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Understanding Why Students Don’t Like School:

by Book by Daniel Willingham

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIv9rz2NTUk

Reviewed by Alan Haskvitz

http://www.reacheverychild.com/alan.html

This is an interesting book that I read for only one reason; I wanted to see if he mentioned any of my methods of teaching. Call it a vanity read. However, as I read this book I became more interested in his findings and their possible impact on the way teachers educate their charges. Willingham challenges some of the sacred cows in education and provides some interesting support for his beliefs. Best of all, the author relates his work to helping teachers teach.

“The mind is actually designed to avoid thinking,” Willingham writes because the mind works slowly and takes effort. This is definitely something that most people want to avoid. Instead, the author adds that people rely on memory and it is faster and easier. For example, most people do things the same way they always did them. They are happy with it and it is easier. Of course, the problem with teaching is that the students become hidebound and so getting them to change their notetaking or study skills is a chore. No wonder it is said that changing a habit takes 30 days.

This fear of change and of having to use ones brain is also why some students don’t like school. They like to work; they just don’t like to think. That being said, people are also curious. So a teacher that can stimulate their interest by taking advantage of this curiosity has an advantage. First, it should be noted that students enjoy thinking, if it isn’t too difficult. That is why television games such as Password are popular with some individuals and why people read and play games. So a teacher needs to find this sweet spot, according to the author.

“This is where creative teaching comes in, using a combination of storytelling that evokes emotion and thought, and exercises that put lessons into context and that build upon previous learning. It’s also sustained hard work,” Willingham wrote. This process creates thinking skills dependent upon factual knowledge. It is that factual knowledge that must be stressed so that learning can be advanced and last.

Willingham, a research cognitive scientist, spent a great deal of his efforts trying to find how to reach students using different learning styles and discovered that the reality is that it really does not matter.
“There are different abilities, but really, we all learn the same way,” he said. “It’s not left brain versus right brain, or visual or auditory or kinesthetic. We learn using a combination of skills, and we are all more similar in our learning styles than different.”

In other words, as most teachers already know, in order to motivate students you need to reach their interest zone regardless of the type of learner. A good unit of study allows students to learn the material in a variety of ways and build the core knowledge base that enables them to advance. The author continually stressed the need for students to master basic skills, especially study skills. Since I spend most of the first part of every school year teaching my students how to take notes, how to provide proof, how to write test questions, monitor their time, create a battle plan for the day, use spare moments wisely, link learning, and transfer material at least three different ways, Willingham’s work was reassuring to me. There may be some teachers who work in a district where the State curriculum is the bible and anything not listed is forbidden material, but hopefully, the administration will learn from this book that before you can build you need a good foundation of knowledge.

Another interesting finding professed by Willingham was that intelligence can be improved through hard work. It is not solely heredity. In a study of great scientists the common theme was not the fact they were exceptionally brilliant, but they had the ability to sustain their work. Although Alfie Kohn writes that homework really does not result in improved learning, homework does provide a student with the opportunity to sustain their work on their own. Thus homework can supply the outlet for students to learn to excel and sustain learning on their own, as they are going to do in the future. Students may be talented in one area, such as music or math, but that does not mean they have a greater “intelligence” in that field. For the educator this means that they should add enough flexibility for a student to apply their learning in several ways.

Another point Willingham makes is that praising a child for being smart should be avoided. It gives the impression that if you are smart you are going to get good grades. Thus not getting an answer could make the student feel he or she is dumb.  Thus praise should be for working hard and effort. Help the student understand that hard work pays off and that failure is a natural part of learning. That is the real value of assessment. It shows the student where they need to work harder. In the classroom I find students who get an A mark just look at the grade and not the questions missed. Whereas most students who get lesser grades look at each missed answer and question it. The grade is not an end in itself, but a measure of progress to building up a large memory base for future use.

Here are some additional thoughts expressed in Willingham’s book.

