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Learning Through Heroes

(category: K12-Education, Word count: 378)
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Heroes inspire. Everyone wants to be associated with ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary feats. Recently, educators have recognized the importance of using heroes to teach children and adolescents various subject matters ranging from values to science.

Tony R. Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at Purdue University recognizes that using role models and heroes can be quite effective when teaching values education. He claims that by examining the spirit of heroism, it serves as an invitation for the students to adopt the heroic spirit for themselves.

Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American in space, created the Jemison Group, which aims to bring the technological advancements to people across the globe and hopefully nourish students' love for science. This explorer hero is very active in her undertakings. Schools on the other hand are actively using her as an example when teaching science. A few years ago, West Clayton Elementary School invited the astronaut to give a talk about space travel. After the visit, a significant number of students became more engaged in the subject matter. Children are inspired to learn of the countless possibilities that await them if they try hard enough to pursue their dreams.

The use of heroes in the classroom is becoming more and more popular. However, careful thought should be put in the curriculum design if educators want to ensure the effectiveness of the method. Here are a few tips:

The instructor needs to find a suitable hero to use. There is not generic hero that can be used across all subject matter, although heroes by and large have universal attributes. For instance, it may be more appropriate to use Michael Jordan as a role model when teaching sports rather than using Oprah.

It is important that the instructor does not take away the human-element in heroes. They are not super humans, and it is important for children and young adults to understand this. They need to know that they can be their idols; they can be the heroes who always put things into perspective, who makes sound decisions based on careful reasoning and who thinks of the greater good more than self-interest. Students need to be able to see the hero potential in each of them.

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Eleven Virginia Schools Divisions To Participate In Commonwealth Scholars Program

(category: K12-Education, Word count: 205)
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The Commonwealth of Virginia and Governor Timothy M. Kaine have for some time been encouraging Virginia Schools high school students to take more rigorous coursework. The Governor recently announced the pilot Commonwealth Scholars Program and promotional campaign to underscore this commitment to excellence in Virginia's youth.

Eleven divisions within the Virginia schools initially will participate in the new program. The required rigorous coursework goes beyond the minimum graduation requirements for a Standard Diploma, but falls below the college preparation coursework requirements for an Advanced Studies Diploma. Students who complete the core coursework under the Virginia schools program will be recognized as Commonwealth Scholars at graduation and eligible to receive a special diploma seal that recognizes their achievement. Instructional support will be provided to all students who participate.

A two-year, $300,000 State Scholars Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Education funds the Commonwealth Scholars Program. Virginia schools were one of eight states selected in a national competition to participate in the federal grant program.

The Virginia schools divisions were chosen based on their interest in the program and their ability to meet the requirements of the grant. The eleven Virginia schools' divisions are:

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The Best Way To Build Muscle

(category: K12-Education, Word count: 380)
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The best way to build muscle does depend to a degree on individual characteristics. The genetic features of each individual are different, so there is no simple solution which will work for everyone. Here in this article we help you discover the best way to build muscle.

Tip 1

One factor that is often overlooked, especially by those who tend to throw themselves into something without really thinking, is that the muscles need adequate rest in order to grow. Trying to exercise too often, or too hard, can only bring the opposite result from the one you need. Not only that, you are risking an injury which could set your progress back by months. Realise that you don't have to achieve everything overnight.

Tip 2

Kid yourself in a positive way. The biggest key to achieving any long term bodily change is to do whatever you do consistently, but there are always days when you just don't feel like it. On days like this, you can go to the gym with the intention of just doing 20 minutes just to keep your hand in. You may well find that once you get started, you stay there a lot longer.

Tip 3

One of the most effective techniques for packing on muscle is to keep lifting until shutdown. Shutdown means the point where your body can't manage to lift any more, and your muscles just give up. If you can, try to reach the shutdown from the weight, rather than the number of reps. Excess reps can be self defeating.

Tip 4

Try to work with supersets. Super sets are very intensive, and are very time effective. They offer the potential for greater gains in a shorter period of time. How do you do a superset? These are where you cut down your rest time between one set of reps, and the next one. Whatever your normal rest time before you start the next set, try cutting it right down, even to below a minute. This will certainly be something which both you and your muscles will notice!

