What Should Be Taught to Forth Graders – A Book Review

It is amazing the on-going debate on how to make sure our kids learn to read, and have the education they need. If they hit junior high without a good working knowledge, it can spell disaster to their integration into teen-hood and their academic years in high school. Luckily, there are resources to insure our students are on the right track prior to this.

So, let’s start in the fourth grade. In fact, let me recommend a very good book to you on this very topic, one which I actually own in my own library. The book is;

“What Your 4 TH Grader Needs to Know – Fundamentals of a Good Fourth-Grade Education” (part of The Core Knowledge Series), Edited by E.D. Hirsh Jr., published by Delta Trade Paperbacks a division of Double Day Dell and Bantam Books, (1992), pp. 395, ISBN: 0-385-31260-1.

The editor is well-known in education circles and previously wrote “Cultural Literacy” which has been widely used. This book is so very easy to use and starts out with a section; “How to Use This Book – for Parents and Teachers. This completely helps for anyone who is a Homeschooling Parent, or any new teacher at the fourth grade level. I read through the entire book and felt right at home and even learned some interesting things myself, probably re-learned it from back in the fourth grade.

Okay so, what sorts of topics are in this book anyway, well, I am certainly glad you asked me. This book has chapters on Poetry, Short Stories, Language, and Speech in the first section. In the second section are Geography, Civilizations, History.

The third section is about Fine Arts, Visual Arts, Sketching, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, and Digital Arts. The Fourth section is about Mathematics – addition, subtraction, division, linear charts, shapes, Roman numerals, decimals, multiplication, fractions, and points on a grid.

The fifth section is all about natural sciences, life sciences, earth sciences, continental drift, volcanoes, earthquakes, forests, and the ocean. If you have this book and are teaching a fourth grade level student you will never be lost. But perhaps more importantly your student won’t be either, and you will be giving them the knowledge they need to move forward. It’s truly amazing how we’ve fallen down in the USA with our education.

It is truly books like this which guarantee our next generation’s progress and education – and we are only as good as our educational system and work in teaching 20-years the prior. Please consider all this.

Every Child Is Special: A Movie Review

Every Child Is Special is probably my first Bollywood movie. (I do not count Slumdog Millionaire because I have watched it only in parts and have not even gotten to the ending, haha.) Anyway, Every Child Is Special is a Hindi drama film released in 2007 (Taare Zameen Par, translation: Stars On Earth) produced and directed by Aamir Khan. It tells about a boy, Ishaan Awasthi, who was always getting in trouble at school for being so misbehaving and out of focus from his lessons. Too often, he would be caught by his teacher daydreaming and getting low grades. Because of this, his father sent him to boarding school, all alone and homesick with the hope of disciplining him. But the academic status of Ishaan did still not improve. Instead, he became withdrawn and lonely, far from the Ishaan who was active and fun-loving. Then came a new art teacher who would just change the way Ishaan would act towards school and learn to appreciate himself even more.

How can I not love this movie? Darsheel Safary is perfect for the role of Ishaan Awasthi. Safary, with his innocent eyes and face, made me laugh with his funny antics and at the same time rend my heart as he goes through the agony of enduring boarding school alone and away from his parents. From start to finish, the movie gripped my attention, and the musical portions added to my fascination. I cannot speak about the technical aspects of film-making as I am not knowledgeable of such, but for an easy to please movie fan like me, Every Child Is Special is one heart-touching movie.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Every Child Is Special is an eye opener as to the worth and significance of every child. The story deals with an issue that is as real as it is unrecognized – dyslexia. I first knew about dyslexia in the book, Pearl Harbor by Randall Wallace, but the movie has increased my education on this kind of ailment.

Every Child Is Special is a movie that can tug the heartstrings and at the same time bring hope that having dyslexia is not a desperate situation. Family support, patience, and love are central themes in this story, plus the primary focus on painting and art. The theory on multiple intelligences in education plays a major role in this movie and can be very informative to teachers and parents alike.

I really love this movie and I highly recommend this to everyone. My sister has also been nagging me to watch The Three Idiots. Maybe, tonight.

