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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 8, Issue 2
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   Have You Contributed To Your Students Ability to Retain Material?   Active Learning: A Key To Success
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Using Photography to Inspire Writing"
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
QR Codes: How Can They Be Used?
Teaching and Coaching: What I Didn't Know and What I Couldn't Know
Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Social Anxiety (part 5)
New Teacher's Niche:
Designing and Running A Medieval Fair (part 1)
Student Teachers' Lounge: Modeling Student Behavior
Book of the Month Club:
Math Wise
  Website of the Month: Young Writers Online   Themes on Life: 
"You Might Be A Teacher If..."
Article of the Week: "Nutrition Myths At The Grocery Store"   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



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How Have You Contributed to Your Students Ability to Retain Material

By: Candace Davies

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

In your role as a teacher, you are focused not only on delivering important information to your students, but also on demonstrating why that information is meaningful and how they will use it. Mastery and comprehension are, of course, critical to learning, since lessons build upon one another. How do you help your students understand and retain their lessons?

It is has been suggested in studies that students may only retain between 20%-40% of major points in a lesson. However, there are definitely positive things that teachers can introduce in their lessons that will help students to retain more material. One important point to keep in mind, although it may be difficult to put into effect, is to try to avoid introducing too many new concepts and information all at once. Although there are strict deadlines that teachers have to stick to concerning curriculum, it can be overwhelming for students to be subjected to too much information.

By presenting less new information in a lesson, you will have the opportunity to provide students with more time, more examples, more repetition, and more reflection on the topics you cover. When you do introduce a new topic, a great method is to relate an anecdote or discuss a relevant current event to illustrate key concepts. Students are very receptive to this technique, and you will typically have no trouble holding their interest when you segue into the lesson, thus increasing the likelihood that they will remember and retain the material.

Don't simply lecture to your students; engage them in an interactive learning session. Having students experience the lesson concepts in hands-on activities will help them to retain the material. Find out what they think about the subject, and let them lead the discussion. By relating the material to concepts that students can relate to, they will be better able to understand the material being presented. Have students brainstorm their own examples of the concept, and help them develop analytical skills to break down the material into “bite-sized” pieces they can master one piece at a time.

For younger grade levels, songs and music can be used to improve retention through fun and interactive repetition. For the higher grade levels, group problem-solving activities are effective in engaging students in the material. Group collaboration also teaches them skills for working together as a team.

Your prospective employer will be very interested in learning about the tools and techniques you use to help your students comprehend and retain the material you are teaching them. If you use some particularly unique visual aids, hands-on activities, or other tools, create a portfolio you can share during the interview. Even better, have a colleague videotape you leading your class in a lesson, then create a DVD presentation you can leave behind at the conclusion of the interview. It will leave a lasting impression!

Candace Davies, President of A+ Resumes for Teachers, is a Certified Resume Writer, Interview Coach Strategist, and Author. She is dedicated to assisting teachers, administrators and other education professionals advance their careers easily, quickly and with less stress. She is also the author of 9 popular educational job search eBooks.



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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.


Foreign Fish
by Laura Pastuszek

Two strangers from two different sands
Observe the gathering of food
In a foreign land

How beautiful and plentiful the sea must be
Remarks one to the other
The reply is not of glee

It is the raping of oceans
Taking more than necessary
A crime of epic proportions

A culture far removed
Lives to feed its own
Without an invitation for others to approve



Illustration 20 By Laura Pastuszek





FOOD      SEA      FISH      EXCESS

Three quarters of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world would finish if people were to put on the shoes of their adversaries and understood their points of view.”  - Mahatma Gandhi

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:



Guest Writer


What I didn’t know and what I couldn’t know! 

By Dr. Mike Kanitz, coach and educator

Dr. Mike (Coach) Kanitz has been involved in athletics and education for 58 years at the high school, collegiate, and semi-professional (coaching) levels. He was recently honored with his induction into the Michigan Amateur Football Hall of Fame.  He believes strongly in the interconnection of schooling and athletics.

Coaching and teaching are the same thing in reality. To distinguish them as separate entities would be a mistake. After thirty some years in the classroom, I can honestly say that starting out as a young teacher/coach was very difficult. What I didn’t know and couldn’t know was that my Quarterback would some day be my realtor, my Guard would be my dentist, and one of my Centers would be a car dealer/owner I would buy two cars from. A star Defensive Back would make the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List and a Defensive End would become the warden of the Watergate prison.

