Bonding With Your Child's Teacher

Wishes And Dreams

When parents have children, they have many hopes and dreams invested in their children. They expect perfectly well-behaved children who never embarrass the adults or themselves. They expect their children to do well in school and have lots of "perfect" friends. They expect their children to grow up to be model adults in the community, to achieve great things and bring them joy and happiness in their old age. It was a nice dream that exploded when the child first cried in a public setting or loudly proclaimed his/her independence with the word (usually screamed) "NO!"

It may come as a surprise to parents, but teachers entered education with essentially the same expectations of children in his/her class: quiet, cooperative, compliant children who are ready and eager to learn from the teacher. The children will learn quickly and easily and have no difficulties with the teacher or with each other. That illusion is usually shattered during student teaching, but dreams linger on.

Forming The Bond With Your Child's Teacher

The bond between parent and child is formed on a daily basis, just as it is between the child and the teacher and the parent and the teacher. No matter what age/grade the child is in, the process of building the bond is the same: communications (accurate and frequent) shared between the teacher and the parent(s).

Of course there are some basic rules:

· The communications are best done by email, notes in a special notebook (spiral bound), or in person at the end of the day, because the mornings are when teachers are getting set up for the day.

· Please, parents, NEVER go to the classroom for a chat because you want company, attention, or a place to spend time! Teachers are VERY busy ALL day long and preparation time and organization are critical to the running of a classroom.

· If you really want to build a bond with the teacher, volunteer to help with copying, making bulletin boards, even working with students as a mentor (reading, math or writing).

· Be supportive of the teacher, regardless of what the child says. (Check it out with the teacher about what happened before blaming the teacher or another student - children frequently leave out critical information about their responsibility in certain actions/events).

· When you have a concern, talk with the teacher before going to the administrator. Going to the administrator is actually an adult form of tattling, but you may not understand the complete picture and could cause a lot of unnecessary problems and/or work.

· When a child is absent, collect the missing work and supervise its completion. Sometimes it won't make a difference, but some subjects (especially math at higher levels) depend on each incremental skill taught daily.

· Hold your child accountable and responsible for his/her learning, homework, behavior and grades. Do not make excuses for your child and throw responsibility back on the teacher.

Jennifer Little, Ph.D.

All children can succeed in school. Parents can help their children by teaching the foundational skills that schools presume children have. Without the foundation for schools' academic instruction, children needlessly struggle and/or fail. Their future becomes affected because they then believe they are less than others, not able to succeed or achieve or provide for themselves or their families. Visit http://parentsteachkids.com to learn how to directly help your child and http://easyschoolsuccess.com to learn what is needed for education reform efforts to be successful.

Student Accountability in the American Classroom

It is noisy out there. The debate over how we can improve the American education system has become a screaming match over the last few years. The focus has been on teacher- accountability and how to manipulate the teacher in order to raise Johnny's test score. I believe that we have missed the point. There has been much beating of chests and gnashing of teeth over the issue. Schools have closed, teachers fired, and all kinds of crazy programs put in place in an attempt to fix the problem. However, we have overlooked one very important player - Johnny himself.

In our quest for better schools, better curriculum, higher test scores, and better graduation rates, we have overlooked the most important component in the mix - the student. He has to have more skin in the game. We teachers are so busy working ourselves to death, crunching numbers, and wringing our hands that we have forgotten one important fact. The student, not the teacher, takes the test and earns the score. We have definitely left Johnny off the hook in the last decade as we twist ourselves like contortionists to get the test scores up. It reminds me of the children's story "The Emperor's New Clothes." Just like the brave child who finally spoke up and said aloud that the Emperor is naked, we must admit that it is time for the student to pony-up in the accountability game.

We need to re-focus our efforts on student accountability. That does not mean I take my job and my own accountability lightly. It just means that without the full involvement and cooperation of the student, no one succeeds. As test scores have become more and more important, we have expected less and less of the student. Instead, we have blamed the teacher for poor student performance. Now we need to focus a serious effort on helping that student take charge and take personal responsibility for his own education and ultimately his own future. It does not start in Washington D.C., or in the state department of education, or in the state legislature. It begins inside the individual classroom. This is where successful teachers change lives one classroom at a time.

Every student has the right to feel safe and comfortable in the classroom setting, regardless of ethnicity, ability, etc. This includes the stinkers as well as the achievers. The teacher has to have a well-thought-out behavior plan that is fair and equitable to all. My plan begins with telling my classes what they can expect of me. It sometimes surprises them. I also tell them that if they see me slipping at my job and not holding up my end of the bargain, they can call me on it. That is all part of our mutual accountability to each other.

Classroom safety and equitability is overseen by the teacher, but is created by the members of the class through a common set of rules and guiding principles. I sum them up in one sentence: "We will be ready, responsible, and respectful to everyone at all times." Ready - we are prepared to do the work every day. Responsible - we are a community of young adults who take personal responsibility for our own education and actions. Respectful - we respect each other and ourselves and do everything that we can to protect and promote the well-being of our community.

Once we establish this common ground, we can get to the business of guiding our students to become accountable for their own behavior, their own education, and ultimately their own lives.

Jenny Ellis has over 20 years teaching experience in the Florida school system. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has been a Florida finalist three times for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching.
Visit her at http://fearlessteacher.com

The Different Stages of Reading

In English we translate sounds into letters when going from a spoken message to a written one. Reading is looking at letters and translating them back into spoken sounds. Picture someone reading out loud. Sound really easy? You might be surprised at how common sense the 4 basic stages of reading progress are from here.

Saying the Sounds

The first stage in reading is to get all the sounds that you will be using ready to go. There are 46 sounds that are specifically English. A child getting ready to read has to have these 46 sounds on the tip of their tongue. It's okay if some sounds are still under construction. For instance, there is a lisp that is being worked on. If on the other hand, a child uses one sound for both "f'" and "v", or switches "y" and "l" sounds then they need more practice in pronunciation.

Recognizing Letters

Next, a preparing reader needs to recognize that all the funny lines and curves on a written page are individual letters. Details like knowing double "t" is still two letters and not one, or "m" is different from "n" are critical and need to be mastered. Not to be overlooked, beginners need to know that marks like "!" and numbers are not letters. You don't want them trying to sound these out down the road.

What shall we name the letters? Experts are split on teaching just letter shapes and sounds or letter names as well. If you use letter names, like I do, then readers learn them first in order and then mixed up. Skipping letter names works with structured or scripted lessons.

Sound Letter Connection - Ideas Stage

Now that sounds and letters are in place, the next step is to connect the two in general terms. At first, your child just understands that letters stand for sounds. This means when you read a story book they know you are reading the letters and not the pictures (and not making it up as you go along). Later, a child can hear, and tell you the first, last and middle sounds in a word.

Connecting Specific Sounds to Letters

Now for the grand finale! Connect specific letters to specific sounds and blend them. There are 71 letters or groups of letters used in English. Each one of these has one or more sounds that goes with it, depending on the reading program used. Readers learn the sounds the letters make. These sounds are then blended.

These are the basic reading stages. They are not difficult. I think most parents are really satisfied when they know them because they make measuring a child's progress a relaxed observation. They also allow you to consider a reading program with more experienced eyes. That's a big deal in a world full of hype.

We were parents encouraging our children to become flourishing readers, just like you. Then we hit a point when nothing we found worked. We took 6 years developing a new reading system to teach our kids to read. To our great surprise and gratitude it was a phonics breakthrough.

