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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 7, Issue 24
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   Classroom Arrangement   Drug Education: An Emerging Concept for Teachers
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Using Photography to Inspire Writing"
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
The Changing Face of PowerPoint
Cell Phones and School Policy
Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Social Anxiety (part 3)
New Teacher's Niche:
Revisiting the SQ3R Reading Strategy
Student Teachers' Lounge: Student Biographies and Interviewing
Book of the Month Club:
Teaching Science with Interactive Notebooks
  Website of the Month: Glogster   Themes on Life: 
"Christmas Jokes & Riddles"
Article of the Week: "An Outsider, Out of the Shadows"   Winter 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



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Classroom Arrangement

By: Debbie Cluff

Article courtesy of EdArticle.com:   www.edarticle.com 


The set up of a classroom is very important to how a classroom is being managed. The teacher needs to make sure his/her classroom is arranged for the students to be productive. The teacher also needs to make sure their classroom has a positive environment for the students as they enter the classroom. Another key fact a teacher needs to consider is that their classroom needs to be ready for learning everyday. This is because in order to manage a classroom with proper discipline, a product and active classroom set-up is important. The students need to be placed in an arrangement that will keep them focused on the lesson and not deter them from learning. In this paper, we will discuss and provide ways for a lower elementary classroom to be set up.

Classroom Arrangement

Our map shows the classroom is arranged in centers. The students will sit in groups of six in four different groups. The reasoning behind the groups is that the students will be able to learn how to work with others. The students will also be able to motivate each other to do their work. The desks are arranged in the middle of the classroom so it will allow the teacher to walk around the room freely. Plus the teacher will be able to control the students in a more compact area. The setting of the desk will also help students to stay on task.

Reading Corner

In the corner of the classroom is a “cozy” reading nook which will contain the classroom library. This area will provide a “home” feeling and help the students to feel relax when they are in this area. The reading nook will also be a place for students to go to when they have completed their work and want to read a book in a cozy are. If a child is able to feel at home in the reading nook this can cut down on behavior problems for the teacher. In the reading nook, this area is a quite place. The reading nook is not located in the same area as everything else in the classroom. By having the reading nook in the corner of the classroom, it will help to promote reading in the classroom.


The listening center and computer station will be placed on the outside of the classroom. The centers will be facing the walls because the students will be rotating to the varies centers within the classroom. Plus, while students are at their centers they will need to be able to concentrate on their work. Also, located on the outside of the classroom are the storage areas for Science, Math, Art and Writing materials. This storage area allows the students to have a centrally located area to receive and place materials for Science, Math, Art and Writing. Plus, this area will help the teacher to keep his/her classroom organized.

The student’s desk will also serve as centers. During center time students will be able to move around the whole room to gain information. At each group their will be a different theme for students to learn about. By having the centers on both the inside and the outside of the classroom will enable the teacher to focus the students’ attention to their center activity instead of just rotating around the room. This will keep the flow of the classroom and will not give the students time to mess around maintaining classroom structure and discipline.

Teacher’s Desk Location

The teacher’s desk is located in the back of the classroom. The reason of this arrangement is that this will help the teacher to promote a student – centered classroom. By having the desk located in the back of the classroom the teacher will have full sight of his/her entire classroom at all times. Plus, the teacher will only use the desk for paper work. The rest of the time the teacher will be in the same area as the students.

Print Rich Environment

Not only is the arrangement of the desk important to the classroom but the motivation the classroom has to offer the students. To have a print-rich-environment, the teacher needs to have posters and signs that help to promote literature in the classroom. By having posters and signs on the classroom walls and bulletin boards will help the students gain a great deal of experiences with the different types of literature. Plus the students can do a read around the room, while sitting in the reading nook. By providing a print-rich environment, the students will be placed in a positive learning atmosphere that promotes learning thus preventing classroom misconduct.


In conclusion, the arrangement of the classroom is a very key part of how well the students will learn and interact with their classmates and their teacher. If a classroom is disorganized and clustered, then it will be kind of hard for a child to work and learn new skills. Plus, the teacher needs to take time to make sure his/her room is set up for learning because no matter how well your lesson plans are completed and ready to be presented. If the students do not feel comfortable in the room then the lesson plan will be presented in a way the teacher wanted it to.



