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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 2, Issue 13

June 2006



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Preparing for Your Student-Teaching Experience 
(part 3)

by Dr. Peter Manute and Frank Holes, Jr.
Educational Consultants

This is the third article in our student teaching series, this time focusing on working with your mentor or collaborating teacher. Effective inter-personal skills are very important for teachers, and as a student teacher, you will begin to develop these as you work in another teacher’s classroom. 

Working closely with a mentor or collaborating teacher can be both rewarding and challenging.  The rewards include developing a positive relationship with a professional educator and gleaning tremendous amounts of insight and effective teaching tips and techniques.  The mentor has been working effectively for a considerable number of years and has perfected both the art and craft of teaching.  In the ideal situation the mentor guides and provides feedback while allowing the intern to develop style and work through different situations and challenges.  The intern has the opportunity to make mistakes and develop strategies for improvement all under the guidance of a thoughtful and caring mentor. 

Sometimes an intern is placed with a mentor who finds it very difficult to let go of his/her classroom.  This teacher remains in the room all day and really doesn’t allow the intern the flexibility and creativity to develop and refine an individual style.  The intern loses the opportunity to be on his or her own, a very valuable experience.  Another challenging situation is the mentor who for some unknown reason decides to try to clone themselves.  This mentor actually creates a situation that is counter-productive to a positive student teaching experience.  This mentor really inhibits the growth and development of the intern through constant manipulating and overbearing direction.

There have been some mentors who view the interns almost as personal servants making them run errands and do menial tasks not really aligned with the internship.  This situation needs to be reported to the university supervisor as soon as possible. 

Equally ineffective is the mentor who views the internship simply as time off.  The intern does not receive the necessary feedback necessary to process the many situations they encounter.  Consequently the intern struggles and makes decisions that can actually create additional problems. "The interns must always realize that the internship is a tremendous amount of work that requires vast amounts of time and energy and they are guests in a classroom; however, they also have many responsibilities in the learning of the skill and craft of teaching."

How does an intern deal effectively with these challenges?  That is not an easy answer.  Ideally, interns are not placed in these situations; however, we all know ours is not a perfect world.  One suggestion would be to schedule a meeting as soon as possible with the mentor.  Be prepared with questions that might provide some insight and if there appears to be a problem, contact your university immediately, maybe a change could be arranged.  Sometimes true motives don’t surface until well into the internship, that can create difficulty and put the intern in a tough spot. 

The interns must always realize that the internship is a tremendous amount of work that requires vast amounts of time and energy and they are guests in a classroom; however, they also have many responsibilities in the learning of the skill and craft of teaching.  In most cases, the intern will create a strong relationship with the mentor.  The personal skills learned and practiced during the student-teaching experience will be invaluable as the intern moves into his/her own classroom. 

Be sure to check out our website for more great information, tips, and techniques for new teachers, student-teachers, and interns in teacher prep programs. Also be sure to check out our Who-I-Want-To-Be teacher plan for preparing yourself to enter the educational profession.  Simply click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
Want to check out the other articles in this series?  Check out our special Student-Teaching page through the following link:  http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm


The staff at StarTeaching wish you a relaxing and restful summer season.  

Remember to bookmark this page and to visit our website for more great articles, tips, and techniques!

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Peanut Butter And Jelly vs. Magic

By Michael Kett
Houdini in the Classroom

I remember when my son was in second or third grade that he had to write the directions to making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The goal was for him to write clearly and specifically enough that his parents could follow the directions. It is a good exercise to develop writing skills.

But what if you could develop a child’s writing skills while also improving his/her motor skills and verbal communication, not to mention self-confidence? How?

Substitute the peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an age-appropriate magic trick. The teacher can perform and teach the trick to the class and then have the students write the directions to the trick and take it home to have their parents try and perform the trick based on the clarity of the written instructions. This way the child is developing motor skills by performing the trick and using verbal communication to present the trick.

The key is using appropriate magic tricks based on the child’s age and motor ability. You can look through any beginner magic book for a suitable trick or use one of the tricks that follow:

SUPER STRENGTH (for ages 6-8 years old)
What the students see: A student rubs his hands together to create a “static charge.” He then places his right hand palm down on top of his head. Another student is invited to try to lift the performer’s hand off his head but is unable to do so.
Props/Special Preparation:  None.
Routine: There really is no secret to this effect. The performer has a significant strength advantage in this position. No matter how hard the other student tries, he is unable to lift the performer’s hand off his head. 
Additional Tips: Make sure the instructions are to lift the performer’s hand straight up at the wrist. This effect is more amazing if you have a smaller student place his hand on his head and have a larger and stronger student attempt to lift the hand off the smaller student’s head.


