Eric Clapton – Bio

Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time.[2] Clapton ranked fourth in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”[3] and fourth in Gibson’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.[4]
In the mid sixties, Clapton left the Yardbirds to play blues with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. In his one-year stay with Mayall, Clapton gained the nickname “Slowhand”, and graffiti in London declared “Clapton is God.” Immediately after leaving Mayall, Clapton formed with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce, the power trio, Cream, in which Clapton played sustained blues improvisations and “arty, blues-based psychedelic pop.” For most of the seventies, Clapton’s output bore the influence of the mellow style of J.J. Cale and the reggae of Bob Marley. His version of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” helped gain reggae a mass market.[5] Two of his most popular recordings were “Layla”, recorded by Derek and the Dominos, and Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads”, recorded by Cream. A recipient of seventeen Grammy Awards,[6] in 2004 Clapton was awarded a CBE for services to music.[7] In 1998 Clapton, a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict, founded the Crossroads Centre on Antigua, a medical facility for recovering substance abusers.[8]
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Good old plumbing

Some home owners forget all about their plumbing until it is too late and then they end up showing up to work with messy hair and soggy tennis shoes. To avoid ended up in a situation such as this then be sure to maintain your plumbing. There are a number of things you need to know to properly maintain your plumbing such as where your shutoff valves are located. This is the most important thing you should know. This will prevent your house from being flooded if a leak or break happens to occur. Always turn off your valve incase of a leak or break in your pipes.
You’ll also want to know where you water meter is. A water meter is normally located near the curb of your sidewalk. Sometimes a water meter may be covered by mulch or glass. You may have to remove a cover to actually see your water meter. After finding your water meter, look and determine what type of tool you will need to turn off your water at the meter. You’ll usually need some type of wrench to shut off the valve. It is a good idea to try and find a plumber in advance. You really never know when something is going to go wrong with your plumbing and you really never know how bad it is going to be so it is a good idea to plan ahead and be prepared.
Sometimes you will not need to hire a plumber to perform repairs on your plumbing. Some tasks are simply enough to be completed by your average Joe. It is a good idea to begin experimenting and learning some basic maintenance tasks such as learning how to disassemble a faucet or replace a broken washer. You may also want to learn how to replace PVC fittings. Learning how to do the basics will save you a lot of money in the long run because you won’t have to hire a plumber to come out and fix the simplest plumbing problems. Always keep a close eye on your water bill. If there happens to be a major increase in your bill then you might want to start checking for leaks.
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15-year-old Penn Manor wins science award

Benjamin Clark, a 15-year-old Penn Manor High School student, was selected Monday as the winner of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation’s highest science honor for high school students.
A senior at Penn Manor, Benjamin won the $100,000 grand prize in the individual category for astrophysics research that sheds new light on how stars are born.
The 12th annual awards were presented Monday morning at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
For his project, “The Close Binary Fraction: A Bayesian Analysis of SDSS M Dwarf Spectra,” Benjamin used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to look for systems with two M stars — also known as red dwarfs — orbiting each other and demonstrated that they make up 3 percent of the M dwarf star population.
“This is currently one of the big questions in astrophysics. The fact that we now know how stars are formed helps with the several theories out there,” Benjamin said in a phone interview Monday afternoon.
“The projects presented were all high-quality stuff, and I really thought that any of the students could have won. But of course it’s fantastic to be chosen as the winner,” he said.
The youngest of the competitors, Benjamin was one of 20 national finalists to present and defend research before a panel of university judges.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be the first person to figure out something we knew nothing about, to be able to answer an unsolved problem,” Benjamin said.
His mentor was Cullen Blake from the department of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University.
“Cullen Blake gave me suggestions. Then he would sit back and let me work on the project myself. That was really important because it allowed me to deal with the challenges that come up during the research process,” Benjamin said.
His mother Jill Clark, said, “This is absolutely very unexpected, but it reflects the quality of work Ben does.
“Math and physics come naturally to him for some reason, and we are excited to see him use it towards research and general knowledge.
Penn Manor math teacher Angela Stiklaitis said that nothing about Benjamin surprises her anymore.
“Ben is self-motivated and driven to succeed. The course work he is taking right now is equivalent to sophomore and junior year in college,” she said, adding, “I’ve been teaching for 32 years, and he truly is a once-in-a-career student.”
Benjamin is a National Merit semifinalist, Model United Nations head delegate and a member of the National Honor Society. He also is active in the Boy Scouts of America.
He plans to major in physics or astrophysics.
Read more: http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/321699#ixzz17Pncxec7

