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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 6, Issue 9
May 2010
StarTeaching Store Advertise with us Previous Articles Submit an Article FREE Reports Feature Writers Tech Center New Teacher's Niche

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

What's New @ StarTeaching   Visual versus Auditory Communication: Which Works?   Reader Response:
Ask Dr. Manute
NEW! Tony Vincent's Blog:
The Simpsons and Phones in School
Need For Action Research In Education Themes on Life: 
"The Frogs and The Tower"
NEW! Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Reading Recovery (part 1)
New Teacher's Niche:
Teaching and Coaching: What I Didn't Know And What I Couldn't Know
Student Teachers' Lounge:
Preparing For Your Student-Teaching Experience (part 1)
Book of the Month Club:
Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and The Way They Learn
  Website of the Month:
Udutu Online Course Developer
  Spring 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



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Ask Dr. Manute

The Doctor is in!!!  After his brief stay overseas, Dr. Manute is pleased to be back stateside answering questions from our readers.  

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.

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

A couple of months ago, I responded to a question about pink slips.  We recently received a follow-up question.  A reader in Michigan asked whether an actual pink slip was required when a layoff occurs. 

Dr. Manute,

I read your interesting comments about pink slips. 

I was recently informed verbally by my supervisor that my name was being submitted to the board for layoff due to seniority - a deviously twisted rational. The board quickly passed the resolution without comment except a "with sincere regrets". The next morning I received a letter from the personnel office, but with no reason to single me out for layoff.

My inexperienced lawyer wants to contest the decision citing the lack of due process including the lack of a written pink slip. A written pink slip is traditional, but is it required?

R. Van Andel
Harrison Township, MI


Dr. Manute's response:

My experience has been that a notice from the Board of Education that a layoff is occurring is legal and binding.  Now, to address other parts of the question, the reader didnt say if he was teaching in a public or private school or whether he was a tenured or probationary employee.  It sounds like the new teaching schedule was made and this employee was being replaced by a teacher with higher seniority.  Building principals make up their schedule filling teaching slots with highly qualified teachers.  In Michigan schools are really hurting because of decreasing enrollment and State Department of Education cuts.  Budgets are being reduced which equates to downsizing in employees.  When a budget consists of 85% salaries it is not too difficult to see where the cuts are coming from.  This means fewer teachers and larger class sizes.  When it comes to layoffs, it is not always the least senior person who gets cut - again, it depends on who is highly qualified to teach what.

Now, in terms of due process, all employees are entitled to this.  I would suggest this reader consult his local association and ask for its help.  The association is part of the process and that is one service they provide.  If not satisfied, the reader can consult the state association.  Either way someone needs to provide some answers.  Normally when a Board of Education is involved in the layoff process, the school attorneys have been consulted and provided legal assistance.  It is really tough to see energetic teachers (whether new or experienced) lose their jobs.  Hopefully the economy will turn around and schools will be back on the building track and not the cutting track.   

Yours in teaching, 

Dr. Manute


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The Simpsons and 
Phones in School

Courtesy of Tony Vincent,
Learning in Hand Blog

Learning in Hand is an educator's resource for using some of the coolest technologies with students.Tony Vincent

Learning in Hand is written by Tony Vincent. Tony taught fifth grade in Omaha, Nebraska for six years, and three of those years his students were pioneers in educational handheld computing. Then, as technology specialist at Willowdale Elementary, Tony brought the newest technologies into classrooms. Whether it was digital video, blogs, email, podcasts, or handhelds, Tony helped Willowdale teachers and students understand the usefulness of new technologies. Currently, Tony is self-employed as an education consultant. He conducts workshops, presents at conferences, and writes books based on his teaching experiences and passion for new technologies.

Always excited to share, Tony has documented much of what he knows about handheld computing and podcasting on his website, learninginhand.com. There you'll find useful software collections, the best webs links for handhelds, complete lesson plans, and an informative blog.

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.

The Sunday, October 4th episode of The Simpsons cartoon pokes fun at technology in schools. The show opens with Bart Simpson's teacher, Edna Krabappel, grading papers as she gets out of bed.

