FEATURES  FOR   TEACHERS

Visit our Website at: www.starteaching.com

Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 4, Issue 10

May 2008

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

Welcome StarTeaching's bi-monthly newsletter, 
Features for Teachers!
Over 100 Issues and still going strong!  
Great Ideas and Features for all Teachers!   

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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!  

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

We are also posting an opening for a Feature Writer to submit a regular article each month on an educational topic. 

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

  Reader Response

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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!

A look at Lesson Plan Hoop Jumping:
Dear Dr. Manute, 

I've been teaching at the secondary level for 15 years and have written and turned in weekly lesson plans each year. I have received absolutely no feedback from my building Principal. What is your opinion on the value or worth of written plans? 

Maggie, Minneapolis, MN

Dear Maggie:

This is an easy letter to address. The value or worth in lesson plans are not to please your Principal or fulfill contract requirements (this maybe a district mandate). Their value lies in being a road map or guideline to your daily instruction. It doesn't matter if you are a new teacher or one with 30 plus years, lesson plans are important and vital to effective teaching. 

Picture yourself trying to build a house with no plan or guide, where do you start, what do you do when you hit an obstacle? How do you measure whether you are proceeding in a correct and accurate manner? An effective plan guides you through the process and enables you to measure and assess as you proceed. How else will you know learning is taking place! 

Each year the dynamics of your classroom changes and effective teachers know that their plans will change also. You may also want to try new or innovative teaching strategies based on your professional development activities. 

It is a shame that your building administrator has not provided you feedback. Usually that means your plans are being collected and not looked at. That is really too bad as your plans can provide your Principal with a wealth of knowledge about your teaching style and whether or not you are following the district curriculum. That information can usually lead to productive dialog between teacher and administrator. So, regardless of your circumstances continue to write effective plans and your students will reap the benefits. Good luck and good teaching!

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:

 

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TEACHING AND COACHING: 

What I didn’t know and what I couldn’t know! 

By Dr. Mike Kanitz, coach and educator

Dr. Mike (Coach) Kanitz has been involved in athletics and education for 59 years at the high school, collegiate, and semi-professional (coaching) levels. He was recently honored with his induction into the Michigan Amateur Football Hall of Fame.  He believes strongly in the interconnection of schooling and athletics.

Coaching and teaching are the same thing in reality. To distinguish them as separate entities would be a mistake. After thirty some years in the classroom, I can honestly say that starting out as a young teacher/coach was very difficult. What I didn’t know and couldn’t know was that my Quarterback would some day be my realtor, my Guard would be my dentist, and one of my Centers would be a car dealer/owner I would buy two cars from. A star Defensive Back would make the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List and a Defensive End would become the warden of the Watergate prison.

I say ‘my’ because of the energy invested in each and all of these youngsters as students and athletes. The oilman who visits two weeks per year at his million-dollar condo near my apartment was my manager. I never should have yelled at him that much! When my children were small and the school secretary would say to me, “You just wait until your children are in high school.”

I couldn’t have known! Her kids were in high school and I couldn’t have known the burden of parenting teenagers! While I was heavy into discipline, I didn’t know discipline was a form of love or respect. As a young teacher I didn’t know that you never take anything youngsters do personally. I incorrectly thought they were stabbing me in the back when they broke “my’ rules. I wasn’t the smartest coach/teacher, but I really was dumb! 

Teaching would have been even more rewarding for me if I had understood that delaying gratification in seeing the fruits of one’s labor was part of the career choice. There is no immediate feedback for the tremendous energy put forth by a teacher. A coach gets a winning season some of the time and a teacher gets a peaceful semester some of the time. But, most of the time, the rewards come a long time after the work is applied. I didn’t understand that dynamic and that led to the pressure and frustration of trying to get it right! 
I always thought batting 300 was something special. How did I not know striking out was 700 percent of the time? How did I not know the space rocket was off course 90 percent of the time on its way to the moon? Why did I think it took off and went straight to the moon, orbiting on its way?