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Feature Writer

Using Photography To Inspire Writing

By Hank Kellner

Hank Kellner is a retired teacher of English who has served as a department chair at the high school level and an adjunct associate professor of English at the community college level.

He is the former publisher of Moneygram, a marketing newsletter for photographer.  He is also the creator of many photographs and articles that have appeared in publications nationwide, the author of extensive reading comprehension materials for a publisher of educational materials, and a former contributor to Darkroom Photography magazine.  His self-syndicated series, Twelve Unknown Heroes of the American Revolution appeared in more than fifty newspapers and magazines nationwide.

Kellner's most recent publication, Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing, is marked by Prufrock Press.  His blog appears regularly at hank-englisheducation.blogspot.com.

The purpose of Hank's most recent work, Reflections, is to inspire student writing through the use of poetry and photography.  

Most of the poems and photos have been submitted by students, teachers, and others nationwide, though some are directly from Hank.  Although Reflections has not yet been published, all of its contents are copyrighted.  Teachers are free, however, to download selected contents for use in their classrooms.

Each selection will include a poem, a photograph, a direct quotation, and four trigger words.

We at StarTeaching kindly thank Hank for his permission to use the materials.


For Jordan and Jackson
(With Love from Mom)
By Janet Vincent

“How many children do you have?”
I heard the voice say.
“I have a son who’s nineteen.
He’s my pride and joy.”
But inside I’m shouting,
“I have another boy.”

His name is Jackson
My son, who’s in heaven,
I miss him so much.
In March he’d be seven.

But I answer intently
About the boy who is with me,
“My Jordan is my refuge
Of parenthood on earth.
I’m as proud as can be

Of this boy since his birth.”

“I’m lucky to have them,” I tell myself often,
And then I recall that tiny white coffin. 

So, to answer your question,
I hope you will listen.
I have two sons:
One in my heart and one out and about.
They’re both special to me.
Of that I’ve no doubt.


Illustration 19 By Jennifer Bowles






"Children are living jewels 
dropped unsustained from heaven." 

-- Robert Pollok

Copyright 2009 Hank Kellner

These poem/photo combinations are from Hank Kellner's upcoming publication, Reflections: A Collection of Poetry, Photos, and More.


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 ½ 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 author’s blog at http://hank-englisheducation.com. The author will contribute a portion of the royalties earned from the sale of this book to The Wounded Warriors Project.


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There are six modules designed to test the basic ability of an individual in terms of Memory & Concentration. Needless to say this is the most important basic skill for not just to survive but also to thrive in this competitive environment. Each of the six modules tests the six variants of Memory & Concentration in an individual, namely: 1. Picture recognition
2. Paired Associate Learning
3. Immediate Recall
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6. Recognition and Recall
Each of these modules runs at three different levels, from easy to difficult.

At each level, the individual's performance is depicted as Scores Obtained.

A feedback has been built into the software for all these 18 levels depending on the marks one scores during the test. 

Each individual can assess his/her performance any time by clicking on "history", which gives complete details of date and time of taking the tests, marks scored each time and even time taken to do the test. This builds the confidence level and encourages more participation to eventually culminate in improvement and enhancement of memory and concentration.

Essentially, this software is a SELF AWARENESS tool that surely motivates the individual to realize one's capability and seek or be receptive for improvement. Also, if repeatedly done over a period of time works as Training tool to enhance their capability.
This software package is specifically designed to help young children to learn basic skills that will help them in school.  Continued follow-up will give these young learners success as they mature.  

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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Guest Writer

Cell Phones and School Policy
By Jerry Judge

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.

Around 1990 administrators were faced with a new technology….pagers. In large cities pagers were associated with drug dealers as some students were being contacted through pagers to pick up or deliver drugs during school hours. Pagers were banned from school through legislation encouraged by school administrators.

Another concern arose with cell phones. Again the legislature reacted and passed legislation that allowed individual school boards to establish their own school policy regarding cell phones and other communication devices.

Presently there are a wide variety of policies that affect cell phone use in schools. Some school totally ban them while other schools allow limited uses during non-instructional time.

