Critical Parenting Lead to Anxiety or strict ‘Tiger Mothering’ is effective

Harsh, Critical Parenting May Lead to Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
“Tiger” parents may drive kids’ brains to overreact to errors


In an age when the formula for success seems infinitely regressive—when having a good career means going to a good college, which requires acing your way through a top high school, middle school and even preschool—the onus is on the parent to push, push, push. We want our children to get a foot in the door before they even know how to tie the shoe that’s on it. But should we encourage our children through tender praise, or do we embrace the “tiger mom” strategy of punishment and criticism?( Peck)

Does Science Support the Punitive Parenting of “Tiger Mothering”?

strict mother disciplining childPermanent Address:
A law professor’s new memoir has stoked controversy because of its suggestion that a strict, authoritarian upbringing leads to academic success. But what does the scientific evidence say?

Are Chinese moms superior? That claim was suggested in a headline last week for a book excerpt in The Wall Street Journal by Yale University law professor and self-proclaimed “tiger mother” Amy Chua. It drew roars of anger from parenting experts and the Chinese-American community for its harsh parenting techniques, which included verbal denigrations and negative reinforcement, such as not permitting bathroom breaks or threats to destroy favorite toys until the child performed a musical composition flawlessly. The excerpt attracted numerous comments and responses such as “Parents like Amy Chua are the reason why Asian-Americans like me are in therapy.”

Access issue…SCIAM MIND May 2015…….
KSS Portal>Staff> Library>ereading>



Works Cited

Choi, C. (2011, January 18). Harsh, Critical Parenting May Lead to Anxiety Disorder Symptoms. Retrieved June 3, 2015, from

Peck, M. (2015, April 9). Harsh, Critical Parenting May Lead to Anxiety Disorder Symptoms. Retrieved June 3, 2015, from

Fact or Fiction?: A “Base Tan” Can Protect against Sunburn

Take heed my lovelies. Fair skin or not, protect your youthful skin with sunscreen, clothing, and exposure time.  Skin cancer sucks. -Al Smith

Fact or Fiction?: A “Base Tan” Can Protect against Sunburn
Studies of sunshine-denied human buttocks help settle the matter
By Dina Fine Maron | May 22, 2015 | 
As the weather warms, many of us would prefer to look like we passed our winter days lounging by the pool instead of hunched before a computer screen or lab bench. But soaking up the rays to acquire a so-called “base tan” does not fool the sun or a tanning bed. Simply put, the benefits of being sun-kissed are not even skin-deep.
Scientists came to this conclusion after studying the tanned buttocks of dozens of volunteers. In study after study they have found that a base tan affords almost no protection against future ultraviolet exposure. In fact, it actually puts otherwise pale people at risk of developing skin cancers. A base tan only provides an SPF, or sun protection factor, of 3 or less, according to the U.S. surgeon general. For beachgoers, that means if a person would normally turn pink after 10 minutes in the sun, an SPF 2 base tan would theoretically buy her another 10 minutes—or 20 minutes in total—before she burns. That, says David Leffell, the chief of dermatologic surgery and cutaneous oncology at Yale University School of Medicine, is “completely meaningless” in terms of providing protection.(Maron)

Read more…. Persistent URL:

Works Cited

 Maron, Dina. “Fact or Fiction?: A “Base Tan” Can Protect against Sunburn.” Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., 22 May 2015. Web. 28 May 2015. <;.

 Shlabotnik, Joe. Sunscreen. Digital image. Flickr. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2015. <;.  Image Credit: Creative Commons/Flickr

Geography AP Reading Project 2…Non-Fiction

Our Geography AP class is embarking on another reading project.  This unit is focusing on a non-fiction selection. Students will select a title and research as needed to write various analytical criteria of the human geography curriculum- economic, social, political and nature of place. ASK-a-Librarian 24/7 for questions or suggestions…

Reading List formal Bibliography >

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed Vaillant, John
The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating Smith, Alisa
Infidel Hirsi Ali, Ayaan
The David Suzuki Reader, 2nd Edition: A Lifetime of Ideas from a Leading Activist and Thinker Suzuki, David
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda Dallaire, Romeo
Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa Lewis, Stephen
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World Weiner, Eric
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Klein, Naomi
World is Flat, The: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century Friedman, Thomas
Guns Germs and Steel: The Fates Of Human Societies Diamond, Jared

AP Geo Longlist

Unit Overview:

The project is designed so student’s written reflections address the five themes of Geography (Movement, Region, Location, Interaction with the Environment and Nature of Place).  By it’s natural genre, he NON-FICTION reading titles have more explicit references to each concept. Your outline points should now be more analytical and less descriptive.

