children


Everything I Needed to Know I Learned on the School Bus
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

It was a very cold morning. Bitter cold. And I didn’t have to go to work. Smug and delighted, I closed my eyes and enjoyed one of the greatest benefits of retirement: time. And with this time I began to make connections on what I had become and why and how. The quilted bed cover couldn’t hide the underlining commonality of my choices. Yes, after seven decades of life the unifying theme, the force that created my life style, paid for my childrens’ education, home, and way of living was the yellow school bus.

From kindergarten through junior college the stodgy, sometimes packed school bus carried me to my destination without fail. And, as a teacher of 40 years plus years, I watched my students use the same style school buses. All told, after 70 years of life, the one constant was the school bus. Remarkable, in that time they essentially have not changed. The seats are the same, the ride the same, and the doors are the same. Sometimes I even wonder if bus drivers are not cloned with the same personality and demeanor.

The bus is above all steadfast. You were always eager to see it come and eager to see it leave. So the first thing the school bus taught me was to be consistent and on-time. So lesson number one, in life, as at the bus stop, don’t be tardy or, to coin a phrase, you are going to miss the bus. Many a homework assignment that was not eaten by the family dog has been forgotten in the rush for the bus.

I believe of all the institutions we honor the school bus is the most under appreciated. Put it in the public service category. It is expected to be there and it is, rain or shine. But what is most appealing about the yellow school bus is that it is also the most respected of all vehicles. Police cars and ambulances and fire trucks need blaring sirens and bright lights to get respect. The school bus just has yellow paint and it works. So lesson number two is that what you wear is important to others regardless of your thoughts on the subject. Indeed, it does not matter what you really are, it is the perception that counts. You don’t have to call attention to yourself what you really need is to be yourself. If you are successful at this people will see you for what you are and that is how respect is earned.

The bus teaches us lessons, but so do its riders. Jerking open, the school bus door opens to expose to the riders even more important lessons. Those huge entry bus steps are an entry to a stage. For a few brief moments you are the center of center of attention. Before you spreads mankind and it can be intimidating. You can accept the honor and quietly look for an empty seat or a friend, or you can call attention to yourself with some wit or action. Regardless, you will blend into the masses and your journey begins. Consider your entry a job interview. Prepare yourself for acceptance as well as rejection. So lesson number three is to be accepting of others as some days they may return that favor.

The school bus neutralizes any individuality with a set of strict rules. The bus driver is the enforcer and dictates the rules. The driver is the fascist government using the mirrors to watch you at all times and the operator even has the authority to stop traffic. Anything considered anti-social is considered cause for alarm. If the bus driver gets up and walks through the masses something needs correction. The Constitution is on longer in effect. So lesson three is that the driver represents society and is there to interpret norms. A prank, well placed blow, hair pull, or even an “accidental” trip are felonies on the bus.
This obedience to a dictator is also reflected on what school is designed to do: follow the rules. Indeed, by the third grade the damage has been done. Line up, sit down, be quiet, play nice at recess, and don’t offend. In other words bow to authority. Since a substitute teacher has not really earned that authority all bets are off and anarchy can rule for a while.

When you enter a school bus your initial concerns are where to sit, who is going to sit next to you, and what happens if you are sitting next to someone of the other sex. Unless you are a late arrival, you usual have a choice. On a good day a friend is waving to you. On an average day you take an empty seat and make yourself look at big as you can so there isn’t room for anyone else. On a so-so day you have to sit beside another of the same sex. On an almost horrible day you have to sit beside someone of the other sex and that person is just as unhappy as you are. On a really terrible day you are the third person on that seat and brace yourself with your foot in the aisle. As in life, you are not always able to control who you work for or your neighbors. The school bus seating is thus lesson number three: always be thankful you are on the bus and make it a learning opportunity.

