Don’t let lesson plans strangle kids’ serendipitous learning and creativity

July 25, 2007

Here’s a woman — a homeschooler no less — who understands that lesson plans aimed at a state test can seriously damage a kid’s education. My only caveat is that in formal classrooms, such serendipitous learnings are encouraged from well-thought-out lesson plans and a very well prepared teacher who can deviate to meet the hot, rising curiosity of the kids in the moment.

At least I hope that’s what she understands.  This post on teaching history, from the ancient and often inaccurate This Country of Ours, by H. E. Marshall, gives me the cause to reserve endorsement of this school.


Who is this man?

July 25, 2007

President Abraham Lincoln meeting soldiers following the Battle of Antietam

And, are you ready to celebrate the bicentennial of his birth in your classroom?

  • Photo: P_________ _______ _______ meets soldiers from the Union forces, following the Battle of Antietam, in Maryland, October 3, 1862. With the man in the hat are, from left, Col. Alexander S. Webb, Chief of Staff, 5th Corps.; Gen. George B. McClellan; Scout Adams; Dr. Jonathan Letterman, Army Medical Director; an unidentified person; and standing behind Lincoln, Gen. Henry J. Hunt. Photo and caption from _______ _______ Bicentennial 2009.
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They come in threes: Stooges, branches of government

July 25, 2007

Is it true that a survey shows more teenagers know the names of the Three Stooges than know the three branches of government?

Justice Sandra O'Connor, by Matt York, AP

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra O’Connor warned the National Governors Association that lack of education — ignorance — threatens justice in the U.S. According to the Detroit News:

O’Connor said growing disrespect for judges and erosion of independence of the judicial branch are partly due to students not learning much about American government in school.

“The key to maintaining our system lies in the education of our citizens,” O’Connor told the 19 governors who stuck around for the final day of the summer meeting.

She added in her 12-minute speech that surveys have shown fewer teenagers can identify the three branches of government than can name the Three Stooges.

“Now I enjoy Larry, Moe and Curly, but” it’s distressing that students don’t know the most basic concepts of government, said O’Connor, a Reagan appointee who retired last year after 24 years on the high court.

But, the Three Stooges? That’s almost too perfect a quote. It seems even more fantastic when one considers that the Three Stooges are not broadcast nearly so much as they were in the 1960s, 1970s and even 1980s. Where did O’Connor get that factoid?

  • Photo: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor by Matt York, Associated Press

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