In The News                         February 2012   Vol. 15-2


Pre
sident’s Message 

I blinked and there went January!  It appears that this new year of 2012 is going to pass as fast, if not faster, than previous years.  We have a lot on our schedule for the year.  Hopefully this is the year that we will be able to launch a new eTutor.  As many of you, who have followed us over the years, know,  we have tried numerous times to get a rewrite of our very successful legacy program. But, for one reason or another, we have not been able to get it done.  I guess that is a testament to the strength of the original programming.  Much has changed over the years, so we want to take advantage of some of the new technologies that are available now.  We are still in the early stages of a new program, but the signals are promising.  We will keep you informed.  

Speaking of new technologies, last week I was able to go to a symposium on digital media.  I was able to see and hear about programs that are in operation now that were not even thought of five years ago.  I learned about future plans for ways to keep us all engaged in new and exciting ways.  More astoundingly, I found that some of the things we have been doing for fifteen years are still current and very much on the leading edge even today.  

  • Crowd Sourcing - This is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially from the online community.  We have been doing this for fifteen years through our Lesson Pro online template for creating lesson modules by teachers and others throughout the world.
  • Move from Search to Discovery - Giving users the ability to explore in real time topics of interest in various ways.  The use of hyper-links in each lesson module of the eTutor program allows the student to discover more about a topic or skill introduced.  In coming years, we hope to move this up a notch or two to allow more choice in the information provided and to make the links even more interactive. 

The future holds the potential of many more virtual instruments.  It is an exciting time for those of us planning and developing tools and programs which will enhance the learning process for students everywhere.

As I write this, it is President's Day.  Although we look to a future that is hard to imagine, we want to remember the foundation that was laid by the great men who contributed so much to us individually and as a country.  We would not be able to do what we have done or dream the dreams we have without the sacrifices they made for us.  

Have a wonderful month.

 

 


     

 Are You Connected to Us? 

Would you like to learn more about our families and students who live in many different parts of the world?  You have the unique opportunity to communicate with one another through our links below.  Just click on the icon and you will jump to more information which will get you started.  

   Get tips and information, plus share your own ideas with others.   

   How about a short video of your child using eTutor?  We can help you download it to the eTutor page..   

   Tweet something that inspires you.   

   Do you have a special activity you do with your child?  Post it on the eTutor blog.   

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Eat well. Parenting is tough work. 


                                   





Learning with eTutor

The successful learner........          
Educational studies consistently show that the most successful students are those that are strong in six general areas:

    * Strong Academic Skills

    * Strong Concentration

    * High level of Confidence

    * High level of Motivation

    * High Standardized Test Scores

    * Strong Study Skills

First and foremost, children who are successful learners have strong academic skills in reading, mathematics and writing. Strong academic skills are so important that we make this our primary goal for your child. We want to help your child improve in reading, math and writing.  We accomplish this with the e-Tutor Guided One2One Program when used appropriately. This method of leaning combines individual one-to-one online instruction with independent application and mastery of the skills just learned.

Twenty-one New Lesson Modules were added 
to eTutor this month.

3200 Lesson Modules
are included in the 
eTutor Lesson Library!

Join the eTutor world of learning today to view 
the lesson modules.  

www.etutor.com



   The Book Case            

Maniac Magee 
by Jerry Spinelli
Grades 3 through 6 
              

This Newbery Medal winner tells the mythical tale of a legendary hero: 12-year-old Jeffrey Magee – known as Maniac Magee. An orphan with no place to call home, Maniac Magee enters Two Mills, a town sharply divided by race. Magee's athletic skills, combined with his nonjudgmental way, lead the people of Two Mills to overcome segregation, racial profiling, and ignorance

Excerpts from the book.

1991 Newbery Honor Winner


Page 3


Use yes and no judiciously. 

 

Stress

There is such a thing as good stress:  The "rush" of adrenaline that comes when you are making a presentation, performing in a sporting event, or solving a long-standing problem. Psychology professor, Stephen Maier of the University of Colorado, says research shows that this kind of stress can actually strengthen people's resistance to disease. 

  Adapted from Working Smart


Become Different

The essence of our effort to see that every child has a chance must be to assure each an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become different....to realize whatever unique potential of body, mind, and spirit he or she possesses.  

John Fischer


 Help! My Child's a Space Cadet!