Now there appears to be interesting innovative programs that are being developed using cell phones as instructional aids in classrooms. Programs are being developed where students can use their cell phones to text with tests, surveys, and other assessments. (www.polleverywhere.com)

Many veteran administrators remember the battle over calculators when they were introduced in math classes. Now we are faced with technology that is changing at lightning speed. We are all unaware of the future of technology with regards to education so it is essential that we learn to be flexible to meet the future needs of our students and teachers.

Over the years I have developed a philosophy that works for me….two things: consistency and flexibility.

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 Jerry Judge 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

Student Biographies and Interviewing

Our biography project begins with careful planning long before the actual class implementation. The first step is to set up the access to information. We arrange our time with our local librarian so she's well aware of the project expectations. She always thinks of details we need, and she's really good about setting out autobiography/biography books and materials for us.

The students each check out an autobiography/biography book from the library. I require teacher's permission and approval before check out. I do allow students to use outside books, but they must still be brought in to be approved.

We allow students to 'test drive' the books for a one-week span. If the subject is just too boring or awful for the student, I do allow them to change books (though the due date stays the same!) The most important aspect to me is the reading of the book; we'll take time every day during the project to quiet read in the classroom. I want to stress the importance of the reading of biographical text, since it's much different than the fictional works they normally read.

You can also skip ahead of the reading of the book and move right into the fact finding session. If you have internet access and an updated encyclopedia you can find most or even all of the facts about your subject. But make sure your students are reading the books too.  This is important to get an overall, rounded-view of their character.  Be careful that your students have chosen biographies and not historical fiction or the various 'diary' books out there now!

This next step is to identify what information you want your students to find about their subject. We call this our 'fact-finding' stage.  We complete a note taking sheet which organizes the students' research. You can find a copy of our 'fact-finding' worksheet on our website. There are basic facts to find such as personal and family information, employment, and education.

Then there are the facts which must be uncovered, such as mentors they had, who they have influenced, their impact on society, and why they'll be remembered in history. Lastly, I'll have students complete several short writing assignments extending the new knowledge.  Sometimes students create interview questions and formulate fictional answers based on what they think the person would say. Another idea is to create a fictional conversation with that person which is held around a dinner table or around a campfire. There are many applications you can create to use the students' facts.

Finally, you need to consider what the students will do with their completed research. We have had students create PowerPoint documents and give in-class presentations. We have had them create posters to display their findings. This year we're putting our research onto each student's website along with any multi-media that is available to us (such as clip art, photos, audio and/or video clips).

Most years, we will have students pair up and interview each other.  Students find out personal information about each other, such as basic family and friends, schools and education, and where they've lived. They pose questions on likes/dislikes, favorites, and goals for the future. You can go ahead and create a short sheet of sample questions, then allow students to create their own as the interview goes on (also check out our website for a FREE printable copy of the interview sheet we use in class). Allow each student about 10-15 minutes to ask questions and write down answers, then have students trade roles.

Now you have enough information to create student biographies (or give the data sheets to the owners and have students create autobiographies). We will write these up in a narrative form to tell a life story, but we've also done projects like PowerPoints, web pages, and posters. One favorite is cutting out t-shirt shapes out of paper and having students write on them and decorate them with photos, drawings, and clip art. These are then presented to the class and hung in the hallways.

The biography project is not only required in our curriculum, but it is also fun for the students. It is also a great means of incorporating an informational text (non-fiction) into your class curriculum.

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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  TECH/21st Century CORNER

Re-Defining the Teacher's Role

By Mark Benn, Instructional Technologist

Mark Benn earned his B.S. from Western Michigan University and his Elementary Certification from Northern Michigan University.  He is a 20 year teaching veteran of 5th and 6th grade students at Inland Lakes Middle School in Indian River, MI.  He finished his 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 the Mackinac State Historic Parks as a historical interpreter.

