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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 7, Issue 22
November 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   Middle School Classroom Management: Behavior Action Plan   Teaching Literacy to ESOL Learners (part 2)
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Using Photography to Inspire Writing"
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
How To Create a Digital Story
Using Magic to Develop Public Speaking Skills and Creative Thinking
Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Social Anxiety (part 1)
New Teacher's Niche:
Journal Writing (part 2)
Student Teachers' Lounge: Give Me Five Sentence Writing Activity
Book of the Month Club:
Steve Jobs Biography
  Website of the Month: Voice Thread   Themes on Life: 
"Thanks For"
Article of the Week: "Lost Ship in the Arctic"   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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Middle School Classroom Management: 
Behavior Action Plan

By: Adam Waxler

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

One of the most difficult skills to master as a teacher is classroom management. Unfortunately, if you can not master this skill you are not going to survive as a teacher, especially as a middle school teacher.

However, when the school year starts, many first-year middle school teachers are pleasantly surprised. All through their teacher training they were told how difficult classroom management at the middle school level can be and how important it is to have effective classroom management skills in order to be a successful teacher.

Yet, during the first days of school there doesn't seem to be much of a problem...students seem fairly attentive, no one is really talking or passing notes, there certainly hasn't been anyone talking back or any fights during the first few days...but then things start to change.

You see, those first few days are the honeymoon period...students are nervous and many are a little scared so they sit back and wait. However, by the end of the first week of school, or certainly by the second week of school, middle school students start to feel more comfortable, they start to test the teacher's limits and classroom management becomes more and more difficult.

It is at this point that many teachers start to panic and immediately resort to various reward/punishment systems, or as Alfie Kohn refers to them..."carrot and stick" systems.

Unfortunately, these elaborate systems are a mistake. They provide only temporary solutions to an ongoing problem. Students who respond to the rewards begin to do their work and behave ONLY if a reward is involved, while at the same time many students who thrive on negative attention actually begin to seek out the punishment.

The better plan is the "proactive approach" to classroom management. The proactive approach is based on the premise that the best classroom management plan is a strong instructional plan...that the key to middle school classroom management is to keep all of your students actively involved in all of your lessons.

Unfortunately, there are times when teachers are still forced to REact. There are times when the teacher has used every proactive trick in the book and still a student does something that requires the teacher to react.

HOWEVER, just because a teacher must react to a situation does mean the teacher must punish the student. The teacher must still save punishment as a last resort only!

So, what's a teacher to do?

Well here's an idea...create a "behavior action plan". Better yet, have the student create the "behavior action plan".

The key to changing inappropriate student behavior is to have the *student* take responsibility for his actions. First, the student must identify the inappropriate behavior, and then determine why it is inappropriate, and finally, how he plans to stop the inappropriate behavior.

All the teacher needs to do is have the student complete a "behavior action plan". The plan calls for the student to complete the following three statements:

1. I am writing this plan because I...

2. This behavior was not appropriate because...

3. To prevent this from happening again, I plan to...

Then, at the bottom of the handout make sure to have the student sign his or her name. By signing their name the student is making a promise to follow through with their plan.

In the end, this classroom management approach is significantly better than simply punishing the student for the misbehavior. This classroom management approach has long-term results



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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.


Letter to Urban Youth
By Tim San Pedro

Don’t apologize.
Run against the grain
Of a society that doesn’t see you.
Yell through lips
Tightened by those who fought
Without knives or guns.
Allow one worn pencil to become
Unlimited ammunition.
No eraser.

Don’t apologize
For telling your story
Of cement schoolyards,
Of barbed fences,
Of hoops with no nets,
Of schools with tattered books,
Of teachers with hardened hearts.

Don’t apologize
For living
A life of poverty,
For richness isn’t found in money,
But in love
For family,
For friends,
For people who see you as
Their inspiration, their future.

Don’t apologize.
Run against the grain
Of a society that is forced to see you

Photo 18 By Hank Kellner







Photo 18A By Hank Kellner




“He that respects himself is safe from others; he wears a coat of mail that no one can pierce.”

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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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Mastering Basic Skills software:


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

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

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

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

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

Three versions of the software exist: Individual Software on either CD or Online,   Family Version Software, and an Institutional Software package.

StarTeaching wholeheartedly supports and endorses this software.  It will make a difference with your child or student.

