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Sunday at the Movies (Professional Development)

August 30, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 08:37 AM

Talk about how to liven up a dreary pre-school teacher assembly!


August 29, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 07:31 AM

Commas make for safer texting.

Samuel Blumenfeld, 1927-2015

August 28, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 09:16 AM

Click here for an obituary for Samuel Blumenfeld, a stalwart defender of sound reading pedagogical practices and a good man "who was willing to stand courageously against the whole world gone mad - even if it meant standing all alone - if it meant standing with Truth, common sense, and righteousness".  H/T TA

Thursday at the Movies (Advice for the Parents of Struggling Students)

August 27, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 07:22 AM

12 Myths About Dyslexia

August 26, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 10:09 AM

Tom Berend sent me this link about dyslexia. My experience as a reading tutor tells me that every word is true. Here's one of the myths just to get you started.

Myth 3: Dyslexia is a ‘gift’.
The facts: For dyslexics who haven’t learned to read properly, dyslexia is a condition which causes nothing but unhappiness. We have taught over 1,000 pupils, and not one of them has ever had a good thing to say about being dyslexic. One commented, “If dyslexia is a gift, they can have it back”.

Thinking Outside the Box

August 25, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 06:23 AM

Click here for an interesting story from Anchorage, Alaska, that illustrates the possibilities of thinking-outside-the-box schools.  This new school, in the basement of a Presbyterian church, is an "innovative hybrid -- a mashup of a charter school and home-school program that will tailor individualized learning plans to its students’ passions and promote flexible scheduling".  I would certainly have been interested in this school for my children.

Of course, this kind of innovative thinking requires legislation if it is to be realized. Unfortunately, this would not be possible anywhere in Canada.

Welcome to Hotel Michigan

August 24, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 08:14 AM

When Michigan became a right-to-work state a few years ago giving teachers the right to opt out of their union, the Michigan Education Association, the MEA started playing games designed to keep unwilling members in the union. First they unilaterally extended teachers' contracts, and then they created an illegal rule that teachers could opt out of the union only in August. Now that this rule is widely known and not working as well any more, this year the union quietly changed changed the address where teachers' opt-out letters must be sent:  letters that are sent to the old address get returned with the response that opt-out letters must be sent to the new address - and if the runaround means that the opt-out letters arrive at the correct post office box on September 1 or later, those teachers are union members for another year.   more

Sunday at the Movies (Religion)

August 23, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 10:13 AM

If you haven't yet heard Ezra Levant rant on something, you're in for a treat. As to the content of his rant, I make no comment other than to mention that FYI Ezra is of Jewish heritage.  HT GR

Politics wrecks your ability to do math

August 22, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 08:43 AM

I'm guessing you already know that politics wrecks your ability to do math - I mean, just look at the people who understand that they shouldn't spend beyond their means when it comes to their household budget but figure it's okay for governments to do so. Or the people who vote for politicians who make expensive promises they can't possibly keep. Think Greece.

So here's an article that offers proof positive. It concerns an ingenious experiment that used the same statistics for a non-political issue (skin rashes) and a political issue (guns) and asked respondents whether the statistics supported a certain policy. Not surprisingly, respondents of all political stripes came to more or less the same conclusions when the statistics were applied to the skin rash question but wildly-differing conclusions - divided by politics - when it came to the gun question.  H/T JE

Socratic teaching and learning

August 21, 2015 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 10:55 AM


The ILS is launching a project to promote discussion of ideas important to a free society in high school classrooms in Ontario through the Liberal Study Guides project. This initiative will provide free study guides for high school level novels through a website to any teacher who would like to use them. The study guides aren't aimed at libertarian teachers, but rather at promoting discussions that we think teachers and those interested in a free society will agree are important.

To help teachers promote not only different ideas but also discussion in the classroom, we're also going to be offering a free seminar on Socratic teaching for 15 - 20 teachers during the fall semester. This seminar will be open to any English or literature teacher in Ontario who would like to learn more about Socratic teaching and learning.

A date has not been set yet since I would value the input of teachers who could tell us when they'd be most able to attend. Interested teachers should email me at

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