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Surprising Truth About Bullying and Bullies
Article courtesy of
So much attention is focused on bullying right now. In fact, in
our workshops, when we ask participants to identify the top cause
of school shootings, bullying is usually named.
There is no doubt that bullying is a huge problem in nearly any
setting where children and youth congregate, but you may not be
able to stop or moderate the bullying by focusing on that issue
alone. Yet, often that is what happens. When youth professionals
focus solely or primarily on bullying, it may be a bit like seeing
the forest but not the trees. Or, perhaps another analogy-- one
that might resonate especially well with mental health workers--
is that a primary focus on bullying is a lot like just focusing on
an alcoholic's liquor consumption while neglecting to address any
of the factors that caused the excessive drinking in the first
place. Here is a completely different way of viewing and
addressing bullying, one that you may find far more effective than
conventional approaches that focus on the symptom of bullying
while often overlooking the factors that cause and sustain it.
MYTH To address bullying, use character education or values
TRUTH While character education and values clarification
approaches can have merit, as a reader of this internet magazine,
hopefully you have learned that these methods always fail with
about 11-14% of youngsters. Do you remember the information
presented in past issues on this topic? If you have been to our
workshop, you definitely should know the truth on this topic,
because we devote hours to it during class. As any of our workshop
past participants should be able to tell you, character ed and
values clarification approaches will fail with conduct disordered
youth. These youngsters lack a conscience or remorse, so character
ed and values clarification methods simply won't work at all since
those methods require that the child be able to care and have
compassion. Since conduct disorders are the most misbehaved
students of all, they are also often the bullies. Now, you know
why conventional approaches may have limited success reducing
MYTH Bullying is the primary cause of school shootings.
TRUTH The media loves simple, black and white explanations, and
this very simplistic sound bite is just not a very accurate or
thorough explanation. While some school shooters were partially
motivated by being bullied, to zero in on just the bullying misses
the point-- and misses the point on how to prevent an incident. A
more accurate way of viewing these youngsters who shoot, is to
note that they tend to be clinically depressed, and that in
addition to the bullying that they may endure, they are very sad
and extremely frustrated. Better than viewing them as worn down by
the bullying, it is far more accurate to view them as worn down by
many things. Let me explain why this distinction is so important.
This distinction is critical because it doesn't require an act of
bullying to set this child off. Like a pressure cooker, this
student is building up to blow. Certainly bullying could be the
thing that causes the blow up, but it could be any event that
lights the fuse. When you train your attention on seriously
depressed youth (who may be bullied a lot, irregularly, or not at
all) you can more readily and precisely identify the youth who
could some day explode.
Further, there may be other populations of youth who are
statistically far more likely to cause an extremely violent
incident. However, having three types of youngsters at risk of
extreme violence is a more complicated concept, and not one that
the media will necessarily capture for youth professionals.
Ironically, although you won't hear it in the media, the bullied
child is probably not the one who is at highest risk of extreme
violence. If you want to read the details on who are the three
highest risk populations, visit our web site at http://www.youthchg.com/hottopic.html.
Access to this article is free, and can make a big difference in
your understanding of youth violence.
MYTH When teaching bullying prevention, keep the focus on the
TRUTH While it is fine to focus directly on the bullying, if
you stop there, you may be unhappy with the results. To stick with
the analogy used earlier, it is like focusing on the amount of
liquor consumed rather than helping the alcoholic to learn about
self-medicating. In addition to teaching that bullying is wrong,
there needs to be a greater focus on teaching the skills
youngsters need to behave differently. Further, you need to modify
the skills of not just the bully, but also the victims and peers.
Typically, we do not necessarily provide specific skill
instruction to all three of those groups. The bully needs training
to learn new peer interaction skills, but so do the victims and
bystanders. If you focus solely on one or two of those groups, you
may not get the results you sought. Remember, teaching skills does
not mean re-stating expectations or rules. Teaching skills means
that you creatively and effectively show students the exact skills
that they need to be different. So, for example, you might teach
the bully some new "Opening Lines" to use when
initiating peer contact, perhaps aiding the youngster to stop
threatening, and instead say something less aggressive.
