ThisFunktional Junior: April 2020

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Written by Jesus Figueroa

During this pandemic many people have had to take on even more responsibility, especially when it comes to schooling.

Although parents are their children’s first teachers, now they are having to do so even more.

During this pandemic the hardest part for both parents and children has been adjusting.

Having two nephews — a 7-year-old and a 10-year-old — who both have different issues with school, above the now school-at-home adjustment issue, everything from boredom to not wanting to be indoors all day becomes an issue.

The stress of not being able to get away from school work and have a safe place at their home has made schooling at home a big issue for children and not not knowing how to structure is has become a big problem for parents.

The ability to be a teacher isn’t something many people are able to do — and so it’s been a difficult transition for both parent and child.

Since I was in my younger nephew’s class for almost an entire school year, I was able to get experience on what a regular school day, school week, and semester looks like.

Being stuck in a classroom, I decided to be useful and make myself available to help the teachers and provide support to them as well as to any student which may need that extra support.

Many children cannot adjust  to the idea that home space becomes “work” space, since there needs to be a distinction and safe place to get away from the stress of school. 

To the nephews this school-at-home thing felt more like a prolonged vacation than actual school.

For the grown-ups which are trying to be their teachers, the adjustments have been troublesome as well, but surely things have been getting to a comfortable place.

So here are a few helpful hint that I have stumbled upon while researching how to best help my nephews adjust. (it’s still an ongoing process.)

Remember that school was 6 hours, but it wasn’t lecture time all 6 hours in a row

While school time should be learning time, it’s not all book learning time. There’s so much more to a school day.

After those 6 hours there’s still many hours that teachers spend outside of school preparing and making sure all school board standards are met.

During a school day there’s more to do than just book learning. Then there’s homework time, but right now, it’s all homework time.

Out of the 6 hours there is recess and lunch, which account for about 30 minutes of eating and 30 minutes of playtime or socializing.

Regular recess is about 20 minutes for snacks and some time in the school yard games and socializing.

A regular lunch is 20 minutes for a lunch meal and 20 minutes for school yard games and socializing.

These two are time periods are actually essential for both teachers and students.

There had been a growing “epidemic of stress” that was causing teachers to take extended sick leave to recover from.

Lunch and recess time give the teachers a bit of time away from students to refresh — a bit of silence and time away from worrying about test scores, performance reviews, or administrative observation — and a moment of stress relief.

That leaves 5 hours of learning time.

Out of every hour there’s about 10 minutes for prep time, let’s round that up to another hour that is not lecture time.

Students take time to settle from getting to class, returning from snack time, changing from subject to subject, gathering materials, and going to or coming back from recess and lunch.

From getting paper, books, pencils, and some social interaction with classmates — which is why rounding it up to a full hour makes sense (at least to me).

Kids in class always have something to talk about, they share their experiences and make connections which establishes bonds between them, which all comes to having their minds wander.

That leaves 4 hours of learning time. 

Now, spending 4 hours in front of a computer screen sounds like torture, especially when going outdoors is not recommended at the moment.

Many parents want what’s best for their children, but not all parents know how to manage learning what’s necessary, with what the parents desire their children to learn.

Many times students gets stressed from parents wanting their kids to “go beyond what’s expected of them,” like many children would say their parents would ask of them.

That can lead to children getting no breaks, brief breaks, and becoming overworked.

We all want our children to do the best, but what we think is in their best interest isn’t always what they enjoy or think is best for them.

While parents still have to consider their children’s future, letting them be kids and develop their personalities ends up taking a backseat that never gets to be a part of growing up.

Building up creativity and personality can be key components in constructing a fully functional person who can problem solve and cope with many situation.

There needs to be time for everything.

Separating necessary assignments and giving priority to assignments that children enjoy sounds great.

School has a set schedule. Children seem to thrive with it, for the most part.

But another thing school has and accounts for is social/emotional learning.

Make a plan, build a schedule, and make sure to discuss it every step of the way with your child. Make the child feel like he has some freedom and control over what his day looks like, but at the same time remind them that mixing work with leisure time will make the school day seem endless and may associate leisure with school work — and nobody wants that.

