Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ab Workout For Men

Abs Workout for Men

Do you want to bring out the six pack hiding underneath the keg?
If so, you need the right ab workout. This needs to be combined with regular cardio and weight training in order to get maximum result and body fat loss. You absolutely NEED to do your cardio/aerobic fitness because you won’t be able to see those abs if they’re hiding under body fat ;)
If you are just starting out with any ab routine, you need to work at a level that is appropriate. So we have broken down this routine into beginner, intermediate and advanced. Start with the beginner and move on after a few weeks or whenever you feel ready. Ideally you should be doing this ab routine 2 or 3 times per week in order to start seeing results.
So, let’s look at our ab workouts for men:

Beginner Ab Workout for Men

Plank on elbows
Assume a pushup position, but with your elbows bent and your weight resting on your forearms. Your body should form a straight line. Now brace your abs as if someone were about to punch you in the gut. Hold for 30 seconds. Rest 30 seconds, and repeat once
Mountain climber with hands on bench
In pushup position with your hands on a bench, brace your abs and slowly lift your left knee toward your chest. Pause 2 seconds, lower it slowly, and then raise your right knee. Alternate for 30 seconds, rest 30, and repeat once.

Side plank
Lie on your left side and prop your upper body up on your left forearm. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from ankles to shoulders. Now brace your abs and hold for 30 seconds. Roll over onto your right side and repeat. Rest 30 seconds, and do 1 more set.

Intermediate Ab Workout for Men

Plank with feet elevated
Use the guidelines for the beginner version of the exercise, but with both of your feet on a bench.

Mountain climber with hands on Swiss ball
Follow the beginner instructions, but place your hands on a Swiss ball instead of a bench. This means you need to work on your balance and use your score a lot more than the beginner’s version.

Side plank with feet elevated
Do this the same way as the beginner version, but with both of your feet on a bench.
*With the intermediate ab workout, complete the exercises outlined in the beginner’s workout as well as the ones above*

Advanced Ab workout for Men Extended plank
Do the beginner version, but place your weight on your hands, which should be positioned about 6 to 8 inches in front of your shoulders

Swiss-ball jackknife
In pushup position with your feet on a Swiss ball, raise your hips and pull the ball forward. Do 2 sets of 15 reps, with 30 seconds of rest

Single-leg side plank
Do the beginner version, but once you're in position, raise your top leg and keep it raised for the duration of the set
*With the advanced ab workout, you can add in the exercises outlined in the beginner and intermediate workout as well as the ones above to really push yourself*

If you are starting out on beginner, do the beginners workout for the first 3 weeks, move on to intermediate for 3 weeks and then finally move onto advanced. By the point you move onto the advanced workout you should be well on your way to getting the toned six pack you want.

My View: Education is useless By Calvin Mackie

As a mechanical engineer with a Ph.D., a motivational STEM speaker and a former college professor, you’d probably be surprised to hear that I think education is useless.

In America, the education system has moved away from developing citizens to serve their fellow man to the unadulterated pursuit of standardized success at any cost. Mixed in with a sea of social change and celebrity obsession, somehow we’ve all lost sight of the goal of education: creating passionate students who are employable, teachable and adaptable in a dynamic world. Students are turned off for a number of reasons right now.

To get back on track, we must recognize that education is useless if students aren’t thirsty for it!

I’ll always remember this lesson that my grandma and grandpa taught me when I was a young kid. I was trying to force a pig to eat the slop I had prepared for him, when my uneducated but wise grandmother stated the truism, “Baby, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink!”

Much like the pig, today’s students don’t want the education we have prepared. They either aren’t hungry or they’ve gotten their fill from somewhere else. In response to my grandma, my grandpa yelled back, “Yeah, you can’t make him drink, but you sure can get him thirsty!”

We can bring students their education and put it on a silver platter right in front of them, but if they don’t want it, they’re not going to eat it. How can we make our students crave it? How can we get them motivated and passionate about learning again? The key is to get back to basics and remember what education is really about.

The primary purpose of education isn’t to teach students how to make money but to provide them with the tools and mechanisms so that they can be FREE. Free to create, free to produce and free to do the things God has ordained and created them to do. As W.E.B. Du Bois stated, “The purpose of education is not to make men and women into doctors, lawyers, and engineers; the purpose of education is to make doctors, lawyers, and engineers into men and women.”

Education affords people the ability to develop and expand their personal and collective capacities. It not only gives them skills, it helps increase their sense of “somebodiness” and purpose. Only when we bring purpose and service back to education, coupled with utility and training, will we win back the hearts and souls of America’s students.