Here are other key areas that are often not taught as part of
bullying prevention programs: personal space and distance,
interacting with peers who are different, managing hands and other
body parts, and how to avoid peer set-ups. There are many more
critical skill areas that often are overlooked and left
unaddressed. All unaddressed areas will be an endless source of
bullying problems so be sure you cover it all.
MYTH You can't significantly reduce the aggressiveness of
youngsters who come out of homes and neighborhoods that are very
TRUTH Just because a child is raised around hitting, screaming
and threats, does not condemn that youngster to be that way.
Certainly, teaching peaceful behavior is a much more difficult
task when a student's dad is threatening and coercing his
offspring, but it is not the law that children raised in violence
inevitably will be violent. Part of the problem is that youth
professionals still use one-size-fits-all methods to work with
students. Students are not all the same, and until professionals
learn to choose different methods for different types of students,
then it may seem that "nothing works" with some
out-of-control youngsters. In reality, there are methods that can
make a huge difference helping children raised in violence to
forgo aggression, but first, youth professionals must start using
these more targeted, sophisticated approaches. Often, when
"nothing works," you are working with a conduct
disordered child, and switching to a different set of tools can
make a huge difference. Sadly, only mental health workers are
usually taught to take this step, and other youth professionals
are often not provided this vital information-- information that
can literally change the future for many youngsters.
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Using Photography To Inspire
By Hank Kellner
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
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
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.
My Own Way
midst of so many
and I wonder
by the magnificence
step across the norm
and welcome the intense waves of curiosity
all caution aside
where passion points
the intense quest within
I soar into unchartered heights
Photo 21 by Laura Pastuszek
journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
- Lao Tzu
Salesman From Greer
By Elizabeth Guy
There once was a salesman from
Who drove with his phone to his ear.
While he talked he was struck
By an oncoming truck
Thus ending his call and career
|Photo 22 by Hank Kellner
|“Buyer should be aware that the
‘cell’ is a violent piece of work…” -
ACCIDENT INATTENTIVENESS DISTRACTION
2009 Hank Kellner
These poem/photo combinations are from
Hank Kellner's upcoming publication, Reflections: A Collection of Poetry, Photos, and
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
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.
Order your own iPod Touch Today with the links below:
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:
of these modules runs at three different levels, from easy to
At each level, the individual's performance is depicted as
A feedback has been built into the software for all these 18
levels depending on the marks one scores during the
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
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
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.
HERE to order your own copy today:
Can Students Assess Their Own
Jumani has been a teacher Educator for the
past 11 years. She has done her Masters in Islamic History
from the University of Karachi. She has a Master in
Education from Hamdard University, Institute of Education and
Social Sciences, A VT certificate from AKU-IED along with an
advance diploma in (PTEP) Professional Teacher Education Program
from IIS and AKU- IED.
students assess their own learning? Action
research is positive about it!
article encompasses my action research that was done in the one of the
whole paradigm of teaching will shift if we initiate a discussion on the
question of ‘Can students assess their own learning within and outside
the classroom’? How can they be able to know whether they participate
joyfully in learning and what are the other ways though which they
assess themselves and also enhance their learning further? Besides, it
is also vital to know why is it important for a child to know what s/he
learns, unlearns or relearns as s/he moves across grades and levels of
to the OCC Assessment Definition, Assessment
is an on-going process aimed at understanding and improving student
learning. It involves making our expectations clear to students and
setting appropriate outcomes for learning. It helps determine how well
student performance matches those outcomes. It uses the resulting
information to improve student learning.
the words of Airasian
(1994) “the process of collecting, synthesizing, and interpreting
information to aid in decision making is called assessment”.
Assessment therefore includes the full range of information teachers
gather in their classroom; it is this information that helps them
understand their pupils, monitor their instruction, and establish a
viable classroom culture.
term “Assessment” cannot be dealt exclusively in isolation because
it is inclusive in nature and has a cyclical process within that. The
term "assessment" is generally used to refer to all activities
teachers use in the class to help students learn and to gauge student
progress. The definition describes that “It is a continuous process,
not a separate activity, which necessarily requires the use of extra
variety of tasks, tests, practical activities and observation” Another
definition suggests that “It is a part of everyday teaching and
learning”. One defines the assessment as “It is concerned with
measuring student’s performance during and following a program of
study”. However “achievement can be seen as gaining mastery over
certain skills, knowledge or understanding of any piece of work”. Thus
it has been proven that assessment in itself is not an end, but a means
to an end.
