May 2003 Vol. 6.5   
http://www.strategicstudies.com
 ..

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Reading Out Loud

The Value of Play

The Father's Note

Learning Writing Skills

Protect Your Child From Crime

Why Standardized Testing

Marvelous May Links

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Reading Out Loud

The Value of Play

The Father's Note

Learning Writing Skills

Protect Your Child From Crime

Why Standardized Testing

Marvelous May Links

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Reading Out Loud

The Value of Play

The Father's Note

Learning Writing Skills

Protect Your Child From Crime

Why Standardized Testing

Marvelous May Links

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Reading Out Loud

The Value of Play

The Father's Note

Learning Writing Skills

Protect Your Child From Crime

Why Standardized Testing

Marvelous May Links

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Reading Out Loud

The Value of Play

The Father's Note

Learning Writing Skills

Protect Your Child From Crime

Why Standardized Testing

Marvelous May Links

Top of Page 

 

 

 

 

 
Presidentís Message

Are there things you have been planning to do,  but never get around to doing them?  Well, my list has grown too long over the years.  This past month I decided to try to reduce the list, by completing some of those long overdue tasks.  But the somewhat mundane tasks have begun to take on a life of their own...growing... even before starting.  As I begin my work, another "something to do, here" crops up.  At this point I'm not sure that I will get very far on the  "to do"  list, but I'm feeling good about the few things I have done.  Painting, wallpapering, patching and repairing....things I haven't had time for in many, many months.  It feels good to use skills I thought I had lost.  

Our children should see us working with our hands, hearts and heads.  It reinforces that learning is not something that is done just one way.  Learning and applying what has been learned uses many skills and tools.  

This is that time of year when many of our students are leaving the program for the summer, while others are returning for summer bridge learning or remediation.   Whatever your students do during the warmer months of the year, remember to provide quiet, contemplating time for them.  Without time to think and create our children loose their ability to use important critical thinking skills.  

Reading should not stop for summer, either.  I can hardly wait to get back to another chapter in one of the novels I am reading.  Our children should find the same fascination in reading and an impelling need to read.  It starts with setting a good example and providing material at the child's level and interest.  In other words, let them choose what to read, but make it a daily habit.   

Have a great month and enjoy the warmth and color that this month brings!   

Have you checked out the resources at  Education On Line?  You will find resources for Primary Grades, Higher Education, K-12 Resources,  Libraries, and Educational NewsGroups.  New links are added frequently so you will want to bookmark this site and return frequently.
 
Learning with e-Tutor:

 Goals of the e-Tutor Science Curriculum 

ASTRONOMY
Students will understand the composition and structure of the universe and Earthís place in it.

OBJECTIVES
     A.   Identify relative sizes and positions of bodies in the solar system.      
     B.   Describe earth as a sphere in the space and a part of the solar planetary system.
     C.    Describe what is known about objects in the solar system.

BIOLOGY/BOTANY
Students will understand how living things function, adapt and change.

OBJECTIVES
    A.   Identify orderliness in nature and the schemes we use to express this order.
    B.   Identify symmetries or patterns in the natural and physical world.    
    C.   Identify fundamental entities which are useful in expressing the structure of nature.
    D.   Understand cycles in which conditions or events are repeated at regular intervals.
    E.   Understand organism as a system which can be characterized by the processes of life.

  ECOLOGY
Students will understand how living things interact with each other and with their environment.

OBJECTIVES
    A.   Identify the growth responses of plants under differing environmental conditions. 
    B.   Identify ways organisms adapt to life in various ecosystems or habitats.
    C.    Describe the relationship of environmental conditions on the diversity of plants and animals.
    D.    Describe how a community interacts with its physical environment. 

  CHEMISTRY/PHYSICS
Students will understand properties of matter and energy and the interactions between them.

OBJECTIVES
    A.   Describe energy/matter and their various forms and relationships.
    B.   Describe interactions of two or more things and the effect each has on the other.
    C.    Describe how different atoms are categorized.
    D.   Understand cause and effect relationships which allow predictions to be made.

GEOLOGY
Students will understand concepts that describe the features and processes of the Earth and its resources.

