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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 4, Issue 20

October 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.   

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Our Newsletter is now posting openings for a SCIENCE FEATURE WRITER and an ADMINISTRATOR to write a regular column on challenges facing 21st century schools.  

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


World Disable Day

by Munir Moosa Sewani

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 for more nearly two years now. 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 40 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

The world is moving towards progress in every walk of life. But when we look towards society, it feels as if something is still missing.  Money, power, fame, etc., is the wish of every human being to attain. But we can’t deny this fact that we all are bounded with loads of social problems which are hard nuts to crack. The key element of success and self-satisfaction is missing in most societies. Social issues are matters which directly or indirectly affect many or all members of a society and are considered to be problems, controversies related to moral values, or both.  Social issues include poverty, violence, pollution, injustice, illiteracy, corruption, bribery, suppression of human rights, discrimination, and crime, child abuse, rape, abortion, etc.

Out of many social problems, I feel that the rights of the Exceptional People are always being neglected by many. The International Day of Disabled Persons will be observed on the 3rd of December every year, but it is observed with true essence of understanding in only few countries.  No one wants to hear about these people.  No body wants to give them proper love and care.  They are being rejected from most societies.  Due to the ill-behavior of the people, they are facing a lot of trouble trying to explore their talents and creativity. Now, the time has arrived when we need to re-think about our attitudes towards them.

I did my research for 7 years at Aga Khan Social Welfare Board for Exceptional People Committee.  I joined this institute and came to know about their feelings and emotions.  I later studied many books and met many children of the “Borderline Category” of different schools in Karachi .  The revealing truth was bitter.  I realized that they were totally deprived from our society, and many were considered insane, which is not true.

I guess, no one has the right to define any human in their own perception, until and unless, he/she knows himself/herself deeply and perfectly.  But it is a matter of disparity in Pakistan , that these Exceptional Children are considered as a different beings. 

Let us try to understand, who exceptional people are.

Those persons who have an IQ score which differs from the mean by two or more standard deviations are called Exceptional Persons.  The mentally retarded are declared as those persons who have scores two or more standard deviations below the mean.  On the other hand, the persons having scores two or more standard deviations above the mean are called gifted persons.  

Categories in respect of IQ are as follows:
70 above Border Line (trained and understandable)
70-50 Mild (educable)
50-35 Moderate (trainable)
35-20 Severe (minima
l skills)
20-0 Profound (custodial care)

Thus we can say that, “Exceptional children are those who lack either motor, cognitive, language, social and emotional, or self-help skill development.”

Imagine yourself sitting in Japan with the Japanese students communicating only in Japanese. How will you feel?  At that moment, you will be called a disable person who can’t speak or understand their language.  But this is considered by you as a normal reaction, because you know you are normal.  If that is the case, then how could most of us declare others as 'mental' without judging their talents and special skills, which God has bestowed them?

What disability is all about?

“Disability” means the lack of ability to perform an activity in a manner that is considered to be normal.”

“A disability is the expression of a physical or mental limitation in a social context- the gap between a person’s capabilities and the demands of the environment.”
(Pope and Tarlov, 1991 )

A person with disabilities means who, on account of injury, disease, or congenital deformity, is handicapped in undertaking any gainful profession or employment, and includes persons who are visually impaired as well.  In short, Exceptional People are those who lack in one of the areas of development.

“Disability refers to the impact of impairment upon the performances or activities commonly accepted as the basic elements of every day living. Disability can be used when an impairment, objectively defined, constitutes a hindrance to mobility, domestic routines or the occupational and might be communicational skills.”

According to the social model, “Disability is the outcome of the interaction of person and their environment and thus is neither person nor environment specific”.

Remember that physically disabled, blind/partially sighted,  hearing impaired, autism, speech impairment, learning disabled, mild, moderate, severe, profound, borderline, etc., are some of the main categories of the Exceptional People out of many others. Persons with Exceptionality are mostly unseen, unheard and uncounted persons in Pakistan . They are the most marginalized group. Persons with special needs face overwhelming barriers in education, skills development and daily life.

The United Nations estimates that some 600 million people worldwide have a disability and that the vast majority of Exceptional People live in low and middle income countries. The proportion of Exceptional People in Pakistan as per census 1998 is 2.49 percent of total population, which is quite diverse from the estimates of World Bank, UN and WHO.

These children have equal right to freedom of expression, quality education and have access to a safe and healthy environment; in accordance with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973; to have full rights and obligations as citizens as confirmed in; the UN Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, on Education for All (1990), UN Standard Rules on Equalization of Opportunities of Persons with Exceptionality (1993), Salamnca Statement and Framework for Actions (1994), Dakar Framework for Action (2000), UN Millennium Development Goals (2001) and the National Policy for Persons With Disabilities (2002) guarantee the rights of all children, both with and without disabilities, to obtain quality education adapted to their individuals needs, abilities and aspirations and full equal participation in all other aspects of life such as participating in decisions and casting votes, etc.

