eNews                                March 2015 Vol. 18-03

President's Message

Good news! The seasons are a-changing!  Snow and ice are melting, daylight savings time has arrived, the birds are singing and the first of spring flowers are showing their heads.  Spring is on its way.  I have exhausted myself with too long walks and I'm ready to bring the porch chairs out. 

This month some of our students are using a new learning tool. We have been asked by a company from Dallas to help them in a pilot project of a product they are launching, Memory Science.  A few students in the Guided One-to-One Program will use the tool as part of their assignments provided by their tutors. We will be looking to see if students retain skills and information learned in lesson modules using this new tool compared to those who have not.

Did you know that we post on Twitter and Facebook almost every day?  And, we often pin various content on Pinterest.  It is always a bit of a surprise when we have been re-weeted or one of our items has been pinned on another's Pinterest page.  In one day this week we learned we had been re-tweeted twice and pinned once. It's like receiving a happy note and we can only smile.  Ah, for those warm fuzzies!

In the last week, I have been going through withdrawal pains.  I disconnected television from my home.  Not a big viewer, I watch mostly news (as depressing as it can be).  Most content, I am interested in, is accessible over the internet.  Although early yet, I have found it liberating not to be tied to the schedule of television programs.  We will see how it goes in the months ahead. 

Enjoy the new growth around us this month!



Connect to Us

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To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.

Winston Churchill, Statesman and Prime Minister

Learning with eTutor

Reducing Test Anxiety

  • Keep a positive attitude. Decide to do your best, and don't blame yourself for what you don't know.
  • Concentrate on the quiz/exam. Don't worry about your ability, the number of questions, or even short memory lapses. Pay close attention to one question at a time. This kind of concentration reduces anxiety.
  • Relax. If you are too nervous to think or read carefully, try to slow down physically. Change your mood by taking several slow, deep breaths. Then start to work.

Taking the Test

    Read the quiz/exam instructions carefully. Be sure you understand what's expected of you.                                   

    Read each quiz/exam question carefully.  

    Answer the easiest questions first. You will feel    more confident, and you may also find some helpful ideas for the more difficult questions.

  • Fight the urge to submit the quiz/exam as soon as you have finished. It's natural, but it can hurt your grade.
  • Review the quiz/exam questions and your answers to them. Make any changes you think are important, but don't change your answers unless you have a good reason to do so.
  • Review your own performance on the quiz/exam. If you take a few notes on your test-taking skills, you'll be able to perform better on future quizzes/exams. Ask yourself:

    What was asked, that I didn't expect?

    How can I predict better for the next quiz/exam?

    What kind of questions of the quiz/exam was most difficult? Why?

    Did the quiz/exam questions come directly from the study guide or from the resources, vocabulary, activities, or extended learning?

o        What should I do differently in preparing for the next quiz/exam?

The editing and updating of eTutor Lesson Modules is continuing.

Over 3500 Lesson Modules
are included in the 
eTutor Lesson Library!

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

Have you tried it yet?   eTutor

Don't be left behind....eTutor Unplugged is included in National Science Foundation Grant initiative that is being developed this Spring.  

eTutor offers a broad selection of topics, subjects and grade levels for you to experience.  For the NSF grant above, adult students will be using the program.   Try eTutor Unplugged today!


Writers' Circle

LessonPro provides a template for creating online lessons for your students. Subject matter standards are automatically entered and aligned to Common Core Standards.  

The easy to use template makes creating online instruction for your students a snap. Remember that there is no cost for using the template.  Your lesson modules are available to you and your students to use in and out of an instructional program.   Interesting topics from LessonPro this month:  

Teaching Propaganda Using Animal Farm
Rounding Up and Down
Reading Korean
German Basics

If you have questions or comments, please contact us.  We hope you will join The Writers' Circle today!


   The Book Case            

Rabbit Hill  
By Robert Lawson

    Ages:  3rd - 8th Grades 

Robert Lawson's Rabbit Hill is a splendid fable that reinforces the notion that people (and animals) must learn to live together in harmony. Written at the end of World War II when the peoples of the world looked forward to a time of peace and prosperity, the story of the coming of the "new folks" to live among the animals of Rabbit Hill symbolizes the optimism of these postwar years. Lawson does not, however, allow the development of his theme to rest on sentimentality and false hope. 

It has been a while since Folks lived in the Big House, and an even longer time has passed since there has been a garden at the House. All the animals of the Hill are very excited about the new Folks moving in, and they wonder how things are going to change. Itís only a matter of time before the animals of the Hill find out just who is moving in, and they may be a little bit surprised when they do.

1945 Newberry Medal Winner 

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Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount.

Clsre Booth Luce

A Writing Place

Writing requires a certain environment for concentration, as well as specific equipment. 

  • Furnish sufficient writing workspace with adequate lighting for your child, whether a desk or a cleared-off kitchen table.

  • Set up a daily silent study time for writing and other schoolwork for your child.  Regulate TV and computer hours.

  • Supply children of all ages with writing materials...paper, pencils, pens.  Stationary, stamps and dictionaries are good gifts for students.

