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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 6, Issue 14
July 2010
StarTeaching Store Advertise with us Previous Articles Submit an Article FREE Reports Feature Writers Tech Center New Teacher's Niche

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

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

What's New @ StarTeaching   Too Much Pressure Too Soon?  What's A Teacher To Do?   The Untold Secret To Creating A Fun Learning Environment
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Write What You See":
Using Historic Photos in Your Writing
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
Prezi - 21st Century Presentation Tool
Themes on Life: 
"Two Horses"
NEW! Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
School Discipline (Part 3)
New Teacher's Niche:
The Writing Process (part 1)
Student Teachers' Lounge: Starting Off Your First Year - Modeling Student Behaviort
Book of the Month Club:
A Passion For The Past: Creative Teaching of US History
  Website of the Month:
Soundation: Create Music On The Web
  Summer Book Sale
for Teachers

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!


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

Our Newsletter is now posting a opening for a Social Studies / History Writer interested in a monthly column focusing on Historical Events and Education.

We are also looking for an administrator interested in sharing 21st century leadership skills and ideas in schools.  

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



The Untold Secret to Creating a Fun Learning Environment

By Michael Kett

Michael Kett, a physical therapist for more than 25 years, is an educator, motivator, and author. His two published books, Applied Magic and Houdini in the Classroom, explore two unique magic applications.Be sure to check out Michael's website, Houdini in the Classroom

Most teachers, including parents who home school their children, are always looking for new techniques to make learning more exciting for both them and their students. If you think back to the teachers you had in school, you probably remember the teachers that made learning fun. What if I told you that there is an easy, fun, and unique magic application that can improve writing skills, verbal communication, and motor abilities, as well as create memory hooks for key curriculum topics? Well, there is

I know what you are thinking: "But Im a teacher, not a magician". Being a teacher is what will make this teaching tool successful for you. The magic effects taught in the book, Houdini in the Classroom, are NOT difficult, although they will require minimal practice. The real magic happens when you blend your teaching experience with magic and you see first hand the powerful learning effect this has on your students. Why Harry Houdini? Harry Houdini is still the most famous magician of all time, even though he died in 1926. He captivated his audiences attention and was a terrific showman and self- promoter. These Houdini-like attributes combined with basic magic effects can be applied to the classroom to create a fun and exciting learning environment, regardless of the curriculum and grade level.

I remember my son having a school assignment to write out the directions to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It was a technique to develop descriptive and clear writing abilities. It is a common teaching tool, but what if the teacher taught a simple but amazing magic trick to the class and then had the students write the directions to the trick?

Not only would it be more fun than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but it could be combined with developing the motor skills to perform the trick. Plus, what about having the students write a story to accompany the trick? And then tell the story while performing the trick to develop public
speaking skills? What a fun and multifaceted learning activity! The same idea can be used as a behavior modification technique. What child doesnt love magic? Especially, when they know the secret and can fool their family and friends? Why not offer to teach the class a cool magic trick at the end of the week, if certain goals are accomplished during the week?

I guarantee that any teacher that performs magic as part of the teaching process will have the students sitting on the edge of their seats to see and hear what the teacher does next. Magic is the ultimate attention getter!

Easy magic tricks can be integrated into any lesson plan regardless of subject or grade. You can pick up any beginner magic book at the library but you it will take trial and error to know what tricks are appropriate and how to blend them into your lesson plans. Or you can allow me to help you. Ive done all the work for you in my book, Houdini In The Classroom. You can become the Houdini In The Classroom at your school!


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Using Photography To Inspire Writing VII

By Hank Kellner

Using Historic Photos in Your Writing

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.

Sometimes dreams alter the course of an entire life.

                                                      Judith Duerk, American psychotherapist-author


       If youre like me, you probably have a love-hate relationship with your computer. On the one hand, it can sometimes drive you crazy.  On the other hand, it allows you to do things you couldnt easily do otherwise. For example, in less than a second you can convert a positive image to a negative one. And after youve done that, youll be able to use your negative image in many different ways to help students overcome their reluctance to write.

      For example, you could combine your image(s) with a poem to stimulate group discussion that will lead to written assignments.  You could ask your students to write about one or more of the dreams they may have had. You could encourage them to speculate as to the meaning of dreams. Or you could simply show them a dream photo linked to an appropriate poem and allow them to write whatever comes to mind. 


