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Best Quotes From Summer Reading
Middle School Teacher
Lake Ridge Middle School, Schererville, IN
Having your own students advertising books can
be a great way of getting more students to read. The
American Film Institute website is also a great place to find
ideas for your classroom, including the "Best Quotes"
idea presented below.
AFIís recent tribute to movies in the form of developing a list of
the top 100 quotes from movies got me thinking.
How many of us have lists of books for studentsí summer
reading? How many of us ask
that they write book reports on what they have read?
No matter what form these reports take in terms of length or
comprehensiveness, can we agree that these reports often end up being
less about how much fun the book was to read than they are about
answering a list of forgettable questions about the book?
So, hereís my idea. When
your students return to school this August, instead of that book report,
ask them to find a phrase or sentence from the book that encapsulates
the theme of the book or a memorable character from the book.
The student has to use critical thinking in order to select just
the right phrase or sentence. I
think a great way to showcase this effort is to create a poster for the
book that contains the selection; along with the title and author, the
student could include a graphic of some kind.
Once the poster is complete, it can be hung in the media center,
in the school hallway, or your own classroom.
What a great way to advertise a book!
To get you started, can you guess the book from which these quotes
"Greasers will still be greasers and Socs will
still be Socs. Sometimes I think itís the ones in the middle
that are really the lucky stiffs."
"Have you seen this wizard? Approach with extreme
caution! Do not attempt to use magic against this man!"
"What does it mean that Germans despise me simply
because I am a Jew?"
The Outsiders, S, E, Hinton
Harry Potter (Prisoner of Azkaban), J. K. Rowling
The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank
For more information on the American Film Institute, quick click the
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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:
of these modules runs at three different levels, from easy to
At each level, the individual's performance is depicted as
A feedback has been built into the software for all these 18
levels depending on the marks one scores during the
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
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
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.
HERE to order your own copy today:
By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher
What is communication today, and has it
changed? Do we, as educators, need to adjust our thinking, or
continue to teach the same things we learned when we were young?
Do students of today approach it the same way as we do? To find
out the answers to these questions, we need to look at what
today's students do to communicate.
Text messaging has become one of the most popular
ways for students to communicate. It has a language of its own such as r
for our and u for you. This form of communication happens anywhere they
want through cell phones or computers. It can happen anywhere and at any
We need to decide how to handle it. Should we control it or make
adjustments in our classes to integrate it into what we do? We live in
the midst of a changing world, probably similar to what people felt like
when the industrial revolution came along. This change takes a number of
years as everyone adjusts. If we are going to prepare the students for
their world we need to make some changes in our present world.
We grew up with communication being letter writing and phone calls.
Today we have e-mail, cell phones, text messaging, blogging, podcasting,
video podcasting, video conferencing, and who knows what else around the
In the past, to become an author, you had to get a book or article
published by a publisher. Today, anyone can publish on the internet. To
make movies you had to be a professional. Now anyone can make a movie
with easy to use software and upload it to the web.
So what does this mean to us as educators? Can we continue to do things
the same old way, or is it time that education took a leading role in
preparing students for their future? It might take a learning curve on
our part, but if students are suppose to learn to be life long learners,
we should become their role models.
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
|StarTeaching Featured Writer
|Mark Benn is a leading expert in using technology
in the classroom.
You can feel free to contact him on email
or at his blogsite: http://www.furtrader.blogspot.com/
Testing (part 2)
In practice, standardized tests can be composed of
multiple-choice and true-false questions. Such items can be tested
inexpensively and quickly by scoring special answer sheets by computer
or via computer-adaptive testing. Some tests also have short-answer or
essay writing components that are assigned a score by independent
evaluators. These can be graded by evaluators who use rubrics (rules or
guidelines) and anchor papers (examples of papers for each possible
score) to determine the grade to be given to a response. A number of
assessments, however, are not scored by people. For example, the
Graduate Record Exam is a computer-adaptive assessment that requires no
scoring by people (except for the writing portion)
There are two types of standardized tests:
norm-referenced tests and criterion-referenced tests, resulting in a
norm-referenced score or a criterion-referenced score, respectively.
Norm-referenced scores compare test-takers to a sample of peers.
Criterion-referenced scores compare test-takers to a criterion, and may
also be described as standards-based assessment as they are aligned with
the standards-based education reform movement. Norm-referenced tests are
associated with traditional education, which measures success by rank
ordering students, while standards-based assessments are based on the
egalitarian belief that all students can succeed if they are assessed
against high standards which are required of all students regardless of
ability or economic background.
There can be problems with human scoring. For example,
the Seattle Times reported that for Washington State's WASL, temporary
employees were paid $10 an hour. They spent as little as 20 seconds on
each math problem, 2 and 1/2 minutes on an essay on items which may
determine if a student graduates from high school, which some believe is
a matter of concern given the high stakes nature of such tests. Pearson
scores many other state tests similarly. Agreement between scorers can
vary between 60 to 85 percent depending on the test and the scoring
session. Sometimes states pay to have two or more scorers read each
paper to improve reliability, though this does not eliminate test
responses getting different scores.
