Field Trip BLOG

June 15, 2023

The Boy with Faster Brain Named 2023 National Parenting Product Award Winner

The Boy with the Faster Brain, Peter Shankman’s new book that helps parents and children navigate the scary and confusing world of ADHD, has been named winner of the National Parenting Products Award for 2023.  Integrity and honesty are at the core of NAPPA Awards' mission. For over 33 years, the National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA) has been ensuring that parents purchase the highest quality products that help them connect and enjoy time with their families.

Peter Shankman realized a long time ago that his ADHD was responsible for most, if not all his success. After starting and selling three companies and writing five best-selling books (including Faster Than Normal, which in five years has become the bible of ADHD and productivity), Peter decided it was time to write a book that focused on children—one that would teach them that ADHD, and all forms of neurodiversity, can be gifts, and not a curse—as long as they understand how to use them.

That’s what The Boy with the Faster Brain is about. Meet Peter, his mom and dad, and Dr. Lisa, who together help Peter navigate the confusing and scary world of ADHD.  Working together, Peter comes to understand that he has a faster brain than other kids and why having that can be the best thing a child could ask for.  The story helps parents explain to children with any type of neurodiversity issues that there is nothing wrong with them in a way they can understand. The story explains that Peter’s faster brain is like a race car.  With the help of his parents and Dr. Lisa, Peter learns how to effectively “drive” his brain.  The important message in the book is that children with ADHD and other forms of neurodiversity are not broken, they are brilliant and learning how to harness their faster brains opens up a world of possibilities.



Peter Shankman is a spectacular example of what happens when you find the best traits of ADHD and work really hard to make them benefit you. By the time Peter was diagnosed as ADHD he had started and sold two companies and realized that all the differences that formerly labeled him as a troublemaker were actually his greatest assets. After Peter sold his third company, (Help a Reporter Out,) he decided to focus on really understanding this “faster brain” of his, and learning exactly what it could do. From that, the "Faster Than Normal" podcast and bestselling book of the same name were born. Since then, Peter has written numerous best-selling books and “Faster than Normal” is the Internet's #1 podcast on ADHD.  Peter believes that everyone has gifts, potential, and abilities far beyond what society has deemed “normal,” and strives to help bring those gifts to life in as many people as he can.  He lives in New York City with his 10-year-old daughter. For more information about Peter, visit his website,


CONTACT: Trina Kaye – The Trina Kaye Organization / 310-963-3964

February 21, 2023

SchoolTime Performance Series at the Historic Garde Theater!

March 15, 2022


The World of Eric Carle and Gymboree Play & Music invite young readers to get outside this Spring with first-ever nonfiction series, a themed Picnic Party activity kit, and more designed to spark curiosity.


March 20, 2022 marks the first day of Spring, and Penguin Young Readers’ annual celebration of Eric Carle’s beloved classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. To celebrate Very Hungry Caterpillar Day, Penguin Young Readers is thrilled to offer families and classrooms a variety of new books, activities, and partnerships to continue Eric Carle’s mission of sparking curiosity for the outdoors this Spring. The fun includes the release of the first-ever nonfiction concept board books from The World of Eric Carle, a partnership with Gymboree Play & Music, a downloadable Picnic Party Kit, and free virtual backgrounds.


This February, The World of Eric Carle is thrilled to launch Life Cycles with the Very Hungry Caterpillar, the first-ever series of nonfiction early learning concept board books featuring Carle’s classic characters. HOW DOES A CATERPILLAR HATCH? and HOW DOES AN EGG HATCH? (ages 1-3, on sale 2/22/22) will launch the series, followed by two additional titles in 2022, HOW DOES A SEED SPROUT? And HOW DOES A TADPOLE GROW? (on sale 5/17/22).


The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s adventures outside continue in THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR’S FIRST SPRING (ages 0-3, on sale 2/15/22), THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR’S FIRST SUMMER (on sale 5/3/22), and THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR’S FIRST FALL (on sale 8/2/22), alongside the now-available THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR’S FIRST WINTER.



Gymboree Play & Music locations throughout North America will feature The Very Hungry Caterpillar the week of March 14 through 19, with story times in their classes. In addition, all virtual Gymboree Play & Music classes will include a special story time featuring the digital book that same week, with links for the activities and book purchase shared with all virtual member families. All Gymboree Play & Music families will receive an email the week leading up to Very Hungry Caterpillar Day, sharing the digital Picnic Party.


Starting March 6, parents and educators can join the Very Hungry Caterpillar for a Picnic Party with a free printable party kit available at The kit includes:

Cupcake recipe with toppers
Coloring Card activity
Caterpillar Headwrap activity
Decorative bunting activity
Photobooth props
8.5 x 11” poster

Virtual Backgrounds

Themed virtual backgrounds are available for your next virtual meeting at


About The Very Hungry Caterpillar

With its vivid colors and innovative hole-punched pages, The Very Hungry Caterpillar teaches lessons in counting, the days of the week, the process of metamorphosis, and the importance of choosing foods wisely. The book has wiggled its way into the hearts of generations of readers and become a bookshelf staple in homes and classrooms nationwide. Since its publication in 1969, more than 55 million copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar have sold globally, and it has been published in over 70 languages. Today, every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is sold.

