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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 2, Issue 6

March 2006



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Higher Education: Choosing the Best College 

by Mazi Capane
Educational Consultant

Choosing the best college for your undergraduate or graduate work is very important.  Of course you have to consider location and cost, but it is also very important to look carefully at the program you're potentially entering.  

Although high school is tough, college is tougher and more though will need to go into choosing a place of higher education. College or university is a place where you or your child will be refining their talents into a career so it needs to be able to teach them everything that they need to know. 

Locale: Putting learning and career needs first 

In terms of getting the best education for the budget that you have, many local universities and colleges can offer everything a new college student needs. They shouldn't be discounted if the student doesn't have to live on campus to go there. 

Alternatively, you might choose a university a long distance from home, if the area enhances long-term career prospects. This gives you or your child exposure to part-time job assignments, placing you straight into a ready job-market scenario on graduation. 

Budgeting concerns 

With college bills on the rise, you can look at some alternative ways to funding higher education. You might try the colleges you like, to see if you can qualify for any scholarships and grants offer. They can really help! you don't have to repay either on graduation, even if you get a job start to earn. 

Try Federal loans as well. You will need to make repayments on them, but they usually at low interest rates and so they are manageable. And do examine the college study program. You might find you can delay quite a few of the costs associated with courses till later. 

What's important 

When looking into the higher education options, you may want to think about the things that are truly important to the student's education. If they're going into the health care field, does the school have access to newer technologies and advances? Are they able to teach the student about newer trends? 

It's not about the fun perks of a school that should influence the overall decision. Having a recreation center and swimming pool is great, but the higher education itself needs to be able to truly teach the student about their chosen field. Otherwise, college isn't about learning, it's about wasting time. 

To be sure, make a comparison of the universities you are interested in to determine the caliber of their graduates and their success rate in finding employment. This will give a good idea of their ability to produce quality education. And it is a good indicator of their success as an educational establishment. At the end of the day the recreation between your classes doesn't really count -- but your future career rests on the success of your university.


Mazi Capane operates the web site ROP Education which is a top resource on the Net for education information. ropeducation.com accepts article submissions. Get your article archived on the Internet with a link to your site here: http://www.ropeducation.com/articles/



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A happy and healthy spring to you all from the staff at StarTeaching.  

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

Also, feel free to email this newsletter to a friend or colleague!  

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Designing PowerPoint Presentations

By Frank Holes, Jr.
Middle School Teacher

Ever wonder if you and your students could create your own TV news show? Would you like to have announcements and school/class information available to students all class long? Would you like to avoid those students who were absent constantly asking you, "What did we do in class yesterday?"  It isn't only possible to do, but with a few pieces of equipment, it's easy to set up and run.

PowerPoint is a fantastic program that can make your classroom presentations come alive. It is at a basic level an interactive slide show. For advanced users, it can include timed transitions, video clips, and audio elements. A digital projector and a computer can enliven your presentations and make note taking easier. The use of technology also captures and keeps the students (or your audience's) attention.

PowerPoint (or a comparable software product) allows information to be displayed in a fun, interactive manner. It ties text, graphics, and animation seamlessly in an easy to use format. You have total control, from choosing text sizes, fonts, and colors, to creating graphics of all shapes and colors, and even to adding pictures, clip art, sounds, and animations. You also determine the page layout by simply moving any item wherever you want on the slide.

You begin with a blank slide on which you will arrange your data, whether it be text or graphical elements.

Having used PowerPoint for many years, I have some suggestions for you.

1.  Use at least size 16 font, and think seriously about size 20 or 24 font. This is so your words and letters are large enough to see from everywhere in your room.
2. Be careful with color schemes. A creative slide may actually be hard to see when projected. Use light colored (white/yellow) text and graphics on a dark background, and use dark text and graphics on a light background. Avoid red/blue combinations, and others like these that tend to blend into each other. Always test your presentation before giving it so you can ensure it will be seen properly.
3. Don't bother using sound unless you have a good set of speakers. The audio will use up valuable memory and is useless unless you have speakers. And many times the novelty wears off and your audience will tire of the repetitive sounds.
4. When your students are using graphics and photos, check that the sizes are appropriate. Expanding (enlarging) a photo can reduce its resolution, making it grainy and hard to see clearly.
5. When your students are using graphics and photos, check that the sizes are appropriate. Expanding (enlarging) a photo can reduce its resolution, making it grainy and hard to see clearly.

