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In The News                                April 2005   Vol. 8-4

President’s Message

There is no quick trip in education.  During the last month I have received several phone calls from students and in some cases parents who want a "quick fix" in educating their student.  For what ever reason, their child has fallen behind his or her peer group.  In a desire to  "catch up," these students are looking for ways to get through several years of study in the shortest amount of time possible.  It is often impossible for us to tell when a student has taken a "short cut" but we are not the losers.  The student is the one who will suffer in the long run.  Facts, figure, information and knowledge important for a successful future are compromised.   The idea that learning stops at a certain time in our life is wrong.  Learning is something that goes on throughout life.  Often we squander learning, by wasting our time on that which may not serve us well for the future.  Our goal at Knowledge HQ is to create an environment where an expanded understanding of learning is central to a balanced and productive life.  

The past month has been another very busy time for us as we bring Brilliant Learning under our umbrella.  The move provides us the opportunity  to increase sales and marketing efforts.   Our work remains simply interesting, fascinating and constantly changing.  I am learning so much every day.....at times my mind is tired, but I want to continue on because the possibilities are endless. So for me busy is okay....not enough time in a day or week.....never. The challenge is invigorating and I relish the busyness. 

April has brought growth and flowers to our part of the world. The trees are alive
with buds; flowers dance to every color of the rainbow; green bursts from the
brown soil.....what an explosion to the senses. Oh, how the sights and sounds of these wonderful Spring days lift our spirits and puts a "spring" in our step.

Delight in this season of the year!
 


           e-Tutor News      

Did you know that we have been in this business since 1997?  It seems like just yesterday that we started.  And, even today people are saying we are ahead of the curve.  So, we thought you might like to see what we have been during all these years.  Take a look at some of our past newsletters.  You will notice how we have grown and changed over the years.              

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Only you can be yourself.  No one else is qualified for the job.  


Learning with e-Tutor

e-Tutor was developed to provide students and parents a choice from traditional schooling.  It was not developed for fast track learning.  Each module in a lesson provides a function which when completed appropriately provides the learner important tools for further learning.  

e-Tutor lessons are grouped at Primary (about K-3), Intermediate (about 4-5), Middle/Junior High (about 6-8) and High School.  This cross-aging of lessons has been very successful for e-Tutor students as they can work at their own unique level.  Some lessons may be easier and can be used for review and some will be more challenging.  Students should do no more than four lessons each day.  Each lesson should take from an hour to an hour and a half to complete.  We recommend one lesson in each of the four major curricular areas for those in a homeschool program.   e-Tutor can provide suggestions for subjects at the Middle/Junior High and High School levels.  One lesson a day is sufficient for those who use e-Tutor for supplemental work.  All curricular areas are  support one another. 

There is much reading and writing in the program and users will have excellent reading and writing skills if the program is used consistently.  Parents are encouraged to review the completed  Activity and Extended Learning  for each lesson.  This is required for those receiving credit or diplomas.  These are included with every lesson.  They are frequently off-line projects and so e-Tutor relies on parents to review these.  Use them for a springboard for discussion.

Students are encouraged to keep track of the time they spend learning.  They can jot down the time they start to study and the time they finish on a piece of paper or a calendar.  Make sure and include time spent in physical development and the arts. 

Parents will quickly know which areas their children are struggling in and which topics they favor by frequently checking their portfolios.  Parents might need to make recommendations to their children about trying new subjects or topics.  New lessons are added frequently.

Eleven new lessons were added to e-Tutor this month.

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

We want to hear from you.  If you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We enjoy hearing from parents, students and others.  

www.e-tutor.com


Give Praise

During a recent conversation a psychologist mentioned, "Raising children is not so difficult if parents would realize one thing.  Children need constant praise.  When the children cut their meat right.....great! Praise them!  When they tie their first shoelace....great!  Praise them!  Even if they are just good all day....great!  Praise them!  The human psyche seems to feed and thrive on praise and attention."  And people never really grow out of that constant need for praise and appreciation. 

One study of a number of large corporations revealed the number one reason why people quit their jobs was because, as they put it, "No one appreciated what I did. "  William James, the best known of America's psychologists, said that the desire to be appreciated is one of the deepest drives in human nature.  So get in the habit of being "praise minded."  The way people dress, act, do their jobs and express themselves as personalities can all be characteristics for some words of praise from you.  Perhaps your own family and friends would be a good place to start.

