home schooling


Mind Mapping or Connected Learning
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

This teaching method encourages outside the box thinking as well as teamwork. It is essentially
a thinking flow chart that maps ideas and links them in such a way as to enable educators to use integrated lessons and build upon previous learning. The map represents the ideas of individuals and is arranged around a common theme or word. This method can be used to generate new thinking as well as cover all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy from listing to analyzing. An exceptional tool to start a lesson and to bring students into the mix.

I should note that Tony Buzan has the trademark and is credited with starting mind mapping. However, I called in “connected learning” and was doing this in my classroom in the 1960s. Unfortunately, I was busy in the classroom and did not have the foresight or skill to share and publish it.

The most important part of this approach is that it allows the student to make connections more easily and relate a great many facts to one word. Users can see data from a variety of viewpoints and make connections that go far beyond what the teacher may add as they bring their own knowledge to the table.

Mind mapping enables them to see knowledge in a visual manner and allows them to organize data more easily. Remember not to be too specific when you start out and having students do this in group work is excellent and promotes thinking and sharing.

It is advantageous to use the board to provide examples of this method. Writing a dog on the board and ask students to voice ideas about what could be linked to that noun. The results could be as simple as breeds to relatives to equipment to movies. Now point to one word and ask how that relates to the others. In very little time they will make the “connections.”

To start the individuals on a project at a basic level you can use a family tree and have the students add the names of their closest relatives or those they are living with. Next, they add a detail about each one. After a few minutes, they will be adding more data. Next, ask them to make connections based on where they live, hobbies, jobs, etc. When they finish they will have compiled a basic connection of mind mapping paper. The users are now ready to write about what they learned.

I highly recommend you take a look at the resources listed and try to make one yourself before taking it to the class. It is especially effective in dealing with students and pocess limited writing skills as it helps them build their sentences step-by-step. It also enables students to see the materials using images that are easier for many of them to make connections. The use of color as well helps students track ideas. A real plus is that this connections strategy also helps improve recall/memory.

An explanation
http://www.mindomo.com/help/mind-mapping.htm

A basic site for using mind mapping.
http://litemind.com/what-is-mind-mapping/

How to use Coggle video
This is similar to mind mapping.

A video on various mind mapping tools with several examples. A good starting point.
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_01.htm

Top 30 Free Mind Mapping Tools
http://open-tube.com/top-12-best-free-mind-mapping-tools-2/

Freemind download site
As Coggle, this resource makes creating maps easy.
http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

A huge selection of mind mapping images.
http://www.google.com/search?q=mind+mapping&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=ww2sUabCH6GFiAK4_IDYBg&sqi=2&ved=0CFEQsAQ&biw=1680&bih=824

Basic starter site
http://www.mindmapping.com/

You Tube videos on the subject
Some of these are well done and others are
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mind+mapping

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Dental Health Lessons
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz

Teaching students to take care of their teeth is vital. Research has shown that bad teeth can result in heart problems and other aliments.It also means missed days of school. Here are some good resources that deal with everything from toothbrushes to toothpaste to flossing with braces. Below are some resources that can make this topic interesting and valuable. Problems with oral care account for almost a million absences a year in just California.

Common Core related dental questions

Dental health facts to get students thinking
http://www.dentalgentlecare.com/fun_dental_facts.htm

Great videos about dental care.
Includes everything from dental care to animations to dental tools to music.
http://www.watchknow.org/Category.aspx?CategoryID=4697

Before toothpaste
http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/body/teeth_care.html

Primary lessons
http://www.teachingheart.net/teeth.html

Lessons by grade level
http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Teeth/

Printables
http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/kids-brushing-playlist
http://www.mouthhealthykids.org/en/activity-sheets

Songs about dental health for children
http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/kids-brushing-playlist

What to look for in an electric toothbrush
http://electrictoothbrushreviews.org/
http://www.consumersearch.com/electric-toothbrushes

Toothpaste ratings
http://www.consumersearch.com/toothpaste

Types of toothpastes
http://www.dentistry.com/daily-dental-care/dental-hygiene/which-type-of-toothpaste-is-best

How to floss
Includes flossing with braces.

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

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/

Dealing with Hate in the Classroom
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Almost every classroom has incidents where a prevailing moment reveals hate. This is not unusual, but it is a teachable moment. A very teachable moment for the parent or educator willing to take the time to consider the various cause and effects aspects and act accordingly. This is where experience pays. In many cases the issue has surfaced previously and the actions taken at that time may have worked, if nothing else by pure luck. However, the speediest method is to gloss over the episode, push the incident into the future, and move on with the lesson at hand.