The episode cuts to Edna standing in front of a classroom full of students playing games, watching videos, texting, and talking on their mobile phones. It is chaotic. She struggles to gain the class' attention. Many mobile phones have apps you can download for practicing multiplication problems. Perhaps redirecting students to those apps could grab their attention and be self-grading. Then she could walk around with a clipboard noting each student's progress. Admittedly, dealing with several different kinds of mobile phone platforms would be annoying since they all work differently and have different sets of applications available.

Ms. Krabappel asks, "You're children! Why do you all need cell phones?" They yell out "Safety," "Emergency," and "Educational." These reasons are shouted out as an automatic response to the teacher's question, all the while students continue their talking, texting, and gaming. The reasons to bring phones to class don't matter to the students. As long as they get to have their toys, they are are happy.

Edna then sighs and says, "Could you at least set them to vibrate?" Once on vibrate, the phones make even more noise. The teacher gets fed up and collects all of the phones from her students. She proclaims, "No more gizmos in this class." The students are very disappointed. There seems to be no happy medium when it comes to mobile phone use. The free-for-all didn't work. Simply putting the phones on vibrate didn't work. So banning, not classroom management or curriculum integration, is Edna's answer.

"Hey, don't worry, we still have the good old classroom computer," Edna explains as she walks over to a very outdated machine and inserts a floppy diskette. The game that appears on the screen is very simple and outdated, especially compared to the interactive and complex games the students were playing on their phones. The students' phones (a.k.a. handheld computers) are each far more powerful and interactive than the classroom computer. It's a shame that potential learning tools are locked in a drawer.

Because of unrelated events, Ms. Krabappel is replaced. Her replacement invites phones, texting, Facebook, blogging, Twitter, and other "cool" stuff into the classroom. Of course, the students are thrilled with his paperless classroom. The students are shown to be excited about what they are doing in class, but are they actually learning anything aside from the technology itself?

One of the "cool" things the new teacher does is emails his students a video where he wears jerseys with numbers that are multiples of seven. The jersey video reminds me of Mrs. Burk, the rapping math teacher. The new teacher may be on to something. Lots of teachers are making videos and podcasting. Students seem to respond better to videos that feature people they know.

During class, the new teacher asks, "Who can tell me what the Monroe Doctrine was?" One student recites, "The policy of President Monroe that America has a right as a nation to..." The teacher interrupts the student and asks, "Are you telling me that you memorized that fact when anyone with a cell phone can find it out in 30 seconds?" The student realizes, "I've crammed my head full of garbage!" Again, there seems to be no happy medium. It's either lots of memorization of facts vs. only search for facts. Yes, students need to know how to find information. And yes, there are things that students shouldn't have to research because they remember them.

In the end, The Simpsons' parody of mobile phones in schools probably changes the minds of no one. Those that are absolutely opposed to inviting student-owned phones will see the craziness of the first classroom scene as what would really happen in the classroom full of phones--a huge distraction with no learning. Those who want to give students access to any and all technology in classrooms will witness the excited reactions of Bart Simpson's classmates as evidence that using today's technologies are a very good thing--learning should be chaotic.

The happy medium that I prefer is using school-owned devices. A class set of iPod touches checked out to students for the school year can be more easily managed. Each student would have access to the same hardware and apps. The teacher can control what apps are installed and what features are enabled. Of course, it's costly to outfit a class of students with handhelds. I do continue to be interested in the idea of students bringing their own devices to class. It would be less costly and demonstrate to students that any device can be used for learning. But it has to be done in the right way with the right philosophy behind it. What are your thoughts about mobile phones in schools? Please comment.

If you enjoy The Simpsons brand of humor, you'll get a kick out of other gags in the show. Those in the U.S. can watch the entire episode, "Bart Gets a Z," on Hulu.




iPod Touch

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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:



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

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Preparing For Your Student-Teaching Experience
(part 1)

This is the first in a series of articles designed for college interns getting ready for their student-teaching experience. Student teaching is the final step for most teaching programs, and having a positive experience is vital for new teachers. This series of articles will provide many ideas, tips, and suggestions for young educators to make the most of the experience.

