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Features For New Teachers
Volume 7, Issue 10
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AFI’s recent tribute to movies in the form of developing a list of
the top 100 quotes from movies got me thinking.
How many of us have lists of books for students’ summer
reading? How many of us ask
that they write book reports on what they have read?
No matter what form these reports take in terms of length or
comprehensiveness, can we agree that these reports often end up being
less about how much fun the book was to read than they are about
answering a list of forgettable questions about the book?
So, here’s my idea. When
your students return to school this August, instead of that book report,
ask them to find a phrase or sentence from the book that encapsulates
the theme of the book or a memorable character from the book.
The student has to use critical thinking in order to select just
the right phrase or sentence. I
think a great way to showcase this effort is to create a poster for the
book that contains the selection; along with the title and author, the
student could include a graphic of some kind.
Once the poster is complete, it can be hung in the media center,
in the school hallway, or your own classroom.
What a great way to advertise a book!
To get you started, can you guess the book from which these quotes were taken:
For more information on the American Film Institute, quick click the
Kids are people too and they deserve respect as people that you would give to any adult. When I was a student, I was expected to respect my teachers and the adults of school by my parents, but today’s kids do not have that same expectation on them. This means that we, the teachers, must swallow our pride and show respect to the kids first in order for the kids to respect us. This seems backwards, but there is no use fighting that battle (maybe we can discuss this in a future article!)
As soon as you show respect to the kids, they become less defensive and open to your teaching, advice, ideas, and recommendations. Word gets around the kids of the school that you are a fair person because you care. I believe that you can show that you care for kids when you show them that they deserve to be respected as people. This has allowed me to be able to manage my classroom more effectively too.
So, I have set rules based on what I believe is respectful. This goes over much easier when the kids feel respected by me, the teacher. I only send kids to the office when a student has crossed too many lines and I just need him/her out to maintain my own composure. This has not happened in a few years (Knock on wood).
WHY, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
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This article will touch on a number of great sites that will enhance what you are doing or send you into another great direction.
Create simple web pages that groups, friends, & families can
edit together. K-12
Teacher? We're giving away
100,000 free wikis for primary/secondary education.
Jing Project provides free screen capture and sharing software
for Mac and Windows computers. Screenshots are very useful when making
how-to handouts and slide shows. Videos of your desktop are great for
how-tos and tours of web sites or software.
Founded in 2003, Gizmoz offers consumers a new generation of character-based
visual expression for use across
their digital lives.
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|
|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 email@example.com 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:
by Helen De La Maza
Helen de la Maza is a Curriculum and Instruction Consultant in southern California with almost 15 years experience in the field of education. She has written curricula and taught science, environmental science, and environmental education to students ranging in age from 4 to 85 years!
She believes that learning the process of scientific thinking can help students think critically and be careful observers of the natural and human-made world.
Helen earned an MS in Wildlife Science, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction, California single subject teaching credentials in Biological Sciences and English, and a multiple subject credential. When she was in graduate school for her MS, she realized that "interpreters" were needed to communicate between the scientific community and lay people. Much of her work has been focused on doing this through teaching, training, and writing.
The Internet and World Wide Web provide the opportunity for massive amounts of information to be distributed to a wide audience. In fact, so much information is available that it is overwhelming to sort through! As a Science Educator you barely have enough time to plan your curriculum and assess your students, let alone spend hours surfing the web looking for great resources. The purpose of this new Science Feature in StarTeaching is to help you provide excellent information, media, and lessons to your students that are already available on the web.
I’ll do the searching for you and highlight every couple weeks some Rad Resources for Science
Educators. Feedback is appreciated! Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer Professional Development & Training, Part I
Wildlife Conservation Society Teacher Academy Courses Website
Marine Biology for Elementary Educators: July 8 - August 29, 2011; Cost: $275
The ocean covers 75% of the earth’s surface and yet the animals that live here remain unfamiliar
to most of us. This course will submerse you in the biology of aquatic animals. You will increase
your knowledge about marine biology and be able to build a connection between your students
and the oceans while covering topics core to elementary education. This course combines
interactive activities, stories, literacy and math teaching with learning about sea creatures.
Participants will receive an electronic version of Elly Jelly Looks at Marine Animals student
book and teacher’s guide “Elly Jelly’s Surprise.”
Montana State University Online Courses
Classes June 13 - August 5, 2011 (individual course length and cost vary) include:
• BIOL 580 Plant Science: It Grows on You (1 cr)
• BIOL 519 Biology of Riparian Zones (2 cr)
• ERTH 591 Fundamentals of Oceanography (3 cr)
• EDCI 537 Contemporary Issues in Science Education (3 cr)
• EDCI 580 Teaching Inquiry in the Science Classroom (2 cr)
• MSSE 580 Web Tools for Science Teachers (3 cr)
• LRES 580 Streamside Science: Hands-on Approaches to Water Quality Education (3 cr)
• PHSX 511 Astronomy for Teachers (3 cr)
Seminars on Science
Summer Session 2: July 4 – August 14, 2011
Register by June 20, 2011; $50 discount until June 6. Each course $465.