A Dream

A dream slipped into my room
The other night while I slept.

"Who are you, dream?"
I asked softly.

"I am you," she said.
"I am who you are,
And who you were,
And who you want to be."

"Then stay with me,"
I whispered.
"For if it's true
That you are me,
Then surely I am you."

          Jerry Kato

How To Connect Seeing with Writing

        Valerie Reimers is a Professor of English in the Department of Language and Literature at Southern Oklahoma State University. Reimers has developed an assignment that asks her students to discover convergences between visual images and verbal texts as they create both. First, she directs them to create photographs and, without looking at them, immediately write journal entries describing what they saw and hoped to capture in the photos. In this way, she writes, the students connect seeing with writing.

A few days later, Reimers directs the students to view printed versions of their photos, describe in writing what they see in their images, and compare/contrast their descriptions with the journal entries they had written earlier.

       For the third and final part of the assignment, Reimers requires the students to submit a portfolio consisting of three sets of photos and written entries for evaluation and to share with their classmates. Doing well on this assignment, she concludes, doesnt depend on photographic skills. Rather, it depends on the careful choosing of subjects and the effort put into writing about them.

       To receive a more complete description of this assignment, contact Dr. Reimers at valerie.reimers@swosu.edu.


Using Iconic Photos

     In the Humanities Division at Fullerton College , Fullerton , California , Bruce Henderson uses iconic photos created by photojournalists during the Vietnam War to stimulate students thinking and writing. One of the images I present is the image of a Buddhist monk who has set himself on fire at a Saigon intersection, he writes. This leads to a discussion about the nature and effectiveness of protest, as well as to an inquiry into the situation(s) about which the monks were protesting. Henderson also uses the iconic photo of the national police chief of South Vietnam executing a bound suspect during the Tet offensive, as well as the unforgettable photo of a naked girl fleeing her napalmed village to stimulate discussion and writing in his classes.       

Photos from Magazines

        Mary Lang is an Instructor in the English and Humanities Division at Wharton County Junior College , Richmond , Texas . Lang directs her students to bring in 3-5 photographs from magazines. Then she asks them to choose a photo and use it to write a narrative or a series of narratives based on the image they have chosen. Occasionally, instead of asking the students to choose a photo, Lang creates a lottery in which the students win photos other than those they have selected themselves. This has worked very well, she writes. Lang indicates that she uses this technique to encourage students to write not only narratives, but also other forms of writing. For example, she concludes, Ive found that it works very well as a journal assignment. 

Photos of Ancestors

       In her classes at California State University at Monterey Bay and at Cabrillo College, Barbara Raney directs her students to read Richard Rodriguez essay about a photo display in San Francisco. In this essay, she writes, Rodriguez asserts that anyone with a camera can create meaningful images. Then Raney shows the students photos of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives and asks them to write memoirs based on photos of their own relatives. The students do a good job of speculating about how/why their subjects changed since the photographs were taken, she reports.


You Dont Always Need a Written Prompt

     Sometimes you dont need a written prompt to trigger ideas that lead to written compositions. Heres an example of how a member of a senior citizens writers group responded to the photo shown here.

   This photo took me back to the days when my kids and I would spend hours searching for sharks teeth along the sandy shores of Jacksonville Beach in Florida , or back to any number of beach memories that are strung throughout my early years. How well I remember other days in Atlantic City when they had a horse that jumped off the Steel Pier. But that was years ago.


Free! Free! Free! Mystery Photo

       Marketing experts tell us that one of the most powerful words in the English language is Free. Thats why Ive used it three times in the subhead (above).

      Balderdash! you exclaim. Nothings free. You pay for everything.

      Not so, I respond, secure in the knowledge that the Free Mystery Photo I want to send you is really, truly, without-a-doubt, undeniably free. All you have to do to receive my Free Mystery Photo is to send me an e- mail at hankpix@gmail.com with the words Free Mystery Photo in the subject line.

      Are you still unconvinced? Do you want to know more about the photo before you send for iteven though its free? Okay. (1) This photo has been in my files for more than twenty years. (2) During that time, it appeared on the cover of The Reading Journal and in many other publications. (3) Most recently it appeared in Write What You See. (4) Its center of interest is a teenager. (5) Before I retired, I used it to inspire writing time and time again with great success.

