Our Back-To-Back, Back-To-School Issues
Packed with excellent articles on getting yourself and your
students back into school mode!
Look for August Issue 16 and
September Issue 17,
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Maximizing Your Study Time
By Roger Seip
Memory Training For Students
The daily schedule for many young students
today could rival that of several top-level executives. With
soccer practice, dance, scouts and clarinet lessons taking up much
of the evening, when do students get to focus on their studies?
Too often students get overwhelmed
with the amount of work left over at the end of the day. They look at
study time in one big sum and get distracted and exhausted before they
even begin. To solve this problem, you may not be able to adjust your
childís schedule, but they can change their study techniques. Here are
3 study techniques that will help any student maximize their study time.
They should start by separating and
segmenting their study time. Break it up into smaller bits. No matter
how brilliant you are a concentrated attention span lasts only about 20
minutes. So break your 2 or 4 hours study sessions into groups of 15 or
20 minutes. During the break, stand-up, walk around, grab a bit to eat
or something to drink and then get back to the grind for another 15 or
20 minutes. This not only helps create spaced repetition, which is
crucial for retention, but helps make study sessions less stressful and
Another tool to help in maximizing
study time is to use random practice. When reviewing lists or concepts
donít go in order. Skip around to force your brain to pull from an
entire group of information. This aids in understanding the purpose or
meaning behind a concept instead of merely its place in line. The
simplest way to implement random practice is through the use of a study
Use a Study Partner. When at all
possible, it is very beneficial to study with another student who shares
the same educational goals and motivation. A study partner can help
identify areas of weakness and ensure that topics donít get skipped.
Itís also beneficial to witness how another student takes in and
stores information. For this reason and others, it is better for the
study partner to be another student, but parent donít be afraid to
fill this position. The progress gained from working with a partner is
general is worth it.
Proper and efficient study techniques
will follow a student through all levels of education and learning.
Establishing good habits and skill sets, no matter how small or
insignificant they may seem at the time, will prove to reap massive
rewards in the long run. So while little Johnny and Suzy might need
their first day planners before the third grade, donít let it stop
them from becoming the best students they can.
author: Roger Seip is a nationally known memory trainer. His
new program, The Studentís Winning Edge - Memory Training,
teaches students how to train their memory to study more
effectively and get better grades. For more information on how
your student can have a more powerful memory visit http://www.memorytrainingforstudents.com
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are six modules designed to test the basic ability of an
individual in terms of Memory & Concentration. Needless to
say this is the most important basic skill for not just to
survive but also to thrive in this competitive environment.
Each of the six modules tests the six variants of Memory &
Concentration in an individual, namely:
of these modules runs at three different levels, from easy to
At each level, the individual's performance is depicted as
A feedback has been built into the software for all these 18
levels depending on the marks one scores during the
Each individual can assess his/her performance any time by
clicking on "history", which gives complete details
of date and time of taking the tests, marks scored each time
and even time taken to do the test. This builds the confidence
level and encourages more participation to eventually
culminate in improvement and enhancement of memory and
Essentially, this software is a SELF AWARENESS tool that
surely motivates the individual to realize one's capability
and seek or be receptive for improvement. Also, if repeatedly
done over a period of time works as Training tool to enhance
software package is specifically designed to help young
children to learn basic skills that will help them in
school. Continued follow-up will give these young
learners success as they mature.
Three versions of the software exist:
Individual Software on either CD or Online, Family
Version Software, and an Institutional Software package.
StarTeaching wholeheartedly supports
and endorses this software. It will make a difference
with your child or student.
HERE to order your own copy today:
- It Improves Learning
By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher
latest articles are focusing on 21st Century Learning and the
latest research to drive 21st Century Teaching.
I'm not the physical education
teacher. So how does this affect my classroom, and why is it
important to me as a content teacher?
The evidence shows that physical activity is good for kids. This
has been shown in peer reviewed studies by cognitive scientists,
exercise physiologists, educational psychologists, neurobiologists,
physical educators, and supported by applied research in comparing
academic achievements in schools where kids do and and do not have
physical activity. Larry Abraham, of the Department of Kinesiology at
the University of Texas at Austin states that it is just as important
for students to move around in content classes as it is for them to
count in physical education classes.
I'm sure you're still thinking, what does this have to do with me? Let's
look at what exercise does for the body. Our starting point is really
about the brain. The brain is involved in everything we do. First,
exercise increases circulation which helps individual neurons get more
oxygen and nutrients. This helps the brain to work the best which helps
when learning content material. Second, it may increase the production
of nerve growth factor, a hormone that enhances brain function.
Certainly, when the brain is at its best, learning is at its best.
