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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 5, Issue 12

June 2009

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

Happy New Year, and 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!

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


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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


Corporal Punishment
(part 3)

By: Munir Moosa Sewani

"Corporal Punishment can harm your relation with your student more than you can expect. You will get hatred in return for sure"   (Sewani, M. 2009)

"A Creative Teacher is one, who uses logic, before making any judgment."   (Sewani, M. 2009)

In the previous series of articles on Corporal Punishment, I tried to define Corporal Punishment; explained the reasons for using corporal punishment; explored its consequences and shared few real examples from the lives of the victims of Corporal Punishment.

I agree that discipline is necessary for the productive future of our students; but punishment is never the best way to maintain it. The effects and deep scars of Corporal Punishment are dangerous, as it might ruin our students' lives. A teacher must understand that the students are human, not demons. So try to be humble rather than rude. Teachers have no rights to punish students for maintaining discipline. Students consider teachers as their role models, but it takes no time for them to consider the teacher as a devil.

Corporal Punishment is a taboo which brings out nothing but insanity. It is the intentional infliction of physical pain for the purpose of punishment.

In my previous articles, I exposed out few bitter examples of Corporal Punishment. Here is one more incident:

An 11-year-old girl died after her teacher severely punished her for failing to answer a question in class. Shano was in a coma and was undergoing treatment for “ventilatory failure” in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Lok Nayak Hospital. The incident occurred at the MCD Girls Primary School in Bawana of Outer Delhi on Wednesday. A student of Class III , Shano had reportedly failed in the final examinations earlier this year. In the class, the police said, her teacher Manju reportedly asked her to translate a word into English. As she did not have an answer, Manju allegedly made her “sit like a hen” outside the class in the scorching heat. The girl started bleeding from the nose after a while and fainted. Shano’s younger sisters, who study in Class II in the same school, ran home at 1 pm, after the school got over, and informed their mother, Rihanna, about the incident.

(Retrieved, June 25, 2009 from http://www.indianexpress.com/news/punished-11yrold-student-dies-in-hospital/447841/)

I do remember one of our teachers, who insulted and punished me because I asked her to return my jumbo art book. She stole 4 books of mine and threatened me not to complain to the Principal.

Sears, Macoby, and Levin (1957) found that warm, affectionate mothers reported that their spanking was an effective method of discipline, while cold, hostile mothers indicated that spanking was ineffective.  

Here are some of the alternatives to Corporal Punishment, which you can adopt:

A teacher must take training to understand the social and emotional aspects of teaching and learning.

A teacher must set some rules in the class in the beginning of the academic years. The rules should be decided with the equal representation of the students.

A teacher must learn to control their temper.

A teacher should act like a normal being rather than a dictator.

A teacher must accept their mistakes rather punishing students.

A teacher should avoid giving over loaded homework to their students. If teachers are keen to do so, then they must try this trick on his/her own self.

A teacher must learn the psychology of their students before making any judgment.

A teacher must avoid taking family revenge from the students.

If a student does make a mistake, try to teach them what is right.

Create a child friendly environment in your classroom.

Use discipline codes which are fair and consistently enforced, emphasizing positive behaviors of students.

Use a lot of love when you discipline your students.

Lastly, the more corporal punishment a child receives, the more likely the child will demonstrate physical aggression against an individual outside of the family.

Munir Moosa Sewani is one of the most famous, prominent and creative names in the field of Education in the past 9 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 than 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 book for Secondary Classes. He has written more than 40 articles dealing with social, health, educational and cultural issues, which are internationally recognized and published in famous world wide websites, newsletters, magazines and newspapers. 

He is also a Social worker, private tutor, career counselor, musician, lyrics writer and has multi-dimensional talents. His future plan is to write dozens of informative articles and to work for education and media, in order to explore hidden creativity.

You can contact Munir Moosa Sewani at: munirmoosa@yahoo.com 



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!

Hello readers -

Dr. Manute is currently out of the country on official Department of Education business overseas.  He will resume the Reader Response section again in late August.  

Please do continue to submit your questions and queries for Dr. Manute, and he will respond to them upon his return stateside.  


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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
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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.  