OBJECTIVES
    A.   Understand cycles in which conditions or events are repeated at regular intervals .
    B.   Understand change including its rate, stages and mechanisms.
    C.   Understand structure and function.
    D.   Understand force as push or pull.

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

Page 2

A book is a friend;  a good book is a good friend.  It will talk to you when you want it to talk and it will keep still when you want it to keep still...and there are not many friends who know enough to do that.

Lyman Abbott

Reading Out Loud

When reading orally, children must not only decode the printed words on a page, they must also communicate the author's meaning to others by varying the voice volume, pitch, phrasing, pauses, tone and reading rate.  When reading orally, children must understand what they are reading in order to communicate the meaning successfully.  As a result, the regular practice of oral reading boosts children's comprehension, producing gains that will transfer to their silent, independent reading of fiction or nonfiction.  

Oral reading also provides opportunities for those not reading to sharpen their listening skills and become active, involved listeners.   

Some activities to increase oral reading skills:

  1. Reading Specific Sentences Aloud.  Have your child read a passage silently.  Ask questions and direct him/her to locate and read the sentence that has the answer.

  2. Multimedia Models.  Play records and tape recordings of poetry, prose and plays.  Encourage discussion of  the way the speakers use their voices to convey meaning. 

  3. Reading Duets.  Have your child choose a reading partner.  Alternate the partners as readers and listeners.

  4. One Minute or Less Oral Reading Fun.  Provide daily opportunities for your child to read orally, such as reading notices, signs or advertisements.

  5. Choral Reading and Play-Reading.   Select poems, dramatic scenes from stories or story description to rehearse for choral readings.  Model the chosen selection.  Have your child choose a part to practice reading orally.

  6. Recording Oral Reading.  Tape or video record plays, choral readings or radio dramas that your child has prepared and practiced. 

Adapted from Silver Burdett

To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization. 

Bertrand Russell

The Value of Play

Everyone senses on some level that the ability to be spontaneous and to play is a basic need and an important characteristic of healthy human beings.  However, not everyone can channel this force for ultimate health and happiness.  Unfortunately, learning to play is something we must do as children; if we do not learn how to play as a youngster, often it is a skill that cannot be learned as an adult.  Teach your child how to use her brain, body, emotions and imagination as vehicles for celebrating her higher self.  When you teach your child to play, you are showing her the path of intellectual, social and emotional transformation...a path which ultimately leads to self-actualization! 

For our young children, everything they do is learning.  Adding fun to the doing and learning will make even the tedious seem like a game.  The more your child plays and does, the more opportunities, she has for finding favorites.  Imagine if you will, what would have happened if Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's family had never set him on a piano bench and place his little hands on the keys?  Nothing.  What a loss that would have been for the world.  One of your most important jobs as a parent is to find out what natural talents lie within your child.  

When a child is born, he has over a hundred billion brain cells.  Through play, trillions of synapses develop connecting these hundred billion cells in the brain.  Each time your preschooler plays a game, listens to music or stories from picture books and interacts with you, new synapses develop and the child's intellect is enhanced.  Play, although it sounds simple, must be taken seriously.  Play is your child's work!

Adapted from The Playful Preschooler,  Instructional Fair

Expectancy and the good life......

Washington Irving once wrote:  "Great minds have purposes; others have wishes."  His insight leads to the realization that without expectancy, we lack purpose.  Achievers, in particular, exhibit this attitude of expectancy.  This shows itself most forcefully in the way they minimize their losses.  They do not grieve over failures or what might have been.  Rather, the achiever looks around the corner in anticipation of the good things that await him.  All he has to do, he believes, is show the determination to get there.  He rejects the notion of "can't."  As a result, he is able to open more doors than others, strike better deals and attract more energetic and resourceful people to work with him.  He sets higher standards and gets others to help him meet them.  He wins confidence and nurtures vitality in others.  He expects to succeed.  When combined with desire, expectancy produces hope.  And hope makes all things possible.  Living the expectant life is simply an act of good judgment.

The Making of An Achiever,  Allan Cox

Page 3

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not. 