Now, it’s not going to be that easy. “The Silent Epidemic,” a 2006 study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that annually, nearly one-third of all public high school students fail to graduate with their class. Nearly one-half of all blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are flunking out too. In simple terms, the present-day education system is failing the very people it’s supposed to serve: the students.

One of the biggest issues is that our children are growing up in a culture where their passions are advertised and sold to them - there’s no room for them to grow on their own terms. They are more motivated to become the next American Idol, contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” or hip-hop mogul than to become leaders of the free world or create the next Internet. What else can explain the fact that President Barack Obama and Kim Kardashian have the same number of Twitter followers?

What we need to understand is that students have motivation right now, they are just motivated by the wrong things, superficial things that do not require nor promote the education needed to succeed in the 21st century and only make them “feel good.” And so education is rendered useless. As teachers, parents, motivators and concerned citizens, we must shift our strategy to combat this problem and make our students thirsty!

Rather than starting with lesson plans that attempt to go right to the brain, teachers need to grab student’s attention and win their hearts first.

Show them the amazing lifestyle they can earn by becoming a contributing member of the knowledge economy. Put new role models in front of them - people they should look up to, follow on Twitter and “like” on Facebook.

Help them develop the ability to achieve whatever career they want, whether that is as a doctor, lawyer, engineer or teacher. Remind them every day that when you, “put something in your head, no one can take that from you.”

In the end, it’s up to us to reignite and resuscitate America’s students. Service and self-agency are the essence of motivation in education. When they return, so will our students.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Calvin Mackie

My View: The Chicago teachers’ strike from an ambivalent union member’s perspective by Gina Caneva.

Chicago) - On day one of the Chicago teachers strike, I picketed with my fellow teachers outside of Lindblom Math and Science Academy in the Englewood community. Across the street, an African-American family sat outside a dilapidated black-and-white flat. Three school-aged boys played in the yard while we stood in red T-shirts.

Statistically speaking, if public education does not change these boys won’t make it through college. Only 2% of African-American males graduate on time from a university after graduating from Chicago Public Schools.

Statistically speaking, if public education does not change these boys won’t get into Lindblom Academy, a selective enrollment school now ranked 20th in Illinois, even though they live across the street. Only 11% of Lindblom’s population resides in Englewood.

I couldn’t help but think that the strike was both for them and not for them, that the terms discussed in the media—minor raises in pay, a freeze on healthcare, the percentage of teacher evaluations based on standardized tests—largely ignored them. Reforms for stronger teacher education programs and processes for retaining our strongest teachers not just our most experienced have not been central to this very public debate.

But then we walked to the busy corners of 63rd and Damen and later to 63rd and Ashland, in the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago, a place where the media often report on violence but quickly disappear until the next shooting occurs. I was expecting to be booed in this area, especially in a recession. But we received the opposite reception.

Police officers, fire fighters and CTA workers honked for us. Truckers strong-armed their horns, parents with kids in their back seats waved in support, and parents taking their kids to charter schools gave us thumbs up. People on the streets of Englewood listened intently when we spoke about some elementary school classrooms having upwards of 40 students with few resources, and they told us to keep up the good fight.

The South Side where I have taught for the past eight years, the South Side where I have attended countless funerals for my students and their families, the South Side where my daughter will attend a CPS elementary school, has embraced me.

As I pumped my fist, I participated in this strike for social justice. The boisterous South Side reminded me of America’s need for a worker’s voice—a voice the baby booming generation once championed, a voice to challenge both political parties.

I remembered that the Chicago Teachers Union was created to fight social justice issues, particularly women’s rights. In a vocation filled with women, it gave female teachers equal pay to their male counterparts while many other American professions did not. It still does, and it also ensures equality in pay against racial lines. In other vocations in this country, there is still a huge wage gap linked implicitly with race and/or gender, but so many of us have stopped fighting to change it.

I thought of my family members who silently watched their pensions turn into 401(k)s and of close friends who pay unimaginably high premiums for health care. They all felt powerless to change these circumstances. Why? Because as individuals, the fight is too big to take on alone.

If I did not have my union, I could have never fought for my salary, benefits and protection against a revolving door of under-qualified and over-burdened principals, let alone a better classroom for my students. I have my union to thank for all of this.