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Guest Writer

Using Magic to Develop Public Speaking Skills 
and Creative Thinking

By Michael Kett

Michael Kett, a physical therapist for more than 25 years, is an educator, motivator, and author. His two published books, Applied Magic and Houdini in the Classroom, explore two unique magic applications.Be sure to check out Michael's website, Houdini in the Classroom

It is common knowledge that adults fear public speaking more than dying. Speaking in front of a crowd can definitely be intimidating. The use of magic can help to lessen the fear of public speaking.

Presenting a magic effect is often less frightening than presenting a speech. Performing a magic effect to only one other person or a small group is a great introduction to public speaking. Once a student is comfortable performing in front of his class, why not have him perform his magic in front of a group that would be very receptive to magic (kindergarten, first or second grade)?

Pairing up students and having one student teach the other a new magic effect is another technique to improve communication skills, especially if the teacher has previously instructed the students to use a detailed step-by-step approach in teaching the magic effect.

Myths regarding creative thinking need to be discussed with students. Students need to be told that creative thinking is not a function of intelligence. Research shows that only a small percentage of highly creative children have high IQ scores. Creative thinking is also not limited only to artists, musicians and writers. Creative thinking is necessary in all careers and occupations.

Magic can be used to develop creative thinking in a number of ways. The teacher can perform a magic effect and have the students individually or in small groups try to explain how the effect was accomplished. The students can draw diagrams to support their hypothesis. Of course, there should be no right or wrong answers.

The story that accompanies a magic effect can also develop creative thinking. Have the students write a story, individually or as a group. The story can be imaginary, convey a desired trait or habit, or be curriculum-based.

For other ideas how to use magic to improve motor skills, self-esteem, and create memory hooks for key curriculum topics, visit www.houdiniintheclassroom.com



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

Give Me Five Sentence Writing Activity

This is a great writing activity that can be used in any class, any subject, or any grade level.

We've created another variation of the context sentences activity which we call 'Give-Me-Five'. It is similar in that you create a matrix of words, vocabulary, or terms from which your students will write unique, interesting, complete sentences. And students should be given the opportunity to share their unique sentence creations with the class.

The original context sentences activity had a matrix of nine total words, three across by three down. Students then created a sentence for each line across, down, and diagonal, writing a total of nine sentences. Give-Me-Five builds on this, but expands the matrix to five words across by five words down, twenty-five words in all.

Now the lines down, across, and diagonal will include five words that you have designated. That gives you and the students twelve different lines of word combinations to choose from. We like to have the students choose five (or more) such lines from this 5x5 matrix. The students then must fit all five words from their line into a sentence. The students are getting practice in spelling and using the words correctly, as well as writing complete sentences.

One of the great aspects of this activity is its durability. I like to create several matrices and type them out on an overhead sheet so I can use them over each hour and I can file them for year after year. We make up specific sets of words to match certain stories, lessons, or units, and we also use them with random words just to have fun.

Always give the students the opportunity to share their creations with the class. This reinforces the correct use of the vocab or terms, gives students practice reading and listening to properly written sentences, and creates an opportunity for students to present in front of their peers, a skill that always needs practice.  This also makes a great lesson to leave for a substitute teacher, or to put in your emergency plans. Make sure you have fully explained this activity and your students have practiced it a few times under your guidance before leaving it as an activity for your sub.

This activity (as well as the context sentences activity) is great for utilizing vocabulary in foreign language classes, as it forces students to spell and use words properly while writing sentences. It is also good for any class or subject that has specific vocabulary students need to familiarize themselves with. This works well for social studies and science classes, and it makes an easy writing assignment for music, art, p.e, and other elective-type classes where the teacher may be required to add writing activities, even if he or she isn't highly trained in writing.

This is especially good for English teachers if you're covering compound or complex sentence structures, as you can specify particular types of sentences to have students write. Simply set up your matrix so there are two or more nouns or verbs in a line. You might even add a conjunction to the line!

