Archive for October, 2009

Evaluating the Potential of Online Educational Services

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Professor Gene Glass, a respected educational researcher, has drafted a policy analysis of online education titled “The Realities of K-12 Virtual Education.” Although Professor Glass criticizes the current state of online education with regard to accreditation status, teacher certification, and course quality, he also takes the time to make important recommendations that focus on improving the quality and overall efficiency of virtual education programs in the United States. Times are definitely changing and today, there is renewed interest in developing and improving online instructional services that can better serve the needs of more students in a greater number of communities.

Read more here.

Science Teacher Emphasizes Use of Outdoor Classroom

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Kristi Hawk is a science teacher in Wisconsin who has been recognized for her dedication to school forestry. The school district where she teaches has recently obtained a 40-acre forest and Hawk is now part of a community committee that is tasked with figuring out how the land can best be used for educational purposes. Kristi Hawk hopes that exposure to this “outdoor classroom” will help students as well as teachers recognize and embrace “the wealth the world brings us.”

Read the full story here.

Statewide Writing Project Helps Teacher Succeed

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Sixth-grade language arts teacher Dan Polleys has involved himself with Michigan’s Red Cedar Writing Project and has taken on leadership roles in an attempt to advance his profession and help others in the field as well. He asserts that although being an educator has many challenges, the writing project has helped him to recharge as well as find meaningful learning opportunities for his students. While the Red Cedar Writing Project allows Polleys and other educators the chance to improve and develop their own writing, it also provides them with invaluable knowledge on what elements comprise effective writing instruction.

Read the full story here.

New Website Honors Teachers Nationwide

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 is a new website that was set up to honor all the teachers across the country who work tirelessly to effect positive change in their students’ lives. The website seeks to improve our society’s perception of the teaching profession by recognizing and honoring the efforts of dedicated teachers everywhere. Now, anyone can visit the website and share a personal story about an inspirational teacher who has impacted his/her life.

Cape Fear Middle School Teacher Fuses Technology and Literature

Monday, October 26th, 2009

English teacher Craig Lawson loves technology and has been pioneering the use of Apple iPod Touches in classrooms at Cape Fear Middle School. In Lawson’s language arts class, students play video games like Sims 3 on the portable handheld devices in order to stimulate and improve their narrative writing skills. According to Lawson, video games provide insight into other people’s lives and can provide the inspiration that students need to complete narrative writing tasks from perspectives other than their own. Educators at Cape Fear Middle School recognize the importance of finding innovative ways of engaging a new tech-savvy generation of students. The school is considering the possibility of expanding the iPod Touch program to other classes as well.

Read the full story here!

Indiana Educators Debate Proposed Changes to Teacher Preparation

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Although teachers must be knowledgeable and proficient in their specific subject areas, they must also be able to engage students and effectively communicate material that they wish to teach to others. In Indiana, educators are expressing concern over proposed changes to teacher licensing policies that are being considered by the Indiana Professional Standards Advisory Board. The Department of Education maintains that the proposed changes are necessary since they encourage greater focus on content knowledge as new teachers prepare to enter classrooms. However, critics argue that the proposals ignore the importance of pedagogy since the changes would supposedly reduce the amount of hands-on classroom training that new teachers receive.

Read more about this story here.

High School Forensic Science Classes Unite Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Mathematics

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

During the past several years, forensic science classes have flourished throughout the country and have become popular elective courses in many high schools. While these classes provide hands-on learning opportunities where students solve practical problems using scientific methods, an added advantage is that they unite several fields of science including chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics. Many teachers admit that what students learn in traditional science classes is very theoretical. However, forensic science classes allow students to analyze real-world situations and apply theories and principles they have learned elsewhere.

Read the full story here.

Harlem Kindergartners Experience Life on a Farm

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Seventy-five Harlem kindergartners, many of whom rarely have the opportunity to experience life outside of New York City, recently went on a school trip to visit the Queens County Farm Museum. Not only did students get to experience rural life on a farm for a day, but they also gained valuable knowledge that will help them succeed on standardized tests. Each year, New York State’s English and math exams include several questions on livestock, crops, and other aspects of rural living. Teachers at Harlem Success Academy know that when students have prior first-hand experience pertaining to exam questions, students are more likely to answer those questions correctly.

Read the full story here!

New Teachers Get Support From Experienced Advisers

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Statistics show that nearly half of all new K-12 teachers end up leaving the profession within five years. In order to improve retention rates, several states, including Kansas, have been working hard to establish partnerships between local elementary school districts and nearby universities. Many school districts are paying experienced advisers trained at schools of education to circulate through classrooms and observe new teachers in action. Advisers provide one-on-one mentorship and other much needed support. First year teachers seem to really appreciate the assistance and feedback that the advisers provide since it then becomes easier to pinpoint those teaching techniques that are effective and those that could be improved upon.

Read more about how new teachers in Kansas City School District collaborate with advisers from UMKC here!

Fifth Grade Teacher Inspires Students Through Music

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Having been inspired by his own elementary school teachers some years ago, Isaac West decided to pursue a teaching profession. Although he is still working on a master’s degree in administration, and subsequently plans to pursue a PhD, West has adopted some truly unique teaching methods in his fifth grade classroom at Crestview Elementary School in South Carolina. He incorporates technology and music into every lesson and really strives to make learning fun and exciting in his classroom. He believes that students can retain information more efficiently in lyric form than they can by pure memorization. Students learn songs about mathematics and science, and so far, they seem to love this new way of learning. However, Isaac West is quick to point out that although students have fun in his class, they are expected to work and complete each assignment to the very best of their abilities.

Read the full story here!