About Eric Carle

Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has been translated into 70 languages and sold over 55 million copies. Carle illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 170 million copies of his books have sold around the world. In 2003, Carle received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award (now called the Children’s Literature Legacy Award) for lifetime achievement in children's literature. In 2002, Eric and his wife Barbara cofounded The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art ( in Amherst, MA, a 40,000 square foot space dedicated to the celebration of picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world, underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form. Eric Carle passed away in May 2021 at the age of 91. His work remains an important influence on artists and illustrators at work today.



Life Cycles with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

World of Eric Carle | Board | ISBN: 9780593385609| $4.99

On Sale 2/8/2022 | Ages 1-3



Life Cycles with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

World of Eric Carle | Board | ISBN: 9780593385616 |$4.99

On Sale 1/18/2022 | Ages 1-3



Life Cycles with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

World of Eric Carle | Board | ISBN: 9780593386262 |$4.99

On Sale 5/17/2022 | Ages 1-3



Life Cycles with The Very Hungry Caterpillar

World of Eric Carle | Board | ISBN: 9780593386255| $4.99

On Sale 5/17/2022 | Ages 1-3



World of Eric Carle | Board | ISBN: 9780593384107 |$8.99

On Sale 1/4/2022 | Ages 0-3



World of Eric Carle | Board | ISBN: 9780593384725 |$8.99

On Sale 2/15/2022 | Ages 0-3



World of Eric Carle | Board | ISBN: 9780593384749| $8.99

On Sale 5/3/2022 | Ages 0-3



World of Eric Carle | Board | ISBN: 9780593384763 |$8.99

On Sale 8/2/2022 | Ages 0-3 

About Gymboree Play & Music

Gymboree Play & Music is the global leader in classes for kids, and the founding member of the Gymboree family of brands. Since its creation in 1976, Gymboree Play & Music has created developmentally appropriate play, music and art classes for parents and children ages newborn to five. Based on a blend of early childhood development theories, complemented by 45 years of hands-on experience, Gymboree Play & Music classes are now available in over 30 countries. Parents can find a location near them by visiting For a behind-the-scenes look at Gymboree Play & Music, follow them on Facebook at 

About Penguin Random House:

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal  passion  for  reading  by  connecting  authors  and  their  writing  with  readers  everywhere.  The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson. As of April 1, 2020, Bertelsmann is full owner of the company. With more than 300 imprints and brands  on  six  continents,  Penguin  Random  House  comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print  and digital  English-German-and Spanish-language  trade  book  publishing  businesses  in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 15,000 new titles, and more than 600 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.


February 14, 2022

Books for All: A New Way for CT Kids and Families to Share the Gift of Reading

Connecticut families now have access to a brand new donation site for their new and gently used children’s books.


Meet Hindi’s Libraries, the Long Island-based nonprofit that ships children’s books to families in need around the world. Hindi’s Libraries was founded in honor of Dr. Hindi Krinsky, a beloved educator and mother who passed away due to Crohn’s disease in 2018. Since then, Hindi’s Libraries has donated over 275,000 [1] [2] books to underserved communities across all 50 states, India, Israel, Africa, Haiti and Puerto Rico.

Pina Basone, aka Pina Bird, is the incredible children’s author bringing Hindi’s Libraries to Connecticut! Pina’s published works include “Chicken Livers and Artichokes,” “Fred the Super Friend,” and “Fred the Super Saves the Mangroves.”


All new and gently loved children’s and young adult books donated will be accepted and rehomed through Hindi’s Libraries.

When and Where

The new Hindi’s Libraries donation site will be housed by Coldwell Banker Realty. Donation bins will be available 24/7 as an outdoor book box has been placed right outside the door when the office is closed.


1086 Long Ridge Rd.

Stamford, CT 06903


In low income neighborhoods, the ratio of books to children is 1:300- that’s ONE book shared by THREE HUNDRED children. With your help, Hindi’s Libraries hopes to build a better tomorrow by offering children the opportunity to learn and grow through reading.

To learn more about Hindi’s Libraries and how you can help, visit or send a message to Hindi’s Libraries is also @hindislibraries on all social media platforms and would love to hear from you!

To learn more about Pina Basone and her inspiring books, visit

July 29, 2021

PBS Offers Resources for Families and Educators as a New School Year Begins

New resources, programming and activities from PBS KIDS and PBS LearningMedia can ease the transition back into school year routines

The 2021-2022 school year is right around the corner, and with it comes change for families and educators alike as they settle into new school routines. Heading back to school during a time of ongoing uncertainty amidst the pandemic can be a stressor for students, parents and teachers. PBS is here to help with this transition with resources that support social and emotional learning.

“Classrooms continue to evolve, and we’re proud to be a go-to resource for both families and educators as they prepare kids to head back to school in the coming months,” said Sara Schapiro, VP, Education, PBS. “We cannot stress enough the importance of learning that not only nurtures knowledge growth, but also develops key social and emotional skills. Across all of our content, PBS and our member stations aim to do both – meeting kids where they are as they head back to school.”

