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In The News
                        May 2005   Vol. 8-5

 
President’s Message

This month I have had some wonderful conversations with parents who are seeking a different approach to learning for their students.  You know, it doesn't matter where we come from, we all want the same thing for our children.  We want them to be independent, good citizens and happy.  A good education is key to their success and we as parents know that.  Often we feel like our hands are tied, that schools don't hear us and our children are caught in the middle.  And, sometimes our children take out their frustration on us.  I spoke with a parent this morning who said her children don't think she knows anything.  In another conversation this morning, I spoke with a student who understood that he was responsible for his own learning.  We as parents and educators can place before the student a wonderful and informative learning program, but if the student does not step up to the plate and take responsibility for learning,  frustrations arise all around.  e-Tutor was developed to give parents a different choice from institutional learning.  A large library of lessons gives the student a choice about topics he or she is most interested in.   We believe this approach values the wishes of the parent and respects the needs of the student.  

Also this month, I have had the opportunity of thrilling in the success students are achieving through the e-Tutor One2One program.  A tutor is assigned to each student. Assignments are created with the express student in mind. Tutor and student communicate with each other throughout the week.  Students have access to a wider range of lessons, constant monitoring by the tutor and one on one contact during the tutor's office hours.  Tutors work from Knowledge Headquarters Center in Chicago during their office hours.  This provides us the opportunity to celebrate student success together. It has been especially rewarding for me, as in planning and  developing such a program, one is often hesitant of its true success.  What a delight it is to see students so actively involved in their learning, to see tutors take such an interest in each individual student and to view some of the outstanding work that the students are doing under the guidance of their tutor!  It is certainly more than I imagined.  I am pleased for the students, for the tutors and for the parents who have sought a different approach for their child's learning!

This month we added one more certificate of accreditation for the e-Tutor Program.  This accreditation is granted by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.  e-Tutor Virtual Learning has demonstrated to the academic community that it effectively advances the quality of the educational experiences it provides for its students and is in compliance with the standard and criteria of this commission.  When we met with the NCA officials last Fall they stated that we were ahead of the curve in educational programming.  We were pleased to hear that news.  As many of you know, e-Tutor was first launched in 1997.  The recognition confirms what we know, that education must  change to meet the changing needs of our students.  Knowledge HQ is happy to be at the forefront of this change.   

This is one of the most beautiful times of the year.  I hope your busy schedules offer you the time to stop and enjoy the wonderful world we live in.    


Summer Programming

Are you looking for a program to keep your child involved with learning over the summer?  Learn More.

Does your child need a refresher course?  Learn More.

Would you like to try online learning for a short period of time? Learn More.

Page 2

Hidden talent counts for nothing. 


 
Learning with e-Tutor

 

WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

It is that time of year again, when subscribers are telling us about how they used e-Tutor during the school year.  Although most subscribers are individuals, there are many schools and school districts that use e-Tutor, as well.  We thought you might like to read comments from one school district. And you may even get some ideas about extending the learning for your child.

Students:

¨      I really enjoy e-Tutor because I think that it helps me to learn faster.  Also, because I think it’s helping me with raising grades higher.  I also think it is an easier way of learning.  I like the way we have our own password, so no one gets in my property.

 

¨      I hope e-Tutor stays the same.  I like all the real pictures.  I like studying about new animals.

 

¨      I feel happy because I like to see pictures because they’re interesting.  I like to find out about oceans.  States very much.

 

¨      I enjoy using e-Tutor because it is easy to use.  It helps kids remember things.  You have to remember your passwords.  I like the way you can get to other web sites.

 

¨      I like e-Tutor because they have a lot of big words that I learned.

 

¨      I like it a lot because there are a lot of links.

 

¨      I like the pictures of the creatures.

 

¨      I think it’s teaching a lot more than a book.  With a book you can’t press a word and the book tells you about it.  I like this program.

 

¨      I sometimes don’t like e-Tutor cause the on the quiz there are hard problems and I get bad grades.

 

¨      I like the pictures that are in the screen.  I like the web sites so much, but I wish they had more websites.

 

¨      I really like the Art Gallery at the top of e-Tutor.  I also like how on the study guides they have lots of pictures.

 

¨      I think e-Tutor is an enjoying website.  I like e-Tutor because they teach you more words.  It even teaches you a lot of stuff.

 

¨      I feel that e-Tutor is making me get better grades.  I really enjoy e-Tutor because it is helping me learn what words mean.

