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Free Online German Lessons For Beginners

(category: Weather, Word count: 453)
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Exeter University Beginners' German


From the German Department of the University of Exeter, this free online German course is for beginners, and contains twenty chapters of dialogue and exercises on the German language. The course is designed as an introduction to German for the absolute beginner, and provides additional information such as life and culture in all the major German-speaking countries.

The Exeter University free online Beginners' German course involves the use of sound files containing a series of conversations; online pronunciation guide (with sound files too); full glossary of vocabulary used in the course; an online dictionary; guide to the German alphabet and the German language; explanations of the key points of grammar; grammar exercises using Question Mark Perception and software; an online verb table for regular and irregular verbs; vocabulary exercises and Internet scavenger hunts; and history and culture of the German-speaking countries.

BBC Languages: German


BBC has also been offering web-based free online German lessons and courses for beginners and intermediates, using methods such as audio guide to slang, basic grammar etc. The beginner's course is a self-contained online course, which includes lessons by Topics such as Meeting People, Food and Drink, Getting around Berlin, Shops and Services etc; Grammar, Fast track, Pronunciation, Vocabulary, Cultural notes, Learning Log, and User guide.

The BBC free online German beginner's course also features special tools such as Talk German, a course with TV series, book and website; Quick Fix, printable holiday phrases with audio and mp3 download and for mobile phones; and Deutsch Plus, a longer course with TV series, book and website. is a free online German learning course that incorporates 10 German lessons for total beginners. The beginner's course is an overview of basic German grammar rules, assisted by concise grammar tables. The grammar tables, on the other hand, are accompanied by graded German exercises. In order to illustrate the German grammar rule, example sentences are also included with the exercises.

Additional features of this site include study tips, international pen pals, chat, famous quotations, and an online German dictionary to translate German terms into 70 languages including French, English, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Chinese, Spanish, and more. / German / German is a web-service that offers totally free German courses, exercises and exams for beginners. Main features include designing your own German worksheets, German language forum discussions, and interactive features such as German sound examples, Vocabulary trainers, Online tests, and Pictures.

The Beginner's course include

1.Lesson: Getting Started

2.Lesson: Describing yourself and others

3.Lesson: Talking about doing things

4.Lesson: The family and around the house

5.Lesson: Talking about time and schedules

6.Lesson: Eating and drinking

7.Lesson: Shopping and Clothing

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Tips For Preparing Your Family For Fire Emergencies

(category: Weather, Word count: 658)
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Hundreds of people die every year because of fire-related incidents, especially during the Christmas season. Thus, it is very important for us to be prepared for such emergencies. Each member of our family should know what to do in case of fire. More importantly, all of us need to know what to do to prevent fire.

Plan Ahead

One of the most important things that parents forget to teach their children is to prepare for emergencies, such as fire. Even at a young age, children should already be taught how to prevent fire and what to do in case there is fire. Fire drills have often been conducted in buildings and schools to help prepare building occupants and students in case of fire, so why can't you have a fire drill in your home?

The first step is to check your house for possible fire exits. See if the windows and doors in your house are big and tall enough to be used as possible fire exits. Make a floor plan for each room, ensuring that there are at least two ways to get out of the room to escape fire. In making the floor plan, you need to include crucial details, such as stairs, windows and hallways.

After devising a floor plan, you should meet your children and discuss your fire escape plan. You should also make sure that your family has devised a way of warning other members of fire, such as bells, door tapping, etc. It would be best if each bedroom of your house has a flash light and a bell. Lastly, select a safe place outside the house where everyone will go after escaping the fire.

Preparing your family for fire emergencies

It is wise to act out your evacuation plan with the whole family. Teach your children how to stay close to the ground while escaping and is possible, let them memorize the way. Sometimes, the smoke caused by fire would make it very difficult to see the way, so it would really be wise if you and children know the way by heart.

You and your children should also know that during fire, you should feel the door first before opening it. You should not open the door if it is hot. Instead, find another way you could escape your room or house.

If the clothes of your children or any family member catch fire, tell them to fall to the ground and roll. This will help extinguish the fire.

