FEATURES  FOR   TEACHERS

Visit our Website at: www.starteaching.com

Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 3, Issue 11

June 2007

   

Would you be interested in becoming a Featured Writer for the StarTeaching website?

Our Newsletter is now posting a opening for a creative educator interested in designing a set of weekly problem solving activities for students and teachers to use.  

Email your resume and letter of interest to:  editor@starteaching.com

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Remember to bookmark this page and to visit our website for more great articles, tips, and techniques!
http://www.starteaching.com

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

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SQ3R Sheet
Check out our NEW FREE online resources, including the SQ3R sheet for reading 
and the Paragraph Graphic Organizer for writing.  These are forms you can fill in online and print, or have your students fill them in and print them for class!

Paragraph Organizer

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Using Role Playing to Practice Speaking the 
English Language

By Professor V.Sankaranarayanan
Ciombatore, India
Tamilnadu school: PSG POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE

Professor V.Sankaranarayanan is a teacher of the English Language at PSG Polytechnic College in India.  Previously he was the program coordinator for the conduct of seven spoken English programs for outsiders. His fields of interest include technical communication, English for science and technology, business English, and curriculum development.

He can be reached for questions and comments at:  v_sankar_ind@yahoo.com

Teaching spoken English to those students who had already undergone a ten year schooling program in which one of the subjects is English which is taught by almost all teachers irrespective of the their qualification, is indeed a Herculean task. And if this happens in a southern state in India, the task becomes more difficult.  I realized this difficulty recently when I happened to teach spoken English to some ten highly motivated participants who had their schooling in Tamil, the regional language. 

Even though the participants are motivated they find it difficult owing to their shyness and lack of confidence.  In order to help them get confidence I devised the following method: Role play.

I gave them a table on the different planets in the solar system, e.g. distance of each planet from the sun, time taken by each planet to rotate on its own, and the time taken for one revolution, etc. The rubric given is as follows: 

Assume that you are a space traveler and you have visited a few planets using your space ship.  You have come to the college in order to clarify some doubts of the following people 1) A school student 2) A monk 3) A clergy man 4)A real estate dealer 5)A police inspector 6)A housewife 7)A politician 8)A scientist 9)A skeptic 10) A farmer 

This role was a tremendous success and some of the questions that were asked were as follows: 

The monk: On your way did you see heaven and hell and is Veerappan in hell or heaven?

(Veerappan was a notorious brigand who shot dead by the police

I feel this technique can be used which is entertaining as well as instructive

 

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Mastering Basic Skills software:

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There are six modules designed to test the basic ability of an individual in terms of Memory & Concentration. Needless to say this is the most important basic skill for not just to survive but also to thrive in this competitive environment. Each of the six modules tests the six variants of Memory & Concentration in an individual, namely: 1. Picture recognition
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Each of these modules runs at three different levels, from easy to difficult.

At each level, the individual's performance is depicted as Scores Obtained.

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Each individual can assess his/her performance any time by clicking on "history", which gives complete details of date and time of taking the tests, marks scored each time and even time taken to do the test. This builds the confidence level and encourages more participation to eventually culminate in improvement and enhancement of memory and concentration.

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This software package is specifically designed to help young children to learn basic skills that will help them in school.  Continued follow-up will give these young learners success as they mature.  

Three versions of the software exist: Individual Software on either CD or Online,   Family Version Software, and an Institutional Software package.

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  TECH CORNER

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Musings of a Technology Integration Project

By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher

Mark's latest articles are about changing our classrooms and teaching styles to reflect the latest changes in technology.  

In my past articles Iíve talked about the amount of time a project can take due to the fact the students are always trying to improve on it. This is a great skill to learn, but another skill would be deadlines. The length of time students can take on a project, if allowed, can be very frustrating.

After working with these types of projects for several years Iíve come to the realization that I, as the teacher, need to help the students micromanage their time better. As an example, when doing a PowerPoint project I would have them get the written work put on the slides first, before they could go on to the fun stuff. This worked well except they then spent too long getting the rest of it finished. Even when they had a deadline, they couldnít get the project completed due to their poor time management skills. As I look back I believe I needed to set better deadlines and hold them accountable.

What do I mean by this?

Again, using the PowerPoint project as my example, I needed to break the project up into smaller sections and set a deadline and consequence for each section when not reached. Ideas for breaking it up would be text, background (pictures or colors), pictures within the slide to go with the text, transitions (slide to slide or within the slide), and finally the speech to go with the presentation. Each of these sections would have a deadline as to when it must be completed and I would grade them as to where they were on each section. This would be a completed/ not completed grade that is part of the overall rubric.