Even historical inquiry demands the inclusion of “geographic eyes” to build deeper understanding.  An exemplary book report should include some interpretation of the geographic elements that proves your analysis and understanding.

Book Review/Resource Links to assist in your selection and analysis. Questions? contact me anytime.

KSS Novelist reviews:






Stephen Lewis. lecture on Race Against Time, Massey Lectures. frank, articulate, intelligent essay on AIDS, Africa and foreign policy.

“I have spent the last four years watching people die.” With these wrenching words, diplomat and humanitarian Stephen Lewis opens his 2005 Massey Lectures. Lewis’s determination to bear witness to the desperate plight of so many in Africa and elsewhere is balanced by his unique, personal, and often searing insider’s perspective on our ongoing failure to help.(CBC)


Hayes, Marques. “Geography, More Than You Think.” Geoawesomeness. 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.

“Al’s Geography AP.” Mosaicbooks. Web. 9 Mar. 2015.

Klein, Naomi. “Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine – Part 1 of 6.” YouTube. Policy Alternatives, 2007. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <;.

Lewis, Stephen. “The 2005 CBC Massey Lectures, “Race Against Time” – Home | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio.” CBCnews. Ed. Kennedy. CBC/Radio Canada, 07 Nov. 2005. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. <;.


What is the one book to break barriers?  That’s the question host Wab Kinew will be asking for the 14th edition of CBC’s battle of the books…. Try one for Spring Break.

Follow : web, TV, Radio or Social Media. 

The tradition and literary integrity of this nation wide program is the envy of the world. In Canada, millions follow the reading list, debates and events each year. Where else is there a community book club? 🙂 KSSreads celebrates the event each year.

Past winners and nominees>

If you have read any of the contenders, please post a reply below with a comment or mini review.  Thanks.

New: movie Selma – history drama truth? King was just a man after all

More than ever, people need stronger content filtering tools to find some meaningful and credible understanding. We don’t mean ‘filtering’ as in software blocking or firewalls but rather information ‘filtering’ inside one’s brain. It takes skills and practice- ‘ Crap detention’ if you like. Some information published or broadcast, especially Hollywood movies, is created with entertainment or shock value not integrity. Finding credible content demands critical assessing and curating multiple sources through inquiry. We love historical fiction and biofliks but gather up some non-fiction facts beforehand makes the experience even more enjoyable. Hollywood and even many ‘news’ sources are often just historical fiction on screen. Belief in aliens, axis of evil, Illuminati, or apricots cure cancer but Martin Luther King Jr. was just a man after all. 🙂 enjoy the show. – Al Smith, teacher-librarian.

“Black activism, the White House, David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey.
All four are shared components of the movie Selma and last year’s Lee Daniels-helmed historical weeper The Butler…”(King)

“…. DuVernay has done a great service with Selma. Not only has she made one of the most powerful films of the year, she’s given us a necessary reminder of what King did for this country… and how much is left to be done…”( King)

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly Selma is an important history lesson that never feels like a lecture. Once school is back in session, every junior high school class in America should take a field trip to see this movie.
Be grateful Selma director Ava DuVernay never lets her movie descend to the history-as-soap-opera histrionics of Daniels’ film.
Selma focuses intensely on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mission to mount a 1965 protest march smack in the middle of America’s racist heart of darkness: Alabama.
This scrutiny allows an intimate portrait of King as a flesh-and-blood human being and not a postcard saint….
( Winnipeg Free Press)

READ MORE ABOUT DR.KING AND 60s civil rights on display in the library now. Also read biography on our library’s Facts on File here>

King, Randall. “Powerful Portrait Focuses on King’s Non-violent Goals in 1965 Alabama March.” Online. Winnipeg Free Press, 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 9 Jan. 2015. . Movie: Selma

‘Martin Luther King Jr.’ Encyclopedia Facts on File. Web. Issues and Controversies. nd. Jan 9 2015.

