This delightful heartwarming book tells the story of Sidney and Harry, two Groks who live in the land of Binnee-Boo-Bok. Harry is big and strong and the best at Grok games. Sidney is small and no good at all. But when an accident befalls Harry, the Groks soon discover being small can be a good thing! The entire story rhymes and the striking illustrations ensure children will want to read its positive message over and over again!
Monday, June 20, 2011
A pint-sized Minnesota child is rocking and rolling across the internet with his inspirational message to other kids who are struggling to learn how to ride a two-wheeler.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Pitchers Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Sergio Romo; centerfielder Andres Torres; and batting coach Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Opinion, The Neighborhood Files
Following these five steps will help you descalate most bullying situations.
Many people, children and adults alike, simply have no idea of what to do when confronted by a bully. These skills simply aren’t taught in a structured manner and, worse, we have all heard many conflicting pieces of advice from parents and society about what to do. For example, “It’s not nice to hit” vs. “a bully won’t stop until you stand up to them.”
So, in an effort to address this situation, let me share with you what we teach our junior students at the Academy. It’s a simple progression of responses to bullying situations.
Level 1 Situation: Someone insults you from across the room - no immediate danger.
Response: “Walk away with confidence”
Walk away without hanging your head, looking down or taking shuffle steps. Keep your chin up, walk away briskly and make sure to let your parents and teachers know about the situation. Always - if we can get away, then we get away. It is always better to avoid a physical encounter. Even if for no other reason than to create a "history of events" so to speak.
Level 2 Situation: Someone moves toward you in a menacing way - escalating the danger.
Response: “Back off, you’re too close!”
(The Level 2 response assumes the child has tried to leave the immediate area as in Level 1 and can’t.) The child creates some space by taking a few steps back. They put up their hands, palms out in a “back off gesture” creating a physical boundary, and in a loud voice says, “Back off you’re too close” or something similar to create a verbal boundary. Sometimes all it takes is the realization that you’re not an easy target to turn a bully away from further aggression. Again, it is imperative for your child to understand that they need to report such incidents to both parents and the teacher.
Level 3 Situation: Someone tries to shove your child - escalating the danger once again.
Response: “Evade and redirect”
Child uses “evasion and re-direction” to avoid being shoved, further showing the bully that you are not an easy target, which by the way, is the true meaning of “sticking up for yourself.” Redirection means to use your hands to deflect the bully. Continue with the verbal boundaries and be louder! If you can’t back off the bully with your voice, then perhaps you can attract attention to yourself and the situation. Many times bullies will high tail it rather than get caught “in the act” by a teacher. Again, report the incident to both your parents and the teacher.
Level 4 Situation: Someone grabs your child and doesn’t let go.
Response: “Make ‘em weak and get free”
Here’s where opinions really start to vary. In my mind, once your child is touched in a violent way and can’t get away, the use of physical force is permissible. We teach a simple formula against being grabbed: Step one - a loosening strike. A hit to the chin, stomach, side of head, etc., just enough to loosen up the bully. Step Two - a ‘break release’. A break release is a way to use your body in a tight circular fashion to break free of the bully’s grasp. This doesn’t hurt the bully, and a smaller person can easily free themselves from a bigger one with this technique. Step three - get away. Once you are free and out of harms way, it’s not OK to keep hitting the attacker. That would take you into the attacker’s role. Perhaps we should add a formal fourth step to that process: notify parents and teacher.
Level 5 Situation: Someone repeatedly grabs your child and/or is repeatedly hitting your child each time they get away.
Response: “Lock ‘em down”
When it’s obvious that the bully is not going to give up after several instances of your breaking free, and you still can’t get away, then our students are taught how to take a bigger opponent down and lock them down until help arrives. They are taught to do so inflicting as little harm as possible, but here they are taught to do whatever is necessary to protect themselves. At this point the bully has shown that nothing short of physical force will make them stop, so physical force becomes acceptable.
All through these methods, the concepts of getting away if possible, not instigating or exacerbating the situation and reporting these incidents to parents and teachers are reinforced constantly. If parents and teachers do their part, it’s hard to see how a child would have to take it to Level 4 or higher. However, I fully believe that if a child has to, they should be allowed to protect themselves in anyway way necessary against an aggressor.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
The movie spotlight shines this fall on Matt (The Hammer) Hamill, his opponent in Saturday night's main event at UFC 130, when "Hamill" opens in theatres.