I say ‘my’ because of the energy invested in each and all of these youngsters as students and athletes. The oilman who visits two weeks per year at his million-dollar condo near my apartment was my manager. I never should have yelled at him that much! When my children were small and the school secretary would say to me, “You just wait until your children are in high school.”

I couldn’t have known! Her kids were in high school and I couldn’t have known the burden of parenting teenagers! While I was heavy into discipline, I didn’t know discipline was a form of love or respect. As a young teacher I didn’t know that you never take anything youngsters do personally. I incorrectly thought they were stabbing me in the back when they broke “my’ rules. I wasn’t the smartest coach/teacher, but I really was dumb! 

Teaching would have been even more rewarding for me if I had understood that delaying gratification in seeing the fruits of one’s labor was part of the career choice. There is no immediate feedback for the tremendous energy put forth by a teacher. A coach gets a winning season some of the time and a teacher gets a peaceful semester some of the time. But, most of the time, the rewards come a long time after the work is applied. I didn’t understand that dynamic and that led to the pressure and frustration of trying to get it right! 
I always thought batting 300 was something special. How did I not know striking out was 700 percent of the time? How did I not know the space rocket was off course 90 percent of the time on its way to the moon? Why did I think it took off and went straight to the moon, orbiting on its way?

How come I wasn’t told that success in future life has only one statistically significant correlation. And that is involvement in co-curricular or extra curricular activities. I assumed future success was related to academics and grades! 

Did they try to tell us that teaching wouldn’t be all roses in those teacher-education classes? Was I not listening?

Late in my career I finally figured it out. Teaching was a journey, not a destination! When a person gives the self-permission to enjoy the journey, everything seems to change. The individual stops sweating the small stuff, because everything is the small stuff! Teaching is a gift you keep giving back, not something you keep for yourself. When I learned that secret, teaching became a real joy. 

I wish I wasn’t a slow-learner!


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 Jerry Judge at: jjudge2935@charter.net  or call me at 231-258-2935.

Many of the topics we will present will be for teachers seeking and administration position and for recently appointed administration. I will also receive comments from those who have just completed their first year as administrators. Since the program in Northern began eleven years ago we have placed over 60 GVSU graduates in administration positions.



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

Modeling Student Behavior

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

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

If you stay calm, collected, and in control, your students will exhibit the same behaviors. The same is true about enthusiasm; if you are excited about your lesson and truly believe in its importance,

"Don't waver on your expectations; inconsistencies will only confuse the students and cause you more problems." 

the kids will respond in kind. Conversely, the kids will know when you are tired, bored, don't want to be there, or are 'winging it.'

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

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

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

"Modeling the skill for the kids reinforces your belief that it is important. It show you as a lifelong learner who values the skills you're teaching them." The same is true for writing, or labs, or math problems. Students rarely have the chance to see real people performing school work - for many, the only examples (and role models) are their classmates. Work along with your students.

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

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


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

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



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

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  TECH/21st Century CORNER

QR Codes: How Can They Be Used?

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 one of my recent blogs on the use of QR codes. Use this link:


And here's the link to the QR Codes video (below):



Great BLOGS to read on the changes in the way students learn

Doug Johnson The Blue Skunk Blog
Ian Jukes The Committed Sardine
David Warlick Two Cents Worth
Will Richardson WeBloggEd
Kathy Schrock Kaffeeklatsch
Tony Vincent Learning In Hand



Mark Benn earned his B.S. from Western Michigan University and his Elementary Certification from Northern Michigan University.  He is a 21 year teaching veteran of 5th and 6th grade students at Inland Lakes Middle School in Indian River, MI.  He is currently working on Masters of Integration of Technology from Walden University. 

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

StarTeaching Featured Writer

Mark Benn is a leading expert in using technology in the classroom.  
You can feel free to contact him on email at mbenn@inlandlakes.org or at his blogsite:  http://www.furtrader.blogspot.com/ 

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




 From our Special Reports  

Active Learning: 
A Key To Success 
By Rozina Jumani

Rozina Jumani is a Development consultant associated with a number of Non governmenetal Organizations(NGO). Prior to this, she was with Aga Khan Education Services Pakistan for 10 years as a Professional Development Teacher and Counsellor. She has done her Masters in Islamic Studies and English from University of Karachi. She is a commonwealth scholar and completed her Masters in Education Planning, Economic and International Development from the institute of Education (IOE), University of London.

