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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 6, Issue 18
September 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   Teacher As Change Agent   Duties of a Responsible Teacher
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Write What You See":
Photo + Poem = Inspiration
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
Google Apps For Education
From the Admin Desk: Be Yourself
NEW! Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Tourette Syndrome (Part 2)
New Teacher's Niche:
The Writing Process (part 5)
Student Teachers' Lounge: Building Positive Relationships with your Cooks
Book of the Month Club:
Inspiring Middle and Secondary Learners
  Website of the Month:
Kelly Gallagher.org
  Themes on Life: 
"The Creation Of Teacher"
Article of the Week: "Airport Terrorism"   Back To School 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



Duties of a Responsible Teacher

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 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.

Teachers are the leaders of every nation. They are the role model of their students. Their responsibilities towards their profession are increasing day by day, as students are highly concerned about what is taught to them by their teachers. Teachers are the only one, who molds the future of their students by imparting quality education.

Entering in the field of teaching is not a cup of tea for every one.  Only those can survive in this profession, who are responsible and understands their duties and performs it effectively.

Teachers are no doubt willing to enhance their teaching skills all the time, but they have some responsibilities towards this profession too.

Being professional, every individual teacher should perform their duties with loyalty and sincerity.

Few of the responsibilities being a teacher, which I have learnt in my teaching experience is given below:

                    They should help in developing the school curriculum.

                    A teacher should assess, record and report on the work of pupils on weekly/montly basis.

                    Its the responsibility of a teacher to have an interactive discussion with every student family in order to know child psychology properly.

                    A teacher should prepare pupils for examinations and grade them wisely.

                    A teacher should be punctual in school.

                    A teacher should provide advice and guidance to pupils on issues related to their education.

                    A teacher should maintain class diary and lesson plan folder.

                    A teacher should convey all the issues related to their students with the heads.

                    A teacher should allocate activity budget effectively.

                    A teacher should check ups and down in the progress of their students time to time.

                    They should Promote and safeguard the health, welfare and safety of pupils.

                    They should take continuous training for their professional development.

                    They should always be ready to face liabilities without any hesitation as they are accountable to their heads, which is the part of teaching profession.

                    A teacher should contribute towards good order and the wider needs of the school.

                    A teacher is responsible for the leadership, good management and strategic direction of colleagues.

                    A responsible teacher should try to teacher their children according to their level of understanding.

                    An effective teacher should communicate properly with their staff members and students.

                    A responsible teacher should give extra time to their teaching. If any student needs help then he/she should try to help their student individually after school hours.

                    A responsible teacher designs extra curricular activities, which suits the student ideas and explore students creativity.

                    A responsible teacher should practice what they preach.

                    Teachers have a responsibility to work co-operatively with colleagues and others to pursue the overall objectives of the service.

                    A teacher should give additional time for the preparation of their lesson plans and must be pre-planned a day before teaching it to students.

                    A teacher should attend every parents meetings and should first negotiate the positive and then some negative aspects of the student, without any concealment.

                    They should forward and share their pre-planning materials with the other class teacher without any hesitation.

                    A teacher should use their professional judgment in relation to the prioritization of tasks.

                    Teachers have a right and a responsibility to contribute to the development of a quality service. They have a professional commitment to develop their skills and expertise in classroom practice and other related matters through an agreed program of continuing professional development.

                    A teacher should document and maintains  pupils disciplinary records as well.

                    A teacher should not shift their job until students final term examination ends.

Last but not the least,

All the teachers should take this noble profession seriously, because the rein of future is in their hands. They are the one who prepares leaders for the future generation to raise our country head internationally.


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Using Photography To Inspire Writing IX

By Hank Kellner

Photo + Poem = Inspiration

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 students dont realize how powerful their imaginations are. But when theyre introduced to visual images like the one shown here, even the most reluctant writer can gain inspiration.

One good thing about using photos to encourage writing is that there are times when simply viewing them without written prompts can free the imagination and unleash a flood of ideas. In the photo shown here, for example, the contrasts between the bright and dark areas provide a sense of mystery that suggests many possibilities for writing.