The issue of Exceptionality is gaining more and more importance all over the world as well as in Pakistan . Due the movement for a rights based society initiated by many national organizations, World Bank and other donor agencies have included this issue in their mandates. Governments haves framed various policies including the reservation of jobs, concession facilities in traveling, special training institutions etc.  But the question is, if these mandates were made, when it will be implemented, and who will implement it?

An infrastructure for Inclusive Education and Training was established in Pakistan in the 1980s which far exceeds that of most of the developing countries. However, despite these efforts, the sad fact is that most people with disabilities and their families remain completely un-served by government – and even NGO resources. There is dire need of more accurate data and research on causes, prevention, and curative efforts to understand the social and economic realities and possibilities with regards to disability.

The major barrier to employment and other socio economic benefits for persons with Exceptionality in our society continues to be attitudinal barriers; stereotypical thinking and assumptions about what people with disabilities can and can't do. The truth is that the range of abilities of persons within any Exceptional group is enormous. We need to get rid of our stereotypical images and view each "individual" as just that, "an individual".

Only limited categories of disabilities (physical disabilities such as amputations, foot and leg deformities, visual and hearing impairments) have been surveyed nationwide and most of the data has not been categorized by gender. Therefore, quantitative, nationwide, disaggregated data, by gender and age, is required for comprehensive policymaking and an assessment of progress.  In Pakistan , there is only the ministry, responsible for social welfare and special education, which touches upon persons with Exceptional issues. Moreover, many Pakistani’s believe that persons with Exceptionality are a social burden and a curse on their families. These beliefs lead to the misunderstanding of disability. They prevent people from obtaining appropriate information and being educated. Employment opportunities for them are very limited and so they are a financial burden for their families.

Like us, Exceptional people are also bounded with some common problems, which they face in their day to day life.

Some of the problems of exceptional people are

·        Hyperactivity;

·        Distractibility;

·        Impulsivity;

·        Anxiety withdrawal;

·        Fear and Phobias;

·        Eating disorders;

·        Movement problems;

·        Depression;

·        Suicidal Behavior;

·        Difficult Temperament;

·        Conduct Disorder;

·        Aggression;

·        Obsessions and Compulsions;

·        Reluctant Speech;

·        Elimination Disorder;

·        Unresponsiveness to Suicidal Stimuli;

·        Self Injury, etc.

Persons with disabilities face multiple social, economic, physical and political problems, which hampers their freedom of movement in society. These barriers include stigmatization and a misunderstanding of the abilities and aspirations of persons with disabilities. There is also a pronounced lack of informational data, rules and regulations, rehabilitation centers, and main streaming and specialized services for persons with Exceptionalities.

The major community problem for which I have contributed my efforts is for “THE RIGHTS OF SPECIAL PEOPLE.” I have worked as a teacher/counselor/trainer of Exceptional People for 7 years. Since my childhood, I had an intention to dedicate my life to social work for the Exceptional people, because I had a natural bond of attachment with them.

I dealt with all types of students in the Profound, Severe, Moderate and Mild categories. But I especially worked with “Borderline” students, those who want their rights; those who are facing major problem in every society and in every community; those who want their creativity to explore in front of others; those who await love from others and want other to accept them as  Normal Beings.

I believe that every individual can make a difference.  I thank God that these lovely students trusted me, gave me the bond of relationship, and accepted me whole-heartedly during my first year of Volunteer Service. They shared all of their problems with me and I thank God for giving me the special power for being accepted by them.  I have heard their voices, their shivered pleadings, their wishes, their expectations.  But still, they need everyone in society to hear them, to care for them, and to love them. While working for their RIGHTS, I also faced many difficulties in our society.

I can’t do everything alone, but at least, I have brought a little change in their lives, which is a big reward for me. The problems, which need to be resolved wholly, could only be possible if societies will join their hands together


Media should take an initiative to discuss their issues to create awareness among the masses

Inclusive education should be made compulsory in every school as the part of their curriculum.

Awareness campaign for students, parents, & teachers should be raised in every community.

Job opportunities must be provided to disabled people

Their needs should be addressed.

Awareness should be made through telecasting movies and drama on their issues.

They should not be called 'special.'

Competition should be raised in every community for younger students to make them aware about their rights.

They must get rights to study in normal schools with special needs.

Government should setup new curriculum for them.

Psychological testing should be made compulsory to identify their needs and areas of development.

They must get work place opportunity, which is lacking in Pakistan . They must get jobs in government institutions also.


Every one can contribute in the society:
· By participating in International competitions to raise awareness.
· By participating in awareness campaigns.
· By developing new curriculum for them on national policy level
· By providing them educational facilities and social justice.
· By raising funds for them and by finding more work place opportunities for them.
· By truly implementing the human right laws, made by UN.
· By motivating them more enthusiastically.



