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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 6, Issue 20
October 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   Book Review: Educational Leadership in Pakistan   Learners, Learning, and Curriculum: the 5-E Model (part 2)
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Write What You See":
Creating Powerful Responses
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
21st Century Learning?  This is the Answer!
From the Admin Desk: Meet or Exceed Expectations
NEW! Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Educational Therapy
New Teacher's Niche:
The Writing Process (part 7)
Student Teachers' Lounge: Maximize Your Study Time
Book of the Month Club:
Improving Teacher Quality: A Guide For Education Leaders
  Website of the Month:
  Themes on Life: 
"How To Tell If You're A Real Teacher"
Article of the Week: "Michigan Urban Legends"   Autumn 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.

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



Book Review: Educational Leadership in Pakistan- Ideals and Realities

Reviewed by Munir Moosa Sewani
and Salima 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 nearly four 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.


Educational Leadership in Pakistan- Ideals and Realities

Edited by: Jan-e-Alam Khaki and Qamar Safdar
Published in 2010 by Oxford University Press
Available with Oxford University Press No. 38, Sector 15
Korangi Industrial Area Karachi-74900 Pakistan
and Liberty Books, Next to Bar B.Q. Tonight, Shop No. G-1,
Plot # GP-5, Block 5, Clifton, Karachi
Tel: 021-35374153
ISBN No. 9780199060108
Pages: 350
Price: 675

It is wisely said that the quality of leadership makes a significant difference to educational institutions. Effective leaders and managers can provide ample opportunities to the learners to learn and to produce better learning outcomes. Educational leadership and management empower individuals with new ways of providing guidance.

In western world, the need of effective leaders and managers is highlighted on many platforms, because educationists of the western world consider leadership as an agent of change. They feel that it is through the knowledge and creative ideas of the leaders, education system can be improved.

During the last few decades, although the concept of leadership and management in education virtually existed in Pakistan, but was neither appreciated nor implemented practically. With the pace of time and through the efforts of educationists like Dr. Jan-e-Alam Khaki and Qamar Safdar, the concept is taking roots in transforming educational practices in Pakistan. This book is significant because this is the first ever book on educational leadership, published in Pakistan. The editors of the book, Dr. Jan e Alam Khaki and Qamar Safdar are the intellectual assets of our countries, whose contribution to the field of education is notable. Both distinguished scholars are currently working at Aga Khan University, Institute of Education Development and have contributed their crucial part in advocating policies of education.

There are varieties of insightful and thought provoking topics in the book, each supplement our learning experiences. The learning experiences are shared by the qualified education practitioners. The issues related to educational leadership are highlighted rationally.

The book is divided into four sections and fourteen chapters; each discusses issues and its remedial measures.

Section one deals with the development of education leadership in Pakistan. The second section looks at the perceptions and practices of leadership in Pakistan. The third section explores the role of leaders as an agent of change, while the fourth section investigates the future prospects of educational leadership in Pakistan.

In the first chapter chapter, the issues and nature of governance during pre and post independence and educational governance are highlighted. The comparative study about the structure of education, during British and after the partition is the limelight of the chapter, which tells us how the teaching and learning was done with a little involvement of educational management during both the periods. The language barrier, limited role of teacher, aim of education, narrow conception of education, and issues of policies during British period is well elucidated. Moreover, the issues of education system of Pakistan, clash over the medium of instruction in public and private schools, ineffective management, vague teaching methodologies, etc., are highlighted in a unique manner.  The chapter concludes that with the least involvement of educational leadership during both the periods, the system of education implemented was failed.

Today, our education system is neither competitive nor transparent. The only need of time is to bring changes in the policies and to focus on the challenges of education, to save our future generations, and that is only possible if we adopt leadership strategies rather overshadowing the issues.

