"Atheism is a non-prophet institution" (Fletcher, 2010, p.43). I'm a huge fan of children's literature. Some of my friends get star-struck when they see celebrities but I get tongue-tied when I meet children's authors that I admire. I met Tomie dePaola at a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference and couldn't speak. I love cracking open books written by Phil Bildner, Mark Teague, Loren Long, Emily Arnold McCully and Moira Fain, just to name a few. In Albany, where I live, I am surrounded by awesome nationally-known children's authors such as Coleen Paratore, Eric Luper, Peter ...


As a former struggling learner, I know that there are factors that interfere in a student's academic progress. Those factors cover many different areas and some students can have more than one of the factors working against them. However, for educators to know how to solve the puzzle for struggling learners, they need to be able to indentify them. The factors are: Medical Social Emotional Behavioral Home environment/stressors Learning style Learning impairment Medical is fairly easy to take care of if the parents bring their children to the doctor for regular check-ups. So many times the solution to a ...


"When the principal sneezes, the whole school catches a cold. This is neither good nor bad; it is just the truth. Our impact is significant; our focus becomes the school's focus" (Whitaker, 2003, p.30). We know, as administrators, we set the tone in our buildings or districts. Some of us set a positive tone and others set a rather negative one. We all have tough jobs where we have to communicate effectively with parents, students and teachers. The level of difficulty increases depending on the size of our student population, age of students, and whether you are in an ...


When I taught elementary school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., we used to take a field trip every year to Hahn's Farm. First graders love to go to a farm to see cows, pigs, chickens and other animals. They also learn where some of their food comes from, and it provides a great way for students to learn about proper nutrition. Unfortunately, many children lack real life experiences, which is why schools offer field trips to bring kids out of the classroom and into the real world. There are great inequalities between those students who have real life experiences that take ...


Public policy towards children has moved towards treating them more like adults and ways that increasingly mimic the adult criminal justice system. The most recent version of this movement is so-called "zero tolerance" in schools, where theories of punishment that were once directed to adult criminals are now applied to first graders (Martin, 2001). When we think of zero tolerance in an elementary school, there are most likely many things that come to mind. Most elementary schools do not have to worry about students bringing weapons in an effort to hurt their peers, although we all understand that the potential ...


"Conservatives are attracted to the idea that some schools can eliminate the gap with the present levels of funding because, if these schools can do so, more money spent on educating lower class children is not needed" (Rothstein, 2004, p. 70). On Thursday, July 28th I will be in Washington D.C. with thousands of other educators from across the country as we kick off the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action (SOS). The march will take place from the 28th of July through Sunday, July 31st. Jonathan Kozol will provide the keynote speech at the conference ...


Dear U.S. Secretary Duncan, A few months ago you spoke about the "New Normal." Considering the speech was given in November of 2010, we all have had time to get used to this concept. During the speech given to the American Enterprise Institute you mentioned that educators are going to have to learn how to do more with less. Thank you for providing the speech on the U.S. Department of Education website, because it was worth reading a few times. As a former small city school teacher, I completely understand the need to do more with less. This ...


Things will get better. And more than that, with time you're going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You'll look back on the struggles you've faced with compassion and wisdom. And that's not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place (Obama, It Gets Better, p. 10). Last week, ABC News reported that presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, believe that through the use of counseling, gays can change their sexual orientation. Bachmann has not denied, ...


As a boy, I was unaware that my woods were ecologically connected with any other forests. Nobody in the 1950s talked about acid rain or holes in the ozone layer or global warming. But I knew my woods and my fields; I knew every bend in the creek and dip in the beaten dirt paths. I wandered those woods even in my dreams. A kid today can likely tell you about the Amazon rain forest--but not about the last time he or she explored the woods in solitude, or lay in a field listening to the wind and watching the ...


On average, professional parents spoke over 2,000 words per hour to their children, working class parents spoke about 1,300, and welfare mothers spoke about 600. So by age 3, children of professionals had vocabularies that were nearly 50% greater than those of working-class children and twice as large as those of welfare children (Rothstein, 2004, p. 28). Life is about advantages and disadvantages. Our advantage is that we get to teach kids on a daily basis and hopefully have a positive impact on their lives. We have disadvantages as well. We lack the same resources that some of ...


The opinions expressed in Finding Common Ground are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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