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Dear Kids, March is here, and spring is finally on the way. In warmer parts of the country, flowers are popping up, and birds are outside singing. And while we’re on the subject of singing, I love music! Music is like an international language. It can get you motivated when you are cleaning your room or help you relax before you go to bed. It can give you something to listen to and talk about with friends — like all those Grammy awards won by Adele and the Foo Fighters. March is Music in Our Schools Month, too. I had the chance to meet a conductor of a symphony orchestra, and he told me all about his musical career. Very cool! In this issue, you can also learn about Newspapers in Education which, since you are holding this paper, you already appreciate! And, learn about your fantastic brain for Brain Awareness Month. I hope you have a marvelous March. Keep reading Kidsville News, and visit us online for fun and games at Your friend,

Art Gallery The Great Composer Johann Sebastian Bach the violin or the organ when it was needed. By the end of 1703, he landed a better Johann Sebastian Bach was an 18th-century German job. This time he was appointed organist at the New Church in Arnstadt. He stayed in musician and composer. He created many masterpieces of Arnstadt for nearly four years, leaving in 1707 to be an organist at a different church church and orchestra music during his lifetime and is one of the greatest composers in history. in a new town. But, this job did not work as planned. Sebastian did not get along with the church’s leader, who thought his music was too complex for church services. A Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21, 1685, in year later, Sebastian returned to his old stomping grounds, Weimar, the town of Eisenach. Sebastian came from where he became the head organists at Duke Wilhelm Ernst’s court. a long line of musicians. His father was a He stayed there until 1717. During his time at Weimar, Sebastian town musician, and two of his uncles were famous composers. When Sebastian was composed some of his most famous music, including the vocal composition “Herz und Mund und Tat” (Heart and Mouth and Deed). a small boy, his father taught him to play In 1717, Sebastian was hired as a musical director for Prince the violin and the harpsichord. Around the Leopold of Anhalt-Kothen. At first, Duke Wilhelm did not want same time, one of his uncles taught him to to let him leave. He even put him in jail! But, Sebastian soon got play the organ. Both of Sebastian’s parents died before out and went to work for the prince. He composed many orchestra he was 11 years old. An orphan, he went concertos and wrote some of his best violin pieces during this time. When the young prince dissolved his orchestra in 1723, Sebastian to live with his oldest brother who worked went looking for a new job once more. He became an organist and as a church organist in a nearby town. teacher at St. Thomas Church. Sebastian stayed with his brother’s family Sebastian stayed at the church until his death on July 28, 1750. until he was 15. He attended a local school and received musical instruction from Although he was famous as an organist during his lifetime, people Portrait of Bach by Hausshis brother. In addition to playing several were not as interested in his musical compositions until the early instruments, Sebastian had a beautiful singing voice. It was because 1800s. Since that time, orchestras around the world have played his mann, 1748 of his voice that he won a scholarship to study at St. Michael’s School music. Written by Tamar Burris, a former elementary school teacher in Luneberg as a teenager. The school was a challenging one, and who now works as a freelance writer and curriculum developer for PBS, the Discovery Sebastian learned much more about music, religion and culture. He also studied with Channel and other education-related companies. Sources: J.S. Bach: Biography, an influential organ teacher and gained a reputation as being an incredible organist Portraits, and Literature,; Johann Sebastian himself. Bach on, left school in 1702. In early 1703, he became a musician at the royal bach-9194289. court of Duke Johann Ernst in Weimar. There he filled in for other musicians, playing

MARCH 2012



Kidsville News!


Celebrate Newspapers in Education Week with Kidsville News! March 5-9 is Newspaper in Education Week! This is a week-long celebration of using newspapers in the classroom to reinforce a positive lifetime reading habit. At Kidsville News!, we believe that reading is fundamental, and we are proud that our newspaper is used in classrooms around the country. Newspapers are for everyone, young or old, girl or boy. And as a kid, you have your very own newspaper, Kidsville News! We really want you to use your newspaper to learn about the world around you. To take advantage of all your newspaper has to offer, it’s a good idea to know a little bit about the newspaper. Informational Text The newspaper is an informational text, which is also a type of nonfiction. The characteristics of informational text are that it 1. Conveys information about the natural or social world. 2. Is written from someone who knows information to someone who doesn’t. 3. Has specialized features, such as headings and technical vocabulary. So what does this really mean? Basically, newspaper content provides information about the real world of the reader (you!). Anything that touches the lives of readers can be found in the newspaper. Newspapers are primary resources for all different kinds of information. It is important that the newspaper meets #2 above: it is written from someone who knows the information to someone who doesn’t know the information. That means that news is gathered and written by professional journalists who operate under a code of ethics. Newspaper editors realize that readers want news they can use. However, what people need can vary greatly. That’s why you’ll find newspaper stories and features you like and some you might not. Photographs, art and advertising are all created by professionals with degrees and backgrounds in art and marketing. At Kidsville News!, we cover a variety of subjects, from holidays and happenings around the world, to fun recipes to make with your parents. A newspaper also uses a variety of navigational aids to help readers find the information they are seeking. They are usually divided into specific sections, such as news or sports. Articles feature large bold

