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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 4, Issue 9

May 2008

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

Happy Mothers Day from StarTeaching!

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

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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

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

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By Munir Moosa Sewani

Students are the future leaders who, after their matriculation, need proper supervision about the field to embark upon. Field opting is quite a difficult nut for students to crack. Amateur selection without having curiosity in that field leads towards a dreary future.

The main psychological problem which most of the students face is an inappropriate knowledge about the fields to select from.  In this article, you will not only discover yourself as your own mentor to select the best Intermediate group, but will also know your capabilities and skills with the help of a FAT (Field Assessment Test).

Remember that you will have to spend two years to achieve a HSC (Higher School Certificate).  Let us first review the groups you can jump in after your matriculation.

Pre-Medical: One of the best and highly prestigious fields for all those who want to serve humanity in their future.

Biology, Chemistry, Physics are the major subjects, which will be taught to you during your Pre-Medical.

This higher certificate would lead you towards the following major fields in the future:
Bachelors in Dental Surgery (BDS)
Bachelors in Medicine, Bachelors and Surgery (MBBS)
Bachelors in Science (Bio-Technology, Nursing, Zoology, Botany, Genetic Engineering, etc.)
Doctorate in Pharmacy (D.Pharm)

Pre- EngineeringFor all those, who want to be a Computer Scientist, Pilot or an Engineer, they should select Engineering group for their bright future.

Instead of Biology, you’ll have to study Mathematics. The other subjects are same.

This course would lead you towards the following major courses
Commercial Pilot License (CPL)
Bachelors in Electronics (B.E)
Bachelors in Computer Science (BCS/BS)
Bachelors of Engineering in Tele Communication
Bachelors in Architecture, Aeronautical Engineer, Mathematics, etc.

Computer ScienceIf you love spending most of your time on a computer, not just for chatting, but also for learning new ideas about Artificial Intelligence, Robots, Web Designing, Computer Languages, etc., then your Computer Science is waiting for you.

Instead of Biology, you’ll have to study Computer. The other main subjects are same.

After pursuing your Intermediate, you could move on to either of the following:
Bachelors in Information Technology (BIT)
Bachelors in Computer Science (BCS/BS)
Bachelors in Digital Media
Commerce (I.Com)If you like to manage your home account, or are interested in stock exchange news and reviews, then enter Commerce.

If You Choose Commerce you will have to study Economics, Accountancy, Business Mathematics, Commercial Geography and Principles of Commerce during two years of time.

After pursuing your Intermediate, you could move on to either of the following: 
Bachelors in Commerce (B.Com)
Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA)
Bachelors in Public Administration (BPA)
Bachelors in Management Mathematics & Statistics
Chartered Accountant (CA)
Associate of the Chartered Certified Accountants

HumanitiesAre you artistic? Do you like criticizing things around you? Do you have skill with imagination? If yes, then you should opt for Humanities group.

You will have to select any 4 subjects out of a wide range of options, including, psychology, education, Islamic studies, history, sociology, economics, etc.

After pursuing Intermediate, you can move towards either field:
Bachelor in Mass Communication
Bachelor of Arts (General Group)
Bachelor of Library and Information Sciences
Bachelors in Journalism
Bachelors in Fashio
n Designing (BFD)
Bachelors in Education (B.Ed)
Bachelors in Hotel Management
Bachelors in Arts (could select any subjects of your interest)

Home EconomicsThis group is famous among girls in our society, who like home decoration, cooking food, sewing, etc.

You will have to study Food and Nutrition and other elective subjects.

After Intermediate, you can move towards any field as of Humanities with an inclusion of fields like food and beverages degree, hair cutting or beautician degree, etc. 

DBA (Diploma in Business Administration)

This diploma is equivalent to intermediate and offers a wide range of courses of Commerce. After this course, you can move towards any field as of Commerce. 

DAE (Diploma in Associate Engineering)

This Diploma is also famous for those, who are technically interested rather than studying course books. You can move on to any field of Engineering afterwards. 

There are many more unlimited liberal fields with unlimited opportunities for all of you after Intermediate, including: Movie Directing, Photography, Politics, Freelance Writing, E-commerce, Operators, Administrators, etc. You should concentrate on it after completion of your Higher Secondary Certification. 

