We have treated the people from church who have helped us move and come over for basketball and language lessons to pizza twice. We were told, with much gratitude, that they cannot usually afford pizza so this is a very special treat. We look like we have more disposable income because of that pizza, but really, they saved us so much time and even money (we could not have rented a jeepney for the same price they could, we don’t think we could even have found one to negotiate with because we’re so clueless), and they have all been such a blessing that we are glad to be able to do this much.
They eat shrimp and other fresh seafood- squid, octopus, milkfish, rabbitfish and more on a regular basis. Shrimp is one of the cheapest meats in the fresh meat market. I told them that where I live in the Midwest I only buy shrimp as a special treat because it’s so expensive, and they laughed, “we are rich!” they crowed.
A friend of our son, one of his friends he met at the mall, drives her family’s car around Davao City. We are impressed that she can drive in this city’s crazy, but somehow functioning traffic, and, we told the Boy, the family must be kind of comfortable, since they have a car. Isn’t it interesting how much your perspective changes?

What is true wealth?

One of the sisters at church told me that her six year old son had only begun speaking in the last year. She had been so worried, and had taken him to the doctor but was told not to be concerned yet. Now, she says, when he speaks, whatever he says, ‘every word is a treasure in my heart.’

I think that counts.

Gratitude, giving thanks, having a thankful heart- themes from the lessons in church on Sunday, and as one of the speakers said, if you have a thankful heart, a habit of gratitude and appreciation for what you have, whatever you have, no matter what, you are always content, and that is a treasure.

That counts.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Where is your treasure this year? What direction is your heart yearning toward?

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1920 Advice on Assessing Your School part II

Volume XXVIII January 1920 Number 1
Hang Up Your Thermometer
Ida E. Roger Grade Supervisor, Mt, Vernon, N. Y.

Part I was here

Question I. What opportunities are we offering for skilful training in “correctors and precision in the use of the mother tongue”?

This question contains the first criterion Mr. Butler names. Our interpretation of this question must be discussed under four headings: i.e., the work commonly labelled reading, spelling, language, and writing.

  • Reading: From the first, habits are established which influence the Manner of reading later done. Reading matter which makes a strong child appeal is chosen and the child led by desire and interest to get the thought. This is the chief aim. Yet ability to master words must become automatic if reading is to proceed with ease and independence. Undivided attention to this need is given during a special phonic period and other specific drill upon grasping the words of a phrase or clause is also added. Experiments have proven that correct motor eye-habits increase the speed in reading and the ability to grasp the idea. The slow reader (we are shown by efficiency tests) finds interpretation of thought harder because he is “impeded by the mechanical processes of the reading act.” His eye is not trained to group one sweep of related words, and his pausing upon each word makes the rate slow and the thought many times ununited.


Modern methods of reading make much of this drill to grasp ideas “in their Combined Form in the thought.” The reading systems have definite standards for accomplishment. In addition, we are stressing silent reading combined with rate of reading. This accomplishes alertness, concentration, and thought getting. • We are joining forces with the public library in instructing students in the use of that institution and are following up much of this independent reading by a use of the material gained. Vocabulary results from this source are infinite, and a natural step beyond that of the younger children who listen intently to and adopt phrases from the rhymes of Mother Goose.


As the children thus increase in ability to comprehend and use the expressions met, they themselves discover the joy of continually broadening life’s outlook, and so find that reading, in truth, may become a real adventure. This situation is one which is significant.

(b) Language

The language course of study at the close of the sixth grade should show provision for the attainment of the requirements presented by the National Joint Committee on English (representing the Commission on the Re organization of Secondary Education of the National Education Association and the National Council of Teachers of English). This report was published by the Bureau of Education at Washington, and recommends (page 128) “after a wide consultation of principals and teachers in the elementary schools,” standards to be completed in the first six grades of school. These standards are stated as follows: “At the end of the sixth grade pupils should be able:

“1 To express clearly and consecutively, either in speech or in writing, ideas which are familiar and firmly grasped; ”

2 To avoid gross grammatical errors; ”

3 To compose and mail a letter; ”

4 To spell their own written vocabulary; ”

5 To read silently, and after one reading to reproduce the substance of a simple short story, news item, or lesson; ”

6 To read aloud readily and intelligently simple news items, a lesson from text-books, or literature of such difficulty as ‘The Ride of Paul Revere,’ or Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol ‘ ; ”

7 To quote accurately and understandingly several short poems, such as Bennet’s ‘The Flag Goes By’ and Emerson’s ‘ The Mountain and the Squirrel.’