Read about our story and how it led to the fastest, easiest, most complete phonics book available today at http://www.new-phonics-tools.com, and http://www.new-phonics-tools.com/phonics-book.html

Why Tutoring Can Improve a Child's Success

It would be difficult to find anybody that would argue that getting a good education is important. We make sure that our children get that education on a yearly basis all the way from kindergarten through high school. We may even follow through with that education by providing them with the best college courses that are open to us as well. Of course, there are many times when the little bit of extra attention is necessary, and this can be done by getting a tutor to help your child. Aside from the fact that they are going to get better grades, overall, there are other benefits to using a tutor that you may want to consider as well.

One of the problems that many parents have with the educational process is the fact that the teachers are so overwhelmed with busy classrooms. It is likely that those who have a need for help are going to be those that receive the most attention. Although that does not necessarily seem backward, it does leave those that are not necessarily looking for additional help to be self-taught, to a large extent. When you have a tutor available, they are going to help your child to focus, and the entire focus of the teaching is going to be on your child at the same time.

Another benefit of hiring a tutor is the fact that you can get specific help for your child. For example, consider the possibility that your child is doing fine with math and other classes but they may be lacking to a certain extent with their reading. It is possible for you to get a reading tutor that can assist them in pushing forward in that subject. Not only does it show benefit for most children who have such a specific personal teacher, it often helps them to improve by at least one grade level over the course of the summer.

If your child is also taking part in many extracurricular activities, hiring a tutor can also be beneficial because of the flexibility that is available. One option that you may want to consider if your child is very busy is hiring an online tutor that can assist him or her with their education. The Internet provides an easy way for the tutors to interact with the children, and in some cases, it will be as if they were sitting in the same room with those children. The benefit of using an online tutor is that the classes can be rescheduled very quickly, just in case something unexpected happens to come up in your life.

There are many options that are open to parents and children alike when it comes to hiring a tutor. By helping to improve the child's education, you can assist them through their entire life, not only in the careers that are open to them but also by providing them with additional self-esteem. Be sure that you set up an appointment to speak to a tutor about what they can do for you and your child, as you might be surprised with the options that are open to you.

As a longtime educator, the author of this article knows about a child's educational development. Some kids need more help and in early subjects like reading, finding a reading tutor can help tremendously. Now, online tutoring is becoming very popular among parents and their children.

Interactive Field Trips

Do you remember going on field trips when you were a kid? I sure do. Anything that got me out of the classroom and into the real world scored big points with me. Back when I was in schonl (the dark ages!), field trip locations fell into two categories: museums or businesses. For example, we went to the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles one year and on a tour of a bakery another. I remember being shuffled around in a large group from display to display. Unless you were at the front of the pack, you couldn't hear what the tour guide was telling you, and you'd lose interest.

While I'm sure school groups still go to museums and take tours of local businesses, many teachers are looking for something more interactive for their students. Something that will be both educational, engaging and, dare I say, fun.

One teacher, Rene Vela, from Culver City, California, was looking for this exact combination of educational, engaging and fun, when he discovered an urban scavenger hunt tour in downtown Dallas. Vela was taking a group of students to Texas for the Student Television Network (STN) conference. He wanted something fun and educational and interactive for his students to do during one of their free periods. He found a scavenger hunt that was guided from a smart phone.

Scavenger hunts have gained in popularity every since shows like the Amazing Race have brought them to national attention. Many museums, historic areas and art walks have started to incorporate some type of scavenger hunt into their offerings. Teachers can search the Internet for scavenger hunt tours or contact the museum of their choice and ask what type of interactive game or scavenger hunt they have for school children.

The Dallas scavenger hunt game was a 2.3 mile walking tour leading students through Dallas's downtown historic district and among historic monuments, pass great works of art and to the site of a national tragedy. (Can you guess where that was?) Students had to solve challenges and complete puzzles in order to receive another clue that would lead them to their next location. The game itself kept track of the score and time, fostering a spirit of competition between teams.

Because clues can run the gamut from math puzzles to word searches, from cyphers to word scrambles to picture puzzles, a variety of thinking processes are used. With a team of 4 to 5 students, the odds are good that there will be one person on a team who will have the skills or knowledge to figure out the puzzle. The puzzles also encourage cooperative thinking where two, three and four heads are better than one.

"My class had an absolute blast in completing the scavenger hunt in Dallas, Texas. We got to see interesting things in the Downtown Dallas area that we would have never seen if not for the Quest. My students said it was one of the most fun things we did on our trip," said Kevin Matsunaga, teacher, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, Lihue, Hawaii.

This type of interactive learning keep kids engaged in the topic at hand. Plus, as an added bonus, interspersed among the puzzles and challenges were facts, history, and local trivia making sure students learn something about the city they are visiting as they play the game. Interactive field trips that engage all the students, not just the ones at the front of the pack, will make going on a field trip a whole new experience.

Christie Walker has been a journalist since 1980, working for local newspapers, trade publications, and magazines. Her new busines, http://www.UrbanAdventureQuest.com is a smart phone guided, scavenger hunt walking tour of 13 U.S. Cities. You can contact her at: Christie@UrbanAdventureQuest.com

Integrating Technology With Your K-12 Classroom

Why do we need to integrate technology with a K-12 classroom? Many schools and colleges are using or in the process of implementing various online technologies and solutions to enhance communication amongst students. According to the educational authority, it is the students at large who are demanding the introduction of highly advanced technology in the classroom.

Let's look at the type of technology that is most used or preferred in a K-12 class.

Social Media Websites

There is a good reason for using popular social media sites such as: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and so on. They help in a qualitative exchange of ideas and thoughts with friends or business colleagues. Many schools in the U.S. have allowed their students to browse through social media sites during class hours. The schools believe that it motivates students to search for relevant course related topics and parallel websites that can help them perform better in their K-12 classes.

Educational Blogs

K-12 educational institutions encourage their attendees to set up individual blogs in WordPress or Blogspot to post essays, short stories, etc. Teachers often monitor such blogs, helping students to write more effective posts on a regular basis. In this way, learners can share their personal educational experiences and moments with their peers and teachers.

Using Google Earth

Geography teachers can use "Google Earth", a prominent virtual globe and mapping application to educate students about the world. Learners can use Google Earth to locate different countries, rivers, seas, etc. that will encourage them gain knowledge quickly. They can use these skills to perform better in their monthly or annual geography tests and survey sheets.

Scratch Application

Teachers can use "Scratch", an online application to engage students in real-time. You can create exciting games and learning blocks via this application to let the participants solve them within the given time. Scratch acts as a great learning tool for K-12 students.

Create or Share Videos

You can create a short video with concise texts and lots of images for making the students easily understand a specific learning topic or assignment. You can share interesting educational videos from YouTube with your K-12 class. Finding and sharing important videos with the learners can help them to learn a lesson faster and more easily.

iPad

The rising popularity of mobile devices, especially iPad has led many schools to seriously consider allowing their students to use one. iPads are easy to carry and can be used to browse through websites, videos, etc. These devices can be used to connect with the class from a remote location. For example, a student who can't attend school due to illness can participate in the lesson via his/her iPad.

Jonathan is a professional trainer. He employs latest technology for online class registration and online training registration that results in more attendance and ROI.

List of Schools With New Dimensions

For many decades, schools are considered as a temple of knowledge, education and learning for kids. It serves as the first grooming place for the students. School is not only a place of learning, in fact it refers to a place, where friendly atmosphere is found and students learn new things while playing. It is more like a place of enjoyment for many students depending on the type of school. Well, schools in Hyderabad are more like entertaining and learning for the students. Every parent wants their kids to get admission in Hyderabad schools as they are the benchmark for high quality education. They provide education along with entertainment.

