Thursday, April 9, 2015

April is National Poetry Month. You can find free poetry and other resources on and (the website of the Academy of American Poets).

If you like your poetry on paper, go to the University Bookstore on Friday, April 10, when all poetry books in stock are 25% off.

University Book Store sale ad

Get prepared for April 30, Poem in Your Pocket Day!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Study: Mexican-American Toddlers Fall Behind

Interesting story by Claudio Sanchez on NPR today: Claudio Sanchez, Mexican-American Toddlers: Understanding The Achievement Gap.

The paper discussed is Bruce Fuller et al.,  Differing Cognitive Trajectories of Mexican American Toddlers The Role of Class, Nativity, and Maternal Practices, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 139-69 (May 2015).

Fuller's profile (Berkeley Grad School of Education) led me to organization, PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education), a site that has lots of interesting information about schools and kids.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Important Skills for Children to Get Ahead

Pew Research Center asked adults about 10 skills: "Regardless of whether or not you think these skills are good to have, which ones do you think are most important for children to get ahead in the world today?"

Graphic adapted from Pew Research Center
The skills Americans say kids need to succeed in life
(Feb. 19, 2015) 
The percent of respondents who said each skill was important was:
Communication 90%
Reading 86%
Math 79%
Teamwork 77%
Writing 75%
Logic 74%
Science 58%
Athletic 25%
Music 24%
Art 23%
Of course, the skills aren't independent of one another. It would be hard to have great communication skills without having any reading, writing, or logic skills. And while only a minority listed art, it seems to me that graphic literacy is increasingly important to communication.

Maybe kids don't need athletic skills per se, but everyone needs to move around enough to be healthy. Athletics, music, and art enrich the quality of life, even if they aren't needed to "get ahead."

Read The skills Americans say kids need to succeed in life (Feb. 19, 2015) for more about the survey and some interesting differences by age, gender, race, and education level.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

High-Stakes Testing

A new book about high-stakes testing collects essays, speeches, poems, and interviews by teachers, students, parents, and administrators: More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing (Dec. 2014). The editor, Jesse Hagopian, is a teacher at Garfield High in Seattle. Hear KUOW's interview with him here.

Also of interest is this essay by a professor of education at UCLA: Mike Rose, School Reform Fails the Test, American Scholar, Winter 2015. (If you want more of Rose, see Mike Rose's Blog.)

KUOW Series on Poverty and Education

If you missed "Behind from the Beginning," KUOW's series on poverty and education last fall, you can still listen to Ann Dornfeld's great reporting:

Two-Generation Programs to Fight Poverty

Check this out: Alana Semuels, A Different Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Atlantic, Dec. 24, 2014.  Program offers pre-school for kids and job help for parents.

The Tweet that led me to this highlighted a quotation from the article:
“We hear that all the time, people say, ‘That sounds expensive, all that work for little kids . . . My response is, it’s much more expensive to have to intervene, whether you’re talking about rehab or prison.”
-- Leah Austin, deputy director of the Atlanta Civic Site

Yes. What she said.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

War Arithmetic

Lots of kids enjoy the simple card game of War. Happily, it doesn't take much to turn it into a good arithmetic game that can be adapted as kids learn more.

For beginners, remove all the face cards.

The first lesson is simply comparing values, as in the basic game. Use the symbols >, =, and <.

9 > 5
Students can count the pips on the cards to see which number is larger: there are more clubs on the 9 of clubs than there are diamonds on the 5 of diamonds.

6 < 10

10 = 10