was confronted with this question of assessing students' learning many
times in my career. I chose the similar question to explore via
action research; moreover extension in my research question led it to
explore the implicit and explicit ways through which learning takes
my teaching as an action researcher, I was given grade VI, whose teacher
was not properly trained. Though I intended to work with a
qualified and trained teacher eventually, I began my action research
project with that teacher. She was good natured lady and teaching with a
traditional way of transmitting knowledge. This became a great challenge
as I wanted to explore how students can measure their own learning, how
they become partners with teachers in seeking curriculum goals etc. I
therefore had to bring a little modification in my plan.
the first phase, through a participatory model, I engaged with students
via interactive teaching methodologies. This took an entire two
months to bring a paradigm shift from the traditional to progressive
mode of teaching and learning. It was regular teaching and I had
forgotten that I was the researcher. I took a new role as teacher.
That teacher and I found that students are no more quiet in the class;
moreover they were interested in what was to be taught or not, and how
through various methods they are questioning the knowledge base
mentioned in the text books, or written material.
the next phase, where students have adopted certain traits, they started
becoming critical about the ideas, about various strategies, about the
purpose of studying any theme. Then I initiated my plan to
question their learning. Instead of focusing on replies, our
entire class process was to reflect on questions and that began the
unending debate culture in the class. For simple to complex themes, we
had questions to explore them further. For instance, the initial
first few classes, we debated a lot on the following:
What is the role of science in our life?
How and why science helps people in various fields of life
What is the main difference between the lives of Stone Age
people and modern time?
Why did humans started thinking to make some changes?
See More in our Next Issue!
| 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
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.
For The Things They Don't Teach You In College
Breaking Up The Monotony
has been said and written lately about providing students with
choices. I'm all about any methods which will improve student
involvement in class, giving them ownership in their learning.
There are many ways to give students choices, options, or just
to provide random results and change up the monotony. This
article will discuss how to use random results in typical class
One technique I use is drawing from a hat (or mug, box, basket, or
other container). You can choose anything to put in the hat, and decide
if you or the students will do the drawing. You can draw, or let your
students pick. I try to keep the 'hat' above the chooser's head so there
is no possible way to cheat on the draw.
In the hat I like to use different colored poker chips: white, red, and
blue. We will use these for many applications, or at least any that
involve three different outcomes. When grading freewrites, for example,
drawing a blue chip means I take an immediate grade on the assignment
A white chip means "thank you for writing today", but we
aren't going to grade it, just file the writing into your folder. A red
chip indicates I'll collect the papers, read over them, grade them, and
select a few to write comments upon. By drawing a chip, the students
don't know if the assignment will be graded or not, so they must do
their best. However, for the teacher, the students are writing more but
you don't have to grade every paper!
We will also use the chips for minor homework assignments. Same idea -
white is a no grade, blue goes immediately to the grade book. But on red
chips, I'll allow a minute or two to fix mistakes before I collect them.
It depends on the situation. It's that simple. And the students never
know if the assignment will be graded or not, so they have to do their
best just in case. Another technique is to use strips of paper in a
coffee mug for completely random choices. This is great for games like
charades where students draw random words, topics, or choices.
This could be used to randomly discuss class topics or answer questions.
I like to use this for choosing project topics. Put slips of paper
numbered 1 through however many students are in the class. Fold the
slips and then have students draw their own place in the waiting line.
Whoever has the slip #1 gets first choice of topics, #2 chooses second,
and so forth. No one can claim a biased order of selection! This
is great for research paper topics, where you don't want students
choosing the same topics. We will also use small slips of colored paper
to form random groups of students. If I want four different groups,
figure how many students you want in each group and tear that many small
slips of colored construction paper. Do this for each group, using
different colors. I find this is a good use for scraps of paper left
over after an art project (the thick paper holds up better). Then go
around the room and let the students 'choose' their group. Collect the
slips back after recording the groups & names so you can re-use the
You could use all sorts of everyday items to get random choices. Flip a
coin in a two-choice situation. A die or pair of dice can give you even
more choices. You could even use a deck of playing cards.
