eNews                                          April 2014 Vol. 17-4

President's Message

This month I have spent many hours walking around my garden just watching to see what is coming up through the ground, which buds are beginning to show and whether my flowering trees have wintered well. Although the blossoms and early flowers are providing color, I get excited thinking of the beauty to come. Do, I sound like  dawdling old gardener?  Oh, well, it can't be helped....gardening provides a change of scenery for me, exercise and the miracle of growth.   

The month has kept us busy updating, editing and making changes in our large library of lesson modules.  It is hard work as three editors work on each lesson module. I think everyone will be glad when the update is complete. If you have comments or suggestions, this is the time to make them.  Updating and improving instructional content is important to our goal of providing the best in online learning.

How is it in your part of the world?  It has become increasingly difficult to drive around every road seems to be under repair. The long and harsh winter left pits and holes in roads and this is the time of year when communities update and improve their infrastructures. This invariably involves tearing up miles of roads. Instead of fuming it just seems wiser to embrace the opportunity to celebrate the  warmer weather and get away from the car and walk.  And, my bike is beckoning. So, perhaps there is a message here, to leave the car at home more often. 

This is the month that we begin to receive calls seeking information about summer school and credit recovery course work.  Students can start at anytime, as we offer open enrollment.  During the 2 1/2 month schedule, our educators and coordinators are very busy meeting the needs of a very diverse population of student. Most summers we end up with a waiting list.  So, don't delay in signing up your student. 

May the beauty and warm days of this season provide a new beginning for you and your family.



Connect to Us

 Connecting Students and Families to the Best in Online Learning

This month we were asked how we would change traditional schooling if we had the opportunity. Shortly thereafter,  we learned about an organization that is building gathering places where self-directed learning might take place. Have your given any thought to how the future of education might look? Share your ideas with all of us in one of the following:   

   Facebook - Don't forget to click "Like" when visiting. 

   Twitter - Sign up to receive our tweets.   

   eTutor Blog - You have an opportunity to really express yourself here.   

  Pinterest - You will find favorites from our newsletters here.  

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You can find on the outside only what you possess on the inside. 

Learning with eTutor

Online education represents a new kind of challenge for students. Each student’s and parent’s expectations differ widely, and the eTutor response may not always meet expectations. There are some things all students can expect. Students can expect to be challenged academically. They can expect to not understand everything they experience in an online educational program. They can expect to not always see the relevance of what they are asked to do. But, they also can expect that resources will be available to help them.

It may seem obvious, but it sometimes comes as a shock to students that online learning will require increased academic skill.  Subject to state and local requirements for the required number of days of attendance and hours of instruction required, eTutor allows students to structure the school day flexibly to best meet their own learning needs.  An activity originally expected to account for one hour of a student's day for three days running can be extended to three hours in one day if the task proves absorbing; conversely, a concept expected to take a week of work may be mastered in one day.

Students can receive help during the day from eTutor resource staff at Knowledge HQ.  Every student will be required to master the skills and knowledge covered by the rigorous curriculum, which meets or exceeds common core and national standards.


  You may have noticed changes in some lesson modules. This month we have been editing eTutor instructional content.

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

Did you know that those who have joined the Writers' Circle come from around the world?  These inventive writers continue to create interesting and inspiring lessons for their students as well as eTutor students.   Use the template at to create your own lessons to motivate and inspire your students to really delve into the concept or skill about which you are teaching.  Interesting topics from LessonPro this month:  

  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Solving a Linear Equation Using a Table of Values
  • The Gas Laws
  • Wildlife Management
  • Easy Steps in Decision Making 
  • Writing a Personal Narrative
  • Quadratic Equations 
  • Comenzando a Escribir

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

   The Book Case            

The Wheel on the School 
by Meindert DeJong, Illustrated by Maurice Sendak 

Ages:  8 - 12 

This is the story of a group of children in Holland who have the dream that one day storks will return to nest in their small town of Shora. In this small fishing village, there are only six small schoolchildren. But when one of them asks a small question, big things start to happen. Soon the whole town is involved and dreams just might come true. Through touching character interactions and teamwork, the children enlist the entire community to realize their goal of putting “a wheel on the school”.

1955 Newberry Award Winner

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Life gets better when you get better.


If you haven't explored eTutor Unplugged you will want to this month.  You can sign in as a sample student, view samples by subject or just check out an introduction to each of the lesson modules being offered through this amazing application.  You might want to  use it to keep your student involved in learning during the summer months. 

Science Can Be Fun!

Programs that emphasize arming all students with the critical thinking skills needed to function in a society which is increasingly dependent on science and technology include:

  • Hands-On learning. Students learn to think, act and discover like scientists by collecting and cataloging rock samples, observing animal behavior, analyzing cell tissue, measuring and charting plant growth, and testing properties of chemical substances.

  • Team approach.  Students work in groups with their peers, just as scientists collaborate on experiments when pursuing their theories.