          Sometimes, however, the imagination needs a little help to get it going. Thats when written prompts can help students overcome whatever hesitancy they may have.

During class discussion you could ask questions that will cause students to express themselves freely in writing. Why is this man standing alone in a place that seems to be deserted? Could he be in danger? Is there someone lurking in the shadows?  Why isnt there anyone with him? What is he holding in his hand? Where had he been before he arrived at this location? Why is his head bent forward? What is he thinking? What would a passerby be thinking?

The Amazing Adventures of Avenger Woman

This photo is supposed to show a brand new superheroine named Avenger Woman, but its really a photo of a section of a mural in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico . Of course, you could use almost any other similar photo if you if you want to have some fun while encouraging your students to create fanciful compositions.

Not as well known as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, or Cat- woman, Avenger Woman is said to be a descendant of the Aztec god Quitzelpickelpetal. By day she is an English teacher at a high school, where she is known as Ms. Consuela Hernandez. By night, she fights crime all over the world.


Avenger Womans last amazing adventure took place at the mall in Anytown , USA , where she thwarted an attempt by the evil Doctor No-No to kill everyone at the mall by releasing poison gas into it.


After conducting a class discussion based on superheroes and superheroines, you could ask your students to write descriptions of Avenger Woman in which they depict the clothing she wears when she is a teacher as contrasted to the clothing she wears as a superheroine. Students may also discuss Avenger Womans physical abilities, as well as any other extraordinary super powers she has. 

Students may then conclude their pieces by describing the battle at the mall and its outcome.

Photo + Poem = Inspiration  

If youve read the first, fifth, and seventh articles in this series, youve seen how powerful a photo-poem combination can be.

      Heres another example of one thats sure to inspire students of all ages and help them overcome their reluctance to writing

   At the Lake

The fog rose from the lake
Where we stood a century ago.
The time passed
As we moved beyond that place.
The sun shines on the lake
Where I wait and think of where you are

Most of the time, all you have to do to motivate your students is to show them a photo-poem combination without comment. But if that doesnt work, you can always suggest possibilities for them. You can, for example, ask them to describe a friend or relative they havent seen for several years in terms of that persons physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. You can also encourage them to reveal why their relationship with their friend or relative was important to them.

Sharing Photos and Writing

At Southwestern Oklahoma State University , Valerie Reimers cites noted photography critic and historian A. D. Colemans love of found photographs, which he sometimes picks up inexpensively in antique stores. In conjunction with the idea of found photographs, she writes, Coleman suggests that writing workshop participants bring favorite photos to class. Then the students exchange photos and write about their borrowed photos as if they had just found a very interesting photo and are describing it. Looking at someone elses photo brings attention to details that might be ignored as too familiar in ones own favorite photo, Reimers concludes. Students then share what they have written about each others photos before they write about their own images.

Our Town Revisited

English teacher Joann Garbarini shows her students at Irvine High School in Irvine , California photographs of different towns and asks them to pick one they would like to write about. She then instructs them to imagine what the town they chose is like. They must include descriptions of ethnicities, social class, jobs, relationships between neighbors, the education system, the towns history, and anything else they can surmise from the photograph, she writes. To conclude the exercise, Garbarini directs the students to write about their own town and compare and contrast it to their imaginary town.

There Is No Limit

As you can see, there is no limit to the ways in which you can use photographs to inspire writing. You can use them to help teach the different forms of rhetoric. You can use them to help your students write biographies or family histories. You can use them to help teach figures of speech, poems, or short stories. Or, if you wish, you can simply present photographs to your students without comment or discussion and allow them to create compositions based on whatever the photos suggest to them.


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

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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.

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

Be Yourself

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. 

Many leaders select a famous role model and try to pattern their own leadership after this person. I have seen this quite often with coaches: not all coaches can be Vince Lombardi or Bobby Knight. It is the same with education, every administrator has individual strengths they can rely on such as humor, organizational skills, ambition or maybe just a nice personality. It isnt necessary for any individual to borrow traits from others. Relying on one's own personal strengths is the best way to lead.

