Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I've been away from blogging to spend time on learning ethics through Skype with a friend. This way we work at ourselves. I prepare the class, she comments. It's fun and I can't believe how a 43 year old (me) can have as much fun with... ethics.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

worry or worth

The financial possibility can be looked at through existential eyes, this way of thinking states that what one does influences what other do. One action generates others. One item extra bought by one person, copied by millions might save the economy? A simple gesture can save the world if followed by others? Does it work for confidence?

Monday, September 29, 2008

being responsible

Who is responsible? I or else? As a child I thought that responsibility and guilt of mistakes was close to each other. Then I thought about the difference between guilt and responsibility. You can be not guilty of circumstances but still responsible for how the circumstances act upon your life, especially when life is a challenge.
Is there a I? Where is the location of the I? Should it be me who is in charge?
As a parent I would be quick to say yes, but it's been fruitful to reask myself how my responsibility looks like and understand my self. Understanding my self is the key to cross the bridge to relate to others.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

journal writing

I've started writing a journal to develop my inner qualities further. With a friend who lives at the other side of the Netherlands we have a skype meeting every week to develop ourselves as a tool to keep our spirits healthy and up. I'm 43 years old, married to a PhD, and still learning.
More on journal writing here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

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Monday, August 11, 2008

are recipies painkillers

Today I read that thinking of food is a natural painkiller. I'm sure we'll get books on how to think of food to cure ourselves -thinks my sceptical self-. I probably would enjoy reading such a book, because this kind of book for me naturally works as a relaxating laughter vehicle. Maybe it works with recipies as well? I can picture myself running to the bookshelf next time I have a serious headache and reading recipies.
My son strawls along with a little pain on his arm. I ask him to think of something he likes to eat. It works. Now he will have less pain, but he will gain callories.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

animated cartoon yourself

Want to try making an animated cartoon? First draw one arm, head or leg until you finish the character- then push the animate button. Very easy. My son wrote words instead of drawing limbs, drew only a basketball or vegetables. Fun to do and to enjoy the result. Now where can I get a similar programm that enables to keep the results?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

write a movie to learn

Writing a movie is one of those wishes that I don't think to be able to respond to. A pitty because it might be a fruitful learning experience that involves many skills.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

earthy method

What do excellent students do to communicate with peers from other sciences from the Netherlands? They go on an expedition to Australia together to look at the oldest remains of the Earth. Students from biology, maths, astronomy and geology participate on this expedition that results among other things in the Van Leeuwenhoeklezingen (Van Leeuwenhoek lectures). An earthy method to get novel ideas?
What would the presumably oldest bacteria think of it (provided it was able to)?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

from pokemon to biology

It has puzzled me as a child that most of my classroom friends didn't seem to realize how fortunate we were to have very good teachers sharing some of their knowledge with us. I liked biology and chemistry because the teacher gave interesting lessons. Unfortunately in the last year I was distracted, probably due to hormonal influences. I did use my knowledge when studying. Now it's my turn to raise children and I try to think back how my teachers and parents influenced me to interest me to learn. Today there is biology for children on internet, but there also is a lot of distraction; television all day and computer games. Even books are an escape. I started the day today with a demo English lesson, some neuropsychological fun for kids and Pokemon. I had to use power to stop Pokemon.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

geography by letters

One letter a time to learn places around the world was the idea on education world. This pdf is printable. I'm going to try it with my son who doesn't do well at learning geography the normal way. Maybe the alfabetic approach is better for him, I'm going to try.

Monday, July 7, 2008

brains for kids

Would like to tell your children about brains? Neuroscience for Kids from Washington would certainly help.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm taking a break from blogging for a month. I'm going to be busy with my household and children.

Monday, June 2, 2008


The earth is one universe with a multitude of colours. Each one of us is odd. We are all odities.

Monday, May 26, 2008

15 secondes chez Odile

I'm trying out a new concept of blogging, few words, maximum thought on my new French blog; 15 secondes chez Odile.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

psychology museum

Every piece of art is a personal lesson in psychology, a lesson for life, not for a museum.

What piece of art is a lesson for you?

Does art make you feel alive and vibrant?

Art is a projection of words fixed in time.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

learning to relate

Why do I need to learn new things? I'm over forty years old and a parent, so why bother? the truth is that the (fresh) experience of making mistakes and feeling insecure is one that makes me a better parent. I don't know everything but I can try. It makes me more human and it's easier to reach out to others in understanding, when it's not only about what I know, but that I relate to feelings. That's why I welcome feeling insecure.