To randomly call upon students, we utilize note cards filled out with
student names and personal information. At the beginning of the year,
students write their name, parents' contact info, text book numbers,
hobbies/interests, and other information on a regular 3 x 5 index card.
I then collect these and pull them out, shuffle, and select a random
card (with the student's name on it.) Voila! Random selection of
And if you want to ensure you call upon everyone equally, just don't
shuffle the cards, and place the used card at the back of he deck. You
can cycle through the card deck over and over, ensuring you're calling
upon every student equally.
Cards, dice, coins, poker chips and simple slips of paper can be easily
used to make random selections in class. We'd love to hear any other
'random acts' ideas and techniques you may have. We'll add them to this
article and post them on our website with credit to you!
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
Web Safety Tutorials
By Mark Benn
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:
Check this website and article out for more on
teaching web safety to students:
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
or at his blogsite: http://www.furtrader.blogspot.com/
Maximizing Your Study Time
By Roger Seip
Memory Training For Students
The daily schedule for many young students today could rival that of
several top-level executives. With soccer practice, dance, scouts and
clarinet lessons taking up much of the evening, when do students get to
focus on their studies?
About the author:
Roger Seip is a nationally known memory trainer. His new
program, The Student’s Winning Edge - Memory Training, teaches
students how to train their memory to study more effectively and
get better grades. For more information on how your student can
have a more powerful memory visit http://www.memorytrainingforstudents.com
Too often students get overwhelmed
with the amount of work left over at the end of the day. They look at
study time in one big sum and get distracted and exhausted before they
even begin. To solve this problem, you may not be able to adjust your
child’s schedule, but they can change their study techniques. Here are
3 study techniques that will help any student maximize their study time.
They should start by separating and
segmenting their study time. Break it up into smaller bits. No matter
how brilliant you are a concentrated attention span lasts only about 20
minutes. So break your 2 or 4 hours study sessions into groups of 15 or
20 minutes. During the break, stand-up, walk around, grab a bit to eat
or something to drink and then get back to the grind for another 15 or
20 minutes. This not only helps create spaced repetition, which is
crucial for retention, but helps make study sessions less stressful and
Another tool to help in maximizing
study time is to use random practice. When reviewing lists or concepts
don’t go in order. Skip around to force your brain to pull from an
entire group of information. This aids in understanding the purpose or
meaning behind a concept instead of merely its place in line. The
simplest way to implement random practice is through the use of a study
Use a Study Partner. When at all
possible, it is very beneficial to study with another student who shares
the same educational goals and motivation. A study partner can help
identify areas of weakness and ensure that topics don’t get skipped.
It’s also beneficial to witness how another student takes in and
stores information. For this reason and others, it is better for the
study partner to be another student, but parent don’t be afraid to
fill this position. The progress gained from working with a partner is
general is worth it.
Proper and efficient study techniques
will follow a student through all levels of education and learning.
Establishing good habits and skill sets, no matter how small or
insignificant they may seem at the time, will prove to reap massive
rewards in the long run. So while little Johnny and Suzy might need
their first day planners before the third grade, don’t let it stop
them from becoming the best students they can.
School leadership is the process of enlisting and guiding the
talents and energies of teachers, pupils, and parents toward
achieving common educational aims. This term is often used
synonymously with educational leadership in the United States
and has supplanted educational management in the United Kingdom.
Several universities in the United States offer graduate degrees
in educational leadership.
The term school leadership came into currency in the late 20th
century for several reasons. Demands were made on schools for
higher levels of pupil achievement, and schools were expected to
improve and reform. These expectations were accompanied by calls
for accountability at the school level. Maintenance of the
status quo was no longer considered acceptable. Administration
and management are terms that connote stability through the
exercise of control and supervision. The concept of leadership
was favored because it conveys dynamism and pro-activity. The
principal or school head is commonly thought to be the school
leader; however, school leadership may include other persons,
such as members of a formal leadership team and other persons
who contribute toward the aims of the school.