However, it is a good thing to use tips and ideas from all types of leaders. Learning to implement ideas from others does not take away from you. However, it does show that you are willing to learn and adapt. Reading books on leadership, attending conferences and observing individuals and institutions that have proven to be successful is important to establishing your own leadership style

When you are in a leadership role become aware of your personal strengths and use these strengths in your workplace. Becoming a leader is an ongoing learning process not a milestone.

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

Starting Off Your First Year -
Building Positive Relationships Around Your School with your Cooks & Food Service Staff

By Frank Holes, Jr., Educational Consultant

This is the fourth in a series of articles on building positive relationships in your school. This article describes why you should 'get in good' with your school food service personnel.

School kitchens are great places to find boxes of all sizes and shapes, which have hundreds of uses in classrooms. We've used boxes simply for storage, for art supplies, for project centers. Cardboard is used in art projects, building sets and backdrops for plays. Large, sturdy boxes can also be useful for moving!

Food service companies typically drop off boxes and crates of bulk food items weekly. If your cooks know you're looking for boxes (or cardboard or cans), and you've developed good relationships with them, they will usually be more than happy to save these items for you.

There will also undoubtedly be times when class celebrations require plastic silverware, paper cups, or foam plates or bowls. Sometimes we know about such events, and other times they occur in relative spontaneity. Now, most kitchens keep a good record of their inventory, and will charge accordingly for the use of consumables. But, with a postive relationship built between you, the food service personnel will usually cut you a deal, or even find enough 'extra' items to help you out in a bind.

Middle school teachers may find their schedules changing at times to accommodate special events or programs. The Middle School Concept tends to do this a lot. Always let your kitchen staff know well ahead of time if your schedule change affects the food service even in the slightest. Most cooks will be accommodating if they have some advance notice. But this is only being polite and professional anyway!

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?

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  TECH/21st Century CORNER

Google Apps For Education
By Mark Benn
Middle School Teacher

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

Your browser may not support display of this image.  First, there was Microsoft Word. Then came frustration when using it. But, is there an alternative? In this day of whats called Web 2.0 there are many alternatives. Google has developed a suite of programs to help education manage their work. This suite includes Google Docs, Apps mail, calendar, website, sites, and more. This is for administrators, teachers, and students.

Why would you be interested in something like this? Imagine a site designed just for your school. These arent just loose applications that students sign up for. This is something specifically set up for your school and administered by your school by a designated administrator who can change the preferences to suit your specific school.

A student can set up a document that they can access from home or anywhere.  They could collaborate with other students on projects and documents. A wiki could be used. They could complete a PowerPoint presentation or spreadsheet using Google apps. All of this is secure and kept within the school Google site.

Check out the video below for a better understanding of this.

If this has peeked your interest, go to http://www.youtube.com  and type in: Google education. See what many schools are doing and why they are using this suite of online tools. Realize the biggest benefit, ITS FREE.

Also, head for http://edutraining.googleapps.com/  where you can train on how to use these many tools and this overall suite.

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

Teacher As Change Agent

By Rozina Jumani

Rozina Jumani is a Development consultant associated with a number of Non governmenetal Organizations(NGO). Prior to this, she was with Aga Khan Education Services Pakistan for 10 years as a Professional Development Teacher and Counsellor. She has done her Masters in Islamic Studies and English from University of Karachi. She is a commonwealth scholar and completed her Masters in Education Planning, Economic and International Development from the institute of Education (IOE), University of London.

How many of us want to glorify the image of teacher as Moral practitioner, who could bring such a huge difference in the lives of learner?. Few people are really born teachers and have an urge to enlighten others.  To become a change agent, they must possess five basic fundamentals: personal vision building, inquiry, collaboration, mastery, and management.

