Visit our Website at: www.starteaching.com

Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 4, Issue 11

June 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!

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

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 in8 designing a set of weekly science activities for students and teachers to use.  

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

Reflections on Teaching Practice
By Munir Moosa Sewani

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.”

Reflecting upon my teaching always provides me with many dimensions of learning. It helps me to improve and overcome my weaknesses.  When I entered the field of teaching, I was an amateur. I had many questions in mind.  Will the students accept me? Am I really creative enough to bring about changes in the teaching profession? For a couple of months, I was in denial - I did not accept criticism, and thought myself as the best teacher! But I wasn’t. I learned gradually that without reflecting on my teaching practices, it wouldn’t have been possible to improve. As time passed, I started reflecting upon my teaching. This was actually a transformation process and it taught me how to be a reflective teacher.  

During eight years of secular and religious teaching, I came across many challenges. I accepted these and they’ve served as a real evaluation tool for analyzing my teaching growth.   

Here I’m sharing two students’ examples whose lives were changed because of my little effort.

On the first day of my teaching at the Religious Centre to class 1, I came across a slow learner child. While I was teaching, he distracted the attention of the others. He started patting his book on other students. When I asked questions, he gave blank stares back. For a few days, I avoided him. The more I avoided him, the more he misbehaved.  I called his parents. When his parents told me that he was a slow learner, I felt ashamed how I ignored him on the basis of his behavior. That event changed my life. At that time, I decided to carry on learning about his problem. I read books and developed different activities and designed easy lessons.  I also gave him extra time.  I used activity based methods of teaching.  At the end of a year, he was able to learn few things. However, the Headmaster decided to fail him. Being a responsible teacher, I decided that rather than de-motivating the child, we should appreciate him for learning something.  He was shifted to class two.  After few years of repetition, he was promoted to class three, where fortunately, I was given a chance to be his teacher again.  His mother was guided by the Headmaster to send him to a Special School. Being a responsible teacher, I denied this and provided him with “Adaptive Behavior Skill” testing, which I learnt during my Master Trainer in special education, identifying him as a slow learner, not a disabled child. 

During class 3, I involved this student more in class activities.  He was allowed to sit wherever he wanted to sit in class.  I also taught him basic skills.  His parents were happy with my efforts.  At the end of the year, he learned a few things.  But again, his gradual learning and improvement in behavior was an achievement.   

While teaching him, I observed his interest in graphics, so I told his parents about it.  Wherever possible, I've raised my voice to keep him in the centre, continuing to learn. I feel it’s important to cater to such children, for there will be many more like him who’ll need the attention of the teacher and the Centre.  We as a team can make a difference in their lives. This is something which hopefully will be understood in years to come with more awareness of children with special needs.  

The tool of appreciation and extra attention brought a change in this student's life. Today, I’m happy - he’s studying in the REC gradually, and working as a graphic helper with his dad. 

I believe that every child can learn, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.  Accepting challenges and demonstrating confidence to bring change is the sign of a reflective practitioner.  

A child may be aggressive toward his teacher or to his classmates.  Such behavior may be due to his not receiving due attention at home.  When he comes to find a free life at school, he behaves like an animal released from a chain. 

I also dealt with an aggressive student.  He had an arrogant attitude.  Once, I gave him a sheet of paper to draw picture; he tore the paper and told me that he wasn’t a kid. Many times, I discouraged him, even when he wanted to share anything.  Once I taught students that no one can become the master of all.  He told me that he’s a master.  I calmly denied his sayings.  The very next day, he brought a chair made of old wooden box.  I was sure he hadn’t made it.  But when he told me the steps for assembly,  I was astounded.  It was my mistake to de-motivate him.  I should’ve encouraged him rather than discouraging him I realized that if we are to criticize, it should be done constructively.  We should appreciate children to share rather than taping their lips.

“Children are like a pot of flowers. If you'll give them proper attention, they'll grow up properly; but if you'll give them a lack of attention or extreme care, they’ll be destroyed.”  

Being a reflective teacher, I decided to find the real cause behind this student's aggressiveness.  I met with his parents and learned that they hadn’t much time to spend with him due to work.  I counseled them and told them the reason behind his child aggressiveness.  They realized it. 

