Home Up Contents Authors Newsletters

April 1999  Issue

Visitor Poll
Discussion Group
Author Log-in Page
Contact Info
Refer This Site


April 1999  Issue #1
The companion newsletter to: Mrs. Young's Super Charged Educational Voyage
Janet Young, Newsletter Developer, Editor and Co-Author
To subscribe/unsubscribe to this newsletter click here.
To view past issues click here.

+ Welcome Message / Announcements

   ~ Janet Young ~  
+ Mrs. Young's "New Pages On..."
+ The Education Companion Survey  

+ Content Areas ---Current trends, opinions, tips, etc...

   ~ Tammy Bailis' Senior School Musings ~
         WHY HIRE A TUTOR? 
   ~ Bonnie Bracey's Information Superhighway ~
   ~ Theater in Education with Chris Hastings ~
   ~ Dr. Robert Kizlik's Teacher Education 101 ~
   ~ Life is One Big Classroom with Joan Berger~
   ~ Michelle's Multicultural Mosaic~
   ~ Audrey's Library Connection
   ~ Amanda's Middle School English World ~
         ESTABLISHING PURPOSE AND AUDIENCE ( for the writing teacher)  
   ~ Technically Speaking with Kathleen A. Catapano ~ 
+ Companion Reactions
+ Try This
+ Call for Ideas 


 Well, it took a while, but it's here! The new format of "THE EDUCATION COMPANION NEWSLETTER" is hot off the cyber press! You will find articles from authors from all over. It is hoped that by providing a broad spectrum of ideas, new ones can germinate. There have been many changes which I hope will make it easier to preview and locate the most relevant information for your current interest and needs. You will find information on the content areas, as well as implementation of technology into the classroom and home. Whether you are living, learning, or teaching in your own home land or live abroad, the information shared here will help you achieve your goals. From private prep schools to ex-patriots, from home-bound to home schoolers, you have a unique resource here.

The resources on this newsletter, include "specialists" in various content areas. They offer expertise and fresh ideas to help educate the future of this world- our children. The material presented here will be practical. We hope to encourage and motivate fledgling teachers and parents striving to enrich their children's education. Confident seasoned teachers will find a welcome resource of current interest. At the same time we hope to renew the passion for teaching in stressed, over burdened teachers. These dedicated educators have volunteered their insight and experience to this newsletter in the hopes of inspiring new ideas and sharing old ones. Controversy is healthy. Feel free to offer opposing views to those expressed. Hyperlinks have been provided to afford you the opportunity to check the resources mentioned in this newsletter.

You will notice an interesting mix of articles in this premier issue. We start off with a topic that everyone reading this newsletter will agree is at the forefront of our minds. We all want to learn how to implement technology, but are intensely aware of the need to provide a safe path for our students as they venture into cyber-space. Bonnie Bracey addresses this challenge in her article on Internet safety. Tammy Bailis (tutoring) and Dr. Robert Kizlik (teacher education,) are starting out with some pointed views, sure to stimulate some serious thought. You will also find some solid strategies to use in writing (Amanda Smith Caudill,) science (Joan Berger) and literature in the content areas (Audrey Ciuffo.) Michelle Young wrote a wonderful piece that will have us thinking about ourselves and the multicultural mosaic that binds usl. Educational theater takes a front row as Chris Hastings demonstrates the evolution of children's drama as a meaningful medium. Then Kathleen A. Catapano offers advice on getting started in technology. Getting started- that's exactly what we are doing here. We are embarking on a great new educational adventure. I can't wait to see where it takes us!

As you explore this new version of THE EDUCATION COMPANION NEWSLETTER, share your thoughts on it by sending an email to: mrsyideas@jrydevelopment.com. I will post relevant list member ideas on the next issue. Be sure to include a short signature tag to follow your comments. This can include your name, location, organization/company and any other information you feel would make you accessible to others who may want to exchange ideas with you personally. Don't put any information you want private (like an unlisted phone number!)

