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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
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Volume 8, Issue 8
April 2012
StarTeaching Store Advertise with us Previous Articles Submit an Article FREE Reports Feature Writers Tech Center New Teacher's Niche
   

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

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

What's New @ StarTeaching   Debating Current Events   Using  Sign Language to Help the Hearing ADD or ADHD Child
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Write What You See"
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
14 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging
Challenges of Curriculum (part 1)
Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
Critical Thinking (part 3) New Teacher's Niche:
Daily Points in Class
Student Teachers' Lounge: Enhancing Learning Through Great Websites
Book of the Month Club:
50 Writing Lessons That Work
  Website of the Month:
CliffNotes Films
  Themes on Life: 
"Coping With Stress"
Article of the Week: "Free Speech vs. Kids and Violent Video Games"   Spring Book Sale for Teachers      

Remember to bookmark this page and to visit our website for more great articles, tips, and techniques!
http://www.starteaching.com

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

FEATURE WRITER OPENINGS:

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

 

GUEST WRITER

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Debating Current Events

By Reed Markham

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

Debating current issues is a great way to develop a student’s critical thinking skills and maximize student participation in the classroom.  Successful debates involve the selection of audience centered topics.  In preparation for the debates students utilize research from library databases and the internet.  On the day of the debate students should bring copies of research, notes, and speech outlines. 

A basic format for the Cross Examination Debate includes the following:

Participants: 2 teams- Affirmative and Negative (2 students in each team)

                      Class -debate judges

Room setup: Two tables, podium in the center, student debaters face the audience

Format:

The constructive speech is designed to give students an opportunity to prepare an extemporaneous speech using the Toulmin Model of Argumentation.

First Affirmative Constructive speech (6 minutes)

Outline format:

Attention getting introduction

Debate Resolution

Definitions- key terms in the debate resolution

Body- utilize a modified Toulmin Model containing a claim statement, evidence (sources must be cited), and impact (personal opinion describing the significance of the argument).  Three claims must be presented.

Conclusion- brief conclusion summarizing key arguments and concluding with an attention getter.

Cross Examination (3 minutes) by a member of the Negative team- each participant is expected to participate as a questioner and as a respondent during the debate.

First Negative Constructive speech (6 minutes)

Outline format:

Attention getting introduction

Debate Resolution- negative team indicates that they disagree with the debate resolution

Definitions- key terms in the debate resolution

Body- utilize a modified Toulmin Model containing a claim statement, evidence (sources must be cited), and impact (personal opinion describing the significance of the argument).  Three claims must be presented.

Conclusion- brief conclusion summarizing key arguments and concluding with an attention getter.

Cross Examination (3 minutes) by a member of the Affirmative team

Second Affirmative Constructive speech (6 minutes)

Outline format:

Attention getting introduction

The second speaker does not repeat the debate resolution and definitions- goes directly to the body of the speech

Body- utilize a modified Toulmin Model format – claim statement, evidence (sources must be cited), and impact (personal opinion describing the significance of the argument).  Second speaker has two must pick one of two options for the body of the speech- (first option) present three, new independent claims (4, 5, 6) on the issue; (second option) reiterate claims presented by the first speaker, adding more evidence- examples, case studies, statistics, quotations.

Conclusion- brief conclusion summarizing key arguments and concluding with an attention getter.

Cross Examination (3 minutes) by a member of the Negative team

Second Negative Constructive speech (6 minutes)

Outline format:

Attention getting introduction

The second speaker does not repeat the debate resolution and definitions- goes directly to the body of the speech.

Body- utilize a modified Toulmin Model format – claim statement, evidence (sources must be cited), and impact (personal opinion describing the significance of the argument).  Second speaker has two must pick one of two options for the body of the speech- (first option) present three, new independent claims (4, 5, 6) on the issue; (second option) reiterate claims presented by the first speaker, adding more evidence- examples, case studies, statistics, quotations.

Conclusion- brief conclusion summarizing key arguments and concluding with an attention getter.

Cross Examination (3 minutes) by a member of the Affirmative team

Preparation (prep time) for the rebuttal (5 minutes)

The rebuttal is an impromptu speech designed to give students the opportunity to think critically, analyze their opponents’ arguments, and develop a strong closing statement.

