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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 7, Issue 16
September 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   Successful Observation and Evaluation   Building Positive Relationships with Your Custodial Staff
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Using Photography to Inspire Writing"
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
Education Today: Great MOODLE Sites And Resources
To The Learning Bank We Go
Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Dyslexia (part 1)
New Teacher's Niche:
Grading Procedures For Class Paragraphs
Student Teachers' Lounge: Modeling Student Behaviors
Book of the Month Club:
Tech Tactics: Technology For Teachers
  Website of the Month:
  Themes on Life: 
"Back To School Blues For  Teachers"
Article of the Week: "Rotator Cuff Surgery"   Autumn 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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Successful Observation and Evaluation

By: Jerry Judge

Jerry Judge is a Affiliate Professor with Grand Valley State University.  Prior to this he was a High School principal at L'Anse , Kalkaska and Royal Oak for a total of 25 years. During his tenure in education he has observed many changes and has had the opportunity to work with many outstanding teachers in Northern Michigan. His position with Grand Valley is to work with educators on leadership and writing articles on leadership for all educators.

With all the new bills being passed dealing with teachers and evaluation, I feel it is extremely important
for teachers entering the administration field to become proficient in observing and evaluating the
professional staff. When I became an a High School Principal I felt that was an area I was the least
prepared for. At that time we had never worked with effective teaching methods, the labeling of
effective teaching methods and learning styles were never clearly identified.

If you have administration in your future you need to become proficient in teacher observation so you
can complete an effective evaluation. This can be accomplished by observing other staff members
that have a reputation of being outstanding teachers, being aware of various teaching and learning
styles and attending conferences where the area of observations and evaluations is the major topic of
discussion. Teachers have various opportunities to become effective teachers; university instruction,
mentoring, conferences, and on the job training. This is encouraging, because effective teachers have
the tools to become successful administrators.

As the legislation continues to input new rules and regulations on tenure, it is essential that educators
are proactive on the evaluation process. If we don’t lead, I feel the legislators will have more impact
than necessary.



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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.


Grandfather’s Watch
y Elizabeth Guy

I still have great grandfather’s watch.
It gleams in its golden case.
My mother kept it all her life
Displayed in a prominent place.

Just how he acquired it
Mother never did tell.
Not one of those memories was told
About long ago days
When she was a child
And her grandfather was old.

So now when I think
Of those times Mother spent
With her old granddad,
I wonder:
Did she wheedle him
Into checking the time
And checking again and again?

You know
How children are:
“What time is it grandpa?” she’d ask
Just to see
The golden watch glow.

Then I wonder if
Great grandpa ever
Was late.
With a watch such as his
How could he miss
An important time or a date?

Perhaps my late husband—
Late even in life—
Had he worn such a watch
When alive,
Would not have been late,
As he so often was,
And perhaps he might still be alive!


Photo 16 By Hank Kellner


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.

Click HERE to order your own copy today:



Guest Writer

To The Learning Bank We Go

By Joe Pagano

Joe Pagano is a prolific writer of self-help and educational material and an award-winning former teacher of both college and high school mathematics. Under the penname, JC Page, Joe authored Arithmetic Magic. As a result of this publication, Joe was invited to be a guest on the television show the Book Authority. Joe is also author of the charmingly pithy and popular ebook, Making a Good Impression Every Time: The Secret to Instant Popularity; the seminal collection of verse, Poems for the Mathematically Insecure, and the creator and scriptwriter of an upcoming DVD series that is both visionary and highly educational. The diverse genre of his writings (novel, short story, essay, script, and poetry)—particularly in regard to its educational flavor— continues to captivate readers and to earn him recognition.

Joe propagates his teaching philosophy through his articles and books and is dedicated to helping educate children living in impoverished countries. Toward this end, he donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every ebook. Joe makes himself available for speaking, consulting, teaching and inspiration. For more information on Joe, his teaching style, as well as information on how to purchase his books or other writings, please visit his website www.mathbyjoe.com

As a former teacher of high school mathematics, I understand the day-to-day frustrations that any teacher might experience, particularly when trying to teach a subject like mathematics. The first day of class was always interesting. As teacher, I felt like the enemy who was bringing messages of death and despair to the students. I could see in many of their faces how dreaded a subject this truly was. But I would win them over. Yes, one by one I would quench their fear and instill new hope.

