Education Books discussion

What are your areas of interest?

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message 1: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
There are all kinds of education books. Some of them, like 'The Scientist in the Crib' target an age group. Some books are especially useful in the classrooom, others are meant to help parents. What have you read that really spoke to you or changed your thinking? Which education books have you loved? Which have you disagreed with?

message 2: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
Looking back, what stands out when you remember your own years of elementary school (ages 6 to 12)?
Were the classes large and the discipline rigorous, or was your school more relaxed?

Did you learn the things that prepared you well for further education? Did you find some friends?

I lived in a rural area and the school bus took us country kids to the school in the poor end of town.
Some of the students there were from large disadvantaged families. There were some fearsome fights on the school playground.

In the classroom, we sat in individual desks, one behind another, bolted to the floor. We were never permitted to talk to other students in class, so all I would know of the person in front of me was the back of his head. If any hands or feet strayed out of place, they were whacked with a ruler. Aside from the rigid discipline, the teachers were kind.

We were there to learn, and learn we did. ALL of the students learned to read, write, and do arithmetic well. This was right after WWII so patriotism was also emphasized. We stood up, hand on heart, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning.

When the teachers talked about our country, I liked hearing them say that in America, everyone has a chance to learn and to be successful. Sitting in class with kids who wore the same clothes all week and never seemed to have had a bath, it was great to hear that we all had a chance to do well.

I say that patriotism was emphasized, yet the teachers never criticised other countries. This was before we on the West Coast knew anything about the Cold War, so we never had 'duck and cover' drills in our school.

message 3: by Marieke (last edited Jan 30, 2009 07:23PM) (new)

Marieke | 19 comments Jeanne wrote: "Looking back, what stands out when you remember your own years of elementary school (ages 6 to 12)?
Were the classes large and the discipline rigorous, or was your school more relaxed?

Did you ..."

hi jeanne! it's so interesting to hear about grade school from a different generation, different region of the country. i was in grade school in the early 1980s, just outside washington dc.

in kindergarten i remember liking the kids but feeling shy during show and tell. in first grade i was elected to represent my classroom in the SGA and i led the "energy savers" club so i had a nifty t-shirt and reminded everyone to turn off lights. i remember not understanding what SGA was or why i was elected by my classmates to go. but we had crayons and paper at the meetings so i liked it. i also remember desperately wanting homework (i had an older sister and i wanted homework like she did). i remember liking my reading group and feeling proud that i could read well but embarrassed if i had to read out loud and came across something peculiar, like "OK" (for okay), and felt unsure about reading it.

in third grade i remember thinking i was SO GOOD at spelling, i didn't need to study for the spelling bee. i got "acre" on the first round and spelled it "aker." oops. i felt really ashamed and never did the spelling bee again. i remember liking the computers in the library and playing hangman on the TRS-80s. pretty funny. i remember having terrible panic attacks every friday when we had multiplication tests.

i remember feeling confused about why the poor kids were almost always black and the not-poor kids were almost always white and that there were only two black kids in our talented and gifted class. i remember feeling angry at teachers who expected the "gifted" kids to always behave perfectly. i remember feeling embarrassed that i was in the gifted class but my playmates from kindergarten through third grade were not. i remember hating that i was "bad" at math, but they put me in the gifted section anyway and it was embarrassing for me because i was slower than the other kids. the teachers tried to do an experiment where we could all self-monitor our speed, but i felt pressured to keep up with my classmates so i rushed through everything. i don't think that worked well.

i remember being mad that the teacher gave up trying to teach us greek and latin in fifth grade. i was really liking greek and latin and LOVED reading the odyssey and the iliad. i remember that everyone was worried the russians were going to nuke us. sting's song "do the russians love their children too" was a big hit that year. we heard about other areas of the country doing bomb drills, but we were told that we were so close to the pentagon, it didn't matter. because we would disintegrate immediately. poof. but within a year and a half, everything had seventh grade the country of my birth no longer existed because west germany and east germany became "reunified"...