Knowledge is imparted to the students through various forms and courses. The schools are split into two parts, primary and secondary school. Most of the top schools are based on International standards, because they are globally recognized. So, a student can go to any country and get admission easily after studying from such schools. International schools are extremely preferred by students, because it gives you a global recognition and the job opportunities get widen for such students. The Hyderabad schools are affiliated with many International bnards like GCSE, CBSE, and Indian boards.

The Cambridge boards, GCSE, CBSE are based on concept clarification. The student is required to clear his / her concepts and then he / she can pass the exam easily. In this International standard, exams are conducted twice a year. The exams are held for the entire month and the paper is objective type. These schools are technology driven and use computers and other latest technology for explaining the concepts. Some of the best schools of Hyderabad include: St. Pauls, NASR, St. Mary, Johnson Grammar, Jubilee Hills Public and Little Flower etc. Some of the Cambridge board based schools of Hyderabad are: Manthan International, Orchids International, Mount Carmel global and Oakridge International.

These schools are based on educating kids in their own way, like the way the student wants to. It gives liberty for learning and gaining knowledge, hence it is liked by students and parents as well. It is an easy way for the teachers to educate the children. The Manthan International School gives the choice to students to select between Cambridge board and CBSE board. But, this choice is only given after the student passes the 8th Class. Then they can decide, whether he / she want to do simple matriculation or interested in doing O level.

You can gain further information about the applications and admission forms from their websites. There are numerous online websites which provide information on the top schools of Hyderabad; in fact you can find a list of top rated schools in Hyderabad. In this way, it would become easy for you to get to know about schools of Hyderabad and get your child admitted in one of them. Every school does their best for making a child as a complete person.

List of Schools
International schools are the schools that aim at promoting education that is of international standards. There are many ways of promoting and establishing international standard of education.
Click here for the Best Schools.

Preparing For The First Day Of School

Teachers spend weeks preparing a classroom for the first day of school. The room needs to be cleaned and all of the furniture arranged properly. It is also a stressful time, because a large amount teacher supplies must be purchased before the year begins. It can be easy to forget some of the most essential teaching tools because so many other areas need attention. New teachers can sometimes underestimate exactly what is needed when faced with a classroom that has no supplies and only minimal furniture.

Basic Supplies That Are Needed

The most basic teacher supplies that are needed include markers, tape, hole punches and glue. Rulers, paper and folders are usually good to have. Rooms with a whiteboard or blackboard will need chalk or dry-erase markers along with an eraser for the board. Notebooks are important to have on hand to record events in the classroom and to keep track of the performance and behavior of the students. It can also be useful to start the school year with a supply of poster board, paints and crayons that can be used for art projects. Young children might enjoy having clay or putty around so they are able to create three-dimensional shapes.

Organization Is Important

All classrooms require as much organization as possible. This can be done on a small level by having a large selection of folders available for paper, plastic or cardboard bins for supplies and some containers that can be used for trash. Items that are used for classroom storage should be placed in areas where the children can easily access the contents if needed but not in an area where the bin could be knocked over or where it could create a distraction. It is usually advisable to have some classroom storage that is off-limits to children such as a filing cabinet, a high shelf or a locking bin. This will provide a safe place for official documents, sharp items like scissors and expensive supplies like glitter.

Fun Items For the Classroom

It is always important to step back from buying basic functional supplies and purchase fun items that make the room seem lively. These can include posters, maps and other colorful decorations that can be hung on the walls. It can also be useful to have pre-printed awards to be filled out and given to the children as a sign of appreciation throughout the school year. Holiday and seasonal decorations are a good idea to stock up on at the beginning of the year because they can become more expensive to purchase elsewhere as the actual date of the holiday approaches.

Author writes about a variety of topics. If you would like more information about classroom storage, visit http://www.tapsonline.com/.

Steps to Prepare for High School Success

College planning seems so far-off and parents of middle school or junior high students aren't sure of their place in this process. If you have a student grade six to eight, your early college planning begins now!

Now is the time to lay the foundation for high school (and college admission) success. One step taken now can eliminate ten panicked steps taken during junior or senior year of high school.

As an independent college counselor, I've worked with dozens of families who wish they had known what to plan for ahead of time. When a student is beginning his senior year, it is impossible for me to ask him to improve his class rank, grades, classes taken, or activities, all factors that would make college admissions that much easier.

Here are your top five steps to prepare for high school success:

1. Earning top grades and learning.Take this opportunity to build a solid academic foundation and develop skills in reading, problem solving, writing, math, listening, communication, and analysis.

2. Taking challenging courses. All students should be challenged in their academic classes. Struggling students may face the challenge of enrichment courses; embrace this opportunity to get caught up. Some students will be sufficiently challenged with the regular curriculum while others may have the option of advanced classes.

Depending on your school system, high school classes may be offered to seventh or eighth graders. These courses are a great way to challenge top students. Just remember if high school credit is awarded, these classes and grades will appear on the transcript sent to colleges.

3. Experimenting with interests and activities. The focus isn't resume building; activities allow students the opportunity to expand their talents, interests, and strengths. Elective courses help, but students should get in the habit of participating in extracurricular activities. You aren't limited to school activities. Consider community organizations, youth group, sports, and volunteer opportunities.

4. Developing study and organizational skills. Students who effectively make the transition from elementary school, learn to prioritize, balance the demands of classes and activities, organize their work, and become responsible for themselves will be ready for the challenges of high school. Kids aren't perfect and in the process of developing independence they will make mistakes. Better now than in high school.

5. Promoting positive peer groups. Grades 6-8 are socially challenging times. Unfortunately they are also the years when many students begin to associate with "the wrong crowd" out of a desire to belong. Sex and drug use are obvious problems, but watch for peers who don't value academics because those attitudes can rub off on others.

Colleges focus on student achievements in high school, so grades 6-8 are your dress rehearsal for what's to come.

College admission is more competitive now than ever. Get help from a former high school counselor and independent college advisor who knows the system. Megan Dorsey is a nationally recognized expert in test preparation and college admissions who has helped thousands of students earn the test scores and scholarships they need and get into the colleges of their dreams. To receive free college planning and test prep resources visit http://collegeprepllc.com/

AIMSweb Assessment Issues

AIMSweb Assessment Issues in an Urban / Suburban School District in Northeastern Kansas.

Any time you begin a new assessment system, there will be "growing pains". In the district where I teach we had our share, but by the end of the second AIMSweb assessment session (Winter, 2012), we felt like we had a pretty good handle on it for the next session (Spring, 2012). Following, I will discuss some of the issues we had and the solutions - or attempted solutions - we implemented.

First of all let me describe our situation. We had a district-wide testing team. This was the first time our district had done this. Of course this was also the first time our district had really implemented an assessment system. We had not used a universal screener district-wide before. Previously, each building tested its own students, usually using a formative or diagnostic test. Our team consisted of our building-level interventionists. Our instructional coaches played a role, but for the most part didn't administer any assessments. They helped with organizing materials, served as "runners" to get kids to and from the testing area, helped make the schedule, etc. It should be noted that by "helped" I mean they basically did it all by themselves.

Our testing team received training in how to administer and score the AIMSweb measures. The training was over the course of two to three sessions. We basically followed the AIMSweb Training Workbook, used the video examples to practice scoring, received information from presenters in person and via webcam. We didn't get training from certified AIMSweb trainers. And, I think this made a difference. In my opinion it would have been helpful to get training from someone who had actually administered the assessment measures. We had some pretty specific questions that couldn't be answered.

