Happy New Year,
and welcome back
Features for Teachers, packed full of tips, techniques,
and ideas for educators of all students in all levels.
FEATURE WRITER OPENINGS:
Would you be interested in
becoming a Featured Writer for the StarTeaching website?
Would you like to be published to over 25,000 readers each
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: email@example.com
Poking Your Nose Into A Book
love reading interesting and knowledgeable books to improve their
understanding and to gather information for planning lessons. Children,
on the other hand, love books. However, what makes them read a
book is not only the content but also the pictorial representation given
in the book. There are many ways through which a teacher can make their
students read a book. Both students and teachers can even try many
innovative ways through which they can not only improve their knowledge,
but could also share that to others. One of the best ways which I have
always used for developing reading interest in myself is writing a Book
Review. I have written a few reviews and all were published. It helped
entice others toward those books while it helped me to improve my
have also used the same strategy for the students by giving them task to
accomplish: a Book Review on their favorite book.
Book Review is
basically an evaluation or discussion of a new book by a critic or
journalist. It is a form of literary criticism in which a book is
analyzed based on content, style, and merit
Book Review sounds boring for students, but it's of worth if you can
give that task as a challenge to the students in a group. It can not
only enhance their knowledge, but will also improve their writing
There are many types of reviews, such as Articles, Journals, Events,
Biographies, Literature, Books, etc. The aims of all these types are
and discuss the content of the book and provide analysis
upon the validity of the author's points
communicate the ideas to the reader's mind
It is mostly assumed that a book review is a task of a Journalist, Book
Reviewer, Writer, Educator, Teacher, Student, Book Lover, etc. But
anyone can do a book review, if s/he really wants to.
are some of the steps to follow for reviewing a book:
good national/ international book of your interest. You can select
books related to the topic of your interest. It could be a
Geography, Computers, Business, Medical, General, Story, English,
Political, Religious, Poetry, History book, etc
Name of Writer
First Published in
And Address Name of Publisher
Date of Publication
book with a similar work by a contemporary like, what is the general
significance of this book? Why should it be of interest to the
specialist or non-specialist? Let the reader know whether or not the
book is worth reading and why? Is the topic interesting, important?
Do the author's ideas change anything in your own thinking? Does the
work offer anything new--new perspectives, new insights? Why should
we read it?
The typical scholarly
review is limited to between 500 and 750 words
Select any renowned scholar book
Always look for a publisher rapport
Donít criticize the writer harshly
Do not review older books
Very long quotations from the book or other reviews
Information about the
author's life unless that is the theme of the review
Best of Luck!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join our Online Community!
Receive weekly articles right
in your email and
discuss educational issues with other teachers from around the
Check it all out and sign up
through the following quick link:
Sight Words for Success
When children know sight words,
they can read more fluently and better retain what they read.
Struggling readers often struggle learning their sight words. You
can help your child/student retain more sight words by incorporating
sign language signs along with each word.
Taylor-DiLeva is an educational trainer and owner of Kimís
Signing Solutions (www.kimssigningsolutions.com).
She conducts parent and teacher workshops throughout
and conducts sign language enrichment classes for daycares and
preschools in the
Jan Hafer and Robert Wilson
present a study in their booklet called Signing for Reading Success
(p.12) where a 14 week study took place on 10 1st grade
children who were struggling readers. The children were
purposefully chosen for this study because of their difficulty in
retaining new sight words. During regular instruction, these 10
students averaged sight word retention of 69%. However, when a
sign language sign was used in conjunction with the sight word, the
students averaged 93% retention.
On page 85 in the book Dancing
With Words by Dr. Marilyn Daniels, she shares a story from Dr.
Robert Wilson about a boy named Oscar who was in 2nd grade
and because of poor behavior was seated away from the other students.
He had no sight word vocabulary. Dr. Wilson started showing Oscar
the sign for each sight word in the lesson Ė 10 words each day.