Teens in Transition

Students making the leap from elementary to middle school experience many changes in the learning environment, few of which are suited to their academic needs.  For instance, students typically have fewer chances to exercise decision-making at the middle school level than they did in elementary school, according to researchers who examined the crucial transition years.

In addition, when compared to elementary students, middle schoolers:

  • Spend more time participating in whole-class activities, learning in ability groups and hearing public evaluation of their work;
  • Use low-level cognitive skills, particularly in the first year; and
  • Strive to meet educators' high standards of competence.

Overall, there is a significant mismatch between what students need and what they get at the middle school level. Students benefit when the curriculum is individualized and less emphasis is placed on public evaluation and student-to-student comparisons. 

Students should feel they continue to have some control over what they learn, as they did in elementary school.  The research recommends that educators work with students to enhance their strengths, rather than identify weaknesses.

Adapted from "Fix The Path, Not The Walker," High Strides

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To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act. 

Weighty Matters- Healthy Eating for Kids

Many adolescents and teenagers typically have unhealthy eating habits...some gravitate toward high-fat and sugary junk food, while others become restrictive, cutting calories and forgoing foods, such as meat or dairy. Experts now suggest that both kinds of eating behaviors can lead to overweight and obesity.

Studies have shown that many adolescents and teens are concerned about their appearance and weight and have some degree of body dissatisfaction.  For instance, about one in two teenage girls and one in four teenage boys have tried dieting to change their body shape. Kids who diet have  greater risk of disordered eating behaviors and obesity.

Dieting or restrictive eating behaviors can affect puberty, growth and long-term health. They also can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as calcium and iron, which are essential for growth in adolescents and teens.  And they can cause menstrual irregularities, delayed onset of puberty, slowed or diminished growth, plus osteopenia (low bone-mineral density) and osteoporosis (loss of bone mass).

Kids, even heavier ones, are still growing and have important nutritional needs. The focus should be on weight maintenance rather than weight loss. Keeping weight stable while growing means a lower body mass index over time. 


The Science of Memory

The brain is all about creation, connection and control. Electrical charges flowing from axons to dendrites create chemical packages in nerve cells. These chemical packages are like little buckets of memory juice.  Whenever we want, we can dip into these buckets to access our memories. Cells in the brain and the body re constantly creating new packages and recreating old packages. 

Scientific studies affirm what seems to be common sense.  If you are extremely busy, don't get enough sleep or are nervous or anxious, your power of memory will fade rapidly.  Low self-esteem and poor self-image also inhibit memory.  Many drugs can influence the memory process.  Drugs like seratonin, adrenaline, dopamine and the endorphin group (created by the body itself) enhance memory.  Alcohol, marijuana and nicotine can greatly decrease the ability to remember.  Even prescription drugs to reduce blood pressure, eliminate pain or induce sleep interfere with the memory process. 

Finally, here are a couple of scientific no-brainers:

  1. It is difficult to remember something you have never experienced.
  2. It is hard to remember something that has no meaning or significance for you. 

Adapted from The Next Step Magazine

Building Trust

Trust is the foundation for good relationships.  Friendships, families, and organizations need trust to operate effectively.  When people trust each other, everything works better.  But trust doesn't come automatically. Trust must be earned.

Some people build trust quickly. Their attitudes and behaviors make it easy for others to trust them.  Here re several characteristics of these strong trust builders:

  • They keep promises, whether to colleagues or children.  You can rely on them to do what they said they would do.
  • They tell the truth, even when it maybe painful, or when it maybe to their disadvantage.
  • They are quick to apologize when they do something wrong.  They sincerely regret doing wrong to others.
  • They are good listeners, and they listen at least as much as they talk.
  • They generously praise people. They are constantly looking for what others do right, and commenting on it.
  • They strive to understand how others feel.  They are sensitive and empathetic to other's feelings.
  • They look out for other people's interests as well as their own.
  • They are fair in their dealings with everyone. 
  • They are genuinely interested in other people.

Strong trust builders have a high relationship orientation.  They really do care about others.  They actively practice the Golden Rule, treating others the way they would want to be treated.

Observation: When you demonstrate these attitudes and behaviors, peo0ple just naturally trust you more.  They trust you faster, too.  They enjoy working, or living, with you. 

Adapted from Working Smart

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Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.

Marvelous March Links:

Geography IQ: Planning a trip? Preparing a school homework assignment? Perhaps you're interested in current events or are just curious about exploring the world around you. GeographyIQ is an online world atlas packed with geographic, economic, political, historical and cultural information.

Soungle:  Free searchable database of hundreds of downloadable special effects and musical instrument samples.

Math Cats:  Like no other math site on the Web! This site really makes learning math fun for kids. From wild, cat-based interactive animations that explain statistics to exciting projects you can do at home, this site is a winner.

The Great Plant Escape:  Help Detective Leplant and his partners Bud and Sprout unlock the amazing mysteries of plant life." A teacherís guide is also available. Another great site from the University of Illinois Extension.

My First Garden: Learn how to grow your own food! This terrific site for kids will help you plan your garden and teach you the gardening basics. A teacher's guide is also available for each section.


Have a Wonderful Month!

From the 
Knowledge HQ Staff

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