FEATURES  FOR   TEACHERS

Visit our Website at: www.starteaching.com

Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 4, Issue 2

January 2008

StarTeaching Store Advertise with us Previous Articles Submit an Article FREE Reports Feature Writers New Teacher's Niche Tech Center  
 

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!
http://www.starteaching.com

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


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

Its Coming!  Our 100th Issue!

Join us at the end of this February for the 100th Issue of our newsletter, 
Features for Teachers.  Both issues in February will be packed with tremendous articles, by our readers for our readers!

Sent to a readership of over 25,000 educators each month, articles from Features for Teachers are utilized in classrooms all around the country and across the world.  

We're looking for comments, ideas, tips, techniques, and stories from our readers to share in this special issue.  Have you used information from our website?  Have our articles made a positive impact on your students or teaching craft?  Wish to share a note of thanks?

If you'd like to contribute a message or article for our Centennial Issue, pleases email right away.  

Send all entries to:  editor@starteaching.com

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 science activities for students and teachers to use.  

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

  Reader Response

Ask Dr. Manute

Dr. Manute is a well-renowned world traveler, guest speaker, and educational consultant.  

Dr. Manute holds multiple degrees in several educational fields. He has taught in both stateside and international school communities.  He has extensive experience (25 years) in school administration.  He also has worked at the university level, supervising teacher interns and teaching undergraduate courses.

As part of our NEW! Reader Response selection (asked for by our subscribers), we are pleased to have Dr. Manute answer questions from our readers.  

 
 You can  contact Dr. Manute through the form at the end of this article.  Thanks!

Stepping Up To Administration:
Dear Dr. Manute, 

I have been a successful classroom teacher for the past 9 years and am contemplating going into building administration as a Principal. I am worried about the move primarily because I am leaving my comfort zone. Any thoughts? 

DL,  Texas 

Dear DL, 

Moving from a successful teaching position to administration certainly brings risk and fear of the unknown. On the other side, maybe a close examination of your motives could make your decision easier. People go into administration for a variety of reasons. Some become tired of the daily grind of teaching and simply want a change. Others want to build on their retirement as administration usually brings more money. Still others see an opportunity to make a real change in their school and the educational process. 

Often times they are working in a building with ineffective leadership; one with no vision or plan. They see themselves as caught in a giant whirlpool, just spinning and spinning, not going anywhere. They come to school frustrated and leave the same. These people are ready for the challenges and many times have ideas and plans ready to go. They see themselves as the catalyst for change. 

So, where are we, did I provide an answer for your dilemma? That is not my purpose. Hopefully I have provided some food for thought that you can use as you make your decision. I do caution you, if you are looking at Administration for simply a change or the chance to make more money, my experience tells me you will have a very rude awakening. Administration is a very trying and difficult job, not for the weak. If you are ready to make real change in the lives of teachers (and more importantly the students) and if you are ready to work long hours and face the challenges of state and local mandates, lack of resources, and parental support, then I urge you to proceed. 

Our schools need effective leadership, front line administrators who are committed to excellence and willing to devote the time and energy necessary to create that excellence. Commitment is like a ham and egg breakfast, the chicken goes along with it, but the pig is committed. I wish you the very best of luck in your career and your decision. 

Dr. Manute

 

Submit your questions to Dr. Manute on Educational Issues!  Simply fill in the form below:

Name: 

Email: 

Type in your question or query below:

 

Problem Solving Worksheet & Guide

By: Mary Ann Graziani

Mary Ann Graziani is a Michigan Certified Teacher with a Masters Degree in Elementary Education. She is married and has two sons.  She loves to read and write, and enjoys passing on that love to the children that she teaches.   Her philosophy is teaching and entertaining children at the same time.

Problem Solving Worksheet/Contract

The rules of this worksheet and all people involved in this problem are to:

·        Solve the problem

·        Tell the truth

·        Listen without interrupting

·        Be respectful

·        Take responsibility for carrying out the agreement

·        Keep the situation confidential in our classroom.

 

It’s time to take action.  Walk through a problem through these questions.