But as an eight-year veteran teacher, I’m also ambivalent because of my students’ rights. I must challenge the traditional step and lane pay scale even though I’ll receive the soon-to-be negotiated raise. At my last school, which served students primarily on free and reduced lunch, I was a department chair at the age of 28, and respected by my colleagues and administrators as one of the school’s best. I made close to $20,000 less than a teacher who had 15 years on the job, who struggled with classroom management, who received repeated unsatisfactory ratings, and who was eventually removed through a process that took more than a year. The low-performing teacher was teaching students who needed more than what she was providing for too long, and she was making more money than she deserved. My union did that, too, and I can’t deny that.

As we look to the future, teachers’ unions must play a role in building a sustainable, dedicated teaching force, rather than a profession built of teachers who will come and go quickly because of low respect and poor working conditions. Workers’ rights are a part of social justice. But fighting for social justice also means fighting for our children’s rights in the terms of ensuring teacher quality. In order to improve public education, unions must fight for teachers’ rights in the form of better working conditions, and for students’ rights by looking critically at teacher performance alongside seniority in hiring practices and pay scales.

As we return to our classrooms, I stand in solidarity for students’ rights, for workers’ rights, and for my rights. I stand with my union. But I hope that in four years when my daughter is old enough to enter her Chicago Public Schools kindergarten classroom, the teacher standing in front is the strongest teacher possible, thanks to a union that upholds workers’ rights and students’ rights. I have the same hopes for the boys in Englewood and for all of the children of Chicago.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Gina Caneva.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Chicago Teachers and Their Students’ Test Scores

Many crucial issues are at stake in the Chicago Teachers Union strike. But the school district’s insistence that student test scores constitute a major basis of teacher evaluations seems to have become a particularly contentious point, leading to the vilification of teachers by the mainstream media, particularly The New York Times.

Joe Nocera of The New York Times, for example, wrote:

“On Sunday night, when she announced that the teachers were going on strike, Lewis said that teachers should not be at risk of losing their jobs over new evaluations that rely heavily on standardized test scores, which don’t account for outside factors like poverty and homelessness. Reformers have long complained that teachers’ unions too often use poverty as an excuse for poor performance. Lewis’s remarks would seem to justify that complaint”

Is Joe Nocera right to imply that allusions to poverty as a major factor in determining students’ test scores is merely “an excuse?” We can look to Joe Nocera himself for the answer. On April 25, 2011, he wrote: “Going back to the famous Coleman report in the 1960s, social scientists have contended — and unquestionably proved — that students’ socioeconomic backgrounds vastly outweigh what goes on in the school as factors in determining how much they learn”

We’ll give Nocera an ‘F’ for failing to uphold basic canons of consistency.
Nicholas Kristof, also of The New York Times, weighed into the debate with at least the intelligent admission that “… the main reason inner-city schools do poorly isn’t teachers’ unions, but poverty”

He proceeded to offer a more sophisticated attack on teachers: “There’s now solid evidence that there are huge differences in the effectiveness of teachers, even within high-poverty schools.”

He continued: “The study found that strong teachers in the fourth through eighth grades raised the game of their students in ways that would last for decades. Just having a strong teacher for one elementary year left pupils a bit less likely to become mothers as teenagers, a bit more likely to go to college and earning more money at age 28.”

Finally, he raised the crucial question: “How does one figure out who is a weak teacher? Yes, that’s a challenge. But researchers are improving systems to measure ‘value added’ from beginning to end of the year, and, with three years of data, it’s usually possible to tell which teachers are failing.”

But this basically concedes the argument to the teachers. Kristoff acknowledges that such a reliable procedure does not yet exist when he states the current one only “usually” works. This could be as low as 51 percent of the time, which would mean it is no better than a toss of the dice. One must keep in mind that what is at stake is a teacher’s career and livelihood. Employing an evaluation system that is only “usually” accurate commits a grave injustice to anyone subjected to it.

New York Times columnist David Brooks also felt compelled to jump on the bandwagon:

“Though the final details are still uncertain, there will also be a serious teacher evaluation process. The various elements of those evaluations will change for each teacher year by year, but, as teachers progress in their careers, student performance will become more and more important. That’s vital because various studies have shown that evaluations that rely in part on test scores really do identify the best teachers”

Brooks’ formulation goes a step beyond Kristof by suggesting that these evaluations “really do” identify the best teachers, although he might have been exaggerating their effectiveness. Nevertheless, his claim still leaves open the question: Are good teachers being correctly identified because of the student test-score component of their evaluation or because of all the other factors that are employed?

