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Ideas and Features For New Teachers 
and Veterans with Class

Volume 5, Issue 10

May 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.   

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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!  

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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?  Would you like to be published to over 25,000 readers each month?

Our Newsletter is now posting openings for a SCIENCE FEATURE WRITER to write a regular column with science problem solving activities.  

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


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Best Quotes From Summer Reading

By Janice Rozich 
Middle School Teacher
Lake Ridge Middle School, Schererville, IN

Having your own students advertising books can be a great way of getting more students to read.  The American Film Institute website is also a great place to find ideas for your classroom, including the "Best Quotes" idea presented below.

AFIís recent tribute to movies in the form of developing a list of the top 100 quotes from movies got me thinking.  How many of us have lists of books for studentsí summer reading?  How many of us ask that they write book reports on what they have read?  No matter what form these reports take in terms of length or comprehensiveness, can we agree that these reports often end up being less about how much fun the book was to read than they are about answering a list of forgettable questions about the book? 

So, hereís my idea.  When your students return to school this August, instead of that book report, ask them to find a phrase or sentence from the book that encapsulates the theme of the book or a memorable character from the book.  The student has to use critical thinking in order to select just the right phrase or sentence.  I think a great way to showcase this effort is to create a poster for the book that contains the selection; along with the title and author, the student could include a graphic of some kind.  Once the poster is complete, it can be hung in the media center, in the school hallway, or your own classroom.  What a great way to advertise a book!

To get you started, can you guess the book from which these quotes were taken:

1.  "Greasers will still be greasers and Socs will still be Socs. Sometimes I think itís the ones in the middle that are really the lucky stiffs."
2.  "Have you seen this wizard? Approach with extreme caution! Do not attempt to use magic against this man!"
3.  "What does it mean that Germans despise me simply because I am a Jew?"


1.  The Outsiders, S, E, Hinton
2.  Harry Potter (Prisoner of Azkaban), J. K. Rowling
3.  The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank

For more information on the American Film Institute, quick click the link below:



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Vision and Philosophy of a Middle School

Middle Schools are fundamentally different from Junior High Schools.  This difference begins with the VISION of where a Middle School wants to be and the PHILOSOPHY under which decisions are made.  

The VISION for a school to become a Middle School is outlined by the National Middle School Association and further detailed by the Carnegie Report (see the book, Turning Points book).  

This describes the final outcome, the Ďwhole childí that successfully moves on from the Middle School to the High School.  This child demonstrates 5 characteristics: 

Order a copy of Turning Points by clicking the link below:


  • An intellectually reflective person (thinking critically)
  • A person en route to a lifetime of meaningful work (working industriously)
  • A good citizen (contributing to the community)
  • A caring and ethical individual (displaying integrity)
  • A healthy person (concerned with his/her physical & mental health)

The PHILOSOPHY for a Middle School is characterized by important qualities:

  • The staff is committed to young adults, using a variety of teaching and learning approaches to ensure success for Every Student
  • There are high expectations for students and staff that focus on Quality Work
  • There is an adult advocate for every student as well as comprehensive guidance and support services
  • The curriculum is challenging, integrative, and exploratory
  • The staff utilizes a variety of teaching approaches as well as assessments & evaluations that promote learning. 
  • There are programs & policies to foster health, wellness, and safety
  • There is a positive school climate that welcomes partnerships with family and community
  • There are flexible organizational structures and teams that promote unity and positive relationships between and among students and staff

So, how is the Vision and Philosophy displayed in the Middle School?  What will a visitor to the Middle School see and feel?

The middle school is a place of welcome to staff, parents, and students.  The physical structure will show creativity, active learning, a flair for the middle-level student.  Everyone will demonstrate respect and caring for each other, students will make good choices, and learning time will be uninterrupted.  It will be a safe and orderly environment.  Students and staff WANT to come to school every day.

The teachers will be professionals and empowered to be leaders, using data and best practices to enhance their instruction, delivery of curriculum, and moving our school vision and mission forward.  Collaboration is stressed for students to understand connections in their learning.  

Students will channel their energy into meaningful activities and events.  Parents and community members will be filling roles in the school.  The principal will be a visible leader in the building, empowering teachers and creating partnerships with the community.

