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FEATURES  FOR   TEACHERS
Visit our Website at:
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Ideas and Features For New Teachers
and Veterans with Class

Volume 8, Issue 5
March 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: Slader.com: The Ultimate Math & Science Homework Helper   The Apple iPod as a Great Resource and Learning Tool
NEW! Tony Vincent's Blog: Ways to Evaluate Educational Apps Helping the Reluctant Reader Themes on Life: 
"Happy St.Patrick's Day"
NEW! Science Activities for Any Setting   10 Days of Writing Prompts   10 Days of Math Problems
School Features:
Coaching Optimism to the Pessimistic Child
New Teacher's Niche:
The Many Benefits of Sustained Silent Reading
Student Teachers' Lounge: Emergency Lesson Plans
Book of the Month Club:
50 Writing Lessons That Work
  Website of the Month:
LibriVox
  Article of the Week: "Daylight Saving Time"

Remember to bookmark this page and to visit our website for more great articles, tips, and techniques!
http://www.starteaching.com

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

FEATURE WRITER OPENINGS:

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

 

Guest Writer

The Apple iPod As A Great 
Learning and Resource Tool

By Ken Cheong

There is no doubt that the Apple iPod has become a common item amongst today's youth as a great music player. But is the iPod more than just a music player?

In fact, the iPod is more than a music player. It is also a great teaching and learning tool as well. And it is guaranteed to help you learn fast. 

Audio Books 

Besides music, the iPod also plays audio books. These are essentially books that has been converted into a audio format and saved as a MP3 file. From a technical angle, there is no difference in the file format between a music or a book and you can download and play the same audio book off your computer or your iPod. This opens you to a whole library of 'books' for your iPod. 

These can include many great books found in public domains and downloaded for free. There are also many good commercial 'books' that you can purchase for a small price. These audio books are great as you can play them over and over again in the car, on the train or even on the plane. It's a good way to kill time and gain knowledge at the same time. 

The best thing about audio books is that you do not need to read. Let the book read to you and this can be a great enhancement for learning while driving or while sitting in a shaky bus or train. 

Podcasting 

Have you also heard of podcasting? If you have not, these are simply audio files published by individuals or companies covering interest topics ranging from music, technology, current affairs, news, politics, cars, sales and marketing, electronics, fashion to many other interesting niche areas. 

They then put up these audio files in certain podcast stations on the internet. 

Most podcast are free and you can download and treat them just like audio books. Similarly, you can subscribe and organize these podcast on your computer iTunes and then synchronize them to your iPod. It's also a great way to gain knowledge while driving or taking transport to school or work. 

What is gaining fast popularity today is video podcast. Video podcast are essentially video files that can be downloaded and again, it covers a great genre of subject. (As a matter of fact, I am learning about designing my own podcast by watching a video podcast of this subject.) 

However, you can only watch a video podcast on your computer or on the latest iPod video model. All earlier models of iPod will not be capable of playing video. With the iPod video, you can also output the video signal to a normal TV and watch the entire podcast on TV as well. 

What's more, you can watch them, stop them, rewind them or repeat these audio or video podcasts as often as you like. What better way to learn? 

So who says that iPods are meant for music only?

Ken Cheong / Katherine Xie have 4 iPods starting from the 2G model. Katherine runs a popular website, http://www.smart-ipod-ideas.com, that gives tips on iPods as well as showcase quality iPod accessories from Japan. 

 

 

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Ways To Evaluate Educational Apps

By Tony Vincent
www.learninginhand.com

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.

I am conducting a series of workshops in Florida and was asked to share a rubric to help teachers evaluate educational apps as part of the workshop. In 2010 Harry Walker developed a rubric, and I used his rubric (with some modifications by Kathy Schrock) as the basis for mine.

I kept in mind that some apps are used to practice a discrete skill or present information just one time. Others are creative apps that a learner may use again and again, so it's a challenge to craft a rubric that can be used for a wide span of purposes. I tried to make my rubric work for the broadest range of apps, from drill and practice to creative endeavors, while stressing the purpose for using the app.

