The Release of #42”, the Jackie Robinson movie is an excellent teachable moment for students who can use Robinson’s story and baseball to create a number of lesson plans.

For more free resources go to :


Objective: To provide students with the opportunity to learn about segregation and the Civil Rights Movement based on the life of Jackie Robinson’s integration into the National Baseball League. The student shall be able to write about how the actions of one person can make a significant difference in the lives of others and the importance this event to society.

The student’s assignment should include the comparison and contracting of one person, they deem a hero, with another and also include their own opinion of what they would have done in a similar situation.

Lesson Plan

Students watch this video of Robinson’s life

Compare what Robinson went througth what Nelson Mandela went through in this story

Have the students make a Venn diagraph showing what Jackson and Mandela had in common.

Venn Templates

Have the students review these traits of a hero

The students also need to create another Venn diagraphm and place those traits that they have in common with Jackson and Mendela.

The students create an essay entitled, Jackie Robinson, Nelson Mendela and I” that explains what they have in common.

As a group project, the students can look through the many entries in Awesome Stories and research those who they considered to be a hero and create a poster that commerates that individual or group’s actions to share with others.

Students can also be given a homework assignment to interview those adults that they know and to take notes on what traits they feel heroes have and their heroes. The notes have to be rewritten during class time and collected and placed in a class book.

Students can expand this lesson with the links below.

Awesone story links that can expand this lesson

The early history of baseball

The color line in baseball

Other Heroes in American History

The Suffrage Leaders

Children Labor

Fighting for the end of child labor

The Underground Railroad

Harriet Tubman’s Story

Civil Rights Links

Remember the Titans

A football movie about athletes and school integration

Other Sports Stories

Suggested Reading

If there are funds, having the students read Baseball Saved Us: Ken Mochizuki

This can be used as a compare and contrast book.

Assessments will be done according to the grade level and Common Core rubric used by the school.

Jackie Robinson links

Banned Book Lists and Lessons

by Alan Haskvitz

The power of the writing word has caused a great many legal cases challenging the First Amendment. A discussion about these cases and the books involved is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the legal process and see different viewpoints.

What I especially like about this topic is that shows how society’s values change over time and enables students to develop an appreciation for standing up for one’s rights. As always preview these resources with the child and parents in mind. And there is a need to explain to the students that a banned book and a challenged book are not the same. As always, follow the directions of your administration.

Teachers and the Law

Legal cases that all educators and parents should know about.

The American Library Association Page

Includes a list of frequently banned books plus ideas and resources and a calendar of events.

Books Suppressed by Legal Authorizes

For older students. Really quite interesting to see the differences in various countries as well as in the past.

History of Book Banning

Recent censorship

Includes banned books and authors.

Banned Children’s Books

Includes Goosebumps, My Brother Sam is Dead, Gulliver’s Travels, and

Harriet the Spy among others

A link page for older students

Classic books that have been banned.

Banned book and censorship resources

For older students

The Controversy over Harry Potter

How to deal with Censorship in Schools

Includes ideas and links.

Lesson Plans

When Books Burn

Lessons and Links

Reasons to teach about banned books

Banned Book Webquest

Webquest for older students

By Alan Haskvitz, nationally recognized educational consultant

I will have free math workbooks based on car prices to help students in grades 6-9 available soon. If you would like to get a free copy of this workbook just email me through my site,

and click on my name.There are no ads in this workbook and it has a full color cover and was written with the help of two
California teachers of the year who are practicing math teachers. No gimmicks even shipping is free in classroom sets, too.

Finding Online Help with Math and Algebra

blog address

If you are interested in getting a free preAlgebra practice workbook scroll down to the bottom of these links. No gimmicks and no charges. Even shipping is free.

Math is one area in which parents and students are always seeking additional help. As such I have put together an extensive list of resources and placed them here. They include homework help, basic foundation practice, and advanced math practice as well as games. They are placed at this site due to space restrictions.

General site

Math for fun

General Math help sites

Math for beginners

Elementary and middle school math

K-12 math links

Math teacher links

Puzzles and activities

Math and architecture lesson plan

Great for all levels.

Higher level math

Printable flash cards

Primary math links

Math grants

Math homework help sites

Are you interested in getting a free pre-Algebra workbook that is over 100 pages and does not contain any ads? My publisher is going to make them available at the end of summer in classroom sets. Just email me through my site and click on my name. It automatically connects you. This is all free and sponsored by the new car dealers association. No gimmicks, no ads, just teacher-to-teacher help.

Read Across America Resources and Dr. Seuss

Read Across America provides an excellent opportunity to rekindle student interest in reading by using the classic Dr. Seuss books as motivation. These are all on

These sites offer suggestions and resources to make the day special and include sections on

Dr. Seuss

Reach Across America information and certificate

Special Reading Section

Kids’ Top 100 Books

Literacy Links

Reaching Themese

Teacher’s Top 100 books

Reading suggestions and more

Click on

No Child Left Behind and your home
by Alan Haskvitz

(For more links and reviews scroll down.)

If you are like many parents today, you looked around for a good school district to place your children. You were willing to pay extra for this privilege. And one of the most important criteria was the school’s state rating on tests. Another may have been word of mouth. It is so important that in one California district, you pay nearly $100,000 more to live on the side of the street where the schools have been more highly touted.

So how does this pertain to President Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation? Well, all schools must show continued improvement in all subgroups. The subgroups are: White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American students; limited English proficient students; students with disabilities; and economically disadvantaged students.

