Tips to Help Teens Find Jobs

The book is “A Teen’s Guide to Career Success: How to Get and Keep a Job”

Book cover
Book cover
My oldest kid is a 16 year old boy, who has recently decided he needs to get a job. When I was offered a chance to review “A Teen’s Guide to Career Success: How to Get and Keep a Job,” by Jim Comiskey, I thought the timing was perfect!

What’s inside?

The book follows two teenage reporters on assignment for their school paper to find out how to get and keep a job. As they interview three past graduates who have successful careers and businesses, they learn about each step of the job search process.

Along the way, the book has several worksheets for the reader to complete, which are designed to provide a self-evaluation of job-hunting and work readiness. The sections of the book address several stages of work/career, from preparing a resume and interviewing, to starting and keeping a job. It also addresses good employee attributes, such as having a positive attitude, working hard, cooperation, and time management.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

The verdict

My son thought the information in the book was definitely valuable, but found the story of the interviews to be kind of cheesey and lame. He said, “I don’t want to offend anyone, but the dialogue seems kind of childish.”

Example of graphic from book
Example of graphic from book

I thought the information was useful — not only for first-time job seekers — but for anybody trying to improve a job situation, or for people changing fields or re-entering the job market. Although seasoned employees will probably not learn anything new from this book, it will be a valuable resource for teens! As a parent, I’m happy to provide my teenager another resource that reinforces the things I’ve been trying to tell him about having a positive attitude and being willing to work hard.

The bottom line

I recommend “A Teen’s Guide to Career Success: How to Get and Keep a Job” for any teens who are starting to look for work. It contains practical information that will help kids get started on the right foot, whether they are looking for summer jobs or considering long-term career possibilities.

PS

Thanks to Blue Point Books for providing me with a review copy of this book!

LEGO Minecraft Food and Potions

Minecraft has been compared to playing with virtual LEGO pieces. Both games are based on cubes and block shapes. It is fun to see physical objects from the Minecraft world, built from LEGO bricks. I’m not talking about the official Minecraft LEGO sets, although those are wonderful, too. These are Minecraft food objects and potion shapes, built from assorted LEGO pieces.

YouTuber ZaziNombies LEGO Creations has built some perfect replicas of Minecraft foods with real LEGO pieces. His creations include a cake, bucket of milk, red apple, golden apple, and assorted potions.

Building Minecraft objects with LEGO bricks would be a fun snow day activity, or a nice break from electronics and screens.

Hour of Code: Start Learning Now

Hour of Code


In celebration of Computer Science Education Week (December 8-14, 2014), Code.org is sponsoring and promoting a worldwide Hour of Code. (Hour of Code is organized by Code.org, a public 501c3 non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.)

Hour of Code
Hour of Code

In the first year of Hour of Code, over 52 million students completed an introduction to programming! US President Barack Obama recently joined the Hour of Code and wrote his first lines of JavaScript. Hour of Code events are planned all over the world, and this year’s goal is to have 100 million participants.

Where to Sign Up

To try your first Hour of Code, visit http://code.org/learn to choose a fun game-based tutorial (featuring Angry Birds and Disney’s Frozen), or find a tutorial app to download. There’s even a way to learn code on paper if you’re unplugged.

Want more choices? take a look at https://www.khanacademy.org/hourofcode for an introduction to drawing with JavaScript, HTML/CSS for web pages, or SQL databases. The tutorials are easy to follow, and free of charge!

Feeling especially motivated to help? Organize a local Hour of Code event or camp. Sign up and start planning here.

Continue with Free Coding Lessons

Of course, the whole idea behind Hour of Code is to cultivate desire and enthusiasm for learning programming. So if you love your first hour, there are plenty of next-step code lessons available at Khan Academy, and they’re all free.

How to Get Kids to Wash Hands the Right Way

keep-calm-wash-hands-400x400Now that school is back in session, kids are exposed to bacteria and viruses more frequently. Just three days into the first week of school, my fourth grade daughter came home with a fever. I was annoyed, but not surprised, at how quickly she had gotten sick.

When illnesses make the news, reporters always share advice from doctors on how to keep yourself and your family healthy. Hand washing is always on the list of things to do. It’s the easiest way to prevent illnesses from influenza to diarrhea. Wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry.

Handwashing Guildelines from the CDC:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

We all know that kids don’t always wash. They may skip it completely, or just wet and wipe their hands on a towel or their clothes.

To encourage my kids to wash their hands properly and for the recommended amount of time, I tried putting new words to the “Happy Birthday” tune. The CDC recommends scrubbing for the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday to You” twice.

To get started, wet your hands, get a squirt of soap, and start singing! Here are the words to go with the washing:

Sing to the tune of “Happy Birthday to You”
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Fronts and backs and in-between.
Repeat.

Sure, it’s repetitive, but it’s easy to remember, and includes all of the important information. Scrub those hands! Palms, knuckles, and between the fingers.

I hope this little song is helpful for you and your family. Have a healthy school year!

For more information and instruction, check out these printable handwashing posters from the CDC:
germs-poop
How to Handwash
Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands
One Trillion Germs Can Live in a Gram of Poop

Summer Vacation Time Management Worksheet

I’m not one of those moms who look forward to spending a long, lazy summer vacation at home with the kids. I’m one of those moms who wish the kids could stay in school all summer long.

I love my kids, but I don’t love having them all around the house, all day, every day, all summer. So I make schedules for them. They’re not too rigorous or inflexible, but it helps prevent too much milling around the house in boredom. It also alleviates some of the zombie-eyed screen infatuation, by making them do things outdoors and away from electronics.

