Sunday, October 30, 2005


Think about 8th grade.... this is the kind of test they had to pass in 1895:

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes) - 8th Grade
  1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
  2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
  3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
  4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
  5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
  6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
  7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
  8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865?

What do you think if you had to take such a test? How would you do? If you have or are teaching kids, how would they do - no matter what grade they are in?

Check out the test on other subjects at Grandfather Education Report.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


I got this link courtesy of my niece in Bolivia – it got me thinking… not all appears as is – does it?
How about using this as an “into” for presenting and introducing the interpretation of historical primary sources? The need to be careful how to interpret evidence… What do you think – or better yet, what do you see? Pink balls?
Check the link and really find out:


It was ironic that I was visiting a Vista High School US History class being taught exclusively in Spanish. After class I picked up the North County Times which carried this editorial headline:

If I understand this correctly, classes such as the one I was observing next year will be history (no pun intended). The emphasis will be English immersion. Good or Bad? Depends who you ask – it is a red-hot debate, it is sacred ground – it is a solipsistic issue with two disputing bands of professionals as its core – each with their own special pedagogical and political interests at heart.

In 1998 California passed Proposition 227 which did away with bilingual education. It is now 2005 – so what does this mean to teachers; to me? It means we have to be much more cognitive of what English Language Learners (ELL) students truly require – in theory and practice. We must be much more pro-active and sensitive to assess literacy levels and work to scaffold the students to be successful in the classes we teach all the while insuring that not only ELL students progress but that all students have the same support to excel in school. A challenge – you bet! Doable? No doubt.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Having sat through so many classes in the last few years a the university level and having likewise participated in many hours of observations at middle school, and high school – I am amazed at how bad the ergonomics and equipment facilities are in our classrooms. If you take a cursory look at what the Corporate world does for their people to insure productivity and good will – it is amazing what the schools are lacking.

If these facilities are available for knowledge workers – what about for classrooms designed to serve teachers and students where they need flexible configurations, group work and an attractive ambiance. Dreaming?

Well actually I was not disappointed to find out that there is such an animal! At least it exists – which I find encouraging….. don't you? Here are some pictures and a link in case you are interested.

Check it out at:

Now how do we get these into our classrooms?

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Well, a new strategy to be used in teaching is the Found Poem. It is an interesting concept... you take significant words or phrases from any text and arrange them to give them a new meaning. Why? Well it allows students to think abou the words or phrases, it allows them to manipulate text, meaning, and hopefully increase understanding while having fun with words.

The one listed in Wikippedia as many people attributed the speeches of Donal Rumsfeld as found poetry - this is worth noting: :)

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

Donald Rumsfeld, Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing
Checkout the Wikipedia link!


Sometimes – assignments lead to gold strikes!

As we struggle in our literacy class to understand the complexities of teaching literacy in addition to learning the taste of a new alphabet soup: QAR, SQ3R, SQ4R, SQRQCQ, CARI, etc. it is nice to stumble on a rich discovery.

Muskingum University has a web site called “Center for Advanced Learning” that has a Learning Strategies Database. Precious!

The data base gives a comprehensive list of strategies for students, parents, teachers, and High School counselors covering a multitude of topics with absolutely great and detailed stragegies that can be followed. For example, note taking, information organization, reading and memory strategies, test preparation and test taking strategies, very impressive. Click on the image below to explore:

This link came from another great web site called: Literacy Matters - looks like another gold mine to explore!

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Well I had an interesting exchange with a British colleague I wanted to share... I sent her an e-mail that read:

I was referring to have her check some links in relation to our project. Well – you know about words – she responded with:

Her response tickled me and I realized that she probably was not too familiar with the term: “Take a gander.” But her response was funny – typically British! In any case I sent her this link which helped enlighten us both:

Her response after checking it out, was:

Curious? Check it out - go on, take a gander!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Multiple intelligences in action! Look at these bright students as they assemble a paper geodesic dome - and learn: history, geometry, math, architecture, material strength, structural strength etc. Great practical examples for our future engineers, historians, and doctors! Courtesy of Lewisville High School. This is an example of great teaching!