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    10 Snapshots of British Schoolchildren During World War II


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    World War II had a huge impact on the daily lives of the people of Britain, but soldiers and grieving widows weren’t the only ones whose lives were irrevocably altered by the war. Young schoolchildren in cities across Britain found themselves evacuated to the relative safety of the countryside, separated from their families and identified by nothing more than a brown paper tag. They learned how to operate gas masks and were schooled huddled together in underground air raid shelters. Understandably, education sometimes took a backseat to simple survival. Read on for a closer look at school life during WWII.

    10. First Mass Evacuation (1939)


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    Approximately three million British children were evacuated from their city homes and sent to the countryside during World War II. The first of these mass evacuations took place in early September 1939 and saw children carrying boxes containing their gas masks. A paper label attached to each child identified who they were and their journey details. While in the country, the children continued their education in settings ranging from church halls to pubs – basically, wherever there was room.

    Children from well-off families who attended private schools had slightly better luck, as the entire school often moved to the countryside to take up residence and continue classes in a manor house. Some of the evacuated children viewed the experience as a kind of grand adventure, yet others found the separation from their families a great deal more taxing, fearing that they would never get to return home.

    9. Playtime at the Nursery (circa 1940)


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    In view of the heavy use of chemical weapons against soldiers in World War I, every British citizen – from adult to infant – was issued with a gas mask during World War II. Gas mask drills were a routine part of the school day for all. The nursery children pictured above are wearing their masks during recess, adding playful fun to the seriousness of the situation and the discomfort of wearing the devices. Even toddlers are reported to have learned how to put the masks on themselves, often making childish sport of it, irritating their parents by blowing through the rubber and making strange noises. All the same, everyone was taught to keep their gas masks with them at all times and to put them on immediately if they heard the warning sound of the air raid rattle.

    8. Children Outside an Air Raid Shelter (1939)


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    These children are pictured emerging from an air raid shelter on November 10, 1939, having successfully completed an air raid exercise. This particular shelter was built in a field next to the local school in the town of Gresford in northeast Wales. Yet despite all the preparation, it was only when France fell in 1940 that the bombing of The Blitz began in full force. Wales became a target, and cities like Swansea were heavily hit – although rural areas were also attacked. In February 1941, a three-day bombing spree on Swansea resulted in the deaths of 270 people – including 37 below the age of 16. Madeleine Scott, who was a child during the war, said that she and her fellow classmates would all troop into the shelter and sing nursery rhymes while they were inside.

    7. Nursery School Students Evacuated from Kentish Town (circa 1939)


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    These nursery school children were evacuated from Kentish Town in North London – and you can see their labels attached to their coats. In some cases, teachers were evacuated along with their students, and some were even responsible for finding the children a place to stay once they got to their destination. Gwenllian Ruth Parris (now Clarke), a teacher from Islington, London, was sent with her school to Bedford in the east of England. “We didn’t know where we were going and eventually we arrived at Bedford,” she said. Parris taught cookery and soccer and even worked as a waitress at one point. She added: “There was quite a lot of rivalry between the Bedford teachers and the London teachers. Not personal rivalry but between the two sort of authorities.” Parris ended up sharing responsibilities with local teachers and teaching classes made up of both local children and evacuees.

    6. Taking Cover During An Air Raid Drill (1940)


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    Because there was a long period at the beginning of the war during which no bombs were dropped, more than half the evacuees had already returned to their families by January 1940. However, this had never been part of the government’s plan, and as a result, many city schools remained closed, and the children themselves were left to drift through the streets during the day. The London Board of Education feared that students wouldn’t have enough time to get to an air raid shelter in the case of an attack and therefore instructed children to take shelter in the middle of the room. The children were to get away from windows, hide under their desks and cover the backs of their necks.

