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Friday, May 16, 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

Using Technology:
Digital Cameras in the Classroom

Two dozen classroom ideas that'll make kids (and teachers) smile.

Memorial Day Lessons
Help students understand the significance of Memorial Day.

Reader's Theater
Everything was fine in the Land of Literal -- until King Pun took over the reins.

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:


Will you make use of the MyActivity Pyramid in your classroom instruction?

Definitely, visual guides such as this one are very useful.
I will make an effort to integrate this into my classroom instruction.
I don't find tools like this to be useful.

You've Seen the Food Pyramid
Meet the Exercise Pyramid

You're all familiar with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food pyramid, but have you seen the MyActivity Pyramid? This guide to physical activity for children ages 6 to 11 was developed by health educators at the University of Missouri and is being distributed to U.S. classrooms. As the food pyramid does for nutrition, the MyActivity Pyramid illustrates the importance in students' lives of regular exercise; it emphasizes the importance of less screen time and more play time. Everyday activities appear on the first level of the pyramid. Those activities -- which include helping with chores, taking the stairs instead of an elevator, or playing "fetch" with a dog -- are very important activities and form the foundation for a healthful life. At the next level up are activities that students might engage in three to five times a week, things like rollerblading, playing soccer, and jumping rope. Up the pyramid we go until we get to the top level, which includes those activities that are least important to a healthful life, things like watching television and playing video games. (Learn more about the MyActivity Pyramid)


Myths About Students and Writing
In a recent posting on the listerserv of the National Middle School Association, Education World columnist Brenda Dyck drew attention to ten myths about learning to write that were developed by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). These two myths were among them:

  • Real writers get it right the first time.
    Most of us can't even write a grocery list without making some changes. Even famous authors, poets, and journalists have to produce a few rough drafts before arriving at their best work. The important thing is to keep writing until you've said what you mean.
  • You have to know what you are going to say before you begin writing.
    The funny thing about writing is that it actually helps you think. Many writers don't discover exactly what they're trying to say until after they've written for pages. Writing not only helps kids think deeply, but it helps them find out what they already know -- not just in English class but in everything from math to biology to music.
For the other eight myths about students and writing, see 10 Myths about Learning to Write on the NCTE Web site.


Fraction Frenzy
Are your students frazzled by fractions? No teacher has too many tools for helping kids make sense of the concept of fractions. One free online tool, Fraction Frenzy, can be used to supplement your instruction, create a classroom competition, or simply provide rainy-day practice and fun. At Level 1 students are offered four fraction cards and asked to click on the two equivalent pairs. At each subsequent level, new cards are added and the task becomes more difficult. Help fizzle the frazzle over fractions with the free Fraction Frenzy!

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.


40 Fabulous Math Mysteries Kids Can't Resist
Another book from the authors of Great Graphing, Funtastic Math!, and other top-selling titles. In this volume, humorous, reproducible math mystery stories give math sleuths a chance to have fun while practicing important math problem-solving skills. The activities are perfect for classwork and homework. And they help teachers in grades 4-up to meet NCTM standards. Amazon readers give this book a five-star rating. Learn more or buy the book.


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.

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.

Growing Gifted in the Sunshine State
The annual conference of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) will be in Tampa, Florida, from October 29 - November 2, 2008.

Above and Beyond
The annual conference of the National Middle School Association (NMSA) will be in Denver, Colorado, from October 30 - November 1, 2008.

For a more complete list of upcoming conferences, see Education World's Conventions and Conferences Center.

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).


Had enough with parents who make excuses for their kids?

The following message is one some teachers might like to hear on their school's answering machine:

"Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to connect you to the right staff member, please listen to all your options before making a selection:
--- To complain about bus transportation - Press 1
--- To complain about school lunches - Press 2
--- To fib about why your child is absent - Press 3
--- To make excuses for why your child did not do his work - Press 4
--- To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you - Press 5
--- To cuss at staff members - Press 6
--- To request another teacher for the third time this year - Press 7

"If you realize this is the real world and your child must be accountable and responsible for his own behavior, class work, and homework -- and that it's not the teacher's fault for your child's lack of effort -- hang up and have a nice day!"

Now go and enjoy your weekend!