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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 7, Issue 11
June 2011
StarTeaching Store Advertise with us Previous Articles Submit an Article FREE Reports Feature Writers Tech Center New Teacher's Niche

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Welcome back to our StarTeaching newsletter, 
Features for Teachers, packed full of tips, techniques, and ideas for educators of all students in all levels. 

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

What's New @ StarTeaching   Help! I Can't Find Anything!   In Case of Emergency, Break Glass
NEW! Tony Vincent's Blog: Voice to Text: There's Now An App For That Poke Your Nose Into A Book Themes on Life: 
"Educator's Pledge"
Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Year Round School (part 2)
New Teacher's Niche:
The Writing Process: Step-by-step
Student Teachers' Lounge: U.S. Congress Unit Plan
Book of the Month Club:
Teaching Science With Interactive Notebooks
  Website of the Month:
  Article of the Week: "History of Daylight Saving Time"

Remember to bookmark this page and to visit our website for more great articles, tips, and techniques!

Also, feel free to email this newsletter to a friend or colleague!


Would you be interested in becoming a Featured Writer for the StarTeaching website?

Our Newsletter is now posting a opening for a Social Studies / History Writer interested in a monthly column focusing on Historical Events and Education.

We are also looking for an administrator interested in sharing 21st century leadership skills and ideas in schools.  

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



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Feature Writer

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In Case of Emergency, 
Break Glass

by Chris Sura

Chris Sura, upon earning his Bachelor’s at Western Michigan University worked for Central Michigan University in Housing before teaching at River Valley High School. When he moved to Houghton Lake where he currently teaches, Chris completed his Masters in Education at Central Michigan University. A member of the Crossroads Writing Project through Ferris State University, he facilitates a conference on Professional Writing every summer and does online instruction through Kirtland Community College. He is married to Heidi, his wife of twenty years, and has two kids, Christopher and Grace. Chris writes poetry and fiction and has self published a book of poems.

“In case of an emergency, break the glass.”

Even with a lesson plan book, unit plans and helpful students, sometimes life happens, and there is not the opportunity to get other plans to school. You, also, could be at school, and your own child has suddenly developed a fever, and you have five minutes to get something set. You may only need to buy a day. What is a teacher to do? Thanks to a past principal who had insisted on us having an emergency sub plan, I have a plan in place. In case of an emergency, write.

In my emergency folder, I had a lesson plan that said, “If nothing is available related to the current lesson, read or watch something, then write about it.” In those instances where I had to “punt” and come up with something quickly, I, or the covering teacher, would grab something from the textbook or off the shelf and say read and write. The amount of reading and writing is flexible making the brief Emergency Sub Plans ready to roll.

Now, with some technology in the room like a DVD player or computer projection unit, I have another tool in the toolbox. I have television series on DVD. With commercials removed, half hour shows are about 25 minutes, and hour shows are just over 45 minutes. Both leave time to write. The beauty of the episodes is that they encapsulate a whole story. So, in buying that day, it can be watched and written about without students saying “we didn’t finish it.”

Another beauty is that the episodes have all the elements of a story, developed characters, elements of humor and drama, dialogue, and so on. With some prior knowledge (use the shows you know and like), you can easily create a writing prompt on the fly. “Indentify three character traits of Hawkeye Pierce?” “What is the conflict of the story, and how is it resolved?” And for a drama class, “What makes the spy, Michael Weston, believable when he takes on a persona other than his own?” If you have season one, you can even show the premiere episode early in the semester as a practice lesson. I use journals, so that lesson is a part of practicing journals and gives them a sense of what to do when it occurs again. This pre-training is like a drill, making the last minute substitute and the students more comfortable.

And if you have a popular series, the short episodes can be used as a reward or treat. I found Burn Notice from USA Network quite effective. The characters are fun, the dialogue is witty, and the story lines entertaining. Furthermore, with my drama classes, the character, Michael Weston, as mentioned above, transforms his persona to go under cover. He will alter his voice, posture, clothing, facial expressions and mannerisms. The students can see great characterization.

I used an episode of The Drew Carey Show to facilitate what may be deemed offensive in regards to humor about weight. I have used MASH, NCIS, and Criminal Minds. I am looking for an episode of A Different World, the Cosby spinoff, which dealt with perspective. In the under thirty minute show, they showed an incident involving race and prejudice from different characters perspectives. Each person told the story from his/her point of view; it really illustrated how things can be seen differently.