Perhaps more importantly, here is what The New York Times itself had to say about measuring the value added by teachers where test scores are a major component: “Several studies have shown that teachers who receive high value-added scores — the term for the effect that teachers have on student test performance — in one year can score poorly a year later. ‘There are big swings from year to year,’ said Jesse Rothstein, associate professor of public policy and economics at the University of California, Berkeley.”

Teachers are not opposed to evaluations, although one would not know this by reading the op-ed page of The New York Times. They rightfully oppose evaluations that do not provide an accurate reflection of their performance. Shockingly, none of the above writers is troubled by teacher evaluations with accuracy that fluctuates wildly. It would be interesting to discover if their convictions remained firm when faced with the prospect of being evaluated themselves by an equally unpredictable procedure for journalists.

Even The New York Times itself editorialized against the striking Chicago teachers, claiming “Teachers’ strikes, because they hurt children and their families, are never a good idea.” What The Times fails to understand is that teachers also oppose a strong emphasis on standardized test scores because they know first-hand that students are harmed in the process. As the picket sign of one striking Chicago teacher said: “I want to teach to the student, not the test.”

Here is how Diane Ravitch, who served as deputy secretary of education during the George H. W. Bush administration, described the problem:

“And so I concluded that value-added assessment should not be used at all. Never. It has a wide margin of error. It is unstable. A teacher who is highly effective one year may get a different rating the next year depending on which students are assigned to his or her class. Ratings may differ if the tests differ. To the extent it is used, it will narrow the curriculum and promote teaching to tests. Teachers will be mislabeled and stigmatized. Many factors that influence student scores will not be counted at all” (The Washington Post, October 10, 2010, “Ravitch: Why teachers should never be rated by test scores,” by Valerie Strauss).

When standardized test scores are emphasized, teachers are compelled to teach to the test or risk losing their jobs. Not only do the tests narrow the curriculum, as Diane Ravitch correctly observes, they undermine the entire teaching endeavor. Great teachers love their students and love to instill in them a love of learning. And the students in return love their teacher and become open to horizons of knowledge that were unimaginable to them before. This is the foundation that nurtures wonderful, sometimes, magical learning experiences in the classroom. No standardized test can possibly penetrate or measure this domain, and the attempt to apply such a ruler only reveals the ignorance of those who pretend to know better.


One on One Education: Is This an Example of Privatization?


by Chris Boyette, CNN

(CNN) Like many students his age this time of year, Luke Gulley, 16, sits at a desk in a small classroom waiting for his lessons to begin. What sets this young man’s experience apart from most other students is that while many public schools across the country are dealing with overcrowding, Luke is the only kid in his class.

Luke is a student at Fusion Academy, a chain of private for-profit schools with 12 locations in California that boasts a highly personalized curriculum and a 1:1 student-teacher ratio.

On Friday, the New York State Education Department approved Fusion Academy’s application to operate in New York. Classes will begin this week at campuses in Long Island and Manhattan, with a third scheduled to open in Westchester in January, according to school officials.

Fusion was founded by Michelle Rose Gilman in 1989 as a tutoring center. It grew into an alternative, hands-on approach to educating a special brand of students, grades 6-12.

“Our students are the kids who have not been successful in traditional education,” Gilman said, “They could be kids with learning disabilities like ADHD, maybe they have social issues, like having been bullied, or maybe they are gifted and aren’t challenged enough in other schools.”

The idea behind Fusion is a completely personalized education experience, from how the courses are taught to when.

“School is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.” said Steve Racelis, director of marketing for American Education Group, which owns the school. “Students can work out what schedule works best for them.”

Luke, who is in the 11th grade, runs his own lighting and entertainment services company, LG Productions. “Running a business and going to traditional school wasn’t working,” he said.

Racelis said some students at one of the California campuses were professional surfers. “They’d surf all morning and then start classes at noon,” he said.

This flexibility also attracts other athletes who may be off competing and actors who have to leave for shoots.

“It’s not like class is going to go on without you,” Gilman said. “When you have one student sitting in front of one teacher, you can totally customize the class for that student. The teacher knows the student, their strengths and weaknesses.”

“You get to really talk to your teachers,” Luke said. “You connect, which makes class less boring. Instead of writing a book report in English class, I could write up a cover letter for my business.”
To read more click on this link:

Once again, the urban centers of America aren't able to afford this opportunity!

Why We Teach Despite It All

Coming Soon (Webisodes)
These issues are going to be discussed and launched on my YouTube Channel soon!  A Panel of distinguished guests with me as the host will be discussing issues from my book Battlegrounds America's War in Education and Finance A View From The Front Lines.

