Category Archives: ‘A’ for Achievement

Some Teachers, schools, Districts and states are doing it RIGHT!

Studies show pen and paper beats laptop for retaining info in class

Even though technology allows us to do more in less time, it does not always foster learning.

That’s why some college professors are saying “no more laptops or tablets” and going old-school, forcing note taking on paper only. But, students who grew up more familiar with keyboards than cursive are struggling to adjust to this device-free stance.

University of Kansas associate professor of journalism Carol Holstead is one of many across the country who initially noticed how distracted students became while taking notes on their laptops. Continue reading

Why Are So Many ‘Whiz Kids’ Homeschoolers?

It seems like every graduation season has its stories of whiz kids. The kids who are so ambitious and so accomplished that they’re graduating from high school, and even college, before the normal time.

One of the latest is 14-year-old Matthew McKenzie from Georgia, who received his high school diploma and associate degree the same day. And like many other whiz kids, McKenzie was – you guessed it – homeschooled. Matthew’s mother, Monique McCord tells the story:

“We would pull material from different textbooks and different resources so I would pretty much custom create his curriculum.” Continue reading

Frederick Douglass Finally Gets His University Degree

Frederick Douglas ~ American

It is long overdue, but one of America’s greatest writers, orators, and voices of freedom has finally received a degree from his hometown university, the University of Rochester. It is an honorary degree, as he was denied an opportunity for a normal education when he was young. While he was not able to attend himself, his great-great-great grandson, Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., accepted the award on his behalf. Frederick Douglass died in 1895, but his name remains familiar today with all who know American history. We are a better nation for his presence.

Douglass was born a slave, most likely in 1818, on a plantation in Maryland. He was taken from his mother at a very early age, lived with his grandmother until separated from her at age 6, and was passed around to his master’s brother and then hired out to a man who beat him. For a while, his master’s wife taught him the alphabet and basics of reading, but stopped when his master expressed the view that learning to read would encourage the slave to seek freedom. Still, Douglass managed to gain access to reading material, and some assistance from white children. He became a voracious, if clandestine, reader. Denied a formal education, he taught himself. Continue reading

This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.” Continue reading

Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play.

Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play. If you don’t give a child food, the damage quickly becomes visible. If you don’t let a child have fresh air and play, the damage is also visible, but not so quickly. If you don’t give a child love, the damage might not be seen for some years, but it’s permanent.

But if you don’t give a child art and stories and poems and music, the damage is not so easy to see. It’s there, though. Their bodies are healthy enough; they can run and jump and swim and eat hungrily and make lots of noise, as children have always done, but something is missing. Continue reading

Two teachers go to Dutch Bros…

… and plan a sick-out that closes 9 Arizona schools

(Photo: Tom Tingle/The Republic)

Wednesday’s historic teacher sick-out that closed down nine Arizona elementary schools started with two teachers venting their usual frustrations on a Dutch Bros. Coffee run the morning before.

Kassandra Dominguez, a first-grade teacher at Sunset Ridge Elementary School in Glendale, told her colleague, kindergarten teacher Jackie Lake, that she had spent $45 out her own pocket buying materials for a parent event.

Dominguez spent the money because she cares about her students, but the amount was significant considering her annual earnings: $38,600 for a teacher who has a master’s degree and five years’ experience in the classroom and teaching abroad. Continue reading

What a Wonder…

There are days in this insane world when one is completely uplifted with the gift of life. This marvelous teacher will be a beacon of light across the years for her students. She will be remembered. ~ Ed.

It’s the second year in a row I’ve brought a white dress to school and my students have filled it with their artwork. This is one of my favorite things to do in my class! #thewearyteacher

This is something I’d seen on Pinterest a few years ago and I fell in love with the idea. I think every teacher should do this! It’s a great project and an even better keepsake.

Continue reading

New Teacher Academy provides some relief in teacher shortage

Publisher’s NOTE: The following column relates to the High school that my wife teaches for. She has not stopped working since retirement six years ago – or is it seven now? She ris more than familiar with the subject a matter and personal at the heart of what you are about to read. Arizona has a tremendous shortage of teachers – for reasons we have stated here before – maybe the following is part of the answer. ~ J.B.

