Another educational fad invades an American school district: Part 1 of 5

19 Aug

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Before I comment on what a friend—who is still in the classroom teaching—wrote in a recent e-mail about the district he/she teaches in, I want to mention my own thirty years as a teacher [1975 – 2005] as a way to establish that I know what I’m talking about.

During my early years in the classroom, many of my seventh and eighth grade students won half the poetry awards in a state-wide contest in California. The award ceremonies were held on the Queen Mary in Long Beach.

The poems that won came out of a workshop I developed, and that success led me to develop a short-story writing workshop where two of my eighth-grade students one-year ended up published in a special edition of a Los Angeles Times Magazine that showcased maybe twenty or thirty short stories out of more than 10,000 submitted from schools in Los Angeles County.

That was back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In fact, over the years, I developed most of my own curriculum to teach English and writing that I used successfully for decades.

In the 1990s, when I taught journalism and was the advisor of a high-school newspaper—in addition to teaching four periods of English—my journalism students won national and international recognition for their work.  In fact, you can read about it here. Just click on the next link to see what the Rowland Heights Highlander had to say: Extra! Nogales newspaper a five-time winner

In the late 1990’s, a vice principal told a room full of English teachers at the high school where I taught that my students outperformed—by a large margin—the students of every English teacher in the district at the same grade level when it came to writing.  At another meeting, another VP would mention that my students—year after year—always showed gains, on average, on annual standardized tests.

I was a tough, no-nonsense teacher who often created his own curriculum units and that included getting ideas from other teachers who I worked with. Some of my best teaching methods were learned from other veteran teacher like my friend.

Continued on August 20, 2013 in Another educational fad invades an American school district: Part 2


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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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One response to “Another educational fad invades an American school district: Part 1 of 5

  1. Neil Murphy

    August 19, 2013 at 09:13

    The video clip about journalism programs in American schools definitely shows a different side of education. Journalism students in American secondary schools are exposed to the technology of the workplace. Also, journalism exposes students to critical thinking, which is a necessary skill in today’s global economy.

    Overall, this was a good Crazynormal blog; the writer of this blog probably wished he had a lot of the technology that was shown in the 8-minute video. Imagine what Lofthouse’s journalism students could have accomplished with Google-docs and state-of-the-art Mac computers. The newspaper article about Lofthouse’s journalism is a must “click.” Lofthouse’s students accomplished so much even though they did not have today’s modern technology.


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