The considerations of validity and reliability typically
are viewed as essential elements for determining the quality of any
standardized test. However, professional and practitioner associations
frequently have placed these concerns within broader contexts when
developing standards and making overall judgments about the quality of
any standardized test as a whole within a given context.
In the field of psychometrics, the Standards for
Educational and Psychological Testing place standards about validity and
reliability, along with errors of measurement and related considerations
under the general topic of test construction, evaluation and
documentation. The second major topic covers standards related to
fairness in testing, including fairness in testing and test use, the
rights and responsibilities of test takers, testing individuals of
diverse linguistic backgrounds, and testing individuals with
disabilities. The third and final major topic covers standards related
to testing applications, including the responsibilities of test users,
psychological testing and assessment, educational testing and
assessment, testing in employment and credentialing, plus testing in
program evaluation and public policy.
In the field of evaluation, and in particular
educational evaluation, the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational
Evaluation has published three sets of standards for evaluations. The
Personnel Evaluation Standards was published in 1988, The Program
Evaluation Standards (2nd edition) was published in 1994, and The
Student Evaluation Standards was published in 2003.
Each publication presents and elaborates a set of
standards for use in a variety of educational settings. The standards
provide guidelines for designing, implementing, assessing and improving
the identified form of evaluation. Each of the standards has been placed
in one of four fundamental categories to promote educational evaluations
that are proper, useful, feasible, and accurate. In these sets of
standards, validity and reliability considerations are covered under the
accuracy topic. For example, the student accuracy standards help ensure
that student evaluations will provide sound, accurate, and credible
information about student learning and performance.
One of the main advantages of standardized testing is
that it is able to provide assessments that are psychometrically valid
and reliable, as well as results which are generalized and replicable.
Another advantage is aggregation. A well designed
standardized test provides an assessment of an individual's mastery of a
domain of knowledge or skill which at some level of aggregation will
provide useful information. That is, while individual assessments may
not be accurate enough for practical purposes, the mean scores of
classes, schools, branches of a company, or other groups may well
provide useful information because of the reduction of error
accomplished by increasing the sample size.
While standardized tests are often criticized as unfair,
the psychometric standards applied in the development of standardized
tests would produce fairer testing if applied in other types of testing.
In particular, the effectiveness of each test item in accomplishing the
goal of the test would have to be demonstrated.
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.
July 22, 2008:
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
. 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.
In The Haunting of Sigma,
Frank Holes, Jr. returns fans of the legendary Dogman to the wild world
of cryptozoology in
. This darker, far more
sinister prequel to Holesís first novel fully establishes his hold
upon the imaginations of readers all over the
. June 1987 ushers in the
hot, dry summer season, but something else far more horrifying has taken
up residence in the deep wilderness in
. The Dogman, a supernatural
combination of canine and man, has returned to wreck havoc upon the
tiny, sleepy community of Sigma.
Based upon the
epic Greek tale of The Odyssey, yet set in the American Wild West, The Longquist Adventures: Western Odyssey chronicles the journey of a young boy and his guide through a perilous
world of dangerous encounters and fantastic creatures.
It is a world of gun fights at high noon, stampedes on the great
plains, stagecoach robbery, and an ultimate showdown with a ruthless,
powerful gangster aboard a turn-of-the-century paddlewheel in the San
Francisco Bay. Can the
time-traveling boy and the law-abiding Marshal restore order to the
chaos of the American West gone truly wild?
of the Dogman Website
Here For The
of Sigma Website
Here For The
The Dogman, a creature of
MythMichigan, is an excellent example of modern-day folklore to
study in your classes.
The Longquist Adventures, written for
elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and
classic stories to young children.
Look for Western Odyssey this summer!
We now have special offers on Classroom Sets of our Novel.
Click here for more information:
A CLASS SET
A Place for New Teachers, Student Teachers, and Interns
This basic skill is useful in every subject
area where students must produce written work. The
emphasis on writing we see so often these days forces teachers
of every discipline to become familiar with some basic
components of writing and proofreading.
We like to have the students create a Grammar Handbook where they can
write in the various rules we discuss during the year. Never assume your
students know and understand the rules you'll cover during the year. We
do review the various parts of speech, though we won't spend much time
on those. Through the course of the year, students will continually add
rules and examples to their handbooks. Some of these are from notes I
provide students, and others are from the discussions we have in class.
I also allow the students to use these Grammar Handbooks on quizzes and
tests, and they are always available when students write in class.
Our students complete Daily Oral Language (DOL) activities for
proofreading practice. The DOL is an on-going activity where students
practice editing and proofreading sentences or paragraphs. Put up one or
two sentences that have several mistakes in spelling, grammar, or
mechanics. Have students correct these using proofreader's marks and
discuss the changes as a class. There are a number of companies out
there that have workbooks and overhead sheets with plenty of these warm
up activities. But you can also put together your own exercises very
easily. Find a few sentences from the literature or stories you're
reading and type them out, making a few 'mistakes' for the kids to find
and fix. Use size 16 or 18 font so they're easy to see, and copy onto an
overhead sheet so you can re-use these again. Have a paper copy of the
'answers', the corrected sentences, and be sure to have your students
add the new rules to their Grammar Handbook.