“Criticism listed on page 124 of this Federal Report may also be used as one of our objectives.” Especially notice able in all parts of the country is the neglect of the training of the voice in distinct enunciation, clear articulation, and agreeable tones.”

It is true that we have succeeded in conquering large numbers of cases of mumbling; we have also been pleased with the increase in poise and in conviction of tone which has grown out of stressing oral composition. We should also show growth in pupil effort to cultivate a tone and an enunciation which are both a business and a social asset. The child’s attention can be more closely turned to this element as soon as he has laid the basis required for one who must learn “to stand upon his feet and think aloud.” This basis is the use of complete clear-cut sentences related to the central thought, in place of the monosyllabic answer first proposed by the timid or careless child. This growth in oral expression is the type of English work to receive the largest emphasis during the time spent in Grades I-VI. (It is, of course, understood that the term oral expression indicates ability to express thought and is not used in the sense which suggests elocutionary emphasis.) Our training for written language work should be connected with many of the oral language problems, small units of carefully thought out messages (rather than long sheets of careless vaporizing) being the task set before the pupil who must learn the importance of pruning a story and of looking at words closely instead of “throwing them on with a shovel.” Large written problems should therefore be divided into several units until the time when the pupil has formed the habits of accuracy and precision. During the period’s work with each small unit, the student will have three aims ever present —

(1) clearness and conciseness,

(2) sequence,

(3) variety of expression.

These principles will in many cases be emphasized by such questions as: 1 Does this sentence seem a puzzle or awkward?

a Because of its wording?

b Because of its length?

2 Does each sentence ” fit ” (really follow with a smooth ness not apparent when omissions of certain detail cause a gap in thought or needless repetitions postpone progress in thought)?

3 Does the language show an effort on the part of the writer to adopt interesting phrases or other vocabulary?

And lastly, in considering this phase of Dr. Butler’s statement, may we ask what we are offering the child in the line of assistance in taking the initiative in daily conversation? Are we helping the child to lasting interests which become a basis for definite contribution on his part — whether it be when he is called upon to write an interesting letter or, as one of a social group (at his own table or outside of his home walls), to take part in a discussion where his ability to express thought is either a stimulation to others or a possible indication of a future bore?

(c) Spelling Such standard spelling studies as the Ayers list (and “a foundation vocabulary,” as Dr. Ayers terms the 1000 words compiling the list). “The Jones’ Spelling Demons” should also be known to our teachers.

(d) Writing Arm or muscular movement, generally used throughout the country to accomplish ease, speed, and legibility in writing, is the habit established in the cases of the majority of children leaving the elementary grades. Preliminary work is accomplished by blackboard practice that the teacher may keep in touch with each child, that incorrect body and finger movements may not develop while the pupil is puzzling over the letter forms, and that a chance for corrections during a single period may occur. Application of special problems to stress so as to anticipate errors found in written work has hi many rooms been worked out ; lists of words based upon forms sometimes not differentiated have resulted:


To give practice in showing a distinct difference between a or o when united to w or u. Distribution to each grade of short lists of words suggested by the 1917 Committee on Economy of Time (appointed by the National Council of Teachers of English) is recommended. Such work is the outcome of the direct report of the sub-committee on Mechanics of Writing, and in consideration of the matter of Economy of Time, it is urged by this committee that some of the formal writing periods profit “by recent investigations of spelling conditions” and place emphasis upon certain common words “known to be commonly misspelled everywhere.” Drill in penmanship period will then not be based upon such generally unused words as vat or slab or taboo or spawn, but will give practice upon desired letters through choosing for repeated emphasis those commonly needed words which include the letter chosen for penmanship drill upon a given day. This correlation with the spelling and language work will motivate in a new way the penmanship work. The National Sub-committee on Mechanics of Writing ask for penmanship practice upon the following number of troublesome words:


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Of Basketball and Bonding

I posted a bit about the day out snorkeling at a nearby island, and I wrote about the starfish.