The next question would be, what can I do in my classroom to affect
learning paired with exercise?
The following suggestions are taken from the book: "Brain-Based
Learning The New paradigm of Teaching" by Eric Jensen.
- Use more slow stretching and
breathing exercises to increase circulation and oxygen flow to the
- Incorporate energizers every
20 minutes or so.
- Make sure that some of your
planned activities have a built-in component of physical movement (eg.,
going outside to do a project, working on jigsaw puzzles).
- Provide manipulatives; have
students hold, mold, and manipulate clay or other objects.
- Give learners permission to
get up without permission to move around, stretch, or change
postures so that they can monitor and manage their own energy
- Facilitate hand movements
each day with clapping games, dancing, puzzles, and manipulatives.
Engage learners in cooperative activities and group work.
- Provide activities that
offer varying levels of physical and mental challenge with plenty of
feedback mechanisms for support.
- Offer novel activities,
learning locations, and choices that require moving.
Plan what and how you will do
your lessons. Use daily stretching exercises, walk and talks, dancing,
role playing, seat changing, quick energizers, and movement games. In
conclusion, Eric Jensen states: "Brain-compatible learning means
weaving math, movement, geography, social skills, role-playing, science,
and physical education together."
Think about it?
Mark Benn earned his B.S. from Western
Michigan University and his Elementary Certification from
Northern Michigan University. He is a 21 year teaching
veteran of 5th and 6th grade students at Inland Lakes Middle
School in Indian River, MI. He is currently working on
Masters of Integration of Technology from Walden University.
Prior to teaching, Mark spent 11 years as Department Manager for
Sears, Roebuck and Co. dealing with emerging technologies.
He has been married to his wife Bonnietta for 32 years with one
daughter and two sons. In the summers, Mark works for
Mackinac State Historic Parks in the as a historical
|StarTeaching Featured Writer
|Mark Benn is a leading expert in using technology
in the classroom.
You can feel free to contact him on email
or at his blogsite: http://www.furtrader.blogspot.com/
Order your own iPod Touch Today with the links below:
Depression (part 1)
Depression, or a depressed mood, may in everyday English refer to a
state of melancholia, unhappiness or sadness, or to a relatively minor
downturn in mood that may last only a few hours or days. This is quite
distinct from the medical diagnosis of clinical depression. However, if
depressed mood lasts at least two weeks, and is accompanied by other
symptoms that interfere with daily living, it may be seen as a symptom
of clinical depression, dysthymia or some other diagnosable mental
illness, or alternatively as sub-syndromal depression.
In the field of psychiatry, the word depression can also have this
meaning of low mood but more specifically refers to a mental illness
when it has reached a severity and duration to warrant a diagnosis,
whether there is an obvious situational cause or not; see Clinical
depression. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
(DSM) states that a depressed mood is often reported as being: "...
depressed, sad, hopeless, discouraged, or 'down in the dumps'." In
a clinical setting, a depressed mood can be something a patient reports
(a symptom), or something a clinician observes (a sign), or both.
A depressed mood is generally situational and reactive, and
associated with grief, loss, or a major social transition. A change of
residence, marriage, divorce, the break-up of a significant
relationship, graduation, or job loss are all examples of instances that
might trigger a depressed mood.
Adaptive Benefits of Depression:
While a depressed mood is usually seen as deleterious, it may have
adaptive benefits. The loss of a loved spouse, child, friend or
relation, a physical illness or loss of lifestyle, tends to lead to
feelings of depression. Freud noted the similarities between mourning
and depression (then called melancholia) in a now famous paper entitled,
"Mourning and Melancholia". The depressed mood is adaptive in
that it leads the person towards altering their thought patterns and
behavior or way of living or else continues until such a time as they do
so. It can be argued that depression and clinical depression is in fact
the refusal of a person to heed the call to change from within their own
mind. For example, in mourning it is essential that one must eventually
let go of the dead person and return to the world and other
Depression appears to have the effect of stopping a person in their
tracks and forcing them to turn inwards and engage in a period of self
reflection; it is a deeply introspective state. During this period,
which can last anything from days to years, the individual must find a
new way to interpret their thoughts and feelings and reassess the extent
to which their appraisal of their reality is a valid one.
Seasonal affective disorder may point to an atavistic link with
behavior in hibernation.
Look for more on depression in our next issue!
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.
Now Available! 3rd Book in the Dogman Series:
Of The Dogmen
ís legendary Dogman returns in
Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen by Frank Holes, Jr.
The third book in the series is a masterful blend of
fantasy and folklore, delving into the pre-dawn history of the
mysterious creature and then rushing forward to the present day.
