Friday, August 25, 2006

New opportunities

Like a bear emerging from a long, restful hybernation, JIS Topics finally leaves its cozy cave and faces the sunlight of a new school year. Has it really been more than two months since our last posting? Oh well, I guess it's true what they say about good intentions....

Hope everyone in the JIS community had a fun, energizing school holiday. Despite some educators' warnings about the dangers of "summer slide" (apologies to all Southern Hemispherians), I'm one of those rebels who really believes in the rejuvenating effects of an extended break -- for students AND teachers and parents.

But now it's back to the proverbial grindstone. There's stuff to learn, new friends to make -- and I'm not just talking about the kids! So much opportunity. So much potential. So much work!

Speaking of work, if you're like us, homework is already in full swing. It's never too early to start building a strong quiver of resources to support our students at home. Here's an article from yesterday's Los Angeles Times at lists a bucket-load of links to excellent educational resource sites. You might have to register to view the entire article, but it's free and relatively painless. You'll find links on everything from archeology to world facts. Some of the links require cutting and pasting, but save them in a "Homework Helpers" folder you create under Internet Favorites, and your kids will thank you.

Other sites that are well-loved favorites at the van Tilburg house include:
  • -- an amazing website with searchable databases on great books, poetry, quotations, and writing resources.
  • Wikipedia -- a community-created encyclopedia resource available in many languages.
  • Math Fact Cafe -- requires a little work to figure it out, but you can create your own flash cards and math-fact worksheets. Geared toward elementary kids...but great for review for everyone!
  • MIT's Writing Center -- It may be known for its engineering and math programs, but MIT has a fantastic online resource for writers. Information on the writing process, strategies, and ESL make this site a gem.
  • OWL Writing Lab -- Purdue University's website on writing and grammar is the gold-standard. Lots of practice worksheets and plain-English explanations of grammar issues from dangling modifiers to comma splices.
  • Grammar Bytes -- Take a bite out of grammar issues with this fun, easy to use website.
  • Harvard University's "Close Reading" site -- great advice on how to get the most out of reading tough texts. These people aren't smart for nothin'.
  • Study Skills Center at NTHS -- shameless plug for my old employer. Hands down the best general site on the planet for general study resources and subject-specific links. Just ignore the corny graphics!
Have you bumped into other good resources on the internet? Let us know -- we're compiling a list that hopefully we'll be able to post on its own page soon.


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