The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

What Are Our schools Like Today?

Clearly, performing well on tests is a good way to demonstrate your learning. But there are many other kinds of schoolwork that would do the same things just as well with more pleasure. Students could demonstrate them by writing, speaking, building, painting, acting, singing or even having a fit. But what schools should also be doing is to bring new kinds of work and play into their buildings and promote them

In all schools there are many other kinds of performance beside tests for students to demonstrate their learning, and they may very well be more beneficial. So why don’t our schools test them and see their results? School activities such as singing, dancing, painting, and building are rare after kindergarten even though each of them offers new learning and and lasting benefits. Or they could even create a pattern of school events such a parade in costume for a holiday, a school sing around, or dancing show, or a month of creating poetry. Of course such events would be of different xxx for different grades and e spread over the school year. and they would neither detract from ordinary teaching and learnings or be expensive.

Unfortunately such activities would are now discouraged. Why? Because today’s experts believe they are either too difficult or worthless for students to learn. But as an experienced teacher and principal I believe there many types of worthy learning that could be taught initially and expanded in all schools..

If I were a student today I would think our schools were just places for punishment; only one dull, irrelevant task after another, followed by tests. Is that the best we can give them? If so, we should close all schools and start over again. Why not, all we are doing now is waisting time, spending public money foolishly, and damaging the natural abilities of our children.


Poems Written by Young children

Quite a while ago I posted pieces written by students in grades K through 3 to demonstrate the competence of young children who were learning to write without being taught the rules of English grammar.  What they did was to write there own ideas based on pieces of adult writing they had studied. Unfortunately however, some readers assumed that those students were just copying material they had read and not learned anything about writing.

Today I hope to erase that assumption by offering pieces of writing by  fifth grade students from a school in Oregon where I was principal. Here you can see what they wrote, and I hope you will recognize that it represents the thinking and language of heathy and hard working fifth graders.



Sniffing the spring air

A pika scans for danger

Before venturing on

A Solitary ram

Awaits the coming darkness

Standing strong and tall

Prayer of the Eagle


I appreciate the keen sight you gave me,

And the wings that let me soar high above the clouds.

Will you please keep my nest safe from man and his machines?

And make salmon spawn in great numbers

Also, if you would, God, please wipe out

DDT from the face of the earth.


I wonder

Do books read themselves?

Maybe when the lights are out

And so am I.

The Great Depression

Every one for himself.

No jobs available

Poverty stricken towns

Low pay. No pay

A sore spot in history

Hand me Downs

But It’s not my style

I don’t like the color.

And it doesn’t go with my shoes

Mom, I don’t like it

Do I have to wear it?

Why always hand me downs?

Can’t I ever get something new?

I don’t want to wear Lisa’s old dress

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Still Singing Songs

Yesterday many of you responded to the song I posted, even though I was no longer able to spell its words correctly. (One of my current problems is forgetting how to spell in English or any other language, and I think there is no cure for it.) If you have any suggestions for me to improve my spelling let me know. In the meantime I will just remove words that I can no longer spell correctly and write easier ones .

Today I want to respond to someone who contacted me yesterday. It was Don Bellairs, who sent me the correct spelling of the song I had included. He also sent his picture and sang the song in Spanish. From his picture I could tell that he has a good memory and still looks young and healthy. Now I will sing that song in English, but not as well as he did.

When I remember the times in the past

That you and I were together

It know it’s impossible my dear one

For us to live separately ever


A Spanish Song Spelled Wrong

Can anyone sing the song below ? If you can do that I will praise you publicly! If no one is able to read my misspelled Spanish words, I will repeat them in English tomorrow .






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The Language of Love

Today’s song was written and sent to me by Don Bellairs, a friend that I would like to see again someday. I have repeated the chorus because that is what he did.

I have learned some secrets from the angels
I have been privy to the innermost discussions of some Holy Ghosts
Most of my minor deities divulge their dark desires to me
For I have learned the language of love

In the gossip of the galaxies are universal truths
That are whispered by the Lion to the Dove
Beneath the Tree of Knowledge lie the spoils of fallen fruits
That have been ripened by the language of love

Some people call me a mad, mad man
But I just can’t imagine what they might be thinking of
Because, to me, there can be nothing much sadder than
Those who haven’t learned the language of love

Today a man might be your enemy; tomorrow he may become your friend
The only true wisdom is humility*…for we are all in this together ’til the end.

I take counsel from the sinners; I take comfort from the saints
For I have learned that they are basically the same
Before God paints His masterpiece, He has to mix the paints
And He usually uses joy to tint the shame

Some people call me a mad, mad man
But I just can’t imagine what they might be thinking of
Because, to me, there can be nothing sadder than
Those who haven’t learned the language of love

If you like this song, just thank Don Bellairs here; I don’t have his address, but would be happy to send it on to you if he sends it to me.

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