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Off-Task Student Using American Sign Language Signs
by Kim Taylor-DiLeva
Taylor-DiLeva is an educational trainer and owner of Kim’s
Signing Solutions (www.kimssigningsolutions.com).
She conducts parent and teacher workshops throughout
and conducts sign language enrichment classes for daycares and
preschools in the
It is frustrating when your students
are off-task and not doing what you expect them to be doing. They could
be talking with a classmate, fooling around, or just not paying
attention. No matter what they are doing, the frustration comes from the
fact that they are not listening while you are teaching and you struggle
to get them back on task. You
say the student’s name aloud to try to get their attention, but
probably repeat their name with little or no response. You are bothered
with having to call their name and if the child is not embarrassed, they
will be happy to have the attention on him/her, even if it is negative.
In addition, your other students will now become distracted as well and
will be trying to figure out what their classmate did in order to have
their name called to begin with.
Fortunately, you do have other
alternatives to get your students to focus when they are off-task. By
using American Sign Language signs, you can re-direct the student who is
off-task while still keeping your other students focused on what they
are supposed to be doing. For example, you can repeat the signs for
“pay attention” or “look at me” to the off-task student without
distracting your other students. It is much less disruptive to your
classroom than interrupting your lesson by calling attention to one
child. By using signs, you can continue teaching but make a sign
directed at the student who is off-task. The student will be less
embarrassed because they are not having attention drawn to them and they
can understand visually what they are supposed to be doing. For a
student who is talking you can sign “quiet,” or for a student who is
fooling around you can sign “stop.”
By only using signs, you can instruct the student to
pay attention without having to yell. Rather than focusing on the
negative, this method serves as a positive reminder for the student to
focus on what they should be doing.
With less interruptions, you will be less frustrated without
having to nag your students as often and your students who are on-task
won’t be disrupted either.
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endorsed by Frank Holes Jr., editor of Starteaching
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Using Photography To Inspire
By Hank Kellner
What You See
A veteran of the Korean War, Hank Kellner is a retired educator
who has served as an English Department chairperson at the high
school level and an adjunct Associate Professor of English at
the community college level.
For several years he published "Kellner's
Moneygram", a newsletter for photographers. He also
owned and operated Simmer Pot Press, a small press specializing
in cookbooks, for several years.
Kellner is the creator of many photographs and articles that
appeared in publications nationwide; the author of extensive
reading comprehension materials for a publisher of educational
materials, and a former contributing editor to Darkroom
Photography magazine. His current publication is Write
What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing (Cottonwood
Press, due out January, 2009)
Born in New York City, Kellner now lives in Winston-Salem,
North Carolina. Visit his blog at hank-englisheducation.blogspot.com.
and pictures can work together to communicate more powerfully
than either alone.”
~William Albert Allard,
“One picture is worth a thousand words,” can one picture
also inspire a thousand words? Of course it can. That’s
why educators are becoming increasingly aware of the power
photographs have to unlock students’ imaginations and help
them express themselves through written language.
you want to teach specific writing skills or simply to help
students overcome their reluctance to write, you’ll
find that photographs are powerful teaching aids that can
inspire students at all levels to create both expository and
creative compositions. What’s more, when you use photographs
in your classroom, you can be as directive—or as
non-directive—as you choose to be.
you could show this photograph
to a group of students and ask them to let their
imaginations guide them as they respond to it in writing. But if
you want to be more directive, you could ask them such leading
questions as: What is the woman in the photo thinking? Why is
she standing alone in this scene? What does it feel like to wait
for someone who is late? What kind of a family does this woman
You could even use short poems to complement photos that
help to initiate responses from students. Here’s an example of
one such poem that worked well with this photograph at the
middle school, high school, and community college levels.
What are you thinking of
As you stand, unsmiling,
Alone on a deserted street?
A moment when your world
Was bright and cheerful
And you didn’t have to stand
Alone on a deserted street.
educators who have used photographs successfully in the
classroom are eager to share their photowriting experiences
with other professionals. At
, former Adjunct Assistant Professor Justin Van Kleeck showed
his students a photo of a baby macaque and a pigeon who had
“adopted” each other as friends. “I asked the students to
freewrite after showing them the photo and giving them
information about how the animals came together,” he writes.