Teachers:

¨      We used e-Tutor for the geometry unit and the kids loved it.  Their favorite lesson was the one on tessellations.  I was able to follow up with an art lesson using the knowledge that they received from the site.  I personally loved the real math situational lesson on remodeling a room in a house.  They had to measure, visit other sites for paint formulas and prices regarding flooring treatments.  It was a multi-task lesson that really made them think.  I had them work in pairs.  We actually have a large bulletin board in the pod on tessellations and scale drawing that was an inspiration from the lessons. 

 

¨      My experience with e-Tutor has been a very positive one.  I was able to select many lessons that correlated with our fourth grade curriculum.  Being able to bring my students to the lab four days each week, I delivered much of our science and social science through e-Tutor.  For each lesson I would have students complete a lesson preview to learn the vocabulary words and to discuss prior knowledge.  As they read through the study guide and web sites, students would take notes in an organizer I provided.  The lesson activity seemed to be the most enjoyable for students.  The variety of activities kept their interest from lesson to lesson.  Those who finished the activity before the majority of the class would complete the lesson extension.  Others could complete the extension at home for extra credit.  For my class, they needed to take four to five practice quizzes before taking the exam.  The immediate feedback is wonderful!

 

¨      I think my students enjoyed using e-Tutor.  It worked well because 90 percent of my students had computers at home, which was a big advantage.  Of course, some of the time constraints made it difficult to use as much as I would have preferred.  I did find it useful on several levels.  The resources provided and the opportunity to regulate my students work and progress were very beneficial.  My students were more apt to pay attention to deadlines and seemed more engaged by the computer tests than other forms.  I did find myself using more essay questions however, which was a little more time consuming to grade.  Also, I spent more time adapting the lessons to my classroom than I had anticipated but the resources and background material were very helpful.  

Excerpts from a Suburban Illinois Elementary School District

Three new lessons 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 Ninth Wave

There is an ancient superstition of the sea that, inevitably, one wave comes along that is greater than any that has preceded it.  It is called the Ninth Wave.  It is the powerful culmination of sea and wind.  There is no greater force.  To catch the Ninth Wave at the critical moment requires a special skill, timing your movements to mount it at its peak.  

Today we see such a powerful wave in our future.  Our own Ninth Wave, bringing with it significant change.  To catch this Wave, this change, we must prepare now.  So that when it is our turn to respond, we can catch the mighty Ninth with the best that is in us and ride it all the way to the shore. We hope you will join us in riding this powerful wave of change.

The Executive Speechwriter Newsletter

Page 3

The difference between failure and success is doing a thing nearly right and doing it exactly right.

 

Words To Spare

Every day Janice jotted down a joke or a few words of encouragement on a napkin that she placed in her son Eric's lunch box.  And every afternoon, Eric returned his lunch box to her with the spent napkin inside.  Janice often wondered if he even read the notes.

One day, Eric returned his lunch box without the note.  Janice's curiosity got the better of her and she asked, "Sweetie, where's your note?"

Eric looked at her, not sure if he had done something wrong.  "I gave it to Kyle," he said.  "His mother doesn't give him notes and I ...well...I thought he could use mine."

"You did?" Janice questioned.

"Yeah. His Nana is really sick and he's so sad right now,"  Eric explained.  "Maybe you can write a note for him tomorrow or maybe I can give him the one you wrote last Thursday.  That was a good one."

Janice shook her hear, in awe of her boy.  She hadn't been sure the notes held any importance for him.  And now she knew that Eric not only appreciated them, he thought they were important enough to pass on. 

Bits & Pieces


Expanding Knowledge -  Using Activities and Extended Learning

Students and sometimes parents are often not aware of the significance of the Activities and Extended Learning Activities included with each e-Tutor lesson.  They provide important skill work in problem solving and critical thinking, sometimes referred to as metacognition.

Researchers define metacognition as "....being aware of our thinking as we perform specific tasks and then using this awareness to control what we are doing."  To think metacognitively about a learning task,  three types of knowledge must be acquired by the learner:  declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge and conditional knowledge.  

Declarative knowledge is factual information.....what the researchers refer to as "knowing that."  An example of declarative knowledge is a learner's knowing that a glossary is different from a table of contents and if they come across an unfamiliar word, the glossary rather than the table of contents would be the place to find the unfamiliar word's definition.  

Procedural knowledge is "knowing how"; knowing how to combine word clues with prior knowledge and experience to make an inference is an example of procedural knowledge.  

