Asking students questions rather than giving information inspires students through collaboration with other students to develop their own methods to answer questions by determining what information is needed, what needs to be done to research the material; and when the information is gathered, what conclusions are reached. The students can then, through the design of the questions and the guidance of the teacher, pose possible problem solving actions that can be taken to resolve any problems that occur. By evaluating each action, through cooperative means, they can determine which course of action would be the best way to solve the problem.
Real-life challenges give relevancy to the learning experience while still teaching the standards developed by the state and school districts.
Stephanie Pace Marshall refers to it as "generative learning" which involves inquiry, interdependence and collaboration. Interdependence and collaboration are essential parts of existing in today’s world.
Your legacy, not your success.
Patricia St. John
This most interesting book titled The Secret Language of Dolphins received the 1992 Delta Kappa Gamma Society Educator’s Award. The author Patricia St. John was nearly blind until she was eight years old. She learned to control her eye muscles and her other senses with the help of exercises. She realized that her heightened sensory awareness reflected a basic part of her nature – the need to survive and to interact with other people. St. John’s two year research into the behavior of dolphins revealed the connection between the dolphin’s behavior patterns and those of autistic children. St. John took the opportunity to share what she had learned with autistic children and she at once was accepted by them. She let the children take the lead in communication as she had with the dolphins. She was able to find the middle ground where both sides are safe and feel free to pursue further communication. She helped to break the barrier between autistic children and the people who only depend upon verbal language. The book includes many examples of Patricia St. John’s interaction with autistic children and the impact that the special communication had upon them. So many of us as teachers have had autistic children in our classrooms. I do hope you will check this book out of our Chi State Education Center Library and enjoy the lessons Patricia St. John has to offer.
Sandy Rushing, Beta Phi, XIV
Nina Burleigh elegantly chronicles the 1798 Egyptian adventures of Paris’ small corps, the brightest and most intellectual of scientists. Under the command of Napoleon’s French Army, their ambitious, beautiful and flawed contributions led to better East and West understandings.
At best, the luckier men ate bits of camel meat and rice; otherwise it was a ration of biscuits and green dates. Belaboring under exhausting conditions, which made death seem peaceful and pleasant, the Geometers and Chemists took closer looks at rocks, animal bones and antiquities sticking out of the sand. Having lost most everything at sea, Conte’, the Inventor, planned and implemented the necessities for life. In Cairo the Engineers were fascinated by the oldest man-made structures, and noted that the Sphinx body was”to be under the sand”. They were also charged with surveying a possible canal that would cut the Isthmus of Suez, and in the process discovered what is known as The Rosetta Stone. Plague was the greatest foe for the 50,000 French from which possibly 10,000 perished. Dr. Larrey’s “flying ambulance”, a camel outfitted to move the sick, reduced deaths. Sketching relics of ancient architectural monuments and tomb interiors, the Artists recorded ancient history. Savigny, a Naturalist, drew a myriad of avian life and invertebrates. Others collected mummies, living animals and studied the art of embalming. Geoffroy’s idea that life forms had changed over time led in the direction of the Theory of Evolution.
Spring 1801 was the beginning of the end of the French Campaign, losing 15,000 men. They had forfeited Egypt and the Rosetta Stone to their enemy, the English.
Karen Krenovsky, Gamma Omega, Area IV
Nobody Don’t Love Nobody
Lessons on Love from the School with No Name
Stacey Bess has authored a delightful book and captivating story set in 1984 in Salt Lake City. Stacey Bess, a new teacher in need of a job, accepts a job teaching children in one of the first homeless shelters in that city. Stacey describes her experiences teaching elementary students in a shelter where their families could stay for a period of up to 90 days at a time.
The author describes her fears and challenges while teaching disadvantaged children, with minimal supplies, while the shelter provides only basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and security. Stacey finds herself learning day by day as she develops a love for the children.
On occasion she brings children home to live with her family so they can experience a stable family life.
This heartfelt story was later made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie “Beyond the Blackboard”. It was filled with the personal stories of the children she taught and grew to know and love.
The story of the teaching challenges Stacey encounters makes this book. Nobody Don’t Love Nobody very relevant for teachers today. Her story is an inspiring reminder of how one person can make a difference in the lives of children.
Nancy Summy, Iota Sigma, Area II
Overwhelmed Coping with Life’s Ups and Downs
Nancy K. Schlossberg
The book is easy to read and helpful for those of us who at times have transitions, quick changes
and stress in our busy lives. The book is divided into three parts. This makes it easy for rereading, researching or reviewing. At the end of each chapter are summaries and or guidelines you may
follow as you take inventory of how you handle your ever-changing life adventure.
I found the book to be current, evaluative and great in the self-help process. After reading the book
you have more knowledge into how you personally handle life situations. The importance of family, friends, belief, and therapy are all part of the tools necessary in the gaining of understanding of how
to cope with your life transitions. According to the author, the major steps in mastering change are Approaching Change, Taking Stock, and Taking Charge.
This book was written in 1989. It is viable today in our mobile society. The excerpts of people who
were in many different circumstances are exceptional. I enjoyed the book very much and find each summary at the chapter’s end is very useful in coping with life’s ups and downs.
Betty Brown, Beta Lambda, Area II
Mental Fitness for Life
S. Cusack and W.Thompson
The emphasis of the book Mental Fitness for Life is maintaining an active brain for mental fitness throughout life. This book is written by S. Cusack and W. Thompson. Research indicates that people who learn something entirely different in the “third age” (over 50), have an edge. When the brain starts to think “sideways” (laterally), it solves problems in different ways. Developing the mind includes coping skills, a positive attitude and setting personal goals.
“Goal setting”, shaping one’s own vision, is the most important component, because it’s where a sense of meaning and purpose in life is found. “Power thinking” involves replacing negative thoughts with those that provide needed power and energy. The challenge is to develop a legitimate social purpose for all who share the possibility of living to a very old age. New and better beliefs allow the best use of one’s strengths, abilities and talents. O. W. Holmes wrote “The Mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension.” Creative thinking through the use of imagination, intuition and dreams, springs new ideas without judging, censoring or stifling. A positive mental attitude puts a favorable spin on everything and expects the best. All components of mental fitness are interconnected so closely that one cannot be without the other. Some older people need more time to process information because they have to filter through vast stores of knowledge, and information must be relevant or they won’t bother to remember. Speaking the mind, daily, builds confidence and a sense of joy in life.
The hope is to take any activity, any art, any skill and grow to a new creative place.
Karen Krenovsky, Gamma Omega, IV
Life in the Tree Tops
How does one combine career and parenthood, especially when one’s career is “climbing trees”? Life in the Tree Tops is the compelling story of Margaret D. Lowman, a field biologist.
The beginning pages of this book give the reader a visual timeline in words and photos of the author’s life. A world map gives you a view of the author’s canopy site, her professional home.
Margaret Lowman writes that the physical challenges of being a field biologist are not nearly as difficult as the emotional issues she faces in her life. How is she able to balance her love of being a scientist working on rain forest conservation with her home life? She writes about women in science and how she wanted to pursue conservation issues but resuming a career after marriage seemed improbable, if not impossible.
Letty Yamada, Gamma Omega, Area IV