This could be done with any technology integration project. Just think about the different sections within the project and divide them up. If you are off in your timing, add a day. In other words, when you check everyone on the due date and find theyíve all been focused, yet itís not completed, tell them that you miscalculated and they have only one more day on that section. This way it forces them to make some final decisions and still get that section completed.

If students have done this type of project before, ask them how they think the project should be divided up and scheduled. You may overrule some of their suggestions, but it gives them some input into time management.

Project oriented teaching can be very rewarding and many skills can be learned simultaneously. But by helping with the time management and student accountability, you will take most of the frustration out of any project you do.

So think about this, plan for next year, and enjoy the summer.

Mark Benn earned his B.S. from Western Michigan University and his Elementary Certification from Northern Michigan University.  He is a 20 year teaching veteran of 5th and 6th grade students at Inland Lakes Middle School in Indian River, MI.  He is currently working on Masters of Integration of Technology from Walden University. 

Prior to teaching, Mark spent 11 years as Department Manager for Sears, Roebuck and Co. dealing with emerging technologies.  He has been married to his wife Bonnietta for 32 years with one daughter and two sons.  In the summers, Mark works for Mackinac State Historic Parks in the as a historical interpreter.

StarTeaching Featured Writer

Mark Benn is a leading expert in using technology in the classroom.  
You can feel free to contact him on email at mbenn@inlandlakes.org or at his blogsite:  http://www.furtrader.blogspot.com/ 

 

Check out our selection of past articles, including more about groups and stations, from previous issues at:

http://www.starteaching.com/newsletter.htm


 

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Be Sure to Check Out 
Our Website Store for Specials:

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New Teachers' Niche: 
A Place for New Teachers, Student Teachers, and Interns

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Preparing For Your Student Teaching Experience
(part 1)

This is the first in a series of articles designed for college interns getting ready for their student-teaching experience. Student teaching is the final step for most teaching programs, and having a positive experience is vital for new teachers. This series of articles will provide many ideas, tips, and suggestions for young educators to make the most of the experience.

There are many questions you'll want to pose to yourself far in advance of your student teaching experience. It is important to think carefully about them, as they will help to guide the actions and decisions you make. What kind of teacher do you want to become? Are there other teachers who have been a positive influence on you? Who have been your role models? Are there teachers you've had whose style you want to emulate? Are there teachers you know you don't want to be like? What has worked for some teachers that you want to implement in your own practice?

Who do you see yourself as? What style will you create for your own teaching? How will you balance the subject matter with the care for kids? How do you want the students to see you? How do you want your students to remember you five, ten, or twenty years later on? Will they remember you as a positive influence on them? Could you potentially change their lives?

Create a plan to become your dream. Do it now. Talk with teachers you admire and respect: those you want to model yourself after. Discuss the techniques and ideas that work for them, and use or adapt what you feel is useful. You can also check out the FREE teacher "Who I Want To Be" inventory available on our website. It gives ideas, provides guidance, and helps to create a plan for starting out on your teaching career.

Click here for the "Who I Want To Be" plan:
http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm

Meeting your mentor teacher as early as possible is very important.  The two of you must form a bond, a cohesive unit in the classroom.  Your co-op teacher will become the most important contact for this point in your career. They provide you not only with support, guidance, and structure, but also critique. Your co-op teacher's evaluation and recommendation is vital to your resume and to interviewing.

Planning will become very important to every aspect of your life, from school to your personal life. One huge difference is planning for class. Not anymore are you just setting up an activity or a day's lesson plan. Now you must think in terms of the long haul. It becomes a campaign where you must have an overall picture of what you'll cover with your students.

Also within this overall framework, you must have weekly and then daily plans. You'll also have to reflect daily and adjust and (re- adjust) your plans depending upon how each lesson or activity goes (or doesn't go!) The daily grind is often interrupted by school-wide activities, fire drills, and those 'teachable moments' that happen on the spur of the moment. You'll need to be flexible and able to adapt on a daily (or even hourly) basis. But that's a part of teaching!

Another concern many new teachers and student teachers have is becoming involved in extra-curricular activities. There are several ways to look at this. First, it is a good idea to become involved in extra-curriculars at your school. These are good resume' builders, and your involvement shows potential employers you are a team player and willing to go the extra mile for your school and job. Extra curriculars also set you up in a new and different relationship with those students. They are able to see you in a different role too, and many times you're able to create in-roads with students whom you might not otherwise make a connection. Of course, taking part in extra-curriculars means more time and efforts put in, especially when you're already pulled in all directions. However, it is in your best interest to find an activity you can join, even if just as an assistant.

