In The News
                        March 2007   Vol. 10-3

President’s Message

Today I saw a robin for the first time this season.  What a wonderful harbinger of Spring with their cheery singing and bright coloring!  A spring we are all looking forward to in this part of the country.  The winter has seemed extra long.....or perhaps my age is catching up with me and I'm feeling the cold more.  Whatever, I am glad to welcome the new season.  Buds are swelling on the trees and bushes and little bits of green are popping up through the snow and ice.  It won't be long now and we will be able to get out in the sunshine to enjoy the warmth and brightness.

This month I had an opportunity to be part of an interesting panel discussion on diversity.  The several other panelist had varying experiences and shared with those in attendance their perception of problems in acceptance and how they are working to build understanding.   There are no easy ways to build tolerance, but I think tolerance is learned.  Our children model the behaviors they see in adults and older siblings.  We as parents and educators must take the lead and show a willingness to embrace cultures and peoples who are different than us.   

We are having growing pains this month!  Over the years we have had very few glitches with the many websites we offer.  We have taken extreme caution to make sure that there is redundancy in place so that there will never be down times for students, parents and others who have come to depend on us.  But, this month we have experienced a few of those unforeseen glitches.  Upgrades in our servers and email delays have created some frustrations for us.  Remember that we try to answer all email within twenty-four hours during the work week.  During holidays and weekends we respond on the next business day.  Please use this alternate address when corresponding with us - admin@knowledgehq.com.  We seem to receive email through this mail box without any delays.  And, you are always welcome to call us at 877-687-7220 (toll free).  We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced and hope you will celebrate with us as we continue to grow.

  Enjoy the spreading warmth this month!



A Bonus For You!

The "Refer a Friend" program has been a success!  The referral program we started last Fall has been very successful thanks to you!  Present subscribers earn $100 for each new subscribing family they recommend to e-Tutor.  It is easy to participate When you recommend a friend have them include your name in the referral section of the subscription form. 

If you would like more information call 877-687-7200.


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Always do right.  This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Mark Twain

Learning with e-Tutor

e-Tutor Guided Program

One of the many advantages of the e-Tutor Guided Program are the assignments that the tutors create for their students.  Tutors create at least four assignments each week that students complete in addition to completing lesson modules assigned for their particular grade level.  

Guided Program - My Assignments

Students can work on assignments or review their progress by clicking on "My Assignments." When they click on the name of an assignment they can view the total assignment.  By clicking on  "Do Assignment"  the student can work on the assignment. When the assignment has been graded, the student can view comments the tutor has about the assignment and how each section was graded. 

Figure 9 a-f. A List of Assignments

Above is an example of how e-Tutor students keep track of their assignments. 

  • In the column titled "Assignment," the names of the assignments appear.  If a button marked "Do" appears at the end of the assignment title, as shown in Figure 9a, the assignment has not been completed. The student clicks on the button marked "Do" to begin the assignment. 

  • If there is no "Do" button, the assignment has been completed, as shown in Figure 9b.

  • In the column titled "Status," the student can view the status of each assignment.  "In-the-works" means that the student is working on the assignment, as shown in Figure 9c.  "Score Available" means that the assignment has been graded.

  • In the column titled "Due Date," the student can see the date and time by which the tutor wants each assignment completed, as shown in Figure 9d.

  • In the column titled "Submitted," the student sees the date and time the completed assignment was submitted to the tutor, as shown in Figure 9e.

  • In the column titled "Result,"  the student can see the grade received by the tutor on the assignment, as shown in Figure 9f.  When the student clicks on the grade,  full details of the graded assignment and tutor feedback can be viewed.

Thirty-two New Lesson Modules were added to the 
e-Tutor Lesson Library this month!

Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view the Lesson Library.  


   The Book Case

              Pierre, A Cautionary Tale
              Written and Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
              For Grades 1 and up

"A story with a moral air about Pierre, who learned to care". Young Pierre, whose favorite line is "I don't care!" changes his mind after meeting a hungry lion.

Oh, that naughty boy! No matter what his parents say, Pierre just doesn't care.
"What would you like to eat?"
"I don't care!"
"Some lovely cream of wheat?"
"I don't care!"
Don't sit backwards on your chair."
"I don't care!"
"Or pour syrup on your hair."
"I don't care!"

Even when the hungry lion comes to pay a call, Pierre won't snap out of his boredom. Every child has one of these days sometimes. Parents may cajole, scold, bribe, threaten--all to no avail. When this mood strikes, the Pierres of the world will not budge, even for the carnivorous king of beasts. Created by one of the best-loved author-illustrators of children's books, Maurice Sendak, this 1962 cautionary tale is hardly a simple attack against children who misbehave. Still, by the end of the rhyming and witty story, most children will understand the moral of the story. Pierre's downward-turned eyebrows, his parents' pleading faces, and the lion's almost sympathetic demeanor as he explains that he will soon eat Pierre, make the package perfect.