    5. Art Class (1941)


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    By late 1941, some degree of routine had been reestablished. These children from Moorside Road School in Grove Park, London can be seen sketching the damage caused to their school – including missing roof tiles, broken windowpanes and concrete reduced to rubble. The students carried their gas masks when they walked around the school. And the children still used the playground, despite the fact that it had been severely damaged by falling bombs.

    London had sustained immense damage, and many youngsters left the city at night with their parents. Others took up permanent residence in the London Underground, whether because they had lost their homes or perhaps to eliminate the inconvenience of moving back and forth to an air raid shelter every night.

    4. Farringdon School-Turned-Feeding Center (1941)


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    Even in the midst of war, there was still time for some simple pleasures – such as imported American cheese. These three school children can be seen enjoying a light snack in the playground of a ruined school in Farringdon in the London borough of Islington (in a picture likely taken in August or September 1941). The school was converted into a feeding center, and though the building itself was massively damaged, the playground was put to use to sustain the hungry. The cheese that the children are eating in the photograph was imported from the United States as part of the Lend-Lease program. The US ended its neutral stance in March 1941 and began providing the UK and many other Allied nations with supplies ranging from canned rations and aluminum to trucks and armored vehicles.

    3. Life In the Shelter (1941)


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    Schooling was disrupted not only by the evacuations and frequent moves, but also by the threat of bombs. Here, students and teachers from a school in Bermondsey in South London strive for a sense of normalcy. The photo, taken on March 29, 1941, shows students participating in a reading and discussion group. Roger Taylor, who is a professor of chemistry at Sussex University, was a child during World War II. He traveled extensively with his mother and sister during the war, often moving from one place to the next and from school to school. In fact, Taylor reports that he attended seven different elementary schools and at times didn’t attend any school at all. However, he claimed that seeing “a wide variety of lifestyles and accommodation was a very valuable experience. Surviving the traumatic events of the time made one recognize that every new day was a bonus, a feeling that has never gone away.”

    2. Gas Test (1941)


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    These children in Kingston, Greater London can be seen filing out of their school during a practice gas test. A canister of tear gas was set off so that the students could test their reactions, put on their gas masks and leave the premises. The photograph was taken in June 1941.

    Although no chemical weapons were actually used against the British on home territory during World War II, children were well prepared in case of a chemical attack. Sylvia Kaye, who was 16 at the start of the war, said that wearing a gas mask was incredibly uncomfortable. She recalled, “It was awful, it was stifling, it was all rubber with a sort of plastic front piece for the eyes and you wore it right over your face and it was unbearable.”

    1. A Makeshift Bomb Shelter (circa 1940-1941)


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    The children pictured above are crouching in a crude makeshift air raid shelter in the middle of World War II. Looks of shock and fear mingle with a kind of awe as they gaze towards the heavens. Many schoolchildren experienced close brushes with death during the war. Professor Roger Taylor had his first encounter with the Luftwaffe while living in Torquay. Taylor, his sister and a friend were heading home from a playground when the siren sounded. With 400 yards to go and about 30 seconds before the planes hit, Taylor lay down in the gutter. He said, “The planes… were so low that I could see the pilots clearly. Machine gun bullets were spraying all around.” In the face of such drama and hardship, the disruption of his schooling was, as he puts it, “inconsequential.”

    Top 30 Blogs for Teachers 2012

    top30-teachersMost teachers would agree that being a teacher is a very rewarding profession. After all, being able to influence the lives of the next generation is not a privilege many people, aside from parents, have. But, with that great privilege comes a great responsibility, and certainly not the least of these is the necessity to keep abreast of the most current trends and best practices in the field of education.

    Besides continuing one’s education, one way in which today’s educators can keep their skills current is to do what their peers are doing. Thankfully, the internet makes this notion of imitation-is-the-best-form-of-flattery easy by providing a plethora of resources for teachers who desire to increase their knowledge and awareness of the issues facing teachers and students today. There are multiple on-line resources, including blogs, for tech-savvy teachers interesting in developing new ideas and strengthening their skills. Here we review our choices for the top 30 Blogs for education professionals and students currently enrolled in education degree certification programs.