First Affirmative Rebuttal speech (4 minutes)

Outline format:

Attention getting introduction

Body of the speech- focus on at least three voting issues- presenting reasons why the class (acting as judges) should vote for the Affirmative team.  Speaker needs to be responsive to opponents’ arguments, identify fallacies, and emphasize key arguments from the constructive speech.

Conclusion- brief summary and attention getter

First Negative Rebuttal speech (4 minutes)

Outline format:

Attention getting introduction

Body of the speech- focus on at least three voting issues- presenting reasons why the class (acting as judges) should vote for the Affirmative team.  Speaker needs to be responsive to opponents’ arguments, identify fallacies, and emphasize key arguments from the constructive speech.

Conclusion- brief summary and attention getter.

Second Affirmative Rebuttal speech (4 minutes)

Outline format:

Attention getting introduction

Body of the speech- focus on at least three voting issues- presenting reasons why the class (acting as judges)  should vote for the Affirmative team.  Speaker needs to be responsive to opponents’ arguments, identify fallacies, and emphasize key arguments from the constructive speech.

Conclusion- brief summary and attention getter.

Second Negative Rebuttal speech (4 minutes)

Outline format:

Attention getting introduction

Body of the speech- focus on at least three voting issues- (presenting reasons) why the class (acting as judges)  should vote for the Affirmative team.  Speaker needs to be responsive to opponents’ arguments, identify fallacies, and emphasize key arguments from the constructive speech.

Conclusion- brief summary and attention getter.

 

Cross Examination rules and strategies:

Questioner-

1.      Take the time to research and read about arguments on both sides of the issue

2.      Prepare questions in advance of the debate (but keep in mind that spontaneous questions have the greatest impact)

3.      Use follow up questions, if necessary

4.      Avoid general questions

5.      Ask specific, probing questions

6.      No personal questions (personal questions are irrelevant)

7.      Use your research to reference questions

8.      You may ask questions about any issue or idea related to the debate topic

9.      Face the audience as you ask questions

10.  Avoid the shotgun approach to asking questions

11.  Don’t let the respondent ramble- feel free to interrupt the respondent after they have given a fair response to a question

12.  Use your time wisely- ask your best questions first

13.  Take notes during your opponent’s speeches

14.  The cross examination is for questions, not rebuttal speeches

Respondent-

1.      Take the time to read several resources in preparation for your debate

2.      Practice responding to questions with your debate team member in advance of the debate

3.      Avoid responding like a politician- make sure you answer the question

4.      Take advantage of generalized questions- feel free to elaborate on your response- it is the responsibility of the questioner to interrupt your response and ask another question

5.      Don’t respond to personal questions (personal questions are irrelevant)

6.      Use your research to reference question

7.      Face the audience as you respond to questions

8.      Remember- your debate team member cannot answer questions for you- be prepared

 

Classroom audience:

*Class members are expected to attend the debates and serve as debate judges.  Each class member will use the argument flowsheet method of note taking during the debate.  At the end of the debate class members will write down the name of the team that did the best job of debating the issues. Describe the reasons why you were persuaded to vote for that team. Make sure your name in is on the argument flowsheet.

*Class members need to set aside their personal opinions as debate judges.  Judges are expected to be fair and impartial judges.  Do not ask questions or interrupt the debate participants. 

*Class members need to turn in their argument flowsheet at the end of the debate to receive credit for the assignment.

 

Debate preparation:

*Debate team members and opponents work together to prepare a debate resolution.  This is a competitive debate- do not work with your opponents after a decision on a resolution has been made.  Canned debates will receive significant grade reductions.

*Do not sit during the presentation of your speeches and cross examination. 

*Results of the class vote will be announced at the end of the debate by the professor.

*Fairness doctrine applies to each speech delivered- speakers must stop speaking when the time limit has been reached. Student participants may use a stopwatch during the debate.

*Students are required to turn in copies of their research at the end of the debate. 

*Laptops may not be used during the debate.

