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In The News
                        April 2007   Vol. 10-4

President’s Message

Oh, Spring!  It seems to finally have sprung, albeit with some setbacks on the way.  This warmer weather puts a smile on the face.  One has more energy and everything seems just a bit easier.  I hope you have time to relish the delights that this wonderful season has to offer.  Plants and trees are waking after their long winter nap.  Bits of color wave and nod from stems bent from the strain of a cold blast.  It  is a season to look at the world with fresh eyes.     

We have had a very busy month.  It is grant writing time and the process can become all consuming.   We have been fortunate to have been asked to submit proposals from several states for their online learning programs.  The opportunity to provide e-Tutor for a much larger audience is captivating.  Those of us in the online learning arena have a responsibility to provide programs of quality that differ from those a student may receive in a regular school setting. If we cannot meet this standard, then, why would students and parents want to choose online learning over what they now receive?  

We view online learning as an opportunity to change the paradigm of the traditional teaching/learning process.  So, we proceed with caution and an understanding of the huge responsibility we have to our students today and those of tomorrow.  It is exciting, but also with risk.  But then so is life!

I love to sit and enjoy the sites and sounds during this time of year.   I hope you have time to experience all the month has to offer.  

  

 

 



Register for Summer Courses Now! 

Registration for Summer Course Work is taking place now.  Continued learning over the summer months keeps student minds active and there is no learner gap when they return to studies in the Fall.  Receive a five percent discount for registering for three months.  

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

 

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There is nothing like a dream to create the future.

Victor Hugo


 Learning with e-Tutor


Defining e-Tutor

e-Tutor is designed to increase knowledge in a collaborative, seamless learning environment that promotes intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning.  e-Tutor benefits students in the following ways:

  • Increases motivation for learning

  • Improves achievement

  • Encourages higher-level thinking

  • Provides instructors multiples ways to improve instruction

  • Utilizes the resources of the entire world wide web

  • Expands learning time

  • Prepares students for the future

e-Tutor is comprised of learning modules that consist of a series of  tasks and information that reinforce the skill or concept taught in each lesson module.  Each task in the lesson modules requires the student to use critical thinking skills and the work involved becomes progressively more difficult; later tasks often require the knowledge gained, skills acquired and activities completed in earlier tasks.  In these activity-based tasks, students become active participants in their own learning.  In the ideal sense, e-Tutor enables students to learn things in order to do things.  The tasks are often research based, deliberately challenging, and require continuous use of the pre-selected Internet sites, which are part of each of the lessons.

The key to student success is engaging their interests through a wide range of topics, informational web sites and interesting activities, which help create a unique learning experience for each student. The visual instruction is designed to include all curricular disciplines, balance the transfer of certain basic skills and strengthen the value of education.  The e-Tutor program allows students to work at their own pace and to focus on areas of their choice from a large selection of specific subjects. (Lesson modules are searchable by topic, keywords and subject area.)  The student then becomes a responsible party to his/her own learning while using e-Tutor.

Twenty-four 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.  

www.e-tutor.com


   The Book Case

              A Wrinkle In Time
              by Madeleine L'Engle
              Ages 9 and Up

Meg Murry, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their odd friend Calvin are going on a little adventure. Meg and Calvin are older, maybe thirteen, while Charles Wallace is an incredibly precocious five. All of them have weird character features or flaws that make them special in their little world. 

Early on, Charles encounters Mrs. Whatsit, who helps the kids begin an adventure across time and space to find Meg's father, who disappeared years ago under mysterious circumstances surrounding some scientific experiments. The book moves quickly, as the kids travel to the planet Camazotz, which is enshrouded in darkness and evil, the same kind of evil that is slowly encroaching on Earth. The people there are under the control of IT, which regiments every tiniest aspect of their lives. And IT quickly gains a foothold in the minds of the children. Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which are all ethereal beings who encourage the kids to use their talents and even their flaws to solve their dilemmas. 

In this book,  there is an overarching theme of youth on the verge of adulthood. The book has a strongly religious tone to it, especially in its latter third. But it is subtle, overall, and is an interesting adventure in growing up. A landmark book in children's literature and intriguing for adult readers as well.  A television adaptation of the book was made by Disney in 2003. 


 An Awesome Opportunity! 

Over the years we have had many high school students request some form of automotive coursework along with the instructional program that e-Tutor offers.  We are exploring ways to do this and have an opportunity for a project with www.todaysclass.com for online automotive technical training.  The course modules include automotive electronics, brakes, suspension and steering, and more.  Students can print summaries for each of the modules.  The program is used by career-based schools and community colleges.  In addition, a technical instructor will be available online or by toll free phone when needed.  

