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Volume 1 Number 7

Ride along with the Hole in the Wall Gang this month and discover the special camp founded by Paul Newman nestled away in the quiet hills of Connecticut.
Effective Teaching by Harry Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
The Trouble With... by Alfie Kohn
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Schoolhouse Views by Beth Bruno
To Refer or Not to Refer
Tell A Number Trick
BCL Classroom Environments
Links Worth The Click
Morning Meetings
FLingers Block Party
Bridging the Digital Divide
Science Teacher Initiative
Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth
Developing a Positive Home-School Relationship
Classroom Rules Can Be Sweet
Teaching the Visually Impaired
BJ Treks Outback
Teacher To Ski Antarctica
New at Teachers.Net
Letters to the Editor
Poll: Favorite Quotes
Archives: Self Publishing
New in the Lesson Bank
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Humor from the Classroom
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
Live Events Calendar
Gazette Back Issues
Gazette Home Delivery:

Letters to the Editor...
More then 30 years after the first man stepped onto the moon

More then 30 years after the first man
stepped onto the moon ...

It is the year 2000.
In 1969, the United States sent a man to
the moon and the mission would be
Thirty years before that famous first step
on the moon, nobody knew if and how it
could be achieved. Nevertheless, the best
minds of the country came together and
worked feverishly to beat the Russians. The
country had a leader that told us that this
issue was top priority and no means could
be spared.

Are we going to get a leader for the next
millennium who will make education his top

We should not even have to discuss this
because the country that was capable of
putting the first man on the moon more than
30 years ago should certainly have been
able to create a good school system along
time ago. So, in the event that we do not
get such a leader what can we do to better
our schools and education in general?

One of the most fundamental basics of any
school system is the curriculum. Like a
tree, it should have a solid trunk, which
over time grows stronger until it can
support different branches of subjects. It
builds this foundation from K-12.

As kindergarteners, my children learned
about Japan and the bear, as first graders
they learned about Germany, Brazil, and
Mexico. That does not make sense. These
countries have interesting cultures,
sometimes played difficult historic roles,
and are major factors in today’s world
economy. These topics are too much to grasp
for a five or six-year-old. Additionally,
students cannot bring in any of their own
knowledge or experiences. Wouldn’t it make
a lot more sense to teach about the
student’s native, fauna and flora,
hometown, county, and state? Many students
will have answers to these questions about
plants, animals, and geography. Why not
talk about cat and dog instead of the bear
since it can be expected that probably half
of the students in each class own either a
cat or a dog. Moreover, all students
probably do know something about these
animals. It will be easier for them to
understand what kind of animals are mammals
and why birds are not.

More time should be spent to strengthen
reading, writing, and arithmetic. In fifth
grade most students will remember very
little of what they have heard in
kindergarten about any exotic subject, but
with solid reading skills these students
can read anything they like, including
information about Japan. Last October, a
survey from the Educational Department
found that not even one in four students is
capable of writing an essay or book report
using grade appropriate vocabulary. While
reading books for book reports students
would naturally pick up information, which
they can use later.

Why does the existing curriculum ask
kindergarteners to be able to count to 100
before they can fluently add and subtract
within 10? I do not believe that it makes
sense that a student knows that 67 is a
number between 66 and 68 before s/he knows
that 7 = 5 + 2 and 7 = 10 – 3.

In short, the curriculum should be changed
to where it creates a strong foundation for
every subject. Parents and students should
be able to relate to it, see the plan and
path ahead of them. Students of lower
grades should use bound books for their
schoolwork and homework instead of
worksheets, which may be crumpled and lost.
I know these suggestions seem like a small,
insignificant details. However, the truth
is that neither student nor teacher or
parent can comprehend the collection of
sheets that accumulates during the course
of a year. Progress becomes apparent to
teachers, parents and students when the can
judge the collected work of weeks or
months. Being able to judge the work keeps
parents and students more focused and stay
on top of the curriculum.

As a High School teacher I see students who
cannot read according to their age level or
write according to that. The foundation
needs to be laid in the early years and
parents and children have to be committed
to the basics.

Education is a mission. To ensure
commitment it needs a plan that will even
be understood by the most distant
participant. Every war spends an enormous
amount of money to clarify the goal and
motivate the troops. However, our political
leaders seem to have retreated into a
position of surrendering this
responsibility to computers and Internet
connections. Outstanding education will
only become top priority if we present a
clear plan to the civilian population of
parents and thereby motivating them.

Gisela Hausmann

educator, author, and publisher
OBVIOUS LETTERS – the ABC book that
makes sense to parents AND children

Gisela Hausmann,,

This month's letters:

  • We need to look in the mirror., 9/27/00, by Lawrence Vincent.
  • Teaching without a degree and theories., 9/24/00, by Melissa Phillabaum.
  • Texas TASS Tests, 9/10/00, by greg frost.
  • More then 30 years after the first man stepped onto the moon, 9/10/00, by Gisela Hausmann.


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