    General Education

    1.?Teaching Blog Addict: A one-stop shop for all of your teaching blog needs. If you are looking for a teaching blog with a particular slant, you will find it here.
    Highlight: 33 Ideas for Read Across America

    2.?Cool Cat Teacher: Cool Cat Teacher gives you the tools necessary to inspire enthusiasm in your students.
    Highlight: 12 Amazing Ways to Teach During the Crazy Days of Christmas

    3.?Top Teachers: Top Teachers is a daily blog providing lesson ideas, classroom strategies, book lists, videos, and reproducibles from the teachers at Scholastic.
    Highlight: Great Writing Lesson Ideas From My Top Teaching Colleagues

    4.?Create.Teach.Share.: Mrs. Rojas is a true star in the teaching world. Her advice on lesson plans and creative ideas are sure to inspire even the most seasoned professional.
    Highlight: Remembering 9/11 with a Picture Book

    5.?Rockin Teacher Materials: This helpful blog from a second grade teacher is geared toward elementary educators. The author, Hilary Lewis, provides many resources for teachers that she has gathered over her 28 years of teaching. She even posts videos of herself demonstrating some of her creative ideas in the classroom, such as the link highlighted below.
    Highlight: Checking Over Our Tests

    Social Studies/History Teachers’ Blogs

    6.?Social Studies and History Teacher’s Blog: This blog is a great resource for those teaching in the field of Social Studies and History. It provides images and videos relevant to all aspects of classroom teaching.
    Highlight: Causes of World War II

    7.?History is Elementary: This site is a powerhouse of information on history education for any teacher of history or anyone interested in the subject.
    Highlight: Mixed Images…One Powerful Message

    8.?World History Educator’s Blog: This informative blog is written by high school history teachers who are looking to share their resources and materials as well as their experiences with using technology in the classroom.
    Highlight: History of the World in Two Minutes

    9.?History Tech: An offshoot of Social Studies Central, this blog is written by curriculum specialist Glenn Wiebe. Look for his helpful tip of the week and expert advice on developing your social studies curriculum.
    Highlight: Teaching What Really Happened and 3 Other Interesting Books You Should Be Reading

    10.?US History Teacher’s Blog: Written by a high school teacher, US History Teacher’s Blog focuses on American History and gives teachers videos and guides to make learning interesting, accurate, and fun.
    Highlight: The Real Meaning of the Wizard of Oz

    Math Education Blogs

    11.?I Speak Math: I Speak Math is the blog of energetic middle school teacher and mother of three, Julie Reulbach. Her love of math is evident in her writings, and she shares her love of the subject in new and exciting ways.
    Highlight: Homework Choice Allows Differentiation and Encourages Creativity

    12.?Drawing on Math: A high school math teacher weighs in on math education and shares his teaching practices.
    Highlight: Quadrilateral Proof

    13.?Continuous Everywhere But Differentiable Nowhere: This is the blog of math teacher Sam Shah, who uses his sense of humor and obvious passion for math to engage his readers and teach them valuable concepts along the way.
    Highlight: Families of Curves

    14.?Let’s Play Math!: As a homeschooling mother of 5, the author of Let’s Play Math! aims to provide math resources to other homeschoolers and traditional educators alike. Her love of the subject is evident by how she keeps her blog updated frequently.
    Highlight: A Mathematical Advent Calendar

    15.?Teaching Mathematics: Dan Pearcy provides a refreshing look at teaching mathematics with book reviews and creative teaching ideas. His purpose for creating this blog was both to document his own unique teaching ideas and also to learn from others.
    Highlight: Understanding Pi: How Do you Explain What Pi Is To A Student?

