Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tell A Fairy Tale Day: February 26

Tell a Fairy Tale Day: February 26

Why Fairy Tales Matter
by Hannah Boyd -

Once upon a time, people began telling stories around the fire. The stories were as deep and dark as the woods where talking animals, elves, fairies and other enchanting characters lived. As time passed, the stories were collected and written down. Many were made into movies. And then parents began asking: what is it about fairy tales? Aren’t they too violent and scary for impressionable children? And are Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella good role models? But that was far from the end. No matter how politically incorrect stories about evil stepmothers, damsels in distress, and cannibalistic old women may be, fairy tales are here to stay.

And that’s a good thing, say the experts. “They work through so many personal and cultural anxieties, yet they do it in a safe, ‘once upon a time’ way,” says Maria Tatar, a professor at Harvard College who writes about, and teaches classes on, fairy tales. “Fairy tales have a real role in liberating the imagination of children. No matter how violent they are, the protagonist always survives."

Indeed, as scary as many of these stories sound to parents, many scholars view them as helping children work through anxieties they can’t yet express. The famous writer and child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim believed fairy tales are important to children’s development because the main characters – many of them children themselves – demonstrate pluck, and the ability to triumph over adversity in a world of giants and cruel adults.

Check Out a Website . . . . .

Teaching with Fairy Tales @ TeacherNet
The fairy tale is a rich storytelling tradition — a source of inspiration for teachers and pupils that can be adapted to suit all ages and stages. The following is an introduction to the genre and its characteristics, with suggestions for activities based on the theme of fairy tales and myths. And there are numerous fairy-tale resources, from fun web sites to fairy tales with a twist.

Fairy Tale Resources @ K - 3 Learning Pages
Collected/Prepared by Carol Vaage
~ Fairy Tale Lesson Plans
~ Links Specific Fairy Tales
~ Fairy Tales Online
~ International Fairy Tales
~ Fairy Tale Web Quests

. . . . . or a book @ Your Local Library

Fairy Tale Feasts: a literary cookbook for young readers and eaters
Jane Yolen – Crocodile Books, 2006

Monday, February 23, 2009

Facelift for America's Classroom

Facelift for America's Classroom ?
ABC News: Feb. 21, 2009

Instead of telling students to sit and be quiet, one teacher makes them stand. Watch video @ ABC news

Students 'Stand Up' For Learning In MN Classroom Reporting Nov 12, 2007 by John Lauritens

Students in an eastern Minnesota school are "standing up for education." As part of a research project a group of 6th graders at Marine on St. Croix Elementary have turned in their old desks for a unique alternative.

A quick look around Abby Brown's classroom and you will notice that traditional school chairs are missing.

"It looks a little different in the classroom. It looks more active, but it's also keeping their brains more active and alert to what's going on," said Brown.

A couple years ago Brown noticed that she was spending a lot more time standing than her students were, and her students were losing focus.

So with the help of a Wisconsin company she came up with a desk that encourages students to stand.

"They're an adjustable height work station. Adjusted so that it can fit whatever height the student is, but it can also go back so that they can sit if they need to," said Brown.

The idea is a new one but Brown believes the desks allow her class to burn off extra energy and maintain focus. If they do feel the urge to sit, there is a stool and an adjustable foot rest located at the bottom of the work station.

"It is pretty cool because we've got these swinging things and we get to stand more," said 6th grader Kelton Black.

The University of Minnesota is conducting a study on whether or not the new stations improve student learning. READ MORE

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Literacy Funding Cuts

"Silent Crisis" as Adult Learners and Literacy Programs Devastated by Funding Cuts: ProLiteracy member survey shows increased demand for services despite reduced education funding

ProLiteracy Press Release: Syracuse, NY: Feb 11, 2009
State funding cutbacks and fewer donations are forcing adult literacy programs to reduce services, programs, and staff, according to a national survey by ProLiteracy, the world's largest organization of adult literacy and basic education programs. These cutbacks come even as demand for classes in reading, writing, math, and computer instruction increase as a result of rising unemployment rates.

