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The older methods of math instruction work so much better and shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that this study happened.

New math equals trouble, education expert says

The answer is simple: old math is greater than new math, according to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

The study, titled Math Instruction that Makes Sense, "demonstrates conclusively that traditional math education methods are superior to the highly ineffective, discovery-based instructional techniques that are in vogue now in educational curricula," said a news release from the public policy think tank.
On CBC Radio

Saskatchewan's The Morning Edition talks about new math and old math.

The centre suggests that to improve math instruction “schools must place a much stronger emphasis on mastering basic math skills and standard algorithms. Math curriculum guides must require the learning of standard algorithms, and textbooks must contain clear, systematic instructions as to their use.”

Frontier's education research fellow Michael Zwaagstra said discovery-based instructional techniques are not of much use when students move on to college or university programs.
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy says kids should get back to the basics in math.The Frontier Centre for Public Policy says kids should get back to the basics in math. CBC

The study focused on the four Western provinces.

Zwaagstra is quoted as saying that these ineffective, yet commonly used techniques are leaving a whole generation of high school students unprepared for many of their academic or vocational programs.

"In order for students to receive a strong grounding in math, they need to spend more time practising math skills such as basic addition and subtraction along with the standard multiplication tables," Zwaagstra said.

The methods these days, reported CBC's Geoff Leo, include moving to experimental approaches and moving to using blocks, charts, graphs “and even experimentation where they come up with their own math.”

Leo said he spoke with a math professor who said students don't know how to do long division. He said some parents are resorting to hiring tutors to help their kids with the current program.

Zwaagstra said in the report that first-year post-secondary students "are increasingly unprepared for university-level mathematics, and this has led to a proliferation of remedial math courses at universities across Canada."
Not every child learns the same: Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, which has been introducing new math curriculum and textbooks since 2006, said it's good to use a variety of approaches in teaching math because not every child learns in the same way.

"Within our curriculum, direct instruction has its place and so does discovery and problem solving," said Simone Gareau, the ministry's executive director of student achievement and supports.

She cautioned against thinking that the old-fashioned way of multiplying numbers is always the best approach.

"If you do the old-fashioned algorithm, 32 x 48, where students have to carry over and put in a zero to hold the spot ... students can learn to do that by rote, but it doesn't necessarily mean they understand," she said.

"What we're aiming for is that deep understanding. Once they have that in place, they can move to the traditional algorithm if that's a strategy that works for them."
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Calgary family negotiates homework ban
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | 5:48 PM MT

A Calgary family concerned about their children's homework load has signed a contract with their school to eliminate the problem altogether.

Tom and Shelli Milley have signed a formal "no homework" contract with their children's school.

"With two children in school there was just an inordinate amount of homework coming home and a lot of it was busy work," said Tom Milley.

The family has signed what is called a differentiated homework plan with their children's Catholic school. Their daughter, Brittany, and son, Spencer — now in grades five and seven — won't have to bring work home. Instead, they'll be marked only on work they do in the classroom.

The homework load kept his children from improving their weak areas, said Milley. He also questioned the value of the homework.

"The way they do grades is by marking certain assignments and homework," he said. "If you're going to mark homework, whose work are you actually marking? Because if you send it home, you don't know who's doing it. It could be their older brothers or sisters or their parents."
Children still study at home

When Milley's children return home from school, they still study for tests and practice what they have learned in the classroom, but they concentrate on the subjects in which they're weak, he said.

More than 40 per cent of nine-year-olds in Alberta schools bring homework home every day, according to Statistics Canada.

The decision to sign a differentiated homework plan is up to each school, which tries to support the needs of the student, said Tania Younker, a spokeswoman for Calgary's Catholic School District.

"It's certainly something we encourage them to discuss with their teacher and their school administrator," Younker said. "Depending on circumstance, we will ensure what is being done is in the best interests of the child."

Vera Goodman, a retired teacher in Calgary, has written a book about too much homework. She expects the idea will catch on with other parents.

"I know there's people who like homework and people who don't want to do it," Goodman said. "And this gives people choice to do whatever they want with their own time."
'Not just busy work'

This deal between the Milley family and their school is unique, said Jenny Regal, who is local president with the Alberta Teachers' Association.

"I've never seen anything quite like this before," she said. "I know that conversations between parents, teachers and students have gone on regarding homework for years, as all three participants in this process try to make sense of what is good for each child."

