Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Education: Integrating Social Media into Schools (Part 3 of 3)

Using Pinterest in the classroom
Throughout the past weeks, we've learned how Twitter, Facebook and YouTube help in classrooms.  

Social media is rapidly integrating itself further and further into our business and personal lives, so one can imagine it won't be long before it launches its way into academics. But despite this growing trend, many educators feel resistant towards the social media movement. Even the teachers who do not feel that the idea of social media use in school is negative, don't quite know how to go about using such technology within a classroom setting. There are countless ways a teacher could promote learning through social networking, even through sites less common than Facebook and Twitter, such as Pinterest and personal blog pages. 

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

For a teacher, Pinterest use can begin by simply inspiring them. Searching Pinterest can cultivate new and inspiring ways to keep organized, or even how to decorate and set up their classroom. Weave it into the lesson plan by searching, finding, pinning, and organizing projects, images, videos, and stories to share with students. Then, get the students involved! Allow them to use Pinterest to create projects and presentations. Pinterest also features the use of community boards, which teachers can bring into the classroom by creating them for students to brainstorm group projects and share ideas. It will give the group members a way to all save their resources and progress in one shared place.

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

A blog site may seem far fetched in an educational setting, but it is not only possible, but also quite helpful! The creation of a class blog for students to join, allows them to stay up-to-date on upcoming projects, due dates, events, and other various reminders. Teachers can post homework assignments and classroom updates so absent students can just sign on and see everything they missed that day and be prepared for the next class. Posting upcoming classroom discussions online will give students a few days to think critically and prepare any comments or questions for the next class. One of the most beneficial aspects of a class blog is the possibility for students to post their own work, further developing their own creative voice for their peers to read. Teachers can also post outstanding papers or writing assignments of students online for others to see as an example, encouraging students in addition to rewarding them for their hard work.

Learn more about acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here.

Social media has often been painted in a negative light, being labeled as taking away from students' academic progress, when in reality it has the potential to add to it. Social media is a trend that has taken a life of its own, becoming increasingly part of our everyday lives. So instead of running from it or ignoring it, educators should be teaching their students to use it in a positive way that will enrich their learning experience. If used properly, social media can be a fun, innovative way to learn! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Powerful Moms in Social Media (Part 5 of 5)

Dawn Meehan
Social media has become more and more integrated into our society. People all over the world are activating Facebook accounts, joining Twitter, and creating or following personal blog pages. Even businesses are jumping on the social media train, using sites like Twitter to increase their fan-base and connect with customers. But the group that seems to be rising to the top of the social media world is mothers. Mothers everywhere are dominating Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and more with their advice and mixture of series and humorous stories of balancing work, marriage, and life with motherhood. 

Learn more about acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here.

More and more mommy bloggers are popping up online, but Working Mother has selected fifteen women whose talents for social networking have gotten them national -- and sometimes international- attention. We started with Queen Moms, then Modern Moms, Mompreneurs and Mommy Mavens.  Four women conclude the list of the most powerful social media moms, Dawn Meehan, Amy Oztan, and "dream team" Lisa Stone and Jory Des Jardins.

Amy Oztan
Dawn Meehan has become one of the most popular mommy bloggers in the social media world thanks to her witty blog Because I Said So, which describes life raising her six children. Her blog has grabbed attention for its witty charm, but also because of her occasional highly personal and touching posts, like one about her husband leaving her and another about two of her children being hospitalized for depression. Powerful blogs like these helped her gain the Best Parenting Blog nomination by the Blogger's Choice Awards in 2008. Meehan says her goal of her blogs is to "let other parents out there know that they aren't alone. I want to remind moms that we all experience the daily struggles, chaos, and joys of childrearing." Dawn Meehan has become an inspirational voice in the message that mothers are not alone and how important it is to support one another and use the struggles and triumphs of motherhood to connect to each other.

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

Amy Oztan's blogging career, which she describes as "totally accidental", has grown into much more than a personal hobby. This mommy blogger has changed the face of the digital media community through her surprising level of advertisement on her blog page. She offers full disclosure regarding her compensation by the companies she writes for. This choice has received a mixture of criticism and applause from businesses and the community. She became inspired to take her blog writing from business to personal with her blog Selfish Mom. Her purpose of this blog is to offer busy parents a full and brutally honest product review. Her honesty, along with her unwavering sense of humor, has gathered quite a bit of attention- and landed this mother of two on the list of most powerful social media moms. 