If you want to be successful as a teacher—any teacher—you have to refrain from playing the fear trump card. Unfortunately many math teachers do this, thinking that this will set the tone for the year and keep the students in line. This is not the way to go. Remember. You are on difficult turf. Most students despise math because it frustrates the heck out of them. They feel hopeless, lost, and confused most of the time when trying to work through this strange domain of variables, number systems, and word problems. Instilling fear in them will only make the problem worse.

Rather, you need to try alternative learning strategies. Now I know you’ve had this concept rammed down your throats a hundred or more times and I don’t mean to be like another administrator who forgot what it was like to be in the classroom. The truth is you can only lead a horse to water—you know the rest. So what kind of alternative strategies do you try? After all, you’re dealing with teenagers whose racing hormones keep their thoughts grounded on things other than math, English, and social studies.

What about integrating two different subjects, the so called “cross learning” approach. What about integrating math and English through the use of poetry. Now this definitely sounds interesting. What if you could open a lesson by reading a poem on mathematics which teaches a lesson on the subject, or gives some good food for thought? By taking this approach, you’re getting away from the textbook for at least a day and integrating a completely new approach to learning this dreaded subject. Moreover, you’re getting the kids to learn something about reading poetry as well. Could you see the startled expressions on their English teachers’ faces when they find out what’s going on in your math classroom? Now this is an idea that you can take to the bank—the learning bank.



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 me 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

Modeling Student Behaviors

Whether you as a teacher realize it or not, you are the best model of behavior in your classroom. A large part of your proactive behavior plans should include your own behavior you demonstrate to the students every day.

You must set expectations for your students, demonstrate the behaviors, and be vigilant to correct the kids. Don't waver on your expectations; inconsistencies will only confuse the students and cause you more problems.

If you stay calm, collected, and in control, your students will exhibit the same behaviors. The same is true about enthusiasm; if you are excited about your lesson and truly believe in its importance, the kids will respond in kind. Conversely, the kids will know when you are tired, bored, don't want to be there, or are 'winging it.'

If you are late to class, or don't start on time, the kids will pick up on it and be more likely to do the same. The same is true about the way you dress, the way you act, the language you use, and your 'body language'.

If you want your students working from 'coast to coast', or from bell to bell, you need to set the expectation of activity all hour. Start with a warm up, and ensure the kids are doing it. Keep them busy on activities with transitions between each. Don't let there be any down time. Work them to the end of the period, and have them pack up when you say so, not whenever they want to.

If you want your students to quietly read in class, but you are spending that time working on other things, it sends the message that you don't value the activity personally. Modeling the skill for the kids reinforces your belief that it is important. It shows you as a lifelong learner who values the skills you're teaching them.

The same is true for writing, or labs, or math problems. Students rarely have the chance to see real people performing schoolwork - for many, the only examples (and role models) are their classmates. Work along with your students.

Now this doesn't mean you have to do this the entire time. You must also supervise, coach, monitor, and actively support their learning.  But you can spend at least a few minutes 'at their level'.

Be a positive role model for your students. Don't just explain and show the behavior; be the example day in and day out.

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?

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  TECH/21st Century CORNER

Some Great MOODLE
Sites & Resources

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.

LearnNowBC, a professional learning website, is now offering courses in Moodle training in small, one-week modules. Working and learning with other professionals, these courses offer great tips and techniques for integrating Moodle and technology into your classroom.


Check out the site below - it is a wiki for the Moodle Mayhem group, bringing ideas and resources, and sharing what's happening in Moodle k-12 around the world!






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  

Building Positive Relationships Around Your School 
Part 2 - the Custodial Staff

This SPECIAL REPORT is from a series of articles on building positive relationships in your school. They include building relationships with your office secretaries, janitors, librarians, and cooks.  All of these people are vital to the running of the school, and its in your best interest to 'get in good' with them as soon as possible.

This is the second article, dealing with your custodial staff. Your school custodians and maintenance department are an important part of the overall functionality of your building. These are people who you should get to know immediately, because they can provide you with a tremendous array of services.

The custodial and maintenance staff isn’t just around to sweep the floors, empty the wastebaskets, and clean up messes. They play an important role in the school environment. These people are not only essential to keeping the building and grounds in top shape and presentable to the public, but also keep the various physical systems in the school in working order. These may include heating & cooling, water, plumbing, and electrical systems, and sometimes even technology. They may also put up walls, plow the snow, line the football field, repair the drinking fountains, and put together classroom furniture.