 

1.  What is the problem?




2.  Why am doing what I am doing?   CIRCLE ONE

Is it because something hurts me?

Something that I need that I am not getting?

Something that I dislike in them because I don’t like it in myself?

 

3.  How would it feel if someone did what I am doing to me? Circle one

Angry

Frustrated/Annoyed

Embarrassed

Fearful

Hurt

Lonely

Not cared for

4.  What are people trying to tell me about my behavior?  Circle One

That I make them feel uncomfortable

That I am not helping others

That I am not being fair

That I am not taking responsibility for my actions

That I am making someone fearful

That I am being dangerous or unsafe to others

That I am hurting others

That I am not doing my part to help the group

That I am being annoying

That I am not sharing

That I am being rude

That I am being mean

That I am being selfish

Have I heard them?

Do they know I am listening?

 

What do I want to change? 



How will I tell them that I want to change without anger and blaming.

Follow these steps:

Stop, calm down, and think first.

1,  Explain the problem

2.  Make Eye contact

3.  Be friendly and use a friendly voice

4.      Use nice words and smile.

5.      Ask what you can do to help solve the problem.

6.  Use body language that is showing your nice words and friendly voice.

How can I handle my feelings?   Circle one:

Write it down

Talk to a friend

Punch a mattress

Go for a walk

Find a quiet place to think

Use humor

Tell yourself positive things

Relax and breathe deeply, think calm thoughts, stretch

How can I solve this problem?



I have decided to take this plan of action to solve this problem:

I agree to follow this plan because I understand it the best thing for me, my classmates, my teacher, my parents and everyone in my life.  I want to be happy and make those around me happy.

Signature:_____________________________________________

 

·        TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS.

 ADMIT IT WAS YOUR FAULT AND APOLOGIZE TO THE OTHER PERSON AND SEE IF THERE IS A WAY YOU CAN MAKE IT UP TO THEM.

·        COMPROMISE

FIND A WAY TO WORK THINGS OUT SO THAT YOU ARE BOTH HAPPY.  DO A LITTLE TO PLEASE BOTH SIDES.

·        BE HONEST

·        STOP, TAKE A DEEP BREATH, THINK POSITIVE THOUGHTS, AND CALM DOWN.  AFTER YOU ARE CALM THEN TRY TO SOLVE A PROBLEM.

·        STAY AWAY FROM SOMEONE WHO IS BOTHERING YOU.    GO TO ANOTHER AREA AND FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO PLAY WITH OR BE BY YOURSELF.

·        FIND A QUIET SPOT TO SIT AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS.

·        TAKE A WALK.

·        RETURN SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T BELONG TO YOU IF YOU TOOK IT. 

YOU CAN GIVE IT BACK TO THE PESON AND APOLOGIZE.

YOU CAN GIVE IT TO THE TEACHER TO HANDLE IT.

YOU CAN SECRETLY RETURN THE ITEM TO THE PERSON  WITHOUT THEM KNOWING.

·        IF YOU FIND YOURSELF HURTING SOMEONES FEELINGS

1.   STOP

2.   APOLOGIZE

3.   THINK OF A NICE THING TO SAY TO REPLACE THE BAD THINGS. 

MAKING SOMEONE SAD MEANS YOU ARE SAD INSIDE AND WANT THEM TO FEEL THE SAME WAY YOU DO.   INSTEAD  SAY OR DO SOMETHING TO MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY AND YOU WILL FEEL HAPPY TOO.   THIS WAY YOU BOTH FEEL GOOD!

·        IF YOU ARE ARGUING OR FIGHTING ABOUT SOMETHING NOT VERY IMPORTANT LIKE TAKING CUTS IN LINE OR GOING FIRST REALIZE IT IS NOT WORTH IT TO FIGHT.   LET THE OTHER PERSON GO FIRST AND SMILE.  REALIZE IT IS NOT IMPORTANT AND EVERYTHING WILL END UP THE SAME WAY EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT FIRST.

