Summertime is camp time
July 10th, 2012
01:43 PM ET

Summertime is camp time

By Jeff DeHayes, CNN

(CNN) - With schools letting out for summer all over the country, it's time to talk about summer camp.

For some, camp is something to look forward to all year long, where new friends are made and old friends reconnect. For others, watching “The Parent Trap” might be the only summer camp experience they have.

However you remember it, camp serves up memories of cabins, sleeping bags, campfires, ghost stories, shaving cream fights, catching lizards - and for fans of that movie, possibly discovering you have a long lost twin.

Summer camp can serve multiple purposes. It can fill what might otherwise be an uneventful couple of months when hanging out in front of the TV isn't an option. Camps also provide much-needed childcare, especially in households where both parents work.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Extracurricular • Summer learning
June 29th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Opinion: Why teachers should put students to work

Editor's note: Simon Hauger started Philadelphia's "Sustainability Workshop," a program for inner-city high school seniors that's organized around projects rather than traditional curriculum. Students build electric go-karts and solar charging stations. CNN's "The Next List" will feature Hauger on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

By Simon Hauger, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Working with teenagers is wonderful. They are a joy and a challenge. They are youthful optimists who believe in their power, and have boundless energy. Young people don’t know what they don’t know, and rather than making them arrogant, it fills them with hopeful idealism. As teachers, it is our job to make direct and audacious demands on their idealism.

My journey began 14 years ago in an after-school program I created at West Philadelphia High to engage kids around math and science. My students entered and won the Philadelphia Science Fair, something kids from West Philly weren’t supposed to do. Then we grew the program into the Electric Vehicle (EVX) Team. We built a full-size electric vehicle that outperformed top universities in the nation’s largest alternative fuel vehicle competition, the Tour de Sol. We went on to create the world’s first hybrid super-car: an awesome hybrid vehicle that was fast and environmentally friendly. At a time when most people had never heard of hybrids, West Philly students were building cars that were greener than the Prius and hotter than the Corvette. The EVX Team was gaining traction and recognition.

Our team of urban students won multiple national titles putting us in position in 2008 to be the only high school in the world to enter the $10 million Progressive Automotive X PRIZE.  Although we didn’t win, we made it to the semi-finals of the competition. We built and raced two cars surpassing 90 of the original 111 entries. It was a wild ride that won us a trip to the White House.

But what does this have to do with education?

Read the full post on CNN's What's Next blog

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Filed under: Extracurricular • STEM • Voices
June 22nd, 2012
06:20 AM ET

Analysis: 40 years after Title IX, 904% more women play high school sports

By Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) – The year was 1972.  “M*A*S*H,” “Sanfordand Son” and “Kung Fu” were reasons to stay home and watch TV.  Roberta Flack had the number one song on the radio with “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”  Don McLean drove his Chevy to the levee and sang goodbye to Miss “American Pie.”

The women’s liberation movement was in full swing, but in schools there were huge educational discrepancies between the genders, both in the kinds of classes they took and in the kinds of extracurricular activities they took part in.

That year, there were only 30,000 girls in the U.S. participating in high school sports.

Today there are more than 3 million.

Listen to CNN's Edgar Treiguts' interview Ann Meyers Drysdale, a former UCLA basketball star and Olympian, and executive of men's and women's professional basketball teams in Phoenix.

Changes came about in large part because of a law known as Title IX.

When President Richard Nixon signed the bill into law on June 23, 1972, it was intended to level the playing field between girls and boys in the educational opportunities that were presented to them.  Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

The law set out to prevent sex discrimination and harassment in any education activity or program, whether public or private.  It covers a wide range of areas, including fairness in college admissions and financial aid, freedom to take any vocational courses (so boys can take what was once called “home ec” and girls can take wood shop) and providing education for pregnant students.

Yet Title IX is most associated with sports because of its impact on high school and college sports for young women.  Under the law, “The athletic interests and abilities of male and female students must be equally and effectively accommodated.”
FULL POST

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Filed under: Extracurricular • Issues • Policy • video • Women's issues
Music appreciation: Songs about school
June 15th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Music appreciation: Songs about school

By Jordan Bienstock, CNN

(CNN) – With students around the country anticipating – and then celebrating – that final bell before summer, there is one song that is absolutely inescapable this time of year.

“No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks.” (All together now) “School’s out for summer!”

So it seems like the perfect opportunity to delve into some music appreciation, specifically songs about schools:

FULL POST

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Filed under: Extracurricular • Music • Teachers • video
Walmart Foundation pledges $20 million for summer programs
June 14th, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Walmart Foundation pledges $20 million for summer programs

By John Martin, CNN

(CNN) – About 14 million children will participate in summer programs across America this year. An estimated 24 million more children “are on the outside, looking in,” Gary Huggins, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, told CNN. Their parents would enroll them in these programs if they were available and affordable.

Walmart and its philanthropy arm, the Walmart Foundation, announced on Wednesday that it is giving $20 million to support youth summer programs that promote healthy meals, educational opportunities and employment and skills training.

The six grant recipients are the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA); National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA); National Summer Learning Association (NSLA); Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP); Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL); and Brandeis University. They operate or support summer programs in 350 communities.

NSLA, ICP and BELL will focus on summer learning initiatives. A Johns Hopkins study shows that low-income students can lose two months of math and reading ability over a nonproductive summer.

