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Archive for September, 2008


Education is important. It is necessary to learn new things, such as the latest trends or some of the things from way back thousands of years ago. One of the best parts of education is that you will learn the basic things on how to handle situations such as family problems, how to answer your assignments and how to face some of your fears. This is real life and it is not like an anime movie or a cartoon. We must face all the challenges just to get the best education we want. Let’s face all our fears.

It has been established that education is to provide training and informative education especially to young children… In general, elementary education consists of six to seven years of schooling. It is necessary to undergo an elementary education, because this is the right time to improve learning and we all know that most children are not so open minded when it comes to this. It is also necessary to provide a good school and a great location for studies. It is not necessary to choose whether it is a private or public school. The most important factors for education are great location, great teachers and a nice school. Maybe children, at their age, they think that it is time for them to play, and not a time for learning. There is a right time for education, we just have to let the children know how important education will be in there lives.

Let’s start the year with a great education.

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Have you ever looked over a child’s shoulder while they search the internet? There is so much indiscriminate clicking going on! Whatever comes up first must be what they are looking to find. Add to that interesting graphics and advertisements it isn’t long before where they’ve ended up isn’t in any way related to what they were looking for to begin with!

When using the internet with younger children, particularly third grade and lower, it is in your best interest to have a predefined set of websites selected for the students to utilize. This will focus the work time and help the students become more productive since the issue of website credibility and random searching will be eliminated. Even with older students I often tell them that they must first use the online encyclopedia before venturing into the search engines.

When learning to gather key points of information from a website I often choose a topic being studied by that class, provide a website of high content that I have located, and then ask the students to find five key points of interest and jot them down on paper. The idea of “points of interest” is always worth exploring with a class as often children choose isolated facts that are not important in the big picture of learning or even remotely interesting. This teaches the skill of scanning a web page. Often students will begin to read every word of a web page and then give up after the first or second paragraph. Learning to scan a page is a skill worth teaching and practicing.

When citing sources, a common misunderstanding for students is that Google or any other search engine is the source. They cite that they found the information on Google. Helping students understand that Google is a method for finding information and not a source requires repetition. I find that students need to hear this over and over to fully understand the difference between a search engine and an actual web page source.

Trying to teach children to determine the credibility of a website is very difficult. I begin by explaining to students that anyone in the world can make a web page on any topic. I could make a website showing that the best tropical vacation would be to visit the North Pole in December. I could show tropical photos tied to a map of the North Pole. I could mix up photos from around the world and relate them all to a visit to the North Pole. There is an excellent website to show this point about taking a whale watching expedition in Lake Michigan. An excellent lesson is to send students to this website to gather key pieces of information. See how long it takes before one of your students questions the legitimacy of this site!

Teaching students to find information on the Internet is an important skill. The earlier we teach students how to find information by scanning pages will enhance the learning for all the research projects and activities throughout the school year.

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Co – education is the recent system of education where girls sit and study along with boys in same classes and in a common college. This system was not popular in ancient schools and colleges. At that time, it was not considered appropriate to allow boys and girls study together in same institutions. Rather, boys and girls were sent to separate schools and colleges. Social mixing of boys and girls was not allowed. This was considered essential to maintain the purity of character in them.

Actually the elders of each family consider many disadvantages in co – education and that’s why they are against sending their children or grand – children to such schools and colleges. They think that co – education makes their children absent – minded. The children become indisciplined and the whole atmosphere of the schools and colleges gets polluted.

The boys try all sorts of motions, gestures and songs to attract the attention of the girls. Even the girls tempt the boys for all sorts of indiscipline. Boys do not come for the teachers in the class. They keep combing their hair off and on and waster their time. The boys and girls all try to show themselves as heroes and heroines respectively and are mostly running to cinemas to see latest movies. The educational institutions start presenting a look of fashion parades. All sorts of unsocial and undesireable habits are developed and students forget to listen to their elders or teachers. In such an atmosphere, one cannot expect a good quality character.