This time, I tried a tool of encouragement.  I asked for friendship.  He taught all the students how to make different things.  Whenever he brought anything, I showed him appreciation. Gradually, I learned about his talents of music and painting, among others.  Currently, he’s in grade 7.  His vision is to be a scientist.  Just a little appreciation and parent counseling brought a great change in him.  Today, he has proven to be a brilliant gem. 

Today, I’m happy to call myself a reflective teacher whose objective is to mold children ethically, to nurture them, to explore their creativity, and to cater to the needs of children with special needs.  


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 year. He is an author of the famous self-published storybook for children titled, "The MORAL STORIES FOR CHILDREN," and has also written a Biology course book for Secondary Classes. He has written 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 has many multi-dimensional talents.

His future plan is to write dozens of informative books and articles and to work in the education field and the media, 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



Join our Online Community!

Receive weekly articles right in your email and 
discuss educational issues with other teachers from around the world.  

Check it all out and sign up through the following quick link:






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:


Do You Have Great Ideas, Tips, or Techniques to Share with Our Readers?  
Are You Looking To Be Published?

Submit Your Articles On Our Website At:   http://www.starteaching.com/submit.htm



Educational Change - 
Are You Ready For It?

By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher

Mark discusses the changes in education to reflect 21st century learning.

There are many great, hard-working teachers who are trying to do the best for their students. But all of us (teachers) need to ask ourselves one question. Are we preparing our students for their future, or our past?

You may wonder what I mean by that statement. Let me explain. For most of the 20th century, classrooms were run throughout America in a similar fashion. Students sat in rows and listened to the teacher explain the material. The students did a lot of memorization by rote and took tests on the material. Many a classroom was expected to be quiet and function peacefully. This type of education was great for preparing students for a workforce that was driven by industry. After all, the industrial revolution began in the late 19th century and continued through most of the 20th century.

Towards the end of the 20th century, things began to change. Industry moved out of the country, and the economy became global in nature. Technology changed the way we live and continues to change it at an increasingly faster pace. Communication happens instantly. No longer are we in our little local world. The skills that were important before are no longer needed because those jobs have gone elsewhere. We have a whole new set of skills that students need. As I've talked about before, skills such as collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking are major parts of this new skill set.

What do we need to do to make this change? Something I haven't seen in my 22 years of teaching. We need to start discussing pedagogy. Pedagogy is the art or science of  teaching. Constantly we are bombarded with assessment, or aligning the curriculum  in this atmosphere of No Child Left Untested. But  other than assessment, do we take a look at our teaching methods and how they relate to today's students learning styles?  Because of the multi-media atmosphere our students live in today they learn differently. Their brains are being rewired to a more visual and tactile way of learning. We grew up in an age of auditory learning. So are we meeting the needs of our students if we continue to teach the way we were taught? The answer is a resounding NO!!!

Think about this statement: Sometimes we don't know what we don't know. The more I think about this the more I see how relevant it is in so many situations. How can I change if I don't know I should? Do we ever talk much about the art of teaching and I'll add, learning?  It's time that whenever we talk about curriculum we need to talk about pedagogy. Teaching and learning isn't about just turning the page in your textbook. I think sometimes we are too reliant on the textbook and that is why we don't think or talk about what good pedagogy looks like. Ask your students - they'll tell you how they like to learn. I've gotten more insight into learning when I started to talk to my students. They have become the teacher at times.  

The problem is it's summer, and the students aren't around.  What should you do next?  You can start by going to http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/ . They have many resources available. Set up an iGoogle account and add Google Reader. Then find blogs like 2¢ Worth, ian jukes, Weblogg-ed,  Blue Skunk Blog, and others. Sign up on a social networking site for educators where discussion of pedagogy is common place such as http://www.classroom20.com/. This will get you started in a new world of thinking. Since summer is here, it's a great time to learn and prepare for the fall. 

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:



Be Sure to Check Out 
Our Website Store for Specials:


Service Learning

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Service learning is a method of teaching, learning and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service, frequently youth service, throughout the community. As a teaching methodology, it falls under the category of experiential education. More specifically, it integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities.

Service-learning combines experiential learning and community service opportunities.

It can be distinguished in the following ways:

Curricular connections- Integrating learning into a service project is key to successful service learning. Academic ties should be clear and build upon existing disciplinary skills.

