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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 8, Issue 4
February 2012
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   The Surprising Truth About Bullying and Bullies   Maximizing Your Study Time
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Write What You See"
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
thinkb4u - Web Safety Tutorials
Can Students Assess Their Own Learning? (part 1)
Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
Educational Leadership New Teacher's Niche:
Running A Medieval Fair (part 3)
Student Teachers' Lounge: Randomizing Class Choices
Book of the Month Club:
The Art Of Teaching Reading
  Website of the Month:
Grammar Girl
  Themes on Life: 
"Pretty Good ... Good Enough"
Article of the Week: "The History of Leap Year"   Winter Book Sale for Teachers      

Remember to bookmark this page and to visit our website for more great articles, tips, and techniques!

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


Would you be interested in becoming a Featured Writer for the StarTeaching website?

Our Newsletter is now posting a opening for a Social Studies / History Writer interested in a monthly column focusing on Historical Events and Education.

Email your resume and letter of interest to:  editor@starteaching.com



The Surprising Truth About Bullying and Bullies

By Ruth Wells

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

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 clarification approaches.

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 bullying.

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 bullying.

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 violent.

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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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.


Going My Own Way
By Laura Pastuszek


in the midst of so many

I exist and I wonder

Enraptured by the magnificence


new discoveries

Dare I step across the norm

and welcome the intense waves of curiosity

Casting all caution aside

I walk where passion points

Obeying the intense quest within

I soar into unchartered heights

of life

Photo 21 by Laura Pastuszek

  “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”     - Lao Tzu



A Salesman From Greer
By Elizabeth Guy


There once was a salesman from Greer

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…”   -  Stephen King

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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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:



Feature Writer

Can Students Assess Their Own Learning?
(part 1)

By Yasameen Jumani

Yasmeen 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. 

Can students assess their own learning? Action research is positive about it!

The article encompasses my action research that was done in the one of the schools in Karachi

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 learning.

According 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. In 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.

The 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.

I 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 place. 

During 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.

In 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.

In 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:

1.        What is the role of science in our life?

2.       How and why science helps people in various fields of life

3.       What is the main difference between the lives of Stone Age people and modern time?

4.      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 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

Randomizing Class Choices:
Breaking Up The Monotony

Much 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 situations.

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 slips again.

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 students.

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



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

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


  TECH/21st Century CORNER

Web Safety Tutorials

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

Check this website and article out for more on teaching web safety to students:


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:




 Guest Writer  

Maximizing Your Study Time

By Roger Seip
Memory Training For Students

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

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?

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 daunting. 

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 partner. 

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.


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Educational Leadership

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

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 business.

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.

Graduate studies
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 university administration.

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 Kappa.


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com




MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Dogman’s Back!

  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 Great Lakes State , Frank weaves:

  A mysterious police report of an unsolvable death in Manistee County

A terrifying encounter in the U.P.’s remote Dickinson County

A BLOG, begun as one man’s therapy, becomes a chronicle of sightings from around Michigan

A secret governmental agent investigates the grisly aftermath of Sigma

A pioneer family meets more than they expected on the trail north

A campfire tale of ancient betrayal handed down through the Omeena Tribe

Welcome to Dogman Country!


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Tales From Dogman Country Website


Now Available!

Year of the Dogman Website
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Haunting of Sigma Website
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Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen Website 
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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

Designing And Running A Medieval Fair
(part 3)

Running 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.

Once 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 students succeed.

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/
Heraldry: http://www.ceu.hu/medstud/manual/SRM/index.htm
Myths and legends: http://www.mythiccrossroads.com/myth.htm
Building a castle: http://www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org/content/3701/
Etiquette: http://www.lc.capellauniversity.edu/~135958/Medieval%20Banquet/Etiquette.htm
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 Enough"

Themes on Life

How 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 "pretty good".

I hope you find it as inspirational as I did when I first read it!

Pretty Good
By Charles Osgood

There once was a pretty good student,
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!   

This 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.  

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Day 9 Ray bought 6 metal balls. All together, the balls weighed 19.5 pounds. How much, on average, did each ball weigh?
Day 10 Ethan went to the hardware store and bought 7 identical copper pipes. When Ethan lined up the pipes end-to-end, the line was 0.42 meters long. How long was each pipe?


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