It is important to note that criticism is not hate. One of the most counterproductive comment is that a criticism of something is being negative. Nothing could be further from the truth. Calling someone negative may make the caller feel better, as name calling frequently does, but in fact, the name caller is the one being negative. Criticism is meant to improve something. It may not be accurate, but it is certainly needs to be carefully studied as it roots can reveal a great deal about how others see an issue and fresh viewpoints can result in positive improvements. There is a quote by Robert Ingersloll. We Rise by Lifting Others that reads, “Being critical means one cares.” That being said, negativity may just be the result of not being able to see another person’s point of view. In A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy there is a segment where a gun is revealed whose sole purpose if to fire at someone and inflict on them the ability to see things from the gunner’s point of view. A very valuable weapon. I am sure that every teacher would own one for classroom use.

Hating is something difficult to evade. For example, if you are a good teacher and someone acknowledges that there may be another who feels he or she is just as good they could turn that feeling into hate. A great deal of hate can be traced to someone being jealous of another and seeing that individual’s success as not deserved. Something as simple as someone getting a better grade can result in negative, hateful remarks. Being successful nurtures hate. Call it human nature. Even those who profess religious tolerance and obedience have difficulty avoiding hatred. Here are several quotes from the Bible about hate
http://www.openbible.info/topics/hate

This is not to delve into the freedom of speech quandary over hate. That is another issue. This essay is about how to deal with hate based on your background and those of the individuals involved to the best of your ability. To mention the fact that dealing with hate is complex is an understatement. At best dealing with hate in a productive manner can nullify, perhaps for the moment, hate and turn it into a lesson that others may benefit from. In other words, a teachable moment.

The number one rule when dealing with hate is that although it is universal, it is not universal. In other words, not everyone hates someone or something, but someone is going to hate. Indeed, that is what makes people so attuned to it. You can have 35 students in your classroom but the one who hates you is the one who gets your attention. And since hate is usually learned, it may well mean that his or her parents may also support that hate. So your ignore the good and turn to the squeaky wheel that needs attention . So rule number one is to confront the issue by trying to find out the cause. That does not mean you have to agree with the cause, but you need to understand what caused it before you react. One of the most dramatic causes is that haters may feel that they are the center of the world. It revolves around them and this may well be fermented and brewed at home. At school it can be a leading cause of bulling. Bullying is essentially a display of hate for others that must be learned behavior. Babies are not born with it, to the best of my knowledge. Bullying is encouraged by those whose self-esteem is built upon expressing their disdain for others. It could be a fear of being low man on the totem pole or the belief that putting someone down enables their status and enables them a step up on their self-esteem chart. Thus is it imperative that you find out the cause of the hate by asking the hater for his or her feelings on the manner. They may not know why, but by opening their eyes to the possible results of their actions it may stop hating in the future. I broke up a student fight one day and after pulling the two participants apart asked them what caused it. One boy said the other deserved it. The other boy had no idea what caused it. I warned and dismissed them with the usual warning. I didn’t make it a teachable moment. I regret that now. What if I would have sat down with both of them to get to the bottom of the disagreement? Maybe nothing would be resolved, but at least they would understand each other better and I wouldn’t have to get my Hitchhiker gun.

Lesson number two is not to let hate get the better of you. Google fight reveals that there are 100 negative student comments to one positive comment. Although not clearly an academic study, it does reveal that is negative clearly gets more attention. I had an assistant superintendent of instruction who didn’t like me at all despite my successes or, perhaps, because of them. When I was being interviewed for a mentor position she asked me what day would be best. I said that Wednesday wouldn’t be good for me knowing that I had classes on the other days. She told me that Wednesday was the only day she could make it. I told her I would try and make arrangements. I took great pride on how I didn’t let her hate get the better of me. Of course I was rejected, but her use of her position enabled her to do so and left me powerless overall. This is the same bullying that rears its ugly head when students who are viewed as more popular use their “power” to regale others with negative views. Learning how to deal with hate sometimes requires a support group, but always requires the individual learn how to cope without endangering themselves mentally or physically.

Lesson number three is to not underestimate the danger of hate. It lingers and can cause damage to all concerned. Glossing over even something as simply as name calling can manifest itself in lifetime of harm and thoughts of retaliation. Indeed, there is a clear need for a battle plan for dealing with hate. First, invest in a good anti-bullying campaign such as http://beyondbullies.org/ and use it for the entire school. Using peers is always best as there is inherit mistrust of adults by some. Secondly, there should be a procedure to follow and it should be part of a staff development plan. First, investigate the cause or causes. Secondly, don’t make judgments. Third, don’t blame. Fourth, support both parties by educating them to the potential impact of their acts. Fourth, make a time line to follow up with those involved. Don’t let the matter drop. Finally, see how widespread this hate might be. Talking to students without naming names can provide depth.

Often time the problem with finding the cause of hate isn’t easy to ascertain. Online videos of students who have been bullied or the victim of hate are shown and yet students frequently miss the point. They think it was terrible, no doubt, especially if the featured child commits suicide. But they don’t understand that people react differently to hate. Was it the child’s fault that he or she couldn’t “take it?” Studies of the impact of hate on an individuals all point to its negative and dangerous nature. What is missing is what should have been done to stop it. There are many instances where a student or parent complained to the school and nothing was done. Unfortunately, it was probably because those involved were too busy, thought they had solved the problem, or wanted the problem to go away. So the final rule is get feedback and act on it. I would suggest that dealing with bullying and hate be part of standardized testing. Having students read about it and write conclusions clearly fits into Common Core standards and yet such reading lessons are non-existent at present.