My rubric also emphasizes the ability to customize content or settings and how the app encourages the use of higher order thinking skills. Admittedly, there are good apps that are not customizable and focus on lower order thinking skills. Factor Samurai, for example, is a fantastic game for identifying prime and composite numbers. It would be nice if the app had flexibility to adjust difficultly, but it's still a good app if it is relevant to the learning purpose.

Here's what I chose to spotlight in my rubric:

Relevance
The app’s focus has a strong connection to the purpose for the app and appropriate for the student

Customization
App offers complete flexibility to alter content and settings to meet student needs

Feedback
Student is provided specific feedback

Thinking Skills
App encourages the use of higher order thinking skills including creating, evaluating, and analyzing

Engagement
Student is highly motivated to use the app

Sharing
Specific performance summary or student product is saved in app and can be exported to the teacher or for an audience

An app’s rubric score is very dependent on the intended purpose and student needs. The score you give an app will differ from how others score it. Again, apps that score low may still be good apps. But, it is handy to score apps if you are making purchasing decisions and/or have multiple apps to choose from.

Download the Education App Evaluation Rubric.

Perhaps more useful than a rubric is a checklist, so I developed one. I based my checklist on one created by Palm Beach County Schools and Edudemic.com. The checklist addresses both instructional and technical aspects of an app. For simplicity of purchasing, my list favors free apps and apps that do not have in-app purchases. Don't get me wrong, there are certainly fantastic paid apps.

The bottom line is what makes an effective app is one that does what you need it to do. And it's even better if it does it an inexpensive and engaging ways. There probably isn't an app that would receive all checks on my list, but in general, the more checks, the better the app is for education.

Here's my list:

  • Use of app is relevant to the purpose and student needs
  • Help or tutorial is available in the app
  • Content is appropriate for the student
  • Information is error-free, factual, and reliable
  • Content can be exported, copied, or printed
  • App’s settings and/or content can be customized
  • Customized content can be transferred to other devices
  • History is kept of student use of the app
  • Design of app is functional and visually stimulating
  • Student can exit app at any time without losing progress
  • Works with accessibility options like VoiceOver and Speak Selection
  • App is free of charge
  • No in-app purchases are necessary for intended use of app
  • App loads quickly and does not crash
  • App contains no advertising
  • App has been updated in the last 6 months
  • App promotes creativity and imagination
  • App provides opportunities to use higher order thinking skills
  • App promotes collaboration and idea sharing
  • App provides useful feedback

Download the Educational App Evaluation Checklist.

I welcome your comments as my thinking about what makes a good app, my rubric, and my checklist are all a work in progress.

Other educators have also put thought into evaluating educational apps. I'd like to point you to more rubrics and checklists.

Critical Evaluation of an iPad/iPod App is a yes/no checklist and has a place to write a summary of the app. It's by Kathy Schrock.

The Mobile App Review Checklist is from Palm Beach County Schools and Edudemic.com. It provides a yes/no checklist within Curriculum Compliance, Operational, and Pedagogy categories.

Mobile Application Selection Rubric is from eSkillsLearning.net and is a simple chart with criteria like aligned to Common Core Standards, Levels of Difficulty, and Various Modes of Play.

iEvaluate Apps for Special Needs is a detailed rubric specific for selecting apps for students with special needs. It's by Jeannette Van Houten.

iPad App Assessment Rubric for Librarians is from the Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries. It's a Google Forms template you can use to collect app assessments.

Maybe more significant than evaluating the app itself is evaluating how the app supports instruction that infuses technology to create a powerful learning environment. The Arizona Technology Integration Matrix is a rubric for teachers to assess their level of technology integration across five elements of meaningful learning environments.

Arizona's matrix is based on the Florida Technology Integration Matrix. Like the Arizona version, Florida's features detailed explainations, videos, and lessons.

 

 

 

iPod Touch

Order your own iPod Touch Today with the links below:

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Mastering Basic Skills software:

$29.99

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

Emergency Lesson Plans:  

Real Lifesaving Tools

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.

EMERGENCY LESSON PLAN IDEAS:

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.

 

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 Teaching Corner

Slader.com:
The Ultimate Math & Science Homework Helper

By Mark Benn, Instructional Technologist

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

You've got to check out the website I'm showing below.  This website, www.slader.com, gives homework help for virtually any science or math textbook in the country!  Students can simply type in the page number of their book, and every question is detailed, showing the steps to find the answere. Use this link to read about it, and check out the instructional video below:

http://www.slader.com

 

 


Your browser may not support display of this image.  

