Back-to-school apps for digital savvy parents   
Back to school means back to carpooling, back to lunches, back to learning, back to hectic schedules, and back to chaos! Before heading back to school, download these apps to help you get organized and ready to tackle the new school year.
LaLa Lunchbox
Do you struggle with what to pack for lunch and how to get your kids to actually eat what you pack? LaLa Lunchbox makes the dreaded school lunch duties a little bit easier. With this handy app your kids get involved in their lunch and may even get excited about eating healthier. LaLa Lunchbox allows kids to select foods for their meals with fun monsters, colors and sounds, and a completely customizable Food Library which turns into a handy grocery list for parents. The only thing this app can't do is pack the lunch for you.

Retail Me Not
Before you head out for back to school shopping, make sure to check out Retail Me Not for the latest deals from your favorite shops. You can find coupons for more than 50,000 stores on this shopping lover's best friend. Just type in the store name and any relevant offers and deals will pop up. The app even has a Back To School section and will notify you of sales at stores that you have saved to your favorites.

Back to school means back to paper, back to beautiful artwork, and inevitably back to clutter. With Artkive you can reduce the clutter by saving all your little artists' artwork digitally in one place. Use this app to organize your kids' artwork, share their artwork with others, and even turn their masterpieces into a keepsake book.     >>READ MORE 
Top 12 Ways to Increase Student Participation
Call it "active learning," or "classroom participation" -- every teacher wants to know how to motivate students to particpate, and how to nurture more involved students and fewer apathetic ones. With a little extra planning, that is possible.

Below are four common reasons students don't participate and techniques to solve those problems and spice up your lessons.

Problem: The content is repetitive.

Maybe it needs to be repetitive because the students don't really "get it," or maybe you're reviewing for a test. In any case, they're tuning out.

Solution #1:  Assess their prior knowledge.
This could be as simple as asking students, "What do you know about (topic)?" and writing their responses on the board. You could also try a pre-test or a graphic organizer like a K-W-L chart . The goal is to find out what they already know (or think they know). You create buy-in for the students because they feel smart, and you can tailor your lesson to the information they don't know or don't remember correctly.

Solution #2: Try skills grouping.
Divide the class into groups based on what skills they need to practice - not forever, but for a class period or two, so they can focus on what they really need help with. So have a group that works on multiplying fractions, one on dividing fractions, and one on converting fractions to decimals. Make a group of "already got 100% on the test" kids and give them an extra credit activity or let them preview the next lesson. Then take time to move between the other groups and help them review. You'll have more students engaged in the lesson and they'll get specific, focused practice time.
Teaching At-Risk Youth in Trauma-Sensitive Education Environment
One of the most pressing education policy challenges our country currently faces is the persistently huge disparity in academic achievement between children growing up in poor, underserved communities and children in communities with the resources to meet their educational and recreational needs. That education gap is even wider for children who are also members of our most fragile student population: those in the child welfare system.

The New York Foundling is one of New York's oldest and largest child welfare organizations and several years ago, we began an effort to develop an educational model that provided these children with the array of services they need and that incorporated our knowledge of child welfare into their school day. Seven years ago, we launched Mott Haven Academy, a pre-K-5 charter school in one of the nation's most disadvantaged communities. Two-thirds of our students are in the child welfare system, with the remaining third from the surrounding community.   >>READ MORE 
Peer teaching is not a new concept. It can be traced back to Aristotle's use of archons, or student leaders, and to the letters of Seneca the Younger. It was first organized as a theory by Scotsman Andrew Bell in 1795, and later implemented into French and English schools in the 19th century. Over the past 30-40 years, peer teaching has become increasingly popular in conjunction with mixed ability grouping in K-12 public schools and an interest in more financially efficient methods of teaching.

Not to be confused with peer instruction-a relatively new concept designed by Harvard professor Eric Mazur in the early 1990s- peer teaching is a method by which one student instructs another student in material on which the first is an expert and the second is a novice.

Goodlad and Hurst (1989) and Topping (1998) note that academic peer tutoring at the college level takes many different forms. Surrogate teaching, common at larger universities, involves giving older students, often graduates or advanced undergraduates, some or all of the teaching responsibility for undergraduate courses. Proctoring programs involve one-on-one tutoring by students who are slightly ahead of other students, or who have successfully demonstrated proficiency with the material in the recent past. Cooperative learning divides classmates into small groups, with each person in the group responsible for teaching others, and each contributing a unique piece to the group performance on a task. Reciprocal peer tutoring (RPT), a more specific version of cooperative learning, groups classmates into pairs to tutor each other.  >>READ MORE 
Networks, stars to raise money for education
The four largest broadcast networks will simultaneously air a fundraising special for education next month featuring Stephen Colbert, Scarlett Johansson and other celebrity entertainers.

The Entertainment Industry Foundation said Tuesday that ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will air the one-hour telecast at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT on Sept. 11. Kristen Bell, Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Seacrest, Jessica Williams, Jeremy Renner and Gwyneth Paltrow will also participate in the show, which will have sketches and musical performances.

It's the same organization that ran "Stand Up to Cancer" benefits that were also aired by all four networks.

The foundation's Think It Up initiative is hoping the benefit helps build excitement for learning in classrooms around the country. The broadcast will showcase stories of students and teachers.    >>READ MORE 
The sun is out, the sky is clear, the calendar says it's summer so why are kids volunteering to spend five weeks in school?

"The children wanted it so I said 'Let's do it'," said Dr. Alana Balthazar, principal of Ingleside Elementary School.

"School is the foundation, but by adding and enhancing it, making real world connections to what they had to face when they leave the school house, that's what's the added bonus," the principal said.  >> Read More
Karen Kip Kite Kept Kevin Karl Kite's Kites

Thomas Turkle Tugged Today The Two Turtle Toy Trains.  

Chandler Cook Cooked Cajun Crispy Chicken

Sharon Salmon Shared Sharon Snow's Snow Shirt

Build your school's spirit this year with a large, custom display banner. Call M. H. West & Co., Inc. for pricing and size options.

M. H. West & Co., Inc. now accepts payments through PayPal for your convenience. 
I don't know about you, but for me, mid-August through the first week of September used to arrive with a side dish of angst. Getting that school supply list on the first day of classes and rushing to the stores early to find everything in all the right colors and just the right sizes felt like we were partaking in a wild scavenger hunt!

A notebook for each subject, big boxes of pencils and countless crayons got stuffed into new backpacks. In retrospect, we're lucky we didn't need to schedule chiropractor appointments for the kids who carried those heavy loads.     >>READ MORE 
The U.S. Department of Education has released draft guidance on the use of students' medical records in response to a lawsuit. In a blog post published on Tuesday, the department said it was seeking public comment on the new guidance.

The issue drew national attention because of a lawsuit at the University of Oregon. A female student there, who said she had been raped by three basketball players, also claimed that the college had pulled her counseling records to use against her in a lawsuit she filed against the institution. 
The giant pencil hangs from the ceiling of the big box retailer. It's beckoning you back into the labyrinth of shelves piled high with brightly colored school supplies where the smell of glue hangs in the air. Kristan Sheappard loves this time of year. She looks forward to what she calls, "a ritual."

"My favorite part of the whole event is handing each of my two kids the list and watching them enjoy the mature process of picking out their own supplies," said Sheappard, a Yuma, Arizona, marketing executive.


You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward. - Conrad Hall