In the second chapter, the writer has reflected upon the understanding of effective leadership. She has particularly highlighted the importance of leadership in context of the developing countries through philosophical approach of Katha. The chapter revolves around the story of a head teacher, who imaginatively explores many things and enlightened her thoughts by exploring ways. The writer believes that the method of story telling is far more insightful and effective to learn and derive meanings from their actions and attitudes and to understand the responsibilities of an effective education leader and can be instrumental towards understanding the purpose of educational leadership in Eastern context. All in all, it tells that it is our responsibility to bring changes through leadership. We need to sharpen our reasoning skills through imaginative thinking. The chapter is well written and provides good example for the amateur teachers to learn from her rich experiences.

Reflecting upon teaching practices always helps a teacher to learn, improve and overcome weaknesses. The third chapter, Journey of a Female Pedagogical Leader in a Traditional Community Context in Pakistan, deals with the same context of reflective practices. The writer has reflected upon her teaching experiences and the journey of transformation and has also highlighted the role of head teachers in the developing countries.

In the fourth chapter, Exploring effective leadership in early years education, Qamar Safdar has elaborated two case studies to highlight the role of effective head teachers of early years in school. The chapter clearly shares the role of head teachers of early years and reflects upon their capacity and ability.

The next chapter is a case study of head teachers from the Northern area; challenges s/he faced to improve school and how the teachers tackle the challenges.

The highlight of the book is chapter number 6, Effective School Leadership Practices, in which, the editor of the book, Jan-e-Alam Khaki shared case studies based on his doctoral research. The topic explores the role of head teachers, their beliefs and their influences on the teaching and learning practices in schools. The chapter revolves round the struggle of three head teachers, who tried to bring changes in their schools and played their part in raising the quality of education. The chapter reminds me a quote of Alexander The Great, there is nothing impossible to him who will try.

In section number 3, each chapter highlights the role of different change agents in improving the teaching practices and in bringing positive changes in their respective institutions.

In the last section, future prospects of educational leadership in Pakistan is stressed by the scholars in the light of current estimates and future expectations

The overall book is in context to the topic of the book. This book serves as a pioneer of exploring our thinking about leadership and serves as a driving force to modify government policy and develop alternative approaches based on school-level values and vision.

This book is a real treat for those, who are either veteran or amateur in the field of education and wants to learn from the experiences of veteran scholars.  The book is not only suitable for teachers and educationists, but is the best resource for the Ministry of Education, to bring changes in the education system of Pakistan by rekindling their minds.

The book must be used as a course of Teacher Education at Bachelors, Masters level.

Wish this book all the very best!



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Using Photography To Inspire Writing IX

By Hank Kellner

Creating Powerful Responses

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.

Most photographs of people show their subjects facing the camera. But others capture their subjects from the opposite point of view. When that happens, the thoughts that come to mind can initiate many different kinds of written compositions.

In these two photographs, for example, students can easily perceive several similarities. Both photos show figures looking into what appears to be a darkened store. Both reveal signs that proclaim that the stores are open. Both reveal their subjects from the rear rather than from the front.

At the same time, the photos reveal several differences. In one of the photos, a man is the apparent subject. In the other photo, the subject is a girl. Whats more, the man is looking into an open window while the girl is looking through the glass on a closed door.  Finally, the exteriors of the two stores into which the subjects are peering are quite different.

      That said, student writers should be able to point out even more similarities and differences between the two photos before they develop papers based on comparisons and contrasts.

You Dont Always Have To Be Directive

      One of the nice things about using photographs in the classroom, however, is that teachers dont always have to be directive when they use them to inspire writing.  Many times, simply asking a few leading questions can stimulate students imaginations.

     In this street scene why is the woman standing with her back to the man? What is she carrying in the white bag? What is she looking at? Is she waiting for someone? Is she aware of the man standing behind her?

      What can you tell about the man by the expression on his face? Where is he coming from? Where is he going? Why is he standing where he is? Is he waiting for someone? What is he looking for?

     These and other questions will usually help even the most hesitant writer overcome his or her reluctance to write.

Group Work


      When students work in groups to share ideas and responses, they can often develop interesting and even exciting ideas.  One way to accomplish this is to divide a class into groups of four or five students, distribute copies of the same photograph to each group, and then assign a different task to each group.

