Students Describe Qualities of Great Teachers
Viewing students as consumers -- and consumers with strong ideas about how their instructors should treat them as learners and individuals -- can help good teachers become great teachers in the eyes of the people who matter most, according to a new book.
Edutainers Make Lessons Engaging, Relevant
In coining the term edutainer, Dr. Brad Johnson and Tammy Maxson McElroy arent suggesting that teachers juggle at the front of the room, but rather that teachers should use some entertainer-type skills to help make lessons more relevant and engaging.
Veteran Actor Tony Danza
Steps onto Classroom Stage
Years after studying to be a history teacher, actor Tony Danza decided to try his skills in the classroom as a high-school English teacher in Philadelphia. His experiences as a first-year teacher are featured in the A&E series, Teach: Tony Danza.
An Inspiring Teacher Draws Inspiration from Students
Finding ways to put students at the center of their own learning and helping them find their passions are just some of the reasons Sarah Brown Wessling was named the 2010 National Teacher of the Year.
Designing Schools That
Enhance Student Learning
The average school and classroom designs havent changed in decades, but some architects maintain that a few renovations could make classrooms more student-centered and lead improvements in test scores.
Creative Commons: Transforming Education Through More Accessible Resources
The Internet and digital technologies have transformed how people learn. Creative Commons provides the legal and technical infrastructure that makes it possible for educational resources to be widely accessible, adaptable, interoperable, and discoverable.
Siemens Foundation Chief
Aims to Expand Programs Reach
The Siemens Foundation long has been known for honoring top math and science students. New foundation president Jeniffer Harper-Taylor wants to make math, science, engineering, and technology education more accessible to students at all grade levels.
Training the Next Generation of
Science, Math Teachers
Building musical instruments to teach the physics of sound, and using geometry to construct life-size figures, are just two of the inspiring lessons brought to schools by teachers in the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation fellowship program.
Technology Integration, Projects Mark Top Administrators Work
Two administrators named the 2009 Outstanding Young Educators by ASCD are successfully using data, technology, project-based learning, and parent involvement to help transform their schools and inspire their students and teachers.
Technology Jump Starts the New Phys Ed
Dodge ball and out-of-shape, whistle-blowing phys ed teachers are becoming mere memories as PE teachers focus on using technology to enhance the health of individual students, according to a major survey.
Harry Potter, Magic Hook Kids on Science
As a new teacher, Alan McCormack turned to magic to conjure up more student interest in his science lessons. Then, when the Harry Potter books appeared, he wove aspects of those books into his lessons. His students were enchanted.
Math Games Can Target Key Instruction Areas
Classroom games these days may seem like an indulgence, but math consultant Dr. Nanci Smith shows teachers how to use games to differentiate instruction and reinforce skills that students need to tackle higher math. Included: Sample games for differentiating math instruction.
An I.D.E.A.L. Way to Include Autistic Kids
Children with autism often find social situations stressful, making school and family outings difficult. A process developed by a special educator helps prepare children with autism for such outings, allowing them to go more smoothly.
Heart Health Programs Move into Schools
Heart disease used to be largely an adult concern, but childhood obesity increased the risk of heart problems among children. The American Heart Association is raising its profile on programs schools can use to help students develop good health habits.
Steps for Making Good Schools Great
Good schools can be great schools if staff focus on best practices, common elements for instruction, and strategies to help all students learn, says Dr. Tim R. Westerberg, author of Becoming a Great High School: 6 Strategies and 1 Attitude That Make a Difference.
Renegade Lunch Lady Battles for Better Meals
Chef Ann Cooper, aka The Renegade Lunch Lady, is determined that all children have access to tasty, nutritional school lunches. So shes launched a Web site that could make mystery meat a thing of the past.
Practical Advice for Principals in the Field
Whether a principal is new to the role or to a school, there is always a lot to learn about a school, its culture, and people. The New Principals Fieldbook offers administrators practical advice on how to process and prioritize all that information.
Executive Gives Arts a Boost
Where He Got His Start
Now a successful businessman and philanthropist, Richard Fields still remembers his elementary school music teacher with appreciation. He now is funding an extensive arts program at his former school to give todays students the experiences he had.
Okay, Grammar Still Isnt Fun,
But Everyone Can Master It
Veteran English teacher Marian Anders wants people to know that when it comes to grammar, it does matter which option you choose, but learning to make the right choice neednt be the ordeal most people fear it will be.
Principals Tough Stand Turns School Around
Frustrated by what he considered low expectations and minimal structure at American Indian Public Charter School, Dr. Ben Chavis set out to reform the school instituting no-nonsense policies regarding attendance, appearance, and instruction. And it worked.
Teachers Can Help With the U.S. Census
The U.S. Census provides the federal government with key data that affects local communities, and the Census Bureau wants educators to spread the word about the 2010 head count through lesson plans and teaching materials it has prepared for teachers.
Sports Offer Autistic Kids
Physical, Social Benefits
Participation in individual sports, such as martial arts and track and field, can have many benefits for children with autism, according to one neurologist. Children gain confidence and better awareness of their bodies, which can lead to improved communication skills.
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.
Enlisting the Community to Promote Achievement
Concerned that many urban students, especially African-American ones, were underachieving in school, Hugh B. Price made community involvement in local schools a focus of his tenure at the National Urban League as well as the subject of a book.
The Book Whisperer Inspires Kids to Read
Donalyn Miller earned the nickname The Book Whisperer because of her almost mystical success getting kids to read -- a lot. Allowing children to choose books, and providing reading role models and time to read are among her strategies.
What Students Really Think of Their Education, Teachers
When 414,000 grade 6-12 students speak, educators should listen. A student survey showed that while many students enjoy school and learning, they want their education to be more relevant to their everyday lives.
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Surefire Ways Your School Can Make Money!
Trust us: Your school can make big money! All you need to do is apply The Amoral Appalling Devious Unethical Method, otherwise known as TAADUM, and you'll be building new sporting facilities in no time!
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Cheers -- We Deserve It!
Because only rarely do we teachers have cheerleaders welcoming us with pom-poms when we arrive for work, I thought I would do a little brass-band whooping and hollering for OUR SIDE.
Mathnasium Offers Workout for the Mind
Rather than stressing memorization and repetitive exercises, the Mathnasium Method of math instruction focuses on first helping children develop an intuitive idea of how numbers work and learning how to do math mentally.
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: What if 24s Jack Bauer Taught Third Grade?
I first thought of Jack Bauers character from 24 as an elementary school teacher because, in nearly every episode, he has cause to yell Show me your hands!A phrase that would then be followed by They still have paint on them! Get to the washroom! Now!
NEA Leader Stresses Goal of Great Public Schools for All Kids
National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel wants to give all students access to a quality education in part by working to close the achievement gap, seeking more funding for public schools, and increasing parent and community involvement.
Lack of School Nurses Impacts Students’ Health, Academics
At a time when schools have more students with serious medical conditions, many schools cannot expand nursing coverage or are reducing it. School nurses say educators must recognize their vital role in keeping students safe and able to learn, and make hiring nurses a priority.
Cooking with Joy: Finicky Eaters and What to Do About Them
Too many parents accept the notion that children only will eat the type of foods listed on childrens menus -- think chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese. By introducing kids early on to healthful, varied foods, parents can establish their own childrens menus.
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Can We Predict Who will Be a Great Teacher?Enlisting Students to Create a Culture of Academic Integrity
The interesting and fighting-words part of The New Yorker article can be summed up as follows: you cant tell from a piece of paper wholl be effective in a classroom.
Over at least the past decade, academic cheating has become more widespread and more accepted by many students. One researcher is piloting a project in which students and staff create, implement, and enforce academic integrity policies to help reduce cheating.
Stanley the Christmas Tree Has Lessons for All Seasons
Stanley the evergreen has one wish: to be the centerpiece of a family’s Christmas celebration. While other trees sneer at him, Stanley never gives up his dream. The story Stanley the Christmas Tree reminds children to dream big and never lose hope.
Give Yourself a Gold Star! You Deserve it!
Ive decided that teachers need to give ourselves credit We deserve credit for the small, as well as the big, accomplishments. So if you (almost) never accept bribes or rarely file your nails during class, give yourself a gold star!
Using Old Newspapers to Teach History
Few people think of todays newspapers as tomorrows history books. But two history teachers have compiled reproductions of newspapers front pages to help students get a snapshot of events as they were reported.
Cooking with Joy: Why Teachers Need To Know About Food Allergies
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: The Kittens Who Colored My World
The increase in the number and severity of food allergies among children means teachers must know how to deal with reactions. Joy Rotondi suggests ways teachers can prepare themselves to respond in the event of a food-allergy emergency.
I think everybody poops, while something we should certainly all remember as a piece of undeniable truth, should not be considered the basis of a work of imaginative fiction... My favorite book as a small child, hands down, was The Color Kittens. Nothing else came close.
The Candidates Plans for Education
Education World presents presidential candidate positions on No Child Left Behind, lowering the high school drop-out rate, ensuring teacher quality and links to education platforms.
Preventing MRSA in Your School
Many U.S. schools already have dealt with outbreaks of Methicillin-resisitant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a potentially-deadly skin infection that spreads rapidly. Good personal hygiene and cleanliness are the best defenses against this serious illness.
The Importance of Nurturing Resiliency in Children
Societal pressures on families and children make resiliency an important characteristic for children to have. Once thought to be an inborn trait, resiliency can be developed and cultivated with help from educators.
Authors Make Case for
Longer School Day
The common cry from many teachers these days is they need more time. For two authors, the solution is simple: Give teachers more time. Extending the school day will allow students to master academic subjects and spend time on enrichment programs, they say.
Why We All Need to Appreciate the Gravity of Transitions
When something terrifies you to the bottoms of your socks, its difficult to regard the experience as a privilege. One of the best kids Ive ever met just recently started college and shes scared."
How Teachers Can and Must Reverse the ‘Boy Crisis’
In the book The Trouble With Boys former Newsweek reporter Peg Tyre outlines boys’ struggles in school, describes how education became less friendly to boys, and warns that failing to engage boys in school could seriously impact the nation’s future.
NYC Teacher Selected to Present Lessons from Antarctica
Middle-school science teacher Shakira Brown encourages her students to take part in hands-on learning. She will be following her own advice as part of an eight-week expedition to Antarctica. Brown plans to teach lessons for U.S. students live from the ice.
Cooking with Joy: This Years Lunchbox: Waste Not, Want Not
Whats for lunch?" has become a loaded question. Shall we pack it, run out for a sandwich, or brave the school cafeteria? This year, as the cost of food continues to rise, more of us will pack a lunchbox for ourselves and for our kids."
When Hovering Isnt Helping
Nowhere in my previous column concerning the need for students -- at all stages of their development -- to embrace appropriate independence and autonomy, did I suggest that parents should be barred from interacting with their children or with their childrens various instructors."
Stopping the Spread of GI Illnesses in Schools
Gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses are among the most common maladies for young children, spreading rapidly through classes and schools. Using disinfectants on desks and hands, though, can slow the rampage of a stomach bug.
Coping With Parent (Over) Involvement
“I’m hearing from teachers that it’s as if the kids come to school with home strapped to their backs -- or, perhaps more accurately, strapped to their ankles like house arrest bands. These parents from the 1970s have been referred to as ‘helicopter parents.’”
Believe, Achieve, Triumph!
Inspires Students to Reach Higher
In telling students to “Believe, Achieve, Triumph!” the faculty at César Chávez Academy Middle School hope to inspire students to see beyond immediate challenges and set high expectations for the future.
Cooking with Joy: Teachers Stash
How many times have you left home without breakfast or lunch and longingly eyed the kids snacks during the day? You never have to go hungry again if you follow these tips for creating a min-pantry in a desk drawer or filing cabinet.
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Prescient Report Cards
Its hard to write sincerely interested, personally invested, and seriously detailed evaluations of kids who, by this point in the school year, we most sincerely, personally, and seriously want to lock in the supply cabinet until the final bell rings."
Top Teacher Ties History to Current Events
By tying the lessons of history to the issues of the day, Deirdra Grode, a seventh-and eighth-grade social studies and language arts teacher at Hoboken Charter School in Hoboken, New Jersey, is teaching her students to be analytical and socially aware.
Resources to Help Reach and Teach Autistic Students
Autism Spectrum Disorders are the fastest growing diagnosis of childhood disabilities in the U.S. During National Autism Awareness Month, the NEA is highlighting some of its teacher and parent resources for reaching and teaching students with autism.
Cooking with Joy: Two Quick Takes on Cake
Cakes dont have to be saved for birthday parties or other milestone occasions. Nor do they have to be elaborate or expensive to bring their special touch to a meal. Joy Rotondi provides recipes for two quick, comfort-food cakes.
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Machiavelli and Classroom Management
Clearly it was the fact that I had to write an introduction to Niccolo Machiavellis The Prince that got me thinking about how Machiavelli had missed his intended audience: the teachers of the young. Teachers need Machiavelli."
Safeguarding Laptops and Their Contents
Most people wouldnt leave school without locking up confidential files. Yet, they fail to lock up" their laptops -- leaving the data and computers themselves vulnerable to theft. Educators and students must practice laptop security to prevent devastating data breaches.
Cooking with Joy: Enough With the Green Salad Already!
Tasty, exotic alternatives to the everyday side salad are as easy to create as opening a bag of pre-washed greens and make use of winter produce such as avocados, citrus fruits, root vegetables like carrots and jicama; and fennel (finocchio).
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: The Slinky Paradigm: How One Science Teacher (Eventually) Created Another
He made the material, and his students, feel important and, hey, when youre talking about fundamental issues in the universe, it isnt always easy to make an individual student feel significant. It was a gift he gave each of us."
Documentary: U.S. Students No Match for Peers in India, China
China and India may be associated with lower-cost products and labor, but these countries are mass-producing highly-educated, motivated students -- who surpass their U.S. peers at every academic level. The documentary Two Million Minutes warns of a pending economic crisis if U.S. students cant compete globally.
LACES Threads High Expectations Throughout School
High expectations, demanding courses, and dedicated faculty combine to give the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES) the feel and results of a pricey prep school rather than an urban magnet school.
Cooking with Joy: Dear Joy, I Burn Everything I Cook"
Tired of everything you start cooking on top of the stove burning before it gets to the table? To rest the smoke alarm, Joy Rotondi suggests upgrading the frying pan, trying different cooking oil, turning down the heat, and scrutinizing the recipe.
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Dont Believe Everything You Read
The articlemakes several points with which I dont disagree, but it also makes me nervous because of its emphasis on the idea that we must speak to kids the way that Bill Clinton had to speak to Kenneth Starr"
Applying Differentiated Instruction
Author and educator Rick Wormeli notes in his book, Fair Isn't Always Equal that differentiated instruction is more than dividing students into groups -- the key is putting them into groups based on what you know about them.
Fitness Champ Teaches by Example
Even though P.E. teacher Scott DeTore always has taken pride in keeping fit, he was surprised when he won two fitness contests last year. He uses those experiences, as well as his skills as a personal trainer, to inspire his students to embrace healthful lifestyles.
Cooking with Joy: The Confessional -- Dinners I Have Served
Even a prolific and experienced cook needs a day off once in a while from creating masterpieces in the kitchen. Joy Rotondi bares her culinary soul as she describes some of the shelve-scrounged meals she has prepared and eaten.
Education Humor With Regina Barreca: Handing Out Humility, Humor
“Before the event, I worked with the students to make this ceremony the best it could be, but let’s just say that it wasn’t shaping up to be the Academy Awards. No money, no time, no extra help -- the only thing I had was a lot of pressure from myself to get it right. Or close to right…”
Cooking with Joy: Teachers Pet:
The Frozen Pie Crust
Im embarrassed to admit that I have a favorite. This is the one I call on the most often. The one who gets more praise than the others. The one I count on for the right answer. Yep, its the trusty frozen pie crust."
Regina Barreca: Why I Didnt Call
Now that it's close to midnight, I feel as if I've done astonishingly little. Sure, some of today's tasks can be checked off, but something really important -- like returning a call from a friend I miss and with whom I want to speak -- didn't get done."
Leveling the High-School Field
While U.S. education officials have been focusing on elementary and higher education over the past few years, little has been done to improve high schools, especially in low-income areas. A national campaign aims to give all kids a quality high-school education.
Cooking with Joy: Pantry 102:
A strategically-stocked pantry can provide you with almost all the ingredients for a complete meal. Joy Rotondis list includes some typical items such as olive oil and hot sauce, as well as nuts, dried fruit, and asparagus spears.
Remembering an Unlikely Sanctuary
I honestly believe that elementary-school bathrooms are worth our attention. They loom large in ones imagination, not only when youre a kid and using them, but also when youre an adult and recalling them."
Teacher of the Year Inspires Excellence
The daughter of a teacher/minister who taught service to others by example, the 2007 National Teacher of the Year Andrea Peterson became a music teacher dedicated to helping her students appreciate music and reach their potential.
Cooking with Joy: Its Time for a Fresh Start
Everyone has food in cabinets, shelves, and the refrigerator that is beyond usefulness or even beyond recognition. To get ready for a new wave of essentials, Joy Rotondi offers pantry-purging tips.
Wonder Years Actress Extols Wonders of Math
After endearing herself to TV viewers as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years, actress Danica McKellar discovered her love and aptitude for mathematics. McKellar hopes her book, Math Doesnt Suck, makes math more understandable for girls.
Regina Barreca: Home, Work Families Share Dys-Similarities
The most significant common denominator between the people you grew up with and the people you teach with is as follows: youre stuck with them. If all that close contact doesnt lead to actual revolution, then it usually leads to affection."
New Chancellor Committed to Urban Students
Michelle Rhee only spent a few years as a classroom teacher, but during that time she developed a passion for helping underprivileged students. She plans to apply that drive and a commitment to high expectations as the new head of the DC Public Schools.
Efforts Pay Off, Work Continues
A year of planning, strategizing, and intensely-targeted instruction paid off for staff and students at Parkville Community School in the form of higher test scores. But the gains still were not enough to move it off the federal schools-in-need-of-improvement list.
Developing More Resilient School Administrators
People who are resilient -- realistic optimists" who adapt to changes and learn from mistakes -- often are more effective leaders. More administrators are learning what it means to be resilient.
Cooking with Joy: Welcome to a New Approach to Cooking
Tired of pizza, take-out Chinese food, and the cupboard is bare? Relax. You may only think it is bare. Sixth-grade teacher and foodie Joy Rotondi outlines how she plans to show readers how to create quick, tasty meals with what is on hand.
Regina Barreca: Reflections from a Recovered Teenage Girl
When reading through my old diaries, I was horrified by what I wrote in the green-lined notebooks from sixth and seventh grades. These are, in essence, a catalog of judgments about everyone Id ever met. This is not good news."
Schools Where "It's Being Done"
In the book, Its Being Done, author Karin Chenoweth looks at once-struggling schools that were able to turn around because of high expectations and staff members who were dedicated to helping students succeed.
National PTA Taps First Man to Serve as President-Elect
Charles Saylors has a message for dads who think the PTA is just for moms: The PTA needs you. Saylors, a PTA veteran, is slated to be the first man to serve as president of the 110-year-old National PTA. Getting more fathers involved is one of his top priorities.
Regina Barreca: Who's at a New School This Year?
