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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 8, Issue 14
July 2012
StarTeaching Store Advertise with us Previous Articles Submit an Article FREE Reports Feature Writers Tech Center New Teacher's Niche

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

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

What's New @ StarTeaching   The Effectiveness of Drama in the English Classroom (part 2)   Building A Positive Classroom Environment: Using Sign Language Signs
NEW! Hank Kellner: 
"Write What You See"
Tech/21st Century Corner: 
5 Reasons Why Your Students Should Write Every Day
Preparing For Your Student-Teaching Experience (part 3)
Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
Instructional Methods For Teaching Reading (part 4) New Teacher's Niche:
Learning Pods and Classroom Setup
Student Teachers' Lounge: Modeling Student Behavior
Book of the Month Club:
Survival Kit For the Secondary School Art Teacher
  Website of the Month:
Plagiarism Checker
  Themes on Life: 
"Dr. Seuss Explains Why Computers Sometimes Crash"
Article of the Week: "Preparing for High School"   Summer 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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The Effectiveness of Drama
in the English Classroom
(part 2)

By Kate Marie Ryan

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

How is extended written text currently taught?

Teachers often used procedures such as reader response, process writing, shared reflection and a focus on student work to examine texts. Students in literature circles read and respond to self selected texts in small groups and then drawn their classmates into their reading with presentations (Rekrut 2002).

Based on readings, personal observations and teaching at two Auckland schools, Glendowie College and Rosehill College, the teaching of extended text can be approached in a variety of ways.

Glendowie College:

This decile 9 college is situated in East Auckland, was opened in 1961 and serves the middle to more affluent socio-economic communities of Glendowie, St Heliers, Kohimarama and St Johns Park. There are approximately 900 students. The current approximate ethnic composition includes New Zealand European (Pakeha) 66 %, Asian 24 %, Pasifika 6 %, and Maori 3 % and Others 1%. Approaches to extended text include;

Reading aloud Reading log and teacher follow up Chart work Reciprocal reading in 2's Article discussion and paragraph response Quotes, events recap lists Attitude line Character and scheme grid work in pairs Essay planning and exemplars Extension work on style

Rosehill College:

This decile 7 college is situated in South Auckland, was opened in 1970 and serves the a cross section of both lower and higher socio-economic communities, from both rural and urban areas such as Papakura, Drury, Karaka, Waiapa, Te Hihi, Kingseat and Manuera. There are approximately 1950 students enrolled. The current approximate ethnic composition includes New Zealand European (Pakeha) 73%, Mšori 11%, Indian 3%, Samoan 1%, and Other 12%. There are currently 70 international students from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Brazil Germany, Spain and China. Rosehill was the lead school in a Ministry of Education contract to provide ICT Professional Development to teachers in the Rosehill Cluster 2001-2003. Approaches to extended text include;

Reading aloud - using CD, audiotape/shared reading/group reading Give time to read - set time to read text during SSR Chapter by chapter task sheets for plot, character, setting, theme development and language aspects Close devices on plot sequences Grids for character analysis Links to current affairs

It is no surprise that the approaches listed focus heavily on the reading and writing aspect of the curriculum, as this achievement standard sits within these two strands.

However, keeping in mind the dilemma of competing texts such as visual media and students fear of failure in reading and writing, it is worth investigating different strategies of teaching that cater for different learning styles (Pirie 2002, Wilhelm 2004, Heron 2003). It is also important to find strategies that enable students to gain knowledge 'in' rather than gain knowledge 'about' the texts they read (Courtney 1989). As Balaisis notes, reading and responding about something is not the same as participating in it (2002). In fact, Beach and Myers proclaim that the 'ultimate goal however of engaging students in their own learning is to prepare them to act. Student's participation in all social worlds can result in the construction of a greater sense of belonging' (2001, p187).

The question then lies in how does an English teacher adopt teaching strategies that engages students with texts emotionally, stimulates them cognitively and yet also creates this so-called climate for greater understanding?

What do English teachers need to know to teach through drama?

A teacher does not need to be an expert to use drama the classroom. They do not need to be able to act. They merely need to know their text inside out to be able to apply it within the context of real imagined scenarios. These real imagined scenarios can be developed through these three easy conventions. The fictional world can become a reality for students, providing connections and context beyond what they can experience by merely deciphering meaning from words. Jonathan Needland, Dorothy Heathcote and Cecily O'Neil all provide useful texts that discuss the implementation of drama conventions within literary and language classrooms.