We are pleased to have the opportunity to offer a limited number of this trial automotive course to our high school subscribers.   If you would like to sign up for the course or would like more information, please call Knowledge Headquarters at 887-687-7200.  Call quickly!  Registration closes May 31, 2007.     

 

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He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. 

Lao-Tzu (6th Century B.C.)


An Optimist or Pessimist?

  • Optimists see the good in bad situations: pessimists see the bad in good situations.
  • Optimists feel they can control their destiny; pessimists believe they are the victims of circumstances.
  • Optimists turn minor setbacks into victories; pessimists turn them into disasters.
  • Optimists say, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again;" pessimists say, "I'd prefer to watch the game from the stands than to keep striking out all the time."
  • Optimists love to break through barriers; pessimists say, "Why don't breaks ever come my way/"
  • Optimists see defeats as temporary setbacks; pessimists see them as recurring events to be endured. 
  • Optimists like to rub shoulders with positive-thinking people; pessimists prefer to hang around with cynics and complainers. 
  • Optimists' cars carry bumper stickers that read, "Isn't life grand?"; pessimists prefer, "Life's a drag."

Communications Briefings


Acceptance of Change - A Four-Stage Process

When change is thrust upon us, we tend at first to resist it.  Then we gradually learn to accept it and finally to work constructively with it.  Change often appears as a threat to one's ego....it means leaving the tried and true.  People usually respond first by trying to stay on safe ground.  The person who understands the stages people go through when they react to uninvited change is better able to help others through a transition period.  Learning about these stages also helps us understand ourselves better. 

Researchers identify four key stages in this process and ways we can help others move through them. 

Stage 1:  Shock.  People shut down thinking and as many systems as possible (as in physiological shock) and do little.  They seek information and reassurance. 
What to do:  Give information (it will need repeating) and support.  Explain clearly expectations and resources.

Stage 2:  Defensive Retreat. People are angry, want to hold on to their old ways and dwell upon the past. 
What to do:  Identify for them areas of stability, things that are not changing.  Ask "What is risky?" and provide reassurance regarding exaggerated dangers.

Stage 3:  Acknowledgement.  People have a sense of sadness over loss, but are letting go, beginning to see the value of what is coming and looking for ways to make it work. 
What to do:  Involve people in planning for what lies ahead, but use a careful decision-making process for structure.  Encourage risk by pointing out support.  Emphasize that everyone is learning.

Stage 4:  Adaptation and Change.  What is coming has arrived.  People are ready to establish new routines, help others and do whatever is called for. 
What to do:  Implement plans.  Support risk-taking. Provide information and new learning occurs.  

Keep in mind that at any given time, different people may be at different stages in the change process.  Only by recognizing the behaviors characteristic of each stage will you be able to sort out what others and you, yourself need.  

Adapted from The Pryor Report


Marvel at How They Are Growing!

Isn't it incredible how quickly children grow?  Only yesterday they were in diapers and now they are going to the first grade, and the next minute they are teenagers.  They are so capable and independent that it is easy to forget that they haven't mastered everything. 

For example, many parents assume that teenagers feel confident and understand all the steps for getting a job when in fact, most teenagers are quite nervous about the whole process.   Although they aren't quick to let you know it, they very well may need your direction.  So instead of saying, "Don't be so lazy....get a job," you might try teaching them the steps for finding a job and sharing some of your experiences.  Then give them time to think it over.  Thinking it over is a kind of mental practice....an important first step before taking action. 

As children grow there will be many times when they reject your help even though they need it.  That's all right....it's just another way of learning.  The biggest challenge for you as parents is to avoid saying, "I told you so."  

When in doubt about what they know, put yourself in their place.  It has taken us years of practice to master what works and what doesn't and still there are many times when we stumble.  Be patient and guide them gently, allowing them to learn from their own mistakes.  Marvel at how they are growing.  Remember that they are finding their way.  

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love A Child, Judy Ford

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Man is so made, that when anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish

Jean DeLaFontaine (1621-1695) Poet


Regain Control of Your Time

You probably feel like you don't have enough time to do everything you want.  How are you going to find the time to get things done?  Here are some tips that might help:

  • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Set daily goals of what you want to accomplish.

  • Learn the theory of "chunking."  Any large project is easier if you break it down into smaller, manageable chunks.  

  • Look for smaller bits of time.  Use short increments of time wisely and you will find you have more time to do the things you like.

  • Watch for "time robbers." If you are using your free time for something you like, but not that much, cut the time you are spending on the time robber.