Classes offered include:
• Earth: Inside and Out
• Genetics, Genomics, Genethics
• The Link Between Dinosaurs and Birds
• The Ocean System
• Sharks and Rays
Cornell Lab Birdsleuth Online Summer Course
Over 5 weeks, starting June 6, 2011, you’ll participate in lively discussions, test your own
hypothesis, conduct wiki-based peer review, and get feedback on your ideas for implementing
free inquiry-based curriculum with your students. You’ll have the opportunity to practice science
investigations just like the ones you’ll try with your students! Four CEU credits from Cornell
University are available for $10. Cost of course is $350. Registration: June 1, 2011.
Be Sure to Check Out
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.
In addition to these systems, students enrolled in year-round classes often claim that their calendar schedule is more balanced. Advocates claim that year-round calendars help students achieve higher and allow teachers to provide more effective education. Reports from the California State Department Of Education show that standardized test scores increased an average of 9.5% in Grade 3 with an average increase of 13.3% in reading scores.
Conversely, Los Angeles Assistant Superintendent Gordon Wohlers stated, "In a sworn declaration, Assistant Superintendent Gordon Wohlers conceded that for years L.A. school officials have, in effect, perpetrated a fraud on the children of Los Angeles. Year-round education is not, in fact, a swell way to keep kids learning all year, as district officials originally claimed. Instead, the schedule, as practiced here, has hurt students badly, declared Wohlers. ". Lawsuits have even been filed against various school districts, citing year-round schools as being "harmful to students."
Organization of the school calendar redistributes time from the traditional summer vacation to other times throughout the year in the form of breaks called inter sessions.
Two forms of year-round education are common:
As with traditional calendars (all single track calendars are modified traditional calendars), all students attend school during the same intervals, and share the same scheduled breaks. Single-track year-round calendars are known by many names; Balanced Calendar, Modified Calendar, Alternative Calendar. This list is not all inclusive. All year-round calendars are identified by their characteristics, not by what name has been chosen by the school district. These characteristics are shortened summer vacation, Fall breaks, extended Christmas and/or Easter breaks, and early school start dates. Typical school start dates are in late July/early August.
Students are assigned different schedules called tracks. These tracks are also split up throughout the year, but a single student is not required to attend every single track in order to complete one full year of education. At all times during the year, students in the same school will be on vacation while others are schooling. Typical school start dates are in July.
Whether on a single- or multi-track schedule, students attend school for a prescribed length of time and then have a vacation. These breaks, whether vacation time or instruction time, are known as inter sessions. Common schedules are 7 to 12 weeks of school, followed by a 1-3 week break. Summer vacations are shortened to as little as 4 weeks in order to support the added breaks throughout the year.
Look for more on the advantages and disadvantages of Year Round School in upcoming issues!
terrifying encounter in the U.P.’s remote
begun as one man’s therapy, becomes a chronicle of sightings
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!
Year of the Dogman Website
Haunting of Sigma Website
Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen Website
The Longquist Adventures, written for
elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and
classic stories to young children.
Challenges of Curriculum (part 2)
By Salima Moosa Sewani
Salima Moosa Sewani has been in the field of teaching for 8 years. She is running her own Learning Center and also working with the Exceptional People in Pakistan. She is a Master Trainer and has done many teaching certifications.
Teaching is indeed a much respected but a challenging profession. The knowledge and expertise of a teacher helps him/her to fight back the challenges, but a positive ‘learning’ attitude is also required. I believe that we all are in a learning process. Every day we learn something new by making mistakes.
The most challenging task for the religion teacher is to integrate and implement the curriculum of primary and secondary effectively. The primary curriculum is not fulfilling the needs of mentally challenged people. During my teaching experience at the Aga Khan special people religious school, I have deeply analyzed that most of the teachers could not teach the primary Ta’lim curriculum to them, because the Intellectual Quotient of exceptional people is comparatively lower than normal children studying in religious education centre. I am a proud of the challenged students, who wants to do every thing to fulfill their religious needs as well. I courageously took this challenge and participated in a master training program in inclusive education with few teachers. I also joined Pakistan association research in education to acquire continuous trainings. We developed few lessons plan resources and developed IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) which helped teachers to teach borderline children about faith Tariqah and basic ethics in a diluted form.
I would suggest that there should be a same curriculum book for them in a more diluted form or there should be a permission granted to the teachers to amend curriculum according to their desires.