Lisa Stone, Jory Des Jardins
To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

Our next social media mommy bloggers come in a pair. Lisa Stone and Jory Des Jardins are the founders of the very popular blog, BlogHer. These mommy bloggers are especially prevalent to our list because they starting blogging before it was cool. In 2004, the pair launched a site dedicated to building a community for women. Since then it hosts over 3,000 blogs and has more than 34 million hits a month. Wow!  BlogHer is also unique because in addition to its blog page, it also organizes conferences for other women bloggers. Since its beginning, BlogHer has built its way up to becoming the seventh largest blog network in the world! That is quite an accomplishment for these two moms (as well as for their third partner, Elisa Camahort Page who is not yet a mother!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Trendiest Presents for Your Kids this Christmas

The holiday season is upon us and with Christmas right around the corner, parents everywhere are rushing out to check off the items on their children's wish lists. Luckily, there are countless gifts and toys that prove trendy enough to keep from becoming an under-the-bed dust collector. 

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

For all you parents of little girls, brighten up your daughter's Christmas morning with a new twist on an old classic, the Barbie Photo Fashion Doll. Mothers everywhere grew up playing with Barbies, a tradition that countless little girls still treasure. 

For all the Hunger Games fans, bring their imaginations to life with a toy Z-Curve bow, just like the one Katniss used! 

This year's most popular baby doll is the Little Mommy Doctor Doll. The new doll can talk, telling all of her symptoms while your child uses her various medical instruments to hear her heartbeat, check her temperature, even examine her reflexes on her knee (that actually kicks!). 

Has your family received a NookKindle or iPad this year?  Find Fujimini Adventure Series award-winning books here.  Great family-friendly gifts.

Some of 2012's most popular movies have been made into toys that make perfect presents this Christmas. Dolls, such as the Katniss Everdeen doll and Brave dolls, are not only fun but also great role models. Add to her stuffed animal collection by giving her some new soft, furry friends to cuddle with at night

With over 3.7 million Facebook fans, Boo the dog has become known as the "world's cutest dog". Even though she may not be able to cuddle the real puppy, she can curl up in bed at night with the super soft Boo stuffed animal. 

Air Hogs Hover Assault
FurReal Friends has come out with a new stuffed animal to add to the collection as well. The impossibly soft and very cute Baby Butterscotch Pony makes a perfect nighttime companion. 

Learn more about acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here.

And of course, we can't forget about all your rough-and-tumble boys this Christmas! If you have a dinosaur lover on your hands be sure to get them something from Lego's new dinosaur collection. The dino-helicopter and T-rex set are sure to be a hit with your child and all their friends. Spider-Man has always been a favorite, but this year it's especially popular thanks to release of The Amazing Spider-Man. The new Amazing Spider-Man motorized web-shooting Spider-Man action figure (wow that's a mouthful) can shoot webs out of its wrist, then drag it back to place, all while making all kinds of realistic sounds.

The super-sized version of the 3DS, recently released by Nintendo, probably made its way onto many Christmas lists this year -- and for good reason. The screen is almost 90% bigger and comes with more memory space. It has all the same functions as the older version, just new and improved. The next item on our list is a winner in the hearts of any child -- dads might even be sneaking in some time with this new toy! The Air Hogs Hover Assault (even the name is intriguing) takes the flying capabilities of a helicopter and combines it with the driving capabilities of a car. The result: a remote control car that can drive with an impressive amount of speed and then take off into the air and fly! What boy doesn't dream about a flying car? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Powerful Moms in Social Media (Part 4 of 5)

Ann Handley
The popularity and influence of social media has been increasing rapidly, but a new group is stepping forward on top. Mommy bloggers are taking over the social media scene on all fronts -- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, as well as personal blogs. Working Mother has constructed a list to acknowledge the mothers whose tremendous talent for social networking has set them apart from the rest. We have begun, continued and expanded upon these mothers' work. These fifteen women have influenced large audiences and powerful companies all over with their witty and heartfelt blogs about balancing work and motherhood.