Co – education is considered better from social point of view in spite of its various defects as explained above. Such a system of education gives an opportunity to understand each other’s problems and, therefore, can co-operate better in achievement of respective goals. A healthy spirit of working and competing is created by co – education. The boys try to keep a polite and gentle character so as to give a good impression to their girls class – fellows. During their long period of education, they can better understand each other’s psychology and even can choose their life partners from among their class – fellows. In this way, problem of parents to select a suitable match for their children is also solved. The boy and girl educated together make the best match due to their broad attitude towards life and closer understanding of each other’s habits and manners of living, likes and dislikes.

Co – education provides economical and advanced education to girl students. This is because same amount of money is invested to upgrade or provide better equipments and infrastructure in schools and colleges. Otherwise, funds would get diverted for constructing separate schools and colleges for girls. Further, in a free democratic country like India, we cannot deny education to girls along with boys, the girls must also be equally educated. However, where girls students take interest in greater numbers towards studies, there, special separate institutions can be established to impart education of each level and in various professions.

Co – education seems to be good at primary level and higher level in colleges. But due care must be taken at high school and inter-classes where lot of physical and mental changes take place naturally in children. Students must be guided properly to avoid their going astray. Separation between girls and boys can be made taking them into confidence and making them understand any implications. As such, at high school level, co – education can be imparted with able guidance and care. At university level, boys and girls get matured to understand good or bad of each other. So co – education can be very useful from social and economic point of view if given under proper care and guidance.

Rajesh Mohan is a Indian Poet and Freelance Writer. For more, check out Kerala Backwaters

Calicut University MBA

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What is learning math all about? What’s the basic idea we need to help our children be successful in math? What’s the secret to math ability?

In the United States, most people, most teachers, most students, believe that learning math is about developing understanding of certain concepts of principles.

There is a pervasive belief that a certain type of innate math ability, the much desired trait of “Being Good at Learning Math,” is the key to success. And the lack of it is the cause of frustration and failure in this subject.

But nothing could be farther from the truth.

Just Like Riding a Bike

Think of teaching a child to ride a bike. What are the conditions for success? There are three.

First, the child needs to have already mastered a set of motor skills that are prerequisite to riding the bike. He or she needs to be able to walk and run already, so that the strength and endurance to turn the peddles are in place. He or she needs the gross motor coordination to hold the handles tight, peddle, and turn the head a bit, all at the same time. He or she needs enough sense of balance so that the potential to stay up is there. So, we need prerequisite skills.

Second, we need developmental readiness. There’s a point in maturity when the child is ready and able to put it together to make the step of taking off the training wheels.

Third, we need some kind of technique to help the child to get going. An approach that will make it relatively easy to get started. A system that will make failure less likely. Like taking the child to an open level place without cars. Like running along holding the back of the bike, gradually letting go for longer and longer. Like keeping up the words of encouragement.

What about the screaming, the tears, the spending weeks or months over it? Probably the child simply wasn’t ready for it. It’s like picking cherries: when they’re ready, they come right off in your hand. If you have to pull hard, it’s because they’re not ready yet.

But What About Natural Math Ability?

What about natural ability? OK, a very coordinated child might learn very young. Might teach himself. Who knows? Think you can look at a bunch of ten year olds, twenty year olds, thirty year olds … and tell who learnt to ride at four or five or six?

I doubt it.

With unusual talent, the child can learn faster, easier, a bit younger. But none of this is likely to matter much in the long run.

With the developed skills in place and an OK teaching technique, really almost anyone can learn to ride.

What About Mastering Concepts?

What about the concepts? You think the child understand how the bike works? I only do in a vague way myself? I’m sure I don’t understand why it’s easier to balance when you’re going faster than when you’re going slower. You really don’t need to understand “the why and the how” to be able to do it.

Natural ability makes it easier, but isn’t the main thing. Conceptual understanding isn’t the main thing. The main thing is sound prerequisite skills, developmental readiness, and some sensible approaches to instruction.

Now here’s the scary part. Most math students in our schools are hitting the material without the necessary prerequisite skills, without developmental readiness, and without satisfactory approaches to education. This is pattern of math education is what is really behind the current “math anxiety” crisis in American schools.