PBS KIDS helps children with these important life lessons that are building blocks for all other learning. As parents look to prepare their little ones for the year ahead, PBS KIDS’ Back to School hub includes resources that help your child with lessons like acclimating to new routines, managing emotions and building friendships. This includes:

·       “You Are Brave and Kind”: Helping Your Child Get Ready for the First Day of School

·       How to Help Your Child Successfully Transition Back to School

·       Helping Your Child Make Friends Again

·       Practice SUPER Morning and Bedtime Routines

Additionally, PBS KIDS for Parents now includes a Spanish website, with more than 150 resources and counting.

For educators, PBS LearningMedia, celebrating its 10th year, offers a Back to School collection of resources in English and Spanish to help customize teaching to best support students at all levels. This also includes materials to help educators navigate the many hurdles and emotions of teaching through an unprecedented year. This includes:

·       Back to School Packet | PreK and K

·       Back-to-School Planner and Checklist | PBS KIDS

·       Starting School with Daniel Tiger & Mister Rogers

·       Recursos de PreK-12

Later this summer, PBS will launch an updated PBS LearningMedia student platform, which will encourage exploration of award-winning, educational media for middle and high school students, featuring three, curated media resources selected for students to examine each week.

And on September 9 at 8pm ET, PBS KIDS will host a webinar on the PBS KIDS for Parents YouTube channel for parents and educators of PreK-2 children to discuss lessons learned from the past two school years, and ways to build strong relationships moving forward.

PBS and local stations across the country will offer shows, online resources, and community-based support throughout the school year to engage families and educators

Families can tune in to new back-to-school content from favorite series, including episodes from DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, in which kids can join Daniel for a week of first-time adventures (August 16-20) and marking its 25th anniversary, a new one-hour movie from ARTHUR, Arthur’s First Day, in which Arthur starts 4th grade (September 6).

Further, students can engage with games and interactive content tied to their return to school, focused on themes such as setting routines and understanding feelings, and with familiar faces such as ARTHUR in Kindergarten Helpers and Daniel Tiger as he talks about getting along with friends. New games from DONKEY HODIE and ARTHUR will also debut in August and September, respectively. 

January 27, 2021


What is a purple person? Great question. I mean, really great! Because purple people always ask really great questions. They bring their family, friends, and communities together, and they speak up for what’s right. They are kind and hardworking, and they love to laugh! A purple person is an everyday superhero! How do you become one? That’s the fun part!

Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart’s New York Times bestselling book THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE (on sale June 2, 2020 / Random House Books for Young Readers / Ages 4 – 8) will walk you through the steps. Get ready to be silly, exercise your curiosity, use your voice, and be inspired.

A signal of unity and bipartisanship, there’s a lot more to the color purple than people think. It’s what happens when blue and red come together and we stop to listen to each other. THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE provides a roadmap for what it means to be a Purple Person—a concept that encourages children to support others, be kind, and embrace their unique selves while finding common ground—notions that have struck a deep chord with readers.

As we work toward a better, more inclusive world for our children, Bell and Hart have created a hopeful story about embracing the things that bring us together as humans while encouraging a positive and impactful shift in perspective.


April 27, 2020

Strategies for Supervising Special Needs Children on Field Trips

Special needs children are an underrepresented group who face obstacles in succeeding in school. When it comes to activities like field trips, there’s an amazing opportunity for a positive experience—but there are also challenges that could come up and make the trip more difficult for everyone involved.

If you will be supervising special needs children on a field trip, then it’s important to prepare for these possible challenges. All children deserve to have a great experience on a class trip, and by taking a few simple steps, you can help special needs children make the most of a field trip. Here are some tips.

Every Experience Is a Learning Opportunity

Too often, students with special needs aren’t given the same opportunities to succeed as their peers. You may have heard of the “achievement gap,” which describes the differences in achievement among different groups of students. Special needs children are hugely affected by the achievement gap, especially if they belong to another group that has been affected by the gap.

We have to work together to close this gap, but as an individual, you can help by making every experience into a learning opportunity. In a field trip setting, make a special effort to engage special needs students and ask them questions that could help them get the most out of the experience.

Setting the Mood

Many special needs children struggle with sensory overload outside of their normal routines. A field trip is fun for most children but can become overwhelming for children with autism and other special needs. If possible, learn about any sensory integration therapy (SI) techniques that the child has used, and implement those before the student starts showing signs of distress.

Stress and anxiety can ruin a field trip for a child with special needs. You can help to set the mood by preparing some deep breathing exercises for relaxation. If possible, it is best to introduce these exercises before the field trip so that the student is familiar with them in advance.

When You're In It for the Long Haul: Overnight Stays

 Overnight trips can be especially challenging for special needs children. Again, preparation is key. If possible, you should give parents all of the information about the overnight stay well in advance and work with them to ensure that their child feels as comfortable and safe as possible.