·        START OVER

IF YOU ARE NOT BEING FAIR THEN APOLOGIZE AND ASK IF YOU CAN START OVER AGAIN BY BEING FAIR THIS TIME.   IF YOU CAN’T START OVER GO FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO AND REALIZE NO ONE WANT TO PLAY WITH SOMEONE WHO IS NOT BEING FAIR. 

·        IF IT IS REALLY NOT IMPORTANT JUST LET IT GO.

·        IF YOU HURT SOMEONE YOU NEED TO STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING IMMEDIATELY.  IF THEY ARE BLEEDING OR SERIOUSLY HURT, FIND AN ADULT TO HELP OR TAKE THE PERSON YOU HURT TO THE OFFICE FOR HELP.  TRY TO HELP THE PERSON AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.  HURTING SOMEONE AND MAKING SCHOOL AN UNSAFE PLACE IS UNACCEPTABLE.  TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ACTIONS, BE HONEST AND EXPLAIN EXACTLY HOW THINGS HAPPENED,  AND NEVER HURT ANYONE AGAIN.

 IF IT WAS AN ACCIDENT THEN APOLOGIZE AND EXPLAIN THAT IWAS AN ACCIDENT AND YOU DIDN’T MEAN TO HURT THEM.  TELL THEM YOU WILL BE MORE CAREFUL NEXT TIME.

·        IF YOU ARE NOT RESPECTING THE PROPERTY OF OTHERS AND YOU BREAK OR RUIN SOMETHING THAT DOESN’T BELONG TO YOU TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. YOU CAN:

1.  APOLOGIZE

2.  TRY TO FIX, CLEAN, OR MAKE IT BETTER

3.  REPLACE  IT WITH SOMETHING ELSE

4.      BUYING A NEW ONE TO REPLACE THE DAMAGED PROPERTY.

5.      FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT UP TO THE PERSON.

6.      KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF AND RESPECT THE PROPERTY OF OTHERS.  

·        IF YOU ARE TOUCHING, PUSHING, OR “IN SOMEONE’S FACE” THEN STOP, MOVE, AND GIVE THEM THEIR PERSONAL SPACE.   ASK FIRST BEFORE YOU GO INTO SOMEONE’S PERSONAL SPACE.  

·        IF YOU ARE BOTHERING, ANNOYING, OR DISTURBING SOMEONE MOVE AWAY TO ANOTHER AREA AND LEAVE THEM ALONE.  TRY TO IGNORE PEOPLE WHO ARE BOTHERING YOU.  JUST WALK AWAY AND FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO OR SOMEONE ELSE TO BE WITH.  

WHAT YOU CAN SAY:

·        USE NICE WORDS, NICE SMILE, AND BOY LANGUAGE WHEN YOU WANT TO TALK SOMETHING OUT TO SOLVE A PROBLEM WITH ANOTHER PERSON. 

·        I THINK YOUR GREAT BECAUSE….

·        I AM SORRY

·        WHAT I DID WAS WRONG AND I WOULD LIKE TO….

I SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE THAT.  WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE IT BETTER?

·        I DIDN’T LIKE WHAT YOU DID TO ME.  IT HURT MY FEELINGS.

·        I STILL WANT TO BE FRIENDS BUT I DID NOT LIKE WHAT YOU DID TO ME.

·        I WANT TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM WITH YOU.  WHAT CAN I DO?

·        I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

·        I SAID THIS BUT WHAT I MEANT TO SAY IS…..

·        HOW CAN I MAKE THIS UP TO YOU.

·        WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE THINGS BETTER

·        I WANT BOTH OF US TO BE HAPPY.  I WOULD LIKE TO COMPROMISE.

·        I STILL LIKE YOU AND WANT TO STAY FRIENDS.

·        CAN I GIVE YOU A HUG

·        CAN I SHAKE YOUR HAND?  

·        CAN I HELP YOU?