Did you know that National Agriculture Week is celebrated March 1824? This week is set aside to honor farmers and providers of food and fibers. It’s a great time to learn more about the U.S. agriculture system. Do you know where your food comes from? Look up a local farm and see if they offer tours,


headlines so the reader knows what that article is about. Newspapers identify each page with a folio line, which gives the name of the newspaper, the date, the section and the page number. Newspapers also use photographs and captions (also called cutlines), which help the reader know what the picture is about. Look through this issue of Kidsville News! and find some of the elements mentioned above. Use our Brainworks worksheets to test your knowledge. Take a look at your community paper or daily newspaper, too. Now that you know a little bit more about the newspaper, it might be a little bit easier to understand. Have fun, and remember that reading is for life! Information on “informational text” provided by the Newspaper Association of America, “Keep it Real” 2006 Teacher’s Guide. What do leprechauns have to do with Saint Patrick’s Day? Nothing really, but since they are known as Ireland’s national fairy, leprechauns have become a fun symbol of Ireland. And on March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day, it seems as if the whole world turns a little Irish. Ireland, after all, is from where the celebration of the holiday came. St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland. He spent 40 years in Ireland preaching, building churches and helping the Irish tribes. While there, it is written that Patrick performed a number of miracles, wrote many books and shared love with the people of Ireland. He died on March 17, 461, and was later named a saint by the Catholic Church. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide. Today it has become more of a fun celebration than the Christian holiday it was originally. In many cities, there are large parades, parties and lots of green. The shamrock is also a symbol you see a lot during St. Patrick’s Day. It is said that Saint Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock during his sermons as a symbol to explain the Holy Trinity. In Ireland, many people still wear a bunch of shamrocks on their lapels or caps on this day or green, white and orange badges (after the colors of the Irish flag). In America, many people celebrate by wearing green-colored clothing (or risk getting pinched!).

or visit a farmers’ market. Planet Uranus was discovered on March 13, 1781. The seventh planet from the sun was discovered by an English astronomer (who was born in Germany) named Sir William Herschel. March 11 is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time and also “Check Your Batteries Day.” Have your parents check the batteries in the smoke detectors at your house.


MARCH 2012




On March 8, a spring festival is celebrated in India. Holi is a day of fun, and people run through the streets and throw colored water and bright-colored powders on each other. They play Holi by throwing water balloons and smearing washable dyes on friends and family. They also build a huge bonfire the night before made of dried leaves and branches. This holiday may be celebrated on different dates in some parts of India.


Spring forward! On March 11, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. That means you need to set your clock ahead one hour. You’ll lose an hour of sleep, but we’ll have sunlight later in the day from spring to fall (more time to play!). One of the biggest reasons we change our clocks to Daylight Saving Time (DST) is that it saves energy. Energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting our homes is directly connected to when we go to bed and when we get up.

RLD Iran

Noruz (also Nowruz), the Iranian New Year, is celebrated on March 21. This is the traditional Persian New Year. Noruz also marks the first day of spring, and this is a celebration of nature’s rebirth. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox. Families prepare for Noruz with a spring cleaning of the house. They spend the day visiting family and friends. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year, and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals. At the exact moment of the arrival of spring, families exchange gifts with one another.


Have you ever heard of Saint Urho’s Day? It’s celebrated the day before St. Patrick’s Day, on March 16. What is it, you wonder? Saint Urho is the legendary patron Saint of Finland. Legend (or myth!) goes that he chased the Kingdom: Animalia grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, thus saving the grape crop and the jobs of vineyard workers. Phylum: Arthropoda While the story of St. Urho may be more fable than legend, it is true that grasshoppers can destroy crops. They eat half their body weight each day. Adult grasshoppers can also fly miles in search of food. Subphylum: Hexapoda Grasshoppers prefer to eat grasses, leaves and Class: Insecta grain crops. They use pinchers, or mandibles, Order: Orthoptera to cut and tear off food. Like their relative the cricket, they have chewing mouthparts. Suborder: Caelifera There are over 10,000 species of known grasshoppers. Grasshoppers are medium to large insects with short antenna. Their hind legs, or femora, are long and strong for leaping. They have two pairs of wings. The female grasshopper is usually larger than the male. Males vibrate their wings or rub their wings with their legs to make sounds to attract a mate. Grasshoppers use camouflage. The coloring of different species of grasshopper depends on their environment. Many species are green and blend in well in green fields and forests to avoid predators. Grasshoppers in sandy environments are usually more the color of dirt or sand. Grasshoppers are found on all continents except Antarctica. Image sources: BioKids, University of Michigan, The Regents of the University of Michigan,; Wikipedia; The Legend of Saint Urho,

MARCH 2012



Celebrate Brain Awareness Week! Learn about Your Incredible Brain Brain Awareness Week is March 12-18, so this is a great month to learn more about the brain. Your brain is the central command system of your body. It controls all of our bodily functions, including thinking and decision making. The Dana Alliance for Brain Intiatives has provided this information to help you understand what goes on inside that head of yours! Cool Brain Facts

If you had been lying inside a PET or MRI scanner — special machines that let scientists take pictures of the living brain as it works — the scans would show distinct areas of your brain “lighting up” as you did each task. Tapping your fingers in order would activate groups of neurons in at least four distinct areas of the brain:

• The human BRAIN has about 100,000,000,000 (100 billion) cells called neurons.

• the premotor cortex, where you create the instructions for doing the task; • the motor cortex, a sort of relay station that sends those instructions on to the arm and hand muscles that move the fingers and

• Each”typical” brain cell (NEURON) talks to 1,000 to 10,000 other neurons. • The total surface area of your brain is about 2500 sq. cm. (~2.5 ft2)

• the prefrontal cortex, where the brain makes the conscious decision to do the task;

• the cerebellum, which watches over the whole process and adjusts your actions as needed in response to outside cues, such as where your hand is in relation to the desk. All this takes place in a mere fraction of a second. Not such a “simple” task after all!