  • The brain is not designed for thinking; it is designed to save you from thinking. It is slow and unreliable. People are naturally curious, but we are not naturally good thinkers, unless the cognitive conditions are rights we will avoid thinking.
  • Most of the time we do what we do most of the time. In other words there is a need to challenge our teaching style and to look at it with fresh eyes and the student also needs to be challenged.
  • People like to think, but the conditions have to be right or they quit. Chains of logic should not be more than two of three steps long and the application of new ideas cannot be done too soon or the lesson is lost for future use.
  • Students need to have the proper facts on hand to proceed with learning and the use of memory aids is suggested.
  • When you plan a lesson start with the end in mind.
  • Factual knowledge must precede skill.
  • Learn to link or chunk information for easier recall.
  • The amount of material you retain is based on what you already know.
  • A student can’t do critical thinking without core knowledge.
  • Memory is the residue of thought
  • A teacher’s teaching style is what students remember. A teacher who is recalled as good is one who builds a learning base for the student to use in the future.
  • A worthy goal is persuading the students that the lesson has value.

Here are some of Willingham’s basic beliefs that I have tried to relate teachings:

“People are naturally curious, but they are not naturally good thinkers.”   This means that the teacher needs to create lessons that challenge the student to blend there base knowledge with new learning. I would recommend using Bloom’s taxonomy to create different outcomes from the same base material to allow learning to flow with more creativity.

“Factual knowledge precedes skill.“   A student must have a base of knowledge to draw on. And, in fact, that base knowledge is what makes it easier for some students to learn because it gives them a wider base to build upon.

“Memory is the residue of thought.“ Students have to be motivated to turn a lesson into a memory. The teacher must not take away from the student’s ability to learn by distracting them with artificial means that might take their thoughts from the basic objective. For example, a teacher who dresses up as a historic figure might disrupt the learning by having the student looking at the custom rather than what the character represents. I have read a number of research pieces that also note that music can also be a detriment to learning for some individuals as they become enamored with the song rather than the lesson.

“We understand new things in the context of things we already know.” The more vast the knowledge base the easier it is for a student to learn new principles. This takes time, especially if the child does not have a rich academic environment to bring to the table. Abstract principles and deep knowledge are not easy to acquire.  Have realistic expectations. This type of learning must be built over time.

“Proficiency requires practice.”  Building a base of knowledge is ongoing and needs consistent practice. And, not everything needs to be inculcated. Willingham recommends shorter practice sessions spread over time, but the content should also be related to more advanced work to offer a challenge to the student and provide the opportunity to apply what they have learned.

“Cognition is fundamentally different early and late in training.”  Students are not experts and it takes time to build skill. Teacher assignments need to reflect this change not by asking more questions, but asking questions that stress the depth of knowledge.

“Children are more alike than different in learning.”   A most interesting observation, especially since I was a co-presenter with Howard Gardner at the Imagination in Education conference in Vancouver. That being said, it is with willingness that I follow Willingham’s ascertation that although people have different learning styles and types of intelligences, the teacher needs to stress the content over the presentation style. In other words, a teacher should use a variety of strategies in the classroom depending on the lesson and be wary of only using one method.

“Intelligence can be changed through sustained hard work.”   A teacher should promote hard work and praise it as previous knowledge builds a larger memory base for future learning. Since intelligence can be changed by the learning environment the more opportunity a student has to expand that base the better prepared they are going to be to meet future challenges and abstracts with a larger memory base.

Teaching, like any complex cognitive skill, must be practiced to be improved. What I felt was the most important part of Willingham’s book was his belief that experience is not the same as practice and that teachers need to continually improve their teaching ability. He states that teachers with ten years of experience do as well as teachers with 25 years of experience for one reason, after a certain time period they tend to “coast.” He relates it to driving a car. Very few people really can drive well, but they think they can because they drive daily. Seldom does a driver take an advanced course or even learn the difference between cutting the apex of a corner to dealing with under-steering or over steering let along emergency braking. The author believes that you should get the opinion of a peer to help you improve and make small changes as you deem necessary.

It is clearly obvious that professional development for teachers needs to be rethought. Too often such presentations are made by non-practicing teachers and offer little practical application for the busy educator. In my previous research I noted that inservice days need to be followed-up to provide feedback to the presenter as well as the teacher. Attending professional development given by successful practicing teachers also provides a common ground to explain how changes in cognitive development can be used by the working educator.

