Why Bother Having Art in the School Curriculum?

As teachers, students and schools become so jam-packed with activities intended to produce socially contributing, life long learners that many aspects of the school experience become pushed aside. Parents and school boards continually pressure teachers to give students knowledge and skills which will benefit them after primary school. Obviously, this has good intentions behind it.However, when so much focus is placed on the language arts, science and mathematics portions of the school day, other, seemingly unimportant subjects may be given less focus, or abandoned altogether. A prime example of this is art education. Art has become a small section of the school day, which is often provided to students only if they need to ‘busy’ themselves or as a reward for completing the more ‘beneficial’ subjects. I believe that by undermining the importance of art in school, students and teachers alike are missing out on many opportunities for meaningful development. In her article “Art Really Teaches”, Dr. Violet Robinson discusses how art can be helpful and effective in the areas of personal development, social development, physical development and language development. I agree that art holds many opportunities to explore these areas with, and within our students.Although school professes to be a place where students learn about the subject matter within the curriculum, it is easily seen that the most meaningful learning that occurs is on a much deeper level. Personal development, when properly and successfully encouraged, enables students to achieve a sense of positive self-concept, high self-esteem and high self-efficacy. Art as a form of personal expression and creativity can greatly benefit students in their search for identity. Through the creation of concrete objects and pictures, storytelling and emotional expression, students are given an avenue where they may take responsibility for their work, and where they can, hopefully, create with a sense of achievement and without judgment.Along with personal development, schools are a place where students experience social development, often to an extent greater than any other place in their lives. Art can foster positive social development through group projects, which allow for a sense of group accomplishment and cooperation, and the sharing of personal stories and ideas. Art offers a way of communication, which, on a very basic level, is interdisciplinary and multilingual. This may offer students from various backgrounds the opportunity to share and experience together, without language barriers. The creation of art and the expression it encourages may serve to develop the forms of language other than spoken and written form. Art provides a means of communication which may or may not include written and spoken language. This makes it inclusive and, hopefully, accessible to people of all levels of development and all cultures, something which cannot be said for many subjects.As art may take almost unlimited forms, it can often serve to increase and aid physical development in students and teachers alike. For example, sculpture may take active form, expression can be found in dance and movement and dexterity, rhythm and coordination can all be found in various art forms.It has been documented that the gravitation towards art tends to diminish throughout the school years. This may be due to lack of instruction of basic ability, the tendency of students to think that art is best left to those with natural ability, and, as mentioned earlier, the view of art as an unimportant part of the curriculum. As mathematics has been considered ‘the great equalizer’ among students, I believe art is ‘the great unifier’. Art, when properly introduced, taught and encouraged, holds the potential to give students a lifelong avenue for expression, development and learning.Original article location here

How to Find Free High PageRank Directories

Getting inbound links from free high pagerank directories often seems like a nearly impossible task. If you are a web marketing professional or webmaster with a lot of sites this technique is perfect for you! Even if you have only a few sites this can still be a big time and money saver. Before describing the technique let’s look at the traditional approaches to the free directory problem.Manual Directory URL SubmissionCompletely free, but time consuming, is the age old method of finding “free” directories, submitting your site(s) manually, and then waiting and hoping for results. Having a tool like Roboform can speed up the entry process, but you still have to find the directories. If you find a free directory list, it often turns out that most of the directories either(a) require reciprocal links(b) place your free link on “nofollow” pages that don’t ever get spidered by the search engines. Even worse, many directories don’t even make it clear that they’ll put your link on a “nofollow” page.Ok, you’ve spent hours doing all this work and now hopefully a few high pagerank sites will accept the submission at some point; many directories just want your email address so they can send you other offers.Software for Automated Directory URL SubmissionI’m sure you’ve all seen the ads for this software, “submit your site to 7,000+ directories automatically!” First of all, most of the directories that accept your submission are “free for all” sites that give you absolutely zero benefit with search engines.Secondly, most the directories in the lists are completely irrelevant for your site, or don’t have an appropriate category for your link. Let’s face it, any credible directory has a CAPCHA field that prevents automated site submission anyway.Manual Submission ServicesIf you’re going to spend some money on directory submission this is the way to go. Still not as good as doing it yourself by hand, at least there is a real person selecting the correct category on each site and completing each form. Some services offer to respond to email confirmation requests which keeps your own email inbox spam free. Services range in price from $20 for say 50 or 100 directories up to $300 for up to 1000 directories. In my opinion you should only bother submitting your site to relevant directories with a PR of 4 or more.When looking for such a service ensure the following:
they offer a screen shot of each submission if you request it (it may cost extra but will be worth it)

they provide the list of directories in advance

they indicate the pagerank breakdown of directories

you can choose a variety of site titles, categories for submission, and keywords

they provide a time table for when the job will be complete

they space out the submission over time if you’re submitting to more than 100 directories

I have used manual submission services on occasion, and while not perfect you do get a fair amount of value for a relatively small investment. By no means, though, should this replace your own manual search and submission to relevant directories.Technique for finding free high PageRank directoriesOk, so you or your client doesn’t have paid directory inclusion in their budget, no doubt because you or they over paid for web-site development. I bet the site wasn’t even built with SEO in mind, right.First, sign up for Google Webmaster Tools which is completely free. You will need to verify your site before you can use the tools we need for the next part; follow Google’s instructions to do that.For your first site follow the tried and true manual search and enter method to submit your site to as many high PR directories as you can find. Do yourself a favor and use RoboForm on another form filling software to eliminate a lot of typing. Next, if you want, try a reputable manual submission service using the rules I outlined above. Ideally you should complete both tasks within about a week; don’t stretch this job out too long.About every two weeks go to Google Webmaster Tools and check the “pages with external links” statistics for your site. When you start to see links point your browser to each new one and record any that are directories. For each new directory record the time elapsed since you submitted the site, the PR, and the number of pages the directory links to on your site. Feel free to document any other details about the directory such as geographical requirements, number of categories available, etc.Over time you will compile your own list of excellent directories you can use for other site submissions. More importantly you will have eliminated all sites that either:
rejected your submission

didn’t place your link within a reasonable time frame (if it has been 6 months forget about it)

put your link on a page that block visibility to search engines

In other words, you will have cut your job down to about 5% of what it once was. As a bonus you also won’t ever have to pay the manual submission service again.I suggest using a spreadsheet to compile your directory list. This tool is perfect because it allows you to store clickable links for future submissions. With a spreadsheet you can also sort your directories by any criteria such as pagerank or time it takes for your link to be spidered by Google. If you don’t have spreadsheet software you can use Google’s free on-line spreadsheet tool.For your next project simply open the spreadsheet and be confident that almost all of your new submissions will soon be increasing your organic search traffic.

There is an excessive amount of traffic coming from your Region.