Here is a worksheet I put together this morning. The kids resist having all of their time managed by Mom, because it feels too much like school and not enough like vacation. I’m hoping that this system will be a good compromise, allowing them to have some control over their time, while still fitting in the things I feel are essential, such as personal hygiene, nutrition, brain exercise, and outdoor fun.

It’s free to download and print, and you can also customize it for your own family. If you find it helpful, please leave a comment and/or share a link to this post with your friends. Happy vacationing!

Kids’ summer time management worksheet
summer-worksheet

Classcraft Engages Students in Learning Game

Classcraft warriors
Classcraft warriors
I love games, and so do my kids. I often wonder how to incorporate game elements into everyday activities, to make life more fun and nerdy. I have just learned about a new game that teachers can play in class with students, and I think this is a very exciting innovation!

It’s called Classcraft, and it’s a live-action role playing game that involves students, teachers, individual responsibility and team work. Watch this video for an introduction to the Classcraft concept.

Classcraft is a role playing game that integrates into any subject class. With the teacher acting as Game Master, students are grouped into small teams and assume the character attributes of a Warrior, Mage, or Healer. Each character class has its own benefits, and the blend of roles encourages teams to work together and help each other. Of course, individual responsibility and achievements are most important to a student’s success in the game.

Classcraft healers
Classcraft healers
Game elements such as earning experience points, leveling-up, responding to random events, taking damage, and even in-game death bring the experience to life. Students earn points for doing classwork, helping each other and having a positive attitude, and lose points for being late, arguing, and poor performance. Scores translate into real-life benefits and consequences, such as in-class snacks or Saturday detention.

Classcraft is free to play, and can be upgraded for an additional cost per class or per school. The game is managed via a website, with teacher/student iOS apps, additional customizations, and other upgrades coming soon.

This is an interesting way to get students more engaged in classroom learning. Teachers can modify game elements to suit their needs, and not every student needs to participate, although I imagine most kids would want to get involved.

I’ve sent a link to Classcraft to the head of our charter school, and I hope you’ll share it, too. I’m supportive of anything that helps kids feel more excited about learning!

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Easter LEGO Creations

LEGO bricks are classic toys, and they’re truly perfect for kids of all ages! Recently, I met fellow grown-up LEGO enthusiast, Carlo Pandian. Carlo put together a collection of cool Easter LEGO creations, and he offered to let me share them here. Enjoy these amazing builds, and get inspired about your next LEGO project!

6 Unique Easter-Themed LEGO Sculptures

There are a few holidays that seem to have a bigger presence for LEGO creations than others. This is in part due to the fact that many of these holidays have to do with giving something to someone else. The winter holidays are probably the most obvious with all the presents that change hands. Halloween has its tricks and treats while Valentine’s Day has surprises for loved ones. If you subscribe to the Easter basket idea, you have a lot of room for creativity and, of course, more gifts.

Bunnies seem like an obvious choice at this point. As you will soon see, there is room for much more than floppy ears and bushy tails. The real question should be, “Where do you start?”

Some view Easter as an outdoor event. All the egg hunts and picnics are hard to resist. What happens when the weather is bad? You could always head inside and find something fun for the whole family to work on. Of course the builders here took this idea to a whole new level. They turned their passion for building and made it a festive event.

Easter Egg Hunt

First up is an Easter Egg Hunt made by Nathan Sawaya with help from the Lancaster Museum of Art. Sawaya built over 500 LEGO eggs. They were then hidden throughout the museum along with regular plastic eggs. Each egg could be taken apart by the kids that found them. The eggs were built in a variety of colors.

Easter bunny and basket
Easter bunny and basket

Easter Egg

easter-egg
LEGO Easter Egg

You may not have access to a famous builder at your museum to make special eggs. Thankfully, David Luders has come to the rescue. He gives fans step-by-step instructions on how to build your very own Easter egg. This project uses a very interesting layering method that creates an uncanny realism to every egg.

Flower Basket

Flower-Basket
LEGO Flower Basket

Easter means spring time and nothing says spring like a flower basket. Horhat Razvan has built an absolutely gorgeous model depicting a flower basket. From the elegant designs to the careful color selection, Horhat’s design is so much more impressive since it needs to look good from all angles. It also has the added bonus of being hypo-allergenic.

Mini Chick

mini-chicks
Mini LEGO Chicks

You don’t have to go big in your creations. Jen demonstrates this with the Mini Chick. This petite model not only shows a clever design, but clearly embraces the Easter spirit. All those eggs have to come and lead some where. This model not only connects to this, but can most likely fit in one of the eggs for a double special surprise.

Carrot and Egg

LEGO Easter egg and carrot
LEGO Easter egg and carrot

Sometimes all you need is a symbol, or maybe a sign that someone famous stopped by. The builder known as atotheh has created a spectacular couple of items that fit the bill perfectly. Not only do you have the iconic painted egg, but there is a carrot. It’s a good bet that the Easter Bunny has either stopped by and forgot his lunch or is possibly still in the area.

Easter Bunny

Easter-bunny
LEGO Bunny and Easter Eggs

It has been hinted at this entire blog and now he’s here. However, not just anyone can make an epic bunny. Therefore, you have to go to the Master Builder at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Dallas Forth Worth to find a model built to impress. This is truly the center piece of any Easter display.

potraitAuthor Carlo Pandian is an adult fan of LEGO and freelance writer, and has previously published on The Brick Blogger, Bricks of The Death, and Socialyzer. Follow him @carlopandian

Credits
Easter Egg Hunt | Easter Egg | Flower Basket | Mini Chick | Carrot and Egg | Easter Bunny

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