Now of course you might want to adjust this activity to meet the needs and level of your students. This could include changing the number of lines you require students to make sentences out of. You might have students choose fewer lines and create different unique sentences from the same five words. You might have students choose two or three lines and take all ten or fifteen words and create a story paragraph. There are many possibilities you can develop. If you create any really interesting variations, let us know and we'll feature you in an upcoming issue of our newsletter


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



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

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


  TECH/21st Century CORNER

How to Create a Digital Story

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 FREE Udutu presentation I put together on how to create a Digital Story. Enjoy! Not only does it have the background to digital storytelling, but it walks you step-by-step, through the process so you can do it correctly with your students. 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  

Teaching Literacy to ESOL Learners (part 2)

By Christina Riggan

I will offer to you my Five Principles of Teaching ESOL Students, gained from twenty plus years working with these students and their families, my training, and my professional development and reading. This is certainly the short and sweet version—honed down for this article.

SECOND PRINCIPLE: Fear can paralyze anyone. Risk for a child might mean shame and humiliation in front of their friends, peers, family, and teacher, or school.


1.      Keep the task small, manageable, and successful. (90% successful-10% risk- especially at first)

2.      Nodding approval, smiling, “good job”, clapping, etc. show approval and offer reward and success for students. Most of them want to learn and are desperate for approval.

3.      Create a low-risk classroom where risks are encouraged and applauded, failures are minimized as paths to learning, and everyone helps each other learn, by respecting the process and each other.

4.      Encourage collaborative learning. It lightens your load and creates synergy for learning. Learning is then the responsibility of everyone, and everyone is responsible for each other’s learning. Besides, remember the adage that the best way to learn something is to teach it?

THIRD PRINCIPLE: Teach vocabulary, writing, and reading together and keep it simple.


  1. Gather teaching materials that help illustrate words and their meanings. Real objects are terrific. Models of the real thing work too. For example, it is fun to bring real food to school when you do the food unit.
  2. Pictures (realistic and in the correct color) with the matching word are essential tools to do your job. As are writing materials-paper and pencils, markers, crayons, notebooks.
  3. Dictionaries with pictures and words, and simple reading materials are also necessary. Use simply written books with either one word per page or one simple sentence per page.
  4. Start with a thematic unit that is universal—family, body parts, colors, food, transportation, animals, numbers, and the alphabet. I start with the family and the family names.
  5. Spend as much time as it takes to master the concept. Language learning occurs constantly, but usually silently. But then it may begin all at once like an avalanche. Be patient. Encourage speaking, by modeling. Speaking slowly and clearly, but naturally. Don’t try to force them to speak.  On this vein, make sure that you are speaking Standard English correctly. Do not use slang, or idiomatic expressions, and keep drawls to a minimum. Please do not use “fixin’ or getin’”. Students--all students--are hearing and learning English from you. While no one wants a teacher so prim and proper he/she can’t relax, nevertheless, remember that you are their model for many things.
  6. Teach them how to write and say their name first. Then work on a simple repetitive sentence. i.e.  I see my mom. I see my dad, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa, dog, baby brother/sister, aunt, uncle. Draw and illustrate one to a page and assemble into a book.
  7. Keep the books at school in a safe place for them to use as a source for spelling and as examples of vocabulary development. This will allow for transference to other sentence structures such as:  I see a tree, a house, a school.
  8. Over time, you will have created dictionaries for learning (colored and illustrated) evidence of teaching, learning and mastery for anyone to examine or view; and definitions of progress and growth.

FOURTH PRINCIPLE: Learning the alphabet, phonic sounds, and how to combine those sounds into simple words is a basic foundation for linguistic mastery. Spelling simple words (from word families) is essential to reading, writing, and speaking English. I recommend that you read Richard Gentry’s “Teaching Kids to Spell” for valuable information on this. 

  1. Pull your ESOL kids for ten minutes daily-- devoted to building background for learning, developing vocabulary, and reading.
  2. They should write and read every day.
  3. Ask for help from the administration, and accept help if it is offered. If parents or an assistant teacher offers to help, let them work with the most needy students.
  4. Sometimes the most at-risk English speaking kids are also in need of extra help with vocabulary, sentence structure, phonics mastery, spelling, and reading and writing skills. Consider how you could expand your lesson to subtlety include more students who may need it.

FIFTH PRINCIPLE: Be respectful in every way of other cultures, their customs, beliefs and values, or food, especially when they differ from yours, the schools, or even the United States .