In the words of Christensen, Garvin & Sweet, “To teach is to engage students in Learning.” However the engagement of students is possible in various ways.

My school teachers use a traditional way of teaching as they think the course content can not be finished otherwise.  On the other hand, there are quite a few teachers who believe that using innovative approaches and presenting concepts in the form of activities helps students to develop the taught concepts gradually and also seeks confidence in participating and communicating their ideas with their colleagues in a better way. Thus, they advocate that through employing such methods, students' learning can be improved and teaching remains stimulating work.

My own association with the teaching profession is for more than a decade; I began my journey as an average teacher who had basic teaching skills. Other than that, I had nothing to offer until I received professional training and certificate programs that enabled me to think about teaching and learning, and with this my role expanded as ‘Teacher Educator”.

As Senge (1990) says, ‘Through learning we recreate ourselves’. This paradigm shift in my thinking and teaching brought many changes in me and I embarked on a whole new arena where as a researcher I investigated how children learn. Though I was sure that merely listening to the lectures and copying from the board won’t bring any learning and excitement among students, I started employing innovative activities, and that engagement brought a significant change in my students .

In the words of ‘Felder & Brent (1999); Hannula (2003); McConnell, Steer & Owens (2003) “Active learning incorporates strategies that require students to participate directly in their learning- to apply newly acquired knowledge to solve problems, to question and test theories, brainstorm, solve problems, hypothesize, summarize, or to critically think and interact with colleagues”.

As the term ‘Activity based learning’ encompasses a wide range of aspects - thus it is considered a relative term where every reader infers the meaning as per his/her own experience. In order to avoid the ambiguity, the understanding of the term is required to be shared.

The term ‘activity based learning and teaching’ means students and teachers both are considered ‘Learner’ and all play an equal role in constructing a new idea/concept about things. Hence both are active and mutually support each other in the process of learning. The motivation of initiatives brings confidence among learners and they construct their own meaning about the concept/idea.

According to Roth (1990)

Learning is enhanced when it is built on student’s prior knowledge and experiences allowing learners to link what they already know to new information to be learned

Activity based learning can be viewed as following:

1.        Active Learning is defined as any strategy "that involves students in doing things and thinking about the things they are doing".

2.        Constructivism” it usually means encouraging students to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing

  1. “Hands-on and learning by experience are powerful ideas, and we know that engaging students actively and thoughtfully in their studies pays off in better learning”. (Rutherford, 1993, p. 5).

Thus it is more important to enable students to think for themselves then to merely fill their heads with the right answer .


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Social Anxiety
(part 5)

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.


Cognitive Aspects
In cognitive models of social anxiety, social phobic's experience dread over how they will be presented to others. They may be overly self-conscious, pay high self-attention after the activity, or have high performance standards for themselves. According to the social psychology theory of self-presentation, a sufferer attempts to create a well-mannered impression on others but believes he or she is unable to do so. Many times, prior to the potentially anxiety-provoking social situation, sufferers may deliberate over what could go wrong and how to deal with each unexpected case. After the event, they may have the perception they performed unsatisfactorily. Consequently, they will review anything that may have possibly been abnormal or embarrassing. These thoughts do not just terminate soon after the encounter, but may extend for weeks or longer. Those with social phobia tend to interpret neutral or ambiguous conversations with a negative outlook and although still inconclusive, some studies suggest that socially anxious individuals remember more negative memories than those less distressed. An example of an instance may be that of an employee presenting to his co-workers. During the presentation, the person may stutter a word upon which he or she may worry that other people significantly noticed and think that he or she is a terrible presenter. This cognitive thought propels further anxiety which may lead to further stuttering, sweating and a possible panic attack.

