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Volume 3 Number 1

Harry & Rosemary Wong say, "All effective schools have a culture and it is the information one gets from a culture that sends a message to the students that they will be productive and successful." This month the Wongs offer more examples of successful school and classroom management...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Around the Block by Cheryl Ristow
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
The Visually Impaired Child
Teaching Is...
Avoiding the 'Stares' When Intellectually Challenging Disadvantaged Students: Partnership Lessons from the HOTS Program
Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard?
A Bakerís Dozen Reasons!
The Effects Of Diet
Bully Advice For Kids
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 2)
Both Sides Now in Gifted Education
What Are We Aiming At--What Do We Really Want To Aim At?
Teaching Graph from the Grassroots
Why Teachers Need Tenure
A Different Perspective to the Holidays
A Lesson Learned
Follow The Wonder
The Lighter Side of Teaching
Handy Teacher Recipes
Classroom Crafts
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
New in the Lesson Bank
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Letters to the Editor
Chatboard Poll
eIditarod 2002
Planetary Society Protests Stop to Near-Earth Object Observations
Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
7th Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium on Breast Disease
Arab American Students in Public Schools
School Bus Subsidies for Field Trip to 2002 Tour De Sol
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Ginny Hoover...
Ginny Hoover took an early retirement after 31 years of teaching in Kansas public schools. Her experience spans the 5th through 8th grades, although she does admit to teaching 2nd grade once for summer school. During the last ten years she has functioned as a trainer of teachers in a variety of areas in her district, surrounding districts, professional organizations, and teacher service centers. At the state level Ginny is a state trainer and a writing assessment grader for the KS State Writing Assessment (based on the Six Traits Writing Model), a member of the Kansas Social Studies Committee for writing the social studies standards, benchmarks, and indicators, and the lead trainer for the state in government and civics.

Recently, Teacher TimeSavers has published a variety teaching units and tutoring hookups that Ginny wrote and designed. These include a literary unit for Taming the Star Runner, Hookups for Language Arts, Transcripts of Trials for Goldilocks, The Wolf, and Mr. Dad, and Tactile/Kinesthetic Activity Patterns.

The Gifts of Children by Hoover and Carroll Killingsworth, a book about recognizing, acknowledging, and refining the gifts of children, is scheduled to be published some time this year. Visit Teachers Helping Children--The Gifts Project for additional information.

Ginny was selected by personnel to develop their middle school site for teachers who wish to be published. On this site, teachers can publish articles expressing their ideas and opinions on education. In addition, is a print on demand site that will publish books for teachers.

Ginny's Eclectic Middle School pages

Best Sellers

The Gifts of All Children
by Carroll Killingsworth and Ginny Hoover

More information


The Eclectic Teacher
by Ginny Hoover
If Dreaming Made It Real
Working with the At Risk

The brakes on your car are not functioning. Naturally you take your car to have some work done. However, the brakes can't be repaired, so the mechanics increase the volume of your horn. Ridiculous, but that's what is often being done in education when working with the at risk. When young people are not successful in the normal classroom they are being placed in alternative centers that are actually just alternative settings, a way of removing them from the classroom where they are hampering the learning environment of others in one way or another, but not all that helpful to them.

I have a dream of how alternative centers really could function for the benefit of its clientele. The following considerations would be needed (in no particular order of importance)

  • Computers available to all students (minimum 2:1 ratio of students to computers)
  • Specially designed Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI)
  • Instruction on keyboarding and use of programs
  • Interactive, immediate feedback learning centers and manipulatives
  • Instructors trained and willing to teach according to needs and levels of students
  • A safe environment free from weapons and threat
  • Uniforms that make it impossible to show "colors" or any other gang designations (classroom to be neutral zones)
  • Music and PE (used to support core courses)
  • Provision for short attention spans
  • Adult volunteers to help with reading
  • Health issues addressed (pregnancy, drug addiction, illnesses)
  • Food provided
  • Alternative times
  • Non-confrontational management

Computers allow for instruction to be provided at the level needed (individual instruction), remove the threat of "authority," and allow students to choose their speed of advancement.

All Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) should be programs designed for at risk. I wouldn't allow the answer choices a,b,c,d. Instead, I would make available programs where answers, not the letters, be typed from the choices. This will prevent the students from typing in letters until the answer is correct and provide an opportunity to practice keyboarding.

Students would learn keyboarding. I believe a goal of 40 wpm would be a good start. Hunt and peck shouldn't be an option. Keyboarding would help with CAI and the writing program.

Too much of one thing is not desirable, so other interactive, immediate feedback centers and manipulatives would be needed. Word puzzles could be used for vocabulary growth. Word puzzles are bars that are cut into 2 parts--word on one side with definition on the other. The cut on each word bar is unique; therefore, a handful of vocabulary words could be housed in a baggie for easy management. See sample Word Puzzles on CDROM/Guides/Teacher's_Guide.pdf, check out page 47. (This is the Teachers Guide for Kansas Lawmaker CD prepared in part by Ginny Hoover.)

I would use other tactile/kinesthetic manipulatives such as light boards, golf tee cards, hookups, etc. (Patterns such as these are available at and a sample is below.)

figure 1 (click image for printable pdf copy)

Instructors are needed who are willing to think outside the box! One administrator I met at a meeting from TX ran a successful alternative school in Miami. All her teachers were required to be at the front door before school started. Each child was hugged as they entered. It was a welcoming hug and a quick search! They found several guns and knives that way! I think I'd rather depend on quality metal detectors at the entrance with building windows placed where they would be inaccessible to students (to smuggle in weapons). She had much of the low level knowledge taught through music and PE. I'm thinking here how effective it would be to have students doing all of their exercises calling out multiples of numbers. The easier the exercises the lower the multiples. For instance, students would call out 2's when doing jumping jacks and 9's when doing chin ups! Music would be also core related--songs such as School House Rock, historical songs, and other songs written to impart pertinent information.

Duolog reading is one of the best techniques I've seen for improving poor reading skills. I would have a 30-minute time period set aside everyday for such reading. Adult volunteers would be taught the technique and students would progress at an individual rate as reading skills improved. During the day, peer partners would be assigned for duolog reading of material necessary to accomplish daily work. However, at no time would the lack of reading and writing skills be allowed to limit the acquisition of knowledge from other core subjects. Tape-recorded books and recorders could be used to "cover" for lack of these skills until students obtained some proficiency. (Hey, this is a dream isn't it? So, I can have such help in my school!)

Reading, writing, and maths would be the primary focus until skills became functional. All history and government would be taught as application through a quality citizenship program. Science would be based on a balance of instruction and laboratory work. No matter what is being taught, the attention span of the students involved would be honored--but still working to increase the amount and quality of that time.

Student clothing would be according to a uniform code. No colors or any other gang related sign could be visible in the classroom. It would be neutral ground. Management would be non-confrontational. Students have to be willing to try to follow the rules or not be there. They would be given choices and a time to adjust to the new learning environment.

Because needs of students are caused by a wide variety of factors, I would also address other problems. Food would be available at lunch and supper (at no cost to the student) since the school would have 2 basic times beginning in the morning and again in the late afternoon. In addition, nurses would be available to help in any health issue (pregnancy, drugs, diseases, etc.). If needed, perhaps some agreement could be made with a medical doctor or an agency that provided medical doctors. Counselors would provide realistic career information/guidance as well as private counseling.

A program like this would be costly, but not as much as I imagine it is costing us to keep dropouts in prison...depending on the state about 75% of inmates are high school dropouts. And, keeping them in prison for years is really more costly than teaching them how to be productive citizens. When will we look at this issue with new eyes?

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