Class Dismissed

September 01, 1991 2 min read

Love In The Fast Lane

A dinner-table joke about the “kiss and ride” drop-off lanes at a nearby subway station stoked 9-year-old Danny Goldsmith’s curiosity. The budding behaviorist decided to check out whether commuters using those lanes actually do kiss more than those who use the other lanes. With the help of his parents, Danny, a student at University Park Elementary School in Hyattsville, Md., observed the morning rush-hour crowd two days a week for two weeks. He found that, yes, commuters do kiss more in lanes designated for that purpose: 80 percent of the kiss-and-ride-lane users kissed, compared with only 32 percent in the unmarked lane. Danny’s project won him extra credit at school and the grand prize at an elementary school science fair. He has since turned to an empirical study of his dog’s favorite bones.

Counselor Camp

The days when summer camp meant canoeing, swimming, hiking, and singing around the campfire are long gone. The growing emphasis on specialization has spawned sports camps, cheerleader camps, and even computer camps. But now the trend has gone too far. Welcome to National LawCamp. Inc. magazine reports that a Florida company called National PreLaw Concepts is running a two-week summer camp to teach torts and evidence to high school and college students who want to be lawyers.

Is ‘Goof-Ball’ Too Strong?

Did you ever wonder where principals get those weird, stilted phrases they use over and over on evaluation forms—”promotes an environment conducive to creativity,” “needs to more optimally utilize all channels of communication,” etc.? Maybe they have copies of Effective Phrases for Performance Appraisals by James E. Neal Jr. stashed somewhere. The author boasts that the book provides supervisors with “over 1,000 professionally written phrases which will clearly describe job performance.” And how! There’s everything from “gives proper attention to personal appearance and dress” to “provides an intellectual atmosphere conducive to the stimulation and interchange of ideas.” In the book’s foreword, the author makes it clear that the positive phrases can be rewritten to describe areas that need improvement. And for those principals who don’t want to bother with whole phrases, there is a list of useful adjectives, such as “comprehensive,” “hands-on,” and “state-of-the-art,” and one of useful verbs, such as “accentuates,” “evidences,” and “surmounts.”

None Of The Above

One of the 7th graders in Rosanne Anderson’s reading class at Lamont (Wash.) Middle School made a surprising admission in a book report on Joan of Arc: “When I checked out this book, I wasn’t so pleased, but now I have a whole new outlook on who I thought was Noah’s wife.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 01, 1991 edition of Teacher as Class Dismissed