American Educator: Fall 2004

  • Notebook

    Funding for Mathematics and Science Projects

    Math and Science

    Are you a K–12 math or science teacher with great ideas—but no funding—to improve your lessons? The Toshiba America Foundation would like to help with small grants for teacher-designed projects. Grantees must have specific, realistic, and measurable student-learning...

  • Struggling to Keep Imagination Alive

    In 1979, as the Islamic revolution swept Iran, Azar Nafisi returned to her home in Iran to teach literature at the prestigious University of Tehran. She had just earned a doctorate from Oklahoma University and was excited to share her love of literature, Eastern and Western, with fellow Iranians...

  • Preventing Early Reading Failure

    Would you go to a doctor who did not believe in blood tests or regular mammograms? Or a dentist who had not heard of floss? Of course not. We expect healthcare providers to keep up on new research not only in treating diseases, but in preventing them. We expect to get regular checkups to assess...

  • Avoiding the Devastating Downward Spiral

    The Evidence That Early Intervention Prevents Reading Failure Joseph K. Torgesen

    Children who are destined to be poor readers in fourth grade almost invariably have difficulties in kindergarten and first grade with critical phonological skills: their knowledge of letter names, their phonemic awareness (ability to hear, distinguish, and blend individual sounds), their ability...

  • Waiting Rarely Works: "Late Boomers" Usually Just Wilt

    For thirty years, up until about a decade ago, the idea of "late bloomers" was widely believed among researchers and educators alike. "Late bloomer" was the endearing term for a child who was slower than his peers in learning to read. The idea, so well captured in the term, was that these...

  • Early Screening Is at the Heart of Prevention

  • Best Bets: Core Reading Programs and Interventions

    A strong, core reading curriculum is essential for all students. As explained in the main article, all students benefit from direct instruction in key areas such as the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness and decoding, vocabulary and general knowledge development, reading comprehension,...

  • Practicing Prevention

    How One School District Helps Students Avoid Reading Failure Catherine Paglin

    Brandon is a busy and capable kindergartner. One morning before Christmas, he kept right up with his classmates at Clear Lake Elementary as he counted the 67 days of school he's attended so far, recited a poem about the five little Santas, and made a construction-paper wreath. When his work was...

  • Women's Rights—Not Just for Westerners

    Azar Nafisi

    I went back to my country in 1979 after I finished my studies. Actually, two days after I finished my dissertation at Oklahoma University, I was on the plane back to Iran. For almost two decades after I left Iran at the age of 13, I imagined what home would be. I imagined that as a woman and a...

  • Fantastic Journey

    How Scientists Figured Out the Shape and Size of the Earth—Written for Kids Joy Hakim

    There is something I want to be sure you understand before you finish this article. It's this: Science is not about certainty; it's about uncertainty. Does that sound weird? Well, it's true. Science is all about trying ideas, discarding those that don't work, and building on those that do. It...

  • How Did Eratosthenes Come So Close?

    Joy Hakim

    Syene, near modern Aswân, Egypt, is close to the tropic of Cancer (23.5° N). At that line of latitude, at noon on the summer solstice (June 20 or 21), the Sun is directly overhead. Stand there and you'll have no shadow. Alexandria is farther north, so there the noon Sun is not quite overhead on...

  • A Serendipitous Step Backward

    Joy Hakim

    Claudius Ptolemy (TOL-uh-mee) was known as the world's greatest astronomer, geographer, and mathematician. In the second century c.e., everyone in the Alexandrian world believed that. There would be a long interlude when Ptolemy was forgotten, but then he would bounce back stronger than ever....

  • The Story of Science: A Writer's Reasons

    Joy Hakim

    "The sight of stars always sets me dreaming," Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo. Somehow it consoles me to think of that tormented painter finding repose by looking heavenward. So, in a notebook I keep (don't all writers have them?), I put Vincent's words about stargazing right next to...