In addition to learning the child’s routines and expectations, chaperones must also learn as many coping skills from the child’s daily routine as possible. The student should be told about every aspect of the trip, including where the class will be going, how they will get there, whether a “buddy system” will be used, and who they can ask for help should they need it. This will help to reduce any stress that a special needs student might experience on a class trip.

A Better Learning Experience for Children With Special Needs

Students with special needs shouldn’t be left out of special classroom events. In addition to the educational and social enrichment that field trips can offer any student, special needs children have the opportunity to learn coping skills away from their normal routine, which will be key as they become adults and must navigate an unpredictable world.

Teachers and chaperones need to put in some extra effort before a field trip with a special needs student. While it’s not always possible to fully eliminate stress and negative behavior on a class outing, it is possible to reduce incidents and help special needs students get a better learning experience. If we want to close the achievement gap, we have to be willing to put in the work and prepare for challenges that might come up.


March 31, 2020

The Museum of Science, Boston -new digital Museum experience for audiences

The Museum of Science, Boston, one of the world’s largest science centers, has launched a new digital Museum experience for audiences, MOS at Home. With multiple live presentations throughout the day, creative engineering projects, podcasts, kid-friendly activities, and more, the Museum is inviting the community to visit remotely at for new content every day.

“With MOS at Home, the Museum is bringing world-class STEM experiences to people everywhere, taking the learning that happens every day in our Exhibit Halls to everyone in our community and beyond,” said Tim Ritchie, president of the Museum of Science, Boston. “Through MOS at Home, our talented team of educators and experts is making STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) accessible to people of every age and background, to help cultivate a generation of problem-solvers, doers and makers, one that enjoys and celebrates science, whether or not they are able to visit the Museum.”

MOS at Home offerings will include presentations and content from all familiar areas of the Museum. Audiences will be able to learn directly from Museum experts during multiple, live daily segments like, “Ask a Scientist,” while others can download fun Engineering Design Workshop challenges to do at home.  Additionally, parents and educators can interact directly with the Museum’s EiE educators and get valuable tips on how to support STEM education through informative live webinars. Closed captioning will be available for both live and recorded content and many will be available in languages other than English, beginning with Spanish-language videos.

Content streams include:

  • MOS Live: these live presentations, delivered multiple times per day, will include opportunities for question-and-answer sessions on topics such as dinosaurs, space, reptiles, lightning, and COVID-19 updates.
  • Science Snapshot: the Museum offers its Gordon Current Science & Technology Center presentations, with Museum educators presenting the latest science news, with topics ranging from COVID-19 and quantum physics to the expanding universe.
  • Pulsar: A Podcast: a series of podcasts about a variety of science topics delivered by Museum educators.
  • Family STEM Activities: stimulating, at-home activities that bring the Museum’s engineering design workshop and award-winning EiE STEM curricula from the classroom to audiences everywhere.
  • Town Halls: opportunities for people to come together, learn about, and discuss topics of interest. Town Halls convene thought leaders from across the science and technology sector to help participants understand, and shape, the world around us.
  • Museum Resources: from recommended resources that help keep STEM education continuing at home to exhibit content to explore remotely, these resources will encourage continued connection and engagement.
  • MOS at Home is the centerpiece of the strategic approach the Museum is taking to serve the public while the Museum’s doors are closed. Additional measures include the launch of a fundraising campaign, Science Matters, to support The MOS Fund, and developing opportunities for all staff affected by the closure to contribute remotely to continue Museum offerings and operations.

“Whether we are open or closed, our staff is and always has been the most important asset we have as a Museum,” said Ritchie. “We will do all we can to support them for as long as possible. I am immensely proud of our dedicated team members—from every department across the Museum— who have joined forces, mastered  new tools and skills, and completely transformed our model, practically overnight, and all while working remotely.”

“The spirit of innovation, resilience and compassion that I have seen within our Museum over the past few weeks gives me hope. This crisis has reminded us of the importance of science-literacy, reinforced the importance  of an evidence-based approach to teaching and learning, and of the power we all have to adapt, grow, and respond to a changing world.  It has awakened in us a deep concern for our neighbors and those we serve. My hope is that we will emerge from this stronger, smarter, tougher and more empathetic,” continued Ritchie.  “Despite the many challenges, I’m certain the Museum of Science will become an even more vital community resource than ever before.”

Those interested in the week’s schedule of events available through MOS at Home or who wish to donate to The MOS Fund, can visit the Museum’s website,


About the Museum of Science, Boston

One of the world’s largest science centers and New England’s most attended cultural institution, the Museum of Science introduces approximately 1.4M visitors a year to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), through the world-class hands-on exhibits, programs and curricula of its William and Charlotte Bloomberg Science Education Center. Established in 1830, the Museum is home to such iconic exhibits as the Thompson Theater of Electricity, the Charles Hayden Planetarium, and the Mugar Omni Theater. Beyond its walls, the Museum reaches tens of millions more through award-winning STEM content such as its blockbuster traveling exhibits, The Science Behind Pixar, the world’s leading prek-8 engineering curricula, EiE®, and originally created, globally distributed planetarium shows. The Museum influences formal and informal STEM education through research and national advocacy, as a strong community partner and loyal educator resource, and as a leader in universal design, developing exhibits and programming accessible to all. Learn more at

January 6, 2020

SEN (Special Education Needs) Superpowers

SEN (Special Education Needs) Superpowers

The SEN Superpowers series celebrates the positive traits associated with a range of common SEN (Special Education Needs) conditions, boosting the confidence and strength-awareness of children with those conditions, while also allowing for better understanding and positivity among their peers. Each book includes a page of discussion points about the story, a page of tips for how to boost abilities (inclusive for children with and without special educational needs), and, finally, a further page of notes for parents and teachers. The books feature a dyslexic-friendly font to encourage accessibility and inclusivity for all readers.