The supernatural beast is seen from two fronts.
The first encounter, part of a 1700s French fur-traderís
dream, chronicles the cultural clash between the indigenous,
prehistoric civilizations and the Nagual, the half-man,
half-canine skin-walkers, a clash where only one side can survive.
We then return to the modern day as the Dogman rampages
across the fields and forests, the farms and camps of Grand
. The supernatural
beast is hunting for the remnants of its stolen, ancient treasure
that will give it immortality and unlimited power.
Can two young camp counselors put an end to the chaos
without losing their lives?
Here For The
Nagual: Dawn Of The Dogmen Website
Part mystery, part science fiction, Year
of the Dogman is an imaginative, compelling, and adrenaline-pumping
adventure. Author Frank Holes, Jr. takes no prisoners in creating a
diabolical creature that leaves the forest to prey on the hapless hamlet
. When night falls, the nocturnal beast, Dogman, scares the living
daylights out of anyone he happens upon as he searches for a timeless
treasure stolen from a Native American tribe. In the midst of the chaos, a
young teacher is forced to put two and two together no matter how high the
cost to rid the village of the treacherous man-beast who thrives on
destruction and terror.
In The Haunting of Sigma,
Frank Holes, Jr. returns fans of the legendary Dogman to the wild world
of cryptozoology in
. This darker, far more
sinister prequel to Holesís first novel fully establishes his hold
upon the imaginations of readers all over the
. June 1987 ushers in the
hot, dry summer season, but something else far more horrifying has taken
up residence in the deep wilderness in
. The Dogman, a supernatural
combination of canine and man, has returned to wreck havoc upon the
tiny, sleepy community of Sigma.
Based upon the
epic Greek tale of The Odyssey, yet set in the American Wild West, The Longquist Adventures: Western Odyssey chronicles the journey of a young boy and his guide through a perilous
world of dangerous encounters and fantastic creatures.
It is a world of gun fights at high noon, stampedes on the great
plains, stagecoach robbery, and an ultimate showdown with a ruthless,
powerful gangster aboard a turn-of-the-century paddlewheel in the San
Francisco Bay. Can the
time-traveling boy and the law-abiding Marshal restore order to the
chaos of the American West gone truly wild?
of the Dogman Website
Here For The
of Sigma Website
Here For The
The Dogman, a creature of
MythMichigan, is an excellent example of modern-day folklore to
study in your classes.
The Longquist Adventures, written for
elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and
classic stories to young children.
Look for Western Odyssey this summer!
We now have special offers on Classroom Sets of our Novel.
Click here for more information:
A CLASS SET
A Place for New Teachers, Student Teachers, and Interns
Every Day In Class
Writing every day is a must to practice this
important skill. It doesn't matter what subject area you
teach or what age group, writing is vital to learning.
For your students to be good at any skill, they must practice it on a
daily basis. This is true for any skill, and writing is an excellent
Regardless of whether your goal is to improve your students' abilities,
or to raise test scores, you need to structure and designate specific
time to practice this skill every day. As the classroom instructor, it
must be YOUR goal to have your students practice the skill daily.
Now, you don't have to spend your entire class period on writing. There
are many activities you can use that take anywhere from five to ten
minutes and will accomplish this goal of writing daily. We should
briefly describe the parts of the writing process, so we can then
develop activities to improve each step. There are many different terms
educators will use to name the parts of the writing process.
Undoubtedly you have seen several different ways to name each step.
Your school may even have a specific set of terminology you need to use.
That's fine, especially if your students are hearing the same terms
through different classes and grade levels. However you decide to
designate each step of the writing process, there are several distinct
The first is brainstorming and organizing information. This is the
'prewriting', thinking of topics and ideas about which the students will
write. The second is drafting, writing out a first copy which we know
will not be perfect but will need more work.
The third is revising, adding in more information, changing information
around, or removing information not pertinent to the topic. The fourth
step is to proofread and edit for surface errors and mistakes. The last
step is to rewrite the draft making the corrections from steps three and
four. This last step may be another draft, or it may be a finished,
published piece. Now, you may want to add more steps to these basic
five, and that's up to you. You'll get no resistance from me. The
important thing is to fully understand what you're teaching and to make
sure your students understand it!
Before we get into activities, you will want to create a special,
specific place for the students to keep their work. I choose to keep
this work in class so I know it will ALWAYS be there. No more losing it
in folders, at home, or in lockers. Each student is provided a hanging
file in a cabinet drawer (each class gets its own drawer). If you do not
have an extra file cabinet, you can pick up plastic storage crates or
boxes fairly cheaply. When I want the students to work with previous
writes, they simply need to grab one out of their file. And best of all,
the work is already in class.
