July 30, 2015
Posted by carfamily under education
, home schooling
, slow learner
, student teacher
| Tags: back to school
Comments Off on Best Back to School Ideas, Lessons, and Tips
Seven Vital Tips for the First Day of School
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz
You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
— Will Rogers
That quote might not be accurate, but it won’t hurt to be prepared and let the students know you are prepared. To enable this to happen there are seven important steps that should be taken to get the most of this first impression.
First, be prepared. Have your first day well planned out including a seating chart for the students. It is important to have good discipline from the first day, but that does not mean you have to be mean. Raising a hand to ask a question, asking permission to leave the room, even where to pick-up or hand-in work should be explained as well as the late work policy. Above all spend time reviewing school safety rules. Where are the exits, the fire extinguisher and the emergency routes? You don’t have to make the students afraid of you, but they need to know what your expectations are and when they can get extra help.
Secondly, take control. This is their first day in your class. They need to know the rules and the expect ions. Posting them in the classroom is always a good idea. I recommend having a handout for each student with the discipline code, your contact numbers, materials that they may need to bring, and any other school information. You may not have time to go over the school handbook, but make sure that every students has one as well as any textbooks that are required.
Thirdly, take a long look at your classroom. The first code in your community, if it is like other towns, usually limits the number of flammable items to about 20 percent of the wall space. There cannot be anything hanging from the ceiling or blocking the doors. Sofas and other upholstered items may also be deemed a violation of the rules regardless of how good an idea it might be. I recommend you dedicate at least one board to posting of school related items. As for the other space, I recommend you have students design them based on what is being covered in class.
Fourth, Some of the students may not know each other and so an ice breaker may be of value. I don’t use them, but some teachers find them of value. One idea I sometimes use is to bring in a wolf or other stuffed animal and have the students submit names to name our classroom mascot.
Fifth, Get personal information. I give the students a card asking them for their home contact numbers as well as their interests and favorite hobbies. I even ask them to bring a paper that they did in previous years that they are proud of so they can show it to me later in the week as I get to know them better. And, I always try to contact the parents within the first couple weeks of school or at a Back to School night. Sometimes messages from a students get changed by the time they get home, if you know what I mean.
Sixth, be open to new ideas. I have posted a great many links here. Spend some time and maybe you can discover frosh ideas. Consider having the students write a short autobiography to get to know them.
Finally, be yourself. Whether your first day of class or your 40th, the most important message to leave with your students is that you are a caring teacher. Yes, you have rules, but that does not mean you or without compassion and understanding. Remember you don’t want to mark Will Rodgers wrong.
Read up on classroom management
A list of great ideas for new and experience teachers.
Ice Breakers and Checklists from Education World
Planning for your first day of school
Ideas for preparing to work with parents
Huge selection of ideas and links on everything.
Activities and sample handout forms
Middle and elementary school ideas including school tour
Back to school bulletin boards
Remember that decorating a door may be a fire code violation as well as having over about 10 to 20 percent of the walls covered with flammable items.
Mainly for elementary
Interesting collection of back to school get acquainted ideas
Lots of lesson planning sites
A good place to look for new ideas
Set up your classroom seating arrangement virtually
Bulletin Boards by Month
July 17, 2015
Posted by carfamily under children
, Common Core
, social studies
, student teacher
| Tags: community service
, improving test scores
, service learning
Comments Off on Using Service Learning to Improve Test Scores: Nation’s Top Program
Using the Community to Improve Test Scores and Learning
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame
The St. Lawrence River was close to the school and so I walked the students in my special needs class to its banks. Most of the students had seen it everyday of their lives, but had never seen it. I took them close to the shoreline and had them look at the small fish and close their eyes to listen to rush of the water. I threw a piece of driftwood into the water. A student with a watch stood 100 meters downstream and called out the length of time it took to travel that distance. I threw another piece this time further out and they did the same. When we returned I showed them how to measure the speed of the river and noted that this is what sailors did in olden times to check their speed. The students found the water moved away from the shore. I asked them to draw the feeling the sound of the river gave them. After the spring thaw, the students returned to the river and instead of the fish there was trash and they didn’t like it.
In these two field trips a lifetime of environmental learning took place. Upset at what they had seen they turned to the community, created posters to display in stories, took photos, and wrote letters. The people responded and the primary goal of all learning was felt by all as the students were empowered to use what they had learned to make changes in society.
So too, my life as a teacher with a hidden agenda began. Today, nearly 40 years later I am now teaching social studies at a middle school and my agenda is still being followed, but no longer hidden thanks to the many teachers and organizations who have found that the community and the students need not be mutually exclusive.