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  School Features


Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Accreditation is a process by which a facility's services and operations are examined by a third-party accrediting agency to determine if applicable standards are met. Should the facility meet the accrediting agency's standards, the facility receives accredited status from the accrediting agency.

In the United States, the term is most often used with reference to schools and hospitals. Accreditation of these institutions is performed by private nonprofit membership associations known as accreditors. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversees accrediting agencies and provides guidelines as well as resources and relevant data. In contrast, in many other countries the authority to operate an educational institution is at the discretion of the central government, typically through a Ministry of Education (MOE). In these countries, the MOE may provide functions similar to those of accreditation body, depending on resources and government interests.

Accreditation in the U.S.

When discussing accreditation in the U.S., it is important that the concept of accreditation not be confused with the authority to operate. The authority to operate a school in the U.S. is granted by the each of the states individually. As the U.S. is federal republic, the authority of the U.S. Department of Education does not extend to authorizing schools to operate, to enroll students, or to award degrees. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education is not responsible for accreditation of institutions.

In the United States of America the accreditation of schools has long been established as a peer review process coordinated by accreditation commissions and the members, and predating the U.S. Department of Education by many decades. As noted the U.S. Department of Education itself, it does not accredit schools. These accreditation commissions are formed, funded, and operated by their members to create an academic community that is self-regulating.

With the advent of the U.S. Department of Education and under the terms of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, the U.S. Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit. The federal government makes no distinction between accreditation bodies, giving all equal standing.

Accreditation of Certification Bodies

Organizations which certify third parties against many official standards are themselves formally accredited by the standards bodies, hence they are sometimes known as "accredited certification bodies". The accreditation process ensures that their certification practices are acceptable i.e. they are competent to test and certify third parties, behave ethically, employ suitable quality assurance and other measures etc.

Examples include accredited test laboratories and certification specialists that are permitted to issue official certificates of compliance with physical, chemical, forensic, quality, security or other standards.

Without accreditation, anyone would be able to issue certificates and bad practices or incompetence might discredit the certification process as a whole. The flip side, of course, is that accreditation and formal processes incur additional costs.

Look for more on Accreditation in our next issue!


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



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MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Coming Soon!  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

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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!

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




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

Writing Paragraphs

by Frank Holes, Jr.
Educational Consultant

Writing paragraphs in our school's program means following a specific rubric. We teach the students to use the same format and steps. We follow the five-step writing process, focusing on brainstorming, drafting, and revision. 

Paragraph writing for us means drafting, which will be full of mistakes and correctible areas (which we can edit later on). When first introduced, students will be practicing writing paragraphs every day until they master the format we use.  Then we will shift focus from format to working closely on organization, then to content, and finally to writing conventions.

The first step is brainstorming. We require a specific number of 'triggers' for each topic. Students generally choose between making a web or a list to visually show their brainstorming. For example, our 7th graders must include eight triggers, while seniors must have at least fifteen. You and your school will decide what is appropriate. Then all triggers are ORGANIZED by order of importance, chronological order, etc. Students are asked to number the triggers 1- 8. Of course, students are always encouraged to write down more triggers (sometimes we even offer extra credit for more triggers!).  We also encourage students to freewrite as brainstorming. Students look over their prewriting and start using their organized triggers to form the ideas presented in the paragraph.

Students then create a topic sentence (T.S.). This is an introductory sentence which captures the reader's attention and gives the reader an idea of what the paragraph is about. We require students to restate the topic in the T. S. This begins to create flow (the connectedness of ideas and transitions) by using several key words in the topic.

At least three body sentences follow (we require six in the 7th grade). These will include details and examples, as well as data in the form of facts or statistics. Make sure these all support the topic sentence. The body sentences also will include a personal life experience (PLE) which connects the topic to the writer's life or to a real-life situation (7th graders must have two sentences for each PLE). We've found, in particular, that papers with a well developed PLE scored much higher on the MEAP than those without a PLE. The body sentences must connect to the topic sentences, and be sure their details flow in a logical manner.

Finally, wrap up the paragraph with a CLINCHER STATEMENT. This again restates the topic, brings closure to the paragraph, and summarizes the ideas presented. The clincher should leave the reader satisfied that he/she understands what was presented in the paragraph. It may also leave the reader wanting more, and provide a means to find more information. The clincher may also be a transition to another paragraph or subject.

