Category Archives: Sometimes a Great Notion

This is where we will find success stories – with students, teachers, families – and yes – once in awhile – a particular school, or district which has overcome adversity to provide a winning agenda. You may also find postings regarding proposes POSITIVE changes to and for the education system suggested or presented by both public and private individuals. HEY – if nothing else – look at the work of people such as Kim Allsup. Yeah – Kim is here too.

Oh yes… this is the place you will also find single image posts, which may be quite suggestive in nature – for both positive and/or negative effect.

Indiana school district turns unused cafeteria food into take-home meals for kids

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WSBT) – An Indiana school district is taking steps to make sure kids have enough to eat.

Elkhart Community Schools students usually get breakfast and lunch at school, but on the weekends at home, they may be without food.

That’s where the South Bend-based non-profit Cultivate Culinary comes in: it provides weekend meals to a small group of students in the elementary school pilot program. Continue reading

How Storytelling Could Revitalize U.S. History Scores

Whatever I teach, I teach storytelling because it is an expression of human creativity that provides perspective. Stories help us understand our world by showing us that random events surrounding our lives only seem random, but are in fact connected. Stories enable us to perceive a higher level of meaning. Fiction such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Alex Haley’s Roots explore the role of cultural storytelling in personal formation. Aesop uses “The Tortoise and the Hare” to explain the virtue of diligence, and Ernest Hemingway critiques modernist conventions of storytelling in “Snows of Kilimanjaro.” Continue reading

Who can find time to read?

Books are good for your brain

Turn yourself into a bookworm. These techniques will help you read more.

Reading books can exercise your brain and even boost your emotional intelligence. Despite this, about a quarter of all Americans haven’t read a book in the last year and our overall book-reading time is on the decline.

In the new year, it’s time to buck this trend. But how do you find the time to read full-length books—and why should you bother in the first place? Continue reading

Evidence Suggests Some Schools are Finally Freeing Students from the Bonds of Mediocrity

By now, many parents know there is something seriously wrong with the average American school. Time and again, children go into the school system as bright bundles of energy, curious about the surrounding world, and time and again, they stagger through the system frustrated and losing their interest in learning. Unfortunately, parents have firsthand knowledge of what former New York teacher John Taylor Gatto explained in his book, Weapons of Mass Instruction:

“After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress genius because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.”

That’s easy enough to say, but is it actually possible to do? Continue reading

Kansas State Republican Legislator Introduces Tax Break Bill For Student Textbooks

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a Kansas state freshman Republican representative hopes to help struggling college students burdened by the already high cost of textbooks via tax relief. Rep. Rick Hoheisel suggests that Kansas exempt all textbooks from the statewide 6.5% sales tax, thus saving students money each year they buy new books for their curriculum.

Rep. Hoheisel is a recent college graduate and remembers quite well that he would have to shell out big bucks each year simply to afford required reading. While Kansas cannot control the price of textbooks directly, the state government can control the taxes imposed on said products. Continue reading

An Education to Restore Wonder

On a recent fall afternoon, bright and chilly as it can be in the Midwest, a group of parents in St. Louis had the opportunity for an informal visit from the president of Wyoming Catholic College and his wife, who is an associate professor at the school. The Doctors Arbery — Glenn and Virginia — each brought to the group the approach they take to education at the school, approaches exemplified by those whom they were quoting. Continue reading

This is how to help children find their moral compass

Photo by Tobias Aeppli

Writing in The Atlantic, Paul Barnwell says that students today have a “broken moral compass” because “The pressures of national academic standards have pushed character education out of the classroom.”

One of the reasons I wrote A Gift of Wonder was to share a picture in which character education is integrated with academics. I discovered that this approach made my lessons engaging and thus made it easier for students to grasp the academic content because they were never bored. Continue reading

South Carolina bill would require high school students to take personal finance class

A new bill has reportedly been pre-filed in South Carolina that would require high school students in the state to take a personal finance class.

Under the legislation from Republican state Sen. Luke Rankin, high school students would be required to take at least one half-credit personal finance course and pass a test at the end of the school year in order to graduate, a local ABC station recently reported. Continue reading

Allsup: What Teachers Need And Aren’t Getting

This is the big issue in education that nobody is talking about. I wrote this Post for Scary Mommy in September of 2017 about public school teachers losing professional autonomy. ~ K.A.

They will be extinct by 2033 if the current rate of loss continues.

Like most endangered creatures, their habitat is threatened. When you were a child they were present in every city and town in the United States, but now their world has changed. They can be found only in rare, hospitable environments.

I’m not talking about polar bears, the red wolf, or the pygmy rabbit. The endangered ones I speak of here are not four-legged animals, but an important category of educators: teachers with a high level of professional freedom. Continue reading