You can see the photo at: http://primatology.net/2007/09/13/baby-macaque-and-white-pigeon-make-friends/
“The students wrote about everything from how different
species can get along so easily while humans cannot, to the
human behaviors that stress animals, such as poaching,” he
At the Prairie Lands Writing Project,
, Teacher Consultant Mary Lee Meyer asks her high school
students to write “I am From” poems based on photos that are
significant to them in terms of their lives.
To support this activity, she asks such questions as Where
are you from? Who are/were your grandparents or great
grandparents? What occupations did some of your ancestors have? Meyer
has also used this exercise at a writing institute for teachers.
You can see samples at http://missouriwestern.edu/plwp/wtca/examples.htm
under “I Am From…Example 1 Michelle.” You can also find a
great deal of valuable information about teaching writing at
Meyers’ blog, http://writingwithtechnology.edublogs.org.
How creative can you get with photographs of bridges? Ask
Diane Sekeres, who conducted a workshop for teachers at the
’s Longleaf Writing Project Summer Institue for Teachers. “I
found about 20 pictures of different kinds of bridges: rope,
draw, suspension, destroyed, over gorges, over highways, over
water,” she writes. “Then I asked the teachers to study the
photos and select one that was a metaphor for their teaching.”
At the conclusion to the exercise, the teacher-students wrote
about their choices and their reasons for making them.
Another outstanding example of how a teacher uses
photographs to inspire writing comes from Iowa Writing Project
Director James Davis. First,
asks his students to recall a photograph of some significance to
them. Then he directs them to describe the photograph as they
remember it. “Who is in the photograph?” he asks. “What
are their expressions and stances? What are the important
details of the setting?” To conclude this assignment,
asks the students to find the photograph they described and
study it carefully before writing about any discrepancies
between the photo as it exists and their memories of it. “Why
might these discrepancies exist?” he asks. “Which version
has more to do with truth?”
When he’s not busy editing Star Teaching— www.starteaching.com
— Frank Holes, Jr. teaches at
Middle School, Indian River,
Michigan. Holes shows his students photographs of children performing
daily activities and asks them such questions as Who is the
child? What is his/her name? What is the subject’s family
like? How old is the subject? What is he or she feeling? “I
also ask the students to give a full description of the setting
that includes sense impressions,” writes Holes. Then he asks
questions related to a possible plot before he directs the
students to write a story that places the child in the setting.
“To spur on students who are afraid to write, or
intimidated by the writing process,” writes Derri Scarlett,
“I have them take pictures (or bring in pictures) that they
like. An English instructor at Bismarck (N. D.) State College
and a columnist for The Bismarck Tribune, Scarlett then
encourages those students to talk about why they like the
photos, or what the photos mean to them. Then she directs the
students to “brainstorm” on paper. That’s when they jot
down the words they first spoke of when they discussed the
photographs. From that exercise come sentences, then an essay.
“Because the students have invested themselves in the subject
matter,” concludes Scarlett, “this is a great way of easing
into the writing process.”
Often maligned but never out of sight, visual images
surround and captivate us without letup. Show a photograph to a
child, and the youngster will point to it, trace its image, and
respond with a variety of emotions. Show another to an adult,
and you get a frown, a smile, or a gesture—rarely will you
draw a blank. Show a photograph, or a series of photographs, to
students at any level, and you’ll generate more responses than
you can handle. Soon your students will be creating stories,
poems, and essays that will make you wonder why you hadn’t
used this simple and obvious technique years earlier for
stimulating the creative process.
© 2009 by Hank Kellner
Kellner is the author of
Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing. Published by Cottonwood Press ( I-800-864-4297)
and distributed by Independent
Publishers Group, Write What You See includes a supplementary CD with photos. 8 ½ x11,
120 pages, perfect binding, ISBN 978-1-877-673-83-2, LCCN
2008938630. $24.95. Available at bookstores, from the publisher,
and on the Internet at www.amazon.com and
your school or local librarian to order it.Visit the author’s
blog at http://hank-englisheducation.com.
The author will contribute a portion of the royalties earned
from the sale of this book to The Wounded Warriors Project.
