Friday, January 27, 2012

Teach for America in Cobb County? A Mistake!

Earlier this week, I heard that the superintendent of Cobb County Schools, Michael Hinojosa, wanted to hire 50 teachers from the Teach for America program.  The school board was supposed to vote on the issue at tonight's meeting.  I felt shocked, to say the least.

When I graduated from Vanderbilt, I seriously considered applying to Teach for America.  It is a wonderful program that sends recent college graduates to school systems where no one wants to teach - mainly poor, inner city schools and poor, extremely rural schools.  Notice the common factor of  "poor".  By sending teachers to these areas, Teach for America helps students who might not get an education otherwise.

But we have teachers here in Cobb County.  In fact, I recently read that we had thousands of applicants last year - thousands of people who are qualified teachers looking for a job.  And Cobb County is one of the richest counties in metro Atlanta (I daresay in Georgia, but I don't know the facts for the rest of the state so I cannot make that statement with enough certainty.)  So why is our superintendent looking to hire from Teach for America?

To make matters worse, the Cobb County School Board announced at the last meeting that they would be removing teaching jobs due to budget cuts. (To read in between the lines here, they are firing teachers.)

So how could anyone justify bringing in outside teachers to a county with enough money to hire teachers and a plethora of teacher applicants?

And which poor school system will suffer even more because they won't have enough teachers?

Happily, Superintendent Hinojosa pulled the vote for hiring teachers from Teach for America off this evening's agenda.  I hope that the issue stays off the agenda, because no good can come from this course of action.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Video - It's My Aunt Martha and Uncle Paul!!!!

For those who don't know, my father grew up in the Amish community.  He left it, but his sister Martha married an Amish man.  Here they are, singing a Swiss yodel.  I remember my grandparents singing this song at every reunion - I even know the yodeling part!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Children and Multiple Intelligences, Part 1

Lately I've been contemplating and researching the various types of intelligence.  In case you are wondering, "What are types of intelligence?", I made a list of the nine generally accepted types of intelligence:

  1. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”) 
  2. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”) 
  3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart) 
  4. Existential Intelligence 
  5. Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart”) 
  6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”) 
  7. Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart) 
  8. Intra-personal Intelligence (Self Smart”)
  9. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)
(For more information about the types of intelligence, see

I actually knew about the various types of intelligence when my kids were invited into the elementary school target program.  The Target teachers explained that all children have these types of intelligence, and that the Target program works to engage the children in more that linguistic or logical-mathematical intelligences.

Of course, my first thought was, "Why aren't regular teacher attempting to use this information in their teaching?" 

The answer is quite simple - teachers are given the materials they use to teach.  Teachers are not allowed to deviate from the script, figuratively speaking, because that might lead to lower test scores.  And the school systems practically worship test scores at the moment, thanks to No Child Left Behind.  

But I wonder if the children would learn better if the school system allowed the schools and teachers to explore various teaching techniques that utilized all nine type of intelligence.   Or what would happen if we allowed students to explore their strengths and weaknesses instead of expecting all students to fit into a mold?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Review: "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When the Harry Potter series first came out, my youngest was just too young to read the books. So we waited, and this past month the entire family read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone".

I must admit, I like the book more this time than I did the first time through. Maybe it was because I understood the universe more after reading all seven books, or maybe I enjoyed the joyful innocence of the book because I know exactly how dark things will get. But I found myself smiling at Harry's reaction to the wizard world in all its wonder.

For those who have not read this book, I recommend it for anyone who loves a good fantasy story. There are scenes of suspense and excitement here, but Ms. Rowling also includes a fair amount of universe building that matters to the entire series. I love how each character comes alive, and I simply drooled over the puzzles presented within. I even laughed, as Ms. Rowling provides several one-liners appropriate to the situation.

There are more than enough summaries out there, so if you want to know more I suggest you find one. Or just read the book.

I give this book five out of five stars, because Ms. Rowling simply gets it right here.

View all my reviews

Freaky Friday News: Unicorn Licenses

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