 

Mary Ann Graziani has published an educational book for elementary school-aged children using high frequency sight words, and is in the process of publishing an entire set that goes with that book.   She has also written a math tale that teaches customary units of measurement to elementary school-aged children in an entertaining storybook tale.   You can  contact Mary Ann at: mgrazi@wowway.com

Check out Mary Ann's other articles at the link below:
http://www.starteaching.com/MaryAnnGraziani.htm

 

StarTeaching
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discuss educational issues with other teachers from around the world.  

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NowAvailable! 

  

Mastering Basic Skills software:

$29.99

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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  School Features

Change Lives! Be a Mentor

by Jill Gurr
Create Now!

Jill Gurr is founder of the non-profit organization Create Now! She has mentored more than 50 high-risk children and youth and has trained hundreds of people to mentor thousands of kids. Learn more at www.createnow.org    or email Jill at:  info@createnow.org

WHY, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

Half of the U.S. youth population (17.6 million kids to be exact) is considered to be “at-risk” of getting into trouble with the law, or “high-risk” and already in trouble. This isn’t a problem only in the United States. Street gangs, drug addiction, child prostitution, abuse and neglect are major concerns around the world.

Our children need help!

It’s easy to turn your back and ignore the problem, but what will you do when some kids jack your car? Or rape your daughter? Or spend their entire lives on welfare or in the prison system, on your tax dollars?

DISCOVERING A SOLUTION

One solution that has been proven to work is mentoring. A mentor is a loyal advisor, a teacher or coach, sponsor, guide, confidante and role model. He or she is a special friend who serves as an advocate for the needs of someone else and makes an effort to bring out their best qualities.

I learned this first-hand in 1993 when I mentored a group of teenage boys who were incarcerated at a Los Angeles detention center for a variety of crimes. As a produced screenwriter, I wanted to share my love of writing with troubled kids in hope of inspiring them to change their lives.

I had a great idea for a story about two rival gang leaders from different ethnic backgrounds (Latino vs. African-American) ending up at the same detention camp where they had to resolve their differences.

During the next few months as I worked on our script with the boys, my Screenwriting Workshop went through all kinds of changes. In the end, the boys completed writing the script with me and it was optioned by producers. The best part though was that a number of the kids who were illiterate learned how to read and write through my program. I witnessed other remarkable changes as well -- a tough Chicano gang leader had tattoos removed from his body, and several of the boys wanted to go to college.

Thrilled with the results of this experience, I quickly came up with another idea for a screenplay and started a new Screenwriting Workshop, this time at a co-ed detention center. Again, these girls and boys were transformed through their experience of contributing to a screenplay, but especially from my interactions with them every week as their mentor. They opened up their hearts, shared their problems, and flourished under my guidance.

Inspired by these successes, I founded a non-profit organization in 1996. Create Now! matches writers, artists, musicians and other creative individuals in Los Angeles with high-risk kids who live in court-mandated institutions, such as homes for abused and neglected children, runaways, homeless kids and those in trouble with the law.

Through Create Now! I’ve personally mentored more than 50 of these kids and I’ve trained dozens of other mentors to work with high-risk youth. Create Now! has reached thousands of the most troubled children in Southern California.


SO, JUST WHAT IS MENTORING?

You may wonder exactly what is mentoring. It’s not tutoring, which involves the teaching of a skill or discipline. Mentoring depends on the nurturing of a close, personal relationship. While helping with schoolwork can be a part of it, that’s just one aspect. Mentors inspire us to try harder and give us the confidence to reach for more ambitious goals. They teach us how to make good choices and open doors to new opportunities that normally wouldn’t be available.

A mentee, or protégé, is a novice, student or learner. At-risk and high-risk kids can be of any race and religion. They generally come from disadvantaged homes in poor communities. All children need the support of a positive adult, but these particular kids especially need help.

Research has shown that kids who are mentored have improved school attendance and better academic performance, a good appearance and attitude, less hostility, more self-esteem and many other improved qualities that are too numerous to name.

A SUCCESS STORY

Tasha is another perfect example that proves mentoring makes a difference. She came from a poor community in South Central, Los Angeles. A bright girl with many talents, she didn’t get along with her family. When she was thirteen years old, Tasha began running away from home. She hung out with boys who got in trouble with the law. She was sent to detention camps and different institutions over the next few years.