Another related activity is the DOL Paragraph. Once or twice a week, we
give the students an entire paragraph to correct. This will have the
same grammar, spelling, mechanics, and usage mistakes the students had
seen during the week.
These three activities, practiced on a daily or weekly basis, can really
help your students to learn the various rules of grammar, usage, and
mechanics. You can even create paragraph or essay topics to have
students explain the various rules they've learned. You'll find a few
"Describe what a CONJUNCTION is, and describe how it is used."
1. (2 points) Topic Restated in the Topic Sentence
2. (3 points) Define a 'Conjunction'
3. (3 points) Three supports (examples)
4. (3 points) Use THREE conjunctions properly
5. (3 points) Personal Life Experience
6. (4 points) Topic Restated in the Clincher
7. (2 points) Title at the Bottom
20 points total
"Describe and give examples of THREE ways a COMMA can be
1. (2 points) Topic Restated in the Topic Sentence
2. (3 points) Define a 'Comma'
3. (3 points) Three examples of comma use
4. (3 points) Use THREE commas properly, one for each rule
5. (3 points) Personal Life Experience
6. (4 points) Topic Restated in the Clincher
7. (2 points) Title at the Bottom
20 points total
Proofreading is a skill students can become good at, just like any other
skill that must be practiced. Similar to the editing procedures, we like
to have students 'proof on the fly' when they are retyping their second
drafts. This is making the corrections as students are typing. Now
granted, many computer programs will actually tell students when a
mistake has been made. That does make it easier for students. But there
are times when the computers can be mistaken. Homophones are one prime
example. I don't worry too much about the computer corrections, because
our students are getting so much practice with proofreading. And when
the computer displays a mistake, the students still have to know how to
make the correction.
Editing and Proofreading are both important skills for your students.
But never forget your focus. The best way to improve the students
writing is by drafting, writing as much as possible, even on a daily
basis if at all possible.
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
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preparing yourself to enter the educational profession. Simply
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"A Very Special Meal"
Our faith is tested so many times...
Once there was a very poor and devoted woman who always prayed to
the Glory of God, asking very little, if anything for herself. But
one thought, one desire continued to recur and finally she asked:
petitioning the Lord, that if it were possible she would love to
prepare a special meal and have God share at her table. And God,
in His Love for this goodly woman, said He would indeed come the
next day and share a meal.
Filled with ecstasy, the woman went out the following morning with
her meager purse and purchased such delicacies that she felt would
please the Lord.
Returning home, she prepared a banquet and waited patiently for
her most honored guest. Soon there was a knock on the door, and
when she opened it, there stood an old beggar asking for something
to eat. Being a woman of God, she could not turn the beggar away,
so she invited him in to partake of her table. The beggar felt as
if he was in a dream - such a feast set before him. He finished
all the food, thanked his hostess and left.
The woman was only slightly disheartened, she gathered up her
purse, her coat, and hurried back to town to get more food for her
special guest. Her funds were less now and so the food was not
quite so elaborate. Nonetheless, she lovingly prepared another
meal and sat to await the arrival of the Almighty.
A few hours went by and there was a loud knock on the door. This
time it was an old gypsy woman with no teeth, who was deaf, who
spoke quite loudly and was, rather rudely, insisting that any true
believer in the Lord would not deny her something to eat.
Though the woman had no more money with which to buy more
supplies, she invited the woman in and offered her a seat at the
table. The gypsy ate everything, did not even thank the woman and
left without closing the door.
By now it was beginning to get dark both inside and out. The
woman's faith was strong, so that, though somewhat distraught, she
did not give up, but rather, looked around her humble house to see
if there was anything she could sell in order to buy more food to
set before the Lord.
She hurried to town with a little silver cup that had been in her
family for several generations, but she was willing to part with
it for the great honor that God was going to bestow on her - the
sharing of a meal.
Late in the night she rushed home to prepare yet a third meal. She
waited and waited until, once more, there was a knock on the door.
Holding her breath, she slowly opened the door to find yet another
poor man in the guise of a wandering monk, in search of a meal.
Again, she offered hospitality, with as much grace as she could
muster in her disappointment. This man also ate all that was set
on the table and left after blessing the woman for her kindness.
So discouraged and dismayed was she that all she could do was nod
slightly, in acknowledgment of the thanks.
Now it was too late, with no way to buy any more food and no more
money with which to buy it. She got down on her knees, weeping
such heart-broken tears. She asked God what she had done wrong.
Why had God not come to share at the table as He had promised?
And God, in all His Divine Compassion and Mercy, lifted the woman
off her knees, and holding her close to His Heart, said, "My
child, I enjoyed your hospitality so much that I came three
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