The program also includes several templates where you can just click and insert the text or graphics you want. The best way of gaining proficiency is to play with the program. That's right, pretend you're a kid and try everything out. There's no way you can break it. Check out all of the menus and buttons. If you do become confused, find a third grader who can help you out (at that age, many kids are already proficient and still love to show you how to do it). There are many tricks, shortcuts, options, and neat ideas you can try. You'll find ones you like and that fit your personality or your presentation.

Most of the 'equivalent' programs for various platforms (Mac/Windows/Linux) are close enough for you or your students to be proficient on any machine. At our school, we regularly switch between Macs and Linux computers, and our students have quickly mastered both the basics and more advanced techniques. Remember, you as the teacher don't need to know exactly every detail of the program. You can rely on (or challenge) your students to find the little intricacies of the program. The big thing is for you to have your students use the program, and you'll learn alongside the kids.

PowerPoint is very easy to use. With just a little bit of computer familiarity, you can be creating professional and creative presentations.


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Book of the Month Club:

The First Days of School

by Harry K. Wong & Rosemary T. Wong


Our March BOOK OF THE MONTH is The First Days of School, by Harry and Rosemary Wong.  This book is the absolute 'Bible' for getting yourself started into teaching.   With over 2.3 million copies sold, this teaching handbook is the most recognizable and best selling book in the education field.

This is it, the big one, the indispensable one, THE BOOK for teachers, regardless of what area you teach, what age or grade level, or what school you teach in.  This book is for the brand new teachers and student teachers, and yet it has all of the important aspects of teaching that veterans know and understand.  Even for 'seasoned' teachers, reviewing the ideas and concepts in Wong's book each year reminds us and reaffirms us why we are in the educational profession and how we make such an important impact on the lives of our students.  

Each chapter includes many pictures, illustrations, graphics, and quotes to give simple directions for becoming an effective teacher.  Step by step instructions help to guide new teachers into setting up their classes, developing effective discipline systems, and professionally developing themselves.  It definitely is the most important book any new teacher can get his or her hands on!

Regardless of what subject matter, what grade level, or whatever school I'm at, there will always be a copy of Harry Wong's book on my school bookcase.  I look it over each summer before school starts, and I will constantly use it as a guide and handbook through the year, even after my many years of teaching.  

 “The First Days of School is written to help all teachers 'jump-start' by beginning school successfully.” (The First Days of School, p.ii) 

“What teachers do is nothing short of a miracle that humbles and inspires us all.  For what you do, know that you are respected, indispensable, and loved.” (The First Days of School, p.xiii) 

You can order a copy of The First Days of School by clicking the link to our affiliate, Amazon.com 

Have you read The First Days of School?  Do you have comments you’d like to share with our readers about this book? Email your responses to editor@starteaching.com. Please type in BOOK CLUB READER RESPONSE in the subject line. Responses will be posted on our website with the StarTeaching Book of the Month Club.  All responses will be proofread, and may be edited for content and space before publication.



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"The Power of One"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

One feeling, one emotion, one item, one thing can change the world. 


One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One word must start a prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what is true
One Life can make a difference

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In This Week's Issue 

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Higher Education:  Choosing the Best College

Designing PowerPoint Presentations

Book of the Month

Themes on Life:  
"The Power of One"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

Spring Book Sale for Teachers

Website of the Month


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10 Days Of


Describe THREE activities you enjoy doing once winter ends.


What does 'Cabin Fever' mean?  How can you cure it?


Name FIVE plants that blossom in your area in the spring, and tell why each is important.


What is one profession or job that could use the information we learned today in class?


Why do people look forward to spring?  


What is a ROLE MODEL?  Why do people need them? 


How is a ROLE MODEL different from a hero or a celebrity?


What THREE things did you understand the best from today's lesson?  What ONE thing do you still need more explanation on?


Name TWO historical role models and tell why each should be remembered.


Who has been a ROLE MODEL to you in your life, and how?


10 days of writing prompts


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Coming Soon:

Teaching Listening Skills

Technology & Teaching: Setting up for Handhelds

Master's Degrees

Creating Web Pages in Class


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