  1. Learn something about the cultures of the students you are teaching.
  2. Many cultures teach their children to never look adults in the eyes.
  3. Many cultures do not like to shake hands. A slight bow or a nod may acknowledge one another.
  4. Some cultures find it highly offensive to touch their child’s head. Safe advice is to not touch any child anyway.
  5. Food is culture specific. Teach your American kids manners about civility when eating together. No offensive comments like “Ew! That’s gross or disgusting!”
  6. Discuss cultural preferences with respect and an interest in learning. I have found that most Americans have a great deal to learn about the history, contributions, and value of other countries and cultures.
  7. Encourage some cultural experience days when your class might learn a dance, new words in another language, or taste food from a different culture.
  8. Advocate respect for other cultures with your fellow teachers, other students in the school community, and the community at large. It seems ridiculous to me to argue whether it is proper for women to wear their head covered. Generally speaking, I have found that the more respect you evidence for other cultures, the more respect you will receive for your own, and this will allow honest communication and clearer understanding between cultures.

My experience with other cultures and ESOL students has been one of the greatest rewards of my teaching career. I have learned so much, and my experiences have deepened my interests in all cultures and their histories. The more I have learned about other people and their history, the more respect I feel for different cultures; and it helps me realize that America could learn something of value from all people. I suggest that if you have the opportunity to teach ESOL students, that you try it, and see if it is not one of the greatest rewards of your life.



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Social Anxiety
(part 1)

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 anxiety disorder, also referred to clinically as social phobia, is a psychiatric anxiety disorder involving overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. People experiencing social anxiety often have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions. Often the triggering social stimulus is a perceived or actual scrutiny by others. Their fear may be so severe that it significantly impairs their work, school, social life, and other activities. While many people experiencing social anxiety recognize that their fear of being around people may be excessive or unreasonable, they encounter considerable difficulty overcoming it. This differs from shyness, in that the person is functionally debilitated and avoids such anxiety provoking situations. At the same time, a person with social anxiety may only feel the fear during certain situations. For example, an actor or singer may feel fine on stage, but afraid of social situations in everyday life.

Social anxiety is often part of only a certain situation, such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating, or writing in front of others – or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people. Many people have the specific fear of public speaking, called glossophobia. In this case, the fear is of doing or saying something which may cause embarrassment. Approximately 13.3% of the general population will experience social phobia at some point in their lifetime according to the highest estimate; with the male to female ratio being 1.4:1.0, respectively. Physical symptoms often accompany social anxiety, and include blushing, profuse sweating (hyperhidrosis), trembling, nausea, and stammering. Panic attacks may also occur under intense fear and discomfort. An early diagnosis helps in minimizing the symptoms and the development of additional problems such as depression. Some sufferers may use alcohol or drugs to reduce fears and inhibitions at social events.

A person with the disorder may be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. Research has shown cognitive behavior therapy, whether individually or in a group, to be effective in treating social phobia. The cognitive and behavioral components seek to change thinking patterns and physical reactions to anxious situations. Prescribed medication includes a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Attention given to social anxiety disorder has significantly increased since 1999 with the approval and marketing of drugs for its treatment.

Look for more in Part 2, next issue!


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com




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Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

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the history of humanity.


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


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

Welcome to Dogman Country!

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Tales From Dogman Country Website
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Haunting of Sigma Website
The Longquist Adventures, written for elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and classic stories to young children.  




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





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

Journal Writing
(part 2)

This is the second in a series on developing Journal Writing in your classroom, a writing technique that is applicable to any grade and any subject area.

I use a grading system that makes the journals easy to grade.  In my class, a full page is given ten points (ten being the maximum per page).  However, I'm a stickler; the students must write a full page, right down to the last line on the paper.  I do allow the top eight lines for brainstorming, though I don't always require it.  Students are always allowed to use the brainstorming lines if they wish. 

I require at least one page at each journaling session, which lasts from ten to fifteen minutes.  Students are required to write constantly until the time is up, or until they reach a full page.  However, before they are allowed to go on to another activity, they must show me their completed work.  Students may also write more than a page for extra credit.  I give out ten points for each full page beyond those required.  For example, we may have three journal sessions in a week, so the weekly grade is out of thirty points.  If a student completes five full pages, their score is fifty points, twenty of them extra credit!

I don't mind offering the extra credit, since usually the ones who take advantage of this are your A students anyway.  And since I want to promote as much writing as possible, I strongly encourage every student to write for extra credit.