Kate Marie Ryan is a Secondary School Teacher of English and Drama. Born in New Zealand, she has lived in Australia, America, Italy and the United Kingdom. She holds a degree in Communication Studies and after working several years in the UK within Theatre, Journalism and Public Relations industries, she returned to New Zealand to complete a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary). She currently teaches and resides in Sydney, Australia.


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Using Photography To Inspire Writing

By Hank Kellner

Hank Kellner is a retired teacher of English who has served as a department chair at the high school level and an adjunct associate professor of English at the community college level.

He is the former publisher of Moneygram, a marketing newsletter for photographer.  He is also the creator of many photographs and articles that have appeared in publications nationwide, the author of extensive reading comprehension materials for a publisher of educational materials, and a former contributor to Darkroom Photography magazine.  His self-syndicated series, Twelve Unknown Heroes of the American Revolution appeared in more than fifty newspapers and magazines nationwide.

Kellner's most recent publication, Write What You See: 99 Photos To Inspire Writing, is marked by Prufrock Press.  His blog appears regularly at hank-englisheducation.blogspot.com.

The purpose of Hank's most recent work, Reflections, is to inspire student writing through the use of poetry and photography.  

Most of the poems and photos have been submitted by students, teachers, and others nationwide, though some are directly from Hank.  Although Reflections has not yet been published, all of its contents are copyrighted.  Teachers are free, however, to download selected contents for use in their classrooms.

Each selection will include a poem, a photograph, a direct quotation, and four trigger words.

We at StarTeaching kindly thank Hank for his permission to use the materials.



By Cynthia Lee Katona

Fish or fisherman.
A golden trout hits the lure.   
Who is more surprised?


As everyone knows
The blackboard consumes the chalk.
Things at rest endure.

Photo 29B by Cynthia Katona
Photo 29C by Hank Kellner

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 Ĺ 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 authorís 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:



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Preparing For Your Student-Teaching 
Experience (part 3)

By Dr. Peter Manute

Your student teaching experience is a very important step in your teaching career.  In fact, your entire outlook on teaching and learning can be affected by your success during this period of your life.  This series of articles will help give you excellent 'insider information' on what they didn't teach you in your college classes.

Working closely with a mentor or collaborating teacher can be both rewarding and challenging.  The rewards include developing a positive relationship with a professional educator and gleaning tremendous amounts of insight and effective teaching tips and techniques.  The mentor has been working effectively for a considerable number of years and has perfected both the art and craft of teaching.  In the ideal situation the mentor guides and provides feedback while allowing the intern to develop style and work through different situations and challenges.  The intern has the opportunity to make mistakes and develop strategies for improvement all under the guidance of a thoughtful and caring mentor. 

Sometimes an intern is placed with a mentor who finds it very difficult to let go of his/her classroom.  This teacher remains in the room all day and really doesnít allow the intern the flexibility and creativity to develop and refine an individual style.  The intern loses the opportunity to be on his or her own, a very valuable experience.  Another challenging situation is the mentor who for some unknown reason decides to try to clone themselves.  This mentor actually creates a situation that is counter-productive to a positive student teaching experience.  This mentor really inhibits the growth and development of the intern through constant manipulating and overbearing direction.

There have been some mentors who view the interns almost as personal servants making them run errands and do menial tasks not really aligned with the internship.  This situation needs to be reported to the university supervisor as soon as possible. 

Equally ineffective is the mentor who views the internship simply as time off.  The intern does not receive the necessary feedback necessary to process the many situations they encounter.  Consequently the intern struggles and makes decisions that can actually create additional problems. "The interns must always realize that the internship is a tremendous amount of work that requires vast amounts of time and energy and they are guests in a classroom; however, they also have many responsibilities in the learning of the skill and craft of teaching."

How does an intern deal effectively with these challenges?  That is not an easy answer.  Ideally, interns are not placed in these situations; however, we all know ours is not a perfect world.  One suggestion would be to schedule a meeting as soon as possible with the mentor.  Be prepared with questions that might provide some insight and if there appears to be a problem, contact your university immediately, maybe a change could be arranged.  Sometimes true motives donít surface until well into the internship, that can create difficulty and put the intern in a tough spot. 

The interns must always realize that the internship is a tremendous amount of work that requires vast amounts of time and energy and they are guests in a classroom; however, they also have many responsibilities in the learning of the skill and craft of teaching.  In most cases, the intern will create a strong relationship with the mentor.  The personal skills learned and practiced during the student-teaching experience will be invaluable as the intern moves into his/her own classroom. 


