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Posts Tagged ‘curriculum’

The Pilgrims Came

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

The Pilgrims came across the sea,
And never thought of you and me;
And yet it’s very strange the way

We think of them Thanksgiving day.

We tell their story, old and true
Of how they sailed across the blue,
And found a new land to be free
And built their homes quite near the sea.

Every child knows well the tale
Of how they bravely turned the sail
And journeyed many a day and night,
To worship God as they thought right.

Author Unknown

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Balanced Approach to Teaching Reading

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Consider the following two teaching methods in English Language Arts. Mr. Brown hands out a worksheet exercise to his first grade students on circling words that contain the same “ch” sound. This is an explicit exercise on phonics or basic skills instruction in reading. Mrs. Kato reads to the class and asks her first graders to write about the topic after the reading. Mrs. Kato was using the whole language approach to teaching reading. Which is a better method of teaching reading to children?

Research says that a combination of the two methods or balanced instruction may be the most effective way to teach the beginning reader. This balanced instruction involves teaching the relationship between letters and sounds in a systematic fashion, and at the same time, children are being read to and reading interesting stories and writing at the same time. Researchers claim that the combination method presents the best of both worlds in teaching reading.

February Highlights

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

We found these quotes interesting and thought you would as well.

February 12: Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the U.S.…..the well assured and most enduring memorial to Lincoln is invisibly there, today, tomorrow and for a long time yet to come in the hearts of lovers of liberty, men and women who understand that wherever there is freedom there have been those who fought, toiled and sacrificed for it.

Carl Sandburg


February 22: George Washington, 1stPresident of the U.S.Washington is the mightiest name on earth….long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation.

Abraham Lincoln


February 14: St. Valentine’s DayAccording to an old legend the day upon which birds choose their mates; widely celebrated by the giving of love tokens. A valentine is a letter or missive sent by one person to another on St. Valentine’s Day.

Webster’s Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 1937

A Holiday of Reading

Friday, December 28th, 2012

It’s not unusual for adults to stop reading to children once they are old enough to read for themselves.  however, even children in the intermediate grades still like being read to now and then, says Texas instructional specialist Sam Ayers.  He suggests that parents continue reading aloud to children on a consistent basis even as they get older and that teachers and librarians can make age-appropriate recommendations to parents who don’t feel comfortable selecting books on their own.

Mr. Ayers has found older children often enjoy reading to younger children.  “Parents should provide opportunities for children to read to each other,”  he says.  “This provides them with oral reading practice and may positively affect their self-esteem.  it also provides the listener with a positive role model.”

Researchers at Clark University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education suggest that you do more than just read books to preschoolers.  They suggest that you discuss the books and vary the types of books as well. 

The researcher recommend asking “what” and “why” questions that encourage the child to think about a character’s behavior and motivation and connect the events in the book with his or her own experience.  Ask the child to name colors and label objects.  Also vary the types of reading material.  For example, one time you may want to read a work of fiction.  The next time, read a nursery rhyme or a non-fiction informational book.


The Importance of Language in Reading

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Reading is first and foremost a form of communication.   When learning to talk, children develop the concept that words communicate thoughts, emotions, and needs.  When learning to read, they develop the concept that words can be communicated visually as well as orally.  In order that the printed words will have meaning for them, children must have a solid foundation in language.   Mastering spoken language is a key step toward mastering written language.   The more experiences children have, the more they are talked to and listened to, the more stimulation they receive….the more they will be ready to read.  Parents can help their children develop the needed foundation in language by talking with them and listening to them.

  • Talk with your child while doing things together:   folding laundry, driving the car, cooking.
  • Ask your child to sequence the events of the day at dinner or at bedtime.
  • Discuss what you’ve seen on TV or read together.   Ask questions:  Who was your favorite character?  Why?  What would you have done?  What do you think will happen next?
  • Repeat favorite nursery rhymes and stories.  If your child has memorized them, listen while the child tells them to you.
  • Encourage questions and try to answer them.

The Continuum of Learning Starts Early

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

The instructional curriculum is a continuum that begins in the early years and progresses through a life time.  While there is much overlap in subjects, it is helpful to know that the simple task for the young learner of pushing a truck up a ramp (inclined plane) is a basic concept of physics that he will revisit many times in his educational experience.  Although students may find the words physics, economics and politics hard to know and understand, these are subjects to be included in any well rounded curriculum.  Students need to have a solid foundation in all subjects in order to meet success in their later learning experiences.

In Physics for example – simple machines teach about principals of physics.

In Economics - most young children play store and, the boys especially, like to play with trucks.  Transportation fits into Economics, as does going to the store.