Here's a great article/blog I recently read which really makes a teacher re-think his/her role as a learner. Use this link:






Great BLOGS to read on the changes in the way students learn

Doug Johnson The Blue Skunk Blog
Ian Jukes The Committed Sardine
David Warlick Two Cents Worth
Will Richardson WeBloggEd
Kathy Schrock Kaffeeklatsch
Tony Vincent Learning In Hand



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:




 From our Special Reports  

Drug Education - 
An Emerging Concept 
for Teachers 
By Munir Moosa Sewani

Munir Moosa Sewani is one of the most famous, prominent and creative names in the field of Education for the past 10 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 four and a half 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 100 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 have 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.

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

One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade. (Chinese Proverb)

Children are the symbol of peace and victory, and childhood is a period of innocence. Children's growth cannot be estimated from their height, but it requires examining their patterns of behavior and changes in their attitudes to judge their development. A child, who babbles "ba ba ma ma" grows very rapidly in today’s world. Societies are changing and so the children.

Children spend most of their day at home, followed closely by time at school and then with their friends. But as the children grow, it’s been observed that they spent most of their time outside home with their friends. Whether the friends are reliable or not is one major concern.  Children at their early ages, especially when they are in their teens, cannot judge friends well, as they consider a friend as a friend, regardless of any bad traits. As the world is changing, attitudes and behaviors are also altering. Children are adapting every new thing instantaneously, which lures them. They emulate many things instantaneously, without letting others to know it.

It is being observed that parents, as well as teachers, are mostly unaware of the bad habits in which their children are partaking or about to be involved in. Out of many bad habits, drug abuse is commonly found among youth around the globe. Drug abuse is initially practiced in the form of glue, inhalants, cigarettes, alcohol, beer, sedatives, syrups containing codeine, pain relievers, any drink containing caffeine, etc., Your child may later substitute it from cocaine, Hashish, Marijuana, Depressants, Steroids, etc. Such a habit of drug abusing is commonly practiced in parks or at different places, where it is almost impossible for a teacher or parents to reach.

The question is: why do children get into drugs? What are the real causes behind the curtain? Why children do adopt such deadly habit?

An informal research was conducted by me, and the following genuine reasons were found, which trigger children to use drugs:

Friend circle
Peer Pressure
Child Abuse
To expose high status
Look cool
Corporal Punishment
Net Chatting to strangers
Relieve boredom
Forget painful memories
Advertisement, etc

The reasons may be uncountable and it requires a lot of grass root research to be conducted to find other reasons. A teacher can get help from the world renowned Drug Free World Association, USA . This organization has done extensive research in this regard and is promoting drug education worldwide by the support of valuable donors.

All children want to look cool and they want others to notice them. Children want to perform unusual acts to grab others' attention as well. Confidence, friendship with others, outspoken, extroversive, party animal, etc are some of the traits found in most of the teens, but when you observe some other traits like fear, anguish, hyper-activity, changes in sleeping patterns, excessive behavior problems, abusive language, mostly sitting alone in a locked room, alterations in mood, drastic change in study patterns and poor grades, excessive impulsivity, changes in eating pattern, etc., then you can initiate a search for the real matter.

A teacher should not loose hope and should take the responsibility by taking one bold step of caring for their students like their own children. Often children are neglected at home or they outburst their frustration in the form of using drugs.  Children always need someone listening and caring for them. I have dealt with many people online who left their drug habit because of respect, quality guidance and support provided.

Whatever is concealed from the parents is sometimes expressed by the children to their teachers, if they really trust you. I had two former students who were using drugs, and I was unaware of their habits, until one day, I caught them up. Instead of informing their parents, who would have started beating them, the best possible step I took was to counsel the students. I believe that whatever we want to talk about or to resolve should take place face to face. These students were in fear. I kept my promise not to disclose that news to their parents. After five sessions of counseling, I got to know the reasons of their involvement in drug abuse. “A” was addicted to cigarettes as his group of friends brainwashed his mind that a 'man' should smoke. A man who didn't smoke, according to his friends, would be called names and described as 'feminine.' That emotional blackmail turned him to use drugs, and gradually he was addicted. “B” started using drugs because he saw his father using drugs since he was 13. He constantly watched his father’s patterns until one day his friend took him to his home and they both drank wine and enjoyed smoking. Since that day, he started using wine and smoking occasionally.