Each book in the series

Highlights different special needs
Generates discussion points about the story
Features tips on boosting abilities (inclusive for children with and without special educational needs)
Includes special notes for parents and teachers
Uses a dyslexic-friendly font to encourage accessibility and inclusivity for all readers

Author Tracy Packiam Alloway, PhD is a Psychology professor and Graduate Program Director at the University of North Florida. She specializes in working memory and its role in learning and the benefits of training working memory.

THE MAP CHALLENGE (July 16, 2019, 9781786035776): When Sammy's group loses their map on a camping trip, can he use his SEN Superpowers to save the day and lead them safely back to the campsite? SEN Superpowers: The Map Challenge explores the topic of dyslexia.

THE CLASSROOM MYSTERY (July 16, 2019, 9781786035806): Someone has been stealing food from Snowball, the classroom pet bunny! Can Izzy use her SEN Superpowers to track down the culprit and save the day? SEN Superpowers: The Classroom Mystery explores the topic of ADHD.


October 29, 2019

5 Reasons to Make a School Field Trip to Alcatraz East Crime Museum a Priority

Alcatraz East Crime Museum, located in Pigeon Forge, helps students understand crime and consequences

Students today live during a time when crime in their communities reaches into their schools through bullying and violence and follows them online. Yet there can be teachable moments, to take advantage of interests in science or solving puzzles, to show students ways to make a difference. Alcatraz East Crime Museum, located in Pigeon Forge, plays an important role in helping students understand more about the societal factors that contribute to crime, and the judicial system that both protects and enforces consequences.

“Alcatraz East is a great place to bring school students for a field trip,” explains Rachael Penman, director of artifacts and exhibits at Alcatraz East Crime Museum. “The more they can learn about crime history, crime prevention, and the judicial system, we can hopefully encourage positive choices.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no one factor that causes school violence. However, they advise that preventing school violence requires addressing factors at all levels of the social ecology. They report that preventing school violence requires understanding the factors that influence it. 

The CDC has created a four-level social-ecological model that can better help students understand violence and the effect of potential strategies. The four areas include learning about crime risks and prevention in relation to the individual, relationships, community, and societal factors.  

Here are 5 reasons why Alcatraz East makes a great school field trip:

·         Alcatraz East helps fit the model for crime prevention that the CDC promotes to help prevent violence. Students who take a field trip to the museum will learn about crime, crime prevention, and consequences for those who commit crimes. 

·         While touring the museum they will learn about some of the most high profile criminal cases in the country’s history. The information presented will help them learn what societal factors may have contributed to an increased crime risk.

·         Understanding how the judicial system works in America is important, and the museum gives students a hands-on approach to learning about it. They will learn about being in law enforcement and crime scene investigation.

·         Students who visit Alcatraz East Crime Museum will gain more information about crime prevention and may be able to use that information to make themselves and their schools safer. 

·         Taking a field trip to the museum gives teachers and group leaders the perfect opening for an in-depth discussion on crime prevention. They can go back to the classroom and go more in depth with new things they’ve learned at the museum.  

“Rather than simply talking to students about crime issues, our museum gives them a chance to make a connection,” added Penman. “Many students are visual or hands-on learners, which fits well with our many exhibits. We offer many learning opportunities that will help students gain a better understanding of the consequences of crime and hopefully inspire careers in forensic science and law enforcement.” 

The museum will also be celebrating National STEM Day on November 8, 2019. The museum offers students a chance to explore STEM-related exhibits. Those interested in participating in a field trip for their students or scouts should contact the museum for group rate information. 

The museum also offers a variety of specialty programs for homeschoolers and scouting groups, including: 

Science! What does science have to do with a crime museum? From toxicology to fingerprints, Alcatraz East is the place to learn all about forensic science. Forensic science applications, such as latent fingerprint examination, are being taught in schools as early as 6th grade. Students can even get to learn all about these applications from a local forensic expert with national experience, Art Bohanan. You can even earn a badge with Alcatraz East’s Girl Scout programs. Forensic science abounds at the Museum!

Students will get up close and personal with counterfeit items the museum’s Counterfeit Crimes gallery. The display includes counterfeit games, toys, clothing items and electronics in order to educate visitors on the effects and dangers of buying and aiding in the sale of counterfeit items. 

