The great art of writing is knowing when to stop.
Bill Gates' Eleven
In his book Business @ The
Speed of Thought, Bill Gates argues that our feel-good, politically
correct culture has created a generation of kids with no concept of
reality and who are set up for failure in the "real"
world. He shares eleven rules of life that students never learn in
school, but should.
Rule 1 - Life is not
fair; get used to it.
Rule 2 - The world won't care about your self-esteem. The
world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about
Rule 3 - You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of
high school You won't be a vice-president with a car phone either,
until you earn both.
Rule 4 - If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a
boss. He doesn't have tenure.
Rule 5 - Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
grandparents had a different word for burger flipping; they called it
Rule 6 - If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't
whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7 - Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as
they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning
your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So
before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents'
generation, try "delousing" the clothes in your own
Rule 8 - Your school may have done away with winners and losers,
but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing
grades and they will let you try as many times as you want to get the
right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to
ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9 - Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get
summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find
yourself. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10 - Television is NOT real life. In real life people
actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to their jobs.
Rule 11 - Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up
working for one.
inevitable. Suffering is Optional
Part of the Answer
Do you think only in terms of your
self, how much you can make and what you can get out of life?
Those who think only in those terms are definitely part of the
Or are you concerned with the
contribution you can make, how much you can give and how much you can
put in? People like that are part of the answer.
Young children learn by doing.
The work of early childhood specialists and
other child development theorists and researchers has demonstrated that learning is a complex process that results
from the interaction of child's own thinking and his experiences
in the external world. Maturation is an important contributor to
learning because it provides a framework from which a child's
learning proceeds. As children get older, they acquire new
skills and experiences that facilitate the learning process. For
example, as children grow physically, they are more able to manipulate
and explore their own environment. Also, as children mature,
they are more able to understand the point of view of other
Knowledge is not something that is
given to children as though they were empty vessels to be
filled. Children acquire knowledge about the physical and social
worlds in which they live through playful interaction with objects and
people. Children do not need to be forced to learn: they
are motivated by their own desire to make sense of their
National Association for
the Education of Young Children
A Parrot Story
A woman bought a parrot
that turned out to have a gutter vocabulary. After she became
aware of this, she took it back to the pet shop, where the shop owner
talked her into giving it another chance.
"The next time you
hear any vulgarity from this bird," he said, "put it in your
freezer for a few minutes."
The woman took the parrot
home again, but no sooner had she put it in its cage, the bird began
saying terrible things. Into the freezer it went....for five
minutes. When the woman took the parrot out of the freezer, it
was subdued and stayed that way for a week. Then the vulgarities
began again. This time the parrot's mistress popped it into the
freezer and vowed to keep it there for 15 minutes.
As the parrot shook with
the cold and ice began forming on its feathers, it looked around and
was startled to see a frozen turkey that had been purchased the day
said the parrot, "just what did you say, anyway?"
Bits and Pieces
be a hard rock, when you really are a gem!
Teaching Students to Write
Do you remember when you
were in school and your assignment was to write a term paper? It
was an important task and one that took your attention for a
significant period of time.
Students are still writing
term papers. The development of the skills and concepts needed
to produce a credible product is one of the primary goals of any
writing curriculum. The term paper, produced toward the end of a
student's school career, remains a symbol of achievement and, in
coordination with the many skills involved in creating a well-written
paper, a mark of success.
The development of the
necessary skills begins as soon as the child begins a learning
program. The kindergarten child who tells about something he or
she saw on a walk in the park is beginning to use observation as a
source of information. When the child explains, "Some men
were trimming the trees and putting the limbs in a truck," the
child is learning to place facts in sequence.
Elementary students are
guided in writing stories and urged to use what they have learned about letter sounds to "spell" the words. Their
completed stories when illustrated and bound teach their
"authors" firsthand about ownership and copyright material.
This experience eases the
transition to using others' written material as a reference. The
art and skill of paraphrasing information from resource materials and
giving credit to the owner through bibliographic reference is the
focus of writing at the middle and upper elementary grades.
All through their
instructional activities there is guided practice in sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing and language
usage. Thus the high school student has the ability to find
material in reference sources, organize that material into useful
notes, produce a paper on a given subject and work independently
toward an assigned goal.
has made access to resource materials less time consuming.
Technology has improved the look of the finished product. But
the skills required to organize and produce a term paper are still the
terminal goal of a program in written language.
