November 2008 Archives

Yesterday, as I was walking around in my neighborhood, I passed an elementary school near my house with a community garden tucked into the corner next to the soccer fields and thought about how I wished I would've had the opportunity to learn about gardening when I was that age. And today, I discovered this AP story on edweek.org about the growing number of gardens in schools across the country, designed to teach kids not only about gardening and biology, but also about nutrition and making healthy eating choices. As organic foods become more popular, and childhood obesity becomes ...


Here's an organization that readers of this blog might feel is worth checking out called the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations. Founded and run by Russell J. Quaglia, the independent nonprofit organization has developed eight conditions necessary to increase student aspirations and motivation. They are as follows: belonging, heroes, a sense of accomplishment, fun and excitement, curiosity and creativity, a spirit of adventure, leadership and responsibility, and confidence to take action. There's also a page on their Web site that has links to speech transcripts and reports for people interested in improving student motivation. There's a lot of information about ...


My colleague Lesli Maxwell has a story up this week about the Atlanta school district, which over the past ten years or so has experienced a complete overhaul from superintendent Beverly L. Hall. The changes Ms. Hall has made to the organization and structure of the schools, as well as the initiatives she has pushed for to jumpstart student achievement are far-reaching, but a couple of things I read about in the article struck me as particularly relevant to readers of this blog. One initiative, called Project GRAD, encourages students to perform at high levels in school in order to ...


Here's an AP article about a charter school in Arizona that is successfully teaching preschoolers Chinese, kindergartners division, and middle schoolers college algebra. It's a small program—only 17 students take the full regimen of classes—but it's open to students regardless of income, gender, or ethnicity and is based on the idea that all students can perform at gifted levels if they are given the right curriculum and guidance, says the article. Here's a little about how the school operates: Students address teachers by their first names.There's also a wide range of ages and grade levels in any ...


I strongly suggest you check out the story written by two of my colleagues here at Education Week that tracks the student reaction to Sen. Obama's victory in the presidential election. It's all about the excitement and motivation that has permeated those schools in the wake of this election. Also, perhaps my favorite part of this article are the videos of students giving their reactions. Be sure to check those out, too. It will be interesting to see if the excitement around this election will result in greater political engagement among today's youths for years to come or whether they ...


No matter what political party you identify with, Tuesday's election was both unprecedented and historic in many different ways. And as a member of the 18-25 demographic, I was especially heartened by the enthusiasm this election generated in that particular age group. Here's a story from the Los Angeles Times about an even younger demographic—high school students—and how they were motivated to participate in this year's election not as voters, but as volunteers at polling stations. I hope that the enthusiasm and excitement for the political process those teenagers brought to the election only increases over the next ...


A new study has found that children in military families express more aggressive behavior when a military parent is deployed, according to this AP article. The study was small—less than 200 children—but took into consideration the emotional and stress level of the remaining parent, which is an important factor to consider, experts say. Children younger than 3 did not exhibit aggressive behavior, while children 3 and up had increased rates of biting, hitting, and hyperactivity, says the article. Although it is a small study, this is an interesting look into how war affects young children. I do wonder, ...


This article in The Houston Chronicle talks about how schools in the Houston district are trying to create a "college-bound culture" for their students in order to increase the number of students who go to college after high school. The story doesn't go into much detail about what the district is doing in order to do that besides establishing more college centers to help students apply and find financial aid, but it does say that the district had successfully beefed up its number of college counselors in its high schools. Still, the article mentions that even with the new effort ...


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