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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pedagogically Correct Newsletter May 22 2009

Because education is so important, here is the latest edition of the VanDamme Academy Newsletter.

Pedagogically Correct Volume 3, Issue 6
May 22, 2009

"Pedagogy": The art and science of teaching.
:: Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
:: Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!
:: Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog

Tell Me Everything You Know

I have invented a new educational game. I call it "Tell Me Everything You Know."

Here is how the game works in my grammar class: I write a sentence on the board, set a time limit, and then have the students write down every grammatical fact they can name about the sentence. When the time is up, I go around the room, asking each student to volunteer one of his observations. If someone else in the class has written the same thing, both must cross it off their lists. If no one else has made the same observation, that student gets a point. Victory goes to the student with the most points.

For example, yesterday I wrote, "When it is Taco Tuesday, we go to the park that is down the street to eat tacos."

Their observations ranged from the simple …

"Tuesday" is a proper noun.

"The" is an article.

The sentence is declarative.

The sentence ends with a period.

to the more esoteric …

"To eat tacos" is an infinitive phrase used as an adverb modifying "go."

"When" is a subordinating conjunction linking the adverb clause to the word it modifies.

"Tacos" is the direct object of the infinitive.

"Park" is the antecedent of the relative pronoun "that," which introduces the adjective clause "that is down the street."

At the conclusion of the allotted time, my 7th and 8th grade students had as many as forty to fifty things to say about the grammar of the sentence.
This game works equally well in other classes. Mr. Black and Mr. Steele have played it in their math classes. With one 3rd-grade level math group, Mr. Steele wrote on the board, "362 ÷ 3," and said, "Tell me everything you know."

These 7- and 8-year olds made comments that ranged from …

The divisor is 3.

The dividend is 362.

The quotient is 120 with a remainder of 2.

to such acute observations as …

The 3 in 362 is in the hundreds' place and stands for 300.

362 is a 3-digit number and an even number.

The divisor, 3, can be subtracted from the dividend, 362, 120 times. (Connecting division to repeated subtraction.)

This game both cashes in on and reinforces the VanDamme Method. All the teachers in all the VDA classes stress conceptual understanding of the material. We work hard to ensure that the students are not taking a rote, thoughtless, pattern-seeking approach to their work, but rather that they fully grasp and can fully explain the concepts they are learning. So when they look at a problem like "362 ÷ 3," we want them to possess a depth of understanding that allows them not just to solve the problem but to thoroughly explain the problem and its solution.
Playing this game also serves as excellent review and reinforcement. It helps the students to probe their own understanding, to dig through their subconscious minds and retrieve all they have learned about a given subject. They listen carefully to others' answers and in doing so are reminded of aspects of the subject they may have forgotten or not readily retrieved. They revisit and focus on aspects of a subject they know but may not have recently brought into conscious awareness.

In my experience, because the students are well prepared for the rigors of this game, because it is a fruitful review, and because it is benevolently competitive—they love it. Students share their insights eagerly and are delighted when others cleverly dig up obscure facts that hadn't occurred to them.

I had to boast about having invented the game because I have to confess to having lost the game. Though I am the self-proclaimed grammar guru, I was bested by 11-year-old Melissa McWilliams. Well, as Leonardo Da Vinci said, "Pity the student who does not surpass his master."

Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
Now Anyone Can Understand The Fundamental Principles of Science Better than Most Scientists
"Fundamen tals of Physical Science: A Historical, Inductive Approach"
By David Harriman, Historian and Philosopher of Physics

Learn all about it at our brand new website.

Here's what other Pedagogically Correct Readers are Saying:

"I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in physics, and I was amazed at how much I learned from David Harriman's course. This course stands head and shoulders above any other course or textbook I have encountered."

"It's perfect for someone relatively new to physics like myself; it's perfect for even advanced people who want a deeper historical perspective than is usually taught...I found Mr. Harriman's physics course to be an exciting walk through the fascinating world of physics."

"I think this type of course is needed for everyone, as in my experience, it's so far above the courses I've had throughout my life as far as the actual transmittal of knowledge is concerned...In short, this course has made science and math much more intelligible for me, and was completely worth the time and cost - I highly recommend it."