Neither the fancy new credential nor the well-rehearsed scriptnecessarily prepare you for the blind date quality of that first meeting with this year's new students. Your new class will be -- shockingly enough -- new. And you'll be a new teacher."
In High-Stakes Year, Kids Embrace Own Learning
Every adult at Parkville knew the school had a lot riding on this years high-stakes tests. Not only were teachers and staff focused on improvement, but students also internalized where they needed to go and what they needed to do to get there.
Staying Focused and Balanced
Despite the demands of preparing for high-stakes tests, Parkville has made time for the past 11 years for a movement and dance program that touches on timely issues and involves students from other communities.
TFA Diarists Reflect on a Year in the Classroom
Blacksburg, Virginia, native Babak Mostaghimi is awed by his students concern for him following the Virginia Tech shootings; Will Hobart reflects on how his capacity for patience has grown, and Shani Jackson looks at the resiliency of middle schoolers.
Top Educator Finds Alternatives to Failure
Joris Ray, director of the Memphis City Schools alternative schools, believes that helping students achieve academic success leads to confidence and better behavior. That dedication helped earn him ASCDs 2007 Outstanding Young Educator Award.
Using Acting Skills in the Classroom
Students will be more engaged and behave better when educators teach with enthusiasm, using acting techniques such as physical and vocal animation, role-playing, and the use of suspense and surprise, according to the authors of a book on acting lessons for teachers.
Literacy, School Choice Are Superintendents Priorities
A district in crisis cant keep doing the same things the same way and expect change, Hartfords new superintendent Dr. Steven J. Adamowski said. He is calling for a system of school choice, with more autonomy for higher-performing schools.
Regina Barreca: Charmed, Im Sure
I want to argue that the trinkets I wear on special occasions (or even on everyday ones, such as the days I teach) were forged in the lives of others. These heavy bracelets are not my chains -- they are my charms."
Teach For America Diaries -- The Home Stretch
While Shani Jackson and Babak Mostaghimi cope with student fears and attitudes in the days leading up to state tests, Will Hobart gains an appreciation for inclusion practices.
CES Develops Engaged Students Who Demonstrate Their Learning
The Coalition of Essential Schools believes that helping students master certain essential skills and basic knowledge and requiring them to demonstrate mastery of those skills will help them succeed in life, and it wants to share its philosophy with others.
Practical, Hands-On Financial Literacy Lessons
Managing money is not an innate skill, as the high rate of debt in the U.S. shows. Lessons on managing money should be part of a formal education, many believe. Programs like Hands on Banking give students practical lessons in handling their finances.
March Madness" Comes to Parkville
After months of preparation and strategizing, the state tests were over. Parkville staff, students, and parents unwind on the basketball court with kids versus adults games in the schools version of March Madness."
Helping Children Become Well Aware"
In the book One Well, author/educator Rochelle Strauss talks about the need to view the worlds water supply as a giant, finite pool from which everyone on Earth drinks, and the responsibility we all have to protect that well.
An Insiders Look at Students Lives
As a school counselor, Barbara J. Kiernan got an inside look at the complex issues with which teens cope. Using composite characters, she wrote a book about those issues to let kids know they are not alone and to give insight to teachers about students lives.
Regina Barreca: Treasuring Found" Humor
Im a big fan of found humor" -- the sorts of things that arent meant to be funny but which brighten the dayIf you dont laugh at the absurdities of everyday life, youll miss a great deal of fun And lets face it -- most of us need all the fun we can get."
The Growing Role of Online Learning
Enrollment in online and blended courses -- those that combine online and traditional learning -- will continue growing, a study says. Educators need training and schools need plans to ensure online learning is integrated effectively and efficiently into schools.
Cheering Classmates Send Students to Tests
Most of Parkvilles students know where they are and where they need to go on the states high stakes tests, even if they may not know why this years efforts are so critical. So after months of preparation, the school holds a pep rally to get them pumped.
Vigorous Exercise Can Lead to Academic Gains
A group of researchers found that exercise -- when it is vigorous enough -- can help improve students academic performance. While not all kids break a sweat every day, even some activity during the school day can help students focus, one of the authors said.
Regina Barreca: Hey, Kid, Pass the Lard, Er, Doughnut
As our students become healthierwe so-called adults seem to be getting more and more unhealthy in our eating habits For example, our students are eating fiber, whereas we are limiting ourselves to lard-based or polyurethane products."
Making Inclusion the Norm
Including special education students in "regular" classes and finding ways to meet their -- and all other students' learning needs -- should be the goal of every school, according to professor Dr. Mara Sapon-Shevin.
Teach For America Diaries
Mid-year brings the Teach For America Diarists more insights into their students troubles and dreams and an awareness of how much they can impact the youngsters in their charge.
Why Teachers Unions Are Needed
The growing number of mandates and non-educators enforcing them make teachers unions more critical than ever, according to professor Diane Ravitch. Unions need to ensure that teachers influence on curriculum and practices is not further eroded.
Test Prep Goes into High Gear
After Parkville teachers identified students most likely to reach the proficient level on the state tests with some focused remediation, extra help before and after school ramps up and students are told to take ownership" of their learning.
Minorities Benefit from Integrated Schools
While the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education ordered schools desegregated, many schools remain segregated, and because of that, unequal. A study indicates, though, that minority students learn less in segregated schools.
Lesson Study Can Improve Teaching, Learning
Through lesson study, teachers learn to work together to develop, teach, and refine a lesson. While this can mean breaking old teaching habits, the authors of a guide to lesson study say the result is improved instruction and student learning.
Regina Barreca: The Best of the Best
Thats what the best teachers do. They not only give you confidence, they give you permission. They are willing to extend their authority so that you are covered by its cloak."
Enlisting Students to Make the Internet Safer
The potential dangers to young people using the Internet become more real every day -- yet, so do the opportunities for enrichment. iSAFE Inc. aims to help students understand and navigate online hazards, and encourage them to educate their peers as well.
It’s Time to Repair America’s Schools
Stories of vermin, mold, asbestos, and water in classrooms have become all too common in the U.S., according to a report from the American Federation of Teachers. It’s time for the nation to commit itself to repairing its aging and deteriorating schools.
A Look Back at the First Semester
The end of the first semester brought relief, reflection, and anticipation to the three Teach For America Diarists. While knowing they have a long way to go with their classes, they allowed themselves moments of satisfaction and celebrations of early successes.
Students Hone Skills on Practice Tests
To make sure students are familiar with the format and content of Connecticuts high stakes tests, Parkville gives students practice tests under the same conditions they will experience on the actual test day
Breaking the Homework Habit
The ideas that homework reinforces classroom lessons, helps children develop good work habits, and improves student achievement have no basis in fact, says Alfie Kohn. Homework should be assigned selectively rather than automatically, he says.
Regina Barreca: Part One of Two: The Worst and The Best Teachers
Some teachers words stick with us foreverunfortunately. Hey, lets face it, I still carry my kindergarten teachers implicit contempt and explicit condescension with me like gum stuck to the heel of my (now shiny and neatly-tied shoe)."
Acting Out Could Be Sign of Stress
Children today live with more uncertainty, stress, and trauma than those of a generation ago, leading many to act out in school. Teachers need to differentiate between kids who are disobedient and those who are anxious, says child trauma expert Barbara E. Oehlberg.
Zeroing in on Literacy
Literacy activities are a priority in Parkvilles school day, and are designed so teachers can regularly assess how students are progressing, and target lessons to their weakness.
Getting Kids on Track Through Early Intervention
Many of the students at Parkville Community School have challenges in their lives that affect their schoolwork. Staff members try to resolve problems as soon as possible through a multiple-layer intervention program.
AACTE Defends Teacher Education
Teacher education programs may have their flaws, but schools and states need to build on their strengths rather than start from scratch, according to Dr. Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Top Administrator Focuses on Standards, Achievement Gap
Under the leadership of Dr. Beverly L. Hall, the Atlanta, Georgia, Public Schools have seen achievement rise as the achievement gap shrinks. For these efforts and others, Dr. Hall earned the award for the nations top urban educator.
Regina Barreca: Twenty Things that Frighten Me about the Holiday Season
Number Three: "The prancing self-righteousness of those who do their holiday preparations early. These folks need to find a hobby that doesn't make the rest of us feel inadequate. A teacher who starts putting snowflakes on the classroom windows before Columbus Day, for example, needs to spend WAY less time at The Christmas Tree Shoppe."
Transitions Focus of Inclusion Week
Transitions between grades and schools are difficult for many students, but the challenges increase for students with disabilities or limited English skills. National Inclusive Schools Week this year focuses on supporting special needs students through transitions.
A Framework for Raising Well-Balanced Children
Children may be pampered with a plethora of gadgets, but they are not nurtured in a way that helps them develop into responsible and caring citizens, argues Dr. Peter L. Benson. All segments of society must commit to childrens well being, he argues.
Students Make Connections" With Small School
Through Connections Schools emphasis on peace issues and non-violent conflict resolution, teachers not only hope to create a safer school environment, but change agents to send into a troubled Chicago neighborhood and the larger community.
Reforming the Chaos" of Teacher Education
Teachers are graduating from college unprepared to cope in todays classrooms and improve students performance, according to a report by the former president of Teachers College, Columbia University.
Teach for America Diaries: October Presents New Challenges for New Teachers
Will Hobart forgets about a bad week after connecting with a student, Shani Jackson bids farewell to the rocky month of October and makes some changes to her teaching strategies, and Babak Mostaghimi becomes a daddy, a godfather, a cousin, and a confidant.
Staying on Target
Parkville Community Schools principal Elizabeth Michaelis knows where her school is and where it needs to go to get off the federal watch list. During academic reviews with teachers, she made sure everyone else knew as well.
Hooking Kids on Reading
Despite schools focus on reading, many students still are not reading independently or for pleasure. A program developed by a college professor stresses hooking students on reading by introducing them to challenging subject matter of interest to them.