A final thought about Willingham’s work is that most teachers instinctively know how to teach well. They may need a few tips from a peer or from attending a conference where fellow educators are presenting, but very few of them need much more except, perhaps, a teaspoon of good job from those they serve. If change is going to come to education it needs to come from within and that is why the best conferences are those where teachers learn from other teachers. It would be very interesting to see if teaching another form of intelligence because we all know it is a talent.

Here are some good links:

Top 11 traits of a good teacher

http:// www.reacheverychild.com/feature/traits.html

How to Integrate Lessons

http:// www.reacheverychild.com/feature/integrate-lessons.html

Differentiated Instruction

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/differentiated-instruction.html

http:// www.reacheverychild.com/feature/differentiatedinstruction.html

Middle School Brains: Teaching the Distracted

by Alan Haskvitz

http://www.reacheverychild.com/alan.html

Major links to Autism free sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/autism.html

Special education links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/specialed/general/index.html

Students with special needs links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/special_needs.html

Free resources for students with special needs:

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/special_needs.html

Teacher liability and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/teacher_law.html#4

Special Education sites by area of need

http://www.reacheverychild.com/specialed/index.html

Ideas for helping slow learners

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/slowlearners.html

Special needs physical education sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/sports/special/index.html

And

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/phys_ed.html

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Challenger Astronaut and Space Lesson Plans and Resources

Space Related Lessons

A huge selection from planets to weather.

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/shuttle.html

Astronomy lessons and links

Very large collection that includes a variety of resources from tracking satellites to Ask an Astrophysicist. For all levels.

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/astronomy.html

Lessons on explorers throughout time

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/explorers.html

Wright Brothers Lessons

Very complete and a great site for finding aviation related materials

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/wright_bros.html

General Space Links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/space/index.html

NASA Robots

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/robot.html

Christa McAuliffe Site

This site has podcasts, lesson plans, videos and more about science from the Challenger Learning Center that is dedicated to the memory of those killed in the shuttle tragedy, including Christa McAuliffe. There are such Learning Centers throughout the United States.

http://www.challenger.org/programs/index.cfm

A list of Learning Challenger Centers by State

http://www.challenger.org/clc/network.cfm

Challenger challenges for students

http://www.challenger.org/programs/sciencechallenges.cfm

Lesson plan database.

http://www.challenger.org/teachers/lessons/index.cfm

Christa McAuliffe’s six science lessons that were prepared for the nation children, but never performed.

http://www.challenger.org/programs/51Llessons.cfm

Webcasts from the Center by Topic and Date

http://www.challenger.org/programs/ccwebcast.cfm

Podcasts and Videos

http://www.challenger.org/programs/multimedia.cfm

Downloadable Space Day Tool Kit, Games and more for Space Day, May 2, 2009

http://www.spaceday.org/

Pros and Cons of Space Travel

A critical thinking lesson for students

http://www.school.za/PILP/themes/space2/space2_lesson.htm

Astronaut Biographies

http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/

Photos, Data on Shuttle Craft

http://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/shuttle_challenger.pl

Ideas for Star Child Lessons for Younger Students

http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/teachers/teachers.html

Imagine the Universe Lessons for older students
http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/teachers/teachers_corner.html

Space Myths

Interesting information about Black Holes, Comets and More

http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/eds/tools/type/myths.php.p=Teaching%2Btools%40%25

A huge variety of lessons about space and its implications, including the Jupiter Galileo mission. Well worth a visit.

http://www.windows.ucar.edu/cgi-bin/tour.cgi?link=/teacher_resources/activity.html&sn=294781&br=graphic&d=/teacher_resources&cd=false&fr=f&tour=&sw=false&edu=elem

Earth and Mars Lessons

http://www-k12.atmos.washington.edu/k12/index.html

Mars Exploration Site with Lessons for Teachers

http://mpfwww.jpl.nasa.gov/

NASA Home Page for Teachers

http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/index.html

JPL Home Page for Teachers

This Jet Propulsion site has several activities offered on site as well as downloadable lessons.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/index.cfm

The Space Place Teachers Section

Activities and lessons and all downloadable. Great for challenging students. Check the animations.

http://spaceplace.jpl.nasa.gov/en/educators/index.shtml

Printable Shuttle for coloring

http://www.starbritelearning.com/star-pg3.html

Science Education Gateway

An impressive listing of resources for teachers, including web-based and hands-on, inquiry based-lessons

http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/SEGway/educators_resources.html

Statistics of all types are located here. 

