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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Amp Up Your School Social Life
Don’t Hunker Down: Escape from your classroom once in awhile.
While sometimes we need to insulate ourselves, take a quiet moment or maximize our classroom downtime, it’s also imperative that we actively, consistently, and intentionally seek time and space with peers. Use this brief change of scenery and moment away from the classroom to come up for air.
Let’s Do Lunch: Eat lunch with your peers, not alone at your desk.
The time you have in school is rarely your own. Lunch is one moment in your day when you get to seek others out. Don’t let this daily opportunity escape you.
Total BFFs: Make friends with colleagues.
According to Gallup, people who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their job. That means that laughing, talking, and sharing time with your colleagues is a part of your job! If this goal isn’t part of your priorities, it should be.
Make Peace, Not War: Resolve lingering personal conflicts with colleagues.
What degree of stress walks into the building with you each morning because of a workplace conflict with a colleague? How much energy and joy does this conflict sap from your overall satisfaction with teaching? How would your energy change if this conflict was resolved? You know the answers to these questions. Now go and address it!
Make the Most of Me Time
Pencil It In: Schedule moments in your days when you’re NOT available but are in control of your own space and time. Even for a moment.
Making time for yourself is not a bad thing. Catching your breath, taking a moment’s peace, and re-energizing is not only good for you, it’s good for your students and colleagues. They want you peaceful and focused!
Loosen the Digital Leash: DON’T email during every free moment.
Little by little, your computer may be eating away at what little spare time you have. Take a weekly technology audit of your time. How much “free” time are you spending on the computer? How else could you spend this time that would better feed you and your energy?
The Last Bell: Leave school while it’s still light out.
Are your friends and family happy you do this work? Do you have anything left for them at the end of the day? If not, you need to dedicate yourself to creating boundaries and expectations around your role as an educator that also allow you to play the role of spouse, parent, friend, and partner. Your friends and family will thank you. Your students will too.
Sgt. Sleep: Get enough sleep and be militant about this goal.
Even if you stayed up late working every night, your work would never be done. Your students can’t learn when they’re exhausted. You can’t teach when you are either.
Live and Learn like a Kid (or at least how we tell them they should)
Extra-Curriculars: Pursue hobbies, passions, and interests in your own life in the same way that you hope your students do.
Teaching is your job. It’s probably your passion. But that’s not all you do or all you are. Making time for your own pursuits is not only an important part of your own personal development, but also fulfills you in ways that you can then turn back to the people you serve.
The Kindness Boomerang: Say your “thank yous” and “good jobs” in hopes that this positivity will come back to you..
If you’re thinking kind thoughts about a colleague, say them. If you’ve been meaning to thank someone for the role they play in your life, do it. Get in the habit of speaking and writing your positive thoughts about others. Odds are, you’ll hear similar thoughts in return.
Reawaken Your Curiosity: Learn something new everyday.
Being a life-long learner is part of being a life-long teacher. Read about a subject matter that may or may not pertain directly to your content area. Show your students what love of learning looks like.
Play Student: Sit in on a colleague’s class to watch, enjoy, and learn from a peer.
The very best mentor and model you could have may be next door. Make time to watch other professionals in your building. Rather than analyzing the experience, enter into the experience with a goal of pleasure and enlightenment.
by guest writer Nathan Eklund
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
What criterion do you use to determine what books will be published?
We look at a multitude of things when we’re deciding what to publish: quality of writing, of course; the strength of the story, of the characters, of the voice; the marketability—is there a hook that will help us to get this book into the public eye? Each book is a risk and we ask ourselves ourselves if it is compelling enough in some way to make it worth that risk.
What age level is the most difficult to predict a book’s success?
Children’s book publishing, like all publishing for that matter, is cyclical—for example, a few years ago the picture book market was really struggling and now it’s flourishing. I would venture that at the current moment it’s hard to launch a chapter book, because there are already so many successful series out there—such as our own very popular My Weird School series in addition to Junie B. Jones and Magic Tree House—that take up most of the bookstore shelf space. But that’s not to say that with the right combination of characters, writing style, and plot we wouldn’t take a chance on it.
What was the biggest surprise hit you’ve published (or surprise failure)?
We weren’t surprised when it was an initial success because it’s such a gorgeous book, but Mary Engelbreit’s edition of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS continues to sell better and better year after year, which is unusual in the book world and, obviously, delightful. It’s turning out to be the gold standard of Night Before Christmas picture books, no small feat when you consider how many versions there are!
