Winter is still upon us....but in spite of still cold days and
nights... longer days have plants forcing their way through the
brown. So before we know it a spot of color will show itself in
between little bits of green and brown earth mixed with a little snow
A friend asked this month
what my feelings are about online gaming and children. Her grandson is
having trouble separating himself from gaming and ignoring friends,
family and learning. While every child and situation is different, I
believe that computers, as televisions, need to be in a family room or
some other place where parents can view what students are doing.
As with most things, too much is detrimental to health and growth.
Whether, computer use, television, homework, etc., all students need
guidance and boundaries. I recommend putting time limits on the
use of computer for enjoyment (most students use the computer for
instruction, now), as most of us do with television.
the issue of boundaries for children as for all of us....we cannot
emphasize this enough. More and more we are seeing children, as
well as some adults, who can't or are unable to show restraint. We all
have boundaries...they keep us safe and secure. We are bound by
rules and regulations, laws, traffic patterns, recreation, homes,
customs and society...you name it. Our role as adults and
parents is to provide guidance for our children into understanding
what is acceptable and what is not....sometimes we even have to say,
"NO!" If boundaries were respected it would be a
kinder, gentler, calmer world for all of
reception for eTutor
Unplugged has been outstanding! Thanks to each of you who
took the time to explore the new app. We are ready and accepting
enrollees now. If you haven't found your way to Unplugged yet,
please do so. You can see many samples of lesson modules in all
twenty-seven subjects, plus preview all 3500. Your feedback has
proven invaluable. The school and organization piece to eTutor
Unplugged is almost complete. You can enter information to
receive information about its launch.
My grandchildren woke me
one morning this weekend, to tell me the birds were singing and it was
surely, then, time to get up. What a beautiful harbinger on
Spring....it is coming!
Enjoy a beautiful month.
Students and Families to the Best in Online Learning
Check us out and add
your own thoughts. We try to keep you abreast of current
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You can find on the outside only
what you possess on the inside.
Learning with eTutor
Response (QR) Codes
Have you noticed those squares of strange symbols on buildings,
signs, in stores and magazines? We are even seeing them migrating to
education. Quick Response (QR) codes are used to provide
information, show a website, view a picture and a host of ways yet
to be discovered. QR codes are similar to bar codes, but they can
hold a lot more information. Instead of requiring a bulky hand-held
device to scan them, modern cell phones and mobile devices can scan
them. We have included QR codes in eTutor
Unplugged and a newer version of eTutor which is in development.
QR code consists of square, black
dots arranged in a grid on a white background. The grid can be read
by a camera or another imaging device and then interpreted.
Information is extracted from the horizontal and vertical components
in the image. Try this one.
However, have you noticed something
about all those codes youíve been seeing? You are right! They
seldom have an explanation of how to use them! So, are you wondering
Well, itís actually pretty
easyÖbut you have to have the right tools. To use QR codes
conveniently you must have a smartphone or tablet computer equipped
with a camera and a QR code reader/scanner application feature.
Luckily, the newer smartphones and tablets available today often
have an app pre-installed on them. However, if you donít already
have the reader on your device, itís nothing a quick push of a
button canít fix. Merely visit your phoneís app store such as
Android Market, Apple App Store, BlackBerry App World, etc. and
download a QR code reader/scanner app. With a wealth of free QR code
generation tools available online, this is a medium that requires
little or no background knowledge or searching in order to find
useful and helpful resources.
QR codes are used in online instructional material created by
Knowledge Headquarters, Inc. for newer version of eTutor in lesson
modules, study guides and worksheets. A student completing a
worksheet as part of the eTutor learning program may need additional
information or a skill to complete his work. Using his smart phone
he scans the QR code from the worksheet and it will take him to
appropriate, related information in order to successfully complete
Another student may be working on a
history lesson module using her laptop computer. She wants to share
with her friends an interesting fact she has just learned. She scans
the QR code at the top of the lesson module and transports it to her
While the eTutor program is easily
accessible on laptop computers, tablets and smart phones, the use of
QR codes gives students and parents an alternate way to use and view
instruction. QR codes are intended to be used with portable,
connected devices. Most students have them, expect to use them, and
are excited by the prospect of being able to use them in
instruction. Additionally, the use of mobile technology and
resources that support it frees students, parents, and learning from
the confines of traditional settings. Learning can happen in more
authentic contexts, or at times and in places that are convenient to
QR codes let students be active in
their learning. They provide true interactivity and engagement,
which translates to more effective and efficient learning.