Regina Barreca: The I -Want (and Expect)-It-NOW Generation
"Schools may be the last place where children learn that they can't have everything that they want the moment they want it. I'm here to reassure you that this is a good thing. Not that it will make the job of teaching easier or more fun -- but it will make it even more important."
Teaching Critically Is Worth the Effort
With all the pressures to prepare for tests and stick with the curriculum, some teachers feel they are losing teachable moments." But it is just those moments, argues Mary Cowhey, which can help students develop as critical, creative thinkers.
Principal of the Year Personalizes, Individualizes Student Learning
After watching her bright brother drop out of high school, Dr. Jeryl (Jill) Martin wanted to find ways to keep kids in schools. Her efforts as principal to personalize education at Thomas B. Doherty High School helped earn her national Principal of the Year honors.
Keeping Art Alive Under NCLB
While nothing in the No Child Left Behind Act says schools must eliminate the arts to concentrate on math and reading, arts instruction is shrinking or vanishing in many schools. Arts advocates say the arts are critical to a complete education.
Parkville Celebrates Successes
Few schools break out confetti and noisemakers when told they've been named a school in need of improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act. But even though the school did not make AYP, Parkville still had plenty of good news to celebrate.
A Guidebook for Teens
Doesn't everyone at some point wish for a manual for... life? Nothing could be that comprehensive, but Sean Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens provides practical advice for navigating adolescence.
Regina Barreca: Channeling Boys' Rage
"Personally, I think we've done an excellent job of raising our young men. More or less. And yet, while listening to Warren Zevon's song 'Excitable Boy' on the radio, it occurred to me that rage is still a big issue."
Why the Achievement Gap Refuses to Close
While more people are talking about the achievement gap among students of different ethnic backgrounds, progress on providing all students with a quality education remains slow, according to the authors of the book Unfinished Business.
Plunging Into Reading, Math
A second grade class wastes no time jumping into reading and math, mindful of what will be tested by the state next year.
Getting Down to Business -- in Uniform
Parkville's first week of school included a good response to the new district uniform policy on opening day and teacher workshops on phonics, themes, and classroom environments.
NEA Launches NCLB Reform Effort
Many educators have expressed concerns about the requirements and sanctions of the federal No Child Left Behind
Act, and the National Education Association has adopted a plan to reform the law, which it wants Congress to
Staff Ready to Dig In, With More Hard Work on the Horizon
With a majority of its students from non-English-speaking homes, Parkville Community School's progress looks
admirable. But it still falls short of AYP, so in the days before school started, teachers dissected data to
help them develop lesson plans.
NYC Teachers Recall 9/11
Many New York City teachers on September 11, 2001, had to push aside the average person's concern for self and family and focus on the safety of the frightened children in their classes. A book of teachers' essays relates their bravery and creativity on 9/11 and in the days and weeks after.
Regina Barreca: There's One in Every Class
"Anyone who's been teaching for more than 45 minutes has been warned about exhibiting favoritism in the classroom And yet I believe the focus on favoritism eclipses another equally crucial pedagogical issueThe question is this: What can be done when you have The Kid you can't stand?"
Ending Bullying by Teaching Kids Not To Be Victims
Bullying and teasing are part of life, says psychologist Izzy Kalman, so rather than trying to stamp out bullying,
educators and parents need to teach children how to deal with bullying; that is, how not to be victims.
Board Chair Looks to Continue Urban Schools' Gains
Despite underfunding and the challenges of recruiting qualified teachers in key subject areas, urban schools continue
to make gains, according to George H. Thompson III, this year's chairman of the Council of the Great City Schools'
board of directors.
Teacher Wins $100,000 for Excellence
The Kinders of Texas believe excellent teachers deserve six-figure salaries, the same as other professionals.
They decided to award $100,000 to an outstanding educator, kindergarten teacher Linda Alston of the Denver, Colorado,
District Buys House for Homeless Kids
Concerned that students with unstable or no homes often wound up dropping out of school, the Maplewood Richmond
Heights (Missouri) School District decided to buy a house and convert it to a group home for homeless teens.
Judging, Regulating Student Online Content
Questionable content on teen online social networking sites such as MySpace
and other Web sites is prompting many educators to wonder what, if anything, they can do to regulate content.
Nancy Willard offers some advice to educators on this challenging issue.
Regina Barreca: Rethinking Excellence
"'Excellence'" is the 'keyword' for education, in the same way that Sponge Bob Square Pants is the 'keyword' for cartoons. It's everywhere. Inescapable. And more than a little unnerving."
Reflections from a Newbie Sub
With my stint as a substitute teacher at an end, I got to look back at the path I traveled in unfamiliar shoes
and think about what I learned. My respect for anyone who stands in front of a class has grown, as has my understanding
of today's students.
65 Percent Solution: Gimmick or Gold Mine?
Founders of the First Class Education movement want all states to mandate that 65 percent of education dollars
go to "in-classroom" expenses. While that may sound great, educators worry that the definition of classroom expenses
is too narrow.
Help for Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities
More educators are teaching children with learning disabilities, at the same new regulations and strategies for
helping these students are coming out. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has new resources to help
Students Go Back in Time for a Week
Wearing long skirts and straw hats, third graders from Woodstock Elementary School spend a week learning in a
one-room schoolhouse the way youngsters did in the mid-1800s. From using quill pens to rolling hoops, it's quite
Principal Unites School Around Student Strengths
When changes hit Khowhemun Elementary School in British Columbia, staff members and the community initially found
it hard to adjust. Charlie Coleman, ASCD's 2005 Outstanding Young Educator, helped give the school focus and unified
Regina Barreca: Grant Me Some Relief!
"As I read through the standard 'I regret to inform you' opening, Patsy Cline was crooning 'Crazy.' This seemed entirely appropriate. I always knew I had better odds of being crowned Miss Nashville than being crowned by (even a very small) wreath of cash."
Solid Leadership Key to Good Middle Schools
A multi-year, national study of leadership in middle schools led by professor Jerry Valentine of the University
of Missouri-Columbia's Middle Level Leadership Center showed in part that successful schools had good leaders
with positive attitudes.
Adding Up the Benefits of Financial Literacy
With so many Americans saving little and spending a lot, financial literacy is a critical skill. The Foundation
of Investor Education offers multiple resources for teaching students about saving and investing, including the
popular Stock Market Game.
Enjoying "A Great Class"
A fourth-grade class touted as "a great class" lived up to its reputation, even for an inexperienced sub. Classroom
helpers made the day go more smoothly, and I experienced some of the satisfaction that comes from teaching.
School, Town Create Holocaust Memorial
While studying the Holocaust, Whitwell Middle School students set out to collect 6 million paper clips to comprehend
the number of Jews killed by the Nazis. They not only exceeded their goal, but with community help, created a
memorial to those who died.
Schools and Online Social Networking
Most educators working with middle and high school students are aware of the explosive involvement of youth on
social networking sites. Few are prepared to deal with it. In this article, Nancy Willard discusses the risks
and benefits of such sites and offers schools a comprehensive approach to addressing student Internet access.
Regina Barreca: Communicating With Adults, Tots
"I was asked to give a lecturewith a focus on one of the following topics: 'communicating with young children' or 'communicating with colleagues.' Since I see both of these activities as requiring the same skill level or -- to put it more frankly -- to be exactly the same thing, I figured I could address both."
Helping Schools Promote Fitness, Healthful Diets
Spurred by a government report warning about the effects of overeating and inactivity among children, education
and health officials formed Action for Healthy Kids, a group that works with schools to promote more healthful
lifestyles for youngsters.
Using Student Ears, Eyes to Stop Crime
Building on the success of its community programs, Crime Stoppers USA is encouraging schools to set up Crime Stoppers
in Schools programs. These programs allow students to anonymously pass on tips to authorities about potential
crimes or threats.
O, Say, Does Your Class Know the National Anthem?
For years, students learned "The Star-Spangled Banner" and other patriotic songs in music class. Budget cuts,
though, have forced many schools to eliminate music, so the National Association for Music Education is urging
people to learn and sing the anthem.
Improv Team Acts to Curb Violent Behavior
Imagine being able to freeze the action in a dispute, step out of the "scene," and get feedback on your next move.
The Urban Improv troupe lets students do that, and helps them see the non-violent approaches to resolving conflict.
Regina Barreca: Beware the Thistle-Eaters
"You know what I have a lot of trouble with? The martyrs of the teaching profession.
I have a hard time with a group I refer to as 'Evil Do-Gooders.' It's the soulful looks of those wide-eyed self-sacrificers I cannot endure."
Guide Offers Practical Character Education Lessons
With more teachers and parents seeing the need for character education, the not-for-profit Heartwood Institute
has released a book of lessons for teachers and counselors to teach children ethics, social, and emotional skills.
Helping Boys Learn
Over the past several decades, boys' behavior and performance in school has continued to decline. Researchers
like Michael Gurian say these are indications that schools are not structured to accommodate how boys' brains
work and how they learn.
Teen Brings Unique Voice to School Board
Many high school students might groan about attending a school board meeting. But for senior Pallas A. Snider,
serving on the Anne Arundel County school board is a chance to make her voice heard on issues important to the
community and fellow students.
A Day Steeped in 'Boy Behavior'
Males in a third-grade class proved challenging with their inability to be quiet, sit still, and cooperate. But
I left school wondering if it was all bad behavior or if some of it was "boy behavior."
How Breakfast Choices Affect Learning
Research shows that children who eat breakfast do better in school. But one study found that eating whole grain
foods with higher fiber and protein content, such as oatmeal, could enhance children's learning even more.
Regina Barreca: EMERGENCY! Testing!
"I just did a Google search for the phrase 'teaching to the test' because I've been getting lots of e-mails from readers asking me to comment on the practice Since I love finding out more about what gets folks riled up, I decided to throw myself into the maelstrom."