Children like to believe they have some control over what they do, as does everyone. Having them contribute helps them build their confidence and the decreases their stress level.

Be sure to talk to the child’s actual teacher to make sure you prioritize the crucial aspects of their lesson plan and any virtual classroom stuff that they require.

Allow time to be sidetracked

Sometimes a gifted child has so much on his mind that school work can lead to extra activities — which is why I have nephews who help maintain

Getting sidetracked isn’t the worst thing. Allowing a child to wander deeper into a subject that interest them helps them develop their interest — which leads to productive hobbies.

The nephews find topics in their daily school work which interests them.

They like learning about certain subjects more than others.

So they decrease their own stress by getting sidetracked on a subject that they are enjoying.

This is still helping them learn, just not progressing in their daily work load, but that’s their choice.

Getting sidetracked also happens in the classroom, so there’s no need to be worried about that.

So all of a sudden those 4 hours of actual schoolwork can shrink to 3.5 hours, but that half an hour isn’t wasted, it’s just part of social development and mental health. It’s still part of the school day. (I won’t shrink the actual school day any more)

There’s fun Friday and extra activities which teachers insert into their school week to keep a students’ attention

I am not shrinking the school day, I’m shrinking the school week.

Schedule a day where fun activities can be shared. (This doesn’t mean no learning will be done)

This can be a workout/physical activity day — fun Friday activity, a workout Wednesday activity, a family movie night. (netflix has released educational content on their YouTube channel if you care to explore that)

These may not be the best way to get school work done, but during these stressful times mental health can get low and suicide rates have been going up.

Stress will increase just because children will be indoors for a large period of time.

In a regular week, my nephews would spend 4 days out of the 5 weekdays playing soccer or futsal. Being indoors isn’t easy for them.

Workout days help relieve stress. Pick fun activities that challenge each kid. Make it easy enough to be fun, but challenging enough to peak interest. Use music to make it even more fun and to bond with your child.

Parents have an advantage for movies as they always can have the last word on what to watch (“that’s all we have at the moment” is a good line to use). But actively watch a movie. Just like active reading with a child, actively watching a movie can help a parent bond and use the movie as a learning tool. It can be annoying to have someone constantly talking during a movie, but every movie has spots where talking won’t disrupt the storytelling. Pointing out details helps children make a connection with movies as well. Use any opportunity to bond and educate.

Consider mental health as a major part of this process

While everyone needs to be taking care of their own mental health, children haven’t gone through as much as grown-ups, they do not understand how to deal with the stress and emotions of the world at the moment.

Remember that their weekends are important to recharge for the week. Spend time with your child and be present during that time.

What is being present? Put your cell phones away. Interact with your child. Talk with them. Ask them about their week (I know you probably spent every waking moment with them, but you may be surprised as to how different they experience things).

Children rely on parents for many things, even more so to cope with everything that we are having to go through right now.

Social distancing has made social interactions difficult.

While FaceTime and phone calls can help with socializing, it’s not the same as having a person present.

Although parents have work, economic stress, emotional stress, social isolation, and now being teachers on top of all that, it can be relaxing to just disconnect and spend time with family. The joy of being around family should be a stress relief.

Just like making home a place for school work can make it difficult for children, making parents into teachers can make being around a child feel like work.

But, just disconnecting and being present during fun activities can help curve that feeling and may even make teaching a child more enjoyable.

This may also help parents take a child’s interests into account.

Separate a child’s workspace from their play space

Just like grown-ups should have an area for doing work and an area to decompress, children do too.

Children’s stress level may increase in areas where they feel are meant for work, or just stuff that they don’t enjoy.

Make sure to not have children do work in the bedroom or playroom. Separate their workspace as much as possible.

This helps make sure they do not associate home with school work, it helps lessen the stress of the week, it helps make home a safe haven from school life.

Children understand much more than we give them credit for. They have been pushed into maturing a bit more now in this time of pandemic.

Make sure your child has a safe place.