There are many questions you'll want to pose to yourself far in advance of your student teaching experience. It is important to think carefully about them, as they will help to guide the actions and decisions you make. What kind of teacher do you want to become? Are there other teachers who have been a positive influence on you? Who have been your role models? Are there teachers you've had whose style you want to emulate? Are there teachers you know you don't want to be like? What has worked for some teachers that you want to implement in your own practice?

Who do you see yourself as? What style will you create for your own teaching? How will you balance the subject matter with the care for kids? How do you want the students to see you? How do you want your students to remember you five, ten, or twenty years later on? Will they remember you as a positive influence on them? Could you potentially change their lives?

Create a plan to become your dream. Do it now. Talk with teachers you admire and respect: those you want to model yourself after. Discuss the techniques and ideas that work for them, and use or adapt what you feel is useful. You can also check out the FREE teacher "Who I Want To Be" inventory available on our website. It gives ideas, provides guidance, and helps to create a plan for starting out on your teaching career.

Click here for the "Who I Want To Be" plan: http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm

Meeting your mentor teacher as early as possible is very important.  The two of you must form a bond, a cohesive unit in the classroom.  Your co-op teacher will become the most important contact for this point in your career. They provide you not only with support, guidance, and structure, but also critique. Your co-op teacher's evaluation and recommendation is vital to your resume and to interviewing.

Planning will become very important to every aspect of your life, from school to your personal life. One huge difference is planning for class. Not anymore are you just setting up an activity or a day's lesson plan. Now you must think in terms of the long haul. It becomes a campaign where you must have an overall picture of what you'll cover with your students.

Also within this overall framework, you must have weekly and then daily plans. You'll also have to reflect daily and adjust and (re-adjust) your plans depending upon how each lesson or activity goes (or doesn't go!) The daily grind is often interrupted by school-wide activities, fire drills, and those 'teachable moments' that happen on the spur of the moment. You'll need to be flexible and able to adapt on a daily (or even hourly) basis. But that's a part of teaching!

Another concern many new teachers and student teachers have is becoming involved in extra-curricular activities. There are several ways to look at this. First, it is a good idea to become involved in extra-curriculars at your school. These are good resume' builders, and your involvement shows potential employers you are a team player and willing to go the extra mile for your school and job. Extra curriculars also set you up in a new and different relationship with those students. They are able to see you in a different role too, and many times you're able to create in-roads with students whom you might not otherwise make a connection. Of course, taking part in extra-curriculars means more time and efforts put in, especially when you're already pulled in all directions. However, it is in your best interest to find an activity you can join, even if just as an assistant.

You will also need to carefully plan your personal time while student teaching. In addition to the increased teaching and planning load, your time will be further divided by your college, which undoubtedly has course work or projects for you to accomplish. There are always hoops to jump through. If you have a family, you'll be pulled in even more directions as you find the new balance between home and work.

Our next articles will focus on the duties of student teachers, including observing, team teaching, and flying solo. We'll get you started in becoming accustomed to your class and school, and what specific steps you can take right now and this summer to prepare.

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

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



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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

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  StarTeaching Feature Writer

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Visual versus Auditory Communication - 
Which Works? 

By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher

Mark Benn teaches math and ELA at Inland Lakes Middle School in Indian River, MI. He completed his Masters of Science from Full Sail University on June 4, 2010. He is the educational/ technology writer for an online newletter called Star Teaching. He can be reached via email at mackinacfurtrader@gmail.com.

Have you ever started the day with high hopes for your classroom and had those hopes dashed by your students lack of response or confusion? Have you communicated directions and then had to repeat them over and over again as if the students werent paying attention? As teachers, weve all experienced this and the frustrations that go with it. 

My Action Research Project focused on instructional communication and how it might be delivered effectively through technology. The idea behind this was to discover how to deliver this communication, in what is normally an auditory fashion, in a way using various technology tools. Three classes of 5th graders were involved in the study totaling approximately 68 students. 

