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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 8, Issue 1
January 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   Tech Corner: Re-Defining the Teacher's Role   What is Your Resolution?
NEW! Tony Vincent's Blog: iOS Math Apps By Teachers Will Your Child Be Prepared For Careers That Don't YET Exist? Themes on Life: 
"The Teacher"
NEW! Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Social Anxiety (part 4)
New Teacher's Niche:
Emergency Lesson Plans - Real Lifesaving Tools
Student Teachers' Lounge: Poetry That Can Be Used in Any Class
Book of the Month Club:
Math Wise
  Website of the Month:
young writers online
  Article of the Week: "The Truth Behind High Fructose Corn Syrup"

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.

We are also looking for an administrator interested in sharing 21st century leadership skills and ideas in schools.  

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


Feature Writer

What is Your Resolution?

by Chris Sura

Chris Sura, upon earning his Bachelorís at Western Michigan University worked for Central Michigan University in Housing before teaching at River Valley High School. When he moved to Houghton Lake where he currently teaches, Chris completed his Masters in Education at Central Michigan University. A member of the Crossroads Writing Project through Ferris State University, he facilitates a conference on Professional Writing every summer and does online instruction through Kirtland Community College. He is married to Heidi, his wife of twenty years, and has two kids, Christopher and Grace. Chris writes poetry and fiction and has self published a book of poems. 

You can visit Chris at his website www.surawordz.com

A new year begins. This is the time we take on resolutions or goals in the areas of self-improvement, finances or accomplishments. As teachers, many of us take on resolutions at the beginning of the school year: ďThis year I will use more technology, try out a new strategy or read more professional articles in the field.Ē But how about your resolution as a writer? What are your writing resolutions?

Writing is many things for many of us, and since writing is a cross-curricular tool of thinking, reporting, processing and assessing, writing needs to be on our list. And I have a great suggestion for following through on that resolution.

As you may have read, I am a fellow of the Crossroads Writing Project. This is a local, university affiliated branch of the National Writing Project (NWP). Across the nation, there are many affiliations with the NWP. Writing Projects are guided by the words, ďTeachers as Writers. Writers as Teachers.Ē Basically, the NWP wants teachers to spend time on their own writing, thus developing the teacherís own skills. The benefit then reaches out to the classrooms as teachers grow as writers.

After a few years of being encouraged to participate, I attended the Summer Institute of the Crossroads Writing Project in 2006. It was the best rejuvenating, rewarding experience as a writer and teacher I that I had ever participated in. During the Institute, I spent hours free writing, participating in teaching demos, pursuing my writing projects that emerge out of the free writings, learning about I- Search research and associating with excellent teachers from across the region. I left with great writing strategies, a journal full of my writing, and several good friends. And hereís the kicker. Itís not just for English teachers.

Writing Projects are geared for any grade level, and subject. In the Crossroads of 2006, out of the sixteen fellows, I worked with an art teacher, a social studies teacher and a couple of special education teachers. Plus, we had teachers from elementary to college. We were all after the same goals. We all wanted to find more ways to be effective in the classroom, and we all wanted to practice and develop out own writing. A lead by example motif.

Oh, and the writing - it was a blast. The voices and writing pieces that emerged from our writing groups were spectacular. I was privy to the blossoming of a rugged shipping tale on the Great Lakes, the horror of bad mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, the panoramic view of nature poetry and the humor of daily life of the classroom.

Since 2006, I have remained involved with Crossroads as a teacher-consultant. I am a part of the Leadership Committee (other teachers and CWP fellows) that meets three to four times of the year. I am the facilitator for the Professional Writing Summer Institute for Crossroads. We have other institutes for Professional Development, Technology and Action Research. All with the goal: teachers as writers.

The best way to find a Writing Project near you is to go to www.nwp.org  On the top right corner is a site map for all fifty states. Through the national website, you can read more about the NWP, find the affiliates and get more info about them.

So what is your writing resolution? How about a Writing Project?


