Rethink Tracking: A Shift to Educational Lanes

It seems educators are all too quick to jump on any sign of separating students who learn differently and call it “tracking.”

Rather than offhandedly dismissing ability-based grouping, we need to rethink the traditional concept of tracking and consider how we can best serve students of varying skill levels.

Tracking: The Dirty Word in Education
I have students in my ELA classes who read on levels ranging from third to tenth grade. My colleagues teaching on the 9th, 11th and 12th grade have a mixture of the same.

* “What if we put all the students reading on a 3rd to 5th grade reading level together,” one teacher suggested recently at a department meeting. “We’d be able to concentrate on reading strategies and vocabulary on the level they’re at.”

This logical suggestions was quickly met by the question:

* “But isn’t that tracking?” (Subtext: Tracking is evil and to be avoided at all costs).

Jumping the Track
I think the negative connotation that comes with tracking stems from the idea that once on a track, there’s no getting off of it. Perhaps we should instead think of lanes. Just because you are in a slower moving lane at one point of your journey down the highway, it’s not impossible to move to a quicker lane by signaling and waiting for the right opportunity. Classes could be thought of the same way. Students may spend some time in one lane, and then change lanes midway through the year or even the semester if they’re ready.

We have students who come to us from different countries speaking little English, but who are highly motivated. They begin in ELA classes which best support them as ELL’s but there is nothing that says that after a semester or a year, they can’t move into an ELA class with the rest of their cohort if they have the skills. Many have. Why do we treat students born in this country but with different sets of skills, differently?

A Shift to Educational Lanes
I’ve recently been to a few workshops around personal mastery learning. The idea is to create more opportunities in schools to meet the needs of each student as if the school were designed with her or him alone in mind. Students would meet with others in their same skill set or learning style, or interest group for a portion of the school day and work with students from other skill levels or styles at other times.

In this way, students shift lanes throughout the day, and are not stuck on one track per se. We all recognize that students learn at different paces and in different ways and yet the standard model of education today insists that they all be taught together in the same room at the same time, only with all the different levels and styles of learning offered at once. As utopian as this sounds, what happens more often than not is traffic. Students who could be moving quicker are held up. Students who need more attention are left behind.

There is a need to exist a variety of lanes in education today, where students have options and outlets to meet their learning levels, styles and interests. Similar to a college model where students select majors, students, at least on the high school level, should be given more options for changing lanes instead of either stalling on the track they’re in or rear ending the car in front of them.

Promote Your Coaching Classes With Promotional Pens

Are you into a teaching profession? If you have just started your coaching class you need some marketing techniques that can help you spread the word about your coaching classes. Education is soon becoming the most important thing around the world and millions of students around the world need some kind of help that would secure them in getting good grades. Hence, we can many coaching classes coming up around in every locality. If you are just one of the local institutions that offer education to school students you need a marketing tool that is simple and effective.

The best tool you can use for the marketing of your coaching classes is promotional pens because they are symbolic for education. Promotional pens are very effective when it comes to education institutions because you can claim it as the weapon that students can use to shape their future and also in shaping the world. The overall cost of promotional pens will not burn a hole in your wallet and therefore you can easily afford it. If your marketing budget is not high then promotional pens are best option that you have. However, you need to be very particular about the pens you are distributing.

If you are offering promotional items like pens to your students you need to ensure that the color and design of the pen matches with the color of your business logo. Hence, always go for simple designs which look elegant and attractive. You can get in touch with various pen suppliers in the market and discuss how you can use the best pens available in the market to lure more students. If the supplier is really experience he can provide you with some helpful tips that you can try out and see if that really makes any sense.

You can also go for simple pens with loop that students can wear in the neck. Such pens are ideal for students because they don’t need to carry them all along. They can wear the loop around their neck and that also works as a banner for your educational institution. On the other hand, if you are going gift these pens to students of higher classes then you can go for better quality pens that would make a lasting impression on students and their parents as well. Hence, you can make use of promotional gift items like pens and spread information about your coaching classes.

Halloween Word Games – Educational Halloween Games for School

Halloween word games are a great way to get kids playing with words and learning while they have lots of fun. The games are ideal for school but can also be used at home. There are many traditional word games that can be turned into a Halloween game simply by using Halloween words.

Here are a few games to get you started. If you are stuck for words to use in your Halloween word games you might like to use this list of words to help you – broom, ghost, treat, magic, candy, witch, scary, spooky, mummy, potion, coffin, spider, creepy, scream, monster, cauldron, vampire, costume, pumpkin, haunted, skeleton, Frankenstein, Dracula.

Boo
This Halloween game is actually a version of a spelling bee but it is fast paced and contains an element of chance so even the best speller may be the one that gets out first. The teacher needs a list of Halloween related words for the children to spell. You will probably only need 10 – 1 5 words. The children stand in a circle. The teacher chooses someone to start and gives the word to be spelled. The first person says the first letter, the person to their left says the next letter and so on until the word is spelled. The next person says ‘Boo’ to indicate that the word is finished and the person after this is out and sits down. If a mistake is made the person also has to sit down. The game continues with the next word. The winner is the last person left standing. This is a game that kids love to play. You’ll find that they will want to play again and again.

Sppoky Word Find
If you are looking for Halloween Word games that don’t require any preparation, this is an ideal one for you. Children are given a word related to Halloween, preferably a long one like Halloween, Frankenstein or Skeleton. They then have to find as many words as they can that have the letters from this word. Each letter from the word can only be used once unless it appears more than one in the original word. From the word Halloween, children could make hall, we, well, wheel etc. Give the children a time limit and see who can come up with the longest list after time is up. This is also a good Halloween party game if you are looking for something to settle down excited children. It is also one the of easiest Halloween word games to prepare.

Word Chain
This game is a similar game to the one above but this time children are given a chain of Halloween words joined end to end. The word chain might have ten different Halloween words joined together. It could look like this – Halloweenbatswitchspookymonstershaunted etc. Children now have to find all of the words that they can in this chain of words. This time the order of the letters can’t be changed and word must exist in the chain already. The Halloween words will be most obvious but there will be other words hidden in the list as well. See who can find the longest list of words in the given time frame. This is one of the Halloween word games that is a great way to occupy kids who finish work early in class.

Halloween Word Search
A word search is a simple word game to create for Halloween. You can draw one up on paper or create one on the computer. Just draw a table and make a list of Halloween words. The words are then written into the table with each letter in a separate square. When all of the words that you want to use have been written in, fill in the blank squares with extra letters. Your Halloween word search is now ready to use.

These Halloween word games are just a few of the many different games that can be used in the classroom or at home. The best part is that these educational Halloween games are just lots of fun, they are actually games where kids can be learning at the same time.