This one is a bonus tip: Talk to them honestly about what’s happening

They already know something is going on, so give them information about what’s going on.

Having some knowledge about what’s going on can help alleviate some of that stress of not knowing, you also get to control what they know.

Keep safe and try and keep yourself and your loved ones healthy.

For 50 years, Earth Day has become a global celebration of our planet and the need to protect it.

This year, discover the world around us through the magic of National Geographic, Disneynature, and more.

National Park Week
  • Into the Grand Canyon
  • Wild Yellowstone
  • Earth Live
  • America’s National Parks:
    • Episode 1 “Olympic”
    • Episode 2 “Yosemite”
    • Episode 3 “Everglades”
    • Episode 4 “Gates of the Arctic”
    • Episode 5 “Yellowstone”
    • Episode 6 “Saguaro”
    • Episode 7 “Grand Canyon”
    • Episode 8 “Great Smokey Mountains”

The World of National Geographic
  • Before the Flood
  • Drain the Oceans
  • Giants of the Deep Blue
  • Great Migrations
  • Hostile Planet
  • Into the Okavango
  • JANE
  • Jane Goodall: The Hope (Streaming April 22)
  • Kingdom of the Blue Whale
  • Kingdom of the White Wolf
  • Man Among Cheetahs
  • One Strange Rock
  • Paradise Islands
  • Paris to Pittsburgh
  • Planet of the Birds
  • Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures
  • Secrets of the King Cobra
  • Sharks of Lost Island
  • The Flood
  • Tree Climbing Lions
  • Winged Seduction: Birds of Paradise

The Wild Adventures of Disneynature
  • African Cats
  • Bears
  • Born in China
  • Chimpanzee
  • Diving with Dolphins
  • Dolphin Reef
  • Elephant
  • Ghosts of the Mountains
  • In the Footsteps of Elephant
  • Monkey Kingdom
  • Oceans
  • Penguins
  • Penguins: Life on the Edge
  • The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos
  • Wings of Life

Disney Animal Adventures
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • A Bug’s Life
  • Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers
  • Dumbo
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Lion King
  • Oliver and Company
  • The Aristocats
  • The Fox and the Hound
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Rescuers
  • The Tigger Movie
  • The Wild
  • Timon and Pumbaa
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Zootopia

Conservation Favorites
  • Aliens of the Deep
  • Avatar
  • Bambi
  • Brother Bear
  • Fantasia
  • Finding Dory
  • Finding Nemo
  • Flowers and Trees
  • Grand Canyonscape
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Marvel’s Hero Project
  • Pete’s Dragon (2016)
  • Pixar IRL Episode 6 “UP: Russell Earns a Badge”
  • Pocahontas
  • Sacred Planet
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Living Desert
  • The Simpsons S8E21 “The Old Man and the Lisa”
  • The Suite Life On Deck S1E18 “Splash and Trash”
  • The Vanishing Prairie
  • Wall-E
  • Wizards of Waverly Place S2E19 “Don’t Rain on Justin’s Parade - Earth

The beloved classic story of Peter Pan is wildly reimagined in this fascinating, ragtag epic directed by Benh Zeitlin.

Set on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, this humanistic, naturalistic and mythological film follows an amazing story of children from vastly different worlds.

When an adventurous young girl named Wendy (Devin France) follows her spirited nature, she lands on a seemingly magical island.

Together with her happy, reckless, pleasure-seeking new friend Peter (Yashua Mack), she explores the island in all its wonder, and gets to know this spectacular land’s other inhabitants.

Soon, though, it’s clear that Wendy is in a fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up, with the most powerful ability she has – love.

Filled with breathtaking beauty, danger and adventure, this thought-provoking film is one you’ll never forget.

“WENDY” Digital Special Features:
  • Deleted Scenes Reel
  • Making Wendy
  • Audition Reel
  • VFX Breakdown
Arrives On Digital April 17

THE CALL OF THE WILD” delighted audiences upon opening February 21, earning an 89% Verified Audience Score on RottenTomatoes®.

Adapted from the novel by Jack London, it vividly brings to the screen the story of Buck, a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Canadian Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s.

