GOOD

Harriet Ball, Master Educator and KIPP Inspiration, Has Died

The tireless teacher and advocate for educational excellence has passed away. Thankfully, her legacy still lives on.


You may not know the name Harriet Ball, but the master teacher from Houston has a legendary reputation in education circles. Not only was she a six-time "Teacher of the Year," she was also a mentor and inspiration for Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg, the founders of KIPP—one of the most successful charter school organizations in the nation. Sadly, Ball had a heart attack early Wednesday morning and passed away.

If you've seen the education documentary Waiting for Superman, you've experienced a taste of Ball's teaching genius. The film features footage of her teaching math facts through chants set to the catchy melodies of the hottest hip hop and pop music tracks. Far from being a fan of rote memorization, she believed that no two students learn the same way and frequently expressed that teachers need to quit expecting kids to sit still for hours behind a desk. Instead, Ball advocated what all excellent teachers know—you have to incorporate audio, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic methods into every lesson to truly engage kids in learning.


Those methods are what Ball showed Levin back in 1993 when he was a brand new Teach For America teacher in Houston. He spent his time observing her and meeting with her as much as he could in the hope of improving his teaching. KIPP—which stands for Knowledge is Power Program—is named after one of Ball's learning chants. Levin and Feinberg's note on the KIPP Foundation Facebook Page is worth reading. Here's an excerpt:

Watching Harriett teach was akin to watching any genius in action – she made one of the world’s most difficult endeavors seem effortless. We first met her 19 years ago and despite having already taught for 27 years, Harriett taught eight hours every day with the freshness and enthusiasm as if it was her first day.

Yesterday, she was spending what would turn out to be her final day doing what she was the best in the world at—teaching.

\n

Ball's dedication made a real difference in the lives of so many students. With her passing, the world has lost a true heroine and champion of education.

photo via harrietball.com

Articles
AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less
Health