Please see the next article in the series for practical steps in developing and implementing the Middle School Mission Statement. 


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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 Reader Response selection (asked for by our subscribers), we are pleased to have Dr. Manute answer questions from our readers.  

 You can  contact Dr. Manute through the form at the end of this article.  Thanks!

I'd like to wrap up the school year with a brief inspirational message to everyone:  

To all educators:

The end of the school year is upon us and I would like to congratulate all of you in the teaching profession. Undoubtedly everyone is tired and worn out after a full year of hard work. Each year it seems we are faced with additional challenges that take us away from our real mission Ė teaching kids. Hats off to those who have found a way to meet these head on without losing instructional time. For those who havenít found a way, keep trying, network your educational sources and ask others, donít try to reinvent the wheel!

The demands on teachers are greater than ever with state and national mandates, pressures from school boards, administration parents and community members, not to mention the baggage students bring to school each and every day. I salute you for making the difference in kidís lives.  Teachers have made the difference in everyone: farmers, doctors, nurses, plumbers, factory workers, lawyers to name a few. Teachers are the life blood of schools, they are the ones on the front lines every day, shaping the lives of their students. For many, teachers are the only positive influence in student lives.

So, you have earned a rest, but not for long! After a few weeks you will get the bug again and start reflecting on your year and you will start planning for the next. The cycle starts all over again.
I am sure you are all looking forward to some 'R and R' and I wish you a safe and enjoyable summer!

Happy teaching!

Dr. Manute


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Mastering Basic Skills software:


There are six modules designed to test the basic ability of an individual in terms of Memory & Concentration. Needless to say this is the most important basic skill for not just to survive but also to thrive in this competitive environment. Each of the six modules tests the six variants of Memory & Concentration in an individual, namely: 1. Picture recognition
2. Paired Associate Learning
3. Immediate Recall
4. Serial processing
5. Parallel processing
6. Recognition and Recall
Each of these modules runs at three different levels, from easy to difficult.

At each level, the individual's performance is depicted as Scores Obtained.

A feedback has been built into the software for all these 18 levels depending on the marks one scores during the test. 

Each individual can assess his/her performance any time by clicking on "history", which gives complete details of date and time of taking the tests, marks scored each time and even time taken to do the test. This builds the confidence level and encourages more participation to eventually culminate in improvement and enhancement of memory and concentration.

Essentially, this software is a SELF AWARENESS tool that surely motivates the individual to realize one's capability and seek or be receptive for improvement. Also, if repeatedly done over a period of time works as Training tool to enhance their capability.
This software package is specifically designed to help young children to learn basic skills that will help them in school.  Continued follow-up will give these young learners success as they mature.  

Three versions of the software exist: Individual Software on either CD or Online,   Family Version Software, and an Institutional Software package.

StarTeaching wholeheartedly supports and endorses this software.  It will make a difference with your child or student.

Click HERE to order your own copy today:


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  School Features

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Educational Standards

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Educational evaluation is the evaluation process of characterizing and appraising some aspect/s of an educational process.

There are two common purposes in educational evaluation which are, at times, in conflict with one another. Educational institutions usually require evaluation data to demonstrate effectiveness to funders and other stakeholders, and to provide a measure of performance for marketing purposes. Educational evaluation is also a professional activity that individual educators need to undertake if they intend to continuously review and enhance the learning they are endeavouring to facilitate.

Standards for Educational Evaluation:

The Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation published three sets of standards for educational evaluations. The Personnel Evaluation Standards was published in 1988, The Program Evaluation Standards (2nd edition) was published in 1994, and The Student Evaluations Standards was published in 2003.

Each publication presents and elaborates a set of standards for use in a variety of educational settings. The standards provide guidelines for designing, implementing, assessing and improving the identified form of evaluation. Each of the standards has been placed in one of four fundamental categories to promote evaluations that are proper, useful, feasible, and accurate.

The Personnel Evaluation Standards

The propriety standards require that evaluations be conducted legally, ethically, and with due regard for the welfare of evaluatees and clients involved in.

The utility standards are intended to guide evaluations so that they will be informative, timely, and influential.