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iOS Math Apps By Teachers

By Tony Vincent

Learning in Hand is an educator's resource for using some of the coolest technologies with students.Tony Vincent

Learning in Hand is written by Tony Vincent. Tony taught fifth grade in Omaha, Nebraska for six years, and three of those years his students were pioneers in educational handheld computing. Then, as technology specialist at Willowdale Elementary, Tony brought the newest technologies into classrooms. Whether it was digital video, blogs, email, podcasts, or handhelds, Tony helped Willowdale teachers and students understand the usefulness of new technologies. Currently, Tony is self-employed as an education consultant. He conducts workshops, presents at conferences, and writes books based on his teaching experiences and passion for new technologies.

Always excited to share, Tony has documented much of what he knows about handheld computing and podcasting on his website, learninginhand.com. There you'll find useful software collections, the best webs links for handhelds, complete lesson plans, and an informative blog.

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.

You've probably heard of apps developed by kids, like Bustin Jieber by twelve-year-old Thomas Suarez and MathTime by fifth grader Owen Voorhees and his slightly younger brother Finn. It's really great to see youth creating apps. It's also fantastic to see educators developing apps. I'd like to tell you about two new math apps and the teachers who made them.

William Gann is a fifth grade teacher in Willard, Missouri. He codes his own math apps with input from his students. He started with an iOS app to help practice rounding. His newest offering is a game called 32 where the objective to to combine given numbers to make an expression that equals 32. It's a great way for students to apply their knowledge of the Order of Operations. 32 is available for 99Ę as an iPhone/iPod touch app or as an iPad app.

William has developed other math apps, including ones that address multiplication, division, prime numbers, and more. Search for William Gann in the App Store to see all of his apps. Also, check out the KY3 News story that features William: Willard 5th Grade Math Students are using iPods with Some of Their Teacher's Own Apps in Class. 

Kevin Scritchfield teaches math at Sierra High School in California. He worked with a developer to make the first of what he hopes to be many apps. This first app is for iPad and is called Alge-Bingo. Kevin says the game is great for Pre-Algebra and Algebra I students who are just learning how to solve equations. He priced Alge-Bingo at 99Ę.


32 and Alge-Bingo are just two of the many great apps for math out there, and it's nice that they are brought to us by ambitious classroom teachers.




Craving more math apps? I'm keeping a list of good and (mostly) free math apps on my Pinterest board.






iPod Touch

Order your own iPod Touch Today with the links below:



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:



Student Teachers' Lounge: 
For The Things They Don't Teach You In College

Poetry That Can Be Used In Any Class

Poetry need not be confined to the realms of the dust-covered tomes of your high school English department. And you need not be afraid or intimidated by poetry; anybody can write fun (and yet educational) poems. As the following activity will show, this form of writing can bring an invigorating style to your ordinary classroom activities, regardless of your subject area or your students' grade level.

Poetry, for those not totally familiar with the conventions of the language-arts classes, is a generic term for forms of writing using highly specific words and phrases to instill images in the reader's mind. Some poetry follows particular forms and patterns, and other types of poetry can be free flowing. Poetry can be simply individual (though connected) words or phrases, or found in complete sentences.  As you can see, there is no limit to the types of poetry that can be created.

Short, simple poems require a great deal of student thought, because the kids must carefully choose the best words to fit the poem. These can be fun for students to write as reviews for tests or the end of chapters. You could also use them to in place of your normal writing assignments to add variety.

Feel free to change the poem form to suit your activity or class. For example, you may want to change the number of details or examples, or the number of lines. If you have creative (or advanced) students, you may even want to require the lines to rhyme.

Here's a short, simple poem form:
Name the topic
List three details, facts, or examples
Creatively describe each
Restate the topic in a new way

A Poem for Science:
The Water Cycle:
Water molecules, H-2-0,
Down goes Rain, Hail, Snow,
Raised up to the sky by the sun,
In clouds they gather for fun,
Ready to drop once more,
Changes in matter are a chore!