Stress Busters

  • Exercising

  • Meditating

  • Taking a Bath

  • Eating Healthy

  • Writing in a Journal

  • Breathing Deeply

  • Spending Time Outdoors

  • Treating Yourself to a Massage

  • Chatting With an Old Friend

Lisa Englerth

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Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. 

Abraham Lincoln


The Pencil

The best old-school teaching tool that has not gone out of style.  To properly praise the simple and brilliant word processing hardware known as the pencil, it is necessary to sharpen one's point and draw a satisfyingly dark circle around the exemplary writing instrument that set the standard by which all subsequent pencils have been measured: the Faber Mongol #2.

The "lead" in this beauty is the perfect mixture of clay and graphite, neither resistant nor smudgy.  The wooden shaft is coated with many layer of the most cheerful yellow paint, and the eraser is so embedded that according to company lore, an anxious test taker would have to exert five pounds of pressure to pull one off with his or her teeth. 

For this taken-for-granted miracle, we can thank Eberhard Faber, a German immigrant who, in the mid-nineteenth century, built America's first pencil factory where the United Nations building now stands in New York City.  Did he name his product Mongol because it is as tough and hardy as the famed warriors of Genghis Khan?  No one seems sure.  But because the pencil can be sharpened seventeen times and will last through about 45,000 words (or draw a 35-mile long line, if you are so inclined), what meticulous Mongolian bureaucrat wouldn't be proud to wield one?  Truly, it's the write stuff!

Adapted from Edutopia

Conflicts As Opportunities

Conflict can rip apart a family or foster cohesiveness. Resolving conflict means identifying its roots, owning up to it and compromising on a successful solution.  Here are some attitudes and actions you can adopt to settle conflict:

  • Remember that you can't grow if you don't risk something.  Even the peacemakers in the family must agree that unless family members face conflict ....and its unpleasantness...they won't be happy.  Resentments will linger.  The issues that caused the conflict will prevail.  And the attitudes that spawned the issues will instigate them again. 

  • Keep in mind that displays of power make conflicts worse.  Cultivate a level playing field on which you'll resolve conflicts.  One person simply can't stifle conflict discussions with an "I'm the boss here" statement. 

  • Agree that conflicts threaten everyone.  That common threat should bond family members to find a solution.

  • Keep a sense of humor in the discussions.  Use humor to overstate the conflict so it loses credibility and appears less threatening.

  • Get all involved in the conflict to agree to a self-investigation about what's really bothering them.  

  • Listen.  This key skill can analyze the conflict incident, the specific issues involved and the attitudes responsible for both.

  • Bring the conflict to a "critical-mass" tension.  Using open discussions, get the offending attitudes and issues out.  Give them independent life; then, remediate them.

  • Use action solutions that heal, not those that increase, the conflict.  For example, criticize privately; fault actions or attitudes, not people; congratulate those who are open.  

We should view conflicts as opportunities to clarify values and share them with everyone in the family.  And we should remember that conflicts are merely byproducts of humans interacting.  Pretending they don't happen or disregarding them when they do, simply ignores the fact that we are all human.

Adapted from Communication Briefings

Create a Circle of Quiet

Have you ever noticed that children can get so wound up they can't calm down?  Get cranky, demanding and whiny with too much stimulation?  Like adults, children need quiet time each day.  We sometimes get so focused on activities for our children that we forget to teach them about quiet time. It's well worth the effort to help your family discover the pleasure of silence and the advantages of slowing down and taking life a little more easily. 

Circles of quiet are soothing to the nervous system; silence is the best tranquilizer.  Creating a circle of quiet helps children unwind and relax.  A fussy baby will calm down much more quickly when held by a parent who is relaxed, inwardly centered and still.  A parent whose nerves are frazzled and whose energy is chaotic transmits that to the baby.  

It is through these circles of quiet that your child will discover the difference between the outer world and his own inner world.  Through silence your child will come to know himself and learn about his inner life.  

Some families are so busy with an overbooked schedule of activities and responsibilities that they never take time to unwind, sit down and be still.  Some parents talk so much that the kids just tune out.  Other families are so addicted to television and background noise they have to have something blaring all the time, regardless of whether anyone is listening. 

Children who are able to simply play alone in a quiet space learn to understand their need for solitude.  Circles of quiet in your home are the beginning of self-awareness and meditation.  During quiet times a child feels tranquil and serene.  Creating circles of quiet in your home from the very beginning will help you and your children find inner peace. 

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love A Child, Judy Ford

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The best that the great teachers can do for us is to help us to discover what is already present in ourselves. 

Irving Babbit (1865-1933) Scholar

 The Value of Everyday Life

Regina thought of her little sister as a second shadow; a mosquito sometimes, a sweet puppy other times, but always hovering.  But for Carla, her older sister Regina was everything to her: her best friend and confidante, her school tutor and life mentor, even her fashion consultant.  So, on the day that Regina was leaving for college, Carla sulked. 