The feasibility standards call for evaluation systems that are as easy to implement as possible, efficient in their use of time and resources, adequately funded, and viable from a number of other standpoints.

The accuracy standards require that the obtained information be technically accurate and that conclusions be linked logically to the data.

The Program Evaluation Standards

The utility standards are intended to ensure that an evaluation will serve the information needs of intended users.

The feasibility standards are intended to ensure that an evaluation will be realistic, prudent, diplomatic, and frugal.

The propriety standards are intended to ensure that an evaluation will be conducted legally, ethically, and with due regard for the welfare of those involved in the evaluation, as well as those affected by its results.

The accuracy standards are intended to ensure that an evaluation will reveal and convey technically adequate information about the features that determine worth or merit of the program being evaluated.

The Student Evaluation Standards

The Propriety standards help ensure that student evaluations are conducted lawfully, ethically, and with regard to the rights of students and other persons affected by student evaluation.

The Utility standards promote the design and implementation of informative, timely, and useful student evaluations.

The Feasibility standards help ensure that student evaluations are practical; viable; cost-effective; and culturally, socially, and politically appropriate.

The Accuracy standards help ensure that student evaluations will provide sound, accurate, and credible information about student learning and performance.




Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



Check out our selection of past articles, including more about groups and stations, from previous issues at:


Which larger shape could be made if the two sections are fitted together?

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MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

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Part mystery, part science fiction, Year of the Dogman is an imaginative, compelling, and adrenaline-pumping adventure. Author Frank Holes, Jr. takes no prisoners in creating a diabolical creature that leaves the forest to prey on the hapless hamlet of Twin Lakes in Northern Michigan . When night falls, the nocturnal beast, Dogman, scares the living daylights out of anyone he happens upon as he searches for a timeless treasure stolen from a Native American tribe. In the midst of the chaos, a young teacher is forced to put two and two together no matter how high the cost to rid the village of the treacherous man-beast who thrives on destruction and terror.  

In The Haunting of Sigma, Frank Holes, Jr. returns fans of the legendary Dogman to the wild world of cryptozoology in Northern Michigan .  This darker, far more sinister prequel to Holesís 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

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Preparing For Emergency Situations In School

by Frank Holes, Jr,
Educational Consultant

We know emergency situations can (and will at some point) happen in your class. It may be minor, such as a student becoming sick in your room, or even a practice event like a fire drill or tornado drill.  Hopefully you won't encounter a real life-threatening emergency. But you should always be prepared for such instances.

Fire drills are probably the most common situations you will encounter. The best way to handle these is to teach your students what to do in the event of a drill or an actual evacuation. Yes, you can teach this to your students. Fire drills are to be surprises only WHEN they occur, not a surprise in WHAT to do. It is good practice for your students to know exactly what the procedure to follow is.  The most important part is to be sure YOU fully understand the school's fire drill procedure and you can confidently teach it to your students.

Making sure all of your students are accounted for is your main responsibility. Thus, your attendance taking is very important. You want to make sure you have a means of carefully checking attendance when you and your students reach your destination. Have your grade book, attendance sheets, or a class roster easily accessible and always in the same location so you can grab it as you leave the room. I use the class roster file on my handheld because it's always with me. Teach your students to exit the room carefully yet quickly.  Instruct them in which direction to turn from your doorway, and what exit is to be used. Always have your kids line up and stay organized so you can take attendance easily.

And let them know why it's important to maintain composure and control, not playing or wandering around. If you are new to the building, your students will probably already know where to go! The trick will be getting them there quickly and maintaining order.

You'll want to let the students know how to react to different situations. They may find themselves in the hallway heading back from the library, in the rest room, or involved in a group activity in a far corner of your classroom.

Obviously more urgent matters will constitute true emergencies, and it is very difficult to prepare for these. Hopefully your school has a comprehensive plan to cover bomb threats, intruders, inclement weather, and other emergencies. Take time to carefully read through and understand these procedures, so when an emergency does occur, you can confidently lead your students. The students will respond to you when you give direct, confident directions.

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

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 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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Building Respect With Students 

By Dave Hare, former Middle School Teacher

It has been said that, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care".  This is also true with kids.