My premise for this was the fact that according to recent brain research, we are inherently visual. Ian Jukes, in his Understanding the Digital Generation-keynote perspective states: Digital bombardment has a particularly strong effect on the visual cortex in the back of the brain. A study at the University of Rochester found that visual processing skills increase with as little as 10 hours of gameplay. The same research, however, shows that when information is presented orally, after 72 hours people only remember about 10%. Add picture content to the material, however, and the retention skyrockets up to 65%. With the simple addition of supporting visuals, you could increase students retention by as much as 650%. This is because the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. Our brains are designed for visual content. Of our total nerve cells in the brain, 30% are dedicated to sight, while only 8% are for touch and a mere 3% for hearing. At our core, we are inherently visual learners. Its only natural for our students to be more inclined to process images than text. Their brains are simply designed that way. 

In other research, I found nothing that dealt with instructional communication using technology.  However, there were a number of projects that focused on communication in regards to the classroom. Two in particular were Tomlinson (2009), and Cook (2008). In Tomlinson (2009), she talked about all four of the learning profile categories learning style, gender, culture and intelligence preference, and how they impact learning. In Cook (2008), she dealt with motivation and how Immediacy, Relevance, and Learning Environment play a role in student motivation.  I believe that learning style, intelligence preference, motivation, and learning environment play a key role in successful communication. This research supported my research and I wasnt surprised by my results. 

I began by using a tool as simple as PowerPoint on a daily basis. Using PowerPoint allows you to post directions that students can see over and over. You do need to make it dynamic by having the directions animate onto the screen in a repeated fashion. It catches their eyes more. You create a template and then use that on a daily basis so its already setup for animation. I found the position of the font on the slide was important and affected whether the students saw it or not. Color was another variable to whether it caught
their eye. Students of todays digital generation, according to research, favor blood red or pink, followed by neon green and then burnt orange. The backgrounds that are favored are either blue or black. The color combination that they unconsciously ignore is black text on a white background. What surprised me was the fact that the students feel more confident they are doing what is expected because they can continue seeing it. I was able to communicate up to five different directions and found a 90 to 100% success rate. Try that same thing audibly and you wont get past the first direction. 

Another technology tool I used was an application called ScreenFlow. This application allows you to capture anything on your computer screen and add audio to it. Screenflow is a dynamic program for guiding students through the steps you want them to achieve. The nice thing is that they can watch it over and over again. I posted tutorials on anything I had the students doing on the computer. It showed them by visual and audible means what they were to do that day. It is important before you record to walk yourself through what you are going to show in the tutorial on your computer. This will save time and extra recordings due to mistakes. This whole idea links up to why its important to have a website to post these tutorials on.  

Speaking of Websites, it is my belief that every teacher today should have a website for their classroom. There are several free websites available online that are simple to use and are effective. (Word Press, Proto Page, Google)  I have mine through MobileMe and use iWeb. One major benefit is that you can post links for websites dealing with subject matter you use. Its much easier for students to click than to type a website URL. It also keeps them engaged at what they are supposed to be doing online. Another reason for having a website is to post student work online.  This communicates to
parents what their child has achieved. Ive had parents tell me their child goes online to my website and uses the links when they are at home. This allows for additional learning. You can post handouts and make them available for downloading. 


Another fabulous tool that catches students attention and holds it is an application called Comic Life. It makes pictures that look like a comic book page. Its best to use pictures of the students and then you just add your directions. The students love it because they are a part of it and it engages them visually.

Other ideas I have tried are student created webcasts, posting review lessons online, and Udutu, www.myudutu.com, a free online e-learning website. 

What stood out most, and was unexpected, was the fact that 85% of the students felt more confident in themselves and what they are doing when communication comes through technology. Eighty percent felt class went more smoothly because of this.

On the negative side, 28% are frustrated most of the time when communication is given audibly and overall 90% are frustrated at least partially. In looking at these facts it becomes apparent that the way things have been done in the past need to change. If the students are to be successful in the classroom, technology must be used for communication. With the advent of the Internet and our digital multi-media world todays students are upwards of 90% visual kinesthetic. That is why I believe my research was successful. It met the students right where they are at today. 


Cook, L. (2008). The impact of teacher immediacy, learning environment and  curriculum; Relevance on student motivation. Texas Science Teacher, 37(2), 9-19.  Retrieved October 24, 2009, from Education Research Complete database. 