It's enough to frazzle even the coolest mom's nerves:  Moooom, where's my shoe? (Or learning activity Or video game.)  Although we expect our children to start being more responsible for their own things at seven to nine, they've somehow developed the ability to be more forgetful than Grandpa.  When a child's stuff or room is disorganized, it makes it harder for her to remember where she left her things.  Luckily, these three organizing experts, have answers:

  1. Put the ball in their court (not in the middle of the floor!)  We all learn by doing, so don't clean up and organize your child's room for her.  She has got to put it away to remember where it is!" says Donna Smallin, author of A to Z Storage Solutions.  One bright idea that stops school notes from mysteriously going missing:  Keep labeled file folders for each family member in a central place (a desk in the family room, say).  Make your child responsible for putting school flyers in your folder; to motivate her to check her file before school, leave a treat or a funny note in it now and then.
  2. Make organizing an art project.  Repetition helps encode memories, so the key is putting things in the same place time and again. "Every toy needs a parking place," says Tonia Tomlin of Sorted Out in Texas.  Designate a basket for the Legos, another for the games, and so on, and then get your children to print funky pictures of the toys off the Internet (or draw them).  Binder-clip the pictures onto the baskets. 
  3. Keep it simple!  "The first question you should ask yourself is, "Where do I use this?'" says Samantha Moss, author of Where's My Stuff?  Your child does homework at the kitchen table?  Keep the box with school goods there.  It is not about neatness and looking spotless, says Moss, but rather being able to find things at the right moment.  That means a whole lot less shouting for your help.

Adapted from Parenting 

Page 4


Use all the colors of the rainbow.


Personal Evaluation

Strive for personal evaluations.  There is a need for continual evaluation.  Standards or criteria of judgment differ, depending upon the circumstances.  Will it work?  Is it pleasing to the eye?  Does it meet the needs of the user?  Is it beautiful?  Artists as well as scientists need to evaluate their products.  It is impossible to talk without involving ourselves and our feelings.  These feelings are a part of our uniqueness and to be persuaded to parrot another denies the right of the individual to contribute his true worth.  Conformity that robs one of his personal evaluations or views presupposes that it is better to be alike, think alike, and act alike than to be different, when actually it is the differences that count.  We need to be able to make our own judgments. 

Adapted from The Public School Administrator


In Defense of Oral Defense

One of the things we ask parents of eTutor students is to orally review their learner's off-line work with them by asking questions, "What did you learn by doing this? How could you have done it differently? Explain this concept to me?  The process reinforces what the student has learned.

Frequently students just guess their way through the multiple choice quizzes and exams.  Even those who seriously try to do well rarely review their errors as a source of learning.  It bothered us that students might think that the goal of a test was just to get something down.  The idea that they should have learned something from the experience never entered their heads.  So we changed our methods.  Now, we ask the parent  to have their student explain what they have learned. 

The benefits of the oral assessment are enormous.  Parents are asking their student to think.  "Tell me about that idea."  "I don't understand that definition, explain it another way."  These are the sorts of questions, students should be asked every day.

You may be amazed at what your student is and is not learning.  If your student is struggling with a concept, you can redirect him to another topic.  You can ask him to elaborate on his ideas to stretch his thinking.  This assessment shifts student thinking.  He now understands that the objective of an assignment, exam or quiz is not merely to do it, but also to learn something from it. You can't lie, cheat, or fudge your way through an oral assessment.  You either know what you have learned or you don't. 

Adapted from Classroom Leadership


The Three P's

Handling your tasks one at a time may not always be possible, but it is a worthy goal to shoot for.  Remember the rules of the three P's...procrastination, perfectionism, and perseverance. 

  1. Procrastination - Avoid procrastination by acting now and by being a decision-maker.  Learn to make decisions promptly.  Even wrong decisions can sometimes be better than no decisions at all.  At the least, you can learn from wrong decisions.

  2. Perfections - This is a noble idea that can bog you down.  You never really get the job done perfectly, anyway.

  3. Perseverance - Avoid the first two P's and practice the final one.  Do the important task first and persevere until it is finished. 

Adapted from The Administrator

Page 5


Let them overhear you saying nice things about them to others.


Fabulous February Links:

A Visual Interpretation of the Table of Elements: The Royal Society of Chemistry’s interactive periodic table includes Murray Robertson’s Visual Elements artwork.  Hover over the elements to see key facts and the supply risk which highlights elements where limited abundance may hinder the production of new technologies. Click the elements for interesting facts, atomic data, isotopes and more.
http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table

Between the Lions: The award-winning Between the Lions Web site offers tons of expert-approved games, stories, video clips, and activities—all aimed at reinforcing the literacy mission of the TV series.
http://pbskids.org/lions/

How Volcanoes Work: This website is an educational resource that describes the science behind volcanoes and volcanic processes. The site is sponsored by NASA under the auspices of Project ALERT (Augmented Learning Environment and Renewable Teaching).
http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/

Kid's Zone:  The NCES Kids' Zone provides information to help you learn about schools; decide on a college; find a public library; engage in several games, quizzes and skill building about math, probability, graphing, and mathematicians; and to learn many interesting facts about education.
http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/index.asp#crunch

 

These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.

Wishing you a happy month!

From the 
Knowledge HQ Staff

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