Please click on the link and read the testimonials!  The articles are text intensive and cannot be placed on my blog. 

I just want to state for the record that it is not about money!  Teachers aren't the highest paid laborers in the world.  We do it for students!  We have a passion to impart knowledge on those who need and desire it!
Why they teach despite it all

By Christina Zdanowicz, CNN

CNN) -- Fourth-grade teacher by day, adjunct professor and mother by night, Renee Longshore keeps a strict budget and pulls a second income all in the name of teaching.

With her husband's two jobs -- he's also a fourth-grade teacher and an adjunct professor -- the master's-educated couple makes four incomes. But, money is tight for this family of six.

While Longshore's passion for teaching children helps her overlook her modest life, she sometimes resents her job. She feels under-appreciated by parents at times and like her profession isn't respected.

"My paycheck does not reflect my expertise," she wrote on CNN iReport. "The minimal esteem shown is not warranted, considering my formal schooling and experience. ... But I teach, because that is who I am."

Despite administration frustrations and poor classroom conditions -- and for Chicago teachers, a weeklong strike -- why do they do it? CNN asked teachers to share their perspectives about the sacrifices they make, and the motivations for teaching. These are five of their stories:

Why Students Skip School

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) - “School is boring,” say about half of American students who routinely skip. But when asked what they’re doing instead of attending class, most say they’re just hanging out with their friends or sleeping.

A survey recently published at cites data that as many as 7 million students - about 15% of the K-12 population - are out of school 18 or more days of the school year. And many of them don’t think skipping school will impact their future.

That’s not in line with reality. The study points out that students who skip more than 10 days of school are significantly (about 20%) less likely to get a high school diploma. And they’re 25% less likely to enroll in higher education.

Can parents have an impact here? Absolutely. In fact, parental encouragement to attend school was the most widely cited factor in what would make students want to go to class diligently.

But many of those surveyed said their parents didn’t even know when students skipped. In fact, 42% said their parents either never knew or rarely knew when their kids were absent from school; another 24% added that parents knew “sometimes.” So parental engagement and knowledge of children’s whereabouts seem key to keeping kids in class.

Students also said that encouragement from anyone to whom they felt a personal connection, from teachers to coaches to celebrities, could influence better attendance. “If we - parents, educators, and even celebrities - show them we truly care about them, their aspirations and frustrations, they will be more likely to care about making it to school,” writes Marie Groark, executive director of the Get Schooled Foundation.

Other solutions: Those surveyed said they wanted to see a “clear connection” between their classes and the jobs they’d like down the road. They also cited a better understanding of consequences, greater support of teachers, and more friends at school as factors that could make them attend more often.

Monday, September 3, 2012

In Case You Didn't Know


People: Check the video and leave comments!  Please tell me what you think.  As a citizen, do you agree or disagree? 

Tony Danza Says We Need To Apologize To Teachers

After having spent a year teaching high school, actor Tony Danza says American teachers deserve an apology for everything they have to put up with and the lack of gratitude they receive.

The Who's The Boss? star spent a year teaching 10th grade English at Northeast High School in Philadelphia, and quickly realized how difficult it is to get children to focus amid the distractions they face today and realize the importance of getting a good education.

“In the midst of a tough economy and continuous budget cutting, how do we send a message to students that being in school and making the most of their time there is important?” Danza writes in an op-ed for USA Today.

In his new book titled, "I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had," Danza talks about his experience teaching and how he finally understood how hard teachers work to inspire students who are constantly distracted and facing an even more competitive world.

"I hoping the book not only talks about the great moments that we have but it also talks about issues," he says. "Issues that are faced in education now a days and how important it is that we educate our kids so that they can compete with the rest of the world."

Danza says today that is even more critical, considering the jobs that students could slide into with mediocre performance before are no longer available today, noting that "in 1950s and 60s when I went to school.. you could slide those jobs are no longer around and that's why schooling is so important."

Much of this, Danza says, comes from the student's lack of interest in school rather than the teacher's level of commitment. We need to stop blaming our teachers for everything in the classroom, Danza is quick to note, adding that parents have to be more involved.

"...Teachers have no problem being held accountable by parents. In fact, they crave parent involvement," he says, adding that it is the parent's job to encourage success in school and talk to their children about the importance of a good education.

After working as a teacher, Danza writes about how difficult the job is and realizing that he wasn't always the best student for his teachers.

"And lastly I really would like to apologize to every teacher I've ever had."