Visit our Website at:

Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 7, Issue 23
December 2011
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   Tech Corner: Tech-Training Websites   5 Classroom Management Tips To Silence a Noisy Class
NEW! Tony Vincent's Blog: Clone an iPad or iPod Touchs Decision-Making: A Continuous Process in Teaching Themes on Life: "Thankful Thoughts"
Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Social Anxiety (part 2)
New Teacher's Niche: 'Big Boy' and 'Big Girl' Word Lists Student Teachers' Lounge: School Days Before A Holiday
Book of the Month Club:
Teaching Science with Interactive Notebooks
  Website of the Month: Glogster   Article of the Week: "Samoa Time Travelers in 2011"

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



GOPromos provides personalized items. 
Get pens, pencils and other teaching materials customized 
with any message you want for low prices!


Featured Articles

5 Classroom Management Tips to Silence a Noisy Class

by Rob Johnson

'Tis the season!  It becomes difficult to keep your students focused and on-task during the week prior to and the week following the Christmas break.  These tips will help you to help your kids remember why they are at school...

1. The first thing to remember is that you are the boss.

Self belief is incredibly important in this job. You can’t expect pupils to respond positively to you unless you believe, really believe, that you fully deserve their respect and compliance. The thought that you are the leader in the classroom must be at the forefront of your mind.

If you give any sign at all that you are NOT in FULL CONTROL, children will sense this and exploit your weaknesses. You MUST project strength and the impression that you will not tolerate any disobedience.

All too often a teacher will enter a lesson filled with dread and give out the signal that they are beaten before the lesson even starts. Pupils sense this. If you’ve been having a hard time with a particular group they will come to expect that you will be a walk-over and get into the habit of talking freely with total disregard for your threats.

2. Have definite rules on noise

Once you’ve decided on your rules (preferably with input from the pupils) you need to ensure the pupils are totally clear what those rules are. There must be no ambiguity and therefore no room for argument.

We all know how important consistency is in terms of classroom management but unless you have a clear set of rules to work to in the first place, you can’t consistently apply them.

So, what is your rule on noise?

Mine is simple: If I say there is to be no talking, then there is to be no talking. I will not tolerate being interrupted without taking action. I seldom enforce this rule for longer than a few minutes – just at those key times when I am either explaining something, starting a new task or taking a register etc. - but if I tell a group that I want total silence, then I mean it. And any pupil who ignores this is dealt with straight away.

For example, never let a pupil shout out without reminding them to put up their hand. Never, allow pupils to continue talking at the start of a lesson when you’ve started explaining the objective. Never, let pupils interrupt you without reminding them that it is unacceptable to do so.

If you let them get away with it once, you have effectively trained them to try and get away with it again.

3. Control entry to the classroom

The ideal place to establish control over your pupils is outside the door - before you even let them in the room.You must start the lesson under your terms. And the lesson starts before they enter the room with you having them line up outside the door in an orderly manner.

This is the perfect time to gauge the mood of the group and indeed the individuals in the group. You can easily spot potential problems (unhappy pupils, cases of bullying, arguments etc.) and deal with them rather than letting them go unnoticed and having them escalate into serious disruptions during your lesson.

If the group won’t stand still and quiet don’t let them in the room. They must do EXACTLY as you say before you let them through the door. If they run to a chair bring them back again and make them walk. If you let them get away with anything at this important stage, you will set the tone as being one where they can get away with things. You don’t want that.

4. Have ‘settling work’ ready for them when they enter the room

If you have a group who just won’t settle try presenting them with some of the following ‘settling work’ as soon as they enter the room. But… make sure you add this little twist to ensure the pupils get stuck into it straight away…

On your board have the following written up…

“Complete the work detailed below. You have ten minutes. If you don’t finish it, you will return at break to complete it.”

Obviously you need to adjust individual work targets for less able pupils to make it fair. Once they’ve started you can go round the slow workers very quietly, out of earshot of the others, and tell them where to stop. i.e. give them a work target which requires less writing than the others –

“James, you can stop when you get to the end of this sentence”. (And put a pencil mark where you want them to get up to.)

The great advantage of this strategy is that it gives you a few minutes to get your resources sorted out. I do use this if I want to show a DVD clip and haven’t had time to set the AV equipment up for example.

On each desk you could have a quick topic-related puzzle, a review quiz of last lesson’s work, a cloze exercise or some text copying work. Nothing too difficult – you don’t want to confuse them because they’ll spend ten minutes asking questions instead of settling down. Choose something simple (and preferably light-hearted or fun) that requires no explanation or fuss.