Our first session (Fall, 2011), went pretty well considering we knew next to nothing going in. Our main issue was in scoring. We didn't agree on what to do about the whole "does the answer have to be written in the blank or not" on the MCAP (Math Concepts & Application) and MComp (Math Computation) measures. The instructions are pretty explicit. According to AIMSweb, if the answer isn't in the blank, it is marked incorrect. However, there is a grey area. In the standardized instructions for the students on the MCAP it specifically says to write the answer in the blank. In the standardized instructions for the students on the MComp is doesn't say to write the answer in the blank. Unfortunately, what this meant for us was that some scorers counted it wrong and some didn't. So, we didn't have consistent scoring the first time around.

The lesson we learned (I hope) is that you need to have those types of issues decided before you even administer the test. We talked about what it meant if the student didn't write the answer in the blank. We decided it meant they couldn't follow instructions, not that they could or couldn't compute the problem correctly. We asked ourselves, "What are we trying to determine with the test?" We decided we were not trying to determine whether or not a student can follow directions. We decided that it didn't matter if they put it in the blank or not, we just needed to all be scoring the same way. So, we eventually decided not to count it wrong as long as the answer was in the box somewhere and correct.

Another issue we had was that there was no "team leader" for our testing team. We had someone we could call, but not anyone on site. In hindsight it would have been helpful to have a "go to" person assigned or appointed to the group. This could be one of the interventionists, or someone who doesn't do any testing. This would have saved us quite a bit of time when we had to try and figure out how we were going to score the math. That person could have made an executive decision or called someone to find out. Then there would have been no disagreement about what to do in a particular situation.

Another major issue we still have is what to do about the data in terms of getting it out to the teachers and explaining what it means. We did eventually print out parent report letters and talk about the results at conferences. We found what we really need is for the teachers to receive some AIMSweb training. We need to know how to read the data, interpret or analyze the data, and learn how to talk to parents about the data. Some people aren't familiar with percentile rank, norms, standardization, etc.

Progress monitoring is another area that hasn't been perfectly implemented. Some schools progress monitor once per week, some once every two weeks, some barely once a month. There is a lot of information to consider when progress monitoring. Some of the more important pieces of information are: How often do you progress monitor? Should you progress monitor or strategically monitor a particular student? When progress monitoring is it really necessary to "drill down" or "test backwards" until you find the level at which to monitor the student? (That, by the way, takes a long time.) How do you set the goals for the student? What formula do you use? What do you do if the student reaches his/her goal? Are they automatically dismissed from intervention? What if they aren't on a trajectory that shows they will meet their goal? Do they automatically go to tier 3 interventions? How many data points are necessary to make a decision about a student?

Hopefully you will be able to have some of these questions answered before you begin your district-wide assessment system. It will save you so much time and effort and you will be able to focus on what matters: what to do with the students who are at-risk according to the screener.

FOR MORE INFORMATION REGARDING AIMSWEB TESTING GO TO www.aimsweb.com or visit Mark Davoren's website at http://www.readingandmathintervention.com

Mark Davoren is a reading and math interventionist in a northeastern Kansas urban / suburban school district. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, a Master's Degree in Curriculum & Instruction, and is a Reading Specialist. Mark has taught for over 15 years and has a wide range of educational experience. His primary areas of expertise are: reading intervention, teaching, training, data-based decision-making, testing and assessment.

Helping Children Develop a Love of Science

Children who are entering into an early childhood education program or who are in kindergarten are not too young to start learning about science and math. Giving children toys and tools that will spark interest in the world can help to establish a pattern of inquisitiveness that will make the child a better student and a more curious individual. Even if a young student does not show an immediate fondness towards science and math, it can still be good to have toys and tools around that can be used if interest does develop.

Science Toys 
There are many items in a teachers and parents store that can be used to draw a child's interests towards science. There are a number of very useful pre-assembled science kits that include a variety of instruments that a young student can use. Something as simple as a magnifying glass can give a child the opportunity to explore the world from a different perspective. Nature kits often include small collection jars so that common insects can be gathered from the outdoors and studied. These types of kits give children the tools they need to explore the physical world and to make very scientific observations about materials and events.

Advanced Concepts 
Students who are entering into early elementary school grades might be ready for more complex scientific concepts. A fascinating and educational item for this age range can be a magnet. Magnets are readily available from a teachers and parents store in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Magnets show students that there are invisible forces in the world that are able to affect physical objects. Collectinns of small magnets can be used to show lines of force. Larger magnets can be used to show how powerful magnetism actually is. This can trigger interest in the more complex areas of science that could translate into curiosity about other fields of study.

Tools and Kits 
Children who maintain an interest in science through elementary school can be rewarded with increasingly sophisticated scientific tools. These can include items like colored growing crystals or a microscope. Students in eighth grade or higher might even be ready for kits that allow electrical circuits to be constructed. The range of scientific tools and toys that are available through a teachers and parents store cover nearly any interest and any age. Inspiring children to explore the world and to learn science can lead to skills that can be very useful for the future regardless of what profession is eventually chosen.

Author writes about a variety of topics. If you would like more information about the teachers and parents store, visit http://www.tapsonline.com/

Student Journal Activities for All Subjects

Could you have the next Rick Riordan in your class or possibly another Dr. Seuss? Is there a hidden talent in the class just waiting to be discovered or has writing taken a back seat to all other subject areas?

Why is it so hard to engage students in writing? We all have students who will write to fulfill an assignment and get the grade, but how do we ignite the love of writing? How do we recreate the excitement and joy of putting pen to paper to create a story or poem where the action and drama stem from personal imagination?

Writing in the classroom is valuable tool that provides benefits such as the following:

* Writing allows for handwriting practice, transition from print to cursive 
* Strengthens fine motor skills especially for lower grades as they transition from the "big" pencil to the "skinny" pencil 
* Develops critical thinking and organization of personal thought 
* Provides a method of personal expression 
* Improves communication skills 
* Serves as a review of material recently taught/learned 
* Encourages creativity and imagination 
* Tool for practicing punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, and forms of writing 
* Serves as an assessment tool for teacher

So how do we engage our students in the writing process and bring out those hidden writers?

One method to engage students is using student journals across the curriculum. Student journals are personalized notebook that is sure to start the creativity flowing and cure the writing blues.

To introduce journal writing, allow students to decorate the journal, personalizing with stickers, glitter, and pictures. Students are eager to participate in activities they have been allowed to create.

The Scientist's Journal 
Transform an every day composition notebook into a scientific method journal where students can keep science notes, lab activities, reflective thoughts on special activities, and answer those challenging "what if" questions.

The journal can also serve as a data tracker for those experiments where you monitor progress over a period of time, such as watching a seed grow, or keeping track of meals/calories for a health lesson.

Geography Journal 
Learning about the world we live in comes to life in a journal where facts, pictures, maps, and adventures are kept. Turning the journal into personal passport is a fun way learn facts about locations around the globe. Students can add pictures, write diary entries of places to visit, and draw and label maps.

Current Events Journal 
Posing the question, "What do you think about this?" on the cover, students can be given a current event for the week and write responses to the article. This is a great way for students to express opinion and learn how to back up the opinion with supportive facts from the article. How would they respond? What should be done? Concepts such as planning and organizing steps are taught and practiced in this journal.

