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How many of you still hit the space bar twice at the end of the sentence? Today, the rule is one space, not two spaces, after a period. Period. For those of us over 40, it is almost impossible to break the habit but ask kids today about it and they will not even understand the question. Unless you are typing on an old-fashioned typewrite, get over it. The rule is one space. How do I remember? Well, I usually don’t and it infuriates my copy editor.
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Most kids (ages 6 to 17) say that they would read more books if they could find ones they like, according to research by Scholastic.com. It also found that kids age 6 to 8 are more likely than older kids to want books with characters that look like them; kids age 9 to 11 are more likely than younger kids to want books that have a mystery or problem to solve; kids age 12 to 14 are more likely than older kids to want books with smart, strong or brave characters; and kids age 15 to 17 are more likely than younger kids to want books that let them forget about real life for a while. Get suggestions at scholastic.com/readingreport/
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Apple is hosting free one-hour coding workshops in every single Apple store worldwide on Thursday, Dec. 11, in honor of the Hour of Code initiative. You can sign up at apple.com to attend a workshop at your closest Apple location. These workshops are in addition to 62,000 other Hour of Code events†planned for Computer Science Education Week. code.org
Code.org†is encouraging all educators to†try one hour of coding†with students in the classroom anytime this week and many Sonoma classrooms are participating (ask your child). Ed Surge offers more than 50 resources for learning how to program online, most of which are free at http://tinyurl.com/p79wfex.
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Local young artists ages age 16 to 21 should apply for the City of Sonoma Cultural & Fine Arts Commission’s Student Creative Arts Award. This $2,000 award is designed to further the winner’s education in the arts (performing, visual or literary). Past winners include rising singer/songwriter Sarah Summers and actor Michael Starr. Applications are due Tuesday, Jan. 13 and available at cityofsonoma.org.
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Baby Center has announced the most popular baby names of 2014 and there isn’t a Mary, John or Anne to be found. The top girls names from one to 10 currently are Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Mia, Zoe, Lily, Emily and Madelyn. The top boys names are Jackson, Aiden, Liam, Lucas, Noah, Mason, Ethan, Caden, Jacob and Logan. You can read the complete list at babycenter.com.
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I loved playing around on the new personality quiz website Traitify. You answer a series of quick easy questions about your personality and the site provides insight into your dominant traits. It is fun for both kids and grown-ups, and at least right now appears to be free. It might be a fun activity after a big holiday meal. There is also an option where you can explore which careers you would be best suited to and better understand your leadership style.†https://demo.traitify.com/
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AdmitSee is a new website where students applying to college can advise each other on their essays. The site gives applicants and parents insight into essays that worked, school faculty can use the free admissions resources on the site, and college students can get paid for sharing their college applications materials. Yes, that last part is a bit horrifying. Supposedly the site works closely with schools to prevent plagiarism. I believe the site replies heavily on TurnItIn.com – a plagiarism detection service that provides “originality checking.” The website was created by four UC Berkeley students and it authenticates not only college essays but also other scholarly writing.
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As local students face final exams this week and next, there several free tutoring options available. The No Name Cafe Homework Club meets Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Sonoma Valley High School on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The Teen Center on Highway 12 provides homework help on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.; and for students of all ages, the Boys and Girls Club offers homework help every single day after school. For the month of December, the club will offer specific high school subject tutoring in math, science, English and public speaking in the early evenings. Visit bgcsonoma.org/ for details.
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High school students are talking about the new (mostly free) Test Precision app because of its personalized SAT and ACT prep services. The site’s rapid diagnostic test offers to help students decide on which of those two tests they will do better. Testprecision.com. There are a host of other to-notch online test prep sites at http://preview.tinyurl.com/q96sj2q.
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There is a College Night & Fair from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at Novato High School targeted at students who might want to attend college out of state. Dozens of schools will be in attendance and it is a good chance for students to learn more about schools that might be impossible to tour. regionaladmissions.com.
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Altimira Middle School will host its annual combination Science Fair/Craft Fair/Book Fair/Band Concert†from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 10†in the school’s multipurpose room. Principal Will Deeths called it: “Truly, one of our biggest and best community events.”
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Holiday events, offerings and opportunities to give:
The Boys & Girls Club is hosting is annual Challenge for the Trees community event from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12. This obstacle course and football throwing competition is fun for all ages. One winner from each age group will receive a free Christmas tree and decorations. The next day, from 1 to 4 p.m., the Club invites the community to come to its annual tree lighting and holiday festival. That event includes arts and crafts, activity center, open climbing wall time and performances by the Valley Vibes youth orchestra a local children’s chorale. The Club will also be raffling off eight new bikes.
The Sonoma Valley Holiday Program provides holiday gifts to local families in need. All recipients are pre-screened and referred by local schools and non-profit partners. The program runs a huge gift drive, a holiday gift store (where beneficiaries can choose items for free) and a holiday dinner. Sponsors, donations and volunteers are needed. Learn how to help at: svholiday.org.
Toys and gifts are needed at Valley of the Moon Children’s Home (Sonoma County’s only 24-hour emergency shelter for children).†The home serves children up to age 18 and they arrive at the shelter with few personal belongings. The Home seeks donations of MP3 players, handheld electronic games, toiletries, toys, craft kids, board games and art supplies. Contact: Meg Easter-Dawson†565-8383†or†measter@schsd.org to help.
Sonoma Raceway’s 12th annual toy drive runs now through Wednesday, Dec. 10. The toys will be distributed to more than 250 children at the raceway’s annual Race to the Holidays Christmas Party on Saturday, Dec. 13.†New, unwrapped toys and gifts for children from newborn to 12 years old are needed. Donations can be dropped off at the following locations in Sonoma: Sonoma Raceway, AAA Sonoma, our local fire stations, City Hall, Exchange Bank and The Sonoma Index-Tribune.
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Source: http://www.sonomanews.com/this-weeks-best-tips-resources-research-and-events-for-sonoma-kids-teens-grads-parents-and-teachers/#.VJFlAVR7h5S


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