Go on a deep dive into the judicial branch of government top to bottom. Hear about local law enforcement all the way up to the Supreme Court. Do you remember your high school government class? The Museum helps students navigate our judicial process through famous cases and an in-depth look at the rule of law.

Get a taste of the consequence of crime. Follow the process from start to finish, from a line-up, to the court room, to a jail cell. Students will immerse themselves in it all and can contemplate life choices in a life-size replica of a modern jail cell.

Social media safety tips are placed throughout the museum, each teaching students the importance of not only staying safe while out in the community, but staying safe online. You might want to tell everyone on social media you and your family are taking a Smoky Mountains vacation, but should you?

The museum is always adding to its collection and has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages - so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:

# # #


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing School Violence.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Prevention.



October 18, 2017

Wiinter Reading List

October 3, 2017

Kids Authors True Tales of Childhood from Great Writers

Kid Authors

True Tales of Childhood from Great Writers

Stories by David Stabler

Illustrations by Doogie Horner


“Just like history class, only hilarious.”
—Tim Federle, author of Better Nate Than Ever on Kid Presidents


Before they got published, every great author started out as a kid with a vibrant imagination. In Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood from Great Writers (Quirk Books; October 10, 2017; $13.95), readers ages 8–12 will be inspired and entertained by childhood tales about some of their favorite authors before they became famous.


Joining Kid ArtistsKid Presidents, and Kid Athletes as the fourth installment in David Stabler and Doogie Horner’s Kid Legends series, Kid Authors features thoroughly researched, charmingly illustrated childhood biographies from a diverse cast of authors, including Beverly Cleary, Sherman Alexie, J. K. Rowling, Stan Lee, and more. Every chapter shows that even the world’s best-known writers had to deal with the day-to-day challenges of growing up, like bullying, family trouble, and struggles making friends. These real-life stories prove that through bravery, hard work, and creativity, dreams can be achieved. 


Middle-grade readers will love learning such fun “did you know” facts as:

  • Edgar Allen Poe was afraid of the dark.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder was a tomboy who loved to play baseball.
  • Roald Dahl had a childhood job tasting and rating candy bars.
  • Mark Twain (born Samuel Clemens) used to sneak away to swim in the Mississippi River, steal boats, and explore limestone caves.


A fantastic research starter, Kid Authors introduces young readers to the literary canon in a fun, accessible way, encouraging them not only to read about their favorites but to discover new authors as well.


About the Author and Illustrator:
Author David Stabler and illustrator Doogie Horner have created many books. Their previous collaborations are 
Kid Presidents (Quirk, 2014), Kid Athletes (Quirk, 2015), and Kid Artists(Quirk, 2016). Stabler lives in New York City; Horner lives in Philadelphia.


About the Book: 
Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood 
from Great Writers

By David Stabler; illustrated by Doogie Horner

Publisher: Quirk Books

Series: Kid Legends, Book #4

ISBN: 978-1-59474-987-2; e-ISBN: 978-1-59474-988-9

Publication date: October 10, 2017; ages 8–12

Price: $13.95


August 22, 2017

What if you don't send your kids to school?

It's back to school time again! Some kids are already there-some are prepping to go...But what if you don't send your kids to school?  

These days, so many people work remotely and have the ability to travel full time.  If that's the case, should having school aged children prevent them from doing so?  Not if you ask Caz and Craig Makepeace, who are world travelers who also happen to be parents of two elementary aged daughters.  "We do a combination of homeschooling and unschooling-we like to call it Road Schooling-don't let the terms confuse you" ;)  

What do they do? 

  • Focus 1-2 hours a day on skill based work. I think it's vital for children to maintain the discipline of "formal" learning, and ensuring they know their basic reading, writing and maths skills (favorite online program is Reading Eggs)  
  • Most other learning the girls get from their travel experiences. For example, we spent an entire day at the Hawaii Volcano National Park. the girls learned all about how volcanoes are formed, earthquakes, what makes volcanoes erupt. They got to see the volcano bubbling up the lava and then follow the lava fields and see the beginning of the Rainforest forming. There is no unit of work taught in school that could compare. 
  • We incorporate experiences like museums, art galleries, and cultural tours so the children can learn from these hands on experiences. 
  • If we are settled in one place for some time, we will look for any camps or classes the girls can attend. For example, this past week they have attended acting and theatre production camp. This also helps develop their social skills and gives them interaction with children their own ages.
  • We're very active travelers, so they get more than enough physical activity and pursue passions like stand up paddle boarding, rock climbing, and surfing.
  • They also love helping us create videos for our blog and YouTube channel and Kalyra will often write posts for our site. I am also about to "Hire" her as my personal bookkeeper. She'll be tracking our weekly expenses, which is my way of teaching her about money and developing work ethics. 
  • I used to be an elementary school teacher. 15 years of teaching in 5 different countries. This knowledge and experiences helps me know how to approach homeschooling in the best way and how to gain the most educational value from an experience. 