     You could, for example, ask one group to describe the woman in terms of her physical and emotional makeup. A second group could describe her in terms of her family. A third group could offer ideas as to where the woman is coming from and where shes going. A fourth group could brainstorm about her dreams and aspirations. A fifth group could discuss what she must have been like as a younger person or child. A sixth group could exchange ideas as to the meaning of the cryptic statement painted on the background.

     When you sense that the members of the groups have exhausted their ideas, you could ask a representative of each group to report to the class as a whole before you direct the students to write either creative or expository pieces based on the information theyve shared.


Signs Can Be Confusing


     As you stroll Houston Street in the East Village of New York City, you find yourself approaching Sex Street . Only in New York you think as you continue on your way. But after you take a few more steps, you see that youre really approaching Essex Street.

     If thats true, you ask, why did the sign seem to read SEX ST ? Then you realize that the DONT HONK sign blocks the first two letters of the ESSEX ST sign.

     If you show this photo to a group of students, youre sure to initiate more than a few chuckles. At the same time, however, you can point out that one can find literally thousands of misleading, confusing, humorous, quirky, and even ominous signs almost anywhere.

     Another good example of an interesting sign is the one that appears outside the San Francisco Giants baseball stadium. Watch Out For All Flying Objects Not Limited To Baseball Bats it proclaims. Using this statement as a springboard, you could initiate class discussion based on violence as it occurs in hockey, football, soccer, and other sports before you assign written compositions.

Images Can Create Powerful Responses

      Each of the images shown here has the ability to initiate powerful responses in the minds of viewers.

In the first image, for example, a viewer might sense apprehension. In the image that shows the old lady with flowers, loneliness might come to mind. The third photo might generate feelings of mystery or danger.

        You can capitalize on this ability by showing your students three or more carefully selected photos and asking them to record, in one word, the first thought or emotion that comes to mind when they view each photo.

        After theyve recorded their impressions, you can ask the students to share them with their classmates, while at the same time telling what there is about the photos that made them feel as they do.
         Finally, you can direct the students to write stories or poems based on one or more of the ideas theyve shared.

Student Photos and Campus Marathons

     Now that were in the digital age, writes Pat West, an instructor at Savannah Technical College , I have my students in my college freshman composition class take photographs to support an observational writing exercise. Then we conduct campus writing marathons to get the students familiar with the process. West also uses family photos to help generate writings about heritage. In another exercise, she sparks critical thinking by showing students Henry O. Tanners painting The Banjo Lesson and asking the question, Who is teaching whom?

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.


iPod Touch

Order your own iPod Touch Today with the links below:



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:



From the Administrator's Desk: 
Leadership for Today's Administrators

Meet or Exceed Expectations

By Jerry Judge, Educational Consultant

Jerry Judge is a Affiliate Professor with Grand Valley State University.  Prior to this he was a High School principal at L'Anse , Kalkaska and Royal Oak for a total of 25 years. During his tenure in education he has observed many changes and has had the opportunity to work with many outstanding teachers in Northern Michigan. His position with Grand Valley is to work with educators on leadership and writing articles on leadership for all educators. 

     Today in school districts there are many opportunities to illustrate leadership. There are school improvement committees, curriculum committees, building faculty committees, and North Central Association committees just to name a few.

     As a building principal I have had the opportunity to observe many teachers as members and leaders of committees. What has stood out are those individuals who have used these opportunities to meet and exceed expectations. They meet all deadlines, keep everyone informed, and have a clear vision of what the finished project should look like. Unfortunately, there are those who serve on committees just to fulfill a responsibility instead of an opportunity to improve their personal leadership abilities.

     I have also observed this in many graduate courses I have instructed. Many of our students are presently employed as administrators. Not only did they complete the course work on time but the quality of the work completed was exceptional.

     One example of a teacher that I had in several classes was Karen Sherwood. Karen was a teacher in Boyne City who always excelled in assignments and projects.  Once she completed her Masters in Educational Leadership she became principal of Boyne City Middle School.  After two years as principal she has just been selected as Superintendent of Boyne Falls Public Schools.  With her ambition and high expectations and ability to exceed in her duties I can only guess what lies ahead.