In a nutshell, counseling is one of the best solutions to solve bad habits in your children. It requires a lot of skills to create a trust. First of all, create a bond of trust by inviting a child to be your friend. Once they trust you, they can explore and share their lives with you and could also listen to your sayings. I recommend all teachers adopt a positive attitude in order to explore the reasons behind using drugs.

When you counsel any child, being close to them as warmth and support is the only tool which can lead to get towards the reality. Tell them that you will keep all the information confidential and try to share any realistic stories if you or your relatives were once involved in drug abuse and how you or they overcome the problem. You may also find some stories at www.drugfreeworld.org

One more skill a teacher can try is to create a dynamic relation, as the outcomes would be more realistic. For that, a teacher can make small groups among classmates and later give them some brain storming activity or topic to discuss, such as "what are the harmful effects of drug?" "How can we create a drug free society?" etc. You can even arrange an essay competition or poster competition and then display it for spreading this noble message. Invite their parents to show their children's efforts. One technique which I used was to make a small card with a tag “DO NOT SMOKE; THIS HOUSE IS SMOKE FREE.” Children colored it and later it was guided to stick it to their main entrance door. It really worked and the parents’ appreciated that effort. The schools should include some chapters in the curriculum related to the harmful effects of drugs which would help young minds to shape positive attitudes at their early ages.  

In the same manner, why not to arrange some workshops? Here workshop doesn’t means boring lectures. Instead, try to arrange s  game show or activity session to make your effort fruitful. Children love participating in activities, so such interactive workshops would be an effective tool as well.

Remember, drug addicts are not bad, the habit is bad. So try to make your child aware of drug hazards as early as possible to create better and healthier citizens and to improve their quality of life.


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Social Anxiety
(part 3)

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.

Social Experiences

A previous negative social experience can be a trigger to social phobia, perhaps particularly for individuals high in 'interpersonal sensitivity'. For around half of those diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, a specific traumatic or humiliating social event appears to be associated with the onset or worsening of their disorder; this kind of event appears to be particularly related to specific performance SA, for example public speaking. As well as direct experiences, observing or hearing about the socially negative experiences of others (e.g. a faux pas committed by someone), or verbal warnings of social problems and dangers may also make the development of a social anxiety disorder more likely. Social anxiety disorder may be caused by the longer-term effects of not fitting in, or being bullied, rejected or ignored. Shy adolescents or avoidant adults have emphasized unpleasant experiences with peers or childhood bullying or harassment. In one study, popularity was found to be negatively correlated with social anxiety, and children who were neglected by their peers reported higher social anxiety and fear of negative evaluation than other categories of children. Socially phobic children appear less likely to receive positive reactions from peers and anxious or inhibited children may isolate themselves.

Sociocultural Influences

Cultural factors that have been related to social anxiety disorder include a societies attitude towards shyness and avoidance, impacting ability to form relationships or access employment or education. In China, research has indicated that shy-inhibited children are more accepted than their peers and more likely to be considered for leadership and considered competent, in contrast to the findings in Western countries. Purely demographic variables may also play a role - for example there are possibly lower rates of social anxiety disorder in Mediterranean countries and higher rates in Scandinavian countries, and it has been hypothesized that hot weather and high-density may reduce avoidance and increase interpersonal contact. There appear to be differences between more 'western' and more 'eastern' cultures. One study has suggested that the effects of parenting are different depending on the culture - American children appear more likely to develop social anxiety disorder if their parents emphasize the importance of other's opinions and use shame as a disciplinary strategy, but this association was not found for Chinese/Chinese-American children.

