Depth and Complexity in “Escape”

Here are some ideas of how the depth and complexity and imperative content icons might be applied to “Escape,” one of the selections in the fourth-grade Open Court Risks and Consequences Unit. Although some of these ideas (particularly parallels) may come up in the course of a class discussion even without deliberately applying the GATE icons, I believe that by thinking, in advance, about how the icons relate to a selection, the teacher can help guide the students to think more profoundly. Of course, the questions remain of how much we want to involve ourselves in a student discussion and in what other ways we can encourage this kind of thinking during a story discussion.

Universal Theme – Power
• Does Wilbur have any power?
• What power does the Zuckerman’s have?
• How do the Zuckerman’s “control” Wilbur?

Big Idea

What statements can be made about risks and consequences?
• Sometimes we experience unanticipated negative consequences when we take a risk.
• Sometimes we take risks without really thinking about the possible consequences.
• We can be encouraged by others to take risks that we wouldn’t have otherwise
• We can regret the risks we take.

Other big ideas

• Once we get what we think we want, we may not like it as much as we thought we would.
• We may think we’re unhappy, but when we try something different, we learn to appreciate what we had.

Language of the Discipline – setting, characters, problem, climax, conclusion

Unanswered Questions

• What would have happened if he had escaped to the woods?
• Would Wilbur have liked being out of his pen if the animals hadn’t been yelling at him and the Zuckermans hadn’t tried to catch him?
• Will Wilbur start to feel bored again with life in his pen, or will he start remembering how he didn’t like it once he was out in the world?
• Does not liking to be out in the world resolve Wilbur’s issue of boredom at home?
• It said in the selection that the other animals got excited when one of their own got out.
Do the other animals wish they could escape? Might they change their mind after
seeing what Wilbur experienced?


The selection follows a familiar pattern: 1) description of setting 2) description of the problem and its cause 3) new problem arises in the course of solving original problem 4) problem is resolved.


• What might Mrs. Zuckerman be thinking?
• What might the other animals be thinking?


If the goose had not prodded him to escape, would Wilbur have left his pen if he had noticed the loose board on his own?

Convergence Many events had to have happened at the same time for the story to unfold as it did: Fern had to have not come, Wilbur had to be bored, the board had to be loose, the goose had to notice board was loose, the goose had to coax Wilbur to leave the pen, and Mrs. Zuckerman had to have been standing at the window.


How does the risk Wilbur takes compare to the risks the characters in the other selections took?
• Wilbur and Mrs. Frisby: Mrs. Frisby thought through the possible negative and positive consequences of each choice, both of which involved risk, before deciding which path to take home. Wilbur, on the other hand, didn’t think about the possible consequences of leaving his pen except that he might have thought it was a solution to his boredom.
• Wilbur and Jeremy (the crow): Wilbur’s risk is like Jeremy’s in that neither of them thought much in advance of the possible consequences. They were both motivated by a desire for pleasure.
• Wilbur and Toto: Both characters took risks of going into unknown territories.
• Wilbur and Sarah: Both took a chance because they wanted a change in their lives.

How does Wilbur’s experience relate to our own lives?
• How much freedom do we want?
• How much do we want to be taken care of?
• What’s it like being out in the world vs. staying at home?
• In what ways is Wilbur’s experience of freedom like our own experience of being “out in the world” or away from home?
• Do people in our own lives ever prod us to do something we later regret?
• Have we ever felt like Wilbur – bored with life?

Nothing comes to mind for the following icons: Patterns, Trends, Change Across Time, or Paradox. Perhaps someone else might have some ideas of how to apply those icons to this selection.

College Opportunity Fund: Why You Should Consider It

A College Degree

Getting a college degree is a smart choice for so many different reasons. If you or someone in your life desires this, they will need to decide on many things, and one of the first ones in which college to attend and also how to fund the education. If this is something that you are interested in, learning about your options is an excellent way to ensure you can get the education that you desire. Read on to learn more about the opportunities that are available to you and how to learn more about them.

The Pathway

First of all, you can take some time to learn about the colleges that are of interest to you. Is there a school that you are currently looking at? Or do you want to consider all of the ones near you simply? Or maybe you know what degree you want, and you want to find the college that has the best program in this area? No matter what your thoughts are concerning the college that you are considering attending, you will want to give some idea to this topic.

Then, you will want to think about funding your college education. The good news is, there are many great opportunities out there. One of these choices is the College Opportunity Fund. By taking time to look into this excellent choice, you can learn if you qualify and how to apply. This is a smart choice as college can be costly.

As you decide to consider the College Opportunity Fund, you will want to learn as much about it as you can. This means you should determine which colleges it can help you fund. Also, you should learn which degree programs it includes, or possibly excludes. Another thing to do is learn about the qualifications. By doing this, you can learn if you qualify for it.

After that, you can then apply for the opportunity. As you do, you will want to include all of the information that is being asked for. If you don’t have the data, you should do what you can to secure it before you apply. If you find that this is not an option, contact someone who can help you with the next step as it is essential to submit a completed application to have the best chances of getting the funding you need for your college education.

Once the application is submitted, you will have a timeline as to when you will be contacted regarding the decision as to whether or not your application was approved and how much funding you will be awarded. After that, you will need to follow the steps shared with you to ensure your funding is provided to fund your education.


In conclusion, when you desire to obtain a college degree, you should give some thought to the school and the funding options. By doing so, you will find great options for getting your degree.

Vocational School is an Excellent Alternative to University

Vocational School is an Excellent Alternative to University

It wasn’t that long ago that a high school education was all you needed to land a decent paying job.  Those days are gone and in the world today many entry level jobs expect you to have some type of college education.  Unfortunately a college education is expensive and out of reach for many Americans.  However, technical or vocational school is a viable alternative to university or college.

University Costs

According to research done by Bloomberg the cost of a university degree in the US has increased by 1,120% in the past 30 years, that is more than two times the rate of inflation.  There are less than 10% of students that can afford the cost of tuition.  The rest are forced to take out loans that will take decades to pay back.  Most graduates leave college with $30,000 worth of student loan debt.

Vocational School

While we constantly hear of college graduates that can’t find jobs, there are more than three million openings in the skilled trades.  Many of these jobs have very good salaries and there is no one to fill them.  These trades include plumbers, electricians, along with medical and technical trades.  These salaries are also rising faster than the rate of inflation.  If you don’t have the money nor the desire to go to college this is a viable alternative.

The Advantages

Not every student can handle college life and there is nothing wrong with that.  Both parents and the school system have been pushing students towards a college degree and many go just to avoid fighting with their parents.  A whopping 40% of students drop out of school before they finish their degrees.  That’s thousands of dollars wasted on a school they weren’t interested in going to in the first place.  Perhaps if they had been encouraged to pursue a career in the skilled trades it might have worked out better for everyone.

Shorter Degree Programs

When you focus on a single area of expertise rather than a complete curriculum you can finish training that much sooner.  Many vocational programs are two years, they can complete school with less debt and enter the workforce immediately.  Not only that 2 years of vocational training is far less expensive than 2 years in university.

Vocational schools offer students a hands on learning program and they prepare you for the job market from the first day of class.  Once students are ready to graduate they are ready to start a job in their field.  For that reason alone vocational or technical school may better serve your career goals than going to college.