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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 3, Issue 22

November 2007


Welcome back to our StarTeaching newsletter, 
Features for Teachers, packed full of tips, techniques, and ideas for educators of all students in all levels.   

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

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


By: Munir Moosa Sewani

Teachers are the leaders of every nation. The following is the second in a series from an educational article published by Munir Moosa Sewani, and describes the unique voices of very unique individuals in his home country.  You'll find that these cases are similar to those found world wide and across America.  

The major community problem for which I have contributed my efforts is the problem of “THE RIGHTS OF SPECIAL PEOPLE”. 

I have worked as a teacher and counselor for our “Community” for 7years. Since from my childhood, I had an intention to perform social work for the special people, because I had a natural bond of attachment with them. To accomplish my wish, I chose the “SPECIAL PEOPLE COMMITTEE” of our community so that I could bring change in their lives.  

“I Am Only one. But still, I am one. I cannot do every thing, but still I can do something, and because I cannot do every thing, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”   -  EDWARD EVERETTHALE”  

I dealt with all types of students from the categories of Profound, Severe, Moderate, Mild, but specially I have worked with “The Border Line” students who want their rights; who face the major problems in every society in every community; who want their creativity to explore in front of others; who awaits the love from others; who wants others to accept them as a Normal Being.

And that chance of Volunteer Service for these beloved special children was the first step of mine towards my journey to work for their RIGHTS.   I thank God that these lovely students trusted me, gave me the bond of relationship, and accepted me whole-heartedly in just my first year of Volunteer Service. They shared all of their problems with me and I thank God for giving me the special power for being accepted by them.

I have heard their voices, their shivered pleadings, their wishes, their expectations. But still, they need every one in the society to hear them, to care for them and to love them.   I had even faced many problems from our community while working for their RIGHTS. I can’t do every thing in this world but yes I have brought a little change in their lives, which is the big reward for me.  On this international platform I want to raise their voices.

I want to be their voice to tell you all the problems, which all the special people are facing. The problems, which need to be resolute, could only be possible by joining hands together.   The following are the major problems, which my community special people of “border line” category are facing, which has been identified by me are:

  • They want to get proper EDUCATION.

  • They want to get their RIGHTS.

  • They want others to TREAT THEM PROPERLY.

  • They want every one to stop calling them “SPECIAL”.

  • They want others to treat them as “NORMAL HUMAN BEING OF THE SOCIETY”.

  • They want to Marry.

  • They want FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

  • They want JOBS to begin their INDEPENDENT LIFE.

  • They want SOCIAL SECURITY.

  • They want to participate in INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS.

  • They want the PLATFORMS to show their talents to this world.

  • They want everyone in the society to MAKE THEM THEIR FRIENDS.

I want to share my experiences with you, that in what way I have helped few of my community special students of “borderline” to bring change in their lives and I would like to share my efforts and my initiative with you.


Names will not be disclosed; therefore I am using ALPHABETIC REPRESENTATIONS on the behalf of their names.

Now moving towards another brave hero who wants to become an Indian actor in his life.   He is talented, brilliant and active. He LOVES TO DANCE, TO SING SONGS AND TO PLAY THE ORGAN.  He knows how to cook food and how to prepare his bed for sleep and many more things, but he lacks skills for social gatherings.  His name is “X”, who lives his life actively.  His dreams are unlimited.


I taught him to play the organ. I taught him singing and I am proud that now he is able to communicate in social gatherings with much more confidence.   There are many other students whose life was changed by the little efforts of my community service. I came to know many of their problems and have tried my best to work for it.


  • I have tried my best to identify the problems which they face in their daily lives.

  • I have tried to motivate my students to participate in International Events.

  • I have tried to counsel them and their parents.

  • I have resolved many of their problems.

  • I have tried to bring smiles on their faces.

  • I have tried to find work places for a few students.

