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May 1, 2000
Vol. 57
No. 8

Web Wonders / Keeping Teaching Fresh

When Philip Bigler, the 1998 National Teacher of the Year (and an EL author this month), says that there's no better title than Classroom Teacher, you know that something's right with his school, his teaching, his peers, and his students. Here are Web sites that explore ways to keep teaching an adventure, a joy, and a passion.

Read, Read, Read

Welcome to Planet Esmé (http://pages.ripco.net/~esme/), where reading children's literature can cure everything from the blues to the blahs. Here author and school librarian Esmé Raji Codell presents a great list for "Read Aloud Resuscitation: Top Picks for Preteen Listeners." At "Storytime Central," learn how to make a Pet Cloud for a rainy day and how to make mouse ears for listening to Mouse House by Rumer Godden.
Speaking of children's literature, join the National Education Association's Read Across America (www.nea.org/readacross/) in encouraging children and adults to read together and savor the exciting and alluring world of children's books. Other sites are hosted by Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) (www.rif.org) and Randomhouse.com's Seussville University (www.randomhouse.com/seussville/).
Visit the official site of Oprah's Book Club (www.oprah.com/obc/obc_landing.html), or form your own Teacher's Book Club, as EL authors Shari Goldberg and Ellen Pesko did. Reading is on the upswing, as a visit to popular bookselling Web sites will show you.

Standards, Funding, and Collaboration

The Eisenhower Program of the U.S. Department of Education (www.ed.gov/inits/teachers/eisenhower/title.html) focuses on the professional development of mathematics and science teachers. At this site, read a summary of a report evaluating Eisenhower-supported professional development activities in five states: Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. EL authors Beatrice F. Birman, Laura Desimone, Andrew C. Porter, and Michael S. Garet describe this program and its results to date.
Teacher and EL author Jim Burke hosts the English Companion page (www.englishcompanion.com), where you can find lots of encouragement for teachers today, including resources on grants and funding. Click "Grant Resources" for excerpts from Burke's book I'll Grant You That and lots of grants links. Teach students how to write proposals!
At Teacher Vision (http://teachervision.com/tv_index/), join the discussion on state standards and how they are affecting teachers. Download a lesson plan on the causes and effects of historic volcanoes. Sponsored by the Family Education Network (an ASCD partner), this site also offers many teacher-to-teacher features, such as science fair ideas and activities for Women's History Month and Black History Month. For excellent teacher-created Web sites, click "Resources" to peek at what your colleagues are doing. Then communicate with them. Form your own networks. Create your own Web site.
"I can truly say that National Board Certification has been the most valuable professional development activity of my career." So writes EL author Karla Jenkins about the process of becoming certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). At www.nbpts.org/nbpts/, find out how to apply and what this process entails. Talk to other teachers about the standards, sign up for institutes, and volunteer to become an assessor.

Professional Development

The state of Virginia has programs to meet the needs of teachers with provisional licenses. Check with your own state, district, or local university education department for similar programs. For example, you can find information on teacher licensure in Virginia at www.pen.k12.va.us/.
Virginia has nothing over North Carolina, as EL authors Kay S. Shapiro and Judith E. Clauss describe this state's remarkable program to learn from the mountains and their people. Begun in 1989 at the University of North Carolina, the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (www.nccat.org/) has a year-round schedule of seminars.

"Brain" Resources

EL authors Patricia V. Magestro and Nancy Stanford-Blair discuss "brain compatible" approaches to staff development. ASCD (www.ascd.org) has many resources on teaching and the human brain, including the new book Learning and Memory: The Brain in Action by Marilee Sprenger. Find excerpts of this book on "Browse Our Books." Find the entire text of Powerful Learning, by Ron Brandt, who surveys "conditions for learning" and how they are essential to educators today. Find excerpts of EL's popular "brain" issue (November 1999); if you are an ASCD member, find the full text (searchable, of course) of this and other EL issues online, as a new Member Benefit. The November magazine is also available for $6; call the ASCD Service Center and ask for discounts on bulk orders.

Carolyn R. Pool has been a contributor to Educational Leadership.

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