Jukes, I. (2010). Understanding the Digital Generation-keynote perspective. Retrieved  from www.committedsardine.com/ handouts.cfm. 

Tomlinson, C. (2009). Learning Profiles & Achievement. School Administrator, 66(2),  28-34. Retrieved October 24, 2009, from Education Research Complete database. 

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




  StarTeaching Feature Writer

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Need For Action Research In Education

By Munir Moosa Sewani


Munir Moosa Sewani is one of the most famous, prominent and creative names in the field of Education in the past 9 years. He is a Master Trainer In Special Education, Post Graduate, Teacher Educator and a Teacher. He is a Freelance Writer and Photographer, in addition to his role as a featured writer for StarTeaching's newsletter for more than three years now. He is an author of the famous self-published storybook for children titled "The MORAL STORIES FOR CHILDREN" and has also written a Biology book for Secondary Classes. He has written more than 75 articles dealing with social, health, educational and cultural issues, which are internationally recognized and published in famous world wide websites, newsletters, magazines and newspapers. 

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

His future plan is to write dozens of informative books and articles and to work in the education field and the media, in order to develop the sense of understanding many dimensions of life through his creativity.

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

The challenges in the field of education are escalating day by day, which have created a demand for conducting quality research to improve education standards. Not enough research is being conducted by educators to find solutions to the challenges, but as an individual, a teacher can at least endeavor to conduct research to improve standards of teaching as well as his/her own skills. Research is considered to be a more formal, systematic, intensive process of carrying on the scientific method of analysis. Research is a vast and multi-dimensional concept that has many dimensions. It is an endless quest for knowledge or an unending search for truth. It brings to light knowledge or corrects previous errors or misconceptions and adds in an orderly way to the existing body of knowledge. 

Out of many types of research, Action Research is the most systematic research that helps teachers to improve their curricular practice. 

Kurt Lewin (1946) has been credited with the development of the idea of Action Research. The evolution of an action research agenda in education has been influenced by people such as Kemmis (1983), Ebbutt (1985), Elliott (1991), Hopkins (1985) and others. 

Action Research is not mainly concerned in obtaining generalized scientific knowledge about educational problems, but in obtaining specific knowledge concerning the subjects involved in the study. It is a type of applied or decision-oriented research, but with the stipulation that the researcher is the same person as the practitioner who will make and live with the decision. Many times people think that Action Research is a job for specialists; a teacher is also a specialist in his/her field who can conduct effectual quality research while teaching.

It is a bitter truth that the standard of education in my country is dubious, as there is no central education policy. There are more than 30 boards running in Pakistan, rather than having one. On the other hand, there is no quality assurance provided by the officials of the relevant department. At the same time, when a teacher tries to implement any new component, it is criticized. The management never allows a teacher to bring any changes in the course, but as a leader of a class, new teaching methodologies and strategies can be applied through action research for the same course planned by the school management.  The purpose of Action Research is not only to bring changes in the curriculum but also for those who are to improve the practices. Action Research has helped a lot to improve classroom teachings in Pakistan. It can also help teachers of public and private schools to reflect back on teaching practices and later learn from their own assessment.

If the teachers are encouraged to come out with their problems and are provided the necessary facilities in the form of guidance and help in conducting Action Research, they can solve their problems with great satisfaction. 

Action Research has many characteristics: it is focused on the immediate problems and is applicable in a local setting; it aims at improving classroom and school practice and for the improvement of professional efficiency; it also helps private and public sectors to improve person capabilities; it broadens and depends the general as well as specific fund of knowledge; new interests, new motives and new insights can be acquired through it. 

Action Research can be easily taken up by a school teacher and can tackle day-to-day problems easily. Lets take an example of a class where a child usually finishes the activity before time is up. As a researcher and creative teacher, making this child sit still will never work.  The teacher can try new strategies, like giving that child more tasks or some more complex activity which can meet his/her level of understanding. In the same manner, a teacher can record her teaching in a camcorder or on an audio tape and see/listen to it later on to see his/her weakness and strength. A reflective diary is an alternative way for a teacher to checklist the student's learning. Moreover, it helps to know one's skills and provides ample opportunities to learn from his/her own mistakes.  