Did you know that scientists believe that exercising the mind keeps it strong and may delay brain diseases? That means that it is important to keep the brain active. Do mind exercises, puzzles and games, solve problems and make things! Try this! Do each of the following in order.

Task #1, visual imagery, lights up the visual cortex in the back of the brain, as well as pathways leading to it from the eyes along the optic nerve. Identifying individual sounds around you sets off the auditory cortex and related areas. Counting backwards by 7s is a complex thinking task and uses the brain’s center for higher thoughts in the prefrontal cortex.

1. Imagine a place you’d like to be. Maybe it’s riding the crest of wave, or skateboarding down a halfpipe. Lying on a sandy beach? Create theimage of that place in your mind and hold it there for a minute or two. 2. Listen to the sounds in the room around you. What do you hear? Really listen and see how many sounds you can identify. 3. Silently tap your fingers, one tap, one finger at a time, in order. Then reverse the order of tapping. Then tap each finger twice, in order, then in reverse. Then three times, etc. 4. Starting at 100, count backwards by 7s. 5. Remember some event from your past — a bike all by yourself, your grandmother baking back in that place and recall everything you can there with you? What were you wearing? What

the first time you rode cookies. Put yourself about it: Who was were you feeling?

6. Now pinch yourself. Pick a tender spot on the inside of your elbow and pinch the skin just hard enough to feel pain. In doing these six tasks, you’ve made a good portion of your brain work. Even something as “simple” as tapping your fingers in order needs a lot of working together by millions of nerve cells through the brain in perfect timing to make the signals that tell your fingers to move.

Remembering something from the past will likely turn on the hippocampus, an inner-brain structure used in memory, as well as other areas of the brain that relate to this type of memory. For example, remembering the first time you rode a bike, a motor task, will light up the motor area of the brain, and the smell of Grandma’s cookies would activate the olfactory center. Lastly, when you pinched yourself, pain receptors in the nerves of the skin sent a signal back to the brain to alert it to the location and strength of the pain and to start the corrective action if necessary (stop the pinching!). If the pain was great, the brain might release endorphins, natural hormones that block pain signals. As you can see by this brief explanation, the brain is very complex! Learn more at This information is provided by The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a nonprofit organization committed to advancing public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research,


It’s time to get out your globe! You need to know about the imaginary lines on globes and maps. These lines are called lines of latitude and longitude, and they tell a pilot or ship’s captain exactly where in the world a certain place is located. Basically, latitude lines (also called parallels) are the horizontal lines on your map. Lines of longitude (also called meridians) are the vertical lines that run from the North Pole to the South Pole. This mapping system is written in degrees and uses the symbol °. Get ready to travel the world!

On your globe, find longitude of 8ºW and latitude of 53ºN, and you'll find the country of Ireland. It is located in Western Europe, on the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain. The top one-sixth of the island is Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. The country of Ireland is a little larger than our state of West Virginia. Ireland is also called the "Emerald Isle." Isle means island. And, emeralds are green, a symbol of the beautiful green countryside. Ireland gets a lot of wet weather, which helps plants grow. In fact, it is overcast in Ireland about half the time. The climate is humid, and Ireland has mild winters and cool summers. It has rolling plains, hills and low mountains. There are rugged sea cliffs on the west coast. The beautiful Cliffs of Moher are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland. In Ireland, Saint Patrick's Day is a national holiday. In the capital of Ireland, Dublin, there is a parade and a five-day festival to celebrate. Most people in Ireland speak English, but it also has its own language, Gaelic. It is believed that Celtic tribes first arrived on the island between 600 and 150 B.C. English invasions began in the 12th century. After many centuries of struggle between the English and the Irish, the Irish gained independence in 1921. Photo, left: The Cliffs of Moher

Source: "Ireland," The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency,



MARCH 2012

A CONDUCTOR? March is Music in Our Schools Month. I really love music! Even though I only get to go to music class one day a week at school, it is one of my favorite classes. This month, Fouad Fakhouri talked with me about what it’s like to be the conductor of a symphony orchestra. Fakhouri has been the Music Director and Conductor of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina since 2004. He has also recently been a guest conductor at the Cairo Symphony Orchestra (Egypt) and the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra (Sophia, Bulgaria), as well as the Amman Symphony Orchestra (Jordan). And, he is also a composer, creating musical works that have been heard all over the world! TRUMAN: What does it take to become an orchestra conductor? FAKHOURI: The most important trait for a conductor is strong leadership. To be able to convince 70-100 musicians of his or her own vision of the work and more importantly, to inspire them to achieve that vision. Beyond that, a conductor has to learn to play an instrument as well as have a general grasp of all the instruments of the orchestra. TRUMAN: When, and why, did you first become interested in this profession? FAKHOURI: I come from a musical family. My great-grandfather was a church organist, my grandfather wrote music for television and my father currently is director of a music conservatory. I can’t recall a day when I was not interested in music. I was immersed in music from a very young age; however, during my junior year in high school, I began to think about making music my career.

and schools. The young students of today are our future audiences. We need to engage and attract them, to symphonic music, when they are young. Also studies have shown that students who, when young, participate in music programs (whether band, orchestra or choir) have an increased ability for creative thinking and problem solving throughout their lives. Our mission at the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is to “Entertain. Educate. Inspire.” Obviously, we feel very strongly about education, and we have made that part of our organization’s mission. TRUMAN: What is your favorite hobby or thing to do when you are not working? FAKHOURI: I enjoy reading and running. TRUMAN: What was your favorite subject in school?

