Powerful and practical ways to bring outside learning inside your classroom, featuring the Centre for Child Honouring and the Voices Education Project. Also, a first-hand account of how to successfully teach Asperger's kids, Waiting (and not Waiting) for Superman,  our latest exemplary essay, resources from Adoptive Families and the Harvard Family Research Project, and our visual learning, and classroom tools departments.
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YES! Education Connection Newsletter YES! Education Connection Newsletter
  Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions         February 2011 
“It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is.”—Herman Hesse

My Village. Image courtesy of the Children's Global Arts Project

Image courtesy of the Children’s Global Arts Project

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Dear Educators,

I remember when a former colleague held my newborn daughter over 19 years ago. Bill sweetly nuzzled Isabelle next to his cheek and said, “If every world leader smelled the top of a baby’s head, we would have no war.”

What kind of world would we create if we put children first? In this newsletter, we feature two organizations that have passionate answers to this question. Raffi Cavoukian’s (yes, that Raffi!) Centre for Child Honouring and the Voices Education Project share their philosophies, visions, and resources, including curricula and practical actions. You’ll also find stories and insights on students with Asperger Syndrome and kids who are adopted.

In the winter cold, as budget cuts loom, I hope you are warm, well, and resilient.

Jing Fong, Education Outreach Manager, YES! Magazine Best,
Jing's signature
Jing Fong
Education Outreach Manager, YES! Magazine

P.S. Our most popular graphic magazine spreads are available as full color 11x17” posters for your classroom. Shop here from our collection, including 10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy and Everybody Eats.

  Your Stories  

Drew and Dan at the U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. Photo courtesy of Dan Coulter
Getting Inside the Heads of Students with Asperger Syndrome
In 1997, Dan Coulter’s 14-year-old son Drew was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS). Dan, himself, was diagnosed in 2009. From years of challenges—and triumphs—Dan Coulter has first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to have Asperger’s, and believes teachers are in a unique position to help AS kids break through the walls that hide their talent and potential. This is Dan’s story.

MORE OF YOUR STORIES: Teens Care for River, Their Way. ¡Hola! The Future is Now. Race Has Everything To Do With It. Growing Good People. Beauty of Teenagers. Free to Be Me. Chicken Soup for the Soul.

SEND US your own story to share with our growing network of YES! educators.

  YES! Recommends  

Centre for Child Honouring. Raffi and little girl Voices Education Project: Peace image

If we made children our top priority, would we create a better world? YES! Magazine is pleased to spotlight the resources of two organizations that are helping create peaceful, sustainable societies.

The Centre for Child Honouring, founded by revered singer/songwriter Raffi Cavoukian, believes that Child Honouring is an organizing principle for redesigning the whole of society for the greatest good. You and your students will be inspired by Raffi’s Covenant and Principles for Child Honouring because it reminds us how children should be treated. The Centre also offers action tips for a child-honouring world, as well as free, downloadable books and music.

Voices Education Project is dedicated to starting a new type of conversation in which all voices are heard, and all points of view included. Voices’ curricula, films, stories, and other web resources serve a range of ages and grades, but are primarily designed for middle and high school students.

  YES! Classroom Tools  

Detail from How to Keep Love Going Strong, a YES! Poster. Illustration by Ivana Forgo/istock and YES! Magazine 
How to Keep Love Going Strong
Your students may not be ready for marriage, but they will be interested in how to keep a relationship ticking. John and Julie Gottman, researchers who run the Love Lab, can predict within three hours if a couple will stay together. Here are their seven tips to “happily ever after.”

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Illustration by Drafter123/iStock and YES! Magazine
Real Family Values
Raising a family is hard work, especially during hard economic times. From making housing affordable to balancing work and life, here are nine policies to support families.
A loving song: Derek Ballinger, Alyssa Johnson, and Tracy Ballinger celebrate Tracy's birthday on a family trip to Canada. Photo by Allen Ballinger Traditions that Make a Family
YES! staff and readers share their family foods, celebrations, rituals, habits, and quirks. Have your students do the same with each other. They may realize how special their families are, and, perhaps, discover a tradition they’d like to adopt.
Two-year-old Mia is traveling with her family from Lithuania to Moscow in a camper van. Her father, Arunas, does his best to keep her entertained during a stop on the long journey. Photo by Victoria Vaisvilaite. “Humanity” photo essay
Chosen from among 40,000 photos from 17,000 photographers representing 164 countries, the “Humanity” book features 150 captivating images on the human experience. Use this photo essay as inspiration for student writing or taking photos that celebrate family, friendship, love, and laughter.
  YES! Exemplary Essay Project  

The YES! Exemplary Essay Project. YES! Magazine graphic
The YES! Exemplary Essay Project helps you use YES! stories as prompts for thought-provoking writing. It also gives students an opportunity to share their passionate opinions and show off their stellar work.