Spelling Journal 
Keeping a spelling journal or having students create a personal dictionary will help students learn new words and practice them daily. For younger students, you can have pages that reflect word families, blends, or rhyming words. Older students can be have pages with challenging words or words to know.

Math Journal 
A math journal is great tool for defining math terms, listing steps to solving specific problems, writing out word problems and how to solve the problems (again organizing thoughts and listing steps is practiced). Illustrations and charts are added to help the problem solving process.

Reading Journal 
To write about a reading assignment, students have to pay more attention to it. They have to read more carefully. Before, during, and after reading a story or poem, this journal allows for reflection, definition of challenging words, character profiles, setting descriptions, plot time lines, and so much more.

Keeping a reading journal after every chapter recalling chapter events and relating the text to self or to another text helps those students who have difficulty with comprehension or writing the book report at the end of a reading.

Personal Journal 
Whether the topic is chosen by teacher or student, this journal allows for self expression, time to think about your thoughts and write them out in a clear organized manner, and encourages a creative flow that can help students use their imaginations, explore possibilities, problem solve, and storytelling. This creative writing, allows students to explore vocabulary and writing styles they wouldn't normally use in other graded assignments.

There are so many uses for journals in the classroom and not all of them should be assessed for correct punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure. Some may be assessed for understanding of the topic and creativity. The idea is to get students to write and enjoy the process. As they practice writing on a daily basis, the tools needed to become a successful writer will continue to develop. As they develop, students will become more confident in their writing and you may find they are writing a great deal more. You may just notice a few great writers in the midst!

Myree Conway is an educator and writer for TeachHUB.com.

Established by teachers, for teachers, TeachHUB.com offers educators recommended classroom tools, professional development, daily lesson plans, and education news. The website is dedicated to improving the quality of education and invests in the opinions of teachers when providing resources and support for both inside and outside the classroom.

G-R-O-W Whack!: A Fun Bible School Activity for Your Preschoolers

Do your preschoolers know that growing in God is as simple as G-R-O-W? It is. We can grow in God by "G" - going to church. We can grow by "R" - reading the Bible and praying every day. We can also grow by "O" - obeying God and doing what He tells us to do. And we can mature in or walk with God by "W" - worshipping Him and praising His name. Second Peter 3:18 says this: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen!" The presbhool version of this verse would simply be "Grow in...Jesus Christ." Here is a fun Bible school activity to help your little ones learn this important truth. I call it "G-R-O-W Whack!"

Here's what you do:

For this activity you will need to prepare at least 10 cards for each of the letters G, R, O, W. Create these from colorful construction paper. On one side will be the letter. On the other side will be an X. However, one card will have a heart on the back. I suggest you laminate these for long-term use. You will give each child in your class 6 cards. If you have more than 6 children, you will need to make more cards accordingly. Place the leftover cards in a box or a basket. Within these leftovers, you must have at least one card of each of the letters. But make sure the card with the heart on it is not in the leftover box. You are now ready to play.

Here's how to play:

After introducing Second Peter 3:18 to your class, pass out 6 cards to each child, X-side down. Have them place their cards in a straight line. You, the teacher, will choose a card from the box. If it is a "G", say "G stands for going to church. This is how we can grow in God." (If it is an "R" card, say, "R stands for reading the Bible and praying every day." For "O", say, "O" stands for obeying God." For "W", say, "W stands for worshiping God.") Then show the card. Everyone who has a "G" card will whack it with their hand and then turn it over. If a child has more than one of the same card, he only turns one of them over at a time. Put the "G" card back in the box and choose another card. Continue drawing cards from the box until everyone has all their cards turned over. The child who turns over the heart card from the row of cars in front of them get to choose the cards out of the box on the next round of play.

Before playing this game, you might want to introduce the lesson in the following way:

Who can tell me some things that grow? (Wait for responses such as grass and trees.) Good job. Are you growing too? (Wait for responses of "YES".) Sure, you're growing. Did you know that we could grow in our friendship with God? We can. Growing in God is as simple as G-R-O-W. (At this point, show the children each of the letter cards and explain what each letter means as explained already.) Second Peter 3:18 says this: "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen!" Let's play a fun game to help us learn more about growing in God and play a game called "G-R-O-W Whack!"

Next, if you liked this Sunday School/Homeschooling idea, then sign up to today to receive Scripture Lady's Free Email Kid Tips packed full with creative ideas and receive 6 FREE BIBLE REVIEW GAMES to help get the kids you minister to excited about the Bible!

Just click here: http://myfreebiblegames.com to receive your 6 FREE BIBLE REVIEW GAMES!

Kathy Vincent is the director of a performing ministry for children called The Scripture Lady and has been traveling around Southern California for the past 15 years ministering to preschoolers and elementary aged children with the Word of God through musical, thematic presentations.

She is also a regular seminar speaker, author/creator of over 30 products for the Christian children's worker and a veteran homeschooling mom of two.

1-2-3 Spell G-O-D: A Fun Bible School Activity for Your Preschoolers

I think Romans 8:28 is one of the most encouraging verses in the Bible. It says this: "We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him according to His purposes..." Isn't that wonderful? To know that God promises to always work for the good in my life is amazing to me. This verse is especially comforting during the difficult times in life. Our preschoolers are learning that life has its ups and downs too. Therefore, it's not too early to begin teaching them the truth found in Romans 8:28 - God will always work for the good in their lives. Here is a fun Preschool Bible school activity to help them learn this promise. I call it "1 - 2 - 3 Spell G-O-D".

Here's what you do:

For this activity, you will need to prepare 3 letter squares for each child that spell G-O-D. Make them small enough to fit in a cup - one given to each child. I suggest you laminate the letter squares for long-term use.

Here's how to play:

After introducing the lesson, give each child their own cup filled with the squares that spell G-O-D. Have the class sit in a circle. Instruct the children to put their hand over their cup and shake it. Choose a child to be "It". He will walk around the circle while the class shakes their cups. At some point, the child who is "It" will tap a classmate on their shoulder and shout "1 - 2 - 3, Spell G-O-D!" This is the signal for everyone to shake their letters on the floor in front of them and place them in the correct order to spell

G-O-D. As soon as each child spells G-O-D, they can stand up. The child who was tapped on the shoulder now becomes "It" to play the game again. Finally, before each round of play, tell a situation where God can work for the good in a difficult circumstance. I have provided you with ten of these below along with what to say each time.

1. God is so good and can work for the good in my life even when there are no friends to play with. So, let's spell His wonderful name!

2....even when it rains all day...

3....even when I don't have my favorite lunch to eat...

4....even when all the cookies are gone...

5....even when my friend is mean to me...

6....even when I'm feeling sad...

7....even when my shoes are too tight...

8....even when I don't get my way...

9....even when I'm feeling sick...

10....even if I don't get a toy when I go shopping...

Before playing this Bible school activity, you might want to introduce it in the following way:

I want everybody to show me their happy faces. (Wait for children to respond.) Now, let me see everyone's sad face. (Wait for responses.) What kind of face do you wear when your tummy hurts? (Wait for sad face responses.) How about when you fall down and hurt your knee? (Wait for responses.) Always remember God is with you when you are happy and sad. In fact, God can still work good things in your life when things are hard and difficult. That's what our Bible verse says. Romans 8:28 says this: "We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him according to His purposes..." Let's play a fun game to help us learn that God will always work for the good in our life when we love God. We spell God, G-O-D. Now, let's play "1 - 2 - 3 Spell G-O-D".