1. Personal vision building

This is a teachers own conceptual and perception level about teaching which can be observed through gestures, body language and through other communication tools. It can be seen and observed by children very easily as well.

2. Inquiry

Inquiry is the second component of teaching.  It assists the whole process of teaching and learning and also polishes personal vision; it inculcates the questioning and reasoning and fosters achieving holistic image building.

3. Mastery

Without having mastery or command, one cannot be confident.  Mastery is a huge umbrella and it covers not only conceptual understanding but also proper implementation strategies - i.e. pedagogical skills.

4. Collaboration

John Billing says Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.  It is necessary that a teacher should be open minded and work in collaboration with others as in learning organizations or communities.  The phenomenon of the one man army cannot be possible. Learning is a process which requires socialization, as people learn from each other.

5. Management

One cannot achieve the desired result if the whole process is not well planned and implemented.  Therefore the teacher being a leader and change agent would create an impact, but if s/he is a good manager, s/he would plan well, implement well. and achieve well.

Indeed teachers are the nurturers, and if these nurturers can envision where they would lead these children, then they would definitely help support change and become agent of the change.




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Tourette Syndrome
(part 2)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

Symptoms include multiple motor and one or more vocal tics present at some time during the disorder although not necessarily simultaneously; the occurrence of tics many times a day (usually in bouts) nearly every day or intermittently throughout a span of more than one year; the periodic change in the number, frequency, type and location of the tics, and in the waxing and waning of their severity; symptoms disappearing for weeks or months at a time; and onset before the age of 18.

Vocal tics may fall into various categories, including echolalia (the urge to repeat words spoken by someone else after being heard by the person with the disorder), palilalia (the urge to repeat one's own previously spoken words), lexilalia (the urge to repeat words after reading them) and, most controversially, coprolalia (the spontaneous utterance of socially objectionable words, such as obscenities and racial or ethnic slurs). However, according to the Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc., only approximately 10% TS patients suffer from this aspect of the malady. There are many other vocal tics besides those categorized by word repetition - in fact, a TS tic can be almost any possible short vocal sound, with the most common tics resembling throat clearing, short coughs, coughing, grunts, or moans. Motor tics can be of endless variety and may include hand-clapping, neck stretching, shoulder shrugging, eye blinking, and contorted facial grimacing.

The term "involuntary" used to describe TS tics is a source of confusion since it is known that most people with TS do have some control over the symptoms. Before tic onset, individuals with TS experience what is called a "premonitory urge," similar to the feeling that precedes yawning. What is recognized is that the control which can be exerted from seconds to hours at a time may merely postpone and exacerbate outbursts of symptoms. Tics are experienced as irresistible as a yawn and must eventually be expressed. People with TS often seek a secluded spot to release their symptoms after delaying them in school or at work. Typically, tics increase as a result of tension or stress (but are not caused by stress) and decrease with relaxation or concentration on an absorbing task. In fact, neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks has described a man with severe TS who is both a pilot and a surgeon.

Tourette Syndrome patients sometimes exhibit other symptoms to accompany their physical or vocal "tics" in the form of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Non-OCD Anxiety Disorders, Executive Dysfunction, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Autism Spectrum disorders including Asperger's Disorder, "Rage Attacks," as well as Sensory Integration issues, and Sleep Disorders. Tourettes in this form is described as the disorder "Tourette Syndrome Plus", which was a term coined to explain that not all of the symptoms experienced by persons with tics are related to Tourette's. Studies have shown no correlation with tic severity and the onset of puberty, and most tics remit or subside as one passes through adolescence. Some well-known persons with Tourette's are Dr. Samuel Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, and Tim Howard


The majority of people with TS require no medication, but medication is available to help when symptoms interfere with functioning. TS medications are only able to help reduce specific symptoms. Neuroleptic and antihypertensive drugs can have long- and short-term adverse effects, and use of stimulants is controversial. Current prescribed stimulant medications include: methylphenidate (Ritalin, Metadate, Concerta), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), and mixed amphetamine salts (Adderall). The alpha 2-adrenergic agonists include clonidine (Catapres) and guanfacine (Tenex). SSRIs, a class of antidepressants, may be prescribed when a TS patient is triggered by symptoms of OCD.