Make your house safe from fire

Make sure that emergency numbers are placed near telephones. Such numbers should always be accessible and visible so that you can call authorities immediately when a fire breaks out.

You should also ensure that smoke detectors are installed in key places in your house. Once smoke detectors are installed, you should check their batteries once in a while. Usually, the batteries of smoke detectors should be changed yearly.

Place fire extinguishers in key locations. If your house has several floors, ensure that there is at least one fire extinguisher per floor.

It would really be best if smoking is prohibited inside the house because many incidences of fire are caused by improperly discarded cigarettes. However, if smoking cannot be helped, make sure that nobody smokes in the bed. Furthermore, let everyone know how to properly discard cigarette butts.

No matter how many times you have taught your children that matches and lighters are dangerous, some will still play with them. Thus, it is advisable to keep all lighters and matches in places that your children cannot access. If possible, put them in locked drawers or cabinets.

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Millions In Cuts For Cleveland Schools

(category: Weather, Word count: 444)
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The Cleveland Board of Education approved a new budget with millions of dollars in cuts. The cuts are so drastic that there are some employees of the Cleveland Schools who don't know if they have jobs next school year. Some non-instructional union employees, such as cleaners, custodians and clerical workers, will most definitely see job cuts. Other non-union jobs are also at risk.

Chief of Staff, Lisa Marie Ruda, said specific numbers won't be known until early next week, when district officials finish adding up positions already lost to retirement or attrition. In the recent weeks, over 500 teachers and paraprofessional educators throughout Cleveland Schools have received layoff notices; some effective immediately and others in the fall. These recent cuts are reflective of $35.4 million in salaries and benefits from last school year. Last month the Cleveland Schools voted to close 22 schools in order to save money. Over the past three years there have been over $100 million in cuts. And on August 2nd voters will be asked to approve a tax increase that could raise an additional $48 million for the Cleveland Schools.

The Cleveland Schools CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett,blamed the slashes on the state cuts. Cleveland Schools could lose as much as $6 million in Medicaid monies which are used to provide speech, hearing and occupational therapists for needy students. Another $6 million in general funds from the revised state budget will also be lost to Cleveland Schools.

The state Senate changed its proposed two-year education budget in May. Cleveland Schools would have received a half-percent increase in state aid in 2006 and 1.2 percent more in 2007 under the originally proposed budget. However the revised plan that Gov. Taft must approve does not provide any increases for Cleveland Schools at all.

There are two sets of employee groups within the Cleveland Schools who will be saved from layoffs. Bus drivers, who had about 130 lay-offs last winter, will be among those. Also the Cleveland Schools will not cut security officers because they are needed to keep students in the high schools safe and secure. The bus system itself is being looked at carefully. An outside company hired by Cleveland Schools, TransPar Group, will be looking into the district's transportation program. This is a move to privatize the management of this department after it was involved in a number of complaints and scandals. The Cleveland Schools had to repay $729,000 to the state because school bus counts were wrong. This is hardly something a district undergoing severe cuts can afford to do. TransPar will be paid $50,000 to audit and evaluate the current system.

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Atlanta Schools Public Engagement Partnerships

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Atlanta Schools' Office of Public Engagement

The Atlanta Schools' Office of Public Engagement is responsible for creating and fostering partnerships between Atlanta Schools, community volunteers, teachers, parents, national and local corporations, non-profit groups, and civic organizations in order to advance student achievement. The Office of Public Engagement was created as part of the ongoing educational reform that is occurring throughout the Atlanta Schools. The Office's aim is to connect the schools with any resource that could offer a positive influence on the success of the students in the Atlanta Schools. Many of these relationships are of a creative and ground-breaking nature. Several of the most successful partnership programs involve some of the largest corporations in the nation.

Hewlett Packard's "Bringing it Home" Program

The Atlanta Schools has for many years been part of the Hewlett Packard's "Bringing it Home" program. The Atlanta Schools partnership with Hewlett Packard is part of a larger program that has representatives from Hewlett Packard visiting over 600 schools in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. The main goal of the Hewlett Packard's "Bringing it Home" Program is to encourage students, their parents and teachers to create and communicate with technology. The Hewlett Packard's "Bringing it Home" Program is an interactive exploratory program that allows students to gain practical experience using digital photography and computers.