As well as having the instructions written on the board, greet them at the door and say…

“Get started on the simple task on your desk – you have ten minutes to finish it.”

Once they’re in the room you can then add…

“Anyone not finishing this little task will finish it at break – there should be no talking. If you talk you’ll come back at break and do it in silence then.”

If you want them to copy notes from the board (or a book) make sure there isn’t a huge amount of text otherwise you will provoke complaints. You can ‘hide’ extra work by having five or ten lines of text for them to copy and then a note at the end saying “Now answer question 2 on page 46” which could be another five or ten lines of notes.

Comments like…

“It is entirely your choice as to whether or not you get break. If you want break, do the work. If you don’t want break, sit and chat.”

…can be used if they don’t settle straight away.

5. The Right Way To Ask For Silence

You may have been told that an alternative to shouting for silence is to simply wait for rowdy pupils to calm down.

And wait… And wait… And wait…

Teachers have mixed views as to the effectiveness of waiting for silence before continuing with the lesson because in many cases it just doesn’t work.

Some classes will respond positively to this strategy almost straight away but a hard class will test your mettle and try to push you way beyond 5 or 10 minutes.

They’ll enjoy watching your expression turn to desperation and laugh at the fact that your plan isn’t working.

At a time like this you need to bring in sanctions and make them see that their continuous disobedience will not be tolerated.

If you have a strong, commanding voice you can shout for quiet and explain what the sanctions will be if they continue talking. If you can’t be sure that your voice will cut through the noise sufficiently, you can communicate via the board by writing your instructions. Write up your instructions in bold, capital letters. You may need to give them slightly longer time to comply – allowing for the fact that they may not all read your instructions straight away.

This is what to say…

(You may think that these sanctions won’t work with your toughest class but they are phrased in a very specific manner as you’ll soon see. If you rigorously and consistently apply them you will win. Your class will settle. I’ve never known it fail).

“If you wish to continue talking during my lesson I will have to take time off you at break. By the time I‘ve written the title on the board you need to be sitting in silence. Anyone who is still talking after that will be kept behind for 5 minutes.”

Phrasing your instructions in this way when you want a class to be quiet is very powerful and almost always guarantees success.

Let’s examine why:

Firstly, you are being very fair and giving the pupils a warning…

“If you wish to continue talking during my lesson I will have to take time off you at break.”

When teachers try to issue a punishment without a warning…

“Right you’ve just lost your break!”

…they are often met with a torrent of abuse…

“No way, that’s not fair – we weren’t doing anything!!!”

I always find that giving pupils a fair warning about an impending sanction takes the sting out of a confrontational situation.

Secondly, you are telling them exactly what they are doing wrong, and exactly how to put it right…

“…you need to be sitting in silence.”

Thirdly, you are giving them a clear time by which you expect full compliance…

“By the time I‘ve written the title on the board you need to be sitting in silence.”

Fourthly, and very importantly, you are telling them exactly what will happen to them if they don’t do as you ask…

“Anyone who is still talking after that will be kept behind for 5 minutes.”

These key features are important if you want pupils to follow your instructions because they leave no room for questions, debates, arguments or confusion. The pupils know exactly what they’re doing wrong, what will happen if they continue and how to correct their behavior so as to evade a sanction.

N.B. I’m fully aware that timetable constraints do not allow teachers to keep pupils back after each and every lesson. For that reason you need to think about the sanctions you will issue. You could for example hit the class hard and tell them that any pupils still talking will receive a letter home but it may be better to start off with a small sanction (such as staying behind after school for 5 minutes) because you can then add to it if and when the behavior continues.


Have questions to pose to StarTeaching?
Submit your questions to Dr. Manute on Educational Issues!  Simply fill in the form below:



Type in your question or query below:



Join our Online Community!

Receive weekly articles right in your email and 
discuss educational issues with other teachers from around the world.  

Check it all out and sign up through the following quick link:




Clone an iPad or iPod Touch

By Tony Vincent

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.

Melissa Dills is an Ohio kindergarten teacher and has a blog, Adventures of iPads in Kindergarten. Melissa recently contacted me with this question:

I currently have 5 ipads in my kindergarten classroom.  I back up my 'original' one on iCloud and it pushes out the apps to the other four.  My question is do you know of a way to get them to go into the appropriate folder They are just going onto the screen instead of the folder I put it into on my original.  Thanks for your great website. It is very helpful!