  • I have raised their issues in front of the MINISTER FOR SPECIAL PEOPLE AND SOCIAL WELFARE FOR PAKISTAN , MISS ZUBAIDA JALAL, in the seminar organized by our community.

  • I have tried to make my community aware by participating in debating issues and by writing awareness articles.

  • I have seen remarkable changes in the behavior of some special students.

  • I have seen positive gestures from society towards them.

Though I have not accomplished everything I've set out to do, still I have accomplish some things.   I have also tried to make my other students gathering in religious education center and in my private tuition center aware of their rights, their expectations from the society, their dreams etc.

I taught my community, my students, and their parents to be with them and to listen to them. I have sat with special people to make them feel that they are also the part of our community.

Why have I taken the time to talk and discuss with them?   To make them realize that they are not alone, that we are here to listen to them.   I have walked with them and shared my feelings with them Obviously this work is innovative and I have also gained a lot while bringing changes in their lives.   I never want to gain rewards for my social work because I know I’ll receive it from God one day.   My work was never appreciated but personally, I am satisfied myself by bringing change to their attitude and lives.


I am just waiting for the platform to raise my voice and I wish that this international competition would help me to share my feelings with other delegates soon.

This work is innovative itself. Meeting different children, counseling them, meeting their parents, asking about their needs, loving them, caring for them.  Thus everything was magical and innovative. It has made me aware of their problems, about their needs and this work has changed my whole life too. I have tried my level best to work innovatively but  my efforts would be more innovative if these ideas would be implemented by every community by joining hands with me as these ideas could only be possible to be addressed, if every society, every community will join their hands with me.

  • Inclusive education should be made compulsory in every school as the part of their curriculum.

  • An awareness campaign for student’s parent’s teacher should be raised in every community.

  • Their needs should be addressed.

  • Awareness should be made through telecasting movies and drama on their issues.

  • Special students should not be called SPECIAL.

  • Competition should be raised in every community for younger students to make them aware about them and their rights.

  • They must get rights to study in normal schools with special needs.

  • Government should set up a new curriculum for them.

  • Psychological testing should be made compulsory to identify their needs and area of attention.

  • They must get work place opportunities, which is currently lacking in Pakistan . They must get jobs in government institutions also.


  • By participating in international competitions to raise awareness.

  • By participating in awareness campaigns.

  • I want to do more courses. I want to study more about them and I want to write a book named I Adore Special People why don’t you?  in order to make this whole world aware of their rights.

  • By developing new curriculum for them the national policy level.

  • By providing them educational facilities and social justice.

  • I can improve my impact more by raising funds for them and by finding more work place opportunities for them.

  • By becoming the Ambassador for Special People in Pakistan .

  • By truly implementing the human right laws made by UN.

  • By motivating them more enthusiastically.

  • By appreciating them to participate in more International contests.

  • I am now planning to design a teaching curriculum which will be integrated with audio visual aids and I also want to arrange a workshop for community students, teachers, parents and everyone to raise awareness of their problems.

Youth must also devote their time to listen and care for special people. Youth must help me to find work place for them. Youth must raise awareness in every one of their own families about their rights.  Youth must try to seek out the problems which they are facing. Youth must love them and respect them like I do, in every aspect of life and must learn something from their lives.  Youth must learn from my experience that my struggle is the struggle of one and if they join hand in hand then no matter what, special students can also become the part of our lives.

Munir Moosa Sewani is one of the most famous, prominent and creative names in the field of Education in the past 8 years. He is a Master Trainer In Special Education, Post Graduate, Teacher Educator and a Teacher. He is a Freelance Writer and Photographer, in addition to his role as a featured writer for StarTeaching's newsletter over the past six months. He is an author of the famous self-published storybook for children named as "The MORAL STORIES FOR CHILDREN" and has also written Biology course book for Secondary Classes. He has written almost more than 30 articles internationally on many websites and numerous newsletters dealing with social, health, educational and cultural issues, which are internationally recognized and published in most of the famous world wide websites, magazines and newspapers.