 The first is a great site that has all types of data including a life span calculator. It can also calculate by the year, month, and day the world’s death rate, birth rate, number of accidents, and much more. 

The site is dramatic in its overwhelming amount of data including how the military debt is rising each day.

 http://www.peterrussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php

 Are you an average teacher?

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/demographics.html

Immigration statistics through history

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/immigrate.html#5

 Labor statistics

http://www.reacheverychild.com/socialstudies/economics/index.html

Bureau of Labor statistics

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/celebrate_teaching.html#a

 Environmental statistics by country

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/environment.html#4

Global statistics

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/global.html

What are the best selling vehicles?

By The Car Family

For more reviews go to http://www.motorists.org/new/carreviews/index.html

According to SEMA and Ward’s Auto articles, vehicle sales continued to drop for most companies. Chrysler id has a ten percent increase in sales led by the minivan and Jeep sections.

 General Motors found that the nicely done
Acadia and Outlook pushed sales upward in that segment. Both vehicles are far superior to the Hummer except for deep off-roading. The terrific Chevrolet Impala is finally getting recognition and increased sales were recorded for this front wheel drive vehicle, too. Unexpectedly, small cars did not sell well even though the Cobalt is one of the best ones around.
Equally unexpected was Ford’s sales figures that showed that the top heavy and gas hoggish Expedition increased in sales. The much superior Lincoln MKX and Ford Edge also improved, but Ford sales continue to fall as they lack new products. All that money paid for the Ford GT so that a few rich dealers and their friends could drive around in something unique hasn’t improved Ford’s image or sales.

Tundras and the Lexus line kept
Toyota in the driver’s set as far as sales were concerned. The large and gas guzzling large SUVs did not do well. The best car
Toyota offers in terms of a SUV is the RX which gets over 23 mpg. The others are very fuel inefficient.
Toyota’s reputation as producing gas sippers does not extend to its SUVs.

Light truck sales, that very lucrative market were companies can swell their bank balances, is still going strong with over 50 percent of the market being in this category. General Motors is tops with Ford and
Toyota following. Chrysler lags.

In terms of best selling vehicles the Camry was first, the Accord, second, and the Corolla/Matrix next. Chevrolet’s Impala was fifth. The Civic, Altima, Cobalt, Focus, Prius, and Ford Fusion rounded out the top ten. As for trucks it was the Ford 150, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram in the top three spots.

The future looks especially dim for Ford as their new products are few and far between. The advertising and public relations dollars spent to push Mustang sales is all fine and good but only a small portion of the country is interested in these sedans regardless of how puffy you make the engines. General Motors has an abundance of new vehicles coming online, especially the revitalized Saturn line.
Toyota has a new Corolla and redone Scion ready and waiting and, as usually, perfectly timed with fuel price hitting record levels.

Experts have indicated that if people just cut back two percent the fuel prices could drop over a dollar. Or, if they would just not buy vehicles that averaged less than 20 mpg the price would go down even more.

How to talk to students about the war and school violence

By Alan Haskvitz, national inservice presenter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

I have placed resources that deal with the following issues here.

http://www.reacheverychild.com

· Overviews

· Helping Young Children

· Resources for Caregivers, Teachers, Health Professionals and Communities

· Help for Older Children and Teenagers

· Coping with Loss

· Helping Adults and Helping Others

· Addressing Hatred

Lexus RX 330 or Hybrid:

Which is the best

For more reviews go to http://www.motorists.org/new/carreviews/index.html

For links to all manufacture websites go to http://www.reacheverychild.com and click on business.

We think the Lexus RX is the “Queen of the SUVs” based on its command of the road, ability to care for its citizens, and the price you have to pay for its attentions. Priced at over $50,000 (US) this Lexus is the first luxury SUV hybrid on the market and it is going to be difficult to compete against. It is that good. As for the gas only version of the Lexus, labeled the 330 and about $10,000 less, it is still the gold standard of luxury SUVs and easily the most refined of its ilk. However, it doesn’t provide the gusto of some competitors and is not so inclined to venture up inclines or tolerate hard cornering so if you insist on using your SUV as a sports car leave Lexus land for the world of BMW and Acura.

