Common Core


Resources for National Hispanic* Heritage Month
By National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/h/alan-haskvitz.html

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, America observes National Hispanic Heritage Month. This observation began in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week, but it was expanded in 1988 to include the entire month-long period. To help educators and parents with this observance, I have put together free resources to help undestand the significance of the month and tie it in with Common Core reading and writing reqirements.

One of the official sites
http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org/

Latino-Hispanic Heritage
http://www.42explore2.com/latino.htm

Smithsonian Hispanic Heritage Month
http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/heritage_month/hhm/index.html

Hispanic Heritage Resources for Teachers
https://www.teachervision.com/hispanic-heritage-month/south-america/6629.html

Hispanic Heritage Music Resources
You may be asked to register.
https://www.teachervision.com/hispanic-heritage-month/resource/20161.html

Other lessons related to Hispanic history
The Aztecs – Mighty Warriors of Mexico
http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/aztecs-mdash-mighty-warriors-mexico

Aztecs Find a Home: The Eagle has Landed
A unit of study about the founding of the Aztecs capital, Tenochtitlan
http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/aztecs-find-home-eagle-has-landed

Conquistadors
A encompassing view of how Europeans controlled the natives.
http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/theconquistadors/tp/08conquistadors.htm

Cortez and the Aztecs: Different Points of View
Great for Common Core lessons
http://historyclassroom20.wikispaces.com/file/view/less-mayaztec1.pdf

Couriers in the Inca Empire
A lesson about the communications of the time period. For elementary age students.
http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/couriers-inca-empire-getting-your-message-across

Teaching with Historic Places
Excellent site with a v ariety of lessons from the National Park Service
http://www.nps.gov/search/?affiliate=nps&query=hispanic

Culture and History Through the Use of Children’s Literature – This site has three simple lesson plans to provide examples of what can be done for this month using literature as a base. Not for everyone.
http://www.cis.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1997/2/97.02.06.x.html#i

Hispanic Culture and People
Andes Manta – From the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge celebration of Latin American arts
http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/multimedia/series/VideoStories/andes-manta.aspx

Students can create own clickable map of Mexico
http://createaclickablemap.com/create-clickable-map-mexico.php?maplocation=mexico

Some Famous Hispanic Scientists
http://coloquio.com/famosos/science.html
And
http://www.factmonster.com/spot/hhmbio4.html

Latin America Data Base
Good resoucres for creating Common Core math lessons
http://ladb.unm.edu/

Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo Activities 
Large number of lessons
http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/cinco-de-mayo/

Mr. Donn’s Cinco de Mayo Lessons
Large variety of lessons for all age levels
http://holidays.mrdonn.org/cincodemayo.html

History of Mexican Independence Day
http://teacherlink.ed.usu.edu/tlresources/units/byrnes-celebrations/mid.html

*Full Definition of HISPANIC
1.of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain or of Spain and Portugal
2. of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent living in the United States; especially :  one of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin
http://www.merriam-webster.com/

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Making School l Elections Meaningful: A Relevant Civics Lesson
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz
http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/alan-haskvitz/featured/1

Almost every school has school or class elections with the idea of sharing the true nature of a democracy where everyone can vote. Usually those students who want to run create posters, give a speech, and come election day the results are tabulated and the winner announced. What I would suggest is to consider making it more representative teachable moment.

The Campaign

First, every one who wishes to run for office must meet certain requirements such as a 2.0 GPA. When the person signs-up to vote they are given an agreed upon number of poster paper and they are numbered and signed. They are accompanied by a list of where they can be placed and proper etiquette. In that way all the participants have an equal chance. There can also be interviews in the school newspaper, using the public address system for a fixed number of ads, and a speech that can video tapped to play on the school system, if it is enabled. The whole idea is to make the election fair and to promote creativity within set bounds.

Election Day

The next step takes place before the voting. Students line-up at registration tables where the school attendance folders are duplicated. Students sign by their name and are give a ballot. They have a day to consider the person they wish to vote for and the ballots are cast the following day. This means that some students who don’t care simply can’t vote because they didn’t take the time to register.