He is also a Social worker, private tutor, career counselor, musician, lyrics writer and have multi- dimensional talents.

His future plan is to write dozens of informative books and articles and to work for education and media also, in order to develop the sense of understanding many dimensions of life through his creativity.

You can contact Munir Moosa Sewani at: munirmoosa@yahoo.com

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Mastering Basic Skills software:


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
2. Paired Associate Learning
3. Immediate Recall
4. Serial processing
5. Parallel processing
6. Recognition and Recall
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.

A feedback has been built into the software for all these 18 levels depending on the marks one scores during the test. 

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.

Essentially, this software is a SELF AWARENESS tool that surely motivates the individual to realize one's capability and seek or be receptive for improvement. Also, if repeatedly done over a period of time works as Training tool to enhance their capability.
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.

StarTeaching wholeheartedly supports and endorses this software.  It will make a difference with your child or student.

Click HERE to order your own copy today:


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Maximizing Your Students' Study Time

By Roger Seip

Roger Seip is a nationally known memory trainer. His new program, The Student’s Winning Edge - Memory Training, teaches students how to train their memory to study more effectively and get better grades. For more information on how your student can have a more powerful memory visit http://www.memorytrainingforstudents.com

Article Source: http://www.Free-Articles-Zone.com

The daily schedule for many young students today could rival that of several top-level executives. With soccer practice, dance, scouts and clarinet lessons taking up much of the evening, when do students get to focus on their studies? Too often students get overwhelmed with the amount of work left over at the end of the day. They look at study time in one big sum and get distracted and exhausted before they even begin. To solve this problem, you may not be able to adjust your child’s schedule, but they can change their study techniques.  Here are 3 study techniques that will help any student maximize their study time. 

They should start by separating and segmenting their study time. Break it up into smaller bits. No matter how brilliant you are a concentrated attention span lasts only about 20 minutes. So break your 2 or 4 hours study sessions into groups of 15 or 20 minutes.  During the break, stand-up, walk around, grab a bit to eat or something to drink and then get back to the grind for another 15 or 20 minutes. This not only helps create spaced repetition, which is crucial for retention, but helps make study sessions less stressful and daunting. 

Another tool to help in maximizing study time is to use random practice. When reviewing lists or concepts don’t go in order. Skip around to force your brain to pull from an entire group of information. This aids in understanding the purpose or meaning behind a concept instead of merely its place in line. The simplest way to implement random practice is through the use of a study partner. 

Use a Study Partner. When at all possible, it is very beneficial to study with another student who shares the same educational goals and motivation. A study partner can help identify areas of weakness and ensure that topics don’t get skipped. It’s also beneficial to witness how another student takes in and stores information. For this reason and others, it is better for the study partner to be another student, but parent don’t be afraid to fill this position.  The progress gained from working with a partner is general is worth it.  

Proper and efficient study techniques will follow a student through all levels of education and learning.  Establishing good habits and skill sets, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem at the time, will prove to reap massive rewards in the long run. So while little Johnny and Suzy might need their first day planners before the third grade, don’t let it stop them from becoming the best students they can.


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:



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Year of the Dogman
A new novel by Frank Holes, Jr.

Part mystery, part science fiction, Year of the Dogman is an imaginative, compelling, and adrenaline-pumping adventure. Author Frank Holes, Jr. takes no prisoners in creating a diabolical creature that leaves the forest to prey on the hapless hamlet of Twin Lakes in Northern Michigan . When night falls, the nocturnal beast, Dogman, scares the living daylights out of anyone he happens upon as he searches for a timeless treasure stolen from a Native American tribe. In the midst of the chaos, a young teacher is forced to put two and two together no matter how high the cost to rid the village of the treacherous man-beast who thrives on destruction and terror.  