Above: Conductor Fouad Fakhouri. Right: Fakhouri conducts a symphony orchestra.

TRUMAN: What do you do? Describe a typical day on the job. FAKHOURI: Today a conductor’s duties are very diverse. A major part of my day is spent studying and preparing music that I will be conducting. This takes quite a bit of time since a conductor has to know and understand every part played by every instrument. Also, another significant part of my job pertains to working within the community on behalf of the symphony, serving as an ambassador for the orchestra within the city or region that it serves. TRUMAN: What’s the hardest part of your job? FAKHOURI: The difficult economic climate in the last few years has placed significant stresses on orchestras throughout the nation. An orchestra performance requires a large number of musicians on stage, and that in turn requires a lot of resources. One of the hardest parts of the job is to always make sure that the orchestra has the resources needed for us to continue to provide our audiences with music. TRUMAN: What’s the best part of your job? FAKHOURI: Making music. I very much enjoy working with the musicians of the orchestra to bring music to life from notes written on paper. I especially enjoy our children’s education concerts. It is always a joy to perform for young audiences. TRUMAN: March is Music in Our Schools Month. How important do you think music education is to our schools and students?

FAKHOURI: I enjoyed algebra, geometry and history. TRUMAN: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? FAKHOURI: I can’t remember wanting to be anything but a musician. I always wanted to be a composer and a conductor. TRUMAN: How many instruments do you play, and which ones? FAKHOURI: Piano is my main instrument; however, as I said before, a conductor has to have a strong understanding of all the instruments of an orchestra. TRUMAN: Who is your favorite composer of all time? FAKHOURI: It is difficult to pick only one composer. My favorite, however, would have to be Beethoven, followed very closely by Stravinsky, Bach and Haydn. TRUMAN: What advice would you give to kids who are interested in this profession? FAKHOURI: Music is a wonderful profession. I would advise them to follow their dreams and spend a lot of time practicing their instrument when they are young in order to prepare themselves for further university studies. TRUMAN: Thank you so much for telling us about your career as a conductor. It sounds as though you really enjoy your work. I can’t wait to share this article with my music teacher!

FAKHOURI: I believe that music education is crucial to our students

MARCH 2012



What’s the Difference?

There are four things different between Picture A and Picture B. Can you find them all?

Nutrition Word Find

It’s National Nutrition Month! Find the hidden words in the puzzle that relate to nutrition. BEVERAGES BODY CALORIES CHOLESTEROL






MARCH 2012

Image: Truman Tru-

Truman’s Tricky Picture

Find these items! Be sure to find Truman’s hat! Look for more fun and games at

MARCH 2012



Story Time with Truman Quetzalcoatl (Ketz-al-co-ah-Tel)

DAVY: After years of playing alone, Garrett had learned to think everything through in minute detail. He’d spent thousands of hours imagining and planning all sorts of things. When Ronda had told him how Toby would bite off his ear or tear out his hair by the roots, Garrett had immediately set to work on a plan to defend himself. Every day since they had talked, Garrett had gone over his plan in his mind dozens and dozens of times. He had made up his mind he was not going to wait and see how Toby would abuse him and force him to beg for mercy. He remembered what Davy had taught him: “If you know you’re gonna to get into it, strike first, strike hard and don’t stop ‘til your absolutely positive it’s over.” Toby stepped forward, expecting Garrett to take the first blow. That was the accepted protocol for a fight. Everyone knows it isn’t a fight until the first blow has been struck. And since Toby was the bully, it was his job to strike first. But Garrett had already determined that rules that favored Toby are not rules he was gonna play by. Garrett flipped his crutch tip up and jammed it into Toby’s big belly just as hard as he could. Then he lifted the crutch with both hands and thumped Toby’s head like a mallet on a melon. When Toby grabbed his head, Garrett turned to see exactly what he had expected to see. Todd Smith was coming for him. Todd met the tip of Garrett’s crutch right in the middle of his forehead. Garrett flipped the crutch end for end


Chapter Six, continued

and hammered Todd’s knee. Then Garrett dropped his crutch and jumped right on top of Toby. Garrett grabbed Toby’s right ear like it was the knob on a door and began punching Toby with his bony fist just as hard and fast as he could. Toby tried desperately to hold Garrett back. GARRETT: You like beatin’ up little girls? You like pickin’ on people for no reason? DAVY: Toby reached up with both hands and was able to grab and hold Garrett’s arm to keep him from punching. Garrett bit Toby’s finger. TOBY: Owww! You bit me! DAVY: Garrett began punching like a mad man with both hands. Mostly Garrett hit Toby’s arms, but he kept after him. After a few moments Toby managed to gather himself enough to roll over and throw Garrett off. But before he could even move, Garrett was back on him like a pit bull on a parrot. TOBY: Get him off of me! Get him off of me! MRS. STERNHAMMER: Garrett Spencer! Get off of him this instant. TOBY: He’s crazy! Get him off me! I’ve had enough! Get off! Get off! GARRETT: I’ll tell you when you’ve had enough! DAVY: After a minute or two more, Mr. Worlton arrived and grabbed Garrett up under one arm and his crutch in the other and headed for his office. MR. WORLTON: I’ll take care of this one; you see to that one. DAVY: Garrett walked by Mr. Worlton’s huge wooden paddle hanging on the wall. Without really thinking about it, Garrett’s left