It's very convenient to enable Automatic Downloads of apps in the Store section of Settings on iOS devices. This automatically downloads new purchases (including free) made on other devices and in iTunes. You just need to be signed into the same iTunes account on all of your devices. Don't worry; you don't have to input the account's password each time an automatic download happens (that would be annoying).

As Melissa points out, apps are indeed automatically downloaded, but they are not placed into folders or even necessarily onto the same Home screens. Currently Apple does not provide a way to synchronize folders among devices. Other settings, like wallpaper and sounds, are also not synced and have to be set up manually on each device. With older students, teachers can have them place apps in folders and make settings consistent across devices.

In Melissa's situation with younger students and only five devices, she could set up one of the iPads as a master. That means she would move apps into folders or onto specific Home screens and configure settings. After she has the iPad exactly the way she wants it, she will connect to iTunes, right-click the iPad's name in iTunes' sidebar, and choose Back Up.

After back up is complete, Melissa will disconnect the master iPad. Then, she'll connect one of her other four iPads, right-click the iPad's name in iTunes' sidebar, and choose Restore from Backup.

iTunes will ask Melissa to choose a backup to restore onto the current device. She'll of course choose the backup of the master iPad.

It will probably take some time for the restore to complete. When done, this iPad will be a clone of the master. That means all apps will be in the same folders, Home screens will be identical, and settings will match exactly. I suggest that Melissa rename the iPad so that it's not confused with the master iPad.

Melissa can restore her other three iPads from the master's backup as well. Afterwards, all five of her iPads will be set up identically. Because iTunes allows you restore only one iPad at a time, Melissa probably won't want to go through this process very often. She'll probably still rely on automatic downloading of apps and manually putting into folders unless she has downloaded a large number of apps that would take lots of time to sort.

Now, this method of restoring from a backup of a master device will replace all data with that from the master. That means images, recordings, and any high scores will be erased from the other devices.

Restoring from a backup can also save teachers time if they customize an app. For example, Learn How to Spell from Grasshopper Apps is fully customizable. You can use the sets of words that are included in the app. But even better, you can add your own words, complete with your own images and voice recordings.

It can take lots of time to make customized sets of words within the app. In a classroom like Melissa's where there are a small number of iPads that can be used as a center, it saves a lot of time and repetition to use the cloning method above to copy the customized sets from a master iPad to other devices. Perhaps one day Grasshopper Apps will update their apps to save customized lists to iCloud so they can be easily copied to other devices. Until then, restoring from a backup is the way to copy the app's data from one device to another.

Canby Schools in Oregon have deployed hundreds of iPod touches using this restore from backup technique. Joseph Morelock has written how they do it in the wiki article Imaging iPod touch Devices Using iTunes Restore.




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:



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

School Days Before A Holiday

Holidays can be an exciting time, especially around the school. The days leading up to a vacation can, however, be a pain when students are distracted.

These are not good days for students to use power tools, sharp objects, or lab equipment as more accidents occur when students are distracted.

One of the best way to keep the kids focused and to make the time pass quickly for both you and them is to set up hands-on activities, keeping them busy, active, and involved. Art-type projects they can finish and take home allow them to have fun, be creative, and have something to show off at home afterward. Another idea is making foods they can also eat at the end of the class.

Be careful about unstructured time. Having a party only makes it take longer; the novelty wears off soon as students' interest wanes. Also beware of movies and presentations. You dont want them sitting around or in a situation where they'll be bored, waiting, able to daydream, and ready to distract others.

Some teachers give a test, or work and push hard right up to dismissal. Sticking to routines makes time pass faster as students pass through the familiar schedules.

Teachers are often as glad as the students to be on vacation. However, be sure to keep your focus, or the students will know it, and act accordingly. If you stay serious and expect control in your room, the students will follow. The day before a break is not a 'free' day, nor a day off. And the students are not in charge, unless you've allowed it to happen.



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

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

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


  Tech / 21st Century Teaching Corner

Tech-Training Websites
By Mark Benn,
Instructional Technologist

Mark Benn earned his Masters of Integration of Technology from Walden University. Previously, he 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.  

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.

I've come across a great article on 'Technological Resistance with Colleagues' that I recently found from Educause Quarterly and I wanted to share with you:

"The Three-E Strategy for Overcoming Resistance to Technological Change"


And here's a great website I came across that provides videos for everything, including internet training and videos that deal with our state GLCEs for technology training.



Your browser may not support display of this image.  

