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Special Themes

Virtual Active Technology Spurs Actual Exercise
Middle-schoolers in one Connecticut community cant wait for PE so they can run through the worlds cities, race mountain bikes, and ride skateboards and snowboards. The districts new virtual exercise equipment is getting gamers off the couch and into the fitness room.

Letters Connect Generations
A pen pal program involving Utah fifth graders and senior citizens has created new connections between the generations and introduced students to the almost-lost art of formal letter-writing. The program is benefiting the entire community.

Students Experiment as Mad Scientists for a Day
Whats better than a hands-on science experiment? A school full of them! One Maryland elementary school holds a Mad Scientist Day so students and their parents can try all kinds of science activities. Included: Description of Mad Scientist Day projects.

Music Sends Toes Tapping to Class
When students at one school hear the theme music to "Mission Impossible," they know their mission: to get to class. The music helps set a tone for the day and gets kids moving in a timely fashion. Included: More principals share how they use music to hit the right notes.

Principal Turns Bat Presence Into Teachable Moment
Bats typically are not welcome indoors, and when bats in a school gymnasium raised concerns about potential attacks on students, a principal turned to a biologist to give the school and greater community an education about these misunderstood winged mammals.

Film War on Kids Calls for Scrapping Schools as We Know Them
The documentary film The War on Kids argues that public schools have become overly restrictive and ineffective due in part to an irrational fear of young peoples potential for violence. The films creator said he is not certain the existing system can be reformed.

School-Wide Rewards Improve Behavior, Boost Achievement
Many schools use rewards as one part of their school-wide effort to boost student achievement and test scores. Others reward attendance, behavior, attributes of student character, homework completion, or other pieces of the student achievement puzzle.

Advisories Inspire, Motivate Students
Helping students focus on what makes them happy and building connections to themselves, people, and institutions is part of the successful formula for a two-year advisory program at one Missouri middle school.

Yearbooks Capture Elementary, Middle School Memories
The yearbook is a classic souvenir of high school days, but today elementary and middle schools are getting into the act. Preserving the priceless moments and toothless smiles of young children is the goal of hardworking advisors, parents, and students.

Kids Learn Better With a Song
In Their Hearts

Do you recall the multiplication tables, grammatical terms, or historical documents because of a song you learned as a kid? Educators recognize that teaching with song makes learning not only more fun, but more effective and long-lasting.

Marriage, Family, and the Principalship: Making It All Work
The demands of the principals job cant help but take a toll on marriages and families. According to our Principal Files principals, keeping families intact requires plenty of effort, teamwork, a well-used calendar, and a cell phone with lots of minutes. Included: Principals offer their advice.

Counseling: A School Improvement Tool
The role of counselors in schools is expanding from just attending to individual students to leading discussions and activities for groups of students that can help improve school performance and behavior.

Scrabble Clubs Spell Learning, Fun
Many schools are luring students away from TV and video games with the chance to out-spell classmates in after-school Scrabble club competitions. Educators say playing Scrabble improves language and social skills. Included: Scrabble as a teaching tool.

Yearlong Themes: Principals Use Them to Build Spirit, Achievement
Does your school use a yearlong theme to motivate students and increase student achievement? Education World's "Principal Files" team shares a dozen ideas to help others see the power and potential of using yearlong, school-wide themes.

Principal Ideas Volume #1
Just think of Principal Ideas as a virtual show-and-tell for principals. Each week in the coming school year we'll present five new principal-tested ideas. Send in your idea today, get an Education World mug if we use it! See the article for information.

Green Schools Save the Environment, Money
Green schools, which are built to rely more on natural resources or have extensive recycling and conservation programs, may sound expensive or a lot of work, but actually they save districts money in the long run, some experts say.

"Survivor" Fosters Community Through Friendly Competition
Schools are capitalizing on the popularity of the TV program Survivor by establishing their own competitions to promote community spirit and teamwork. Should your school host a sequel to "Survivor"? Included: Ideas for starting your own program.

Learning and Living the First Amendment
Does your schools involvement with the First Amendment consist of one or two civics lessons a year? Find out how you can use your school as a mini democracy lab, applying the First Amendments five freedoms to school governance and everyday issues.

50 Signs Your School Is a Great School!
The events of September 11 shook America. But the horrible attack also made Americans pause to recognize the daily heroic efforts of our public servants -- including our firefighters, police officers, transit workers, and teachers! Education World thought this would be an appropriate time to focus on the good news in our schools. So we invited our Principal Files principals to share the great things that are happening in their schools -- and share they did!