Action Research on the part of the teacher helps students to acquire skills in problem solving and scientific methodology. It enables teachers to organize instructional procedures on a more reliable and sound basis. It develops an attitude of inquiry in the teachers which can help them to find the causes, analyze the causes, and try to diagnose the problems.

Thus, Action Research can powerfully and rapidly develop the technique of teaching. It can assist in creating new interests and add confidence in the ability of the individual teachers. If the teacher is sympathetic to the spirit of research then it can help him/her to improve the practices and can surely play a major role in raising the standards of education.

Look for part 2 of this series in our next issue!


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Reading Recovery
(part 1)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Reading Recovery is a supplementary education program that aims to offer the lowest-achieving first-grade children an effective method of English language reading and writing instruction. It was designed to compromise between the two "schools" of beginning reading education, intensive phonics instruction and the whole language approach.

The program was developed in the 1970s by New Zealand educator Dr. Marie Clay. In 1984 Dr. Gay Su Pinnell and Dr. Charlotte Huck of Ohio State University introduced the method to the United States. "Reading Recovery" is a registered trademark of Ohio State University in the U.S.

Reading Recovery sites operated in four Canadian provinces, 48 U.S. States, and the District of Columbia. Approximately 60,000 North American children were served by Reading Recovery educators during the 1993-94 school year. In California alone, more than 500 school districts served approximately 5000 children. The program is also implemented in Australia, Canada, and England.

According to its inventors and advocators, Reading Recovery combines extensive teacher education with an emphasis on the development of phonological awareness and the use of contextual information to assist reading. They claim it to be an educationally sound and cost-effective early intervention program for helping children who are at-risk of early reading failure.

What is the teacher's role?

An essential component of the Reading Recovery program is the training of the teachers who provide the tutorial instruction. Reading Recovery teachers learn to observe, analyze, and interpret the reading and writing behaviors of individual students and to design and implement an individual program to meet each student's needs. Just as the Reading Recovery children engage in social interaction with the teacher, Reading Recovery teachers engage in social interaction with their colleagues and mentors to construct a view of learning and teaching that supports literacy learning.

Part 2 of this series will look at the Reading Recovery Method and a typical lesson


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



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Now Available!  3rd Book in the Dogman Series:

Nagual: Dawn Of The Dogmen

Michigan s legendary Dogman returns in Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen by Frank Holes, Jr.  The third book in the series is a masterful blend of fantasy and folklore, delving into the pre-dawn history of the mysterious creature and then rushing forward to the present day.  The supernatural beast is seen from two fronts.  The first encounter, part of a 1700s French fur-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.  We then return to the modern day as the Dogman rampages across the fields and forests, the farms and camps of Grand Traverse and Benzie Counties in northern Michigan .  The supernatural beast is hunting for the remnants of its stolen, ancient treasure that will give it immortality and unlimited power.  Can two young camp counselors put an end to the chaos without losing their lives?

Click Here For The
Nagual: Dawn Of The Dogmen Website

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.


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 Viking Treasure, the hit sequel, this summer!

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

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What I didnt know and what I couldnt know! 

By Dr. Mike Kanitz, coach and educator

Dr. Mike (Coach) Kanitz has been involved in athletics and education for 58 years at the high school, collegiate, and semi-professional (coaching) levels. He was recently honored with his induction into the Michigan Amateur Football Hall of Fame.  He believes strongly in the interconnection of schooling and athletics.

Coaching and teaching are the same thing in reality. To distinguish them as separate entities would be a mistake. After thirty some years in the classroom, I can honestly say that starting out as a young teacher/coach was very difficult. What I didnt know and couldnt know was that my Quarterback would some day be my realtor, my Guard would be my dentist, and one of my Centers would be a car dealer/owner I would buy two cars from. A star Defensive Back would make the FBIs Ten Most Wanted List and a Defensive End would become the warden of the Watergate prison.

I say my because of the energy invested in each and all of these youngsters as students and athletes. The oilman who visits two weeks per year at his million-dollar condo near my apartment was my manager. I never should have yelled at him that much! When my children were small and the school secretary would say to me, You just wait until your children are in high school.

