How To Make End of the Year School Awards Fun With Humor

When I was in school, end of the year awards were very strict–no funny business. They included the usual least absences, most improved student, best grades, highest test scores, and extra-curricular activity awards like most-valuable-player, first-chair band-students, drama students receiving awards for getting a “one” in competitions, and journalist getting awards for receiving all-league or all-state honors. Very usual, and very expected. Everyone who received an award knew beforehand that they were going to get them.

Nonetheless, for most students the awards assembly was generally boring, especially if they didn’t receive an award. Actually, I’ve noticed quite a few students sleeping through it. And frankly, why shouldn’t they? It has nothing to do with them, but they are still required to watch, clap, and whatever other nonsense the teacher watching over them wanted them to do.

The awards assembly was not a motivational experience. Watching someone receive an award does not–at least necessarily–motivate a “C student” to receive all “A”s. Even if it did, the student may not have had the means to do so.

There are many factors at play to motivate students to do better. Sure, those whom receive an award are proud, especially years down the road when they look through their scrap book and find them; however, for most students, it is still simply a waste of time.

So how do you make the end of the year school awards more appealing? By making them fun and humorous, of course!

Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  1. Lead the assembly with a funny story by a teacher about an awards assembly they went to. Of course, it has to be good humored, so something like them not receiving an award and being disappointed is a good choice. Or perhaps some other humorous story about a previous awards assembly.
  2. Have awards such as “student most hated by teachers”–which should go to a good humored student who has caused some trouble but definitely not the most hated. “Class clown award” is another easy choice in this department.
  3. Teachers can give a mini-show. A mime act, a one-act play, singing, or teachers showing off some of their rare talents. A mini-talent show, perhaps.

Doing something like this is intended to keep all students interested; they should never be bored in school. It also acts as a way for students to gain respect for their teachers by seeing them as human and not only as teaching robots.

To recap, end of the year awards are a great way to award students; however, it leaves many simply wishing for the assembly to end. Instead, try mixing things up a bit and adding humor and other fun activities to keep them interested.

Obama Wants Moms to Return to School?

If you are single mom, you know how difficult life can be. It’s not only about taking care of your children, but earning enough money so that you can afford to take care of them the proper way. Our economy is in a nose dive and the job market is tanking. It is time to take action. This is where the Federal Pell Grant and Obama’s “Moms Return To School’ program comes in.

One of the best things about getting the free money for your education is that it can all be done online. Just 10 years ago, it would have been impossible to get a quality education without moving to the University of your choice. Now, with the advent of the Internet, you can get the degree you have always wanted, even if you are a single mom!

Even if you have a full time or part time job, you are still able to qualify for the Pell Grant. Applying is easy, and with the recent grant increase to over $5200, you can now afford to go back to college and raise your family at the same time.

Don’t be intimidated by the aspect of not going to an actual classroom. Modern technology has made it possible to interact with your fellow students and the teacher in real time, or at your convenience by accessing a copy of the online class at a later time.

The sky is literally the limit. Free money from the Obama government grant and distance learning at your fingertips makes the possibility of attaining the college degree you need is now within your grasp. Apply for your grant money today.

Science Projects in Elementary School

Science Projects. Elementary School teachers almost always require students to do at least one science project before they finish the fifth grade. Elementary science projects are easy to find, but finding the right project for your child can be a challenge. Here are five hints to help you find the best project for your grade school child.

1. Find out what type of project your science teacher requires. There are many types of projects, and most elementary schools give a range of choices. Does your teacher want an experiment, a demonstration, a collection, a report, or a model? Knowing what kind of project you need will narrow down your choices considerably.


2. Make a list of things that interest your child. What subjects catch your child’s eye on television or in books – space, animals, buildings, computers, explosions? Does your child need instant gratification? Consider a chemistry experiment with dramatic results, such as “Which Fruit has the Most Vitamin C?” Is your child concerned about the environment? Find out which toilet tissue is most biodegradable, or which type of insulation works best.


3. Set your budget for money – and time. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest, and if your time is limited, there is no need to look at anything that requires special metals to be imported from the Far East. Decide on how much cash you’re willing to spend, and create a generous time line for getting supplies. Keep in mind that you have to actually do the project after the supplies arrive.


4. Keep in mind that this is a science project for elementary school. Don’t choose a project with complicated instructions. You want your child to do the project with your help – and not the other way around.


5. Provide four or five science project choices. Ever notice how it takes longer to decide on an ice cream flavor when there are 31 flavors? Give your elementary school child a limited list of science project choices, and you’ll both be happier.

Home Schooling in High School: Planning A Course

You have done your overall planning for the four years and you know which classes your student needs for this year. Now what? There are a number of alternatives for teaching the different subjects.