Just a few New Lesson Modules were added
to eTutor this month.
Over 3500 Lesson Modules
are included in the
eTutor Lesson Library!
Join the eTutor world of learning today to view
the lesson modules.
Online Instructional Content
Even during this
very busy time of development, writers are continuing to use LessonPro
to write exceptional lesson modules. Most of these are being
used by the writer for their own use with students at no cost to them
or the student. Use
the template at lessonpro.net
to create lessons that will motivate and inspire your
students to really delve into the concept or skill about which you are
teaching. Interesting topics from LessonPro this
- Algebraic Expressions and Identities
- Advanced Sentence Structure
- Genetic Engineering
- Shape Planes
- Introduction to Psychology
- Making It More Interesting With
If you have questions or comments,
please contact us. We hope you will join The Writers' Circle
by Holling Clancy Holling
Ages: 8 - 12
Ezra Brown, a fourteen-year-old
ship's boy, was standing watch in the crow's nest during a
snowstorm when he first saw the white seabird. Suddenly she flew
straight upward, and Ezra quickly realized that his whaling ship
was heading straight for an iceberg! The ship was saved, and
later, from two Walrus tusks he'd traded with an Eskimo for,
Ezra carved Seabird. He set her on a limber piece of baleen so
the bird could hover in the air around him as he completed his
chores on the ship.
Seabird became the mascot for
four generations of seafarers: aboard a whaler, a clipper ship,
a steamship, and finally an airplane. The story takes a unique
look at America's seafaring history through the eyes of a carved
bird and her special owners. It is full of beautiful, full-page
paintings as well as fascinating and informative black-and-white
drawings that ring the text.
1949 Newbery Honor
gets better when you get better.
Unplugged was launched last week. Even if you
have visited the site, we encourage you to take another look at
the samples and previews of the lesson modules in the eTutor
database. We are very proud of the work our writers, editors
and programmers have done in the presentation of this outstanding
and original content. You will not find it anywhere else!
- A Learning Experience
Ask your child to become a
critical thinker by analyzing how advertising with commercials sends
messages to its audience. You will enjoy this activity as
well. Ask your child the following questions as they analyze a
What's being sold? Is it a product, service or idea?
How long are the ads?
What is the impact of length on the audience?
What are the age, sex
and race of the characters?
What is the setting of
What is the target
audience for the ad? Is it male or female? Student or
adult? What kind of music is used in the ad:
What is the ad's
format? Common formats include song and dance,
slice-of-life, demonstrations and animation.
What is the
advertising appeal? The appeal can be rational, negative-humorous,
emotional or an appeal to fear, sex or patriotism, for instance.
What are the values
portrayed or implied in the ad? What is the ad trying to
make the viewer see as important? Being cool, sexy, high-status
and wise are possible values.
Adapted from the High
to Talk to Your Kids About War
parents have the best of intentions in trying to help kids cope with
troubling global events. But with emotions running high, it's
easy to misfire when the topic of war comes up at home. Here are
six slip-ups to avoid in talking to your kids about it.
- Too much information.
When discussing war with kids, less can be more. Young children's
thinking is more concrete than adults'. Find out
specifically what they are asking. Ask, what do you mean?
What do you want to know? Then answer it at their
- Dodging questions. This
counterpart to number one compels parents of
older children to find time to examine big questions when they do
- Feeding their fears.
Therapists' offices fill after traumatic events with children
traumatized by too much exposure to horrifying media images.
Preschoolers may misunderstand repeated showings of a disaster as
separate events. School-age kids also can have trouble
differentiating fact from fantasy; they may equate a violent news
clip with videogames or movies and assume an even worse, more
elaborate conflict is being played out. If your kids watch war
coverage, watch with them, discuss it and set limits.