*Visuals are not required for this assignment. Do not use PowerPoint- the focus of the debate is on the development of verbal images and ideas.

Reed Markham teaches junior and senior high school students in the Early College Program at Daytona State College.  Markham was a speechwriter for the United States Supreme Court.

 

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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.

 

No Zac Efron
By Elizabeth Guy

He’s not a Zac Efron
I’m sure you’d agree,
But he’s kind of cute I think.
With a slow easy smile
That’s part of his style
And a little come here wink.

His tattoos cover much that’s not seen
But at least there’s no ring in his nose.
‘Though his brain’s not too keen,
If you know what I mean
And he favors the oddest of clothes,
Yet, he’s the one I chose.

I don’t understand it myself.

So I guess it must be this:

‘Though he belches and scratches
And snores
And sucks his teeth with a hiss,
I can never, ever resist
When he holds me and gives me a kiss!

Photo 25 by Hank Kellner

  “Anyone who’s a kisser I’m always interested in.”  - Cher

TATTOO   CLOTHING 
KISS  
ATTRACTION

 

sunsparks
By Karen Topham

it’s your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
unmoving
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you
touch what i feel is you

in the spark of daylight
you’ll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

 

 

Photo 26 by Hank Kellner

“If we do meet again, we’ll smile indeed;   if not, ‘tis true this parting was well made.”

- William Shakespeare
DAYLIGHT   SPARKLE 
WATER   DISAPPOINTMENT

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.

 

iPod Touch

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There are six modules designed to test the basic ability of an individual in terms of Memory & Concentration. Needless to say this is the most important basic skill for not just to survive but also to thrive in this competitive environment. Each of the six modules tests the six variants of Memory & Concentration in an individual, namely: 1. Picture recognition
2. Paired Associate Learning
3. Immediate Recall
4. Serial processing
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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:

 

 

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Challenges of Curriculum
(part 1)

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. 

If challenges are taken as problems, then a teacher might not be able to learn and move ahead. Accepting challenges creates opportunities for teachers not only to enhance their skills but to look at the real world more intimately. Teaching is an open field and the teacher is merely a player. To me, the player needs to be committed. Those who can’t commit shouldn’t adopt this profession, because teachers need to be role models, serve as leaders, and have the position akin to parents. In this way, teachers rear the children they teach, providing opportunities to students to sharpen their intellect, increasing awareness about the need to be ethical.  This is perhaps the most challenging task for a teacher. My experience has taught me to move on by accepting the challenges of this ‘challenging profession.

Here, I will try to focus on the challenges of curriculum and classroom interaction, which I faced during my 8 years of teaching in religious and secular schools.

I find the area of curriculum very wide. The challenges for a teacher regarding the implementation of curriculum in a class is the foremost debate not only in Pakistan , but worldwide. There are several ideas in the mind of Pakistani bureaucrats regarding planning and implementing the curriculum. But the question is, is there any proper curriculum prepared by any ministry, which could fully satisfy the expectations of children and teacher?

The curriculum is not planned according to the social needs of the youth. The challenge for a teacher is to implement the curriculum as forced, in accordance with the instructions of the authorities. A loyal teacher would implement the guided curriculum with the integration of his/her knowledge and study, so that they could prepare the solid leaders for the future generation. I believe that at the stage of learning, curriculum should be designed in such a way, which can produce the required skilled manpower for the future need of our country. In Pakistan , the students don’t have opportunities for practical work. After they complete the secondary school stage, many of them begin to search for a clerical type of job. Consequently unemployment and frustration becomes their fate. This is a real challenge for a teacher: to prepare students according to the needs of the future so that they can get good opportunities on the basis of their knowledge and skills. A real challenge of a teacher is to initiate curriculum in such a manner that it develops the ‘character’ of the individual. It isn’t only a merit degree which makes a person charismatic. It is the character building, which is the true missing asset, for which, teachers are continuously playing their role.