How does HarperCollins work with teachers and schools to promote literacy?
We have a dedicated team in our school and library marketing department. These talented people work closely with teachers and librarians on a daily basis and they meet regularly at conferences that are spread out through the year. As an example of a special program, we sponsor Drop Everything And Read Day (D.E.A.R. Day), a nationwide initiative to get teachers, librarians, and families spending time with kids and reading. D.E.A.R. Day is every year on April 12, in honor of Beverly Cleary’s birthday—Mrs. Cleary wrote about the D.E.A.R. program in the beloved Ramona Quimby books, which we publish.
Can you describe the “I Can Read!” program? Who determines how books are categorized?
The I Can Read program is one of the oldest beginning reader publishing programs in the country. There are five designated reading levels and each book is clearly marked with its level. We have a senior editor who specifically handles the I Can Read line; she’s an expert on each ICR reading level and she oversees the quality and consistency of each book in that line.
Who develops the Teaching and Reading guides?
The folks in our school and library marketing department work with teachers and librarians to create the Teaching and Reading guides.
What are some current trends in children’s books?
In the young adult market, paranormal fantasy continues to exert a powerful hold, thanks in large part to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. It started out as a vampire craze and is branching out to faeries, ghosts, werewolves, and more.
What is your favorite children’s book? What’s your favorite book of any genre?
That is a really hard question for a book lover such as myself! In children’s books, two of my all-time favorites are Maurice Sendak’s OUTSIDE OVER THERE (so creepy and beautiful) and E.L. Konigsburg’s FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER. In the book world at large, recently I loved Marilynne Robinson’s GILEAD. But I could go on (and on…).
What is the best part of your job? The worst?
There are a lot of bests, but I especially love seeing a kid engrossed in a book I worked on—it makes you realize that the two years (on average) of work before the book hits a shelf is so worth it. The worst? It’s a big task to wade through the piles of not-always-up-to-par submissions, and on the flip side you feel bad letting down so many aspiring authors. But it’s simply not possible for a publisher to take on everything that’s sent in.
How is HarperCollins, or book publishers in general, fairing during this economic downturn?
Book publishers in general are having a tough time in the current economic climate. At HarperCollins, we’re implementing many cost-saving strategies, but we feel fortunate that even in times of financial stress, families seem to still buy books for their kids. A lifelong love of reading is what we hope to see develop.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Happy break to all!
We all know that these breaks fly by and nothing you mean to get done actually gets done, so I'm being proactive this year. If I post my To Do list, hopefully I'll actually cross every item off the list.
- Create a Christmas miracle by actually getting everything done in the next two days (How did I get myself roped into making pipe cleaner reindeer antlers for all the kids in the family? Really, how did that happen?)
- Game plan for the spring semester.
- Seal my windows with that plastic wrap and blow dryer thing... You might want to buy tickets to that show because it should be ridiculous, as it always is when DIY visits my house.
- Read all those books I buy but never have time to get to. Question: Does Twilight live up to the hype?
- Finally decorate my living room after a year of blank walls. (This one seems highly unlikely to get done, but a girl can dream.)
- Work out religiously and get super fit... in two weeks. Totally achieve able.
- Sleep, sleep and sleep some more
Friday, December 19, 2008
Use Rudolph to create a lesson about being different and special. Have students write down what makes them special (either adjectives for younger students or essays for older students) and share in group. Rudolph is a great tie in to teaching tolerance and anti-bullying messages.
Buddy becomes an author, so why can't they? Students can try to write holiday-inspired stories.
For social studies, Elf demonstrates the culture clash that can take place between people from different homelands. Buddy only knows the life of an elf, with their rules and their clothes and their main professions. When he comes to America, he struggles to fit in. When have your students traveled somewhere where they felt out of place?
A Science-lovers dream. He uses all kind of simple machines and scientific principles to outsmart the bad guys, including using the conductivity of the door handle to burn their hands, a pendulum to propel paint cans and gravity, gravity, gravity.
There's also a geography connection because the family is in Paris. Where is Paris? How far is it from their home? What are ways the mom can take to travel there?
Mickey's Christmas Carol (or any version)
Scrooge loves his money. What a great tie in to counting and even economic principals? Why do some people have lots of money and some people have very little?
The three ghosts also demonstrate the concept of past, present and future tense in a concrete way.