We tested both Lexus RX models in all types of situations and they never became uncivil despite heavy traffic, rain, Hummer drivers who have not yet realized they are not on the battlefield, and the tight roads of Vancouver. It was a lady at all times, but what made it more remarkable was the little things that sold us such as the best interior night lighting ever. The Lexus has illuminated sill plates, door handles. foot wells, the ignition ring, glove box, center console box, and front cup holders not to mention the map and cargo area maps.

Added to this mix are an easy to activate power hatch, rear seat backs that are adjustable for rake, and a flawless reputation for quality and thus high resale. The turning radius is much better than previous models and you can easily park it. Unfortunately, the rear vision is impaired and so we highly tout the video camera that places a live image of what is happening in back of the RX on the center display monitor. Very trick and very useful. In fact the only real option is the rear entertainment center and, perhaps, GPS.

Both models come with power rear hatch openers, programmable garage door openers, electric steering, heated outside mirrors that automatically dim, and so many other features it can overwhelm your objectivity. We can’t image what fixing some of the complex electrical components is going to cost after the warranty expires in four years or 60,000 miles.

The problem we were trying to solve is whether the expensive hybrid version was worth the extra thousands of dollars even given the high price of fuel. Since the hybrid only comes well loaded it can cost nearly $10,000 more than the base RX.  However, if you equip your base RX with similar options such as leather and all wheel drive the price differential is about $5,000 additional for the hybrid. And since the gas hybrid consistently gets 22 mpg and the hybrid only about 20 percent better in real world driving does it pay to buy the expensive 400 h even when some government agencies offer a tax credit for hybrid owners?

To cover ourselves we’ll just say, depends. If you drive on open highways at speed stick with the RX 330. It is a faithful companion, although not one that caters to tracking down BMWs. If you do over half of your driving in town the 400 h is your best bet. In bumper-to-bumper traffic you can drive up to 30 mph just on battery power and you could easily cover 500 miles on a tank of gas. The electric motors combined with the gas engine provide 268 horsepower instantly without much ado from the continuously variable transmission. Even the 400’s handling is better than that of the 330 RX model. Getting 24 or 25 miles to the gallon is not difficult in mixed driving, but even at that unless you drive well over 25,000 miles a year and gas is priced at $3 a gallon it would take you years to justify paying extra for the hybrid.

Resale is going to be stout regardless of which model you select. Dealers have cleared most of the back orders, except for a few colors such as white and bamboo, and so there is less of a wait for the RX 400 h. The best way to know for sure is to check at www.nada.com for resale.  Adding to this value is the fact that none of the competition offers a luxury hybrid so there is no competition. On the other hand it is far more expensive than SUV hybrids from Toyota and Ford.

We are sure though, that the hybrid is clearly going to command top dollar for many a year for three reasons. It is responsive, responsible, and realistic. It does not feign to be something it isn’t. Yes it can go off road and do well, but why spend that much money to rough up a vehicle? Secondly, safety first is embedded everywhere from airbags to braking to preventive tipping measures. Finally, it can realistically hold five adults. It does not pretend to hold seven as some SUVS do, two of whom may have to crawl over seats, people, and luggage to find their perches just inches away from the rear hatch and potential danger should there be an accident.

Mom’s view: This is what it must be like to have twins; so alike and yet so different. The 330 RX is blissful to drive, a little overly protective in the way it deals with road imperfections, and has just enough acceleration so you have to keep a vigil on the speedometer.  The 400h is another matter. The larger tires and rims, aggressive suspension, hefty weight, and the instant torque provided by the electric motors turn this into more of a fighter. Both would be delightful children, but I think most mothers wouldn’t mind boasting of the 400h’s ability to excel even though it may require a more trips to the school.