The Vote

After the election there is a registration process in which every student who wants to vote registers to vote and receives a ballot.

Integrating the Lesson

I also recommend having an art competition for the best campaign poster and one for the best slogan. The competition could even include the best campaign song. A panel could do the judging, teachers, or it could be on the ballot. In this way the election becomes more interesting to the students and gets them more involved. This site provides information on what is called the “youth vote.” It makes interesting reading, but it also provides more evidence to support educators who use voting as a teaching tool. Have students reach conclusions from this data:
http://collegestats.org/2012/09/25-facts-about-the-youth-vote-this-year/

Of course, integrating civics is a given. Here are some recommended websites that have good lessons to accomplish that goal:

National Student/Parent Mock Election
The best site to get involved.
http://www.nationalmockelection.org/

iCivics lessons
You can register, but it isn’t required. Some lessons are interactive.
https://www.icivics.org/teachers/lesson-plans/mock-election

Mock election link site
Pretty much everything is here, but it takes time to navigate.
http://www.ncwiseowl.org/ss/Citizenship/MockElections/Mock_Elections.htm

Scholastic
Lessons by grade level
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/unit/elections-everything-you-need

For federal elections
http://www.educationworld.com/a_special/election.shtml

Types of propaganda
Print out
http://shepherdenglish.pbworks.com/f/AdvertisementAssignment.pdf

An exceptional source of Constitutional related materials
A great newsletter, lots of lessons, and a knowledgeable staff.
http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/

Using vehicles to create student interest in math and Language Arts
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Using vehicles is an excellent way to motivate students and to help ready them for real life buying decisions. The following links deal with the various manufactures where students can write for information, obtain pricing information and to harvest compare and contrast data for Common Core related essays.

A listing of all DMV offices.
Finding the office that deals with your state and others can provide information on how old one needs to be to drive as well as the various license fee data that could be used for Common Core math problems. I have used driver manuals to motivate students to read.
http://www.dmv.org/

Data on fuel economy
This federal site would enable students to select a variety of vehicles and there fuel mileage. This could be used for math as well as to provide statistics for an essay on the best or worst type of vehicles in terms of fuel costs.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

A link site to manufacturers who sell cars in America
http://search.ezilon.com/united_states/business/automotive/auto_manufacturers/

A listing of vehicle websites worldwide
http://autopedia.com/html/MfgSites.html

National Motorists Association
A great source of information on driving and the law.
http://www.motorists.org/

A listing of car value prices
A good place to find statistics for math problems about the prices of cars and motorcycles.
http://www.nadaguides.com/

Where cars are made by location
Great way to teach geography.
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/a-graphic-representation-of-whats-really-made-in-america-feature

Fun, Joy and Flow: The Unloved Words in Education
by National Hall of Fame teacher Alan Haskvitz
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/h/alan-haskvitz.html

There is little doubt that fun and education standards are mutually exclusive terms. The demands for teachers to produce students with higher test standards is universal. Indeed, Common Core is built on that premise. Better marks mean better students. Better students mean a richer nation. All this is well and good for some, but the real keys to student learning are three fold. First, the goal should be to teach the students how to learn. Secondly, to develop questioning skills and thus create citizens not easily swayed by propaganda, false advertising, and the cult of looks or personality. Finally, to promote a joy and love of learning.

Acres of forests land has been denuded to produce research on how students should learn. Everything from the types of learning to testing to insure learning to classifications for those who don’t learn well have been documented. Critical thinking is the common core of Common Core. Despite research that points out that brain growth in children would make critical thinking next to impossible for younger children. Regardless, it is always good to get students to ponder.

What I am rallying for is to retain, promote, and insist upon keeping the fun in education, and I don’t mean having class parties. Fun is the real backbone of learning. It does not have to be formal or take the form of a computer game. What it does have to have is for the ability of the child to be able to learn creatively in a manner that creates a flow or zone learning opportunities.