The Public School Administrator

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The ladder of success doesn't care who climbe it. 


Note-Taking

Although note-taking generally is thought of as a strategy for older students, lower elementary pupils can be introduced to this strategy through simple activities such as the following:

Have your child play the roles of message-taker in a telephone-message activity.  Have someone be a message-receiver role and leave the room.  A message-giver begins by reading the message aloud to the message-taker at a normal rate of speech.  Then the message-taker takes notes of the pertinent information.  Remind the message-taker to keep the message-receiver and the purpose of the message in mind when selecting those facts worth noting.  Once the message-taker has the message, the message-receiver may return to the room.  The message-taker can refer to the notes as he or she recounts the message.  Others who have observed the activity should determine whether or not the message has been adequately conveyed. 

The following will introduce note-taking to intermediate students.

Select a short expository passage and have a family member read the passage while another models note-taking procedures on a pad of paper.  Think aloud to clarify your purpose for listening to the passage.  Then, as the passage is read, make notes relevant to your purpose for listening.  You might also vocalize why you are noting some points and not noting others.  Use indenting and skipping spaces to indicate the relationships and subordination of ideas.  Next, ask your child to take notes over the same passage, but with a different purpose for listening.  Ask your child to explain as he or she takes notes why he or she is noting particular facts and not others.   

Silver Burdett and Ginn


Surviving Your Studies

Some do's and don'ts that will help you get the most out of the time you are studying, whether completing an e-Tutor assignment, doing homework or going through a lesson.

Do

  • Invest in folders.  Get one folder for each subject, just for your assignments, activities, extended learning or homework.
  • Start with a plan.  Create a work schedule every day that outlines all of the work that needs to be done and give each assignment 30 to 45 minutes for completion.  Do your work in small chunks and you will find that it will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. 
  • Go get a snack and take a five-minute break to clear your head.  This will help you to stay positive and give you enough time to remind yourself that the work is all just a part of the overall grade.  If you are still stuck when you get back to work, call for help. 
  • Work in the same place every day and make sure you have a good source of light. 
  • Make a bargain with your parents.  If you work hard and finish your assignments and learning activities in a decent timeframe, maybe you deserve a little treat....like some time on the Xbox.

Don't

  • Invest in just one big mega-binder.  Get separate binders for separate subjects to help keep your papers organized. 
  • Beat a dead horse.  If you have been stuck on the same math problem for an hour and it's not getting any easier, you'll burn yourself out and develop a bad attitude.  All you're doing is wasting time.  If your parents can't help you, call a friend.  Or move along to the next problem and ask e-Tutor about it the next day.
  • Work yourself into a frenzy.  Don't get mad if you're stuck on a problem or if one assignment takes longer than scheduled. 
  • Listen to music or watch TV while you're studying.  Even if you think you can multi-task, it's not a good idea.  By working in a quiet zone, where you are really focused, you will be able to shave off time in those math and English assignments.  

Knight Ridder/Tribune News

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Wisdom is oft times nearer when we stoop than when we soar.  

Being Successful

To cope with the many changes ahead, the successful person will have to exhibit four traits::

  • Foresight.  The successful one must possess an intuitive insight into what styles, fashions and technologies will be hot weeks, months...or even years...in advance

  • Fearlessness.  Successful individuals will have to act on hunches, even when everyone else says they are crazy. 

  • Effectiveness.  Technological change is rapid and trends are short.  Successful individuals will have to act quickly, before the window of opportunity closes.  And they won't have the luxury of  time to wait for consensus in decision making.

  • Greatness of character.  Knowledge value will be burned up and disposed of rapidly.  Those in the work force will be asked to be "artists," racking their brains for tiny improvements to be more "cutting-edge" than a competitor.  To make it all happen the successful person will have to inspire others to exert themselves to their limits

Adapted from Success, New York, NY.  



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 body are 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 remembers something you have never experienced. 
  2. It is hard to remember something that has no meaning or significance for you. 

The Benefits of Volunteer Work

Nearly everyone agrees that volunteer work is a nice thing to do for others.  But, as more young people are discovering, you benefit yourself as well as others when you donate your time to a worthy cause.  Here are several ways volunteer work can help you later, in a paying job or career:

  • Students with no employment history gain that all-important "previous experience."  
  • Volunteers learn basic skills needed by employers.  
  • You can establish contacts.
  • Volunteer work lets you explore career alternatives.  