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

http://www.starteaching.com/newsletter.htm


 

 

  StarTeaching Feature Writer

Helping the Reluctant Reader

By Katie Shuler

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

Do you have a child that does well in all academic areas of study, but for whatever reason can’t or won’t read? If so, you aren’t alone. Parents and teachers constantly struggle with reluctant readers, and finding ways to get them to want to read.

Some children struggle with reading fluency. If they are reading very slowly, or not able to really put sentences together, that definitely isn’t motivating. You could try having more time for reading aloud. Having parents, or older siblings, read to children helps them hear what they are trying to accomplish with reading fluency. Also, along with reading aloud, you could have your children read along with audiobooks. Having the words in front of them, while listening to how they are read, would be an excellent learning exercise.

If it’s not reading fluency that is hindering your child’s ability to read, maybe they need to work on their reading vocabulary. Building a strong vocabulary is certainly a big benefit when it comes to reading, but there are so many other areas in life where it’s just as important; writing, critical thinking and verbal expression – just to name a few. There are several ways your child can work on their vocabulary. They play games, both board games and online games. They can use flash cards (hey, they work for math facts!); even a good crossword puzzle can lead to improvement.

Sometimes a child can read but won’t. In this situation, you may want to consider letting them chose what to read. If they like comic books, give them a stack. If they like playing video games, have them read the game guides to their favorite games. If they enjoy cooking, have them thumb through recipe books and cooking magazines. If your goal is to jump start their desire to read, then forcing them to read something they don’t enjoy may not work.

Another thing to consider? Technology. Sounds crazy, but giving my oldest an ereader made the biggest difference! He had the hardest time wanting to read. The books he was interested were very large and he always felt uncomfortable holding them. He would also get easily intimidated by how many pages he’d read versus how many were left. Once he started reading with the ereader, he no longer had to worry about a heavy book, or setting it down and losing his place, etc. He also no longer felt encumbered by how much he had to go to the end. We went from “how much longer do I have to read?” to “can I just read for a little longer?” in an instant.

One last note; be patient. I discovered with my youngest that the more I pushed, the more he rebelled. I got to a point where I realized that I needed to back off a little…for his sake and for my own. I started letting him take the initiative. Six months ago, my seven year old could barely get through a book targeted for Kindergarten aged children. Now he is reading chapter books aimed at second and third graders, which is right on target with where he is “supposed” to be.

Katie Shuler is a computer junkie, workbook hating, TV watching, iGadget addicted, secular homeschooling, soccer mom. A not-so-country girl, living in very country small town, she has been homeschooling her two boys (ages 7 and 12) since 2005. You can get a little glimpse of her when you visit her blog: You. Me. Us.

Katie's Homepage: katwonkas.blogspot.com

 

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Coaching Optimism to the Pessimistic Child

by Dr. Steven Richfield

Courtesy of K12Academics.com

Any advice for the child who sees the world as half empty?

Parents can attest to the fact that some children see the world through an optimistic lens while others from a pessimistic outlook. To the former, life’s challenges are viewed as opportunities to stretch one self and defeats are taken in stride, easily assimilated and placed in perspective. The pessimist prevents disappointment by restricting experiences or not putting maximum effort into goals due to a belief that things won’t work out. Parents are stymied by this child’s gloominess despite attempts to point out the positives in life.

If your child sees their world as half-empty read on for ways to coach optimism:

Educate yourself about the psychological process of interpretation error whereby a prevailing thinking bias distorts the perception of ambiguity. Think of it as somber subtitles that appear in one’s field of vision each time an event has an uncertain outcome.  Imagine statements such as “I won’t have a good time” or “I may as well not bother trying” sucking the enthusiasm out of life, along with the capacity to push oneself to the limit. Now imagine that your child is bombarded by such harmful thinking a lot more than they verbalize. Pessimism can be likened to a hovering cloud of doubt that rains on our children’s spirits and provides a false sense of familiar safety.