There is good television out there, and it can be used as good source of provoking thought and writing. It does not have to wait for trouble, but having a television series close at hand does give a lot of options in case of an emergency.


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There's Now an App for That

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.

Dragon Dictation is a new iPhone app. It's a straight-forward voice recognition application from Nuance, the same company that makes Dragon NaturallySpeaking for desktop computers. Simply launch the app and tap the record button. Speak into the microphone. Tap Done when finished and Dragon Dictation sends your audio to their servers for processing. Within seconds, the servers send back the text created from your speech.



You will need to say punctuation marks you want to include, like "period" and "comma." In my testing I found that Dragon Dictation made fewer errors than I expected. It's easy to tap the keyboard icon to correct the text. After the text is the way you like it, you'll probably send it to the clipboard so you can paste it into any application. There's also the option to start an email message with the text or to send as a text message.

Voice-to-text is an exciting use for a handheld, particularly for students learning to write or those with writing or typing challenges. Unfortunately, Dragon Dictation will not install on an iPod touch. I see no reason why an iPod touch with a microphone attachment can't run this app, so I hope Nuance Communications updates the software to install on iPods soon. In the meantime, those with iPhones can find lots of uses for Dragon Dictation, especially since the app is free of charge (for a limited time).

Update: Dragon Dictation now works on iPod touch. You will need a microphone since iPod touch does not have one built-in.



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

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U.S. Congress
Unit Plan

By Kelly Payne

Knowledge of government enables individuals to define the roles of citizens within a constitutional democracy and to compare the American system of government with other systems. Civic knowledge builds understanding about the exercise of power. With knowledge of government and politics, citizens are equipped to evaluate domestic and international policy and to exert influence in public affairs.

US Congress Unit Plan

Subject(s): Social Studies Grade/Level: 9-12 

Standards addressed by unit: Michigan Curriculum Frameworks 
• Subject: Social Studies • Strand III: Civic 


Students will use knowledge of American government and politics to make informed decisions about governing their communities.  Over time and in varying contexts, students construct an increasingly sophisticated civic perspective organized by the following themes: 

• Standard III.1: Purposes of Government - All students will identify the purposes of national, state, and local governments in the United States, describe how citizens organize government to accomplish their purposes and assess their effectiveness. All societies establish governments to serve intended purposes. The purposes served by a government and the priorities set have significant consequences for the individual and society. In order to accomplish their purposes, governments organize themselves in different ways. 

• Grade HS - High School Performance Benchmark 2: Evaluate how effectively the federal government is serving the purposes for which it was created. Performance Benchmark 3: Evaluate the relative merits of the American presidential system and parliamentary systems. 

• Standard III.4 : American Government and Politics - All students will explain how American governmental institutions at the local, state, and federal levels provide for the limitation and sharing of power and how the nation’s political system provides for the exercise of power. The American system of government is based on shared power. Citizens who operate effectively within the federal system understand its institutions and how to work within them. 

• Grade HS - High School Performance Benchmark 2: Analyze causes of tension between the branches of government. 

Time Required:10 class periods. 1.5 Hrs per class

Objective(s): To learn the basic workings of Congress and the process of how a bill becomes a law. Summary:  In this unit students will learn the basic workings of the United States Congress through various activities and learning techniques. Students will analyze and discuss current legislation in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Students then will create their own bills and take them through the legislative process, with the end result being participation in a mock Congress simulation. 

STAGE I: IDENTIFY DESIRED RESULTS Enduring Understanding(s):  Students will understand the process of how Congress passes legislation that affects their daily lives and futures. Essential Questions:  How and why does Congress pass legislation that affects and changes a variety of aspects of life in America today? Knowledge and Skills: Students will be acquainted with what Congress does; Students will Identify how Congress is elected; Students will be able to describe the structure of each house of Congress; Students will be able to explain the in depth process of how a bill becomes a law. 

STAGE II: DETERMINE ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE OF LEARNING (ASSESSMENT) What evidence will show that students understand? 

Performance Tasks (summarized):  Student written bills on a relevant issue in their life (attached), Students notes- to follow study guide and packet (attached), Redistricting activity, Mock Congress Simulation (attached)  
1. Congress Packet Page 2 
2. Congress Packet Page 9: Describes the Process of How a Bill becomes a law 
3. Congress Packet Page 1: Congress Study Guide 
4. Congress Packet page 11: Blank bill for creation of own legislation 
5. Day 1 Congress simulation proceedings  To use the first day of Congressional simulation 

Other evidence: Committee Reports, Headline Activity, Pop Quiz Race (group activity, attached), Written reflection on Mock Congress (attached), How a bill becomes a law quiz, US Congress test. 