Atlanta Schools' Price Middle School was one of the locations where students were exposed to the latest innovations in technology. The Price Middle School's students were able to see how this technology could be applied to their own assignments and projects. The aim at Price Middle School was to help the students by making their work more efficient. The students, principal and teachers at Price Middle School all profited from Atlanta Schools' participation in the Hewlett Packard's "Bringing it Home" Program.

Atlanta Schools' Long Term Partnership with General Electric

Atlanta Schools has been in a partnership with General Electric Energy since 1993 and will continue this partnership in the future. The partnership with General Electric involves several different ongoing projects and was originally started by former Atlanta Schools' graduates who now are employed by General Electric. The General Electric Partnership was started as a tutoring and mentoring program where General Electric employees would volunteer in schools in the area but it has grown to include Saturday SAT preparation, the Family Technology Resource Center, and scholarship programs. There are now more than 1,500 General Electric employees involved in the General Electric Partnership in some way. The General Electric Partnership has proved to be very influential in student SAT performance.

In 2002, General Electric donated $1 million to Atlanta Schools' Southside High School as part of General Electric's national College Bound Grant Program. This donation to Southside High School was the first grant from the College Bound Grant Program to be given to a school in the Atlanta Schools. The grant is being used by Southside High School's "Strategic Design for Student Success" project. The school wide project plans to double, by 2007, the percentage of Southside High School's graduating seniors who go on to four-year or two-year colleges or universities, or who enroll in technical institutions.

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Remove The Barrier Stopping You From Study Success

(category: Weather, Word count: 406)
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"I will never learn Spanish, it's just too difficult"

"How on earth could I possible solve such an equation, it's impossible, period!"

Do you recognize any of the above statements? If yes, then you might have been seized by the terrifying phenomenon called bad self esteem. Having a bad self esteem could kill your studies faster than you can say tomorrow.

There is a very important lesson to be learned here, namely: "Study demands motivation". The successful student runs until he or she has become tired, walks until his/her legs can't carry him/her and finally crawl to reach the destination. It doesn't matter if the mountain is high and steep nor does it matter if the lake seems to be extremely deep, there is still hope. Never ever give up in the first shot, memorize the following words:

"Winners never quit and quitters never win"

Now let me tell you a little story about a certain pike, for those of you who don't know, a pike is a delicious (in my opinion) fresh water fish. A few years ago, a group of scientists performed a couple of interesting experiments, mainly by using this fish. They placed the fish inside an aquarium and fed it by pouring in some smaller fish. They then placed a barrier of glass in between the pike and the smaller fish, resulting in the pike constantly trying to reach it's food but ending up being prevented by this invisible wall.

Finally the pike stopped pursuing the fish, thinking that it was no good to even try. The scientists then removed the barrier and were they were quite amazed at what they saw; the small fish actually circulated around the pike without any counter reaction being executed, how come one might ask? As it turns out, the fish had been subjugated to acquire helplessness, a term that may be used in order to describe how an object is handicapped by it's mere thoughts, thus forgetting about it's capabilities by throwing in the towel for good.

Do you behave like this fish, or do you have the actual courage it needs to be able to stand up on your both feet and proclaim; "I will try to do my best in order to achieve my goals" or will you in similitude to this fish swim around in a pool of emptiness and self denial?

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Boston Schools Work To Balance Inequalities In Funding

(category: Weather, Word count: 496)
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No parent wants their child to have to attend a school that is sub-standard. We all want our children to get the best education they possibly can. Even those who don't have kids in school today are interested in the success of the schools and often get involved in supporting their neighborhood schools. The reality is that not all kids get to attend the "top-notch" school. Some, many in fact, wind up in schools that are facing issues that make it hard for them to inspire students to do their best.

Gangs, school violence, lack of funding, and uninspired teaching and administrative staff are all factors that can be associated with failing schools. While money isn't everything, it sure helps. Having enough funding, and in certain situations, a bit extra can go a long way to tackling the other problems. Boston Public Schools are working to achieve more equality for their schools by changing the way the budget is allocated each year.