While out on the boat and on the island, they swam, snorkeled, one of my guys got pretty sunburned, and the group visited with and got to know other staff and family members of staff at the school.
Several of the Christian school grads are back for Christmas break visiting their parents, who are teachers at the school or serving in some capacity as missionaries here in the area. While on the little island taking a break from snorkeling, three of the MK (missionary kid) young men played basketball with three Filipino guys they randomly met on the beach. Have I mentioned that basketball is very, very big here? VERY big.

When they started playing, there were just a few people around. My boy says at some point in the game he happened to look around and there was a huge crowd watching them. He didn’t know where they came from or when they showed up. Life is like that, isn’t it? You never who is watching, but somebody is, and you never know what they are learning from you. You have little or no control of your audience. All you can control is you, and we all know that is often nearly impossible- as James says, ‘For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.’ Without God, that much control is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.

I share here a picture somebody took of the players (if the blog will let me) – what you are seeing here is three Filipinos and 3 missionary kids. One of the missionary kids is a college student in Korea, here visiting his parents for the holidays. One is a college student in the states, here visiting his parents for the holidays because he kind of grew up here, and one is our son, a high school senior who has been here two weeks.. The missionary kids only met each other today on the boat. (My boy says, btw, that the young Filipino man in the green shorts can jump higher than he can). I find this remarkable, and encouraging, and it puts a smile on my face.

They bonded over basketball, and that’s a beautiful thing- look at that picture. Can’t you just feel their happiness and comradely spirit, even though it may be fleeting?

I know a more beautiful thing to come:

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

Praying that all involved, including all of you reading, one day will be part of a great multitude, praising God from the heart, directly before His throne.

P.S. *In case you’re wondering, they played twice, and the MKs and the Filipinos each won once.

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Our Little Citizens- Primary Education Article, January, 1920 Part 2

Part One was ever so very long ago (almost a year):

From Primary Education, January 1920


Plain Living and High Thinking Let us return to this slogan of the good old Americans. No nation was ever more prosperous than this. If the truth were told about the High Cost of Living, it would be seen that profligate spending and under production due to strikes are the cause of the greater part of the increase in prices.
Use stories of the Pilgrim children to teach thrift. Cooperate with the Government in all its thrift activities. Above all, show how cheap and degrading, how vulgar, profligate spending is. No good American is paying extravagant prices for luxuries. The good Americans are trying to save, to make their earnings last as long as possible to live decently, not extravagantly.
It is the cheap, ignorant, flashy type that is engaged in an orgy of spending. No class is suffering more from this than the teacher. Surely we can put our hearts into teaching a refined, cultured standard of living.
Let us make an inventory of Personal Property Let the children put in everything they possess — toys and all. The idea is to build up in the them concepts of possession and contentment and thrift. Tell them to list damaged toys and then see if these damaged toys can be repaired as a manual training exercise and donated to other children or to hospitals.

It is said that the aliens among us who wish to overthrow our Government get more money in a week now than they used to be able to save in several years. They were contented until the agitators preached to them against our country and now, though some of them make over a hundred dollars a week, they call themselves wage slaves and want to take over the factories for themselves. Their discontent was artificially created by agitators.