Benjamin Clark, a 15-year-old Penn Manor High School student, was selected Monday as the winner of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation’s highest science honor for high school students.A senior at Penn Manor, Benjamin won the $100,000 grand prize in the individual category for astrophysics research that sheds new light on how stars are born.The 12th annual awards were presented Monday morning at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.For his project, “The Close Binary Fraction: A Bayesian Analysis of SDSS M Dwarf Spectra,” Benjamin used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to look for systems with two M stars — also known as red dwarfs — orbiting each other and demonstrated that they make up 3 percent of the M dwarf star population.”This is currently one of the big questions in astrophysics. The fact that we now know how stars are formed helps with the several theories out there,” Benjamin said in a phone interview Monday afternoon.”The projects presented were all high-quality stuff, and I really thought that any of the students could have won. But of course it’s fantastic to be chosen as the winner,” he said.The youngest of the competitors, Benjamin was one of 20 national finalists to present and defend research before a panel of university judges.”It’s an amazing feeling to be the first person to figure out something we knew nothing about, to be able to answer an unsolved problem,” Benjamin said.His mentor was Cullen Blake from the department of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University.”Cullen Blake gave me suggestions. Then he would sit back and let me work on the project myself. That was really important because it allowed me to deal with the challenges that come up during the research process,” Benjamin said.His mother Jill Clark, said, “This is absolutely very unexpected, but it reflects the quality of work Ben does.”Math and physics come naturally to him for some reason, and we are excited to see him use it towards research and general knowledge.Penn Manor math teacher Angela Stiklaitis said that nothing about Benjamin surprises her anymore.”Ben is self-motivated and driven to succeed. The course work he is taking right now is equivalent to sophomore and junior year in college,” she said, adding, “I’ve been teaching for 32 years, and he truly is a once-in-a-career student.”Benjamin is a National Merit semifinalist, Model United Nations head delegate and a member of the National Honor Society. He also is active in the Boy Scouts of America.He plans to major in physics or astrophysics.

Read more: http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/321699#ixzz17Pncxec7

Canada slipping in math

Canadian students continue to slip in international rankings of math, science and reading skills, but the country can boast of an education system that lessens differences of social class and gaps between immigrant and native-born students.
Canada sat tenth among 70 countries in math skills in 2009, down from seventh place three years earlier, according to the largest international survey of its kind.
The country ranked eighth in science scores, down from third in 2006, and sixth in reading skills, sliding from fourth place three years earlier.
“The 2009 performance of Canada is a little bit disappointing,” said Bernard Hugonnier, deputy-director of education with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “At the same time, you are still much above the OECD average.”
The rankings were released Tuesday, the latest from OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
Now in its fourth round, PISA is conducted every three years, assessing 15-year-olds to see how well students nearing the end of secondary school are prepared for the modern world. The latest report surveyed more than half-a-million students — including 22,000 Canadian students — from 70 countries that together represent nearly 90% of the global economy.
Five of the top 10 countries overall are Asian, Mr. Hugonnier said, including Shanghai-China, Singapore and Korea.
“It means there is something going on in Asia concerning education, and it’s because the value they attach to education is much greater in those countries,” he said.
In reading skills, girls outperformed boys in every participating country by the equivalent of half a grade on average. Boys outperform girls in math by a narrower gap, and on science by a negligible margin, the report finds. Girls and boys are about equally represented among the top-performing students.
Canada has seen a 10-point decline in reading scores over the past decade, a five-point drop in math scores since 2003 and a five-point decline in science scores since 2006, though Mr. Hugonnier said the latter two changes are too small to be considered statistically significant. (The report provides different time frames for comparison because the three subject assessments were introduced at different times.)
Each round of PISA reports focuses on a different subject and the latest takes an in-depth look at reading skills.
There’s no need for Canada to fret about its overall standings, Mr. Hugonnier said, but it’s worth noting what’s happening at each end of the reading spectrum.
The proportion of Canadian students with inadequate reading skills “to participate actively and productively in life” sits at 10.3%, up from 9.6% a decade ago, while the proportion of “top performers” has fallen from 16.8% to 12.8% over the same period. “You have more students with major difficulties; you have less students performing very well,” Mr. Hugonnier said.
Still, Canadian students remain well ahead of their counterparts in the United States, which ranked 17th, 23rd and 31st, respectively, in reading, science and math.
“We are living in a knowledge society, and a knowledge society means the best production factor is human capital, and human capital means education — and education means you have to check what your competitors are doing,” Mr. Hugonnier said.
“If your competitor is investing massively in education, like the case in Asian countries, they are increasing their competitiveness for tomorrow, so it’s very important for you to know where you stand.”
Canada is also ahead of the pack in mitigating differences between native-born students and those with an immigrant background, with the OECD average showing an 18-point difference and Canada’s just seven points, making the country second behind only Israel.
Across OECD member countries, an average of 14%of student achievement can be attributed to socioeconomic status, but in Canada that variation is just 8.6% based on reading scores, putting Canada in fourth place.
“You are facing a difficult situation because you are a vast country with scattered settlements and you have a lot of migrants — one of the highest percentages in your population — and yet you are doing very well,” Mr. Hugonnier said.
“You have a lot of migrants not speaking English, and yet the difference in performance of natives and immigrants is quite small, so you are doing extremely well in terms of equity.”
Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/Canada+slipping+math+science+reading+skills/3937286/story.html#ixzz17PnEyMcp