The bus ride can be anywhere from a half-hour to several hours and just sitting there is a lost opportunity. Sharing and learning from others adds spice to your life. An old friend can be trusted to help you. Trying to hog the whole seat is a missed opportunity, even if it is more comfortable for some people to be by themselves. Sitting next to someone of either sex is a chance to share and learn. If that person happens to be attracted to you or vice versa the opportunities to practice small talk are precursors to finding a significant other. In fact, sitting on the bus is unique in that that person is essentially trapped by you. You have their attention for long periods of time and there is little they can do to avoid it. For example, let’s say you aren’t the most beautiful creature to walk the Earth and don’t have much confidence. The bus seat is the perfect place to prove that looks aren’t everything. Your charm, humor, intelligence, and general ah-shucks effectiveness can all be practiced. And unlike airline seats, where the person can get up to go to the bathroom and disappear for most of the trip, the school bus is as close as you are ever going to get to a captive audience. So lesson number four is the bus is the perfect place to learn how to deal with different people.

The bus is where you can gauge your popularity. If you take a quick look around and there isn’t anyone signaling to you to share a seat the odds are you really haven’t tried to make friend. After all, this is the same bus you have been taking all year. Okay, for the first couple of week’s maybe strangers, but after that you should have found your pack. Most people accept their fate and sit silently with a stranger. Mistake. The bus has given you the opportunity to learn about new people. So lesson number five is that the ride is a chance to turn a stranger into a friend, and, with luck, someone who will welcome you aboard in the future. So the next lesson is to consider each bus trip your chance to see what it is like to be the president. You don’t have to be yourself, but you better be significant even if that requires a few Fox News like “facts” to enhance your street cred.

Sitting with your friends brings about another aspect of your growth, the ability to bullshit and see if it sticks. Any rumor with sex is especially  ripe for repeating. Teacher rumors, who is going with whom, and funny stories are all part of bus conversation. So lesson number six is to practice your ability to develop a rapport with facts that suit you and prefect your small talk.

The last ones on a crowded bus are the beggars. With all the seats taken they had to look for the least likely to hate you for being the third one on the seat. If you were fat you knew immediately that everyone on the bus feared you would choice their seat. With luck there were two skinny girls and you could at least get one cheek on the seat and brace yourself with your aisle leg. The beggars taught you three things that could help you in the future all wrapped up in one lesson. First, look at people in the eyes. If they divert their attention they are yours. If they stare back they are up to your challenge. Secondly, don’t trust friends to move over for you. They may be your friend, but that doesn’t have to mean that they want to share with you. Thirdly, being in the aisle, being uncomfortable, isn’t always a disadvantage. When the bus stops you are the first out. You are now in control. You can slow up a busload of students as they cue up behind you looking longingly for a way to pass. So turning negatives to positives is something that can prove valuable in life and is lesson number nine.

A bus full of students can be a torture zone if just one of them has a hygiene or a gas problem. Telling someone they smell can be considered bullying. Being clean is not everyone priority and some resort to chemical weapons; cheap after shave or perfume to mask the odor. You have three choices. First, if there is room you can move to a vacant seat. Secondly, you can let your eyes water and bear it. Finally, you can tell the person about their problem. The latter requires a sophisticate approach best left to the diplomats or self-assured girls. So lesson number ten is the fact that the bus teaches you problem solving and people skills.

Lesson number eleven is that regardless of how confident you are getting on the bus you may be defeated by the caste system. This system is based on an unwritten rule that those of your caste sit in certain parts of the bus. The most dangerous is the backseat caste based on the fact that distance from the bus driver builds boldness and a breakdown in discipline. Being forced to sit in a different caste area is as close to death as you can come unless your mom visits your classroom. So the lesson to be learned here is to be flexible and hopefully, learn to be tolerant of others.

Lesson twelve is two-fold. First, making friends with the bus driver is time well spent. The person in charge can give you confidence and even allow you to adjust the windows. That is power. So the lessons to be learned here are to try and control the situation, give kudos to those that can help make your day, and the importance of taking the responsibility of making friends with the leader.

The emergency door and practicing emergency procedures is lesson thirteen. Basically, the bus is offering you the knowledge that having an emergency plan is vital in life. You want to be prepared.

Perhaps the most important lesson the bus ride can teach you is how to deal with rejection. You are among the first on the bus get a primo seat and make yourself as big as possible. Suddenly the doors swing open and there is the person you have a crush on. You make eye contact, you slide over, and nothing. You know the person saw you, and yet there was clear rejection to your offering. Within the confines of the bus ride there was nothing that you could do. You have but one choice, except defeat and move on to another prospect. So lesson number fourteen is that the bus is teaching you is that love may be fleeting, but there is always another bus ride. And always remember that Rosa Parks turned a bus ride into a national movement.