I met Tasha at a detention facility when she was almost sixteen. She eagerly signed up for a Create Now! TV Writing Workshop with a professional sit-com writer who prefers to remain anonymous. When Tasha returned to her home in South Central, her mentor continued to visit her weekly. They formed a strong bond.

Her mentor moved to another state, so Create Now! provided Tasha with two additional mentors who helped her periodically. Her original mentor stayed in touch via phone and email. When Tasha graduated from high school, her mentors helped her apply to USC Film School and arranged for a scholarship. She was one of only fifty people in the world to be accepted into their film program.

Tasha graduated from college in December 2004. She got a job teaching disadvantaged middle-school children how to make their own videos. One of her mentors helped her get employed as a production assistant on a TV show and she’s now on the way to a lucrative career in the entertainment industry. We’re all very proud of Tasha.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME, THE MENTOR?

Mentors benefit greatly from their experience. It’s a powerful feeling to know that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. Most mentors grow on a personal and professional level through this process.

Many people who mentor develop leadership abilities and have a more profound understanding of children. Their own family bonds strengthen, plus they receive admiration and respect from their own peers.

There are different kinds of mentoring. Here are a few:

1. ONE-ON-ONE MENTORING
This is traditional mentoring, sometimes referred to as a “Special Friend” or a “Big/Little” relationship. You’re paired up with one child and the relationship tends to be close. Don’t take this involvement lightly and make sure you maintain your commitment.

2. GROUP MENTORING
With group mentoring programs, one adult volunteer builds relationships with a number of young people. Meetings can take place with a focus on a particular project or an ongoing activity.

3. TEAM MENTORING
A group of two or more adults work together as a team to mentor a group of youths. This system focuses on team building, leadership development, and community service, but it can be used for any type of program.

4. FAMILY MENTORING
Low-income families face enormous pressure getting food and shelter. The stress can severely disrupt family life and lead to homelessness. These families can be matched with mentors (possibly your entire family) who work with them over an extended period of time. By connecting disadvantaged family members with useful community resources, helping them to develop life skills, and strengthening their foundation, you help the family to overcome challenges.

5. E-MENTORING
By using email and chat rooms on the Internet, mentors can reach children all over the world. Many forms of computer-assisted learning are becoming popular, as students have access to computers at school, libraries, and their homes.

Think carefully about what your needs are and how you can best serve at-risk and high-risk youth before you decide which type of mentoring program is right for you.

OKAY, I’M IN. NOW WHAT?

There are a lot of things that you can do with your mentees. Many of these kids have never been out of their own neighborhoods. You could take them on a trip to the beach, a hike in the mountains, a movie, a meal, or a visit to a museum. Expose them to cultural events like the theater or the circus, or just hang out and talk.

Most importantly, LISTEN! All kids need to communicate and vent. It’s important to hear what they say and be as open-minded as possible. Most kids need reliable adults with whom they can talk about their fears, dreams, and concerns. Mentors serve as sounding boards, and when asked, someone who can give trustworthy advice.

At-risk youth may not have any adults in their lives with the time, interest, or ability to listen to them. High-risk youth who live in residential institutions will rarely confide in staff members, administrators, or even psychologists for fear of punishment. Yet they might confide in you because of the trust that you’ve developed. It usually takes time, but when they know that they can count on you, they’ll start to open up.

DON’T DISAPPOINT

Mentoring requires commitment and responsibility. You must keep your word and be dependable to have a positive effect. If you break your word, you’ll do more damage than good.

These children have been let down by adults most of their lives. Imagine if you come along, full of hope and excitement, and reach out to lend them a hand. They take it and off you go, spending time together and bonding. They slowly open up and start to trust you.

But then something changes in your life; perhaps you get a different job in another part of town, or you’ve got a new boyfriend who takes up all of your free time. Abandonment can be devastating to any child, especially these kids.