You will also need to carefully plan your personal time while student teaching. In addition to the increased teaching and planning load, your time will be further divided by your college, which undoubtedly has course work or projects for you to accomplish. There are always hoops to jump through. If you have a family, you'll be pulled in even more directions as you find the new balance between home and work.

Our next articles will focus on the duties of student teachers, including observing, team teaching, and flying solo. We'll get you started in becoming accustomed to your class and school, and what specific steps you can take right now and this summer to prepare.

Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm

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 articles in our Student-Teaching series?  Check out our special Student-Teaching page through the following link:  http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm

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Website of the Month:

FanFiction

Our June WEBSITE OF THE MONTH award is presented to, FanFiction, a site for students to write exciting stories based on pre-existing works. 

FanFiction is a site where students can create and publish their adaptations of great stories from movies, books, TV shows, comics, cartoons, and even video games. Thousands of stories are already uploaded to the site from writers all around the country and around the world.  A simple registration will get your students up and writing immediately!  

Student writers can read other submissions and then create their own versions of the stories.  Your students can rewrite the ending to stories or rewrite any part of the story.  They can even create their own stories based on the same characters.  The writing possibilities are endless!  And your students are writing for REAL audiences who may be reading over their work.  

This is a user-friendly website with quick links to the various parts of the site.  It is a great resource for writing teachers in all grade levels.  

Check this site out, you'll be glad you did.  Simply click the link below:

http://www.fanfiction.net

 


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 articles in our Student-Teaching series?  Check out our special Student-Teaching page through the following link:  http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm

 

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Are There Other Teachers in Your School or District Who Would Love to Receive Our Newsletter?

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"Finding Copper Pennies"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

What do we really search for in life?

There was a small boy who when walking down the street one day found a bright copper penny. He was so excited that he found money and it didn't cost him anything. This experience led him to spend the rest of his days walking with his head down, eyes wide open, looking for treasure.

During his lifetime he found 296 pennies, 48 nickels, 19 dimes, 16 quarters, 2 half dollars and one crinkled dollar bill. For a total of $13.96.

He got money for nothing. Except that he missed the breathless beauty of 31,369 sunsets, the colorful splendor of 157 rainbows, the fiery beauty of hundreds of maples nipped by autumn's frost. He never saw white clouds drifting across blue skies, shifting into various wondrous formations. Birds flying, sun shining, and the smiles of a thousand passing people are not a part of his memory.

Who do you know that is living like this?: Head is bent down burdened with trivial things afraid of pain and criticism and fear of things that never happen hoping to find that copper penny...for nothing.

 


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In This Week's Issue 
(Click the Quick Links below):

Using Role Playing to Practice Speaking the English Language

Tech Corner: 
Musings of a Technology Integration Project

New Teacher's Niche:
Preparing For Your Student Teaching Experience (part 1)

Website of the Month

Themes on Life:  
"Finding Copper Pennies"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

Spring Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club


 

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Do you have a great TEACHING TIP or ACTIVITY to share?

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Have you created WRITING PROMPTS that youíd like to add to our WEEKLY CALENDAR?

We welcome, and are always looking for teachers to share successes, stories, and ideas with our readers.

Submit an article to this newsletter by emailing:

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Or click the following link:

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All articles will be proofread, and may be edited for content and/or length.

 

10 Days Of
Writing 
Prompts 

Day
1

What is the best thing about the last week of school?

Day
2

Describe FIVE important things you've learned in class over the past year.

Day
3

What are THREE reasons why you should you should work hard during the last week of school?

Day
4

Why is it important to do well on your exams?

Day
5

Write down THREE questions you still have about something we learned in class this week. 

Day
6

What is meant by 'success'?

Day
7

What are FIVE measures of success? 

Day
8

Describe what success for you will be like in your future.

Day
9

What will a successful job be like for you?. 

Day
10

Create TWO writing prompts for this week's class information. 

 

10 days of writing prompts

 

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Mastering Basic Skills software:

$29.99


Year of the Dogman


A New Novel by Frank Holes, Jr.
Coming Summer 2007
click here for more info

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Be sure to check out our
BOOK of the MONTH


Heart of a Leader:
Insights on the Art of Influence

By Ken Blanchard  

 

 

Coming Soon:

Preparing for Student Teaching

Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum

Getting Ready for Next Year

Setting Up Your Classroom


 

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Need a position in a K-12 school, administration, or a coaching job?  Our website has just gained access to a specialized service just for our members and newsletter readers.  Job listings, application and interviewing tips, and priceless information, at your fingertips!

Click here if you want to find that Teaching Job!

 

 

 

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