Behavioral Aspects
Social Anxiety Disorder is a persistent fear of one or more situations in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others and fears that he or she may do something or act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing. It exceeds normal "shyness" as it leads to excessive social avoidance and substantial social or occupational impairment. Feared activities may include most any type of social interaction, especially small groups, dating, parties, talking to strangers, restaurants, etc. Physical symptoms include "mind going blank", fast heartbeat, blushing, stomach ache. Cognitive distortions are a hallmark, and learned about in CBT. Thoughts are often self-defeating and inaccurate. According to renowned psychologist B.F. Skinner, phobias are controlled by escape and avoidance behaviors. For instance, a student may leave the room when talking in front of the class (escape) and refrain from doing verbal presentations because of the previously encountered anxiety attack (avoid). Minor avoidance behaviors are exposed when a person avoids eye contact and crosses arms to avoid recognizable shaking. A fight-or-flight response is then triggered in such events. Preventing these automatic responses is at the core of treatment for social phobia.

Physiological Aspects
Physiological effects, similar to those in other anxiety disorders, are present in social phobic's Faced with an uncomfortable situation, children with social anxiety may display tantrums, crying, clinging to parents, and shutting themselves out. Adults may weep, as well as experience excessive sweating, nausea, shaking, and palpitations as a result of the fight-or-flight response. Blushing is commonly exhibited by individuals suffering from social phobia. These visible symptoms further reinforce the anxiety in the presence of others. A 2006 study found that the area of the brain called the amygdala, part of the limbic system, is hyperactive when patients are shown threatening faces or confronted with frightening situations. They found that patients with more severe social phobia showed a correlation with the increased response in the amygdala.

Look for more in Part 6, next issue!


Article courtesy of K12Academics.com




MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Dogman’s Back!

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


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


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

Welcome to Dogman Country!

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Tales From Dogman Country Website
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Nagual: Dawn of the Dogmen Website 
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Haunting of Sigma Website
The Longquist Adventures, written for elementary students, is excellent for teaching mythology and classic stories to young children.  




We now have special offers on Classroom Sets of our Novel.  Click here for more information:





New Teachers' Niche: 
A Place for Teachers New To The Craft

Designing And Running A Medieval Fair
(part 1)

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.

The key to any event is your personnel. As a leader, choosing your team is the single most important piece of the puzzle. If you are already working on a teaching team, you have a great start. But you will undoubtedly need to enlist the help of others to pull off the event.

The medieval fair concept (at our seventh grade level) was born several years ago. In an effort to make better connections between our classes, we as a teaching team decided we should have projects involving two (or more) subject areas. As we became better at working together and team teaching, our projects became more and more involved and elaborate. Papers became stories, which became presentations, which then grew into multi-class hands-on experiences.

We used our school social studies curriculum as a starting point for projects. The first marking period of the year we connected to Africa. The second marking period was spent studying Asia. And our third marking period was spent in historical Europe.

The medieval European time period lent itself to creative ideas in all classes. We tried to make English-class connections with fairy tales and legends from various European cultures. Science and math classes studied explorers, inventors, and inventions. We also had the students write children's storybooks describing a drop of water traveling through the water cycle (it of course was set in the middle ages and included medieval details.)

After a few years of perfecting our projects, we started thinking of creating culminating activities to wrap up the unit for our students.  During the study of Africa, we create travel brochures and have small groups of students try to promote and 'sell' an African region as a great place to visit, work, or live. The Asia unit culminates with the presentation of a student-created magazine which includes articles on Asian stories, countries, and natural disasters (we even recently did this project during our Europe study, except our magazines were written on parchment or in monk manuscript form).

The idea for a Medieval Fair was first brought up by our (now retired) art teacher.  She had been contributing art projects to all of our units through the years. She had our students creating Adrinka cloths, and masks for the Africa unit. And our students wrote calligraphy-styled Japanese letters for haiku poems, Mandala paintings, and paint stamps (the fish stamp was quite interesting) during our study of Asia.

You'll want to develop your activity event around your interests and your particular curriculum. If you and your students are excited about the topic and really interested in it, you'll make it fun and fantastic! The biggest key is to have fun!

Start small. Our first Medieval Fair was a fun time, but lacked enough activities to keep the students occupied. We as teachers had to run the various activities, as well as monitor the older students who were helping to run booths. It made for a fun, yet hectic afternoon. Looking back, there was far too much 'administration and orchestration' for us to do BESIDES the running of events. We needed more planning and prep time, and more help.

Reflection was important. We met as a team right after the event and discussed what went well and what needed to be improved. Items we needed to fix are shown in the list below. We also set up meetings through the year to start working on our list. Planning ahead of time proved to be the best adjustment we could have made.

