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Washington State University
College of Education

arts integration

Award winners brighten end of semester

Did you notice? When the Office of Undergraduate Education announced its honorees this week, the list included two elementary education majors who received Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Awards for Undergraduate Excellence in Writing:  Holly Barker at WSU Vancouver and Ingrid Kraig, who is in the Honors College at WSU Pullman.

From left: Dean Judy Mitchell, Kromann Medal winner Andrea O'Brine, Assistant Professor Jane Kelley
From left: Dean Judy Mitchell, Kromann Medal winner Andrea O'Brine, Assistant Professor Jane Kelley

Ingrid also put her writing skills to work as a competitor for this year’s Inga Kromann Medal Award. The two medal winners for the annual children’s book prize were Katie Shanks and Andrea O’Brine, both of whom delved into their own childhoods for inspiration.  The  winners were announced at the annual celebration presented by the arts integration class on the Pullman patio, which explains  Andrea’s colorful dancing outfit in the accompanying  photo.  Read about the Kromann awards.

The full, impressive list of College of Education faculty, staff and student award winners for 2008-09 is online.

Striding toward a conference

Professor David Slavit reports that on May 26-27 the  WSU Vancouver STRIDE research team will host a national conference on “Research on Supported Collaborative Inquiry.” Five teacher-researchers will rub elbows with leading researchers from across the country.  Stanford University researcher Hilda Borko will give a plenary address.  The conference is funded by two National Science Foundation research grants.

Reading matter
A Cautionary Video About America’s ‘Stuff’
A short video about the effects of materialism has become a sleeper hit in classrooms across the nation.
Partnership’s First Product Aimed at Middle School Vocabulary Word Generation, which is free to schools, consists of short, engaging vocabulary-boosting lessons that are taught each day by different teachers across the middle school curriculum.
Reading Programs Found Ineffective A federal study intended to provide insight into the effectiveness of programs for reading comprehension has found that three such programs had no positive impact, while a fourth had a negative effect on student achievement.
Coaches struggle to find balance between work and family

Vacation time
Here’s a timely and not-overly-commercial idea:  an educators’ B&B network founded by two Oregon educators to help frugal travelers meet like-minded people.  

Spring in their steps

Woo-hoo, something to celebrate

dsc_01931Sunshine, lively songs, dancing, laughter and the promise of some fantastic teaching careers ahead. All were part of the 2009 spring arts celebration presented by Pauline Sameshima’s arts integration class. Every year, the creative energy of this class brightens up the patio in Pullman, leaving some of us to wish it could happen every week. For many more photos and a taste of the clever lyrics set to tunes ranging from “Hokey Pokey” to “YMCA,” click here. Among the lyrics, to the tune of “Wishin’ and Hopin'”: Show ’em that you care just for them. Do the things they like to do. Wear your smile just for them…

Golden grads

The College of Education hosted lunch and a tour for 45 of the 270 alumni and spouses from ’49 and ’59 who visited the Pullman campus for the annual Golden and Diamond Graduates Reunion. One memory told and retold was of  “the coldest football game ever,” notable for having one paying customer and a lot of frosty student fans. The colorful written memories offered for an alumni booklet included this one from Judith Bount (now Sanders): “We took Homecoming floats seriously. It never occurred to us to not build one, even with almost all the girls in the house down with the Asian flu. Barbara Doutrich and I found ourselves the only people in a barn, way out of town, stuffing purple napkins into the chicken-wire castle on our float the night before the parade. …  Frantic stuffing until the last minute, until a student came and hooked up his purple car, to match the castle, to pull the float to the stadium and along the parade route. The car and castle looked pretty darned good, we thought, as we pulled in behind and headed down the highway. The driver took off like a rocket. We were driving in a blizzard of purple napkins, with no way to catch him to slow him down. When we arrived at the stadium, the float was the skeleton of a castle, with a handful of pathetic purple napkins hanging on it. As the float was pulled through the stadium, Barbara and I ran along behind with some napkins in a box stuffing them into the chicken wire as fast as we could.”

Our expert on veterans’ issues

With the new GI Bill’s generous benefits to begin this August, thousands of additional vets are expected to be enrolling in higher education.  But fully 30 percent of them are struggling with depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome and/or traumatic brain injury.  How can universities help them succeed? Bernadette Mencke, WSU retention counselor and a Ph.D. student in higher education, shares some practical tips in the May issue of the Student Affairs Today newsletter. Among other things, she and her co-author Robert Mock advise:  Identify at least one veteran in each campus department, such as financial affairs and counseling; share the list with vets, who will feel more comfortable seeking help from other vets.  Hire a veterans affairs government liaison. Have properly trained counselors. And assign vets to the first floors of residence halls near an exit. (When vets enter a room, they’re trained to immediately identify quick exits and potential weapons, so may get anxious if they don’t see a quick way out.)

Most clever workshop promotion

“Wine Tasting as a Metaphor for Responding to Student Writing.” It’ll be held on Friday, May 8 from 2-4 PM at the 12th floor lounge of Webster Hall, Pullman. RSVP to Sharolon Carter at

Reading matter
No Child’ Law Is Not Closing a Racial Gap
Between 2004 and last year, scores for young minority students increased on a federal test, but so did those of white students.
Obama’s Long Education To-Do List Awaits Action