Any Familiar Favorite in Another Language
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Most students know the general storyline for their favorite holiday shows. That will help them to bridge the gap for beginning language learners.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Most teachers I know don't make out nearly as well, at least in gross cash value. So other than gift cards, what are teachers getting this year?
- You've got your homemade knickknacks from kids, which have the heartwarming factor.
- You've got your candles, soaps and all things Bath and Body, which are hit or miss depending on the smell. (Even opening a cucumber melon lotion from three blocks away makes me nauseous).
- You've got your candies, chocolates and cookies, which may be tasty but are rude to your wasteline.
- You've got your Christmas-themed ornaments, snowmen and Santas, which are ususally cute... but you're running out of places to put them. Last year, my mom's entire basement was overrun with snowmen on every available surface. It was like they were building an army and rising up against the impending spring. The snowball war is coming, so watch out.
- And then you've got the saddest gift of all....nothing (which most high school and city teachers I know are looking forward to this year).
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Chicago/Illinois has been on a political pride rollercoaster in the past two months. After an Obama high, we hit a despicable low thanks to Blagojevich's Senate seat bidding war, and now we're back on top.
From the reports I've read so far, Duncan seems to be getting good reviews from "ed reform" politicians and teachers unions. In the Edweek and eSchoolnews articles, he's painted as an experienced (7 years with CPS, the third largest US school district) leader familiar with problems in urban education and an innovative thinker who experiments with charter schools and teacher pay plans with the collaboration of teachers unions.
In addition to being one of AFT president Randi Weingarten's selections, Duncan has the support of his local NEA leaders.
“In our experience, Arne Duncan is committed to working with others, including the unions, to promote excellence and equity in public education,” Jo Anderson, the executive director of the Illinois Education Association, said in a statement released by the National Education Association after Education Week and other newspapers reported Mr. Duncan’s pending nomination last night. The IEA is an affiliate of the 3.2 million-member NEA. ~Edweek reportBut it's still early. We're still in the afterglow of Obama's announcement and reporters are working off of press releases. As we all know, those winds could turn in a second.
I'm just crossing my fingers that Duncan lives up to the hype - both for Chicago's pride and schools, teachers and especially students around the country.
Is Arnie Duncan the best choice for Secretary of Education? Take the poll or write your choice in the comments section.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Making Sex Segregation Legal
Today, many parents and teachers are being invited to climb aboard the single sex education bandwagon. Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools, was recently changed to allow for single sex public schools and classes that are voluntary and comparable to coeducation. And a growing number of public schools are buying in. Why? Some argue that boys and girls have different brains, and that boys are active learners while girls prefer a sedentary environment. Others believe single sex classes avoid gender social distractions. Some struggling schools are drawn to single sex education as a possible remedy for poor test scores or persistently high drop-out rates. But is single sex education the answer?
Making Co-education Work
We think not. History has taught us that separate can never be equal, yet here we go again, this time segregating by sex. America’s classrooms are already fragmented by race, class and ethnic group, and one can only question how we are ever to become a well functioning egalitarian society if integrated, democratic classrooms are beyond our reach. We have much to teach each other, but not if we educate our children in sex-segregated schools.
Research has also taught us that you need not sacrifice democracy to achieve excellent schools. Rather than divert resources to divide girls and boys, we should improve our schools through smaller class size, more teacher training, an inclusive curriculum, and funds to promote parent-teacher partnerships. To make public coeducation work for all our students, we need to make schools more effective, not more divided.
by guest writers David Sadker and Karen Zittleman
Co-authors, Teachers, Schools and Society and Still Failing at Fairness
Do you think single sex education is a good idea? Take the poll or share your opinion in the comments section!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Not only has Damon become a YouTube sensation and a pretty successful reporter, he also got tapped for an NPR interview.
What an incredible example of what kids can achieve if they work hard and show a little creativity. I can only imagine what Damon will be doing once he hits high school, college and beyond. Odds are, he'll already have some big names as references on his resume.
What incredible things have your students achieved? Share their stories in the comments section!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Here are some excerpts from that interview:
What made you decide to leave your career as a celebrity publicist to become an anti-bullying activist?
