slow learner


Fun Activities and Facts about the Presidential Inauguration
http://americanhistory.about.com/od/uspresidents/ss/inauguration.htm

Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama holds a Bible that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Lincoln Bible, which was used at President ObamaÕs 2009 inaugural ceremony. Daughters Sasha and Malia stand with their parents.  (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama holds a Bible that belonged to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Lincoln Bible, which was used at President ObamaÕs 2009 inaugural ceremony. Daughters Sasha and Malia stand with their parents. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

What is the Inauguration?
An Inauguration is a ceremony to mark the start of a new four-year term of as president of the United States of America.

What was the first Inauguration like?
George Washington’s day found out from Congress that he had won the presidency. He borrowed money to pay off his debts in Virginia and traveled to New York. On April 30, he came across the Hudson River in a specially built and decorated barge. This custom gave rise to Inaguruation floats that are now scene in the official parade. Washington’s inaugural ceremony was performed on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York. The president then went indoors to read Congress his inaugural address. The evening celebration was opened and closed by 13 skyrockets and 13 cannons being fired. Today that tradition continues with a 21 gun salute fired from artillery pieces.

Inauguration Day takes place on January 20 and the president’s term starts at noon after the Chief Justice administers the oath to the president. Inauguration Day was originally on March 4, four months after election day, but this was changed to noon on January 20 by the Twentieth Amendment in 1933
http://www.npr.org/series/169619067/inauguration-2013

Why is it important?
The United States of America is a Democratic Republic. That means that the voters elect someone to represent them. The elections determine who is the representatives, or, in the case of the Inauguration, who will lead the country’s Executive Branch. The Inauguration is important because it represents the peaceful transfer of power. It also is a way to celebrate the voter’s decision.

Who gives the Oath of Office?
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/21/second-inauguration-barack-obama

What is the Oath of Office?
I, , do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

What is the inaugural address?
Newly sworn-in presidents usually give a speech called the inaugural address. They can vary in length with George Washington’s being only 135 words and William Henry Harrison’s 8,495 words. (Later in this article and you can test the president’s address for grade level and compare them.)
What is the Inaugural Parade
The Inaugural Parade on Pennsylvania Avenue passes the presidential reviewing stand in front of the White House. The typical duration of the parade is about two hours and proceeds along the 1.5 miles of Pennsylvania Avenue in view of the presidential party. The president, vice-president, their respective families and members of the government and military review the parade from an enclosed stand at the edge of the North Lawn.
Where is it held?
The event is held at the Capitol’s western front in Washington DC.
https://www.aoc.gov/us-capitol-building

What does the word mean?
It is a French word meaning an installation or consecration. Essentially, it is a word that is meant to convey good omens.

What do other nations call their inaugurations?
If a country has a monarchy, which means the leader is not chosen by the people, but born into that position such as a king or queen, the ceremony is called a coronation. It is highlighted by a crown being placed on the head of the one being honored.
http://www.telegraph.co.ukph.co.uk/news/uknews/queen-elizabeth-II/10066234/Next-coronation-to-involve-other-faiths-besides-Christianity.html

Who is in the parade?
Both military and civilian participants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are involved as well as bands and floats.
Chapter two
What is the Executive Branch?
The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws and appoints the heads of the federal agencies and Cabinet. The Vice President is also part of the Executive Branch, ready to assume the Presidency should the need arise.
Why is the position important?

The President has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto* bills enacted by Congress. The Executive Branch conducts diplomacy with other nations, and the President has the power to negotiate and sign treaties, which also must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws. The President also has unlimited power to extend pardons (A person is forgiven of a crime) and clemencies (mercy to a convicted individual) for federal crimes, except in cases of impeachment.
*A veto means that president does not approve of the bill and it cannot become law unless the Senate and House can override the decision by a 2/3rds vote.

Qualifications of a President
The President must be 35 years of age, be a natural born citizen, and must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

Elected by Electoral College
The President is not, in fact, directly elected by the people. Instead, on the first Tuesday in November of every fourth year, the people elect the members of the Electoral College. Apportioned by population to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Electors then cast the votes for President. There are currently 538 electors in the Electoral College.