1. Many purchase textbooks for each class and have the student work through the texts, answering the questions and taking the tests. This can be an easy way with at least some assurance that you are covering all the bases. For a student who works well independently, this could work. It would give that student a starting and finishing point. Skills developed using this method may include reading comprehension, some writing skills and some time management skills. On the other hand, for a student who struggles with reading and writing, or needs more interaction with others, it may not be the best way. Also, it may be boring for some students. While those unfamiliar with the subject matter, using a textbook can help, but remember that no textbook perfectly covers every aspect of the topic that you may consider important for your child to learn.

2. Others choose to delegate one or more of the courses to specialists in those fields. This can be in the form of a local class (home school co-op, community college classes, enrollment in a private school that works with home schoolers) or online.

3. Perhaps you grew to enjoy unit studies in the earlier grades or your student gets bored with the textbook / class choice. You can integrate different subjects into a unit study or just apply the unit study approach to individual classes. At the high school level, you can actually get much more input from your children and allow them to do much more of the planning. Here are some possible steps:

· Find a scope and sequence online for the subject or a grade level textbook (borrow or find at Goodwill or library sale). Using a scope and sequence or table of contents in a book provides an outline or list of concepts usually covered for that subject. You have the option of excluding or including different parts, but this provides a guide.

· Brainstorm – make a Mind Map of all the ideas that come to mind. To make a mind map, begin by writing the large topic in the center of a blank sheet of paper. Branch out adding more to this web of ideas and groups of ideas. Write anything that comes to mind. Later you can rewrite using only the ideas that you want to use.

· Brainstorm or make additional entries for each of the ideas on your mind map.

· Enter the activities and resources on the course plan in your planner where they can be checked off as completed.

4. With a little more planning, you can combine subjects like History and English. As you brainstorm you would use the scope and sequences for both of these subjects. By doing this, you can include a number of types of assignments that develop a wide variety of skills including research, hands-on-projects as well as reading and writing. I am not suggesting you double count work done in an integrated class. This can allow for more in-depth coverage of an area.

If the unit study approach sounds interesting, but hard to implement, try it first with one class. As you become more experienced, you can expand to other courses. You may also benefit from working with a home school consultant in this area. As a home schooling parent, you are in the driver’s seat of your child’s education, and you have many choices.

New High School Is First in Arizona Schools to Have No Textbooks

Empire High School in Vail, located on the edge of Tucson, is the first in the Arizona schools to be all-electronic. Instead of textbooks, the 350 students use wireless, Apple laptop computers to research, organize their data, write and graph assignments, and create class presentations.

The Arizona’ s Empire High is a new school with a blank slate. Arizona schools officials could hire new teachers committed to technology-based teaching and purchase computers instead of textbooks. The Arizona schools officials wanted to move teachers away from habitual teaching from textbooks, cover-to-cover, and gave area students the choice to attend Empire or another school.

Having researched schools in other states prior to the all-electronic decision, school officials found students who were clearly more engaged in their studies and unusually enthusiastic about school. One reason was that they took a more active part in the lesson process, rather than everything being “fed” to them. Another advantage to laptops over textbooks is that groundbreaking information takes five to six years to get into textbooks, especially in the science fields. Of the few all-electronic schools across the nation, many are doing well from the perspective of both the students and the educators. The Arizona schools officials clearly felt they could enhance their students’ educational experience with technology over textbooks.

Replacing textbooks with laptops for other Arizona schools would prove expensive at $850 each. For Empire, they took the usual $500 to $600 cost per student for a complete set of textbooks for four years, as well as the cost of a computer lab, and used this money to purchase the laptops and added technology needs.

Some new challenges had to be faced by the Arizona schools’ new Empire High and research was done to address them. They had 350 students, who needed to be continuously and reliably connected to the Internet at high speed. All the laptops had to be configured to best suit the needs of the students for learning. The needed educational material had to be located on the Internet and integrated into lesson plans. A method for students to submit assignments across the Web was needed. These were problems they knew had to be resolved before the school year began.

What the Arizona schools officials had not planned on was a different sort of technological problem. It seems that many students who used home computers for gaming, surfing the Internet, and X-Box, had a difficult time translating these skills to those needed in school, such as using word processing software, saving documents to specific locations, and being able to retrieve the files later. Skills training had to be added to the lesson plans.

For other schools that are interested in setting up an all-electronic school, the Arizona schools officials advise that it must be a public choice. You cannot force such drastic learning changes. Include the parents and teachers in the planning at the ground floor.

After a year, the system is working well overall. Arizona’s plan to increase enrollment at Empire High to 750 students in the near future.

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