A little history lesson of BC schooling by C Killian

Interesting. As a BC educated professional I was unaware of this history lesson by the esteemed mr Killian. Thank you!

Tension between teachers and government isn’t new: it took a half-century for all to learn their roles. First of two.

By Crawford Kilian, 6 Oct 2011,

How is Depression-era Premier Simon Fraser Tolmie mixed up in today’s provincial education spats? Just study the history.


“….According to historian Ian D. Parker, in 1931 the Tory government of Simon Fraser Tolmie got an ultimatum from the Vancouver business community: set up a business-named committee to find ways to improve the province’s finances in the face of the Depression. Tolmie agreed, and Vancouver accountant George Kidd chaired the committee. Like the Very Serious Persons in today’s recession, Kidd thought sharp cuts in government spending were the key to renewed prosperity: 25 per cent across the board, with special attention to education.

Kidd wanted to cut teacher salaries by 25 per cent, and abolish B.C. school boards (all 800 of them). He thought most students should leave school after Grade 6 and find jobs. Students aged 14 to 16 should pay half the costs of their education. Those over 16 could pay for it all.

Likewise for teachers, who would have to pay the whole cost of their training. Kidd also wanted to shut UBC down altogether, with scholarships for bright students at schools “elsewhere in the Dominion.”

This was in part a reaction to the Depression, but also to the “progressive” ideas that schools had adopted in the 1920s — ideas like vocational training. Progressives wanted more kids to have more education and a better chance for social mobility. Conservatives like Kidd regarded education as a way to identify a few bright kids who could go on to professional careers. The rest could go straight into the labour pool….” ( Killian)

More… Read :

Al Smith @literateowl

Women and water photo essay

Women in Ethiopia struggle to survive without water  -Mustafah Abdulaziz and Johnny Simon

In the Konso Region of southern Ethiopia, the struggle for clean, safe water is a daily reality for women and young girls.

“Bringing the water is not a simple task,” says Mariam Bakaule, a mother standing at the edge of the mountaintop village of Jarso. “This is the essence of women. Water and woman are synonymous here.”(

The village of Jarso, like many of the others in the area, overlooks a vast valley stretching towards the Kenyan border. Yet the relative greenery of the region is deceptive. For the 13,000 people in Jarso, lack of rain in recent years has caused crops of maize, sorghum and haricot beans to fail.


A Palestinian Student Defends Her Visit to Auschwitz

Fascinating story of how, even with educational purposes, ethnic studies can be hijacked by interests and stir old cultural stereotypes or emotional myths. Ms.

A view of the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

A view of the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. (Kacper Pempel/Reuters)


When we Palestinians returned from the unprecedented visit, a voyage that broke historic barriers of ignorance and misunderstanding, we were welcomed not with thanks and congratulations but with an explosion of criticism. Professor Dajani was the target of especially vicious attack by extreme Palestinian nationalists, who accused him of “selling out” to the Jews.

As an educator, Professor Dajani’s purpose in having his students learn about the Holocaust is to broaden their understanding of the psyche of “the other.” This builds upon a line from To Kill a Mockingbird that I remember him showing us in American culture class years ago. In the film, Atticus Finch turns to his daughter Scout and says: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” It is the same idea that the Japanese call oyakudachi, which means, “walking in the shoes of the other.” Professor Dajani emphasized the importance of looking at the other person as if you are the other person. Only then can you truly understand how that person feels and why.( , Atlantic )


Everyone shouts, few listen…

“Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen.”

– Clifford Stoll 1989

Clifford Stoll is an American astronomer and author. He is best known for his pursuit of hacker Markus Hess in 1986 and the subsequent 1989 book, The Cuckoo’s Egg, which details his investigation.

As I mentioned in a previous post, “Cain’s well researched book emphatically provides examples of how we have evolved to devalue the contemplative well thought out expressions.”, our education culture these days has become confused with pace. (Smith 11.15.2012) We live with so much urgency, timetables, bells, deadlines…  Our solution is to give retests! No deadlines. No zeros. No lettergrades.  It’s confusing if not absurd. Education, or public schooling anyway, needs to slow down and let learning take a more natural course. It needs to embrace the introversion side of our brains. It needs more Zen.