Teachers Have It Easy--NOT
Too many people still regard teaching as an easy part-time job at full-time pay. In Teachers Have It Easy,
the authors attack those perceptions, by citing the long hours, sacrifices, and low salaries imposed on many teachers.
Budgeting in the Accountability Age
Doing more with less has been the challenge for school districts in recent years, but now the demands of the No
Child Left Behind Act, coupled with shrinking resources, are making budgeting even harder.
Ways to Teach Empathy Skills
Everyone has met people who are highly compassionate. But we would meet more of them if children were taught at
an early age to be empathetic, according to author/teacher David A. Levine, who has created lessons and activities
to teach empathy skills.
Remembering, Supporting, "The Forgotten Middle"
Many of today's students are what educators call "average," not distinguishing themselves academically, yet not
doing poorly enough to warrant attention. One educator says these "forgotten middle" students have been ignored
Regina Barreca: It's All About Context
"There are times when what makes us most effective as teachers and as mentors is putting things in context and offering a sense of perspective for our students -- as well as putting things in context and offering perspective about our students."
What H.S. Kids Want from Their Principals
High school students can be a tough bunch, but they also like knowing that someone cares for them. In Sent
to the Principal, high school students talk about what principals can do to help them become responsible,
A Son Became a Soldier, and a Dad Became a Teacher
When teacher and Army National Guard member Brian Harvey was called to Iraq, his first thoughts were for his family,
but not far behind was concern for his classes. Then his father, Boyce, made a life-changing decision to teach
Brian's classes while he was gone.
Regina Barreca: Supplies In Demand
"Within any 'learning environment,' rich or poor, competition for supplies is fierce. I don't care if you are at Choate, Berkeley -Carroll, or Chickasaw Elementary: If you take a co-worker's masking tape, you are just asking to be buried with a stake through your heart."
Author Frank McCourt Reflects on Teaching Career
Frank McCourt began his second career as a writer in a big way, winning the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for his memoir,
Angela's Ashes. But before McCourt was a writer, he spent 30 years as a New York City English teacher,
an experience detailed in his latest book, Teacher Man.
Fantasy Game Helps Students "Pass" Math
Many youngsters crunch sports statistics, but never think of it as doing math. But a curriculum developed by a
former middle school math teacher that combines math with Fantasy Football is scoring big with students.
Businesses Provide Supplies, Grant Money
Office supply companies often find themselves paying to store extra inventory or have it carted away. But the
Kids In Need Foundation matches companies with schools that need supplies and helps teachers fund innovative lessons.
Online Math, Science Training for Teachers
Increasing the number of qualified math and science teachers in U.S. schools is a concern not just for school
systems, but for businesses as well. Now some companies have teamed up with the University of California-Irvine
Extension to improve teachers' skills.
Play Fair and Win
John Hourihan, a coach and writer, passes on lessons from two decades of coaching youth sports in his book, Play
Fair And Win. Many children spend almost as much time with coaches as they do with teachers, and they can
complement one another.
Regina Barreca: Teaching Tips No One Told You
"Strangely absent from any official curriculum and in certain cases considered a form of contraband offered only through secret conversations and in code, it is now time to reveal the discrete, covert formulas, practices, and dictums we long-time teachers know to be true."
Schools Grapple With Soaring Fuel Costs
With fuel prices rising to budget-breaking levels, school officials are re-tooling their spending plans for this
school year to help cover the costs. Some have cut back on bus service, lowered building temperatures, and are
looking at long-range remedies.
Principal Actions Key to Retaining Teachers
Often principals don't realize how much influence they have on teachers' job and career satisfaction. By employing
certain p behaviors that convey support and respect, principals can be the difference between keeping and losing
a teacher, according to some studies.
A Guide to Doing the Right Thing
How often do we ask ourselves, "What is the right thing to do?" and wonder if we are forcing our sense of what
is right on other people. Ethicist Bruce Weinstein offers five principles everyone can use in ethical decision-making.
Help Students Rise Above the Clutter
Many children have trouble keeping track of assignments, but manage until the demands of multiple teachers in
middle school overwhelm them. A book explains how teachers and parents can help students better organize their
time and responsibilities.
Teacher of the Year Targets Education Inequities
Jason Kamras, the first National Teacher of the Year from Washington, D.C., wants people to know that urban children
want to learn - they just need the resources and support.
Regina Barreca: Education World! Bring the Kids!
"'You're writing a column for Education World?'" joked my husband, Michael. "'Is that like an amusement park? Are there rides?'" Of course, I then couldn't get the image of 'Education World!' as a possible theme park out of my mind. What would it look like?"
New Approach to Teaching Math, Science Spurs Gains
Instructing teachers to use computational math and science in their lessons has led to marked student improvement
in two New York districts. Dr. Osman Yasar, director of the institute that trains teachers in this approach, explains
Arms Open Wide for "Katrina's Kids"
Hundreds of thousands of students and thousands of teachers remain displaced after Hurricane Katrina damaged or
destroyed their schools and communities. But schools across the U.S. are taking them in and helping them to feel
Ways to Engage, Nurture Middle Schoolers
Middle schoolers are active, inquisitive, impulsive, and that's what makes them fun, says author/educator Rick
Wormeli. Rather than try to change the kids, he suggests ways teachers can structure their teaching to better
engage young adolescents.
Co-Principals Face Challenges Together
Many principals have days when they wish they weren't alone at the top. Mary Gentili and Jeanne Wall say they
have found that working as co-principals gives them the help and support they need to efficiently run a school
with 1,100 K-2 students.
Teacher Education Programs
Too often new teachers walk into their first classroom assignment full of educational theories but short on practical
training, according to consultant Dr. Howard Seeman. Teachers need more hands-on experience in classroom management,
Celebrating the U.S. Constitution
September 16 is the day this year for schools and all Americans to honor and study the U.S. Constitution. Louise
Leigh, the founder of Constitution Day, hope lessons give students a new appreciation of their heritage and freedoms.
Regina Barreca: It's Just Not That Simple
"The people most visibly drawn to extolling the joys and the privileges of teaching are high-powered attorneys, successful venture capitalists, and exceedingly youthful movie stars Meaning they have not come near an actual school in quite a while."
Report: NCLB Revolt Spreading
While it started slowly and quietly, the nationwide revolt against the federal No Child Left Behind continues
to grow and intensity, according to a report from NCLBgrassroots.org. The U.S. Department of Education disputes
the report's findings. Included: Information about how some states are challenging NCLB.
Creating Harbors of Hope Where All Children Can Learn
Educators and consultants Linda Dier and Wayne Hulley outline a process for creating "harbors of hope:" schools
where all children feel safe and know they can succeed.
Creating School-Wide Anti-Bullying Strategies
Approaches to reducing bullying often focus on the conflicts among specific children. But what school counselor
Stan Davis advocates and practices is a school-wide anti-bullying approach that encourages and outlines respectful
behavior as well as consistent consequences.
Rethinking Reshaping Schools
For too long, devotion to the traditional school schedule and organization has hindered major school reform, according
to education consultant Heidi Hayes Jacobs. Outside-of-the box structures can mean more time for innovative learning
Secretary of Education Staying the Course on NCLB
Test scores are up and the achievement gap is shrinking under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according
to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Staying true to the law is the best way to ensure quality education
for all students, she told Education World.
Regina Barreca: Laughter is a Class Act
"Ami is a brilliant teacher and a wonderful woman. It turns out, however, that she is not the world's best proofreader. Based on the prototype she handed to the printers, Ami wound up with 200 buttons declaring'Teachers Are My Hepoes.'"
Growing Caring Citizens Through Good Works
Social studies teacher Peter White always felt compelled to help the less fortunate, and he spread and channeled
his passion through a student club called Students for 60,000. Students have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars
for causes in the U.S. and adopted two Nicaraguan towns.
Got Questions? Ask the Homework Lady
The more homework students do, the more they learn, right? For too long, educators and parents have clung to that
idea, according to "Homework Lady" Dr. Cathy Vatterott. Fewer, more focused assignments benefit students more,
School-Community Relations is Great PR And Then Some
George Pawlas, author of The Administrator's Guide to School-Community Relations, says every principal
should carry a list of "six statements you can say with pride about your school." Pawlas offers that PR advice
and much more in this EdWorld interview.
Could I Pass the Haberman "Star Teacher" Test?
Martin Haberman's research reveals that not just anyone can or should teach in high-poverty schools. Brenda Dyck
decided to see if she has what it takes! She took Haberman's "Star Teacher" test, and now she shares the results.
Strive To Be A Better You"
Pete Hall came to Anderson Elementary School in Reno, Nevada in 2002 as a young principal with a mission: to help
children who desperately needed support. In two years, Hall changed Anderson from a failing school to one of the
districts top achievers.
No Stopping NCLB
While educators might be reeling from adjustments they've had to make for NCLB, they better get used to it, said
Dr. G. Thomas Houlihan, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). He called NCLB,
"The tip of the iceberg."
Striving to Make Peer Mediation More Effective
Peer mediation programs have shown themselves to be effective in reducing student conflicts, but now advocates
are working to make them more successful and easier to implement.
Using Different Styles to Help Weak Readers
The National Reading Styles Institute (NRSI) trains teachers to help struggling readers by identifying students'
learning styles, and then adapting instruction to those styles. The approach works with older as well as younger
students, according to NRSI executive director, Dr. Marie Carbo.
Teaching Manners in a Manner-less World
With manners in U.S. society at what some consider an all-time low, author and psychologist Dr. Alex J. Packer
has written a humorous etiquette guide for teenagers that offers real-life lessons and explains the value of manners.
Helping Schools Do What's Best for Special Ed Kids
Peter Wright struggled in his first years of school until his learning disabilities were identified and intensive
remediation helped him learn to read and write. Now an attorney, Wright is helping parents and educators understand
special education law.
