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 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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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.

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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Reimage Your Health Education Class

Traditional classroom instructor, Mr. Dean Sahbroo, has a great job. He gets to school every morning at 8:00 am, reboots his computer, turns on the projector, and unzips the day's lesson plans from the mini drive he carries around on his key chain. The computer screen initiates and little icons start appearing, then after a few moments in the middle of the screen a tiny hoop shows a clockwise circulating pulse. Around and around it goes and after about a minute of this Mr. Sahbroo realizes the LED on his mini drive is not flashing. He tries unplugging it and plugging it back in again.


Dean concludes his computer system must be "hung up." He grabs the mini drive out of his computer and walks over to the administration office to ask the cheerful school assistant, Ms. Dunelle Carple, if she could try loading it on her computer. She obliges. Sure enough the LED starts flashing and a folder image appears on her screen. She clicks on it and then launches a document called "Third Grade Lesson 1&2:"

MAJOR AREA: The Human Body 
GRADE: Third Grade (Lesson 1&2)

TOPIC: Circulatory System 
EMPHASIS: Anatomy & Physiology - Heart and blood vessels


Power Point Lecture

Description of Heart
Hollow muscle
Weight 11 oz.
Size of
*brrympht*. The document closes unexpectedly and after a few moments in the middle of the screen a tiny hoop shows a clockwise circulating pulse.*pop*. A dialogue message box appears "Warning: Removable Drive Unreadable." Dunelle picks up the phone and calls the help desk. She describes slowly step-by-step what happened on their computers and what she and Mr. Sahbroo have done. Suddenly the normally cheerful expression on Ms. Carple's face turns ashen.


Reimage is a term used in association with computers. Essentially it means your operating system has slowed down or crashes too often because some software became damaged, corrupted or plagued with 'bugs.' During the re-imaging process everything on your computer system is removed and then reinstalled or better yet replaced with an upgraded version. Most people are deathly afraid of re-imaging and opt to simply reboot their system by turning it off and on again.

A quality health education class requires more than a simple rebooting process. The above hypothetical scenario of loading a prepackaged health lesson to be taught by someone not professionally prepared to teach health illustrates just one obvious pitfall of over-reliance on one form of technology (for a few more pitfalls see "Death by PowerPoint" from Don McMillan). Technology can certainly help with instruction, but up to this point it has been a great unrealized hope in educational reform.

Other repetitive routines including outdated lectures, recycled worksheets, and over copied quizzes need to be replaced with authentic or lifelike activities and assessments that engage the students. Students do learn what they live. Health topics relate most intimately with a student unlike other traditional class subjects. Leave it those other classes to describe the heart as a 'hollow muscle.' Students in health class can feel their own pulse and talk about what it means to "have a heart."

Once the static lifeless instruction is removed, then the lessons can be resuscitated with the students themselves breathing life into the learning activities. How this sense of authenticity extends beyond words can be found in the lyrics "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield, "No one else can feel it for you, Only you can let it in." Through in class activities students record their own comprehensive health textbook with an inner voice.

Topics such as eating disorders, alcohol related problems, harmful ways of relating, and childhood obesity to name a few can be discussed in small groups then shared with the whole class. So a student is not alone reading a textbook but supported by peers in a skit creation, a game, a Socratic seminar, or a project. Sometimes the work created can also serve as the assessment. This style also lends itself well to treatment of emerging current wellness topics such as new allergies or diseases.

In review it should be noted that over reliance on power point slides should be avoided, health should be taught by those who were professionally trained to do so, and lessons must include authentic activities in which each student can relate to their own personal health and wellbeing. Unlike traditional lectures the life-like activities can be fun! Once you reimage health education is in this manner students will retain more of the information because the way in which it was learned made it more memorable and enjoyable enough to last a lifetime.

Mr. Schuyler Antane is a Health & Exercise Science teaching major at The College of New Jersey (2013). Prior to this Schuyler earned his BS in chemistry at the University of Michigan (1987). He studied organic synthesis briefly at the University of Rochester in NY (1990) then moved to New Jersey to work as a medicinal chemist for 20 years at Wyeth Pharmaceutical pursuing research in neuroscience, cardiovascular, inflammation, diabetes and infectious diseases. During his time in the lab Schuyler made some poor personal health choices and eventually weighed >200 pounds. He decided to make health a priority by making lifestyle changes including diet and exercise. To make the transformation stick he maintained fitness through triathlon and marathon competitions in Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and Portland. Many of the races Schuyler enjoys also support causes such as the Belmar triathlon for Autism Awareness. He hopes his personal story of transformation can help motivate others and to one day guide students to becoming physically educated.