hand moved around to cover his back side. Mr. Worlton saw his unconscious gesture out of the corner of his eye and smiled to himself. MR. WORLTON: Garrett Spencer. I’m going to suspend you for a week. That’s the rule for fighting, and I can’t allow fighting for any reason. I am also gonna write a letter to your father. I want you to give it to him. Now remember, I said I want you to give this to your father. DAVY: Mr. Worlton sat for some time without saying anything. Then slowly he reached into a drawer. Garrett was certain he was going to pull out a club, another paddle or a rubber hose. Instead it was a very large piece of candy, and he handed it to Garrett. MR. WORLTON: Here you are. Now you just sit here and eat while I write your father a letter. DAVY: Garrett just sat and enjoyed his chocolate while Mr. Worlton wrote his letter. GARRETT: Hi. Mom? CATHERINE: Hello sweetie. Dinner’s ready, so wash up. How was school? GARRETT: Ok. Dad? JAMES: What, Garrett? GARRETT: Um. Here. CATHERINE: What’s this? JAMES: A letter from Mr. Worlton, the headmaster. DAVY: What’d you do? Beat up the school bully? JAMES: That’s exactly what he

did. DAVY: Ha! Ha! Ha! I knew it! JAMES: Read it for yourself. Mr. Worlton says he is forced to suspend Garrett because that’s the rule. But that we should be very proud of him. Mr. Worlton says he demonstrated what it means to be a fine, honorable man. He defended Ronda Steeneck from the school bully, Toby Hallorand. He is the first boy to have the courage to stand up to Toby, who is much bigger, older and stronger. DAVY: Catherine was stunned. She’d always expected Garrett would be the victim in this kind of a situation, not the victor. James and I patted Garrett on the back till I’m sure his back was sore. Catherine just stood with tears in her eyes. Finally, Catherine wiped her eyes with her apron, then hugged Garrett. CATHERINE: I’m very proud of you. Not for fighting. But for standing up for what is right. Well, it’s time for dinner. Now that that is taken care of, I have another little surprise. Not nearly as shocking as Garrett’s. But a surprise none the less. I have a friend. TO BE CONTINUED...

To listen and read-along with the rest of this month’s episode of QUETZALCOATL, go to or A Teacher’s

Guide to accompany this 12-chapter story is available at

An audio version CD-set and workbook are also available online. Copyright 2011 by Carl F. Gundestrup. All rights reserved. Now Available: Get the “Digital Download” audio adventure for $1.99 for Kidsville News kids, teachers and parents at www. Use the code word DAVY JONES.


MARCH 2012

A Friend Is, Does and Says... By Barbara Gilmour

The kids were all excited that Francie was back for another “Cool Kind Kid” class. She greeted Tanner, Nicole, Rudy, Stephen and Carmen all by their names. Then she saw Truman and said that her friends wanted to meet him. They all thought having a dragon for a friend was cool. I told everyone how cool it is to remember someone’s name. Nicole raised her hand to add, “Remembering someone’s name shows you care about them.” Rudy jumped in with, “That’s a good way to make friends!” “Today we’ll be talking more about being a friend. Do you think there are some things that you can do to help you have more friends?” Everyone said, “Yes!” “Let’s see how many things you can think of that would be what a good friend is, does and says.” Every hand went up. Francie shared, “I like to help and encourage my friends.” Nicole added, “It’s not cool to tell others what your friends tell you.” “We should keep a friend’s secret and not post stuff on the Internet about anyone, either,” Rudy said. Tanner continued by saying, “Listening when a friend shares a problem shows we care.” Carmen added, “It’s kind to cheer each other up.” Truman said, “I like to have fun with my friends. We play games together and hang out at each other’s homes.” “That means sharing toys, games and books, and taking turns and playing fairly,” added Stephen. Nicole also added, “When visiting a friend’s house, we need to respect their rules and their space and treat their stuff the right way.” “You have great ideas for how to be a good friend.” Tanner shared, “There’s a new kid on my block, and I wanted to make him feel welcome and included. I walked with him to school and introduced him to my friends.” Carmen high-fived Tanner, saying, “Way to go, Tanner. That was kind and cool.” “Have any of you heard the term ‘after you’?” Some of the kids looked puzzled. Nicole said, “Isn’t that when we let a friend go first?” Rudy added, “Like giving your friend the last cookie?” “Both of you are right.” Stephen commented, “That’s holding the door and letting someone go through first, right?” “It can also mean letting your friend choose the game you play, or letting them play with your special toy first.” Truman added, “I am different, so I try to be accepting of everyone. It isn’t fair to tease or pick on someone because he or she isn’t just like you. You can really hurt someones feelings. A cool and kind person is considerate of a friend’s feelings.” Rudy jumped up and yelled, “Let’s put the ‘Cool Kind Kid’ Challenge to work here. We can all practice the things we need to say and do to be a good friend. And, let’s get all the other kids at school on board, too. Maybe if more kids are trying to be friends, they won’t need to be bullies.” Everyone agreed that was a great idea. Barbara Gilmour, Tanner’s grandmom, is the creator and developer of the Tanner’s Manners: Be a “Cool Kind Kid” Social Skills, Character Values and Anti-Bullying educational materials and the award-winning “Cool Kind Kid” Audio CD. © Cool Kind Kid. 866-KID-KIND. www.CoolKindKid.

