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A New Soy Crayon Choice

I read with great interest your ideas for ways to go green (“10 Ways to Go Green,” March/April). Number Two says “Color yourself green.... Opt for soy-based crayons instead, like Prang-brand.” But the largest manufacturer of 100% soy crayons is called Crayon Rocks, invented by a CTA/NEA special education teacher to fill three needs: help improve a child’s grip for future pencil use, offer a high quality art material, and be ecologically responsible. How do I know they are 100% soy and safe in all respects? Because I’m the teacher who invented and produces them.

Barbara Lee DaBoll
La Crescenta, California

Environment Comes First

I am currently leading my elementary school through the Maryland Green School Certification Program. While the objectives are quite rigorous compared to many other states’ certification programs, over the course of the past two school years, our students have truly come to own the idea that we must think first about the environment. I highly recommend getting involved with some sort of program that “forces” you to look at how things are being done in your school, analyze them, and then work with students, staff, and the community to come up with alternatives.

Lisa Young
Ellicot City, Maryland

For more green advice from your colleagues, go to

Virtual Education: A Student Speaks Up

Thank you for sharing information about video teleconferencing (VTC) classes, (“Real Challenges, Virtual Solutions,” March/April), but not all students just sit there bored to death. I am not camera- or microphone-shy, and although I have a problem with writing down notes, I still pass all my tests.  I am not allowed to look at other students’ test papers, but I’m sure they are doing just fine. So just saying—VTC classes can still be successful.

Lyle Meier
Oscarville, Alaska

Multitasking Blues

I too have never thought that multitasking was a good idea; it’s comforting to know that another person feels that way (“You Say Multitasking like it’s a Good Thing,” March/April). Our world simply has too many distractions because it seems like everything is accessible to us. To complete any task well requires time and attention.

I see multitasking as something reserved for somatic functions, such as washing the dishes while listening to the radio or flipping through a magazine while pedaling on an exercise bike.

Loi An Le
Brooklyn, New York

I really appreciated the article on multitasking. As a “dinosaur,” I have long been talking about the fallacies of multitasking. How does one combat the dogma that digital natives not only can use all this technology while multitasking, but that they really can’t learn any other way? As a science teacher, I shudder at the expression “their brains are wired differently.” Thousands of years of evolution have not been changed by the cell phone. 

Cathy Shiner
Denmark, Wisconsin

Correction: In “ESPs in Review,” we neglected to include the election of Sandy Arseneault as president of the South Dakota Education Association as one of the notable events of 2008. We regret the error.

Let’s Talk

Share your ideas, comments, and opinions with NEA Today in one of four ways: By Mail: Write to Letters, NEA Today,      1201 16th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036 Through the Web: Go to, click on “Publications Feedback Form,” and choose “Letter to the Editor” from the drop-down “subject” menu. By e-mail: Write to By Fax: 202-822-7206 Letters are edited for length and clarity.

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  • anc_dyn_linksOctober | November 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksAugust | September 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksMay 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksMarch | April 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksJanuary | February 2009