Student voice - Beyond being actively engaged in the project itself, students have the opportunity to select, design, implement, and evaluate their service activity, encouraging relevancy and sustained interest. In community settings, this is alternatively called youth voice.

Reflection - Structured opportunities are created to think, talk, and write about the service experience. The balance of reflection and action allows a student to be constantly aware of the impact of their work.

Community partnerships - Partnerships with community agencies are used to identify genuine needs, provide mentorship, and contribute assets towards completing a project. In a successful partnership, both sides will give to and benefit from the project. In order for this partnership to be successful, clear guides must be implemented as to how often a student engages in service to a particular community agency.

Authentic community needs – Local community members or service recipients are involved in determining the significance and depth of the service activities involved.

Assessment - Well structured assessment instruments with constructive feedback through reflection provide valuable information regarding the positive 'reciprocal learning' and serving outcomes for sustainability and replication.


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com




MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Now Available!
Coming July 4, 2008:
Coming July 11, 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 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.  

In The Haunting of Sigma, Frank Holes, Jr. returns fans of the legendary Dogman to the wild world of cryptozoology in Northern Michigan .  This darker, far more sinister prequel to Holes’s first novel fully establishes his hold upon the imaginations of readers all over the Midwest .  June 1987 ushers in the hot, dry summer season, but something else far more horrifying has taken up residence in the deep wilderness in Kalkaska County .  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?
Click Here For The
Year of the Dogman Website
Click Here For The
Haunting of Sigma Website
Click Here For The
Western Odyssey Website


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:


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

Revisiting theSQ3R Reading Strategy

Many teachers have used the SQ3R reading strategy successfully for years. For new teachers, this can have a positive impact on whatever class, grade, or subject you are teaching. Reading is a vital skill in every class and every subject area, and a strategy to improve students' reading while working on specific class material is extremely beneficial.

SQ3R is an instructional strategy for improving reading comprehension. It is an acronym for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review. Each of these activities focuses on a technique integral to the reading process. The uses in the language arts seem rather obvious, but SQ3R is great for other areas too. This can be used in social studies classes when reading through a new section of the textbook. Science teachers use it to kick off new units and in new labs. Math teachers can even use it to teach students to take notes from their books. Possibilities are endless.

Like any other technique, you will want to teach this carefully to your students and discuss each part together in class. While there are many ways of interpreting and using the SQ3R strategy, in this article I'll be sharing how we use it in our classroom.

'Survey' refers to skimming the reading quickly. Students look for items that catch their eyes - titles, headlines, photos, pictures, graphs, bold-faced or italicized words. Sometimes I refer to them as 'sticky words' since the reader's eyes tend to stick to them. After the quick scan, students write down the first six items their eyes 'catch' upon. Just a word or short phrase is fine, as we want to keep this part short and sweet.

'Question' is the part where students make predictions and pose questions about what they've surveyed. We have students create and write down three questions in complete sentences based on what they surveyed.

Complete sentences requires students to think carefully about the info they skimmed, and put it into a logical organized form. Early on, students may pose rather simple questions. We do not allow easy yes/no questions, those with one word answers, or questions they already know the answers to. We even spend class time discussing what makes 'good' questions.

Once the pre-reading is finished, the 'Read' part is just that – the students now read carefully through the section, paying attention to everything on the page. It's important to find the answers to their questions. We have the students then answer their posed questions in complete sentences. Sometimes students may have posed questions that are unanswerable or not found in the reading. We do allow students to state that the answer was not found in the reading. That's ok, as long as they don't make a habit of it. If such a habit does form, simply require students to state where they could find the answer.

'Recite' refers to putting the data from the reading into a new use.  We often create short freewrites to discuss the implications of the reading, or its applications. You can also create writing topics for students to respond to.

'Review' is, again, self-explanatory, as students review the material. We have students create quiz questions based on the reading, just as if they were the teacher. However, they are not allowed to use their questions posed previously! Students can create ten multiple choice or true/false questions. Sometimes we assign creating fill-in-the banks statements, or even have students make their own essay questions or writing topics. You could even have them create crosswords or other word puzzles.

To make the SQ3R technique easy to do and grade, we've created a form that is used through our school. It is specific enough to cover all of the areas, and yet general enough to allow individual teachers to adapt and customize this strategy to their class, students, or current assignments.

