Plagiarizing Doesn’t Happen Only in School

Original thought that contributes to common knowledge and greater understanding is demanded of students across the country.  New software that scans students’ work and rates the percentage of the document that is potentially plagiarized are being used in high school and college classrooms. One high school junior told us that her teacher returned her history term paper rough draft with…

Continue Reading

Eventually…May Be the Key Lesson to Learn

Learning is a combination of asking questions for clarification, quiet reflection to understand the meaning of the words spoken and action to test the lessons of what was heard.  A possible re-examination may be needed to review the lessons and revise its application.  Sometimes, this cycle repeats multiple times over many years.  (Or as I once was told, “Sometimes you…

Continue Reading

Grades Don’t Only Measure Learning

Grades are a complex mix of a student’s performance meeting the teacher’s grading standards, managing assignments so they’re completed & returned to the teacher on time, AS WELL AS actually learning the concepts in class.  Too often, the last part–the learning & understanding–is the only part that consumes students’, teachers’ and parents’ efforts, when a grade isn’t what’s expected.   Tutors…

Continue Reading

21st Century Learning in a Globally Connected “Classroom”

Computer technology and the internet is just the latest tool for education and learning.  The printing press and cheap, mass produced paper spread learning to the masses.  The accessibility of the Bible spurred the need to be literate to read, which in turn began disbursing the Church’s power and let more people begin thinking critically about their faith.   For…

Continue Reading

Just Because You Can, Does That Mean You Should?

Are we “solving” issues too quickly with medication, or just “kicking the can down the road” only now with more complications for a generation of today’s youth?  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports 14% of Americans 12 years and older have been on medications for 10 years or longer. …

Continue Reading

SAT & ACT Preparation: A Lesson With “Should” and “Don’t Want to…”

The existence of SAT & ACT prep courses, books, tutors, online questions, etc. shows that with practice a student has the possibility of increasing her/his scores.   Yet, when it comes to practicing, who wants to sit down with a 600+ pages thick, 8.5″ x 11″, doorstop looking, test prep book by oneself or in a room with 12 other teens…

Continue Reading

Evolution of Learning

We expect teachers and schools to be objective.  Yet, we demand subjectivity when a kid struggles to understand concepts.  We assume knowledge is knowledge–some static, unchanging entity.    So, if a kid doesn’t understand or even simply takes longer than the class is allotted to learn the concept, there’s something inherently wrong with the kid or the teacher.    In reality, learning…

Continue Reading

The “Muddy” Side of Learning

Do-it-yourself does not just refer to hours at Home Depot, then trucking all that stuff home to saw, sweat, swear and drive back to Home Depot for stuff you forgot, while your family watches from a distance–afraid of the snarls.  As an educational tool, DIY refers to the blow-stuff-up, come-home-dirty-enough-so-your-mom-makes-you-change-in-the-garage, direct-your-own-project learning.   You know, the kind of stuff you…

Continue Reading

CA Budget Affects Cal Grants for Private, Non Profit Colleges

Proposed reductions in funding for the Cal Grant program, in the current 2013 Fiscal budget plan, would reduce private, non-profit university student’s grants by 17% by 2014 to $8,056 per year.    (Examples of  private non-profit colleges are the University of Pacific or University of Southern California.)    Current Cal Grants for private, non-profit university students are $9708 per school year. Families…

Continue Reading

Reading Does Not Make You a Nerd

It’s summer.  Hot (read: reason to stay inside).  No school (read: students have LOTS of free time, for which their parents’ intentions and their own intentions may differ).   So, its the season for numerous media articles lamenting “summer slide” or students “forgetting” the academic information from the previous school year to features of popular books to take along on…

Continue Reading

Standardized Testing: The Good, The Bad and A Hmmmm…Moment

Bob Schaeffer of FairTest, an organization committed to a fair use of standardized testing in K-12 schools and college admissions, recently spoke with Creative Marbles about assessments.  Our conversation reminded me of questions I’ve been asking since I was a beginning teacher, “How do we know (i.e. grasp clearly in the mind) what another has stored in their heads and…

Continue Reading

“I Don’t Get It”: How Teens Ask for Help

Getting help isn’t as simple as asking the teacher, although usually the first suggestion parents make when a teenager doesn’t understand the assignment.   Teenagers may not have been taught to identify the problem, to know what exactly the student is asking.  Then, there’s the humbling of oneself to admit there’s a lack of knowledge (not easy for anyone).  Plus, the…

Continue Reading

Parents and Academic Success

Parents often ask what they can do to support their children’s education.  Elementary school parents can feel confident to assist with homework assignments and welcome to volunteer in the classroom.  Yet, as students mature, mom and dad’s presence on campus at middle school and high school can be an embarrassment to teens, while mom and dad wonder, “How many more…

Continue Reading