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Article courtesy of
With more and more Halloween celebrations taking place in the
classroom, at home parties, or at community events, here are some
cross-curricular Halloween activities for you to enjoy.
1. Read a Halloween poem or song and find rhyming words,
similes, metaphors, nouns, verbs, onomatopoeia, and so on.
2. Find Halloween-related words in the dictionary by using
guide words. Divide them into syllables, write the accent mark,
tell the part of speech, give the definition, add
suffixes...whatever skills you want to review.
3. Research the origin of Halloween and its symbols. Write a
report and include a bibliography.
4. Brainstorm a list of Halloween words and create your own
crossword, kriss-kross, or word search puzzles.
5. Write a Halloween story or a short play. Perform the play
and tape it!
6. Tape the class singing Halloween songs and play them on
7. See how many 3-letter words you can make out of 'Halloween.'
8. Cut out Halloween pictures from different print media to
make cards or a collage.
9. Give everyone some colored M&M's and have children graph
them. Alternately, have children classify the candy they bring to
school and graph the different kinds. Possible categories are
chocolatey, nutty, soft, and hard.
10. Look through newspaper ads and see what you would buy if
you had $20. If your children are old enough, have them calculate
the tax for your area.
11. Review following directions, measurement, health, and
safety by making Halloween cupcakes, a cake, or cookies. Use
Halloween-related cutters, food coloring for frosting, and small
candies as decorations. Of course, adults should supervise
12. Use a pumpkin for the following activities:
a. Cut out the stem, take out the seeds, and carve out the pulp
(refrigerate it). Have children draw a face for a jack-o-lantern
and cut it out.
b. Roast the pumpkin seeds and have store-bought seeds on hand.
Let children eat both and compare the taste, texture, and color.
c. Heat the pulp until it is soft and use it to make your own
pumpkin pie! (NOTE: One recipe usually makes three regular pies.)
Make sure to save pieces for the principal and others in your
school. Tell children to remember the taste so they can compare it
to a store-bought pumpkin pie.
d. Make sure to take pictures of each step. Have children write
a caption for each one and make a book.
13. Foster multi-cultural awareness by having candies from
I hope these ideas are useful and inspire your own creative
thinking. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!
And remember...Reading is FUNdamental!
Freda J. Glatt, MS, retired from teaching after a 34-year career
in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Her focus, now, is
to reach out and help others reinforce reading comprehension and
develop a love for reading. Visit her site at http://www.sandralreading.com.
Reading is FUNdamental!
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Using Photography To Inspire
By Hank Kellner
Kellner is a retired teacher of English who
has served as a department chair at the high school level and an
adjunct associate professor of English at the community college
He is the former publisher of Moneygram,
a marketing newsletter for photographer. He is also the
creator of many photographs and articles that have appeared in
publications nationwide, the author of extensive reading
comprehension materials for a publisher of educational
materials, and a former contributor to Darkroom Photography
magazine. His self-syndicated series, Twelve Unknown
Heroes of the American Revolution appeared in more than
fifty newspapers and magazines nationwide.
Kellner's most recent publication, Write What
You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing, is marked by Prufrock
Press. His blog appears regularly at hank-englisheducation.blogspot.com.
|The purpose of Hank's most
recent work, Reflect and Write: 270 Poems and Photographs to Inspire
Writing, is to inspire student
writing through the use of poetry and photography.
Most of the poems and photos have been submitted by students,
teachers, and others nationwide, though some are directly from
Hank. Although Reflect and Write: 270 Poems and Photographs to Inspire
Writing has not yet been
published, all of its contents are copyrighted. Teachers
are free, however, to download selected contents for use in
Each selection will include a poem, a photograph, a direct
quotation, and four trigger words.
We at StarTeaching kindly thank Hank for his permission to
use the materials.
I sit amidst this garden
And marvel at His work.
Pure fragrance never fading,
The essence of my birth.
I wonder of His greatness,
The King of Majesty,
Heavenly host of praises,
A whisper of His presence
Is what I long to hear.
Sweet song of reassurance
So sweetly lingers near.