Repaying the Kindness of Strangers
Like hundreds of thousands, Laura Dunham's tranquil morning in Sri Lanka December 26, 2004, was shattered by a
massive tsunami. Afterward, Dunham was fed and sheltered by local residents, and has returned to that village
to help with reconstruction.
Teacher Evaluations as a Reform Tool
Standardizing teacher evaluations in a state can provide consistency and tie evaluations to performance goals,
according to a report. Evaluations that define quality and strive to improve student and teacher performance can
be strong reform tools.
Banding Together to Stop Gun Violence
With the support of a teacher, students at Suncoast High School in Florida wrote and recorded a CD of songs urging
an end to gun violence. Now the students want schools and radio stations across the U.S. to play the title track
March 15 in a show of solidarity.
Music's Key Role in Helping Students Learn
Music's positive impact on learning is becoming well known, and one of the groups trumpeting that message is NAMM,
the International Music Products Association. NAMM's Mary Luehrsen talked about the research behind the group's
Forum: Lunch Reforms Needed as Kids' Health Worsens
What children are taught in class about nutritious foods and what appears in school cafeterias often are at odds,
according to educators and health. An award-winning filmmaker calls on schools to dump the junk food and make
lunch a teaching tool.
"Filmmaker Gives Fast-Food Warning to Kids
When filmmaker Morgan Spurlock decided to eat nothing but McDonald's for 30 days for his movie Super Size Me,
his health deteriorated more than anyone expected. Now he is urging schools to help steer kids away from fast
food, through more healthful lunch choices.
A Call for Scientific Approaches to Reading Instruction
If U.S. children are going to learn to read more quickly and effectively, schools need to use methods that have
demonstrated success and monitor what works for different children, according to Dr. G. Reid Lyon, a research
Uniting A School Around Improvement
A former U.S. Army officer, Samuel E. Harris set out to change the culture at Martin Luther King Jr. Junior High
School when he became principal five years ago. Harris's efforts have helped transform the school.
Putting the Arts in the (Everyday) Picture
While for the most part the arts have been on the fringes of education, when they become a larger part of the
curriculum, they can engage students in numerous ways, and particularly can benefit students in low-income, low-performing
Getting the Most Out of Homework
When teachers know how homework fits in with their lessons and students understand the purpose of assignments,
homework is more productive and helpful for everyone. A consultant talks about how to make homework more meaningful.
Not Your Mother's Grammar Lesson
If you find diagramming sentences an ordeal to learn and teach, you are not alone. English teacher Les Parsons
in his book Grammarama offers new strategies for teaching grammar that are more engaging for everyone.
Ed World Interviews the Candidates
Have you wanted to ask President George Bush or Sen. John Kerry about the No Child Left Behind Act, education
funding, or their views on performance pay? Education World did and more. Read our e-interview with the candidates
over the next five days.
Creating ELL-Friendly Classrooms
With the increase of non-English speaking students, teachers are searching for strategies to help them learn and
feel part of the class. Teachers Kathleen Fay and Suzanne Whaley outline ways to help ELL students develop their
Mixing It Up to Make New Friends
During the third Mix It Up at Lunch Day sponsored by Tolerance.org, students across the U.S. were urged to have
lunch with students outside their immediate circle of friends. The event is designed to break down social boundaries
Making Social Studies Work for At-Risk Kids
Joann Winkler, the 2004 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) elementary school teacher of the year,
has her at-risk kids running businesses, collecting for the needy, and giving national park "tours."
Teachers Significantly Impact Girls' Science Views
More than parents or peers, teachers are a major factor in developing girls' interest in science, according to
high school science teacher Dr. Michael Papadimitriou. Girls who liked a high school science teacher had positive
views about the course and science.
Bringing Out the Best in Kids
Author and teacher Dr. Thomas Armstrong helps teachers apply multiple intelligences in their teaching, so they
can tap into students' traditional and non-traditional talents and styles of learning.
How Understanding Poverty Can Help Low-Income Children Learn
Teachers often come from vastly different social and economic classes than their students, which can lead to culture
clashes in the classroom. A new book by Dr. Ruby K. Payne helps educators understand low-income students, and
discusses ways to improve their learning.
Author Makes Science Readable, Enjoyable
Finding the textbooks her children brought home uninspiring, Joy Hakim combined her skills as an educator and
journalist and began writing texts. Her latest, The Story of Science, is a flowing narrative of the evolution
Preventing a School Hostage Crisis in the U.S.
The hostage crisis at a Beslan, Russia, school last month has raised questions about the safety of public schools
in the U.S. A security consultant tells Education World why he thinks schools need tougher security measures.
As Another Year Begins, Bennet is Ready to Do Whatever It Takes
If the students are on time or early, and the sneakers are white -- it must be the first day of school. Bennet
starts a new year with few bumps, as Royal 7 teachers spend time getting to know their students.
Elections, Voting in Words a Kid Can Understand
The vocabulary and idiosyncrasies that surround voting and the election process are difficult for adults to grasp.
In America Votes: How Our President is Elected, Linda Granfield explains the whole process in words any
fifth grader will understand.
Boosting AYP, Teacher, Paraprofessional Qualifications
By incorporating the state's accountability system into the definition of adequate yearly progress (AYP), and
using grants and mentors to help teachers and paraprofessionals, Escondido (California) Union Elementary School
District is seeing improvement.
No Educator Left Behind: NAESP
What is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and when were states required to begin participating
Is Ability Grouping the Way to Go---Or Should It Go Away?
Logic, emotion, and research often clash in the longstanding debate over the advantages and disadvantages of ability
grouping (tracking). Should it be left up to the courts to decide whether such grouping is fair or not?
Native American Schools Ponder, Assail Dropout Rates
With the high school dropout rate for Native Americans among the highest in the country, reservation and public
school officials are searching for new ways to keep teens in school.
Welcome to Bennet Middle School
Bennet, the Manchester, Connecticut, middle school that does "whatever it takes," readies for another school year
of finding ways to help a diverse group of students succeed.
Message to D.C.: Educators Need Money, Support, Respect
Educators often wish they could tell national leaders what schools need. Last night, they got their chance, as
small groups around the U.S. brainstormed ways to get education in the national spotlight and make schools' needs
Helping Urban Students Succeed
Judy Farmer, the new chairwoman of the board of directors of the Council of the Great City Schools, thinks urban
schools are doing a lot right, and more joint efforts by educators and communities can lead to greater gains.
Reporter Turned Teacher Recalls First Tough Years
After working as a reporter for 24 years -- including covering the state's child welfare system -- Leslie Baldacci
was ready to take on the job of inner city teacher. But she had a lot to learn, as she recounts in her book about
her early teaching experiences.
Who Are We Proud to Be? Amistad Academy
Using chants, rewards, consequences, and lots of hard work, staff members at Amistad Academy charter school in
New Haven, Connecticut, are helping urban students set and meet goals.
Developing 9/11 Lessons That Are Informative, Sensitive
For the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, The Families of September 11, Inc., released
guidelines for lessons about the attacks that are informative and sensitive to the needs of children who may have
lost relatives or friends.
Scholarship Allows Teacher to Experience Japan
Thanks to a Toyota scholarship program, Sandi Bullington and 49 other U.S. teachers to traveled to Japan for intensive
study of the education system, economy, and culture. Their experiences will bring an international flavor to their
lessons this year.
Dealing With Difficult Parents
In Dealing With Difficult Parents, Doug Fiore and Todd Whitaker offer strategies and techniques that make
it easier to deal with seemingly difficult parents and with the difficult situations in which they find themselves.
Included: Doug Fiore answers our questions.
Treasuring Kids and Their Education on Ocracoke Island, North
As the smallest K-12 public school in North Carolina, Ocracoke School strives to provide diverse learning opportunities
in a place that can be reached only by ferry or plane. The small number of students and the isolation on their
island home on the Outer Banks foster a close relationship between the school and community.
Reform from the Ground Up: Looking at School Design
Too often, when people talk about school reform, they never look at how the facilities themselves affect education.
Paying more attention to school design can enhance learning, according to researcher Michael DeArmond.
Mobilize for Education September 22
A coalition of organizations, calling itself the National Mobilization for Great Public Schools, is asking people
to meet at house parties September 22 to discuss education concerns and possible solutions.
Author Explains Juvenile Justice System
Television court dramas may draw a lot of young viewers, but they don't educate the public about the juvenile
justice system. Author and lawyer John W. Biggers hopes his Kids Law books will help adults and teens understand
the juvenile system.
Reaching Out to Illiterate Teens
After third grade, reading is less of a subject and more of a tool, as students begin reading for content. But
many students enter middle and high school without basic reading skills, dooming their academic careers.
Tracing the Start of the Laptop Revolution in Schools
In 1990, fifth graders at a private school in Australia were introduced to laptops, and their learning was never
the same. Author Bob Johnstone talks about the first laptop school, the response it received, and integrating
What We Learned from Reader Polls
All teachers support tenure. Educators would never agree to a dress code. And, despite the ups and downs, teachers
rarely regret their career choice. It's obvious, right? Well, maybe not. Read what Education World learned from
its first 17 Weekly Surveys.
Learning With Laptops: An Urban School Shows Gains
Not everyone thinks of Internet research as a third-grade skill. But it is at East Rock Magnet School in New Haven,
Connecticut. Third and fourth graders are assigned laptops, and not only have test scores increased, but student
motivation as well.
Different Strokes for Little Folks: Carol Ann Tomlinson on "Differentiated
Professor Carol Ann Tomlinson understands the challenge of providing appropriate learning experiences for all
students. Once a classroom teacher who had to simultaneously meet the needs of kids struggling to read
at grade level and those who were ready for Harvard, she turned to differentiated instruction.