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When I first started the weekly lesson planning, I thought I needed to write everything from scratch from objectives, lesson goals and activities. The coursebook or textbook serves as a syllabus in addition to providing texts and learning tasks which were most likely written for the level you are teaching. This of course is a great time consuming tool especially for the new teacher who otherwise, might have to prepare all the necessary materials.

There may be topics which are not necessarily relevant or motivating for your students.You might consider adopting or preparing from scratch additional materials as the need arises with your classes. It is also very easy to be teacher dependent on using the textbook instead of relying on one’s creativity and skill. For teachers who are just learning the ropes of classroom management and lesson planning or occasionally unsure of their applications, the coursebook can provide a useful beginning.You just need to know how and when to use the textbook to suit your particular class.

What textbook activities should you use?

Both new and seasoned teachers should spend some time going through the first chapter or two and evaluate how well they complement the needs of their students. It’s important to be choosy when first deciding which activities to use. You don’t need to use every single activity but you should decide in advance which activities will complement your objectives. For example, if you are teaching students how to use reading strategies effectively, make sure the activities you use are challenging and interesting to all levels of your students.

I always try and use a combination approach of both my own input and one or two textbook activities. That way I show the students the connection between what they learn and the textbook.

The textbook as a simple resource

Some textbooks have a summary section that includes a wrap up of all the reading objectives and activities. If your textbook doesn’t have one, you can always develop your own mini summary quiz or check-up. I have used these are mini reading check-ups and quizzes that are later factored into their cumulative grade. This shows there is a connection between the textbook and accountability. Otherwise, students see a textbook as just that something students lug in their book bags every morning.

If you become too dependent on the textbook, the lessons often become too routine and structured. A combinational approach is always best when motivating your students especially, if you are teaching lower performing learners who usually thrive in a structured and motivating learning environment.

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Interaction and involvement are necessary for a successful preschool Sunday School. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to have bulletin boards on display in your classroom. There are so many things you can do with a bulletin board, and the sky is the limit when it comes to decorating them.

Interactive bulletin boards are ones in which students get to do some type of hands-on activity that relates to the bulletin board and its current theme. For instance, many Sunday school teachers like to use pocket charts with each pocket assigned to a child in the class. The child can easily identify his own name on the pocket chart, and knows this is where he can find information that pertains directly to him.

Teachers also use bulletin boards to help children associate to holidays and seasons. There is absolutely no limit to the number of ways you can decorate a board for holidays and seasons. Leaves are popular in the fall, and nativity scenes are great for Christmas. To get students involved in building a bulletin board, consider allowing them to attach features to a snowman or place plastic flowers in your construction paper pots.

You can make your own bulletin boards from scratch or use the hundreds of themes that are available for purchase at local Christian bookstores and on the Internet. While pre-printed patterns and shapes are easy to assemble, there is just something fun about being able to design your own bulletin boards with a little imagination. Just remember to use heavy card stock paper for borders, as these can rip easy. You can get ideas from other teachers, or you can purchase a software package that has lots of border styles and colors for you to print at home. Whatever you decide to do in making your bulletin boards, it is safe to say that if they are colorful and eye-catching, your preschoolers will love them.

Using them as a learning tool is a big plus as well. For instance, if you are teaching about Noah’s Ark, you might consider allowing students to glue the animals on the ark. After you say an animal name, pick a student to find the animal out of a pile that you have, and glue it to the ark. If the child picks the right animal, you can give him a small prize. If he does not choose the correct animal, have a different child try. Keep going until all of the animals are on the ark, and every child in your class has gotten a sticker or piece of candy.

Enjoy the many benefits of using bulletin boards in your Sunday school classroom. You will be simply amazed out how effective they are in helping bring Bible stories to life, and encourage preschoolers to learn more about the Bible.

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By observing children in many different preschools, I’ve noticed that the classes which utilize an abundance of visual supports for children have far more independent and secure students. Many children as well as adults perform much better with additional visual cues throughout the day. I know I need my various lists or palm pilot to remind me what I need to accomplish each day or each week. It helps me keep focused on the priorities of my life. There are so many distractions each day to tempt us away from what needs to be accomplished.