Grand Valley offers a Masters in Educational Leadership in Boyne City and Cadillac. If you would like to find out more about our program feel free to contact me at: jjudge2935@charter.net  or call me at 231-258-2935.

Many of the topics we will present will be for teachers seeking and administration position and for recently appointed administration. I will also receive comments from those who have just completed their first year as administrators. Since the program in Northern began eleven years ago we have placed over 60 GVSU graduates in administration positions.



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

Maximizing Your Study Time

By Roger Seip
Memory Training For Students

The daily schedule for many young students today could rival that of several top-level executives. With soccer practice, dance, scouts and clarinet lessons taking up much of the evening, when do students get to focus on their studies?

Too often students get overwhelmed with the amount of work left over at the end of the day. They look at study time in one big sum and get distracted and exhausted before they even begin. To solve this problem, you may not be able to adjust your childs schedule, but they can change their study techniques. Here are 3 study techniques that will help any student maximize their study time. 

They should start by separating and segmenting their study time. Break it up into smaller bits. No matter how brilliant you are a concentrated attention span lasts only about 20 minutes. So break your 2 or 4 hours study sessions into groups of 15 or 20 minutes. During the break, stand-up, walk around, grab a bit to eat or something to drink and then get back to the grind for another 15 or 20 minutes. This not only helps create spaced repetition, which is crucial for retention, but helps make study sessions less stressful and daunting. 

Another tool to help in maximizing study time is to use random practice. When reviewing lists or concepts dont go in order. Skip around to force your brain to pull from an entire group of information. This aids in understanding the purpose or meaning behind a concept instead of merely its place in line. The simplest way to implement random practice is through the use of a study partner. 

Use a Study Partner. When at all possible, it is very beneficial to study with another student who shares the same educational goals and motivation. A study partner can help identify areas of weakness and ensure that topics dont get skipped. Its also beneficial to witness how another student takes in and stores information. For this reason and others, it is better for the study partner to be another student, but parent dont be afraid to fill this position. The progress gained from working with a partner is general is worth it. 

Proper and efficient study techniques will follow a student through all levels of education and learning. Establishing good habits and skill sets, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem at the time, will prove to reap massive rewards in the long run. So while little Johnny and Suzy might need their first day planners before the third grade, dont let it stop them from becoming the best students they can. 

About the author: Roger Seip is a nationally known memory trainer. His new program, The Students Winning Edge - Memory Training, teaches students how to train their memory to study more effectively and get better grades. For more information on how your student can have a more powerful memory visit http://www.memorytrainingforstudents.com 



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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Are You Looking To Be Published?

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


  TECH/21st Century CORNER

21st Century Learning? 
This is the Answer!

By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher

Here's a great vocabulary set to begin talking about computer literacy to your students. 

As you read all the articles and blogs, view the videos, and sort through what everybody is saying about the change so badly needed in education, you find this concept has so many parts it's hard to nail it all down. But then I read the article called "30 Strategies for Education Reform" by Prakash Nair located at http://fieldingnair.com/edreformnair1.pdf.  Prakash is not an educationalist. He's an architect who's part of a global award winning company that designs and builds schools. As he worked on schools, he realized that he needed to focus on how students learn in coming up with how to build a school building. As he looked at all the research, he brought together these 30 strategies for today's learning.

He begins this online guidebook with this thought and I quote: "In education, there is widespread support for the idea that every student is important and yet, in practice, systems are set up to favor a few at the expense of the many." After giving supports for why reform is needed, he gives individual guidance for superintendents and board members, principals, parents, teachers, and students on how to use the guidebook. He then lists the 30 strategies while linking them to three categories (pedagogy, organization, and non-academic). After that he gives an overview of each of the strategies. He concludes the guidebook with a survey to get you to put into action what you have just read.

I highly recommend this as a great read. It brings together what everyone is saying and puts wheels on how to get going with 21st century learning and being a world class classroom and school.


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

Learners, Learning, and Curriculum: The '5 E Model'
 (part 2)

By Rozina Jumani & Yasmeen Jumani.


We would like to illustrate few examples to help teachers understand the 5 E model for effective implementation of taught curriculum.