The Master Teacher
Parents + Students + Educator = Success
The more comprehensive and long-lasting
the parent involvement in learning the more effective it is likely to
be, not just on children's achievement, but on the quality of the
program. In order for learning to occur a cooperative
relationship must exist among students, parents and the educational
program . This partnership can be described as follows:
Parents or Guardians Who:
- Maintain regular communication with
the educational program and their child's progress
- Insure that their child attends to
daily instructional activities
- Provide their child with resources
need to complete learning activities
- Assist their child in being healthy,
neat and clean
- Discuss assessment and work
assignments with their child
- Maintain a daily schedule for
- Are prepared for instruction with
appropriate working materials
- Refrain from profane or inflammatory
- Conduct themselves in a safe and
- Are clean and neat
- Are responsible for their own work
- Abide by the guidelines for the
- Seek changes in an orderly and
Educational Programs That:
- Uses a variety of tools and methods
in guiding students and parents
- Maintains a high standard of ethics
- Exhibits an attitude of respect for
students and parents
- Plans a flexible curriculum to meet
the needs of all students
- Develops a good working relationship
with students and parents
- Promotes regular communication with
parents and students
- Encourages parent and student
participation in the affairs of the program
- Seeks to involve students and parents
in the development of policy
- Endeavors to involve the entire
community in the improvement of the quality of life.
Parent involvement is associated with
higher instructional performance, regardless of the income level of
the families served, the grade level of the program or the location of
Adapted from National
School Public Relations Association
The SAT Critical Reading
Students are beginning to
think of those all-important tests for entrance into colleges and
universities. There have been some changes in the SAT in the
last few years. One change has been to remove the analogies and
to replace them with critical reading. Test takers will find
short, one-paragraph reading passages. The critical reading test
still comprises three sections for a total of 70 minutes and 67
questions. The old test was five minutes longer and had
approximately eleven more questions! Each reading section will start
off with sentence-completion questions. These questions will be
followed by two short reading paragraphs with one or two questions
each. Longer reading passages will follow.
do they mean by critical reading?"
differs from 'ordinary' reading insofar as it reflects a more active
and critical mode of engagement," according to one English
professor. "Is the statement true? Is it
useful? How does it relate to things I already know?"
Knowing how to critically
read is important. A test prep expert states, "The deeper we're
able to think, the more likely we're going to create the world we want
How can you prepare for
the reading test?
First read. Then read some more. And keep on
reading. While taking the test, students are encouraged to read
only the most important parts of the essays and are discouraged from
thorough, time-consuming 'regular' reading.
What should you read?
The answer is easy: anything and everything. Whatever we read is
adding something to our overall skill in understanding and engaging
Adapted from The Next
Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to
Center for the History of
Physics: The mission of this site is to make known the history
of modern physics and allied fields including astronomy, geophysics
and optics. Virtual exhibits highlight the discovery of the
electron, Albert Einstein and Werner Heisenberg, the found of Quantum
Crown of Africa: Unlocking the Secrets of Mt. Kilimanjaro: Can you
combine a geography lesson with fitness training? Learn about
the history of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak and the gear and
training it takes to make a successful climb. Study the geologic
formations and what those features mean to trekkers climbing the
Life on the Rocky Shore: This website helps students explore
tide pools and learn more about oceans and the creatures within.
Activities range from interactive quizzes to ideas for a paper mache
tide pool. Several tide tables and links to major aquariums are
NGA Kids: The National Gallery in Washington created a variety of
activities for children learning about art. Take a tour of the
sculpture garden or explore the colors, shapes and lines found in
Kandinsky's Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle). Requires Flash plugin
and Quicktime. http://www.nga.gov/kids/
The Port Chicago Disaster:
This resource and the accompanying
activities outline the events of 1944, when a major explosion rocked
Port Chicago, CA. How far does duty go for a soldier during
wartime; was there racism involved in the decision to court martial
African-American soldiers who refuse to continue to load munitions
under unsafe circumstances? http://intergate.cccoe.k12.ca.us/pc/
Wacky Uses: Products we have around our homes can be used for
many things. Did you know that ChapStick can make a zipper
operate more smoothly or flexible straws can help start a bottle of
ketchup? This list is a great starting point for students who
want to learn more about the scientific process. http://www.wackyuses.com/uses.html
USFA Kid's Place: The United States Fire
created this site for the purpose of keeping children and their
families safe from fire. This site includes activities such as
an interactive game, puzzles and coloring pages. http://www.usfa.fema.gov/kids/index.htm
My Health My World: My Health My World is a project sponsored
by Baylor College of Medicine for students, parents and
teachers. This site contains educational materials on current
environmental issues for students in grade K-4. The goal of the
My Health My World project is to promote a deeper understanding of the
relationships between the environment and health, while conveying the
excitement of "doing science" with younger students.
From the Staff at Knowledge
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