"This is America's silent crisis," said David C. Harvey, ProLiteracy president and CEO. "Congress is set to pass an $800 billion stimulus bill without any funding for the millions of Americans who lack the job skills to be successful in the workplace. The situation has become even more dire because many states have quietly started to cut funding of adult literacy and basic education programs—keeping silent those who need the skills necessary to compete in today's global economy."

More than one-third of the programs responding to the survey say they have had to cut services, eliminate positions, and reduce business hours because of state funding cuts. This is despite the fact that the majority of those served report increased demand for GED and job skills training by adults who have recently lost their jobs. Specific highlights from the survey include:

~ Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut is projecting a 30 percent funding cut in the coming year, resulting in service cuts, staff reductions, and incomplete evaluations. This organization serves 350 adult learners annually.

~ Stanislaus Literacy Center in Modesto, California, reports that demand for its GED preparation class doubled, serving approximately 350 people in the last six months, the same number that they served in all of the previous 12 months. The Center served approximately 1,300 adult learners in various programs in 2008.

~ Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse, Inc., in Syracuse, New York, was forced to end its successful small classroom program due to funding cuts. Programs that do not receive state funding directly report a trickle-down effect.

"We've had a 17 percent cut in funding coupled with a decline in grant revenue, individual donations, and United Way allocations," said Nancy Williams, executive director of Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry in Bluffton, South Carolina. "We are seeing the same demand as last year with less funding, so we are forced to shorten our program year, reduce staff hours, freeze wages, and are operating with a deficit budget."

"There is an urgent need for Congress, the Administration, and state governments to address this growing funding gap for adult literacy and education programs," said Harvey. He added that research has shown that adult literacy programs return $33 to the economy for every dollar invested in them.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Literacy Day @ Texas Capitol

FOCUS ON/Feb. 7: Adult Literacy
Star Telegram-Editorials & Opinions: Feb 7, 2009

On Feb. 12, more than 400 adult learners, teachers and program administrators are expected to gather on the south steps of the Texas Capitol to draw attention to adult literacy issues.

Currently, one in five adults lacks a high school diploma. Millions have difficulty speaking English well enough to advance in the workforce.

Jon Engel of Community Action in San Marcos and president of the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas put it this way: "There is no hope for a strong economy without our lawmakers putting the mechanisms in place to create future sources of skilled and educated workers. As baby boomers leave the workforce, Texas will face a critical shortage of skilled workers."

What makes this literacy focus different from similar past events is the request from the Texas Education Agency to more than triple funding for adult education: from $7 million to $25 million per year. Texas ranks near last in the United States in adult literacy and in per capita spending for adult education.

It’s time to do more, Texas.

Adult learners in Tarrant County and across our state need more access to education — for the workforce, yes, and also to more effectively help their school-age children with homework.

Better-educated adults also make wiser decisions regarding medication management.

In other words, everyone benefits from increased literacy.
— Lester Meriwether, Literacy Texas president, Fort Worth

Monday, February 9, 2009

February: Library Lovers Month

February - Library Lover's Month

Your Library Wants You !

To all the lovers of libraries everywhere:
~ visit your library
~ check out books
~ join your Friends' group

Most Important:
Include Public Libraries in Recovery Funding !
~ Sample Letter + Find your Legislator @

The House has voted on "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" and the Senate is currently debating legislation. The House ans Senate are expected to meet soon and resolve differences on this bill so that President Obama can sign the bill before the end of February.

Library advocates must be determined in our efforts to ensure that the final bill Congress places on President Obama's desk includes the resources libraries need to continue delivering the exceptional services the public depends upon.

Check out " Why People Love Libraries" @

Plus, today is ' Read in Your Bathtub ' Day.

Read N' Racks are available @ Amazon, Kaboodle and on E-Bay