Learners are inspired to read, reflect and review the main theme of the unit. They are encouraged to dig out the main ideas of the text, reflect on scientific anecdote shared, and later link it with the current inventions to mark the differences between old and new age of discoveries and inventions. Thus, throughout the discussion, learners will be able to interact with the text, their main ideas, the historical records etc and they will be able to link the past with present to understand and create their meaning.


Though exploration is a continuous process which allows learners to engage in thinking both back and forth and vice versa, but here in this particular stage, learners explore the kind of life people lived in past as compare to present; hence their comparative ability be enhanced, this will further foster in them reasoning of choosing old times over current time with all its challenges and benefits. They will further explore that if they go back in time, will they be able to live like old people live without ease as science has provided to us now a day? What would happen if we invent those old people into our new world? What be their adjustment issues etc?


In this stage, learners are encouraged to reason out their thinking, become scientist of past and share their difficulties that they undergone due to lack of scientific apparatus etc. We could further inspire them to enhance their reasoning by sharing their individual explanations of why it happened as it happened in past or what would happen if we have to face similar situations etc.


Here at this stage, learners are encouraged to share their reasoning to their peers and teachers as they must have reflected on it for long, there share their arguments with logic so other could get convinced. At this stage teacher facilitate in clarifying the misconception if prevails in learners mind, as the rule of this stage is convince or get convinced. For example, learners would talk about the disadvantages or harm caused to animals and humans by scientific experiments; also they present their suggestion as how to moderate the process in current time.


The last date would lead to construction of new knowledge that has formed based on research and reasoning by following the 5 E model. At this stage, learners will present their understanding about the good and evil of scientific inventions. They will further reason out and predict the future inventions and its effect on human kind. They will also present their arguments whether or not the investments and scholarships to be devoted on scientific inventions. Thus, they all will be able to critically reflect on scientific invention and its effect on human lives.

Look for more about the '5 E Model' in the upcoming Part 3 of this series.


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Educational Therapy

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Educational Therapy is a method of working with troubled children who struggle with learning. It is a technique that combines psychoanalytic and educational insight and techniques.

Children in school can experience difficulties, which may prevent them from accessing the curriculum and managing in class. A better understanding of the complex issues underlying these problems helps teachers to find new ways of thinking about children and strategies for helping them both therapeutically and by preventing difficulties from developing.

It benefits children and young people with:-

Learning and communication difficulties

Poor social behavior in school

Poor social relationships

The threat of school exclusion

Children who have experienced separations, accidents, bereavement, mental or physical illness in the family, violence, sexual abuse or emotional deprivation and are unable to concentrate and learn in school.

These pupils are often identified early in their school career and given additional support to which they do not fully respond. Educational therapy can be offered as a preventive intervention at this stage.

The child or young person meets with the therapist, usually for one session a week for 50 minutes. Treatment takes place during school term time and may last for four terms or more. The use of stories, drawings, educational activities, games and play provide experiences which help the child make sense of their difficulties and gain the confidence necessary to become a learner. Regular interviews are held parents/careers and with teachers. Educational therapy can also take place in groups.

The purpose of Educational Therapy is:

To develop a relationship which enables the child or young person to feel more settled in the classroom

To explore and resolve the emotional difficulties which are holding back learning

To encourage the child to make emotional and social progress.



Article courtesy of K12Academics.com




MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Dogmans Back!

  The legends of the Michigan Dogman come alive in six haunting tales by folklore author, Frank Holes, Jr.  Based upon both mythology and alleged real stories of the beast, this collection is sure to fire the imagination!

  Spanning the decades and the geography of the Great Lakes State , Frank weaves:

  A mysterious police report of an unsolvable death in Manistee County

A terrifying encounter in the U.P.s remote Dickinson County

A BLOG, begun as one mans therapy, becomes a chronicle of sightings from around Michigan

A secret governmental agent investigates the grisly aftermath of Sigma

A pioneer family meets more than they expected on the trail north

A campfire tale of ancient betrayal handed down through the Omeena Tribe

Welcome to Dogman Country!