Grand Valley offers a Masters in Educational Leadership in Boyne City and Cadillac. If you would like to find out more about our program feel free to contact me at: jjudge2935@charter.net  or call me at 231-258-2935.

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



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

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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, 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.

The same is true for writing. Students rarely have the chance to see real people writing - 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



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  TECH/21st Century CORNER

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5 Reasons Why Your Students Should Write Every Day

Shared by Mark Benn

Mark Benn is a Technology Integration Coach for VARtek Services, Inc. Having just completed almost 25 years as an educator for Inland Lakes Public Schools, and having received a Masters of Science in Educational Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University in 2010, he now works in a position that supports teachers of K-12 classrooms in the southwest Ohio region that are interested in integrating technology into their learning environments. VARtek Services mission is to be the best provider of managed technology solutions for enhanced learning in the KĖ12 marketplace. Our website is: www.vartek.com

Today, I'm sharing a great article supporting the importance writing plays in overall learning.  Check out the link below:

5 Reasons Why Your Students Should Write Every Day

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  

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Building A Positive Classroom Environment:
Using Sign Language Signs

By: Kim Taylor-DiLeva

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

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

You can contact Kim at:

Classroom teachers are always looking for strategies to help the students in their class to get along with each other. Their ideal classroom has students who are all friendly toward each other and can problem solve on their own. Here are a few ideas, using American Sign Language signs, to help build your peaceful and positive classroom environment.

Students can problem solve easier when using American Sign Language signs, especially if they are younger or have a hard time with communication. It is easy for most all children to sign the words share, my turn, your turn, yes, no or wait, and can use these signs when conversing and problem solving with each other.

This strategy also comes into play when the need to express feelings arrives. Students can sign angry and mad, which allows them to show their negative feelings in a positive physical way (instead of in an aggressive way toward others). Students can even sign sorry, which is sometimes the hardest word for many children to say.

When you use signs to give directions (like sit, stand, line up, go, or start) youíll find that your class becomes a quieter, more calm classroom. Because you are only signing directions, students not only need to pay better attention, but you are also creating a quieter atmosphere (which they will adhere to).

A more positive atmosphere can also be created by giving praise and encouragement more often. From across the room you can silently give praise (using signs like great, proud, beautiful or silent applause) and your students can give praise to each other in the same way. Extra encouragement can be given and received by all students, just by using a few simple signs.

If you want to start using some signs with your class, youíll need to first look up the sign in an American Sign Language Dictionary, either in print or online.  Learn it, practice it, and then teach it to your students.  Once youíve mastered one, try another one.  To make it easier, Iíve created two classroom posters which will help you and your students to learn the signs and use them with each other more often.  You can find them at http://www. kimssigningsolutions.com/ productsshop/posters.html.

Donít be overwhelmed by all of the above mentioned signs if you donít know them. Just try one sign and then the next week add a new one. Start with the positive and encouraging signs. Just one or two signs can start your class on the way toward creating your ideal peaceful and positive classroom. 


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Instructional Methods for Teaching Reading
(part 4)

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

A variety of different methods of teaching reading have been advocated in English-speaking countries. In the United States, the debate is often more political than objective. Parties often divide into two camps which refuse to accept each others terminology or frame of reference. Despite this both camps often incorporate aspects of the other's methods. Both camps accuse the other of causing failure to learn to read and write.

Other instructional methods
Some methods of teaching reading are not easily categorized as either phonics or whole word, but are rather a mixture of each. Native reading, for example, uses both phonics and whole word techniques, but differs from both in that it emphasizes teaching reading beginning at a very early age, when the human brain is neuro-developmentally most receptive to learning language. Native readers learn to read as toddlers, starting at the same time they learn to speak, or very soon thereafter.

Reading Workshop
Reading Workshop is based on the premise that readers need time to read and discuss their reading. Readers need access to a wide variety of reading materials of their choice. Classrooms must acquire a wide variety of reading materials to accommodate this need. Readers need to respond to the text and demonstrate quality literate behaviors. There is not a script to follow but a frame work to guide instruction. Students are exposed to a variety of learning experiences. There is time for student collaboration and a time for engaged reading.

During reading workshop, the teacher models a whole-group strategy lesson and then gives students large blocks of time to read and to practice the strategy. This practice can occur independently, with partners, or in small groups with a book or text chosen by the student. The teacher moves around the room and confers with the students about their reading. The teacher can meet with small, flexible groups to provide additional needs-based instruction. At the end of the workshop the whole groups comes together to share their learning.