Your custodial and maintenance workers can help you in a number of ways. They certainly can keep your room and hallway in tip-top shape. Many times, custodians will pick up and collect pencils and pens from the halls, and will drop them off in your room if they know you need them. 

And they will often help you out if you have requests. In many schools, their contracts and union will dictate what physical jobs can be done by school personnel other than maintenance/custodial workers. So if you’re having trouble with your room heating unit, your clock is not synchronized with those around the school, or your door is squeaky, you can usually get prompt service if they know you and know you appreciate their time and efforts. If you are well liked by the maintenance staff, your requests may often move up the priority list. And if you want those extra ‘little touches’, such as a shelf put up in your room, or document frames mounted on your walls, such favors are often the reward of your time spent building positive relationships.

Appreciation for their work can be as simple as an honest and genuine ‘thank you’. Often times, including the custodial and maintenance staff in get-togethers and school celebrations goes a long way. Some groups will purchase donuts or treats for the custodians during the year. Other groups put on dinners or cook-outs. If your students bring in any extra treats, be sure to send some down to the maintenance staff.

If you take the time to get to know these hard-working people, and build positive relationships with them, you will definitely reap the rewards. Not only will you have handy people willing to help you out when you need it, but you may even find pleasant, friendly faces in and around your school.


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Our Website Store for Specials:


(part 1)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Dyslexia is a neurological disorder with biochemical & genetic markers. It is a disability which a person reading and/or writing ability is lower than his or her grade level of intelligence. However, people may read and write perfectly and have dyslexia. They are diagnosed with the disorder when their problems can't be explained by a lack of intellectual ability, inadequate instruction or problems such as poor eyesight. Being as it is a complex mental process, it can have many potential causes. From a neurophysiological perspective, it can be diagnosed by closer inspection of the brain. It is associated with phonological problems.

Characteristics of Dyslexia

Most people with Dyslexia exhibit many different traits and behaviors. They can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute. The most consistent about dyslexia is their inconsistency. Symptoms will increase with confusion, emotional behavior or time pressure constraints.

- Appears grade and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level
- Various labels: Lazy, dumb, immature, "not trying hard enough"
- Isn't behind or bad enough to be helped
- High IQ but poor testing academically; Good with oral tests, not with written
- Poor self esteem; Frustrated and emotional about school reading & testing
- Talented in other areas: Art, drama, sports, designing, building, etc.
- Loses focus and daydreams
- Difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactive
- Learns best through hands on experience and visual aids

Vision, Reading, Spelling:
- Complains of dizziness, headache or stomach aches while reading
- Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences or verbal explanations
- Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions and reversals in letters, numbers and words.
- Complaints of feeling & seeing nonexistent movement while reading or writing
- Seems to have difficulty with seeing, despite positive eye exam results
- Lacks depth perception & peripheral vision
- Reads a passage multiple times with little comprehension
- Spells phonetically & inconsistently

Hearing and Speech:
- Has extended hearing; easily distract by sounds
- Difficulty with putting thoughts to words; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, syllables and words while speaking

Writing & Motor Skills:
- Trouble writing & copying; illegible handwriting; unusual pencil grip
- Clumsy unable to compete in athletic events; prone to motion sickness; Poor with fine and gross motor skills
- Confuses left with right and over with under

Math & Time Management:
- Difficulty telling and managing time and being on time
- Uses finger counting for math equations; Knows answer but can't do it on paper
- Can count but has difficulty with counting objects and managing money
- Can do arthrimitic, but has problems with word problems; Trouble grasping algebra & higher math

Memory & Cognition:
- Excellent long term memory with experiences, locations, faces and events
- Poor memory with sequences, facts & information that hasn't been experienced
- Thinks with feelings & images, not sounds or words

Behavior, Health, Development & Personality:
- Disorderly or compulsively orderly
- Can be class clown, or overly quiet
- Unusually late development (talking, walking, crawling, tying shoes)
- Prone to ear infections, sensitive to foods and chemical products
- Extra deep or light sleeper; bed wetting beyond appropriate age
- Very high or low tolerance for pain
- Emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection

Look for more in next issue's part 2


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com




MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Dogman’s Back!

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


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


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

Welcome to Dogman Country!

Now Available!

Click Here For
Dogman Epoch: Shadow and Flame Website


Now Available!