Whether you are driving the hybrid or the RX 330 the seats are both supportive and comfortable. This is a rare combination and worthy of exaltation. Getting into the hybrid requires added leg lift because it rides a tad higher, but once inside you have excellent vision to the sides and front. Unlike the unique Toyota Prius hybrid, there is very little different about these two Lexi outside of some minor trim pieces. Even the interior is akin except for the information center and a readout that shows which energy source you are using.  That is not to say it does not have appeal as its abundance of storage space, good cupholders, and even a place for a purse make it very accommodating. The leather, switchgear, and plastics are well done and, if you choose carefully, nicely color coordinated.  Add to this the solid basic structure and you have a SUV that gets responsible fuel mileage in either hybrid or gas only versions, and you have the reasons that this is the best selling Lexus ever.

Dad’s view: As the Ford Escape hybrid, the Lexus is stealth like and nearly impossible to identify from a distance over its more traditional powered clone. This quickly changes once you check out the drivetrain. The hybrid 400h carries 300 pounds of extra weight, but this is offset when the two electric motors and the gas engine work together to provide 268 horsepower compared to 230 for the gas version. One electric motor helps to drive the front wheels and one the back. A continuous variable transmission on the hybrid does its work efficiently, but there is sharp tug when you are slowly backing out of a parking space and the gas engine decides it is needed. Keep your foot on the brake or it jumps a bit. The hybrid also has been trained to shut down at long stops. It starts instantly once you remove your foot from the brake and touch the gas pedal. In case you are wondering the stereo, air conditioning, and lights all continue to operate even with the engine paused.

You can easily feel the extra power the hybrid brings to the wheels when you demand full acceleration. This hybrid can move out in a hurry and we think it could easily reach 60 mph in around seven seconds, or about a half second faster than the 330. One thing that does not move faster is the fuel gauge. We traveled around in heavy city traffic, went to the suburbs to do research on a hydrogen-powered bicycle being produced by Palcan Power Systems Inc. and returned in traffic and rain. The hybrid Lexus was nonplussed, and seemed to relish the challenge.

The EPA rates the RX 400h at 31/27, but you can count on around 26 to 28 mpg. This isn’t as great as the Prius and Honda Civic, but the Lexus weights twice as much. The RX 330 returns 22 to 23 miles per gallon. Both cars can go well over 400 miles on a tank of unleaded. You should note that hybrids have additional maintenance costs and that the battery packs, which have a lengthy warranty, can cost several thousand dollars to replace.

Lexus claims the RX 330 can get to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds from the 230 horsepower, 242 foot pounds of torque, 3.3 liter V6. Whatever, it is still a fairly fast vehicle for its class while still getting over 22 mpg during highway cruising.

Basically, I am not a huge fan of SUVs because of their handling, gas hoggish nature, and limited side and back visibility. I am proud to say that the RX 330 has none of these traits. In fact, it rides as well as some luxury sedans over highways. Be warned, though, that this is not a nimble vehicle and the steering can feel slow to react when the road requires frequent corrections. Visibility to the side is excellent with the best mirrors in the SUV business. It is clear that the Lexus engineers designed this for more cruising than bruising, even though the 7.1 inch ride height is adequate and the all wheel drive system with the electric motors very peppy on inclines.

Braking is quite impressive with very little front dip, but we would strongly recommend you don’t overestimate the stopping distance because this is a two-ton vehicle when loaded. On the RX 400h the braking process helps regenerate the battery pack and thus the brakes made a squeaky sound.

There really is no logical reason to buy a Lexus 400h. Yes, it may be a better value than the RX 330 in the long run, but the Ford Escape hybrid is much less expensive, gets similar fuel mileage, and can stay right with the Lexus in town driving. Despite this we doubt anyone would cross-shop the two, and so if you have a tender spot for the environment and have the wherewithal, you couldn’t find a better place to spend your travel time. The attention to detail, ability to park in tight places, power, and notable quality and features are unmatched.

Young working woman’s view: What can you say to a queen who has everything? There is little to add here. I didn’t like the way the fuel light went on with so little fanfare, I thought that the alloy rims were unworthy and needed to be rethought as they are just not right, and I would have preferred if the power tailgate would open with less fanfare as it sounds like a truck is backing up. Starting the hybrid is eerie to say the least. You turn on the ignition; wait for the light in the gauge cluster to read “Ready,” and you just touch the accelerator. No fuss, no muss, and if you are careful you can even drive several miles without using the gas engine at all. However, we did not test the hybrid in the winter and so we cannot verify what it would be like in Winnipeg.