Canadian students continue to slip in international rankings of math, science and reading skills, but the country can boast of an education system that lessens differences of social class and gaps between immigrant and native-born students.
Canada sat tenth among 70 countries in math skills in 2009, down from seventh place three years earlier, according to the largest international survey of its kind.
The country ranked eighth in science scores, down from third in 2006, and sixth in reading skills, sliding from fourth place three years earlier.
“The 2009 performance of Canada is a little bit disappointing,” said Bernard Hugonnier, deputy-director of education with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “At the same time, you are still much above the OECD average.”
The rankings were released Tuesday, the latest from OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
Now in its fourth round, PISA is conducted every three years, assessing 15-year-olds to see how well students nearing the end of secondary school are prepared for the modern world. The latest report surveyed more than half-a-million students — including 22,000 Canadian students — from 70 countries that together represent nearly 90% of the global economy.
Five of the top 10 countries overall are Asian, Mr. Hugonnier said, including Shanghai-China, Singapore and Korea.
“It means there is something going on in Asia concerning education, and it’s because the value they attach to education is much greater in those countries,” he said.
In reading skills, girls outperformed boys in every participating country by the equivalent of half a grade on average. Boys outperform girls in math by a narrower gap, and on science by a negligible margin, the report finds. Girls and boys are about equally represented among the top-performing students.
Canada has seen a 10-point decline in reading scores over the past decade, a five-point drop in math scores since 2003 and a five-point decline in science scores since 2006, though Mr. Hugonnier said the latter two changes are too small to be considered statistically significant. (The report provides different time frames for comparison because the three subject assessments were introduced at different times.)
Each round of PISA reports focuses on a different subject and the latest takes an in-depth look at reading skills.
There’s no need for Canada to fret about its overall standings, Mr. Hugonnier said, but it’s worth noting what’s happening at each end of the reading spectrum.
The proportion of Canadian students with inadequate reading skills “to participate actively and productively in life” sits at 10.3%, up from 9.6% a decade ago, while the proportion of “top performers” has fallen from 16.8% to 12.8% over the same period. “You have more students with major difficulties; you have less students performing very well,” Mr. Hugonnier said.
Still, Canadian students remain well ahead of their counterparts in the United States, which ranked 17th, 23rd and 31st, respectively, in reading, science and math.
“We are living in a knowledge society, and a knowledge society means the best production factor is human capital, and human capital means education — and education means you have to check what your competitors are doing,” Mr. Hugonnier said.
“If your competitor is investing massively in education, like the case in Asian countries, they are increasing their competitiveness for tomorrow, so it’s very important for you to know where you stand.”
Canada is also ahead of the pack in mitigating differences between native-born students and those with an immigrant background, with the OECD average showing an 18-point difference and Canada’s just seven points, making the country second behind only Israel.
Across OECD member countries, an average of 14%of student achievement can be attributed to socioeconomic status, but in Canada that variation is just 8.6% based on reading scores, putting Canada in fourth place.
“You are facing a difficult situation because you are a vast country with scattered settlements and you have a lot of migrants — one of the highest percentages in your population — and yet you are doing very well,” Mr. Hugonnier said.
“You have a lot of migrants not speaking English, and yet the difference in performance of natives and immigrants is quite small, so you are doing extremely well in terms of equity.”

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/Canada+slipping+math+science+reading+skills/3937286/story.html#ixzz17PnEyMcp