STRING THROUGH NECK (8-10 years old)
What The Students See: The performer places a loop of string at the back of his neck. With a quick pull, the string penetrates his neck.
Props/Special Preparation: A piece of string or yarn 24 inches long and tied into a loop.
Routine: — Place the loop around both thumbs.
— Put the loop around the back of your neck holding the loop in front of your neck by each thumb.
— As you talk, secretly slide your right index finger into the loop around the opposite thumb. Keep hold of the string in your right index finger.
— Release the right thumb from the loop as you quickly separate your hands. You will end up with the string around your left thumb and right index finger. The loop will go around your neck, but it will happen so quickly that it will look as if it penetrates your neck.
Additional Tips: Start practicing this effect in slow motion before you attempt it at full speed. Practice this in front of a mirror until it looks perfect. A cough or gagging sound will add to the effect as you pull the string through your neck.

For other ideas how to use magic to improve motor skills, self-esteem, and create memory hooks for key curriculum topics, visit www.houdiniintheclassroom.com

Michael Kett, a physical therapist for more than 25 years, is an educator, motivator, and author. His two published books, Applied Magic and Houdini in the Classroom, explore two unique magic applications. Applied Magic demonstrates how to use magic as a therapeutic tool and Houdini in the Classroom shows teachers how to use magic to develop creative thinking, writing skills, verbal communication and self-esteem.

Be sure to check out Michael's website, 
Houdini in the Classroom




We are proud to offer Michael's two books.  Simply click the links to each (affiliated with Amazon) for more information or to purchase.

Michael also has an excellent offer
to teachers on his website:  
Purchase the illustrated 124 page e-book version of Houdini In the Classroom... and you will receive 3 additional bonuses valued at $45! 
(including a CD-ROM demonstrating the tricks)

Click on his website for details!


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Technology Standards

Our July WEBSITE OF THE MONTH award is presented to, isteNETS the International Society for Technology in Education plan of National Educational Technology Standards.  These NETS are currently being implemented (in some form) in most states, and they include items that both students and teachers need to know and be able to do.   

The NETS are the National Educational Technology Standards project started by the ISTE group to give guidance to educational institutions on how to implement national standards in the teaching and use of technology to improve education across the country.

It is an easy to use website with many technology resources for teachers and educators.  The site even has the NETS for students, teachers, and administrators, as well as NETS in curricular areas of English Language Arts, Foreign Language, Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Early Childhood, and Information Literacy.  

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"One Step"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

Everything begins with the one, first step.

Foolish people with all their other thoughts, have this one too: 
They are always getting ready to live, but never living.

Your success will start when you begin to pursue it. 
To reach your goal or to attain success, 
you don't need to know all of the answers in advance. 
You just need to have a clear idea of what your goal is.

Don't procrastinate when faced with difficult problems. 
Break your problems into parts, and handle one part at a time.

Develop tendencies toward taking action. 
You can make something happen right now. 
Divide your big plan into small steps and take that first step right away.

Everyone who ever got where they are had to begin where they were. 
Your big opportunity is where you are right now.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Take it. 


What's New at StarTeaching

Monthly Updates to our Website

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It's loaded with great tips and techniques by teachers for teachers.  You can find articles from the past newsletters, as well as special reports and 'freebies'.  

A recent page we've added to the website is dedicated just to Student-Teachers.    

We've included the three current articles in the 2006 Preparing for Your Student- Teaching Experience series.  There is also the future teacher "Who- I-Want-To-Be" plan you can print and fill out.  

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2.  _________________________________________________

3.  _________________________________________________

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In This Week's Issue 

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Preparing for Your Student-Teaching Experience (part 3)

Peanut Butter And Jelly vs. Magic

Website of the Month

Themes on Life:  
"One Step"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

Summer Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club

What's New at StarTeaching


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10 Days Of


Describe FOUR important ways to stay cool in the summer.


Why do living things need water to survive?  Give TWO examples.


Brainstorm a list of at least 10 activities you can do in a lake.


Why is it important to drink plenty of water in hot weather?  


Write down FIVE questions you still have about what we covered in class this week. 


Why is it important to Americans to celebrate the Fourth of July?


Give FIVE examples of how different people celebrate Independence Day.


Why are fireworks displayed during the Fourth of July?  What do they remind us of?


What event does Independence Day  commemorate?  Why is this so important to American history?


Create a short, FIVE question fill-in-the-blanks quiz to cover today's information.


10 days of writing prompts


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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Patrick M. Lencioni




Coming Soon:

Designing and Running a Medieval Fair

Technology & Teaching: Setting up for Handhelds

Discipline Procedures in School

Using Magic in the Classroom


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