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!

I recently received a question regarding student time on task:

Dear Dr. Manute, 

"I teach in a Middle School, grades 7 and 8.  I’ve been teaching over 10 years and  I believe I have effective management in my room, the students seem well behaved and respectful.  My teaching has been effective in the past, but recently  I am having difficulty keeping students’ attention and keeping them on task.  Do you have any suggestions?" 

Nichole, Portland, Oregon

Dear Nichole -

This is not an unusual request, students especially in the middle grades can be a challenge in terms of keeping them focused and on task.  You say your teaching has been effective and your management plan is in place and working.  Being that you are a veteran teacher who has been successful probably you could begin by examining your teaching methods. What techniques are you using to make your lessons interesting and relevant.  Motivation is very important especially in Middle School.  These students are generally full of energy and excited and keeping them on task is like herding cats.  The skillful teacher uses all of her resources and creative ideas to accomplish this.  Something you may try is plan 4 to 5 different activities within your class period.  Break up the period, I once observed a Social Studies teacher begin with a quick lecture/note taking activity followed by a discussion then a mapping exercise.  She finished her lesson with students working cooperatively on a group project.  The students seemed to be able to keep their focus for the entire period as each activity was relevant and interesting.  Challenging students is also important, have you ever tried to begin with a question to the class?   This can be an excellent opener.  Don’t provide the answer, have the students figure it out. Providing hints is a way to keep it going.  Often times the dialog is interesting and provocative. 

Relevance is also important, do the students see some value in what they are learning or does it have no meaning to their daily lives.  Research indicates that learning is increased when it is relevant.  Isn’t that really the case in our own lives, when something is important to us we much more interested.

I’ve provided a couple of suggestions for you to try, I hope you continue to have success in your teaching, let me know how it turns out. 


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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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  School Features

Inclusive Classrooms (part 1)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Inclusive classrooms settings are become prevalent in schools all over the US.  This series of articles will introduce teachers and educators to the concept of inclusion and how it can be implemented in classrooms . 

An inclusive education refers to schools, centers of learning and educational systems that are open to all children, and that ensure that all children learn and participate. For this to happen, teachers, schools and systems may need to change so that they can better accommodate the diversity of needs that pupils have and that they are included in all aspects of school-life. It also means identifying any barriers within and around the school that hinder learning and participation, and reducing or removing these barriers. Inclusion in education is a process of enabling all children, including previously excluded groups, to learn and participate effectively within mainstream school systems. Placing excluded children within a mainstream setting does not of itself achieve inclusion. Inclusive education must be underpinned by key principles and practices:

Every child has an inherent right to education on basis of equality of opportunity

No child is excluded from, or discriminated within education on grounds of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, disability, birth, poverty or other status

All children can learn and benefit from education

Schools adapt to the needs of children, rather than children adapting to the needs of the school

Children's views are listened to and taken seriously

Individual differences between children are a source of richness and diversity, and not a problem

The diversity of needs and pace of development of children are addressed through a wide and flexible range of responses

The practice of developing inclusive schools involves:

Understanding inclusion as a continuing process, not a one-time event

Strengthening and sustaining the participation of children, teachers, parents and community members in the work of the school

Restructuring the cultures, policies and practices in schools to respond to the diversity of pupils within their locality. Inclusive settings focus on identifying and then reducing the barriers to learning and participation, rather than on what is 'special' about the individual child or group of children, and targeting services to address the 'problem'

Providing an accessible curriculum, appropriate training programs for teachers, and for all students, the provision of fully accessible information, environments and support

Identifying and providing support for staff as well as students


The next issue will focus on benefits and criticism of the inclusive classroom.  


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



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MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

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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!

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

Creating an In-Class Cable TV Network

by Frank Holes, Jr.
Educational Consultant

Ever wonder if you and your students could create your own TV news show? Would you like to have announcements and school/class information available to students all class long? Would you like to avoid those students who were absent constantly asking you, "What did we do in class yesterday?" It isn't only possible to do, but with a few pieces of equipment, it's easy to set up and run.

You, of course will need several pieces of hardware, including a TV or (digital projector) and a computer. You will also need the proper cables to connect the two. We've discovered that sometimes the resolution on some computers needs to be adjusted or changed, so check your monitors setting. You might even need a scan-converter if all else fails. Such a TV network can also be simply set up on a computer monitor which is turned to face the students.

Your computer will also need PowerPoint (or an equivalent presentation software). We've used such programs effectively on Macs, as well as Linux and Windows machines, and they all work well for this application.