The Dogman, a creature of MythMichigan, is an excellent example of modern-day folklore to study in your classes.   


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

Positive Parent Conferences

It's parent-teacher conference time! Some are positive experiences where teachers are able to make great connections with parents. And yet other meetings are foretold by apprehension and met with strife.  Over the years, you will encounter the gamut of positive and negative experiences, and everything in between. However, there are strategies you can use to make the best of any situation.

It is extremely important to make a good first impression (even if you already know the parents). Make eye contact with them, and greet the parents with a firm handshake. No weak grips! If you've never met the parents, stand up to introduce yourself. Welcome them with a smile.  Remember that you are building relationships, and setting the tone for the conference.

A good way to open the conference is to ask how the student is doing in other classes. Ask about their other grades, and start building an overall picture. You will often find the student's strong and weak areas, and you may even find surprises. I've found students who were failing every class but mine. And I've found the opposite too. A good overall picture can really give you a new perspective on your students.

Always try to say something positive. Even in the cloudiest of situations, you should find some ray of sunshine. And if you do have bad news to share, opening with good news can help ease the transition.

Be objective with bad news. Give truthful and accurate facts, and keep from making speculations. Make sure you have your facts straight! Work with parents, and try to offer suggestions. Most parents will look to you for ideas. Plan what you'll say ahead of time. If you've taken the time to get to know your students well, you'll find the conferences easier.

Positive parents are what we all expect and hope for. They come in with an open mind, are pleasant, and are willing to both listen to your comments and help with solutions to problems that do occur. These are often very short conferences at the middle and high school levels.  The parents have heard the stories all before, and with good reason; students whose parents regularly attend conferences have higher grade averages and fewer instances of behavior problems than those students whose parents rarely interact with school personnel.

The truth be known, many parents are intimidated by teachers. Many do worry that their concerns and critiques will be turned around and used against their kids. Even though teachers find this entire concept laughable and preposterous, it does, nonetheless, cross many parents' minds.

So, what do you do with a hostile parent? Diffuse the situation by being patient and listening. Sometimes its hard to just listen while parents are going off on you. They may be right or wrong, misinformed or even plain out of line. It is only a mistake to interrupt them, especially if they are on a roll. Stop yourself, focus on what they're saying, even take notes to show you're listening, and let them burn themselves out. Sometimes the hostile parents are looking for an audience, and sometimes they just need to vent. By giving them the time to 'get it all out of their system', you allow them to calm down so you both can reasonably discuss the situation.

Be sure to stand when they leave, again this is being courteous and polite. Thank them for attending. And let them know you'll contact them if anything changes. Parents generally want to be kept informed about their kids, both the good and bad.

Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm

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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

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Book of the Month Club:

Teaching Makes A Difference

by Carol Cummings

Our November BOOK OF THE MONTH is Teaching Makes A Difference, by Carol Cummings.  This book is yet another excellent instructional manual you'll want to have in your teaching toolbox.

This is the book for helping all teachers to improve their effectiveness in their classrooms.  It helps both the novice teacher and the seasoned veteran by forcing you to think about your own decision making process as a teacher, and to evaluate your effectiveness.  The book focuses on the teaching of instructional skills and the improvement in student learning.  

Carol Cummings' book give practical ideas for your classroom and for your teaching.  She details how to select and teach to your class objectives, monitoring and motivating your students, and developing better lessons that improve your students' learning.  

Each chapter reads just like a step-by-step manual for improving your instruction.  Periodically in the chapter are short 'assignments' for the readers to complete, adding their thoughts and experiences to the text.  Cummings adds creative cartoons and quotes to illustrate her points.  And each chapter is summed up with the important points to remember.  