     By the way, the Free Mystery Photo will arrive in your electronic mail box with permission to reproduce it for use in your classroom. Send today!


Copyright 2009 Hank Kellner    Photos and Poem by the author


Hank 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 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 other websites. Ask your school or local librarian to order it.Visit the authors 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.


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There are six modules designed to test the basic ability of an individual in terms of Memory & Concentration. Needless to say this is the most important basic skill for not just to survive but also to thrive in this competitive environment. Each of the six modules tests the six variants of Memory & Concentration in an individual, namely: 1. Picture recognition
2. Paired Associate Learning
3. Immediate Recall
4. Serial processing
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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.  

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Student Teachers' Lounge: 
For The Things They Don't Teach You In College

Starting Off Your First Year -
Modeling Student Behavior

This is a first in a series of informational articles focusing on preparing for your first year of teaching.  Look for more in upcoming issues!

Whether you as a teacher realize it or not, you are the best model of behavior in your classroom. A large part of your proactive behavior plans should include your own behavior you demonstrate to the students every day.

You must set expectations for your students, demonstrate the behaviors, and be vigilant to correct the kids. Don't waver on your expectations; inconsistencies will only confuse the students and cause you more problems.

If you stay calm, collected, and in control, your students will exhibit the same behaviors. The same is true about enthusiasm; if you are excited about your lesson and truly believe in its importance, the kids will respond in kind. Conversely, the kids will know when you are tired, bored, don't want to be there, or are 'winging it.'

If you are late to class, or don't start on time, the kids will pick up on it and be more likely to do the same. The same is true about the way you dress, the way you act, the language you use, and your 'body language'.

If you want your students working from 'coast to coast', or from bell to bell, you need to set the expectation of activity all hour. Start with a warm up, and ensure the kids are doing it. Keep them busy on activities with transitions between each. Don't let there be any down time. Work them to the end of the period, and have them pack up when you say so, not whenever they want to.

If you want your students to quietly read in class, but you are spending that time working on other things, it sends the message that you don't value the activity personally. Modeling the skill for the kids reinforces your belief that it is important. It shows you as a lifelong learner who values the skills you're teaching them.

The same is true for writing, or labs, or math problems. Students rarely have the chance to see real people performing schoolwork - for many, the only examples (and role models) are their classmates. Work along with your students.

Now this doesn't mean you have to do this the entire time. You must also supervise, coach, monitor, and actively support their learning.  But you can spend at least a few minutes 'at their level'.

Be a positive role model for your students. Don't just explain and show the behavior; be the example day in and day out.

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 following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm



Do You Have Great Ideas, Tips, or Techniques to Share with Our Readers?  
Are You Looking To Be Published?

Submit Your Articles On Our Website At:   http://www.starteaching.com/submit.htm


  TECH/21st Century CORNER

Prezi - 
21st Century Presentation Tool 

By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher

Mark's latest articles are focusing on 21st Century Learning and the latest research to drive 21st Century Teaching. 

When it comes to building a presentation, PowerPoint has been the universal standard that everyone has been using for years. Many others have patterned themselves after it such as Keynote, Google Docs, and Zoho.

The design of PowerPoint is very linear changing from one slide to the next, or even from one part to the next on an individual slide. Without a doubt, PowerPoint can be very dynamic when done right. The problem is not everyone thinks linear, and lets face it, with all the advancements in technology, its time for a different way. Move over PowerPoint, here comes Prezi, a whole new way of presenting. Im not advocating replacing PowerPoint, but now there is a different way of presenting.

Prezi is non-linear in nature. At this time it is limited in the number of themes, or colors, but you can add pictures, movies and more. The key to it all is the fact that it is very visual in the way it looks and moves. The presentation draws you into it. For a better understanding watch this movie posted on the Prezi site that explains it.

Now that youve seen it, check it out at www.prezi.com . They have a free level and two other levels that cost. The best part is that the middle level is free to educators.


Your browser may not support display of this image.  

Mark Benn earned his B.S. from Western Michigan University and his Elementary Certification from Northern Michigan University.  He is a 21 year teaching veteran of 5th and 6th grade students at Inland Lakes Middle School in Indian River, MI.  He is currently working on Masters of Integration of Technology from Walden University. 