You can download a free copy of our SQ3R worksheet on our website by clicking the link below: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
We've even created a FREE ONLINE version of the SQ3R worksheet you and your students can fill out online and then print. This makes it easy to create your custom worksheets for class.  The SQ3R technique is easy to use and adapt yourself, once you and your students are comfortable with its components. We've used it as a warm-up activity, as a closing activity, and as a sponge. It is also useful when you need easy-to-follow plans for a substitute. Most importantly, this is a powerful, yet simple, tool you can use in any class to improve students' reading skills.

 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


Click below to check out the NEW Amazon.com Kindle

Order your very own Kindle by clicking the link below:


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

Be sure to pass along our website and newsletter!


"The Wise Woman"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

Sometimes it's not the wealth you have but what's inside you that others need...

A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said. "I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone."



See more of our Freebies as well as Special Reports on our website by clicking the quick link below:


Make sure to BOOKMARK our website so you can keep up with more changes and additions through the year.  And feel free to share our site by EMAILING it to a friend.



Email us at editor@starteaching.com

Hit Counter

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

Reflections on Teaching Practice

Tech Corner: 
Educational Change - Are You Ready For It?

New Teacher's Niche:
Revisiting the SQ3R Reading Strategy

Themes on Life:  
"The Wise Woman'"

Service Learning

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Summer Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club


Sign up for our 

Don’t be just a Guest! Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, delivered right to your inbox! FREE tips, ideas, and articles.

Subscribe Now!

"Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions.
Albert Einstein

~Albert Einstein

StarTeaching Links: 

(Click to access our website)

StarTeaching Newsletter Articles & Archives

Submit an Article for our Newsletter

Special, Limited-Time Offers

FREE Special Reports

Technology Center

Educational Links





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

Are you using an innovative TECHNIQUE in your class?

Have you created WRITING PROMPTS that you’d 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:


Or click the following link:


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


10 Days Of


Why is it important to live a healthy lifestyle?


What are THREE benefits to living in a healthy manner? 


Brainstorm an list of 10 ways you can be more healthy on a daily basis.


Describe THREE ways you could use a foreign language in your future job.


Write a short poem that describes an important lesson we learned this week in class.


What does LITERACY mean?


Why is it important to be literate in our society?


What are FIVE ways you can become more literate? 


Describe THREE jobs that require reading on a daily basis.


 Write down THREE important words or terms (and their definitions) we've learned in class this week.


10 days of writing prompts


Are there other teachers in your district who would enjoy this FREE newsletter delivered to them bi-weekly? 

YOU could qualify for FREE offers when referring others.

Click the quick link below for more information:

Teacher Referral


is brought to you FREE 
by the support of our sponsors:

Griswold Mountain 
Brewing Company

Distinguished Products for 
Distinguished Handcrafters

Specializing in Homemade and Handcrafted products since 1996

Check out our selection of homebrew recipes, ingredients, and equipment on our website:

Mastering Basic Skills software:


Year of the Dogman

A New Novel by Frank Holes, Jr.
Now Available!
click here for more info

Are you interested in advertising with us?
Want to reach an audience of thousands each month?  The StarTeaching newsletter is sent out twice a month, and advertising is available on our website.
Click the link below for more information:
Advertise with Us!




Be sure to check out our

Applied Magic
By Michael Kett



Coming Soon:

Preparing for Student Teaching

Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum

Getting Ready for Next Year

Setting Up Your Classroom


Are You Looking For a Teaching Job?

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!

10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 What is the square root of 121?
Day 2 What is the square root of 1,600
Day 3 What is the square root of 1,521?
Day 4 What is the square root of 1,024?
Day 5 What is the square root of 900?
Day 6 What is the square root of 841?
Day 7 What is the square root of 576?
Day 8 What is the square root of 1,089?
Day 9

What is the square root of 1,156?

Day 10

What is the square root of 961?

Pick up a copy of MaryAnn Graziani's book, Fat Pigs Fly!

Click HERE for to purchase your copy today!



Summer Specials!
Books for Sale!

(Affiliated with Amazon.com)




Home | Newsletter Articles & Archives | FREE Special Reports | Special, Limited Time Offers | Submit An Article For Our Newsletter

Website design by Carrie's Creations Inc. ©2005