Order your own iPod Touch Today with the links below:
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
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For The Things They Don't Teach You In College
Creating A Class Rules Pamphlet
We've found that teaching your classroom
rules and procedures right away at the beginning of the school
year will tremendously improve your chances of a successful
relationship with your students. This should include giving your
students a hard copy to keep, look over, and even discuss with
Our seventh & eighth grade team accomplishes this by creating a
course introduction pamphlet. This tri-fold pamphlet is given out on the
first day of class and presented by each member of the teaching team.
That way we teachers are all on the same page, and students have
consistency between their classes.
Creating a pamphlet is relatively easy on a word processing program.
You will need to change your page setup from 'portrait' (normal 8.5 x 11
tall) to a 'landscape', the 8.5 x 11 long. You will also need to create
two or three columns to type in (two if you are simply folding in half,
or three if the pamphlet is a tri-fold). Your word processing program
will automatically adjust your document's margins, though you might want
to print it out and double check the margin space when you're finished
(sometimes copy machines will 'slide' your original up to 1/2 inch, so
try a sample). Once the paper is folded, this setup will make your
pamphlet look professional. A bi-fold pamphlet is easy to create and
fold, but a tri-fold looks so much nicer both to your students and
You'll want a catchy cover with basic class or grade information.
Include a school graphic or clip art with the teachers' names, the
classes, periods, room numbers, and other key info. We've added a place
for both students and parents to sign, indicating that they have read
through and understood these rules and procedures. This returned
signature becomes the students' first assignment for your class. In
fact, I like to allow three days to get them turned in, giving 10 extra
credit points if it's two days early, and 5 extra credit points for one
The next few pages display what we will cover in class this year. Its
not in great detail, but simply an overview. In English, for example, a
brief section is devoted to our main areas, writing, reading,
literature, speech, technology, and presentations. In science, a brief
section is devoted to the areas of ecosystems, matter, waves, rocks
& minerals, and weather. The same is done for math and social
studies and any other core classes.
The last few pages cover class rules and procedures. We always try to
have just a few important rules that are general enough to cover most
events that can happen in class. We like to include a rule about
respecting all people and materials, since this is general enough to
cover most poor behavior choices not specifically mentioned.
You'll want to include a section on your discipline procedures so
students know exactly what punishments or consequences are due to them
if they make poor behavior choices. Again, leave yourself room by adding
a statement such as "Serious or continual problems may result in
skipping one or more discipline steps." As always, follow your
school or district's codes or policies in making up your class rules.
Procedures are different from rules in that these are desired behaviors
you want your students to display at particular moments in class. Some
procedures will include your class warm up or wrap up, passing in
papers, raising hands, lining up, sharpening pencils, and even answering
the telephone, among others. You'll want to spend some quality time
thinking of what your students are going to DO in class, and the most
effective way to accomplish these tasks. Be clear and simple when
writing these down so the kids understand them.
The rules packer looks nice and professional. Students and parents alike
will enjoy (and respect) the fact that you've taken the time to spell
out exactly your expectations and to begin communicating with them. By
having a section to sign and return, no one can claim they weren't aware
of your rules or procedures.
Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use
immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our
writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm
Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be
plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the
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Is The Educational Establishment
By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher
latest articles are focusing on 21st Century Learning and the
latest research to drive 21st Century Teaching.
If you’re reading this article the
title probably isn’t referring to you. But I’d like you to think
about the idea. Professions of all kinds are being turned upside down
by one thing, the Internet.
The Internet is changing the way life
is lived, and causing a lot of upheaval along the way in many
establishments. When you look at the music and movie industry and its
fight to stop the illegal downloading and copying of music and movies.
The telecommunications companies trying to stay viable as website
companies like Skype change their world by providing free to very
inexpensive phone service to people around the world. The world of
journalism is being undone, as we’ve known it. Take the example of
the July 7, 2005 bombings in London. Within a few short minutes of the
bombing photos and information was already posted on the Internet. As
the hours passed it was continually revised and updated. This example
is repeated daily throughout the world. With the Internet, anyone can
be a reporter through print, video, and pictures.
Another area that is changing is in
publishing books. A person can publish books on their own through
websites. Books are coming out in print online and in audio versions.
As in anything online like music, movies, and books, because of the
openness of the Internet, these things end up being copied and shared
across the Internet for free.
So what does all this have to do with
my title? What happens when you are no longer the primary source of
learning and knowledge? Are you going to feel threatened?
As I watch my teenage children using
the Internet, I observe them constantly in the process of learning.
They work hard at their learning; I just wish they would work that
hard on schoolwork. The Internet provides a source of knowledge that
is in constant growth, editing, and revision. That’s something a
textbook can never be. It’s also made up of multi-media and other
non-text sources of learning that are far more engaging to students
Educational researchers are
frustrated by the slow movement of K-12 education changing even though
it is well documented on how using technology engages students and
improves their learning when used correctly.
Now back to the question, are we
changing slowly because we’re fearful of not being the sage on the
stage anymore? I’ve heard teachers say: I don’t’ know how to use
the technology. When I say to them our job is to design the plan
and the students will run with it. They just look at me blankly. Not
being the main provider of the learning is a foreign language to many.
The idea of the kids taking charge of their own learning is a scary,
out of control idea.
I believe we need to get out of our
comfort zone and stretch ourselves like we ask the students to do.
Professional development is the key, but it needs to be purposeful and
supported by the administration. Then, teachers need to be held
accountable. That is when we will see real change in the classrooms.
Mark Benn earned his B.S. from Western
Michigan University and his Elementary Certification from
Northern Michigan University. He is a 21 year teaching
veteran of 5th and 6th grade students at Inland Lakes Middle
School in Indian River, MI. He is currently working on
Masters of Integration of Technology from Walden University.
Prior to teaching, Mark spent 11 years as Department Manager for
Sears, Roebuck and Co. dealing with emerging technologies.
He has been married to his wife Bonnietta for 32 years with one
daughter and two sons. In the summers, Mark works for
Mackinac State Historic Parks in the as a historical
|StarTeaching Featured Writer
|Mark Benn is a leading expert in using technology
in the classroom.
You can feel free to contact him on email
or at his blogsite: http://www.furtrader.blogspot.com/
By Kelly Payne
of government enables individuals to define the roles of
citizens within a constitutional democracy and to compare the
American system of government with other systems. Civic
knowledge builds understanding about the exercise of power. With
knowledge of government and politics, citizens are equipped to
evaluate domestic and international policy and to exert
influence in public affairs.
US Congress Unit Plan
Subject(s): Social Studies
Standards addressed by unit: Michigan Curriculum
• Subject: Social Studies • Strand III: Civic
Students will use knowledge of American government and politics to
make informed decisions about governing their communities. Over
time and in varying contexts, students construct an increasingly
sophisticated civic perspective organized by the following themes:
• Standard III.1: Purposes of Government - All students will
identify the purposes of national, state, and local governments in the
United States, describe how citizens organize government to accomplish
their purposes and assess their effectiveness. All societies establish
governments to serve intended purposes. The purposes served by a
government and the priorities set have significant consequences for
the individual and society. In order to accomplish their purposes,
governments organize themselves in different ways.
• Grade HS - High School Performance Benchmark 2: Evaluate how
effectively the federal government is serving the purposes for which
it was created. Performance Benchmark 3: Evaluate the relative merits
of the American presidential system and parliamentary systems.
• Standard III.4 : American Government and Politics - All
students will explain how American governmental institutions at the
local, state, and federal levels provide for the limitation and
sharing of power and how the nation’s political system provides for
the exercise of power. The American system of government is based on
shared power. Citizens who operate effectively within the federal
system understand its institutions and how to work within them.
• Grade HS - High School Performance Benchmark 2: Analyze causes
of tension between the branches of government.
Time Required:10 class
periods. 1.5 Hrs per class.
Objective(s): To learn the basic workings of Congress
and the process of how a bill becomes a law. Summary: In this
unit students will learn the basic workings of the United States
Congress through various activities and learning techniques. Students
will analyze and discuss current legislation in the U.S. Senate and
House of Representatives. Students then will create their own bills
and take them through the legislative process, with the end result
being participation in a mock Congress simulation.
STAGE I: IDENTIFY DESIRED RESULTS Enduring Understanding(s):
Students will understand the process of how Congress passes
legislation that affects their daily lives and futures. Essential
Questions: How and why does Congress pass legislation that
affects and changes a variety of aspects of life in America today?
Knowledge and Skills: Students will be acquainted with what Congress
does; Students will Identify how Congress is elected; Students will be
able to describe the structure of each house of Congress; Students
will be able to explain the in depth process of how a bill becomes a
STAGE II: DETERMINE ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE OF LEARNING (ASSESSMENT)
What evidence will show that students understand?
Performance Tasks (summarized): Student written
bills on a relevant issue in their life (attached), Students notes- to
follow study guide and packet (attached), Redistricting activity, Mock
Congress Simulation (attached)
1. Congress Packet Page 2
2. Congress Packet Page 9: Describes the Process of How a Bill becomes
3. Congress Packet Page 1: Congress Study Guide
4. Congress Packet page 11: Blank bill for creation of own legislation
5. Day 1 Congress simulation proceedings To use the first day of
Other evidence: Committee Reports, Headline Activity,
Pop Quiz Race (group activity, attached), Written reflection on Mock
Congress (attached), How a bill becomes a law quiz, US Congress test.
1. Pop Quiz Race Reinforcement activity. Students complete this the
day after finishing study guide. Students are given 7 minutes to fill
in working off of memory, then they are given 5 minutes to work with
notes, the final step is group work, students work together to make
sure they all have the same information, and that it is correct.
Groups race to get done first, then the group finished first, with the
most correct receive a prize.
2. Written reflection after Mock Congress - This is the Collins
writing across the curriculum style
Dialogue and participation in mock Congress, Discussion on a
day in the life of a member of Congress, discussion on
current bills in US House and Senate.
Student Self-Assessment: Students will self
assess through the bills they write, and how well they participate in
the mock Congress
Montessori is a highly hands-on approach to learning. It encourages
children to develop their observation skills by doing many types of
activities. These activities include use of the five senses, kinetic
movement, spatial refinement, small and large motor skill coordination,
and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction
The Montessori Classroom:
A Montessori classroom is quiet, bright, clean,
well-maintained and attractive. Nothing should be torn, broken, dirty,
or otherwise unattractive. Furniture is child-sized, and there is no
teachers' desk. The typical classroom consists of four areas:
Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, and Mathematics. Practical life
includes activities such as buttoning, sweeping, pouring, slicing,
tying, etc. Sensorial includes activities to stimulate and train
hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
Most Montessori classrooms try to include ways for
the children to interact with the natural world, perhaps through a
classroom pet (rabbits, gerbils, mice, etc.), or a small garden where
the children can plant vegetables or flowers.
In schools that extend to the upper grades, each
Montessori classroom still includes an approximately three-year age
range in order to establish a non-competitive atmosphere in the
classroom. This system allows for children to review work as many
times as necessary and to move rapidly through the materials as they
are able, as well as allowing children to become natural teachers by
sharing what they have learned. The children realize that class work
is different for each person and are less likely to try to keep track
of where other children are academically.
Every activity has its place in the classroom and is self-contained
and self-correcting. The original didactic materials are specific in
design, conforming to exact dimensions, and each activity is designed
to focus on a single skill, concept or exercise. All of the material
is based on SI units of measurement (for instance, the Pink Tower is
based on the 1cm cube) which allows all the materials to work together
and complement each other, as well as introduce the SI units through
concrete example. In addition to this, material is intended for
multiple uses at the primary level. A perfect example of this is the
"Knobbed Cylinder" materials: not only do they directly
offer a sensorial lesson, but indirectly the child's grip on the
cylinders paves the way for holding a pencil, and the grades of
cylinders allow for an introduction to mathematics.
Other materials are often constructed by the teacher: felt story
board characters, letter boxes (small containers of objects that all
start with the same letter) for the language area, science materials
(e.g. dinosaurs for tracing, etc.), scent or taste activities, and so
on. The practical life area materials are almost always put together
by the teacher. All activities, however, must be neat, clean,
attractive and preferably made of natural materials such as glass or
wood, rather than plastic. Sponges, brooms and dustpans are provided
and any mishaps (including broken glassware) are not punished but
rather treated simply as an opportunity for the children to
demonstrate responsibility by cleaning up after themselves.