- Mistaking silence for a sense of
security. Just because your child hasn't brought up the
topic of war doesn't mean he's unconcerned. Find neutral ways to
open the door to a conversation. Create an atmosphere that
says you are ready to listen.
- Neglecting calming routines.
Comforting habits are important in making your child feel
- Perpetuating powerlessness.
As overwhelming as global conflict can be for young people,
you can encourage actions to ease that uneasy feeling.
Adapted from the Chicago
In everything one must consider the end.
all want to inspire creativity in our children, however,
sometimes without thinking a phrase will come out that stifles
It's too much
Let's all sleep on
Where did you dig
that one up?
Not that again.
Good thought, but
Let's get back to
We are not ready
We don't have
I don't see the
We got some of these same
comments, when we first launched eTutor in 1997. Look where we
are today. Online learning is becoming common place.
Adapted from The
Public School Administrator
You Understand Me?
communicators, we sometimes look for sophisticated ways to communicate
with our various audiences. When we do, we often confuse or irritate
others and possibly turn them off to our message. For example, a
recent column in a newspaper contained the word, "non
sequitur." When challenged the reporter said it had not
occurred to him that this was an unusual word that would baffle many
readers, as it had been in use since the 1500s. The example
makes a valid point, so we have guidelines for most audiences:
- Pick the easier-to-understand word,
such as, "total" for "aggregate;'"
"building for edifice."
- Avoid jargon, or specialized
language, in other words educational lingo..
- Avoid using examples that we re
familiar with, but that our audience might not be. For example, if
we cite "Hamlet's soliloquy"...some won't know what we
are referring to, unless we explain it as part of our Literature
- Make sure people feel comfortable
with the words we choose. We made a list of words to avoid
and which you might find interesting, as well:
were more....and I am sure you can add to the list. It is
interesting how our language has changed even in my
Adapted from Communication
present is making contact with the essence of the other person.
It is meeting your child in the moment, without concern for the past
or the future, and with your mind emptied of distractions. This
means you come to your child free of expectations, preconceived
notions, and the thousand other things you "need" to be
doing, so that you can focus completely on his or her needs.
This is not always easy, but it is vitally important.
you remember hearing stories of the poor little rich kid who had every
material advantage but whose heart was broken because the parents were
never really there? Sadly, there are many children who suffer
from this kind of neglect. Gifts, no matter how expensive, will never
take the place of your presence. Giving your complete attention
is much more valuable to a growing child and is the most
satisfying way of being together.
your mind, clear your schedule, and really be there. When you
can't give your full attention, tell them so, then schedule a time
when you can...and keep it. Turn off the television and computer
and put down the cell phone and turn on the answering machine.
Sit together, talk, relax and unwind, and you will feel the connection
grow stronger. If you are truly present when you are together,
when you are apart they will rest assured your love surrounds them.
from Wonderful Ways To Love A Child by Judy Ford
Prepare for mirth, for mirth
becomes a feast.
As the pilot of a space ship far in the future, you must save the
solar system from gravitational anomalies while learning and
memorizing the multiplication table. You will need the Flash Player to
Swarm Sketch: SwarmSketch is a
playground for the sketching of the collective consciousness. Users
can contribute a small amount of line per visit. They are then given
the opportunity to vote on the opacity of lines submitted by other
users. By voting, users moderate the input of other users, judging the
quality of each line. The darkness of each line is the average of all
its previous votes. Youíll need the free Flash Player 7.
Planet Quest- The Search for Another
Earth: PlanetQuest is NASA's public home page for new planet
discoveries and research. The site includes many multimedia features
including a virtual tour of the Keck Observatory and an Interstellar
Trip Planner. The free Flash player is required for some sections.
Forces of Nature: Ever
wanted to feel the power of creating tornado? How about an earthquake?
This site, created to accompany a National Geographic film, offers up
explorations of the biggest forces our earth can bring us: tornadoes,
earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes. Virtual labs let you design
your own disaster, and National Geo-quality photos fill in the gaps of
your visual imagination. You'll need the free Flash player.
Irish Potato Famine: Engaging
interactive exhibit about the Irish Potato Famine. Youíll need the
free Flash player.
the best for a
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