5 stars.

An Honest Anthony Kane Author Review

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has been the subject of Dr. Anthony Kane author reviews. Over the past fifteen years, he has dedicated his life to helping families create a loving and peaceful relationship between parents and their ADHD sons and daughters. Below, we are going to give you a review on this author.

Dr Anthony Kane is a licensed physician and has served as director of special education for a local elementary school. He has published a book and a number of articles dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD or ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). He also has runs a website dealing with parenting and special children’s education. He has lectured all over the country and has counseled parents with special needs youngsters. As a parent himself of children with ADHD and ODD, he has learned first-hand the difficulties and opportunities of the subject.

Youngsters with ADHD can usually be identified by five years of age. Kids with ADHD are very talkative, very active and playful. Sometimes they will play with any object they see. They are impatient and are easily distracted or forgetful. The key symptom is their inability to maintain their focus on only one activity.

ODD children also display similar behavior. Primarily, they behave in an aggressive or obnoxious manner, challenging their parents and other authority figures. Your son or daughter may have trouble finding friends, or have problems with their siblings

Dr Kane can help you find non-medication techniques for getting your children to significantly improve their behavior. He spent more than a decade researching the effects of ADHD drugs and how to wean your children out of them while still being able to maintain control. If you’re a new parent concerned about giving your kids medication, then this program is for you.

You may remember when you were young yourself and that the most important thing in the world was getting the attention of your father and mother. This is still true of your own young one, although with ADD and ODD kids, they not only want your attention but your love and guidance as well. Through Dr. Kane’s book, you will be able to improve your relationship in such a way that heavy or harsh discipline will not be necessary, and you will have a happy child that is proud of you and his work.

The techniques in ADD ADHD Advances can be used effectively in school. You will have to cooperate with your teacher and school and let them know in advance about your child’s condition. Regular meetings with them will be helpful in tracking your kid’s weekly progress. This proactive approach is very helpful especially with new teachers. Seasoned teachers may have had their own experiences and will be able to offer helpful advice.

Dealing with teenagers with ADD ADHD or OCD can be a harrowing experience for parents without professional help. A positive Dr Anthony Kane author review points out that the ADD ADHD Advances Course can dramatically improve your teens performance and strengthen the relationship of your family.

The Seven Deadly Sins Of No Child Left Behind – Article Review

The No Child Left Behind Act has been an important part of our education as future teachers as well as for current teachers across the country for years. The Seven Deadly Sins of No Child Left Behind questions whether or not it is really working in America and offers suggestions for education reform. Each sin offers the reader several points against the act that cannot be ignored.

Paul D. Houston writes, It is time to change direction. It is now universally accepted, even by those who authored the bill, that NCLB is flawed and needs fixing. Houston takes a deep look into the factors such as socioeconomic status of students, English-language learners, and the shift in required skill sets to survive in today s changing economy.

It has been described that the first sin addresses the assumption that schools are broken (Houston). Education reform is driven by a system of beliefs that must be altered. The system itself is in fact quite successful, not broken as it has been described by critics. The problem itself is not in the system but in the fact that the world has changed and education must change with it. According to Houston, schools throughout the country are doing better than most people assume they are, though the reports of standardized testing may reflect a different statement which brings us to the second sin.

The second sin is described as issues with testing and education. We as teachers know best that standardized testing does not always reflect the true intelligence of our students. Though standardized testing may be the easiest way to measure our intelligence against students in other countries, it should not be the only measure used.

Sin Number 3 suggests that No Child Left Behind, in fact, does leave behind those children in poverty stricken situations. Those who see poverty as an intervening variable have been accused of having lowered expectations for disadvantaged children. With a significant amount of government funding going to districts with successful academic ratings (many of which have the money to provide their students with books and top technology), poorer schools have even less ability to provide their kids with the necessary tools for a better education.

The first 3 sins alone in Houston s article raise a lot of questions as to whether or not NCLB is really working. Sin 4 suggests that fear and coercion push educators to teach to the test, and Sin 5 suggests that the law itself is unclear in many aspects. Sin 6 suggests that government officials could not possibly know what s best for students and that educators themselves are the best judge of that, and Sin 7 implies that the law undermines our international competitiveness (Houston).