Centralised Admission Policy, (CAP) form will be made available soon in all the banks. Under the CAP rules, the prospective students of first year classes at the government colleges and higher secondary schools will be required to produce his/her matriculation mark sheets for obtaining the admission booklet and placement form.

Students have to fill out their relevant information about their matriculation. They have to select five best colleges of their choices and would have to write their names in respective columns.

You can also choose any of the private colleges offering Higher School Certificate, whose admission has already been started.

If you are still confused as to what to do and where to go: just consult a Student Counselor in your area. I am presenting a FAT (Field Analysis Test), which has been designed after an extensive research conducted by me. This short-term test would readily help you greatly to know your interest so that you could select the best field without being hesitant. 

Answer the following questions: 

1. Which one of the following would best describe your interest?

Movie and Music
Surfing Net
Web Designing
Playing Games
Experimenting Things
Playing Mind Games
Making Creative Things


2. Which one is your Favorite subject?

Commercial Geography
Pakistan Studies
Home Economics
Art and Craft

3. Which Subject you hate the most in your school life.

Commercial Geography
Pakistan Studies
Home Economics
Art and Craft

4. What were your results in your Secondary school classes

Very Good


5. Select the trait that applies you the most.

Reasonable and Reliable
Responsible, Organized and Calm
Open Minded
Short Tempered

6. Whom do you inspire the most?

Athletic coach
Hair stylist
Physical therapist
Web Designer
Social worker
Movie Director
Food service manager

7.How many hours could you spend on studies?

Less than 1 hour

1-3 hours

3-6 hours

6-9 hours 

You do not need a psychologist or a counselor to evaluate your questionnaire.

Just fill out the questionnaire and give it to your siblings or your parents to vividly know your interest, which could be revealed, if most of the answers to the questions are similar in nature.

Copy down your answers separately on a sheet and evaluate the similarities.

Here is an example to evaluate your interest:

If most of the answers are related to artistic things and creativity, with open mindedness, then Humanities or Home Economic is good for you.

In the same manner, do for the rest.

Best of luck for your future endeavors to embark upon!


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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Active Learning Leads to Technology Use

By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher

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

Active learning involves having students become a part of the learning process. No longer is the teacher always the center of the learning process. It is a multi-directional learning experience where learning takes place through teacher to student, student to teacher, and student to student.

There is nothing more enjoyable within the classroom than listening to students in groups or pairs when they get involved in their own learning. "It's time that we give students some credit and empower them to become self-directed learners."

Too often we as teachers think that we are the knowledgeable ones and must know all the material before we present it. At the rate that knowledge is advancing in today's world that is very hard to do. In the same way if we want to use any technology within our curriculum we think we have to know how to use it first.

It's time that we give students some credit and empower them to become self-directed learners. Our job is to set the overall goals and then become the coach on the sidelines stepping in when needed. A coach provides the direction and vision, but lets the students move forward with that vision. It's time to allow the student to take ownership of their own learning.

The following website shows how much better a learner retains what they have learned when they become active in their own learning compared to having things told to them. Last month, we highlighted the learning pyramid located at this web site: 


I think you will find after looking at this pyramid and comparing it to what you have seen in the classroom, that though the percentages may differ, the order of retention is correct.

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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State Certification: Necessity or Delusion

by Kevin Fitton

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

This has been an idea that I have been kicking around for a while and I think that eventually it would be worthy of some master or doctoral degree research. I know at first it seems like a silly suggestion, but I ask that you hold your skepticism while I lay out this theory – ‘what is the value of testing teachers in content?’