Please bear with us as we fine tune this newsletter. We are working hard to make it meet YOUR needs.

Feel free to forward this to friends and colleagues, if copied in its ENTIRETY.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful authors of the following articles.  They have done an outstanding job of rallying behind this undertaking.  They have contributed articles full of insight and appreciation for the importance of education in this ever-changing world.   A special note of thanks to Michelle Young. At the 13th hour, she rallied to the cause, giving her crackerjack editing skills a workout.  Thank you all for a job well done! 

~Janet Young (AKA: Mrs. Young)

==== MRS. YOUNG'S NEW PAGES ON... =======================
~ Homework Help ~
The Parent's Page has been replaced with a page dedicated to homework. There are links to web sites that make doing homework and drill easier and more fun. There are places to use FREE on-line flash cards, as well as sites that offer answers and interactive question / answer opportunities.
~ Current Events~ 
This is a page devoted to current events.  Here you can get up to the minute information on events happening around the world. This has already become a favorite on the site.
~ Web Site Productivity Survey~  
Share your experience with the Mrs. Young's Super Charged Educational Voyage web site on this survey.  Was it helpful?  What did you like most?  What would you like to see added?  Let your voice be heard!
~ Internet Quiz for Kids~  
This is a  little interactive quiz for students.  It checks really basic surfing skills, as well as Internet safety with humor!
What do you think?
In order to determine if progress is made, assessment instruments (tests, rubrics, etc.) are used by educators.
There are two camps.
1:  It seems as if the education community is caught up in a testing frenzy.  Schools are so involved with teaching to the test, and administering and scoring practice tests,  that many teachers complain that they don't have time to TEACH.  Teachers feel that they spend so much time on preparation for these tests, (as mandated by the administration,) that they don't even have time to plan how to implement the results of these tests into their lessons. So, what's the point?  The pressure to perform well on the standardized tests has made the expressions- children need time to be children and teachers need time to teach politically incorrect. Test making and scoring is big business.  Testing companies are getting fat off the media promotions instilling fear in the public against the schools.
2:  Testing advocates say the testing is necessary.  These instruments provide valuable insight into the strengths and weaknesses in student performance.  They give teachers and parents a concrete report on the students scholastic achievement.  Additionally, it shows the public, that the education community is committed to achieving excellence in education.  Good public relations!
How do you feel about this? 
Do you believe that continuing this intense testing path will bear fruit in the long run?
Share your opinion now!
To vote YES- I agree,  continue the testing, click here: 
To vote NO-  I disagree, stop the testing, click here:
The survey results will be posted in the next issue of The Education Companion!

==== THE CONTENT AREAS ==================================

~ Bonnie Bracey's Information Superhighway~

For many people the safety problem on the internet is a stop sign. It points to a reason NOT to use the internet. Unfortunately there is little talk about the rules of the road that clarify this so that it is not a problem. As a member of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council, I worked with a subgroup that posted rules of the road. http://www.benton.org/Library/KickStart/kick.privacyandsecurity.html  (The body of work that the council did included scenarios. These are also helpful guides to thinking about and learning to use the Information Superhighway).

Rules of the road are needed to protect intellectual property, privacy, and security. As many more people join electronic networks, privacy and security will need to improve. The content and communication that move over the Superhighway are created, stored, and used in vast quantities.

Each community needs to develop its own approach. There is not a "one-size-fits-all-communities" approach -- instead, the key players from each community should come together to determine how that community's interests can best be served through connection to the Information Superhighway. In doing so, acceptable use policies for the school system should be decided and published for the public to understand. There are also series of videos that share information about the use of the Internet to ease the concerns that people may have. There are websites with acceptable use policies that will help schools, communities and individuals to think about the rules of the road. http://www.itrc.ucf.edu/WORKSHOPS/Telecom2/AUP_res.html

Howard Reingold says, "As the public begins to realize that communications technology is exposing them to an unlimited array of words and images, including some they might find thoroughly repulsive, the clamor for censorship and government regulation of the electronic highway is sure to begin. But it would be a mistake to let traffic cops start pulling people over on the highway."