Last rule: You must do an anti-hate/bullying program school wide using a quality program. Everyone must be involved from classified to certified in the training. Changing attitudes is not a one assembly or staff development program. That is why it is critical to have administration support such causes with time and funding. A district wide policy would be even more effective. Using student mentors is essential as well. And, to gain the maximum benefit the program should give students the opportunity to write about concerns and learn how to deal with them. The program should develop a cadre of students who are trained to help curtain hate and bullying.

Conclusion: Haters are going to hate. They get satisfaction from that and the notoriety may provide the support they need to continue to spread hate. When you see images, read articles, and listen to rhetoric against groups or individuals by adults you have to question what happened to them in life and in school that empowered them to be so hateful. Perhaps just one teacher’s caring remarks and follow up might have made the difference. Regardless, the issue of dealing with hate should be part of every teacher preparation program and every district’s mission statement. There are rules of behavior posted in nearly every school room and yet there are few posted about hate and bullying. Perhaps it is time to move dealing with hate up a notch in the curriculum hierarchy and treat it as a crime against humanity.

Online Educational Games
by National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Games are an interesting way to teach concepts and provide rigor. They also enable early finishers to challenge themselves. Here are a few of the better sites.

146 Educational Games
http://mrnussbaum.com/educational-games-for-kids/

English and Mathematics
You need to registr
http://www.education.com/games/educational/

Alpahabet Related Lessons
http://www.apples4theteacher.com/coloring-pages/interactive-alphabet/

Games and Puzzles by Subject Matter
http://www.theproblemsite.com/games/

Primary Level Games
http://www.abcya.com/

FunBrain.com
Very popular site with a lot of content
http://www.funbrain.com/kidscenter.html

Mixed Subject Matter
http://www.knowledgeadventure.com/

Quiz Hub
K-12 online games revolving around subject areas
http://quizhub.com/quiz/quizhub.cfm

Math and English Games
http://www.syvum.com/online/games.html

Huge link site using apps
http://www.techlearning.com/default.aspx?tabid=100&entryid=7263

Educational Web Adventures

Science related links by topic, grade level
http://www.eduweb.com/portfolio/portfolio.php

Science and wildlife oriented.
http://www.eduweb.com/portfolio/portfolio.php

Math and English remedial work lists
Good for review
http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/quiz_list.htm
Math related games
http://www.cut-the-knot.org/index.shtml

Sophisticated science games — mainly physics
“This site contains interactive plasma physics topics, ranging from electricity, magnetism, energy, and fusion. Please visit the “Virtual Tokamak” and our “Virtual Magnetic Stability Module” to learn about Plasma and Fusion Containment. “
http://ippex.pppl.gov/

NLVM for Interactive Mathematics
Terrific interactive math site with great learning activities — this is a must visit.

Resources for Teaching about the Holocaust and Hate
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

Recently a Southern California school had the students do a research project on whether the Holocaust really happened. (http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2014/05/06/holocaust-denial-exercise-for-students-in-california-high-school-backfires)

The backlash was considerable and deservedly so. Not only one was the premise beyond common sense, it would mean that the students would be using the Internet and other sources that could be very misleading and, essentially, propaganda. (The Southern Poverty Law Center has a lengthy list of such sites. )

The problem that emerges is that most students don’t know quality site from a propaganda sites. And it is possible that they may have to register or give their email address to sites that pander to hate. As such, it is critical that an educator review all the sites and other sources first.

To this end, here are some excellent sites that provide information about the Holocaust. I use these sites to not only teach the students the evils of hate, but to show them what happens when they don’t stand-up to evil using Nazi Germany as an example. A recent poll indicated that nearly ten percent of American had never heard of the Holocaust and that clearly indicates the importance of George Santayana’s quote, “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.”

I have also added an excellent unit on diaries should you want to take the Diary of Anne Frank and relate it to other such works.

The exhibits here are a must watch for all students. The many lessons that can be learned are invaluable in building better, more active citizens. There are videos here as well. Be aware that the material here may need to be reviewed to see if it is appropriate for younger students.
http://www.ushmm.org/

Jewish Virtual Library
Primary resources for older students
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/holo.html

Teaching plans for various subjects based on the Holocaust
http://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/activity/middlesc.htm

Here is a site that lists hate groups and more
Southern Poverty Law Center
An excellent resource worth spending time with
http://www.splcenter.org/

Lesson plans
Lots of good ideas that fit with Common Core objectives
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson187.shtml

Remembrance Days
http://www.ushmm.org/remember/days-of-remembrance

My unit on Anne Frank and her diary
An excellent unit of study that incorporates other diaries, history, and much more to make this subject more meaningful to students and adults.
https://carfamily.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/diary-of-anne-frank-the-best-unit-of-study-on-diaries/

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