What is the Cabinet?
The Cabinet is an advisory body made up of the heads of the 15 executive departments. They are the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services,
Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development,
Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, The Department of State, Department of Transportation, Department of the Treasury, Department of Veterans Affairs

Chapter Three
Strange Inauguration happenings.
In 1865, Andrew Johnson was ill with typhoid fever and took the medicine that impacted his speech as he bragged about his humble origins and his triumph over Confederate States. Despite the best efforts of those around him he refused to stop. It is called that “hungover speech.”

Ulysses S. Grant thought that canaries would add a festive touch to his inaugural ball in 1873, but the cold March temperatures caused a recorded 100 birds to freeze to death during Grant’s inauguration.

During Richard Nixon’s Inauguration Day parade hundred years later he wanted to make sure pigeons didn’t ruin his day. The Nixon had a chemical bird repellant sprayed all along the inaugural parade route. The result was dozens of dead pigeons along the route of the parade.

After Andrew Jackson’s inauguration he threw an epic party at the White House and is was crashed by drunken backers who broke windows, china, and damaged the drapes. To get them out of the White House the staff placed a tub of booze on the front yard.

When President Herbert Hoover was sworn in, the chief justice who administered the oath, William Howard Taft, apparently substituting the word “maintain” for “protect.” An eighth-grade girl named Helen Terwilliger caught the errors and sent Taft a note. He denied it, but the newsreels showed the young girl to be right.

Unusual facts
George Washington’s wife, Martha, did not make the trip to New York
Thomas Jefferson was the first president to be inaugurated at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
James Monroe was the first president to take the oath out-of-doors in Washington.
Martin Van Buren inaugural parade saw first use of floats.
Franklin Pierce stood up in his carriage during the parade and memorized his speech.
Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural was the first to have African-Americans participated in the inaugural parade.
Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to take the oath of office in the White House.
William McKinley had his inaugural recorded on a movie camera.
Woodrow Wilson’s inaugural was the first time that women participated in the inaugural parade.
Harry S. Truman’s was the first inauguration to be televised.
Lyndon B. Johnson was first to use a bullet-proofed, closed limousine.
Richard M. Nixon only allowed people with special invitations to the ceremony to be admitted to the Capitol Grounds.
Jimmy Carter was first to make provisions for the handicapped to watch the parade.
Ronald Reagan had first closed-captioning of television broadcast for the hearing impaired.
William J. Clinton’s was the first ceremony broadcast live on the Internet.

Here are some Awesome Stories links to inaugurations.
https://www.awesomestories.com/search/full/inauguration

Fast facts about First Ladies at Inaugurations.
Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, Elizabeth Monroe, and Anna Harrison were did not attend the inauguration.
Sarah Polk was present at the inauguration and attended the Inaugural Ball, but the ball was stopped in deference to her religious beliefs.
IJane Pierce did not attend because was upset that her husband lied to her about running for president.
Mary Lincoln was in attendance and is said to have danced with her husband’s opponent, Stephen Douglas at the Inaugural Ball.
Julia Grant attended.
Lucy Hayes was at the Inauguration.
Crete Garfield was there and made a statement that was startling as she proclaimed how super human her husband looked only to have him die a few months later.
Grover Cleveland was a bachelor at the time. A year later the 49-year-old president married a woman 28 years younger. When Cleveland lost the election she vowed to return, and she did four years later.
Carrie Harrison was there.
Ida McKinley was witnessed the swearing in of her husband but fell ill at the Inaugural Ball.
Edith Roosevelt watching Theodore’s swearing-in ceremonies.
Nellie Taft was there for William’s inauguration.
Ellen Wilson was in attendance, but when she died Woodrow remarried and his wife, Edith, attended his second inauguration.
Florence Harding was very active in the Inaugural.
Grace Coolidge not only witnessed the ceremony, but talked with Nellie Ross, the nation’s first woman Governor.
Lou Hoover was late to the ceremony.
Eleanor watched her husband take the oath of office four times.
Bess Truman was there and hosted the first integrated inaugural ball.
Mamie Eisenhower was there and was kissed by her husband.
What is called the “First Lady” Inauguration was done so because first ladies and future first lades were in attendance such as: Edith Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, and Betty Ford.
Lady Bird Johnson was there and held a Bible while her husband took the oath of office.
Pat Nixon was there but was forced to sit down as protesters threw rocks. This happened at both inaugurations. Richard Nixon later became the first president to resign after the Watergate affair became public. He was replaced by Vice President Gerald Ford and there wasn’t an inauguration.
Rosalynn was there. With her husband, Jimmy Carter they got of of the chauffeured cars and walked during the parade.
Nancy Reagan was there dress in very expensive clothes and watched her husband, Ronald, take the oath on the west side of the Capitol. During his second inauguration she was wearing an outfit estimated to cost over $40,000. The event was held in the Capitol Rotunda due to freezing weather.
Barbara Bush was there both times and walked back to the White House.
Hillary Clinton was there and walked back to the White House with her husband, William Jefferson Clinton.
Laura Bush was there both times her husband took the oath.
Michelle Obama was there both times her husband, Barrack Obama took the oath of office.
For more information read First Ladies by Carl Sferrazza Anthony
http://parpro.zweb.com/Inauguration.html