Eau Claire man saw many winged creatures in Ecuador

Paul Blanchard, a retired UW-Eau Claire mathematics professor, has a keen interest in observing and photographing birds of all kinds, but hummingbirds have a special place in his heart.
What’s not to like about them, he said.
They are pretty — many with iridescent colors that rival the flowers that provide them with food.
They are remarkable  flyers, with wing beats of 50 to 70 beats per second. “They are able to fly forward, backward, up, down and around. They have fantastic courtship flights. They can do things that no other birds can do.”
Blanchard, 77, said he’s not the only one with a soft spot for humming birds — consider all the hummingbird feeders filled with sweetened water that people hang out.
“The only one we have here is the ruby-throated, but everybody puts their feeders out,” he said.
The ruby-throated hummingbird is an exception — a versatile bird that wanders far to the North.
Most hummingbirds are homebodies. “There are hummers that are reliant on one plant species. They don’t wander far from their habitat. They can be endangered for that reason, because of the loss of habitat.”
Biologists just discovered a new hummingbird four years ago in the cloud forest of Columbia — the gorgeted puffball, named for its bright blue and green throat and white, fluffy legs. Unfortunately, Blanchard notes, the limited forest area where it lives is in danger of being cleared by drug traffickers to plant cocoa for cocaine.
Columbia would be an excellent place for bird-watchers because of its diverse bird life — they have 1,721 known bird species — the most of any country in the New World. It may have more species that have never been described. But with drug wars and crime it’s not a tourism-friendly place.
Last spring, Blanchard visited nearby Ecuador, which is more friendly and also has lots of birds. Ecuador, the size of Colorado, has 1,559 bird species — the greatest number, per square mile, of any country. For comparison, the U.S. has 768 species and Canada has 578.
Of the 1,559 birds in Ecuador, 135 are hummingbirds. After a three-week stay at lodges at three different altitudes, Blanchard had photographed 30 of them, along with a host of colorful tanangers and other birds.
Blanchard’s interest in cameras predates his interest in birds. In 1955, as a student at UW-Eau Claire, he took a photography class from Gil Tanner which got him interested. He later settled on birds as favorite subjects.
Bird watching by altitude
On his trip to Ecuador he flew into Quito, the capital city which sits 10,000 feet above sea level. He stayed at three private lodges at different altitudes, starting with some high-altitude bird-watching at a lodge near Quito.
Blanchard next dropped down to 5,000 feet to a lodge in the “cloud forest,” where, as the name implies, it is often misty or cloudy. A major portion of the precipitation comes from mist condensing on vegetation, then dripping to the ground.
It took a half mile hike up mountain switchbacks to reach that place, but it had the greatest array of hummingbirds he has ever encountered.
The organizers of the bird-watching circuit, which they call the “Magic Bird Circuit,” were worried about whether Blanchard could make the climb when they saw his age, but he told them he hikes every day.
His last week was at 2,000 feet a in rain forest, where, as you might expect, it rained a lot. It made bird-watching
a challenge. “The amount of rain at 2,000 feet was pretty much unbelievable,” he said.
The rain forest was a better place to hear birds than to see them. The trails through the dense vegetation were pretty much “green tunnels,” where all you could see was a wall of green, Blanchard said.
He did see and photograph one of his favorite birds of the trip at 2,000 feet —the white-whiskered hermit. It was a hummingbird, of course.

Paul Blanchard, a retired UW-Eau Claire mathematics professor, has a keen interest in observing and photographing birds of all kinds, but hummingbirds have a special place in his heart.
What’s not to like about them, he said.They are pretty — many with iridescent colors that rival the flowers that provide them with food.They are remarkable  flyers, with wing beats of 50 to 70 beats per second. “They are able to fly forward, backward, up, down and around.

They have fantastic courtship flights. They can do things that no other birds can do.”Blanchard, 77, said he’s not the only one with a soft spot for humming birds — consider all the hummingbird feeders filled with sweetened water that people hang out.”The only one we have here is the ruby-throated, but everybody puts their feeders out,” he said.The ruby-throated hummingbird is an exception — a versatile bird that wanders far to the North.
Most hummingbirds are homebodies. “There are hummers that are reliant on one plant species.

They don’t wander far from their habitat. They can be endangered for that reason, because of the loss of habitat.”Biologists just discovered a new hummingbird four years ago in the cloud forest of Columbia — the gorgeted puffball, named for its bright blue and green throat and white, fluffy legs. Unfortunately, Blanchard notes, the limited forest area where it lives is in danger of being cleared by drug traffickers to plant cocoa for cocaine.Columbia would be an excellent place for bird-watchers because of its diverse bird life — they have 1,721 known bird species — the most of any country in the New World. It may have more species that have never been described. But with drug wars and crime it’s not a tourism-friendly place.
Last spring, Blanchard visited nearby Ecuador, which is more friendly and also has lots of birds. Ecuador, the size of Colorado, has 1,559 bird species — the greatest number, per square mile, of any country. For comparison, the U.S. has 768 species and Canada has 578.
Of the 1,559 birds in Ecuador, 135 are hummingbirds. After a three-week stay at lodges at three different altitudes, Blanchard had photographed 30 of them, along with a host of colorful tanangers and other birds.
Blanchard’s interest in cameras predates his interest in birds. In 1955, as a student at UW-Eau Claire, he took a photography class from Gil Tanner which got him interested. He later settled on birds as favorite subjects.
Bird watching by altitudeOn his trip to Ecuador he flew into Quito, the capital city which sits 10,000 feet above sea level. He stayed at three private lodges at different altitudes, starting with some high-altitude bird-watching at a lodge near Quito.
Blanchard next dropped down to 5,000 feet to a lodge in the “cloud forest,” where, as the name implies, it is often misty or cloudy. A major portion of the precipitation comes from mist condensing on vegetation, then dripping to the ground.
It took a half mile hike up mountain switchbacks to reach that place, but it had the greatest array of hummingbirds he has ever encountered.
The organizers of the bird-watching circuit, which they call the “Magic Bird Circuit,” were worried about whether Blanchard could make the climb when they saw his age, but he told them he hikes every day.
His last week was at 2,000 feet a in rain forest, where, as you might expect, it rained a lot. It made bird-watching a challenge. “The amount of rain at 2,000 feet was pretty much unbelievable,” he said.The rain forest was a better place to hear birds than to see them. The trails through the dense vegetation were pretty much “green tunnels,” where all you could see was a wall of green, Blanchard said.
He did see and photograph one of his favorite birds of the trip at 2,000 feet —the white-whiskered hermit. It was a hummingbird, of course.

