October 1997 Issue
Visit us at http://www.strategicstudies.com
Message From The President

Strategic Studies has been most fortunate to have been asked by many school districts in Illinois to assist with school improvement planning. It has been such a pleasure to see and hear the wonderful work teachers are doing on a daily basis in these school districts. Our goal has been to help districts take what is already in place and develop new curriculum based on what is successful and current. Curriculum development and review is the most important work school districts do. It is a dynamic process that allows school districts to make informed decisions about daily operations, personnel, facilities, and budgeting. Our work in school districts has provided the impetus for the research and development of tools and programs to assist educators in their daily tasks. We encourage you to watch for more information about http://www.e-tutor.com which will be available on the Internet soon.

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The Survey Says ..

Thanks to your survey participation about the proposed national test plan of testing grade 4 students in reading and grade 8 students in mathematics. The survey results show

100% in favor of the national test plan

0% not in favor of the national test plan

0% with no opinion.

Happy Columbus Day

Columbus Day is celebrated on October 13. Since 1920 the day has been celebrated annually. The history of Columbus, first landing in the New World on October 12, will be retold in many social studies classes in October The following is a brief account of its history.

On August 3, 1492 Columbus and 90 men set sail to find an easier route to Asia for the spice merchants. The expedition was sponsored by Queen Isabella of Spain, provided that Columbus would conquer some of the islands and mainland for Spain. On October 12 the ships landed on the island of Guanahani (in the Caribbean Islands) which Columbus immediately christened San Salvador and claimed it for Spain. When they landed on what is now Cuba they thought it was Japan!


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After 3 subsequent voyages, Columbus died rich and famous but not knowing that he had discovered lands that few people had imagined were there.

There are many holidays celebrated in the United States. Each holiday has an interesting history, and learning about holidays can help us understand the country and its people. Happy Columbus Day!

What Will We Hold Students Accountable For?

Student accountability is a frequent topic of discussion among stakeholders of a school community. We can think of three student accountability options. These options are:

(1) Do not hold students accountable for the performance of any standards. In many states, the only standard student must meet, to graduate is that they attain a certain number of credits successfully.

(2) Hold students accountable for standards across all major subject areas such as reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, English language arts and so on.

(3) Hold students accountable for selected standards in selected content areas considered to be basic (e.g. reading, writing and mathematics).

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Please tell us what you think about the 3 options by checking one of the following. We will share the results of this survey in our next issue of the newsletter.

(1) Do not hold students accountable for the standards.

(2) Hold students accountable for standards in all major learning areas.

(3) Hold student accountable for selected standards in selected learning areas.

Best Practice Research

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

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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.

The Deformed Frog Mystery

In 1995, a group of students found some deformed frogs in the Minnesota wetland. As they looked more carefully, these frogs had extra or missing body parts. Scientists are concerned about the problem because it might not just be a frog problem. It could be a serious world wide

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environmental problem effecting people. Visit the internet site to find out more information and, more importantly what you and your students can do about this "real world problem."

http://www.pca.state.mn.us/ hot/frogs.html

Lesson Plans Wanted

Strategic Studies needs teachers to prepare lesson plans which can be used in conjunction with the Internet. Lessons are being sought in all curricular areas and all grade levels from primary to high school. You may want to visit

(http://www.strategic studies.com/lessonPlans)

to view a model lesson plan.

For more information about lesson plans, please call (847) 318-7110 (M-F, 9 AM to 5 PM, CST)

Did You Know ...

By the time children in America grow to the age of 18, they have spent 9 percent of their time in school and 91 percent of their time outside of school. Our schools have been asked to dramatically improve their impact on students and change how they use their 9 percent of a child’s time. What about the other 91 percent of the time? What else can parents and adults do to better prepare the children of America for what lies ahead?

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ęCopyright 1997 Strategic Studies.