Seeking Help in the Accountability Era
Long known for its role in preparing students to take college entrance exams, Kaplan, Inc. now is spending more
time helping school districts with curriculum and professional development. Kaplan's Seppy Basili talks about
the company's role in those areas.
NCLB Rebellion Growing
Growing resistance to the No Child Left Behind Act has not gone unnoticed by the U.S. Department of Education.
But while some state officials push for implementation changes, advocates say adhering to NCLB is critical to
closing the achievement gap.
Strike up the Band, Exit Stage Right!
In the Internet, TV, video game-age, kids draping a sheet in a garage to "stage" a "play" seems quaint. But author
and performer Deborah Dunleavy wants children to create their own dramas and music, and has written guidebooks
both kids and teachers can use.
Teacher of the Year Aims to Celebrate Teachers, Teaching
National Teacher of the Year Kathy Mellor, an English as a second language teacher in Rhode Island, is eager to
spend her term celebrating teachers and teaching and encouraging school-community partnerships to improve education.
Paige Applauds School's Commitment to High Expectations
Secretary of Education Rod Paige praised efforts and accomplishments of teachers and students at Amistad Academy,
a charter school in New Haven, Connecticut. Paige said the school exemplifies a key idea of the No Child Left
Behind Act: every child can learn.
Focus, Higher Standards Can Bring Urban School Gains
As chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council of the Great City Schools, Carlos A. Garcia says part of
his job is telling people what urban educators are doing right. Recent academic gains in some cities are reason
Voice of Experience: Another Look at "No Child Left Behind" (Year Two)
Max Fischer takes another look at No Child Left Behind. He updates his initial reactions -- published a year ago
-- and takes a close look at the positive impacts the law has had in his own district and classroom. Included:
Join a discussion about NCLB's "positives."
A "Nuts and Bolts" Approach to Classroom Successes
A former teacher, Dr. Jane Bluestein turned her pages of tips for teachers about classroom management and organization
into a book and then a business. She works with educators seeking new ways to improve their teaching and interactions.
Outstanding Young Educator Connects Learning With Life
"Jennifer Morrison is known for using her classroom as a living laboratory for best practices and for sharing
research-based knowledge with her colleagues," said ASCD executive director Gene R. Carter. "She is the embodiment
of what we envisioned when the Outstanding Young Educator Award was implemented."
NBPTS: Building Better Teachers
A goal of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is to "provide a national voluntary system certifying
teachers who meet high and rigorous standards." NBPTS president Joseph A. Aguerrebere Jr. explains how that certification
process can improve both teaching and learning.
Service Learning Thrives Despite Less Funding, Time
Even though demands on school time and funds continue to increase, service-learning programs remain popular, according
to research. Principals praised their positive influence on student learning and school climate.
Starting School Reform from the Inside
Teachers and principals know their schools best, which is why they need to take the lead in school reform, says
author Roland S. Barth. Only when everyone in a school commits to life-long learning will education change.
Make Way for the New Report Cards
As districts revise curriculum and try to better measure how much of that curriculum students master and how well,
new versions of report cards are inevitable. Education professor Dr. Thomas R. Guskey talks about some trends.
Author Says Technology Brings False Promises to Schools
When it comes to technology, too often educators think the more the better, the sooner the better, according to
author Todd Oppenheimer. He argues that the current emphasis on technology use in schools drains resources from
other subjects and prevents students from developing critical and creative thinking skills.
NMSA's Vision of Middle School Excellence
Late last year, the National Middle School Association released 14 recommendations for dramatically improving
middle schools. NMSA president Linda Robinson has been hard at work spreading the word and her passion for the
Author Does His Homework on Hot Topic
Everyone knows that doing homework is a must for a good education, right? Not necessarily, according to author
John Buell. Revamping how much and what type of homework is assigned can create more opportunities for learning.
Cold Mush: Serving Stories from the Iditarod Trail
Jeffrey M. Peterson of Minnesota, this year's Teacher on the Trail, is eager to experience the Iditarod and to
share his observations and lessons with students around the world.
Restorative Practices Build Community, Responsibility
Although student misbehavior impacts many people at school, often only the student is involved in the discipline
process. The restorative practices approach stresses correcting the harm rather than punishing the deed, and advocates
including the affected parties in the process.
Students Map Neighborhoods With GIS
Geographic Information Systems (GIS), mapping and analysis software employed by the U.S. government, NASA, and
other agencies, now is helping students locate and document hazards in their communities.
Gifted Education as a Whole School Model
Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, advocates for lessons
that challenge all levels of learners, including gifted students.
SteveSongs Transforms Kids Into Songwriters While Reinforcing Classroom
Setting Christopher Columbus's journey, the virtues of kindness, and even the long "e" sound to music are part
of a day's work for Steve Roslonek. The musician conducts workshops that use songwriting to reinforce skills and
concepts taught in other classes.
Saving a Community's Heart: The Small Rural School
At the center of many small, rural communities is the school -- and as states look for ways to save money, more
small districts are being consolidated. The Rural School and Community Trust, though, argues that rural students
benefit from small, local schools.
Saying 'No' to Title I: Why Three Districts Did It
Nobody turns down federal grants -- or do they? Call it Yankee independence, but three Connecticut superintendents,
new this year to the Title I list, decided the costs and mandates associated with accepting the money outweighed
From Custodian to Principal
After working with students and teachers as a school custodian, Jack Yates knew he wanted to be an educator. With
support from family and colleagues, Yates earned two degrees, and now is an elementary school principal.
Firing Up Teacher-Student Communication
What do high school students really want from their teachers? According to the 40 students who expressed their
views in Fires in the Bathroom: Advice to Teachers from High School Students, they want respect, honesty,
and an understanding of them as individuals. Included: Students' tips for classroom teachers.
Uniting Against Cheating
When students began to complain about the level of cheating at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut, principal
John J. Brady knew it was time to face the issue directly. Faculty, students, and parents now are working to end
Singing for Societal Change... Again
Disrespect has become rampant in U.S. society, according to singer, songwriter, and activist Peter Yarrow of the
trio Peter, Paul & Mary. Yarrow's curriculum, Don't Laugh at Me, teaches children to respect themselves and others.
Teaching Self-Control: A Curriculum for Responsible Behavior
Martin Henley has created a curriculum for teaching 20 self-control skills all children need. The Teaching
Self-Control curriculum includes role-plays, simulations, learning center activities, and children's literature
that can be used to teach those skills.
Hands-On Science, New Friends Are Magnet School's Draw
The hands-on science curriculum Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford, Connecticut, brings together
students from five communities to learn about research and one another.
Learning to Tap Away Stress, Anger
In Dr. Lynne Namka's book, Good Bye Ouchies and Grouchies, Hello Happy Feelings, Namka describes how teachers
and parents can use tapping and reflection to help children release unhappy feelings.
Calendar Exposes School Financing Problems
When bake sales and walk-a-thons aren't enough to save critical school programs, what's a community to do? Members
of the Long Tom Grange in Junction City, Oregon, found a solution: they "took it all off" for a calendar that's
eliciting orders from around the world.
Evaluating In-School Suspension Programs
Monitoring in-school suspension programs can make them more effective, or even unnecessary, if school climate
changes occur, according to education analyst Anne Wheelock. Schools need to monitor who is suspended and by whom.
PTA President Seeks Larger, More Diverse Membership
Attracting and keeping involved parents, and reaching out to underrepresented parent populations, are among the
priorities for Linda Hodge, the National PTA's new president. Hodge brings experience from the local and national
"Married with (Many, Many) Children": Principal Partners Speak Out
When Pam and Roger Burton met during college, they could not have anticipated that both would end up working not
only as educators, but as principals. Ed World chatted with the Burtons about the pluses and problems of being
partners at work and home.
Rallying Cry from a "Champion for Children"
Emmy-winning TV producer/reporter Thomas Baldrick left his job to focus on efforts benefiting children. The author
of two books that focus on kids and how adults relate to them, he visits schools and presents workshops for students,
teachers, and parents.
Mexican Arts, Culture Frame Learning
Mexican arts and culture are woven through the curriculum at Chicago's Telpochcalli Elementary School. The school's
mission is to help students appreciate their heritage and to use studies of the art and culture of Mexico teach
other content areas.
Breakfast Serials Serve Up Fiction Fun
Concerned that fewer and fewer Americans are reading for pleasure, Avi, a Newbery Award-winning author, founded
Breakfast Serials, a re-incarnation of the serialized newspaper novel. Everyone, from young teens to adults, is
devouring them -- chapter by chapter.
A Child's Plea Becomes an Adult's Crusade
Jodee Blanco's school career was not a series of joyous milestones, but a years-long sentence of misery. Blanco
talks with Education World about her book, which details her harsh treatment at the hands of bullies, and her
current efforts to help schools stop bullying.
Responsive Classroom Practices in Action
Once Responsive Classroom basics are in place, students take on more freedom and responsibility, and teachers
can step back a little from a traditional role. Education World looks at how Responsive Classroom practices play
out in schools and classrooms.
National Teacher Calls for More Teacher-Leaders
Dr. Betsy Rogers, the 2003 National Teacher of the Year, wants to share with other educators and the public her
passion for teaching and the need to provide a quality education for all students.
Responsive Classroom Practices Teach the Whole Child
By intertwining social and academic learning, advocates of the Responsive Classroom system say, children become
more independent learners and more considerate people. Both students and teachers benefit.
How Responsive Classroom Practices Work
Mary Beth Forton, director of publications for the Northeast Foundation for Children (NEFC), and a former teacher,
talks about how Responsive Classroom techniques can save teachers time and make students' and teachers' lives
Web Site Links Schools and Museums
Education World chats with Stephanie Norby, director of the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies,
about its new Web site and about the Center's efforts to foster partnerships between museums and schools.