message 4: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 19 comments as for areas of interest...i'm not really an educator, but i'm interested in education policy around the world, particularly in how religions are taught (if religions are taught). i'm very curious to know how people learn about their own religion and religions other than their own. i am most interested in this topic regarding the arabic-speaking parts of the middle east, but my curiosity first began when i went to live in Germany between high school and college. i don't remember learning about religion in school growing up and i came from a family where religion didn't play a big role. i thought going to religion class in germany was really interesting and cool. it was almost like philosophy the way it was taught there. the kids were very respectful. however, at the school i attended at the time (early 1990s), only "evangelism" and "catholicism" were offered. protestant kids usually elected the evangelical section and the catholics went to catholic class. i'm wondering if that has changed.

i'm also interested in literacy issues. i've been volunteering with a literacy council that helps adults become functionally literate. most of the students have undiagnosed learning disabilities, mostly dyslexia, but my student is a woman from an African country where school was never an option for her. it's really amazing to watch these students unlock reading.

i'm interested in difficult-to-teach children, as well...two of my nieces and nephews have some "issues" sister was never "good at school" despite being exceptionally intelligent and i always thrived in school...she wants her kids to value school (they seem to so far but one is very uncooperative; she only likes to read...writing is torture for her) and we all appreciate the idea of "different learning styles" i'm very curious about how educators successfully reach the kids who somehow fall outside the box...

message 5: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
Hi Marieke,

You learned Greek and Latin in 5th grade? Lucky you! Too bad that the teacher decided not to continue. Thank you for your wonderful account of your early years in school. Were you born in East Germany? If so, was it difficult for your parents to get permission to leave?

message 6: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 19 comments Oh sorry...i guess that came out funny...I was born in the west; my dad was in the army. Now I just say I was born in Germany but up until 1989 I had to specify and I also had to explain to classmates why I wasn't a Nazi. Another reason I think we need education reform!

message 7: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod

Good for you for volunteering to teach reading with the literacy council! You are changing lives in such an important way.

I'm going to paste your question (about teaching kids who somehow fall outside the box) onto the 'Shut-Down Learner' section of this forum so that Dr. Richard Selznick will see it. He is hoping for people to ask questions, and yours falls perfectly into his area of expertise.

I think he will probably come here tomorrow to answer questions for us.

message 8: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 19 comments My niece has a lot of problems so she is an exceptional case. A lot of her problems have not been diagnosed (it's a constant battle figuring her out) but she LOVES to read and corrects her own mistakes. Writing is nearly impossible and she rarely does as she is instructed and can be extremely defiant/resistant. She is also really sweet and loves to draw. Drawing she can do but not writing. Anyway, it would be great if you can post that question...I wish I could be online when he is answering questions but I'll be out all day tomorrow. I'll look forward to new posts here and I will see about getting my hands on his book...

message 9: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
Marieke wrote: "Oh sorry...i guess that came out funny...I was born in the west; my dad was in the army. Now I just say I was born in Germany. . "

Oops, Marieke, I just guessed wrong. As for cultural stereotypes, there are now some U.S. schools or individual classrooms that develop a friendship with a school or classroom in another country. Then each student exchanges letters with a student from the other country by mail. All of the letters are sent in one packet. It must be great fun to get all of the letters together, send them, then wait for the return mail. The students get some writing practice and learn that there are friends everywhere.

message 10: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
Marieke wrote: "My niece has a lot of problems so she is an exceptional case. A lot of her problems have not been diagnosed (it's a constant battle figuring her out) but she LOVES to read.

How old is your niece and what grade is she in?
It is interesting that she likes to draw but doesn't want to write.

message 11: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 19 comments She is eight. I think in second grade. She started late because of her birthday. I think writing is extremely difficult for her; it's not that she doesn't wantt to. A professional is aware of it but I can't remember what was decided about it. She doessnt like to talk about school.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Jeanne wrote: "Looking back, what stands out when you remember your own years of elementary school (ages 6 to 12)?
Were the classes large and the discipline rigorous, or was your school more relaxed

Hi Jeanne,

My mother moved quite a bit so I went to five or six different elementary schools but all on the west coast. What most stands out in my mind is the drills. We drilled math facts until I could say them in my sleep; something I suprised my childrens' school doesn't do.