NSLA’s Huggins told CNN "there is a growing recognition among [school] district leaders that students are losing ground, and we have to stop that."
FULL POST

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Filed under: At Home • Extracurricular • Lunch • Practice • Summer learning
June 8th, 2012
12:27 PM ET

Quiz: 2011-2012 school year

(CNN)– How well do you know your news from this past school year? Take this interactive quiz and find out. (Teachers, you can also print the questions below and have students write their answers in the spaces provided.)

1. Who is the president of France?
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2. In April, the U.S. suspended a food aid deal after what nation launched a rocket that was suspected of being part of a ballistic missile program?
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3. Unrest and civil war led to the October 2011 death of Moammar Gadhafi, the former leader of what country?
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4. Technology pioneer Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. What company did he help establish?
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5. What city will host the 2012 Olympics this summer?
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6. Who will likely face President Barack Obama as the Republican presidential nominee on Election Day?
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7. What company launched the first private space craft that docked with the International Space Station?
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8. What is the deepest place in the world's oceans, where film director James Cameron made the first solo trip to on March 26, 2012?
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9. What is the name of the cruise ship that ran aground near the Italian island of Giglio on January 13, 2012?
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10. In what country did activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi win a seat in parliament?
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My View: The kids need us
Jenny Shea has been a mentor for Heaven, a student in Washington, D.C., since 2010.
June 8th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

My View: The kids need us

Courtesy Oakley SheaBy Jenny Shea, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Jenny Shea is a nonprofit manager living in Washington. She has been volunteering with Project Northstar since August of 2010 as a tutor/mentor. In 2008, Shea served for one year as an AmeriCorps member. She has worked to empower young people in a variety of settings, including schools, church youth groups, Girl Scout troops and summer camps.

The kids arrive between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Boys bound up the stairs with their backpacks trailing behind them.  A 17-year-old immigrant from Guyana settles into his seat, wisecracking with the adults in the room and challenging the younger kids to games of Connect 4.  A little girl with a head full of beaded hair rushes to tell someone excitedly about her day and asks about snack time.

Nearly a quarter of kids living in Washington live in poverty, a figure that far surpasses the national average.  Project Northstar, a small tutoring and mentoring program, is designed to give these kids a place to go after school for homework help and a stable relationship with an adult outside of their families.  Stressful living situations make it difficult for these kids to get one-on-one time with their parents, and overworked teachers can only do so much to give them the attention they need.

When I started as a tutor in August 2010, I was skeptical that just two hours a week of tutoring could make a difference in these kids’ education.  I had never tutored anyone before, and I questioned whether I could make a difference when crowded classrooms, video games and preteen problems can so easily distract young minds.

But my experiences over the past year with Project Northstar leave me absolutely convinced that mentoring relationships are vital to these kids’ development.

Mentors provide stability, attention, positive examples, a sounding board and a safe haven.  Studies show that mentors give children a positive outlet to express their emotions, which improves their behavior and social interactions.

It’s tough for some of the kids at Project Northstar to attend regularly when the rest of their lives have little to no stability: most of the students were referred to the program by social workers after the kids’ families landed in homeless shelters.  Others come from families that struggle with day-to-day necessities because their parents don’t speak English and rely on their children - some who have barely learned to read - for translating rental agreements and food stamp applications.

On my first night in the program, I was paired with Heaven, a spunky 9-year-old who loves dancing and making up silly songs.
FULL POST

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Filed under: At Home • Extracurricular • Issues
June 7th, 2012
03:30 PM ET

Can jumping spiders kill in space? Student's experiment set for orbit

By Jon Jensen and Rima Maktabi, CNN
Editor's note: Each month, Inside the Middle East takes you behind the headlines to see a different side of this diverse region.

Alexandria, Egypt (CNN) - Can jumping spiders still hunt for their prey in space?

It may sound like science fiction or the start of a bad joke, but this is an experiment that will be carried out on the International Space Station later this year, thanks to Egyptian teenager Amr Mohamed.

Mohamed, 19, from Alexandria, came up with one of the two winning entries from around the world for the YouTube Space Lab competition, backed by Professor Stephen Hawking, which asked students to design experiments for space scientists.

The idea behind Mohamed's experiment is to study how the zebra spider, which jumps on its prey rather than building a web, will hunt when it is in zero gravity.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Extracurricular • Photos • Science
June 4th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

Obama writes excuse for 11-year old

A boy missed school to see the President speak and received an official excused absence note from the President himself.

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Filed under: Extracurricular • video
June 1st, 2012
01:10 PM ET

San Diego eighth-grader wins Scripps National Spelling Bee

By CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Snigdha Nandipati, 14, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night by spelling "guetapens," which means an ambush, snare or trap.

"I was just taking it one word at a time," the eighth-grader from San Diego told CNN on Friday morning. "I just wanted to get each word right. I didn't really think about winning, really."

The agony and ecstasy of the National Spelling Bee

She said that properly spelling the winning word, which is derived from French, was not difficult. She had seen the word before and knew it, she said.

Nandipati didn't truly register her victory until the confetti started falling, she said.

"I didn't expect to win. There were some very good competitors this year," she said.

In last year's spelling bee, she tied for 27th place.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Extracurricular • Spelling • Students
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