A Poem for P.E.:
Gym Class:
Run, jump, play!
We exercise every day.
Indoors or out,
We love to yell and shout!
Phys-ed is our favorite class.

Here's another simple form for those of you with language-arts savvy:
1 Noun (your TOPIC)
2 adjectives that describe your Noun
3 verbs (your Noun in action)
1 adverb for each verb (describe each action)
A real-life example of your Noun, a simile or metaphor, or a synonym
for your first Noun

Green, Old
Walking, eating, swimming
Slowly, peacefully, gracefully
Nature's little armored car

Slim, Bright
Growing, sprouting, flowering
Upward, outward, gently
A little sun on the Earth

Have your students add hand-drawn pictures to accompany the poems, and you've got authentic, artful work that is ready to put up in your room or hallway for parent-teacher conferences.


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

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

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

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  Tech / 21st Century Teaching Corner

Re-Defining the Teacher's Role

By Mark Benn, Instructional Technologist

Mark Benn earned his B.S. from Western Michigan University and his Elementary Certification from Northern Michigan University.  He is a 20 year teaching veteran of 5th and 6th grade students at Inland Lakes Middle School in Indian River, MI.  He finished his Masters of Integration of Technology from Walden University. 

Prior to teaching, Mark spent 11 years as Department Manager for Sears, Roebuck and Co. dealing with emerging technologies.  He has been married to his wife Bonnietta for 32 years with one daughter and two sons.  In the summers, Mark works for the Mackinac State Historic Parks as a historical interpreter.

Here's a great article/blog I recently read which really makes a teacher re-think his/her role as a learner. Use this link:





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Check out our selection of past articles, including more about groups and stations, from previous issues at:




  StarTeaching Feature Writer

Will You Child Be Prepared for Careers That Don't YET Exist?

By Susan Kruger

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

Download a free Homework Rx Toolkit featuring simple study skills at http://studyskills.com/parents/ that will make a difference for your child immediately!  Simply visit http://www.StudySkills.com and click on "Parents."  Susan Kruger, M.Ed. is a former struggling student and the author of SOAR Study Skills, the best-selling study skills book on Amazon.  Her program is in hundreds of schools nationwide!

"We are currently preparing students for jobs that donít yet exist,
Using technologies that havenít been invented,
In order to solve problems we donít even know are problems yet."

- Karl Fisch, Educator and author of "Did You Know"

When we grew up, the employment rate was fairly stable.  Our greatest concern was having to compete against a few "local" job applicants to get a "good" job.

Our children, however, will face new challenges. For one, they will no longer be competing with people in their hometowns for jobs; they will be competing with people all over the globe!  Secondly, companies are down-sizing. For better or worse, technology is allowing companies to do more with less.

In order to give our children a competitive advantage in this Information Age and global economy, we must teach them how to learn STRATEGICALLY:  to organize themselves, process new information efficiently, make critical decisions about that information and access it at a later time.

These types of learning skills are called "soft skills." They include learning, organization, and communication strategies. Most schools do not teach these skills because the national and state standards that drive their funding are focused almost entirely on content. Very little focus falls on learning or processing skills.

One study done by the Stanford Research Institute and Carnegie Melon Foundation found that 75 PERCENT OF LONG-TERM CAREER SUCCESS DEPENDS ON SOFT SKILLS AND ONLY 25 PERCENT ON TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE!

Another survey asked hundreds of employers in growing industries what skills they needed from their employees now, and in the future.  Of the top 57 skills they listed, only FOUR were related to technology.  95% of the skills they need include things like: the ability to think critically, know how to use various learning strategies and manage time efficiently.

It seems unthinkable that our education system would ignore the top 95% of skills that students need for career success!  But, that is exactly what is happening.  They have the heavy burden of making sure students pass standardized tests.  Ironically, they donít have time to provide instruction that is relevant to your childís future.

In the world of education, "soft skills" are called "study skills."  Study skills let students use STRATEGIES in school.  Students use strategies for sports and video games...why donít they know how to use strategies in school? 