Year of the Dogman Website
Now Available!

Tales From Dogman Country Website
Now Available!

Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen Website 
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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

Grading Procedures for Class Paragraphs

The beauty of our class Paragraph system is its administration and management.  It is designed so that the teacher is NOT spending hours out of school grading every minor and major detail.


Instead, the teacher grades the papers based on the FCA (Focal Correction Areas) chosen for the paragraph.  These are the specific areas that students concentrated on while writing.  The FCAs will evolve through the year as the focus moves from basic formatting of the paragraphs to concentrating on different aspects of the writing craft.  Don’t worry about correcting everything on every paper – you’ll lose your sanity! 

Students are going to make mistakes.  But they are also going to learn as they practice the writing craft OFTEN.  Choose to correct and work on a few items at a time so they are not overwhelmed (and you are not overwhelmed by looking for everything when you grade). 


Much of the teacher’s role in checking papers is to walk around the class WHILE the students are actually engaged in writing.  Help the students as you go, answer questions and give guidance where necessary.  Help the students to be successful at the assignment by making sure they have covered all of the FCAs. 

Give generous praise to the students for their work and efforts.  It is not easy for students to write in a constrained time period.  Remind students that they “don’t’ have worries about time because they are strong, creative writers”. 

Students MUST check their FCAs when they finish and give themselves a score at the top of the paper.  We DO NOT accept papers without a score at the top. 


Many times we will pass out the papers the next day (or even the same day if you have time) to DIFFERENT students and peer check them.  The peer checking always involves proofreading for mistakes and spelling, and scanning for banned words.  However, the peer checking should also include looking at revision, editing, and reflection. 


  We chose 20 points for our paragraphs because that particular number matches up with other similar assignments with the same points.  Each FCA is worth points, and in many cases 2 points each.  Students have already checked their FCAs and written a score at the top.  The teacher’s job is to double check that the FCAs have been adequately covered in the paper.  This should take only a few seconds to scan the paper. 

  Choose and develop your FCAs wisely!  Let the students do the work for you!  Have them circle, underline, or draw a box around items you want to grade.  Have them label with letters or numbers in circles.  That way, you use THEIR energy to help save YOURS!

  As the students write through the year, many FCAs will be repeated until mastered by the class.  This repetition is great for practice, and the teacher will become faster and more proficient at looking for those particular areas.   For example, we use many of the basic formatting FCAs well into the year.  Areas such as Restating the Topic in the Topic Sentence, Restating the Topic in the Clincher Statement, and Circling the Personal Life Experience, are utilized throughout the year because it reminds students of the basics of paragraph writing:  1.  Tell what you are going to tell your audience, 2.  Tell them, and 3.  Tell them what you told them.  


We do allow students to fix paragraphs and turn them back in for a corrected score.  This is at the teacher’s discretion.  The student can keep the grade, or correct it within 24 hours and hand the paper back in.  This helps the student to see the mistakes made AND then correct them. 


  Students are sometimes absent from class.  We DO NOT make up writing assignments.  By writing nearly every day, the students are going to get plenty of good practice.  The next writing assignment will count ‘double’, and that same grade will be put into the grade  book spot of the missed writing.


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!

"Back To School Blues For Teachers"

by Heather Skipworth Craven 
Heather's Bells, August 2005

Themes on Life

As the school year begins, we reflect on where our summer went...

Oh where did the summer go, it's lazy days all too soon slipped away,
Didn't I just pack up my classroom and strip the walls bare in silence lay?
Vacation seemed to pass so quickly and the new school year looms in view.
I'm getting a migraine just thinking of all the things to do.

I think fondly of beaches, clear blue water and white sand
Of sunsets and picnics and picturesque lands.
But I quickly snap back as I make my list of things to do,
My brain is so taxed as I think this new year through.

Time to unpack, stock and plan lessons without end,
Do bulletins boards, centers, and write letters to send.
I'm pulled away by meetings and workshops to bear,
I'm bombarded with papers and agendas to share.

I need desperately to work in my classroom, my nerves to steady,
My room is a disaster, for that ominous first day, will I EVER be ready?
Time to think of each new student and what new experiences they will bring,
I'm getting that all too familiar excitement when I hear the school bells ring.

And even though I'm exhausted already, and knee deep in paper and books,
I imagine the first day with all the anticipation and nervous looks.
I can put aside all the hours and hours I prepare,
And think of these bright minds that I'll open with care.

