Archive for: January 2015

Should My Child Learn To Play A Musical Instrument?

By Jeff Comas



In my 25+ years as a music educator I have never met a single person who says they regret being able to play a musical instrument. On the flip side I have met many people that tell me they wish they had learned to play music when they were young, or that they wish they had never quit playing music. Music is an integral part of the human experience. It can sooth us, it can excite us, and it can even help us express what words cannot. We seem to be born wired for music. Most of us have seen little babies that cannot even talk yet, but they can groove/dance to music. Read more →

How To Deal With A Negative Attitude

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville



Do you ever wonder why in the world we use number lines that are horizontal? How arbitrary is that? Right is positive and left is negative? Why? Sure, we’ll need to use horizontal when we have multiple axes, but for a simple number line to start learning how numbers work, I think the number line should be vertical. If we add up and subtract down that seems a bit more intuitive to me, and it will really come in handy when we start to learn about negative numbers. Read more →

Raising Children To Be Smart Decision Makers

By Tracey Matthews, Supervisor of the Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department and Tamekia Jackson, Director of the Knox County Schools Family Resource Center Contributing Writer: Eliza Norrell, Family and Community Engagement Department Communications Intern         

As children grow into young adults, they can face potential roadblocks to success through negative peer pressure. To resist the pressure to engage in risky activities, children need years of practice with decision making, so when it really counts, they will have the confidence and discipline to say, “No, I don’t need to do that.” Remember, even though adolescents are easily influenced by their friends, most young people still place a high value on the input their parents and caregivers communicate. Read more →

Dear Knox County Schools’ Families

By Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools

The start of the new year gives us all an opportunity to look ahead with optimism and reflect with discernment. We often make plans—even resolutions—that build upon successes of the past and challenge us to improve as we move forward. Read more →

Code-Writers Of TN: Developing A Smarter Tomorrow

by Knox County Schools, Great Schools Partnership, and United Way of Greater Knoxville


Hearing high school “code writers” talk shop is an experience with a virtual language, and now, using terms like JQuery, JSon, SSH, GitHub, SQL and others, these digital natives have the opportunity to solve real-world problems that can affect energy use, save lives, impact communities, and connect family members. Read more →

It’s All Right To Cry

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.



When I was a seven-year-old girl, I watched a television program called “Free To Be . . .You and Me.” Marlo Thomas, in collaboration with many gifted writers and entertainers, produced a show that promoted “independence and self-fulfillment, the human need for love, sharing and mutual assistance, [and] the joys of creative cooperative relationships with one’s parents, siblings, and friends” (from I loved the television program so much that my mother purchased the Free to Be record album which I played so often I practically wore it out. The songs and stories featured on the album have themes promoting tolerance and acceptance. It also undermines stereotypes of all kinds, specifically gender stereotypes. Read more →

Reading For Fun

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



Do your children read for fun? A recent survey called Kids and Family Reading Report, issued by Scholastic and YouGov, outlines how often children read for fun, what books draw their interest, and how frequent readers differ from infrequent readers. A nationwide representative sample of parents, along with children ages 6 to 17, were asked many questions about reading activities. The results of this report can help parents understand how to promote reading books for fun with their children. Read more →