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




  StarTeaching Feature Writer

Decision-Making: A Continuous Process in Teaching

By Yasmeen Jumani

Yasmeen Jumani has been a teacher Educator for the past 11 years.  She has done her Masters in Islamic History from the University of Karachi.  She has a Master in Education from Hamdard University, Institute of Education and Social Sciences, A VT certificate from AKU-IED along with an advance diploma in (PTEP) Professional Teacher Education Program from IIS and AKU- IED.

Teaching is a very conscious activity where one has to deal with diverse learners at the same time. Though it seems pleasant to deal with such a different group of learners, it requires a quick decision-making ability of teachers who deal with a lot of difficulties and complexities that emerge during the interactions of lessons.   Another aspect for an effective lesson is planning.

It is very difficult to define and describe the characteristics of good teaching.  In short, a lot of qualifications, credentials, experiences and efforts are required for a good and effective teacher. The foremost quality of a teacher is the command on the delivery part of a lesson - how s/he integrates content knowledge with pedagogical skills.  That is only possible if a teacher has the power of decision making (the how and into which quantity s/he has to deliver the lesson.) 


Decision-making is a very careful step that helps the facilitator to take selective actions in the light of sense hypothesis. It seems unhealthy to pour out all that information and content material into a student’s mind, but we need to make sure that to what extent it can be appropriate for the learner’s  needs and  the requirement of that learning content. Sometimes it seems that our decisions are not suitable in the long run, although it’s fulfilling/catering the needs of present time. That is why teaching is recognized as a reflective and thinking based journey rather than a monotonous way of delivering information. It assists the decision-maker to take action with thorough reflections on how children learn and what would be the desired outcomes.

Teachers often complain that we would not be able to complete our task in the given time due to the abrupt discussion/s or some new arising questions. What I personally believe, it’s again an opportunity for teachers to think that sometimes it is good to proceed as per the original plan, but being a responsible person, it sounds intelligent to be flexible in one's planning and accommodating his/her selves as per the need and desire of the time and context.  

The major responsibility of a teacher is not to just complete the syllabus but also to make sure that learners produce meaningful outcomes while simultaneously their personalities are groomed with appropriate attitudes and skills. That is why the aim of education always leads towards holistic development of a child and all depends on the willingness of a teacher whose decision plays ‘the vital role’ in the children’s grooming.


As we often heard an old saying, “I am because I am thinking”, this same theory applies while making a decision because it requires on-going reflection. An intelligent decision needs a lot of deep, critical and analytical thinking because if outcomes are expected with deliberate optimism, then it is necessary for an individual to challenge, analyze its own idea, practice, see the alternatives, and choose the best one. For example, a teacher plans a lesson for 2 days and delivers this in class. Hence this would be called an ordinary teacher.  But a reflective teacher will be in the process of constantly thinking, "how would I  enable  my  students  to learn the conceptual understanding  with more clarity?  How could I introduce my  students to some new strategies  through which they could learn more in the most effective manner?" It is also important for the teacher to pick up any new ideas / information with careful analysis and deliver it to the learners while asking, "does that make sense to them?"  Therefore, it is also important to collect feedback from students and then plan as per their needs.

The child is a natural investigator, if our instructions provide him a LEAD; we would be able to see the enhancement in the cognitive and behavioral developments both. Nonetheless, it is not that easy but our instructions should link with the child’s previous knowledge and the existing experiences so it would be called meaningful learning.

Multiple impediments that affect decisions

Dean Chesham said, “Let me give so much time to improvement of myself that I shall have not time to criticize other”

Best Brains are those that are always in the process of rethinking to construct new knowledge. I think teachers have the same role in producing something new but in the process of the production of something new, they face some hurdles and barriers and those hindrances often affect their performance and make them slow as well. Therefore "to make a difference” one has to sacrifice and brings out positive changes.

