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ILLA Blogs

Commentary and reviews by classical Lutheran education commentators.

Continuing Education: The Great Courses

The Great CoursesNews Flash: I didn't learn everything I needed to know in grade school, high school, or college. Neither have I achieved my early intentions of becoming a polymath by reading all the Great Books of the Western world and the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Thus it is no surprise that as I teach a broad category of subjects, I often find myself lacking the knowledge of details which I would like to share on various subjects with my students.

One pleasant way I have found to fill in the gaps is the wide variety of subjects offered by The Great Courses. At first, I bought their DVDs which are often on sale -- or found them at Half Price books or on eBay. But then I discovered that as an Amazon Prime member I could have access to a growing number of these videos online for a $10 per month subscription - and I don't have to add more shelves in the TV room. Amazon even offers a free 7-day trial of the collection.

I also have tried the writing course on MasterClass.Com in order to gain some perspective apart from just trying to gather lesson plans and methodologies. If the classical Lutheran education thing doesn't work out for me, I may consider taking the Steven Martin course on stand-up comedy.

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Avoiding Plagiarism

Grammarly.com Plagiarism Graphic






Students may be in a hurry to complete an assignment in which they are not interested. They may be lazy or they may simply not know what plagiarism is -- but plagiarism is serious business. It can get a student expelled from a university or cause a person to be dismissed from a significant position, as might be demonstrated in these plagiarism facts and stats.

Perhaps the best time to teach about plagiarism is the first time students are taught to write a research essay or book report -- especially if they are also taught how to do research on the internet.

Surfing the internet, one can find some helpful graphics depicting the full spectrum of plagiarism offenses. One may request a free poster on plagiarism as illustrated in this infographic.

Another helpful site with numerous free resources is sponsored by Turn It In, a subscription-based service which many university professors use to check for plagiarism in the work of their students. And at Plagiarism.org, one may find podcasts such as Teaching About Plagiarism with Help from Dr. Seuss

There are lesson plans for Teaching Students to Avoid Plagiarism, and while not specifically touted as such, I think Andrew Pudewa's Institute for the Execellence of Writing (IEW) method of summarizing articles is rather helpful in this regard.

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The Healey Willan Te Deum

Te Deum Fort Wayne

Our Wednesday morning chapel services follow the order of Matins throughout the year -- though we do have some seasonal changes such as using the beautiful Healey Willan setting of the Te Deum during the weeks after Easter until the end of the school year. We had purchased enough bulletin-sized folded single-page versions of this from CPH which we hand out and collect each year.

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How Readable Is Your Writing?

Your writing may be without any spelling or grammatical errors, but is it readable?

Simply by cutting and pasting text into the Readability website, you can get an idea on how readable your writing is based on the Flesch-Kincaid method -- and your students will be able to do the same.


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Print, Cut, Fold!

PCF K2PCF LanguagePCF MathPCF Science





Print, Cut, and Fold is a series of books created by Jim Holland which give teachers and students a variety of way to communicate what they have learned. They are not a substitute for writing essays and papers, but these projects can supplement student expressions of what they have learned and discovered. They also make for nice displays in the hallways or showcases of your school. Our students and parents seem to enjoy them.

Most of the projects like dioramas, cascading flip charts, and pyramids are the same from book to book. If you and your students are capable of providing your own data, you would probably only need one of the books -- but the others are helpful if you would like some curriculum-specific ideas.

These projects can be printed out for the students to modify, cut, and fold. Providing that one has the rights to do so, the projects may also be shared electronically so that students can modify them with Microsoft Office programs or with Google Docs -- after which each student may proceed to print, cut, and fold.

While the audio and video isn't ideal, here are two YouTube videos in which teachers are demonstrating the projects found in the books: PART 1   ---   PART 2

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