Vint Cerf said in an interview to Technos Magazine, "My reaction has been to say, Why don't we start teaching kids to think critically about what they see and hear so they can learn to reject the stuff that isn't of any value?" I'm not trying to pretend that that's either an easy or a complete solution, but it's an awfully important lesson because it will serve them well in all the different ways in which information reaches them, not just the internet. To filter everything seems to miss that opportunity. And filtering doesn't always work. My view is that we shouldn't try to censor the Net because we can't. It's just technically impossible. Some parents or educators will want filters around the edges, and I don't object.

Esther Dyson said, "The threat of censorship is not over, but that particular law on standards has been overturned." Now the opportunity and the responsibility for determining what children see has moved back where it belongs--to parents and teachers. So there's going to be a market for filtering tools, but like everything else, those tools don't replace a good parent. They are tools for a parent to use, but they don't do the whole job.

Schools can investigate software packages that include various ways of accessing, making allow lists, and caching materials for class use.

~ Bonnie Bracey, Arlington, Virginia USA
Independent Consultant  http://www.bracey-pearl.org/
US Educationalist & Presidential Advisor on Education & Technology.
The President's National Information Infrastructure Advisory Board, read: Minutes of the Committee on Applications and Technology .
Member of Vice President Gore's Globe Institute
A member of the Challenger Center Faculty.
A Christa McAuliffe Educator for the National Foundation of Education.
Author of The Challenge of Introducing Technology.
Editor's Sidebar:  A great site on safety on the information highway is: SafeKids.com
~ Tammy Bailis' Senior School Musings ~

[N.B. CEGEPs (Colleges d'Education Général et Professionelle) are junior colleges in the province of Québec. The education is free and consists of either a 2-year course leading to university or a 3-year technical training course which leads (or should lead) directly into the work world. The pre-university courses are the equivalent of grades 12 and 13 since high school in Québec ends with grade 11.]

In late December, during exam time in the Cegeps and high schools, I had a lot of calls from parents and students who were desperate for help but had waited too long to act. By the time they called upon me for help the situation was beyond salvation. There wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that their kid would pass his math course. In some cases they'd hesitated for lack of funds, but in others I get the feeling that they hesitated because there's something inherently disturbing about having to pay a private tutor to teach your kid something he's supposed to be taught in the public school system. You're paying taxes in order to provide adequate public schooling and so somehow you feel gypped. Why should you have to pay more? And how do you know how and where to find a good tutor. After all, if the school system can't provide your child with good teachers, how are you supposed to?

So you get all worked up over all these questions and the feeling of being treated unfairly, but that doesn't help your kid learn math. Even if you do eventually launch some sort of campaign to make changes in the school system, your child needs help right now, so let's look at some answers to the question "why hire a math tutor?"

The obvious reason is to get a pass in that final exam and save the semester. I've had a number of students this fall who were failing their statistics course, who took the advice of their teacher and booked a few sessions with me. Georgia spent 6 hours here over the course of a week. She called me a few days after her exam and said she got 80% as a final mark. This young woman was failing her math course one week before the exam and she ended up with an 80% final mark. Can you imagine how good she felt about herself? When she left after the 6th hour of tutoring, she said "Tammy, I've learned more Stats from you in 6 hours than I did from my math teacher in 15 weeks at 5 hours a week." And you can believe it! She did!

Why? Why could this young woman -- a serious student, who used to be good in math, who went to all her classes, did all her homework and took notes religiously -- why could she learn enough Statistics to pass a final exam on the entire course from a good tutor in 6 hours when she'd been failing for the entire semester? Many reasons.

Some students just can't operate at 100% in a crowded classroom. Distractions such as noises, smells, neon lighting, proximity to extremely attractive adolescent members of the opposite sex added to the fact that they can't stand the way the teacher talks make it pretty hard to concentrate on differential calculus. Cegeps and High Schools are "busy" places and it's a well researched fact that learning best occurs in a quiet, calm environment with a little Mozart for atmosphere.

