Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Carnival Of Education: Week 97

Welcome to the 97th edition of The Carnival Of Education! We are delighted that the Midway has returned home after a short road trip.

This week's collection of exhibits from around the EduSphere represents a very wide variety of political and educational viewpoints. Unless clearly labeled otherwise, all entries were submitted by the writers themselves.

Special Announcement: Voting continues in this year's Weblog Awards. Readers may vote for their favorite (nominated) EduBlog once every 24 hours by clicking here.

If you have a website and are interested in hosting an edition of The Carnival Of Education, please let us know via this email address: edwonk [at] educationwonks [dot] org.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about last week's midway over at History is Elementary. As always, links are much appreciated and trackbacks are adored. Visit the Carnival's archives here and see our latest EduPosts there.

Next Week's Carnival midway will be hosted by Carol over at The Median Sib. Writers are invited to send contributions to: carol [at] the mediansib [dot] com , or use this handy submission form. Carol should receive them no later than 6:00 PM (Eastern) 3:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, December 19th. Please include the title of your post, and its URL, if possible. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway should open next Wednesday morning.

Let the free exchange of thoughts and ideas begin!


Same-sex classrooms have become very fashionable lately. But we were taken aback when we read that the principal of Janet's K-4 primary school was thinking about
separating the sexes in the fourth grade! (Title of the post: "Boys Go To Jupiter, Girls Go To Mars.")

The debate over next year's re-authorization of the federal No Child Left Behind Act promises to be hot-and-heavy. Alexander Russo's This Week in Education
is covering the war's discussion's first stirrings over in the now Democratic-controlled House Education Committee.

We were left shaking our heads when we read this entry from Joanne Jacobs about the Massachusetts high school that has
stopped publishing the names of students who've made the Honor Roll. (Be sure to check out the principal's sorry excuse rationalization for halting this popular and time-honored practice.)

Hey! Here's a great idea whose time has finally come 'round at last: pay teachers for good lesson plans! But before we begin saving our nickels and dimes for that new Range Rover, it may be a good idea to take a look at
this reality check from What It's Like on the Inside.

We earnestly believe that schools should be a "safe haven" for our students. Nevertheless, we were saddened
when we learned of one district having to put armed police in its middle schools, The problem was pithily put into words by a school board member when she said, "Police bring a certain authority to the school that neither teachers or principals have." (Heh. Maybe the problem can be fixed by fixing a few board members...)

There was quite a bit of buzz in the EduSphere recently over two New Jersey students who were protesting their school's uniform policy by wearing buttons that equated the policy with the "Hitler Youth." Rhymes With Right
takes a look at the issues involved.

The Poor, Starving, College Student
links to, and comments on, a couple of MSM articles detailing the University of Rhode Island's efforts to revamp the delivery of science instruction to that state's public school students.

Humbly submitted for your consideration is our entry, which posits that even in a post-NCLB world, there should be room in our students' day for the study the Arts and Humanities.

Teaching and Learning:

In the debate over whether or not the teaching of penmanship is still relevant in the 21st century, count us among those who enthusiastically vote "yes." Having said that, take a look at D-Ed Reckoning's
original method for the teaching this rapidly-disappearing skill. (Ed's note: No innocent puppets were hurt in the making of this submission...)

Here's an interesting entry from The Online Education Database whose title says it all:
77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better. An engaging (and meaty) read for parents, teachers, and students.

How do we keep Gifted Children interested in the learning process? That's not always an easy question to answer but Wells on Education
has a suggestion.

Can a number be divided by zero? Phil for Humanity says that one can indeed divide a number by zero and dares anyone to
prove him wrong!

I clearly recall when my best friend, who fell victim to Lou Gehrigs Disease, was "hammered" by State authorities some ten years ago for teaching grammar rules to our junior high's G.A.T.E. students. And even though times have changed considerably since then, N.Y.C. Educator
brings to our attention the fact that some still think that the teaching of grammar in public schools is outdated, outmoded, and... should be... outlawed.

Edspresso's Super Secret Spy Operative "John Dewey" sends us
the latest dispatch from the Math Front in the war that's being waged in Teacher Ed. Schools between partisans of Constructivism and those who support More Traditional Teaching Methods.

One of the biggest everyday challenges we practicing classroom teachers face is that of successfully "engaging" students in the learning process. On the other hand, an often-heard complaint of students is that much of what is learned has no "real world" application. Over at Going to the Mat, we see
that it is possible for even mathematical models and economic theories to be used in both the "un-real" world of Hollywood and the very real world of Freakonomics.

From the Classroom:

IB a Math Teacher publishes over at 3σ → Left. IB has sent us a submission that will resonate with just about any public school teacher who has spent any significant time whatsoever in front of the chalkboard and
dealt with parents and their demands for Special Treatment.

What would you do if a child came to you in confidence, said she was pregnant, thought she might be miscarrying, but the mom didn't know about the situation?
Find out what Ms. Cornelius of A Shrewdness of Apes did and have your heartstrings pulled at the same time.

Substitute teacher KauaiMark
reminds us about the importance leaving good lesson plans and warning us of possible double entendres in what is handed-out to students....