MARCH 2012



Another Lap for the Plucky Planet (Sun and Earth have a chat)

By Diane K. Fisher

“Well, another year’s passed for you, little blue Earth. You’ve run one more lap ‘round my blazing hot girth Through my merciless winds, for yet one more year You’ve kept a firm hold on your atmosphere.” “Dear Sun, you’re most generous with all of your praise. You know it’s a feat to defend from your blaze. For you hurl out harsh rays and electrical dust That could fry life on Earth. It would truly combust! “It’s been quite a workout! It takes quite a while, To go five hundred eightyfour millions of miles! To spin three hundred sixty five times, plus a quarter. Not to gripe, though. I don’t want the trip to be shorter! “For Earth’s yearly lap is just about right. Much closer I’d fry and be blinded by light. And farther away my whole ocean would freeze. I’d have nothing like fishes, and people, and trees.” “How convenient my energy thaws out your ocean. But remember I’m all about nuclear explosion! My temper is fiery. I’m stormy. Hotheaded! I hurl out a wind full of ions — most dreaded! “With electrical charges, these dust bits are brutal, Race a million or more miles per hour, it’s futile To plant any trees, grow a frog, or a gnu! So tell me, small Earth, what trick do you do?” “I have an invisible shield! It’s protection, A bubble of safety, against your aggression. My core’s spinning metal. It’s electromagnetic. It puts out a force field that’s quite energetic. “That keeps out your dust. But there’s yet one more question. Your X- and UV rays — quite bad for digestion! Lucky for me, my atmosphere scatters Those rays, and lets through the light that most matters.” “How clever you are! I would never have guessed By your small fragile face you’re so heartily blessed.” “Fortune is mine. I am one lucky sphere. Off I go, cheer me on, for another fine year!” Listen in on more of this meeting between Super Star and the Plucky Planet at Illustration is by Alexander Novati. This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

MARCH 2012



Conservation o r n e r Time for Spring Cleanup!

It’s March, and spring is on the way. For many people, that means a lot of yard work to get rid of leaves and yard debris that accumulated over the winter. These wastes cleaned up from many yards add up to a heavy load in our landfills. What can we do to reduce the amount that goes to the landfill? An alternative to filling landfills with leaves and yard waste is to compost in your backyard. Then you’ll have nice, rich soil to add to not-so-good soil for flower beds and gardens. According to Denver County Extension Master Gardeners, the best, most environmentally friendly way to handle plant wastes from spring yard cleanup is to bag and save them for a few weeks. This first spring cleanup of the year provides a lot of “browns” (dried plant materials, such as leaves and dead grass) but not many “greens” (fresh plant material). Equal amounts of both types of yard waste are needed for good composting. If you save these first “brown” wastes of spring for a few weeks, the spring flush of “green” yard wastes from lawn mowing and spring flower trimming will be here soon. By then, composters will be looking for “browns” to add to the compost mix. Saving the first “brown” plant wastes of spring makes sense if you are beginning to compost in your yard this year. Beginning composters can get specific guidelines to composting by contacting their county Cooperative Extension office. Ask for a fact sheet titled “Composting Yard Wastes.”

Source: Colorado State County Extension Master Gardener,

MARCH 2012



AT THE MOVIES Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (In Theaters: March 2) “Welcome to Thneedville, a city they say that was plastic and fake. And they liked it that way! No nature, no flowers. No one seemed to mind. But a secret was waiting for someone to find.” Funnyman Danny DeVito is the voice of a mystical orange creature called the Lorax from Dr. Seuss’ popular children’s book. Inspired by the wishes of a cute girl named Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift), 12-year-old Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) goes off in search for a “real, living” tree. Yes, a tree. It seems that the town where Ted lives has forgotten all about nature. Only the Lorax can help Ted restore trees to his all-fake town. Delivering one of the Lorax’s special trees might be what it takes to win Audrey’s heart for Ted. The ecologythemed story celebrates the wonders of Mother Nature with plenty of humor and a kaleidoscope of colors. “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” will be available in theaters in 2D, 3D and IMAX3D versions. Rated PG for brief mild language. 94 mins. (Universal Pictures) The Kid with a Bike (In Theaters: March 16) Admired sibling filmmakers the Dardenne brothers, from Belgium, create a winning French-language drama about a troubled 11-year-old boy named Cyril. Sad after his father abandons him, Cyril searches for his bicycle. It’s the one thing that gives the lonely boy a sense of freedom and hope. Cyril’s life gets better when a generous hairdresser named Samantha takes him in to live with her. Still, Cyril is disobedient to Samantha. Nevertheless, she refuses to give up on the boy. The big question is, can Samantha turn Cyril into a good boy before it’s too late. “The Kid with a Bike” is a perfect drama to open up family discussions with pre-teen children. It’s also a great opportunity for young students of the French language. Reading skills will also be improved watching this wonderful subtitled foreign movie that won a big prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Not Rated 87 mins. (IFC Films) Mirror Mirror (In Theaters: March 30) The famous fairy tale of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” gets a modern makeover. Julia Roberts plays the wicked Queen who can’t stand