I have one example of my student A. She is in class 7 in Religious Education Centre. She is borderline student. She shared the difficulties which she faced a month back with me. She told me that my class teacher had failed me in all the subjects and forced me to repeat the class; but I don’t want to sit in the same class for the third time. I asked but she refused, because this was third time teacher failed me. When I asked teacher, she told me that A doesn’t understand anything. Therefore, and we can’t promote her. When I asked few questions to A regarding the chapters of history, she was unable to reply even a single question due to typical curriculum for children with special needs.
Before my teaching practicum, I observed the religious school for a few days, and I found a competitive atmosphere to teach secondary curriculum, given by ITREB for a time being. Teachers are planning lesson plans ineffectively and most of the teachers are not participating in the teacher training courses due to busy schedule. I hope that the future curriculum of secondary will provide adequate knowledge of the subjects to the students for leading a religious life in this progressive world.
Challenging in the classroom is the most competitive part for teachers. Whether it’s a religious or a secular school, class room interaction is very important while teaching. If there will be no proper classroom interaction, then a child will not grow as per need. Classroom interaction plays a vital and crucial role in effective learning of the children. Teachers are facing lots of challenges during their classroom interaction.
One of the most important challenges teachers are facing is favoritism. During my observation at the Government school, I saw teachers were giving value to those students which s/he likes a lot and appreciate those, who are extra ordinary brilliant in classroom. Those who are good at studies got the least marks in exams just because of the favoritism of a teacher. Teachers aren’t motivating and encouraging those children who’re shy and feeble in studies. Their learning becomes stuck due to the wrong attitude of a teacher. I personally faced that challenge, when my supporting teacher was appreciating favoritism in class room. I saw one reserved child in my class, who was avoided by the teacher, most of the time. A was the shy child in my class. He didn’t speak a single sentence in class. I always supported him by praising him and inspiring all the time and tried my best to engage him in group activities.
Another challenge of classroom interaction is communication. Teachers cannot teach the students in their cultural language, if s/he may find an exceptional case of different background student in his/her class. When I was teaching in Afghan camp back in 1999, the most important challenge I faced was the challenge of communication. They understood neither Urdu nor English. They only used to communicate in Persian. Whenever I taught in Urdu, they laughed which led to disciplinary problems. I took this challenge and worked hard to learn few foundational words and sentences of Persian language. After working hard, I was at least able to communicate them. I also was able to maintain discipline after that.
challenge facing by the teachers is lack of planning in teaching, which
I also faced in special night school. Classroom interaction
doesn’t mean within the class, it means to create classroom
environment any where, especially for special students. When I joined
religious school, I observed that the main focus of all the teachers was
on theoretical learning. There was no interactive session in classroom.
No indoor and outdoor activities were designed, which could help to
create pleasant environment. I talked to my head and took instant action
and prepared few activities for them which helped to develop their
interest which they required the most rather than traditional classroom
Another issue in a class is of time management. Teachers mostly teach in the form of lecture without pre-planning. And when they feel that time is running out, few of the teachers end up their lesson by leaps and bounds, that the students sometimes feel as if their opinions are not being given enough priority. I believe, that a lesson should be pre- planned and if, incase, teachers will not be able to cover the course on time, even then, they should at least make the most out of their teaching.
challenge in the classroom is classroom management as it’s very
important to create and sustain healthy environment in the class through
which child learning capability will be developed. When I started
teaching in Karachi Kids University, I was given a room with no proper
arrangement for children. There was very limited space; but the number
of students was more due to which students were not feeling comfortable.
I went to the administrator and asked her to divide students into two
groups and allocate another class through which they can study at ease.
After that initiative, children thoroughly enjoyed the studies. Our
books also reflect that males are dominant in our society.
Wahab expresses his opinion,
“Gender inequality is a problem embedded in the fabric of Pakistan’s social structure. The problem emanates at the primary level, as low participation and high dropouts at this stage prevent females from reaching higher education and equitable opportunities for such furtherance do not become available to the female gender...…when both girls and boys are given opportunity to practice language in classroom activities, the girls will get lesser practice chances as their dialogues are shorter and fewer.”2
I agree, because during my
teaching practicum in Government school, the challenge that I faced was
of gender biasness. I saw many teachers giving importance and lots of
attention to boys rather than girls. Females were discouraged to
participate in class room. Due to that gender biasness, girls showed
lack of interest in studies and their grades were low as compared to
boys. During my teaching practicum, I tried to assure females students
of their equal importance in class participation. I gave equal
importance to both genders by which female students feel relaxed and
their curiosity towards learning was developed.
I must conclude,
“Sometimes struggle are exactly what we need in our life. If nature allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us.”( anonymous)
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"Ode to the End of the Year"
By Heather Skipworth
Happy thoughts as the school year comes to a close...
