The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

Back to School Now?

As we get very close to the time when public schools will open again, I can’t stop being concerned about the health of students and teachers. What I hear every day is that a dangerous virus is still active all over the country with some states in much worse shape than others.

Because the danger of having people close together is still strong in this country, there are things we shouldn’t do in many places. For example, we older people who live at the “Watermark” in Philadelphia were told that although we are now able to leave our apartments, we still can’t get together in groups for meals or any other large events inside our building. So now big food tables in the main dining room will seat just two people. It certainly looks like dining won’t be the good time it was before the virus arrived. Actually, it won’t be normal anywhere else in the building for a while.

When I found out that some of our states had announced that they will open their schools this fall, I was amazed and wondered how they planned to do it safely. Even if the classrooms have fewer students, the virus will still be there with them. And even if students are sitting farther apart and wearing masks, they will still be moving around the classroom, sharing books, papers, or pencils and also touching each other’s hands and bodies.

I also doubt that face masks will stay on anyone for a whole school day. If a student need’s to speak to a partner while working. it be may very difficult. So he will end up pushing his mask aside. On top of that problem it will be even harder for anyone to understand the teacher. Frankly, I don’t see how the speech needed for teaching and learning will be safe in today’s schools if anyone still caries the virus.

Instead of having students go back to school now I think it would be better for them to learn at home while their teachers work with them over the internet. Until the virus is well under control it would be much safer for students, teachers, administrators, custodians, bus drivers, aides and everyone else involved in education–and their families–, if teaching continue remotely. until the virus is gone. Yes,teaching that way will be more difficult than it is in the classroom. It will be harder for students to see what is important, and impossible for teachers to know who is watching and listening. But the health and safety of everyone involved warrants this trade-off.

When I first heard that some states claimed they could safely provide a good learning environment for everyone in our schools, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. If I’m wrong please try to persuade me to change my view. If you are right and our children really can go back to school safely, I will be the happiest person in the world.

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How Should Schools Operate Today?

Believe it or not it’s has ben a hard time for me because I have written abougt education for a long time after teaching in schools of three states. In adition, when, where and how schools shood now be operating is not yet clear to me at all. I have ben reading pieces abought this years plans for schools in different states, but none of them have ben helpful

Although I’ve ben reading articles abought the processes of school openongs this year, what’s ben written so far dosen’t include information abought the danger of disease when students are close together with others who may still be infected . None of the officials managing large publik schools appear to recognize the continuing danger of spreading the virus to everybody who is close for any length of time.

With plans for preparing children for school are so close we should also be planning for school safety. Don’t begin by buying new clothes and shoes for your children. Instead get them ready for newly structured schools, different school owers and the safest school behavior. I thinkt t many of our cities will try to provide good eduction in there regular school processes while others will tell parents to keep there children at home for at least the first few months. All ouwers parents decisions will depend on local health conditions and the beliefs allready developed in there cumunity.

I suspect that decisions and there results will be different in all states, just as they are now. But I say, play it safe. Having your children learn at home with locally created teaching methods is probably a difficult choice for parents, but the best one for their children.

Finally, here are my suggestions for children’s education in the new coming times. Because students current hellth conditions are different from place to place, you will have to decide which ones are the safest and smartist in your area. In my opion because college students are older and behave differently than younger students, they should have there lessons sent to there homes by televison instead of being inside schools. They are better able to sit stil, pay attention to teachers, and to teachers speaking loudly in fron’t of large screens.

With those conditions available students should be able to ask questions of teachers and respond to there answers by telephone. Although I would like to be more specific now I think that high schools in different places will operate in various ways. But all of them can teach well from a distance when there students are already learning that way. The only things I would sugest for this new teaching method would be powerful screens and clear questions, answers, and discussions from students. I’m sorry not be more specific right know but our colleges and schools are differently organized. Student’s should mail in there homework and teacers coou;d return it corrected in the same way.

As for younger students we need to provide skhool that are close to there homes with small, widespead classrooms, and only healthy students who are checked for ther health regularly by school officells.

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A Message to My Readers

A few weeks ago I realized that my computer, which I have been using for a long time, has now changed its formats. But I was very annoyed about the change because the first format had been hard enough for me, and I wasn’t ready to struggle with a new one. Already, I couldn’t remember some days where I had left my keys. But what was always much worse for me was forgetting how to spell words or how to operate my computer. In addition when I am writing some times I often forget the words I have just written and then repeat them on the same page.