1. Pop Quiz Race Reinforcement activity. Students complete this the day after finishing study guide. Students are given 7 minutes to fill in working off of memory, then they are given 5 minutes to work with notes, the final step is group work, students work together to make sure they all have the same information, and that it is correct. Groups race to get done first, then the group finished first, with the most correct receive a prize. 
2. Written reflection after Mock Congress - This is the Collins writing across the curriculum style 

Unprompted evidence:  Dialogue and participation in mock Congress, Discussion on a day in the life of a member of Congress, discussion on current bills in US House and Senate.

Student Self-Assessment:  Students will self assess through the bills they write, and how well they participate in the mock Congress


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

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  Tech / 21st Century Teaching Corner

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Help!  I Can't Find Anything

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.

If you have ever found yourself saying that, you need to begin to organize yourself.

I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with technology integration education. Haven't you gotten frustrated with students that can't find anything in their trapper keeper or locker? Because of this lack of organization, there is a loss of valuable time. What about their computer files?

Let's face it, most people aren't born with great organizational skills, they have to learn these skills. When was the last time you taught the students how to organize themselves on a computer? You may have helped them organize a project, but how about continual long term organization? As we move away from pencil and paper and more towards electronic forms, this skill becomes very important. I was reminded of this last school year when I attempted to help a student, I found their desktop so crowded with icons they couldn't find anything. That's when I faced the fact that I hadn't taught them how to organize themselves. Let's take a look at what should be done.

If you are using computers that aren't on a network, then everything should be saved in My Documents. Even here it can become a mess, if not planned out. One idea is to set the computer up with accounts. Then each student has their own My Documents. Within this file you should have them brainstorm what folders they should have. Maybe it should be folders named Language Arts, Social Studies, and so on. Within these folders could be other folders that might be set up for projects, homework, etc. Guide the students through this process without telling them everything. Have them discuss within groups how to organize things, and then share their ideas with the others. This process takes longer then telling, but will get them thinking about organization and taking ownership in it. Then, teach them how to follow a route to save into the correct folder. If you don't want to set up accounts you can always set up folders for each student on the desktop or in the My Documents folder.

If the computers are on a school network, each student should already have their own personal folder. If this isn't set up, have the school IT person set it up. Show the students how to set up a new folder and name it. Also, show them how to rename it. This can be done by right clicking and choosing Rename. Right clicking will also get you a new folder. The same process should be followed as mentioned in the above paragraph.

Now, let's talk about the desktop. The desktop is great for temporary  items and even those should be saved in a folder. If a person is doing a powerpoint and looking for pictures, having a folder on the desktop to drag them to is great. Otherwise, the desktop should be clear for downloads, special folders, or application shortcuts.

Another good teaching strategy is to continue bringing up the discussion of organization throughout the year. Don't stop after one or two sessions on this topic. It is said that to learn a tech skill it takes at least 26 hits, or sessions, to make it a part of you. Also, hold them accountable by periodically checking on their organization . Even give them a grade since this is an important life skill. This raises the importance of this skill to a higher level.

Remember, if done at the beginning of the year, you will lessen your's and your students' frustrations. It also touches on the life skill called time management. If you do this, this time, you'll thank yourself.

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




  StarTeaching Feature Writer

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Poke Your Nose Into A Book

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

He is also a Social worker, private tutor, career counselor, musician, lyrics writer and 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 

Teachers love reading interesting and knowledgeable books to improve their understanding and to gather information for planning lessons. Children, on the other hand, love books.  However, what makes them read a book is not only the content but also the pictorial representation given in the book. There are many ways through which a teacher can make their students read a book. Both students and teachers can even try many innovative ways through which they can not only improve their knowledge, but could also share that to others. One of the best ways which I have always used for developing reading interest in myself is writing a Book Review. I have written a few reviews and all were published. It helped entice others toward those books while it helped me to improve my reviewing skills.

I have also used the same strategy for the students by giving them task to accomplish: a Book Review on their favorite book.

A Book Review is basically an evaluation or discussion of a new book by a critic or journalist. It is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit

The Book Review sounds boring for students, but it's of worth if you can give that task as a challenge to the students in a group. It can not only enhance their knowledge, but will also improve their writing skills.

