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Education World Goes to the Olympics With Teacher Barbara Taddeo!


Curriculum CenterToday, Education World introduces the first in a unique two-week series of reports. Barbara Taddeo, a middle school special education teacher in San Mateo, California, will share her experiences as a volunteer at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney Australia. She'll also offer lessons to help Education World readers use the Olympic Games in their classrooms. Follow Taddeo's journey through her reports from Sydney!

"The Olympic Games instill a 'can do' attitude that can carry over into everyday life," said teacher Barbara Taddeo. "Just ask anyone who has competed in the games."

Check back often to read updates from Barbra Taddeo!

Article Guide
* Last Day in Australia (Posting 12)
* The Closing Ceremony (Posting 11)
* An Aborigine Legend (Posting 10)
* Dressage (Equestrian) Events (Posting 9)
* The Women's Marathon (Posting 8)
* Lesser-Known Sports (Posting 7)
* Olympism and Equestrian Medals (Posting 6)
* Watching Events (Posting 5)
* The Equestrian Center (Posting 4)
* The Opening Ceremony (Posting 3)
* Getting to Know Sydney (Posting 2)
* Welcome to Australia! (Posting 1)
* Olympic Activities

While most of the world will watch the Olympics on television, Taddeo -- a middle school special education teacher in San Mateo, California -- will actually experience the "can do" moments of the games! She will volunteer at the equestrian events of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. That's not all, though!

If you have questions or comments for Barbara Taddeo, visit the Education World message board.

In addition to her volunteer duties, Taddeo plans to share the excitement of the Olympic Games with teachers, Girl Scout troops, students in different parts of the world -- and Education World! Off and on throughout the Games, she will e-mail messages from Sydney. In those messages, Taddeo will share her experiences plus lesson ideas for incorporating the Olympics into the curriculum!


This summer, Taddeo used the Olympics as an integral part of her curriculum while teaching summer school to at-risk sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. "My lessons included reading, writing, geography, social studies, and math," said Taddeo. "I also taught sportsmanship, not quitting or giving up, and cooperation between nations."

In one lesson, Taddeo's students completed a variety of activities to learn about countries that will participate in the 2000 Summer Olympics. Students used library and Internet resources to learn about countries, wrote reports, located countries on a world map, brought in pictures of flags or real flags from different countries, calculated mileage from various countries to Sydney, and located each country's longitude and latitude. One of Taddeo's goals for the lesson was helping students gain a greater understanding of how differences in climate and distance might affect Olympic athletes' training and performance.

To augment her classroom instruction, Taddeo invited local former Olympic athletes and coaches to speak to her students about their Olympic experiences. "It is exciting to see how many Olympians you can find in your community," she said.


Taddeo says she got "caught up in the Olympic spirit years ago." She attended four Olympic Games and volunteered at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. She worked in the technology group with the international press at the equestrian and mountain biking events.

Taddeo says her work as an international flight attendant before becoming a teacher helped her learn to work with people from various countries and cultures.

Although the trip is expensive, Taddeo says the cost is worth it. She describes herself as "an adventurer" and says that she would "make the same sacrifices again, being away for a month" to be a part of the Olympic Games.

Taddeo adds that she "would consider it an honor" to tell her Olympic story to other teachers. "Maybe through my experience, other teachers will start the Olympic spirit in their classrooms," said Taddeo.

Catch the Olympic spirit!

Lois Lewis
Education World®
Copyright © 2000 Education World

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