As the newest rookie on a mail delivery dog sled team — and later its leader — Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime, ultimately finding his true place in the world and becoming his own master.

As a live-action/animation hybrid, “THE CALL OF THE WILD” employs visual effects and animation technology in order to bring the animals in the film to life.

“THE CALL OF THE WILD” is directed by Chris Sanders and stars Harrison Ford, Omar Sy, Dan Stevens, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford, Cara Gee, Michael Horse, Jean Louisa Kelly, Colin Woodell, Adam Fergus and Abraham Benrubi. Erwin Stoff, p.g.a. and James Mangold, p.g.a. are producing with Diana Pokorny, Ryan Stafford and screenwriter Michael Green serving as executive producers.

Add “THE CALL OF THE WILD” to your digital collection on Movies Anywhere™ now and buy it on 4K UHD, Blu-rayTM and DVD May 12.

“THE CALL OF THE WILD” Blu-rayTM & Digital Special Features:
  • A Man and His Dog*
  • Origins
  • The On-Set Experience
  • State of the Art
  • The World of the Wild
*Available on Digital only

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray™, Blu-ray™ and DVD May 12 on Digital now, and arriving on 

It is important to stay positive and in hopes to bring some color and music to your world here’s a amazing new rendition of the song “Just Sing”, originally performed by the star-studded cast of “Trolls World Tour,” world premiering April 10 at home through On Demand.

This cool new take on the song from the motion picture’s original soundtrack is brought to you by the voices of choir students from Miami’s own Mater AcademyDoral Academy, and SLAM Academy.

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return in “Trolls World Tour,” an all-star sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s 2016 musical hit.

In an adventure that will take them well beyond what they’ve known before, Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) discover that they are but one of six different Trollstribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock.

Their world is about to get a lot bigger and a whole lot louder.
A member of hard-rock royalty, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), aided by her father King Thrash (Ozzy Osbourne), wants to destroy all other kinds of music to let rock reign supreme.

With the fate of the world at stake, Poppy and Branch, along with their friends — Biggie (James Corden), Chenille (Caroline Hjelt), Satin (Aino Jawo), Cooper (Ron Funches) and Guy Diamond (Kunal Nayyar) — set out to visit all the other lands to unify the Trolls in harmony against Barb, who’s looking to upstage them all.
Cast as members of the different musical tribes is one of the largest, and most acclaimed, groups of musical talent ever assembled for an animated film.

From the land of Funk are Mary J. Blige, George Clinton and Anderson .Paak. Representing Country is Kelly Clarkson as Delta Dawn, with Sam Rockwell as Hickory and Flula Borg as Dickory.

J Balvin brings Reggaeton, while Ester Dean adds to the Pop tribe. Anthony Ramos brings the beat in Techno and Jamie Dornan covers smooth jazz.

World-renowned conductor and violinist Gustavo Dudamel appears as Trollzart and Charlyne Yi as Pennywhistle from the land of Classical.

And Kenan Thompson raps as a newborn Troll named Tiny Diamond.
“Trolls World Tour” is directed by Walt Dohrn, who served as co-director on Trolls, and is produced by returning producer Gina Shay.

The film is co-directed by David P. Smith and co-produced by Kelly Cooney Cilella, both of whom worked on the first Trolls.

The highly-anticipated film comes home and is available on demand NOW.

Grab your tribe and enjoy a fun night filled with the power of music and laughs.

Watch the trailer here and more details on how to watch at home here.

World Premiere On Demand Now


Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) announced the launch of their new YouTube Channel, Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone, providing parents and kids with a one stop central destination for interactive fun, physical movement, learning, and hands-on activities.

Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone is curated with a wide range of activities that will support families coping with school closures, new work-from-home routines and social distancing.
“A significant portion of Sony Pictures’ workforce is made up of working parents. The idea of Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone was born from parents on our own team adjusting to working from home and managing home schooling,” Lexine Wong, Senior Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, said. “We are proud to offer this resource to help families navigate these new and challenging circumstances, while hopefully having a little fun in the process.”
Sony Pictures’ Kids Zone will feature exciting content from our partners at Sony Pictures Animation as well as SPE’s catalog of live action favorites.