Tutoring sessions are one on one, or one on two situations with no distractions. I won't even answer my phone during a tutoring session and, when I have adult students, I insist that they turn off their cell phones and beepers so that the lesson shouldn't be disturbed. When you go to a tutor, you go for one thing: a math lesson. When you go to school, be it high school or cegep, you go for many reasons. You go to socialize with your friends as well as attend classes -- and from some of the calls I got, it's obvious that certain cegepians are only there for the party. I'll bet some of them have no idea they're supposed to go to class. For such kids it's no use hiring a tutor -- they need a strict Nanny. But for kids like Georgia, it's the best thing you can do for them.

Learning takes all the concentration one can muster and a sensitive individual can't tune out the messages his mind and body are monitoring because his eyes are burning, his lips and throat are dry, and his breathing apparatus is all fouled up from the stale air in the sealed building where he attends his classes. Did you know that the majority of our Cegeps are in buildings famous for their efforts at recycling germs? I've never seen so many sick teens in my entire life! When I taught at the Cegep de Sept-Iles, I sometimes got the feeling I was working in the tuberculosis ward -- I heard so much coughing and hacking going on around me! Any of you who work in these sick buildings know they are appropriately named. Anytime I had to spend more than 4 consecutive hours in the place, I developed a migraine. Not only are you breathing stale, microbe infested air, but every rhythmic cycle in your body is being assaulted by the low intensity pounding generated by the air pumps in the ceiling. Sounds like an environment that's really conducive to learning, don't you think? At your tutor's house, the windows open, it's quiet, the air is clean, and there are no distractions. For an hour or two a week, you get to study without a headache. Imagine that!

The privacy aspect of a tutoring session is an advantage for self conscious individuals who, when in a crowded classroom, spend too much of their concentration wondering what everyone else is thinking of them, so they're unable to learn. They don't even have the time to get interested in the subject being taught because they're so very uncomfortable in the classroom milieu. I admit that this is not often the case but it does happen. Such a student can benefit two-fold from some tutoring sessions. Once he's good at the subject, he won't have to feel so self-conscious in the classroom, for he will have gained confidence in himself. One ever-present side effect of overcoming a learning problem is self-confidence and pride.

In other cases, bright students who learn best on their own from good text books or correspondence courses sometimes need a guide to help them over the rough spots. Good students sometimes (especially in Math) run into a terrible teacher, (and there are many of them out there,) and they start to fall behind. Math is a continuum. You can't learn things out of sequence because everything new is based on what went before. It's not like history or psychology where you can study the history of 12th century England without knowing what was going on in China at the time, or you can study Freud's theories without knowing what Carl Jung was up to. Such students generally need an hour of one on one tutoring a week just to keep their marks up to par -- and good marks in math are important. Math marks are used as a primary measure of a student's ability when he applies to the university of his choice. Why let one lousy teacher spoil a good student's taste for math and his chances of getting into the university program he wants?

The major advantage of a few "one on one" tutoring sessions is that at exam time, you can review the course in a situation where you can ask all the questions you have, because no one else is there to ask questions. You are the center of attention. All your questions can be answered because the teacher is there just for you. She doesn't have to respond to the questions of 35 other people. She's all yours and your success is the one and only focus of the meeting. You don't have to worry that you'll ask a stupid question and your classmates will laugh at you, so you'll probably ask that question and get an explanation rather than not asking and not learning.


Finally, the best reason to hire a tutor is that a tutor's reputation depends on his or her ability and success rate. Teachers hired by the public school system don't have to care if any of their students pass the course since they have job security and standardized salaries. I know of many Cegep math teachers who have no idea how to teach math. They're often excellent mathematicians, but have no inkling of how to communicate their knowledge to their students. These people have no fear of losing their jobs or of not having students in their classes, whereas a bad tutor will soon find that he/she has no students, because once his/her students recognize that they're not getting any help from the private sessions, they won't return. A tutor's reputation is founded on word of mouth and once it gets out that the tutor isn't any better than the classroom teacher, why bother to pay a tutor?