Adrianne Penullar, photo by Derek Hall

As students file in to Adrianne Penullar’s general chemistry class at Westview High School, their first task is relinquishing their phones. Continue reading

5 Ways Adults Can Develop Children With Strong Social and Emotional Skills

I’m a math teacher, not a counselor. I’m here to teach math,” one teacher recently told a principal I was working with in an afterschool program. The principal recounted this story while reflecting on an effort to infuse more social-emotional learning into her school.

The concept of having to “add one more thing” to overburdened teachers is nothing new. To overcome this resistance, the education field must not view SEL as a separate curriculum but instead as what it is at its core: a set of skills, competencies, and principles that inform and guide how to interact with students. That is, rather than SEL being what educators teach, it is how they teach. Continue reading

Florida School Ditches Common Core! Soars To Number One in State!

Mason Classical Academy dumped the Common Core program in favor of traditional teaching methods and has since jumped to the number one position in the Florida’s top schools list, according to government statistics.

The charter school in Naples, Florida, decided against forcing kids to learn the Obama endorsed Common Core method of teaching.

They were not happy with the way it deliberately dumbs down children and created unnecessary and complicated methods for working out relatively simple problems. Continue reading

Teacher Discovers that Young Students Really Can Be Taught to Think for Themselves

The ability to critically think does not develop in children until around age 12. It begins after the child’s fundamentals are drilled into them. We used to understand this basic principle of education. This is why classical education was so effective. It was also why prior generations of Americans were so successful in life. The educational ‘Elites’ decided that a population that was able to critically think was too difficult to control. They changed our education system to remove critical thinking. Our children have suffered for their arrogance. It is time to take an active role in the education of your children. ~ Rosemary Stein, MD

By now it’s old news that many Americans can no longer think for themselves. True, they have strong opinions, but often those opinions are influenced by prominent leaders and can turn around as quickly as the winds of political favor.

Unfortunately, such a state is likely driven by the education system. Although schools purport to be fans of “critical thinking,” many schools no longer teach the philosophy or logic classes which were once a prominent part of high school education. Continue reading

Parents: More Vital to Education Than We Realize?

If there are no studies that demonstrate that preschool benefits children after third grade, why is the government pushing for all children to be taken out of the home and be in it. The answer is to destroy the maternal child bond. If they accomplish this, it is much easier for the ‘Village’ to place it’s values into your children. Parents, not the ‘Village’, must decide what is best for your child. To save America we must save one child at a time. Join the cause. ~ Rosemary Stein M.D.

Sometimes it seems that America is on a never-ending quest to boost achievement and make education better. One year, classroom technology is the answer to the problems. The next year, the answer is universal preschool. The year after, test abolishment is believed to be the solution. And on it goes.

But what if we’ve had a major answer to these educational woes under our noses the whole time, but have simply chosen to ignore it? Continue reading

Why Teachers Need Their Freedom

Educators must remain engaged and autonomous in order to do their jobs well and avoid burnout.

My co-teacher and I met in the parking lot before school and stared into my car trunk at the costumes and props we had gathered over the weekend. We were giddy with excitement and nervous because neither of us had tried anything like this before. We also taught in the kind of school where one wrong move in the classroom could lead to disastrous results because of our students’ intense behavioral and learning needs.

The co-teacher, Alice Gnau, had found a book called Teaching Content Outrageously by Stanley Pogrow, which explained how secondary classrooms can incorporate drama into any content to engage students in learning—incorporating the element of surprise, for example, or developing role-play or simulation experiences to teach content and standards. The book inspired us to change how we taught our seventh-grade language-arts students in a high-poverty school that struggled with test scores, especially reading and math. Continue reading

Teddy Stoddard ~ A Touching Story

There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big F at the top of his papers. Continue reading

How Classic Cartoons Created a Culturally Literate Generation

I recently picked up Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court for the first time. Finding the plot rather amusing, I began relaying it to my father over the weekend. Because he had never read the book, I was rather surprised when he began asking informed questions about the story. In no time at all, he was the one schooling me on plot elements I had not yet reached.

“Wait a minute,” I asked. “Are you sure you’ve never read this book?”

“No, never have,” he replied, “but I saw a cartoon version of the story when I was younger and everything I know comes from that.”
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