The following is a list of the seven important strategies that all readers must be able to apply to text in order to read and understand content. The seven strategies are: 1. Making Connections; 2. Creating Mental Images; 3. Making Inferences/Drawing Conclusions; 4. Asking Questions; 5. Determining What Is Important; 6. Synthesizing; and 7. Monitoring Comprehension and Meaning.

Reading comprehension
Many educators in the USA believe that children need to learn to analyze text (comprehend it) even before they can read it on their own, and comprehension instruction generally begins in pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten. But other US educators consider this reading approach to be completely backward for very young children, arguing that the children must learn how to decode the words in a story through phonics before they can analyze the story itself.

During the last century comprehension lessons usually comprised students answering teachers' questions, writing responses to questions on their own, or both. The whole group version of this practice also often included "round robin reading," wherein teachers called on individual students to read a portion of the text (and sometimes following a set order). In the last quarter of the 20th century, evidence accumulated that the read-test methods assessed comprehension more than they taught it. The associated practice of "round robin" reading has also been questioned and eliminated by many educators.

Instead of using the prior read-test method, research studies have concluded that there are much more effective ways to teach comprehension. Much work has been done in the area of teaching novice readers a bank of "reading strategies," or tools to interpret and analyze text. There is not a definitive set of strategies, but common ones include summarizing what you have read, monitoring your reading to make sure it is still making sense, and analyzing the structure of the text (e.g., the use of headings in science text). Some programs teach students how to self monitor whether they are understanding and provide students with tools for fixing comprehension problems.

Instruction in comprehension strategy use often involves the gradual release of responsibility, wherein teachers initially explain and model strategies. Over time, they give students more and more responsibility for using the strategies until they can use them independently. This technique is generally associated with the idea of self-regulation and reflects social cognitive theory, originally conceptualized by Albert Bandura.

Learning to read and write in Sudbury schools
Sudbury model of democratic education schools assert that there are many ways to study and learn. They argue that learning is a process you do, not a process that is done to you; That is true for everyone. It's basic. The experience of Sudbury model democratic schools shows that there are many ways to learn without the intervention of teaching, to say, without the intervention of a teacher being imperative. In the case of reading for instance in the Sudbury model democratic schools some children learn from being read to, memorizing the stories and then ultimately reading them. Others learn from cereal boxes, others from games instructions, others from street signs. Some teach themselves letter sounds, others syllables, others whole words. Sudbury model democratic schools adduce that in their schools no one child has ever been forced, pushed, urged, cajoled, or bribed into learning how to read or write -- no need to do that to the modern child, streetwise and nurtured on TV -- and they have had no dyslexia. None of their graduates are real or functional illiterates, and no one who meets their older students could ever guess the age at which they first learned to read or write. In a similar form students learn all the subjects, techniques and skills in these schools.


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!


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

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Learning Pods and Classroom Setup

Setting up small learning groups, or communities, in your class requires planning, not just in your instruction, but also in the physical space of your room.

When I decided to change my teaching style from a teacher-centered, lecture format to a student-centered, project format, I had to seriously contemplate how my room and its instructional resources were arranged. 

I knew I wanted to set up student 'pods' of four to five students.  Four makes a great sized group, but five is starting to push it.  These sizes also fit with the number of computers I had available.  Each pod needed one computer for the group to use, as well as work space, achieved by placing desks next to each other forming a table.   

I placed the pods at the outside walls for a few important reasons.  First was to get some elbow space between students and groups.  "The 'traditional' classroom and the 'student-centered' classroom are very different both in philosophy and in the application."

I wanted to eliminate interaction between groups so students could concentrate on their own group's activities.  Secondly, this arrangement allowed me to monitor the computers at all times.  Third, this setup created better traffic flow through the room, since students would often need to move back and forth to the central resource center.

I've set up the resource and presentation center in the center of the classroom.  This is where I keep student file cabinets (the short types), dictionaries & thesauri, school supplies, and art-type supplies. 

I've combined this storage area with my podium, overhead projector, and the other tech equipment like vcr or dvd players,

"Having previously taught in the traditional manner, I've found the pod setup, or student-centered class, to be both a challenge and a benefit to student learning." digital projectors, and the like.  This allows for easy student access to all resources, and I can effectively use all of my wall space when I need to present material.

