From the Gut: A self-sacrificing Mexican teacher has offered to sell one of his kidneys for $55,000 in a desperate bid to raise money to build three classrooms for his elementary school, the Mexican national newspaper Reforma reports. The 41-year-old teacher ran a classified ad offering the kidney—blood type O-positive—for weeks. "When I went to take the advertisement, the person stared at me, stunned," the teacher told Reforma. "I don't have anything else to sell or pawn."
Green Acres: Green isn't just the color of envy—it's the source of it at some English schools that only have concrete playing surfaces. An investigation by the Sentinel found that there are nearly twice as many schools in the city of Stoke-on-Trent without any green space for students to play on than at schools in surrounding Staffordshire. According to the newspaper, 23 out of 107 city schools have no grass playing areas at all. The national organization Sport England has blamed the country's rising obesity rates in part on the lack of playing fields at schools. The city has pledged to include green spaces in all new schools.
In Tune: An educator in Thailand has scored a hit with his strategy for helping students remember their English verb tenses: Set them to music. The Enconcept schools founded by Tanate Ua-aphithorn also use pop, rap, rock, and local luk-thung rhythms to cover vocabulary, idioms, tenses, structure, and conversation, reports the Nation. Songs are written by a team of professional songwriters and English teachers to make sure they are grammatically correct. Ua-aphithorn says his approach is based on a scientific theory that the more emotionally charged a person's memories are, the more he or she learns. "Most of the songs are related to teenagers' lives, such as falling in love and breaking up," he adds. During the past nine years, the original Enconcept school has expanded to 13 branches with more than 10,000 students.
Speak Up: Beverly Endersbee, the inaugural Australian Teacher Librarian of the Year, doesn't want her student patrons to shush when they come into her library. She'd rather they talk, play music, eat, or dance—anything to keep them coming in. "A good school library should have a buzz of enthusiasm," she told Australia's Advertiser. Maybe that's why her library at Para Hills East Primary School in South Australia is so popular; she reportedly has no trouble attracting at least a third of the school's 380 students to the library on any given day. That's a lot of people to pick up after, so Endersbee doesn't. "The students do their own borrowing, their own returning, and their own shelving.... It gives them rights, but it also gives them the responsibilities that go with that freedom."
Vol. 15, Issue 5, Page 19Published in Print: March 1, 2004, as Dispatches