Understand that the development of optimistic thinking involves a broad range of experiential and internal factors. A child’s accomplishments and successes within the academic, social, activity, and interests spheres of life are not enough to chase the cloud away. The older child must accept they hold a pessimistic bias, identify it when it erupts into their thinking, and practice disrupting it with a different train of thought. Don’t expect them to replace it with rosy optimism but if they can arrive at a neutral mid-point in their thinking this is a good start. For instance, “I won’t know unless I try,” rather than “This is going to be terrible.”

Practice “optimistic evaluation” of future and past circumstances as life presents the family with uncertainty and adversity. Although disappointments and trying situations are inevitable they need not be used as evidence for the validity of pessimism. Point out how often one can see the ripples of good fortune that began with an undesirable outcome. For instance, the tickets were sold out for the must-see movie but as a result the family unexpectedly bumped into old friends at the restaurant and your child renewed one of their favorite friend connections. Similarly, parents need to monitor their own pessimism since these character traits can be handed down.

Gently educate and encourage your pessimistic child when you hear the familiar refrain of their cloudy outlook. Ask them, “Can you rewrite those words in your mind?”  as if you are editing one of their school papers. Point out how important positive thinking is for their future goals since it impacts upon confidence and competence and thereby the many doors of opportunity that await them in life. Consider the possibility that anxiety may be lurking under the surface of their pessimism since it often serves as fuel for this type of thinking. If so, address the anxiety with appropriate strategies.

Dr. Steven Richfield is an author and clinical psychologist in Plymouth Meeting, PA Contact him at 610-238-4450 or director@parentcoachcards.com

 

 

Article courtesy of K12Academics.com

K12Academics.com

 

MythMichigan Books
Novels by Frank Holes, Jr.

Dogman’s Back!

  The legends of the Michigan Dogman come alive in six haunting tales by folklore author, Frank Holes, Jr.  Based upon both mythology and alleged real stories of the beast, this collection is sure to fire the imagination!

  Spanning the decades and the geography of the Great Lakes State , Frank weaves:

  A mysterious police report of an unsolvable death in Manistee County

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

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

A secret governmental agent investigates the grisly aftermath of Sigma

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

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

Welcome to Dogman Country!

Now Available!

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Tales From Dogman Country Website

 

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

http://www.longquist.com

 

 

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

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

The Many Benefits of Sustained Silent Reading

The benefits of classroom reading are many. Children (especially young children) have a natural love of reading. However, we at the middle school often see students who either struggle with texts or are turned off to reading. A great way of regenerating that interest is through sustained silent reading in your classroom.

This topic has been hotly debated recently in the International Reading Association newsletter. I'm not trying to enter this debate.  This article will simply describe what we in our school have observed and detail what we've done in our classes that has worked for our students.

First off, let your students choose what they read, whether it is a book, magazine, or whatever. It makes a huge difference in peaking their interest. Teachers already give (and require) plenty of specific readings through activities, literature, and in textbooks.  Students need the opportunity to read about what interests them, and this can occur when you allow them to choose what they want to read.  By all means, continue with your regular activities, but find a way to give your students time (in class is best) to read on their own.

It is very important for you as the teacher to model reading to your students. Read the entire time your students are reading too. Don't let this time be wasted on grading papers, checking email, or doing any other administrivia. If you want your students to take the time seriously, show them you are taking the time yourself and are enjoying the activity. Regardless of what the kids may say to you, they will imitate your behaviors in your class. You have this great opportunity to be a positive role model!

Just as in practicing writing and their skills through the week, you as the teacher need to schedule in time for sustained silent reading.  When I'm covering a piece of literature, for example, my class may read in a variety of ways. We may read aloud, I may read to the class, or we may play 'popcorn' around the room as students choose others. You probably have other out-loud reading activities you use too. These are great, and I always recommend them. But you should always give students time to read silently too. It doesn't have to be a lot, but I do recommend at least ten minutes, though not more than twenty. Think in terms of attention spans: plenty of time to become engaged in the text, read for a bit, and yet stay focused. Obviously some students could lose themselves in a book for hours on end, but not all kids have such a long attention span. Start with ten minutes and work upward, adding a few minutes each time.

