Step right up to the Carnival of Education

This is my first time as ringmaster (barker?) of the Carnival of Education. I should do an Olympics theme, but it would be a very short carnival. Besides, a carnival should have something for everyone. Read on for Olympics-related posts, back-to-school thoughts, ideas for teachers, education debates, cotton candy, corn dogs and kewpie dolls.

Future Olympian Michael Phelps was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder as a child, reports the New York Times. He took Ritalin for two years. But he had no trouble focusing on swimming. Most little kids who can’t sit still don’t need medication, writes J.M. Holland, a Head Start teacher. Perhaps they need a chance to burn off their excess energy in after-school sports.

Former Olympian Michael Jordan says it’s OK to fail, writes Jeff at Build a School. Failure is a chance to learn and improve.

It’s not an Olympic sport yet, but Asian and French students are masters of pen spinning, writes NYC Educator. He’s got a video.

Cheaters never prosper, if they buy their essays online, writes Shabam School. Here’s one cheat site’s preview of an essay on Ernest Hemingway:

Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21 in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. It is a subberb of Chicago. His father, a doctor was devoted to hunting and fishing. His mother liked music and was devotly religious. As a boy Ernest liked box and he played high-school…

Turn that in and your teacher will never guess you paid for it.

China is the Olympics host, so I’ll throw in my post, The ‘little emperors and the ‘tall test,’ on China’s pampered and pressured only children, who know their future will be determined by one big test.

Starting school
Now that his son has started kindergarten, Paul of Scripted Spontaneity has become the sort of omnipresent parent that irritates him so much as a teacher. But he’s learning from his son’s kindergarten teacher.

She has at times calmed me down, built me up, and soothed my fears. She has achieved what I have never really attempted–teaching a educator/parent how to be a better parent.

What can you say when you can’t say what you really want to say? Bellringers has the phrases that should be in every teacher’s repertoire. Number One is: “Bless her (or his) heart.”

Oh my, she’s dumber than a bag of cat hair, bless her heart.”

“Oh my goodness, his classroom management skills are absolutely horrible, bless his heart.”

“She certainly gained quite a bit of weight over the summer, bless her heart.”

After 17 years of teaching, Hube has “weird dreams” just before the start of school. But is he naked? Bless his heart.

Ms. Bluebird’s school started with a half day on Friday. Nobody cried or threw up! Bless their hearts.

Before school starts, dump the muda (wasteful clutter) from your teaching, writes Travis on Stories from School.

Right Wing Prof discusses Gently Hew Stone’s advice for new teachers. It applies to college teaching too, he writes.

Ms. Teacher’s students will be asked to sign a pledge not to use “the R-word” (“retard”) as an insult. She grew up as the protective older sister of a brother with Prader-Willi Syndrome.

Larn ’em good
On Scheiss Weekly, a surly Mamacita G is fuming about standardized tests and what isn’t measured.

We should be nurturing our young artists and musicians and scientists, not relegating them to the back of the room so we can look good on paper in the subjects that are easy to measure for a bunch of withered humorless twits with no balls and no guts and no gumption.

Testing is an issue in Israel too. On Shiloh Musings, Batya critiques a move to abolish the national testing program in the hope of nurturing students who love learning for its own sake. Not going to work, she writes.

Sneak science back into the elementary curriculum with “cupcake science,” writes Steve Spangler.

The kids were offered a choice between a traditional party or a science party where the birthday child gets to be helper. After one party, the class was hooked, and they even asked for science parties for their brothers and sisters too.

When is “they’re not ready” an excuse and when is it valid? Casting Out Nines writes on student readiness to learn math.

On Successful Teaching, Pat stresses the importance of a positive attitude.

How do I use this thing?
TweenTeacher is trying out a new interactive whiteboard. Will it be a teaching aid or an expensive distraction?

Meanwhile, Science Goddess is experimenting with a high-tech gradebook.

Larry Ferlazzo provides best ways to create online content.