Different people will benefit from different techniques, but what you have learned in this article should help you find the best way to build up your muscles.

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Build Chest Muscles In 4 Simple Steps

(category: K12-Education, Word count: 446)
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Build chest muscles as part of your bodybuilding program, and you will be taking an important step towards both looking and becoming stronger. Chest muscles are such a vital factor for a bodybuilder, in creating the right posture, so here we show you how to build chest muscles for yourself.

Step 1

You don't necessarily have to do a lot of incredibly complicated exercises to build chest muscles, they can even be built using press ups. Although their effect will be barely noticeable if you are already involved in more advanced resistance training, press ups can help give your muscles definition. Press ups are good for people who are just starting to think about building their bodies. An inclined press up is even better.

Step 2

One general piece of advice that you would do well to heed is to build chest muscles using free weights rather than a weight machine. It is sad to note that free weights are losing popularity in many gyms to the weight machines, but using free weights is still the best bet for the serious bodybuilder. Your muscles benefit from a more comprehensive workout the weight is lifted through several different angles, and more muscles are exercised in this way, leading to a more even development.

Step 3

Treat your muscle groups separately. The muscles in your chest belong to diverse groups, and if you can work each in turn, you will gain better results than average bodybuilders who ignore this factor. The chest has an upper and lower part. Inclined dumbbell flys and inclined barbell presses are effective ways of developing the upper chest, while the lower part responds well to declined barbell bench presses and dips on the parallel bars. The chest is also divided into an inner and outer section. The inner section can be worked with standing cable crossovers, and the outer section with flat bench press and flat dumbbell flys.

Step 4

Lift right up to your limit. By far the most effective way of maximizing the effect of your training time when you build chest muscles is to lift until you simply cannot lift any more. This can be a problem if you don't take care, and you should ONLY attempt this if you can find someone prepared to spot for you. The other person is then able to grab the bar and stop it doing you any harm, or pinning you down.

Your chest muscles are very noticeable, and one of the first parts of the body that people look at when they know you're bodybuilding. You now know how to build chest muscles for yourself.

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Build Arm Muscle Today

(category: K12-Education, Word count: 413)
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Build arm muscle is one of the most common goals of aspiring bodybuilders. There is no shortage of advice, either in books or on the internet, telling you how to do this. Here in this article, we will show you how to genuinely build arm muscle.

Tip 1

Train sensibly. Many people who are trying to build arm muscle make the mistake of over training. It is easily done, as the arms are used in so many different bodybuilding disciplines. One good way of ensuring you don't over stress your arms is to leave them until the very end of your workout routine.

Tip 2

If you want to build arm muscle effectively, you will want every single rep you perform to be as effective as possible. The goal is to get as many muscle fibers involved as you can. If you can bring as many muscle fibers as you can into play, you will not only develop stronger muscles, they will be more even and have a better tone.

Tip 3

The correct extension of the weight is critical, but control is equally important, throughout the whole of the lift. The strongest determining factor here is the weight itself, so don't defeat yourself by using a weight which is too heavy. In order to make your exercises as effective as you can, make sure the lift is executed as quickly as possible, while you still have the weight under control. As you release the weight, try to do so as slowly as comfortably possible. If you can make this downward phase take at least two seconds, you will be burning a lot more fat.

Tip 4

One point which is often overlooked by beginning arm muscle builders is that there is more than one group of muscles, and you need to work them in a balanced way to achieve optimum results. So many bodybuilders who have not taken enough time to learn the craft properly concentrate solely on biceps, which will lead to an unnatural and uneven development, and may even lead to injury. Make sure you learn how to develop your triceps in harmony with your biceps, for optimum results. Don't risk the pain of a torn ligament!

If you have been struggling to gain results from your arm muscle exercises, take the advice of this article on board, and start seeing some real benefits. Check out the links below to discover some more valuable resources.

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Reading Comprehension Skills Part Ii

(category: K12-Education, Word count: 659)
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Do you remember that 'reading' means understanding the author's message, not just calling out words? If you cannot answer comprehension questions after reading a page, you have not truly read anything.