Both RX models have significant safety features that include front side airbags, head-protecting curtain side airbags and a driver knee airbag. A control system that uses the Electronically Controlled Brake system with Anti-Lock Brakes and Electronic Brake force Distribution creates a Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system to help prevent the vehicle from becoming unstable. In other words, this queen has built a sturdy safety castle around her charges. Although the RX is based on a Camry platform, it is definitely off-roadable. However, who would want to take one of these into the boondocks and scratch that deep paint ironically on the same vegetation that these hybrids were born to protect.

The cabin is full of wonderful things to touch. The leather and wood steering wheel is easy to hold, the cruise control, light, and windshield stalks don’t require you to lift your hand and the dashboard lighting is the best. There are a lot of look alike buttons in the center of the dash that must be learned because reading them is difficult in bright sunlight. We did manage to stall the GPS on the RX 330, but after restarting it gave us another chance.

Of all the lovely things in this RX, perhaps the most appealing was the small touches that made you feel special. At night, the Lexus name on the doorstep plate lights up and the door panel storage areas have covers that pull out making it easy to get the smallest of items.

Unemployed young male’s view: The back seats were very comfortable with handy cupholders, ample headroom, and foot space. Make sure you adjust the rear backrests before you get into the RX because they are really hard to adjust when you are sitting in them. You can fold the rear seats down in three sections, but they don’t fold real flat. You also have extra storage space in the rear cargo area on both sides and under the cover. And, there is a standard 115-volt 2-prong outlet behind rear seat. There is also a full size spare with alloy rim under the cargo cover.

Being unemployed, check out my website to buy my latest CD so I can make my parents proud, I wonder why not just by a Toyota Highland or hybrid Highlander instead. They are less expensive and have the same powertrain. Of course, with a Lexus you do get the pride of ownership, a higher percentage of resale value, and Lexus dealerships that we have found were quite attentive.

The bottom line for me is that the hybrid only makes sense if you spend a considerable time in town. Otherwise, get the base RX equipped as you want and accept the fact that you’ve been one-upped.

Family conference: Call it a tall station wagon, try to humiliate it by claiming its an overpriced Toyota, make fun of its turtle shell appearance, or just point out you can get an SUV the same size and power for $10,000 less and you still are not going to convince buyers that this isn’t the cat’s meow of luxury SUVs. While the Acura MDX handles a bit better, the BMW is faster, and Mercedes more off roadable, and the Infiniti sportier, the Lexus is all alone when it comes to providing buyers with what the majority want, and that is a luxury vehicle that is both practical an elegant and the 400 h is the queen. Long live the queen. For the websites of all vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers go to http://www.reacheverychild.com/business/auto/index.html

Lessons on Patriotism for the Classroom

By Alan Haskvitz, national inservice presenter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/patriotism.html

Patriotism is defined as loyalty, pride or fervent love of one’s country. Sometimes the definition includes allegiance to its government and institutions. And others wrote about
America’s experiment with government by the people.

“What then is the American, this new man? . . . He is an American, who, leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world.”
Michel Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur from Letters from an American Farmer

These new manners included democracy, freedom and the rule of law. And the founding fathers did their best to provide the framework in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Yet they realized these new freedoms required citizens to perform certain duties and to surrender certain rights to vest their government with the powers to function.

Possibly our most basic duty, and a patriotic act in and of itself, is voting. Our government does not just encourage participation; it is the key to our existence as a democracy. As citizens, we have a duty to select our government.

But the responsibility doesn’t end with our vote. It is also our responsibility to form and express opinions about the operation of that government; to participate in the political process. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.”

Perhaps Abraham Lincoln described it best in his address to the 166th
Ohio regiment on Aug. 22, 1864.

“I am a living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father’s child has. It is in order that each of you may have through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence: that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations. It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright. . . . The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.”

Education links are listed here

They include clip art, themes, art actitives, the national patriotic museum, and a collection of good links.

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/patriotism.html

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