How come I wasn’t told that success in future life has only one statistically significant correlation. And that is involvement in co-curricular or extra curricular activities. I assumed future success was related to academics and grades! 

Did they try to tell us that teaching wouldn’t be all roses in those teacher-education classes? Was I not listening?

Late in my career I finally figured it out. Teaching was a journey, not a destination! When a person gives the self-permission to enjoy the journey, everything seems to change. The individual stops sweating the small stuff, because everything is the small stuff! Teaching is a gift you keep giving back, not something you keep for yourself. When I learned that secret, teaching became a real joy. 

I wish I wasn’t a slow-learner!

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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
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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.

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  School Features

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Zero Tolerance Policies

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

In the United States and Canada, zero tolerance policies are applied in schools and other education venues. These have proved controversial in that some of those penalized have claimed that their treatment is egregiously unfair.

A zero-tolerance policy is a policy of having very little tolerance for transgressions: any infraction of existing laws and regulations will be punished, no matter how small. The term may be used in general or with reference to a particular category of transgressions, e.g. a zero-tolerance policy towards alcohol use.

It is typically enacted by an organization (usually a school) against a particular action, or possession of something on organization-controlled property. Many schools have a zero-tolerance policy concerning drugs or weapons. For example, a student possessing or caught using drugs on school property governed by a zero-tolerance policy could immediately suffer the highest possible consequence for their actions. Many organizations avoid these policies because it binds those in authority to an action, regardless of circumstances. The policy must be written extremely explicitly or it may have negative consequences.

As of 2004 many publicized cases have sparked slight controversy with regards to (at least what some perceive as) irrationality of the policies. These cases include students being suspended or expelled for transgressions such as carrying Advil (a legal, non-prescription drug) in backpacks, keeping pocketknives (small utility knife) in cars, and carrying sharp tools outside of a "wood shop" classroom (where they are often required materials). In some jurisdictions, zero-tolerance policies have come into conflict with freedom of religion rules already in place allowing students to carry, for example, kirpans.

Most policies were enacted after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. One well documented case took place in the Ashland, Oregon School district.

Supporters of zero tolerance policies claim that such policies are required to create an appropriate environment. They also point to examples of persons in authority providing lax discipline in the past, with a resulting breakdown in order (for example, in a school environment).

Some supporters also argue that the mass publicizing of examples of unfairness serves the schools' purpose by frightening students into conformity. They point to the millions of student acts and omissions each and every school day, only a small percentage of which prove to be unfairly penalized.

The utilitarian policy assumption is that inflexibility is a deterrent because, no matter how or why the rule was broken, the fact that the rule was broken is the basis for the imposition of the penalty. This is intended as a behavior modification strategy, i.e. because those at risk know that it may operate unfairly, they may be induced to take even unreasonable steps to avoid breaking the rule. This is a standard policy in rule- and law-based systems around the world on "offenses" as minor as traffic violations to major health and safety legislation for the protection of employees, those living nearby and the environment.

Critics of zero tolerance policies frequently refer to cases where minor offenses have resulted in severe punishments (see above and , for example, Zero Tolerance Nightmares. Typical examples include the honor-roll student being expelled from school under a "no weapons" policy while in possession of nail clippers; or a distinguished longtime employee at a company who, despite an impeccable work record and compiling many honors, losing his job because he made a seemingly innocent remark to a female co-worker (e.g., "You look nice today").

However, some view zero tolerance policies as a tool to fight corruption. Under this argument, if subjective judgment is not allowed, most attempts by the authority person to encourage bribes and/or other favors in exchange for leniency are clearly visible.

Some might argue that having a set of rigid rules serves as a way to limit the powers of the person doing enforcement, ensuring equal treatment for everyone. However, the evidence is that minority children are the most likely to suffer the negative consequences of zero tolerance.

Such policies could conceivably be established to allow unchecked freedom for officers; in such cases the rules could be intentionally self-contradicting, unclear and/or otherwise impossible or implausible to obey.