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Here is a lesson plan for your school
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:

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
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. It is important for students to understand how propaganda is used to influence them in elections and elsewhere.
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/

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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

Seven Vital Tips for the First Day of School
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

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

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
— Will Rogers

That quote might not be accurate, but it won’t hurt to be prepared and let the students know you are prepared. To enable this to happen there are seven important steps that should be taken to get the most of this first impression.

First, be prepared. Have your first day well planned out including a seating chart for the students. It is important to have good discipline from the first day, but that does not mean you have to be mean. Raising a hand to ask a question, asking permission to leave the room, even where to pick-up or hand-in work should be explained as well as the late work policy. Above all spend time reviewing school safety rules. Where are the exits, the fire extinguisher and the emergency routes? You don’t have to make the students afraid of you, but they need to know what your expectations are and when they can get extra help.

Secondly, take control. This is their first day in your class. They need to know the rules and the expect ions. Posting them in the classroom is always a good idea. I recommend having a handout for each student with the discipline code, your contact numbers, materials that they may need to bring, and any other school information. You may not have time to go over the school handbook, but make sure that every students has one as well as any textbooks that are required.

Thirdly, take a long look at your classroom. The first code in your community, if it is like other towns, usually limits the number of flammable items to about 20 percent of the wall space. There cannot be anything hanging from the ceiling or blocking the doors. Sofas and other upholstered items may also be deemed a violation of the rules regardless of how good an idea it might be. I recommend you dedicate at least one board to posting of school related items. As for the other space, I recommend you have students design them based on what is being covered in class.

Fourth, Some of the students may not know each other and so an ice breaker may be of value. I don’t use them, but some teachers find them of value. One idea I sometimes use is to bring in a wolf or other stuffed animal and have the students submit names to name our classroom mascot.

Fifth, Get personal information. I give the students a card asking them for their home contact numbers as well as their interests and favorite hobbies. I even ask them to bring a paper that they did in previous years that they are proud of so they can show it to me later in the week as I get to know them better. And, I always try to contact the parents within the first couple weeks of school or at a Back to School night. Sometimes messages from a students get changed by the time they get home, if you know what I mean.

Sixth, be open to new ideas. I have posted a great many links here. Spend some time and maybe you can discover frosh ideas. Consider having the students write a short autobiography to get to know them.

Finally, be yourself. Whether your first day of class or your 40th, the most important message to leave with your students is that you are a caring teacher. Yes, you have rules, but that does not mean you or without compassion and understanding. Remember you don’t want to mark Will Rodgers wrong.
Read up on classroom management
http://www.pacificnet.net/~mandel/ClassroomManagement.html

A list of great ideas for new and experience teachers.
http://iteslj.org/Lessons/Schroeder-FirstDay.html

Ice Breakers and Checklists from Education World
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson074.shtml
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson073.shtml

Planning for your first day of school
http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr360.shtml

Establishing rules
Ten Ideas
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson274.shtml

Ideas for preparing to work with parents
http://www.middleweb.com/9637/parents-inclusion-classrooms/

Huge selection of ideas and links on everything.
http://www.proteacher.com/030005.shtml

Activities and sample handout forms
http://atozteacherstuff.com/Themes/Back_to_School/

Middle and elementary school ideas including school tour
http://www.cbv.ns.ca/sstudies/activities/1rstday/1rst.html