Always have your students write a title for the paragraph. This is really an advanced skill, requiring students to think about what they really wrote and condense down the ideas into a short phrase that must also catch the reader's attention. It's a great skill to practice each time they write.


Q: How long is a typical paragraph required for class?
A: This is always hotly debated among teachers. We have set limits at each grade level, based on what our MEAP requires and a progression up the grades. These minimums ensure our students are forced to include examples and details to enhance the paragraph's supports. Our 5th graders must write at least 40 words in each paragraph (as always, they can always write more). In the 6th grade, 80 words are required. At 7th grade, students must write 100 words, and at 8th grade it is 125 words. There are also sentence requirements. A 5th grade paragraph must have at least 5 sentences (topic sentence, body/support sentences, and a clincher). 6th graders must have 6 sentences, while 7th and 8th graders must include at least 8 sentences

Q: How much time do we give students to write out a paragraph?
A: The paragraph structure was developed in response to the demands of the MEAP test (Michigan's high stakes test) as well as to our own school's curriculum and class needs. We wanted a structure that could be easily learned and remembered (by both students and staff). It had to be versatile enough (and adaptable) to use at any grade level or course. And it needed to allow for students to make it their own – we believe it promotes students' creativity, writing style, and voice while giving them a structure that nearly guarantees success. Thus, it had to be written in a fairly short span of time to allow for students to proof and edit. Brainstorming & organizing should take no more than five minutes (most of our students can do it in under a minute with practice!). The whole paragraph can be written in fifteen minutes or less (again with practice). We NEVER let these go home, and they're always due in class. Students cannot take their MEAP tests home to finish, remember! Time frames start out longer at first, but then we shorten the time as they become more proficient.

Q: How much do you worry about mistakes in spelling, grammar, mechanics, etc.?
A: Remember, this is drafting. We always encourage the students to be careful about what they write. However, we want them focusing on the structure and the logical flow of ideas. Corrections can be made if/when we revise and proof for a final copy.

Q: Doe the PLE have to come at the end of the paragraph?
A: Certainly not! It should be inserted where it makes the most sense in the paragraph. Think about how that story will fit in the flow of ideas in the paragraph. PLEs can even occur in the beginning of the paragraph; we call these LEADS.

Q: Can a topic sentence or clincher be more than one sentence in length?
A: We try to keep these at one sentence in our younger grades, but as students become more mature writers, it is expected that they will attempt and experiment with developing their own personal style. If a middle school student asked about this, I'd ask back, "Why do you need more than one sentence?" If there is a compelling reason, I wouldn't have a problem.

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Using Sign Language In Your Classroom - Getting Started

By: Kim Taylor-DiLeva

Kim Taylor-DiLeva is an educational trainer and owner of Kim’s Signing Solutions (www.kimssigningsolutions.com).  She conducts parent and teacher workshops throughout New York State and conducts sign language enrichment classes for daycares and preschools in the Albany , NY area.

You’ve heard of the benefits of using American Sign Language in your classroom with your hearing students and you’re interested in giving it a try, but you don’t know where to begin.  Here are 7 tips to get you started:

  1. Most importantly, enjoy the fun that comes with incorporating American Sign Language into your classroom routine. Simply begin with only one or two words that relate to your curriculum or that would benefit the entire class.  Every day/week/month try to add one or two more signs; whatever will work best for you. This does not mean you have to learn the entire language, just add more signs as you are familiar enough with the ones you have already learned.

  2. Always remember to say and sign a word together when you introduce a new sign. Once your students know a sign, you can start using it more regularly by giving them directions only using that sign, without speaking. This is a sure way to maintain a quiet classroom.  The less talking you do, the less talking your students will do.  {Plus they’ll have to pay better attention to you or they might miss a direction.)

  3. You do not need to teach ASL as a separate course. Simply incorporate signs into your current daily routine. Do not make more work for yourself by making it something extra. You only need to teach the signs for words you already say and use in the classroom.