Sometimes, homework has to be sent home because teachers can't fit the curriculum into a school day, she said. But Regal sees value in homework.

"It's not just busy work," she said. "Sometimes, the best way to get a child to practice a concept may look like busy work to some.

"You need that repetition to make sure … the child [does] get it. That's when conversations can occur: … clearly, they have demonstrated they know it; what's next?"

The Calgary Catholic School District has a committee examining the value of homework and will introduce new regulations next fall.
CBC News

There's just so many problems with this story and after my recent post, even more so. This guy even suggets the thing that we teachers see all the time ""If you're going to mark homework, whose work are you actually marking?" meaning that parents do the work instead of the student. How does that ever help the kid?

One of the biggest problems we have now is that students suffer from severe apathy at times and this will only make things worse. I already have situations where sudents only want to study for a test the night before and if they have something planned that night, won't study at all and expect me to move the quiz or test. This idea is just messed up and will not prepare students for anything after high school. Yes, this article is referring to elementary school. But parents and students often have a habit of expecting high schools to do the same.

The local president of the teacher's association put it best as to why homework exists: ""You need that repetition to make sure .... the child [does] get it. That's when conversations can occur: ... clearly, they have demonstrated they know it; what's next?"".
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A teacher introduced me to a book last year (she's done this before and I introduced her to others) and it took some time for me to get to reading it and I did that last month. I loved it so much, I went and purchased the entire series of books and just finished the last one today. It's the Black Jewels series of books by Anne Bishop. Loved it so much that it's probably my second favorite series of books. I know I've heard that a lot of people don't like them, but they really connected with me and I loved all the main characters. Can't wait for the next book to come out next year!

Um, wow?

Aug. 21st, 2009 12:34 am
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The American courts have been odd and very suspect at times. Too many judgments come down that are so laughable to the rest of us. It also makes me very nervous that situations like this are permissible and considered a viable ways of doing things. How can one ever trust their courts to do the right things when stuff like this happens?

US woman who sued Cuba wins $21M, says father was shot, captured on 1963 covert mission

BELFAST, Maine - A woman who alleged that Cuban officials caused the wrongful death of her father while on a covert mission in 1963 has won a $21 million default judgment against the island nation, but her prospects of collecting may be a long shot.

Sherry Sullivan is the daughter of Geoffrey Sullivan, a former member of the U.S. Air Force and Army National Guard who became a certified commercial pilot. She believes he was shot down over Cuba, imprisoned and probably executed by the Cuban government.

Also named as defendants were former President Fidel Castro, President Raul Castro and the Cuban army. They were dismissed by Waldo County Superior Court Justice Jefrey Hjelm because it could not be determined whether they received the court documents.

The Swiss Embassy in Havana served a copy of the suit to the Cuba Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2008. Cuba never responded, leading Hjelm to issue his default judgment on Aug. 10.

Sullivan said the money is less important to her than information about her father.

"I never, never once asked for money," she told the Bangor Daily News. "I was in court asking for information, either from this government or the Cuban government, and I just can't get it done."

Daniel G. Partan, a professor of international law at Boston University School of Law, said prospects of Sullivan collecting the $21 million are "very iffy." Partan, who had not seen the case, said that in general, the law doesn't require damages in cases where a foreign national engages in unlawful behaviour in a country.

Sullivan's lawsuit, filed in May 2007, says her father and a second man "participated in various anti-Castro covert operations in Central America and Cuba" between 1960 until they disappeared around Oct. 1, 1963. The suit says those activities may have included sabotage and subversion. It cites evidence that Sullivan was imprisoned after being shot down during a covert mission in Cuba.
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I've always thought the idea was flawed in some ways and this shows what I've been thinking of

Local food no green panacea: professor )
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Happy Birthday [ profile] belladonna! Hope you're having fun today in some way! Even if that can be hard to do on a Monday....I'm confident you can find a way!
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U.S. bank robber nabs $3K, leaves wallet behind
Published: Friday, May 8, 2009 | 2:34 PM ET

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Police didn't have to dust for fingerprints to find this suspect - they just rifled through the wallet he left behind at the scene.

Albert Vincent Perkins is charged with robbing First Federal Bank in Kansas City on Thursday.

Police say he walked into the bank, handed the teller a plastic bag and ordered her to give him all of the $100 bills.

Then he walked out of the bank - but left his wallet sitting on the counter.

