Friday, January 16, 2004

Multicultural Children's Literature in the Elementary Classroom.

Multicultural Children's Literature in the Elementary Classroom. Yes, that diversity angle is important. Yo can see that every day in my school in Texas.

From the site:

"When I was a child, the teacher read, 'Once upon a time, there were five Chinese brothers and they all looked exactly alike'...Cautiously the pairs of eyes stole a quick glance back. I, the child, looked down to the floor... The teacher turned the book our way: bilious yellow skin, slanted slit eyes. Not only were the brothers look-alikes, but so were all the other characters!...Quickly again all eyes flashed back at me...I sank into my seat." (Aoki, 1981, p.382)

The vignette above reveals how a minority child felt growing up in the mid 1900s--a time when cultural and linguistic diversity was neither valued in American society nor adequately portrayed in children's literature, an important channel for transmitting societal values and beliefs. The situation, however, has undergone changes in the past twenty years. With the increasing number of linguistic and cultural minorities in the United States, the American society today looks very different than that of Aoki's childhood. These changes in demographic trends impact the education system. Not only do schools need to prepare all children to become competent citizens, but also to create an environment that fosters mutual understanding.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Book Adventure

Book Adventure. A reading motivation program for children in grades K-8. It offers recommended reading lists by grade level along with rewards for reading accomplishments.

From the site:

Book Adventure is a FREE reading motivation program for children in grades K-8. Children create their own book lists from over 6,000 recommended titles, take multiple choice quizzes on the books they've read offline, and earn points and prizes for their literary successes. Book Adventure was created by the Sylvan Learning Foundation and is sponsored by Sylvan Learning, Inc.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Recess in Elementary School: What Does the Research Say?

Recess in Elementary School: What Does the Research Say? I don't care what the researchg may say. I am sending the kids out to the playground on a regular basis...

From the site:

Pellegrini and Smith (1993) define recess as "a break period, typically outdoors, for children" (p. 51). Compared to the rest of the school day, recess is a time when children have more freedom to choose what they want to do and with whom.

A 1989 survey of state superintendents conducted by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) found that schools in 90% of school districts had at least one recess period during the day (Pellegrini, 1995). However, according to the American Association for the Child's Right to Play (IPA/USA), many school systems have abolished recess since 1989. Safety and liability concerns and fears that recess will disrupt work patterns may underlie the decision to do away with recess (Pellegrini, 1995). Other reasons cited for abolishing recess include the need for more instructional time. Personal conversations with principals and teachers suggest that they feel pressured to pack more instruction into the school day because of new calls for accountability.

Given the current national emphasis on research-based decisions in education, the question of what the research says--and infers--about recess is important (Jarrett & Maxwell, 2000). This Digest discusses research on recess and its relationship to learning, social development, and child health, as well as research on related topics that have implications for recess policy such as the need for breaks and physical activity.