Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Really Sad: Freshman Commits Suicide After Bullying

Stuff like this really angers me:

ACTON - Jeremiah Lasater was a gentle giant. At 6 feet 5 inches tall and 220 pounds, he was the kind of teen who can bully other kids if he wishes.

Instead, the 14-year-old Vasquez High School freshman was the one who got pushed around. Classmates routinely pulled down his pants. They threw food at him in the cafeteria. They made fun of the boy with the thick glasses who took special-education classes.

The teasing probably started when Jeremiah was in sixth grade, said senior German Hernandez, a teaching assistant in the boy's fifth-period Algebra I class. Kids called him a nerd.

"He didn't deserve that," he said. "He should have talked to somebody."

Jeremiah apparently kept his troubles to himself until Monday, when he decided he couldn't take it anymore. After a student threw chili on him during lunch, he walked to a restroom, pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head.

You can read the rest of the story here.

Fellow teachers and staff (and parents!), please be on the lookout for warning signs. Sometimes kids will keep it to themselves, so it is up to us to step up for them.

"Much Ado About Nothing" in a Night

Is it possible for a teacher to assign the William Shakespeare play, "Much Ado About Nothing" for an evening's homework, and not think it too much.

We think... absolutely!

The Adam Smith Academy is proud to announce the AudioText posting of "Much Ado About Nothing," where students can read the five act story, while listening to a live recording of a version of the play.

Click here to view.

Additionally, at the end of the 5th act, we have created links to the Kenneth Branagh filmed version of the play. Which, surprisingly and delightfully is a fairly accurate portrayal of the original. So, students can read, listen and, finally, watch Shakespeare in an evening without fear of assigning too much.

Because after all, it's entertainment! Just as Shakespeare intended.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chpts. 11-20 -- "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte

Chapters 11-20 of "Jane Eyre," by Charlotte Bronte, are now up at the Adam Smith Academy, in our "No Excuses Education" format. Students can now read, listen and watch a Jane Eyre mini-series to enhance and improve comprehension of the story.

To start Jane Eyre, please click here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte - 1st 10 Chapters AudioText

In our quest to continuing to give teachers and parents better resources for students, we are adding to our online AudioText novels.

The latest novel that we are in the process of adding is Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre." Students can read the eText, listen to the audio narration and click on any word to get its definition. Additionally, students can watch the mini-series movie, "Jane Eyre," to reinforce comprehension of the book. (The first mini-series segment can be found at the end of Chapter 2.)

All students learn in different ways. Our "No Excuses Education" approach covers every facet: reading the words, listening to the audio and visually watching the story.

We would love to get feedback from English teachers out there to see if they find this approach helpful in increasing student comprehension and interest in classic literature.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey" -- AudioText & Movie

The Adam Smith Academy is extremely proud to have completed Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey" AudioText (a combination of the novel's eText and Audio narration all on the same page) with links to the Movie. Additionally, students can click on any word within the text of the novel and get its definition.

So, now students will have no excuses for not reading and understanding the novel. We like to call it, the "No Excuses Education".

No longer can students give teachers or their parents the excuse that they could not read or understand the novel. With the combination of audio, etext, clickable definitions, and even an accompanying movie, students cannot say they didn't have time or couldn't understand what was going on. With the audio for each chapter available, students need only to sit back and listen. Chapters range from around 6 minutes in audio to no more than 20.

So, parents and teachers can assign a couple of chapters, and know it couldn't take them longer than 30-40 minutes to complete them. Not only that, but with the way the AudioText is structured, students can enjoy watching the movie to reinforce comprehension at the end of certain sections.

Click here to begin reading, listening and watching Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey."