Blogs on Primary (K-2)

Blogs on Primary (K-2)RSS
Mark NicholNovember 14, 2007

What does it take to ensure that new teachers have a fair shake at succeeding? Perhaps my experience is instructive.

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Ken MessersmithAugust 17, 2007

My two favorite times of the academic year are the beginning and the ending, and one of the best things about working in education is that we get all summer to recharge. As I gear up to start a new school year, I've been thinking quite a bit about beginnings.

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Diane Demee-BenoitMay 16, 2007

Year after year, we debate numerous reforms to improve our educational system. Yet we are continually hampered by the conventions of our thinking about -- well, everything. We fall into the same old trap of tinkering around the margins and trying to reform an education system with an ever-increasing number of policies, programs, and regulations piled on top of each other. Even the words we use to talk about improving schools -- school reform -- seem worn and out-of-date.

Last week, a friend and adviser reminded me that the words I often use -- reinventing schools -- still ties us to a system that many say is broken. But here's the real clincher: What we have is not a broken system; it's an obsolete system. When something is obsolete, you develop something new, something better. You use what you've learned from the old, but you don't allow yourself to try to piece together something shattered beyond repair.

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Learning Around the Clock

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If we dared to change our frame of reference so that the "school" we all know and many of us work in disappeared tomorrow and we awoke to find a brand-new system of learning -- a web of integrated learning experiences -- what would that educational system look like? If we designed what the recent report "A New Day for Learning" implores that we design, would we hold to our deep-seated belief that learning takes place only when children are put in a room and learning is guided by a system that often operates in a silo?

Would we break the mold and build a robust twenty-first-century learning system, or would we continue our attempts to reform an educational system designed for a simpler age? Would we still have a school bell that signifies that learning ends at a designated hour?

What do you think?

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Jim MoultonMay 16, 2007

Last summer, during a conference session I was doing in Tennessee, we were discussing those kids who come into schools without book sense -- five-year-olds who, sadly, don't know how to operate a book. A participant spoke up and said, "Jim, I'm a kindergarten teacher, and I'm getting worried about the number of kids coming into my classroom who don't know how scissors work."

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Chris O'NealApril 19, 2007

This past year, I've been working with school districts and schools in many places, and it's been such a great learning experience as I've had the opportunity to see teachers everywhere doing incredible things, sometimes in spite of very tough testing schedules, complex accountability guidelines, and rigid pacing guides.

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Patsy LanclosSeptember 12, 2006

It may seem obvious, but one of the things I need to cover at my technology-training workshops is the basic what, why, and how of keyboarding.

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Sandy MittelsteadtMay 30, 2006

Moderator's note: The post below is in response to the following email we received:

"I am a teacher in a high school special ed program. It is often hard to find materials for my students. I need ones that are written to a population of readers in grades 2-4, but for teenagers. I have previously used the books Charlotte's Web and Holes. The problem is that I need discussion references for this grade level 9-12. I am trying to set up a curriculum for next year with reading in world, American, and English literature that is written low, but has enough to keep the interest of my students and is available on audio. Can anyone help with suggestions, but please remember I have very little money for class sets and I will probably be the one buying some of the books. Thank you."

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Peggy BentonApril 21, 2006

The first time I saw Ken Burns's documentary series The Civil War, I was captivated. He used old photos and personal letters to bring this part of our history to life and touch our hearts while we learned. Storytelling has been a form of communicating throughout the history of humanity and was a way to educate the younger generations.

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Diane Demee-BenoitApril 17, 2006

I admit it: Math was not my favorite subject in school. What was? Science. Why? Because I love animals.

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