Laughingly, last fall, a visiting speaker said to methat our library was very ‘feng shui’.  I had to laugh because despite my best efforts to make the space welcoming and a scholarly tone- mellow it is not.  I should bring on the green tea and work on more Feng Shui. Ban all testosterone, remove some plastic chairs, and acquire some kilim cushions. 😉 Maybe I should rewrite my Library Mission statement to read the “Tao of the Learning Commons” 😉

All joking aside… there is some truth to the intention. Where there is intention there is opportunity.  Without intention there is no progress. If we want to develop high functioning cost effective personalized learning communities- we need to listen better. Listen with our attitude and practices as much as our ears. We need to ‘stop talking’.



Works Cited
“Clifford Stoll.” Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Biography in Context. Web. 23 Dec. 2013.

Smith, A. “Quiet – the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”. KSSreads. Web. Nov. 15 2012. < >

Stoll, Clifford. The cuckoo’s egg: tracking a spy through the maze of computer espionage. New York: Doubleday, 1989. Print.

Talisin. “Okpathways”. Morguefile. Image. Nov. 2005.


(@walrusmagazine) Food Banks may not be helping…

hply2chy37r05cq2r3g0_normal.png The Walrus (@walrusmagazine)
2013-03-12 9:56 AM
The Hunger Game: Food banks may compound the very problems they should be solving…

The Hunger Game

Food banks may compound the very problems they should be solving

By Nick Saul


PICTURE A VAST warehouse the size of a football field. Forklifts stand loaded with wooden pallets and cardboard boxes tightly secured with heavy-duty plastic wrap. In aisle upon aisle, boxes sit on metal shelves that reach all the way to the ceiling. It might be an IKEA store or any modern commodity warehouse. But this is a food bank or, more accurately, a food bank distribution warehouse. Every major Canadian city has one. The largest send out nearly 8 million kilograms of food a year to the hungry people lining up at community-based food banks.

Being Flynn- sobering story of homelessness, addiction beautifully painful

Incredible film from an amazing book about the Flynn family. The harshly real, human tragedy that we essentially ignore every day- homelessness- is the story backdrop. mental health, addiction, homelessness, redemption…and so much more. I see guilt as the foundation of it all. Self-hatred fuelled from chronic guilt. The movie is a poignant human retelling with hope. I ran out and bought the book!

Nick Flynn is a teacher, author living in New York.

Can one life story have two authors?

Being Flynn is the new dramatic feature from Academy Award-nominated writer/director Paul Weitz (About a Boy). Adapted from Nick Flynn’s 2004 memoir Another Bulls—t Night in Suck City, the movie explores bonds both unbreakable and fragile between parent and child.
Nick Flynn (portrayed in the film by Paul Dano of Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood) is a young writer seeking to define himself. He misses his late mother, Jody (four-time Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore), and her loving nature. But his father, Jonathan, is not even a memory, as Nick has not seen the man in 18 years.

Jonathan Flynn (two-time Academy Award winner Robert De Niro) has long defined himself as a great writer, “a master storyteller.” After abandoning his wife and child, Jonathan scrapes through life on his own terms, and ends up serving time in prison for cashing forged checks. After prison, he drives a cab for a number of years, but with his drinking and eccentricities now accelerating, he loses his job. Despite the occasional grandiose letter to his son, he has remained absent from Nick’s life.

Suddenly facing eviction from his apartment, Jonathan impulsively reaches out to Nick and the two come face-to-face. The older man is eloquent and formidable; overwhelmed, Nick nonetheless prepares to integrate his father into his own life. But, as quickly as he materialized, Jonathan flits away again.

Moving on, Nick takes a job at a homeless shelter, where he learns from Captain (Wes Studi) and Joy (Lili Taylor) how to relate to the guests who arrive night after night. Seeing the homeless – some permanently, some temporarily so – and hearing their stories, Nick finds purpose in his own life and work. He also sustains a romance with a co-worker, Denise (Olivia Thirlby). Then one night, Jonathan arrives, seeking a bed, and Nick’s senses of self and compassion falter. To give the two of them a shot at a real future, Nick will have to decide whom to seek redemption for first.

Evocatively told, ruefully funny, and moving in its depiction of the ties that bind, Being Flynn tells a story that reveals universal truths.