  4. Try to stay ahead of your students with your sign knowledge.  Your students will enjoy learning new signs and will often request the sign for words you have not taught yet. I would advise you to have an American Sign Language Dictionary available for this reason. For those who work with elementary age children and younger, I suggest you read another article I wrote called “American Sign Language Dictionaries for Kids Online,” which can be seen here:  http://www.brighthub.com/education/special/articles/3230.aspx.  This article is a review of online American Sign Language dictionaries that would be appropriate for your students to search in order to learn new signs (these would be sites that do not include inappropriate signs for their age).

  5. There are also games online to help learn new signs. This is a great way for children to practice signs during their free time, either at school or in the home.  They are both educational and fun!  I have reviewed these as well in an article  called “Educational Sign Language Games to Play on the Web” that can be read here:  http://www.brighthub.com/education/special/articles/2910.aspx.  For Part 2, click here:  http://www.brighthub.com/education/special/articles/2911.aspx. 

  6. If you are interested, a course in American Sign Language may be helpful, but it is not necessary to get started.  Again, this can be done at a slower pace. Once you do know a lot of signs and would like to become more advanced, I do recommend taking a course.  You can take good ASL courses online from your own home at your preferred pace for a reasonable price at www.signingonline.com.

  7. Lastly, begin with the most important keywords.  While I do suggest learning the manual alphabet, there is no need to be overwhelmed at the start by trying to learn these 26 letters. Simply begin with a few words that will be most useful in your classroom and continue from there.

Should you need help during your sign language journey, please visit my website at www.kimssigningsolutions.com. You may find some other helpful information on the site and can find my contact information there as well (in case my site doesn’t answer your question.)  Good luck and I commend you on your efforts to help your students to succeed!

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Fully endorsed by Frank Holes Jr., editor of Starteaching



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"We'll See" 

Author Unknown

Themes on Life

Do we react or overreact to situations?

Once upon a time, there was a farmer in the central region of China. He didn't have a lot of money and, instead of a tractor, he used an old horse to plow his field.

One afternoon, while working in the field, the horse dropped dead. Everyone in the village said, "Oh, what a horrible thing to happen." The farmer said simply, "We'll see." He was so at peace and so calm, that everyone in the village got together and, admiring his attitude, gave him a new horse as a gift.

Everyone's reaction now was, "What a lucky man." And the farmer said, "We'll see."

A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in the village shook their heads and said, "What a poor fellow!"

The farmer smiled and said, "We'll see."

Eventually, the horse found his way home, and everyone again said, "What a fortunate man."

The farmer said, "We'll see."

Later in the year, the farmer's young boy went out riding on the horse and fell and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, "What a shame for the poor boy."

The farmer said, "We'll see."

Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When they saw that the farmer's son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit him.

Everyone said, "What a fortunate young man."

The farmer smiled again - and said "We'll see."

Moral of the story: There's no use in overreacting to the events and circumstances of our everyday lives. Many times what looks like a setback, may actually be a gift in disguise. And when our hearts are in the right place, all events and circumstances are gifts that we can learn valuable lessons from.

As Fra Giovanni once said:  "Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me... the gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence."

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

Corporal Punishment (part 3)

Ask Dr. Manute

Using Sign Language In Your Classroom - Getting Started

School Features: 

New Teacher's Niche:
Writing Paragraphs

Themes on Life:  
"We'll See"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Summer Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club:
Professional Learning Communities At Work


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


10 Days Of


What is 'TRASH'?


Why is so much trash created by people? 


What are 5 ways you can help reduce the amount of trash your family creates?


What are 5 ways you can help reduce the amount of trash you create?


Describe 3 things you've learned this week that will help you in later life. 


Why is TRASH bad for our environment?


Why should people recycle items that could otherwise be put into trash?


What are 5 ways you can recycle rather than increase trash?


Why is recycling important for our environment?


Describe how something you've learned this week can be used in your future job or career.   


10 days of writing prompts


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Year of the Dogman

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Professional Learning Communities At Work:
Best Practices For Enhancing Student Achievement

 by Richard Dufour



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

What is the square root 
of 121?
What is the square root 
of 1,600
What is the square root 
of 1,521?
What is the square root 
of 1,024?
What is the square root 
of 900?
What is the square root 
of 841?
What is the square root 
of 576?
What is the square root 
of 1,089?
What is the square root 
of 1,156?
What is the square root 
of 961?


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