Part of El Otro Lado, a project created by the Academy for the Love of Learning. Photo by Chrissie Orr
Peter Hasle, a student at Shoreline Community College, north of Seattle, Washington, responded to the YES! article Life’s Best Lessons Are Outside the Classroom, by Daniel Fireside. Read Hasle’s essay, An Opportunity to Take Back My Education, and Fireside’s commentary on Hasle’s essay.

Want an opportunity for your students to step up their writing and write for a real audience? Learn how to join the YES! Exemplary Essay Project here.


  Curriculum and Resources  

Real education comes from a partnership between teachers, students, and families. Below you’ll find a resource for strengthening your relationship with families, and another for helping adopted children feel accepted and understood in the classroom.

Harvard Family Research Project logo
Harvard Family Research Project
Does it really take a village? You bet. Findings from the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) overwhelmingly confirm that families, schools, and communities play a major role in a student’s success at school and in life. HFRP offers best practices, webinars, and a network of innovators that promote schools and communities working together so students of all ages gain the skills needed to succeed.

Cover of Adoptive Families magazine
Adoptive Families
Chances are that you have an adopted child in your class. Adoptive Families offers positive, practical tools that send the message that adoption is a wonderful and normal way to build a family. Check out Adoptive Families’ down-to-earth stories and encouraging suggestions for alternatives to the family tree assignment and for explaining adoption to classmates.

  Words That Inspire  

Ashe Jaafaru
It Couldn’t Be Done
excerpt from the poem by Edgar Albert Guest


Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
  But, he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
  Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
  On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn’t be done, and he did it.


Ashe Jaafaru, a high school student from Minneapolis, Minnesota, recorded this poem during the middle of No Impact Week to rally her spirits and that of others who took on the challenge. Sometimes students rise up to the challenges presented to them just to prove someone wrong. But when all they hear is “no you can’t,” what will motivate them to continue to go after their dreams?

Click here for the complete poem, video of Ashe’s spoken-word reading, and a suggested follow-up activity to create your students’ version of “It Couldn’t Be Done.”


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  INDEX: in this issue 
YOUR STORIES YES! RECOMMENDS CLASSROOM TOOLS YES! EXEMPLARY ESSAY CURRICULUM AND RESOURCES WORDS THAT INSPIRE
  How to Get More YES!  
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  Featured Article  

Photo by Paul Dunn for YES! Magazine All in the Ohana
In Hawaiian culture, ohana means family. And family means sticking together. Read the author’s tale of her own family of 14 kids, raised by grandparents and other kin, and living between each other’s houses.

  No Impact Week  

No Impact Experiment Who Participated in No Impact Week? Meet the Students!
Meet six students who started the New Year tracking their trash, taking super-short showers, battling the bus system, and learning that being green is the color for all seasons.

  YES! Web Picks  

Image from the RSA Animation Sir Ken on Changing Paradigms VIDEO Sir Ken on Changing Paradigms
Sir Ken Robinson does it again! In this brilliant RSA Animate video, the creativity expert uncovers the link between drop-out rates, dwindling support of the arts, and ADHD. Look for the treat at the end!


Image from the film Lost Generation
Lost Generation
You and your students may wonder why Jonathan Reed would write such a depressing poem about society—until you begin reading the poem in reverse.

  Do We Need Superman?  

Illustration: Michael Duffy. We're NOT Waiting for Superman! © Michael Duffy
Illustration © Michael Duffy

Waiting (or Not) for Superman
The documentary Waiting for Superman has stirred up conversation and debate about one of our nation’s biggest concerns—the state of public education. Check out Waiting’s official site on how to fix education, and another site initiated by Rethinking Schools that says the film got the message all wrong.

  Visual Learning  
A Tallahassee, Florida-based group, Tallahasseeans Who Believe It's Time to Come Home, advocating an end to the U.S. war in Iraq, hung more than 4,000 peace cranes in a sculpture garden in downtown Tallahassee. Photo by Louise Reid Ritchie Paper Cranes for Peace
Use this photo to ask your students what they notice and are wondering. Then share the surprising facts behind the image to connect to greater understanding and discovery.

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Visual Learning Lesson Plan

'I covet every issue I receive, and I write my lesson plans around YES! Magazine. You have given me a direction I want our youth to follow.' Vivian Dimmel, Teacher, Syracuse School District, NY
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