The U.S. attorney's office says the teller and a customer in the bank identified the photo on the driver's licence and another photo in the wallet as the robber.

Perkins was arrested Thursday night. Police say he took about $3,100.

Oh, yay

Apr. 25th, 2009 07:52 am
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That didn't take long....McCain supports the idea that the 9/11 attackers came from Canada. Why must Americans view Canada as the bad guy? Why must we be their reason for their troubles? Why must we be at fault for things we have nothing to do with?

And people wonder why I can't stand the American government? Even the new administration is pulling this crap.


Apr. 22nd, 2009 05:51 am
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Seems even with the change in the US government, it still believes that the 9/11 terrorists came through/from Canada. Once again, we get blamed for the mistakes the US government made. With this happening again and again, is it any wonder why so many regular Americans believe this crap?
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Quebec dad sued by daughter after grounding loses his appeal
Father's lawyer says they may take case to Canada's Supreme Court

A Quebec father who was taken to court by his 12-year-old daughter after he grounded her in June 2008 has lost his appeal.

Quebec Superior Court rejected the Gatineau father's appeal of a lower court ruling that said his punishment was too severe for the wrongs he said his daughter committed.

The father is "flabbergasted," his lawyer Kim Beaudoin told CBC News.

In its ruling, issued Monday, the province's court of appeal declared the girl was caught up in a "very rare" set of circumstances, and her father didn't have sufficient grounds to contest the court's earlier decision.

The family's legal wrangling started with a dispute over the girl's internet use.

She had been living with her father after her parents split up when he grounded her in 2008 for defying his order to stay off the internet. The father caught her chatting on websites he had blocked, and alleged his daughter was posting "inappropriate pictures" of herself online.

Her punishment: she was banned from her Grade 6 graduation trip to Quebec City in June 2008, for which her mother had already granted permission.

The father — who had custody — withheld his written permission for the trip, prompting the school to refuse to let the girl go with her classmates.

That's when the girl asked for help from the lawyer who represented her in her parents' separation, and petitioned the court to intervene in her case.

"Going to court was a last resort," said Lucie Fortin, a legal aid attorney who represented the girl. "The question was that there was a problem between the father and the mother, and the child asked the court to intervene because it was important to her.

"The trip was very important to her."
Legal battle destroyed father-daughter relationship

A lower court ruled in the girl's favour in 2008. She went on the trip, but her father appealed the decision on the principle of the matter.

He doesn't have regrets, his lawyer said.

"Either way, he doesn't have authority over this child anymore. She sued him because she doesn't respect his rules," Beaudoin said. "It's very hard to raise a child who is the boss."

The girl — who now lives with her mother — doesn't have much of a relationship with her dad now, Beaudoin said.

"We went from a child who wanted to live with her father, and after all this has been done, they're not speaking anymore."

"We have a lot of work to re-establish a link between those two."

Beaudoin believes the ruling reflects a loss of moral authority in Quebec's court system.

"Is this what we want in our society? Laws are supposed to reflect our values. And if the courts aren't reflecting that, maybe the government will, to prevent children from going this way," she said Tuesday, adding her client may take the case to Canada's Supreme Court.

In its Monday ruling, the appeal court warned the case should not be seen as an open invitation for children to take legal action every time they're grounded.
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Vatican backs excommunication of Brazilian MDs over child's abortion

A Vatican cleric is defending a Brazilian archbishop's decision to excommunicate several doctors who performed an abortion last week on a nine-year-old girl who became pregnant with twins after alleged sexual abuse by her step-father.

"It is a sad case, but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated,'' Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re told the Italian daily La Stampa.

"Life must always be protected. The attack on the Brazilian church is unjustified," Re was quoted as saying. He also heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

The controversy erupted when media reported that a nine-year-old girl from the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco had had an abortion to remove twin fetuses. The girl and her family learned she was 15 weeks pregnant when she went to hospital complaining of pains.

The girl, who has not been identified, told authorities her step-father had sexually abused her since age six. The 23-year-old step-father is currently in police custody.

Doctors performed the abortion Wednesday, saying they feared the pregnancy could kill her because of her slim frame.

Upon learning of the abortion, the regional archbishop excommunicated the doctors, as well as the girl's mother. He did not excommunicate the step-father, saying the crime he is alleged to have committed, although deplorable, was not as bad as ending a fetus's life.