Houston ends the article by giving his own suggestions as to ways we can reform our education system in America. Ways to tailor it to today s needs in today s economy. Though Houston clearly displays a biased opinion on NCLB, he offers a real insight into a growing problem that must be addressed.

Source: Houston, P. D. The Seven Deadly Sins of No Child Left Behind. Phi Delta Kappa International Online accessed on November 28, 2010 at pdkmembers(dot)org/members_online/publications/Archive/pdf/k0706hou.pdf

Review of Robert Kiyosaki’s Book Unfair Advantage

As a member of Rich Dad World, I downloaded the online version of this book for a limited time offer only. This book offers many important financial lessons that will make you realize the importance of being in the B and I quadrants, which I like to summarise below.

The school system teaches students to be employees and does not equip them to make sound financial decision. The financial education in schools teaches kids to send money to the government and banks. These kids grows up and not knowing the difference between a good and a bad investment; a good and a bad advice. True financial education enables you to tell the differences and have people send money to you. Many of the billionaires in the top ten of Forbes list do not have a formal education like having a degree. They knew that school is not the place for them to be who they are today.

In the US, taxes is the highest expense for people from the E and S quadrants. Getting the correct tax advice from the right person is key. The right tax advisor should be able to help you reduce your taxes. With the money saved, it could be channelled into other investments to build your assets to generate income. There are three types of income that you pay taxes on:

• Ordinary income – This draws the highest tax rate, i.e. the harder you work for money as an employee or self-employed, you pay more taxes.

• Portfolio income (aka Capital gains) – This draws the second highest tax rate, i.e. the harder your money works for you, you pay less taxes.

• Passive income – This draws the lowest or zero tax rate, i.e. the harder other people’s money works for you; you pay the least or even no taxes.

I agree with Robert that savers are now losers as lower interest are given by banks to save money in the bank account. Ever since President Nixon took the US currency off the gold standards, money has ceased to be money and became debt. Countries race to devalue their money by printing lots of it to help increase their exports to other countries. This increase inflation thereby lowering your purchasing power, i.e. groceries have become increasingly expensive. So, if you are able to use debt to buy assets and put money in your pocket, that is really an unfair advantage. Many people have become poor because they used debt to buy liabilities that takes money out of their pocket, worst of all they think that the liability is asset.

Robert explains why the following pair of words are Oxymoron for those who are not financially educated. An Oxymoron are words that contradict each other. They are 1) Job Security 2) Saving Money 3) Safe Investments 4) Fair Share 5) Mutual Fund 6) Diversified Portfolio 7) Debt-Free. Risk is inversely related to control. If you have less control means risk goes up in your investment. Rich Dad advised Robert to learn three things if he wanted to to be rich like Rich Dad in the B and I quadrants. The three things to learn are:

• Selling (control income).

• Real estate investing (control debt).

• Technical investing (control markets).

All fund managers advice people to diversify in a portfolio of stocks, bonds and Mutual funds. For those without a sound financial education, they would think this is sound advice. However, the fund manager is still putting your money in one asset class which is paper asset. The four basic asset classes that Robert invests in are 1) Business 2) Real estate 3) Paper assets 4) Commodities. The more you learn and know about these asset classes, the more control you have, your risk will be lowered.

Different class of people focus at different places of the Income Statement and Balance Sheet. The poor focus on expense. The middle-class focus on liabilities. The rich focus on assets. The rich don’t work for money, they make their money work hard for them. Applying the three laws of compensation will allow a person to enjoy infinite Return On Investment, leading to tremendous wealth.

I agree with Robert that we need two types of school. One suited for those who wish to be in the E and S quadrant and the other for the B and I quadrant. In Singapore, some efforts are made to encourage entrepreneurship; some courses related to it have been established like “School of Entrepreneurs”. However this is not in the main stream curriculum that leads to the degree program. Hence, I doubt what Robert proposed will not be seen here for a long time till the USA has a break-through in their education system.