the idea of a lovely young princess called Snow White (played by Lily Collins). The evil Queen steals control of the enchanted kingdom bestowed to Snow White. The Queen plans on marrying Prince Alcott (played by Armie Hammer). The trouble is that the good Prince has already seen the most beautiful woman in the whole world, Snow White. Even with the help of her helpful servant Brighton (Nathan Lane), the jealous Queen will have her work cut out for her. Snow White gets some very unusual help from a group of very smart dwarves. They teach the young beauty a thing or two about using a sword and give her clues about taking back the empire that belongs to her. Comedy, romance and adventure come together in a magical kingdom surrounded by a snowy forest where everything is possible. Can Snow White conquer the evil Queen who has magic spells and potions up her sleeve? You’ll have to see “Mirror Mirror” to find out. Rated PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor. (Relativity Media) MOVIES ON DVD Happy Feet Two (Available March 13) The first “Happy Feet” movie took inspiration from the documentary “March of the Penguins” to create a story about two Emperor Penguins who find their ideal mate and produce a son named Mumble. Even if Mumble couldn’t sing a note, the little guy sure could dance. In “Happy Feet Two,” Mumble (voiced again by Elijah Wood) has grown up. He has a shy son named Erik (Ava Acres) trying to discover his own individuality in a sea of dancing-and-singing penguins in Antarctica. Erik decides to run away from home just before an ice-shelf breaks off, stranding his community of penguins from being able to get food. Hank Azaria voices the Mighty Sven, a Swedish puffin masquerading as a flying penguin that helps rescue the stranded penguins and reunite Erik with his family. Rated PG for some rude humor and mild peril. 99 mins. (Warner Bros. Pictures) Cole Smithey, also known as “the smartest film critic in the world,” has been a film critic for 11 years and writes for over 50 publications, in print and on-line. Truman loves to watch movies and has the highest appreciation for great popcorn.


MARCH 2012


Together Time — Ask an adult for help with projects!

Loving the Gluten-Free Lunchbox! When a child suffers from gluten intolerance, the task of packing a lunch can be a challenge. Since white bread usually is the star of the traditional lunch box lineup, French Meadow Bakery has developed a tasty new sandwich bread as the perfect midday staple for children and adults living with gluten intolerance.

Nutrition Word Find

It’s National Nutrition Month! Find the hidden words in the puzzle that relate to nutrition.

For a delicious, gluten-free lunch box, begin with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. To ensure growing children get plenty of protein, add a tasty dip made with Greek yogurt as a hearty and healthy condiment.




Instead of the everyday sandwich, make savory Italian Dunkers for an exciting change of pace. Kids will love the easy-to-eat and fingerfriendly lunch, and moms will love serving a well-rounded, nutritious meal.

Italian Dunkers

What You Need: • 2 slices gluten-free sandwich bread • 1/4 cup Italian cheese blend • Garlic powder • 1/4 cup jarred marinara sauce How to Make It: Turn on broiler to high. Sprinkle cheese over bread. Sprinkle with garlic powder, if desired. Broil on medium shelf for about 4-5 minutes, until cheese is golden brown. Slice into strips. Serve with marinara sauce.

Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip

What You Need: • 7 ounces Greek yogurt • 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise • 2 teaspoons dried dill • 1/4 teaspoon granulated onion • 1/4 teaspoon beau monde seasoning (a seasoning salt made of clove, cinnamon, celery, allspice, bay leaf and other spices)

What’s the Difference?

How to Make It: Stir all ingredients together. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Serve with fresh vegetables. Recipe provided by Family Features and French Meadow. For more information about delicious products that make gluten-free meals on the go possible, visit




MARCH 2012

MARCH 2012



P ARENTOWN’S Five Ways to Save Money on Health Insurance If you’re like most consumers, you’ve probably seen your health insurance premiums go up in the last year. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, family health insurance costs for those with employersponsored coverage increased by nine percent in 2011. Maybe it’s time for a health insurance checkup. Take a look at what you’re paying for coverage, think about which benefits you value most and read the following five tips designed to help you save money on health insurance in 2012: Review your options annually. Whether you get your health insurance coverage through an employer or purchase an individual policy, you should review your options at least once per year. Health insurance companies are bringing new, innovative options to the market all the time. Just remember that it’s still possible to be declined for an individual policy due to a pre-existing medical condition. Don’t cancel your current plan until you’re officially approved for a new one. Cultivate healthy habits. By taking care of yourself now, you may be taking care of your pocketbook in the future. A recent study conducted by eHealth Inc., found that of over 200,000 consumers with brand-name health plans purchased through, smokers paid 14 percent more on average for their monthly premiums compared to nonsmokers. Policyholders with a body mass index in the “obese” range paid more than 22 percent more than those in the “normal” BMI range — an average annual savings of $444. Try a plan with a higher deductible. If you’re relatively healthy and rarely see the doctor, consider switching to a plan with a higher annual deductible and a lower monthly premium. Thanks to the 2010 health care reform law, some preventive care services will still be available to you with no out-of-pocket cost. Just be sure that you can afford to pay the full deductible in case of a serious injury or illness. Consider splitting up the family. There’s no law that says you need to have the whole family on a single health insurance plan. For example, some employers pay a substantial amount of employees’ monthly premiums but little — if anything — for their dependents. You may be able to save on your monthly health insurance costs by putting your dependents on a plan of their own. Mix and match additional benefits. Even if your employer provides dental and vision benefits, it may be worthwhile looking into these plans on your own —whether for your whole family or just for dependents. You may be able to save money and get benefits better matched for your family’s needs. For more health insurance shopping tips and ideas, visit and request a free copy of their new book “Individual Health Insurance For Dummies — Health Care Reform Special Edition. Photo courtesy of Getty Images. Source: eHealthInsurance and Family Features.