"The law of God is higher than any human laws," Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho said in an interview on Globo television. "When a human law is against the law of God, that law has no value."

Abortion is illegal in Brazil, which has more Catholics than any other country. However, it can be carried out before the 20th week of pregnancy if the mother's life is deemed in danger or if the baby was conceived through rape.

The controversy has continued up the government and religious hierarchy, with Brazil's president and his ministers coming out in support of the girl.

On Friday, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva denounced the church's strict interpretation of the law.

"The doctors did what had to be done: save the life of a girl of nine years old," Lula told news outlets.

That, in turn, brought out counter-condemnations from the Vatican.

"Excommunication for those who carried out the abortion is just," Cardinal Re said.
With files from the Associated Press


Jan. 1st, 2009 10:46 pm
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89-year-old Cincinnati woman arrested for keeping football sues neighbours
Published: Thursday, January 1, 2009 | 6:37 PM ET
Canadian Press NewsItem/NewsComponent/NewsLines/ByLine

BLUE ASH, Ohio - An 89-year-old Cincinnati-area woman arrested for confiscating the neighbour kid's football is now suing the boy's parents.

Edna Jester filed a lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court claiming she has suffered emotional distress because footballs and other playthings belonging to her next-door neighbours keep landing in her yard.

In October, Jester refused to return a football, was taken to the Blue Ash police station and charged with petty theft.

The prosecutor later dropped the case.

The lawsuit against parents Paul and Kelly Tanis seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Kelly Tanis calls the suit "very silly" but says she and her husband also worry because they have five children and can't afford a lawyer.
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer,

Riiiight, suing them is silly, but charging her with petty theft isn't.
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'King of the Hill' to be dethroned, series to end

Fox TV is cancelling its long-running animated comedy King of the Hill, now in its 13th year.

The network said Friday the final episodes of the half-hour series will air during the 2009-2010 season.

The series chronicles the life of Hank Hill of Texas and his family and friends. The Hills are a blue-collar, suburban family consisting of Hank and his wife, Peggy, a substitute teacher, their overweight son, Bobby, and their niece, Luanne.

The main character is voiced by the series' co-creator and executive producer Mike Judge. Others in the cast include Brittany Murphy and Kathy Najimy.

Judge, with Greg Daniels, conceived the series after Judge's successful run of his earlier animated series, Beavis and Butt-head, on MTV.

King of the Hill became an instant hit in January 1997. It has won two Emmy Awards and was named one of the top TV shows of all time by Time magazine in 2007.

The show has a long list of famous guest voices, including Tom Petty, Johnny Depp, Heather Locklear, Willie Nelson, Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep.
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Michigan woman limits her treats to McCain supporters only
Published: Saturday, November 1, 2008 | 5:12 PM ET

GROSSE POINTE FARMS, Mich. - A suburban Detroit woman decided to scare up the vote among neighbourhood children by just offering treats to John McCain supporters.

Shirley Nagel of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, handed out candy Friday only to those who shared her support for the Republican presidential candidate and his running mate, Sarah Palin.

Others were turned away empty-handed.

TV station WJBK says a sign outside Nagel's house warned: No handouts for Obama supporters, liars, tricksters or kids of supporters.

Nagel calls Democrat Barack Obama scary. When asked about children who were turned away empty-handed and crying, she said simply: Everybody has a choice.

Fax and phone messages left at numbers for Nagel were not returned.
© The Canadian Press, 2008
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Fans of heavy metal music are gentle, creative people who are at ease with themselves, which makes them very similar to fans of classical music.

That's the finding of a new study at Scotland's Heriot-Watt University of the link between peoples' personalities and their choice of music.

Adrian North, the professor behind the study, said he was surprised at the similarities between fans of classical music and heavy metal, especially their creativity and generally shy natures.

"The general public has held a stereotype of heavy metal fans being suicidally depressed and of being a danger to themselves and society in general. But they are quite delicate things," he said in an interview with the BBC.

North suggests that music lovers tend to identify with the characteristics of the music itself.

"We think, what we think the answer is, that both types of music, classical and heavy metal, both have something of the spiritual about them — they're very dramatic — a lot happens."

The study of more than 36,000 people from six different countries found that people had more in common with fans of their favourite music in other countries than they had with fellow citizens who preferred different styles of music.

North describes it as a new kind of tribalism, based on musical taste.

"We have always suspected a link between music taste and personality," North said.