Back to school bulletin boards
Remember that decorating a door may be a fire code violation as well as having over about 10 to 20 percent of the walls covered with flammable items.
Mainly for elementary
http://tinyurl.com/ob5v2dk

Interesting collection of back to school get acquainted ideas
http://atozteacherstuff.com/Tips/Back-to-School/Icebreakers-Getting_Acquainted/index.shtml

Lots of lesson planning sites
A good place to look for new ideas
http://www.teachingtips.com/articles/Jthefirstday1.html

Set up your classroom seating arrangement virtually
http://teacher.scholastic.com/tools/class_setup/

haskvitz111

Bulletin Boards by Month
http://bulletinboards.theteacherscorner.net/monthly/

Discipline: training that perfects the mental faculties

Ten Skills Every Student Needs and You Probably Don’t Have Time to Teach
by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

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

After 40 years of teaching there comes a time when you want to just yell at the curriculum designers and textbook publishers that they have the cart before the horse. Teachers need to be allowed to spend more time teaching students how to learn and less on preparing for a test which measures nothing applicable in the real world.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I feel that every teacher would love to really teach students how to get ready for the challenges ahead of them and use the curriculum as a stepping stone to that goal. Over the years my students always were at the top in the State in terms of standardized testing. Indeed, some of them had perfect scores. The problem was I was teaching them how to take the test. Fortunately, I as able to shorten the material required for the course by removing those elements I though were essentially chaff so that I could teach them essential skills. Essentially, I started by teaching them how to discipline themselves. This worked so well that I still get letters from students, some decades after they were in my class, thanking me for teaching them for life. I have never gotten a letter thanking me for teaching them the Monroe Doctrine.

Here is the list and it far from complete, which are skills that need to be taught. Feel free to comment and add your own.

Learning how to Learn

Developing a love for learning is essential for any educator. It is the most important lesson a teacher can impart to a student and it is also the most difficult. A teacher may have to face a variety of hindrances from lack of parental care, nutritional and emotional problems, and even severe mental concerns. Regardless, there needs to be an effort and the best way is to become a facilitator by prodding, motivating, and providing a diverse array of learning materials to challenge the student to learn for themselves. Most often the textbook, frequently filled with data with little relevance to the student, is the main focus of instruction. And, perhaps, that is the way it must be if the goal is a test that measures improvement in the acquisition of this data. The teacher can feel confident as he or she has covered the material by sticking to the textbook. Motivational, hardly, but that is how teachers are frequently judged. There is another way to do this, but it is time consuming and requires a multitude of rubrics. Providing a variety of materials and having the students learn from them is an arduous task. However, once it is done a teacher can spend the rest of years modifying, adding, and individualizing lessons to meet the needs of the students. ReachEveryChild (cited below) provides a variety of sources for this free material and is an excellent place to start individualization.

The second part of learning how to learn based on whether the student is an auditory, visual or kinetic learner and how to use these to their advantage. It is impossible for a teacher to use all of these methods when presenting lessons, but a student can create their own lessons to help them acquire the knowledge. In my classes I have students create poems, songs, graphic organizers and the Cornell note taking system. In this way there is a variety of methods for them to learn. I insist they use my linking and three transfer method of learning as well. The linking method makes them link what they are learning to other things they have learned and create a “learning tree” of it that they add to throughout the year. The three transfer method is to have students read the material, take notes on it, and transfer that material to another mode such as notecards. I also recommend presenting the answer to a question and have them supply the question. This is an excellent test of finding out what they know. It can be used in all subjects.

What is Valid

If you have time, giving the student a variety of short articles to read and asking them to figure out what would be the best way to judge this material is very worthwhile. This process should also include a study of the various types of propaganda, how to evaluate a website for bias, and stereotyping. That is a lot to swallow and so it is best as part of a school-year long program. If you are teaching social studies an ideal unit could be the differences of opinion between the South and the North about slavery. Learning how to learn is not just about the acquisition of skills, but for the student to acquire the ability to judge the material. One of the best tools to get students to read is Sherlock Holmes and the Sign of Four. As the students read the article they keep track of the characters and reach various conclusions as the teacher hands them the next page. The lesson makes them detectives, but more importantly allows them to learn for life. Seldom are we giving all the answers, but we must make decisions by what we know and judge what is valid.

