FEATURES  FOR   TEACHERS

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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 5, Issue 13

July 2009

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

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

Remember to bookmark this page and to visit our website for more great articles, tips, and techniques!
http://www.starteaching.com

Also, feel free to email this newsletter to a friend or colleague!  


SQ3R Sheet
Check out our NEW FREE online resources, including the SQ3R sheet for reading 
and the Paragraph Graphic Organizer for writing.  These are forms you can fill in online and print, or have your students fill them in and print them for class!

Paragraph Organizer

Would you be interested in becoming a Featured Writer for the StarTeaching website?

Our Newsletter is now posting a opening for a creative educator interested in8 designing a set of weekly science activities for students and teachers to use.  

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

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 58 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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NowAvailable! 

  

Mastering Basic Skills software:

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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
4. Serial processing
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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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  TECH/21st Century CORNER

Brain-Based Learning!
What Is It?


By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher

Since we use our brain for all learning, what is meant by brain-based learning? Brain-based education is defined in three words. The three words are Engagement (the active engagement), Strategies (of purposeful strategies), and Principles (based on principles of neuroscience). 

We as educators need to think about learning and how it works. We need to consider the nature of the brain in making decisions on our pedagogy. Eric Jensen (2008) states: "Brain-based education considers how the brain learns best. The brain does not learn on demand by a school's rigid, inflexible schedule. It has its own rhythms." This understanding of the brain is fueling movement to redesign learning worldwide. 
 
Have you ever felt so tired in the afternoon that you'd like to just take a nap? You just hit your low energy level. Our biocycles influence many things such as alertness and memory. 

Eric Jensen states in his book Brain-Based Learning, The New Paradigm of Teaching: "The essential understanding here is that the brain is not designed to work as "on or off". Its intensity and capacity vary throughout the day and night...This understanding means that it's not very well designed to be focused, locked in, and riveted on classwork for six hours a day. You can entice it to do that for a short time, but its natural rhythm is activity and rest (or, if you wish, focus and diffusion)." 
 
Let's take a look at these rhythms, and see how they might affect learning in our classrooms. 

  • Ultradian: <20 hours (90-110 minutes), high to low to high energy 
  • Circadian: 24 hours: at night, it's sleep time
  • One's peak of nighttime sleep and daytime drowsiness follows a regular 12-hour cycle. You are at your groggiest time about 12 hours after the midpoint of your previous night's sleep
  • Attentional cycle-As this 90-minute high/low biocognitive cycle alters blood flow and breathing, the brain alternates between more efficient verbal and spatial processing abilities (Khalsa, Ziegler, & Kennedy, 1986)
  • Hormones-Every two hours hormones are released into the bloodstream that can alter our mood and impact learning 

 We, as educators, can use strategies in the classroom to deal with the adverse affects of these rhythms. 

  • Movements like stretching or marching helps refocus attention
  • Encourage students to stand and stretch without looking for attention if they feel drowsy
  • Use portfolios as assessments because they reflect learning over a longer period of time
  • Block scheduling at the secondary level-with 90 minutes. It allows a teacher to provide a time for students to relax quietly for 10 minutes
  • Cross-lateral physical activity can stimulate both sides of the brain and energize thinking
  • Young learners-limit content, lectures, and cognitive activities to 5-10 minutes each 
  • Adolescents-limit content, lectures, and cognitive activities to 10 -15 minutes each
  • Adults-no more than 25 minutes
  • After each of these learning times conduct activities such as pair shares, or model building
  • Provide downtime  

Once again, it's something we educators need to think about, then make changes where we can. If you want to learn more check out Eric Jensen's books: Deeper Learning, Introduction to Brain-Compatible Learning, and Brain-Based Learning. 

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 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/ 

 

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Accreditation (part 2)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Legal Considerations

In the United States, unaccredited degrees may not be acceptable for civil service or other employment; criminal penalties sometimes apply should such a degree be presented in lieu of one from an accredited school. The use of such degrees are restricted in Oregon, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, North Dakota, Nevada and Washington where improper usage can result in misdemeanor charges punishable by fines. For instance, the state of Washington passed a bill in March 2006 "prohibiting false or misleading college degrees.". The state senate "unanimously amended and approved a bill that would make issuing or using a false degree a class C felony, a crime of fraud that could warrant five years in prison and a $10,000 fine" unless the degree were accredited or otherwise recognized. Oregon has a procedure in which unaccredited schools can apply for authorization from the state, which maintains a list of approved and exempt unaccredited schools which are permitted there. An Oregonian wishing to use an unaccredited degree not approved by the state must make it clear that the school is not accredited.