This is true of preschoolers as well as they negotiate through the preschool day. Just think of being four years old in a new class with loads of play areas and visual distractions. Not only do you have this sea of fun, you have lots of friends and adults within one room to play with. What a thrill! But then your teacher says, “It’s time for circle”, and you have to drop what you’re doing, pick up and go and sit quietly on the carpet for twenty plus minutes while all the toys and activities are calling out to you to play with them. How do you survive the day??

By utilizing visual supports for the whole class, you assist students in planning and preparing themselves for a period of time. They begin to understand that even though it may be difficult to come to circle, that after circle they’ll be able to visit centers, then have snack, then go out to play, etc. They’ll learn to organize themselves and have less anxiety about their day. For those who may miss home, they’ll be able to see that there’s an end in sight after they complete several more activities. It also reduces the amount of repeating directions to children.

Visual support strips are especially helpful to preschool classes which include children with special needs. I suggest to parents to use these techniques at home to assist with bedtime and mealtime routines. Here’s a few examples:

• Use a classroom visual strip for the morning’s activities on a wall where students and teachers can easily refer to it. Each picture should be large enough to be seen from anyplace in the class. One class uses the following sequence for their preschool class: free play, circle, activity centers, snack, read book, recess, home. Teachers refer to the strip as each transition is about to occur.

• Individual student strip- Some children with high anxiety or limited language skills may benefit from an individual strip. They can have pictures posted on Velcro to remind them of the activities of the session. After each task/center is completed, they learn to remove the picture and place it in the all done envelope below their strip. A teacher assistant usually guides the child with this plan until the child can independently follow the strip with the cue “Sam, check your chart.”

• Individual task strips are utilized in certain activities such as fine motor center. For some students to envision completing a fine motor project is overwhelming and may elicit a meltdown. By following the task strip of paint pumpkin, cut out eyes, nose and mouth, and paste parts on pumpkin; the child can complete the project with a minimal amount of assistance.

• Visual strips can also be placed in areas where a routine needs to be followed such as sequence to wash hands or use bathroom.

• A zigger zagger icon (thunderbolt) is introduced to the children as some unexpected event that may change the expected routine of the day or activity. Maybe outdoor recess needs to be canceled due to an unexpected thunderstorm. Children need to learn that changes may occur that were not planned for and it’s OK.

Additional Visual Strategies

1. A list of classroom rules which may use pictures may assist the students.

2. Labels with words or pictures on center areas or bins of toys.

3. Classroom helper chart with a picture of each child and their assigned task for the week.

4. A choice board with a variety of activities (pictures) for students to choose when unable to verbally request one.

5. A song choice board where students can choose a song to sing from a group of songs which have been introduced over the course of several months.

6. Preschool staff may wear a flexible wristband with a variety of picture icons to reinforce what a child needs to do. Some children with delays may respond more appropriately to the picture than the verbal instruction. Teacher verbally states the direction once in combination with the picture and then presents the picture again to reinforce the instruction.

By incorporating visual supports in the preschool classroom, children learn to independently refer to pictures throughout the day to stay organized, reduce anxiety and prepare for the upcoming activities.

Sheila Demers, author, special education administrator, teacher and childcare trainer, is an expert in children with special needs and challenging behavior. With over twenty-five years experienced as an educator including special education teacher, preschool coordinator, guidance counselor and private placement specialist; she has provided training for children, families, and educators in their search to implement strategies and supports regarding specialized needs of children.

Sheila holds New Hampshire certifications as an Elementary Educator, Special Educator, Guidance Counselor and Special Education Admistrator. She also holds a New Hampshire credential as a childcare Mentor, Trainer and Faculty. As a Preschool Coordinator for the past twelve years, she has developed, implemented and supervised integrated preschool programs for children with and without disabilities. She is a sought after provider of consultation services to preschools and childcare centers. Through these services many children with special needs and behavior challenges have enjoyed successful preschool experiences. Personally committed to maximizing the potential of each child’s abilities, she is actively involved in local and statewide committees to improve services to young children and their families.

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