Journals are the only form of writing that I allow to be done outside of class.  Mostly this is because I allow students to write for extra credit (only promoting more writing!)

Students are allowed to share their writing with the class afterward, though no one is required to share.  I tell the class they may read all or just part of their writing, or just tell about it.  The remainder of the students are allowed to keep writing during the sharing time, and must stop when there are no more to share.

I strongly believe students should be allowed to keep their journals when the year is finished.  For many students, putting down their private thoughts in class can lead to a lifetime of writing.

If you'd like to check out a list of journaling topics, check our website at the following quick link:   www.starteaching.com/free.htm.  Again, you may feel free to use any or all of these, and they may lead you to think of many others of your own.  You can also use any of our Weekly Writing Prompts from issues of our newsletter.  I encourage you to send along your own topics to add to our calendar.  

Look for some great shared Journal Topics in our next issue!

Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use immediate
ly 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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Are There Other Teachers in Your School or District Who Would Love to Receive Our Newsletter?

Be sure to pass along our website and newsletter!

"Thanks For..."
Themes on Life

A little poem of thanks to teachers for what they do, and who they are...


making the difference
long, long hours
creating a sense of family
being the keeper of dreams
pleasing a lot
using good judgment
teaching for learning
making reading fun
being the wind beneath my wings
that sensitive touch
teaching class
never giving up on anybody
believing in miracles
respecting each other
taking responsibility for all students
keeping a tight rein on discipline
striving for excellence, not perfection
being brave
smiling a lot
never depriving our children of hope
being tough minded but tender hearted
showing enthusiasm even when you don't feel like it
keeping your promises
giving your best
your wisdom and courage
being punctual and insisting on it in others
providing creative solutions
avoiding the negative and seeking out the good
being there when students need you
doing more than is expected
never giving up on what you really want
remaining open, flexible, and curious
being a friend
keeping several irons in the fire
being a child's hero
going the distance
having a good sense of humor
being a dream maker
giving your heart

What's New @ StarTeaching?


Hello readers!  Welcome to your second November issue of Features For Teachers 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 a presentation on creating digital stories, and Adam Waxler shares his behavior plan for middle school students.

You'll also find excellent articles from feature writers Christina Riggan and Michael Kett.

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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"If we would see the color of our future, we must look for it in our present; if we would gaze on the star of our destiny, we must look for it in our hearts."

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Describe a time someone has not been Respectful to you.


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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 Yesenia leaves school to bike around the neighborhood. She rides 3 kilometers west, 3 kilometers south, 2 kilometers north, 1 kilometer south, and 3 kilometers east. How many
kilometers is Yesenia from her school?
Day 2 Greg leaves home to welcome some families who are new to town. He goes 5 blocks east, 2 blocks north, 1 block south, 7 blocks west, and 2 blocks east. How many blocks is Greg from his home?
Day 3 Abrianna leaves home to go for a stroll. She strolls 3 miles west, 2 miles east, 1 mile south, 1 mile north, and 3 miles west. How many miles is Abrianna from her home?
Day 4 A police cruiser leaves the police station to investigate some suspicious activity. It drives 4 kilometers east, 7 kilometers west, 3 kilometers north, and 3 kilometers east. Which direction must the police cruiser go to get back to the police station?
Day 5 After pulling out of a garage, a car travels 3 miles west, 5 miles north, and 3 miles east. Which
direction must the car go to get back to the garage?
Day 6 The yellow jump rope is shorter than the blue jump rope but longer than the red jump rope.
Which jump rope is the shortest?
Day 7 The gray team scored fewer points than the red team but more points than the green team.
Which team scored the fewest points?
Day 8 The orange shoelace is not shorter than the blue shoelace. The blue shoelace is longer than the
purple shoelace. Which shoelace is the shortest?
Day 9 Eileen drove a longer distance than Moira but a shorter distance than Raimundo. Who drove a
longer distance, Moira or Raimundo?
Day 10 Peak City is larger than Oak City. Peak City is not larger than River City. Which city is the smallest?


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

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Science Activities For Any Setting
By Helen de la Maza
Habitat Bingo
(click for PDF)

Germinating Seeds in the Dark
(click for PDF)

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Helen's Science Activities


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Inspirational Quotes
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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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