In fourth grade, I had the first black male teacher in the district and he is to this day my favorite teacher. Not because of that but because he made me feel I could succeed. In his class, I went from a C student to an A student and never looked back. (He still subs at the same school.) Without a word, he taught me the meaning of grace under pressure. Many parents took kids out of his class and demanded he be terminated. He stood at the head of the class every day patiently teaching. He was kind and considerate, gentle and very strict. It wasn't until much later, I realized exactly how much pressure he must have been under.

message 13: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
Hi Shawna,

I say 'yes' to drills. Memorization seems to be out of fashion, but it is sad to see adults who cannot do simple math calculations.

There has been a gradual trend, beginning in the 60's, of accepting a philosophy that says, "We don't really need to know anything if we can look it up".
Now we are seeing the results in people who cannot read on an adult level and cannot subtract dollars and cents.

We all need some basic knowledge and skills as a foundation on which to build an education.

message 14: by Val (last edited Feb 02, 2009 08:58AM) (new)

Val (valz) | 12 comments My very first education experience was in a one room school house with children in various grades. I was the youngest and as a very, very shy child it was overwhelming. I had my older sister (2 1/2 years older) and my older boy cousins there. I colored a picture of eggs and made them brown (as farm eggs are) and the teacher (a city woman) marked big x's over them and said I did it wrong. I was too afraid to tell her she was wrong. I didn't know I was supposed to raise my hand to leave the room to go to the outhouse and so I just got up and left and my sister came and told me I couldn't do that so I returned to my desk and had an accident which humiliated me horribly as it ran down the aisle and all the children laughed at me. Luckily for me, the school closed before the year was over and every one had to be bused to the closest town. My mother wanted the bus to come closer to our home because for us to go we would have to walk 2 miles to the bus stop every day but she was unsuccessful in her attempt to change things so she taught us through correspondence which was a wonderful program in Alberta, Canada where I grew up. I had a delightful correspondence teacher who loved all my stories and drawings and always wrote me encouraging and supportive letters on pretty stationery-- a great way to please a young child. So for first grade I was taught at home with my sister. The next year the bus came a mile closer so we went to school in town. I spent a few days in second grade and realized that I wasn't ready for it. We had to draw an apple and I drew a round circle with a stick coming out the top but without the indentation for the stem. When I looked at the other children's drawings I was embarrassed and asked my mother if I could be in grade one. So I was moved to first grade at 7 years of age and had a wonderful teacher, Miss Deeprose (pronounced deep rose). What a great name for a first grade teacher!

Although I was very shy, I loved school and had a very good elementary education. We all sat in desks in rows with a blackboard in the front and a coat room in the back. Every morning we sang O Canada and Good Bless the Queen and recited the pledge to the flag. Our desks were not attached to the floor and sometimes we could put them together to do projects. I talked a lot and always got in trouble for it.

Overall, I am much happier with the education I got compared to that of my children.

This is a very interesting group and I am delighted to read all of your posts. Learning is so fascinating.


message 15: by Val (last edited Feb 02, 2009 09:20AM) (new)

Val (valz) | 12 comments Just to add a note on the difference between the education I received and that of my children's. We had tests In October, December, March, and then a final exam. Each test covered every thing we had learned up to that point. So in December every thing we had learned from September to the December was covered and in March everything from September to March and so on until the final exam which covered the whole year. We had these tests from first grade all the way through high school. This repetitive method of testing allowed us to retain what we had learned, taught us how to select the most important information, and how to succeed at exams. My children had tests only on certain things and always received study guides saying what would be on the test so they did not have to learn how to decide what was most important. There was no repetitive testing so they did not retain information as well and the teachers always complained that after the summer break they had to spend a month teaching what the children should have learned the year before. Also, when they gave very difficult exams the children did poorly so they made the tests easier! The chlidren were in essence teaching the teachers to perform poorly.