There are no exceptions; even students who are in special education classes are included in these tests. In fact at most schools, the students who cannot read have the test read to them. Regardless of how well you think your school is doing, if it does not improve test scores in all subgroups, it becomes a low performing school. In other words, if any one subgroup doesn’t improve, the entire school is labeled in need of improvement.

Do you think people will pay extra money to live in a district where the school is not improving? Would you? That extra money you paid will be in jeopardy for another reason. While I don’t want to scare you, I want to point out why this legislation is so controversial despite the good name.

As I stated above, all special education and other students must improve. By 2014, all students must show proficiency in reading and math. But what taxpayers are probably not aware of is the fact students with special needs who do not improve must get additional help. They must pass the same test other students take regardless of their disability. Funding for this program has come under review because the states have raised considerable doubt about the federal government’s ability to fund NCLB, especially in regard to special education.

This is cause for concern. In the case of low-performing or schools that have not raised special education students’ scores, including fully disabled students, the school must provide Supplemental Educational Services such as: tutoring, remediation and special help to all students. That is why school districts have been begging President Bush to fully fund NCLB. A tutor can easily cost $50 an hour, and when you expand that across the district, you get some idea of the expenses in just this area.

If President Bush does not fund the program, the state must make up the difference. This means funding must come from local taxpayers and, in some places, that means your property tax. Since property taxes are based on assessed value, if you paid more to live in a “good” school district, you may pay even more money to augment the school’s efforts to meet NCLB’s requirements.

If any school in your area does not make its Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), there is also the very real possibility students will transfer from that school. If the schools do not improve for two years, districts must pay for students to go to better performing schools. That may mean, for example, the district must pay to have students transported into your school when funds are limited, especially if they are low-achieving students from low-income families. Again, we are talking about a school that has not shown enough improvement in one of the eight sub-groups.

Here is the real kicker for those of you who paid extra to have your children in that quality school. A district cannot deny any student the right to transfer to your child’s school regardless of space if that child is attending a low performing school. Can you say “overcrowded?”

After three years, low-income students from schools that do not perform up to standards must be offered, in addition to a school of their choice, supplemental educational services, including private tutoring. So money that could be spent for computers, music, sports and teacher salaries may now go for these required programs. After four consecutive years, more corrective actions must be taken. This includes replacing the staff, changing the curriculum and hiring outside consultants.

Under NCLB, a real possibility is your school’s best teachers could be transferred to an under performing school. The schools most impacted are those taking Title One Funding. However, experts agree nearly all schools will eventually be rated “In Need of Improvement” because of the way Adequate Yearly Progress statistics are calculated. A California study confirmed other research findings that the more diverse a student body, the more likely schools or districts will fail to make sufficient progress and be sanctioned. However regardless of where you live, it is almost a certainty your local school will eventually fall short of the improvement requirements.

After five consecutive years of not improving, and again, we are not talking about the whole school improving, just subgroups, there must be plans made for restructuring and, after six years, the school must undergo major changes including a state takeover.

Schoolteacher unions and school districts have raised many questions about NCLB both in terms of funding and reality. However for parents and other taxpayers, the real concern isn’t just that your child is going to spend most of the year being taught how to take the test. (Some districts have already considered abandoning fine arts for more remedial reading and math classes.) It’s overcrowding and the investment they have in their homes.

Those parents who send their children to private schools should also be concerned about their land values as only one tenth of the 76.7 million school children attend private school. That means public school performance will continue to be a leading indicator of real estate values.

I encourage you to take a long look at NCLB and decide if you should be involved in supporting it, changing it or eliminating it. There is a lot, literally and figuratively, at stake here for your children and your finances. And of course, as more parents think they can avoid public school problems by going to private schools, remember the law of supply and demand and note tuition has increased steadily. You should also find out what you get for your money.

For example, a very expensive private school in California charges $25,000 a year for day students. Despite this high fee, the school’s web site reports just over 80 percent received 3 or better on their Advanced Placement (AP) exams, even with class sizes well under 20. As a comparison, at least one public high school in the Seattle area district had 89 percent score 3 or better on AP tests, and many other public schools report superior scores. In the district where I teach, one school did better on the AP calculus test than any other school in the world. So it is essential parents do not associate expensive schools with high test scores.

Whatever you decide to do, it is of paramount importance to become more informed, regardless of your political convictions. To that end, if you would like to write your federal elected officials, can connect you.

Free online books, downloadable

By Alan Haskvitz

For more car reviews and free educational links go to


No sense paying for that classic book when so many are downloadable without charge. This is also perfect for parents of advanced students as well as those who just like to reread some short stories and novels from the past.

General link pages

Features over 400 Free Book Notes / Study Guides / Online Chapter Summary Notes

Link page to free electronic downloads

From the University of Pennsylvania

Lists over 10,000 books that have full-text available online. Mostly books of historic interest that are no longer under copyright.

Free online books

All types

Free online literature books

Free books, free books on tapes, free libraries

Extensive list

Free books, all subjects, from Britain

Mainly classics

Check carefully, some topics a bit adult in theme

Free Classics Online

Free online library

Wide range for older students

Author search

Mainly classics

33571 Mostly free

All topics

For younger readers

International Children’s Library

Children’s Storybooks Online

Also ideas on where to publish your own work.

Free online coloring books

Specific free education books

Geography – An Outline of American Geography Online Textbook

Geology – Earth Science

Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment (2001)

Teaching – How People Learn

Innovations in Online Learning: Moving Beyond No Significant Difference

Collaborative Teaching:
Special Education for Inclusive Classrooms

Mainly textbooks at high school and college level