Here are some other ways you can use volunteer work to serve yourself as well as others:

  • You'll meet people.  Volunteers who work on the same project together often share common interests and can form lasting friendships.
  • You gain self-esteem.  Those who do volunteer work learn to see themselves as productive citizens who are valued, needed, respected and have something important to contribute to society.
  • You gain a sense of personal power.  Volunteer work lets you know you can make a difference in our society and helps you realize that you do have the power to make changes.
  • You can explore your own values.  Many volunteers must confront issues like hunger, illiteracy, homelessness, poverty and environmental pollution.
  • You can improve academic skills.  Volunteer work lets you practice skills like reading, writing and math in the "real world."  Many learn these skills more effectively when they can be applied in real-life situations.

Illinois Association of School Boards

 

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The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.    

Fantastic April Links

San Francisco Symphony Kids' Site:   Visit this website for a refresher course on The Instruments of the Orchestra and or an introduction to reading music in Meet the Notes.
http://www.sfskids.org/templates/splash.asp

Practical Money Skills for Life:    Created by the folks at Visa, this website is a good learning center for all ages. Lessons (look under For Teachers) include Spending Plans (for younger children) up to Living on your Own (for college age students). One of the better sections, for students, is entitled In Trouble and lists the major reasons for financial troubles and some of the warning signs.
http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/index.php

German for Travelers:   Educators will want to zero in on the Learn section. Explanations,  vocabulary lists and exercises are available for those who wish to learn conversational German. There is even a quiz (in German) on Harry Potter;  look under Exercises with Video. You can find travel information here, 
as well as links to “all things German.”
http://www.germanfortravellers.com/

Chevron Cars:   Chevron Cars are toy cars. The site is colorful and fun. Divided into several sections including the Playground, Kids Shop, Meet the Cars and Free Stuff. The site features games,  biographies and multiple views of the cars, coloring and sticker pages,  jigsaw puzzles and connect the dots games, screensavers, desktop themes, musical tunes and more. There is also educational content covering oil and gas refining and subjects ranging from famous people and history to animals and science.
http://www.chevroncars.com/

Digital History:   Digital History includes a U.S. history textbook; over 400 annotated documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection on deposit at the Pierpont Morgan Library, supplemented by primary sources on slavery, Mexican American and Native American history, and U.S. political, social, and legal history; succinct essays on the history of film, ethnicity,  private life, and technology; multimedia exhibitions; and reference  resources that include a searchable database of 1,500 annotated links,  classroom handouts, chronologies, glossaries, an audio archive including speeches and book talks by historians and a visual archive with hundreds of historical maps and images. The site's Ask the HyperHistorian feature allows users to pose questions to professional historians. This Web site was designed and developed to support the teaching of American History in K-12 schools and colleges and is  supported by the Department of History and the College of Education at  the University of Houston.
http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu

SuperThinkers:   SuperThinkers features a set of original interactive mysteries designed to foster literacy and problem-solving. Created by children's book 
author & illustrator/educator Peter H. Reynolds and his creative team at Emmy Award-winning FableVision and funded by Verizon. This site takes a creative approach in order to engage every type of learner, using sound,  animation, words, images, and interactivity. The SuperThinkers site offers a variety of activities and suggested reading, as well as games. 
http://www.superthinkers.com

Al Parker, American Illustrator:  This tribute to Al Parker, the noted magazine illustrator and artist, was fashioned from extensive holdings at the Washington University Library in St. Louis. Al Parker was one of the most prolific and important American illustrators of the twentieth century. Parker was 
known for his use of line, patterning, and bold, flat colors. The look will definitely be familiar if you have seen anything from the 1930s to the 1960s. Also includes short media clips. 
http://library.wustl.edu/vlib/parker/

Fermilabyrinth :   Part of a much larger site, the games are outstanding. Fermilabyrinth was developed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, operated by Universities Research Association, Inc. under contract with the United States Department of Energy. Also available in Dutch , Slovac and German; as if Physics in English aren't challenging enough! These games will require extensive use of the brain.
http://www-ed.fnal.gov/projects/labyrinth/games/index1.html

Have A Wonderful Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

 

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