For anyone that is a teacher, your already familiar with what I am about to speak about, the eventual requirement of shelling out hundreds of dollars to sit down to several hours of tests that ask some of the most inane questions known to mankind. Now, I will give test writers some credit, it is genuinely hard to write an exceptionally good multiple-choice test…but honestly, I wonder if they have ever taken their own tests to see how terrible the standardized tests are? When I was in college, I always heard rumblings that the MI history test had one of the lower pass rates out of the tests that were offered…once I took the test I finally understood why – it had some of the worst questions I have ever encountered! Some of the questions were so bad, I finally asked the test proctor what to do about such a bad question and the only response I got was that I could fill out a complain form for the question that would be submitted to ETS (writer of the test). I told them to just forget it because I would spend more time filling out complaints than it would just take me to work my way through the test. Ok, so that being said…the first question I would guess that someone would ask would be, “are you just bitter because you barely passed?” Well, it is hard to say because ETS will not give out the maximum score for the test, only the minimum passing score is given along with your personal score. For that particular test, the minimum score was 220 (100 test questions). I would think that a logical assumption would be that the maximum score is 300; I scored in the 270s…so it was not that bad of a score. I am convinced that the problem with people testing bad is that the test itself is horrible, not the knowledge of those taking the test (usually). Therefore, even if I believed in standardized testing, there is, strike one against it.

Another problem is with the inherent structure of the certification system and its relationship to testing. This has particularly become an issue since No Child Left Behind and the need to have ‘highly qualified’ teachers. Each state determines its own requirements for being considered ‘highly qualified’ but a good percentage of the states use certification tests as a component. In a ‘what if’ scenario…what would happen if someone who is well rounded and educated were to take all of the certification tests? Assuming things like time and fees not being an issue and that the person passed a large portion of the tests…would that mean that they are certified to teach in all those areas? Honestly, if the emphasis is being placed so tightly on testing…by following that thinking, they should be certified? Therefore, by proxy, are these tests something that should be considered so important to the process? Personally, I do not see the value of standardized tests as professional licensure…strike two.

My last issue surrounds the historical origins of testing. Standardized tests have been around for ages in one form or another; whether it is an I.Q. test, a Standford-Binet, or a Wechsler Inventory there have been all kinds of available tests but their origins have always come from research and diagnosis instead of accountability and high-stakes. Putting these kind of parameters on standardized tests perverts the reasoning behind them and in the +30 years we have been pushing standardized testing on to kids, have we seen any reasonable improvement in the education system? This is part of the idea that Alfie Kohn proposes in his books and articles in that we have been going about this all wrong. However, instead of getting the word out as to this problem, the political realm continues to push a course of action that research is showing to be useless. From studying history/politics, my own personal conclusions point to pandering to a narrow political base and deflecting attention from real issues in education (not funding programs already in place and excessive emphasis on athletics over academics). So why should this perversion continue? Strike three.

Going back to the original question, what value is there to testing teachers in content? Well, it reminds me of a story regarding one of the best history professors I have had in a class; he told me that realistically, content knowledge is vastly secondary to methodology and thinking skills. It is easy to read content before a class but it terribly difficult to think properly on short notice. With this in mind…if we are going to test something shouldn’t it be something that is much more meaningful than the memorization of facts? It is a topic that I find fascinating to examine and I hope that there are others out there that are willing to question the conventional thinking out there, because as we have seen conventional is not cutting it.


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com




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.   


Order your copy by clicking the link below.

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

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Daily Points In Class

Starting your class on the right foot each day is very important to both you and the students. There are certain expectations you will have, be they required materials (texts, folders, gym clothes), basic supplies (pencils/paper), or behaviors (on time, in seats, working on opening activities). You are going to want these expectations met every day.


We designed a simple set of 5 rules to start out every class. These are easy to remember and easy to keep track of. Several of our teachers use a variation of the 5 rules to start their classes, and you may feel free to adapt these to your class. These are the rules I use in English class:

Rule 1: Students must be in their seats when class begins. In some schools, classes begin (and are dismissed) by a bell. Some classes begin at a specific time. Still other classes are started by a particular signal from the teacher.

Rule 2: Students must have a writing instrument. Again, different teachers have different expectations, be it pencil or pen or whatever. For me, it doesn't matter as long as it s dark enough to read. I only balk at silver, gold, white, or any other light or fluorescent color (hot pink or yellow for example).

Rule 3: Students must have their folder out on their desk. Each of our classes requires students to keep important papers, notes, and other course artifacts. Some teachers allow students to keep these, and others provide a location in the room for folders.

Rule 4: Students must have all required materials for class that day. To reduce the number of times students ask me about what they need for the day's class, I will either write the materials list on the board or put it on the class announcements on our TV (see our website for the article on creating a class cable TV network).