If you do decide to hire a tutor to help your kid learn math, ask the guidance councilors at his/her school to recommend someone. Good tutors generally contact the local schools when they establish their services and the guidance councilors will be able to recommend someone that is not only competent but also nearby. Remember, hiring a good math tutor to help your child overcome some rough spots could be the most valuable help you offer him/her.

~ Tammy Bailis, Montréal, Québec
BA (McGill U.) 
Masters in Teaching Mathematics (Concordia U.)
Author: Sinostrology: A Guide to the Zoo (published 1998 by The American Federation of Astrologers); (French version published 1990 by les Editions de Mortagne)
~ Theater in Education with Chris Hastings~                         
Theatre as a tool for education is misused, misunderstood and ineffectual. This may be a sweeping statement, but it is one that is founded on truth.

Theatre, as a general rule, can be split into two categories - entertainment and education. In the prejudiced world of performing arts, Theatre in Education (TIE) is considered the black sheep of the acting family tree. It is what actors do when they are unemployed. What graduates do if they can find nothing else. What less accomplished actors spend the rest of their professional careers doing. What school children are forced to watch, twitching and fidgeting like flies caught in a web, until their boredom is assuaged by the lunch-time bell.

The crime that has been perpetrated on the world of TIE for decades is that it is split from what should be its first cousin, entertainment. Educational theatre can function in two ways. It can inform or it can affect. The former results in the audience walking away having learnt much, but having assimilated little. For younger audiences the only lesson they invariably learn is that theatre is boring - thus the decline in younger audiences. Whether the subject is poetry, bullying, drugs or crossing the road, the objective is the impartment of knowledge and understanding. Educational theatre is failing. Just look at the statistics in any of these areas and you will agree. Lack of interest in literature, high levels of bullying and drug use, road deaths. The list continues.

To truly have an impact, to really make a change and to make an audience listen, a performance must affect, entertain and stimulate. If the performance - and the writing - fails to address any of these areas the result is the same ineffective TIE that already fills our schools.

I will devote future columns to providing help for educators in implementing educational and enjoyable acting ideas into the school arena. To read this article in its entirety, go to my web site: HRH Productions

~ Chris Hastings, London, England
Actor and Writer
Author of the play Children,   
Company Director of HRH Productions
Artistic Director of the Royal George Theatre
Telephone: +44 (0) 181 257 7998 


 Robert Kizlik's Teacher Education 101 ~


 How teachers are educated  is perhaps one of the most overlooked functions in the national quest to improve K-12 education. As one who is involved each semester in teaching preservice teachers, I have formed some opinions about what works and what doesn't, especially in the perception.

First, when stories are splattered all over the media about events such as occurred last year when some 60 percent of new teachers seeking positions in Massachusetts failed what amounted to a 10th grade reading, writing, and math exam, people rightfully question what is going on.

Part of the problem can be traced to the belief that anyone can become a teacher.   In most colleges and schools of education, it's a safe bet that the majority of education students are in the lower half of the overall student body in terms of standardized test scores.  Compounding this problem is the rather high education major GPAs upon graduation.

Future articles in the newsletter will more fully explore teacher education and how it can be improved through new technology, selectivity, and rigor in the curriculum. 
~ Dr. Robert Kizlik, Boca Raton, Florida, USA
Associate Professor, Florida Atlantic University
Social studies, curriculum, educational technology, thinking skills
Member, Phi Delta Kappa, ASCD. Editorial Board, International Journal of Instructional Media
Publications include articles on dropout prevention, thinking skills, writing objectives, teacher education and the popular culture, curriculum innovation, and using standardized test scores to predict academic success.
My web site is ADPRIMA: Serious educational tools and information.
URL: http://www.adprima.com 
E mail:   bobk@adprima.com
~ Life is One Big Classroom with Joan Berger ~

I would like this column to be a way to assist parents, teachers, and potential teachers in incorporating the use of science in the everyday classroom lessons and lives of the students...life is one enormous classroom. It will not be a soapbox, a means of preaching philosophies, or a discussion of "new age" teaching. I hope to share practical ways you can instill a love of science in the children and remove the fear of teaching it from your own psyche. :-)

My special expertise is incorporating the use of the Internet into the curriculum, and I will share this with you at the end of each month's column. This first issue will center on the skill of CLASSIFICATION, which you can apply to any curriculum area and adjust to any grade level.