It’s okay if you only have sporadic time available to mentor, since even a short amount of time devoted to an at-risk youth is better than nothing. But it’s essential that you communicate this clearly to your mentee. The most important thing is not to set their expectations high only to let them down later.

These children represent our future. Through your support as a mentor, you can introduce them to a larger world where they’re a contributor instead of just another statistic.

WHERE TO SIGN ON

No matter where you live or what you do for a living, you can impact a child’s life. To learn about mentoring opportunities in your community, visit the National Mentoring Partnership at http://www.mentoring.org

If you live in Southern California and have a creative skill that you’d like to share with at-risk or high-risk youth, please contact me at (213) 484-8500 or through email at info@createnow.org

You’ll make a big difference in your community, and the world!

Learn more at www.createnow.org    or email Jill at:  info@createnow.org

 

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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Our Website Store for Specials:

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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.   

http://www.dogman07.com

Order your copy by clicking the link below.

Teachers:
We now have special offers on Classroom Sets of our Novel.  Click here for more information:

ORDER A CLASS SET 

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

Designing PowerPoint Presentations

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. Animations and slide transitions are neat and fun, but don't overdo them. Choose one slide transition to use throughout the presentation so your audience knows the next slide is here. The same goes with animations: keep them simple and appropriate. You want to impress the audience with your information, not the 'gadgets' you use to soup up the PowerPoint.

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/W0indows/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.


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

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


 

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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"Two Days We Should Not Worry "

Themes on Life

The two most important days of the week!

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.

Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.

We cannot undo a single act we performed;
we cannot erase a single word we said.
Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow
with all its possible adversities, its burdens,
its large promise and its poor performance;
Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

Tomorrow's sun will rise,
either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow,
for it is yet to be born.

This leaves only one day, Today.
Any person can fight the battle of just one day.
It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities Yesterday and Tomorrow that we break down.

It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad,
it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, Live but one day at a time.


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In This Week's Issue 
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Reader Response: Ask Dr. Manute:
Stepping Up to Administration

Problem Solving Worksheet & Guide

School Features: 
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New Teacher's Niche:
Designing PowerPoint Presentations

Themes on Life:  
"Two Days We Should Not Worry"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Winter Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club


 

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10 Days Of
Writing 
Prompts 

Day
1

Why is the Super Bowl such a huge day for Americans?

Day
2

Describe FOUR different types of Super Bowl parties. 

Day
3

Do Americans really remember the winners of Super Bowls?  Why or why not?

Day
4

What is the most exciting part of a Super Bowl game?

Day
5

Describe THREE important things you've learned this week in any class in school. 

Day
6

What is TIME?  How do we define TIME?

Day
7

Why do people wear watches?  Give TEN reasons.

Day
8

Describe what you think the following means:
"Time Waits for No One"

Day
9

Why are people always fighting time?

Day
10

Create a short story in which you pose THREE questions from class this week.   

 

10 days of writing prompts

 

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Who Moved My Cheese?

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Preparing for Student Teaching

Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum

Getting Ready for Next Year

Setting Up Your Classroom


 

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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1

Cindy is making a beaded bracelet. She has a box containing 20 beads. 12 pink, 3 red, and 5 blue. If she picks a bead without looking, what is the probability that she picks red or pink?

Day 2

Write the ratio 80 to 51 in two other forms.

Day 3

Mrs. Graziani began watering her vegetables at 11:45 a.m. It is now 1:35 p.m. How long has she been watering today?

Day 4

How many seconds are 50 minutes?

Day 5

What is 7.776 rounded to the nearest hundredth?

Day 6

Estimate by rounding to the nearest tenth: 0.16 + 0.264 + 0.8

Day 7

What is $22.39 rounded to the nearest dollar?

Day 8

Sal took a ride of 5 hour 20 minutes with his family. He spent 1 hour 20 minutes playing game with his sister and 2 hours sleeping. He read a book for the rest of the time. How long did he read?

Day 9 Add: 0.66 + 7.38
Day 10

What is the area of a triangle with a base of 8 cm and a height of 10 cm?

 

 

 

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