Here are some impediments that affects effective decision:

  1. Teachers have lack of freedom to take action on the behalf of the class.
  2. Some influential parents do not allow teachers to depict any conclusion from all the students.
  3. Previous teacher’s decision has long-lasting repercussions and effects.  Hence the new class teacher feels uncomfortable in the beginning to adjust with students and of course his/.her uncertainty is also apparent with his/her personality.
  4. Some experienced teachers have high expectations about  the newly enrolled students which also may create an unhealthy atmosphere for children to fulfill their demands
  5. Time factor is also one  of  the major obstacles, because the teacher's job is not only to deliver  the lesson, but he/she would have to see the other administration matter to run the class successfully apart  from academic activity.
  6. Sometimes school policies don’t harmonize with teacher’s perception level to draw some type of conclusion.
  7. Different vertical hierarchy could easily be figured out in any school system but how to delegate powers to subordinates are the missing elements. 
  8. If the internal physical environment of any classroom is seen as a ‘Conducive learning environment’ then may be difficulty for teachers to bring innovation.
  9. Often teachers make decisions on her/his behalf while bringing up any new idea or theory; they do not see any coordination with student’s previous learning and existing knowledge. Therefore, in the end, they find an unpredicted result. 
  10. Often times, a teacher’s benchmarks are brilliant students; therefore slow learners cannot mingle up with classroom learning neglected
  11. Often classroom seating imposes issues for teachers whether they have to instruct to the whole class or a particular group or else an individual
  12. If teacher collects students' feedback along with self-reflection, the problem of subject matter concepts could be overcome.
  13. Some influential students also undermine teachers and create an uncertain and unpredictable environment, for which the rest of the students suffer because the teacher tries to satisfy those who have a highly sound financial background.
  14. How much teacher engagement with students in class, and to whom he / she entertain and how many students are been neglecting from teachers.
  15. Classroom is considered a laboratory where numbers of experiences take place.  However every experience comes up with the multiple consequences so many times it seems difficult to manage different behaviors at one time
  16. If we have ever noticed that while watching T.V how much we can we remember about the advertisements?  In the same manner, the teachers encounters with several behaviors. Therefore, it is difficult to make any decision in the light of different experience because not all experiences are recording as a diverse way of learning.
  17. Insecurity increases among students because at one time how teachers make sure about the balanced approach while dealing with different individuals.

Some Suggestions to overcome the impediments while decision making

Whatever have been shared in the light of general observation, it is difficult to find out the solution for all of the impediments because it does vary from context to context.  A smart teacher carefully handles the problem keeping in mind the diversity and sensitivity as well.


Be Sure to Check Out 
Our Website Store for Specials:


Social Anxiety
(part 2)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Social anxiety is an experience of fear, apprehension or worry regarding social situations and being evaluated by others. People vary in how often they experience anxiety in this way or in which kinds of situations. Anxiety about public speaking, performance, or interviews is common.

Causes and Perspectives:

Research into the causes of social anxiety and social phobia is wide-ranging, encompassing multiple perspectives from neuroscience to sociology. Scientists have yet to pinpoint the exact causes. Studies suggest that genetics plays a part in combination with environmental factors.

Evolutionary Context: A long-accepted evolutionary explanation of anxiety is that it reflects an in-built 'fight or flight' system, which errs on the side of safety. One line of research suggests that specific dispositions to monitor and react to social threats may have evolved, reflecting the vital and complex importance of social living and social rank in human ancestral environments. Charles Darwin originally wrote about the evolutionary basis of shyness and blushing, and modern evolutionary psychology and psychiatry also addresses social phobia in this context. It has been hypothesized that in modern day society these evolved tendencies can become more inappropriately activated and result in some of the cognitive 'distortions' or 'irrationalities' identified in cognitive-behavioral models and therapies.

Genetic and Family Factors: It has been shown that there is a two to three fold greater risk of having social phobia if a first-degree relative also has the disorder. This could be due to genetics and/or due to children acquiring social fears and avoidance through processes of observational learning or parental psychosocial education. Studies of identical twins brought up (via adoption) in different families have indicated that, if one twin developed social anxiety disorder, then the other was between 30% and 50% more likely than average to also develop the disorder. To some extent this 'heritability' may not be specific - for example, studies have found that if a parent has any kind of anxiety disorder or clinical depression, then a child is somewhat more likely to develop an anxiety disorder or social phobia. Studies suggest that parents of those with social anxiety disorder tend to be more socially isolated themselves, and shyness in adoptive parents is significantly correlated with shyness in adopted children;

Adolescents who were rated as having an insecure (anxious-ambivalent) attachment with their mother as infants were twice as likely to develop anxiety disorders by late adolescence, including social phobia (SAD)

A related line of research has investigated Behavioral inhibition' in infants - early signs of an inhibited and introspective or fearful nature. Studies have shown that around 10-15% of individuals show this early temperament, which appears to be partly due to genetics. Some continue to show this trait in to adolescence and adulthood, and appear to be more likely to develop social anxiety disorder.