When the tragedy at Columbine high school occurred, I became frustrated by the nation’s response. What happened there had nothing to do with the availability of guns. That’s when I decided to go public with my story. From fifth grade through high school I was tormented by my classmates for the same reason so many other kids are bullied today, simply for being “different.” After Columbine, I wrote my memoir Please Stop Laughing At Me… I wanted bullying victims to know that they’re not alone, that someone does understand, and that if I survived, so can they. And I wanted bullies to understand that it’s not just joking around, that bullying can damage you for life. When the book came out, I started receiving hundreds of emails from bullied kids begging me to come to their schools and speak. I packed a bag and started touring the nation’s schools. That was the genesis for my anti-bullying crusade which is still going strong, seven years later.
When I go into a school now, I do a program called It’s NOT Just Joking Around! which consists of a student presentation, a teacher workshop, and an evening parent/family seminar which is open to the public. The primary message I communicate is threefold: bullying damages you for life; bullying just isn’t the mean things someone does, it’s all the nice things they never do, like letting a fellow classmates sit alone at lunch or never inviting them to anything; and that if you are shunned, there is nothing wrong with you, it’s everything that’s right about you that makes you a target.
I’m blessed the American school system has welcomed me with such open arms. To date, I’ve given my program to well over a half million people, and I’ve been able to successfully intervene in nearly two-dozen bullying related suicides.
How does your experience qualify you to instruct teachers and parents on how to change the culture of schools?
If you were walking down the street, fell into a hole, and two people stopped offering to help—one of them was a celebrated academic who had done his doctoral thesis on the thermal dynamics of holes, but had never been in one himself—and the other was someone who had recently fallen down the very same hole you were in and was willing to crawl back inside and show you the way out, whose assistance would you opt for in that moment of crisis?
Bullying is at a moment of crisis in our schools and I’m the latter. I’m the only adult survivor turned activist who’s utilizing her own painful past for the purpose of motivating change. While I respect many of the research based anti-bullying programs and agree that they can serve a vital role in helping to make our kids safer both emotionally and physically, there’s still a crucial need for someone like me who can relate to these hurting students on a rare visceral level, and who is able to consistently earn their trust and their willingness to become more compassionate.
My objective when I go into a school is straightforward—I re-enact key scenes from my youth and let students witness first-hand what I went through, enabling them feel what I felt and what their classmates whom they abuse also feel, all in an effort to inspire them to be more compassionate with one another. Most kids don’t realize the long-term damage they’re causing by how they treat one another. I make them aware and want to change.
My work has been recognized by many government and educational agencies including The Department of Health and Human Services, The Department of Justice, The National Catholic Educational Association, The National Crime Prevention council to name several. I’m humbled by their support.
Obviously, your book and presentation provide a multitude of techniques for teachers, administrators and parents to address bullying.
What is the first step a teacher should take to help a bullied student?
The worst thing that an adult, be it a teacher or a parent, can say to a bullied student is “Ignore the bullies and walk away.” It’s a cliché and never works. We preach to students don’t be a bystander, if you see someone getting picked on, defend that person, but then we’ll turn around and say, if you’re the one getting bullied, just ignore it. Isn’t that a mixed message? In effect, by telling a student to ignore the bully, we’re asking them to be bystander in their own life.
Another reason advising someone to ignore the bully is a mistake is because by doing so, you’re inadvertently enforcing adult logic in a teen circumstance and it rarely if ever works. In the adult world, if you ignore someone who’s bothering you, chances are that they will stop the negative behavior, but in the world of kids, the opposite applies. If you ignore the mean, popular students, whom I refer to as “Elite Tormentors,” (caring popular students are “Elite Leaders) they aren’t going to stop harassing you, they’re going to escalate the level of abuse until they get a reaction.
Other clichés that offer little comfort or relief are “the bullies are just jealous” or “20 years from now, you’re going to be success and the kids who are picking on you will be nowhere in life.” Those clichés are universally ineffective and make the student feel as if you’re dismissing their pain.
The bullied child is bleeding in the form of loneliness. The most important thing you can do is to help them get an interim social life to help stop that bleeding long enough to buy you the time to deal with the larger issues. Contact the park district, local library and community center one town over from where the school is located, and request information about their organized activities for kids. Most offer everything from youth theater and computer clubs to book clubs and sports. Review the list of activities with your student, then share it with the parents, encouraging them to enroll their child. The reason I suggest it be one town away is to insure the student gets a fresh start with new faces—this is vital.
My parents and teachers got me involved in a theater troupe for children two neighborhoods away from where I attended school. These friendships saved my life….literally. I know this seems like such basic common sense, but for some reason, many adults overlook it.
How should teachers deal with bullies?