    Science Education Blogs

    16.?Just Call Me Ms. Frizzle: Inspired by the famous children’s program, this science blog guides you through all the quirky fun to be found in your science classroom.
    Highlight: Triumphs in 9th Grade Science

    17.?Mr. Reid: This blog, written by a physicist and teacher Mr. Reid, would be perfect for an advanced high school class. He updates frequently with relevant and unique information that will be of interest to students, teachers and physics enthusiasts alike.
    Highlight: Energy Density of Coal

    18.?Steve Spangler’s Blog: Emmy-award-winning “teacher’s teacher” Steve Spangler may be best known as the man who taught us how to make a bottle of soda explode by using Mentos as the secret ingredient. While his crazy experiments are exciting to watch and replicate in the classroom, he also offers great science information in his blog which is sure to engage science enthusiasts of all ages.
    Highlight: Valentines Day Candy Science Experiments

    19.?Teaching High School Pyschology: Teaching High School Pychology is a collaborative blog of several different authors, each offering a unique perspective on not only teaching high school psychology, but the broader area of high school teaching, and the psychology associated with it. Relevant news in the world of psychology is also presented in an interesting and thought provoking way.
    Highlight: How to Teach Introverts

    20. Sixty Symbols: Low on words, but high on educational impact, Sixty Symbols offers interesting explanations and interpretations of just about every physics or astronomy related symbol you can think of–way more than the sixty the blog title suggests. The blog is the brainchild of Brady Haran, a photojournalist from Nottingham, United Kingdom. He also has created an associated blog, The Periodic Table of Videos.
    Highlight: Chaos and Butterfly Effect

    English/Language Arts Education Blogs

    21.?The Reading Zone: Get stories and advice from a former 4th grade language arts teacher and current high school English teacher, Sarah. She provides a plethora of resources and links about both reading and writing that will be of use to any language arts teacher.
    Highlight: 2012 in Review

    22.?Living Life Twice: Alan Wright is both a writer and a teacher, and shares his best advice about both topics on Living Life Twice. In Alan’s own words, “every experience provides opportunities to harvest writing ideas.”
    Highlight: Launching Your Writing Program with Purpose

    23.?SCC English: From teachers in Ireland comes an international look on teaching secondary English. They have won multiple awards for their work and often post the best work coming from their students.
    Highlight: ‘Macbeth’ Resources

    24.?Huff English: Dana Huff presents her blog with a focus on discussing English education and technology.
    Highlight: What is a Connected Educator?

    25.?Mr. B-G’s English Class Resources: A resource site for the language arts teacher for handouts, links, and activities. This blog also has an interesting focus on teaching journalism.
    Highlight: Siddhartha in the 21st Century

    Special Education Blogs

    26.?Unwrapping the Gifted: A blog from Education Week Teacher, Unwrapping the Gifted provides advice on challenging your gifted students.
    Highlight: Advice for New Gifted Education Specialists

    27.?Teachers At Risk: Award winning special education teacher Elona Hartjes shares her trials and triumphs in her 7 year old blog that boasts readers from over 100 countries around the world. No matter where you are in your special education teaching career–college student just learning about the field or seasoned veteran–you’re sure to find something of value in this outstanding resource.
    Highlight: Re-examining My Philosophy of Classroom Management

    28.?Eliminating the Box: As the title of this blog suggests, the writer of Eliminating the Box know not all people learn the same way and she strives to provide teaching strategies for special needs children that minimize their disabilities and differences and maximize their learning potential.
    Highlight: Personalized Learning

    29.?Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs: Kate Ahern knows a thing or two about children with special needs–she’s been working with them since she was 14 and old enough to get her first job. Here in her blog she provides helpful guides and resources for those teaching students with one or more special needs.
    Highlight: A Missing Piece – AAC Implementation at Home

    30.?Ed Tech Solution: Teaching Every Student: The author of this blog is an Assistive & Educational Technology Consultant and she provides great posts on using technology in your special education classroom. She strives to help educators remove obstacles for all types of learners.
    Highlight: Reading Accommodations