I lift my eyes toward Heaven
And dream what it must be
To dwell among such glory
Sing holy praises daffodils,
And lily of the valley,
Sweet melodies of love and grace
That blossom all around me.
Photo # 35 by Hank
“I think if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it
would be in a garden at the cool of the day.” F.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thy ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
by Hank Kellner
Shall I compare thee to a clump of clay?
Thou art more gloomy and intemperate:
Rough winds do turn your hair to hay,
And winter’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime through clouds the eye of heaven shines,
And always are his rays of light unglimm’d;
And every fair from fair oftimes declines,
By time, or many ruthless years untrimm’d;
So look not to your friends for timely aid,
Nor pray for help you surely need the most,
For Death will brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When as they must your bones will turn to toast.
long as men can walk and tongues can wag,
long lives this, and this says you’re a hag.
by Hank Kellner
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
-Margaret Wolfe Hungerford
2009 Hank Kellner
These poem/photo combinations are from
Hank Kellner's upcoming publication, Reflections: A Collection of Poetry, Photos, and
Kellner is the author of
Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing. Published by Cottonwood Press ( I-800-864-4297)
and distributed by Independent
Publishers Group, Write What You See includes a supplementary CD with photos. 8 ½ x11,
120 pages, perfect binding, ISBN 978-1-877-673-83-2, LCCN
2008938630. $24.95. Available at bookstores, from the publisher,
and on the Internet at www.amazon.com and
your school or local librarian to order it.Visit the author’s
blog at http://hank-englisheducation.com.
The author will contribute a portion of the royalties earned
from the sale of this book to The Wounded Warriors Project.
Order your own iPod Touch Today with the links below:
are six modules designed to test the basic ability of an
individual in terms of Memory & Concentration. Needless to
say this is the most important basic skill for not just to
survive but also to thrive in this competitive environment.
Each of the six modules tests the six variants of Memory &
Concentration in an individual, namely:
of these modules runs at three different levels, from easy to
At each level, the individual's performance is depicted as
A feedback has been built into the software for all these 18
levels depending on the marks one scores during the
Each individual can assess his/her performance any time by
clicking on "history", which gives complete details
of date and time of taking the tests, marks scored each time
and even time taken to do the test. This builds the confidence
level and encourages more participation to eventually
culminate in improvement and enhancement of memory and
Essentially, this software is a SELF AWARENESS tool that
surely motivates the individual to realize one's capability
and seek or be receptive for improvement. Also, if repeatedly
done over a period of time works as Training tool to enhance
software package is specifically designed to help young
children to learn basic skills that will help them in
school. Continued follow-up will give these young
learners success as they mature.
Three versions of the software exist:
Individual Software on either CD or Online, Family
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StarTeaching wholeheartedly supports
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The Call for Small Class Sizes
Mary Ann Graziani
Most teachers would agree that they prefer smaller
classes to larger ones. This is no surprise since smaller classes
are easier to manage, allow the teachers to cover more learning
material, and provide daily feedback to students more easily. In
smaller classes, it is easier for the teacher to pinpoint students
who require remedial help and they have more time to adapt
teaching strategies to a student’s individual needs.
According to an article in Education World, Charles M. Achilles, a
professor of educational administration at Eastern Michigan University
states, “Conclusive evidence has shown the benefits of class sizes of
1:15, especially in the primary grades.” Since the early 1980s, a
large-scale project in Indiana, a major experiment in Tennessee,
numerous smaller studies and evaluations of projects that use low
adult-to-student ratios have found that youngsters in small classes
(1:15 or so) as compared to youngsters in larger classes obtain higher
test scores; participate more in school; demonstrate improved behavior;
and retain many benefits of early class-size reductions in their later
years of schooling (Hopkins, 1998).
To address this problem there have been many class size reduction
programs initiated in many schools throughout the nation. Today,
however, with educational budget cuts in many states, there would not be
enough money to fund class size reduction programs adequately. When
student - teacher ratios are high, teachers are unable to meet the needs
of all students and budget cuts make class size reduction programs
There are solutions that are simple and require no money or
commitment from anyone other than the teacher themselves. When used,
they can make managing a large class more simple.