Researchers are also investigating the use of nicotine patches as a treatment. Researchers are seeking a substitute that can target brain disorders in the same way, without the risks.

In February 2004, surgeons in the US successfully carried out a brain surgery in which tiny electrodes, powered by batteries inserted in the chest, were placed beside the thalamus in each cerebral hemisphere. Within half a minute of activating the electrodes, the patient could walk normally and displayed a complete lack of symptoms. This surgery is not a cure; it is regarded as an experimental and dangerous procedure, and is unlikely to become widespread.

In any case, the condition in many individuals improves as they mature. statistics have shown that most children improve with maturity. Regardless of symptoms, individuals with TS can expect to live a normal life span. Although TS is generally lifelong and chronic, it is not degenerative. In a few cases, complete remission, as stated previously above, occurs after adolescence, and in most cases, tic severity subsides as one passes through adolescence.

A lifetime of living with TS generally gives one survival skills to manage the disorder. Many persons with Tourette's syndrome have learned to cover-up the more socially inappropriate tics; or use them to their advantage - such as in the case of musicians. Some drummers, in particular, have found that TS "Tics" give them a certain 'flair' or 'special sound' to their drumming!

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used to try to disrupt the automatic chain of events underlying the tics. Relaxation techniques may also be useful in relieving the stress that may aggravate tics

Part 3 of this series will look at Tourette Syndrome in pop culture and in fiction.


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Now Available!  2nd Book in the Longquist Series:

Viking Treasure

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

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

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

Click Here For The
Longquist Adventures Website

Now Available!
Now Available!
Now Available! Now Available!
Part mystery, part science fiction, Year of the Dogman is an imaginative, compelling, and adrenaline-pumping adventure. Author Frank Holes, Jr. takes no prisoners in creating a diabolical creature that leaves the forest to prey on the hapless hamlet of Twin Lakes in Northern Michigan . When night falls, the nocturnal beast, Dogman, scares the living daylights out of anyone he happens upon as he searches for a timeless treasure stolen from a Native American tribe. In the midst of the chaos, a young teacher is forced to put two and two together no matter how high the cost to rid the village of the treacherous man-beast who thrives on destruction and terror.   In The Haunting of Sigma, Frank Holes, Jr. returns fans of the legendary Dogman to the wild world of cryptozoology in Northern Michigan .  This darker, far more sinister prequel to Holess first novel fully establishes his hold upon the imaginations of readers all over the Midwest .  June 1987 ushers in the hot, dry summer season, but something else far more horrifying has taken up residence in the deep wilderness in Kalkaska County .  The Dogman, a supernatural combination of canine and man, has returned to wreck havoc upon the tiny, sleepy community of Sigma. Michigan s legendary Dogman returns in Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen by Frank Holes, Jr.  The third book in the series is a masterful blend of fantasy and folklore, delving into the pre-dawn history of the mysterious creature and then rushing forward to the present day.  The supernatural beast is seen from two fronts.  The first encounter, part of a 1700s French fur-traders dream, chronicles the cultural clash between the indigenous, prehistoric civilizations and the Nagual, the half-man, half-canine skin-walkers, a clash where only one side can survive.   Based upon the epic Greek tale of The Odyssey, yet set in the American Wild West, The Longquist Adventures: Western Odyssey chronicles the journey of a young boy and his guide through a perilous world of dangerous encounters and fantastic creatures.  It is a world of gun fights at high noon, stampedes on the great plains, stagecoach robbery, and an ultimate showdown with a ruthless, powerful gangster aboard a turn-of-the-century paddlewheel in the San Francisco Bay.  Can the time-traveling boy and the law-abiding Marshal restore order to the chaos of the American West gone truly wild?

Click Here For The
Year of the Dogman Website

Click Here For The
Haunting of Sigma Website


Click Here For The
Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen Website

Click Here For The
Western Odyssey Website

The Dogman, a creature of MythMichigan, is an excellent example of modern-day folklore to study in your classes.   