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

Ann Handley is what Working Mother refers to as the "social media and technology guru." This mother of two has changed the business world through her blog MarketingProfs Daily Fix. She assists companies making the jump into the social media world by providing them with online media marketing strategies and putting together online content. MarketingProfs Daily Fix has been featured in the top 20 of Advertising Age's Power 150. In addition to her hugely successful marketing blog, her Twitter page has over 104,000 followers and another personal blog! Her personal blog, Anarchy, focuses on family life. She tells stories and gives advice about parenting, balancing a busy work schedule, marriage and more. 
Beth Kanter
It is hard not to be impressed with our next mommy blogger. Beth Kanter's achievements have earned her the titled of one of the most influential women in technology and has been named by BusinessWeek one of the "Voices of Innovation for Social Media." Her Twitter has accumulated a staggering 407,000+ followers and her blog is one of the longest standing online nonprofit sources to date. Her blog,, deals with online marketing services- and this is only an extension of her real career. The inspiration behind her blog and Twitter account is her company, Zoetica. Zoetica provides nonprofit companies with online marketing services. Kanter says that the secret to a successful work life as well as being a checked-in mother for her three sons is to know when to step back and take a break from the Internet and technology. 
Katie Allison Granju
Learn more about acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here

Many of the mommy bloggers present a witty account on the struggles and successes of balancing life, work, and motherhood- but our next social media mom, brings something new to the table. Katie Allison Granju bears her soul on her blog Mama Pundit, touching on some of the more rarely discussed topics such as divorce and miscarriages. Her brutal honesty has gotten a lot of attention from readers, especially those who feel like they can connect with her heart breaking story. In 2010, one of her six children died from a drug overdose. As a method of coping, as well as raising awareness, she poured her heart out in her blog. Her blog is creating a new wave of helping mothers to feel connected with one another and aware that they are not alone during their struggles. In addition to her blog, Granju has started the Henry Louis Granju Memorial Scholarship Fund. This works towards providing funds for families struggling to pay the expenses of drug and alcohol treatment for their children. She also works in the social media department for the t.v. network HGTV.

To re-visit any of the past Powerful Moms series, click here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

'Devil Wife' Trend: Modern Mom or Fearful Future?

'Devil Wife' Terue Suzuki

In the United States more and more women are balancing work, marriage and motherhood. Many are pursuing full time careers and returning to work shortly after the birth of their children, sometimes even having the fathers stay home full time to care for them. In recent years, the tables have turned where now more women are receiving college degrees than men.  The pursuit of a college education and career are acts becoming not only more typical for women, but also increasingly encouraged. But that is not the case in other parts of the world. Even today, in Japanese society women who choose to work instead of staying at home to care for the husband and children are referred to as devil wives. 

This 'Devil Wives' is a trend that the Japanese government is trying harder and harder to change, especially since the occurrence of two economic recessions, which began in 2007. 

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

Despite efforts made by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and the government, the movement to increase the number of employed women has shown little success, with 70% of women still quitting their jobs after the birth of their first child. 

This overwhelming percentage makes women like Terue Suzuki, who returned to work shortly after the birth of her child, a minority. Suzuki moved back to her family home to get help with baby care after resuming her job as a senior manager in cloud-computing services. 

Increasing the number of women who return to work after marriage or childbirth is not going to be an easy task. Increasing women in the workforce involves the changing of opinions, opinions of husbands, parents, employers, and sometimes even the women themselves. These are opinions deeply integrating into Japanese history, culture and tradition. 

Learn more about acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here 

It has been a common stereotype throughout history that it is the woman's duty to stay at home and take care of the children and husband while the husband works. After Suzuki released her story of moving into her parents' home during the week to work and spending weekends with her husband at their shared home, an arrangement she referred to as a temporary "weekend marriage", she received a tremendous amount of criticism -- being publicly nicknamed by a Japanese newspaper "oniyome", or devil wife. In addition to having to change many aspects of Japanese culture, bringing women into the workforce has also proved a difficult task due to extremely limited daycare, peer pressure, and job inflexibility.
Regardless of discouragingly high numbers such as 70%, the government still remains hopeful in its reversal process. Christine Wright, the head of the Japanese unit of Hays, a London-based recruitment company, says that change begins with awareness and that encouraging women to join in the work force must be a "top-down response." 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gingerbread Houses: Not Your Mother's Style (Part 2 of 2)

Making gingerbread houses has been a traditional holiday activity in many families since immigrants from Northern Europe brought it over in the late nineteenth century. It is an activity that children and their families love to do each Christmas season, but over the last few years it has developed into much more than just a family tradition. 