Speed Reading, not just reading.

It isn’t any secret that the first basic skill is reading. But not just reading, but speed reading. Close reading will follow much more quickly if students can learn how to read rapidly. Reading for facts and reading for pleasure can both be more enjoyable if a student acquires the ability to focus on several words at one time. I taught second graders how to read over a 1000 words per minute at their grade level. The usual improvement was always 200 to 400 words per minute more and this was for language arts and social studies materials. Interestingly the comprehension improves as the speed level doubles as the student concentrates on the material. It is a win-win, but it most be reinforced until it becomes a habit and it takes at least 30 days for it to become a habit. Be warned that some students are resistant to it and so online speed reading sites can help them challenge themselves at their own rate.

Write at Grade Level +

The first thing on teaching a student to write is to explain the types of writing based on the purpose. Taking notes while on the phone or writing a compare and contrast essay may be different in length, but the ingredients are the same. However, for longer works you need to teach the student to write at grade level. I have the students write a one page paper on their favorite vacation either real or imagined. Next, I have them underline all the one syllable words. After that they circle any word that they have not known since primary school. The Fry Formula is applied and the students record their writing scores. They is always silence as the students realize that they are writing at several grades below grade level. Now, that isn’t necessarily bad, but it does force them to expand their vocabulary and that is good. I always have a few Thesaurus books on hand and show them how to use them. The results are immediate and the students not only improve their writing, but improve their thinking and organizational skills as well as they strive to improve. My article (citation below) provides an in-depth look at this successful practice that has enabled my students to win numerous writing competitions.

Teach Them to be Journalist

This vital profession is based on training that every student needs. The ability to communicate, to judge facts, and to influence others with their work. There is no other profession that is so vital for students to learn from because it is essentially what they are going to do nearly every day of their life. A good journalist seeks out evidence and judges it. They write using the who, what, when, where, why, and how approach. They use the inverted triangle that helps them organize facts. Finally, it teaches them to be curious and ask questions and, very importantly, take good notes.

Teach Them to be Lawyers

Perhaps, oversimplifying, but lawyers earn them living by researching and providing evidence that their cause is correct. This requires an examination of evidence and organization. This is another valuable trait that can help students of all ages. For example, was George Washington was a good president? Can you prove it? Can you provide evidence that he was not so good? Some may call this critical thinking, but that type of thinking can not really be utilized until a student is able to have a variety of experiences that enable them to make a critical decision. Thus using the basic skills of an attorney in proving a point and providing evidence to that end are skills they are going to need to write essays persuasive and expository essays and in life.

Be Accountable

At the beginning of the school year I ask the students to look around the room and, without naming names, tell me how many other students they would hire to work for them based on the knowledge that they wanted good workers. After that I ask them to write that number down, fold the paper, and place it in a basket. I take out the numbers and place them on the board to come out with an average. In almost every case it is ten percent of the students or less. That means that the others already have a reputation of not being good workers. The reason for this is that many students simply do not hold themselves accountable. Immediate gratification, poor parenting, the need for quick teacher assessment with little assessment of the assessment, all help feed a “who cares” mentality. This results in large scale cheating with little fear of consequence. Research has overwhelming shown that rewards must be intrinsic to be a lasting value. If students are to be held accountable there must be a reward system that works and entices parent buy-in.
People Skills

We aren’t talking about cooperative learning, we are talking about the ability to get along with others regardless of differences. We are talking about good manners, social skills, negotiating skills, and the ability to work together to create a common goal. Skills as basic as how to talk to people on the phone, how to ask permission, or even showing remorse or concern are missing and yet vital for life.

Handling Emergencies
Handling emergencies is also seldom taught at school. Yes, fire drills are held, but what value are they to the student when a fire really occurs elsewhere? My students wrote and had published in the American Fire Journal the problems with school fire drills in the hopes of enlightening others. School administrators essentially ignored it because it wasn’t an area to be tested. Sad, because the issues the students brought up were important. For example, why does the fire extinguisher stay in the room during a fire drill? Why do the students stand up in rows when an explosion could knock them over? Who knows where the dangerous chemicals are? What do the various colored helmets that firemen wear mean? Needless to say, handling emergencies is a vital skill. Why doesn’t every student know CPR? How to stop bleeding? Or to identify a person having a “fit” and knowing how to act? Taking this a step further, how to teach students not to panic and to learn how to identify people should be taught. But, who has the time?