Some state laws allow authorities to shut down large illegal operations of unaccredited schools or diploma mills. In November 2005, a group of operators in Seattle was caught running several diploma mills. The group was indicted after a Secret Service investigation. In 1998, Tyndale Theological Seminary was fined $173,000 for issuing degrees as a seminary without a license.

National Accreditors

There are 52 recognized national accrediting bodies. The national accreditors include a variety of religious, professional, and vocational accreditors, and get their name from their common policy of accrediting schools nationwide or even worldwide. Requirements for accreditation vary from each national accreditor according to the specialty.

In general terms, the national accreditators may be divided into those that accredit academic programs leading to a degree, those that accredit vocational programs leading to preparation for a career, and those that offer specialized and professional accreditation as an add-on to other accreditation.

The major national accreditors for academic programs include the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) for nationally accredited distant learning institutions, and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

Accreditation bodies for institutions that focus on developing career-oriented skills include the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology(ACCSCT), Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, Council on Occupational Education.

Of the specialized and professional accreditors, the most visible is perhaps American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation. Also prominent among the specialized accreditors is the American Bar Association because its accreditation is a prerequisite to sitting for the bar exam in all of the states except California. Next would probably be the Association of American Medical Colleges for medical schools, and The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for business schools.

Religious schools may seek regional accreditation or a secular national accreditation, or they have the option of four different specialized agencies, which include Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools (AARTS), Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS), Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), and Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). These groups specialize in accrediting theological and religious schools including seminaries and graduate schools of theology, as well as "normal" universities, which teach from a religious viewpoint and may require students and/or faculty to subscribe to a Statement of Faith.

The remainder of the accrediting organizations are formed by groups of professional, vocational, or trade schools whose programs are industry/profession specific and at times can require technical oversight not provided by the broader accrediting organizations (i.e. the Commission on Opticianry Accreditation, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education).

See more about regional Accreditation and un-accredited institutions in our next issue!

 

Article courtesy of K12Academics.com

K12Academics.com

 

MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Now Available!  3rd Book in the Dogman Series:

Nagual: Dawn Of The Dogmen

Michigan ’s 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-trader’s 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 Traverse and Benzie Counties in northern Michigan .  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?

Click Here For The
Nagual: Dawn Of The Dogmen Website

Now Available!
Now Available!
Now Available!

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.   

http://www.dogman07.com

The Longquist Adventures, written for elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and classic stories to young children.  

Look for Western Odyssey this summer!

Teachers:
We now have special offers on Classroom Sets of our Novel.  Click here for more information:

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

Writing a LEAD to Open Your Writing

The LEAD is an advanced writing technique we work on extensively with our students.  It can be used for writing in any subject area.

The lead may even be an excerpt or scene from a story, book, movie, or TV show. These are good because your reader may have read or watched the scene already. This creates a connection, a bond, between the reader and the writing by sharing common ground.

The key to a lead is to provide a short story your audience can relate to the subject of your writing, or to the mood or tone you wish to establish. You may want the reader somber, compassionate, joyous, or expectant.

The lead does act as an attention getter, drawing your readers into the writing. It also connects the reader's personal experience to the writing. The quicker and more deeply you can connect to the reader, the greater the chance your writing will be read and your message will be remembered.

However, the lead is different from your topic sentence. A topic sentence introduces the subject of the writing, and sets up the structure of the paragraph. The lead, on the other hand, is independent of the content of the paragraph. It could be removed from the writing without affecting the overall message (it could be totally deleted and the paragraph would still maintain its integrity). It is used to set the mood or tone in the reader, or to elicit a response toward the overall subject.

The leads may be as short as a sentence fragment, or as long as several sentences (maybe even a paragraph) in length. Sometimes we require specific lead lengths, and other times we leave it open to the students to decide.

The lead must be extremely vivid, using specific actions and descriptive words to effectively paint a picture in the reader's mind. You cannot use enough adjectives. The lead should also leave the reader wanting more. We sometimes use fragments to leave the reader hanging. This is accomplished by an ellipsis ( ... ) after the last word of the fragment.

The lead is an advanced technique in writing, and its proper use shows a maturity in the author's style. We strongly encourage you and your students to practice story telling and narrative forms of writing.

Have students start small, using single sentences and fragments, and then working up to more complex leads. This, we've found, also impresses the scorers on those high stakes state/national tests.  You'll find your students writing becoming more rich and complex as they master this technique.