When I was teaching at Karachi Kids University , I observed children were not taking an interest in studies because the curriculum, which I taught was totally theoretical and based on rote learning.  I observed that the children learning were slow and the teachers teaching speed were expeditious. According to my observation, children think that education is the heaviest burden on them. After my observation, I took a challenge to add something fascinating, which can be used as a supporting aid of teaching the curriculum. I integrated all lesson plans with my co- teachers, in which our main focus was to attain objectives through activities. We kept in mind the interest of the students. Gradually, the students started taking an interest toward learning subjects without feeling it a burden.

Curriculum is to provide knowledge and skills, which can satisfy intellect. In order to develop good reading habits, we planned a mini- library, where donated books were kept.  Students were encouraged to read stories and informative books. To make reading literature interesting, we also developed  'pop-up reading skills', in which each student was given a chance to read a text loud and afterwards throw the 'pop-up' cotton ball to another classmate, whom s/he wants to read next. This successful technique not only developed interest, but also activated students in class room participation.

The second challenge regarding curriculum is to face the inappropriate content in our text books. Muhammad Ilyas Khan says,

“The whole education process in our primary and secondary school revolve around the textbooks which mostly are bad written and poorly presented. They are boring for the students as well as the teachers who use them. They seldom arouse any interest among students. As a result the teaching learning process becomes monotonous and lacks any active involvement of the students.”

I agree, because the challenge for a teacher is to implement curriculum through learning based activities so the students will take the interest. Students in Pakistan feel boredom when the teacher makes them to open their book and to learn things by heart only. The only thing which can make them survive intellectually is just a bit of effort and initiative of a teacher to study and plan lessons effectively.

If you will go through the book of general science, most of the topics which are being added, are irrelevant. I took a little initiative and wrote a workbook of General Science, keeping in view the National curriculum objectives. I just made the irrelevant topics precisely, which helped few of the schools in Karachi to teach students specifically with specialization rather than generalization. I think that diverse knowledge is good to boost a child's capability.

The people who design our curriculum are specialists in their subjects with Masters and Doctorate degrees. But the curriculum must be designed with specific objectives.  It is the duty of the government to make changes in our curriculum while asking the teachers, who are the real manifesto planners, so that the teachers can face this challenge with the role in it. But nobody is taking immediate action due to which teachers and students both are facing a lot of hindrance.

I suggest that a curriculum should have some ethical values to foster in them a pride in belonging to the nation, an understanding of its history and aspirations, and the eagerness to serve it. Curriculum should be such as to facilitate the full development of the personality of child and there aims can be achieved if education at this stage is directed towards the objectives.

 

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

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Enhancing Learning Through Great Websites

This article will touch on a number of great sites that will enhance what you are doing or send you into another great direction.

http://www.wikispaces.com/   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.

http://www.jingproject.com/   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.

http://www.gizmoz.com/   Founded in 2003, Gizmoz offers consumers a new generation of character-based visual expression for use across their digital lives.
The Gizmoz service makes it easy and fun to create, customize, animate and share lifelike, 3D talking characters that
enable individuals to put a unique face and voice to their digital communications.

http://www.think.com/en/   Think.com connects schools, teachers, and students from around the world to collaborate on projects, share experiences, and build knowledge together. Teachers can easily integrate project learning into their curriculum, enabling students to develop critical skills for life and work in the 21st century. Teachers and students build their own webpages to share learning experiences. Simple publishing tools allow members to easily create content and engage one another in thoughtful online discussions.

http://www.teachertube.com  Free videos made by teachers for teachers to use in the classroom.

http://rvms.nbed.nb.ca/  Check out this school site that hosts a K-12 video and photography festival. Just imagine what your students could do.

http://imbee.com/   imbee is a parent approved, teacher endorsed social networking site appropriate for kids and 'tweens.

http://www.lulu.com/  Lulu is fast, easy and free

Publish and sell easily within minutes.
No set-up fees. No minimum order.
Keep control of the rights.
Set your own price.
Each product is printed as it is ordered.
No excess inventory.

http://earth.google.com/  If you think this is the old Google Earth, think again. Check out Tony Vincent’s article at: http://tonyvincent.net/?q=node/30 to find out more.

http://voicethread.com/classroom.php  Quoting from the website: A VoiceThread allows every child in a class to record audio commentary about the ideas and experiences that are important to them. Whether an event, a project, or a milestone, children can tell their story in their own voice, and then share it with the world. For teachers, VoiceThreads offer a single vessel to capture and then share all the diverse personalities of an entire class.

