Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Carnival Of Education: Week 94

Welcome to the 94th edition of The Carnival Of Education! We are delighted that the Midway has returned home.

This week's collection of exhibits from around the EduSphere represents a very wide variety of political and educational viewpoints.

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 What It's Like on the Inside. Links are much appreciated and never-to-be-forgotten. Visit the Carnival's archives here and see our latest EduPosts there.

Next Week's Carnival midway will be hosted by Dan over at A History Teacher. Please send contributions to: danmcdowell [at] gmail [dot] com , or use this handy submission form. History Teacher should receive them no later than 8:00 PM (Eastern) 5:00 PM (Pacific) Tuesday, November 28th. 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!


In a submission that's sure to provoke thought and fierce debate, The Voltage Gate considers methods that may be employed
in order to introduce Darwin's Theory of Evolution to students at the elementary level.

Next week's Carnival host A History Teacher asks
a great question: In our rush to fulfill the mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, are teachers leaving Great Lessons behind as well?

Joanne Jacobs
has the news that EduDonors are looking to increase their support of community colleges. But so far, performance hasn't matched expectations when it comes to the percentage of community college students who are able to transfer to four-year schools in order to earn an advanced degree. What can be done to improve the C.C.s effectiveness?

The victory of the Democrats in the recent Congressional elections continues to be the source of much navel-gazing across the political spectrum. It will also soon begin to influence EduPolicy. Alexander Russo's This Week in Education
has the scoop on the makeup of the Senate's Education Committee, which features three of the heaviest hitters of the Political Left.

Closing campuses is almost always controversial. But The Essential Blog, which is the EduSphere voice of The Coalition of Essential Schools, wonders why the City of New York
wants to close six of it's more successful schools... On a related note, check-out NYC Educator's "transcript" of a recent press conference by New York City's mayor Michael Bloomberg as he "explains" the need to close some of that city's schools.

Adrian Fenty, the newly-elected mayor of Washington D.C,
has already run amok into multiple EduControversies. Among the bones of contention: mayoral power-grab control and accountability for D.C.'s public schools.

The title of this entry by Friends of Dave says it all:
Talking Alone Won't Close Achievement Gaps.

In Texas, it appears as though the powers-that-be are about to require that high school students take more math and science in order to graduate. Presumably, it's to increase the percentage of students who pass that state's "high stakes" test. But, as is so often the case in the EduWorld,
appearances can be deceiving....

Public education in Texas is the subject yet again in this entry from District 299 that illustrates some of the "creative" techniques that are used in order to
exempt students from that state's testing requirements.

Humbly submitted for your consideration is
our entry, which is about school districts that have money to spend but no students to teach.

From The Classroom:

I don't think that there is a teacher out there who hasn't had a kid come up to him or her and ask, "How can I improve my grade?" Ms. Cornelius of A Shrewdness of Apes
gives us the skinny on what students should and should not ask of their teachers.

As Israeli teacher Muse
demonstrates, American teachers aren't the only educators who've had to deal with cell phones in the classroom.

Teaching in the Twenty-First Century
lets us take a peek inside the classroom during a high school history lesson. Even though the topic of the lesson may have been the presidential election of 1800, the methods used to debate and discuss the event were thoroughly modern.

3σ → Left has the latest in
a long-line of excuses offered by irresponsible parents who only hurt their kids by rationalizing the irrational.

Teaching and Learning:

Would it be logical to teach logic to second graders? We think that it would, and so does Ken DeRosa's D-Ed Reckoning, who shows us
one logical technique.

What role should student projects play in a child's overall school experience? This
highly readable entry from What It's Like on the Inside sure gives both parents and teachers some meaty food for thought.

As one might guess from the name of the site, Text Savvy is very concerned about the effectiveness of student texts. In a
recent entry, Savvy cautions textbook writers and users about making the learning path for students too "trouble free" does not increase readers' recall of the material. (Some may need to scroll down in order to view the post.)

Here's a cute poem that'll
help students of all ages remember how to divide fractions.

Anyone who has ever spent any time at all in the classroom already know that children are
a lot more perceptive than many adults think.

The Secret Lives of Teachers:

Prepare to have your heart stings pulled. Then read
this gripping post by Mamacita of Scheiss Weekly. Next, read that post. (Background: Melpomene was the Greek Muse of Tragedy.) Take a look at this sample:
In schools, there have always been tornado drills. As with the fire drills, intruder drills, atomic attack drills (put your history book in front of your face and get under your desk and you’ll be all right), tornado drills have become a joke with many students. Whenever the alarm for any kind of drill sounded, the teacher had to grab his/her gradebook and march the students to wherever they were supposed to go, depending on what kind of drill it was, that day. Sometimes the firemen grabbed a student and hid him, to see if the teacher was really keeping track of who was there and who wasn’t.

Tornado drills sent our students out into the halls, to get down on their elbows and knees, heads against the lockers, hands clasped on the backs of their heads, asses raised high. The teachers’ job was to keep the giggling down and to keep the students from raising their heads and getting a good look at this admittedly giggle-inducing sight. Oh, and to stand between the huge plate-glass window and the students.

As a teacher, I must confess that I never took tornado drills very seriously. My mindset was as juvenile as any 8th grader’s mindset: tornadoes occurred far away, and affected strangers. We read about them in the paper the next day, felt sorry for the people, and the Beta club sent shoeboxes of stuff to the Red Cross in that area. Far away. Strangers. Asses in the air. A long, long row of multi-sized asses raised high in the air and wiggling. It was hilarious.

One day, in 1991, my entire attitude changed.

All that day at school, the weather outside had been strange. It alternated between pouring rain, blinding sunshine, a little hail, and some more rain. Springtime hail is a bad, bad sign, by the way. The sky was streaked with black and white and red, and the very air seemed orange. We had a tornado drill, just to remind us all that it was spring in southern Indiana, and the weather outside was frightful, and to be inside was so delightful...
With all the hubbub of Thanksgiving now in full swing, Carol of The Median Sib gives us a good reminder of why it is exactly that YOUNG women are the ones who are best suited to have babies and keep up with 'em. (Disc. We think that "young" is a relative term that depends on when, where, and with WHO...)

Mister Teacher has an idea that we wish that we had thought of: A teacher's
top-ten listing of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

International Viewpoints:

It was surprising to learn that in Canada, the
costs of a college education are as nearly out-of-control as they are for us down here in the states.

There has been much debate recently over students wearing uniforms in public schools. Over in England, where just about every student wears some sort of uniform, the Britishers blogging over at The Sharpener take
a surprising viewpoint.


Trivium Pursuit
comments on and links to an effort to break a world record for the number of people reading aloud the same passage at the same time in multiple locations. (Disc. The effort seems to be related to the release of the upcoming movie based upon Charlotte's Web.)

Higher Education:

What's to be done when a university cancels a course and is slow about returning the money? Parent Joh
is learning all about how slow the EduCracy can move when it comes to cash.

The Collegiate Way
is announcing that there is a new take on those electronic "book recommenders." It's called the "book UnSuggester."

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 posts here, yesterday's Extra Credit Reading here, and the complete Carnival archives over there.