    Top 20 Websites for Homeschoolers

    The world of homeschooling can be a daunting place, but it doesn’t have to be. There are dozens of curriculums, and boundless philosophies of education, each with their own merits and flaws. For parents just beginning their homeschooling journey, or just looking to see what it’s all about it can be difficult to find good resources that paint an accurate picture of the homeschooling process. This article consists of a list of resources and descriptions of those resources that can help educate parents on the possibilities that exist in the world of homeschooling. Many people will tell you that their particular method or philosophy is the best for everybody, but those that truly understand education realize that children learn at different paces, and in different ways. The most important two things to consider when thinking about beginning the journey of homeschooling is the way in which your child learns best, and what sort of process will be best suited to your strengths as homeschooling isn’t just about the child, but the parent also, and the relationship it cultivates.


    Homeschool.com: Homeschool.com is one of the most comprehensive homeschooling resources available. The site provides information on curriculums, networking and more and the information isn’t just focused on educating children, there is also an adult learning section that provides adults with resources to make sure they’re able to better educate their children.

    Homeschool Buyers Co-op: This is a buying co-op that focuses on combining the buying power of homeschoolers to get materials at a significantly reduced cost. One of the largest obstacles facing homeschoolers today is the cost of home education, this co-op can help solve that problem and make homeschooling a more affordable option for many.

    Midnight Beach Homeschooling Section: This is a personal page built by a homeschooling father intended to be resource neutral and non-commercial. The site provides introductory information about the many varied methodologies, curriculums, and more. One thing that sets this site apart is that the owner recognizes that homeschooling is not just a Christian thing, he includes resources for parents from multiple backgrounds. The website has been around for a long time and some of the resources are outdated and some of the links are broken, but the content of the site is the main draw for many parents new to homeschooling, or rethinking their educational methods.

    The Home School Legal Defense Association: The Home School Legal Defense Association is an association of lawyers and legal professionals devoted to advocating for the rights of homeschoolers. Feelings about the HSLDA among the incredibly diverse homeschooling community are mixed. Some appreciate the legal aid the association makes available, some regard the HSLDA as presumptuous for claiming to speak for homeschoolers as a whole. The legal services offered by the HSLDA tend to be particularly useful for homeschoolers living in states hostile to the practice such as New York or California and can also be useful for parents of students applying to college in states that are hostile toward homeschooling.

    The National Home Education Research Institute: The National Home Education Research Institute collects and conducts research relating to or impacting homeschooling. NHERI publishes a journal called “The Home School Researcher” which keeps subscribers up to date on the most current research regarding homeschooling. NHERI also provides media, legislators, and national organizations with information and studies of the home education movement.

    Curriculum Advisor: This website helps prospective or current home schoolers navigate the wealth of curriculum options in their search for the best curriculum or methodology for their child and themselves. This site gets parents asking the right questions and provides them with strong options for many different styles of homeschooling.

    Prominent Curricula

    Sonlight: Sonlight is a literature based Christian home school curriculum program. The focus is on ingraining in children the life long love of learning through providing an interesting and comprehensive look at subjects based around literature. There is a strong emphasis on primary sources, textbooks are de-emphasized and when they are used, they are used as supplements to original sources.

    Oak Meadow: Oak Meadow prides itself on having created a curriculum that combines adherence to rigorous state standards with a program that encourages creativity and imagination as well as customizability. The focus is on providing a high quality educational experience tailored to the needs of individual children. The program seeks to involve the whole child in its education and allow for the natural development of the child while creating a caring and supportive parent-child relationship.

    Calvert School: Calvert School provides home schoolers with a program that has its roots in traditional education but seeks to enhance this with innovation and techology incorporation. The program is comprehensive and designed to emulate traditional school in the home environment while allowing parents to take into account the individual learning styles of their children. Calvert’s history is fundamentally tied to the rise of formal homeschooling and their curriculum remains one of the premier products in the realm of formal homeschooling today.