Prior to teaching, Mark spent 11 years as Department Manager for Sears, Roebuck and Co. dealing with emerging technologies.  He has been married to his wife Bonnietta for 32 years with one daughter and two sons.  In the summers, Mark works for Mackinac State Historic Parks in the as a historical interpreter.

StarTeaching Featured Writer

Mark Benn is a leading expert in using technology in the classroom.  
You can feel free to contact him on email at mbenn@inlandlakes.org or at his blogsite:  http://www.furtrader.blogspot.com/ 

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




 Featured Writer

Too Much Pressure Too Soon?  What's A Teacher to Do?

By Christina Riggan

Christina Riggan, a twenty-five year veteran of public schools, and a former teacher in a primary (K-5) school in Austin, Texas, has worked with a variety of grade levels from Kindergarten to adults. Her certifications include Kindergarten, Reading, ESOL, Language Arts, and she holds a Principal's Certificate and a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She is currently a full-time writer, her chosen area of focus in writing books (fiction and nonfiction) and articles that might help parents, teachers, and students. She is married to David, her husband of thirty-eight years, has two happily married sons, and four wonderful grandchildren. 

I often wonder if we are exerting too much pressure too soon on young students when they begin attending public school. Hopefully, they were in a more carefree environment in preschool and then may enter an intense atmosphere in public school that even begins in Kindergarten. Some of my friends that teach early grades tell me that Kindergarten is becoming more like first grade in the stress and academic demands and first grade is becoming more like second, etc.

Every teacher understands that legitimately a community must expect schools to be held accountable for proficiency and learning. Most teachers I know do not object to reasonable demands for this.

But the current climate suggests that if we just push students even more then they WILL be able to compete more effectively in the world as adults. We could enter a whole philosophical argument as to whether our society has been more productive in the past when we allowed children to play and develop their imaginations which translated into more inventive and creative adults. These adults go onto be more productive because of their imaginations have never been squelched or hammered into a box. Certainly Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, still asserts that play and fun are an integral part of his current company policy and why it is so successful.

The other side of the argument holds that unless we set standards and expect students to meet them, they will just lazily slide along in life becoming deadbeats, or letting the other countries of the world outsmart and out invent us in product and out produce us profit.

Somewhere along the line, business has become schooling and schooling has become big business.

Certainly I have always been an advocate of learning and standards. I have had high expectations for students but they are developmental appropriate and reasonable.

For example, if Kindergarteners are ready to read and have proficient reading readiness then they might be ready to receive reading instruction to begin to learn to read.

I heard a disturbing comment the other day from my daughter-in-law (she has a one year old daughter), that unless your Kindergartener can read when he/she enters Kindergarten, he/she is all ready considered behind. Not only is this harmful, in my opinion, but it is without any consideration for what is cognitively, emotionally, socially, and developmentally appropriate.

So what is a teacher to do who may realize that some of the current academic demands are unrealistic, unreasonable and might even be harmful to his/her charges? Remembering that first a teachers job, like a doctors, is to do no harm; I offer some suggestions to help incorporate play back into learning.

There are numerous advocates and studies that support play as not only valuable but necessary for healthy human growth and development. (See sites at end of article for references)

Without adequate time for play, students may become restless, anxious, angry, irritable, unfocused and uninterested in learning. Think of yourself, when you work too long and hard, with no breaks or time for recreation- what happens? Even the military, realizes that R&R (rest and recreation) are essential to human recovery. I have heard some teachers report that their students just scribbled their end-of the year standardized tests rather than really exert their best. (after endless weeks of test prep and nothing else)

Ideas to Try:

  • Incorporate as many academic standards as possible into one learning lesson. This means you must know and understand the standards well and be able to plan a lesson with as many of the elements incorporated as possible.
  • Weave games, active motion, rhymes, music, songs, poems, and plays into as many aspects of the learning time as allowed. Most of my teaching time was spent designing every element of fun as I could in my learning. Everyone learns more when it is fun.
  • Make sure that your classroom is a community of learners and that you foster the emotional and social standards for this.
  • Let students know that every student is learning, can learn and will learn, but that learning looks different for every student. If you are not an advocate of multiple learning styles, this may be a good area to investigate.
  • Design your schedule with frequent breaks and times for the mind to rest, including breaks for physical activity. Yes, you can walk your students on the side walk for five minutes to clear their heads. If someone objects to this, do exercises in the room.
  • Cooperate with your students. Ask for their fierce or devoted concentration for fifteen minutes. Then reward them with a break, or five minutes to chat with their friends, or ten minutes of free reading time. You can accommodate intense learning time with relaxed learning time by planning and cooperation with your students.
  • Develop the imagination of your students by valuing imagination and creativity and foster these elements by planning activities that encourage it. Show appreciation for students who think outside of the box. Usually, the clowns are, and can be your most devoted students, if you can appreciate their strengths. Brainstorming sessions, problem-solving, experiments, and team projects all can incorporate standards of learning AND fun-- if fun is planned as part of it.
  • Last, have fun yourself as a learner. If what you are teaching bores you to death, it will bore your students to death. Get sincerely upbeat about what you teach and collaborate with colleagues to learn fun and interesting ways to teach it.

  Some websites that discuss the value of play in schools are listed below.

1.     www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content5/studies.play.html

  •     Academic Studies and Play on a Collision

      CourseAnd Play is Losing

2.     www.instituteforplay.info/about_us.html

        Play + Science=Transformation (article on the seven stages of play)

3.     www.educationnext.org/unabridged/20012/elkind.html

     Early childhood Education: Developmental or    Academic

      By David Elkind

4.     http://k6educators.about.com/cs/professionaldevel/a/stadtests.html

     Pressures Are Mounting: Is it all in Our Heads?

          by Beth Lewis  


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School Discipline
(part 3)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Historical Attitudes Toward School Discipline

Throughout the history of education the most common form of school discipline was corporal punishment. Whilst a child was in school a teacher was expected to act as a substitute parent, with all the normal forms of parental discipline open to them. In practice this meant that children were commonly punished with the birch or cane.

However, corporal punishment was often problematic. Unless strictly monitored it could be open to abuse and there was a growing opposition to any use of physical force in disciplining individuals from the late eighteenth century onwards. A further complicating matter was the rise of compulsory education, as parents might be compelled to send their children to schools in which the disciplinary regime was at odds with parental views on punishment. Corporal punishment was consequently abolished in many countries and replaced by positive reinforcements of behavior, in addition to forms of discipline more agreeable to parental tastes, such as the detention of students.

Most modern educationalists in Europe and North America advocate a disciplinary policy focused on positive reinforcement, with praise, merit marks, house points and the like playing a central role in maintaining behavior. When positive reinforcement does not work teachers adopt a variety of punishments including detentions, suspensions and ultimately expulsion of the student from the school.

In part, the disciplinary regime of a school relates to the amount of deference a pupil is expected to show to their teacher. In the Caribbean and East Asia in particular a child is expected to show complete obedience to their teacher, with corporal punishment still a sanction in some countries in these regions.

Modern Examples of School Discipline

A modern example of school discipline in North America and Western Europe relies upon the idea of an assertive teacher who is prepared to impose their will upon a class. Positive reinforcement is balanced with immediate and fair punishment for misbehavior and firm, clear boundaries define what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Teachers are expected to respect their students, and sarcasm and attempts to humiliate pupils are seen as falling outside of what constitutes reasonable discipline.

Whilst this is the consensus viewpoint amongst the majority of academics, some teachers and parents advocate a more assertive and confrontational style of discipline. Such individuals claim that many problems with modern schooling stem from the weakness in school discipline and if teachers exercised firm control over the classroom they would be able to teach more efficiently. This viewpoint is supported by the educational attainment of countries -- in East Asia for instance -- that combine strict discipline with high standards of education.

It's not clear, however that this stereotypical view reflects the reality of East Asian classrooms or that the educational goals in these countries are commensurable with those in Western countries. In Japan, for example, although average attainment on standardized tests may exceed those in Western countries, classroom discipline and behavior is highly problematic. Although, officially, schools have extremely rigid codes of behavior, in practice many teachers find the students unmanageable and do not enforce discipline at all, while others impose brutal standards of discipline, backed up with beatings and whippings.