Solution 1: Classroom management plan. When presented with a large
group of students, the most important thing is to manage the classroom.
There must be a way to gain the students attention immediately, without
having to yell or shout. Rules, and consequences for breaking each rule,
must be decided, posted, and strictly adhered to. Students can be
involved in helping develop the rules and consequences. They can be
decided together as a class on the first day of school. Consequences for
each rule should be posted and followed each and every time the rule is
broken. It is imperative that all students be held accountable for
following the rules at all times. The teacher must be seen as fair. If
even one student is allowed to “get away” with something, then the
whole discipline plan falls apart and the teacher loses management of
the class. When planning out rules and consequences, the teacher should
include the administration in his/her ideas so they can help enforce the
! rules. Often, a school will have rules that apply to every student and
teachers support each other by encouraging students to act within these
guidelines. Hopefully, it will never come down to having to enforce
rules. Dr. Harry Wong states “the number one problem in the classroom
is not discipline; it is the lack of procedures and routines. . . A vast
majority of the behavior problems in the classroom are caused by the
failure of students to follow procedures and routines” (Wong, 1998). A
teacher’s classroom management plan, therefore, must consist of how
things are to be done in the classroom, starting from the moment they
walk in the door. A procedure might be: walk in, put your backpack in
your cubby, sit at your desk, and write a page in your journal.
Eventually these procedures become habits and things will run smoothly.
The first few weeks of school may require the teacher to “remind”
students several times what the procedures are, but it will pay off in
the long run ! (Wong, 1998).
Solution 2: Encourage students to work independently. Students who
work independently of the teacher are more successful. “The fact that
the teacher does most of the work at school explains why there is little
learning in school” (Wong, 1998). This is especially true when trying
to teach a large number of students. A teacher will become exhausted
trying to keep the kids in line and focused on a lecture. If, instead,
the teacher gives students activities to work on; they learn more. They
not only learn from each other, they learn by doing. This frees the
teacher up to walk around and assist. “The research says that the
person who does the work is the only one doing the learning” (Wong
1998). Students can act as “teacher assistants” by being given
various jobs within the classroom. This will also help the students be
more independent and responsible. Students may have jobs such as feeding
the class pet, taking the attendance cards to the office, monitoring the
clean up o! f toys, collecting homework, cleaning the chalkboard, etc.
These jobs will give the students a sense of pride in their classroom,
while taking some small but necessary tasks away from the teacher.
Solution 3: Keep Parents Included: Give them copies of lesson plans,
or form a calendar of main lesson topics, which they can follow (i.e.
September topics: Johnny Appleseed, signs of fall, subtracting 3 digit
numbers). Make sure parents are aware of special dates like conferences
or open house. Invite them and make them feel welcome. One of our
teammates keeps her lesson plans posted on the wall of her classroom,
because parents are always asking what the topics of discussion are.
Parents like to supplement the topics at home, and also send theme
related show-and-tell items with their children. Parents and teachers
working together is the best scenario for any child. A teacher should do
all he/she can to keep parents in the loop with what is going on in the
classroom. “Parents are their children’s first and most influential
teachers” (Wong 1998).
Another way to help parents stay involved is through weekly
newsletter sent home on Fridays. This is a simple solution that a
teacher can implement into their classroom. One easy way to manage the
newsletter is to let the students design and write it. This is one way
to give the gifted and talented students something that is educational
and fun to work on. This will keep them from becoming bored and
disinterested in the class. It will also give the teacher additional
time to work with the students who may need extra help in various
An additional method of communication with parents is to set up a
website where parents can log on and keep up daily with what is going on
in school. Sometimes the newsletter will just sit on the counter all
weekend and not be read. Parents, who work long hours, often have some
free time at work where they check personal email or surf the web. If a
teacher sets up a classroom website and keeps it updated, parents can
keep abreast of school happenings. Also, this helps in divorced
families, because both parents have a way of keeping up with what is
going on in school. If a parent only sees their child every other
weekend, they will appreciate a way to keep up with their daily lives.