Neurochemical and Neurocognitive Influences: Some scientists hypothesize that social phobia is related to an imbalance of the brain chemical serotonin. Sociability is also closely tied to dopamine neurotransmission. Low D2 receptor binding is found in people with social anxiety. The efficacy of medications which affect Serotonin and Dopamine levels also indicates the role of these pathways. There is also increasing focus on other candidate transmitters, e.g. Noradrenalin, which may be over-active in social anxiety disorder, and the inhibitory transmitter GABA.

Individuals with social anxiety disorder have been found to have a hypersensitive amygdala, for example in relation to social threat cues (e.g. someone might be evaluating you negatively), angry or hostile faces, and while just waiting to give a speech. Recent research has also indicated that another area of the brain, the 'Anterior Cingulate Cortex', which was already known to be involved in the experience of physical pain, also appears to be involved in the experience of 'social pain', for example perceiving group exclusion

Psychological Factors: Research has indicated the role of 'core' or 'unconditional' negative beliefs (e.g. I am inept) and 'conditional' beliefs nearer to the surface (e.g. If I show myself, I will be rejected). They are thought to develop based on personality and adverse experiences and to be activated when the person feels under threat. One line of work has focused more specifically on the key role of self-presentational concerns. The resulting anxiety states are seen as interfering with social performance and the ability to concentrate on interaction, which in turn creates more social problems, which strengthens the negative schema. Also highlighted has been a high focus on and worry about anxiety symptoms themselves and how they might appear to others. A similar model emphasizes the development of a distorted mental representation of their self and over-estimates of the likelihood and consequences of negative evaluation, and of the performance standards that others have. Such cognitive-behavioral models consider the role of negatively-biased memories of the past and the processes of rumination after an event, and fearful anticipation before it. Studies have also highlighted the role of subtle avoidance and defensive factors, and shown how attempts to avoid feared negative evaluations or use 'safety behaviors' can make social interaction more difficult and the anxiety worse in the long run. This work has been influential in the development of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for social anxiety disorder, which has been shown to have efficacy

(see more in part 3 next issue!)


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Dogman’s Back!

 A masterful blend of science fiction, fantasy, and folklore, the DOGMAN EPOCH: SHADOW and FLAME 
is an epic tale in its own era, stretching from the present day to far beyond 
the history of humanity.


Tying the Dogman legend to the 2012 Mayan doomsday prophesy, a secret governmental agency races to solve 
the ancient puzzle and save the world 
from destruction, all the while 
dodging a hidden enemy…


10,000 years in the past, the Nagual and their sorcerer chieftain begin their conquest of the native civilizations. Can the great Guardians stand against the evil onslaught, or will the looming end of the Third Age of the Sun prove the downfall of humanity?

Welcome to Dogman Country!

Now Available!

Click Here For
Dogman Epoch: Shadow and Flame Website


Now Available!

Year of the Dogman Website
Now Available!

Tales From Dogman Country Website
Now Available!

Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen Website 
Now Available!
Now Available!
Now Available!

Haunting of Sigma Website
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

'Big Boy' / 'Big Girl' Word Lists

Do you want your students to get into the habit of using a more sophisticated vocabulary and to avoid using simplistic or redundant words and phrases? Are you tired of reading 'got', 'a lot', and 'thing' in your students' writing? Would you like them to use the vocabulary words from your textbook, chapter, or unit?

A great idea is to use a 'Big Boy and Big Girl' word list. This is a set of specific vocabulary you want students to use in class, in discussions, and in their writing. This name inicates that the students will be using bigger, more sophisticated and descriptive words that the 'big boys' and 'big girls' use.

On a wall of my classroom, I've put up a poster of the basic words I never want to see in my students' use in writin. The six banned words in my room are: got, a lot, thing, something, anything,

At the beginning of the year, I teach the kids about word choice and why it is important to use both specific and creative alternatives to the mundane words most of our students will use if not challenged. We discuss the banned words and their definitions. Then we brainstorm and list alternatives to each banned word. This becomes the start of our 'Big Boy/Big Girl' list.

This poster is right next to the front board where I can add to the list. Big Boy/Big Girl words are added throughout the year, along with the alternatives. Instead of 'a lot', students can use 'frequent' or 'often'.

Instead of 'big', we brainstormed 'huge', 'gigantic', 'and 'humongeous'.

The word 'thing' is the common stand in for virtually any noun, and could refer to a person, a place, an idea, or an object. In this case, have the students be specific in their naming of the 'thing', and use descriptive words and phrases instead of the simple banned word.