Click Here For The
Tales From Dogman Country Website


Now Available!

Year of the Dogman Website
Now Available!

Haunting of Sigma Website
Now Available!

Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen Website 
Now Available!
Now Available!
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 7)
Writing Every Day in Class

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

For your students to be good at any skill, they must practice it on a daily basis. This is true for any skill, and writing is an excellent example. Regardless of whether your goal is to improve your students abilities, or to raise test scores, you need to structure and designate specific time to practice this skill every day. As the classroom instructor, it must be YOUR goal to have your students practice the skill daily.

Now, you don't have to spend your entire class period on writing. There are many activities you can use that take anywhere from five to ten minutes and will accomplish this goal of writing daily.

We should briefly describe the parts of the writing process, so we can then develop activities to improve each step. There are many different terms educators will use to name the parts of the writing process. Undoubtedly you have seen several different ways to name each step. Your school may even have a specific set of terminology you need to use. That's fine, especially if your students are hearing the same terms through different classes and grade levels. However you decide to designate each step of the writing process, there are several distinct parts.

The first is brainstorming and organizing information. This is the 'prewriting', thinking of topics and ideas about which the students will write. The second is drafting, writing out a first copy which we know will not be perfect but will need more work. The third is revising, adding in more information, changing information around, or removing information not pertinent to the topic. The fourth step is to proofread and edit for surface errors and mistakes. The last step is to rewrite the draft making the corrections from steps three and four. This last step may be another draft, or it may be a finished, published piece. Now, you may want to add more steps to these basic five, and that's up to you. You'll get no resistance from me. The important thing is to fully understand what you're teaching and to make sure your students understand it!

Before we get into activities, you will want to create a special, specific place for the students to keep their work. I choose to keep this work in class so I know it will ALWAYS be there. No more losing it in folders, at home, or in lockers. Each student is provided a hanging file in a cabinet drawer (each class gets its own drawer). If you do not have an extra file cabinet, you can pick up plastic storage crates or boxes fairy cheaply. When I want the students to work with previous writes, they simply need to grab one out of their file. And best of all, the work is already in class.

Ok, so lets examine a few exercises to practice at each step. First for brainstorming and organizing. This is one of the most important steps, and it can be practiced in any subject area. You are going to want to have your students practice this two to three times each week. Have your students brainstorm in lists, in graphic organizers, in webs/maps, and by freewriting. Give them topics and a time limit and turn them loose. Use ideas from your text, from reading activities, and from real life situations that involve your students. You can create games and contests to encourage them to generate long lists.

There are many ways to draft. We've covered several in past newsletters (see the links below for more information on each) including FREEWRITES, JOURNAL WRITES, and PARAGRAPHS. You will probably have other forms and styles to use too. Drafting does not have to take a long time, either. Give your students a specific time limit and the minimums you want them to write. Be very clear about your expectations and rules so the students will have clear understanding of what you're looking for. Feel free to impose minimums such as a time period, length of paper, or number of words. Remind yourself you are working with activities with shorter time slots. You want your students to really push themselves, and you may have to push them at the beginning to get them up to the speed you want!

Editing activities work well when your students already have several pieces finished to look over. You can have students edit their own, or peer edit by trading writings. I usually hold off for a month to collect enough drafts so students can choose their own writing to edit. Normally students like this step the least, and try to resist editing. So you will want to make this a fun activity, and be sure to give it a grade. I also try to give out extra credit so they will want to do these activities. We practice question writing with our SQ3R reading techniques, and we apply this to editing too. Some of the best editing is done by students posing questions, looking for more information, or needing clarification of ideas. This is not proofreading, remember! We use overheads (again so they can be re-used) with guiding questions and thoughts that will help students generate questions of the writing in front of them.

Undoubtedly you'll have a handful of students who think their first draft is perfect and needs no additional work. And you may even agree that some of these students are very good writers. But don't fall into the trap of letting them avoid editing. Even professional writers go through many stages of editing (as of this time, I've already edited this article four times!). Keep your kids following the writing process - no short cuts! Allowing one or more students to cut corners will lead to more asking, and then hard feelings among classmates ("Why doesnt so-and-so have to edit?") None of your students will be experts, none are perfect, even if you have seniors. There are always things you can adjust, clarify, or add to writings. And all of the students will benefit from good editing activities, whether they like it or not.