There you have it. Ten assorted web sites that should provide something of interest for everyone.  




Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm

Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm

 

 

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  TECH/21st Century CORNER

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14 Steps to Meaningful Student Blogging

Shared by Mark Benn

Mark Benn is a Technology Integration Coach for VARtek Services, Inc. Having just completed almost 25 years as an educator for Inland Lakes Public Schools, and having received a Masters of Science in Educational Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University in 2010, he now works in a position that supports teachers of K-12 classrooms in the southwest Ohio region that are interested in integrating technology into their learning environments. VARtek Services mission is to be the best provider of managed technology solutions for enhanced learning in the K–12 marketplace. Our website is: www.vartek.com

I recently came across a great set of recommendations for encouraging students to blog.  Check out the link below:

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 received his Masters of Science in Educational Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University in 2010.

Mark Benn earned his B.S. from Western Michigan University and his Elementary Certification from Northern Michigan University.  He is a 25 year teaching veteran of 5th and 6th grade students at Inland Lakes Middle School in Indian River, MI.

Prior to teaching, Mark spent 11 years as Department Manager for Sears, Roebuck and Co. dealing with emerging technologies.  He has been married to his wife Bonnietta for 32 years with one daughter and two sons.  

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:

http://www.starteaching.com/newsletter.htm


 

 

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Using Sign Language to Help the Hearing ADD or ADHD Child

By Kim Taylor-DiLeva
Kim's Signing Solutions

Kim Taylor-DiLeva is an educational trainer and owner of Kim’s Signing Solutions (www.kimssigningsolutions.com) .  

She conducts parent and teacher workshops throughout New York State and conducts sign language enrichment classes for daycares and preschools in the Albany, NY area. 

You can contact Kim at:
kim@kimssigningsolutions.com

As a teacher, you are challenged with students who have a difficult time focusing in class. They often seem to be busy and constantly on-the-go. Often times, these children are labeled with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Regardless of diagnosis, or lack thereof, you have been given the responsibility of educating this child. When it seems too difficult, it is important to remember that there are alternative methods of teaching these children, and one of them is to use American Sign Language signs. This approach does not need to be taught as a separate lesson, but rather incorporated into your current curriculum.

Dr. Marilyn Daniels states in her book, Dancing with Words, that children who have been diagnosed with ADD are more likely to retain information and new words when they are presented with the material visually.  “The point is clearly articulated by Freed and Parsons in Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World:  Unlocking the Potential of Your ADD Child: ‘It is a given that these youngsters (ADD) must visualize in order to learn and that they process exclusively in pictures’” (1997, p.61).  Therefore, in order to strengthen an ADD or ADHD child’s ability to learn and understand new words, you must help them to visualize an image of that word in their mind, or develop a mental picture. Sign language signs are typically iconic, meaning that the sign often represents an image of that actual word (like in the word house you sign the roof and the two walls). This can be very useful to help a child create a mental image. Even those signs that are not iconic, can still represent the word visually.

In addition to the visual elements of sign language, the ADHD child can also benefit because it is a language that requires movement. When you teach your student a sign and they repeat it the sign back to you, they are using their hands, bodies, and facial expressions to demonstrate the new word. Kinesthetic learners especially benefit from this because they are able to use their bodies in order to learn new information.

When you incorporate sign language into your regular curriculum, it is easier for your students to actively participate in their learning, rather than remaining a passive listener.  The use of this visual and physical language will allow your students to be more engaged in what they are learning. Sign language instruction will not only help the hearing children in your class, but also specifically help ADD and ADHD children to learn more easily.

 


 

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Critical Thinking
(part 3)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Critical thinking consists of a mental process of analyzing or evaluating information, particularly statements or propositions that people have offered as true. It forms a process of reflecting upon the meaning of statements, examining the offered evidence and reasoning, and forming judgments about the facts.

Overcoming Bias

To reduce one's bias, one can take various measures during the process of critical thinking.