There are many types of reviews, such as Articles, Journals, Events, Biographies, Literature, Books, etc. The aims of all these types are almost same:

  • To develop analytical skills
  • To depict and discuss the content of the book and provide analysis
  • To decide upon the validity of the author's points
  • To communicate the ideas to the reader's mind

It is mostly assumed that a book review is a task of a Journalist, Book Reviewer, Writer, Educator, Teacher, Student, Book Lover, etc. But anyone can do a book review, if s/he really wants to.

Here are some of the steps to follow for reviewing a book:

  • Select a good national/ international book of your interest. You can select books related to the topic of your interest. It could be a Geography, Computers, Business, Medical, General, Story, English, Political, Religious, Poetry, History book, etc
  • Pay attention to the number of pages.
  • Provide an outline of the contents of the book. This is the core part of a book review and should be as objective as possible. An Outline Format is give below:

Name of book
Name of Writer
First Published in
And Address Name of Publisher
Date of Publication
Buying Location/s
Number ISBN

  • Read the Content, Preface, Introduction and Back Cover and note important points. Read all the chapters and mark important lines.
  • Write an introductory comment or two on the overall value of the book.
  • Gather your positive and negative comments. Discuss the general import of the work.
  • Compare the book with a similar work by a contemporary like, what is the general significance of this book? Why should it be of interest to the specialist or non-specialist? Let the reader know whether or not the book is worth reading and why? Is the topic interesting, important? Do the author's ideas change anything in your own thinking? Does the work offer anything new--new perspectives, new insights? Why should we read it?
  • Quote passages from the book to make particular points. Put the citation in quotations marks and follow it with the page number in parentheses. Example: "Obama was a very striking figure for Americans." (A New President, 78)
  • Summarize the chapters or compile marked lines in the form of paragraphs.
  • Add quotes and your comments.
  • Write a closing paragraph in your own words.
  • Compile your work and proof read it.

The typical scholarly review is limited to between 500 and 750 words
Select any renowned scholar book
Always look for a publisher rapport
Don’t criticize the writer harshly
Do not review older books  

Don’t include
A bibliography

Very long quotations from the book or other reviews

Information about the author's life unless that is the theme of the review

Best of Luck!



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Year Round School
(part 2)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Year-Round School is the operation of educational institutions on a calendar-system that tracks students into class schedules throughout the entire calendar year. A primary motivation is that higher student throughput is accomplished via more effective scheduling of school resources. Funding considerations favor multi-tracking students, which allows more students to use the same number of classrooms - instead of constructing entirely new schools. Opponents cite higher costs due to utilities and the delay of building new facilities when they are needed, and ADM losses.


Proponents of year-round school cite:

Multi-tracking allows more cost-effective use of school facilities (classroom space, computer labs, libraries, media resources) as well as staff resources (education specialists such as physical education, foreign languages, music, art, therapists and counselors).

Reduce class sizes and overcrowding in classrooms

Alleviate need for new school construction

Teachers may spend less classroom time reviewing material since less time elapses between school sessions

Inter sessions may be used for remediation courses and tutoring, or for enrichment activities

Prevention of student and teacher burnout

Decrease of teacher and student absences due to shorter instructional cycles

Increased opportunities for extra help and studying.

Increased opportunities for volunteering in the community

Shorter breaks from school encourage students to stay involved with athletics and provide less time to become couch potatoes

Flexible staffing patterns and alternative salary and benefit programs

Relevant surveys in year-round districts indicate that 64% of teachers prefer year-round education, while only 20% oppose it (remainder are neutral). A Utah State Board of Education survey indicated 84% of teachers preferred the year round calendar.

New York State Board of Regents study concluded that disadvantaged students lose 27% more learning over summer months than their peers.

For older students, employment may be easier to obtain as there is less competition.

More opportunities for family vacations. Vacations can be taken at off-peak times reducing overall costs are and producing a more rewarding experience. Increased vacation opportunities encourages parents to take more, smaller vacations closer to home rather than 1 long expensive one out of state.

See more in part 3 of this series, coming soon!


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Dogman’s Back!

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

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

  A mysterious police report of an unsolvable death in Manistee County

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

A BLOG, begun as one man’s therapy, becomes a chronicle of sightings from around Michigan

A secret governmental agent investigates the grisly aftermath of Sigma

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

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

Welcome to Dogman Country!

Now Available!

Click Here For The
Tales From Dogman Country Website


Now Available!

Year of the Dogman Website
Now Available!

Haunting of Sigma Website
Now Available!

Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen Website 
Now Available!
Now Available!
The Longquist Adventures, written for elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and classic stories to young children.  




