Monday, May 2, 2011

Graduation Gifts

May brings the start of graduation season, and whether you want to celebrate a student moving on from kindergarten or one graduating from law school or medical school -- or those in between -- we have some gift suggestions that can help students as they move on to their next challenges.

For Young Students
Even in this age of digital content, children like to get things addressed to them and delivered by a real, live, mail person.. Magazine subscriptions fill this role, and have the added benefit of coming regularly for a year or more. They give children an opportunity to build their reading skills, enhance their affinities -- such as sports, animals, or science -- and can help them engage with new areas of interest. Some of the magazines we have recommended to young students are ChickaDEE [ages 6-9; puzzles, crafts, animal facts, comics]; Your Big Backyard [ages 3-7; animals, nature, outdoors] and National Geographic for Kids  [ages 6-14].

Graduating  Middle School
Students this age are ready to expand their horizons into the larger world, but still need help shaping their interests. They might enjoy a trip to an event -- a show, a sporting event, an exhibit -- that will both entertain them and help them to spark an interest that they can build on as they get older.

For High School Graduation
As these students move on to college, the demands on their cognitive toolbox will increase substantially. One device that we have found helpful for college students is the Livescribe pen. This enables students to take notes in lectures and then play back the particular section of the lecture by tapping the pen on the relevant key word in a special notebook. It lets students focus on lecture content without concern that they will not take sufficient notes -- and let them take notes without worrying that they missed something the professor is saying.

For College Graduation and Beyond
If your student does not yet have an iPad and if this expensive item is within your budget, it will provide them with a tool for whatever path comes next. If an iPad is more than you would want to spend, another tool that will help them move into adulthood is a subscription to a major daily newspaper. It's a way of keeping them connected to the larger world as they become focused on their future studies or career. Whether they get it via digital device or delivered to their doorstep, it will help make them better informed citizens of the world in which they live.

Some photos used under Creative Commons from yto

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