After the first lesson with the addition of sign, Oscar remembered ALL
TEN. After the second day he remembered 19 of the 20 words, and
after the third day Oscar was seated back with the class. He was
motivated, excited, and became a teacher for the rest of the class (by
teaching them the signs).
Incorporating sign language
into your sight word instruction is very easy to do. Just look up
the ASL signs for the sight words that you want your students to learn
in an American Sign Language Dictionary (you can also use an online
dictionary that shows a video of how to do the sign.) Show your
students the sight word and the sign. Say it and sign it.
Ask the students to look at the word, and say it and sign it with you.
Repeat this a few times. Every time you are discussing,
practicing, or reading this new sight word, you and your students will
sign it when it is read. To make it easier on yourself and your
students, you may want to look into purchasing ďMy 1st 50
Sight Words in SignĒ, where frequently used sight words are on a card
alongside their sign for easy learning/recalling. You can find
them at http://www.
To make it easier, Iíve
even created two classroom posters which
will help you and your students to learn the signs and use them with
each other more often. You
can find them at: http://www.kimssigningsolutions.com/productsshop/posters.html
be overwhelmed by all of the above mentioned signs if you donít know
them. Just try one sign and then the next week add a new one. Start with
the positive and encouraging signs. Just one or two signs can start your
class on the way toward creating your ideal peaceful and positive
A Great Offer
to Our StarTeaching Readers
From Kim's Signing Solutions!
Teaching Readers Get a Special Discount on a set of
1st 50 Sight Words in Sign
12.95, You Pay ONLY 9.95.
Click below to get your set of cards at this great discount,
ONLY FOR STAR TEACHING READERS.
must use the link above to receive your discount!
endorsed by Frank Holes Jr., editor of Starteaching
By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher
articles deal with the change to 21st Century Learning.
Integrating handheld computers, formerly called
palm pilots, into the curriculum can be exciting to the students and
unsettling to the teacher, but as you will see very rewarding. I
introduced handhelds into my fifth grade classroom one and a half years
ago. It has certainly been a learning experience.
From the beginning the students
have been willing to do things on the handheld that they fight against
doing with pencil and paper. They study harder for tests, take more
notes, organize themselves more, and have the ability to learn through
ways that canít be accomplished in a classroom without them. I could
go on and on, but here is a sample of what the students say about them:
think handhelds are great! They really help you organize and
they are WAY better than just paper and pencil.
have helped me out a lot this year. With handhelds we can
study a lot easier with quizzler. Also we can stay a lot more
organized with the programs tasks and calendar. We often take
our handhelds home to use quizzler to study for our tests. We
can practice our typing with the wireless keyboards and a
typing program called Words Per Minute.
are very cool and make school very fun. They make it easy to
write assignments so you donít lose them. They make it
easier to study for tests and keep track of homework. Having
handhelds in school is a big responsibility and it teaches us
to respect expensive items. Without handhelds school would be
boring and slow. If we didnít have handhelds many of us
would lose our writing assignments. Without handhelds our
grades would be lower and we wouldnít do well in school.
have helped me in school a lot compared to a classroom without
them. Handhelds keep many kids organized knowing that their
work is always there and cannot get lost. They are faster and
a more improved way to check your work or spelling. There have
been tests showing that kids get better grades and improve
their schoolwork. When tests do come up, handhelds are a
better study program when you practice on them. They do have
gamesÖ. But, the games are also put into practice typing or
spelling programs. The handheld can also be used for
enjoyment. Such as, non-educational games or reading. A
classroom without handhelds would be at a bit of a
disadvantage. I am glad that I am in a classroom that has
have helped me work faster and easier.
have helped me this year by being able to do my work faster
and more fun. Also, I do not go through as much paper because
I can store information in my handheld. On the handheld there
is a program called quizzler. This program helps me to study
by the teachers beaming us the quiz. It has the practice quiz
on it so I can study as much as I want at home. It makes
studying a lot more fun and easier. This year would have been
extremely different without handhelds because learning
wouldn't be as exciting and tests wouldn't be as easy to study
think having handhelds is a privilege for several reasons. One
because it keeps me organized. Another reason is that if you
do an assignment on paper you could lose it, but if you do it
on a handheld it will not get lost. Another is that with memos
you can write anything at anytime. Also there is a palm reader
that you can read books on it for reading or free time.