Smart Teaching has tips on how to use Blackboard.

In Lamar County, Mississippi, teachers aren’t allowed to text or Instant Message students. Coach Brown, who thinks the policy is stupid and insulting, offers advice on how to techno-communicate with students: Log all messages and stick to school subjects not personal issues.

Cotton candy, corn dogs, kewpie dolls
I love the smell of markers in the morning, writes Switched On Mom. But she doesn’t want to buy supplies for the whole class.

Elementary History Teacher shows a video from Yes, Prime Minister on trusting parents to choose their children’s schools. I’m putting the show on my Netflix list.

John McCain doesn’t use them new-fangled computers. Does it matter if a president doesn’t surf or e-mail? Nancy Flanagan of Teacher in a Strange Land notices that McCain’s education platform includes “virtual schools.”

Anti-military activists want access to schools to attack Junior ROTC, writes Darren of Right on the Left Coast. Darren is an Army veteran — or “predator.”

Matthew Ladner, writing on Jay Greene’s blog, critiques the American Federation of Teachers president’s vision of school that provide a range of social services in addition to reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.

If we can’t trust schools to teach kids how to read, just why would we want them trying to fix our teeth or attempting to resolve our legal issues?

Is the goal immigrant integration or assimilation? Education Week’s Mary Ann Zehr looks at the debate in Congress.

OldAndrew, who teaches in Britain, tells the story of his “personality clash” with Lemuel from three perspectives.

Paying students for grades is a lousy idea, writes Detention Slip.

Our brains keep changing — sometimes for the better — writes Alvaro Fernandez of Sharp Brains.

VARC Blog analyzes the pros and cons of standardized testing.

Aahz asks whether Morgan Hill teachers are overpaid compared to other workers.

PIC Current writes on the achievement gap.

Frugal Dad touts the flexibility of online education.

Enter the Fifth Dimension. School is Hard has practical tips on how to train yourself to tune out distractions.

Gotta getta grant? Mathew Needleman of Creating Lifelong Learners has some suggestions.

The Reading Zone links to resources for teaching reading to middle schoolers.

Kim at Works in Progress is giving away two copies of an anthology of lesson plans for children three to six years old.

Go to Let’s Play Math for math puzzles.

On School Psychologist Blog Files, Erin King has back-to-school advice for parents of struggling students.

Consumer News has back-to-school bargains.

In Confessions from the Couch, Ms. A asks for feedback on her handout on classroom jobs.

Clix wants help from veteran journalism teachers. (My high school journalism teacher had a nervous breakdown halfway through the year and was replaced by the football coach’s wife, who knew nothing about journalism. We seniors put out the newspaper by ourselves. Two enterprising juniors took over the introductory class and taught it.)

College and Career Counseling recommends a campus visit to help choose a college.

That’s all, folks. And bless your hearts for getting this far.

Bellringers will host the Aug. 20 Carnival of Education. Use the carnival submission form to submit your favorite post of the week or e-mail to mybellringers (at) gmail (dot) com. The deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 19 at 6 pm Central time.

About Joanne


  1. Thanks for including my article questioning teacher salaries!

  2. Excellent, as always. And thank you for including my post.

  3. You’ve done your usual excellent job with the Carnival. Thank you so much for including me.

  4. Mmmmmmm, corn dogs and kewpie dolls. What fun! Wonderfully organized carnival. Thanks for including my post on Muda in the classroom.

  5. Thanks for including me, Joanne! Excellent hosting job!

  6. Joanne – Great Carnival! Thanks for your comments about Cupcakes for Science ideas. It’s a sad commentary on education when teachers are finding ways to “sneak” science back into the curriculum. I can’t tell you how many calls we get and how the traffic on our website goes up in April and May when teachers are out from under their state testing and have the opportunity to teach something other than reading, writing and math.

    –Steve Spangler

  7. Thanks for the informative post.. and thanks for adding our comment to the blog. I am subscribing to your feed so I don\’t miss the next post!