Tag Archives: students

Bookmobile

Bookmobiles are a traveling branch library service. They consist of a large vehicle, designed to hold books on shelves and function as a mobile source of literature. Many bookmobiles even have room for people to sit and stay awhile, to catch up on their reading. In addition, they usually allow the public to check out books that can either be returned to the closest library branch or to the book mobile at a later time. As an integral part of American culture, bookmobiles stand as a symbol of the importance of reading.

The idea for the first U.S. bookmobile came from Washington County, Maryland in 1905. At that time, it was merely a book wagon that was used to take books directly to the homes in remote parts of the country. Through the years, they have functioned to provide services to school students and acted as the primary method of outreach to rural areas. Today, bookmobiles still run routes through small towns, frequenting retirement homes and schools. They operate in almost every state in the U.S. The state of Kentucky operates the most bookmobiles, with 98 active vehicles.

It takes a lot of effort to pack up a mobile library and transport it over a large area. A strong message that the bookmobile sends to both adults and children is that reading is important enough to merit that effort. Reading develops the mind, which is a muscle that needs exercise. Literature provides both education and culture to the people who are able to utilize it. Without the bookmobiles, many people in rural areas, or those who do not have access to a library might not receive the benefits that come from reading. Bookmobiles have helped to educate these groups of people, which in turn has aided in developing our society as a whole.

Arts in Education

Increasing amounts of recent research show the importance of art in improving students achievements and getting them ready for a job in a world market that demands new and exciting solutions to ever more challenging issues. It is also shown to increase a students engagement in learning and both their social and civic development.

Studies have shown that the arts can have the following benefits on a learner.
  • Improved performance of students that may be struggling.
  • Continuously give already successful students new challenges.
  • Provide job skills and sense of satisfaction to students who are incarcerated leading to a lower rate of second time offenders.
  • Skills such as reading, writing and arithmetic are improved which helps with problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Students become more involved in learning and their schools.
  • Attendance has also been shown to improve.
  • Creates stronger relationships between students and teachers.
  • Allow the child grow creatively and foster curiosity.

Many states support Arts in Education programs and have made them requirements for graduation from high school and parts of standards and assessment tests. One of the pitfalls that art programs run into though is that they are often the first to feel the pain of budget constraints.

There is a growing movement though to keep these programs alive. One that rests on the premise that the purpose of education has a greater responsibility than to just teach basic subject matter. That the arts help students to become life time learners, creates more of a feeling of community, to appreciate other cultures and prepares a student for an ever evolving world.

Learning By Teaching

At first glance you may think that learning by teaching is as simple as having a student teach another student. However, it is much more complex and here we will briefly discuss what learning by teaching entails.

For hundreds of years people have known that we learn when we teach. This is not a new concept. For the regular teacher of a class this may be a hard thing to let students do as the teacher may feel as though they have had to give up some control. Actually the opposite is true. The regular teacher has to be so in tune with the curriculum being offered that no matter who is presenting it the regular teacher stands ready to intervene and finish the thought, concept or activity that goes with the lesson. It isn’t like teachers ask students to do the teaching so that they can have the afternoon off.
The other misconception that may arise is that learning by teaching is the same as tutoring. This is not true. Learning by teaching is actually giving over a lesson of new material to the student and having the student do immense preparation at work so that they can then present the course work to the class on a high level of interaction and discussion. The information should be new so that the teaching student is actually learning something in depth. If the information were old it would be like any one teaching someone else to brush their teeth, none of us would learn something new from this, we would just be modeling a behavior or task. These are very different situations.
There is a model of learning by teaching called LdL by Martin. This began in the 1980′s with foreign language. This is a great medium for this type of teaching as are individual music lessons. Martin’s method is different from that information above in that he did not believe that new information be presented but that the students be broken up into small groups to discuss and do activities having to do with the lesson.
In these little group you could say that the actual teacher is taking an inventory of what the student’s actually know about a concept. They expect everyone else in the group to be absolutely silent while each student takes a term talking about what they know. Unless there are interruptions to clear up the teacher has to stand back and just let the group be. This can be very hard because a teacher may want to interject but that is not what the group is for. The teacher basically becomes a facilitator for group learning.
After a concept is discussed in this manner then a new concept is introduced by the student that is teaching. After the concept is presented the student that is teaching provides time and activities to help the other students memorize the necessary material. Then they are to give the students ample work to do at home. Martin believes that the homework is a necessary component in reinforcing what was learned.
No matter the method used in learning by teaching it is just common sense that we all have opportunities to prepare material and activities and then to present such things to our peers. This is priceless experience for students. Then the student has not just thoroughly learned a new lesson but they have preparation skills, public speaking experience, and other great experiences that are just as key as the lesson material itself. It is also good for all students to accept the fact that a peer can impart new information or ideas. It is just a way of showing respect to others.

Extracurricular Activities

As we begin a new school year many parents are looking at having one of more children involved in band, choir, cheerleading, sports, school clubs, private music or dance lessons, and these are just a few of things that take up a student’s extra time.

Extracurricular activites are wonderful for children. They enrich the lives of the student, their families and in turn our communities. These activities create well rounded children who learn what their interests and talents are because they have been exposed to such opportunities. The great thing is that most schools and communities offer many things for students and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune for parents. We all know just how expensive having multiple children in classes is. It can be a shock.

Here are a few extracurricular activities that parents may want to look into on their student’s behalf. These can be used for homeschool, private school, or public school students.