Maintaining a website is not difficult or time consuming. It may make a
huge difference in the lives of your students. This is another area
where students who are doing well academically can have a fun and have
an educational project to work on. Allowing students to help maintain
the website will provide the same benefits as students creating the
newsletter, and additionally, will integrate technology into the
The benefits of creating a newsletter and website will provide a
method of communication for the parents, so they can keep track of what
is going on in school. Most parents put their kids on the bus in the
morning and don’t see them again until dinnertime. When they ask their
child “what did you do in school today?” the answer they get is
usually brief, something like “not much” or “the usual.” Even
worse is, “nothing.” As teachers, we want parents to be interested
in their child’s school. We cannot expect this from them if they
don’t even know what is going on. This excerpt was taken from research
done by the National Education Association on why it is important for
parents to know what is going on in their child’s school:
“Here are just some of the reasons it is important for parents to
be actively involved in their child's education:
1.When parents are involved in their children’s education at home,
they do better in school. And when parents are involved in school,
children go farther in school—and the schools they go to are better
(Henderson and Berla).
2.The family makes critical contributions to student achievement from
pre-school through high school. A home environment that encourages
learning is more important to student achievement than income, education
level or cultural background (Henderson and Berla).
3.When children and parents talk regularly about school, children
perform better academically (Aston & McLanahan, 1991; Ho &
Willms, 1996; Finn, 1993).
4.Three kinds of parental involvement at home are consistently
associated with higher student achievement: actively organizing and
monitoring a child’s time, helping with homework and discussing school
matters (Finn, 1998).
5.The earlier that parent involvement begins in a child’s
educational process, the more powerful the effects (Kathleen Cotton and
Karen Reed Wikelund. "Parent Involvement in Education,"
Research You Can Use. NW Regional Educational Laboratory).
6.Positive results of parental involvement in their children's
schooling include improved achievement, reduced absenteeism, improved
behavior, and restored confidence among parents in their children's
schooling (Institute for Responsive Education. The Home-School
Connection: Selected Partnership Programs in Large Cities. Boston:
Author.)” (National Education Association 2003).
| Grand Valley offers a Masters in Educational Leadership in Boyne City and Cadillac. If you would like to find out more about our program feel free to contact me
or call me at 231-258-2935.
Many of the topics we will present will be for teachers seeking and administration position and for recently appointed administration. I will also receive comments from those who have just completed their first year as administrators. Since the program in Northern began eleven years ago we have placed over 60 GVSU graduates in administration positions.
For The Things They Don't Teach You In College
parent-teacher conference time! Some are positive experiences
where teachers are able to make great connections with parents.
And yet other meetings are foretold by apprehension and met with
strife. Over the years, you will encounter the gamut of positive
and negative experiences, and everything in between. However,
there are strategies you can use to make the best of any
It is extremely important to make a good first impression (even if
you already know the parents). Make eye contact with them, and greet the
parents with a firm handshake. No weak grips! If you've never met the
parents, stand up to introduce yourself. Welcome them with a smile.
Remember that you are building relationships, and setting the tone for
A good way to open the conference is to ask how the student is doing in
other classes. Ask about their other grades, and start building an
overall picture. You will often find the student's strong and weak
areas, and you may even find surprises. I've found students who were
failing every class but mine. And I've found the opposite too. A good
overall picture can really give you a new perspective on your students.
Always try to say something positive. Even in the cloudiest of
situations, you should find some ray of sunshine. And if you do have bad
news to share, opening with good news can help ease the transition.
Be objective with bad news. Give truthful and accurate facts, and keep
from making speculations. Make sure you have your facts straight! Work
with parents, and try to offer suggestions. Most parents will look to
you for ideas. Plan what you'll say ahead of time. If you've taken the
time to get to know your students well, you'll find the conferences
Positive parents are what we all expect and hope for. They come in with
an open mind, are pleasant, and are willing to both listen to your
comments and help with solutions to problems that do occur. These
are often very short conferences at the middle and high school levels.