Here are a couple of leads: "The gigantic, drooling hound snarled and barked as it backed me up against the rough bark of the oak tree." (descriptive essay on fear)

"The dark, angry clouds pushed their way across the gray sky as the crisp wind bit into my skin." (survival story)

"As I ran, gasping for breath, through the midnight blackness of the eerie forest, I could hear the snapping and cracking of branches as my pursuer closed the distance ... "(scary narrative)


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

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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"Lessons From A Dandelion"
Donna Doyon

Themes on Life

Our faith is tested so many times...

I recall as a young child bringing bouquets of brilliant yellow flowers to my mother. It didn't matter that the stems felt sticky or that both my parents cursed the presence of these flowers in the lawn. I thought they were beautiful!

And there were so many of them! We spent hours picking the flowers and then popping the blossoms off with a snap of our fingers. But the supply of dandelions never ran out. My father or brothers would chop off all the heads with the lawn mower at least once a week, but that didn't stop these hardy wonders.

And for those flowers that escaped the honor of being hand-delivered to my mother or the sharp blades of the lawn mower, there was another level of existence.

The soft, round puffs of a dandelion gone to seed caused endless giggles and squeals of delight as we unwittingly spread this flower across the yard.

As I worked in my garden last week, pulling unwanted weeds out of the space that would become a haven for tomatoes, corn, peas and sunflowers, I again marveled at the flower that some call a weed. And I thought, "If only I had the staying power of a dandelion."

If only I could stretch my roots so deep and straight that something tugging on my stem couldn't separate me completely from the source that feeds me life. If only I could come back to face the world with a bright, sunshiny face after someone has run me over with a lawnmower or worse, purposely attacked me in an attempt to destroy me. If only my foliage was a nutritious source of vitamins that help others grow. If only I could spread love and encouragement as freely and fully as this flower spreads seeds of itself.

The lawns at my parents' homes are now beautiful green blankets. The only patches of color come from well-placed, well-controlled flowerbeds. Chemicals have managed to kill what human persistence couldn't.

I hope you and I can be different. I hope that we can stretch our roots deep enough that the strongest poison can't reach our souls. I hope that we can overcome the poisons of anger, fear, hate, criticism and competitiveness. I hope that we can see flowers in a world that sees weeds.
 


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

Teaching and Coaching: What I didn't Know And What I Couldn't Know!

Tech/21st Century Corner: 
Brain-Based Learning!  What Is It?

New Teacher's Niche:
Writing A LEAD To Open Your Writing

Themes on Life:  
"Lessons From A Dandelion"

School Issues:
Accreditation (part 2)

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Summer Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club:
If You Don't Feed The Teachers,
They Eat The Students


 

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"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will."

~Vince Lombardi

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

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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:

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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 is CURIOSITY?

Day
2

Why are people curious? 

Day
3

Write down 10 things you are curious about.

Day
4

Describe THREE ways you can satisfy your curiosity in an appropriate manner.

Day
5

List 5 important facts we learned this week in class.

Day
6

Are boys or girls more curious about things?  Why do you believe so?

Day
7

Why is it important to be curious about your world?

Day
8

What are THREE things you are curious about at school? 

Day
9

Describe THREE jobs that involve curiosity.

Day
10

 Pose 5 questions based on information we learned in class this week.

 

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


If You Don't Feed The Teachers, They Eat The Students
By Neila A. Connors

 

 

Coming Soon:

Preparing For the Upcoming Year

Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum

Writing Process and Programs

Classroom Management


 

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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 The Park’s swimming pool is 12 meters long and 10 meters wide.  What is the area of the the pool?
Day 2 The park’s swimming pool is 12 meters long and 10 meters wide.  What is the perimeter of the pool?
Day 3 The public beach is 5 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide.  What is the area of the beach?
Day 4 The public beach is 5 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide.  What is the perimeter of the beach?
Day 5 The museum building is 500 yards long and 400 yards wide.  What is the area of the museum?
Day 6 The museum building is 500 yards long and 400 yards wide.  What is the perimeter of the museum?
Day 7 Can you replace the ? with the right sign to equal 60?

80   ?  8  ?  9  ?  6  ?  12  =  60

Day 8 Solve the variable x in this equation:

    X + 33 = 99  

Day 9 Solve the variable X in this equation:

    10 X =80

Day 10 Solve the variable X in this equation:

   22 + 33 + X +100

 

Be sure to visit Mary Ann Graziani's website to pick up a copy of any of her THREE books for sale

www.wishingstarchildrensbooks.com

 

 

 

 

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