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Talking Points For Kids is a prototype program that aims to increase discussion amongst students on topics that relate to them. To read about the importance of talking about ideas that matter, take a look at the Frankly Freddy entry: High-Leverage Action #1.

The content for Talking Points for Kids (TP4K) is intended for 4th-6th grade students.  The texts were written so that they would support students in increasing their capacity in getting more facile with the meanings and recognition of the core vocabulary.   Rather than the usual 6-8% of the words in the text being challenging words (which is the case with trade books at this level), the TP4K have a 2% of the words beyond the core vocabulary.  What that means is that almost all students in grades 4-6 can read texts independently and engage in a spirited discussion about critical content.

School Time

With talks of extending the school day and/or school year, what are some of the point view in this issue?

Exercise in School

It is a given that students, everyone, should exercise during the day.  But with all that schools are trying to accomplish in the school day, should time be set aside for PE?

Music in Schools

The question at the heart of this booklet is whether time should be alloted during the school time for music education.  Music is an important part of our lives, but how important is music education compared to language arts, math, science and social science?

Homework

Did you know students didn't always have homework?  Before the 1950's teachers didn't assign homework to elementary school kids.  This is no longer the case now.  In a 2008 survey, "77% students regardless of grade level, spend at least 30 minutes doing homework on a typical school day, while 45% reported spending at least an hour." (MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: The Homework Experience, 2008).  The question we ask in this TPFK is "Does homework help students learn?  Are students getting the right amount of homework?"

Living in Zoos

A day at a zoo can be quite memorable for the zoo visitors.  But what about the animals that live at the zoo?

Heavy Backpacks

Backpacks are useful for carrying school supplies.  A student can fill their backpack with books, notebooks, pens, pencils, and other things a student may need at school.  The question asked in this Talking Points for Kids is: Can a backpack be too full, or too heavy?

Ban on Plastic Bags

This issue of TP4K examines the costs and benefits of using plastic bags.

Ban on Junk Food in Schools

This issue of TP4K examines the use of school bans in order to teach students about health and nutrition.

Bringing Toys to School

This issue of TP4K examines the complex issue of bringing toys to school.

Television Time

This issue of TP4K examines the benefits and disadvantages related to kids watching television.