PowerPoint has the feature of progressing through information or slides by either clicking your mouse, or by setting up timings between every action. Thus, you can have each word, line, paragraph, or even graphic animated automatically. You can change up the settings for different bits of info you have. Check the top menu for 'slide show', and follow down the menu to 'custom animation' (or look for a similar command). Once there, you can select each element to animate, the type of transition to occur, any sound you want associated with it, and also the timing (automatic, not on a mouse click). You will want to practice a few times until your timing is good, and there are enough seconds to see or read each element before the next animation or transition. Even your slides can be changed automatically. Go to the 'slide show' menu and select 'slide transition' or 'set up show'. From there, you can choose the type of transition, and even its speed of animation.

You may wish to check your computer's settings so the machine doesn't go to sleep on you, or change to a screen saver. That would definitely defeat your purpose!

Now that you know how to set up a show, you have to decide what material or information to put out on display. I put up basic information such as the lunch menu, school or class announcements, and homework assignments. I will also post a class schedule and switch times if the daily schedule is altered. For the students who were absent, we also display class notes from previous classes. Now there is no excuse for students missing assignments or class information!  And this saves you from having to deal with every returning student asking what was missed and where to find it.

If you are brave and want to create a great class project, have your students run your daily announcements. You could partner them up and have your first class of the day create the announcements. Another project is to have your students create storyboards, where a short story is broken up among a number of slides, each slide including pictures, clip art, or graphics to illustrate the story. You can find many good images online or in the clip art of your program. If you have access to a digital camera, you can even have students take their own pictures and insert them.

Yet another project we've done is to create a PowerPoint to summarize one class or a week's worth of class info. This becomes an animated newsletter or magazine. Again, assign a student to take photos on a digital camera during the class and combine these with articles on the various activities you've done. You might want to include students' work as examples.

There are also advanced techniques you can experiment with as you get better with the program. Sound can be added, such as background music, songs, or voice recordings. There are also ways to include video.  Become an expert with the basics, and you'll be ready for these advanced techniques.

Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To-Be plan. Simply click the following link:

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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

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"Big Difference" 

Author Unknown

Themes on Life

If you're in a position of authority, will you be a 'boss' or a 'leader'?

The Boss drives his men, 
The Leader inspires them..

The Boss depends on authority, 
The Leader depends on goodwill..

The Boss evokes fear, 
The Leader radiates love..

The Boss says "I", 
The Leader says "We"..

The Boss shows who is wrong, 
The Leader shows what is wrong..

The Boss knows how it is done, 
The Leader knows how to do it..

The Boss demands respect, 
The Leader commands respect.


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

World Disable Day

Ask Dr. Manute: Time on Task

School Features: 
Inclusive Classrooms (part 1)

New Teacher's Niche:
Creating an In-Class Cable TV Network

Themes on Life:  
"Big Difference"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Autumn Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club


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10 Days Of


Why do we have a holiday for giving thanks?


Describe FIVE things you are thankful for in your life. 


Why is it important to take time to give thanks?


How can you show others that you are thankful for them?


Describe THREE things you learned really well this week. 


How can you show your parents you are thankful for their help?


How can you show your teachers you are thankful for their guidance?


Describe THREE ways you can show your friends you are thankful for their friendship.


What freedoms do we enjoy that you are thankful for?


 List FIVE real-life jobs that can use something we learned in class this week.   


10 days of writing prompts


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Be sure to check out our

Getting To Yes,
Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

 by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton



Coming Soon:

The Writing Process for Every Classroom

Technology & Teaching: The Latest Wave

Getting Ready for This Year

Setting Up Your Classroom


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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 Which one of the numbers does not belong in the following series?

1 - 2 - 5 - 10 - 13 - 26 - 29 – 48

Day 2

Patsy likes 25 but not 24; she likes 400 but not 300; she likes 144 but not 145. Which number does she like?

Day 3

The fourth grade students at Logan Elementary School are bringing bags of candy to school for a fundraiser. There are 19 pieces of candy in each bag and each bag costs $1.50.  How many pieces of candy are in 176 bags and how money will be collected if they sell all 176 bags of candy?

Day 4 Five students worked a total of 13.5 hours selling tickets to the a play. What was the average amount of time (in hours and minutes) worked by each student?
Day 5

1.     Each month the average person in the United States eats about 30 ounces of candy. About how many ounces of candy does the average American eat in four years?

Day 6

1.     What is the missing number in the sequence shown below?

1 - 8 - 27 - ? - 125 – 216

Day 7

1.      IOn average how often does the minute hand pass the hour hand on an ordinary clock

Day 8

1.     IIf Lori is older than Sharon , Sharon is older than Brian. Brian is younger than Lori and Suzy is older than Lori .

List the people from oldest to youngest
Day 9

Place the digits 9,4, 7, 6, 5, 1, in the boxes in order to get the largest result.

     [ ][ ] x [ ][ ] + [ ] x [ ] =  ?

Day 10 In how many different ways can the cars of a three car train be arranged?

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