The parents have heard the stories all before, and with good reason;
students whose parents regularly attend conferences have higher grade
averages and fewer instances of behavior problems than those students
whose parents rarely interact with school personnel.
The truth be known, many parents are intimidated by teachers. Many do
worry that their concerns and critiques will be turned around and used
against their kids. Even though teachers find this entire concept
laughable and preposterous, it does, nonetheless, cross many parents'
So, what do you do with a hostile parent? Diffuse the situation by being
patient and listening. Sometimes its hard to just listen while parents
are going off on you. They may be right or wrong, misinformed or even
plain out of line. It is only a mistake to interrupt them, especially if
they are on a roll. Stop yourself, focus on what they're saying, even
take notes to show you're listening, and let them burn themselves out.
Sometimes the hostile parents are looking for an audience, and sometimes
they just need to vent. By giving them the time to 'get it all out of
their system', you allow them to calm down so you both can reasonably
discuss the situation.
Be sure to stand when they leave, again this is being courteous and
polite. Thank them for attending. And let them know you'll contact them
if anything changes. Parents generally want to be kept informed about
their kids, both the good and bad.
Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use
immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our
writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm
Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be
plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the
following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
Moving Into a Post-Literate Society?
by Mark Benn
Benn is a Technology Integration Coach for VARtek Services, Inc. Having just completed almost 25 years as an educator for Inland Lakes Public Schools, and having received a Masters of Science in Educational Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University in 2010, he now works in a position that supports teachers of K-12 classrooms in the southwest Ohio region that are interested in integrating technology into their learning environments. VARtek Services mission is to be the best provider of managed technology solutions for enhanced learning in the K–12 marketplace. Our website is:
Are we moving
into a POST-LITERATE society?
a larger percentage (possibly 80-90%) of students today are visually
oriented learners, and as I said last time, we should begin with a
visual introduction to our lessons let’s take a look at the use of
online games and interactive activities.
There are many online games that allow students to practice skills for
grades one through eight and even higher. Even though some of the games
are similar to work they would do on a worksheet the students find it
more interesting just because it’s on a computer. Other games provide
learning opportunities that could never be done in a classroom. A few of
the sites are:
Another area to explore, then use are interactive simulation sites.
Science study is growing more every day with many skills on line that
once again could not be done in the classroom except out of a book, that
doesn’t reach the students of today. Some sites are: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/index.html
There are also whole lessons online that are interactive and keep
students engaged. I use lessons on area, perimeter, percentages,
decimals, fractions, and angles. These sites are located at: http://enlvm.usu.edu/ma/nav/index.jsp
The best way to find more sites is to do an advanced google search using
key words such as educational, interactive, games, online, and then more
specific such as space, multiplication or sixth grade. It’s important
that you try whatever you want to use first. Also, monitor what the
students are doing when on the computer. Make sure they understand in
advance what they are suppose to be learning and when completed discuss
what they found.
The key to students learning is to get them engaged. I know you will
find that they are more engaged when given the chance to go online.
Mark Benn received his Masters of Science in Educational Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University in 2010.
Mark Benn earned his B.S. from Western
Michigan University and his Elementary Certification from
Northern Michigan University. He is a 25 year teaching
veteran of 5th and 6th grade students at Inland Lakes Middle
School in Indian River, MI.
Prior to teaching, Mark spent 11 years as Department Manager for
Sears, Roebuck and Co. dealing with emerging technologies.
He has been married to his wife Bonnietta for 32 years with one
daughter and two sons.
|StarTeaching Featured Writer
|Mark Benn is a leading expert in using technology
in the classroom.
You can feel free to contact him on email
or at his blogsite: http://www.furtrader.blogspot.com/
To The Learning Bank We Go
a former teacher of high school mathematics, I understand the
day-to-day frustrations that any teacher might experience,
particularly when trying to teach a subject like mathematics.
The first day of class was always interesting. As teacher, I
felt like the enemy who was bringing messages of death and
despair to the students. I could see in many of their faces how
dreaded a subject this truly was. But I would win them over.