  • Less emphasis on memorization and textbooks. Understanding the scientific method is the main purpose of science teaching.

What can you do to encourage your child's interest in science:  A walk in the park,  trip to the zoo or a visit to a science museum opens up an opportunity for you to talk about science.  You too might discover something in the process.

Adapted from Community Link

 How Powerful are Expectations?

The studies go on and on. But the implications are quite obvious and perhaps a bit frightening.  A little like voodoo or the witch doctor poking pins in the doll likeness of an individual and that individual suffering severe anguish, even death. Carried to their ultimate conclusions one might imagine that all sorts of expectations, positive and negative, maybe conjured in the mind of one to create the cauldron of human behavior for another.

Let's examine these examples and studies more closely, for there are characteristics, other than expectations or self-fulfilling prophecies, that play a part. They are a little like the case of the young boy stealing food. He was examined by psychologists, tested, environmental characteristics noted, and a childhood work-up completed to determine why he stole.  Then the arresting officer's report was read and in it was the sentence that revealed the strongest motivation.  It said, "The boy was hungry."

Of course positive expectations of one person are a factor in influencing another's behavior.  But to say that expectations alone mold behavior is similar to examining professional golfers and discovering that they have strong hands, and presuming, therefore, that strong hands make people superb golfers.  There are other variable involved in the studies conducted that are more obvious, and less profound, than expectations.  

Adapted from the The Public School Administrator

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In everything one must consider the end.

Jean DeLFontaine(1621-1695) Poet


When Your Teen Goes To A Party

Teenagers often run into serious discipline problems in connection with parties they attend or host. Parents can help avoid these problems by taking a few precautions each time a party is planned.

When your teen goes to a party....

  • Plan to be up to greet him or her when they come home.

  • When you take your teen to a party be sure to introduce yourself to the host.

  • Call the host parent before the party to clarify ground rules such as no drugs or alcohol.

  • Be sure your children know that you expect them to leave a party if drugs or alcohol are use. 

  • Be sure your children know not to drive with someone who has been drinking.

  • Make it easy for your child to leave the party.  Be sure there is someone your child can call at any time for a ride home.

Adapted from School Public Relations Service

Written Symbols

As part of our language and communication system, spelling serves the writer in recording ideas, and assists the reader in comprehending the message. The purpose of learning to spell becomes evident to students as they endeavor to transcribe ideas in to written symbols which can be read by themselves and others. The ultimate goal of spelling instruction is to develop skills that will enhance students' abilities and confidence as effective writers and communicators. 

Conventional or standard spelling assists the reader's understanding and fluency. Excessive concern for the use of conventional spelling by young students can limit their writing to those words they can spell accurately.  This impedes the flow and communication of ideas. Emphasis on correctness can make young students anxious about writing and exaggerate the challenge or difficulty of spelling.

It is important to keep the purpose of conventional spelling in proper perspective. Although accurate spelling is a goal in all writing, conventional spelling is emphasized in writing which is to be shared with or read by others. 

Adapted from Elementary English Language Arts - Spelling

What Motivates Students?

How do students account for their academic achievement?  A study by the Department of Education has examined what students sat about their motivation. Here is how students account for their academic success:

  • They believe that ability and effort are the main reasons for school success.  If asked whether they would prefer to be called smart or hard-working, they will choose smart almost every time.  They believe that hard-working students risk being considered excessively ambitious or of limited ability, both of which are embarrassing

  • To avoid unpopular labels, students...especially the brightest...believe they must strike a balance between the extremes of achievement, not too high and not too low. Many students adopt an attitude of indifference to hard work.

  • At the extreme, many low-achieving students deny the importance of learning and withhold the effort it requires in order to avoid the stigma of having tried and failed.

Adapted from Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB)

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Prepare for mirth, for
mirth becomes a feast. 

William Shakespeare, Pericles

Awesome April Links:

The Science Toymaker:  This non-commercial site features projects that use easily-available, inexpensive materials, and don't require special skills, tools materials or facilities. Activities are thoroughly tested to work, yet also have the potential to be improved by creative inventors and tinkerers.

Scribbler: Another fun and amazing interactive doodad from Ze Frank. Make a simple line drawing online, then use The Scribbler to turn it into a different kind of masterpiece. A must visit!

Swticheroo Zoo: Create crazy animals that could never exist at this surrealistic virtual zoo!

Make Your Own Kite:  Learn how to make your own simple kite! You can also find out how kites fly, and read stories from around the world that explain the origins of kites!

Simple Machines: You might never have thought of the lid on your toilet as a machine, but this site shows how simple mechanical devices dominate our everyday life. By inspecting items in a home, garage, and tool shed, visitors discover levers, gears, axles, inclined planes and other simple mechanics. Which simple principle is behind the lid of your toilet? You'll need the free Flash player.


Enjoy a 'Spring' In What You Do This Month! 

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