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

Professional exhibits have been popping up, dedicated to the largest and most impressive gingerbread houses chefs -- and sometimes even architects -- can create. Luxury hotels features these life-size gingerbread houses in addition to their trees and other holiday decorations. Often these gingerbread making extravaganzas are used to raise money for charity or as contests for bakers from around the nation to participate in. One would assume that these jaw dropping creations must involve glue or other indigestible tools, but Susan Matheson, co-author of "The Gingerbread Architect: Recipes and Blueprints for Twelve Class American Homes", insists that every gingerbread house must be 100% edible

Hotels around the country participate in the festive gingerbread making. Dozens of New York City bakeries gather together to craft the display of gingerbread houses located in Le Parker Meridien hotel in midtown Manhattan. These houses aren't what one would think of when they think of the traditional gingerbread houses. These bakers work together to recreate historical monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Egyptian Sphinx, and the Mexican temple Chichen Itza -- all of gingerbread

The Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut proudly displays a life-size gingerbread house. The house, made from 6,000 gingerbread bricks, stands over 28 feet tall and weighs over 20,000 pounds! Visitors can even walk through the house to see the rooms which feature a Christmas tree, complete with stockings and cookies for Santa. Now that is impressive!

Learn more about acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here.

In Hawaii, the Waikiki hotel sets the stage for the holidays with a miniature village, all made of gingerbread. This display also features historical landmarks, such as London's Tower Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, and even Hawaii's own Iolani Palace.  

A gingerbread contest in Asheville, North Carolina lets ordinary people put their gingerbread house-making skills to the test. The national competition has more than $7,500 in cash and prizes for the best houses. A panel of judges including pastry chefs, cookbook authors, and museum curators will decide the lucky winners of this contest. The most important requirement- that all entries are 100% edible!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gingerbread Houses: Learn their History (Part 1 of 2)

Making gingerbread houses when you were a child is a tradition most people have done at least once, and many will go on to make them with their own children. It is a fun and festive tradition around the holidays, but most of us don't actually know where this tradition came from or how its link to the Christmas season began. Making gingerbread houses stems from a long history of baking gingerbread in Europe. For centuries, all kinds of gingerbread has been made -- sweet or spicy, soft or crisp, thick or flat. Despite these differences they were almost always cut into different shapes, such as people, stars, or animals, and colorfully decorated and dusted with sugar. 

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

Ginger was discovered to have a preservative effect when added to pastries or bread. This development was most likely the reason why it became a key ingredient in many ginger cakes, cookies, and breads. In the early seventeenth century in London, many of the cakes prepared for the holiday feasts were ginger. These ginger pastries were seen to be such a delicacy that it was even considered a profession to make it. These professionals had the exclusive rights to make gingerbread -- except on Christmas and Easter. 

Learn more about acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here.

During the nineteenth century, the creation of gingerbread houses first surfaced. During the Grimm brothers' collection of German fairy tales, they stumbled upon Hansel and Gretel, the story of two children who discovered a house made of bread, cake, and candy. After this discovery, towards the end of the nineteenth century, composer Englebert Humperdink created an opera about Hansel and Gretel and the gingerbread house. This created the German tradition of making "lebkuchen" houses around Christmastime. 

Settlers from Northern Europe brought with them many customs and traditions when they immigrated to the United States, one of them being the creation of gingerbread houses. Now, many years later, nowhere in the world has as many variations and recipes using ginger. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Powerful Moms in Social Media (Part 3 of 5)

Ciaran Blumenfeld 

Working Mother has put together a list of fifteen women who can be called the "most powerful" mommy bloggers in social media to date. Previously we showcased the first and second set of mothers.  This third showcase continues to honor mothers.  Their voices are being heard across multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and their own personal blog pages. In addition to all being powerful-influencers reaching large audiences of regular people as well as big companies, these women all have another thing in common- they all have at least one child under the age of eighteen.

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

The list continues with mommy blogger number seven, Ciaran Blumenfeld. This social media powerhouse has racked up over 51,000 followers on Twitter, in addition to starting, a social networking site dedicated to mom-friendly blog posts and other content. Her blog and other ventures into the social media world inspired her to take her ideas further, leading to the creation of her children's clothing line, Francie Pants.  Blumenfeld has her hard work and dedication to thank for her climb up the mommy blogger ladder, but also her four children. She says the "boom of blogging and birth of social networking was well timed with the arrival of my four kids. As a work at home mom, it was a pleasure to connect with other in similar situations. Sharing my knowledge and experiences with other parents has been a fabulous adventure."