There are specific reading-comprehension skills that will help you understand what you are reading. Whereas my last article focused on Main Idea, Predicting Outcomes, Inferences, and Fact or Opinion; this article will cover Context Clues, Cause and Effect, Drawing Conclusions, and Sequencing. When reading with your children, be sure to ask questions that reinforce these comprehension skills, especially during summer vacation or other long absences from school.

1. Context Clues - When you are reading, suppose you come across a word that you have never seen or heard before. If you understand the other words, sentences, and paragraphs that come before and after the new word, you will be able to figure out what that new word means.

Example: Two friends met and had a persiflage over lunch. They talked about

seeing a movie, going shopping, or going to the beach.

Can you tell that 'persiflage' means light, frivolous talk? The two friends did not discuss anything of major importance.

2. Cause and Effect - We all know that actions have consequences. Think of the actions as causes and the effects as their consequences.

Example: The Miami Heat want the fans to wear white during the NBA Finals

games. As a result, the seats in the arena are filled with fans wearing White Hot shirts!

WHY are the fans wearing White Hot shirts? They are wearing white shirts

BECAUSE the Miami Heat requested it. When you ask a why question (the effect), you want to know the reason (the cause). Clue phrases that indicate a cause is to follow include 'as a result' and 'in order to'.

3. Drawing Conclusions - Sometimes you will be asked a question about

information that has not been given. There will be enough clues, however, for

you to imply the meaning.

Example: Marvin was exuberant that his parents were allowing him to stay up past his bedtime so he could see the fireworks at a nearby park. Luckily, there would be a great view from his own patio! The fireworks were scheduled to start at 11:30 PM but, by 10:30, Marvin was feeling extremely tired. When he woke up the next morning, Marvin asked his mother why the fireworks had been cancelled.

Although the information is not directly given, you can draw the conclusion that Marvin was so tired that he fell asleep and missed the fireworks.

4. Sequencing - As the old saying goes, "Put one step in front of the other."

When you are putting directions or events in sequential order, you start at the beginning and go step-by-step, in a logical or chronological order, to reach a conclusion. Young children just learning this skill begin their sentences with First, Next, Then, and Last; older children do not necessarily need those key words.

Example: She rubbed some oil on top of it. My mom went to the store and bought a chicken. Into the oven it went! Following that, she sprinkled some

seasoning over it.

As written above, this story does not make sense. Who put oil on top of what? Do you really season a chicken after it is in the oven? (Basting does not count!) The correct version would read like this:

My mom went to the store and bought a chicken. She rubbed some oil on top of it. Following that, she sprinkled some seasoning over it. Into the oven it went!

To review, then, there are specific reading-comprehension skills that will aid

in your understanding of the written word. A few of these skills are context

clues, cause and effect, drawing conclusions, and sequencing.

I hope these examples are useful and have inspired your own creative thinking.

And remember...Reading is FUNdamental!

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Dallas Schools Focus On Student Safety

(category: K12-Education, Word count: 229)
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Dallas Schools are dedicated to providing the best education possible, while keeping the children safe. Unfortunately, our world has changed in the past few years. It is no longer as safe as it once was to visit other countries, to fly from one city to another (especially the truly large and/or important cities, such as Washington D.C.), or to even go to school, especially in a large metropolitan city like Dallas. Terrorists living within the borders of the United States have become a real threat. In Iraq, terrorists think nothing of bombing schools, so why would they restrain themselves here in America. This disregard of human life creates a heightened sense of fear, especially for our children. Dallas schools are doing something about it.

Ever since September 11, 2001, and the increase in student shootings within some U.S. schools, Dallas schools, under the Dallas Independent School District (DISD), have been instituting measures and programs to ensure they remain security focused and safety aware.

While allowing children and school personnel to go about their daily lives in as normal fashion as possible, Dallas Schools are maintaining a heightened awareness of any suspicious activities in order to lessen the fears of the children while adding greater safety and protection for both the children and school personnel. They have enlisted the help of every school employee

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Arizona Schools Math Standards Is There A Better Way

(category: K12-Education, Word count: 535)
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All states across the United States require standards that must be met in different subjects by specific grades, especially in reading and math. End of year testing is required for specific grades to ensure schools and students are meeting these standards.