Ok, so lets examine a few exercises to practice at each step. First for
brainstorming and organizing. This is one of the most important steps,
and it can be practiced in any subject area. You are going to want to
have your students practice this two to three times each week. Have your
students brainstorm in lists, in graphic organizers, in webs/maps, and
by freewriting. Give them topics and a time limit and turn them loose.
Use ideas from your text, from reading activities, and from real life
situations that involve your students. You can create games and
contests to encourage them to generate long lists.
There are many ways to draft. We've covered several in past newsletters
(see the links below for more information on each) including FREEWRITES,
JOURNAL WRITES, and PARAGRAPHS. You will probably have other forms and
styles to use too. Drafting does not have to take a long time, either.
Give your students a specific time limit and the minimums you want them
to write. Be very clear about your expectations and rules so the
students will have clear understanding of what you're looking for. Feel
free to impose minimums such as a time period, length of paper, or
number of words. Remind yourself you are working with activities
with shorter time slots. You want your students to really push
themselves, and you may have to push them at the beginning to get them
up to the speed you want!
Editing activities work well when your students already have several
pieces finished to look over. You can have students edit their own, or
peer edit by trading writings. I usually hold off for a month to collect
enough drafts so students can choose their own writing to edit. Normally
students like this step the least, and try to resist editing. So you
will want to make this a fun activity, and be sure to give it a grade.
I also try to give out extra credit so they will want to do these
activities. We practice question writing with our SQ3R reading
techniques, and we apply this to editing too. Some of the best editing
is done by students posing questions, looking for more information, or
needing clarification of ideas. This is not proofreading, remember! We
use overheads (again so they can be re-used) with guiding questions and
thoughts that will help students generate questions of the writing in
front of them.
Undoubtedly you'll have a handful of students who think their first
draft is perfect and needs no additional work. And you may even agree
that some of these students are very good writers. But don't fall into
the trap of letting them avoid editing. Even professional writers go
through many stages of editing (as of this time, I've already edited
this article four times!). Keep your kids following the writing process
- no short cuts! Allowing one or more students to cut corners will lead
to more asking, and then hard feelings among classmates ("Why
doesn't so-and-so have to edit?") None of your students will be
experts, none are perfect, even if you have seniors. There are
always things you can adjust, clarify, or add to writings. And all
of the students will benefit from good editing activities, whether they
like it or not.
Another issue you will deal with at this step is a fragile student ego.
Some students will fear having criticism of their work. And there will
also be students who fear writing criticism on their classmates' papers.
You will have to have some heart-to-heart talks with your students and
convince them (or persuade them) that they are helping their classmates
and themselves when editing. They're not there to rip on each other,
just make everyone better writers.
Having your students write on a daily basis may seem like a homework-checking
nightmare waiting to happen. You will need to create an administrative
plan to make your life simple. In our class I use the random choices
technique (discussed in length in the September issue.) A white chip
indicates we don't grade it, just file it. A blue chip is a peer check
and immediate grade. And a red chip is a collection of the papers so I
can read and score them. This keeps me from having to read and grade
every paper every day. And for paragraph drafts, we use FCAs (focal
correction areas) for grades (look for more on FCAs in an upcoming
issue!) These administrative strategies help keep my sanity while
allowing my students to practice a lot of writing on a daily basis.
Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use
immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our
writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm
Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be
plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the
following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
Be sure to check out our website for more great
information, tips, and techniques for new teachers,
student-teachers, and interns in teacher prep programs. Also be
sure to check out our Who-I-Want-To-Be teacher plan for
preparing yourself to enter the educational profession. Simply
click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
Want to check
out the articles in our Student-Teaching series? Check out our
special Student-Teaching page through the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm
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What is your greatest weakness and your
This is a
story of one 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the
fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy
was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months
of training, the master had taught him only one move.
"Sensei," the boy finally said, "Shouldn't I be
learning more moves?"
"This is the only move you know, but this is the only move
you'll ever need to know," the Sensei replied. Not quite
understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept
Several months later, the Sensei took the boy to his first
tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two
matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after
some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy
deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his
success, the boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more
experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched.
Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a
time-out. He was about to stop the match when the Sensei
intervened. "No," the Sensei insisted, "Let him
Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical
mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to
pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the
On the way home, the boy and Sensei reviewed every move in each
and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was
really on his mind. "Sensei, how did I win the tournament
with only one move?" "You won for two reasons," the
Sensei answered. "First, you've almost mastered one of the
most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known
defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left
The boy's greatest weakness had become his greatest
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