Uncle Sam’s Census Tell the children that Uncle Sam takes stock of his people every ten years, and that 1920 is a census year. Tell them the first census bill was passed in 1790 — let them find out how many times the census has been taken. Let them take a census of their own family (fine opportunity for spelling, reading, writing — fine opportunity for teacher to become better acquainted). Tell them that Uncle Sam wants to know everyone’s name, place of birth, age, occupation, whether the children are in school or at work, and whether everyone can read and write English. Stress on this last part may increase interest in Americanization work. We don’t realize our power. What we put into the minds of the children reacts powerfully on their parents. It is a moving and pathetic sight to see little children bring their mothers to evening school to learn English, because some teacher has been inspired to make them want to help their parents understand America. It is good civic teaching to thoroughly explain the census, especially if the children come from foreign homes.
A perfectly accurate census has probably never been taken, but we can help set up a standard of courteous truthful co-operation with the census man.
Explain that with the census as a basis, Congress apportions the number of representatives. If we find that our population has increased in the last ten years, we will have a greater number of people to each representative — the number of representatives may be increased. We have now 435 representatives on a basis of one for each 211,677 persons. Due to the war, and influenza deaths, and the return to foreign lands of a great many of our residents, the population in this census will probably be considerably lower than what might have been the expected growth of a normal ten years.
The children can dramatize:
1 A census taker.
2 The administrator of an estate, who gets three appraisers to make an inventory. (Watch newspaper for such items.)
3 A furniture loan man — loans arc given only on part of the value. They are called “chattel mortgages.”
4 A personal property insurance man.
5 An auctioneer. Use the information gained in their inventories as the basis of their dialogue. They should be encouraged to make inventories of home possessions, to mend and keep in repair home furniture and tools, to get a sense of the money value the family possessions represent, and a feeling of loyalty to this Government, founded to protect them in their rights.
Be sure that Grades III and IV read the clauses of the Constitution that relate to the protection of private property. “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without the due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” (Fifth Amendment.)
Make them realize that schemes which take away the right to property are un- American. Create a scorn of the ” kicker,” especially of the one who discourages workingmen by telling them lies. The real agitators do not work, they roam about talking.
There are two kinds of discontent in this world — the discontent that wrings its hands and the discontent that works. The first loses what it had — and the second gets what it wants. — – Graham
Note Miss Leighton will answer questions or send references for teaching our Government as contrasted with Sovietism, Socialism, Communism, etc., or the economic fallacies of schemes like the Plumb plan, etc. Address Miss Etta V. Leighton, National Security League, 19 West 44th St., New York City

More about the National Security League here.



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1920 Advice on Assessing Your School part I

She is writing for the public school, but there is no reason much of this could not be used for a home school as well.

Volume XXVIII January 1920 Number 1
Hang Up Your Thermometer
Ida E. Roger Grade Supervisor, Mt, Vernon, N. Y.
(Book rights reserved)
NOT the glass and mercury kind, but the mental variety that registers your pedagogical temperament, that blazes to you the challenge, ” What am I Doing and Why am I Doing It?
” — hang up in your mental vision this measure that stings you into intro spective sifting, that calls, Am I working through principles or merely imitating devices of as many different varieties as the 57 kinds of Heinz, all of which can’t be meant for the same meal!
Honestly face the question, ”What Sort of a Place Ought a School to Be?” — not what is the type we have inherited, nor again the type you have stumbled upon and helped in working out through blindly following your principal’s hobbies, but the sort you would like to see offered your own child, or yourself (could you find yourself once again a six-year-old trudging to school)!
What Are the Tendencies toward which the efforts of our elementary grades are bending?
To this query, can we not affirm that our aim is a character-building education and that not as mere teachers or givers of outlines but as workers in developing in each child a Response to his opportunities, do we hold that we are justifying the confidence of every child coming to us with a faith in humanity firmly fixed in his heart.
We agree, however, that efficiency in any educational institution must be measured by clear, definite, uncompromising standards, even though “the confusions of the profession we are following are the confusions of life and of that strange unconquerable thing we call growth.”
And so even when recognizing character making as our aim, we are also conscious that ours is the responsibility “for accomplishing with a large number of children in an economy of time what we would like with one child in an infinite period of time.”

As a measure of our present purposes, I suggest the testing of what we are now accomplishing, by the standards proposed by Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University. His measure is as follows:

“These Five Characteristics I Offer as Evidences of an Education: Correctness and Precision in the Use of the Mother Tongue; Refined and Gentle Manners, which are the Expression of Fixed Habits of Thought and Action; the Power and Habit of Reflection; the Power of Growth; and Efficiency, or the Power to Do.”

The sound philosophy of these five criteria clearly meets the conditions necessary because of the world-war problems which demand that we shall prepare the child to take his place in the coming keen competition which he as the future citizen will face.

The failure of Greek philosophy was The Relaxing of Effort and the letting down of obligation. Our acceptance of these five standards demands, not a liberation from the old formal discipline to a chaotic condition indicating neither democracy nor freedom, but a practice of the right spirit of responsibility which produces “a delightful effort” on the part of the child.

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