Next, if you liked this Sunday School/Homeschooling idea, then sign up to today to receive Scripture Lady's Free Email Kid Tips packed full with creative ideas and receive 6 FREE BIBLE REVIEW GAMES to help get the kids you minister to excited about the Bible!

Just click here: http://myfreebiblegames.com to receive your 6 FREE BIBLE REVIEW GAMES!

Kathy Vincent is the director of a performing ministry for children called The Scripture Lady and has been traveling around Southern California for the past 15 years ministering to preschoolers and elementary aged children with the Word of God through musical, thematic presentations.

She is also a regular seminar speaker, author/creator of over 30 products for the Christian children's worker and a veteran homeschooling mom of two.

Tips for Using Social Media in Your K12 Classes

More and more teachers are using social media to connect, interact, and engage with the students in real-time. Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and such similar ones provide an engaging way to learning.

In this post, we will take a look at using social media networks and micro-blogging platforms to enhance and encourage learning at the highest level.

Frontloading

Frontloading is a popular medium of imparting education in K12 classes. You can use frontloading to discuss with the students about a lesson beforehand to facilitate understanding of the same. Hence, when students come for the class next day, they are well prepared to answer your questions.

Social media works great for frontloading. For example, you can use the social media network to upload your English class lesson video on YouTube. After viewing the recording, students can easily engage in real-time discussion with you to get familiar with the subject matter.

Micro-blogging

Twitter, the premier micro-blogging site can be used to communicate significant class-related information in 140 characters or less. Micro-blogging acts as an excellent learning platform to encourage valuable inputs and thoughts regarding a particular subject or class. Educational organizations can also introduce TodaysMeet, a free and easy-to-use micro-blogging website in classrooms to start interacting with the learners.

Back-channeling

Many teachers are incorporating back-channeling in their classroom. This allows students to discuss or share learning information on Facebook or Twitter while the K12 class is running. In other words, students can write about the lessons on Twitter and Facebook that will gradually be shown on a big screen for the entire class to view the same. The instructor then takes his/her own turn to respond to the questions raised in the backchannel every now and then. Back-channeling, therefore, creates an excitement among students to reply to questions and find out other students' comments.

Role Playing

Role playing combined with social media can be an extremely fun-filled and wonderful experience for students. Role playing creates brilliant learning opportunities and is super simple to manage. Teachers assign a role to each learner from suppose a novel or a short story and they are said to enact the respective roles to make the learning experience great fun.

Facebook Fan Pages

Educational organizations can tell their teachers to introdtce Facebook in classrooms. It will help students to easily create Facebook fan pages on any topic of their choice and interest. For example, a history teacher can create a "Declaration of US Independence in 1776" fan page. Students can post their notes and share the results of their work with the entire class.

Adding Comfort to the Curriculum

After seeing how meditation, carpet and couches have transformed my friend's classroom, I wonder if this new thinking really works and what other kinds of experiments in education can make a difference.

An Observation in Classroom Comfort 
I went in to watch a friend teach a lesson this week after hearing all summer about his plans to make his 9th grade classroom less intimidating and more student friendly. When I walked in students were sitting in a circle, some on a polka dotted carpet reminiscent of a 2nd grade, about to begin a one minute silent breathing exercise before starting the day's work.

Students were encouraged to block out all thoughts and just concentrate on inhaling and exhaling through their nose. I was impressed with how seriously they all took it. A freshman whom I had seen escorted out of an all school assembly for cursing out a dean, was now calmly concentrating on his breathing.

My friend went to a "mindfulness in education" conference over the summer and has completely restructured his classroom and the way he runs it this year. There are couches in the corner where students can work, clip boards in hand. The room is full of plants and they even have a class hamster, Veronica, which students can visit if they've finished their work.

"I want them to feel comfortable in here," he told me and for the most part, they appeared to be. After the lesson got started, it looked much more like your average math class, with a do now and work stations and group work, but the community that has been established certainly gave the room a different feel. It's an interesting experiment and one that the administration at my school has supported thus far.

Experiments in Education 
As a relatively new teacher, I sense the entire education system has been and will continue to be going through various experiments in the coming decade particularly in poor urban neighborhoods. A classmate of mine just started working at an elementary school with a new experimental model - class size, 60; number of teachers, 4 Lessons are taught to every kindergartner and 1st grader in three different languages and the teachers don't get any breaks. Oh, and the master teacher on each grade level makes six figures but hasn't been in the system 22 years.

I welcome the change and admire educators like my friend and classmate who are willing to go for it, while kidding themselves about the potential to fail.

As I left his class, I couldn't help but wonder if they will learn any better, being comfortable. They may be less likely to cut the class but algebra on a couch with nature sounds playing in the background is still algebra. We have to be careful not to forget that people have been working on the issue of improving public education since public education has been around and that we don't need to create everything from scratch. On the other hand, to see significant results, we need significant change which may challenge much of what we consider education today.

Phil is a teacher and writes for TeachHUB.com.

Established by teachers, for teachers, TeachHUB.com offers educators recommended classroom tools, professional development, daily lesson plans, and education news. The website is dedicated to improving the quality of education and invests in the opinions of teachers when providing resources and support for both inside and outside the classroom.

- Tips For Maintaining Your Power In The Classroom

Maintaining classroom order depends upon the teacher's ability to maintain his or her own state of inner order, which can be described as a state of authentic peace and poise.

Some students are quite skilled at "triggering" teachers out of their peace and poise and into a state of insecurity.

These bossy or defiant students effectively trigger the teacher's insecurity by creating classroom disorder with impunity.

An extreme example of this is the seventh grader who recently tried to disempower and intimidate his teacher by taking over the class.

His teacher felt publicly humiliated and was stunned into speechlessness as the precocious 13 year old brazenly stepped in front of the class, explaining that he was the one in charge now.

Understanding where a behavior like this is coming from can empower a teacher.

One probable motivation behind the student who tries to run the room is the student's need to regain the sense of power and self-respect that someone has stolen from him.

He may be getting bullied at home. He may feel intensely deprived of something that he thinks all of the other kids have, like a happy and harmonious family life.

Whatever this student's background, he's obviously being driven by the urge to compensate for an inferiority complex that has been programmed into him.

When we understand the motivation behind a student's behavior we can come up with a way to satisfy the motivation that effectively defuses the student's drive to use inappropriate behavior to get what he is after.

In the midst of classroom chaos, though, it can be hard to play child analyst. It is easier to let our emotional reaction get the best of us.

And yet, that may be the most important time to maintain self-control.

You encourage the disruptive student to press your insecurity buttons when you become insecure in reaction to the actions he uses to usurp your power.

The moment you start trying to prove your power you stop really being powerful and begin giving your student more power over you.

When you worry about proving your power in the classroom you are being distracted from using your power to make a real, positive contribution through your teaching profession.

This not only lowers the real value of your labor; it also makes your labor unfulfilling.

You weren't hired to prove your power or your worth to your students. You were hired to do your best teaching in line with the needs of your students.

As long as that remains your primary focus and intention you will act in real integrity in the classroom, which ultimately brings honor to oneself.

To recognize exactly WHAT is truly needed from you in the classroom, you need to maintain your peace and poise.

Just by remaining calm you discharge the student's incentive for trying to take your power, because you are showing him that his efforts are not working.

Beyond that, self-confidence is a foundation for competence. You have to feel secure about yourself to do your best work, to access your highest level of creativity and problem-solving ability.

If you maintain your composure you can be most effective at coming up with ways to help your students feel as powerful and in charge as they need to feel while preserving the classroom order necessary for successful teaching to take place.