  • Allow some time for the unexpected.  Let's face it....sometimes things happen that no one can predict.  Be sure you have some time built into your schedule to recover from these "expected unexpected" happenings. 

Try setting up your own "time plan."  You will be amazed at how much more you accomplish and you will probably find time you didn't know you had!


American Association of School Administrators


Developing Mutual Trust

Mutual trust means each person having trust in the other.  If you are to achieve this relationship with others then it must begin with you.  You must be basically honest.  Honesty crops out into sincerity.  And sincerity is the mold for mutual trust.  So let's start with honesty.

Most people believe themselves to be honest.  But, on the other hand, they do not think there is anything wrong with being a little bit dishonest.  Little white lies, exaggerations, minor distortions of the truth, are not really being dishonest, many seem to rationalize.  

But what do you think of the department manager who says, "The people in my department are really upset about this new policy," but, when the truth is known, there have been only one or two minor complaints?  Or how about the salesperson who pads the expense account?  Or fakes the call report to play golf in the afternoon?  Does this build mutual trust?

A judge in a large Midwestern city was describing the causes of juvenile delinquency speaking from personal experience with thousands of young people:  "Children want to be honest.  They do not want to cheat.  They look to their parents and teachers to teach them honesty.  They are confused, let down, and disappointed when they hear one parent on the telephone saying the other parent is not at home.  But they are both in the living room watching TV.  It is these little white lies that tear down the trust and confidence children want to have in their parents.  Children cannot tell the difference between little dishonesty and big dishonesty."  Can anyone?  Don't you have a feeling of insecurity in someone you know does not respect absolute truthfulness and honesty?

Mutual trust starts with your total honesty, even at your expense.  No exaggerations, no cover-ups, no distortions, no little white lies....just complete honesty.  It is a contagious characteristic that will spread to others. 

Adapted from Idea Factory for Teachers, Silver Burdett and Ginn


Oh, Those Lights!

Traditional computer lighting is hard on the eyes and bad for productivity, find the folks who study such things at Cornell University's Department of Design and Environmental Analysis. 

Improvement:  Replace lights that shine directly on the computer screen with indirect lighting, which washes evenly across the ceiling and upper walls.  The indirect system is less bright, with fewer eyestrain-causing "hot spots" and shadows. 

Working Smart

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Great thoughts, like great deeds, need no trumpet.

James Bailey

Great April Links:

KidsGardening.Com:  Planning a garden with your student and need a little virtual help?  Or, your garden is growing great but you need ways to stimulate learning in this environment?  This site, developed by the National Gardening Association, supplies many creative ideas for teachers and parents to use while gardening with children.  Learn about theme gardens, participate in an activity (like Plant a Question), or connect with another "garden" teacher. http://kidsgardening.org/

High School Hub:  A good portal for high school students.  This website has all the major categories an earnest student would look for, as well as reasonable graphics.  Good links in each area, but not a large number, which makes for easy navigation. http://highschoolace.com/ace/ace.cfm

Noble Foundation Plant Image Gallery:  The Plant Image Gallery is designed to assist botanists, ecologists and natural resource managers with the identification of plants.  It should also prove useful to educators, as well as students, who are required to learn plants as a part of their studies.  Further, we hope that those of you with any affinity to plants, hobby or otherwise, will find this to be an interesting and useful site.  http://www.noble.org/webapps/plantimagegallery/

Constructor:  This site is kind of a two-dimensional erector set that lets you choose a shape, put it into motion and then tweak it by taking away gravity, speeding it up and more.  There are directions for this tool, but younger students could just go in and construct something, then write a story about it.  High school and college students could use this when studying physics or robotics. http://www.sodaplay.com/constructor/

Dive and Discover:  Daily updates and quizzes are available from this research project, sponsored by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  The current journey is exploring the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. Research projects include observing and sampling Antarctic plankton populations, a study of whale genetics, based on samples of old whale bones left at an abandoned whaling station on Deception Island, and biological studies on feeding and growth by a different gelatinous animal—a ctenophore, or “comb-jelly”—that preys on young krill. http://www.divediscover.whoi.edu/

Map Adventures:  This site was designed by the USGS so that students can learn and review facts about geography.  The lessons at this website center on a story about a little girl named Nikki who visits an imaginary amusement park. Nikki goes up in an unplanned balloon ride that gives her, and the students, different views of the park.  Seven lessons investigate the concepts of understanding and reading maps. http://interactive2.usgs.gov/learningweb/teachers/mapadv_story.htm


Enjoy some warmth this Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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