Boston Schools are looking into a budget allocation process used by other large urban districts called "weighted student funding", or WSF. A task force staffed by Boston Schools employees has been formed to look into the plan and determine if it's something that will help Boston Schools achieve a more equitable distribution of funds. Currently, schools in Boston are not all receiving the funding required to successfully implement the programs they offer.

For example, Traditional Boston Schools have, in the past, been allocated positions, not funds, based on the different types of programs they offer, as well as the number of kids in each program. Pilot Boston Schools, offer higher-cost special and bilingual (not to be confused with English as a 2nd Language students) education programs.

Special Boston Schools, such as the Mann School for the Deaf, are funded based on its students' special disabilities.

Alternative Boston Schools are funded on an individual basis, with no consistent requirements across the board. In addition, 10 designated Superintendent's Schools have been recently chosen. These Boston Schools have demonstrated consistently low performance. For the '07-'08 school year, each of these schools will get $1.2 million in extra funds.

In order for Boston Schools to receive a more equitable distribution of funds they would develop "weights" so that the allocations match the needs of the students while still adhering to the priorities of the Boston Schools district. Determining these weights will involve extensive participation from the community. The purpose of this is to institute a formula to evenly determine which schools need what in terms of cash. For example, regular education students are given a weight of 1, students who are leaning to speak English a 1.7, and a moderate special-needs student a 1.6. The whole thing would then be added up, and guidelines for funding would be determined. While this sounds like the same horse with a different color, it can affect more equitable funding for all Boston Schools.

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Educational Toys Are Good But Don T My Children Need Some Toys Just For Fun

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Okay, so this opinion might not be the most popular. But please, don't crucify me. I'm a good dad. I got my kids all the toys my wife found to help the kids' "development." You know, educational toys. The kind you have to drive twenty miles out of your way to tiny store in a strip mall in West Nowhere to find, or order from some obscure catalog or website based in Canada.

And believe me, I'm glad my kids have things like mini computers that teach spelling and math, crystal-growing science project kits, memory games, puzzle cubes and problem-solving computer CD-ROMs. But I sometimes wonder, when I see those toys strewn all over the living room floor, abandoned and neglected while Katie and little Mitch are sticking balls of Silly Putty in their ears, maybe kids should have some toys just for fun and nothing else?

After all, when I was a kid we didn't have all this stuff. We had little red wagons and toy cowboy pistols. We had Lincoln Logs, Matchbox cars, building blocks and our imaginations. I can remember a summer when I was 6 when my only new toy was a stick my dad helped me turn into a fishing pole. And that kept me busy seven days a week!

I'll tell you this much. I would rather see my kids play with a toy that they enjoy, that inspires them to run around and have fun and explore the world than some "educational" toy that they're going to sit around playing with for a few hours until they tire of it and never touch it again.

Heck, I'd even rather see them chase each other around the back yard with toy guns than sit inside with some pseudo-egghead puzzle or game that's supposed to make me feel better about spending fifty bucks!

You can't open a newspaper or turn on a TV news program without somebody saying that today's children are obese and inactive. And I see it all the time. My kids' friends come over to play and I can't help but notice that a lot of them are pretty chubby. And they come from good families, not the kind where the parents are feeding them Twinkies and plopping them in front of the TV for hours at a time. But a lot of these kids are coming over and playing with our "educational" computer math games, and just sitting on their butts!

This is what I'd like to see. I'd like people to let go of this idea that a toy has to be clearly "educational" for it to be worthwhile. I'd like people to consider other factors, like if the toy will get our kids moving around and playing actively, or if it will turn them into little couch potatoes. I'd like people to think about whether their kids will actually enjoy the toy, or whether it will sit untouched.

Let's put away all these silly ideas about what's right for our kids and just them be kids and have fun the old-fashioned way.

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Desperate Times For Some California Schools

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A large part of the country's education systems have long looked to California Schools to demonstrate what works in education. While many California Public Schools are indeed exemplary, there are also many that are struggling. In 1999, the state of California decided that it needed to take a closer look at these struggling schools, and that these California Schools needed help to overcome their problems.

The California Schools in question shared one common characteristic - a relatively high level of student poverty. Many but not all of them have high percentages of students who were English learners and/or Hispanic, a statistic that has been correlated with student poverty. Most have very small populations of white students.