Roses are rare,
Violets need care.
My desk is a chaotic mess.
The bulletin boards are holey and worn,
How many more assessment tests???
Folders are creased,
Pencils are chewed and nubby,
My file cabinet bulges and bends,
And if I get one more apple thing for teacher appreciation
I will definitely go off the deep end.
Roses are magic
Violets are fragile
And so is my classroom control
Spring fever has descended...
My expectations up ended
And my schedule is taking its toll...
But ah, there are the moments
That are now etched in deep
Of trust and the awe of discovery,
The laughter, and tension
Ideas…too many to mention,
Friendships to savor and keep.
Roses all too soon fade
Violets are delicate as glass
My students will move on
Their lives a learning song,
My hope and daily prayer
Is for my touch on each child to last.
Roses are treasured,
Violets are nurtured
Students grow, blossom and transcend,
Oh that I can be that teacher they remember
As a life gardener and a friend
What's New @ StarTeaching?
Hello readers! Welcome to your second May issue of Features For Teachers for 2011!
This month, we bring another great poetry/photograph selection from Hank Kellner from his upcoming book, Reflections. We also have a great set of science resources by Helen de la Maza, organized around Professional Development for the summer.
You'll also find great articles from Jill Gurr and Mark Benn, as well as from guest writers Salima Moosa Sewani and Dave Hare.
As always, we have free activities (from Mary Ann Graziani and Frank Holes Jr.) and 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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What is your favorite activity to do on a very hot day?
What are THREE things people can do on hot days?
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Write a short story or poem about a hot summer day.
How have you done with your goals for the semester?
Why do people associate ice cream with hot days?
Describe the best ice cream dessert you've ever had.
|Would you like to eat ice cream every day in the summer? Why or why not?|
Why is it good to share ice cream with your friends and family?
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10 Days of
|Day 1||How many years are in a decade?|
Lucy’s class took a field trip to the science museum. They left school at 7:30 A.M. It took
them 30 minutes to drive to the museum. They stayed at the museum for 2 hours and it
took them 30 minutes to drive back to the school. What time was it when Lucy's class got
back to school?
|Day 3||For basketball practice, Daniel’s team practiced defense for 1 hour and 30 minutes and offense for 30 minutes. If the practice ended at 5:30 P.M., what time did it start?|
|Day 4||Rose starting playing video games as soon as she got home from school. She played video games for 1 hour. Then, it took Rose 1 hour and 30 minutes to finish her homework. When Rose finished her homework, it was 5:00 P.M. What time did Rose get home from school?|
|Day 5||Joshy's soccer practice started at 7:00 A.M. on Saturday morning. The team practiced dribbling for 1 hour and practiced shooting for 30 minutes. Then they played a scrimmage game for 30 minutes before practice ended. What time was it when Joshy's soccer practice ended?|
|Day 6||Chase went to the playground at 11:30 A.M. He played on the slide for 30 minutes and the swings for 30 minutes, then went home. What time was it when Chase left the playground?|
John toured San Francisco with his family. They
started their tour at 1:00 P.M. at the Golden Gate Bridge, where they spent 1 hour and 30 minutes. They spent 3 hours on a tour of
Alcatraz and 30 minutes in Chinatown before dinner. What time did John and his family go to dinner?
|Day 8||Patricia went camping with her family. They left their house at 4:00 P.M. It took 1 hour to drive to the campground. When they arrived, they spent 30 minutes setting up the campsite and 30 minutes cooking dinner. What time was it when Patricia and her family finally ate dinner?|
Maria flew from Boston to Orlando with a stop in Atlanta to switch planes. The flight from
Boston to Atlanta was 3 hours long. Maria was in Atlanta for 1 hour and 30 minutes, and
her flight from Atlanta to Orlando was 1 hour long. Maria landed in Orlando at 1:30 P.M. What time did Maria's first flight leave Boston?
|Day 10||Before art class, Mary Ann has a spelling test that lasts 30 minutes. Art class lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes and ends at 12:30 P.M. What time does Mary Ann start the spelling test?|
Be sure to visit Mary Ann Graziani's website to pick up a copy of any of her THREE books for sale
|Check out our
entire collection of technology articles, including:
* 21st Century Learning
* Integrating Technology
* Computer Literacy
* REAL activities you can use!
Activities For Any Setting
By Helen de la Maza
(click for PDF)
(click for PDF)
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Helen's Science Activities
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|Learning in Hand is an educator's resource for using some of the coolest technologies with students.|
|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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Photography To Inspire Writing
By Hank Kellner
Visit his blog at: hank-englisheducation.
|Article of the Week|
|"Was There A Trojan War?"|
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