To introduce the topic:

1. Divide the class into 2 groups-boy, girl
>How were these groups chosen? Elicit-gender
>What about grouping according to sneakers? Elicit- brand, color, type and then group.
>What other groups can we divide ourselves into? Record on board or chart.
2. Now play: "Guess Who's In My Club"
>I am thinking of a club- you need to guess the requirements for membership in my club by asking if a certain student is in my club. I will answer yes or no. You need to compare what all the "yes" people have in common.---Do the guessing for several turns.

Brainstorm these terms-These members share similar [qualities, traits, characteristics, features, attributes]. Select a child to lead the next turn.

3. ACTIVITY: Create baggies that contain common objects from home or classroom, e.g. chalk, plastic fork, eraser, clip, cup, etc. Each bag should have the same items.First brainstorm these terms: sorting, classifying, grouping, categorizing. Group students into cooperative work groups. Give out bags and ask students to classify the objects in 2 different ways. They record groups they make on ditto chart. Encourage them to think divergently. Record the categories they created and the items they included at the board.

4. Internet Connection: Go to the URL below where you will find downloadable lesson sheets on using the web to classify stars, geologic eras, endangered species, and living things. You can adapt these to any level. http://www.li.net/~jberger/classif.html

~ Joan Berger, Roslyn, New York  USA
Internet Educational Consultant          
fax (516)826-0358   
~ Michelle Young's Multicultural Mosaic~
"Multicultural Mosaic." That's got a nice ring to it, don't you think? This is my first column in The Education Companion Newsletter, and I've sat at my keyboard for what seems like forever (at least to my kids)--and I've wondered what would make this column as rich as that title implies.

Mosaic. I think of the beautifully tiled streets and buildings in places like Mexico, Morocco... but I also see beauty in the mosaics designed by the midwestern farmers in the United States of America when their fields have been plowed into specific checkerboard patterns.

No matter where we turn in the world, no matter whether we're gazing into the eyes of a loved one or a total stranger, we're looking--up close--at pieces of the most beautiful mosaic of all: humankind. So why can't we "get along and be friends?" Did we just pretend to get along with each other when we were kids? Surely that's not possible!

While I refuse to count the years back to when I was three years old and in nursery school, I remember so clearly the names of some of my best friends at The Day Nursery... Rosemary-- she was born the day after St. Patrick's Day, my birthday; Louis, Rozina... I saw children I loved. I never stopped to notice that their roots were different than mine. These were my friends. I never stopped to hear the voices of hatred that might have said we couldn't play together because our cultures, our races, our religions might clash.

Multiculturalism and multicultural education have become the buzzwords of the 90s. We use them in our daily conversations because we recognize the need, but there's danger in our promoting multicultural thought if it's only useful and valid while it's the politically correct thing to do.

Each day, we associate with any number of people who may or may not share the same heritage we do. I think back to a conversation I had a few years ago with a teacher in Nebraska.

"How can I teach kids in my class to be multicultural when they're all white?" he asked.

"I answered and prayed he would understand the meaning of my words: "Because multiculturalism isn't only a study of non-white. It's a study of all of us, regardless of our roots."

I'm a firm believer that where we need to start the study of multiculturalism is with ourselves. If we know our roots so well; if we're proud of those roots--even if we have those historic skeletons in the closet that make us ashamed of some portion of our root history; if we cherish the folktales and the songs and dance; if we can know our roots so well that we can cherish them as an integral part of ourselves, then we will be proud of how those roots came together to make us who we are.