We also put together a list of banned words for speeches and class presentations. Students are not allowed to use 'like' in their normal parlance, such as "I was like..." and "he was like..." or "like this and like that". We also never tolerate terms or phrases like 'this sucks'. And the ever famous 'um' and 'uh' are not allowed. Instead we teach the students to pause and take a breath, then continue. Students lose significant points on these presentations if they say banned words.

You as the teacher can decide on what words you want your students to use or ban in class. This is a great opportunity to require them to use important terms and vocabulary from your curriculum. And in short mini lessons, you and the students can brainstorm alternatives to many simplistic words, which reinforces the student's acquisition of the vocabulary.

Ok, now this is a great idea, but how is it enforced? Once we'e had the mini lesson on word choice and discussed the list and banned words, I inform students that I will not accept any assignments in which I find a banned word. The assignment automatically becomes a zero, unless the student fixes the problem. If they don't, the zero remains. Although this may seem to be a more time consuming task for the teacher, the students pick up on the concept quickly. It may take you a bit more time and effort on the front end, but you'll reap bigger rewards the rest of the year as soon as the students pick up the habit.



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

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

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



Click below to check out the NEW Amazon.com Kindle

Your favorite books, magazines, and newspapers on Kindle, instantly downloadable with 3G wireless.

Kindle weighs only 10 ounces and is 1/3 of an inch thick, yet it holds over 1500 books!

Order your very own Kindle by clicking the link below:


Are There Other Teachers in Your School or District Who Would Love to Receive Our Newsletter?

Be sure to pass along our website and newsletter!

"Twas the Week Before Christmas"
Compiled By Heather Skipworth Craven
Themes on Life

A new take on the classic Christmas poem...

Twas the week before Christmas
And all through my class,
The students were buzzing, not a one was on task.
The stockings were hung on the incentive board with care, In hopes that "smiley" stickers soon would be there.

The kid's desks were strewn with Christmas drawings of green & red,
While visions of class parties danced in their heads.
With my chalk, markers, spelling lists in hand, I donned my "super teacher's cap" And longingly I looked forward to a long, Christmas break nap-

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was a matter
Away to the teacher's lounge I flew like a flash,
Tore open the doors, ran to the window in a dash.
The sun on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave lustre to the playground objects below.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the "ho, ho" man himself...yes with reindeer!!
With a sleigh, and a smile so lively and quick,
I thought to myself...am I feeling quite sick?
Or could this indeed be the famous St. Nick!

Through the door St. Nicholas came with a bound,
Went straight to the teacher's boxes, with nary a sound.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the boxes, with goodies, bonus checks and other great perks.
And laying his finger aside of his cheek
And giving a nod..said..."Good teacher, take heart..tis but one more week!"

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down on a thistle,
I wound my way back to my own classroom halls,
With my students gleefully bouncing off the four walls,
But I heard him exclaim as he drove off with elation,
Merry Christmas dear Teachers...and enjoy your Vacation!



What's New @ StarTeaching?


Welcome to our first December issue, preparing you for the Holiday Break!

This month our web partner Tony Vincent shares some techniques with the iPad and iPod Touch. Yasmeen Jumani discusses the teacher decision-making process.  And our tech writer Mark Benn shares some great tech-training websites.

Look for more real math problems from Mary Ann Graziani, Article of the Week from Frank Holes, Jr., and great teaching ideas for great teachers everywhere.  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



See more of our Freebies as well as Special Reports on our website by clicking the quick link below:


Make sure to BOOKMARK our website so you can keep up with more changes and additions through the year.  And feel free to share our site by EMAILING it to a friend.



Email us at editor@starteaching.com

Hit Counter

See us now on FACEBOOK!


Sign up for our 

Don’t be just a Guest! Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, delivered right to your inbox! FREE tips, ideas, and articles.

Subscribe Now!

Check out our collection of FREE online resources, including the SQ3R sheet for reading and the Paragraph Graphic Organizer for writing.  These are forms you can fill in online and print, or have your students fill them in and print them for class!
NEW!  Book Report Organizer
SQ3R sheet
Paragraph Graphic Organizer



"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

~Wayne Gretzky

StarTeaching Links: 

(Click to access our website)

StarTeaching Newsletter Articles & Archives

Submit an Article for our Newsletter

Special, Limited-Time Offers

FREE Special Reports

Technology Center

Educational Links

Feature Writers
Mark Benn:
Educational Technology
Mary Ann Graziani:
Mathematics Education
Helen de la Maza:
Science Education
Chris Sura:
English Education
Munir Moosa Sewani:
World Education
Salima Moosa Sewani:
World Education
Rozina Jumani:
World Education
Yasmeen Jumani:
World Education
Dr. Peter Manute:
Student Teachers and 
Job Finding
Kim Taylor-DiLeva:
Sign Language
Christina Riggan:
School Features
Michael Kett: 
Magic in the Classroom






Do you have a great TEACHING TIP or ACTIVITY to share?