Yes, one by one I would quench their fear and instill new hope.
you want to be successful as a teacher—any teacher—you have to
refrain from playing the fear trump card. Unfortunately many math
teachers do this, thinking that this will set the tone for the year and
keep the students in line. This is not the way to go. Remember. You are
on difficult turf. Most students despise math because it frustrates the
heck out of them. They feel hopeless, lost, and confused most of the
time when trying to work through this strange domain of variables,
number systems, and word problems. Instilling fear in them will only
make the problem worse.
Rather, you need to try alternative learning strategies. Now I know
you’ve had this concept rammed down your throats a hundred or more
times and I don’t mean to be like another administrator who forgot
what it was like to be in the classroom. The truth is you can only lead
a horse to water—you know the rest. So what kind of alternative
strategies do you try? After all, you’re dealing with teenagers whose
racing hormones keep their thoughts grounded on things other than math,
English, and social studies.
What about integrating two different subjects, the so called “cross
learning” approach. What about integrating math and English through
the use of poetry. Now this definitely sounds interesting. What if you
could open a lesson by reading a poem on mathematics which teaches a
lesson on the subject, or gives some good food for thought? By taking
this approach, you’re getting away from the textbook for at least a
day and integrating a completely new approach to learning this dreaded
subject. Moreover, you’re getting the kids to learn something about
reading poetry as well. Could you see the startled expressions on their
English teachers’ faces when they find out what’s going on in your
math classroom? Now this is an idea that you can take to the bank—the
is a prolific writer of self-help and educational material and
an award-winning former teacher of both college and high school
mathematics. Under the penname, JC Page, Joe authored Arithmetic
Magic. As a result of this publication, Joe was invited to be a
guest on the television show the Book Authority. Joe is also
author of the charmingly pithy and popular ebook, Making a Good
Impression Every Time: The Secret to Instant Popularity; the
seminal collection of verse, Poems for the Mathematically
Insecure, and the creator and scriptwriter of an upcoming DVD
series that is both visionary and highly educational. The
diverse genre of his writings (novel, short story, essay,
script, and poetry)—particularly in regard to its educational
flavor— continues to captivate readers and to earn him
propagates his teaching philosophy through his articles and
books and is dedicated to helping educate children living in
impoverished countries. Toward this end, he donates a portion of
the proceeds from the sale of every ebook. Joe makes himself
available for speaking, consulting, teaching and inspiration.
For more information on Joe, his teaching style, as well as
information on how to purchase his books or other writings,
please visit his website www.mathbyjoe.com.
Education economics or the economics of education is the
study of economic issues relating to education, including the demand for
education and the financing and provision of education. From early works
on the relationship between schooling and labor market outcomes for
individuals, the field of the economics of education has grown rapidly
to cover virtually all areas with linkages to education. It has become a
very vibrant area for research by young researchers, and it has led to
four separate Handbook volumes covering both theoretical and empirical
Financing and provision
In most countries school education is predominantly financed
and provided by governments. Public funding and provision also plays a
major role in higher education. Although there is wide agreement on the
principle that education, at least at school level, should be financed
mainly by governments, there is considerable debate over the desirable
extent of public provision of education. Supporters of public education
argue that universal public provision promotes equality of opportunity
and social cohesion. Opponents of public provision advocate alternatives
such as vouchers.
Education production function
An education production function is an application of the
economic concept of a production function to the field of education. It
relates various inputs affecting a student’s learning (schools,
families, peers, neighborhoods, etc.) to measured outputs including
subsequent labor market success, college attendance, graduation rates,
and, most frequently, standardized test scores. The original study that
prompted interest in the idea of education production functions was by a
sociologist, James S. Coleman. The Coleman Report, published in 1966,
concluded that the marginal effect of various school inputs on student
achievement was small compared to the impact of families and friends.
The report launched a large number of successive studies,
increasingly involving economists, that provided inconsistent results
about the impact of school resources on student performance. The
interpretation of the various studies has been very controversial, in
part because the findings have been directly entered into policy
debates. Two separate lines of study have been particularly widely
debated. The overall question of whether added funds to schools are
likely to produce higher achievement (the “money doesn’t matter”
debate) has entered into legislative debates and court consideration of
school finance systems. Additionally, policy discussions about class
size reduction heightened academic study of the relationship of class
size and achievement.