Sanchez teaches old school mathematics

For Elliot Sanchez, college students became fifth graders for five minutes.
Sanchez, Loyola A’08, gave a lesson on the Pythagorean theorem.
A2 + B2 = C2. If students know the lengths of two sides of a triangle, they can use this method to find the third length he explained.
Sanchez was not just giving a math lesson to these 5th graders; this was his final interview for Teach for America.
According to Laura Vinsant, recruitment director for the Gulf Coast region, Teach For America’s mission is to eliminate educational inequity that limits children living in low-income communities. She said across the United States, there are 15.5 million children living in poverty and only one in 10 of them will ever graduate from a university like Loyola.
The final interview requires applicants to give a sample lesson. It could be on any subject, any topic, to any grade level from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Applicants not only presented to their judges, but also to the other half dozen applicants.
Sanchez chose his lesson because of a feeling he got when he was a fifth grader.
When his fifth grade teacher taught his class the Pythagorean theorem, he had a “Eureka!” moment. He understood what the concept meant and how to apply it. He said it was a profound moment in the shaping of his education.
At the time, pretending brought comfort to him. “I had to pretend the other applicants were fifth graders instead of college students judging me,” Sanchez said.
Eventually, he found the real thing to be more stressful.
Teach For America enlists the country’s top college graduates to teach for two years in one of their 39 regions across the United States. Vinsant said that last year, two 2010 Loyola graduates entered into the program to begin teaching in the 2010-2011 academic year. In 2009, six graduates began teaching in the 2009-2010 academic year, making Teach for America the largest employer of Loyola graduates, and six also began teaching in 2008 for the 2008-2009 academic year. Their national acceptance rate is about 12 percent.
In 2008, Sanchez was one of those six. He received an e-mail saying he was chosen to be a teacher. Later, he received a box in the mail. Inside were 14 books, about 250 pages each, of pre-reading.
“I went from being excited to realizing the work has just begun,” Sanchez said.
His inspiration for teaching began during his freshman year at Loyola. The university’s First Year Common Reading Program had students read a book the summer before their freshman year. The common reading for his class was “Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools” by Jonathan Kozol. It is about the inconsistencies throughout the country between school districts in more prosperous suburban areas and in urban areas. Students were able to listen to him give a presentation on his book.
The experience inspired Sanchez to tutor in the area. He was involved in programs like Young Aspirations Young Artists and Renaissance Reader, both as an undergraduate. He said people could tell the advantage students in private schools had over those in public school, even within a few blocks of Loyola.
Teach for America became an option after Sanchez found out about it through a friend.
“It seemed like a natural way to continue the work I started and make it a primary focus, considering the huge need from students in the community,” Sanchez said.
At first, Sanchez said he was submitting resumes and essays. After the initial application, some applicants receive an e-mail, inviting them to a phone interview. The final interview comes next, after receiving another invitation.
Sanchez spent five weeks training at Southwest Elementary School in Phoenix, Ariz. From about 7 a.m. to noon, he took teaching courses and from noon to 3:30 or 4 p.m., he taught a summer school class.
On his first day, Sanchez said he got up at 5 a.m., went over lesson plans and rehearsed lines in his head. It was exciting for him to get in front of the class. He stopped thinking about it, and began teaching.
“By the end of the first lesson, it was a blur, but I was incredibly excited to have spent my first day as a real teacher.”
The real challenges, however, started at the end of the first week. His students’ test scores were abysmal; they were at about the same level as they were at the beginning of week. He said he knew it was his fault they had not improved.
Sanchez said training in the morning was a full course load, especially while having a full-time job as a teacher. In addition, he and his colleagues spent each night lesson planning for the five subjects they taught. The 14 to 15 hour days made him feel constantly overwhelmed. He said he felt like he snuck into something he was not qualified for. But, he said, that feeling is a normal part of the process.
By the end of the five weeks, he said students showed that they mastered what they were learning, even though he was still learning, too.
“It was the first time I had students of my own. I got to know their personalities.” Sanchez said. He said that took education inequity from being abstract to personal. “Seeing them made me want to work harder.”
Sanchez continued the program, teaching for one year at Booker T. Washington Transitional School in New Orleans and at KIPP: Endeavor Academy in Kansas City, Mo. for the next. His experience led him to his current position—Turnaround Policy Analyst for the Louisiana Department of Education. He is also a Louisiana Education Reform Fellow.