Fortunately, the producers of my machine updated their product a few weeks ago, and the new one is much better than the old one. Now I  see messages I never saw before because I wasn’t smart enough to understnd instructions. And all the written messages I see now are easy to understand. They provide information I couldn’t find before or that I didn’t even know existed. My only recent problem was trying to sign in on my cumputer correctly everyday. I kept getting responses that told me I had written the wrong name and would have to correct it in order to use the machine. So I would try again and again, still be unsuccessful and ready to scream.  But finally I received from my son a properly presented version of my name that I can just tap and the machine opens it imediently.  

Now I see all the comments sent to me by my readers that I missed before, and I would love to respond to all of them . But since it is still likely that I will receive more old messages for me to answer, and many of them will no longer be relevant, I will skip them this time and hope you understand. But in the future I promise to do a much better job of responding to everyone who contacts me with questions or comments, and at very least I will say thanks to anyone who sends me praise.


Our American Reading History

In order to explain the development of reading from the beginning of time to the present and how we should teach reading today, I will try to describe the world-wide history of language as accurately as I can.

According to what has ben reported by researchers, ancient human beings began to communicate by making oral sounds and carving stone shapes that represented their thoughts, experiences, and needs. Over time, however, sounds and stone carvings became not good enough to communicate accurately with other people, so they used their mental and physical abilities instead. They began by turning grunts into howls, then howls into precise sound forms, that are now known as “words.“  

 As the world grew larger and more complicated many human beings, now called “people”, began to do whatever was necessary to merge with others of different backgrounds or behaviors. At first, their languages were scrambled, and not understandable; but when some people moved to large, healthier areas they improved their speech considerably. However, language differences today still cause problems for anybody moving into a foreign country. 

Today, life may still be complicated for some Americans citizensbecause written English still contains words created in other countries with letter sounds that don’t match our speech. Although competent readers are able to ignore strange word spellings, many young children just learning to read, become confused by letters that don’t seem to fit words.  As a result, their reading confidence may become weaker than before.

Although phonics lovers claim that sounding out words is the way to teach reading, they ignore the fact that much time and effort may be needed by young children, and also that there is a much easier way to learn reading. They reject the fact that healthy Americans–old and young– recognize people, objects, and places where they live or visit immediately.  For example, normally developing young children imminently recognize their parents among family members, the foods they like to eat, their own shoes, and as they grow up, there best friends, school classrooms, their teachers, and their favorite books.

Early reading abilities are not difficult for healthy young children whose parents read to them regularly. But even those children who have not ben read to at home can learn to read quickly and easily at school if they have good teachers. When children see at school pictures of words along with there spelling, hear teachers read regularly to them, or get to sing songs while seeing them written, there reading comes quickly. Seeing, hearing, speaking, or even singing regularly becomes a part of there lives, much easier than reading and more pleasant than reading taught by phonics. If you can’t believe all I’ve said here, just try teaching a child to read first by phonics and then by word sight familiarity. Just see which way works better for children or even adults. Just for fun, ask a child or an adult to read the words below and see how they do it.

“Where”, “knot”, “plough,” “character”, “enough”, “cough”, “knight”, “gnome”, “knew”, “who”, “wreath”, “origin”.

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How to Save our Country

Although I understand why many Americans don’t wear masks when swimming or walking outside where there are no people, it’s hard for me to figure out why others go to restaurants or other crowded places without them. By now, I think all adults are well aware of the risks for themselves and everyone else when they are among theam. But it looks like manyof them don’t care or are quite stupid.  It is not just there own health that is at issue, but that of everyone they come in contact with, including friends and family members.

Today, all of us in our country are in danger because of the virus and the possible result of serious illnesses or death. So, isn’t that a good reason why adults who don’t wear a mask when they go out should receive a citations just like anyone else who has misbehaved publicly? That’s what happens now when a person acting illegally can be stopped by a police officer, fined, or even arrested.

So I’m proposing today that anyone outside in public without a mask, should be considered a criminal, and punished for his crime.  I think someone who threatens the health of others must payfor it. I thinkt that the amount of money could be small  and still persuade a person not waring a mask in public not to do it again.

What I’ve suggested is that all our states should take the one step that would protect all of us.  Ultimately, that action, or any similar one, may be the only way to save our country from a complete destruction.


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