Skills for life

Setting realistic goals, identifying propaganda and bias, budgeting time, operating a computer and touch typing, triage work assignments, handling money and investments, observation skills, where to find information and measure its accuracy, and learning how to listen can all be incorporated in the curriculum. Each of these carry lifelong importance and all can and have been taught within the curriculum if there is time. There are free units of study on almost all of these areas available. The teacher needs to be given the time and flexibility to personalize them for their class.

Before I get off my high horse I must add one more thing and that is for the student to learn how to be happy. My friend Larry Martz, an editor with Newsweek, wrote in his book Making Schools Better, about the small bite principle. This is a simple plan where small strides can result in large gains. An educator who just takes one of these ideas to heart could make a huge difference knowing well that it is at least as significant as anything on a standardized test.

Why Students Cheat
http://www.teachers.net/gazette/NOV08/haskvitz/

Making Schools Better
http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-8129-1939-4

Car Rating Site
http://autos.jdpower.com/

Government fuel economy site
http://fueleconomy.gov/

How to Improve Student Writing
http://reacheverychild.com/blog/2014/not-so-secret-formula-improves-writing

Student speed reading lessons
There are others
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/stancliffe59.html

Using the Inverted Triangle
http://www.multimedia-journalism.co.uk/node/2097

Free summer reading program for your class and school
by Alan Haskvitz
National Teachers Hall of Fame
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Awesome Stories is offering a tremendous deal for free. Teachers can enroll and track the summer reading of their entire class. I did say free. You can even enroll the entire school. The program is interactive and the stories are interesting and Common Core assignments can be applied. Even if you are off for the summer it would be worthwhile to investigate this site.

Remember that this is all without cost. The site even has a calendar of important dates and reading activities that could be used to make each day a teachable moments. You can use this site for flipping an assignment, blended learning, or just to get students excited about reading. Try this one, Animals as Defendants in Court and the true story of a pig put on trial for murder. The readings have an abundance of primary source material as well and that helps students prepare for Common Core.
https://tinyurl.com/n86tn2n

Here are some of the stories that are available and the site also offers the true stories of what is behind some movies such as 12 Years a Slave, Remember the Titans, and more. There is even an audio/radio section to help students improve listening skills.

Helen Killer, Benedict Arnold, Bobby Kennedy, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Plessy vs. Ferguson, Vikings, Alexander the Great, even Secretariat winning the Triple Crown.

Site overview
http://www.awesomestories.com/images/user/5d96dd8dca.pdf

Here is the index by grade/standard/subject
http://www.awesomestories.com/AdvancedSearch

Education link
http://www.awesomestories.com/collections/detail/Education

To sign-up go to Membership@AwesomeStories.com and tell them Alan sent you.

Ideas for students who finish early

by National Hall of Fame Teacher Alan Haskvitz

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

One of the most consistent problems for teachers is the decision of what to offer students who finish their work early. In could be as simple and unrewarding as more work or as motivating as solving problems that are related to the assignment or what has been studied in class. Regardless, the work that has been completed needs to be checked for accuracy to make sure the objectives of the lesson were reached. Another area of concern is that the activity does not disturb other students and is not so attractive that students rush through their work to participate. Also be aware that students who don’t finish rapidly may resent those that do and so the activities should not be considered “fun” but provide more depth to the lesson.

A little bit more time intensive is to offer the students a chance to write a letter for information to a state or national travel agency or even a sports team and ask for a decal or other item. The teacher needs to proofread the letter, but they can be sent be email or regular mail. Here is a list of sports teams:

Have an appropriate jigsaw for them to work on individually or as a team. When these are completed they can be glued together and framed and given to the students as gifts at the end of the year.

Depending on he grade level, have appropriate reading books. In each book is a card and the students need to answer the questions on the card and give it to you when they have finished. The questions should include fact based questions, but just as importantly, they should have opinion questions such as , “What do you think the heroes most important decision was?” They hand the card to the teacher who keeps it in a file. At the end of the year the teacher hands back the cards to the students so that can add to their reading file in subsequent years.

