More Spy Smarts

There’s a reason it’s called “intelligence.” From doctors and gardeners to mechanics to researchers and detectives to literature professors, most of us need to notice little things and make inferences their significance. Kids can hone some of these skills with the games and info offered at the CIA Kids Page.

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Spy Math

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Extensive free language materials

Kelle Shugrue is leading my sixth-grade daughter’s book group this month. They are reading Louise Erdrich‘s The Birchbark House. Kelle pointed the readers to this great Ojibwe Online Dictionary, but you can find on the FreeLang site an extensive list of online or downloadable dictionaries as well as machine and human translation (for short, non-commercial texts).

I think it’s wonderful just to scan the list. I see so many Native American languages there and remember once again that America has never been a monolingual place. I have some distant but documented Maliseet (Malecite/”MicMac”) ancestry so it was fun to explore that dictionary. But you can also find many lesser known languages from around the world as well as those with numerous speakers. Sometimes I am concerned about language losses and the loss of diversity in ways of thinking, but it is nice to know documentation exists. I am sure there are other resources that document languages so if you know of any, please share in the comments. Thanks so much!

P.S. Just a celebratory note: This is RunSpotRun’s 300th post!

Stats on Women’s Status

Today is International Women’s History Day. Since I have recently renewed my interest in statistics, I thought I’d link to these statistics about the status of the world’s women–a set of reminders for why we still need this 99th annual celebration.

I also want to mention that two of my daughters’ fellow schoolmates recently immigrated from Afghanistan with their family. They are incredibly sweet and very bright. Imagine becoming so quickly adept in a new language and culture and being able to excel at school within two years. The other day, pondering the complaints my girls sometimes have about going to school, I wondered how much more these Afghani sisters might appreciate the opportunity to go to school safely every day, and if that is part of their success. With all the talk–often criticism–in the media about American education, we sometimes forget what a huge and generous commitment we have made by replicating at least one noble impulse of  early Massachusetts colonists who voted to tax themselves in order to set up a free school*. I wish for every girl in the world a safe and free education.

Just having seen Amira Mortenson’s article in the recent issue of New Moon magazine, I picked up the Young Readers Edition of Three Cups of Tea.

*If I remember correctly, I learned this from John Taylor Gatto’s book,  The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher’s Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling.

Related Post:

International Women’s Day