The film is the inspirational story of Hamill, who was born deaf. It depicts Hamill's youth but focuses mostly on 1997 when — as a sophomore walk-on at the Rochester Institute of Technology, which has a deaf school — he won the first of three NCAA Division 3 wrestling championships.
"Hamill" is a study of perseverance. Movie-goers will likely wipe away a tear and leave with a healthy respect for Matt Hamill, as well as a better grasp of deaf life.
Directed by Oren Kaplan, the film uses sound or lack thereof as well as subtitles, often with words missing, to gets its message across.
At the heart of the movie is a deft, understated performance by Russell Harvard, the deaf actor who plays Hamill. You may remember Harvard for his brief appearance as Daniel Day-Lewis' grown-up son H.W. at the end of "There Will be Blood."
"Hamill" has been entered in six film festivals to date — Newport Beach, Florida, AFI, Miami, Cleveland and Philadelphia — and won audience awards in every one.
"There's been an overwhelming response to the film, which has been amazing ... People really respond to Matt's story. I think it's universal," said co-writers Joseph McKelheer.
In real life or on the movie screen, it's hard not to root for Matt Hamill.
"I'm just trying to be who I am," he tells reporters with a broad smile. "I'm happy the way I am."
Copyright © 2011 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
Friday, June 3, 2011
By Robert Levin
Robert Levin Robert Levin - Robert Levin writes about film and other entertainment topics for amNewYork, Inside Jersey, Backstage, and elsewhere. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online guild.
An interview with documentarian Lee Hirsch about one of the most talked-about movies at this year's Tribeca Film Festival
One of the most talked-about movies at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, The Bully Project, shines light on a serious problem: More than 5.7 million U.S. schoolchildren are involved in bullying each year.
In The Bully Project, documentarian Lee Hirsch conducts a cross-country examination of bullying, looking at a Sioux City, Iowa teenager tortured for being different, a lesbian high school student in Oklahoma, families who lost their bullied children to suicide, and other case studies. Securing a distribution deal with the Weinstein Company yesterday, the film is at once a devastating portrait of individuals tormented for being different and an inspirational depiction of communities standing up to right an egregious wrong. Here, Hirsch offers his thoughts on his hopes for the project.
It seems like bullying has gotten worse in recent years. Do you agree?
I don't know if I share that perspective. It's really deeply personal, based on our own experiences. I think maybe what's happening is that we're talking about it more and this sense it's gotten worse is because it's more acceptable to talk about it. We are seeing more correlations being made between young suicides and bullying, and I think that's creating this perception.
The other thing that I think has changed, which isn't so much an element in our film, is the cyber-bullying component. It can make it worse. . . . What's interesting is as we were out filming the film, the families and the kids we were meeting and filming with, cyber-bullying wasn't the thing. It was the sort of classic brick-and-mortars bullying that you and I remember. I don't know if it's getting worse or if we're just calling it when we see it more.
Why do you think there's such a groundswell of attention around the bullying epidemic?
I think part of what's happening is people are networked very well on Facebook that are aligned around this issue—in particular, a lot of the families who've lost children. So they kind of went and ran with it. As far as the groundswell, a lot of things have happened in the last six months. There's been a bullying summit at the White House. There have been major initiatives by CNN and Cartoon Network.
There are a number of things that are going to come together that are really exciting around The Bully Project. I would like to think that we are maybe at the beginning of a tipping-point moment, and that hopefully The Bully Project will be a piece of that and give something really tangible that people can hold on to and run with and feel moved through and then translate that into action.
What do you want young viewers in particular to take away from the film?
In the film, we've certainly shied away from any kind of legislative agenda. Rather, I think the focus, at least for us, especially because we're not experts, is to hopefully allow people to feel like they can make a difference. Particularly young viewers—that they can stand up, they can put a stop to it, they can step in on someone's behalf and that that's empowering, that's possible and that really will cause change.
How did you begin the process of finding your subjects?
Initially we were reading a lot of local stories. There were two high-profile suicides around the time that we started. Ellen DeGeneres had done a show with the moms. And there were so many comments on her webpage, close to a thousand, and many of them were from kids or families that were dealing with similar situations—that were, in effect, in crisis. Our first access break really came from producers of the Ellen show, who agreed to pass on e-mails to us of some of the families.
How about getting the Sioux City Community School District on board to let you film in one of its schools? That must have been a challenge.
One of our funders has been doing bullying- and violence-prevention work in the Sioux City area for 10 years. That's the Waitt Family Foundation. They have been highly supportive of bringing programming and helping out in the Sioux City Community School District. They were able to facilitate an introduction to the superintendent, the school board, and the administrators of the district. We told them what we wanted to do in a series of meetings and presentations to the school board and asked if they would consider it. And they decided to allow us to film inside their school.
