In The News                                 April 2012   Vol. 15-4

President’s Message

Last month I took a week off to attend the Conference on World Affairs held in Boulder, Colorado each year..  Speakers come from all over the country to discuss far ranging topics that, although we might not consider on a daily basis, effect us all in one way or another.  This year I had occasion to ponder the projection of technology as it applies to its influence upon each of us.  While the topics were not specific to education, everything eventually points back to learning.  Those of my generation (older) are still woefully behind in their adoption of newer technologies.  The younger generation is definitely in the driver's seat and will no doubt drag us all along...even if we go kicking and screaming.  I don't know about you, but often I get so involved in day to day minutiae that the actions and thoughts of others and movements here and around the world only get a cursory glance.  The week provides me the opportunity to think beyond my self-contained world.  It sparks my imaginings and the possibilities we all have for change and a better world.

I don't often recommend movies, but this week I went to see Bully.  It was troubling and hard to watch.  But it pointed out how easy it is to bury our heads and ignore until confronted personally with its worst consequences.  I would suspect that most of us have been bullied at one time or another and we find it easier to not make an issue of such an offense.  But, consider how much we as individuals and a society lose when our young people are unable to perform, execute, create, learn, express, explore or enjoy... out of fear.  We fail our young people when we do nothing. Our children deserve more from us and we must step into the fray to prevent bullying at any level to take place.  I encourage you to take time out of your busy schedule to see the movie,  to take action in your community  and to make it a priority to protect each of our children from those who would take advantage of them.   

The weather has been so fractious in the past month...changing the lives of many in our Midwest.  Hopefully the next month will settle down and we can truly appreciate what the season offers.  Enjoy a beautiful month.  .     



 Our Connected Community! 

As each week passes more and more friends join our online community.  Please take a few minutes to review one or all of the connections below by clicking on the corresponding icon.  We add material several times a week, so you will want to check back frequently.  We hope you will "like" us.  

   Get tips and information, plus share your own ideas with others.   

   How about a short video of your child using eTutor?  We can help you download it to the eTutor page.  

   Tweet something that inspires you.   

   Do you have a special activity you do with your child?  Post it on the eTutor blog.   

Page 2

Flexible people never get bent out of shape.


Learning with eTutor

Every part of the e-Tutor Lesson Module is important. Sometimes students and parents are not sure of how to use the Vocabulary words presented in each Lesson Module. The Vocabulary section helps students far beyond the particular lesson they are working on.

Vocabulary is essential to comprehension. Students need to apply strategies before, during and after reading to understand the written word.

Each word in the Vocabulary section is hyperlinked to the e-Tutor Dictionary. The words should be reviewed and used in a variety of ways. Students might use the following ideas to build and extend vocabulary skills:

  • Use definitions of words to create word riddles.

  • Group words based on similarities and/or differences.

  • Draw pictures that illustrate the vocabulary word.

  • Play a variation of the card game, Go Fish. Prepare a deck of word cards with five or more sets of four related words in each set (the same word can be used for younger children). Duplicate the cards so that at least each child has a deck for the game. Try to build sets of like words.

  • Go beyond definitions in the dictionary. Explore ways to describe the associations that cluster around the word.

  • Choose a vocabulary word and then answer the following questions: How would a scientist describe this word? How would a judge describe this word? How would a poet describe this word? How would you describe this word?

  • Organize a collection of words:

  • Reference Book: Create vocabulary pages for a three-ring binder.

  • Word Wall: Display collected words and definitions on a bulletin board.

  • Word File: Record words, definitions, and context-rich sentences on index cards.   Place them in a recipe box that organizes the words alphabetically.

Students should not skip this important section of each Lesson Module. Learning new vocabulary is essential to learning.

Nineteen New Lesson Modules were added 
to eTutor this month.

More than 3200 Lesson Modules
are included in the 
eTutor Lesson Library!

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

   The Book Case            

Across Five Aprils
by Irene Hunt
Grades 6 - 10 

This is the second month we have recommended a book by Irene Hunt.  The most powerful theme of Across Five Aprils, a story about the Civil War, is the bond of family. The loving relationships between the Creightons are a constant presence. Hunt also chooses a theme that shows how perceptions of the war can vary. There is a difference between the politics of war and the realities of war; between the newspaper accounts and the first hand accounts. Two minor themes are the power of the Presidency and the importance of justice and forgiveness. The second is even exemplified by the first - President Lincoln does not waver because of gossip and public opinion, but remains even-handed and compassionate.

1965 Newbery Honor Book

Page 3

Success isn't permanent, and failure isn't fatal. 

Admitting Error

A young man entered a psychiatrist's office, walked directly to the doctor's desk, and stood stiffly before him.  He told the doctor that he was there against his will and that he had come only to please his family.

The doctor asked him why his family wanted him to see a psychiatrist.  "I suppose it's because I'm dead," the young man replied. 

The doctor, who thought he had heard them all, asked, "how do you know you are dead?"

"How do you know you're alive?" shot back the young man.

The psychiatrist decided this approach would get him nowhere so he tried another.  "I'm sure you'll agree that dead men don't bleed."  The young man agreed this was true. 

The doctor reached into the desk drawer, asked the young man to roll up his sleeve and jabbed a small needle into his arm.  A spot of blood appeared.  The doctor quickly pressed a glass slide against the blood and held it up for the patient to see.  "There!" he exclaimed triumphantly, "It's blood!"