Marxist critique of education under capitalism
Although Marx and Engels did not write widely about education
the social functions of education, their concepts and methods are
theorized and criticized by the infuence of Marx as education being used
in reproduction of capitalist societies. Marx and Engels approached
scholarship as "revolutionary scholarship" where education
should serve as a propaganda for the struggle of the working class. The
classical Marxian paradigm sees education as serving the interest of
capital and is seeking alternative modes of education that would prepare
students and citizens for more progressive socialist mode of social
organizations. Marx and Engels understood education and free time as
essential to developing free individuals and creating many-sided human
beings, thus for them education should become a more essential part of
the life of people unlike capitalist society which is organized mainly
around work and the production of commodities.
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.
The legends of the Michigan Dogman come alive in six haunting
tales by folklore author, Frank Holes, Jr.
Based upon both mythology and alleged real stories of the
beast, this collection is sure to fire the imagination!
Spanning the decades and the geography of the
, Frank weaves:
A mysterious police report of an unsolvable death in
terrifying encounter in the U.P.’s remote
begun as one man’s therapy, becomes a chronicle of sightings
governmental agent investigates the grisly aftermath of Sigma
family meets more than they expected on the trail north
campfire tale of ancient betrayal handed down through the Omeena
to Dogman Country!
Here For The
Tales From Dogman Country Website
of the Dogman Website
of Sigma Website
Nagual: Dawn of the
The Longquist Adventures, written for
elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and
classic stories to young children.
We now have special offers on Classroom Sets of our Novel.
Click here for more information:
A CLASS SET
A Place for Teachers New To The Craft
Assessing student work is vital to
determining if students have attained important skills and
knowledge. This is especially true for writing because this is
both knowledge and skill based. But many teachers are still
using antiquated means of assessing their students' writing. You
don't have to stay up late into the night swathing each paper in
red ink. There are better and more efficient ways to assess your
An important thing to keep in mind is that students are practicing
the writing process. We cannot expect them to be experts, and we
certainly can't expect to grade each writing assignment as if it's a
finished piece of writing.
One easy way to assess and grade works in process is to use FCAs, focal
correction areas. Now, I'm sure your local or state rubrics will demand
particular aspects of the writing, from organizing to fluency to voice
to conventions and of course to many other areas. These are all
important assessment tools for pre- and post-testing, because they give
an overall picture of students' knowledge and skill. But you wont want
to use this rubric every time you grade a set of papers. You're going to
want to focus in on individual skills for most of your students'
Lets face it, we want our students to write well and write a lot. But
the stacks of paperwork can be awfully intimidating. It is often this
mound of essays that keeps teachers from assigning writing assignments
on a regular basis. Its ok to be honest, grading the stacks of papers,
especially if you have several classes worth, interferes with your
personal life and keeps you up late forcing you to get them all done so
students can receive feedback on their skill. And looking at this
from a logical stand, I want the kids to be working their butts off, not
me; I want them exhausted after my class is over, I don't want to be
exhausted in the mornings because I was up late grading essays!
A comparison can be made to sports. When basketball season begins,
players aren't expected to perform at game level. They first practice
for many sessions over many weeks before they are assessed in a game
situation. The coach first drills the players in fundamentals, the basic
skills that are required for the sport. Next comes the advanced
techniques, moves that combine several skills, and the implementation of
plays. Finally players practice the whole of these skills in controlled
scrimmages where the coach can evaluate them through guided practice.
The same is true for writing. Why would we want to grade a beginner or
practitioner as we would a master of the craft? True, we will eventually
grade a final writing piece, just as basketball player must eventually
play a game against real opponents. But we want our writing students to
practice a lot of the fundamentals, skills, and the more advanced
techniques before we use the state's rubric, which assesses everything.
And it is the daily practice on these little skills and fundamentals
where the greatest improvements can occur.