What do you make of their willingness to be involved, and to take some of the heat that comes with the film's depiction of their inability to effectively combat in-house bullying?
It's a tough thing, because a lot of the emotional blame in the film gets made on the administrator that you see. It's tough. I mean the reality is that they were pretty amazing to allow us to do what we did and to stand behind the film. The administration was at the premiere—the superintendent came to New York to be with us—and one of the things they've said and stood by, even if the outcome doesn't make them look great, is, "If we do this, not only will we learn, but maybe we can help other schools, other administrators and help make a difference." I think it was a really brave and generous position that school district took. I really applaud them.
To really reach people, a film like The Bully Project obviously needs to be shown not just on the usual release platforms, but in special screenings on a community level. What's an example of how you plan to do that?
We were approached by the Philadelphia City Council, in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia. They're busy planning a Bully Project day for back to school, which is super-awesome. The components are: The film will screen at the National Constitution Center, hopefully with major guests from government, possibly celebrities, hopefully some of the families in the film. We'll have a kids representative from all the schools, and each school in the district will be screening it at the same time in their buildings. Then we'll have a video-conference Q&A across the schools, with the Constitution Center event. Then they'll break up into groups and spend the rest of the day discussing, talking, and working out their feelings that come from the film.
What's more interesting is that there are already student leaders planning that event now for back-to-school. It's got a lot of support behind it, but there's a massive student component, so they can take ownership of it. . . . That's the kind of thing that's really powerful. If we can do more of those, if that becomes the model, that would be a dream come true.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Students in the CAP / Plaza de la Raza Theater Program explore bullying in the play "Life is a Dream" ("La Vida es SueÃ±o"). (Scott Groller)
Los Angeles-area teenagers are taking the crusade against bullying to the stage. Their play, an adaptation of the 17th century Spanish classic "Life is a Dream" ("La Vida es Sueño") by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, takes the action into a modern high school setting and uses students' experiences with bullying to explore how it affects kids....Guest playwright Sarah Louise Wilson led the 47 students, who range in age from 11 to 18, in a series of writing exercises about bullying. She asked whether they'd been bullied, and whether they'd bullied other people. Everyone had a story to write, Wilson said -- and she took those stories and incorporated them into the adaptation. When the curtain rises, the hero of the play is being picked on by other kids. He becomes popular and starts bullying others, and is eventually humbled himself.
Read Entire Article Here
Monday, May 30, 2011
PHOENX - Let's talk about the bullies our children encounter in school. According to the National Education Association Bullying Study, more than 40 percent of all kids think bullying is a major problem in their school. Sixty-two percent of kids say they've been a witness to bullying at least once and often twice just in the past month!
Carrie Severson , the founder of Severson Sisters , a non-profit in the Valley, is trying to put an end to bullying by building their confidence. We sat down with her to learn more about bullying today.
Read Interview Here
Friday, May 27, 2011
Taylor Swift‘s “Mean,” the latest single from her multiplatinum third album Speak Now, was originally written in response to a music critic who wrote not-nice things about her. But in the just-premiered video for the song, Swift spins the stripped-down country tune into an outsider anthem starring herself, her honky-tonk combo, a gay teen, and at least one old-timey bad guy tying her to a railroad track. Check it out after the jump.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Katie O'Malley: Standing up against bullying in Maryland
Private, public partners joining forces during Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week in Maryland
Despite the commonly held perceptions, when it comes to bullying, everyone is a victim, from our schools to our communities. The message is simple: A child's mental health is just as important as their physical health.
Last year, we teamed up with the Maryland State Department of Education to declare Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week in May to encourage schools and communities across the state to engage students in events to stress nontolerance toward bullying.
Bullying may be physical or verbal. Teasing, harassing, spreading rumors, actively ignoring or intentionally hurting another child are all forms of bullying. Victims of bullying are more likely to experience depression, less likely to be accepted by classmates and may experience a drop in their self-esteem. And in some cases, the effects are fatal, causing our children to commit suicide or do harm to themselves — dimming the light on their once bright futures.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
By Carina Adly MacKenzie
Listen To Lady Ggga Tell Her Story Here
MTV has just announced their upcoming Lady Gaga documentary, "Lady Gaga: Inside the Outside," which -- according to the press release -- "will provide fans an intimate look at the evolution of Stefani Germanotta into one of pop's most influential and successful artists of our time." As always, Gaga is raw and open with her fans, exposing even the more painful parts of her childhood in the hopes that her fans will relate to her story and feel empowered.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Justin Bieber flew his hero -- bully beater Casey Heynes -- to Melbourne to check out the concert ... but the biggest surprise for Casey was yet to come.
