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Friday, April 11, 2008

You've made it through another week. It's time to rest your brain, have some fun, explore some new resources kick back and start your weekend off on a light note!


Dozens of new postings this week, same as every week! Among the great resources you'll find this week

Favorite Read-Alouds
Just in time for Library Week, principals offer 20+ of their favorite read-aloud books.

Professor Joe Martin: Staying Motivated
Having difficulty staying motivated? Professor Joe's "medicine cabinet" holds his prescription.

Doug Johnson: Tech Proof
It's a fallacy to believe that today's students are unhappy unless they are entertained.

For more practical content, explore this week's updated Channel pages:
Lesson Planning      Administrator's Desk      School Issues
Professional Development              Technology Integration
Be sure to visit our partner Web site too:



Which of these statements best describes the quality of instruction your students receive when a substitute teacher takes over your class?

Most subs are excellent. Student learning goes on just as if I was there.
Our subs are decent. A day with a sub usually isn't a "wasted day."
At best, the quality of our subs is uneven; students often lose out.

When the superintendent of a suburban Dallas school district faced a budget shortfall last year, he floated the idea of paying bonuses to teachers with good attendance. His idea, he believed, would save the district $200,000 in payments to substitute teachers in a district where qualified subs are getting more and more difficult to find. But could such a plan carry the extra benefit of boosting student test scores too? A recent paper out of Harvard University suggests that to be the case. While the study sample was small (285 fourth-grade teachers in an urban district over three school years), the researchers found "a small but significant negative impact on student math scores attributable to teacher absences alone." (Read the article)


Scieszka Endorses Audiobooks
Jon Scieszka, newly appointed others, thinks audiobooks and other varied formats are a great way to motivate kids to read. As long as kids are reading something, that's a good thing, says Scieszka. He recently told the Washington Post that we should "give children freedom to choose what they want to read rather than what adults think they should read," and expand the definition of reading to include nonfiction, graphic novels, comic books, magazines, online, audio books. Those formats "all help turn kids into readers," he said. Perhaps there is a place in your classroom to introduce audiobooks as one more tool for developing a love of reading and students' reading and listening comprehension listening skills? (Read the entire Washington Post article.)


Building Sentence Structure
If you're interested in building students' sentence-writing skills, the Wall of Words game is a fun tool to use. Players race against the clock to move five or seven word-bricks into place to "build" a sentence that makes sense. If they place the words in the correct order and add the correct punctuation mark too, animated construction workers show up on scene to build another layer of a virtual skyscraper. If your students in grades 1-4 can use help writing complete sentences, Wall of Words is one more "brick" to add to your load of teaching tools.

EducationWorld has reviewed thousands of sites of interest to educators. Be sure to visit our Site Review Archive. You might also visit our Sites to See themed listings.


Daniel Boone: How Early Americans
Took to the Road

Daniel Boone once said, "I can't say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days." Back in 1734, when Daniel Boone was born, it was pretty easy to get lost in America. By the time trailblazing Daniel died in 1820, he and his equally restless young nation had pushed their way clear to the Rocky Mountains and beyond. Award-winning author-illustrator Cheryl Harness combines her lively fact-filled narrative with more than 200 detail-rich drawings to tell the amazing story of this legendary frontiersman. Readers get a real sense of life in the second half of the 18th century as they learn of Boone's passion for life in the wilderness, follow him in the French and Indian War, and join his struggle to clear a Wilderness Road into Kentucky, where he rescues his daughter from Shawnee warriors and gets kidnapped himself. Readers journey through milestones in America's westward expansion with the aid of a timeline running along each page. Published by National Geographic. series.


Maybe Monday will be a good day to approach your school or district leaders about attending one of these upcoming conferences put on by well-known national associations.

Transforming School Communities: Voices for Student Health
The annual conference of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from June 28 - July 1, 2008.

Connect. Convene. Transform.
The annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) will be in San Antonio, Texas, from June 29 - July 2, 2008.

2008 Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly
The annual conference of the National Education Association (NEA) will be in Washington, D.C., from July 1 - 6, 2008.

If your national non-profit organization's conference should be listed here, send an email to [email protected]. We will be happy to include it in our rotation so long as it is open to all educators and/or administrators (not only members).


You never know when you'll meet a former student

Driving her car one afternoon, my mother, a retired English teacher, rolled through a stop sign. As soon as she made that error in judgment, she saw the police car.

Luckily the young officer quickly recognized my mother as his former teacher. Mother got off Scot-free with this warning:

"Mrs. Higgins," he said, "those stop signs are periods, not commas."

Now go and enjoy your weekend!