I couldnt have known! Her kids were in high school and I couldnt have known the burden of parenting teenagers! While I was heavy into discipline, I didnt know discipline was a form of love or respect. As a young teacher I didnt know that you never take anything youngsters do personally. I incorrectly thought they were stabbing me in the back when they broke my rules. I wasnt the smartest coach/teacher, but I really was dumb! 

Teaching would have been even more rewarding for me if I had understood that delaying gratification in seeing the fruits of ones labor was part of the career choice. There is no immediate feedback for the tremendous energy put forth by a teacher. A coach gets a winning season some of the time and a teacher gets a peaceful semester some of the time. But, most of the time, the rewards come a long time after the work is applied. I didnt understand that dynamic and that led to the pressure and frustration of trying to get it right! 
I always thought batting 300 was something special. How did I not know striking out was 700 percent of the time? How did I not know the space rocket was off course 90 percent of the time on its way to the moon? Why did I think it took off and went straight to the moon, orbiting on its way?

How come I wasnt told that success in future life has only one statistically significant correlation. And that is involvement in co-curricular or extra curricular activities. I assumed future success was related to academics and grades! 

Did they try to tell us that teaching wouldnt be all roses in those teacher-education classes? Was I not listening?

Late in my career I finally figured it out. Teaching was a journey, not a destination! When a person gives the self-permission to enjoy the journey, everything seems to change. The individual stops sweating the small stuff, because everything is the small stuff! Teaching is a gift you keep giving back, not something you keep for yourself. When I learned that secret, teaching became a real joy. 

I wish I wasnt a slow-learner!

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"The Frogs and the Tower"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

Where do you find the strength to reach your goals?

There once was a bunch of tiny frogs...

... who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants...

The race began...

Honestly, no-one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. You heard statements such as:

"Oh, WAY too difficult!!"

"They will NEVER make it to the top".

"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"

The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one...

... Except for those who in a fresh tempo were climbing higher and higher...

The crowd continued to yell

"It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"

More tiny frogs got tired and gave up...

...But ONE continued higher and higher and higher...

This one wouldn't give up!

At the end, everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!

THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it?

A contestant asked the tiny frog how the one who succeeded had found the strength to reach the goal?

It turned out...

That the winner was deaf.





What's New @ StarTeaching?


This month, our web partner Tony Vincent shares a fun, yet poignant view of using handhelds in school.  Featured writers Mark Benn and Munir Moosa Sewani both share information on Action Research in educational settings.  And our own Dr. Manute answers a follow up question on the subject of pink slips.  

Our Website of the Month features Udutu, an online interactive course developer. We're also featuring articles on the Reading Recovery method and starting up a news series on Preparing For The Student Teaching Experience.  And be sure to join up on our FACEBOOK page for StarTeaching for more reader interaction as well as constant, updated streams of educational information.  

Of course, you should also check our website for a number of updates and re-designed pages.  We're starting to collect quite a few articles from educational experts all over the world.  See these archives on our website: www.starteaching.com



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What are FIVE important advancements in technology that impact your life at home?


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Describe THREE ways that new technology can be harmful to humans.


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Year of the Dogman

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Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and The Way They Learn

By Larry Rosen, PhD



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Preparing For the Spring

Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum

Writing Process and Programs

Classroom Management


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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 Something is on sale for $750.00 and it is  advertised  13% percent off? How much is it going to cost?
Day 2 How do you write 0.9 in words?
Day 3 In 0.73, which digit is in the tenths place?
Day 4 In 0.76, in which place is the 6?
Day 5 In 3.25, which digit is in the tenths place?
Day 6 In 5.72, which digit is in the hundredths place?
Day 7 In 0.13, in which place is the 3?
Day 8 In 0.74, in which place is the 4?
Day 9 In 0.81, which digit is in the hundredths place?
Day 10 Something is on sale for $325.00 and it is  advertised  37% percent off? How much is it going to cost?


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





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Science Activities For Any Setting
By Helen de la Maza
Habitat Lesson
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Habitat Bingo
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Udutu Online Course Developer




Using Photography To Inspire Writing
By Hank Kellner

Visit his blog at: hank-englisheducation.



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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