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April 1, 2001
Vol. 58
No. 7

Web Wonders / Beyond Class Time and Space

Every educator knows that a lot of learning—both formal and informal—occurs outside of the classroom. Many students and educators spend some of that time surfing the Internet. Visit these sites on your next Internet journey.

After-School Programs

After school each weekday, at least 8 million children in the United States are left alone and unsupervised. To provide safe and productive places for children to spend these hours, the U.S. government provides funds for after-school programs at 3,600 rural and inner-city public schools in 903 communities. These 21st Century Community Learning Centers (www.ed.gov/21stcclc) work in collaboration with local businesses, institutions, community agencies, and scientific and cultural organizations. Read more about these centers in 21st Century Community Learning Centers: Providing Quality Afterschool Learning Opportunities for America's Families (www.ed.gov/pubs/Providing_Quality_Afterschool_Learning).
After-school programs are appearing in schools and community centers everywhere. The Partnership for After School Education (PASE) (www.pasesetter.com) is a network of organizations, community members, funding providers, and youth development professionals in New York City committed to quality education in after-school settings. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (www.mott.org) has contracted with PASE to look into the training needs of after-school programs that are part of school-community partnerships. The Foundation is currently surveying school principals, administrators, teachers, community educators, social service agencies, and other community groups (www.pasesetter.com/survey/index.html) to ascertain these needs.
To discuss after-school programs with your peers, participate in Afterschool Online (www.mott.org/21stcentury/dialogues/index.html), a network of colleagues from across the United States sharing ideas, approaches, and strategies for improving and sustaining quality after-school programs.


Despite differing views on the benefits of homework—some of which are expressed by EL authors Harris Cooper (p. 34) and Etta Kralovec and John Buell (p. 39)—many students face homework each night. Elementary through university students who need help with math can visit Dr. Math (www.mathforum.com/dr.math) to find formulas and definitions and to e-mail questions. The Math Forum site (www.mathforum.com) also provides parents and teachers with resources and helpful advice for introducing math concepts.
Look for helpful homework resources on many subjects at B. J. Pinchbeck's Homework Helper site (http://school.discovery.com/homeworkhelp/bjpinchbeck). B. J. is a middle schooler from western Pennsylvania, so his site is kid-tested and approved.


Young people need to do more than study. Many students these days play sports after school. Research shows that participating in sports can benefit students—especially girls—physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally. The Women's Sports Foundation (www.WomensSportsFoundation.org) provides useful information about fitness, a wide variety of sports, and sports careers for women.
Youth sports coaches might want to read the Coaching Youth Sports Newsletter (www.tandl.vt.edu/rstratto/CYS). This online newsletter from the Health and Physical Education Program at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, concentrates on athletes ages 6–16. Instead of focusing on specific sports, articles cover motor skills and ideas from sports psychology that pertain to most sports. Coaches can submit questions to the newsletter staff. Another useful site is the National Alliance for Youth Sports (www.nays.org), which has developed codes of ethics for coaches, parents, and players.

Enriching Environments

The mission of the School Design and Planning Laboratory at the University of Georgia (www.coe.uga.edu/sdpl/sdpl.html) is to advance the design and planning of safe, comfortable, and developmentally appropriate learning environments for students of all ages in a multicultural society. Read articles about a variety of topics, from what colors to paint school walls to case studies of well-designed playgrounds.
The nonprofit Boundless Playgrounds (http://boundlessplaygrounds.org) helps communities create magical places where all children—including the fully able and those who have physical, sensory, and developmental disabilities—can play and grow together.

Karen Rasmussen has been a contributor to Educational Leadership.

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