I have a post written here:

I also have this free ebook:

June 15, 2017

The ABCs of Stuttering

The ABCs of Stuttering  

Top Five Questions Teachers Have About Stuttering 

Here are the top five questions teachers ask us: 

1. What should I do when a child stutters in my class?

Be a good communicator yourself:

* Keep eye contact and give the child enough time to finish speaking.
* Try not to fill in words or sentences.
* Let the child know by your manner and actions that you are listening to what she says - not how she says it.
* Model wait time - taking two seconds before your answer to a child's questions - and insert more pauses into your own speech to help reduce speech pressure.
* Do not make remarks like "slow down," "take a deep breath," "relax," or "think about what you're going to say, then say it." This kind of advice is simply not helpful.

2. Should I call on the student?

It's always best to check with the child about what he would like you to do. Children vary greatly in how they want their teachers and peers to respond.

One child may want his teacher to reduce her expectations for his participation, calling on him only if his hand is raised or allowing him to take a pass during activities such as round-robin reading. Another may want to participate fully.

3. How should I handle teasing by other students?

Deal with teasing of a child who stutters just as you would with any other child who is being teased.

*  Listen to the child and provide support right away. Don't dismiss it with a remark such as "Everybody does it."
* Discuss problem solving and coping strategies for teasing and bullying with the child. These strategies may also have been a part of speech therapy. 
* Educate others. Talk with the class about teasing and bullying in general. The child who stutters is probably not the only one being bullied. 


4. What should I do about oral reports and reading aloud in class?

Help make oral reports and reading aloud a positive experience for the child who stutters. Together, you and the child can develop a plan, considering:

*  Order - whether she wants to be one of the first to present, in the middle, or one of the last to present;
* Practice opportunities - ways he can practice that will help him feel more comfortable, such as at home, with you, with a friend, or at a speech therapy session;
* Audience size - whether to give the oral report in private, in a small group, or in front of the entire class; and
* Other issues - whether she should be timed, or whether grading criteria should be modified because of her stuttering.


5. Where can I find out more information about stuttering?

The Stuttering Foundation is a great resource. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, the Foundation is known internationally for the quality of its resource materials available to the public - free streaming videos, downloadable books, brochures, newsletters and referrals through its website as well as its toll-free helpline: 800-992-9392. There is a section on the website dedicated just to teachers:


Foundation Spokesperson Jane Fraser
 Jane Fraser is president of the Stuttering Foundation and co-author of If Your Child Stutters: A Guide for Parents, 8th edition. She is also vice president of the Action for Stammering Children, Michael Palin Centre in London.

June 8, 2017

Five Beach Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know

Steve is a 30-year law enforcement veteran and FBI defense tactics instructor shares his best tips for parents to know this summer.

Five Beach Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know

According to the Center for Disease Control, each year about 4,000 people drown in the United States.  Drowning kills more children 1-4 years of age than anything else, except birth defects.  Among children ages one through fourteen, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury or death (after motor vehicle crashes).  Being aware of the risks and learning some life saving techniques will keep you safe at the beach.


1) Your Span of Control is Limited

In the perfect world, every child would have a designated adult supervising them at the beach or pool, but two children is a comfortable number for one adult to supervise.  Any more can become overwhelming and increase the risk of something going wrong.


2) Drowning Doesn’t Look like Drowning (or:  Drowning Doesn’t Look like You Imagine)

In the movies, when someone is acting out a drowning scene they wave their arms and scream for help. In real life, drowning is, for the most part, a silent act. Once a person goes into distress mode, they are fighting for two things: air and keeping their mouth above water.

My first experience witnessing the onset of a drowning occurred at my family pool when I was about ten years old.  My much younger cousin was in two feet of water, bent over at the waist.  It looked he was looking at his feet or the bottom of the pool but something didn’t seem right. When I lifted his head out of the water, he began vomiting and crying, he had been stuck. In a case I investigated, witnesses reported seeing a young girl bobbing her head up and down in the water.  She had drifted from the shallow end of the pool into water above her head (or:  the deep end) and was pushing off the floor of the pool to get air because she could not swim. She was saved, but nearly drowned. If something in and around the water doesn’t look right, it likely isn’t.


3) Set Up by a Lifeguard - No lifeguard No lifeline.

Set up your stuff near a lifeguard station so that if you venture into the water with your children there is an extra set of eyes to watch over you and your child. Don’t allow this to replace your diligence but rather supplement it. Your child is your first responsibility.


4) Don’t Get Lost in Conversation

Going to the beach or pool is a social event. If you’re caught up in a conversation, keep your face and your eyes on your child. Mishaps and accidents can occur very quickly and with a mix of children and water, seconds matter. Keep your hands glued to your babies or toddlers at all times.  If at the beach, keep an eye out for rouge waves.  Chat with the lifeguard in advance about any dangers you should know about. Ankle deep water can quickly become a hazard if you are not paying attention. Outfit your child with bright colored beach wear.  Know your limitations and educate yourself on riptides.  While you are on child watch duty turn the cell phone off, and keep the Ipad or book out of your reach.


5) Learn CPR and Rescue Breathing

Your local fire, police, recreation department or gym and health club often sponsor certified CPR courses. You will not realize its value until you need it!