I was a physics major when I entered college, yet I can easily say that my actual understanding of physics is much greater as a result of this course than I can credit to any other class I've taken.

With this course you will:
* Finally understand the world around you, the world of science and technology, in a way you never thought possible. (No, you don't have to be a math wiz.)
* Learn the thinking methods of the greatest minds in history.
* Understand what all those physics equations and formulas you once memorized really mean.
* Be inspired by scientists' amazing 2500-year quest to unlock the mysteries of the physical world.
* And have a great time in the process!

All thanks to a one-of-a-kind science teaching methodology available in no other course or textbook.

Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!
Lisa VanDamme's educational career began when a group of parents, disillusioned with standard public and private schools, hired her to educate their children. In 1998, she chronicled her successes homeschooling and explained the methods that made them possible in a lecture, "Reclaiming Education." The audience, fascinated by her insights about education, and inspired by the stories she told, gave her a standing ovation. In 1999, she made "Reclaiming Education" available in written form, to the delight of thousands of readers. Since 1999, the essay version of "Reclaiming Education" has been unavailable. Until now.

For the first time in almost 8 years, we will make this remarkable work available. And we are giving it away for FREE as an e-book to those who help us grow Pedagogically Correct by recommending it to their friends. Just send enter the email addresses of at least five friends who might appreciate an invitation to receive PC--along with a brief personal note, or our standard note below. We will not add anyone to our email database without their permission.

Click here to refer five friends and get your copy of "Reclaiming Education."

Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog
Check out our 'blog, which will contain much (but not all) of the material we sent out in our newsletters. Spread the word!

VanDamme Academy encourages you to forward our newsletter to your friends or post it on your website or blog. If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can sign up to receive Pedagogically Correct for free, at www.vandammeacademy. com.

Happy Learning!

VanDamme Academy--Experience the Power of a Real Education

VanDamme Academy
phone: 949-581-1881

Friday, May 08, 2009

Blogroll Addition May of 09

It time for another blogroll update.

First is the blog of "Brad Harper" where his latest post shows the evil of eminent domain in a particularly egregious case. Evidently, the park service wants to build a monument and park at the site where Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11. Trouble is that land is owned by 7 owners who don't want to sell. So the Park Service wants to invoke eminent domain to condemn their property, seize it and build a monument. I wonder what the people who died on that fateful flight would say if they knew their deaths would be used to violate the property rights of 7 of their fellow citizens just to build a monument? I think they'd be outraged.

Next is Benpercent who has a book review of "Walt Disney: A Triumph of American Imagination" which he calls the story of a real American hero.

The third addition is Reality Talk where Brian reports that a college student saved lives by owning a gun. He has a two minute video of the news report but also points out how the media insists on slanting the news so as to deny any self-interested motive. He did it for others!

Fourth is "Objective Extrospection" where Rajesh reports on Objectivism, Ayn Rand, Tech and Defense. He now notes that the Enigma machine used by the Nazis to send secret codes is now for sale.

Fifth is Aristotle the Geek where he has a letter to Obama (via Cafe Hayek) by a money manager who dares to speak out.

Sixth will be Just Add Rationality where host Francis Luong has a retort for an article that says individualists must give up their disdain for mass movements.

Seventh is Ron Pisaturo's Blog at which Ron posts on the fact that 'The Leader Desires Work and Peace" and how that speech reminds him of someone else 70 some years ago.

Number eight shall be Life on Marrs where Gaia looks at the difference between Obama's proposed $100 million budget cuts and his 3.69 trillion dollar spending.

Ninth is 'The Nearby Pen' where Daniel informs that Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead has been translated into Vietnamese. Good News for sure.

Tenth is Exalted Moments which takes a look at all such moments found in Ayn Rand's writings. I highly recommend it.

That's it for now. But I would like to inform any new visitors to this site that I publish all my political and cultural posts at The New Clarion. Enjoyable reading all.

Update: corrected link to Brad Harper blog