K ID S MART Cinco Maneras de Ahorrar en su Seguro de Salud Si usted es como todos los consumidores, probablemente noto que su seguro medico aumento sus pecios en el último año. Según la Fundación de la Familia Kaiser los costos de seguros médicos familiares para los que tienen su seguro medico por medio del empleador aumentaron 9% en el 2011. Tal vez es el momento de que le dé un chequeo a su seguro medico. Cheque lo que está pagando por cobertura, piense en los beneficios que más valora, y lea los siguientes cinco consejos diseñados para ayudarle a ahorrar dinero en su seguro medico en el 2012. Revise sus opciones anualmente. Si obtiene su seguro medico por medio de su empleador o compra una póliza individual, usted debe de revisar sus opciones una vez al año. Las compañías de seguros médicos están ofreciendo nuevas e innovadoras opciones al mercado todo el tiempo. Solo recuerde que todavía es posible que le nieguen una póliza individual debido a una condición médica pre-existente. No cancele su plan actual hasta que este oficialmente aprobado para uno nuevo. Cultive hábitos saludables. Si se cuida ahorita, puede que este cuidando su bolsillo en el futuro. Un estudio reciente conducido por eHealth, Inc. Hallo que más de 200,000 consumidores con planes de salud de marca comprados atreves de , los fumadores pagan 14% más en promedio por su abono mensual que los no fumadores. Los individuos con índice de masa corporal en el grupo “obeso” pagaron más del 22% que los que tienen masa corporal en el grupo “normal” – un promedio de ahorros anuales de $444. Intente un plan con un deducible más alto, si esta relativamente saludable y es raro que visite un doctor, considere cambiar a un plan con un deducible más alto y un pago mensual más bajo. Gracias a la reforma de salud del 2012, algunos servicios de atención preventiva seguirán disponibles sin costo alguno. Solo asegúrese que pueda pagar todo el deducible en caso de una lesión o enfermedad grave. Considere separar a la familia. No hay ninguna ley que diga que necesita tener a toda la familia en el mismo plan de seguro. Por ejemplo algunos empleadores pagan una cantidad sustancial por los pagos mensuales de los empleados pero poco- si no es que nada- por sus dependes. Puede que ahorre en su costo mensual por seguro medico si pone a sus dependes en un plan aparte. Mezcle y combine los beneficios adicionales. Aunque su empleador provea beneficios dentales y de visón, puede que valga la pena buscar estos planes por su cuenta- ya sea para usted o toda su familia, o solo para sus dependes. Puede que ahorre dinero y obtenga beneficios más adecuados para las necesidades de su familia. Para más consejos e ideas sobre la compra de seguros médicos, visite y pida una copia gratuita de su nuevo libro “Individual Health Insurance For Dummies- Health Care Reform Special Edition” (Seguro de Salud para tontos-reforma del cuidado de la salud edición especial.) Foto cortesía de Getty Images; Fuente: eHealthInsurance y Family Features


MARCH 2012

P ARENTOWN’S K ID S HAPE Indoor Kid-friendly Activities to Keep Your Little One Busy Too much time indoors can often lead to cranky, stir-crazy kids. But you can keep your kiddo occupied with kid-friendly, educational activities that will appeal to their imagination. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Pitch a tent and build a campsite. If the weather has prevented you from a camping excursion, pitch a tent in your living room. Use a table, chairs and a sheet to create a tent or fort in your dining room or living room. Then, set out a blanket in front of the tent and make a circle using potatoes in place of rocks and a flashlight or lantern for a fire. Get the whole family involved and take turns telling one another funny stories. Remember to pack some good campsite treats, such as popped popcorn and dried fruits. Embark on an adventure. From your campsite, go exploring through the jungle of the living room. Encourage your child to use his or her imagination. What animals do they see? Do they hear any foreign sounds? How tall are the trees? Will they have to cross a river? If so, will they need to build a bridge? If a bridge is needed, let them use some throw pillows to use as crossing stones. Remember, if you’re excited, they’ll be excited, too. A great adventure story, like the serial story “Quetzalcoatyl,” can really get their imagination going. This tale about a magical sea creature and the boy he befriends can be found each month in the pages of the free children’s newspaper Kidsville News! Create a journal. Ask your children to describe their adventure – or just their day – by writing, painting or drawing on a series of pages. Have them

MARCH 2012

start from the beginning by describing what they had for breakfast, what they found in the jungle, etc. You can use a hole punch and yarn or string to put together a journal to help them recall their exciting day. Head out on the town. What better excuse to head out – even in less than favorable weather – than to take a trip to the library? Keeping your child’s book collection well-stocked and diverse is a great way to encourage their hobby and help them to continue to develop a larger vocabulary. Find out if your local library has a reading program and get your child signed up, and don’t forget to check to see if they have story time as well. If you’re looking for children’s book suggestions for your child, ask your local librarian or check out Kidsville News! for book reviews and suggestions. Reviews from author James Patterson’s are featured in the publication every month and online at Set up a book nook. There are few things better on a dreary weather day than to curl up in a cozy corner in warm pajamas with a good book and a trusted teddy bear. And after a long day of pitching tent and trudging through the jungle and the library, both you and your kiddo are likely to need some quiet time. Designate one corner of your home as the book nook with lots of comfy blankets, pillows and a reading light. Then snuggle up and read some stories together. If you’re looking for more educational activities, great reading material or tips for encouraging your child to read, look to Kidsville News! or online at Photo courtesy of Getty Images.



March - 2012 - KV  


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