One particular aspect of the book I like is the Instructional Decision Making structure Carol Cummings has developed.  The five steps (described in detail in the chapters) are: 

1.  Selecting the Objective
2.  Teaching to the Objective
3.  Monitoring and Adjusting
4.  Using Principles of Learning 
(Motivation, Retention, Active Participation, Mental Set Strategy)
5.  Planning Better Lessons

“Teaching is far more complex than ever before realized.  How easy it would be if we only had to deliver content.  Instead we must decide whether the content is at the correct level of difficulty and complexity for the learners.  We have to decide what is the most effective and efficient way to present the material.  We need to determine how many of our students are learning the content WHILE we are teaching.” (Teaching Makes A Difference, p.5) 

You can order a copy of Teaching Makes A Difference by clicking the link to our affiliate, Amazon.com

Have you read Teaching Makes A Difference?  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.

We welcome articles and book reviews from our readers.  Do you have a great educational book to share with our readers?  Write up a summary, along with the pertinent book information, and email it to us at  editor@starteaching.com. Please type in BOOK CLUB SUMMARY in the subject line.  Book reviews will be proofread and may be edited for content or space.




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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"Nasreddin's Flower Garden" 
Traditional Sufi Story

Themes on Life

Sometimes we must just grin and bear it...

A young man named Nasreddin planted a flower garden, but when the flowers came up so did a great crop of dandelions among them. Wishing to eliminate the unwanted guests, Nasreddin consulted with gardeners near and far, but none of their solutions worked.

Finally, Nasreddin traveled to the palace of the sheik to seek the wisdom of the royal gardener himself. But alas, Nasreddin had already tried all the methods the kind old man recommended to him for eradicating such troublesome weeds.

Silently they sat together for a good long time. At last, the royal gardener looked at Nasreddin and said, "Well, then, the only thing I can suggest is that you learn to love them."

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In This Week's Issue 
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Voice of Exceptional People (part 2)

School Features: 
Maximizing Your Students' Study Time

New Teacher's Niche:
Positive Parent Conferences

Themes on Life:  
"Nasreddin's Flower Garden"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Winter Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club


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


10 Days Of


How would you define ART?


Why do people study ART? 


Describe FIVE different types or genres of art.


How has technology been important to art?


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


How does art imitate real life?


Why is it important to develop your artistic side?


List 10 different art skills you have or wish you had.


How can you use your art skills in other classes at school?


Write FIVE fortunes (from fortune cookies) that state important facts we learned in class this week. 


10 days of writing prompts


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The First Days of School

By Harry K. Wong &
Rosemary T. Wong



Coming Soon:

Job Finding in the Spring

Technology & Teaching: What do we Assess and Why?

Essay Writing

Science Activities for your Classroom


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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1

I am a number between 200 and 223. I am a 3 digit number. One of my digits is 2. The digit in the tens column is the same as the digit in the hundreds column. What number am I?

Day 2

Karen had 1 1/4 of a cup of applesauce. Nikki had 2 3/8 of a cup of applesauce. How much did they have in all?

Day 3

If you get 7 eggs a day, how many weeks will it take to get two hundred ninety-two eggs?

Day 4

There are 45 kids on the baseball team. They will take three busses to go to a tournament game. How many kids will go on each bus?

Day 5

Mike ran 2/3 of a mile one Monday, 1/2 a mile on Tuesday, and then 1/8 of a mile on Wednesday. How much did Mike run?

Day 6

Sara wants to put 20 pieces of candy in each goodie bag. She has 200 pieces of candy. How many goodie bags can she make?

Day 7 Michelle wants to measure the perimeter of her math book. Two sides measure 8 inches and the other sides measure 11 inches. What is the perimeter?
Day 8 If you cut a pie into 8 pieces and Jason eats 3/8 of the pie and Jenny eats 1/8 of the pie, how much pie if left?
Day 9 The council member spends $60,000,000 in 5 days to run her campaign for city council. How much did she spend each day?
Day 10

At the store Andy sold baseballs for $6.00 a ball, one each day for 5 days. He sold 4 soccer balls for $12.00 each on another day. How much did Andy sell during the week?




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