If we know ourselves through our roots so well that we can be comfortable with who we are, we'll be less hesitant to learn about others. And when we begin to learn about others, we begin to discover our human bonds that supercede all other factors. Beneath those roots that make us different, we all have basic needs and emotions. We laugh and cry; we love and hate. We all get thirsty or hungry, tired or invigorated. We all rejoice or mourn.

I want this "Multicultural Mosaic" to be a warm place where you can come to celebrate the diversity of the human mosaic. With your help, this will be a place where you can come with topics you'd like addressed in future columns--or with problems where we might find the answers together. This too is multiculturalism: our willingness to work together for the good of all, rather than our effort to "be" multicultural because it's the PC thing to do in the 90s.

~ Michelle Young, New York State,  USA
co-author, _Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow:  Meeting the Challenge of Our
Multicultural America & Beyond_ (Caddo Gap Press, 1996); _Multicultural
Moments from Around the World_ (1997); author, _Daydream:  To Our Mosaic
World_, in progress for K-12; TIPS columnist; SRHS Trivia Trek host
~ The Library Connection with Audrey Ciuffo ~
As a librarian of a large (1353 students) K-8 school, I try to serve the needs of the students and staff by working on diversified topics with different groups. I'd like to share something that I worked on recently with a fifth grade class. One of my colleagues told me that she was teaching a unit about the Civil War. She asked if I could give her some ideas about using library books to support the curriculum. Since we are all concerned with the "New Standards", I suggested using different genres to help bolster her textual studies. I love picture books; even with older children, if appropriate to the subject.

For this topic, I recommended using Pink and Say, by Patricia Polacco, Philomel Books 1994. This book, in picture book style, shows the horrors of the Civil War, the abomination of slavery, and that friendship can exist and endure among black and white people. The relationship between Pink (a black youth from Georgia) and Say (a white youth from Ohio) shows that we can all find something in common and in our differences find respect for one another. Both are soldiers in the Union Army. They find that they have shared dreams and goals. It becomes clear to them that they need and like one another. Although I have read this story aloud numerous times, I still have trouble finishing it without a tear or two sliding from my eyes. It really makes history seem more "human".

Using the genre of biography, there are several books to choose from that would contribute to the teacher's social studies unit. One that I suggested was Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates, E P Dutton 1972. This book would be a powerful example of how people in the bondage of slavery could not let their spirit be broken. He was the son of an African king who was captured by slave traders at the age of fifteen. He lived as a slave for forty five years before finally seeing his dream of freedom come true.This book is extremely well written and stirring. It is a fitting addition to the research unit about the Civil War.

Another appropriate biography for this unit is Sojourner Truth: Ain't I A Woman by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack Scholastic Paperbacks Reprint Edition 1994. Sojourner Truth was a former slave who took that name in 1843 at the age of 46 to reflect her commitment to abolishing slavery and to achieving rights for women.

I also recommended two excellent non-fiction books to my colleague from the history shelves. One is A Multicultural Portrait of the Civil War by Carol Ann Piggins, Marshall Cavendish 1993. This book shows the participation and importance of all ethnic groups during this tumultuous period in American history. It makes a welcome addition to help round out the class' research. The other book that I suggested is Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L.

McKissack, Scholastic 1994. This book provides background for what life was like on a southern plantation. While this book covers pre-Civil War territory, the reader knows what will be coming. For all the gaiety of Christmas celebrations, the evil of slavery comes right through.

After my colleague finished the Civil War unit, we discussed how well the unit succeeded. She said that these library books helped to reinforce and add to their understanding of the topic. When teachers come to me to collaborate as this teacher did, the children reap the benefits of the additional literature in the field. I urge you to seek out your librarian for great ways to enhance your curriculum. Next month, I will write about some favorite authors for use in author studies for different grades.


~ Audrey CiuffoNew York , New York  USA
Teacher, Mentor, Library Technologist 
~ Amanda Caudill's Middle School English ~
( for the writing teacher)

Students sometimes have a hard time establishing purpose and audience in a piece of writing.   High on my wall I have a permanent homemade poster that  states the following: 
"As a ____(role)_____, I am writing a _____(form) for/to ____(audience)____ to/because ____(purpose)______."