Finally, the bus teaches you to plan ahead. You must stay alert, know where you are, and realize that if you miss your bus stop it might take you longer to get where you want to go.

Discipline Help Ideas and Resources
by Alan Haskvitz
http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Ringleaders/al.html

Discipline is probably the most difficult of all areas to deal with as it encompasses issues that may be related to a vast array of difficulties that can try the expertise of the most experienced parent and educator. Contributing factors may include personal problems, improve medication, self-esteem issues, and peer pressure.

Indeed, in my 45 years of teaching at every grade level and nearly every subject I have had my fair share of problems all of which were unique in some regard, but needed to be dealt with in a manner that resolved the issues for all involved. With this in mind I put together a variety of free resources that may be of value in being proactive and help to prevent a discipline problem. If you have additional sites that you would like to share please email me at calcascares@gmail.com

Be Proactive
Essentially there are three main ways to deal with these issues starting with being proactive. First, let the students know behavior expectations early. From the start of the year be positive. Always look for ways to reinforce good behavior. Developing rapport with students is also essential. I used an information card that included the usual contact numbers and such items as favorite games, people, family pets, and other information that would enable me to get to know the students better. If students feel you are approachable it helps eliminate problems and also encourages them to confide in you of concerns that would otherwise be kept secret.

Consequences
Consequences are important, but they need to be appropriate and consistent, but always leave yourself room for accommodations depending on the circumstances. The ideal combination is to be firm and fair and calm.

Communicate
Perhaps the most important way to prevent behavior issues is to establish good communications with the student, parent, and administration. Keeping them informed of issues can help prevent an escalation that can take the joy out of teaching. I try to contact parents the first week of school and have a handout for Back to School Night that explains classroom expectations. As well, I document what I have done to keep the parties involved aware of the situation.

Expect the Unexpected/Teachable Moments
One day some students in my classes jumped out of their seats and ran to the back of the room. Some were screaming. Now this could have been a planned event to challenge me, but from experience I knew I had to remain calm. I walked over and saw a large spider had entered the room and caused the students’ reaction. I quickly handled the situation, but the students were unsettled. And so I turned it into a teachable moment by asking them to describe what they had seen and their actions. Some indicated a fear of spiders and were swept up in the reaction of the crowd. The appearance of the spider provided a teachable moment that even extended outside of the classroom. Most importantly it turned what could have been a behavior problem turned into a learning opportunity.

Here are a variety of sites that can provide ideas and resources to help you with discipline related problems. They run the gamut from simple to complex, but each of them does provide insights from teachers, students, parents, and theorists.

This site provides insights an overview of common problems and ways to handle them and includes administrator actions as well.
http://teaching.about.com/od/classroommanagement/

Importance of protecting yourself California Casualty Umbrella Policy
https://www.calcas.com/personal-umbrella

For more a more complete list of free material and ideas on student discipline go to https://mycalcas.com/2016/02/discipline-help-ideas-and-resources-for-teachers/

By Alan Haskvitz
http://www.edu-cyberpg.com/Ringleaders/al.html

Autism continues to be a concern for all parties. Perhaps the best way to help with this concern is to communicate ideas and resources. Towards that goal, I have put together some of the most valuable I could find.

First, autism is a brain disorder that impairs the ability to communicate, socialize, and maintain what are considered normal relationships with others. Students with autism may have varied levels of skills, capacities and behaviors. Even the cause of autism is not understood at this time, although medications are prescribed to relieve symptoms. So, you need to treat every autistic-diagnosed student as a distinct individual and take time to read their reports and be aware of any medications and their possible side effects.
The major problem when teaching several students with autism, besides the uneven development in learning, are issues of classroom management, behavior, differentiated instruction, and even how best to use teaching aides.

Finally, you must be attuned to the type of medication our student may be using. A carefully developed Individualized Learning Plan is essential and meeting with the parents necessary to make consistent progress.