So how do we assess the improvement in these daily lessons? First of all
we must acknowledge the fact that we cannot grade everything every time,
and students can't possibly focus on improving each area of writing on
each activity. Thus, we need to breakdown the overall rubrics into
manageable pieces. These are the FCAs. We choose just a few FCAs to
concentrate on for each activity or assignment. We partner these FCAs
with short mini lessons and activities to teach and reinforce the skill.
And these FCAs will change as students master those skills.
The most basic FCAs to start with are for form and format. Teach the
kids how you want their writings to look. This includes the student name
and topic at the top of the page (along with whatever else you require).
Then we move into the format of the sentences, paragraph, or essay. For
our kids, we require brainstorming & organizing, complete sentences,
topic sentences, supports, and clinchers in each paragraph. Students
work on these aspects until they are automatic parts of the writing.
Provide interesting yet easy topics and give plenty of activities to
practice these skills. And resist the temptation to grade everything.
The students' writing may not be good yet; don't worry about it. Fix and
correct one thing at a time so the kids (and you too) aren't
overwhelmed. Give the kids a lot of practice and they'll improve. Trust
in the system; the FCAs will come through for you. Make your students
good at form and format, and when they are doing these skills well, then
move to the next area.
Save yourself a lot of work by having students identify particular
sections of their work for you before they hand it in. Then your job of
grading is much easier. If the FCAs include topic sentences or
clinchers, have students underline those sentences. If you require three
supports, have students number them in the margin. If you want students
to use particular vocabulary or terms, have them circle these for you
(these last two are especially good for teachers in areas other than
English). Let the kids do the work for you! I even have the students
score their papers and add up the points they earned on their FCAs. This
acts as a checklist, ensuring they actually covered all of the
assignment's requirements. And since they wrote the paper, the students
know where each item is in the paper (or if its not there!), saving you
time you'd otherwise spend identifying each item and then adding them
up. Now granted, you'll have to spot check the papers, and there are
always a few students whose work you have to look over more carefully.
We all have those students! But for the most part, this will save you
hours of checking time and allow you to provide many more writing
activities on a daily basis. Get those kids writing more, and save
yourself the work!
I like to grade an essay in formal final copy once each marking period.
By that time the students have amassed a large number of second drafts
and rewrites. I'll give them the opportunity to make corrections and
then type the essay out so its easy to read. Also have students do the
underlining, circling, numbering, and other markings for you. This gives
your students the chance to select from a number of their rough drafts
and choose their best one to fix up and hand in.
And just like the team that continues to practice between games through
the season, you'll have your students continue to practice fundamentals
and individual skills between formal writing assessments. Use the formal
assessments you give a few times each year to see gaps in the students'
Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use
immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our
writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm
Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be
plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the
following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
Be sure to check out our website for more great
information, tips, and techniques for new teachers,
student-teachers, and interns in teacher prep programs. Also be
sure to check out our Who-I-Want-To-Be teacher plan for
preparing yourself to enter the educational profession. Simply
click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
Want to check
out the articles in our Student-Teaching series? Check out our
special Student-Teaching page through the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm
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bit of humor from home...
An older, tired-looking
dog wandered into my yard; I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly
that he had a home and was well taken care of.
He calmly came over to me,
I gave him a few pats on his head; he then followed me into my house, slowly
walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.
An hour later, he went to
the door, and I let him out.
The next day he was back,
greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again
slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.
Curious I pinned a note to
his collar: 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog
is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my
house for a nap.'
The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar:
'He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch
up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?
What's New @ StarTeaching?
Hello readers! Welcome to
your second October Issue of Features for Teachers in 2012!
month, we bring another great poetry/photograph selection from Hank Kellner
from his upcoming
book, Reflect and Write. We also wrap up our series on
Education Economics, and include articles on writing, class sizes, and
always, we have free activities (from Mary Ann Graziani and Frank Holes
Jr.) and articles with practical ideas
and techniques to be applied directly into your classroom.
And be sure to check out our article archives on our website:
And be sure to check out our FACEBOOK page for StarTeaching for more reader
interaction and constant, updated streams of educational
Thanks again for your continued support! ~Frank Holes, Jr.
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