For Elliot Sanchez, college students became fifth graders for five minutes.Sanchez, Loyola A’08, gave a lesson on the Pythagorean theorem.A2 + B2 = C2. If students know the lengths of two sides of a triangle, they can use this method to find the third length he explained.Sanchez was not just giving a math lesson to these 5th graders; this was his final interview for Teach for America.

According to Laura Vinsant, recruitment director for the Gulf Coast region, Teach For America’s mission is to eliminate educational inequity that limits children living in low-income communities. She said across the United States, there are 15.5 million children living in poverty and only one in 10 of them will ever graduate from a university like Loyola.The final interview requires applicants to give a sample lesson. It could be on any subject, any topic, to any grade level from kindergarten through 12th grade.Applicants not only presented to their judges, but also to the other half dozen applicants.Sanchez chose his lesson because of a feeling he got when he was a fifth grader.

When his fifth grade teacher taught his class the Pythagorean theorem, he had a “Eureka!” moment. He understood what the concept meant and how to apply it. He said it was a profound moment in the shaping of his education.At the time, pretending brought comfort to him. “I had to pretend the other applicants were fifth graders instead of college students judging me,” Sanchez said.Eventually, he found the real thing to be more stressful.Teach For America enlists the country’s top college graduates to teach for two years in one of their 39 regions across the United States. Vinsant said that last year, two 2010 Loyola graduates entered into the program to begin teaching in the 2010-2011 academic year. In 2009, six graduates began teaching in the 2009-2010 academic year, making Teach for America the largest employer of Loyola graduates, and six also began teaching in 2008 for the 2008-2009 academic year. Their national acceptance rate is about 12 percent.In 2008, Sanchez was one of those six. He received an e-mail saying he was chosen to be a teacher.

Later, he received a box in the mail. Inside were 14 books, about 250 pages each, of pre-reading.”I went from being excited to realizing the work has just begun,” Sanchez said.His inspiration for teaching began during his freshman year at Loyola. The university’s First Year Common Reading Program had students read a book the summer before their freshman year. The common reading for his class was “Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools” by Jonathan Kozol. It is about the inconsistencies throughout the country between school districts in more prosperous suburban areas and in urban areas. Students were able to listen to him give a presentation on his book.

The experience inspired Sanchez to tutor in the area. He was involved in programs like Young Aspirations Young Artists and Renaissance Reader, both as an undergraduate. He said people could tell the advantage students in private schools had over those in public school, even within a few blocks of Loyola.Teach for America became an option after Sanchez found out about it through a friend.”It seemed like a natural way to continue the work I started and make it a primary focus, considering the huge need from students in the community,” Sanchez said.At first, Sanchez said he was submitting resumes and essays.

After the initial application, some applicants receive an e-mail, inviting them to a phone interview. The final interview comes next, after receiving another invitation.Sanchez spent five weeks training at Southwest Elementary School in Phoenix, Ariz. From about 7 a.m. to noon, he took teaching courses and from noon to 3:30 or 4 p.m., he taught a summer school class.On his first day, Sanchez said he got up at 5 a.m., went over lesson plans and rehearsed lines in his head. It was exciting for him to get in front of the class. He stopped thinking about it, and began teaching.”By the end of the first lesson, it was a blur, but I was incredibly excited to have spent my first day as a real teacher.”The real challenges, however, started at the end of the first week. His students’ test scores were abysmal; they were at about the same level as they were at the beginning of week. He said he knew it was his fault they had not improved.

Sanchez said training in the morning was a full course load, especially while having a full-time job as a teacher. In addition, he and his colleagues spent each night lesson planning for the five subjects they taught. The 14 to 15 hour days made him feel constantly overwhelmed. He said he felt like he snuck into something he was not qualified for. But, he said, that feeling is a normal part of the process.By the end of the five weeks, he said students showed that they mastered what they were learning, even though he was still learning, too.”It was the first time I had students of my own. I got to know their personalities.” Sanchez said.

He said that took education inequity from being abstract to personal. “Seeing them made me want to work harder.”Sanchez continued the program, teaching for one year at Booker T. Washington Transitional School in New Orleans and at KIPP: Endeavor Academy in Kansas City, Mo. for the next. His experience led him to his current position—Turnaround Policy Analyst for the Louisiana Department of Education. He is also a Louisiana Education Reform Fellow.

More here

Gazebos

When you are thinking of putting an outdoor gazebo in your yard, you will have to consider the size and design of the gazebo. You can go with something that is pretty low-key and does not draw attention to itself, or you can put something in that can be seen from all over the neighborhood and looks more like an eyesore than it does a gazebo.
You can go with one that is elegantly designed, taking hundreds of hours for an individual to craft by hand, or you can go with some generic gazebo that is pumped out of a factory at the speed of two a minute.

How Much?

