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Volume 3 Number 8

Harry & Rosemary Wong remind us that, "An induction program is an organized, sustained, multiyear process with many activities designed to help you succeed...."
Preparing for the First Day of School by Jan Zeiger
Classroom Discipline Forum Will Support New and Veteran Educators by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Six Traits of Writing Forum by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Ideas for Welcoming Teachers & Students Back to School by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Classroom Rules??? by Bill Page
Learning Your Students' Names: Fun, Fast, Easy and Important by Bill Page
Making 2002-2003 The Best Year Ever by Bill Page
Your Summer Reading List: The Process of Change in a School System by Dr. Rob Reilly
Beware of the Standards, Not Just the Tests by Alfie Kohn
The Importance of Reading Aloud by Lisa Frase
Dear Old Golden Rule Days, Chapter 2 - Creative Activities by Janet Farquhar
Objection overruled, or You can always go to law school if things don't work out by Taylor Mali
Dealing with Dishonesty by Tom Lucey
The Maiden Week by P R Guruprasad
Is Learning to Read Easier Than Learning to Play the Piano? by Grace Vyduna-Haskins
School was GREAT today because... by Linda Todd
The New Teacher and Coping With Special Needs Students in the Classroom by Dave Melanson
Learning About Community Service by Jay Davidson
Book Reviews - We Can Work It Out: Creating Peace in the Home & Songs for Howard Gray by Susan Gingras Fitzell
Summer Recess by Joy Jones
Tips On Time Management by Jan
Class Books Around the Year Compiled by Terry
Literacy Centers Organization by Catherine Thornton
Why the Center Approach? from The Mentor Center
Classroom Teachers' Management Tips (Part II) from the Chatboards
Why Teach? by Lynda L. Hinkle
4 Blocks Literacy Tips: Storing "Making Words" Materials from: The Mentor Center
How to Encourage Substitute Teachers to Return to Your School by Lucy, Substitute Teacher
Teaching Students To Discuss Controversial Public Issues from: ERIC Clearinghouse
August Columns
August Regular Features
August Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Jay Davidson...
Jay Davidson has been teaching in San Francisco since 1969; he teaches first grade. He is the author of Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher's Advice for Parents, which is available for $12.95 at

He can be reached through his Web site at
His column appears Thursdays in the Daily News.


Teacher Feature...

Learning About Community Service

by Jay Davidson

In June, I spent a week as a member of the volunteer crew on the California AIDS Ride. It was a six-day experience that saw 2,800 bicycle riders and 500 support crew wend their way down a 575-mile path from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

This participation in community service confirmed some of my thoughts about the importance of such work. Here, then, are eight lessons that parents can convey to their children about the value of working with and for others:

  1. There is goodness in all people. Just give them an opportunity to express it. In the case of this ride, all participants gave up their time and put their lives on hold for a week so that they could work for a common purpose.
  2. We are all equal. One might expect that there would be a hierarchy in an event like this. Since the bicycle riders are the most visible, they could have acted or been treated as the "stars" of the week. But as a member of the food service crew, ladling out anything from oatmeal to gumbo, I felt that each of us was seen as equally important in our trek from one city to another.
  3. We are interdependent. To follow the previous point, I can say that there was widespread recognition that everyone on the event -- those handing out shower towels, the motorcycle patrol people, the crew loading and unloading gear and tents -- was not only important but needed. Furthermore, they were recognized as such.
  4. Cooperation has higher value than competition. Competition is the struggle to prove you’re better than the other. Cooperation is the struggle to make the world better - not only for yourself, but for the other as well. All the people involved in the ride were there to make the experience better for each other. We were part of a team, but not a team where some people win and some lose. It was joyous to be part of the team!
  5. Relationships are more important than material goods. We lacked our homes, our beds, and the comforts to which we have become accustomed. But we were a group of people who were dedicated to making life better for each other. The value of our relationships became more important than the material plane on which we usually live.
  6. A little bit of humor goes a long way. There’s nothing funny about waking up at 4:30 AM to prepare for serving breakfast at 5:00. Nor is there anything humorous about riding more than 100 miles in one day on a bicycle. But we learned to look for the humor in all situations so that we could enjoy the adventure.
  7. We must adapt to change. At home, one can shower, eat, and go to sleep whenever one wants. But on a journey orchestrated to move this many people, there have to be set times for all activities. One learns the schedule and adapts to it, rather than try to make it adapt to one’s personal needs.
  8. We appreciate what we have. This is especially true when we are faced with a situation in which we temporarily lack what we usually have. We miss our family, friends, pets, home, and other aspects of our lives. Being without those for a short period of time puts them into perspective so that we can appreciate them all the more upon our homecoming.

How do these lessons apply to families? It serves children well when parents help them to focus attention outside of themselves; get them to think about things other than how their hair looks and what kinds of shoes they are wearing.

These lessons are applicable to all community service projects. Families can help to guide their children in a wide array of activities, including tutoring a child who needs help, serving meals in a homeless shelter, visiting elderly people, or running errands for those who cannot get out of their homes.

Visit for more information about Jay Davidson.
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