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





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

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The Writing Process,


We believe that the most dramatic improvements in writing occur at the first steps in the writing process, and that is where we will focus our efforts.  Have your students concentrate on many activities where they brainstorm & organize, and then write out a draft.  This draft might be several sentences, a paragraph, or an essay, or it may be an entry in a journal, a shopping list, a love letter, a poem, a rap, a set of song lyrics, or another type of writing.  

That's not to say that editing, proofreading, and publishing are not important;  on the contrary, these are vital steps for students AFTER they have mastered the first two steps.  As a teacher, you don't have to take every assignment to a final form.  

Its similar to sports.  You want to practice your fundamental skills in basketball before trying to play a game.  The same is true in writing.  Have your students practice the various skills of writing many times before you expect an awesome, polished piece of writing from them. 


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



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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!

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"Educator's Pledge"

By Barbara H. Wagner
Themes on Life

To what do we pledge ourselves?

I accept not only the responsibility to instruct my students, but the responsibility to take advantage of the opportunity to stimulate and excite young people educationally.

I accept the responsibility to encourage my students to believe in themselves, and I will do this by helping them to develop specific awareness of the power that each one of them possesses to determine their own destiny.

I will challenge my students to reach just beyond that point where they are comfortable, so they will discover that their own perceptions of their potential are not their true limits.

As I set challenging tasks and goals before my students, I will guide them through the specific steps that will enable each one to reach these goals. This setting of high standards and giving the proper guidance to achievement will enable my students to become aware of their true potential, which is, through step-by-step disciplines and hard work, to go beyond what they ever thought possible.

I will take advantage of the opportunity to guide my students to a concrete understanding of their own abilities:
  • to question, rather than to just accept what they are told,
  • to seek answers, when there are no simple solutions,
  • to seek to understand, when true understanding requires grappling and wrestling with difficult concepts and ideas,
  • to reason, using their own minds as sources of original thought,
  • and to become contributors to, rather than just partakers of, the well-being of the world in which they live.

My educational goal is the empowerment of my students.

What's New @ StarTeaching?


Welcome to our first June issue.  This month our web partner Tony Vincent shares a great app for tying together voice and typing.  Chris Sura shares some emergency plans while Mark Benn shares frustration with technology.  And our featured writer Munir Moosa Sewani shares a great book-reading article for summer.

Our Website of the Month features HippoCampus, and we have an book on teaching science.  There is also a follow up on the Year Round Schooling series.  

Look for more real math problems from Mary Ann Graziani and the Article of the Week from Frank Holes, Jr.  Be sure to join up on our FACEBOOK page for StarTeaching for more reader interaction as well as constant, updated streams of educational information.  

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



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Click to see over 1000 prompts

10 Days Of


What is your definition of family?


What are five different family arrangements you know of?


Describe three ways you can become closer to your family.


Is it important to be close with your family?  Why or why not?


Who has been your favorite teacher this semester?  Why is that?


Why do people have pets?


Describe the best pet you could own.  Why would that be the best?


What are four good animals that make good pets?  Give a reason for each.


What are the most important things you have to do to take care of a pet?


 Who has been your toughest teacher this semester?  Why is that?

Click to see over 1000 prompts


10 days of writing prompts


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Writing Process Articles

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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


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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 Adding/Subtracting Integers:

698– 74

Day 2 Adding/Subtracting Integers:

149 + 815 + 998 + 247

Day 3 Adding/Subtracting Integers:

298 + 226

Day 4

Blaine and Michael bought 346 crayons, but they gave 172 of them to another student. How many crayons do they have now?

Day 5

Tao and Bonita packed lunches for a school field trip and made 598 tuna sandwiches and 16 ham
sandwiches. How many sandwiches did they make in all?

Day 6 Tatum and Madison share a cell phone plan. They used 975 minutes in all. Three hundred ten minutes were used by Tatum. How many minutes were used by Madison?
Day 7 Is 7 – -9 positive or negative?
Day 8 Is 3 – -5 positive or negative?
Day 9 Is -7 + -2 positive or negative?
Day 10 Is 1 + -6 positive or negative?


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
Air Pollution Experiment
(click for PDF)

Habitat Lesson
(click for PDF)

Habitat PowerPoint
slide show

Habitat PowerPoint slides
PDF format

Click HERE to see all of 
Helen's Science Activities


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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
"History of Daylight Saving Time"
Click here to download the PDF
"Was There A Trojan War?"
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