Bieber -- who's supported the anti-bullying movement ever since being on the receiving end of it last year -- ended up bringing Casey on stage in front of THOUSANDS of screaming fans ... calling him "very inspirational" for showing people "how to stand up for what they believe in."
Friday, May 13, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
This year, over 18 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence young people in the U.S. experience. Directed by Sundance- and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, The Bully Project is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary—at its heart are those with the most at stake and whose stories each represent a different facet of this bullying crisis.
Following five kids and families over the course of a school year, the film confronts bullying's most tragic outcomes, including the stories of two families who've lost children to suicide and a mother who waits to learn the fate of her 14 --year-old daughter, incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With rare access to the Sioux City Community School District, the film also gives an intimate glimpse into school busses, classrooms, cafeterias and even principles offices, offering insight into the often-cruel world of children, as teachers, administrators and parents struggle to find answers.
While the stories examine the dire consequences of bullying, they also give testimony to the courage and strength of the victims of bullying and seek to inspire real changes in the way we deal with bullying as parents, teachers, children, and in society as a whole. Through the power of these stories, The Bully Project aims to be a catalyst for change and to turn the tide on an epidemic of violence that has touched every community in the United States—and far beyond.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Ed Harris, center, plays a middle-school teacher in 1965 in “That's What I Am,” written and directed by Mike Pavone.
You can trust Ed Harris to locate the essence of every character he portrays. And in “That’s What I Am,” Mike Pavone’s righteous reflection on bullying and tolerance, Mr. Harris’s depiction of a saintly, soft-spoken, bow-tie-wearing middle-school teacher lends the movie a moral weight it probably couldn’t have summoned had another actor played the role.
Set in 1965 in a small Southern California town, “That’s What I Am” is a sentimental Hallmark-style movie (part after-school special, part “Wonder Years” offshoot) whose narrator, Andy Nichol (voiced by an uncredited actor who sounds like Greg Kinnear), looks back on his middle-school experience. His beloved teacher, Mr. Simon (Mr. Harris), is first seen reading to a class from Mark Twain’s “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.” This choice of literature sets him up as a martyrlike figure.
Later in the movie, when a bully retaliates against Mr. Simon’s discipline by spreading unfounded rumors about his sexuality, the teacher, a widower, refuses out of principle to deny the rumors. At this point you wonder if “That’s What I Am” will turn into a movie about a vicious, small-town witch hunt, but it is too timid to go there. It is more interested in the buildup to Andy’s first kiss with Mary Clear (Mia Rose Frampton), a kindhearted, more experienced classmate.
The movie’s depiction of the savage pecking order of school is mild; the children, obsessed with “cooties,” seem naïve even by 1965 standards. The principal outcast, Stanley (Alexander Walters), a k a Big G (for the ginger hue of his hair), is a tall, gawky boy with big ears who comports himself with unshakable dignity when faced with peer-group persecution. The 12-year-old Andy (Chase Ellison) learns to respect Big G after Mr. Simon assigns them to collaborate on a project.
Because “That’s What I Am” is a production of WWE Studios, it slips in a wrestling star, Randy Orton, as the lying bully’s rabidly homophobic father.
At heart “That’s What I Am” is really a gentle, earnest illustration of a slogan that Mr. Simon submits in a contest to come up with a solution to world peace in 25 words or less. His entry, which he scrawls on the blackboard, reads “Human dignity + compassion = peace.” It wins him a flashy car.“That’s What I Am” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Its cursory discussion of homosexuality may offend certain viewers.
THAT’S WHAT I AM
Written and directed by Mike Pavone; director of photography, Kenneth Zunder; edited by Marc Pollon; music by James Raymond; production design by Raymond Pumilia; costumes by Claire Breaux; produced by Denise Chamian; released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and WWE Studios. At the Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.
WITH: Ed Harris (Mr. Simon), Chase Ellison (Andy Nichol), Molly Parker (Sherri), Daniel Roebuck (Jim), Randy Orton (Ed Freel), Daniel Yelsky (Norman), Alexander Walters (Big G), Mia Rose Frampton (Mary Clear) and Amy Madigan (Principal Kelner).