some composite material, such as fiberglass or polycarbonate.
  4. Durability and Longevity – Think about how long you think your child will use the equipment.  There are early age hoops, door-mount hoops and hoops that grow with your child’s height.

Basketball is a great sport to introduce your child to and can be played indoors during the toddler years.  Bright colors and large hoops to make shots on will definitely encourage your toddler to keep playing.  More sophisticated hoops can be purchased later on.   Have fun together and keep working on the shot.

For reviews on products and details:  The 7 Best Basketball Hoops for Kids and Toddlers

Check out:   Future Stars Basketball Camp

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Prepared for Your Audition?

So you read about an audition for a play that you can see yourself in.  You know that you have what it takes, so you decide that you are going to audition for a part.  An Onstage Blogger who is also a director shares her tips on how to prepare for an audition:

  • read the script before the audition to grasp a clearer understanding of the plot, the characters, and their desires
  • add a personal touch to your audition that will make it standout
  • bring your resume which shares your experience and abilities
  • be satisfied with what you have been given to read and don’t ask for more
  • do some research beyond the script to get to know the story, the characters, the setting, and the motivations of the characters

Try out these tips, hopefully you will get the part or at least get a callback.   Break a leg!

For details:  My Five Tips for Community Theatre Auditions

Check out:  Future Stars Drama Camp

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Attracting Children to Drama

Children are attracted to acting for various reasons.  And not all kids interested in drama are ready to get out there and perform on stage in front of a number of strangers.  So how do you draw out the children that are interested but a tad reserved?  Drama Notebook, an organization with a 14 year world’s largest collection of drama games, lesson plans, scripts and drama activities for kids and teens, has some thoughts on how draw children into the world of acting. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Show children that you believe that they are capable of all that they want to do
  • Give children the space to observe first
  • Entice participation at a comfortable pace
  • Be supportive
  • Patience pays off
  • Every step counts as success
  • Not every child needs to be the star and any boost in confidence is a giant stride

” Drama doesn’t have to be about ‘showing off’ at the end. Rather, it is a process that can have a powerful, transformational effect on a person.”

For more heartwarming details:  Teaching Drama To Shy Students

Check out:  Future Stars Drama Camp

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Parents Advocate for Your Child When Needed

As parents, it is important to know when to stay out of a “situation” and allow your child to work out and resolve a problem and when it is appropriate to step in and advocate for your child.  Parenting Aces shares a situation where a rule or an official’s interpretation of a rule did not work in the best interest of children.

In this event on an extremely hot day, 3 backdraw matches were scheduled to be played with an hour rest between matches.  After the first match, which lasted  2 1/2 hours, the parent spoke to the official and asked for extra time between matches, so her son could refuel and re-hydrate appropriately before his next match.  The official granted an extra 15 minutes over the one-hour mandated period.  After he won his second match, the same request was made and he was again given only 15 extra minutes.  In the third match’s second set, an official recommended that he come off the court and retire due to heat illness.

The parent shared, “It turned out that every single boy who had to play 3 matches that day either lost or retired during their 3rd match.  It was just too much tennis in that heat!”

This parent wrote to the appropriate head official of the competition and shared his response which was, ” that the next time, I could use his name and insist on at least as much rest time as the length of the previous match. He told me that I needed to be my son’s advocate and make sure he wasn’t put into a situation that would jeopardize his health or well-being.”

As parents, it is important to recognize that the safety, protection, and well-being of your child is your primary responsibility.  You are entitled to question rules that endanger your child’s health and to share your concerns, experiences and suggestions with the appropriate officials.  When needed hold the officials accountable to change the rules to protect the health and well-being of all tennis athletes.

For more information:  Advocating for Your Child

Check out:  Future Stars Tennis Camp

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Resilience Training for Tennis Players

Martin Method Tennis Fitness shares 6 ways to build resilience in young tennis players drawing from their experience from coaching and playing in Australia, Spain and the US.   Here are some things to work on with your budding tennis player to work on their resiliency:

  • Practice humility – A humble attitude paves the way to viewing a tough situation with acceptance, then moving on and and finding a way to think clearly of a positive plan to overcome the obstacle.
  • Encourage gratitude – A player that doesn’t sit on their laurels is more apt to stay competitive.
  • The team should be motivated by the same message – Parents, coach and player should work in tandem to nourish their shared mindset towards the game.
  • Seek challenge and stretch your abilities – Stay competitive by setting personal goals and seek competitors that test your skills.

For more information: 6 Ways to Build Resilience in Tennis Players

Check out:  Future Stars Tennis Camp

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