The Longquist Adventures, written for elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and classic stories to young children.  


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





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

The Writing Process
(part 5)
Teacher Directions for Administering 
Paragraph or Essay Writing in Class

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

1.        Announce to the class that they will be writing a basic Paragraph.  By saying this, they already know the format of HOW they will be writing and have a basic understanding of WHAT is expected of them during this time.

  2.        Have students get out a regular, lined piece of paper.  They can put their NAME in the upper  
      RIGHT CORNER, and write FCA in the upper LEFT CORNER. 

  3.        Put up the topic for the paragraph on the board or overhead.  Students will COPY THE TOPIC at the TOP CENTER of the paper, between the FCA and their NAME.

  4.        Once you reveal the FCAs for the paper, have students copy them down exactly under the FCA (top left corner).  If they dont tell you what to grade on their paper (by writing the FCA) you dont have to grade the paper!

  5.        You may wish to explain or give more information about the topic.  You can have class discussion if you wish, or just have the students start working.

  6.        Students begin with BRAINSTORMING ideas at the top middle of the paper, just below the topic.  Students are required to include  AT LEAST 8 pieces of information (or more depending on the teacher and/or topic).  This can be done in a WEB, LIST, or OUTLINE (again depends on the teacher and/or topic). 

  7.        Once the BRAINSTORMING has been completed, students ORGANIZE these items by order of importance (or some other type of order determined by teacher and/or topic).  We usually number them from 1-8, 1 the most important to 8 the least important.  This will then determine the organization for the paragraph, so students have a plan for writing.

  8.        The teacher walks around checking progress and answering questions.  Once the students have finished their BRAINSTORMING and ORGANIZING (web/list/outline of 8 items which are numbered for importance), teacher will give the paper a CHECKMARK at the top indicating that the BRAINSTORMING and ORGANIZING is finished.  Check each paper to see that the proper format is achieved (see above). 

  9.        At this point (ONLY WHEN THE PAPER HAS A CHECK MARK) the students may begin writing their paragraph. 

  10.     Continue to walk around checking progress and answering questions.  There should be NO TALKING.  Give a lot of positive reinforcement and praise.  Remind them of how good writers they are. 

  11.     When students have finished, they should SELF CHECK their paper for mistakes, banned words, spelling, etc.  Students should also see that they covered all of the FCAs.  They then give themselves a score (out of 20 points) at the top, and turn the paragraph in.

12.     All paragraphs must be turned in at the end of the hour.  DO NOT LET THEM GO HOME OR GIVE ADDITIONAL TIME.  This is to practice for the time limits of the MEAP test.  Keep the pressure on!

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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"The Creation Of Teacher"
Author Unknown

Themes on Life

Where do good teachers come from?

While the Good Lord was creating teachers, He was into His sixth day of 'overtime' when the angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of fiddling around with this one."

And the Lord said, "Have you read the specs on this order?

She has to: stand above all her students, yet be on their level, be able to do 180 other things not connected with the subject she teaches, run on coffee, cokes, and leftovers, communicate vital knowledge to thousands of students daily, and be right, have as much, and sometimes more, time for her job as she does for herself, have a smile that can endure everything from practical jokes to pay cuts, go on teaching when parents question her every move and the administration doesn't understand, and have six pairs of hands.

The angel shook her head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands...not possible."
"It's not the hands that are causing me problems," said the Lord. "It's the three pairs of eyes that teachers have to have."

"That's on the standard model?" asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. "One pair that can see a student for what he is and not what society has labeled him. Another pair must be in the back of her head, to see what she shouldn't, but what she has to know. OF course, the ones here in front can look at a child when he goofs up and reflect, 'I understand and I still believe in you." without so much as uttering a word."

"Lord," said the angel, touching His sleeve gently, "Come to bed. Tomorrow..."