So I'm learning.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

doctor Ants

My children are sure there exist doctor Ants. Why? Because they observed an ant carrying a dead ant on their back holding it with the front limbs. And because they need a doctor of course when they get injured. Having said this at dinner, they went outside and watched if they could discover another doctor Ant.

Monday, May 12, 2008

White and blue

White seagulls carress the blue sky while I sit here watching from my window. I've just had a lesson earlier online. It was huge fun. Students from all over the world, the world is one for one hour.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Museum and canal

This Sunday was the last opportunity to go to a museum with the children. The sky was a perfect blue, the kind you rarely see in the Netherlands. Usually there's a cloud somewhere, encouraging some painter. But since may 4, 2008 a cloudless sky changes this 'may vacation' into a great vacation. We worked in the garden most of the time. We have an olive tree, figs, apple, wine… but today we went to HOORN with the bus. We rode for free because the bus employees are on a strike. The museum was pleasant because no one else thought of going to a museum with this weather. The children did a puzzle search and were in deep concentration. Until the smallest of us wanted ice-cream. Luckily the museum faced a canal. We could eat our ice-cream sitting on a gently rocking boat terrace under the shade of a parasol. Not a bad idea after all.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


What makes the sky blue?
Is it the Tyndall effect or the Rayleigh scattering or are these merely descriptions of the mechanism shown?

Monday, April 28, 2008

facebook writing

I've sent a mail to someone at facebook that I want to share here:

Hi, I'm a mom living in the Netherlands and recently created a group/platform who say education can improve to be more motivating.
In Dutch:
I also write in English at
There are examples of education that is cooperative (Freinet started this last century and this influenced education already but not enough), democratic and makes use of creativity. One of the keys of Freinet education is that children get to express thoughts freely and to share their thoughts. This faced opposition one century ago but is widely accepted now in many countries around the world.
Children expression is considered a healthy regular development method.
I watched a DVD about the Freinet movement just yesterday, but I didn't encounter a translation yet. It's in French...
this is a pitty because it shows directly in practice how fresh and participating children can be at school. Active and happy learners, what parent or educator doesn't want this for their child?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

L’école buissonnière

Célestin Freinet was a schoolteacher in France in between the first and second world war. He was a school reformer who had a notion of education that many of us today take for granted. Before the second world war the ideas did spread rapidly among educators, but were not accepted by many authorities. Especially he recognized the need of children to express themselves at school. He was an avant garde, this means he had novel ideas that would get picked up later by a large portion of the population, but were not yet considered 'normal'. Indeed today his ideas have found their way into normal education. Many schools have a school paper. Free expression is considered a basic need for children in many societies.

What if there are inspiring new ideas now that will change education in the future? Can I recognize them?

A little bit of brainstorming:

Conceptual teaching, technical education that starts at kindergarten, different educational trajectories, internet education, world education, psychological education, moral leadership education, auditive lessons, visual internet lessons, kinesthetic Wii school, musical learning, sand and clay learning, multitasking or monotasking working style practicum, …

What methods will we share with each other? What discoveries will change the way we work with children and how can we make the world better? What should we stop doing and why or for whom? Changing schools changes society.

One conclusion I've reached in past years is that education can change aggressive children in happy children, but unfortunately it can also work the other way round. We need education that fits children. How can we educate children better?

L'école buissonnière means the bush school and refers to the habit of Freinet of going out to the fields with the children and teaching them on the way of discovery.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Now how to get creativity

In this you tube, Pythagore and maths.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

save creativity, change education

What do you think? Is it important to rethink education to adopt a new conception of education that favorises creativity?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Improve your singing ele-mentally

This element song is a multitask to refresh your knowledge of elements, improve English diction and enjoy singing at the same time. What to think about this? Is learning the lyrics same as thinking? Is learning a list of names thinking? Why do we need to have basic knowledge.
How can you use this song in your life?

Now if everything would be just chemical, why sing?
Makes me think of Poincaré's essay; a complex structure doesn't happen at random. Makes me think love, as a result of chemicals if a higher hierarchy of love would require a higher hierarchy of chemicals?

(a quiet laugh here, caused by a complex of chemicals that didn't randomly organize but come to think of it you can read in my chemicals that it was an ironical laugh)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Imagin multiplication

This technique of multiplication is not only visual, it's also a way to puzzle out the relationship between numbers and spatial relationships.

an example of Vygotskian learning

How can you teach your child a foreign language? In this english speaking video a father teaches his japanese son to speak spanish.