We started school at 9 a.m. and got out at 3:30 p.m. This was from first grade through high school. I have always been unhappy with how early school starts here. When children enter adolescence and when they are in high school their body rhythms change and they do not think well in the early morning.

Also, science was taught from grade one on. Early science dealt with what a candle is and why it ignites and things like that. Following years dealt with the parts of a candle flame and what that means and so on. So that we learned a little one year and then increasingly difficult concepts as we proceed through school. We could then base our learning on what we already knew which helped us to learn to think. My children did not even have science in early elementary school. I think science education started in grade four.

message 16: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
Hi Val,

You make a very important point in that material that is studied, reviewed, tested, and retested causes a student to select and remember the most important information. You were fortunate to be taught this way and I love the science program you described.

Thanks so much for telling us about the one-room school house (with the outhouse!) That is an amazing memory. As for school officials expecting small children to walk two miles to the school bus in every kind of weather, what were they thinking???

message 17: by Val (new)

Val (valz) | 12 comments I hope I didn't appear too negative about my children's education, I just liked the system under which I was taught better. My children had very good first grade teachers which is of utmost importance and my son had excellent fourth and fifth grade teachers and their high school education was superior in every way to mine. In fact most of their teachers were very good -- it was the curriculum I wasn't crazy about.

Well, we did end up walking a mile to the bus stop for a long time! This was 50 years ago. I sound so old and yet I feel so young!

message 18: by Sheri (new)

Sheri (sheriwilkinson) Val,
At least you had bus service! I went to Chicago public schools way back in the early 70's. No bus service. We walked about a mile each way, no matter what. We could always take public transportation, but it was standing room only...I too feel old! The story of walking miles to and from school in incliment weather. My 8 year old is lucky...I drive her to school!

message 19: by Val (new)

Val (valz) | 12 comments Sheri, I sometime think the weather in Chicago is worse because it is also damp as well as cold. Brrrrrr.

message 20: by Sheri (new)

Sheri (sheriwilkinson) Val,
Without a doubt! Not to mention we used to get that Lake effect snow and high winds. I am now out in the country, but is still gets extremely cold, and or course the summers are scorching...ahhh midwest living gotta love it!

message 21: by Madison (new)

Madison Paine (madisonpaine) At this time in my career, I am interested in teacher advocacy. I feel very drawn to any cause that works hard to preserve great teachers for future generations.

message 22: by Benjamin (last edited Feb 27, 2012 08:35AM) (new)

Benjamin I am currently a college student doing a voluntary internship with my old high school. The main teacher that I am working with has given me a lot of resources on Formal Assessment and that has kind of been my focus, along with the normal day-to-day activities and tasks that I complete. Any book suggestions with this? Thanks!

message 23: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (jeanne_voelker) | 64 comments Mod
I'm so sorry it has taken me almost six months to see your post here. Obviously, I have not been attentive about checking in here and Goodreads notifications unaccountably end up in my spam folder.

I don't know of any outstanding books on assessment, but I 'll let you know if I learn of one. The best education book I have read this summer is "Sparks of Genius" by Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein. The sub-title is "The 13 Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People".

message 24: by Jeffdavids (new)

Jeffdavids | 1 comments Books will always be my passion no matter what. I love to read something new every day and I want to continue this tradition. I think that if I buy term paper online then I will be able to do it. Can't wait to give you my feedback on this experiment.

message 25: by Carolyn M (new)

Carolyn M Johnson (wwwgoodreadscomlynwrites) | 2 comments That may be one way to do it, but there are many other ways that would be better. Starting with Good Reads is a good start, then try Barnes and Noble...

message 26: by Carolyn M (new)

Carolyn M Johnson (wwwgoodreadscomlynwrites) | 2 comments Be sure to check your local library too!

message 27: by Barry (new)

Barry Colmuck | 1 comments My interests are reading really important and relevant literature. I love it madly. In fact, it is the children who bring me a lot of love, so I love children's literature as well. I watch a lot of children's shows and TV shows. Recently was in Vegas and I really liked children show here kids shows las vegas, so I advise. Write about your interests as well. Very interesting.

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