Steve Kardian is an American career law enforcement officer, detective, sergeant and chief criminal investigator, who specializes in crime prevention and risk reduction for women's safety. Kardian is the author of The New Superpower for Women (on pre-sale until August 8, 2017) and founder of Defend University, where he trains thousands of people each year on safety and self-defense, as well as strategies and tactics uniquely tailored to women's safety.

April 4, 2017

The Good, the Bad, and the Brilliant: The Ways in Which Music Motivates, Inspires, and Stirs Passion Within Us All

by Taylor Barton

When I was young, I had a job at a cheese shop which was adjacent to the record store. I spent every single paycheck, buying what seemed like everything released between 1970-1977. Why? Music was my religion. Music spoke a universal language and music motivated me. It allowed me to feel my way through life, especially through confusion and sadness. Music lifted my spirits and inspired me and eventually, music became my vocation.

Scientists have made many a study proving that music effects our neurons to motivate us to achieve higher goals. Olympians have been known to prepare for a sports event by “pumping up”, with a select soundtrack to put them in “the zone”. Plants are inspired to grow when music is in the house. Even dogs stop barking when they hear the strum of a guitar. I have a dog that tries to sing when I vocalize.

Music can teach, sometimes better than a teacher. One of my current favorite songwriters, is Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has written the epic rap opera, the Broadway hit, “Hamilton”. It is a genius tour de force that tells of a beleaguered, young Alexander Hamilton who, through his own sheer force of ambition, becomes one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and promoter of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the founder of the nation's financial system. With music, Miranda is able to communicate a very complex era in US history, and make it accessible to even the least interested student.

Music is therapy. Music heals. Music influences our thoughts, our senses, and our bio-chemistry. This is why I decided I wanted to immerse my life in music. I embarked on writing my musical, Pedro ‘n’ Pip, to entertain folks about the environment in a funny, magical way. The politicians that ignore the effects of pollution, natural catastrophes, and climate change, deny our citizens the education of our planet. The education of our planet is the most profound education we will ever have, because we are interconnected. Music is interconnected with instrument and sound. That sound vibrates and draws us in or out. Some eastern philosophies believe we are all one musical note or another. That is why we gravitate towards or away from each other.

A few weeks ago, I was taking my 14- year-old daughter on her first shopping spree at a mall in my childhood hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. She asked me shyly, “shouldn’t we be worried about going because of all the terrorism?”

I answered, “yes, but that isn’t going to stop us from getting you your first pre-formal dress and lipstick.” Wondering how to calm both of us, I turned on the radio. “What is your favorite song that is about courage?” I asked.

She fiddled with her phone and earplugs and a moment later Rihanna’s “Nobody’s Business” blasted as she strode a bit more confidently through the parking lot into the mall.

Just yesterday, I went to a gym in LA. I was going to do a yoga workout in a vacant room and thought I’d play my customized quiet playlist, so I pressed the music icon on my phone and began stretching. There was another woman who was lifting weights, grunting in the other corner and I noticed she was becoming more agitated. She kept dropping her weights on the ground, showing her rage. I thought maybe the weights were too heavy for her, but no, she stormed out of the room and in walked the manager.

 He came over and asked me, to not play the gym stereo, and I said “I wasn’t. I just had my phone.” When he saw that, he apologized and exited. That was when I realized the woman didn’t like my music. She sneered at me, and under my breath I whispered, “Satisfied?”

 She screamed, “What did you say? Its’ stupid people like you, who can’t respect gyms!”

 I then said, “Did the manager ask me to turn off my music?”

She just glared at me and then started ranting, “If everyone played their own music, it would be total chaos. How would you like it, if I played what I want?”

I said, “I would be fine with that!” and also added loudly, “Look lady, I’m not the one who is angry.”

Then she started playing some X-rated rap, and stormed out of the room again. I decided to finish my workout in the general area with the safety of more athletes and generic music blaring away. My point is, certain music can be divisive, just as it can connect.

As I write this article in Palm Springs, I am fortunate to bear witness to the Rock Heroes of my time: Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Paul Mc Cartney, The Who, and Roger Waters. And the two things these performers have common are music, and how they changed the world with it.

About the Author/Producer:

Taylor Barton learned her trade in the presence of musical royalty. Her husband, GE Smith, put the young songwriter backstage with musical legends like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Jerry Garcia, and thus, her first song was conceived in the back of Dylan’s tour bus. Originally from Maryland, Barton has released eight critically-acclaimed CDs, and has won 10 ASCAP popular panel awards for her overall songwriting and performances, as well as being an ‘Official Selection' for the Mill Valley Film Festival for her documentary film, 50 Watt Fuse. She released a murder mystery called Hotheaded Saints, praised by best seller, Adriana Trigiani.  Barton, who has performed in theatre, commercials, films, and appeared on numerous syndicated radio and TV shows (SNL and Conan) for at least two decades, has turned her talent and focus to her newest innovative integrated book and music multimedia collaboration for children, Pedro ‘n’ Pip, available September, 2016.   

Learn more and connect with the author at and on TwitterFacebook,  LinkedIn, and Pinterest.