These troubled California Schools tended to be larger than average and were much more likely to be on a multitrack, year-round calendar. This type of school calendar allows the school in question to serve a greater number of students by being open all 12 months of the year; with some California Schools teachers and classes sharing rooms with those who are off on a break.

In terms of staffing, these California Schools had a much higher proportion of teachers not fully credentialed and were also more likely to have a high percentage of first- and second-year teachers.

Principals of the California Schools in question were surveyed to determine the differences in the challenges faced by their particular schools. School district officials were also able to provide more information.

California has operated its school accountability system for nine years now and the average API (Academic Performance Index) scores for all schools have risen. Elementary schools have shown the most progress. However, as a whole, elementary level California Schools have faced greater challenges than their middle- and high-school counterparts.

On average, they had either similar or more challenging proportions of English learners

and students living in poverty. School sizes are modestly large and the proportion of fully credentialed teachers is somewhat lower than middle- and high-school teachers working in California Schools.

Conversely, California Schools in the middle and high school levels have consistently shown less improvement than elementary schools. From a statistical perspective, secondary California Schools often face different challenges than elementary schools do in attempting to meet their API growth targets.

Middle Schools have not had the full benefit of the state's investment in K-12 education since the mid-to-late 1990s, however. From an instructional perspective, the state has put more focus on improving achievement in the earliest grades, most likely with the belief that if a student's academic success can be improved upon at an early age, they will continue to be successful throughout their school careers.

While there many changes that need to be made to improve the quality of California Schools, it is indeed heartening to see that the state's board of education is up to the challenge of helping schools make the improvements needed to produce successful and vital members of tomorrow's society.

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3 Little Known Players In African American History

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The use of slave labor was a well known practice for several decades in the world community. With the discovery of new lands with great promise to offer, the world's economy was fast flourishing. The demands for crop produce in large volumes made the slave trade the ideal solution for labor problems. And America was no exception. In fact African American slaves soon outnumbered the white population because of the large import volume.

However, slaves weren't just made to work the lands, they were made to forget their lifestyles, disciplines and culture. Slave masters world over established slave codes which robbed the Africans of their freedom and will power. Although many slaves did try to resist this treatment they were met with strict and cruel forms of punishment for disobeying their masters. Slaves were forbidden from carrying guns, taking food, striking their masters, and running away. In fact any and all slaves could be flogged or killed for resisting or breaking the established slave codes.

Freedom was perhaps the main issue on the minds of those enslaved African Americans. American historical records have identified several attempts of rebellion and some of the key players who were involved in the African's quest for freedom on American soil. Perhaps the three main personalities who pioneered freedom for African American slaves include: Gabriel Prosser, Denmark Vesey, and Nat Turner.

In August of 1800 Gabriel Prosser decided to free himself along with about 1,000 other slaves. His game plan revolved around killing most of the white residents and taking over the town of Richmond, Virginia. History records show that an untimely and severe thunderstorm caused the slave revolters to disband. Unfortunately, three slaves also revealed the plot, and so Gabriel Prosser and thirty-six of the slaves were identified, tried, and executed.

Denmark Vesey was another pioneer of slave abolition. He had obtained his freedom in 1800 and was especially upset by the whole system of slavery that he wanted to destroy it entirely. He wanted a full-fledged war using armed slaves to kill white slave owners in the city of Charleston, South Carolina. Unfortunately in 1822, and after several years of planning, his idea to attack and "liberate" the city was revealed. Leading to his own and several of his co-conspirators' arrest. In the case of Nat Turner he had a religious zeal and a belief that he was specifically chosen to free himself and his slave brethren.

This 31 year old preacher to the slaves constructed a plan of "terror and devastation." His organized revolt became America's most famous and violent act involving slave resistance. On August 21, 1831, Nat Turner and six other slaves killed Turner's plantation master and his family in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner's band of slave supporters grew quickly, as they went about killing a total of 60 white slave owners, including their wives and children. Eventually, Federal and Virginia state troopers encountered the roving band of slaves and killed most of those in rebellion. Unfortunately this resulted in other slaves not connected to the rebellion also being killed.

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