At higher grade levels, the teacher becomes more involved in
creating materials since not only the students but also the potential
subject matter widens so much. However, many of the earlier materials
can be revisited with a new explanation, emphasis or use; for example,
the cube that a five-year-old used as an exercise in color matching is
revealed to the junior-high level student to physically embody the
mathematical relationship (a+b)3=a3 + 3a2b + 3ab2 +b3.
A child may not work with an activity until the
teacher has demonstrated its proper use to him or her, and then he or
she may use it as he or she wishes (limited only by his or her
imagination or a danger to the material, himself or herself or others)
Each activity leads directly to a new level of learning or concept.
When a child "plays," he or she is acquiring the basis for
later concepts. Repetition of activities is considered an integral
part of this learning process and children are allowed to repeat
activities as often as they wish. A child becoming tired of the
repetition is thought to be a sign they are ready for the next level
The child proceeds at his or her own pace from
concrete objects and tactile experiences to abstract thinking,
writing, reading, science, mathematics. For example, in the language
area, the child begins with the sandpaper letters (26 flat wooden
panels, each with a single letter of the alphabet cut from sandpaper
and affixed to it). The child's first lesson is to trace the shape of
the letter with their fingers while saying the phonic sound of the
letter. A next level activity might be the letter boxes (small
containers each with a letter on the top, filled with objects that
begin with that letter). Having mastered these, the child may move on
to the word boxes (small containers each with a short three-letter
word on the top, for example CAT, containing a small wooden cat and
the letters C, A, T). One child might move through all three levels of
lessons in a few weeks while another might take several months;
although there is a prescribed sequence of activities there is no
prescribed timetable. A Montessori teacher or instructor observes each
child like a scientist, providing him with appropriate lessons as he
is ready for them.
Home schoolers may find both the philosophy and the
materials useful since each child is treated as an individual and
activities are self-contained, self-correcting, and expandable.
Aspects of the Montessori Method can easily scale down to a home
schooling environment - save, of course, Montessori's requirement for
large, mixed age groups of children
Part 4 of this series will focus on criticisms of the Montessori
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.
Now Available! 3rd Book in the Dogman Series:
Of The Dogmen
’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
. The supernatural
beast is hunting for the remnants of its stolen, ancient treasure
that will give it immortality and unlimited power.
Can two young camp counselors put an end to the chaos
without losing their lives?
Here For The
Nagual: Dawn Of The Dogmen Website
Part mystery, part science fiction, Year
of the Dogman is an imaginative, compelling, and adrenaline-pumping
adventure. Author Frank Holes, Jr. takes no prisoners in creating a
diabolical creature that leaves the forest to prey on the hapless hamlet
. When night falls, the nocturnal beast, Dogman, scares the living
daylights out of anyone he happens upon as he searches for a timeless
treasure stolen from a Native American tribe. In the midst of the chaos, a
young teacher is forced to put two and two together no matter how high the
cost to rid the village of the treacherous man-beast who thrives on
destruction and terror.
In The Haunting of Sigma,
Frank Holes, Jr. returns fans of the legendary Dogman to the wild world
of cryptozoology in
. This darker, far more
sinister prequel to Holes’s first novel fully establishes his hold
upon the imaginations of readers all over the
. June 1987 ushers in the
hot, dry summer season, but something else far more horrifying has taken
up residence in the deep wilderness in
. The Dogman, a supernatural
combination of canine and man, has returned to wreck havoc upon the
tiny, sleepy community of Sigma.
Based upon the
epic Greek tale of The Odyssey, yet set in the American Wild West, The Longquist Adventures: Western Odyssey chronicles the journey of a young boy and his guide through a perilous
world of dangerous encounters and fantastic creatures.
It is a world of gun fights at high noon, stampedes on the great
plains, stagecoach robbery, and an ultimate showdown with a ruthless,
powerful gangster aboard a turn-of-the-century paddlewheel in the San
Francisco Bay. Can the
time-traveling boy and the law-abiding Marshal restore order to the
chaos of the American West gone truly wild?
of the Dogman Website
Here For The
of Sigma Website
Here For The
The Dogman, a creature of
MythMichigan, is an excellent example of modern-day folklore to
study in your classes.