Another reason is that there is a dictionary so you can look
up words you donít know how to spell or for their
definitions. Also there are education games and games for free
time or after a test if your teacher says. Those are some of
the reasons why I like to have handhelds.
Iíve had four years of students
using handhelds and the sampling of students above duplicates what they
said last year, also. As I said in the beginning, using handhelds in the
classroom is exciting to the students. Now how about the teacher?
One thing Iíve come to realize is that as in any technology
integration I canít begin to understand it all. The students learn it
far faster and easier than us older folk. My job is to be the coach. I
introduce the lesson, provide the tools, the parameters, and then let
the students take charge of their learning. My job is to be the coach,
available to guide at all times. This means I canít sit on the
sidelines (at my desk), but I must circulate among the students working
This is certainly a different way of teaching, and can be unsettling if
you are the type of teacher that stands up front and talks to the
students. In the end you will find it rewarding and the students will
learn and retain far more when provided the tools (handhelds) and
teaching style (self directed learning) that makes learning exciting and
rewarding to them. We may have learned the other way, but today's
students arenít us. The world is changing and we have a chance to be a
part of the change.
at it, here are a
few great BLOGS to check out:
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 33 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/
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:
Looping is a process used in education in some elementary schools.
When a class loops, this means that the class has the same teacher in
two consecutive years. For example, a teacher who teaches a third-grade
class in one year could teach the same students the following year for
the fourth grade.
One school, DeGrazia Elementary School, which offers a looping
program describes looping as helping to increase student learning for
the following reasons:
1. Research shows it gives students 4 to 6 weeks of added
instructional time. By having more time in the year, we are able to
focus on the individual needs of each student.
2. The students will develop strong peer relationships that will
result in positive dynamics with fewer behavior problems.
3. The teacher becomes familiar with each child's strengths and
weaknesses. Many young children have anxiety over change. With looping,
they know the teacher, their peers, and how the class is structured from
the first day of school.
4. By being together for 2 years, the students feel more comfortable
and will take more risks in learning new things.
Another reason this is done is if there is one less teacher for one
grade than for the grade before it. It is done to save money on hiring
an additional teacher. For instance, if there are three third grade
teachers and two fourth grade teachers, one third grade teacher may have
his or her same class again for fourth grade.
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.
Part mystery, part science fiction, Year
of the Dogman is an imaginative, compelling, and adrenaline-pumping
adventure. Author Frank Holes, Jr. takes no prisoners in creating a
diabolical creature that leaves the forest to prey on the hapless hamlet
. 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.
Western Odyssey, the first novel
in the series, is now available!
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
And Running A Medieval Fair
Frank Holes, Jr.
Running large events, such as a medieval
fair, at school is often too much for most teachers to attempt.
However, with careful planning, and some well directed help, you
can orchestrate a successful, educational, and memorable
experience for your students.
Running large events, such as a medieval fair, at school is often too
much for most teachers to attempt. However, with careful planning, and
some well directed help, you can orchestrate a successful, educational,
and memorable experience for your students. This article, second in the
series, describes how you can utilize the help of outsize sources.
Once the day is underway, your job becomes that of a facilitator.
You'll want to move about checking on your students at each group or
station. You'll also need to be available to help and support your
guests with their needs. For example, our calligraphy station ran out of
practice writing sheets, so one of the teachers had to go make copies.
Be flexible, and always remember you're setting up a grand experience
for the students. This becomes an example of servant leadership, where
you and your fellow teachers are enabling the groups to succeed so the
During the morning, we met our helpers and re-enactors and got them in
place. Students were instructed ahead of time here they would go first,
and what their rotation was. Once the day is underway, the teachers are
free to move about, monitor the students and groups, and participate
alongside the kids.