  • School sports – starting in middle school kids are usually permitted and encouraged to play organized sports. This can be a great motivator for some students as the schools usually require a minimum grade point average to allow students to play. For some students this is reason enough to do the homework and score well on exams.
  • Music and arts – there are many studies that prove that music involvement improves test scores in students. Statistics also show that children involved in music and other arts are less likely to get involved in things such as drugs, alcohol, sexual activity and truancy. Instruments and supplies are usually rented at a nominal fee depending on your needs. These are also activities that are usually offered through the school as electives which means that parents don’t have to pay for private lessons but can choose to if they choose.
  • School clubs – some parents don’t view clubs, sports or music things at school as extracurricular but they are. Anything that does not cover core subjects in school and can take time after school is considered extracurricular. School clubs offer opportunities for leadership that student’s don’t otherwise have. These clubs are also another way for students to find a peer group in which they have something in common with the members. It is like having built in friends with the same interests as you.
  • Community involvement (after school activities)- this can be Little League, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and other types of involvement. These organizations all give students a huge boost of self confidence while helping them to contribute to society and be part of a group with a common goal.

These are just a few of the things that children can look forward to. Parents will most likely know what the student’s needs are and what is age appropriate (use a school counselor if you need input). It is also important for parents to understand the importance of not overscheduling children. While we all want well rounded, independent members of society, we do not want students that are full of stress and anxiety. Parents should listen to what their children want while helping them to reach outside of their comfort zones as appropriate.

Spell Checking

Spell checking? Who would have ever dreamed we would have such a luxury? The students of today truly do not understand what a great tool this is in their life, but then they have never known life without it. Many of them may not even know what a typewriter looks like, let alone that a dictionary/thesaurus is a book that you used to keep next to your typewriter. I know they still make liquid paper, but I am pretty sure if you ask any teenager to run to the store and pick you up some liquid paper they would give you that “pick up what?” look. Asking a teenager to go to college today without computers and spell check would be like asking them to start a fire without a match.

Spell check is not a complete safeguard for students. You have to be careful and read through your documents and make sure you accept the words you really want. For instance, I was running a spell check earlier on a document and where I meant to type “but” I typed “bug”, both are real words and both worked in the situation so my spell check assumed I typed exactly what I had intended. Are you aware of all the things that spell check can do for you, besides check your spelling? Do you know how to add words to your dictionary? Many spell check programs can also assist you with your grammar. Check out our grammar lesson, Spell Checking, at educationbug.org to learn what your spell checker can and cannot do for you.

Most Common Misspellings

What words have the most common misspellings? Spelling comes easy for some, and not so easy for others. But, even those who believe they can spell really well still have difficulty with some words. Many of the words that have duplicate letters are often misspelled like vacuum-many people often think it has two cc’s instead of two u’s. Or how about occurrence? When things occur there is only one r, so many people forget to add the additional r in occurrence or sometimes think it is spelled occurrance. If you want to know more tips and tricks on how to remember some of the most common misspelled words check out our newly posted grammar lesson.
Educationbug.org strives to help keep you educated and give you information that can help students, teachers, and administration in learning and providing a fun and exciting learning environment. You are never too young or too old to learn a new trick or two. We continually post articles for everyone from preschool to higher education.

Charter Schools

When thinking about your childs education have you ever considered a charter school? Or are you even aware of what a charter school is? What is the difference between public schools, magnet schools, and charter schools? In our recent post we talked about magnet schools. Now I would just like to point out a few benefits of charter schools.

  • All students have opportunities for quality education
  • Parents and students are offered another choice for public education
  • Teachers and administrators are given room to be creative in helping students learn
  • Charter schools have to be accountable for their performance
  • Teachers are allowed to try innovative teaching methods
  • Involvement by parents and the community in education are encouraged
  • Smaller school and class size, providing lower student/teacher ratios
  • Teachers choose to work at charter schools so they are committed to the school’s mission

Click here to learn more about charter schools.

Magnet Schools

You read about magnet schools in the news all the time. But, do you know what a magnet school is? How they work? And the debate on both sides of why we should or should not have magnet schools? Until recently I didn’t think it affected me one way or the other. My children have attended both public schools and magnet schools yet I never considered how one may effect the other.
If you have never considered what a magnet school is, how they are funded, how the students are chosen, or how it may or may not concern you, perhaps you should read our recently posted article on educationbug.org.

Online Safety

Parents often think of their child’s safety when they are playing sports, learning to walk, or drive a car but sometimes online safety is overlooked. In many cases our children have more exposure to computers and know more about how the internet works than some of their parents or school teachers. Many schools even offer online education options. We obviously can’t be with our children every minute of every day nor can we watch over their shoulder every time they get on the computer. But we can talk to our children about online safety and we can do a number of things to help lessen any safety issues that may come about while they are online.
We recently posted an article offering tips on how parents and educators can keep help keep our children/students safe while online.

Obama’s Call to Higher Education

I have recently been reading a number of articles about our President’s new call to higher education, asking every American to pursue some form of education beyond high school. Which has led me to to some research on standardized testing and college placement exams. In the next few posts I would like to share some of what I have learned about these tests.
Advanced placement courses were introduced in 1955, in just over 100 schools nationwide, as a way for high school students to take more challenging classes that would prepare them for college. The advanced placement exams are now offered in over 15,000 schools across the U.S.. There are currently 34 advanced placement courses available including calculus, English, several foreign languages, physics, economics, biology, economics, and psychology. Each test currently costs about $86 but there are a number of grants available for low income students.
In order for the student to get credit for the AP course they must score at least a 3 out of 5 points. These scores may be reported to colleges to provide them with information about a students educational abilities. Most students who take AP courses take more than one and often take them in their junior and senior years of high school. It is proven that students who are encouraged to take AP courses and do well will continue on to college.
There have been some criticism about the AP testing and courses not being as fair, or as available, to lower income students, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
College Boards have taken an interest in auditing and overseeing the AP courses to insure they are held to a higher standard than national standardized testing. These courses are designed to be more challenging, prepare students for college, and reward them for taking their education seriously.