Mark Twain

 The Father's Note

Penned in fine handwriting on yellowed paper with frayed edges and tied with a faded red ribbon,  this simple message was recently discovered inside a wall during a renovation.  The communication between father and daughter is genteel and graceful, even though its function is really nothing out of the ordinary.  It is the kind of note we've all left on the kitchen table or stuck to a refrigerator.  But it is not a terse, pragmatic Post-It saying:  "Pam, Jon called.  He'll pick you up at 7:15.  Mom's running errands and will be home soon.  Dad."

Instead, notice that Father addresses his daughter by her full name along with the appellation, "Dear."  While this may seem almost stuffy to us today, it conveys the father's respect and admiration for his child.  

His reference to "your Mother" is also very telling.  First, Mother is capitalized, indicating a title, a position of esteem and influence in the home.  While "Mom" may be perfectly lovely and useful today, there is a certain dignity and grace inherent in the word Mother that reminds us of the vastness of her impact on the family.  Her presence is missed; her return is imminent.  She is engaged in one of motherhood's timeless activities...running errands.  

This simple exchange between a father and a daughter is a reminder that some things never change, such as the love between a parent and a child on the cusp of adulthood.  The next time you dash off a note, write it with courtesy and respect.  In fact, if someone found your note a century from now, what would it reveal about your relationship with your loved ones?

Adapted from Delores Kimball

An Investment That Will Not Return Void

Sure, the stock market may continue to fall or your new car could break down.   There's even a good chance that the expensive French shampoo you purchased may leave your hair dry and lifeless.  Many investments can leave you wondering why you ever invested the time or the money.  

Believe it or not, there is an investment that will not return void.  In the words of Garrison Keillor, "Nothing that you do for children is ever wasted."  The stories, songs, chauffeuring, dance classes, soccer coaching, model cars, recitals, concerts and lessons and even the sleepovers....are investments of time and care that will reap a lifetime of fullness and value for the child who benefits.  

 

Youth is the trustee of posterity.

Benjamin Disraeli, English Prime Minister

Learning Writing Skills

The rapid expansion of knowledge, the use of computers and the advancement of electronic communication have placed new focus on writing skills and written communication.  The development of writing skills begins as early as kindergarten.  The young child is eager to tell about what he or she knows.  Your child has seen things, heard things, experienced things that he or she is eager to share.  The eagerness to tell about things is the springboard from which written expression begins.  This is the time to urge your child to write his or her story...complete with illustrations.  Your child's "scribbles" and pictures become his or her first written story.  This story is an important first step in the journey toward written communication literacy.  

When your child learns the symbol system of the alphabet and the sound-letter relationships, he or she can be urged to use letters to represent the sounds heard in the word.  Your child will write the word the way he or she hears it.  When he or she writes "cnd" for candy and "km" for come you may be concerned about spelling.  But at this point in the development of writing skills, the goal should be to get your child to see that written expression is "talk written down" and to develop in the child the concept that words are written with letters that represent the sounds heard.

Correct spelling will come into focus when the child has mastered more of the phonetic structure of the language and when he or she has learned some of the rules of how letters are strung together to make words.  

By the time your child has reached the intermediate grades, correct spelling, punctuation, form and style are the focus.  Creative writing should still be emphasized and encouraged, but nonfiction and research-based writing should be of equal importance.  Report writing, letter writing and summary writing, as well as paraphrasing, paragraphing and outlining material and acknowledging resources by means of a bibliography become a part of the child's skills. 

During the secondary years, the emphasis is on the expansion and refinement of  written expression.  Creative writing is highlighted as the student studies the writing of others.  Reading and writing go hand in hand as students are given more opportunities to use a variety of resource materials.  The student refines their skills in report writing and business communication including technical writing and memo and letter writing.   

Beginning as a small story recorded in "scribbles" and pictures, your child's writing skills develop continuously from early years to high school and beyond.  The goal for proficiency in written expression is to develop communication skills that will enable students to develop to the maximum of their ability.  

The Master Teacher

Page 4

The secret of success is being solution-oriented, not problem-oriented and having faith that, for every problem, an inherent solution exists.  