The simplest method for doing this involves giving the student a voice. Take time after class to help the student to clearly articulate what he really needs from you to feel secure, satisfied, respected, and supported by you.

Having calm conversations in which you discuss things clearly and without antagonism creates a positive bond between teacher and student that may defuse any possibility of future conflict.

It can also help you to better understand how to satisfy the student's legitimate need for a sense of power, control and self-respect.

Bob Lancer is a motivational speaker, consultant and seminar leader specializing in releasing the greatness in schools and families. He hosts his own motivational Radio show broadcasting to 35 states called Bob Lancer's Parenting Solutions. See his best-selling books and motivational CD's and learn more at his websites at http://www.schoolsupportmotivation.com and http://www.teambuildingtrainings.com

Supplemental Educational Supports

Sometimes we find as educators, parents, and students that the established educational institutions and services that are in place do not always meet the needs of every child. Sometimes it takes "outside the box approaches" in order to bring necessary concepts/curriculum to individual learners. Some examples of highly effective supplemental/alternative education possibilities include:

1. Private Tutoring
2. Home Schooling
3. Educational Advocacy

PRIVATE TUTORING

Private in home tutoring is an excellent way to provide a child with the one-on-one individualized instruction that they may be needing. With growing class sizes nationwide and less individual attention available for each student many parents are looking to supplement their child's education with a private in home tutor. There are many benefits to having a private tutor come to your house such as; convenient scheduling, customized instruction, increased confidence, and of course increased retention of curricular materials which will result in better grades. The results have proven time and time again that this form of supplemental education is well worth the money spent and it doesn't cost as much as you might think.

HOME SCHOOLING

Given the reasons mentioned already about the changes taking place in our classes nationwide another popular and highly effective trend in alternative education is home schooling. Home schooling offers parents the unique opportunity to keep an extremely close watch on their child's educational environment while in the comfort of their own home. There are many resources available to parents who want to home school their child, but may not have the time or resources to do so. Parents can hire private tutors / teachers to deliver curriculum that they aren't comfortable with in order to enhance the home schooling experience. They can also have curriculum built for them that is tailor made to their child's educational needs and the learning preferences of the family.

EDUCATIONAL ADVOCACY

When problems arise in your child's education and you feel that the proper educational services are not being delivered you may want to seek guidance from an educational advocate. An advocate is an expert in the educational process and is able to communicate with your child's school to ensure that your child is receiving proper educational services. If issues arise in your child's schooling an advocate has a tremendous amount of knowledge in regards to the educational process and can easily navigate the system to ensure that all the proper services are being used to ensure their academic success.

http://www.areteplus.com

Contracting As A Classroom Management Strategy

Teachers are always looking for better ways to help their students who cause problems in the class to work more effectively. They have learned from experience that punishment is only a short-term solution and often has more negative consequences than benefits. Contracting is an alternative classroom management strategy. It does have a number of advantages when it comes to the management of the behavior of one particular student in the class.

Contracting forces us to:

· Meet one on one with the student to discuss the behavioural issue.

· Get to know the student better and let them know that we are concerned about them.

· Discover the underlying issue(s) that may be causing the problem behaviour.

· Work with the student (rather than on the student) to find a solution.

It is important that we sit down with the student and discuss the behavior that we consider problematic. We need to tell the student exactly what we have observed but we must not attribute any motivation or rationale to the behavior. "You seem to spend a lot of time arguing with the other students in the class." This is much better than saying "You can't seem to get along with anyone in the class, you are always arguing with the other students." The second statement will antagonize the student because you are saying something is wrong with them and they are the problem.

After you tell him what you saw wait for him to respond. If he denies what you saw give an example of the most recent incident you have noticed. Ask him what the cause of the argument was. Continue to probe until you get a sense of what the underlying issues might be. William Glasser suggests that we all have Four Basic Needs: Power, Fun, Freedom and Belonging. Is it one of these needs that is not being met? Does he have difficulty with your subject and this is a type of avoidance behavior? It could be attention seeking. There might also be some behavior of another student in the class that triggers his response.

Once you think you know the cause of the problem behavior offer your assistance in solving the difficulty. If it related to academics then you can offer extra help, or agree not to ask him to answer a question unless he has his hand up, or perhaps reduce the amount of homework he has or give him time to complete it at school.

If it is more of a social interaction problem then you will want to suggest an appropriate way to address and solve the problem SEE. Help the student realize what other options are open to him in these situations and let him choose one that he thinks will work.

In either case you may want to use a contract as a way of helping everyone involved to know and remember what is expected. Some teachers like to make this a legal looking document with signatures of all parties involved. I prefer to be less formal. Either way, the contract should include exactly what is expected of the student (the new behaviour he has said he can do) and teacher (what she will do to help him do it, cues etc). Remember this isn't all on the student. Yes it is his problem but he must know that we are concerned about his success at school and want to help. We all want and need help solving problems, our students are no different. You should also include a strategy for reminding the student what he is to do if he forgets and reverts to his old behavior. This will happen so be ready for it. Usually just establishing eye contact and giving him a cue will work, if the behavior has escalated you might want to have a "time out" spot where he can go to regain control. The cue and time out should not be construed as a punishment but rather a strategy to use when he finds himself in a situation that will lead him to behave inappropriately again.

Signatures at the bottom of the contract make it very formal not unlike a legal document which has negative consequences if it is broken. This is why I prefer not to have the contract signed but rather just to have a copy for the student and the teacher. We need to be working with our students; once they know they have a concerned person willing to work with them the student will change their attitude and behavior more quickly.

Contracting is another great classroom management strategy to use with difficult students in your classroom but be sure to make it a learning experience that helps the student to discover other ways to behave and succeed at school.

Wayne Sheldrick PhD

http://www.classroommanagementstrategysite.com

http://www.icoachteachers.com

Some Simple Yet Highly Effective Fundraising Ideas for K12 Schools

School fundraisers provide great opportunities to the faculty to collect funds easily and quickly. Fundraisers also help schools work toward the betterment of the society in order to ensure all students stay healthy and enjoy life to the fullest. Many K12 schools arrange fundraising campaigns around food and beverages to spread optimistic health messages and emphasize on the nourishment lessons that they teach in the K12 classes. However, there are other schools that prefer to sell non-food items to collect maximum dollars for their social and developmental activities.

Let's now look at some of the highly effective fundraising ideas for K12 schools that are easy to organize and yield positive results in fetching millions of dollars.

Food Item-based Fundraising Ideas

Pancake Breakfast

You can begin the Saturday or Sunday morning by offering individuals a pancake breakfast. It is a great way of collecting funds for your school!

Baked Pizza Sale

Another great K12 school fundraising idea can be selling freshly baked pizzas. Both young and aged people enjoy taking a bite on delicious, hot pizzas. Schools can set up a stall in the playground on a fine Sunday morning or evening to start selling thin-crust or deep-dish pizzas to attract interested buyers.

Dough Cookies Sale

K12 classes can easily start selling different types of cookies, such as oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate cookies, peanut butter cookies, and more to help your school collect as much funds as possible.

Ice Cream Treat

Ask your parents and friends to join in for a lovely ice cream treat. Try to offer some of the most liked flavors and set a reasonable price for each. It will help you collect a large amount of money within a small period of time.

Non-food Item-based Fundraising Ideas

Greeting Cards

Try to offer your guests something beautiful and special by selling greeting cards at a moderate price. Individuals, especially the teenagers like to buy colorful greeting cards for various occasions, be it for Friendship Day, Rose Day, Mother's Day or Christmas.