Instead of asking "How does this contradict my beliefs?" ask: "What does this mean?"

In the earlier stages of gathering and evaluating information, one should first of all suspend judgment (as one does when reading a novel or watching a movie). Ways of doing this include adopting a perceptive rather than judgmental orientation; that is, avoiding moving from perception to judgment as one applies critical thinking to an issue. In the terminology of Edward De Bono's Six Thinking Hats, use white hat or blue hat thinking and delay black hat thinking for later stages.

One should become aware of one's own fallibility by:

1. accepting that everyone has subconscious biases, and accordingly questioning any reflexive judgments;

2. adopting an ego less and, indeed, humble stance

3. recalling previous beliefs that one once held strongly but now rejects

4. realizing one still has numerous blind spots, despite the foregoing

How does one ever eliminate biases without knowing what the ideal is? A possible answer: by referencing critical thinking against a "concept of man". Thus we can see that critical thinking and the formation of secure ethical codes form an integral whole, but a whole which remains limited without the backing of a concept of humanity.

Finally, one might use the Socratic method to evaluate an argument, asking open questions, such as the following:

* What do you mean by_______________?

* How did you come to that conclusion?

* Why do you believe that you are right?

* What is the source of your information?

* What assumption has led you to that conclusion?
* What happens if you are wrong?

* Can you give me two sources who disagree with you and explain why?

* Why is this significant?

* How do I know you are telling me the truth?

* What is an alternate explanation for this phenomenon?

Critical Thinking can be looked at within many frameworks or paradigms.

One is a four tiered system.

1: Dualistic reasoning: In this mode of thought things are thought of in terms of either/or, right/wrong or good/bad.

2: Multiplicity: At this level, the thinker understands that different agents may have different perspectives on a given object or matter.

3: Relativity: This level of thinking holds that different people have different perspectives, and that all are ultimately equal.

4: Relativity With Commitment: This level of thinking recognizes that different agents hold different perspectives and opinions, but that criteria for judgment can assess the validity of a given perspective, stance or opinion.

Reaching a Conclusion

One useful perspective in critical thinking is to employ Occam's Razor. Also called the "principle of parsimony," Occam's razor requires that one not make more assumptions than necessary. In other words, the simplest solution is likely the best. Given the nature of the process, critical thinking is never final. One arrives at a tentative conclusion, given the evidence and based on an evaluation. However, the conclusion must always remain subject to further evaluation if new information comes to hand.

 

Article courtesy of K12Academics.com

K12Academics.com

 

 

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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

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

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Daily Points in Class

Starting your class on the right foot each day is very important to both you and the students. There are certain expectations you will have, be they required materials (texts, folders, gym clothes), basic supplies (pencils/paper), or behaviors (on time, in seats, working on opening activities). You are going to want these expectations met every day.

We designed a simple set of 5 rules to start out every class. These are easy to remember and easy to keep track of. Several of our teachers use a variation of the 5 rules to start their classes, and you may feel free to adapt these to your class. These are the rules I use in English class:

Rule 1: Students must be in their seats when class begins. In some schools, classes begin (and are dismissed) by a bell. Some classes begin at a specific time. Still other classes are started by a particular signal from the teacher.

Rule 2: Students must have a writing instrument. Again, different teachers have different expectations, be it pencil or pen or whatever.  For me, it doesn't matter as long as it s dark enough to read. I only balk at silver, gold, white, or any other light or fluorescent color (hot pink or yellow for example).

Rule 3: Students must have their folder out on their desk. Each of our classes requires students to keep important papers, notes, and other course artifacts. Some teachers allow students to keep these, and others provide a location in the room for folders.

Rule 4: Students must have all required materials for class that day.  To reduce the number of times students ask me about what they need for the day's class, I will either write the materials list on the board or put it on the class announcements on our TV (watch for the article on creating a class cable TV network our upcoming March issue).

Rule 5: Students must be working on the class warm up activity. In English class, students write out Daily Oral Language (DOL) sentences, practicing proofreading skills. On the edge of each day's entry are the numbers 1 through 5, making it easy to grade. All you have to do is circle the appropriate number.