The 'traditional' classroom and the 'student-centered' classroom are very different both in philosophy and in the application.  The basics of setting up your classroom to reflect the learning environment you've envisioned must be thought through carefully before jumping right into the pods.

Having previously taught in the traditional manner, I've found the pod setup, or student-centered class, to be both a challenge and a benefit to student learning.  Now that I've had a chance to compare them, my students and I prefer the pods.

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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Be sure to pass along our website and newsletter!

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"Dr. Seuss Explains

Why Computers Sometimes Crash"

Themes on Life

Poking fun at an age-old problem in schools...

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort, and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash; and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn't hash, Then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house, says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, but your packets want to tunnel to another protocol, that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall, and your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse; then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, 'Cuz sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy in the disk, and the macrocode instructions cause unnecessary risk, then you'll have to flash the memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM. Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your Mom!

What's New @ StarTeaching?


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

This month, we bring another great poetry/photograph selection from Hank Kellner from his upcoming book, Reflections. We also have a follow-up articles on Reading Instruction, Preparing for Student Teaching, and the Effectiveness of Drama in the English Classroom.

You'll also find great articles on classroom setup, modeling student behavior, and writing every day.

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

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

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

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


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Check out our collection of FREE online resources, including the NEW! Book Report Organizer, as well as the SQ3R sheet for reading and the Paragraph Graphic Organizer for writing.  These are forms you can fill in online and print, or have your students fill them in and print them for class!
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NEW!  Book Report Organizer


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"Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true."

~ Leon J. Suenes

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Feature Writers
Mark Benn:
Educational Technology
Mary Ann Graziani:
Mathematics Education
Munir Moosa Sewani:
World Education
Hank Kellner:
Poetry and Photography
Helen de la Maza:
Science Education
Chris Sura:
English-Language Arts Education
Yasmeen Jumani:
World Education
Rozina Jumani:
World Education
Salima Moosa Sewani:
World Education
Dr. Peter Manute:
Student Teachers and 
Job Finding
Kim Taylor-DiLeva:
Sign Language
Christina Riggan:
School Features
Michael Kett: 
Magic in the Classroom






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Articles & Archives

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Click to see over 1000 prompts

10 Days Of


What is ingenuity?


How can you show ingenuity at home?


How do you show ingenuity when you solve problems at school?


Describe a time when someone has shown ingenuity.


What are TWO ways ingenuity can help people?


What are TWO ways that ingenuity can harm people?


Do we cherish ingenuity in our society? Why or why not?


How does ingenuity affect technology?


How does technology influence ingenuity?


 Why is ingenuity important to the advancement of science?

Click to see over 1000 prompts


10 days of writing prompts


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Writing Process Articles

Check out the entire collection of writing articles, including:
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* FREE printables you can use!




Be sure to check out our

Survival Kit for the Secondary 
School Art Teacher

By Helen D. Hume



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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Need a position in a K-12 school, administration, or a coaching job?  Our website has just gained access to a specialized service just for our members and newsletter readers.  Job listings, application and interviewing tips, and priceless information, at your fingertips!

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See All Weekly Math Problems from 2007-2009!

click here for the math archives!

10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 11. Evaluate. Write your answer as a fraction or whole number:

( 3/4 ) 4 =

Day 2 ( .1 ) 2 =
Day 3 Evaluate. Write your answer as a fraction or whole number without exponents:

 2 -2 =

Day 4 Evaluate. Write your answer as a fraction or whole number without exponents:

 2 -3 =

Day 5 Simplify:

b 6   ∑   b 4  

Day 6 Simplify:

y 5   ∑   y 3  

Day 7 Simplify. Express your answer as a single term, without a denominator:


Day 8 w 6 w 5  
Day 9 c 8 c 9  
Day 10 Simplify. Express your answer using a single exponent:

( c 6  ) 8


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




Tech-Ed Articles

Check out our entire collection of technology articles, including:
* 21st Century Learning
* Integrating Technology
* Computer Literacy
* REAL activities you can use!




Science Activities For Any Setting
By Helen de la Maza
Boat Buoyancy
(click for PDF)

(click for PDF)

Click HERE to see all of 
Helen's Science Activities


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Inspirational Quotes
& Photos

Check out our entire collection of inspirational quotes and photos from our 5 years of newsletters.  





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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Fully endorsed by Frank Holes Jr., editor of Starteaching




Using Photography To Inspire Writing
By Hank Kellner

Visit his blog at: hank-englisheducation.



Article of the Week
"Preparing For High School"
Click here to download the PDF
"Michigan Urban Legends"
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