Another good approach is to have the students work on word games or puzzles. There are a great many and here are some links to such printables. Students can also create crossword puzzles for other students as well using the subject matter being covered in class.

Allowing students time to finish homework is a frequently used option, but

Working on breaking a code. For younger learners: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/braingames/codebreaking/codebreaking.htm

click on Chiefs of State. Use search engine word “codes” and when the list comes up click on code one. The site has five codes and answers.

File games are another good activity. Here is an abundant listing of ideas:

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/file-folder.html
Some bulletin board ideas

http://pinterest.com/shinz/i-m-done-early-finishers/

Create an online book

They can use provided artwork and write their own stories and keep them online. Preview work first.

http://storybird.com/

Have the students listen to stories done by professional readers. Have students use headphones and write a summary

http://www.storybee.org/index.html

Write and post a book review on a bulletin board is another idea that works for all grade levels. But,  read them first.

List of ideas for early finishers

http://www.ehow.com/info_8169453_activities-students-finish-work-early.html

Sites for students who finish early

For younger students

http://kbkonnected.tumblr.com/post/10903922014/30-sites-for-students-who-finish-early-elemchat

Helping Your Slow Learning Child
By National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz
Perhaps the greatest challenge to a parent or adult is a child who is a slow learner. These children do not fall into the category of special education, do well outside the classroom, and show no evidence of having a medical problem. They simply do not do well in school or a particular subject. In the days before formal schooling these students would carry on productive lives working and doing tasks that did not require extensive reading, writing, or math operations. However, today the emphasis is less on occupational learning and more on academic preparation. Thus there is a growing need for help to remediate these children to provide them the best possible opportunities in a changing world.

Having successfully taught for nearly 30 years in several states and countries two commonalities emerge when dealing with slow learners. The first is that they need extra time to complete tasks. This means that the parents must be willing to augment what happens at school regardless of how fruitless it might appear at times. Secondly, the child must be offered incentives that are appropriate. Depending on the child the best incentives are those where the family works together on a project such as building a model or attending a concert or game. The incentives should require delayed gratification so that the child learns patience and the importance of waiting to be rewarded.

The next area is proper nutrition. A child needs to have a breakfast. Period. Every study done points out that a quality breakfast and proper sleep are the two best ways to improve student performance. http://www.nassp.org/advocacy/views/healthy_better.cfm

With those two factors in mind, the next step for a teacher or parent is to search for lessons and other resources that make it easier to differentiate the curriculum and make learning more vital and relevant. To this end the special education sites on the Internet have some great ideas. It must be noted that this column is not dealing with those students that qualify for special education classes. However, the concepts that teachers use when dealing with these students are ideal for helping a slow learner once the student’s weaknesses have been diagnosed. In any one of my classes I have about ten percent who are slow learners so having a slow learning child is not unusual.
l

Characteristics

Here are some general characteristics of slow learners. Students may display some or all of these depending on their age and degree of problems acquiring knowledge at school. First, they are frequently immature in their relations with others and do poorly in school. Secondly, they cannot do complex problems and work very slowly. They lose track of time and cannot transfer what they have learned from one task to another well. They do not easily master skills that are academic in nature such as the times tables or spelling rules. Perhaps the most frustrating trait is their inability to have long-term goals. They live in the present and so have significant problems with time management probably due to a short attention span and poor concentration skills capabilities.
It should be pointed out that just because a child is not doing well in one class does not make that student a slow learner. Very few children excel in all subject areas unless there is great deal of grade inflation at that school. That is why it is essential that standardized tests scores be examined in depth by the parent or teacher to look for trends. Also there is a difference between a slow learner and a reluctant learner. A slow learner initially wants to learn, but just has a problem with the process. A reluctant learner is not motivated and can also be passive aggressive creating even more of a problem for teachers and parents through a ploy that involves non-cooperation. There is seldom anything wrong with the learning ability of reluctant learners.
To help slow learners here are some proven ideas for parents
Have a quiet place to work where the child can be easily observed and motivated.
Keep the homework sessions short
Provide activity times before and during the homework
Add a variety of tasks to the learning even if it is not assigned such as painting a picture of a reading assignment.
Allow for success
Ask questions of the child while they are working about the assignment
Go over the homework before they go to bed and before they go to school
Teach them how to use a calendar to keep track of assignments
Read to the child
Use my “Three Transfer” form of learning in which the student must take information and do three things with it besides reading. For example, read it, explain it to someone else, draw a picture of it, and take notes on it.
Be patient but consistent.
Do not reward unfinished tasks