The concern is that states, including the Arizona schools, are trying to teach everything at once to students, with teachers losing the ability to teach the important math concepts in depth. Otherwise, students are learning a little about everything (just enough to pass state tests) but not enough to actually use in the real world.

Many educators in the Arizona schools are concerned that they are being forced to teach for testing, rather than real in-depth learning that is needed in higher grades and college.

For example, the Arizona schools require second graders to know 77 math concepts by the end of that grade. That is a lot of concepts, and teachers are given no guidance from the Arizona schools on which concepts are the most important. That means that equal importance is given to all, and all must be sufficiently taught. In order to do this, Arizona schools would need to create mandatory day-by-day lesson plans, which they have not done.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is a highly influential organization, whose recommendations are followed by most educators. Almost all math textbooks for kindergarten through eighth grade reference the council, also aligning with their recommendations.

In a report released in September, the council agrees with many Arizona schools educators that the state is trying to cover too much within one year, noting that some states require even more.

Council Executive Director Jim Rubillo points out that too many mandatory math concepts taught means very little in-depth learning by the students. They may be able to pass a test at the end of the year, but it is doubtful that many students will carry the concepts into higher learning without the repetition and in-depth instruction required. Too many concepts to teach leaves no time for in-depth instruction.

The council also released new recommendations for curriculum focal points. The recommendations narrow the focus to just three math concepts at each grade level with all instruction for each grade built around them. The council hopes states will enter into a discussion on this issue and consider their recommendations.

The Arizona schools begin revision of their math standards next spring and are considering the council's recommendations, according to Mary Knuck, state director of standards for the Arizona schools. If the Arizona schools follow the council's recommendations, it would mean a major overhaul of their current standards and testing methods.

The real challenge for Arizona schools teachers currently is not the vast array of standards that must be taught; however, the real challenge is to teach math for both real world applications and standardized testing. It must make sense in the real world, or it is wasted. Yet, Arizona schools students must be able to have instant recall in order to answer state test questions correctly. Hopefully, the council and the Arizona schools can together make more sense of the crucial math standards for the Arizona schools.

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How To Build Muscle Mass

(category: K12-Education, Word count: 419)
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How to build muscle mass is the most fundamental question of bodybuilding. The basic answer is simple enough, as dietary considerations, combined with consistent, sustained resistance training is what will produce results. Here in this article we show you how to build muscle mass.

Tip 1

Dietary considerations are fundamentally important when learning how to build muscle mass. Even the simple matter of what to eat is overlooked by many bodybuilders, but the question of what time to eat is hardly ever considered. On waking, your body is in what is known as a catabolic state. This is a poor state for a bodybuilder to be in, as a lack of nutrients causes the body to consume its own muscle mass. If you can give your body a quick, easily absorbed protein boost, that will help enormously. Shakes are ideal for this.

Tip 2

Most importantly, make your workouts regular. Half hearted efforts will produce half hearted results, and consistent effort is needed to see any serious benefit. Make a commitment to consistent training, and you will learn how to build muscle mass on an ongoing basis. The other factor to be aware of is that the body needs to keep being pushed, so as you continue to grow, you need to be lifting ever greater amounts of weight. Consistency will also train your body to expect exercise at certain times, and this will speed up results.

Tip 3

It is easy to tell people to get a personal trainer, but you should think about it if you can. Failing this, someone who works at a gym can produce a written schedule for you to follow. Gyms are happy to do this, as it increases the chances of them keeping your business. Their staff will tell you how to build muscle mass. If you find it difficult to commit to regular workouts, you may find that this helpful, as someone else will be there to push you along.

Tip 4

Start using sports drinks. Sports drinks are specially formulated to replace the electrolytes after strenuous exercise. There is no need to understand the science behind this, just use it to your advantage. Taking a sports drink around 15-20 mins after your workout will have you feeling less tired. Reducing tiredness is another factor in learning how to build muscle mass..

It is not difficult to learn the basics of how to build muscle mass, and hopefully this guide will have shown you the way.

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