Study skills are the skills:

* Required to be an independent learner.
* That build confidence.
* That develop efficiency.
* That allow students to be proactive, make good decisions, and think critically.
* That improve performance to prepare students for high-stakes tests and the globally competitive job market of the future. 


Ohio State University published a study in 2009 confirming the dramatic impact study skills can have on school performance.  The study found that students who took a study skills class earned a higher grade-point average.  More significantly, they found that study skills had a major impact on graduation rates!

* 45% = the increased likelihood that students who had "struggled" in high school would graduate from college.

* 600% = the increased likelihood that students who had "average" grades in high school would graduate from college!

If study skills are this powerful for college students, imagine the impact they could have on upper elementary, middle, and high school students?  Imagine the confidence students would have much earlier in life? 

Study skills give students a competitive advantage for the future, help them earn better grades (in less time), and develop confidence! The only way to ensure your child has every advantage to compete in our global economy is to provide access to these life-long skills.



Be Sure to Check Out 
Our Website Store for Specials:


Social Anxiety
(part 4)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Social anxiety is an experience of fear, apprehension or worry regarding social situations and being evaluated by others. People vary in how often they experience anxiety in this way or in which kinds of situations. Anxiety about public speaking, performance, or interviews is common.


Many professionals and sufferers continue to criticize a perceived under diagnosis and under treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder and associated disability, and that not enough is being done to overcome the barriers faced by this group.

By contrast, others are critical that the diagnostic boundaries have been stretched too far and that clinical and media work is promoting the idea that any problems with shyness or social worries are a pathological medical condition requiring medical treatment. Some see this as being driven by pharmaceutical companies, either by direct advertising to the public or their financial influence on psychiatry. This view can be associated with, but is not exclusive to, anti-psychiatry.

Some argue that problems with social anxiety in individuals can be seen as indicating problems with society - for example a competitive culture, power imbalances, lack of care or social education in families and communities - and are critical of focusing disorder and treatment only on individuals.

History of Social Anxiety

Literary descriptions of shyness can be traced back to the days of Hippocrates around 400 B.C. Charles Darwin wrote about the physiology and social context of blushing and shyness. The first mention of a psychiatric term, social phobia ("phobie des situations sociales"), was made in the early 1900s. Psychologists used the term "social neurosis" to describe extremely shy patients in the 1930s. After extensive work by Joseph Wolpe on systematic desensitization, research in phobias and their treatment grew. The idea that social phobia was a separate entity from other phobias came from the British psychiatrist, Isaac Marks in the 1960s. This was accepted by the American Psychiatric Association and was first officially included in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The definition of the phobia was revised in 1989 to allow comorbidity with avoidant personality disorder, and introduced generalized social phobia. Social phobia had been largely ignored prior to 1985. After a call to action by psychiatrist Michael Liebowitz and clinical psychologist Richard Heimberg, there was in increase in research and attention on the disorder. The DSM-IV gave social phobia the alternative name Social Anxiety Disorder. Research in to the psychology and sociology of everyday social anxiety continued. Cognitive Behavioral models and therapies were developed for social anxiety disorder. In the 1990s, paroxetine became the first prescription drug in the US approved to treat social anxiety disorder, with others following.


When prevalence estimates were based on the examination of psychiatric clinic samples, social anxiety disorder was thought to be a relatively rare disorder. The opposite was instead true; social anxiety was common but many were afraid to seek psychiatric help, leading to an understatement of the problem. Prevalence rates vary widely because of its vague diagnostic criteria and its overlapping symptoms with other disorders. There has been some debate on how the studies are conducted and whether the illness truly impairs the respondents as laid out in the official criteria. Psychologist Dr. Ray Crozier argues, "it is difficult to ascertain whether the person being interviewed adheres to the DSM-III-R criteria or whether they are merely exhibiting poor social skills or shyness."