Remembering that typical class sizes are 40 to 50 students, maintaining classroom order under these conditions can take so much effort that there is simply no time for learning, so it is common for teachers to simply ignore disruptive students and concentrate their attention on motivated students. The result of this is that motivated students, who must pass extremely difficult university entrance exams, receive disproportionate resources, while the rest of the students are allowed, perhaps expected to, fail. Given that perceptions of school quality are heavily weighted towards the proportion of students passing university entrance exams, this approach diverts resources to where they are most efficient from the perspective of administrators.

The problem, however, is that many students graduate high-school with very unrealistic expectations and little in the way of useful skills, leaving it up to employers or vocational colleges to teach the basic social expectations needed for employment or higher education. Frequent complaints of teachers at the university and college level are that students lack the concept of punctuality, consider that attendance to class is sufficient for a passing grade so use class time to catch up on sleep or email, and lack the self-discipline and motivation needed for effective study. Students frequently refuse to complete homework or class work, or even bring books and paper to class, on the assumption that high-school standards of behavior will be accepted and that an automatic pass grade will be awarded provided they do not actively disrupt classes. University administrators frequently pressure teachers to issue passing grades despite poor achievement due to constraints imposed by the Ministry of Education in relation to funding.


Part 4 of this series will focus on problems involving school discipline


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



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Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Now Available!  2nd Book in the Longquist Series:

Viking Treasure

Avast ye scurvy dogs,
there be danger on the high seas!

The realms of blood-thirsty pirates and powerful Norse raiders collide in Viking Treasure, the exciting second book in The Longquist Adventures series.  Our young hero finds himself on a Viking merchant ship bound for long, lost treasure buried in the new world.

Not fully trusting his one-legged mentor, the time-traveling boy must rely on his own wits and ideals to escape terrifying, colossal beasts and unexpected, treacherous mutiny.  Can he survive in a world where nothing is what it seems?

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Now Available!
Now Available! Now Available!
Part mystery, part science fiction, Year of the Dogman is an imaginative, compelling, and adrenaline-pumping adventure. Author Frank Holes, Jr. takes no prisoners in creating a diabolical creature that leaves the forest to prey on the hapless hamlet of Twin Lakes in Northern Michigan . When night falls, the nocturnal beast, Dogman, scares the living daylights out of anyone he happens upon as he searches for a timeless treasure stolen from a Native American tribe. In the midst of the chaos, a young teacher is forced to put two and two together no matter how high the cost to rid the village of the treacherous man-beast who thrives on destruction and terror.   In The Haunting of Sigma, Frank Holes, Jr. returns fans of the legendary Dogman to the wild world of cryptozoology in Northern Michigan .  This darker, far more sinister prequel to Holess 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. Michigan s legendary Dogman returns in Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen by Frank Holes, Jr.  The third book in the series is a masterful blend of fantasy and folklore, delving into the pre-dawn history of the mysterious creature and then rushing forward to the present day.  The supernatural beast is seen from two fronts.  The first encounter, part of a 1700s French fur-traders 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.   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
Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen 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.  


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





New Teachers' Niche: 
A Place for Teachers New To The Craft

The Writing Process
(part 1)

This is the first article in a series on using the writing process in class. 

We believe that the most dramatic improvements in writing occur at the first steps in the writing process, and that is where we will focus our efforts.  Have your students concentrate on many activities where they brainstorm & organize, and then write out a draft.  This draft might be several sentences, a paragraph, or an essay, or it may be an entry in a journal, a shopping list, a love letter, a poem, a rap, a set of song lyrics, or another type of writing.  

That's not to say that editing, proofreading, and publishing are not important;  on the contrary, these are vital steps for students AFTER they have mastered the first two steps.  As a teacher, you don't have to take every assignment to a final form.  

Its similar to sports.  You want to practice your fundamental skills in basketball before trying to play a game.  The same is true in writing.  Have your students practice the various skills of writing many times before you expect an awesome, polished piece of writing from them. 


Part 2 of this series will examine the terminology important to the writing process.


Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use immediate
ly in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm

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Be sure to check out our website for more great information, tips, and techniques for new teachers, student-teachers, and interns in teacher prep programs. Also be sure to check out our Who-I-Want-To-Be teacher plan for preparing yourself to enter the educational profession.  Simply click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm

Want to check out the articles in our Student-Teaching series?  Check out our special Student-Teaching page through the following link:  http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm



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"Two Horses"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

Who stands by us even though we are not perfect?