In addition to literature we all cover in class, I also set up a regular library time so students can select their own books. We'll stay in the library for, again, about twenty minutes. I give students between ten and fifteen minutes to look over the shelves and 'try on' a book. Its like trying on clothing. This trial version is very important so students can start deciding if this is the book for them.  If it doesn't hook them in the first ten minutes, I suggest they try again. I'll try to make suggestions based on what I think the students' interests are. Sometimes we talk about what they like, what their interests are. Students are not required to check out a book, but they must 'try out' at least one book at each visit.

We designate each Friday after our vocabulary quiz for sustained silent reading. Students may read their library book, another book of their choice, or even a magazine from the rack in my room (I typically collect old magazines from everywhere and keep them in a large rack in class). Old magazines include the old stand bys - Reader's Digest, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated. But I also gather Teen magazines, food and cooking, gardening, hunting and fishing, and video game magazines, among others. This way there are a large variety of topics for students to choose from.

The bookshelves in my room also have old reference materials and some outdated textbooks I've scrounged from other teachers. Some of your students will enjoy looking through drafting texts, recipe books, or science books, and you'd be surprised at the number of kids who love maps in social studies, history, or geography text books.

I've noticed a difference, especially in the attitudes of my students toward reading. Students given choices through the year were more engaged in the assigned readings through the year. Often, students (especially struggling students or low readers) have told me they enjoy reading, or they've found a topic or author they want to read more about, or the readings I did assign were some of the only ones they actually read (that year or in several years). Comments like that last one are bittersweet, because though I'm glad the student has regained the interest in reading, I'm sorry it took so long and the student was turned off in the first place. Sustained silent reading and allowing students to choose their own texts can be very powerful and beneficial to your students. You can be the teacher who makes a difference to your students

 

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

http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm#writingideas


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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

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"Happy St. Patrick's Day"

Themes on Life

'Tis the time of year when spring, and with it the color green, has sprung around the world.

St. Patrick - The Patron Saint of Ireland

WHO WAS ST. PATRICK?
St. Patrick was a Christian missionary credited with the conversion of Ireland from paganism. He lived from the late 4th century A.D. to the mid 5th century A.D., so long ago that it's difficult to separate fact from legend.

St. Patrick was born in either Scotland or Wales, the son of Roman parents living in Britain. When he was about fifteen or sixteen, he was captured and enslaved by an Irish chieftain during a raiding party across the sea. He spent several years enslaved in Ireland, herding and tending sheep and swine. It was during his captivity that St. Patrick dedicated his life to God. Legend has it that St. Patrick escaped captivity and Ireland after a dream in which God instructed him to journey to the Irish coast where he found a ship that returned him to his family.

After years of religious study, he became a priest. In a document attributed to him known as "The Confession", St. Patrick heard the voice of the Irish in his dreams, "crying to thee, come hither and walk with us once more." Eventually, Pope Clemens commissioned St. Patrick as bishop to preach the gospel to the Celtic people. Arriving back in Ireland, he commenced an incredible mission, travelling across the country, preaching and baptizing, ordaining priests and bishops, erecting churches and establishing places of learning and worship, despite constant threats to his life. It has been said that he and his disciples were responsible for converting almost all the population of Ireland to Christianity.

LEGEND OF THE SERPENTS
The most famous legend about St. Patrick is that he miraculously drove snakes and all venomous beasts from Ireland by banging a drum. Even to touch Irish soil was purported to be instant death for any such creature. However, this legend is probably a metaphor for his driving the pagans from Ireland, as snakes were often associated with pagan worship.

WHY THE SHAMROCK?
Finding that the pagan Irish had great difficulty comprehending the doctrine of the Trinity, St. Patrick held up a shamrock (similar to a three-leaf clover) to show how the three leaves combined to make a single plant, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost combined to make the holy Trinity. The Irish understood at once, and from that time the shamrock has been the symbol of the land. Irishmen wear it in their hats on the saint's day.

WHY MARCH 17th?
It is the death of Saint Patrick, and his recognition as the patron saint of Ireland, that led to the celebration of March 17th as Saint Patrick's Day. In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is a holy, religious time with praying, singing and dance. Outside Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is primarily a secular celebration of all things Irish.