My students have been involved in countless other activities to educate and improve the conservation of resources. Many times my students have been ahead of their times. In 1988 my students wrote a letter to the United Nations asking for a Day of Atmosphere Awareness. The return letter from Arthur Zegelbone promised that the United Nations was aware of the “greenhouse effect” and that there was going to be a World Environment Day on June 5th in Brussels. As we know, little was done since that time, but the students saw the problem and took action. A few years later they wrote and passed legislation that required all state funded building in California to use xeriscape landscaping to conserve water. The bill had overwhelming support. But that wasn’t enough.
After the first encounter with the United Nations they put together an entry that Target selected as one of the best environmental programs in the nation and they traveled to New York to contact members about their concerns. Target and the local water district paid for the trip and expenses.
The students noted the large amount of wasted paper at the school and came up with a method of self-sorting the trash. Not satisfied, they started a conservation club that recycles most everything at the school from printing cartridges to eye glasses. They hold community outreach events to educate adults and students from other schools as well. They started a Monarch butterfly garden to provide a safe home for these migrating butterflies as well as a Feed the Homeless garden that was fertilized using compost from a bin they had won at a country sponsored environmental conference. The recycle bins came from the city.
Nothing the struggle of the grey wolf, they raised funds to sponsor a young pup at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary. Noting that toilets were one of the main uses of water in a household they worked with the local water district to provide water displacement kits for city residents with the goal of saving six million gallons of water a year. To help residents understand the beauty of using landscaping that didn’t require a lot of water they designed and maintain a demonstration garden that shows these plants to residents.
Of course, some of their ideas met dead-ends because those in charge didn’t understand the value of their ideas. Supported by many water districts in the Western United States, they promoted the idea to taking a large trailer containing environment friendly plants to display at malls and major events. In that way, the garden would come to the people. The idea lost the competition, but the students learned a lesson about the difficulty of getting others to see the need to conserve.
Noting that need they decided to see how such changes were made. They decided to find out what was required for citizens to vote and were shocked to discover that they couldn’t understand the voting poll rules. They got a copy of the rules, rewrote them. and asked the Country Registrar of Voters to look at them. The Registrar accepted them and the changes were implemented making it easier for people to vote. They did the same with the state voter registration forms. Millions of California voters were impacted by their efforts.
They worked with the local police department to do safety belt checks and earn the community honors from the National Highway Safety Association. The police also taught the students how to fingerprint and they did this for all incoming students.
Working with local leaders they created a website that enabled communities to compare themselves to other communities in several key areas such as library books, business license fees, medical care facilities, and park space among others. It was judged to be of such value that the students were sent to Italy to represent the United States in international competition.
The students worked with the city landscape staff and came up with a plan which was presented at a City Council meeting. The plan was designed to save the city several million dollars in just a few years.
Making current events more meaningful, the students devolved and printed a newsletter that contained the highlights of every day’s events and faxed it to the local maternity wards where the nurses duplicated it and gave it the mothers of those children born on that day.
There is much more, but the most vital thing I have learned is that having students apply their learning to real world concerns make the lesson more meaningful for them and thus improves society. Perhaps most telling is that despite doing all these projects my student’s test scores have gone up dramatically. My first year at the school the state average for social studies was in the 22nd percentile. Getting the students involved in the next three years helped drive the score to the 94th percentile. Today, 25 years later, the state has a new test but the results are the same. Teaching at a school with seven subcategories; four minorities, ESL, low income, and special education, my students have consistently been at the top of the state test results even compared with gifted magnet schools. Indeed, of my 170 students, nearly 99 percent finished at the top of the State’s yearly standardized test. In other words, the community can provide the motivation to help improve test scores.
The point is that teaching students about the environment by using the community is not mutually exclusive from teaching them subject matter. Just as my special education students did 40 years ago, using the environment as a foundation for a learning lesson encourages them to see the importance of what they are studying and self-motivates them. The results are a win-win-win for the students, society, and test scores.
Editor’s Note: Al’s students also helped Joy Hakim write one of her The Story of Us books. And the student’s Powerpoints on the Westward Movement were accepted by the California Oregon Trail Association to be shared with others as well as the DMV. They also worked to put the Parklands Initiate on the California ballot, created a website on The History of Government that a professor at Harvard had high praise for and created a website that helps others with the State social studies standards. They also created story tapes for the Junior Blind. Finally, there interest in cars resulted in their findings on driving more efficiently being posted on the DMV site and they published their own textbooks. He was selected one of the 100 most influential educators in the world and earned the coveted Cherry International Teaching Award, the only classroom teacher so honored. His students have earned trips to Sea World, Disneyland, CNN, Busch Gardens, Washington DC, New York, the United Nations, and Rome where they represented the USA in technology competition.