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse.

But if you get a closer look you will notice something quite interesting...

One of the horses is blind.

His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made him a safe and comfortable barn to live in.

This alone is pretty amazing.

But if you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. It is coming from a smaller horse in the field.

Attached to the horse's halter is a small, copper-colored bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends you'll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, he will stop occasionally to look back, making sure that the blind friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect. Or because we have problems or challenges.

He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse, being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives.

And at other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way.


What's New @ StarTeaching?


Greetings to our readers, and welcome to your second July 2010 issue of Features for Teachers.  We're moving into the second half of the summer. Its time, not only to take in those last few weeks of relaxing vacation but also to begin planning our classes for the fall.  

Hank Kellner is back with a seventh article from his book, Write What You See.   We also have an article from Michael Kett on using magic in the classroom.  And as always, we have articles with practical ideas and techniques to be applied directly into your classroom.   

And be sure to check out our article archives on our website: www.starteaching.com

We have great science activities by Helen de la Maza as well as a new set of weekly math problems from Mary Ann Graziani.  We know you'll find these useful for your class! 

And be sure to check out our FACEBOOK page for StarTeaching for more reader interaction and constant, updated streams of educational information.  

Thanks again for your continued support!  ~Frank Holes, Jr.


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"Seldom was any knowledge given to keep, but to impart; the grace of this rich jewel is lost in concealment."

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What is knowledge?


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Describe someone you know who is 'knowledgeable' about a certain topic.


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What has been the biggest accomplishment of your summer so far?


How do people gain knowledge?


List 5 topics from which you'd like to gain more knowledge.


Do people gain more knowledge as they grow older?  Why or why not?


Tell about a time you have gained knowledge.  What did you learn?  Why?


 How can you make yourself a better person this summer?

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Year of the Dogman

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Writing Process Articles

Check out the entire collection of writing articles, including:
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A Passion For The Past: Creative Teaching of 
US History

By James A. Percoco



Coming Soon:

Preparing for Student Teaching

Technology & Teaching: 21st Century Teaching and Learning

Writing Process and Programs

Article of the Week


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See All Weekly Math Problems from 2007-2009!

click here for the math archives!

10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 Ted, who is 15 years old, is three times as old as his brother. How old will Ted be when he is twice as old as his brother?
Day 2 Sam put 21 pencils in 3 equal groups. How many pencils are in each group?  Write a number sentence to solve.
Day 3 Jane put 12 erasers in 4 equal groups. How many erasers are in each group?  Write a number sentence to solve.
Day 4 Dave put 42 crayons in 6 equal groups. How many crayons are in each group?  Write a number sentence to solve.
Day 5 Tim put 30 rulers in 5 equal groups. How many rulers are in each group?  Write a number sentence to solve.
Day 6 At the bake sale, Judy sold 2/3 of her cookies for 25 cents each. She had 4 cookies left. How much money did Judy collect?
Day 7 At the bake sale, Judy also sold 5/6 of her brownies for 50 cents each. She had 2 brownies left. How much money did Judy collect?
Day 8 At the lemonade stand, Mike sold 3/4 of his cups of lemonade for 30 cents each. He had 10 cups left. How much money did Mike collect?
Day 9 Tony cuts a piece of string into two smaller pieces that are in a ratio 8:5.
The shorter piece is 20 cm.
What was the length of the original piece of string?
Day 10 Jerry cuts a submarine sandwich into two smaller pieces that are in a ratio 3:2

The shorter piece is 6 inches.

What was the length of the original sub sandwich?


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




Tech-Ed Articles

Check out our entire collection of technology articles, including:
* 21st Century Learning
* Integrating Technology
* Computer Literacy
* REAL activities you can use!




Science Activities For Any Setting
By Helen de la Maza
Sound Mapping
(click for PDF)


Shape Scavenger Hunt
(click for PDF)


Click HERE to see all of 
Helen's Science Activities


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Inspirational Quotes
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Learning in Hand is an educator's resource for using some of the coolest technologies with students. Tony Vincent
Tony is a teacher who wants to make education effective, relevant, and fun. He knows handhelds are small computers that can make a big difference in classrooms!  He hopes Learning in Hand inspires and motivates teachers to use technology that students crave.






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Using Photography To Inspire Writing
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