Viewers can enjoy content from movies such as “PETER RABBIT™,” The Angry Birds Movie series, the Hotel Transylvania series, “Center Stage: On Pointe,” the Swan Princess series and more.

Tune in every Tuesday and Thursday for new content from artistic crafts to yummy treats, DIY projects, scientific experiments, energetic dance-alongs, karaoke sing-alongs, a “just for laughs” section and more.

  • PETER RABBIT™ “Make Your Own McGregor Garden:” You might not be able to raid McGregor's garden like Peter, but you can grow your very own veggies at home.  Follow along to learn planting tips, clever crafts and more!
  • THE ANGRY BIRDS 2 MOVIE “Bird Watching:” In this hilarious "birds-eye" view of the real-life species that inspired the artists, we take a trip to the Los Angeles Zoo to get up close and personal with real-life Mighty Eagles, Blue Birds, Toucans, and more. With fun reactions from the cast intercut throughout the piece - get ready to laugh, learn and meet some amazing avian friends.
  • HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 “It’s Party Time” by Joe Jonas Lyric Video
  • CENTER STAGE: ON POINTE “Dance Tutorial with Chloe:” Dancer/Actress Chloe Lukasiak and Choreographer Monica Proenca teach fans “Gwen's” full audition piece from the film.
  • THE STAR “There’s No Me Without You” Sing-along with Bo and Friends
  • SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE “Learn to Draw Brainy Smurf”
  • ZATHURA “Motion Storybook”: Read by Author Chris Van Allsburg

Written by Jesus Figueroa

The cultural barrier may affect how comedy translates, but voice actor Hector Trejo helped “SPIES IN DISGUISE’s” Agent Quane be relatable for the Spanish-speaking audience.

Trejo said that he had collaborated on several premieres with “Spies in Disguise” he was asked to be a part of the dub cast. He was able to dub the voice of Agent Quane, who had always wanted to be a spy, which Trejo said he could relate with and in so he accomplished a dream of his.

Becoming an actual spy may be a very difficult or almost impossible cast, but through acting, an actor gets the opportunity to step into that role for a bit.

Trejo worked along side a fellow content creator Andres Navy to dub the voices of best friends, agent Bruno and Agent Quane.

Trejo said that Agent Quane is very similar to his personality, as Agent Bruno is for Nave, so it felt very natural to voice the characters.

Dubbing an already established character can be a challenge, but Trejo was thrilled to be a part of “Spies in Disguise.”
Although, Trejo was tasked with dubbing the voice of “Spies in Disguise” co-director Troy Quane who is one of the masterminds behind the movie.

Trejo said that the character is extremely excited, it’s not a normal dialogue. The character is at the peak of excitement. Being able to let go and reach that level of excitement could be difficult. But, dub director Ricardo Tejedo helped get him relaxed and achieve the performance that was desired.

To be able to establish the right mood for the character Trejo had to become a fan boy.

Trejo worked with the dub director and made the comedy resonate.

Comedy doesn’t always translate well to a different language.

The cultural and pop culture differences between countries can be a barrier to fully capture the audience.

Trejo said that they intended for the dialogue to be natural. While Navy and I had a part that’s a recurring gag, it was a task to make sure that the gag was understood, and he felt they did it by adjusting the dialogue with the dub director and it was fun for him to develop the comedy.

Running into Will Smith, who bounces Agent Lance Sterling in “Spies in Disguise,” would make anyone excited, and Trejo said he’s no exception. He said if he found himself face to face with Will Smith he would find himself extremely excited and he would react exactly like Agent Quane does.

Available Now On Digital, Blu-ray™, and 4K Ultra HD™

San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s 50-year History of Wildlife Conservation to be Celebrated with a Float in the 134th Rose Parade Presented by Honda

(Info from press release) Giraffes, Rhinos and Wildlife Safari Truck Represent the Safari Park’s Ability to Connect People to Wildlife and ...