While school leadership or educational leadership have become
popular as replacements for educational administration in recent
years, leadership arguably presents only a partial picture of
the work of school, division or district, and ministerial or
state education agency personnel, not to mention the areas of
research explored by university faculty in departments concerned
with the operations of schools and educational institutions. For
this reason, there may be grounds to question the merits of the
term as a catch-all for the field. Rather, the etiology of its
use may be found in more generally and con-temporarily
experienced neo-liberal social and economic governance models,
especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. On this
view, the term is understood as having been borrowed from
In the United States, the superintendency, or role of the
chief school administrator, has undergone many changes since the
creation of the position which is often attributed to the
Buffalo Common Council that approved a superintendent on June 9,
1837. If history serves us correctly, the superintendency is
about 170 years old with four major role changes from the early
19th century through the first half of the 20th century and into
the early years of the 21st century. Initially, the
superintendent's main function was clerical in nature and
focused on assisting the board of education with day-to-day
details of running the school. At the turn of the 20th century,
states began to develop common curriculum for public schools
with superintendents fulfilling the role of teacher-scholar or
master educator who had added an emphasis on curricular and
instructional matters to school operations. In the early 20th
century, the Industrial Revolution affected the superintendent's
role by shifting the emphasis to expert manager with efficiency
in handling non-instructional tasks such as budget, facility,and
transportation. The release of A Nation at Risk in 1983 directly
impacted public school accountability and, ultimately, the
superintendency. The early 1980s initiated the change that has
continued through today with the superintendent viewed as chief
executive officer, including the roles of professional adviser
to the board, leader of reforms, manager of resources and
communicator to the public.
The term "educational leadership" is also
used to describe programs beyond schools. Leaders in community
colleges, proprietary colleges, community-based programs, and
universities are also educational leaders.
Some United States university graduate masters and doctoral
programs are organized with higher education and adult education
programs as a part of an educational leadership department. In
these cases, the entire department is charged with educating
educational leaders with specific specialization areas such as
university leadership, community college leadership, and
community-based leadership (as well as school leadership). Some
United States graduate programs with a tradition of graduate
education in these areas of specialization have separate
departments for them. The area of higher education may include
areas such as student affairs leadership, academic affairs
leadership, community college leadership, community college and
university teaching, vocational and adult education and
Literature, Research and Policy
Educational leadership draws upon interdisciplinary
literature, generally, but ideally distinguishes itself through
its focus on pedagogy, epistemology and human development. In
contemporary practice it borrows from political science and
business. Debate within the field relates to this tension.
A number of publications and foundations are devoted to
studying the particular requirements of leadership in these
settings, and educational leadership is taught as an academic
discipline at a number of universities.
Several countries now have explicit policies on school
leadership, including policies and budgets for the training and
development of school leaders.
In the USA, formal "Curriculum Audits" are becoming
common, which allow recognized educational leaders and trained
auditors to evaluate school leadership and the alignment of the
curriculum with the goals and objectives of the school district.
Curriculum audits and curriculum mapping were developed by
Fenwick W. English in the late 1970s. The educational leaders
and auditors who conduct the audits are certified by Phi Delta
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.
The legends of the Michigan Dogman come alive in six haunting
tales by folklore author, Frank Holes, Jr.
Based upon both mythology and alleged real stories of the
beast, this collection is sure to fire the imagination!
Spanning the decades and the geography of the
, Frank weaves:
A mysterious police report of an unsolvable death in
terrifying encounter in the U.P.’s remote
begun as one man’s therapy, becomes a chronicle of sightings
governmental agent investigates the grisly aftermath of Sigma
family meets more than they expected on the trail north
campfire tale of ancient betrayal handed down through the Omeena
to Dogman Country!
Here For The
Tales From Dogman Country Website
of the Dogman Website
of Sigma Website
Nagual: Dawn of the
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:
A CLASS SET
A Place for Teachers New To The Craft
And Running A Medieval Fair
large events, such as a medieval fair, at school is often too
much for most teachers to attempt. However, with careful
planning, and some well directed help, you can orchestrate a
successful, educational, and memorable experience for your
students. This article, second in the series, describes how you
can utilize the help of outsize sources.
the day is underway, your job becomes that of a facilitator.
You'll want to move about checking on your students at each group or
station. You'll also need to be available to help and support your
guests with their needs. For example, our calligraphy station ran out of
practice writing sheets, so one of the teachers had to go make copies.
Be flexible, and always remember you're setting up a grand experience
for the students. This becomes an example of servant leadership, where
you and your fellow teachers are enabling the groups to succeed so the
During the morning, we met our helpers and re-enactors and got them in
place. Students were instructed ahead of time here they would go first,
and what their rotation was. Once the day is underway, the teachers are
free to move about, monitor the students and groups, and participate
alongside the kids.