This ties in with how elaborate you want to go with the gazebo. If you buy the gazebo that is mass produced, the price will be much lower than if you buy a gazebo that is handmade by an expert in gazebo design.
It also depends on how large the gazebo is. If you buy a gazebo that can fit 20 people into it, then you are going to probably pay thousands of dollars more than you would buying a gazebo that fits three people into it.

Where to Put It?

The choice of where to put your gazebo falls into three choices, each with its own benefits. You can put it in your front yard, backyard, or in your garden. If you put it in the front yard, you will be able to show it off to everyone in your neighborhood. However, it will then be a target for vandals. However, if you put it in your backyard, people will not vandalize it, but they will only see it if you take them to your backyard.
If you put it in your garden, you have the same situation as the backyard scenario, with the added benefit of having your garden accent a beautiful garden, while serving a place to enjoy a good book while you are surrounded by vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Outdoor Gazebo Colors?

Outdoor gazebos come in a wide variety of colors that can be put together in a variety of ways, however if you are going to put the outdoor gazebo in your yard, then you need to choose Earth-tone colors that will accentuate the feeling of being out in nature. If your gazebo is red or black, then your neighbours are going to start thinking that you are holding sacrifices there or something, so pick your color with care.

fire pits for winter nights

A fire pit kit comes with instructions or directions that will make the assembly process very simple if you follow the steps. If you have a spouse like a lot of us do who seem to think that instructions are not very important then the assembly process will be more difficult. These type of people tend to make the assembly process longer, maybe even loose some of the parts, or even give up and take the fire pit kit right back to the store where they purchased it. This article will help you make the right decision on purchasing the perfect gas fire pit kit for you and your family.
There are lots of gas fire pit kits that you can choose from. They come in a variety of sizes, designs and styles, and colors. There are lots of ways to browse the fire pit kits that are out on the market today. You can visit your local home and hearth store, home and garden store, internet, or your local book store can offer you a wide variety of magazines or books with lots of photos of different gas fire pit kits. Be sure to keep in mind the location that you plan to put your fire pit because that may be the determining factor of the size and shape of the fire pit that you must purchase.
When purchasing a gas fire pit kit you will definitely make sure that the kit comes with a weather resistant custom gas burner or non-rust burner. This is so important because you don’t want to have to replace the burner annually. They can be quiet expensive. Since your gas fire pit will be exposed to all types of weather it could become damaged very easily. When planning a celebration always preplan your meal and always check the fire pit to ensure that it will be working properly for the special day. This will save you the grief of having to change your meal or change the method of cooking your meal.