There are conflicting versions of the first North American celebration. One source says it was held in Boston in 1737 by the Irish Charitable Society, and later in Philadelphia and New York by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Another source states that on March 17, 1762, a group of Irish-born soldiers, en route to the local tavern of renown to honor their patron saint, staged the first parade in colonial New York, complete with marching bands and colorful banners. Bystanders and passerby's joined the promenade, singing Irish ballads and dancing down the cobblestones. The event was so popular it has been repeated annually since then.

WHAT ABOUT WEARING GREEN?
Ireland's nickname is "The Emerald Isle" because the grass on the hills is so green. Everyone wears the color green on St. Patrick's Day to honor The Emerald Isle. If someone forgets to wear green on St. Patrick's Day, those who are wearing green are allowed to give the offender a pinch as a reminder. However, if you pinch someone who is wearing green, that person gets to pinch you back ten times! Some of the biggest St. Patrick's Day parades are in Chicago, Illinois, New York City, and Savannah, Georgia. The city of Chicago goes so far to celebrate that they dye their river green!

For more Great St. Patrick's Day fun, facts and links visit http://www.blackdog.net/holiday/pat/

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10 Days of 
Math Problems
by Mary Ann Graziani

Day 1 This equation shows how the length of Donald's essay depends on the number of hours he
spends writing this week:

p=h

The variable h represents the number of hours he spends writing this week, and the variable p represents the total number of pages that have been written. After spending 3
hours writing this week, how many pages will Donald have written in total?

Day 2 This equation shows how the total number of books Stephen has read depends on the number of months he has been part of a book club:

b = 5m

The variable m represents the number of months he has been a member of the book club, and the variable b represents the number of books that he has read. After belonging to the book club for 4 months, how many books will Stephen have read in all?
Day 3 This equation shows how the total pages of notes in Hugo's notebook depends on the number of hours he spends in class:

p = 2h

The variable h represents the hours he spends in class, and the variable p represents the total pages of notes taken. After attending 9 hours of class, how many total pages of notes will Hugo have in his notebook?
Day 4 This equation shows how Zarita's calorie consumption is related to the number of snacks she
eats:

c = 20s

The variable s represents the number of snacks she eats, and the variable c represents the calories she consumes. After eating a total of 1 snack, how many calories will Zarita have
consumed in all?
Day 5 This equation shows how the length of Althea's hair depends on the number of years since her haircut:

l = 8t

The variable t represents the number of years Althea since her last haircut, and the variable l represents the hair length in centimeters. Althea last got her hair cut 1 year ago. How long is
it now?

Day 6 This equation shows how the number of pies Amelia can bake is related to the number of additional cups of sugar she buys:

p = 3s

The variable s represents the number of additional cups of sugar Amelia buys, and the variable p represents the total number of pies she can bake. With 6 additional cups of sugar,
how many total pies can Amelia bake?
Day 7 This equation shows how the total number of hair bands Kanita owns is related to the amount of money she spends on additional hair bands:

h = 4d

The variable d represents the amount of money she spends on additional hair bands, and the variable h represents the total number of hair bands she owns. With $3 to spend on new hair bands, how many total hair bands can Kanita own?
Day 8 This equation shows how the total number of pieces Carmine has learned depends on the number of weeks he has taken piano lessons:

p = 2w

The variable w represents the number of weeks he has taken piano lessons, and the variable p represents the total number of pieces he has learned. After 9 weeks of piano lessons, how many total pieces will Carmine be able to play?
Day 9 This equation shows how Odessa's total water intake is related to the number of days:

w=d

The variable d represents the number of days, and the variable w represents the amount of water consumed. How many liters of water has Odessa consumed after 8 days?
Day 10 This equation shows how the amount of dough Latonya has prepared is related to the number of hours she has spent working at the bakery:

k = 4d

The variable d represents the number of hours worked, and the variable k represents the amount of dough prepared. How much dough did Latonya prepare if she worked for 4 hours?

 

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

www.wishingstarchildrensbooks.com

 

 

 

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Science Activities For Any Setting
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Insect Life Cycle
Scavenger Hunt
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Seed Science
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WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
LibriVox
http://librivox.org/

 

 

 

Using Photography To Inspire Writing
By Hank Kellner

Visit his blog at: hank-englisheducation.
blogspot.com
.

 

 

TONY VINCENT
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.
learninginhand.com

 

Article of the Week
"Daylight Saving Time"
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"The History of Leap Year"
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