A little before lunch, one of our teachers began working with the school
cooks to coordinate lunch. Our feast is always held in our gym alongside
the activities. We try to plan a whole group activity (singing, dancing,
games, etc.) in the 10-15 minutes before lunch so our stations can clean
up and we can set up our feast tables.
Depending on our overall set up, our feast is set up either in a long
line or a traditional horseshoe shape. Set this up (in the background)
while the students are engaged in another activity. This will keep them
in the same train of thought and in the same location (it's not really
authentic to immerse the kids in the middle ages only to bring them back
to a modern day lunchroom).
You'll want a plan for your lunch line. We always make a point of
feeding our volunteers first, followed by the girls (carefully observe
the ideals of chivalry), and lastly the boys. We teachers eat once
everyone has gone through the line.
After students are finished eating, we have another short sponge
activity (dancing, singing, games, etc.) while we clean up the lunch
tables and return the foodstuffs and equipment to the kitchen. This way
again the students stay immersed in the activity while re-arrangement
and cleaning occurs in the background.
Our afternoon resumes with more medieval festivities. Finish up your
stations if necessary. This past year we had a community acting group
put on a presentation of Robin Hood, and we invited our 5th and 6th
graders to watch. This also gave the youngsters just a small teaser of
what fun they'll have when they reach seventh grade.
All in all, a large scale event can appear to be too much work, and for
an individual teacher, this may be accurate. However, for you brave
souls who want to give your students an experience they'll remember
forever, a lot of careful planning and a good team will enable you to
pull off a first-class day. When we talk to former students, they rarely
can tell us what they learned in any one of our class, but they remember
in great detail the activities they participated in during the Medieval
Fair. And those memories will be with them the rest of their lives.
Links you can use for more information:
The book of Goode Cookery: http://www.godecookery.com/
Myths and legends: http://www.mythiccrossroads.com/myth.htm
Building a castle: http://www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/3701/
Medieval jobs: http://www.castles-of-britain.com/castle32.htm
Simple medieval foods and recipes (found in the Book of Goode Cookery):
Blankmonger (also blanck-mong or blowmanger) - This is a creamy rice
dish that can take on a number of flavors depending on the recipe you
use (there are several).
Fruays -Apple/fruit fritters
Mackeroons - noodles and cheese. This is truly a precursor to modern day
macaroni and cheese, and students love to make it and eat it.
Medieval gingerbread - made with highly seasoned bread crumbs and honey
Baked pears and fruits - its been the same for hundreds (or even
thousands) of years
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"Pretty Good ... Good
well do you unite with your students' parents...
I like to start the first day of school with this poem as I explain my
expectations to my class. I expect more than just pretty good. I expect every
student to do his or her best on every assignment and project done in my
classroom. By striving to do our best (even when my best may look totally
different from my neighbor's best) we are rewarded through a feeling of
accomplishment that comes along with the effort we put into our task. We will be
rewarded in the future when surrounded by others who were able to get away with
I hope you find it as inspirational as I did when I first read it!
By Charles Osgood
There once was a pretty
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher,
Who always let pretty good pass.
He wasn't terrific at reading,
He wasn't a whiz-bang at math;
But for him education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.
He didn't find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing
And nobody taught him to spell.
When doing arithmetic problems
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
Five plus five needn't always add up to be ten,
A pretty good answer was nine.
The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception,
On the contrary, he was the rule.
The pretty good school that he went to
Was in a pretty good town.
And nobody seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.
The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.
It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaky suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.
The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state,
Which had pretty good aspirations,
And prayed for a pretty good fate.
There once was a pretty good nation,
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.
What's New @ StarTeaching?
Hello readers! Welcome to your
second February issue of Features For Teachers for 2012!
month, we bring another great poetry/photograph selection from Hank Kellner
from his upcoming
book, Reflections. We also have great articles from
our feature writers Yasmeen Jumani and Mark Benn.
You'll also find great articles
on bullying, educational leadership, and a special from guest writer
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:
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interaction and constant, updated streams of educational
Thanks again for your continued support! ~Frank Holes, Jr.
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