 

 

Article courtesy of K12Academics.com

K12Academics.com

 

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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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 

And watch for Frank's next book, The Longquist Adventures: Western Odyssey.  A fantasy-adventure for elementary and middle school students, the novel is based on the Homer's Odyssey from Greek mythology.

See our website for more information:

http://www.longquist.com

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

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Preparing For Your Student Teaching Experience (part 1)

by Frank Holes, Jr.
Educational Consultant

This is the first in a series of articles designed for college interns getting ready for their student-teaching experience. Student teaching is the final step for most teaching programs, and having a positive experience is vital for new teachers. This series of articles will provide many ideas, tips, and suggestions for young educators to make the most of the experience.


There are many questions you'll want to pose to yourself far in advance of your student teaching experience. It is important to think carefully about them, as they will help to guide the actions and decisions you make. What kind of teacher do you want to become? Are there other teachers who have been a positive influence on you? Who have been your role models? Are there teachers you've had whose style you want to emulate? Are there teachers you know you don't want to be like? What has worked for some teachers that you want to implement in your own practice?

Who do you see yourself as? What style will you create for your own teaching? How will you balance the subject matter with the care for kids? How do you want the students to see you? How do you want your students to remember you five, ten, or twenty years later on? Will they remember you as a positive influence on them? Could you potentially change their lives?

Create a plan to become your dream. Do it now. Talk with teachers you admire and respect: those you want to model yourself after.  Discuss the techniques and ideas that work for them, and use or adapt what you feel is useful. You can also check out the FREE teacher "Who I Want To Be" inventory available on our website. It gives ideas, provides guidance, and helps to create a plan for starting out on your teaching career.

Click here for the "Who I Want To Be" plan: http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm

Meeting your mentor teacher as early as possible is very important. The two of you must form a bond, a cohesive unit in the classroom. Your co-op teacher will become the most important contact for this point in your career. They provide you not only with support, guidance, and structure, but also critique. Your co-op teacher's evaluation and recommendation is vital to your resume and to interviewing.

Planning will become very important to every aspect of your life, from school to your personal life. One huge difference is planning for class. Not anymore are you just setting up an activity or a day's lesson plan. Now you must think in terms of the long haul. It becomes a campaign where you must have an overall picture of what you'll cover with your students.

Also within this overall framework, you must have weekly and then daily plans. You'll also have to reflect daily and adjust and (re- adjust) your plans depending upon how each lesson or activity goes (or doesn't go!) The daily grind is often interrupted by school-wide activities, fire drills, and those 'teachable moments' that happen on the spur of the moment. You'll need to be flexible and able to adapt on a daily (or even hourly) basis. But that's a part of teaching!

Another concern many new teachers and student teachers have is becoming involved in extra-curricular activities. There are several ways to look at this. First, it is a good idea to become involved in extra-curriculars at your school. These are good resume' builders, and your involvement shows potential employers you are a team player and willing to go the extra mile for your school and job. Extra curriculars also set you up in a new and different relationship with those students. They are able to see you in a different role too, and many times you're able to create in-roads with students whom you might not otherwise make a connection. Of course, taking part in extra-curriculars means more time and efforts put in, especially when you're already pulled in all directions. However, it is in your best interest to find an activity you can join, even if just as an assistant.

You will also need to carefully plan your personal time while student teaching. In addition to the increased teaching and planning load, your time will be further divided by your college, which undoubtedly has course work or projects for you to accomplish. There are always hoops to jump through. If you have a family, you'll be pulled in even more directions as you find the new balance between home and work.

Our next articles will focus on the duties of student teachers, including observing, team teaching, and flying solo. We'll get you started in becoming accustomed to your class and school, and what specific steps you can take right now and this summer to prepare.

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

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 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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"The Pebbles"

Themes on Life

No matter how bleak the situation you may find yourself in, use your wit...

Many years ago in a small  village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender.

The moneylender, who was an awful, mean man, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. Since the farmer was unable to pay the debt, the moneylender proposed a deal.

He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag.

Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

  1. If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven.

  2. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven.

  3. But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.
They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer's field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then told the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.

Now, imagine that you were standing in the field.

What would you have done if you were the girl?

If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?

Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:
  1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

  2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.

  3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.
Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will help us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend to the Girl to do?

Well, here is what she did . . . .

The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."

Since the remaining pebble is black, it is reasonable to assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely favorable one for herself and her father.


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

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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.

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

Reader Response: Ask Dr. Manute:
Lesson Plan Hoop Jumping

Teaching and Coaching

School Features: 
Zero Tolerance Policies

New Teacher's Niche:
Preparing For Your Student Teaching Experience (part 1)

Themes on Life:  
"The Pebbles"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Spring Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club


 

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THIS IS

IDEA CENTRAL:

THE PLACE FOR ALL TEACHERS!

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:

editor@starteaching.com

Or click the following link:

SUBMIT AN ARTICLE

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

 

10 Days Of
Writing 
Prompts 

Day
1

What are FIVE things you plan on doing during your summer vacation?

Day
2

Describe THREE activities you can do in the summer. 

Day
3

How can you continue to learn over the summer break?

Day
4

List 10 good summer jobs and why you would be good at them.

Day
5

How can you use something that we learned in class today in later life? 

Day
6

Why do people barbecue in the summer?

Day
7

What are FIVE great foods you can barbecue?

Day
8

How does outdoor cooking make summer better?

Day
9

What are the best summer events to barbecue at?

Day
10

List 10 important things we've learned in class this semester.   

 

10 days of writing prompts

 

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Mastering Basic Skills software:

$29.99


Year of the Dogman


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

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Be sure to check out our
BOOK of the MONTH

 

Linking Teaching Evaluation and Student Learning
By Pamela Tucker 
& James H. Stronge

 

 

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

"Here lies Diophantus," the wonder behold . . . 
Through art algebraic, the stone tells how old: 
"God gave him his boyhood one-sixth of his life, 
One twelfth more as youth while whiskers grew rife; 
And then yet one-seventh ere marriage begun; 
In five years there came a bouncing new son. 
Alas, the dear child of master and sage 
After attaining half the measure of his fathers life 
chill fate took him. 
After consoling his fate by this science of numbers  
for four years, he ended his life."

Find Diophantus' age at death

Day 2 Look carefully at each line of numbers in the number pyramid. What number should replace the question mark in the middle of the bottom line? Explain why.

            8 

         2 5 2 

      1 2 4 2 1 

   1 2 1 3 1 2 1 

1 2 1 1 ? 1 1 2 1 

Day 3

Bill has $2.46 worth of coins in his pocket. The coins are of four different denominations, and he has the same number of each denomination. What are the four denominations, and how many of each does he have?

Day 4

Brenda runs the first half of a race at 5 miles per hour. Then she picks up her pace and runs the last half of the race at 10 miles per hour. What is her average speed on the course?

Day 5

Some kids are playing hide and seek in a park where there are seven trees. One of the kids is “It,” and the others are all hiding behind trees. Of course, you can’t see them, because they’re hiding. See if you can figure out the fewest possible kids hiding, using the following information:

A girl is hiding to the left of a boy. 
A boy is hiding to the left of a boy. 
Two boys are hiding to the right of a girl.

Draw a picture or diagram to solve

Day 6

Water flows into a tank at a rate of 1 gallon per second. Water leaves the tank at a rate of 1 gallon per second for each 100 gallons in the tank. The tank is initially empty. How long will it take for the tank to fill with 50 gallons of water?  Draw a picture of diagram to solve.

Day 7

I am a number. I am the product of the number of months in a year and the number of years in a century. What number am I?

Day 8

I am a month. All months have more days than I have. I can occur in winter and summer. What month am I?

Day 9 I am a unit of measurement. I am not metric. A dozen of me is a third of a yard. What am I?
Day 10

I am a unit of measurement. I am not metric. When my number is zero, there are still a lot of me. When they say that I number thirty

 

 

 

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