The Longquist Adventures, written for
elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and
classic stories to young children.
Look for Western Odyssey this summer!
We now have special offers on Classroom Sets of our Novel.
Click here for more information:
A CLASS SET
A Place for Teachers New To The Craft
Reward Day For Your Students
There are a lot of ways to try and motivate your students to maintain high standards of academic achievement and proper behavior.
A year ago, our 7th and 8th grade staff began running a Reward Day program for our students.
We found that the 'carrot' was even more effective than the
We start our first Reward Day between Halloween and Thanksgiving. This is a good time for us because the first marking period and fall parent conferences are over. Kids have settled in to the new school year and they are a bit more motivated at this point. This gives us about a three week window, which is a short time
for the students to achieve moderate success. It is not too long
of a time for them to lose sight of their academic and behavior
goal. The reward is a couple of hours of time with a fun
activity. One activity the kids really enjoy is bringing in a
Our second Reward Day occurs during the four weeks between thanksgiving break and Christmas break.
This one is a bit longer, and the reward is bigger. It may be a
half day or more and it usually includes food or snacks of some
sort. This year we took the kids sledding and played outdoor games
in the snow. Then we came back to school for hot cocoa and
We then set up our biggest reward during the longest stretch from the new semester (end of January) to just before spring break. This helps to break up the monotony of that time period and to give the students a goal to work toward. This is generally a nice, fun day trip outside the school.
Last year we took the kids to an indoor arena / fun park with bowling,
mini-golf, arcade games, and of course a pizza and soda
To fund our trips, we have to raise much of our own cash. We use a variety of activities that directly involve the students. That way they get something out of the activity besides just raising
money (or donating money). We hold yearly basketball and volleyball tournaments where students participate. Sometimes it is even the students against the staff, which is really fun. We've also held 3-on-3 tournaments, dodgeball games, art fairs,
Karoake, dances, plays, and video gaming tournaments. We take a dollar donation from the students to participate, and we run the activities ourselves. We usually get some cheap prizes for the winners, and we always have a concession stand because the whole school is invited to watch! We also sell bottled water and snacks to kids on Fridays.
Raising money isn't much fun unless you make it fun. When the kids participate, it is much easier on the wallets. But there are times we do have kids pay part of their way for field trips, especially if there is an entry fee for our destination (like a museum or theme park). We try not to ask for much because we are not an affluent community.
The reward days are great motivators for kids. We always notice a higher percentage of qualifying students for each successive reward day. They get the
hint - be good and do your work and the teachers will reward you well!
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"Worry Not Bug"
By Catherine Pulsifer
For months I notice the
painted rock that sat on Karen's coffee table. The rock was
painted and its face had a smile that just made you smile when you
looked at it. I examined the rock and painted on the bottom was
"why worry". Curious I asked Karen where she got the
She told me that during a
very stressful time in her life, a friend that she worked with
gave her the rock. Her friend told her that when she looked at
this rock, she was to remember not to worry so much. Her friend
called it her "worry not bug". There was a poem with the
rock, she went and got it and as I read the poem I thought how
true it was:
by Author Unknown
- 40% will never
happen, for anxiety is the result of a tired mind,
- 30% concerns old decisions which cannot be altered,
- 12% centers in criticism, mostly untrue, made by people who
- 10% is related to my health which worsens while I worry,
- 8% is "legitimate," showing that life does have real
problems which may be met head-on when I have eliminated
Karen went on to explain
that she used to worry about everything and everyone. She now uses
the rock as a reminder not to worry about the things she cannot
change. She also went on to tell me that when she finds herself
worrying, she asks herself what percentage this worry is?. Most of
the time she found what she was worrying about was the 40% -
things that will never happen.
What's New @
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StarTeaching Store. And of course you can see all of the article archives on our website:
Starting this month,
we are fortunate to link up with Hank Kellner, a leading expert in
using photography to help teach writing skills. He was so kind as
to include one of my articles in his book, Write What You See.
We also welcome back Kim Taylor-DiLeva with expertise in using American
Sign Language in education.
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Teachers' Lounge, is a section devoted just to those
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