Friday, April 4, 2008

autism awareness and acceptation

What movements do I accept? I think of myself as a tolerant curious person. How do I react when someone next to me flaps his arms? I think based on past experience I would be surprised but accepting it. For raising autism awareness this well observed view of someone with autism on the behaviour.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

dvd's about (deep) learning

Yesterday I found myself searching for DVD's about Piaget and Freinet, educational thinkers. I'm sure there are other interesting dvd's to be found on educational thinkers, e.g. Feuerstein. If you know any I would appreciate any information.
The dvd's from Piaget cost more than I budgetted (250 $) but contain original classroom material of his method. I'm going to think very long if I really need it. From Freinet I found a dvd called "l'école buissonnière" about Freinet in a dramatized commedy. The dvd also contains extra documentary material. I'm waiting for the dvd to reach me by mail. It will be an extra opportunity to teach the children French, ethics and history.

Freinet's method has characteristics in common with unschooling - a recent educational development that makes me curious. Both methods have in common that there is room for deep learning as opposed to superficial learning. For more understanding, this article may provide more ellaboration on the concepts of deep learning versus superficial learning. I wonder if I can observe deep learning in the dvd's of Piaget? I expect so because of his emphasis on thinking.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

what's a high need anyway

Is internet fulfilling our highest needs or not? For me my highest needs are still fulfilled by books and articles. This is because books can ellaborate for pages on one subject. And I really enjoy that.
However, for expression of thoughts and finding the books I want to read, I have been using internet -also for finding subjects, issues, blogentries, articles, forums.

televisions and scaffolds

In an exerpt from Kameenui and Simmons (1999) the purpose of a scaffold is to make sure a student "gets it" or masters the first learning step in order to achieve some independence in learning.
The purpose of a scaffold is then to remove it.
Somehow televisions aren't scaffolds; I find it hard to remove mine. On teachervision, a list for evaluating scaffolds is provided. Maybe some teaching methods make more dependent than others and are somehow more like my television.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

puzzle creation

Do you want to make your own wordsearch puzzle? It may be just for fun or to surprise someone or educational.
Or create your own amazing mazes.
Or start a business with making cardboard puzzles.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

free to move

The afternoon when the children were free for holidays their mood changed from impatient discontent to happy helping around the house without being grumpy. Is the idea of being free that important? Freedom of movement can be an important motivator.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Learn French from the British

If you're interested in learning a language it might be useful to answer some questions on the site of the BBC to find out your pitfalls and strong points.
Starting with simple sentences in the first three months is something that the BBC encourages with beginners.
And now for something completely different...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

scaffold for self-esteem

Yesterday I gathered ingredients for making home made self-esteem soup. Today we're going to try to make it ourselves using the metafor of soup and play.
First we need to gather the ingredients. In order to make the experience tactile, we'll need pots and labels or pieces of paper, maybe seashells or pebbles. Anything that can represent an ingredient that we want to teach in the self-esteem soup.
One possible list would be:

- hart; this could be a pebble that symbolizes the heart and respiration, life and love for oneself, self-appreciation. A child can fondle the pebble when before an exam to remember to feel good about himself and to distract from negative feelings.
- resilience -just a little bit gets a long way. Children can be explained what resilience is and how it works. A empty salt jar with resilience written on it makes it easier to remember the idea of resilience to pop up when necessary.
- let them write their own positive ideas on scraps of paper and maybe make labels of these, or put the scraps as a salade in a pot to mix them with a spoon.
- don't forget higher goals such as forgiveness.

Have fun making your own recipy.
You can also look at toxins that you have to leave out. I as a parent would have to work at reducing 'criticism' or replacing it with a less salt version. I'm going to use the salt for this one.

A comb

A comb can be used to comb hair, to straighten it and to redefine order or it can be used by an artist to recreate a more complex order that takes into account more than one variable: shape, direction, angle, perspective and other that I wouldn't have thought about. 'Je ne sais quoi' surprise typical of art and able to take into account actuality dor science.

Education Sunday (5)

An important factor in succesful education is a healthy self-esteem. Self-esteem is not to be taken for granted in a school system where children don't have much quality contact with teachers or peers. However, I now have changed my children to go to schools where there is much attention for this part of development and I can see that the children feel better in general. The results improve at the same time. This asks much from the teachers and I admire them for their dedication to do more than just teach a subject.
This motivates me to do some chores for school this week.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Weather to do chores inside

It's a very dark beginning of the year inside our house. The weather is cloudy and there is some rain, but mainly it's dark. My husband and I were both ill at the same time and with a large family this is a heavy weight for all. All went well thanks to a lovely colleague of my husband who came to the rescue. Without her it would have been -well different-. Do you have such wonderful persons around you? I feel I haven't yet found a way to do something back. I'm not going to forget about this. Now everything is back to normal, well, almost. I've more energy and I'm finally busy to tackle the boys room that looked very horrible after they have been doing the dishes and coocking meals for us. So I went in, took a deep breath and started to clean. What a difference and it took much less time than I would have anticipated.
I'm feeling a little insecure though.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Education Sunday (4)

Another approach to education would be to look at what is a good practice. There are institutes, teachers, schools and researchers that already work that way that I've encountered in the Netherlands on internet. I don't know any worldwide examples but I'm sure they exist. However, serendip is a site where psychologists and biologists get into discussions on the human mind during their studies and is one of my favorite examples of a good practice teaching. I have more on this blog somewhere... (this blog is starting to look like my purse).