The National Comorbidity Survey of over 8,000 American correspondents in 1994 revealed a 12-month and lifetime prevalence rates of 7.9% and 13.3% making it the third most prevalent psychiatric disorder after depression and alcohol dependence and the most apparent of the anxiety disorders. According to U.S. epidemiological data from the National Institute of Mental Health, social phobia affects 5.3 million adult Americans in any given year. Recent studies suggest the lifetime prevalence number may be as high as 15 million people or 6.8% of the American population. Cross-cultural studies have reached prevalence rates with the conservative rates at 5% of the population. However, other estimates vary within 2% and 7% of the U.S. adult population.

Onset of social phobia typically occurs between 11 and 19 years of age. Onset after age 25 is rare. Social anxiety disorder occurs in females twice as often as males, although men are more likely to seek help. The prevalence of social phobia appears to be increasing among white, married, and well-educated individuals. As a group, those with generalized social phobia are less likely to graduate from high school and are more likely to rely on government financial assistance or have poverty-level salaries. Surveys carried out in 2002 show the youth of England, Scotland, and Wales have a prevalence rate of .4%, 1.8%, and .6%, respectively. The prevalence of self-reported social anxiety for Nova Scotians older than 14 years was 4.2% in June 2004 with women (4.6%) reporting more than men (3.8%). In Australia, social phobia is the 8th and 5th leading disease or illness for males and females between 15-24 years of age as of 2003.

Look for more in part 5 next issue!


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com



MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Dogmanís 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.ís remote Dickinson County

A BLOG, begun as one manís 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!

Now Available!

Click Here For The
Tales From Dogman Country Website


Now Available!

Year of the Dogman Website
Now Available!

Haunting of Sigma Website
Now Available!

Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen Website 
Now Available!
Now Available!
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

Emergency Lesson Plans:  

ďReal Lifesaving ToolsĒ

Everyone gets those situations in life where an emergency has come up, and you don't have the time (or sometimes the ability) to get a good lesson plan in to school for your students. Maybe you have a family emergency or a disrupted travel plan and you just cannot get into school to leave detailed lessons. That is why it is essential for you to have an emergency lesson plan available and handy.

The emergency lesson plan should be able to be used at ANY point in the year. It doesn't have to fit in with what you're currently doing (nor should it - it is to be used when you cannot leave normal sub plans). The lesson should be related to your normal curriculum, but it could be a supplement or a enrichment activity.

Get a folder (or a three-ring binder), and label it appropriately on the outside cover. There are even folders you can purchase (some schools even make these available to teachers) labeled 'sub folder' or 'emergency plans'. Also make sure you have an appropriate spot for your emergency folder on or in your desk area. Some schools will ask you to keep an emergency plan in the office. In either case, make sure it is easily accessible by a substitute teacher.

Think about keeping class activities to 10 to 15 minute increments. This way the sub will have better control of your kids. Students have difficulties adjusting to changes in their routines, and you don't want to have to return to discipline referrals.

Keep the information organized and easily accessible for a sub. Remember, the sub won't know where you normally keep things, and they can't read your mind. Spell out exactly what you want done, where it can be found, and what you want done with it when they're finished.
Make sure you have made enough copies of any worksheets so the sub doesn't have to. And be sure to leave answer keys. Many subs will actually even grade your assignments for you if you ask them in your plans. 

Get this done early in the year, and you can save yourself many headaches later, not to mention worries about what will happen in your room if you are unable to be there.


Language Arts: Include short writing activities involving students opinions. Thus they don't have to have 'background' information, and they can write from their own experiences. Parts of speech review can include mad-libs or easy, fun worksheets.

Math: Leave a calculator activity. These could even be puzzles or partner games. Or give review problems.

Science: Copy a science article and have students read carefully and answer questions. Make speculations and use the scientific method. Or have students create the plans for a lab activity.

Reading: Leave students a copy of a short story or article, and questions to answer. You could even set up a 'test-taking' exercise, and discuss appropriate answers and strategies.

Social Studies: Map activities are great for emergency plans. You can even set up a one-day unit on any area/region of the world, including your own town or city.

