Should Parents Make Their Children Clean Their Room?

Is your bedroom “an archaeological site of dirty socks, sports-drink bottles, ripped papers and empty boxes of Cheez-Its?” If so, does it make your parents crazy? How often do you clean it up? Does the mess bother you?

One or two good paragraphs please answer:

— Should parents make their children clean their room? Why?

— Does having a clean room make you a better or happier person? Does cleaning your room teach you important life skills?

— What’s the state of your bedroom? How clean or messy is it? Do you like it that way?

— How often do you clean your room? Do you clean it only because your parents make you?

(Courtesy of the N.Y. Times Learning Network)

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What’s Your Favorite Candy?

“Do you like Kit Kats? As Russell Goldman reports in a new Times section called What in the World, in Japan there are nearly 300 varieties.

Japan Has a Kit Kat for Every Taste, and Then Some” reads:

This is pretty much all anyone needs to know about the popularity of Kit Kat in Japan: There are nearly 300 varieties.

In addition to the (dare we call them) classics, like wasabi and purple sweet potato, new flavors are regularly introduced. In February, Nestlé, which distributes the candy in Japan, released a sake flavor in time for Valentine’s Day.

For a few weeks in December, shops sold a single stick, not the classic duo, covered in dark chocolate and coated with gold leaf for 2,016 yen, or about $16.

Even for a country where shoppers can find fish-ball-flavored Pringles and adzuki bean-flavored Pepsi, actual gold candy seems extreme, but the Kit Kat holds a special place in Japan’s culinary universe.

Kit Kat’s name echoes the Japanese phrase “kitto katsu,” or “surely win” and is often sent as a gift to students before college entrance exams. It is the country’s most popular candy, according to Nestlé, which does not release sales figures.

Kit Kat is so popular that it is sold at high-end department stores, Kit Kat-only specialty shops and even post offices, and it is so ingrained in the nation’s snack culture that nearly every region has a signature flavor sold only in that part of the country.

As a result a hungry traveler could eat scores of different flavors of Kit Kat. Here is but a sample of recently available flavors:

Adzuki Bean · Apple · Blueberry · Butter · Cheesecake · Chili · Coconut · Edamame · Green Tea · Green Tea (Sakura) · Green Tea (Uji) · Hazelnut · Kobe Pudding · Matcha · Miso · Passion Fruit · Pear · Perfect Balance Citrus (orange, lemon, lime) · Plum · Purple Sweet Potato · Roasted Tea · Rum Raisin · Strawberry · Strawberry Maple · Wasabi

Students: In one good paragraph answer the following prompts. Begin with an interesting and creative lead sentence. Make sure your sentences are complete and make sense. End your paragraph with a thoughtful concluding sentence. Do not end with asking a question. You may comment on others’ posts if you like.

— Which of the Japanese Kit Kat flavors listed above would you most like to taste? Why?

— What are your favorite candies now? When you were younger? Why?

— Are there candies you have particular associations with or memories of? Tell us about one of them.”

(Image and article courtesy of the NY Times Learning Network)

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What Things Have You Created?

Caine Monroy, nine years old, built an arcade out of cardboard boxes in his father’s auto parts shop in Los Angeles, California. This video is the story of Caine and his arcade.

Have you ever made things out of found materials when you were little? Pillow forts ~ paper dolls ~ sandcastles ~ or anything else?
What are your best memories of creating things?

Students: Tell us what you remember best about the things you created when you were a child. How old were you? What materials did you use? Did you create secret spaces like pillow forts where you could retreat, or construct inventions or child-sized versions of real things out of cardboard? Did you write stories, put on plays, invent potions or your own recipes? Tell us some favorite childhood memories of creating — and ask yourself why those creations were so satisfying and memorable.

(Idea and some text courtesy of the NY Times Learning Network)