Friday, February 1, 2008

education sunday (3)

When outside is too windy to play, an alternative is educational puzzles on the computer.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Education Sunday (2)

Unplugged puzzles should be a part of education to boost students self-confidence or to challenge children that are good at language and or atithmetics but who are affraid of new challenges.
Why does unplugged scaffolding need to be in the classroom next to the computer challenges? Cannot computer games be enough in the classroom, they're quicker and less messy. Well, the thing is that you need complete circles of education for most children. To learn in your head alone is not enough, you have to experience that there is a difference between your head and practical reality to have a real deep and meaningful learning experience, maybe not true for all, a good friend asked me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

wandering in woods

Some days when I went into the woods I would find wild strawberries, other days my shoes would be spotted with mud. I wouldn't trust picking mushrooms the way my grandfather used to, he knew which ones were poisonous, I didn't and asked myself what is the purpose that we each one of us have to learn about the same risks every generation again. I hoped I would have enherited somehow detailed knowledge about the mushrooms, preferably with pictures. Instead I seemed to have inherited a few less fortunate family memories among better ones.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Education Sunday (1)

In preparation of my participating in the writing of a manifest for education, I've been revisiting a few sites that I visited about a year ago when I first started to blog. One of these is "how to create passionate users" that combines insights on other fields (e.g. marketing) to education, what gives a fresh view and good ideas. I've seen many sites on education since, but I must say the way this site is presented appeals to me (maximum thoughts).
However, one should consider the myths that exist about education before getting into a discussion.

bipolar direction

Instead of bipolar depression, I've two directions at this present moment that pull at me. One is to read a book of a close friend author, the other is to cowrite a manifest for education from enlightened parents viewpoint. I can't help think of four books I'm reading, still surprisingly actual even though the book of Piaget contains ideas formulated before the second world war...
(1) pedagogy book on Dutch pedagogic thinkers
(2) booklet of Piaget commenting education
(3) book of Feuerstein on assessment with his method
(4) book of Tzuriel on dynamic assessment

Also I have to think on blog entries I have been making both on this blog and on the Dutch blog since I started this blog.

Both directions were becomming apparent last year already. Now they're starting to assume a shape.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

mini scaffolds

This morning the teacher and I sat both next to my youngest son. He had to finish a snake of beads on nails. He was reluctant to finish it, because it was a little bit difficult. Just to observe him, you could see how difficult it was for him to continue this work that was not too difficult, but that frustrated him just a little bit. The mini scaffolds allowed were that the teacher would show which row was the right one, that we picked the colours for him in advance to narrow the choice down to two colours, and that we asked how many beads he had to skip in between the patches. In the beginning, he sighed a lot - sighing cools a overheated brain - for us a signal that he works at thinking. In the beginning there were a lot of stops and distraction rate was high, then, he seemed to grasp the idea and speed went up.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I do recycling. First I started when I was a student. I saw half of Amsterdam put used furniture outside on the streets and the other half take it inside. I cannot count how many cupboards, chairs and items I collected this way. I now don't need to save money the same way, but when I see a perfect piece of furniture, I think of at least two things. One is that it's a shame to use up the raw materials in just a few generations, the other is if I can really use this furniture in my house, now we're wanting to moove.
This morning I first noticed the bureau chair when bringing my children to school with my cargo bicycle. A cargo bicycle is built for transportation. A chair is no problem. Returning from school I noticed that the chair is in mint condition and is easy maintenance. It looks new and comfortable. So I went to sit on it. It sat very comfortable. I don't have a bureau chair now, nor am I going to shop for one soon. So I took the chair home. Guess where I'm sitting now? My back says thanks.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Puzzle Sunday (36)

In science daily an article about how flue virusses in biology do seeds. Many plant seeds travel and for education you can use these sheets from teachervision. Also from teachervision: create your own puzzle.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Puzzle Sunday (35)

To celebrate we're leaving the middle of the darkness, I chose among other puzzles a puzzle of roses.

*new* item at Chez Odile is the metachat where Creatives and Thinkers meet.

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