Lead and Learn: Lessons from the Teacher of the Year
Teachers need to be educational leaders and life-long learners in order to serve as role models for the their
students, National Teacher of the Year Dr. Betsy Rogers told Simsbury, Connecticut, teachers as they began the
2003-2004 school year.
StarrPoints: You Said It!
Education World readers speak out about teacher bullies, corporal punishment, tenure, and more!
Are We Still "A Nation at Risk?"
Twenty years ago this month, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released "A Nation at Risk:
The Imperative for Educational Reform." According to that report, "the educational foundations of our
society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and
a people." On what did the reports authors base their conclusions -- and do those indicators of risk still
Complete Sentences: Turning Students into Prison Inmates, by Margo Freistadt
The average cost of housing a single inmate in a U.S. prison is about $23,500, while the average expenditure for
educating a U.S. student is $6,911. Perhaps we can all learn a lesson from Margo Freistadt's solution to California's
school budget crisis!
Starting Good Eating Habits in the Lunchroom
High-fat school lunches that mimic fast food may be contributing to childhood obesity and other health problems,
according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Schools need more fruits and vegetables on their
StarrPoints: Musings of a C- Parent
Recently, a Pennsylvania school chief proposed report cards that would grade parents on how involved they are
in their children's education. A great idea! What parents wouldn't want to know whether they're doing all they
can to ensure their children's success?
StarrPoints: Are You a Bully?
A Connecticut school administrator, commenting on his district's decision to include teacher behavior in its anti-bullying
policy, complained that it would be difficult to distinguish between bullying behavior and classroom management
strategies. What about you? Can you tell the difference between behavior management and bullying?
Pay for Performance: What Are the Issues?
Merit pay, performance pay, knowledge- and skill-based pay -- they are making news as alternatives or supplements
to the traditional teacher step system. But what do they mean for teachers?
Pay for Performance: What Went Wrong in Cincinnati?
Years of planning, discussions, and negotiations yielded a new, complex teacher evaluation/compensation system
in Cincinnati. Education World examines Cincinnati's proposed alternative teacher pay plan and the reasons behind
its rejection by the union.
Pay for Performance: It Can Work -- Here's How
While performance pay philosophies and plans abound, working systems are harder to find. Education World examines
systems in two Colorado districts: Denver and Douglas County.
Pay for Performance: More States Brave Teacher-Pay Debate
Now that some U.S. states and school districts have stepped away from the 80-plus-year-old teacher compensation
system, others are devising plans of their own.
No Child Left Behind Picks Up Steam
Under Secretary of Education Dr. Eugene W. Hickok responds to questions about new regulations related to the implementation
of the No Child Left Behind Act. Those regulations deal with such issues as accountability, adequate yearly progress,
teacher quality, school choice, and more.
StarrPoints: A Resolve to Be Better--in Verse!
The tradition of making New Year's resolutions dates back to the ancient Babylonians, whose most popular resolution
was to return borrowed farm equipment. Your resolutions are more likely to resemble those expressed by the composite
teacher in today's poem!
Starr Points: Dear Santa -- A Holiday Wish List for Schools
Put a school on your holiday gift list this year! You'll find that schools are a lot easier to buy for than those
distant cousins you've been fretting over -- and the school will be a lot more grateful! Included: A shopping
list for schools.
Starr Points: 'Tis the Seasonto Accentuate the Positive
In the spirit of the holiday season, spread goodwill by saying something positive to some of your most significant
others" -- the parents or teachers of the children in your life.
StarrPoints: Is Your School as Good as the 92nd Street Y?
Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed that former Salomon Smith Barney analyst Jack Grubman upgraded AT&T's
stock rating in exchange for Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill's promise to try to get Grubman's daughters into the
nursery school at the 92nd Street Y. Is your school worth a $1 million?
Starr Points: Corporal Punishment -- Teaching Violence Through Violence
Corporal punishment in schools is legal in 23 U.S. states and 26 percent of Americans apparently believe that's
OK. Who can explain the reasoning behind those disturbing statistics?
StarrPoints: The Myth of Tenure and the Terrible Teacher
How can good schools rid themselves of bad teachers?
StarrPoints: "Objection overruled, or You can always go to law school
if things don't work out" by Taylor Mali
Taylor Mali, a former middle and high school teacher who is currently a professional performance poet, shares
his thoughts about "what teachers make" with Education World readers.
StarrPoints: It's Not What You Say... It's How You Say It!
As conference time once again approaches, many teachers are faced with the prospect of revealing to hopeful --
and sometimes hostile -- parents unwelcome truths about their cherished offspring. The most experienced teachers
know, however, that sometimes the truth is best presented with a little subtlety and a lot of tact. Today, Linda
Starr offers 20 of her favorite phrases from the Teachers' Dictionary of Educational Euphemisms.
StarrPoints: Habla usted ingls?
Next month, residents of Colorado and Massachusetts will vote on proposals to replace bilingual education with
English immersion in the states' public schools. Debate over the proposal has been loud and contentious, and each
side has reams of research supporting its position. The voters have a difficult decision to make.
StarrPoints: Should Schools Parent Our Kids?
Should the community expect teachers and administrators to deal with problems -- or potential problems -- that
do not directly affect students during the school day? Should parents want schools to take on the role of raising
StarrPoints: No Break Today!
Faced with a need to find more time to meet increasing educational standards, 40 percent of schools in the United
States have either cut recess or are considering doing so. Eliminating recess, policymakers say, gains more time
for learning. But does it gain more learning time? Read what the experts -- and columnist Linda Starr -- have
to say about the growing trend toward "all work and no play."
Voice of Experience: Yearlong Themes Spur Learning and Fun!
Educator Cindy Farnum shares her thoughts about using a yearlong theme to motivate students and create fun in
the classroom. She shares a bunch of ideas from her plant-astic" plant theme and seeks your help with her latest
Department of Defense Schools: Their Secret Weapons for Success
One of the most successful school systems in the U.S. is not in an exclusive suburb in a wealthy state. Instead,
it is scattered across the country and the world on U.S. military bases. Strategic planning, a conviction that
all children can learn, and community support are among the reasons for the system's success.
It's the Principal of the Thing!
Numerous studies confirm that nearly one third of new teachers leave the profession within five years. Why do
they leave -- and why don't they stay? The reasons may surprise you.
Voice of Experience: Teachers As Writers: Have You Been Thinking About
Publishing Your Best Lessons?
Educator Max Fischer shares tips for teachers who have considered publishing their classroom materials.
Voice of Experience: Back-to-School Survivor Day Offers Lessons
About Quality Learning
Brenda Dyck recounts how her school's administrators used the Survivor TV show as a theme to strengthen
teams, build camaraderie, present challenges -- and teach a few lessons about how to create a quality classroom
environment for students!
StarrPoints: Should you raise the bar or lower your standards?
Columnist Linda Starr says troubled kids don't need teachers who understand their problems; they need teachers
who set high standards and stick to them -- no matter what.
StarrPoints: 20 Teacher-Tested Tips for a Stress-Free Year
Do you greet the start of a new school year with anticipation liberally laced with anxiety? Does the pressure
of dealing with student lethargy, parental demands, and administrative imperatives cause you to wear a path in
your hardwood floors? Is ulcer medication the first item on your weekly grocery list? Have you tried all the traditional
tips for lowering job-related stress and found them ineffective? Have we got a tip (or 20) for you!
StarrPoints: Teacher Quality: Two Views
According to All Talk, No Action, a new report
by the Education Trust, "classes in high-poverty schools are 77 percent more likely [emphasis is theirs]
to be assigned to an out-of-field teacher than classes in low-poverty schools. Classes in majority non-white schools
are over 40 percent more likely to be assigned to an out-of-field teacher than those in mostly-white schools."
In addition, the percentage of uncertified teachers in schools in which more than half the students are poor or
minority is four to five times that of schools with fewer poor and minority students. And teachers in high-poverty,
high-minority schools are much more likely than other teachers to have failed certification tests and to have
poor academic records.
High teacher-attrition rates and the reluctance of experienced educators to teach in poor and high-minority
schools have resulted in a double standard in many states, where stringent requirements for teacher quality are
routinely circumvented by emergency "deferments" and alternate qualification standards.
StarrPoints: You've Got E-Mail!
Like most of you, I get e-mail -- lots and lots and lots of e-mail. Most of those e-mails hit the recycle bin
almost as fast as they hit my inbox. I received one the other day, however, that caught my eye before my finger
reached Delete. So I thought I'd pass it on to a few million of my closest friends!
StarrPoints: Will Private Schools Want Our Kids?
By guest editor Barbara Day
Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school vouchers are constitutional -- even when used to pay tuition
at schools with religious affiliations. Last week, a Tallahassee judge ruled against the use of school vouchers
altogether, saying they violated Florida's state constitution. In this week's StarrPoints, guest editor Barbara
Day says that lawmakers focusing on issues of constitutionality may be missing the point. "A greater area of concern
exists," Day points out. "How will vouchers impact the needs of students with disabilities?"
The Best Laid Plans
You've spent the last few weeks decorating bulletin boards, planning activities, collecting supplies, writing
letters to students and parents, reading articles and texts on classroom management, and practicing personal relaxation
techniques. You're efficient and organized. Your carefully thought out plans for the first day of school include
an appropriate mix of fun, educational, and administrative introductory activities. You are ready, able, and full
of anticipation. It's going to be a wonderful year! But is it going to be the year you planned?
Ask any teacher. He or she will be sure to tell you that -- despite long summers spent basking on the beaches
of the Riviera, despite winter breaks spent sliding down the slippery slopes of Aspen, despite hours that would
make a banker green with envy, despite full-time salaries spent on filling the leisure hours left by what are
really only part-time jobs -- teaching is a tough profession. Hah! The truth is, a teacher's job really is as
easy as ABC!
View More Articles