Everyone gets those situations in life where an emergency has come up, and you don't have the time (or sometimes the ability) to get a good lesson plan in to school for your students. Maybe you have a family emergency or a disrupted travel plan and you just cannot get into school to leave detailed lessons. That is why it is essential for you to have an emergency lesson plan available and handy.



Use this link to access this writing assignment on our website for your own classroom use:



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

Be sure to check out our website for more great information, tips, and techniques for new teachers, student-teachers, and interns in teacher prep programs. Also be sure to check out our Who-I-Want-To-Be teacher plan for preparing yourself to enter the educational profession.  Simply click the following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm

Want to check out the articles in our Student-Teaching series?  Check out our special Student-Teaching page through the following link:  http://www.starteaching.com/studentteachers.htm



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Your favorite books, magazines, and newspapers on Kindle, instantly downloadable with 3G wireless.

Kindle weighs only 10 ounces and is 1/3 of an inch thick, yet it holds over 1500 books!

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"The Teacher"

Themes on Life

What we sow, we also reap...

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose.The students were happy with themselves and one another.

That group of students moved on. Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student.

She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature. The church was packed! with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her.

Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes."
Then he said: "Mark talked about you a lot."

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."

Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."
I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."
Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times, " Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists."

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.

Remember, you reap what you sow, what you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

What's New @ StarTeaching?


Welcome to our first January issue.  We are at the beginning of our eighth year!  This month, our web partner Tony Vincent shares great apps created by real math teachers, while tech writer Mark Benn shares a great article on the new role of teacher as learner, and our Featured Writer Chris Sura has some thoughts on New Year's resolutions.

Our Website of the Month features Young Writers Online, and we have an excellent math book for our Book of the Month.  There are also great articles for new teachers and student teachers.

Look for more real math problems from Mary Ann Graziani, science activities from Helen De la Maza, and the Article of the Week from Frank Holes, Jr.  Be sure to join up on our FACEBOOK page for StarTeaching for more reader interaction as well as constant, updated streams of educational information.  

Of course, you should also check our website for a number of updates and re-designed pages.  We're starting to collect quite a few articles from educational experts all over the world.  See these archives on our website: www.starteaching.com



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10 Days of 
Math Problems
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Day 1 Celeste bought 9 glass paperweights. The paperweights weighed 30.6 pounds in all. What was the weight of each paperweight?
Day 2 Ava's Taffy Shop made 94.9 kilograms of taffy in 4 days. How much taffy, on average, did the shop make per day?
Day 3 Jacinda used 0.18 kilograms of almonds to make 3 batches of snack mix. How many kilograms of almonds, on average, were in each batch?
Day 4 Over the past few years, Denelle has made 8 trips to visit the amusement park. She drove 597.36 kilometers in all. How far did Denelle drive on each trip?
Day 5 A factory used 642.4 kilograms of tomatoes to make 8 batches of pasta sauce. What quantity of tomatoes did the factory put in each batch?
Day 6 Mia bought a package of 5 tennis balls. The total weight of the tennis balls was 14.3 ounces. How much did each tennis ball weigh?
Day 7 Jodie ordered 7 skeins of yarn, for a total of 975.8 centimeters of yarn. How many centimeters of yarn did each skein contain?
Day 8 Jacinda used 738.42 gallons of water over the course of 8 days. How much water did Jacinda use, on average, each day?
Day 9 A pasta factory made 174.2 pounds of pasta in 4 minutes. How much pasta, on average, did the factory make each minute?
Day 10 A boat traveled at a constant speed for 4 hours, covering a total distance of 38.15 kilometers. How fast was it going?


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Decomposition Detectives
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Learning in Hand is an educator's resource for using some of the coolest technologies with students. Tony Vincent
Tony is a teacher who wants to make education effective, relevant, and fun. He knows handhelds are small computers that can make a big difference in classrooms!  He hopes Learning in Hand inspires and motivates teachers to use technology that students crave.


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