"I can't," said the Lord. "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who comes to work when she is too sick ...can still teach a class when they don't want to learn...loves thousands of children that are not her own...and all of this in both sexes. And wait until you see my Special Ed teacher! She is truly special; she will never take anything her students do for granted."

The angel circled the model of the teacher very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.

"But tough," said the Lord excitedly. "You cannot imagine what this teacher can do or endure."

"Can she think?"

"Not only can she think, but she can reason and compromise."

Finally the angel bent over and ran her fingers across the cheek of the teacher. "There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told you that you were putting too much into this model. You can't imagine the stress factor."

The Lord moved in for a closer look and gently lifted the drop of moisture to His finger where it glistened and sparkled in the light.
"It's not a leak," He said. "It's a tear."

"A tear?" asked the angel. "What's it for?"

"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, compassion, pain, loneliness, and pride."

"You are a genius," said the angel.

The Lord looked somber. "I didn't put it there."


What's New @ StarTeaching?


Greetings to our readers, and welcome to the second September issue of Features For Teachers for 2010. The school year is underway and we're all settling into our classes and roles in our schools.   

I want to welcome and thank our newest feature writer, Jerry Judge, who will begin a monthly column on the Leadership and Administration.  Welcome aboard, Jerry!  Look for his feature writer page on our website in the next few weeks.  

Hank Kellner is back with a ninth article from his book, Write What You See.   We also have an article from Munir Moosa Sewani on responsible teaching, and Mark Benn provides us with great school information on Google applications.  And as always, we have articles with practical ideas and techniques to be applied directly into your classroom.   

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

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

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Inspiring Middle and Secondary Learners: Honoring Differences and Creating Community Through Differentiating Instructional Practices

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Day 1 If you roll a 6-sided die 6 times, what is the best prediction possible for the number of times you will roll a two?
Day 2 Sam is picking his activities for this year. He wants to play one sport and join one club. The sports he can play are field hockey, lacrosse, and tennis. The clubs he is considering are the math club and the drama club. How many different combinations of activities can Sam pick?
Day 3 Felicity wants to get a sandwich from the deli for lunch. She can pick a tuna, turkey, roast beef, or ham sandwich. The bread choices are multigrain, wheat, sourdough, rye, or white. She can have provolone, cheddar, pepper jack, or swiss cheese, and she can pick one sauce. The sauce choices are ranch, mayonnaise, mustard, pesto, and Dijon. How many different combinations can Felicity pick from?
Day 4 Noah drove to the mountains this morning and is planning his day and evening. This afternoon, he can sled or play hockey. For dinner, he can have stew, hamburgers, soup, or spaghetti. After dinner, he can go to a movie, play a board game, or listen to music. Given these choices, how many different combinations does Noah have to choose from?
Day 5 Dylan is putting together his lunch. He can't decide whether to have a meatball sub, an egg salad sandwich, a peanut butter sandwich, or a grilled cheese sandwich. He can take an orange, a kiwi, or a banana as his fruit, and he has his choice of milk or tea to drink. How many different combinations can Dylan have in his lunch?
Day 6 Austin is picking out a new skateboard. The board can be white, black, dark brown, or gray, and the wheels can be purple, pink, yellow, or orange. The decal on the skateboard can be an eagle or a lightning bolt. All of the decals come in gold or beige. How many different combinations does Austin have to choose from?
Day 7 Miguel is planning his workout. He can hike, run, walk, bike, or skate. For each activity, he can go into the valley, around the lake, along the river, or up the mountain. How many different combinations does Miguel have to choose from?
Day 8 FIVE friends are splitting a pizza dinner.  The total bill comes to $42.88.  If they want to leave a 15% tip, how much will each have to chip in?
Day 9 THREE friends are splitting a pizza dinner.  The total bill comes to $28.24.  If they want to leave a 20% tip, how much will each have to chip in?
Day 10 SIX friends are splitting a pizza dinner.  The total bill comes to $55.48.  If they want to leave a 10% tip, how much will each have to chip in?


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Playing With Punnett Squares
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