Problems in developing 'social skills' may be a cause of some social anxiety disorder, through either inability or lack of confidence to interact socially and gain positive reactions and acceptance from others. The studies have been mixed, however, with some studies not finding significant problems in social skills while others have. What does seem clear is that the socially anxious perceive their own social skills to be low. It may be that the increasing need for sophisticated social skills in forming relationships or careers, and an emphasis on assertiveness and competitiveness, is making social anxiety problems more common, at least among the 'middle classes'. An interpersonal or media emphasis on 'normal' or 'attractive' personal characteristics has also been argued to fuel perfectionism and feelings of inferiority or insecurity regarding negative evaluation from others. The need for social acceptance or social standing has been elaborated in other lines of research relating to social anxiety


There is a high degree of comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders. Social phobia often occurs alongside low self-esteem and clinical depression, due to lack of personal relationships and long periods of isolation from avoiding social situations. To try to reduce their anxiety and alleviate depression, people with social phobia may use alcohol or other drugs, which can lead to substance abuse. It is estimated that one-fifth of patients with social anxiety disorder also suffer from alcohol dependence. The most common complementary psychiatric condition is depression. In a sample of 14,263 people, of the 2.4% of persons diagnosed with social phobia, 16.6% also met the criteria for major depression. Besides depression, the most common disorders diagnosed in patients with social phobia are panic disorder (33%), generalized anxiety disorder (19%), post-traumatic stress disorder (36%), substance abuse disorder (18%), and attempted suicide (23%). In one study of social anxiety disorder patients who developed comorbid alcoholism, panic disorder or depression, social anxiety disorder preceded the onset of alcoholism, panic disorder and depression in 75%, 61%, and 90% of patients, respectively. Avoidant personality disorder is also highly correlated with social phobia. Because of its close relationship and overlapping symptoms with other illnesses, treating social phobic's may help understand underlying connection in other psychiatric disorders.

There is research indicating that social anxiety disorder is often correlated with bipolar disorder. Some researchers believe they share an underlying cyclothymic-anxious-sensitive disposition. In addition, studies show that a proportion of socially phobic patients treated with anti-depressant medication develop hypomania., although this can be seen as the medication creating a new problem, and also has this adverse effect in a proportion of those without social phobia.

Look for more in Part 4, next issue!


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com




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




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Revisiting the SQ3R Reading Strategy

Many teachers have used the SQ3R reading strategy successfully for years. For new teachers, this can have a positive impact on whatever class, grade, or subject you are teaching. Reading is a vital skill in every class and every subject area, and a strategy to improve students' reading while working on specific class material is extremely beneficial.

SQ3R is an instructional strategy for improving reading comprehension.  It is an acronym for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review. Each of these activities focuses on a technique integral to the reading process. The uses in the language arts seem rather obvious, but SQ3R is great for other areas too. This can be used in social studies classes when reading through a new section of the textbook. Science teachers use it to kick off new units and in new labs. Math teachers can even use it to teach students to take notes from their books.  Possibilities are endless.

Like any other technique, you will want to teach this carefully to your students and discuss each part together in class. While there are many ways of interpreting and using the SQ3R strategy, in this article I'll be sharing how we use it in our classroom.

'Survey' refers to skimming the reading quickly. Students look for items that catch their eyes - titles, headlines, photos, pictures, graphs, bold-faced or italicized words. Sometimes I refer to them as 'sticky words' since the reader's eyes tend to stick to them. After the quick scan, students write down the first six items their eyes 'catch' upon. Just a word or short phrase is fine, as we want to keep this part short and sweet.

'Question' is the part where students make predictions and pose questions about what they've surveyed. We have students create and write down three questions in complete sentences based on what they surveyed.

Complete sentences requires students to think carefully about the info they skimmed, and put it into a logical organized form. Early on, students may pose rather simple questions. We do not allow easy yes/no questions, those with one word answers, or questions they already know the answers to. We even spend class time discussing what makes 'good' questions.

Once the pre-reading is finished, the 'Read' part is just that - the students now read carefully through the section, paying attention to everything on the page. It's important to find the answers to their questions. We have the students then answer their posed questions in complete sentences. Sometimes students may have posed questions that are unanswerable or not found in the reading. We do allow students to state that the answer was not found in the reading. That's ok, as long as they don't make a habit of it. If such a habit does form, simply require students to state where they could find the answer.

'Recite' refers to putting the data from the reading into a new use.  We often create short freewrites to discuss the implications of the reading, or its applications. You can also create writing topics for students to respond to.

'Review' is, again, self-explanatory, as students review the material.  We have students create quiz questions based on the reading, just as if they were the teacher. However, they are not allowed to use their questions posed previously! Students can create ten multiple choice or true/false questions. Sometimes we assign creating fill-in-the banks statements, or even have students make their own essay questions or writing topics. You could even have them create crosswords or other word puzzles.