A reader has pointed us to a site written by a teacher working in Canada's Yukon Territory. Average Mom has written a lovely reminder about
how good teaching should be.

Editor's Choice: Check out this
selection of student-written letters that the Median Sib's elementary school are sending to our soldiers, sailors, and airmen in Iraq.

Over at Right on the Left Coast, Darren
reminds us of how high school rallies have changed over the years. This is a sample:
Here's something that happened at a rally when I was in high school. There's no way it could happen today--heads would roll, jobs would be lost, lawsuits would be filed. However, it was considered so harmless and entertaining that pictures of it were published in either our yearbook or our school newspaper (I think it was the yearbook).

A couple of male and female A-listers (sportos, cheerleaders, student council types) were called to the front of the rally for a kissing contest. The girls were blindfolded, and they had to try to figure out which sporto was kissing them. At the last moment, however, after they'd been blindfolded, the sportos were secreted away and replaced by our two male counselors--at the time probably in their 50s. It was they who ended up kissing the girls, and we roared in laughter. You should have seen the looks on the girls' faces after they'd guessed with sporto had kissed them, removed their blindfolds, and saw who it really was! The gym could have collapsed from the cheering and laughing.
California teacher Chanman is supervising a student teacher this semester. The beginning teacher has already discovered that when it comes to student discipline, the reality is a whole lot different than the theoretical.

Teachers Unions and Collective Bargaining:

The American Federation of Teachers' NCLBlog
is asking for readers to consider making a contribution to a scholarship fund that has been established in memory of Ohio's Tom Mooney. Mr. Mooney was President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers and was noted for his tireless work in the cause of his union and its membership.

Mamacita of Scheiss Weekly paid dues to the teachers union for some 20 years and now gives her
candid opinion regarding the action, inaction, and incompetent leadership that is exhibited all too many local union functionaries. (Disc. We teach in California, where our NEA-affiliated state and local will take over $900.00 each and every year, whether one wishes to belong to the union or not.)

School Governance:

Is there ever a circumstance when students who peacefully express controversial opinions while off campus can be held accountable by school authorities? This entry from Scott Elliott's Get on the Bus raises
all kinds of issues regarding students and their Constitutional right to the free expression of thoughts and ideas.

After reading
this contribution from ms_teacher, I was reminded just how quickly many of those teachers who are co-opted "promoted" into the ranks of school administrators forget where they came from.... (Not a problem in our district, where only about 10% of newly-minted administrators are promoted from within the ranks of the district's teachers. The hiring of outsiders is both routine and expected...)

My goodness! Over in Chicago, some high-level EduCrats are actually
mandating that high school students participate in an essay contest about.... how to close the standardized testing "Achievement Gap." (You can't make this stuff up...)

As revealed by
this entry from I Thought a Think, Seattle's John Marshall High School is in need of some serious restructuring and head-rolling. (Maybe U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings could drop-in for a little visit and show 'em how it is done.)

Would you believe that there is a Texas principal out there who developed a PLAN to remedy poor test scores in... math. That same principal then berated her staff's "unprofessionalism"... but "forgot" to inform her "unprofessional" staff that their school had received a Gold Performance Acknowledgement from the state in... math?
Believe it!

International Viewpoints:

The Indian bloggers over at Babblogue show us that in India, as in America, there's often
a great deal of difference between the school that we'd like our children to attend and the one that our children are likely to attend.

The Secret Lives of Teachers:

After opening a package containing some items that included a large bone with some meat still attached, one teacher learned
a valuable lesson: one should be very careful when sending notes to one's Secret Santa....

Who says that all school-related business trips are forgettable? Next week's midway host The Median Sib went down to Memphis and had an
unforgettable experience. Key vocabulary needed: Johnny Cash, Jerry Springer, Eric Clapton, and... manhandling.


What would you do if your youngster seemed OK but didn't display much interest in any one thing in particular? This in spite of your best efforts to spark his or her interests in everything from chess to carpentry? As one might expect, the outcome for one parent was as unexpected as it was unpredictable.

Editor's Choice: Sadly, our friend Spunkyhomeschool has made the decision to put her always-engaging weblog on hiatus and move on to new and different things. Consider going over to Spunky's place and asking her to reconsider.

Inside the Blogs:

Whether inside corporate America or Someplace Else out there, "lifetime" employment isn't what it used to be.
This week's submission from George Orwell Dr. Homeslice gave us the "chills."

At Trivium Pursuit, they're giving us a lesson in debating terms. By cleverly using a snippet of dialogue between the Wizard of Oz's Dorothy and the Scarecrow,
we learn all about equivocation.

From the Collegiate Way, we have this
well-timed entry about the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols that is held every year on Christmas Eve in the chapel of King’s College at Cambridge University.

And finally: This, like most of our journeys around the EduSphere, has been both enjoyable and informative. Our continued thanks to all the contributors whose submissions make the midway's continuing success possible, the folks who find the time to help spread the word, and the readers who continue to make it rewarding
This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival roundup. See our latest EduPosts here, and the complete Carnival archives over there.