The Gift of Time: Benefits of Teacher Sabbaticals
Each week, an educator takes a stand or shares an Aha! classroom moment in the Education World Voice of Experience series. In this column, educator Kathleen Modenbach faces the end of a sabbatical year and her imminent return to the classroom. Sure we're in the midst of a teacher shortage, but the benefits of giving teachers sabbatical leave far outweigh the drawbacks, Modenbach says.

It's Back-to-School Time for Administrators Too!
It's back-to-school time for principals and school administrators too! Education World has gathered 20 great resources from our archive that offer advice, tips, and resources all principals should have at their fingertips.

Principals Share Favorite Read-Aloud Books
This month, in celebration of National Children's Book Week, Education World asked our Principal Files principals to share their favorite books to read aloud to students. The result is a list of books -- some popular and familiar, others obscure -- that should be on every principal's reading list! Included: A list of more than 20 principal-recommended titles!

When Tragedy Strikes: What Schools Should Do
Tragedies happen. Children and parents die. Teens commit suicide. And teachers must face their students after the unthinkable happens. Today, Education World talks to educators and psychologists who have helped students and teachers deal with death, suicide, and murder. Included: Tips for teachers and administrators for handling the death of a student.

Help! Homework Is Wrecking My Home Life!
As many (all?) students will tell you, the amount of homework assigned has reached an all-time high. Never before have students had as much homework as they do now. Students have long railed against homework; are they right this time? Just how much homework is too much? This week, Education World writer Glori Chaika interviews teachers and the top experts -- including Howard Gardner, Carol Huntsinger, and Harris Cooper -- to find out.

Fathers in Schools: How Dads Make a Difference
Today, fathers are expected to take on multiple roles, including being participants in classroom activities and school meetings and events. With Father's Day just around the corner, Education World offers ways to help fathers connect beyond the traditional back-to-school night and parent-teacher conferences. Included: Books for dads and kids to read together!

25 Ways to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week
An apple for the teacher? Banners in the sky? How will you celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week? Learn about the gestures that touch educators hearts as Education World talks with teachers this week about what makes them feel honored and valued. Included: Activities for administrators, parents, and students to show teachers just how much they mean during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Today's School Nurse: More Than Just a Person Who Bandages Knees
The job of the school nurse has become more demanding as students with complex medical situations have entered schools and as society's expectations have changed. In recognition of School Nurse Day (January 27), Education World writer Mary Daniels Brown talked with school nurses around the United States about their changing roles. Included: Online resources every school nurse should know about!

Best of 1999 Administration Articles
How can administrators ease teacher stress? Are small schools better than large schools? Tackle these questions and more in this year's best Administration Articles.

Public Relations 101: How-To Tips for School Administrators
Are you looking to improve communications between school and home? Do you want to get the media to pay more attention to the good things that are going on in your school? Do you know how to handle a crisis? Public relations consultant William Harms offers tips for school administrators looking to put their best foot forward.

WANTED: Rewards, Rewards, and More Rewards!
Do rewards motivate students? Some say no, but many teachers think they do. This week, Education World takes a look at a wide variety of rewards used by teachers in the classroom. If you are looking for a way to reward successful students or good behavior, you might find the ticket here!

ADHD: Misunderstood, Misinterpreted and Misdiagnosed
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, affects almost two million children, has existed for generations, and is grossly misdiagnosed, but until this November we were no closer to being able to objectively diagnose those who really have it than we were a half century ago. Included: Strategies for teaching students with ADHD, and resources for additional information.

Best of 1998 Administrators Articles
What do principals do? Get an insightful and humorous kids-eye perspective on the role of the principal in one of this year's best stories from the Education World ADMINISTRATORS page. Plus --- read about the qualities principals look for in new teachers, the four-day school week, the substitute shortage, and more!

Growing Up Gay: Are Schools Doing Enough to Support Gay Students?
Could Matthew Shepard's murder have been prevented by education in our schools? Should school curricula put the spotlight on gay heroes as it does on famous black Americans or great women in history? Are schools doing enough to support gay teens? Those are among the questions that educators -- and Education World -- are grappling with in the days following the brutal slaying in Wyoming. Recent court decisions might help educators as they attempt to do the right thing for their students and communities.

"The State of Mathematics Education"
Read excerpts of Secretary of Ed Richard Riley's January 9th speech, subtitled "Building a Strong Foundation for the 21st Century."

Who Are Today's School Dropouts?
A new report looks in-depth at the U.S. dropout rate as it applies to students from various racial-ethnic groups and from different income levels and geographic regions.

Virtual Pets (And You Thought Beanie Babies Were a Pain!)
Some principals are taking the byte out of "virtual pets," one of the latest fads to hit the United States. Should the distracting critters be banned?

Best Face Forward
Positive Public Relations Through the Media