To make the SQ3R technique easy to do and grade, we've created a form that is used through our school. It is specific enough to cover all of the areas, and yet general enough to allow individual teachers to adapt and customize this strategy to their class, students, or current assignments.

You can download a free copy of our SQ3R worksheet on our website by clicking the link below:

The SQ3R technique is easy to use and adapt yourself, once you and your students are comfortable with its components. We've used it as a warm-up activity, as a closing activity, and as a sponge. It is also useful when you need easy-to-follow plans for a substitute. Most importantly, this is a powerful, yet simple, tool you can use in any class to improve students' reading skills.

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

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"Christmas Jokes & Riddles"
Themes on Life

A little bit of fun as we finish up the year.

Some silly fun for your students with some Holiday jokes and riddles!!

Q. Why did Santa have three gardens?
A. So he could hoe, hoe, hoe!

Q. What goes ho-ho-swoosh? Ho-ho-swoosh?
A. Santa caught in a revolving door!

Q. What do you call a flamingo at the North Pole?
A. Lost!

Q. What did Santa Claus say to Mrs. Claus when he looked out the window?
A. It looks like rain, dear! (rein-deer)

Q. What did the big candle say to the little candle?
A. I'm going out tonight!

Q. How do Mexican sheep say Merry Christmas?
A. Fleece Navidad!

Q. What do snowmen eat for lunch?
A. Iceburgers!

Q. Who delivers presents to good little baby sharks at Christmas?
A. Santa Jaws! Q. Who delivers presents to good little baby kitties at Christmas?

Q. What do monkeys sing at Christmas?
A. Jungle Bells!

Q. What's red and green and guides Santa's sleigh?
A. Rudolph the red-nosed pickle!

Q. Why did the Christmas cookie go to the doctor?
A. It was feeling crummy!

Q. What goes OH, OH, OH?
A. Santa walking backwards!

What's New @ StarTeaching?


Hello readers!  Welcome to your second December issue of Features For Teachers, the last for 2011. 

This month, we have a great set of articles including another selection from Hank Kellner from his upcoming book, Reflections. Mark Benn shares an article on PowerPoint and Jerry Judge shares his thoughts on cell phones in schools.

You'll also find excellent articles for our new teachers and student teachers.

As always, we have free activities (from Mary Ann Graziani and Frank Holes Jr.) and many 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 

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

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


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Check out our collection of FREE online resources, including the NEW! Book Report Organizer, as well as 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!
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Technology & Teaching: 21st Century Teaching and Learning

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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 Celeste bought 9 glass paperweights. The paperweights weighed 30.6 pounds in all. What was the weight of each paperweight?
Day 2 Ava's Taffy Shop made 94.9 kilograms of taffy in 4 days. How much taffy, on average, did the shop make per day?
Day 3 Jacinda used 0.18 kilograms of almonds to make 3 batches of snack mix. How many kilograms of almonds, on average, were in each batch?
Day 4 Over the past few years, Denelle has made 8 trips to visit the amusement park. She drove 597.36 kilometers in all. How far did Denelle drive on each trip?
Day 5 A factory used 642.4 kilograms of tomatoes to make 8 batches of pasta sauce. What quantity of tomatoes did the factory put in each batch?
Day 6 Mia bought a package of 5 tennis balls. The total weight of the tennis balls was 14.3 ounces. How much did each tennis ball weigh?
Day 7 Jodie ordered 7 skeins of yarn, for a total of 975.8 centimeters of yarn. How many centimeters of yarn did each skein contain?
Day 8 Jacinda used 738.42 gallons of water over the course of 8 days. How much water did Jacinda use, on average, each day?
Day 9 A pasta factory made 174.2 pounds of pasta in 4 minutes. How much pasta, on average, did the factory make each minute?
Day 10 A boat traveled at a constant speed for 4 hours, covering a total distance of 38.15 kilometers. How fast was it going?


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






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Using Photography To Inspire Writing
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Article of the Week
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"Samoa Time Travelers in 2011"
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