(Example) As a consumer of the product Nike, I am writing an editorial to inform parents to consider purchasing this item for their children. I have my students fill this out before every piece (personal narratives, short stories, editorials, book reviews, etc.) However, I urge you to caution your students to not begin their pieces with this sentence. It will lead to an awkward and novice beginning. This is simply a step from which to begin.

Try this and let me know how it works for you.  If you send me questions on areas you are having difficulty getting across, I will try to offer some options in this column for you!

~ Amanda Smith Caudill, Cynthiana, Kentucky USA
sixth grade Language Arts Teacher
Harrison County Middle School
~ Technically Speaking with Kathleen A. Catapano ~

Getting started seems like an appropriate topic for this first column on technology in education. It is one of the biggest obstacles for teachers facing the dilemma of using technology for teaching. No matter how skilled a technician the teacher is, a first attempt should be simple and manageable. Using computers in the classroom will require a few new tricks from the bag of classroom management tools so choose a first project that requires simple rotation of all students through a program for a specific amount of time. Choosing the software should not be intimidating. There are many worthwhile titles out there that will captivate your students and provide you with an opportunity to observe the pedagogical process. Be sure to look at the kind of learning that is taking place, the social interaction that occurs and how the activity fits into the classroom environment.

Try something that requires some creative thought on the part of the students. Oregon Trail or Where in the World (or USA) is Carmen Sandiego? are good old favorites. Younger children will enjoy The Treehouse. Your school technology coordinator may have other suggestions. Have the children work in pairs, allowing those who are comfortable with the program to be the helpers. Make up a chart to keep track of who has had a turn; each child should be allotted at least a half hour.

It is important that you as the teacher also spend a half-hour or so with the program before the children do. Get involved just as the children do so that you can experience their problem-solving challenges. This will allow you to understand their thinking and to make an assessment of the kinds of things they are learning from this activity.

Getting started is the most immediate goal, not choosing the most educationally perfect, curriculum-driven project. Those are future goals, the next steps to be taken. For now, choose an activity that you can accomplish successfully and enjoy the experience as much as your students will.

~ Kathleen A. Catapano, Brooklyn, New York  USA
Educational Technology,
Medgar Evers College - CUNY

==== TRY THIS! =========================
Save time entering grades and filing student work!
***Assign a number to each student to correspond to the list in your grade book/grading program.  Number coat hooks, desks, and display areas.  Number your textbooks.  Then each time you distribute a book, you can give the child the book by number.  When the books are collected, you know instantly exactly who is missing a book.  Students can also write their number on all papers handed in.  Put the papers in numerical order and entering grades is a snap! ***

==== CALL FOR IDEAS ===================
Do you have tips or opinions on current theories/methodologies to share?  Do you have a great site you think I should add to Mrs. Young's Super Charged Educational Voyage? Submit it!  Click here:  Suggestions
Interested in sponsoring this newsletter? Please send your request to: Sponsor
To subscribe/unsubscribe to this newsletter click here.
>> This publication may be freely redistributed if copied in its ENTIRETY <<

The contents of the newsletter do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Mrs. Young's Super Charged Educational Voyage, Janet Young, or her company, JRY Development Corp.   Mrs. Young's Super Charged Educational Voyage, Janet Young, or her company, JRY Development Corp. make no warranties, either expressed or implied, about the truth or accuracy of the contents of the Mrs. Young's Super Charged Educational Voyage Web Site and The Education Companion Newsletter.

These pages are copyrighted ©1999 under JRY Development Corp., AS WELL AS each author's name

Home ] Up ] Contents ] Authors ] Newsletters ]

Send mail to webmaster@theeducationcompanion.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2001 The Education Companion Newsletter

Visit Janet Young's Super Charged Educational Voyage web site!

Web site by JRY Development Corp