Another issue you will deal with at this step is a fragile student ego. Some students will fear having criticism of their work. And there will also be students who fear writing criticism on their classmates' papers. You will have to have some heart-to-heart talks with your students and convince them (or persuade them) that they are helping their classmates and themselves when editing. They're not there to rip on each other, just make everyone better writers.

Having your students write on a daily basis may seem like a homework-checking nightmare waiting to happen. You will need to create an administrative plan to make your life simple. In our class I use the random choices technique (discussed in length in the September issue.) A white chip indicates we don't grade it, just file it. A blue chip is a peer check and immediate grade. And a red chip is a collection of the papers so I can read and score them. This keeps me from having to read and grade every paper every day. And for paragraph drafts, we use FCAs (focal correction areas) for grades (look for more on FCAs in an upcoming issue!) These administrative strategies help keep my sanity while allowing my students to practice a lot of writing on a daily basis.

Use this link to access this writing assignment on our website for your own classroom use:



Part 6 of this series will discuss commonly asked questions regarding the writing process and paragraph/essay writing.


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"How To Tell If You're A Real Teacher"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

What constitutes a REAL teacher?

Real teachers grade papers in the car, during commercials, in faculty meetings, in the bathroom, and (at the end of the six weeks) have been seen grading in church.

Real teachers cheer when they hear April 1 does not fall on a school day.

Real teachers clutch a pencil while thinking and make notes in the margins of books.

Real teachers can't walk past a crowd of kids without straightening up the line.

Real teachers never sit down without first checking the seat of the chair.

Real teachers have disjointed necks from writing on boards without turning their backs on the class.

Real teachers are written up in medical journals for the size and elasticity of kidneys and bladders.

Real teachers have been timed gulping down a full lunch in 2 minutes, 18 seconds. Master teachers can eat faster than that.

Real teachers can predict exactly which parents will show up at Open House.

Read teachers volunteer for hall duty on days faculty meetings are scheduled.

Real teachers never teach the conjugations of lie and lay to eighth graders.

Real teachers know it is better to seek forgiveness than ask permission.

Real teachers know the best end of semester lesson plans can come from Blockbuster.

Real teachers never take grades after Wednesday of the last week of the six weeks.

Real teachers never assign research papers on the last six weeks or essays on final exams.

Real teachers know the shortest distance and the length of travel time from their classroom to the office.

Read teachers can "sense" gum.

Real teachers know the difference among what must be graded, what ought to be graded, and what probably should never again see the light of day.

Real teachers are solely responsible for the destruction of the rain forest.

Real teachers have their best conferences in the parking lot.

Real teachers have never heard an original excuse.

Real teachers buy Excedrin and Advil at Sam's.

Real teachers will eat anything that is put in the workroom/teacher's lounge.

Real teachers have the assistant principals' and counselors' home phone numbers.

Real teachers know secretaries and custodians run the school.

Real teachers know the rules don't really apply to them.

Real teachers hear the heartbeats of crisis; always have time to listen; know they teach students, not subjects; and they are absolutely non-expendable.


What's New @ StarTeaching?


Hello readers!  Welcome to your second October issue of Features For Teachers for 2010. The fall season is quickly passing us by and we are on the doorstep of winter.   

This month, we welcome articles from wonderful writing staff.  Jerry Judge, shares an article on exceeding expectations in School Leadership and Administration, while Hank Kellner is back with his tenth article from his book, Write What You See.   

We also have a book review from Munir Moosa Sewani and Salima Moosa Sewani, as well as a second part to Rozina & Yasmeen Jumani's series on the 5-E  Curriculum & Learning model.  

Finally, Mark Benn provides us with great thoughts on 21st Century Learning.  And as always, we have free activities (from Helen de la Maza and Mary Ann Graziani) and articles with practical ideas and techniques to be applied directly into your classroom.   

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