July 8, 2015
Posted by carfamily under bullying
, student teacher
Comments Off on Bullying: Easy to Use and Understand Free Resources
Bullying Resources for teachers and parents
by Alan Haskvitz
What is Bullying
A good place to start with definitions and examples.
Large link site that has most everything about bullying covered.
Great site that covers many aspects of bullying.
California department of education site of bullies
Great download manual for dealing with this issue.
Great site that has statistics on bullying as well as how to deal with it.
Large bullying link site
Has valuable insights and information on legal matters.
NEA bullying resources
July 8, 2015
Posted by carfamily under automobile
, car buying
, Car Reviews
| Tags: CUE
Comments Off on Hyundai Santa Fe: Economical and Family Friendly
By The Car Family
for more reviews go to
Hyundai’s Santa Fe is a pleasant surprise with excellent interior components, a host of technology helpers, the availability of a third row of seats, and low long term costs making this an ideal family vehicle. The CUV category of vehicles is one of the most competitive in the industry as companies as diverse as Porsche and Fiat offer alternatives to tempt consumers. Hyundai has done well in this segment and the new Santa Fe is extremely competitive in both price and features. Indeed, it has been rated very highly in head to head competitions with only more expensive models rated higher.
2015 SANTA FE AND SANTA FE SPORT
Dad’s view: The base four-cylinder engine is adequate, but we much prefer the turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s acceleration, although the gas mileage isn’t stellar with 20 mpg in mixed driving being our average. The six-speed automatic transmission is standard and is excellent. The ride is compliant, steering feel is quite good and the brakes have a satisfying feel. Scores for Korean made cars have improved dramatically in recent owner quality reviews and the significant warranty provides comfort for those who have been reluctant to try this marque’s offerings. This model is going to be a concern for the competition with exceptional pricing and value. With it performance and equipment it is nearly unbeatable save for the humdrum fuel mileage. Even with the abundance of players in the crossover utility class (CUV), the Santa Fe is a standout and the turbochared 265-hp, 2.0-liter inline-four is quite capable. The 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower is a worthwhile consideration for those that use the 5000 pound towing package. All wheel drive is an option. This Hyundai is compelling choice as it offers the ability to travel to the mountains, seashore, desert or just go shopping in quiet luxury that one does not expect in a vehicle with a starting price in the mid-$20,000 range. Adding to that allure is that way it easily handles chores whether it be dropping of the kids at school, bringing home do-it-yourself items, or going out to dinner.
Mom’s view: An impressive interior with easy to decipher controls, good forward visibility, and comfortable seats make the Santa Fe very user friendly. The position of the sideview mirrors, however, can block your view of pedestrians. The second row seats are ample, but the third row is quite small as it is for most SUVs in this class. Cargo space is limited and so it is good that the Santa Fe’s seats are easy to fold down to carry larger items. I would highly recommend the rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and navigation with an eight-inch touch screen. You can open the power liftgate with the key fob making it much easier to use as part of the must have Premium package that even includes lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear window shades among other goodies. Safety wise you the Santa Fe standard equipment includes a vehicle stability system, traction control, seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag, four-wheel disc brakes and ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, hill-start assist control, downhill brake control and a tire pressure monitoring system. Crash scores were very good, but from a mommy standpoint the Santa Fe is a vehicle I would want to carry my family as it does not shortchange safety.
Young woman’s view: You must order the $4,350 Ultimate with heated and cooled front seats, parking sensors, memory seats, and a larger touchscreen display screen. The center stack is well organized and the ride is much improved over previous models. However, this isn’t a canyon runner. There are faster compact utility vehicles, but none really have offer the combination of ride, performance, and value. It is quiet, conventional looking, and doesn’t attract unwanted attention. Getting in and out when wearing a dress is not a problem and the controls are easy to reach and activate even if you have longer fingernails. The rear liftover is a bit high for me, but the automatic rear hatch negates any problem related to reach.
Young man’s view: Bluetooth and a USB port are standard as well as a very clear rearview camera. Other standard features include alloy wheels, foglights, a windshield wiper de-icers, cruise control, heated front seats, a 40/20/40-split sliding and reclining second-row seat and a 50/50-split flat-folding third-row seat. Also standard are Hyundai’s telematics system and a six-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio, HD radio, USB/iPod integration and a 4.3-inch touchscreen display. I would recommend a close look at the many technology options available on the Santa Fe including the really nice 12-speaker Infinity audio system. This vehicle is surprisingly interesting even if it isn’t the sexiest CUE on the block.
Family conference: If you are looking for a lot of car for the money, the Santa Fe and smaller Santa Fe Sport are must drives. The cabin is very nice, almost elegant, and the menus and functions are intuitive and fast reacting. Putting these traits together in a price range that is thousands under most competitors makes for a persuasive argument. No doubt Hyundai has put safety first with its Santa Fe models.