WPI is a Partner in National Center for Cognition

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) today announced that it is a partner in the National Center for Cognition and Mathematics Instruction (NCCMI), established recently with a $10 million award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. The virtual center will apply the latest cognitive science principles to redesign a widely used middle school mathematics curriculum called the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) and conduct rigorous research to determine how the modifications impact student learning. This is the first and only center of its kind in the nation.
As a partner, WPI will receive $500,000 over five years to use ASSISTments, an intelligent tutoring system developed at the university, to study how best to space out practice opportunities and feedback to maximize student learning. Neil T. Heffernan, associate professor of computer science at WPI and principal investigator for WPI’s portion of the grant, will work with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Temple University, and the University of Illinois. WestEd, a national nonprofit research, development, and service agency headquartered in San Francisco, is the lead institution on the new center, which brings together experts in cognition, instruction, assessment, research design and measurement, mathematics education, and teacher professional development from the aforementioned institutions, as well as the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Pearson, and Apple Computer Inc.
“The federal government has identified the improvement of STEM education at the K-12 level as a critical area of investment because the nation’s economic future will only prosper if we have a well-educated and literate work force in those critical areas,” said Massachusetts Representative James P. McGovern.”It is reassuring to know that WPI has built a smarter educational tool for the purposes of improving math and science teaching. The ASSISTments program packages the knowledge and expertise of cognitive scientists in order to help teachers more effectively assess and instruct their students, thereby allowing the technology to become a lever for our students.”
Heffernan’s research will focus on CMP materials that are currently being used nationwide in grades 6 to 8. Studies have demonstrated that this period, which corresponds to the transition from arithmetic to algebra, is when many students begin to fall behind in mathematics.” ASSISTments, the web-based tutoring system being used in the research, was developed over the past decade by a research team headed by Heffernan. The system, which is being used in 25 school districts across New England, can simultaneously help students master mathematical concepts and assess their progress toward learning outcomes. Using ASSISTments, Heffernan’s research team has already conducted pilot studies that demonstrated that learning can increase if students get immediate feedback from the software while they work, and that the system is able to assess how well students are learning and provide additional practice for those who seem to need it.
“I look forward to working as part of this new national center to try to see how best to apply cognitive science principles that suggest that it is important to space out learning opportunities for students,” said Heffernan. “With ASSISTments, we have a tool that allows us to conduct such studies while at the same time providing students feedback as they work. Laboratory studies have shown that frequent practice is important to ensuring long-term retention. Our goal is to figure out how to apply such principles in real classrooms to raise student achievement.”
About the National Center for Cognition and Mathematics Instruction
Led by WestEd, a national nonprofit research, development, and service agency headquartered in San Francisco, NCCMI is applying research on cognition to systematically revise an existing curriculum for grades 6 to 8; creating, testing, revising, and disseminating guidelines and exemplars for the design or revision of research-based mathematics curricula; conducting supplementary research to inform practice in the area of mathematics curriculum, instruction and assessment; establishing a diverse community of users to learn from and apply the center’s research; providing national leadership for the use of knowledge related to cognition and the application of research-based design principles for mathematics curriculum and instruction; and disseminating products, models, research tools, and other results through publication, presentations and technical assistance.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) today announced that it is a partner in the National Center for Cognition and Mathematics Instruction (NCCMI), established recently with a $10 million award from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. The virtual center will apply the latest cognitive science principles to redesign a widely used middle school mathematics curriculum called the Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) and conduct rigorous research to determine how the modifications impact student learning. This is the first and only center of its kind in the nation.
As a partner, WPI will receive $500,000 over five years to use ASSISTments, an intelligent tutoring system developed at the university, to study how best to space out practice opportunities and feedback to maximize student learning. Neil T. Heffernan, associate professor of computer science at WPI and principal investigator for WPI’s portion of the grant, will work with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Temple University, and the University of Illinois. WestEd, a national nonprofit research, development, and service agency headquartered in San Francisco, is the lead institution on the new center, which brings together experts in cognition, instruction, assessment, research design and measurement, mathematics education, and teacher professional development from the aforementioned institutions, as well as the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Pearson, and Apple Computer Inc.
“The federal government has identified the improvement of STEM education at the K-12 level as a critical area of investment because the nation’s economic future will only prosper if we have a well-educated and literate work force in those critical areas,” said Massachusetts Representative James P. McGovern.”It is reassuring to know that WPI has built a smarter educational tool for the purposes of improving math and science teaching. The ASSISTments program packages the knowledge and expertise of cognitive scientists in order to help teachers more effectively assess and instruct their students, thereby allowing the technology to become a lever for our students.”
Heffernan’s research will focus on CMP materials that are currently being used nationwide in grades 6 to 8. Studies have demonstrated that this period, which corresponds to the transition from arithmetic to algebra, is when many students begin to fall behind in mathematics.” ASSISTments, the web-based tutoring system being used in the research, was developed over the past decade by a research team headed by Heffernan. The system, which is being used in 25 school districts across New England, can simultaneously help students master mathematical concepts and assess their progress toward learning outcomes. Using ASSISTments, Heffernan’s research team has already conducted pilot studies that demonstrated that learning can increase if students get immediate feedback from the software while they work, and that the system is able to assess how well students are learning and provide additional practice for those who seem to need it.
“I look forward to working as part of this new national center to try to see how best to apply cognitive science principles that suggest that it is important to space out learning opportunities for students,” said Heffernan. “With ASSISTments, we have a tool that allows us to conduct such studies while at the same time providing students feedback as they work. Laboratory studies have shown that frequent practice is important to ensuring long-term retention. Our goal is to figure out how to apply such principles in real classrooms to raise student achievement.”
About the National Center for Cognition and Mathematics Instruction
Led by WestEd, a national nonprofit research, development, and service agency headquartered in San Francisco, NCCMI is applying research on cognition to systematically revise an existing curriculum for grades 6 to 8; creating, testing, revising, and disseminating guidelines and exemplars for the design or revision of research-based mathematics curricula; conducting supplementary research to inform practice in the area of mathematics curriculum, instruction and assessment; establishing a diverse community of users to learn from and apply the center’s research; providing national leadership for the use of knowledge related to cognition and the application of research-based design principles for mathematics curriculum and instruction; and disseminating products, models, research tools, and other results through publication, presentations and technical assistance.

EQAO to Release Ontario Student Results

EQAO to Release Ontario Student Results from International Reading, Mathematics and Science Assessment
TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ – At 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) will release an analysis of Ontario student achievement on the 2009 administration of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
PISA is an international program initiated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and undertaken every three years to assess the achievement of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics and science.
A total of 65 countries participated in the 2009 administration of PISA. In Canada, about 22 000 15-year-old students from 10 provinces participated, of whom 4083 were from Ontario.

EQAO to Release Ontario Student Results from International Reading, Mathematics and Science Assessment
TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ – At 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) will release an analysis of Ontario student achievement on the 2009 administration of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
PISA is an international program initiated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and undertaken every three years to assess the achievement of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics and science.
A total of 65 countries participated in the 2009 administration of PISA. In Canada, about 22 000 15-year-old students from 10 provinces participated, of whom 4083 were from Ontario.