Unfortunately, due to its nature, autism success stories are not easily duplicated. Just because one method works in a certain instance does not make it transferable. I recommend you read widely from the resources below and glean ideas that might help your students.

National Autism Center
Offers a great many resources for teachers and parents, including an online library.
http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/

The Autism Society 
A great organization for families looking for resources and research. They designated April as Autism Awareness Month.
http://www.autism-society.org/

Cindy’s Autistic Support is a link site that provides all sorts of tips and advice for parents and teachers.
http://www.cindysautisticsupport.com/

PositivelyAutism
An autism blog with how-to articles and more.
http://www.positivelyautism.com/

Autism on SlideShare
This site provides a list of sideshows that offer insights on autism. This is an exceptional site, but it takes time to navigate the many entries.
http://www.slideshare.net/search/slideshow?searchfrom=header&q=autism

Autism and Asperger Syndrome
This site offers the basics, plus classroom ideas. It’s a good primer on these two conditions and resources for helping those impacted.
http://www.mugsy.org/connor1.htm

Structured Teaching Classroom Ideas (Autism, ASD)
This Pinterest page offers visuals for primary and elementary.

22 Tips for Teaching Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders,
Handy and essay to follow ideas for educators and parents.
http://teaching.monster.com/benefits/articles/8761-22-tips-for-teaching-students-with-autism-spectrum-disorders

Autism Fact Sheet
From the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This site
presents lots of ideas and explanations that can provide insights.
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm

Read The Autism Teacher
A blog full of good teaching ideas.
http://theautismteacher.blogspot.com/

Autism Resources for Teachers.from the NEA
http://www.nea.org/home/15151.htm

Lessons About Abraham Lincoln: Free
By National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

There is nothing difficult about finding information about President Abraham Lincoln. What is a problem is finding appropriate materials for use in classrooms that students can understand. As such, I have tried to locate those sites that offered an array of resources.

Lincoln’s timeline
http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/

Images of Lincoln over time
A great way to see what the worry did to Lincoln.
http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/Lincolns_Aged_Face

Lincoln Presidential Library
A great many resources
http://www.alplm.org/

Mr. Lincoln’s Virtual Library
Treasure Trove of Primary Resource Material
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/alhome.html

Great collection of material including information on his peers.
http://www.abrahamlincoln.org/#

Simple biography and recommended books.
http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/aa/lincoln

First Draft of Emancipation Proclamation
http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trt025.html

A more sophisticated lesson plan built around Emancipation Proclamation
http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=246

“The April 27, 1861 edition of Harper’s Weekly features a biography and picture of President Abraham Lincoln, and an incredible description of Mr. Lincoln’s declaration of war on the south. The issue also contains fabulous illustrations of the Battle of Fort Sumter.”
http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1861/april/abraham-lincoln-biography-picture.htm

Important events in Lincoln’s Life
http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maggieoh/Pd/abe.html

Tad Lincoln, Tyrant of the White House
http://www.heritage-history.com/?c=read&author=sweetser&book=tenboys&story=tyrant

Robert Todd Lincoln
Lincoln’s first born son.
http://www.biography.com/people/robert-todd-lincoln-20989843

A quick reference guide to the entire Lincoln family.
http://www.archives.com/genealogy/president-lincoln.html

A nice free printout book for younger children about Lincoln
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/history/us/pres/lincoln/books/tab/

Lincoln Crossword Puzzle
http://www.civilwar.org/education/contests-quizzes/crossword-puzzles/abraham-lincoln-crossword-puzzle/abraham-lincoln-crossword.html

Lincoln quotes
http://www.great-quotes.com/quotes/author/Abraham/Lincoln

The physical strength of Lincoln
http://www.lincolnportrait.com/physical_man.html

Historical places associated with Lincoln
http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/sites/sites.htm

Lincoln related music
http://www.loc.gov/collection/alfred-whital-stern-lincolniana/?q=sheet music&fi=subject

Printable script for a gameshow that asks the audience to pick the real Abraham Lincoln
http://socialstudies.com/c/@_aDT73d7tWR.s/Pages/article.html?article@SHL177

Lincoln lesson plans
A great variety
http://www.proteacher.com/090158.shtml

Failures in Lincoln’s life.
A great way to get students to think about overcoming adversity and rejection.
http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/education/failures.htm