Brooke Burke
The next most powerful mom on the list is Brooke Burke. She is known mostly for hosting the popular t.v. show Dancing With the Stars, but that's not what landed her number 8 for most powerful mommy bloggers. While her 1.81 million followers on her personal Twitter is admirable, it's her 121,000 followers on her blog's Twitter page that has us impressed. The mother of four is the creator of Modern Mom, a blog that covers everything from celebrity moms to children's books. In addition to that, she also owns Baboosh Baby, which sells mom necessities. In 2010 Burke expressed the importance of having communication with your kids, such as letting them know what you're doing, when you'll be home, and stressing that you will always be back. She says dialogue with your kids is the most important component of being a successful working mother

Ree Drummond
Learn more about acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here 

The next mom on the list takes social media powerhouse to a new level. Ree Drummond, also a mother of four, has even gotten some celebrity attention for her blog titled The Pioneer Woman. She blogs about her life, which has been thought of as so interesting it is rumored Reese Witherspoon is being sought out to play Drummond in a movie. Her blog talks about how she was a self-proclaimed party girl in L.A. until her life turned upside down when she packed up everything and moved to Oklahoma to marry a cattle rancher. This adventure inspired her to begin her blog in 2006 about motherhood, her family, and her life on the ranch. Her story caught on, and quickly. Since its creation, her number of visits per day has gone up to over 22.3 million page views a month in addition to 4.4 million unique visits. Her Twitter page boasts over 231,000 followers and it has been reported that she makes about $1 million from ad revenue per year. She is the author of a cookbook and a novel, titled From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, which landed number two on the New York Times Best Seller List in 2011. The Pioneer Woman has won three different honors at the Weblog Awards, one in 2007, one in 2008, and one in 2009. Also in 2009 she took the top prize has the Weblog of the Year. That is one successful mommy blogger!

Return back to see both our first set of honored mothers and our second set of proud working Mothers.

Education: Integrating Social Media into Schools (Part 2 of 3)

Earlier we discussed the benefits of YouTube, today we move on to Facebook and YouTube.

The use of social media is something that has been carefully avoided, and often times banned, from schools -- but with rapidly changing technology and an increasing relevance of social networking in people's personal lives and even at work, it is a subject that is becoming hard to ignore. Social networking is a trend that is unlikely to become quiet anytime soon, so shouldn't schools try to find positive uses for the social media rather than just sweeping it under the carpet? Most parents and teachers have been well informed of the horror stories of Facebook or MySpace but many aren't aware of the many benefits such sites can have. If  done properly, teachers can utilize social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to connect, notify, teach, and curate

To learn more about Modern Moms and The Mom Code, please visit ONCEKids Publishing websiteFacebook and Twitter

Facebook is often used as a means of communication between students. If a student has a question about a test or homework assignment he or she can easily look up a classmate on Facebook and ask. This has been a method used since the creation of Facebook- so why not extend it by adding teacher-student communication? Teachers can use Facebook to make a page or group that the students can join. Teachers can then use the page to schedule events, post notes, and remind students of upcoming tests or due dates. Teenagers are on Facebook so often they can't miss it! Facebook also caters to students with apps and groups such as Flashcards and WeRead. These apps are a fun and easy way of learning that modern day teens can really connect with.

Learn more about educator, acclaimed author and Mompreneur Eileen Wackerclick here 

Recently Twitter's popularity has been soaring, especially with businesses. There are countless ways this new trend can be integrated into the classroom. Teachers can create a feed specifically for the class for their students to follow. This way they can tweet about upcoming tests and assignments, class news, events, and other reminders. It is a fast and easy way to get the word out -- plus students will see the tweets every time they check their Twitter pages (which is probably quite frequently). Teachers can also bring Twitter to the classroom by posting links and articles onto the site for students to view outside of class. This makes homework more interesting than a simple textbook or handout (not to mention- it saves a lot of printing!). Tracking hash tags, memes, and current events can allow teachers to find information relevant to the curriculum and incorporate it into class time, making it a more interesting and "hip" way for students to learn. 

Facebook and Twitter are also perfect sites for not just student-teacher communication, but also communication with other teachers. Groups on Facebook and feeds on Twitter can allow teachers to seek out one another and share ideas. It is also an easy way for parents to connect with teachers and see what their child is learning. 

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are mostly viewed by parents and educators as hindering to their child's education-and in certain instances it can be -- but this can be minimized by incorporating social media into education rather than separating it out. Our youth loves social networking, so we should use that to our advantage to help them love learning too!

Click here to return and visit Part 1: YouTube.