Challenge the child
Have the child do the assignments that are the most difficult first and leave the easier ones to later. Call it the dessert principle.
Don’t be overprotective. Students who have parents that frequently intercede in their child’s education are teaching that student that the parent does not respect their abilitites. If you do call a teacher make sure you are seeking a positive outcome. Remember that most teachers have dealt with numerous slow learners and have a vast amount of experience. However, sharing your child’s strengths and weaknesses could make the school year more beneficial for all concerned.
Contact the teacher if there is a concern. Calling an administrator solves nothing as the teacher is the sole legal judge of academic success.
Take you child to exciting places where they can see where academic success
is important. A trip to a local university or community college, a walking tour
of city hall, a visit to the fire station or a behind the scenes tour of a zoo are
highly motivating.
Examples of interventions for slow learners
Environment: Reduce distractions, change seating to promote attentiveness, have a peer student teacher, and allow more breaks.
Assignments: Shorter and with more variation, repeat work in various forms, have a contract, give more hands on work, have assignments copied by student, have students use three transfer method where they have to show the work three different ways.
Assessment: Shorter tests, oral testing, redoing tests, short feedback times, don’t make students compete
What to avoid: Cooperative learning that isolates the student and places him or her in a no win situation. Using a standardized test. Ignoring the problem.
What to encourage: Grouping with a patient partner. Learning about the child’s interests. Placing the student in charge. Mapping, graphic organizers, and hands-on work. Using Bloom’s taxonomy of tasks to make the assignments more appropriate.
Resources for slow learners
Slow learners greatly benefit from yoga
It is always important for students to get proper nutrition and exercise. This article may be of interest in that Yoga calms the mind and body.
http://www.yogavistas.com/resources/howyogacalms.html

Autism-PDD Resources
This site offers information on treatment and, even the law, with a parent guide. Quite complete.
http://www.autism-pdd.net/

Kentucky Department of Education’s Behavior Site
Intervention ideas, jobs, and a forum. When a slow learner is frustrated they can become behavior problems. Here are some resources that provide suggestions to cope with this problem.
http://www.state.ky.us/agencies/behave/bi/bi.html

LD OnLine: Learning
Disabilities Information and Resources
http://www.ldonline.org/

AND
http://www.teachingld.org/

National Center for Learning Disabilities
http://www.ncld.org/
The Council for Exceptional Children
This large database has most everything from a job bank to resources. Start here.
http://www.cec.sped.org/
Disability Accommodations
Strategies for varied disabilities, including speech, hearing, behavior, ADD and learning
disabilities.

KidSource: Disabilities
A large link site with ratings of those that are the most helpful.
http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/pages/dis.physical.html

Resources for Early Childhood Special Education
http://www.isbe.net/earlychi/html/ec_speced_intervention.htm
AND
http://www.dec-sped.org/

Very ValuableSpecial Education Resources on the Internet
http://seriweb.com/

Misunderstood Kids Outside the Box
Special education articles, resources,
news, and other features.
http://adhd.kids.tripod.com/

Email discussion groups
A little difficult to follow
http://special.edschool.virginia.edu/resources/spedlists.html

Special Needs Opportunity Windows
SNOW is made specifically for special education teachers, this site
offers discussion, bulletin boards, a listserv, events and resources.
http://specialneedsproject.ca/resources/links-directory/275-special-needs-opportunity-windows-snow.html

The law and special education
http://www.wrightslaw.com/

Technology Resources and Special Education
http://dmoz.org/Computers/Software/Educational/Special_Education/

Special Education Award
There are several. Here are just a couple/
https://www.naset.org/specialeducationteac.0.html
https://www.cec.sped.org/About-Us/CEC-Award-Programs

Alan Haskvitz has been selected as one of the best teachers in the United States by six different educational organizations. He has earned over 30 awards for his innovative teaching and has been featured on national radio and television numerous times as well as featured in books on improving education. His students have done extremely well winning major competitions in nearly every curriculum area. Haskvitz has taught at every grade level and every core subject in his nearly 45 years as an educator.