A unique site where the students can watch video clips and answer questions.
http://www.americanwriters.org/classroom/videolesson/vlp14_lincoln.asp

A PBS lesson plan site
More of a webquest than a link site, this plan is based on Lincoln’s Civil War years.
http://www.pbs.org/civilwar/classroom/lesson_lincoln.html

Large link sites for many grade levels
http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/education/curriculum.htm
http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/education/educate.htm

Speeches of Lincoln
http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/speech.htm

Selected Writings of Lincoln
http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/writings.htm

For older students
A unique collection on stories related to Lincoln.
http://tinyurl.com/ptszrf3

A range of lesson plans
http://edsitement.neh.gov/teaching-abraham-lincoln

Using the Community to Improve Test Scores and Learning
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

haskvitz111

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.

Bullying Resources for teachers and parents
by Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

What is Bullying
A good place to start with definitions and examples.
http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/

Large link site that has most everything about bullying covered.
http://www.awesomelibrary.org/Office/Counselor/Conflict_Prevention_and_Mediation/Bullying.html

Great site that covers many aspects of bullying.
http://www.bullying.co.uk/

California department of education site of bullies
Great download manual for dealing with this issue.
http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/se/bullyres.asp

Healthy Place
Great site that has statistics on bullying as well as how to deal with it.
http://www.healthyplace.com/Communities/Parenting/Site/articles/school_violence_knoll.htm

Large bullying link site
Has valuable insights and information on legal matters.
http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/school.htm

NEA bullying resources
http://www.nea.org/home/neabullyfree.html

A Learning Activity for Father’s Day
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame

Father’s Day is an opportunity for a fun, yet meaningful lesson, but also time to be mindful that not all children are living with a father. Although there are a variety of activities that largely revolve around creating a poem or a craft that can be given as a gift a more notable lesson can make it learning relevant. Before starting the teacher needs to see which students don’t have fathers at home. These students may elect to send this card to any male in their family. The teacher should discuss this matter with the students first so that there aren’t any hurt feelings. A call home may also be in order.

Once this is accomplished the students create a card such as the one here:
http://myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=famousfathers

The My Hero Theme is an excellent one, but the heroic figures that the student uses needs to be their own. Research on five or so of famous male heroes in history enables this activity to be a true learning activity as well.

To start the lesson the students research famous men in history. The make a list of their character traits and what they accomplished. They decide on which five have the traits that the “father” in their live might have. Next give them a blank card. This can be simply cut poster paper, a large index card or something more elaborate. On the front they write the names of the five men and what they accomplished. They can also consider drawing or printing out pictures to place next to the names.

On the inside cover the student writes “Happy Father’s Day” with some art work of their own making.
On the third page that write, You have the traits of these famous men in history. After they list the name they write the trait and what that person accomplished. For example, you remind me of John Muir because you love the outdoors (http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/life/muir_biography.aspx)
and you remind me of John Glenn because you encourage me to meet new challenges
(http://www.biography.com/people/john-glenn-9313269#awesm=~oGevs1ohyfl4Ox)
and you are like Martin Luther King, Jr. because you believe all people are equal
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.html

On the back page the student can create a poem to their father.
The result is an activity that is requires new learning and is most appreciated by the parent or guardian because it is unique.

Sites with relevant lessons

History of Father’s Day
http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/fathers-day

Most Famous Fathers in Literature
For older students. They need to read the book,
http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/books/30-most-memorable-literary-fathers
Or
A short version of famous literature fathers-day
http://kendall-h.hubpages.com/hub/Famous-Fathers-in-Literature

Lessons for all levels
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson269.shtml

ESL lessons
http://www.eslholidaylessons.com/06/fathers_day.htm

Mainly primary arts and crafts

Link site to a variety of Father’s Day lessons and activities
http://www.henry4school.fr/Celebrations/fathers-day/fathersday.htm#res

Statistics about Fathers
These could be used as the bases for a math activity
http://www.census.gov/search-results.html?q=fathers&search.x=0&search.y=0&page=1&stateGeo=none&utf8=%26%2310003%3B&affiliate=census

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