Are you using an innovative TECHNIQUE in your class?

Have you created WRITING PROMPTS that you’d like to add to our WEEKLY CALENDAR?

We welcome, and are always looking for teachers to share successes, stories, and ideas with our readers.

Submit an article to this newsletter by emailing:


Or click the following link:


All articles will be proofread, and may be edited for content and/or length.


Articles & Archives

* 5 Years of bi-monthly Newsletters
* Feature Writers
* Guest Writers
* FREE Special Reports





Click to see over 1000 prompts

10 Days Of


Why is food an important part of the holidays?


Why do we celebrate with food?  How is food a part of us?


What are 5 foods that are important to your family during the holidays?


Describe the best foods you enjoy during the holidays.


How can you use food to bring people together during the holidays?


Whast does it mean that "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take?"


Why is it important to do your best?


How can you try out new things in life?


Which of your teachers has pushed you to 'try' your best this semester?


 Which of your classes has pushed you to do your 'best' so far this semester?

Click to see over 1000 prompts


10 days of writing prompts


Are there other teachers in your district who would enjoy this FREE newsletter delivered to them bi-weekly? 

YOU could qualify for FREE offers when referring others.

Click the quick link below for more information:

Teacher Referral


is brought to you FREE 
by the support of our sponsors:

Griswold Mountain 
Brewing Company

Distinguished Products for 
Distinguished Handcrafters

Specializing in Homemade and Handcrafted products since 1996

Check out our selection of homebrew recipes, ingredients, and equipment on our website:

Mastering Basic Skills software:


Year of the Dogman

A New Novel by Frank Holes, Jr.
Now Available!
click here for more info

Are you interested in advertising with us?
Want to reach an audience of thousands each month?  The StarTeaching newsletter is sent out twice a month, and advertising is available on our website.
Click the link below for more information:
Advertise with Us!



Writing Process Articles

Check out the entire collection of writing articles, including:
* Paragraph Writing
* Essay Writing
* Journaling
* FREE printables you can use!




Be sure to check out our

Teaching Science with Interactive Notebooks

by Kellie Marcarelli



Coming Soon:

More Article of the Week

Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum

Writing Process and Programs

Classroom Management


Are You Looking For a Teaching Job?

Need a position in a K-12 school, administration, or a coaching job?  Our website has just gained access to a specialized service just for our members and newsletter readers.  Job listings, application and interviewing tips, and priceless information, at your fingertips!

Click here if you want to find that Teaching Job!

10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 How do you write 320 in scientific notation?
Day 2 How do you write 4.2 × 105 in standard form?
Day 3 Which sign makes the sentence true? < > =

6.8 × 103 ____ 8 × 104
Day 4

Besides 12 and 1, what is one factor of 12?

Day 5

What is the prime factorization of 6?

Day 6 What is the prime factorization of 2?
Day 7 What is the prime factorization of 16?
Day 8 Write the prime factorization of 4. Use exponents when appropriate and order the factors from
least to greatest (for example, 22 × 3 × 5).
Day 9 What is the greatest common factor of 3 and 6?
Day 10 What is the greatest common factor of 4 and 2?


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




Tech-Ed Articles

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




Science Activities For Any Setting
By Helen de la Maza
Lunch Water Use
(click for PDF)

Habitat Bingo
(click for PDF)

Click HERE to see all of 
Helen's Science Activities


Sign up for our 

Don’t be just a Guest! Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, delivered right to your inbox! FREE tips, ideas, and articles.

Subscribe Now!



Inspirational Quotes
& Photos

Check out our entire collection of inspirational quotes and photos from our 5 years of newsletters.  








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.


Article of the Week
"Samoa Time Travelers in 2011"
Click here to download the PDF
"Lost Ship in the Arctic"
Click here to download the PDF


Winter Specials!
Books for Sale!

(Affiliated with Amazon.com)




Home | Newsletter Articles & Archives | FREE Special Reports | Special, Limited Time Offers | Submit An Article For Our Newsletter

Website design by Carrie's Creations Inc. ©2005