Rule 5: Students must be working on the class warm up activity. In English class, students write out Daily Oral Language (DOL) sentences, practicing proofreading skills. On the edge of each day's entry are the numbers 1 through 5, making it easy to grade. All you have to do is circle the appropriate number.

Again, we give each student a daily grade of points (1-5). Some teachers have only four rules and one rule is worth 2 points. You can change up and set your own rules and create an easy to grade set of points to fit your own classroom.

After a few weeks of practice, the checking of daily points becomes a student job. One student from each group (the RECORDER) gets the weekly responsibility to check the students' daily points and circle the proper number. The teacher is freed up for other activities, and you only need to spot check through the room. This way I can record the daily points only once every two weeks and they are already tallied up for me.

 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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"Not 'Just A Mom'"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

With Mothers Day here, how do we see a mother's job in our lives?

A woman named Emily renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk's office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

"What I mean is," explained the recorder, "do you have a job, or are you just a...

"Of course I have a job," snapped Emily. "I'm a mother."

"We don't list 'mother' as an occupation... 'housewife' covers it," said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar." "What is your occupation?" she probed.

What made me say it, I do not know... The words simply popped out. "I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."

The clerk paused, ballpoint pen frozen in midair, and looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't), in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out). I'm working for my Masters, (the whole darned family), and already have four credits, (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants - ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby), in the child-development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt triumphant! I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another mother."

Motherhood...What a glorious career! Especially when there's a title on the door.

Does this make grandmothers "Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations" and great grandmothers "Executive Senior Research Associates"? I think so!!!

I also think it makes Aunts "Associate Research Assistants".




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

Choosing Your Right Field and Evaluating Your Interest Via A Field Analysis Test

Tech Corner: 
Active Learning Leads to Technology Use

New Teacher's Niche:
Daily Points In Class

Themes on Life:  
"Not 'Just A Mom'"

State Certification: Necessity or Delusion?

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Spring Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club


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10 Days Of


Why is it important to learn a foreign language?


What are FIVE benefits to your future to learn a foreign language now? 


Why do you suppose many colleges and universities require students to take a foreign language in high school?


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


Write down FIVE important facts you've learned this week in class.


What is a FEAR?


Why do people have irrational fears?


How can a FEAR keep you from living a full, rich, rewarding life? 


What are THREE ways you can confront your fears?


 Write a short paragraph that details what we've covered this week in class.


10 days of writing prompts


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Year of the Dogman

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Linking Teaching Evaluation and Student Learning
By Pamela Tucker 
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Coming Soon:

Preparing for Student Teaching

Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum

Getting Ready for Next Year

Setting Up Your Classroom


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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 1/3 of a pole is painted yellow
1/2 of it is painted red.
Three feet of the pole is painted brown.
What is the height of the pole?
Day 2 The painter can paint 5/6 of a room in 90 minutes.
How many minutes will it take the painter to paint the entire room?
Day 3 Two numbers are in the ratio 5: 7.
The difference between the numbers is 12.
What is the larger number?
Day 4 The recipe for pancakes says that you can make 8 pancakes that are each 10 inches in diameter.
If you want to change the recipe and make the pancakes only 2 inches in diameter.  How many small pancakes can you make?
Day 5 You save $3 on Monday. Each day after that you save twice as much as you saved the day before. If this pattern continues, how much would you save on Friday?  Make a table to solve the problem.
Day 6 Jennifer  has 3 green chips, 4 blue chips and 1 red chip in her bag. What  fractional part of the bag of chips is green?  Draw a picture to solve the problem.
Day 7 Tom is taking pictures of Gwen, Diane,  and Mike. How many different ways could the children stand in a line for the picture? Make a list to solve.
Day 8 Sam put 18 pencils in 3 equal groups. How many pencils are in each group?  Write a number sentence to solve.
Day 9

has written a number pattern that begins with 1, 3, 6, 10, 15. If she continues this pattern, what will the next four numbers be in her pattern?

Day 10

In the morning is starts to snow at a constant rate. Later, at 6:00am, a snow plow sets out to clear a straight street. The plow can remove a fixed volume of snow per unit time, in other words its speed it inversely proportional to the depth of the snow. If the plow covered twice as much distance in the first hour as the second hour, what time did it start snowing?

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