    Custom Homeschool Curriculum: The Custom Homeschool Curriculum is based around the eclectic style and focused on the integration of the best aspects of each methodology into one curriculum. The idea is for parents to fully customize the educational experience of each child to fit individual needs. This means that the educaiton of your child is as powerful as you make it.

    Ablaze Academy: Ablaze Academy is an online distance learning curriculum. Students can work at their own pace and receive personal mentoring and tutoring throughout their education. Students can begin the Ablaze curriculum at any point in their educational career. The program is accredited as distance education provider by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on International and Trans-regional Accreditation, and the Georgia Accrediting Commission.

    Bringham Young University Independent Study: The Bringham Young University independent study program is offered in a paper/online hybrid, a new online only program, or an Instructor Guided program. With over 500 programs offered the level of customization is exceptionally high. Registration is open to students Middle School and up, any time of the year. BYU is a regionally accredited university and its independent study high school classes are accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission.

    Classical Conversations: This Christian curriculum is based on the classical model of education. The curriculum programs emphasize the three stages classical education; grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. The curriculum focuses on learning facts in the early years and then developing the skills to communicate about and analyze those facts in the later years. There are a large number of Classical Conversations groups around the country that focus on coming together to discuss the subjects and experiment, learn music, and other things in a group setting, leveraging diversity of the individual experience of multiple parents to enhance the education of all the children.

    A Beka Book: A Beka Book’s curriculum has been refined in the classrooms of Pensacola Christian Academy for 50 years. The focus of this curriculum is the instruction of children in the accumulated wisdom of the past from a biblical perspective. The model is a traditional educational model that is rooted in sensibility and practicality.

    Alpha and Omega: A leader in the Christian homeschool education movement since 1977 Alpha Omega Publishing remains committed to providing an education strongly rooted in Christian principles to families seeking to home school their children. Alpha Omega states that they do what they do because Christian homeschooling families depend on them, and most importantly because they wish to make a difference for Christ in the world.


    Unschooling: This is an unschooling resource site that has explanations of the unschooling movement and is devoted to furthering research into alternative styles of education in an attempt to remedy the many institutionalized problems presented in a conventional school setting. The site also provides access for interested parents to articles Written by John Holt, one of the driving forces behind the genesis of the unschooling movement.

    The Waldorf Method: This website explains why the waldorf program is so beneficial to many leaners. The focus of a waldorf education is on an ascending spiral of knowledge, laying a firm basis of knowledge and mechanical skills while teaching analytical skills as the students progress in order to educate the whole person, body and mind. The program also focuses on beginning instruction in foreign language as early as first grade.

    The Montessori Method: This website covers the basics of the Montessori style of education for homeschoolers. It works through what the goals of Montessori education are, how to achieve them, and what sorts of materials and studies are beneficial for each age group.

    Classical Homeschooling: This website focuses on the benefits of classical vs. modern education. Arguing that the classical style of education is superior when it comes to developing a whole person, which the classical educator sees as the primary goal of early (k-12) education. The site acts as a guide to the classical style of education and also provides some resources on how to get started with classical education in your home.

    The Charlotte Mason Method: The Charlotte Mason Method was developed at the turn of the 19th century and was a response to the increasingly industrial approach to education. Charlotte Mason believed that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. This philosophy revolves around creating a positive atmosphere in which a child can grow, instilling in them the discipline to lead a fruitful life, and that thoughts and ideas are the best basis of a strong education, as opposed to try, contextless facts. One of the focuses of the philosophy is on living books. In other words, books that make a subject come alive, often written by people passionate about the subject as opposed to dry, passionless textbooks.

    Eclictic Method: The Eclectic approach to homeschooling involves taking the strongest aspects from each style that best fit your child and creating a fully customized educational experience. This website is devoted to providing parents with the resources and information they need to make judgements about how to build their child’s education from the ground up.

    Traditional Style: This philosophy embraces the “school at home” philosophy and is the style embraced by parents that want to utilize the strengths of established traditional curriculums while still teaching their child in the home.