Traditional punishment doesn’t work. It only makes an angry child angrier, which contributes to the cyclical abuse in the school system. I espouse an innovative approach to supplement traditional punishment, which I call compassionate discipline. The whole premise is finding creative opportunities where kids can naturally access their empathy and develop it like a muscle.
For example, let’s say there are a group of kids who are always picking on the have-nots at school. Instead of giving them a detention or suspension, have the school sponsor a luncheon for a local homeless shelter. Have this clique of kids, who pick on classmates with less money, serve food at this luncheon. Also, require them to interview at least two of the homeless people, ask them about their dreams and aspirations and write a paper about it.
The problem with the current system of punishment in our schools is that it only emphasizes the consequences of being cruel, but it doesn’t expose kids to the rewards of being kind. Until we completely renovate our approach to discipline, we’re going to keep getting what we’ve been getting.
You can’t command compassion, you have to inspire it. Once inspired, it has more power to motivate changes in a student’s behavior that any detention of suspension ever could because it’s igniting it from the inside out.
Can you describe a specific instance of change have you witnessed with students you’ve worked with?
Most adults think the key to reaching a kid is how strong you are, but it’s the opposite. It’s how vulnerable you’re willing to be that really gets to their hearts.
One morning I had just concluded my student presentation, and a group of 8th graders approached me. They explained that they were part of the cool crowd, and felt terrible about how they had been treating one of their classmates and asked if I would arrange for a meeting so they could apologize to him. Within thirty minutes, a shy, awkward student named Eric was standing before those who had been bullying him for years. He asked if he could say something to them before they apologized. He told his tormentors that he didn’t blame them for thinking he was weird, that sometimes he acted that way because he had a disorder called Asperbgers Syndrome, and then he explained what that was. As some of these bullies began to tear up, Eric went onto explain that that wasn’t the only reason he sometimes behaved oddly. “You know how you guys will bang erasers on the chalkboard really loud until I start to scream and then you laugh at me?” he asked . His peers nodded guiltily. “The reason I always scream isn’t because of my Aspergers. It’s because one day last year my dad told me he couldn’t take having a retard for a son anymore, and then he got his gun out of the drawer and shot himself. Every time you bang those erasers, I think it’s the gun again.”
In that moment, several of his classmates got up and hugged him, begging his forgiveness for their cruelty and asking for his friendship. That day changed all their lives. I still get periodic updates from those kids, letting me know how they’re doing.
Whatever change I’m able by the grace of God to inspire is what keeps me going because I can tell you that reliving my past to thousands of kids every day, week after week, year after year is difficult work. If I wasn’t making a tangible, measurable difference, I wouldn’t have the energy, courage or determination to continue.
Do you have a final message to teachers?
Only that of anyone would d like to learn more about my anti-bullying work or is interested in bringing me to their school, please feel welcome to peruse my website at http://www.jodeeblanco.com/.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
2. Who was the first president to ennact the law requiring guidelines and funding to states for the education of special needs children?
3. What is Charlie Brown's teacher known for saying?
4. What landmark Supreme Court decision led to the integration of schools?
5. In the movie Dangerous Minds, Michelle Pfeiffer's character (teacher Louanne Johnson) challenges her students to a contest that brought together a famous musician and poet. Who were they?
Bonus: What song was featured in the movie and featured Pfeiffer's character in the video?
6. What ancient educator is known for his technique of instructing through questioning students?
7. What was the first word Anne Sullivan taught Hellen Keller?
8. Who first proposed the theory of multiple intelligences?
9. Who started the Freedom Writers movement?
10. What is the average # of weekly hours teachers spend on non-compensated duties?
See answers below. Show off your score in the comments section!
Answers: 1. 6.2 million, 2. Gerald Ford, 3. 'wah wah wah wah?, 4. Brown v. Board of Education, 5. Bob Dylan/Dylan Thomas, 5b. Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise, 6. Socrates, 7. doll, 8. Howard Gardner, 9. Erin Gruwell, 11.6 (according to a 2001 NEA study)
Monday, December 8, 2008
“When you’re working in a school,” she said, “stay away from the teachers’ lounge.” It was a statement that stuck with me because it seemed like an odd warning. For one thing, I didn’t know of many teachers who actually had time to visit the teachers’ lounge. And what dangers could lurk in one of these dingy, little rooms…besides empty calories and fat grams in the vending machines?