Kids are people too and they deserve respect as people that you would give to any adult.  When I was a student, I was expected to respect my teachers and the adults of school by my parents, but todayís kids do not have that same expectation on them.  This means that we, the teachers, must swallow our pride and show respect to the kids first in order for the kids to respect us.  This seems backwards, but there is no use fighting that battle (maybe we can discuss this in a future article!)

As soon as you show respect to the kids, they become less defensive and open to your teaching, advice, ideas, and recommendations.  Word gets around the kids of the school that you are a fair person because you care.  I believe that you can show that you care for kids when you show them that they deserve to be respected as people.  This has allowed me to be able to manage my classroom more effectively too.  

"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" The kids know that I respect them and that I expect them to respect me back.  They know that the "lines have been drawn" in terms of proper behavior in class.  

So, I have set rules based on what I believe is respectful.  This goes over much easier when the kids feel respected by me, the teacher.  I only send kids to the office when a student has crossed too many lines and I just need him/her out to maintain my own composure.  This has not happened in a few years (Knock on wood).

Respect shows that you care and when the kids know you care, they will respect and listen to you, and you will have an easier time in your classroom management no matter what level you teach.




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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"Tasting Life" 

Author unknown

Themes on Life

The difference between looking at your food and actually tasting it...

Before the young man began his studies, he wanted assurance from the Master.

"Can you teach me the goal of human life?"

"I cannot," replied the Master.

"Or at least its meaning?"

"I cannot."

"Can you indicate to me the nature of death and of life beyond the grave?"

"I cannot."

The young man walked away in scorn. The disciples were dismayed that their Master had been shown up in a poor light.

Said the Master soothingly, "Of what is it to comprehend life's nature and life's meaning if you have never tasted it? I'd rather you ate your pudding than speculated on it."

Related Quote:

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves... Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you will not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer." - Rainer Maria Rilke


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

Best Quotes From Summer Reading

The Administrator's Office:
Middle School Vision & Philosophy

Ask Dr. Manute: Inspiration for the End of the School Year

Building Respect With Students

School Features: Educational Standards

New Teacher's Niche:
Preparing For Emergency Situations in School

Themes on Life:  
"Tasting Life"

10 Days of Writing Prompts

10 Days of Math Problems

Summer Book Sale for Teachers

Book of the Month Club:
Developing Minds: A Resource Book For Teaching Thinking


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Writing Prompts
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10 Days Of


Why do schools give exams?


What are THREE ways you can study well for your exams? 


Describe the WORST exam you've ever taken..


Why are EXAMS so important to evaluating your understanding of a course?


Describe FIVE important lessons you've learned this marking period. 


What are FIVE alternative assessments a student could do rather than an end of the year exam?


Does an Exam really demonstrate what you have learned?  Why or why not?


Describe the BEST exam period you could imagine.


What are the best ways to prepare yourself for taking an exam?


Write down THREE questions based on something we learned in class this week.   

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Writing Prompts
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Year of the Dogman

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Be sure to check out our

Developing Minds:
A Resource Book for Teaching Thinking

 by Arthur L. Costa



Coming Soon:

The Writing Process for Every Classroom

Technology & Teaching: The Latest Wave

Preparing for Student Teaching

Teaching and Pedagogy


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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 Why should you never mention
the number 288 in front of anyone?

Answer: Because it is too gross
(2 x 144 - two gross)

Day 2
Which weighs more? A pound
of gold or a pound of feathers?
Answer: Both weight the same.
Day 3
How is the moon like a dollar?
Answer: They both have 4
Day 4 What is alive and has only 1 foot?

Answer: A Leg.

Day 5 When do giraffes have 8 feet?

Answer: When there's two of them.

Day 6

1.     How many eggs can you put
in an empty basket?

Answer: Only one, after that
the basket is no longer empty.

Day 7

1.      What coin doubles in value
when half is deducted?

Answer: A half dollar

Day 8

1.     IIf you can buy eight eggs for
26 cents, how many can you
buy for a cent and a quarter?

Answer: 8

Day 9 Where can you buy a ruler that
is 3 feet long?

Answer: A yard sale.

Day 10 What is the difference between
a new penny and an old quarter?

Answer: 24 cents

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





Summer Specials!
Books for Sale!

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