Protect Your Child From Crime

Every day, children of all ages are victimized by crime.  You can help make sure your child stays safe.  Following are some tips from a book on ways to protect your child:

  • If your child comes home to an empty house after school, have him or her empty the mailbox.  Most burglaries occur during the day, when the house is empty.  A full mailbox tells a burglar there is no one home. 

  • Be sure your child knows how to find a police officer or other responsible adult when necessary.  The authors say they spoke with one child who believed that police automatically show up when there is trouble.  Good sources of help are store clerks, outdoor work crews or anyone wearing a uniform.

  • Remind children to avoid back stairs, deserted buildings and secluded short cuts. 

  • Try not to frighten your children or be overly anxious yourself.  The authors note that making children overly fearful can do as much long-term damage as a brush with crime. 

76 Ways to Protect Your Child from Crime, Jerry Simmons and George McCall

Why Standardized Testing?

When the topic for discussion is standardized testing, there may be more questions than answers.  The testing program in school systems and in the world of business and industry has become so much a way of life that we are beginning to look for some answers to our questions about the place such testing has in education.

Why are we involved in a program of this magnitude?  The call for accountability in education brought a clamor for a standard by which students of diverse backgrounds could be compared both individually and as a group.  Grades could not be used because of variability from one situation to another.  It was necessary to develop a standard of performance for each age and grade level so that any student could be compared to a uniform standard.  

Testing companies developed such a standard by carefully analyzing the performance of hundreds of thousands of school-age children on a test and establishing a "norm" for performance at each age and grade.  These "norms" are the standard by which student performance on the test is judged.  

Test results give us data by which we can compare performance between students, between schools and between states.  Information from testing can be a useful tool in improving educational experiences, but we must never lose sight of the fact that a standardized test is a sample of a student's performance at one specified period of time.  It is not the total picture.  It never evaluates everything he or she knows.  It may never reveal all of the talent and potential that are present. 

Testing is here to stay.  We are fascinated with the concept of measuring and quantifying things around us, including the degree to which a student has learned.  The subject of testing is very broad.  There are still many questions and not enough answers.

The Master Teacher

Page 5

The teacher, whether mother, priest or schoolmaster, is the real maker of history.

H. G. Wells

Marvelous May Links

Wild Birds:  Follow that bird.  At this site there are links to identifying a species by location, behavior, color size and habitat.  There is also a baby birds and eggs link.    http://www.wildbirds.com

Website Construction:  Something for everyone,  this site works hard to appeal to all sorts of website creators.  Beginners can visit the Getting Started section for a step-by-step tutorial on building a site using a word processor.     
http://www.builder.com

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: The Smithsonian's museum of modern and contemporary art has developed this site to help students learn about different types of art while providing them with an opportunity to explore the nature of their own artistic creativity.  
http://hirshhorn.si.edu

Flashy Myths:  The Big Myth is an experimental learning module designed for use in primary school classrooms.  The site examples myths from different cultures about the creation of the world using Flash animation and cultural overviews, a pantheon of the cultural gods and educational exercises.  http://www.bigmyth.com

Food Facts and Creations:  Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the history of food at the Food Timeline.  The site also includes links to related web pages.  
http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/kid/food.html

Hot Spots:  Last year wildfires blazed through the Western States.  National Wildfires offers up-to-date government information on fires plaguing the country.  The site lists wildfires by state, along with the scope of each blaze, what percentage of the fires are under control and the specific area threatened by fires.  
http://wildfires.nwcg.gov/

9/11 As History:  The Families and Work Institute, a non-profit research center, developed this site that includes a wealth of information, such as tips for talking with children and 16 age-appropriate lesson plans for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.   
http://www.familiesandwork.org/911ah/911ashistory.html

News Hour Extra:  All news on this site is geared specifically toward a youthful audience.  On the main page, students can read top stories and peruse daily headlines.  On "Daily Buzz,"  kids can catch up on other important issues, including finding employment, the state of terrorism and peace in the Middle East.  
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/

Enjoy a Wonderful Month!

From the Staff at Strategic Studies Corporation

 
Copyright © 2003 Strategic Studies Corp.
http://www.strategicstudies.com