Politics – The idea of choice is not new to young learners and although we might not call it politics, the idea that they might choose one pet over another or one friend out of many, is an example of politics.  Young children vote every day on things in their every day life.

As the student progresses through the online curriculum, the courses required may be somewhat different than what they would experience in a regular public or private school.  Subjects are integrated across the curricular area.  For instance, Algebra is often labeled….pre-Algebra, Algebra or Algebra I and II, or Advanced Algebra.  In an online curriculum, algebraic concepts might be taught throughout the subjects, such as, Computation, Estimation, Data Analysis, Measurement, Ratio and Percentage, and Geometry.  Algebra may be recommended at a higher grade,  if the course covers the basics to calculus.

Often students have difficulty linking previous learning to newer concepts.  A strong program provides age appropriate instruction which teaches ways to understand more difficult concepts.  When the student approaches a more difficult problem, perhaps in Physics, Economics or Politics, they may recall earlier learning that can provide a way to solve such a problem.

Crowd Sourcing Online Instructional Content

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Even before it was known as crowd-sourcing, a unique and innovative model was created for developing educational content.  LessonPro, a website from Knowledge Headquarters, was launched in 1999 as a new and promising application for writing K-12 educational coursework over the Internet.  The company established the Internet site to promote its standards for Internet-based instructional content to the educational community.  Teachers from across the nation write lessons using the template at www.lessonpro.net.

The curriculum development model was new for education at the time, but a similar model   had been used successfully by other Internet companies such as eBay, AOL, Yahoo, epinions, and geocities.  Teachers from around the world write lessons using the template at www.lessonpro.net providing access for students to their online instruction.

The template is an easy-to-use fill-in-the-blank format that teachers complete using their own original material.  Students of writers may then access the lessons at no cost using the teacher assigned password.

The key to student success is engaging their interests through a wide range of topics, informational web sites and interesting activities, which help create a unique learning experience for each student.  Writers are encouraged to incorporate links within each lesson that reinforce the skills and concepts being emphasized in the lesson.   These online connections open a wide array of possibilities for learning, not limited to the confines of traditional instruction.  Students anticipate new discoveries that lie ahead as they proceed through each instructional lesson.  The visual instruction is designed to include all curricular disciplines, balance the transfer of certain basic skills and strengthen the value of online education.

Are There Different Kinds of Smart?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Not long ago, most viewed intelligence as a single quantity …an immutable, monolithic construct known as “intelligence quotient” or “IQ.”

Today we’re pretty sure that is wrong.  Thanks to Howard Gardner’s groundbreaking work and to corresponding developments in neurobiology, most experts now suspect there are at least several different kinds of intelligence.  Rather than a single quantity, intelligence is now largely seen as a grouping of capacities, each defined by Gardner as “an ability to solve a problem or fashion a product that is valued in one or more cultural settings.”

How many are there?  At last count, Gardner list 8 1/2 … Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Musical, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Naturalist and half for Comedic Intelligence.

How many are likely to emerge?  Nobody really knows, but ultimately the question of precise numbers misses the point:  a more important question may be, “How do we use our many skills most effectively?”  And the answer seems to be.  “Use them often.”

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Overcoming Conventional Wisdom

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

TowerFor centuries, people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all times and surely he could not be wrong. All it would have taken was for one brave person to take two objects, one heavy and one light, and drop them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one stepped forward until nearly 2000 years after Aristotle’s death. In 1589, Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten-pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same time. But the power of belief in the conventional wisdom was so strong that the professors denied what they had seen. They continued to say Aristotle was right.

Where Are The Basic Math Facts?

Monday, June 18th, 2012

eTutor’s curriculum calls for the quick recall of basic facts by children at the end of third grade.  Learning of these skills is done best by teaching students about numbers in relation to everyday life activities and not exclusively by rote drills and memorization.  Their math horizons are expanding to include problem-solving skills, ratio and proportions, algebra, geometry, measurement, data collection, analysis and estimation.  eTutor challenges students to balance a strong knowledge of basic skills with the ability to solve day-to-day math problems with confidence.

It is appropriate for students to struggle once in a while with math problems.  This helps them learn from mistakes, practice persistence and accept challenges.

Numbers and operations on numbers play fundamental roles in helping us make sense of the world around us.  Operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, as well as the ability to find powers and roots, extend the notion of numbers to create tools to model situations and solve problems in our everyday lives.  Discussing and solving problems related to budgets, comparing prices on merchandise, understanding the nature of interest charges, measuring fuel consumption and calculating the trajectory for space travel would all be impossible without a sense of numbers and numerical operations.  All people must develop this sense of numbers and operations and be able to use it to solve problems using mental computation, paper-and-pencil algorithms, calculators and computers. (from eTutor Goals for Mathematics)