* more hands-on activities for the kids
* free up the teachers to facilitate
* sponge activities for extra time
* match boy-only activities with girl-only activities at the same
* more and better prep time on decorations
* set up the gym & activity areas at least a day early
* coordinate a 'true' medieval lunch menu that our school cooks could
* bring in outside expertise
* better preparation of knowledge base

However, we were gung-ho about the event, and we enjoyed it so much that we decided to start our planning much earlier. We also knew we needed some outside help. We wanted (and needed) to be free to move about the event, providing help and assistance, and monitoring the students. And we couldn't do that if we were tied down with running our own activities or groups.

We also experienced a tremendous influx of students (and teachers) from many other grade levels who wanted to see what we were doing.  This, however, had to change, as we spent too much time chasing off other students.

Look for more in the next segment!

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

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

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

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



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"You Might Be A Teacher If ..."
Themes on Life

A little bit of fun as we begin the new year.

You might be a teacher if...
  • You want to slap the next person who says, "Must be nice to have all your holidays and summers free."
  • You can tell it's a full moon without ever looking outside.
  • You believe "shallow gene pool" should have its own box on the report card.
  • When out in public, you feel the urge to talk to strange children and correct their behavior.
  • When you mention "vegetables" and you're not talking about a food group.
  • You think people should be required to get a government permit before being allowed to reproduce.
  • You wonder how some parents ever managed to reproduce.
  • You can't have children of your own because there is NO name you could give a child that wouldn't bring on high blood pressure the moment you heard it.
  • Meeting a child's parents INSTANTLY answers the question, "Why is this kid like this?"

What's New @ StarTeaching?


Hello readers!  Welcome to your second January  issue of Features For Teachers, the last for 2012. 

This month, we have a great set of articles including another selection from Hank Kellner from his upcoming book, Reflections. Mark Benn shares an interesting article on QR Codes and guest writers Rozina Jumani and Dr. Mike Kanitz share insights into education and students.

You'll also find excellent articles for our new teachers and student teachers.

As always, we have free activities (from Mary Ann Graziani and Frank Holes Jr.) and many articles with practical ideas and techniques to be applied directly into your classroom.   

And be sure to check out our article archives on our website: www.starteaching.com 

And be sure to check out our FACEBOOK page for StarTeaching for more reader interaction and constant, updated streams of educational information.  

Thanks again for your continued support!  ~Frank Holes, Jr.


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How do we define TIME?


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Describe an instance when keeping track of TIME was very important.


Why do people keep track of TIME?


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Math Wise: Over 100 Hands-On Activities that Promote Real Math Understanding

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Coming Soon:

Preparing for Student Teaching

Technology & Teaching: 21st Century Teaching and Learning

Writing Process and Programs

Article of the Week


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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 A land developer is splitting up 797.2 hectares of land to form 4 identical properties. What size will each property be?
Day 2 A dairy produced 517.5 liters of milk in 6 hours. How much milk, on average, did the dairy produce per hour?
Day 3 4 people will equally split 373.74 acres of land. How much land will each person get?
Day 4 A lollipop factory used 75.4 kilograms of sugar to make 2 batches of lollipops. How much sugar did the factory put in each batch?
Day 5 A factory used 401.9 kilograms of tomatoes to make 5 batches of pasta sauce. What quantity of tomatoes did the factory put in each batch?
Day 6 Norma bought a package of 3 tennis balls. The total weight of the tennis balls was 8.25 ounces. How much did each tennis ball weigh?
Day 7 A factory used 65.3 kilograms of tomatoes to make 4 batches of pasta sauce. What quantity of tomatoes did the factory put in each batch?
Day 8 An aquarium owns 5 identical tanks. All together, the tanks can hold 321.9 gallons of water. How much water can each tank hold?
Day 9 A land developer is splitting up 1.9 hectares of land to form 2 identical properties. What size will
each property be?
Day 10 -3.921 +  |-11.5| (|-17.568| – -8) – 0.911 =


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




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Science Activities For Any Setting
By Helen de la Maza
Plant Life Cycle Hike
(click for PDF)

Decomposition Detectives
(click for PDF)

Decomposition Detectives PDF

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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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Using Photography To Inspire Writing
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Article of the Week
"Nutrition Myths at the 
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"The Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup"
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