"Don't be like this," Regina said. "I won't be far away. Plus, I'll be home for holidays and some weekends. 

"But it won't be the same when you're gone.  I'll have no one to talk to."

"I know, but I want you to do something for me," Regina said. "I want you to write down all your thoughts and feelings every day.  And the next time I'm home, we'll sit down and talk about what you wrote.  I left something in your room for our talks."

After Regina left, Carla raced up the stairs to her room.  On the bed was a handmade journal that Regina had created just for Carla.  At the top of each page was a positive thought, like: You have a wonderful smile, I can be anything I want to be, and I am the best little sister on the planet. 

There were enough pages in the book to get Carla through the next year.  And just the thought of her older sister taking the time to do something so thoughtful made Carla feel special.  And that was one of the best feelings is the whole world.  

Adapted from "My Jar of Self-Esteem," Sigrid Stark, A Cup of Comfort For Friends,  
Adams Media

Parent's Role in Reading

A parent is not only a child's first teacher, a parent is the child's most influential teacher.  However, many American parents are not investing enough time in their 'teacher' roles.  Evidence indicates that fathers spend, on average, fewer than fifteen minutes per day talking or reading with their children.  Mothers spend fewer than thirty minutes.  

A child who is read to serendipitously learns things about print.  The child understands that we read from top to bottom and from left to right.  A child might understand the meanings of words, letters, sentences and chapters.  Reading aloud to a child fosters good listening skills and presents opportunities for visual discrimination tasks.  Reading aloud to a child also shows him or her that the parent is willing to invest time and effort into the endeavor; therefore, it must be worthwhile. 

Unfortunately, some eager parents push a child into "reading" before the child is ready.  This can shatter the very self-confidence needed to become a successful reader.  Studies show that informal instruction in the home is as good or better than formal, systematic instruction replete with workbook activities. 

At some point, a child may want to read independently.  Many times, however, when the parent stops reading to the child, the child stops reading at home.
Studies have shown that students who read at home, not surprisingly, improve their reading ability.  An examination of the type of home these students come from reveals that parents and siblings in the home also read during their leisure time. 

Adapted from Idea Factory for Teachers, Silver Burdett and Ginn

Fretters and Worriers

As a veteran bridge-crosser and trouble borrower, I want to set down a few rules which have contributed to my success as a worrier.  First, don't put off worrying until tomorrow.  Don't say you won't worry today because you are having too much fun right now.  Tomorrow you may be having more fun.  And don't let anyone tell you you're too young to worry.  It's never too early to start.  Some of the most advanced bridge-crossing is done by fretters in their teens.  And don't be a square worrier in a round dilemma.  Find out what type of worry best suits your temperament and then stick to it. 

Frank Sullivan

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Great thoughts, like great deeds, need no trumpet.

James Bailey

 Marvelous March Links:

Ocean.com:    This site was created by a multimedia company from California and features quality streaming video of ocean life.  The Ask Us section touches on a lot of general ocean and water topics, such as which fish on a menu might be endangered by over-fishing.  The travel and sports areas are a bit more commercial in nature. http://www.ocean.com/

National Math Trail:  With the philosophy "math is all around you," the National Math Trail project challenges K-12 educators and students to observe their surroundings and create math problems about what they see and what they want to figure out.  Educators can find examples of math trail projects and other resources on this site.  http://www.nationalmathtrail.org/

Annuities: Ordinary? Due? What Do I Do?:  This website at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is for the financially undereducated.  An annuity is a series of equal payments or receipts occurring over a specified number of periods.  This website links to various sources for information about annuities, explaining this complex financial information in different ways.  When you think you know all about annuities, take the interactive quiz. http://web.utk.edu/~jwachowi/annuity1.html

Tinfoil.com: Dedicated to the Preservation of Early Recorded Sound: Would you like to hear the sound of the early 20th century?  Visit this website to hear the music of the times originally preserved on wax cylinder recordings.  Students can learn about the early technology used to record sound and hear bans, singers and statesmen of the day.  The Cylinder of the Month Archive links to a variety of sounds, both in WAV and Real format. http://www.tinfoil.com/

Linear Algebra Toolkit:  This site is designed by staff at Old Dominion University to help a student understand basic linear algebra procedures.  Learn to solve linear systems of equations or transform a matrix to row echelon form. http://www.math.odu.edu/~bogacki/lat/

Silicon Zoo:  This  site was set up to show microscopic images found on silicon chips created around the world.  But then, go into the microscopy section to see what other things look like when viewed through a microscope.  There is a section on beer microscopy; this site is still a great resource for students to explore before their own work on microscopes or after using microscopes to figure out how the images are captured. http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/creatures/

Hoping You Can Take a Break This Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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