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Friday, May 23, 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

Review Games
Revive deadly boring reviews (and ensure retention) with these fun activities...

Homework: Too Much of a Bad Thing?
Our current view of homework needs to change. Alfie Kohn has his say...

Test Prep With Pep
Pep assemblies used to be for football games, but many schools are using them to get kids excited about upcoming assessment tests.

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 the following statements best describes how you feel about the four-day school week?

I am all for it. It makes sense in every way.
I see plusses and minuses, but I would be willing to give it a try.
It's a lousy idea, detrimental to students and learning.

The Four-Day School Week
A school district in west central Minnesota has just joined many other districts around the country in proposing a 4-day school week. The planned move will mean an hour more of school each day, which will result in 23 fewer school days for students of the MACCRAY school disstrict. (MACCRAY is an acronym for the three small towns served: Maynard, Clara City, and Raymond.) The move is expected to realize savings of $65,000 in transportation and $20,000 in energy costs. In the big picture, that's not a lot of dough, but in a district that serves just 700 students, it is not insignificant. The district considered other options, but, in the end, the four-day week seemed preferable to cutting programs. Read more about MACCRAY's move to four days. Read about other districts that have adopted four-day weeks in the Education World Issues Glossary, Calendar entry.


You Might Be Too Busy If
Most of us could complete that statement all too easily. Witness educator Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach: when she posed that question to members of an online community, she got these responses. You might be too busy if

  • you can't wait to leave work to go home and do more work.
  • your husband and children go on vacations (without you) and you are happy. :-)
  • your to-do list is a list of to-do lists.
  • your vibrating cell phone has worn a hole in your pocket.
  • your desk has so many piles that you resort to working elsewhere.
    If you can relate to those responses, you might enjoy seeing a couple dozen more responses that Nussbaum-Beach collected.


    Jigzone Gallery
    If you love putting together jigsaw puzzles, you will be eager to take a look at the Jigzone Gallery. Choose from a wide variety of puzzle categories (Animals, Art, Sports, Travel), then click the drop-down menu to set the difficulty of the puzzle you will build. You can build everything from 6-piece classic puzzles, perfect for pre-kindergartners, to 247-piece triangle puzzles for the master puzzle builder; there are 35 puzzle levels in all. Move the pieces to form the puzzle, then check the time it took you to build the puzzle against the fastest time and the average time for that puzzle. This is a great rainy-day recess resource, but don't underestimate its value for developing students' critical thinking and spatial reasoning skills too.

    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.


    Summer Reading Book Exchange
    --> Do you plan to use some of your summer vacation to catch up on recreational reading? Usually we devote this space to new books of interest to students and educators, but this week we share news of a "novel" way to save some money on your summer reading. is a unique way to recycle books by trading in the titles you've already read for other books you want -- for just the low cost of shipping. Novel Action members select books from the Web site and send in an equal number of their own books in exchange. "Novel Action provides members with an easy, inexpensive way to get used books, and the books they get are theirs to keep," explains founder Diane Denton. "It also allows them to exchange their books for 'book bucks' of equal value, which can be used to receive books at any time during their membership." A one-year membership of $25 covers unlimited transactions. The only other fee is a shipping fee of $4.80 for up to 6 pounds of books (about a dozen paperbacks). Click here to learn more about how Novel Action works.


    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.

    Embrace the Future
    The annual conference of the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS) will be in Houston, Texas, from November 14 - 16, 2008.

    NABSE 36th Annual Conference
    The annual conference of the National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) will be in Atlanta, Georgia, from November 18 - 23, 2008.

    Because Shift Happens: Teaching in the Twenty-First Century
    The annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) will be in San Antonio, Texas, from November 20 - 23, 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).


    Looking at the bright side of low achievement

    College Student: "Hey, Dad! I've got some great news for you!"

    Father: "What, son?"

    Student: "Remember that $500 you promised me if I made the Dean's list?"

    Father: "I certainly do."

    Student: "Well, you get to keep it."

    Now go and enjoy your weekend!