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"A renewed sense of purpose": a conversation with Lisa Arce.

Lisa Arce teaches seventh- and eighth-grade students at Selden Middle School in Centereach, New York, "in the heart of Long Island," as she sags. This gear, Arce began a second career: writing test-prep and skills reproducibles for JS. Here are excerpts from our conversation with her.

Q. What is your educational background? What drew you to teaching--and keeps you there?

A. I hold both my BA and MA in history from Long Island University, though I began as a pre-law major. Increasingly, I found the complexities of society and civilization more fascinating than the workings of law. Yet I enjoyed the theatrical aspect of trial law that puts lawyers in front of a courtroom--or a classroom! Now, I get to research, teach, and talk about what interests me every day. But this isn't the only aspect of my job that keeps me teaching. Helping middle-school-aged students learn not just about American history, but about academic responsibility and high achievement too gives me a renewed sense of purpose each year.

Q. What is your approach to creating test-prep and skills reproducibles for JS?

A. When preparing the work sheets, I always want to incorporate a variety of skills objectives for the students, preferably in a scaffolded manner, so that they are building more-complex skill sets as they progress through a work sheet. I also try to look at a flesh, interesting aspect of a topic pertinent to the current JS issue.

Q. How do you keep a diverse roomful of students interested in learning?

A. A teacher must possess a variety of resources that will stimulate students' multiple intelligences. Using many different techniques each class period keeps students engaged and active as long as possible.

Q. How do you use JS in your classroom?

A. I use it weekly to teach reading, note-taking, and research techniques in social studies. I use the reproducibles as well as the map studies as a skills check, and compare my students' progress quarterly. I use the history articles and plays to enhance my teaching of those topics by allowing students to work cooperatively at some task that involves the information in those pieces. My belief is that students need to read much more than just the textbook. For me, JS serves as a consistent alternative, with a comfortable reading level that will enable students to have success in purposeful reading.

Q. What trends have you noticed in education over the past decade?

A. Teachers, students, and whole districts have had to adapt their routines to accommodate the No Child Left Behind Law--with both positive and negative results. When a school makes progress, there is truly a sense of pride in the improvement. However, NCLB has also forced many teachers to stick to more traditional methods, for fear of running out of time before finishing the required curriculum. This takes away many authentic, in-depth, and creative student-centered projects and lessons that 1 feel are indispensable to a student's growth.



Lisa Arce prefers online resources that provide teachers with primary-source documents and other instructional materials. Here are a few of her favorites:

* The National Archives:

* The Library of Congress:

* Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators:
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Publication:Junior Scholastic
Article Type:Interview
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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