Brain research has shown that long term memory can be enhanced by fun activities. Many of you readers can’t remember a teacher’s name, but the field trip stays with you. Judy Willis writes that the fun of having students discover the answer encourages enthusiasm for the subject. I have often seen teachers use a “sponge” activity to start a lesson, but not many were imbued with fun. When I teach my students mnemonic devises I stress silly ones. They retain them better and are eager to share ones that they have created with others. Having students apply their learning skills trying to write out a line or two from a short story that would show the character was using propaganda and having them share it makes students more eager to read the story and research the types of propaganda that could be used in the created passage. This type of fun activity makes for a positive emotional state and the personalization of the material wakes up the student. Such fun based learning activities also reduce stress and high levels of stress can actually reduce the size of the hippocampus and thus impair memory. You can easily see that when an unsure student is asked a question and “freezes.”

Fun makes learning relevant to students. It is no longer a meaningless event, but one in which they enjoy putting their personal stamp on and sharing it with others thus building cooperation. By no means does that mean that every lesson must be fun reliant, but it does mean that having fun activities, as almost all teachers know, creates a better atmosphere for learning. Creativity surges during play related activities and makes the lessons more pleasurable and stimulating.
The fun lessons could extend to all classes and to assignments at home. For example, the student could read about a character in history and explain it to his parent or guardian and have them write a note explaining why this historical person was absent from class. Sure, the answers might be simple: I am dead. But the lesson about the person should be long lasting for all involved. And asking the students to share could bring about additional learning possibilities.

Having fun and working do not have to be opposites in the classroom or in life. Someone in charge, or a rich person who thinks being rich qualifies him or her to influence decisions about education, should be given a remedial class on the benefits of play on the human body and mind and learning. Why not have students create their own games for physical education classes? In science class how about having students studying the periodic element table create comic books about their element? In Language Arts class use https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/For-Teachers-Awesome-Stories-101 as a sponge activity to enhance the student’s imagination with real life stories.

The point is that having fun in class contributes to the essence of low in learning and can be a positive way to reinforce lessons, encourage learning, and to reduce stress. Every college teaching preparation program should have at least one section on how to make fun lessons. At schools across the country the principal should ask the teachers to share their fun lessons and encourage them to develop new ones. Administration reviews should also include a comment on the flow of the lesson placing the emphasis on the way the students reacted to the lesson and appeared to be motivated by it.

Above all it must be remembered that fun does not mean party time or joke telling. Fun and enjoyment of a lesson must result in learning and offers students intrinsic motivation. It means having some lessons that provide learning in a fun way. University of Chicago professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and found the fun is not easy to define, but he listed some attributes. Among his findings was that there is a difference between pleasure and enjoyment and that the latter is far longer lasting and needs more skill. Enjoyment is relaxing and can result in a situation where time is no longer an element of consideration. Lessons that find the class so involved in a fun learning activity that the end of the period finds them scurrying to find their book bags with some reluctance is something most teachers can relate to and is evidence that a fun lesson need not include laughter.

The bottom line is that learning should provide pleasure regardless of the topic. The motivation must come from within, but the teacher needs to find the lesson that will push this motivation into a product without undue coercion. Preparing for a test by reviewing may result in short term learning, but having the students creating their own questions to give to others makes the learning more enjoyable with a myriad of ways to provide longer lasting retention.
Learn by doing is an excellent way to instill this flow into a lesson. For example, the students read a chapter of a book and teams are chosen to rewrite the chapter from another viewpoint and all of the narration must be written in one syllable words. I have found that the best way to improve flow is to have the students create something tangible to share. It does require higher level thinking skills and thus promotes critical thinking, but for many students the lessons needed to create the item become more ingrained and the experience becomes more pleasurable.

Fun, joy and flow are as related as peanut butter and jam. They go together. Yes, they can be separated, but they aren’t as good. When a student has fun learning it turns to joy and is the best reward of all, intrinsic. That fun and joy result in a flow of pride, enjoyment and appreciation of learning, and long term changes in attitude. Every subject needs to be rethought. Common Core does supply the basics, it is the creative teacher that needs to supply the student centered learning that achieves the goal.