"My Goodness!!!" said the young man.  "Dead people do bleed, don't they!"

This story seems absurd, at first, but it reflects a common human insist that we are right, to prefer consistency, even when faced with contradictory evidence. 

  Adapted from The Pryor Report

Success Marker

The family is critical to success in school.  Indeed, the "curriculum of the home" is twice as predictive of academic learning as family socioeconomic status...(and) parental influence is no less important in the high school years. 

What Works:  Research About Teaching and Learning, U.S. Dept. of Education

  Happiness Handbook

When you are in a funk, there's nothing more annoying than those people who tell you to just smile your way out of it.  But it turns out, they may be onto something.  Scientists from Wake Forest University found that people who were asked to do something bold and participate in a group conversation...ended up feeling happier than those who kept mum.  In other words, with a little bit of effort, you can turn your own frown upside down.   The author of The How of Happiness, suggests the following:

  1. Practice Acts of Kindness.  People who do five small good deeds one day of the week are happier than those who stretch the same number of kind acts over seven days.  One day of small gestures, such as letting a car ahead in traffic or opening a door for a stranger, can add up to lots of grins all around.

  2. Remember the Good Things.  Once a week, make a quick list of things you're grateful to have...good health or even a great head of hair.  Or try writing a letter to someone who had a positive impact on your life.  Spending as little as eight minutes a week penning a thank you...even without sending it...lifts spirits. 

  3. Predict the Future.  Every week, imagine your life several years down the road, and then make a diary entry that focuses on how well things have worked out.  Did you complete your first 5K run, successfully navigate your kids' tough teen years, or land that promotion you always wanted?  Visualizing a happy, satisfying future can help give you an optimistic feeling for the present.

Adapted from The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky 

Page 4

Sometimes the most complicated task in to keep things simple.


Fly Kites Together

Playing with your children does not have to be expensive nor a day-long affair.  No fancy toys are needed, nor elaborate plans. Enjoying spontaneous, uninhibited play is a natural and refreshing expression of your vitality.  When you allow your adult worries and responsibilities to subside for a while, a miracle of togetherness happens and lasting memories are made.    

Flying kites together makes you feel free and joyous.  As the wind takes hold of the kite, you feel it on your body, gently rocking you back and forth.  The sky quietly accepts you, surrounding you and protecting you.  You become a child yourself and your spirit is free.  When you disappear with the clouds, the dividing line between you and your child dissolves.  Look at the clouds and share the stories they tell.  Run with the wind, or roll on the ground,.  There are no rules, just freedom.  You can't force a kite; you just have to accept where the winds take it.  A wonderful metaphor for life. 

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child,  by Judy Ford

Effects of Time on Creativity

Creativity may not develop under pressure;  it needs time to take shape.  Recognize that there is no urgency toward answers.  Do not attempt to solve an important problem all in one sitting;  give it time to season.  Some artists take years to complete a canvas and make hundreds of preliminary sketches before even attempting to put their ideas into a finished form.  

A permissive atmosphere that allows for mistakes and experimentation, experiences that may be diversified or repetitious mark the time element of discovery.  If the answers were known to problems there would be nothing to be creative about,  is a statement to be remembered. 

The instructional day may be arranged by adults who suppose that everything needs to be finished and completed during a certain time period.  Students may be trained to stop, finished or not, but urgency tends toward stereotype.  Is it any wonder that so few bother to say things differently when it is quicker to repeat another's opinion or catch phrase?  It is simpler to repeat another's and to copy.  To create takes time, energy and perseverance...hard work.  Too often class schedules seem to limit those pupils who have the ability to produce, but due to imposed pressures fail to meet deadlines.  Remember that limited time may frustrate creativity.  

Adapted from Public School Administrator

Every Day Learning

Children are not empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge about letters and their sounds.  Many very young children scream "McDonalds!" when the fast-food establishment is still a long distance away from them.  Environmental print is a powerful teacher and this information can be built upon when children learn letter-sound relationships.  These children discover that "McDonalds," "mother" and other words begin with the "m" sound. 


Page 5

Questions unlock the vault to all human knowledge.


Awesome April Links:

Virtual Knee Surgery (COSI):  This is a totally Flash-driven tutorial that will allow you to conduct a virtual knee replacement. You will be guided step by step throughout the procedure and will have opportunities to interact with various tools such as the bone saw, a tool for cauterizing veins, and so forth. Also includes real photos of the procedure in a separate section which are not too gross.

Turn of the Century Child:  This project will involve you in a study of the life and times of children in the early 1900's.

Explore the Bell (University of Minnesota):   Get up close with Bell Museum's famous diorama collection - online! GigaPan photo technology allows you to explore even the smallest details within the animal dioramas at the Bell Museum. While nothing compares to seeing them in person, this is the best way around to see them via cyberspace!

Chess Kid's Academy:  A unique chess site for kids, teachers and parents.  Interactive chess lessons, quizzes, videos, games and puzzles for kids.  Play chess against the computer.  Online chess books for kids. Everything you need to give your children the best possible start in chess.

Echo-photograph:  Can you match the right sound with the right picture? To find out... you have to be observant and a good listener!

Core Documents of the U.S. Democracy: A core group of current and historical Government publications is being made available for free, permanent, public access via GPO Access.

These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.

Happy Earth Day!

From the 
Knowledge HQ Staff

Copyright © 2012 Knowledge Headquarters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.