Just maybe I'm getting that teaching passion anew,
And amidst all the yet million things to do,
I yearn for the difference I'll make in each life,
I put aside my weariness and my overwhelming strife.

And I look to this new year as fresh and alive,
With possibilities to make great strides.
So I persevere and push on with all the preparations,
I slog through the posters, the folders and decorations.

To welcome my students into a haven of learning,
To open my arms and meet each yearning.
Yes, I miss vacation and the endless summer sun,
But I look forward to each young life, so my quest has begun.

- Heather Skipworth Craven, Heather's Bells, August 2005

What's New @ StarTeaching?


Hello readers!  Welcome to your second September issue of Features For Teachers for 2011, and we hope your school year is off to a great start!   

This month, we bring another great poetry/photograph selection from Hank Kellner from his upcoming book, Reflections. We also feature some excellent Back-To-School Moodle resources by Mark Benn, more on the writing process in class, and modeling student behaviors in class.

You'll also find great articles from feature writer Jerry Judge and guest writer Joe Pagano.

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



"The great and glorious masterpiece of
man is to know how to live to purpose.

~Michel de Montaigne

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Technology Center

Educational Links

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






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

Are you using an innovative TECHNIQUE in your class?

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

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

Submit an article to this newsletter by emailing:


Or click the following link:


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


Articles & Archives

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





Click to see over 1000 prompts

10 Days Of


What is ADVICE?


Why is Advice often appreciated?


What is the best Advice you've received from a teacher?


Describe the best Advice your parents have ever given you.


What is the best Advice you've ever given someone else?


Why is it important to have people you trust to give you Advice?


Describe the worst Advice someone has given you.


Why should you always carefully consider Advice before you act?


Who would you trust the most to give you good Advice? Why?


 What has been the best Advice you've gotten about a  class this semester?

Click to see over 1000 prompts


10 days of writing prompts


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Year of the Dogman

A Terrifying Novel by Frank Holes, Jr.
Now Available!
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Writing Process Articles

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




Be sure to check out our

Tech Tactics: Technology for Teachers

by Carolyn Thorson



Coming Soon:

Preparing for Student Teaching

Technology & Teaching: 21st Century Teaching and Learning

Writing Process and Programs

Article of the Week


Are You Looking For a Teaching Job?

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

Click here if you want to find that Teaching Job!


See All Weekly Math Problems from 2007-2009!

click here for the math archives!

10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 A car dealership has $28,000 to spend on newspaper ads. If each ad costs $4,000, how many ads can the dealership buy?
Day 2 A camp needs to buy 2,700 granola bars for their campers. If each box contains 30 granola bars,
how many boxes should the camp buy?
Day 3 A gym teacher has $1,200 to spend on new basketballs. If each basketball costs $3, how many basketballs can the gym teacher buy?
Day 4 The library has 35,000 magazines. Each bin holds 70 magazines. How many bins does library need to hold all of its magazines?
Day 5 A politician has $6,300 to buy TV advertisements. If each advertisement costs $700, how many advertisements can the politician buy?
Day 6 Farhat made 2,400 peppermint candies and put them in silver tins to share with his family and
friends. He put 30 peppermint candies in each tin. How many tins was Farhat able to fill?
Day 7 The state board of education has $42,000 to buy new calculators. If each calculator costs $7,
how many calculators can the state buy?
Day 8 A real estate agent has $4,000 to spend on newspaper ads. If each ad costs $400, how many ads
will the real estate agent be able to buy?
Day 9 The basketball team wants to raise $4,000 by selling cookies. If each box of cookies costs $2, how many boxes will the team have to sell to meet its goal?
Day 10 A paper factory needs to ship an order for 8,100 sheets of yellow paper. The factory will put 900
sheets in each box. How many boxes will the paper factory need to use?


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
Playing With Punnett Squares
(click for PDF)

Punnett Square Creature Parents PDF (supplement)

Pennies and Surface Tension
(click for PDF)

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.  





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.


Classics Illustrated




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Fully endorsed by Frank Holes Jr., editor of Starteaching




Using Photography To Inspire Writing
By Hank Kellner

Visit his blog at: hank-englisheducation.



Article of the Week
"Rotator Cuff Surgery"
Click here to download the PDF
"Cows On Drugs"
Click here to download the PDF





Autumn Specials!
Books for Sale!

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