"This is the first time that we've been able to look at it in real detail. No one has ever done this on this scale before."

Jazz fans tend to be creative and outgoing, with high self-esteem, in keeping with the innovative and sociable nature of the music.

Country western fans were found to be hard-working, but introverted, fitting with the blue-collar image of country music.

The research concluded soul music lovers are a well-rounded bunch — creative, outgoing, gentle, at ease with themselves and with high self-esteem.

Rap fans are outgoing and far from gentle, while indie music lovers lack both self-esteem and the work ethic.

"Researchers have been showing for decades that fans of rock and rap are rebellious, and that fans of opera are wealthy and well-educated," North said.

He also made a link between income bracket and musical tastes, with more affluent consumers liking more exciting, punchy music while those lower down the pay scale preferring more relaxing sounds.

North said his research might have applications in commercial marketing of music.

I wonder if it might work the other way for people who have a wide range of musical tastes. Like myself, I'm a fan of most of that music listed but only really dislike one. So maybe I have several of those attributes but not the one for the music I dislike? Anyway, fun study.
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I'm way too amused by this. It's called the Large Hadron Rap that was posted on Youtube. All the science is real and just fun to listen/watch.
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I haven't been a fan of PETA....they do stupid things and make stupid statements. I've been reading up on some news articles I missed while on my trip and found this story about PETA that just makes me angry. They tried to take advantage of a shocking and horrible murder and use it to promote their cause and then the family of the vicitm was shown the video that PETA put together which is absolutely disgusting. PETA manipulates the truth and tried to use this horrible act as a comparison? PETA needs to be shut down and it's members deserve some punishement even though I'm sure they haven't broken any laws.

The article is behind the cut if you want to see it.

PETA ad compares Greyhound bus attack to slaughtering animals )
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For the first time, an influential U.S. doctors group is recommending that some children as young as eight be given cholesterol-fighting drugs to ward off future heart problems.

It is the strongest guidance ever given on the issue by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which released its new guidelines Monday. The academy also recommends low-fat milk for one-year-olds and wider cholesterol testing.

Dr. Stephen Daniels, of the academy's nutrition committee, says the new advice is based on mounting evidence showing that damage leading to heart disease, the nation's leading killer, begins early in life.

It also stems from recent research showing that cholesterol-fighting drugs are generally safe for children, Daniels said.

Several of these drugs are approved for use in children and data shows that increasing numbers are using them. "If we are more aggressive about this in childhood, I think we can have an impact on what happens later in life … and avoid some of these heart attacks and strokes in adulthood," Daniels said.

He has worked as a consultant to Abbott Laboratories and Merck & Co., but not on matters involving their cholesterol drugs.

Drugs would target obesity, high blood pressure
Drug treatment would generally be targeted for kids at least eight years old who have too much LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, along with other risky conditions, including obesity and high blood pressure.

For overweight children with too little HDL, the "good" cholesterol, the first course of action should be weight loss, more physical activity and nutritional counselling, the academy says.

Pediatricians should routinely check the cholesterol of children with a family history of inherited cholesterol disease or with parents or grandparents who developed heart disease at an early age, the recommendations say. Screening also is advised for kids whose family history isn't known and those who are overweight, obese or have other heart disease risk factors.

Screening is recommended sometime after age two, but no later than age 10, at routine checkups.

The academy's earlier advice said cholesterol drugs should only be considered in children older than 10 after they fail to lose weight. Its previous cholesterol screening recommendations were less specific and did not include targeted ages for beginning testing.

Because obesity is a risk factor for heart disease and often is accompanied by cholesterol problems, the academy recommendations say low-fat milk is appropriate for one-year-olds "for whom obesity is a concern."

Daniels, a pediatrician in the Denver area, agreed that could include virtually all children. But he said doctors may choose to offer the new milk advice only to one-year-olds who are already overweight or have a family history of heart problems.

The academy has long recommended against reduced-fat milk for children up to age two because saturated fats are needed for brain development.

"But now we have the obesity epidemic and people are thinking maybe this isn't such a good idea," said Dr. Frank Greer of the University of Wisconsin, co-author of the guidelines report, which appears in the July edition of Pediatrics, the group's medical journal.

Very young children are increasingly getting fats from sources other than milk, and Greer said the updated advice is based on recent research showing no harm from reduced-fat milk in these youngsters.

© The Canadian Press, 2008

Um, wow. 8 year olds?
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