Picture Frames

You can sell magnetic photo frames, magnetic notepad sets, and handcrafted and nicely hand painted boot and family tree photo frames to individuals and organizations.

Jewelry

Selling jewelry is an exciting form of organizing a fundraiser. Try to sell various kinds of trendy jewelry (earrings, necklace, bangles, and so on) that ladies especially love to wear in parties and such other social occasions.

Earth Candles

An excellent way to raise funds for your K12 school is to try selling eco-friendly candles. More and more people have started using recycled products to support sustainability issue. Schools can, therefore, create candles made of recycled paper to sell to environmentally conscious people.

Recycled Pencil Sale

Many educational institutes sell recycled pencils to support the 'Go Green' campaign as well as collect money for their cause. Students can start selling different kinds (colored, peppermint) of scented pencils that are produced from recycled newspapers to easily and quickly raise funds for their organization.

Jonathan is a professional trainer. He employs latest technology for online class registration and online training registration that results in more attendance and ROI.

High School Does Not Go High Enough

At Santa Monica College, a 34,000-student, two-year community college in California, students sometimes sit on the floor to hear professors speak. This is not part of a New Age approach to learning; there aren't enough seats.

Over the past few years, demand for classes has grown dramatically, while budget cuts have forced the college, along with others in the California system, to reduce course offerings. As a result, according to administrators, nearly every class offered is filled to capacity. Instructors sometimes waive class size limits to allow additional students to enroll, even when that means seating some pupils on the floor. Many other students, however, are turned away, forced to take the classes they need elsewhere or to wait and try again the following semester.

In response, the college devised an unusual solution. It will add more of the most in-demand classes - generally basic courses in English, writing, math and science that are necessary to fulfill graduation requirements or transfer to four-year schools - for an extra price. After state-funded classes fill up, students will have the option to enroll in additional sections only if they are able to pay the full price of what it costs the college to offer those classes. Currently, each class costs students $36 per credit hour. The new classes would be five times that - $180 per credit hour. The new program could start as soon as the upcoming summer and winter sessions, eventually to be expanded to the entire academic year, officials say.

There is something wrong here. Santa Monica should get some points for creativity and good intentions, but too few for the program to merit a passing grade. An institution that enrolls students in a particular course of study has an obligation to make the classes necessary to complete that program available in the standard amount of time, at the prices students have been told to expect to pay. Anything else is clearly a bait-and-switch.

On the surface, the problems facing Santa Monica College are budget cuts and the state's refusal to raise tuition rates to cover a larger portion of costs. The true issue, however, runs deeper. In today's economy, an associate's degree, or maybe even a bachelor's degree, is the new high school diploma - the minimum level of achievement necessary for most middle-class jobs. Yet community colleges are not equipped to be the new high schools.

Our current educational structure evolved in the early decades of the 20th century to meet that era's requirements. Primary school taught the basic reading, math and civic skills that everyone needed in order to function in society. Secondary school then offered a path to a middle class that was expanding as American manufacturing did. Both were made available, for free, to all students, by local school districts. Meanwhile, states and private institutions created a university system for those students interested in the relatively few professions that required higher education.

Now a high school diploma alone is inadequate for most careers, but it is still the highest level of education guaranteed to students for free. The result is that many students who try to follow the path to middle-class financial stability that education offers find it clogged with their fellow students, as in the case of Santa Monica College, or prohibitively expensive. The goalposts have moved, yet we haven't yet changed the rules of the game.

In order to continue to offer students the same opportunities as in the past, we need to reform our system to ensure that students can meet new standards. If an associate's degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma, then the public should pay for every willing and qualifying student to get that associate's degree.

One way to achieve this would be to provide the necessary funding for community colleges to accommodate all interested students, sans tuition. But why have two separate systems to achieve the single objective of a suitable publicly paid education? Another approach, and one that could save a lot of public money and student time, would be to incorporate more higher education into what is now the high school curriculum.

Already, many high schools offer Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes, which allow qualified students to study at a college level without leaving high school campuses. In order to apply these classes toward college degrees, however, students must pass expensive exams and then enroll in colleges that offer credit in exchange for high exam scores. These courses, therefore, offer little benefit to those who aren't college-bound. Furthermore, they generally replace traditional high school courses, rather than following them, meaning that they are available only to those in accelerated programs.

Why not enable students to walk away from graduation with both a high school diploma and an associate's degree in hand? Some high schools already permit students to do this, through partnerships with community colleges. Wyoming Public Schools in Grand Rapids, Mich., for example, launched a program last month to allow students to dual-enroll at Grand Rapids Community College in order to earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree in five years, with the public school system paying the community college tuition.

Other schools offer fully integrated four- to six-year programs that grant students both degrees. One such school, Bard High School Early College in New York City, allows highly motivated students, selected through an admissions process, to earn a high school diploma and an associate's degree in four years within the New York City public school system. The program is modeled after the private Bard College at Simon's Rock in Massachusetts, which accepts students after 10th or 11th grade and grants an associate's degree (but not a high school diploma) after four years, and a bachelor's degree after two additional years.

Another New York City school, developed through a partnership between the public school system, the City University of New York and IBM, offers a six-year technology-focused program, which grants graduates a high school diploma, an associate's degree and a position "'first in line' for a job with IBM and a ticket to the middle class," as Mayor Michael Bloomberg put it. (1) Chicago recently announced that it too will partner with technology companies, including IBM, to open five new high schools based on the same model next fall. The schools will enroll roughly 1,090 freshmen. "We want to hire them all," Stanley Litow, IBM's vice-president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs, said of these soon-to-be graduates. "All they need to do is be able to successfully complete a curriculum through Grade 9 to 14 that's gonna be their ticket to a good-paying job and to the middle class." (2)

These schools offer a model that every district in the nation could follow. Of course, not every student needs high school through grade 14. Those headed for another four years of schooling in college, for example, likely have no need or desire to spend an additional two years in high school first. But there is no reason high schools cannot be structured to allow both four-year and five- or six-year courses of study, with four-year paths resulting in just a high school diploma and five- or six-year paths resulting in both a high school diploma and an associate's degree, or a newly defined credential that would be similar.

As grade 14 replaces grade 12 as the new "ticket to the middle class," we will also have to address the needs of students for whom an on-campus education isn't appropriate, particularly those who have already been in the workforce for a number of years. While these students can obtain a General Equivalency Diploma (GED), often quickly and inexpensively, to certify high school level education, there is currently no similar way to demonstrate knowledge equivalent to an associate's degree. As we work on paving the main road through associate's degree-level education, we also should build this new parallel route. Those who already have the skills an associate's degree represents, or who are prepared to acquire those skills on their own, should have an effective means of communicating this to employers and four-year colleges.

There are a lot of obstacles to the system I envision, but they are purely man-made. Local high schools are financed through different mechanisms than are community and four-year colleges, though of course society ends up picking up the tab regardless. Different unions represent faculties at such institutions, different organizations accredit them, and we have established different requirements for credentials and certification of faculty.

All these obstacles can be overcome if we care enough about getting real value for our education dollars, by providing every able and willing student with a 21st century education and credentials to match 21st century life.

Students deserve to get the education they need for today's world without having to pay an exorbitant price. And they deserve to get that education at desks, not on the floor.

Sources: 
1) P-Tech, "General Information" 
2) The Chicago Sun-Times, "New six-year tech high schools in Chicago to offer associate degrees "

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