A little before lunch, one of our teachers began working with the school
cooks to coordinate lunch. Our feast is always held in our gym alongside
the activities. We try to plan a whole group activity (singing, dancing,
games, etc.) in the 10-15 minutes before lunch so our stations can clean
up and we can set up our feast tables.
Depending on our overall set up, our feast is set up either in a long
line or a traditional horseshoe shape. Set this up (in the background)
while the students are engaged in another activity. This will keep them
in the same train of thought and in the same location (it's not really
authentic to immerse the kids in the middle ages only to bring them back
to a modern day lunchroom).
You'll want a plan for your lunch line. We always make a point of
feeding our volunteers first, followed by the girls (carefully observe
the ideals of chivalry), and lastly the boys. We teachers eat once
everyone has gone through the line.
After students are finished eating, we have another short sponge
activity (dancing, singing, games, etc.) while we clean up the lunch
tables and return the foodstuffs and equipment to the kitchen. This way
again the students stay immersed in the activity while re-arrangement
and cleaning occurs in the background.
Our afternoon resumes with more medieval festivities. Finish up your
stations if necessary. This past year we had a community acting group
put on a presentation of Robin Hood, and we invited our 5th and 6th
graders to watch. This also gave the youngsters just a small teaser of
what fun they'll have when they reach seventh grade.
All in all, a large scale event can appear to be too much work, and for
an individual teacher, this may be accurate. However, for you brave
souls who want to give your students an experience they'll remember
forever, a lot of careful planning and a good team will enable you to
pull off a first-class day. When we talk to former students, they rarely
can tell us what they learned in any one of our class, but they remember
in great detail the activities they participated in during the Medieval
Fair. And those memories will be with them the rest of their lives.
Links you can use for more information:
The book of Goode Cookery: http://www.godecookery.com/
Myths and legends: http://www.mythiccrossroads.com/myth.htm
Building a castle: http://www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/3701/
Medieval jobs: http://www.castles-of-britain.com/castle32.htm
Simple medieval foods and recipes (found in the Book of Goode Cookery):
Blankmonger (also blanck-mong or blowmanger) - This is a creamy rice
dish that can take on a number of flavors depending on the recipe you
use (there are several).
Fruays -Apple/fruit fritters
Mackeroons - noodles and cheese. This is truly a precursor to modern day
macaroni and cheese, and students love to make it and eat it.
Medieval gingerbread - made with highly seasoned bread crumbs and honey
Baked pears and fruits - its been the same for hundreds (or even
thousands) of years
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
Did you find this article helpful and useful for your classes?
Interested in more information on teaching writing, or writing ideas you
can use (and adapt or change for your classes)? See our website or click
the following link to access our NEW writing page:
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
Click below to check out the NEW Amazon.com Kindle
Order your very own Kindle 2 by clicking the link below:
Are There Other Teachers in Your
School or District Who Would Love to Receive Our Newsletter?
Be sure to
pass along our website and newsletter!
Wanted To Change The World"
Author: Unknown Monk, 1100
the world is within each of us...
When I was a young man, I wanted to
change the world.
I found it was difficult to change
the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn't change the
nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an
older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the
only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I
had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and
I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the
nation and I could indeed have changed the world."
Food For Thought:
"After you've done a thing the same way for two years, look it over
carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years,
throw it away and start all over. " Alfred Edward Perlman
"All changes, even the most
longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of
ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."
"Growth is the only evidence
of life." John Henry Newman
"If nothing ever changed,
there'd be no butterflies." Author Unknown
"When we are no longer able to
change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." Victor
See more of our Freebies as well as Special
Reports on our website by clicking the quick link below:
Make sure to BOOKMARK our website so you can
keep up with more changes and additions through the year. And feel
free to share our site by EMAILING it to a friend.
Email us at email@example.com