Finally, don’ t reinvent the wheel. There is an abundance of lessons that can be customized to fit your needs after some fine tuning. Sharing what you have done with others also can provide feedback to improve your lesson. Above all, make learning fun even if it figuratively kills your old lessons.

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.

Shakespeare for the Classroom: In Honor of His Birthday, Sort of
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame

for more free resources go to http://www.reacheverychild.com/

No one knows for certain when William Shakespeare was born, but he was baptized on April 26, 1564 so why not use that date as an excuse to bring his work into the classroom. Here are some exciting ideas that can be used to meet Common Core standards and are useful for classes from upper elementary through high school.

I really like to read a sonnet to my students and have them discuss it. I use this site (http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/shakesonnets) Afterwords they create there own poem about the same subject. Some interesting and creative poetry comes from this, but most importantly when they are done they have to compare and contrast their work to Shakespeare’s and make a case for which one was the best. I let students work in teams based on the sonnets mentioned in the link.

Lots of good ideas for teachers are posted here:
Primary resources and videos of how to teach sonnets and other elements. Excellent.
https://www.folger.edu/index_sa.cfm?specaudid=2

The New York Times
All sorts of ideas to teach Shakespeare and make it come alive.
http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/teaching-shakespeare-with-the-new-york-times/

A great idea from the New York Times
This printable gives students an opportunity to learn that they may already know something about the bard.
graphics8.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/studentactivity/20081218a.pdf

These are quick, video overviews of some of Shakespeare’s work
It deals mainly with the plot.
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=shakespeare+sparknotes

The PBS offerings
Includes a webquest and more
http://www.pbs.org/shakespeare/educators/lessonplans.html

148 Ideas
Uneven quality, but well worth a look.
http://www.teachersfirst.com/spectopics/shakespeare.cfm
98 More Ideas
Lots of good stuff here. I like the Types of Female Characters in Shakespeare to get students interested in reading more. For older students.
http://www.onlinecollege.org/2009/12/16/100-incredibly-useful-links-for-teaching-and-studying-shakespeare/

Abraham Lincoln: Lessons and Links

for more great resources go to

 http://reacheverychild.com/

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 that cover everything from the basic timelines and quotes to literacy encouraging lessons.

Here is a site that has the bones of an excellent lesson. It shows the great strength of Lincoln and the students always enjoyed it trying to figure out how much a barrel of whiskey weighed as written in the article.

http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.org/Library/newsletter.asp?ID=19&CRLI=96

Others ideas could include research about his failures and the changes in his face as the stress of the presidency and his personal life had on him. Printing out a series of pictures from the first to the last is quite compelling and clearly show how the war took its toil on him. Here are the locations for that assignment:

Lincoln’s pictures through time are below or you can show the students this video

Early photo

Students should read about the research that went into identifying this photo.

http://www.lincolnportrait.com/#

First known photo 1846

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/first.jpg

1859

http://www.mrlincolnandnewyork.org/photo_credits.asp?photoID=175&subjectID=2&ID=10

1860

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/stand.jpg

1861

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/linc-3.jpg

1862

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/pink.jpg

1863

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/b63.jpg

1864

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/1864-1.jpg

1865 for five dollar bill

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/chair.jpg

Last photo taken

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/lincpix/last.jpg

The following are additional links to quality resources:

The Lincoln Institute has a site with lesson ideas for teachers

http://www.abrahamlincoln.org/teachers/index.asp

An article from 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..A must see site that fits the Common Core requirements.

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1861/april/abraham-lincoln-biography-picture.htm

Easy to understand story of Lincoln’s Life

http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~maggieoh/Pd/abe.html

Printable script for a game show that asks the audience to pick the real Abraham Lincoln

http://socialstudies.com/c/@_aDT73d7tWR.s/Pages/article.html?article@SHL177

Lincoln lesson plans and activities

http://www.proteacher.com/090158.shtml

Timeline of Lincoln’s Life

http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/index.html

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

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

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