Again, we give each student a daily grade of points (1-5). Some teachers have only four rules and one rule is worth 2 points. You can change up and set your own rules and create an easy to grade set of points to fit your own classroom.

After a few weeks of practice, the checking of daily points becomes a student job. One student from each group (the RECORDER) gets the weekly responsibility to check the students' daily points and circle the proper number. The teacher is freed up for other activities, and you only need to spot check through the room. This way I can record the daily points only once every two weeks and they are already tallied up for me.


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"Coping With Stress"

Themes on Life

We could learn a lot from crayons... Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box...

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.

If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.
If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.

In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can."

Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

  • Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

  • Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

  • Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

  • Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

  • If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

  • If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

  • It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply be kind to others.

  • Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

  • Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

  • Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

  • The second mouse gets the cheese.

  • When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

  • Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

  • You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

  • Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

 

 

What's New @ StarTeaching?

 

Hello readers!  Welcome to your second April issue of Features For Teachers for 2012!   

This month, we bring another great poetry/photograph selection from Hank Kellner from his upcoming book, Reflections. We also have a follow-up article on Critical Thinking, as well as a shared article on blogging from Mark Benn.  

You'll also find great articles on using sign language in class, debating in social studies, and coping with stress.

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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Day
1

What is Bullying?

Day
2

Why do some people bully others?

Day
3

Why is it important to stand up to a bully?

Day
4

How have you ever been bullied at school? What happened?

Day
5

Why is it important that kids are not bullied at school?

Day
6

Describe a time you (or someone you know) has had to face a bully.

Day
7

What is the best way to handle being bullied?

Day
8

Create a story or poem that describes someone succeeding at overcoming a bully.

Day
9

Who are the adults you trust at school to help you if you were ever bullied?

Day
10

 Why is preventing bullying a huge issue for schools?

STARTEACHING WRITING PROMPT COLLECTION - 
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10 days of writing prompts

 

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Coming Soon:

Preparing for Student Teaching

Technology & Teaching: 21st Century Teaching and Learning

Writing Process and Programs

Article of the Week


 

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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 For a class science project, students worked in groups to make potatoe-powered batteries. Each of the 5 groups used a voltmeter to measure the voltage produced by their potatoes:

3 volts, 2 volts, 3 volts, 
2 volts, 3 volts

What was the median voltage?
Day 2 What is the median? 
1  10  6  0  6  10  0  2
Day 3 Ryan's class sold chocolate bars as a fundraiser for a field trip. The 5 students sold:

6 bars, 3 bars, 6 bars, 
5 bars, 8 bars

What was the range of the numbers of chocolate bars sold?
Day 4 What is the mean? 
3, 0, 1, 2, 4
Day 5 What is the mean? 
8  9  8  5  10  6  8  10
Day 6 The owner of a toy store studied the day's purchases. The 8 toys purchased had prices of:

$9,$9,$9,$7,$8,$6,$9,$7

What was the mean amount spent?
Day 7 An airline tracks how many bags its passengers bring with them. The 6 most recent passengers brought the following numbers of bags:

1 bag, 2 bags, 4 bags, 
2 bags, 3 bags, 2 bags

What was the mode of the numbers of bags?
Day 8 What is the range? 2,2,1,3,2,3,5,2
Day 9 Mariana took 8 vocabulary quizzes. Her scores were:

4 points, 5 points, 4 points, 4 points, 4 points, 6 points, 7 points, 6 points

What was Mariana's mean quiz score?
Day 10 The average monthly rainfall for 6 months was 28.5 mm. If it had rained 1mm more each month what would the average have been? By how much would the total have been increased in six months and by how much would average have been increased per month?

 

Be sure to visit Mary Ann Graziani's website to pick up a copy of any of her THREE books for sale

www.wishingstarchildrensbooks.com

 

 

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Surfactants
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Experimenting With Ants
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TONY VINCENT
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.
learninginhand.com

 

WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
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Using Photography To Inspire Writing
By Hank Kellner

Visit his blog at: hank-englisheducation.
blogspot.com
.

 

 

Article of the Week
"Free Speech vs. Kids and Violent Video Games"
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"Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?"
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