The wisdom behind Dr. Russell’s words didn’t really click until after I had been teaching for a few years. I realized that the teachers’ lounge isn’t a room. It’s anyplace where teachers gather to “vent.” And the dangers are many.
Gripes and Grumbles
Let’s face it. Complaining is an easy habit to fall into. When coworkers get together to chat, it’s usually not long before the talk turns ugly. The kids are hopeless. The parents should have never been allowed to have kids. Education is going you-know-where in a handbasket (whatever that is). It’s all doom and gloom once the ball gets rolling. Avoid the gripe sessions, and your day suddenly looks much sunnier.
The Rumor Mill
Another teachers’ lounge trap is the ever-present grapevine. It might be tempting to join in on the gossip sessions, but just remember that the rumor mill is not only unreliable, it’s fickle. Anyone who will share gossip with you will spread gossip about you. Gossiping leads to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and awkward situations at work. Steer clear of teacher groups who are eager to delve into everyone else’s personal lives.
Sticks and Stones
Once the complaining snowballs and the rumors are out on the table, the conversations tend to become vindictive. If you find yourself listening to someone rip a fellow teacher to shreds behind her back, you’ve officially fallen into the teachers’ lounge trap. The only way out is to politely excuse yourself and suddenly become very busy with planning lessons or grading papers. Keep away from grown-up bullies who tear others down to build themselves up.
All in Good Fun
Card-carrying members of the teachers’ lounge usually get their laughs at someone else’s expense. Making fun of students, parents, administrators, and coworkers is their favorite pastime. If you decide to join the party and get a few laughs yourself, you’ll step on a few toes along the way and possibly even make a few enemies. You could also get caught up in a more serious situation if the fun gets out of hand and someone complains to the powers that be. You can’t go wrong if you treat others as you would want to be treated.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Since I can't actually attend any of these field trips, I'd like to live vicariously though all of you.
What holiday field trips are your class/school taking this December? Share the fun in the comments section!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
To me, gift cards always seem like they're less thoughtful than trying to find an amazingly unique gift that a person will like. In the same way, it seems like the easy way out to hand a kid a coupon and let them pick out a good school rather than trying to make the school you're giving them the perfect educational gift.
I'm also always a little intimated by giving gift cards because it is labeled with the dollar amount. With holiday deals, you can often afford more or better gifts because the value is less quantified. With school vouchers, you come across a similar issue. Since schools/foundations can't give all students a voucher, vouchers can leave them with less money to go around.
On the other hand, you can't go wrong with a gift card. Some gifts, no matter how hard you try, just aren't what the gift-getter wants. At the end of the day, the gift card-getter is responsible for their satisfaction in their gift because they chose it. School vouchers do just that, give parents and students a choice in their school.
In a less metaphoric breakdown, here are the recognized pros and cons of school vouchers. Check them out and vote on your school voucher viewpoint.
· Make a difference one student at a time
· Increase competition to encourage improvement in public schools
· Give parents a choice
· Increase diversity in schools
· Freedom of religion equals freedom to religious education
· Small scale change hurts the children left behind
· Decrease funding from public schools
· Haven’t improved academic performance
· Private schools have their problems too
· Violate separation of church and state by indirectly fund religious institutions
Where do you stand on the school voucher debate? Take the poll to weigh in.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
If you haven't checked out TeacherTube, it's a great site for videos to use in class and funny teacher-related humor. Word of warning though: the quality isn't as good as youtube. A lot of the videos repeatedly pause to load and the ads can be annoying. On the upside, the top ten hits when you search teacher are NOT X-rated.
What else didn't you learn about teaching in college? Share your wit and wisdom in the comments section.
Monday, December 1, 2008
1. It's pretty (esp. through the window while you're warm and cozy next to a fire drinking cocoa).
2. Snowball fights and snowman building
3. Shoveling is great cardio.
4. Snow days!!!!
5. And, finally, seasonally sensational learning opportunities.
Here are a few of my favorite snowy school day activities:
Using those words, have your students write stories or poems about students' favorite snowy memories.
Sample problem: If Jimmy nails Tommy with a snowball moving 12 feet/per/second and Tommy is 8 feet away from Jimmy, how long was the snowball in the air?
Snow/debilitating cold: the reason Russia/USSR always loses in international conflict.
Folded paper snowflakes are a classic, not terribly original but always a crowd pleaser.
What snowy day lessons do you use in your classroom? Share in the comments section!