The third category of knowledge, conditional, refers to knowing when to use a particular learning strategy (e.g., activating prior knowledge) over another and knowing why this strategy is the best way to approach a learning task.  

The three types of knowledge form the cognitive knowledge that learners must acquire before they become "strategic learners." 

Strategic Learning involves:

  •  Learning with clear purposes in mind
  •  A plan for achieving those purposes 
  •  A set of backup strategies that can be used when the purposes are not being achieved 

Research has shown that students can be taught learning strategies, such as setting a purpose for learning, activating prior knowledge, predicting, evaluating, summarizing, comprehension monitoring and making inferences.  This is why the Activities and Extended Learning sections are included with each e-Tutor lesson.  Parents should participate in discussing the completed responses with the student.

The learner's past exclusion from this important "tool of the learning trade" could cause problems when one wants to know how the learner solves a particular problem or what the learner is thinking while he or she completes a task.  The payoff in learning these strategies is increased student responsibility for learning.  

Excerpts from Silver Burdett & Ginn

Page 4

Initiative is to success what a lighted match is to a candle. 


Getting What You Want

Setting goals can help you plan your future one step at a time.  Setting goals is simply defining what you want.  That's not so hard, is it?  Knowing what your goals are makes it easier to make choices that will help you reach them.  A practical goal is a concrete thing that can be measured.  If you say, "I want to be in charge of my own life," that is a hard thing to measure.  But if you say, "I want to live in my own apartment in six months and pay my own rent," that's something that you can look at in six months and say you accomplished it or you didn't.  

Goals and dreams are not the same thing.  Dreaming of living on a Caribbean island and teaching windsurfing all day is most often a dream.  Although it is sometimes fun to fantasize about that life,  especially when tired and it's cold outside.  If living on a Caribbean island and teaching windsurfing all day really was your goal, you would be actively working toward it, trying to make it a reality. The following will help you set realistic goals: 

First, make sure your goal is something you really want to do, stated in a positive way.  In other words, don't say, "I don't want to live with my parents."  Instead, state it positively:  "I want to live on my own as a responsible adult."

Next, break your goal into concrete mini-goals.  If your were trying to make that Caribbean dream come true, your mini-goals might include: learn to windsurf; research Caribbean islands; find out how expensive it is to live in the Caribbean; and research owning a small business in the Caribbean. 

Within each mini-goal, you might break it into small steps.  Learn to windsurf might get broken down into: check the Yellow Pages;  call county park system; call windsurfing equipment stores to find out about lessons; save $25 a week for lessons.

By breaking down a big goal into mini-goals and then by breaking those mini-goals down into steps, you keep from being overwhelmed.  Make sure those mini-goals and steps are concrete and measurable.  Then you will have a real sense of accomplishment when meeting those goals.  

It is also helpful to set deadlines.  A long-term goals of, say owning a car, might have a deadline two years away.  A shorter-term deadline, like improving your social life, might be only two months away.  If you know when you would like to accomplish your overall goal, it helps to set deadlines for your mini-goals, too.  Just work backward.  If you want to buy a car in two years, then maybe you have mini-goals of taking a driver's ed course to lower your insurance, research the best cars in your price range, create a budget and get a job right now.  

Don't let anybody tell you that you can't accomplish things just because you are a teenager.  Instead, think about what you want most for your life and then set goals so that you can accomplish it!

Adapted from The Next Step Magazine


"F" Doesn't mean "Panic"

While it is too late to improve grades already recorded, there are ways parents can help children succeed in the next marking term.  First, put the "F" in perspective.  A child who flunks math will not necessarily be barred from a good college.  College admissions officers consider many factors when reviewing potential freshmen, such as SATs, class rank, extracurricular activities and grades in all subjects.  Bringing up the "F" also should be viewed favorably.  But there are ways parents can help children ensure that problems in grasping basic concepts do not evolve into difficulty with more advanced courses in later years. 

  Uncover the "real" problem.  Rule out any underlying reasons for your child's failing grade, such as the need for glasses, hearing problems, a learning disability or problems with friends.  Look for signs of substance use, particularly if you see a drastic change in performance. Then have a heart-to-heart talk with your child to pinpoint difficulties.  Getting to the bottom of the problem is the first step in correcting it. 

   Map a strategy for success.  Outline a plan to bring your child's grade up to par.  This might involve a set homework routine every night with no exceptions, the elimination of television, cell phone and extracurricular privileges until grades improve, a notebook to organize all tests and assignments and help from you whenever he needs it.  Let your child know that if he is willing to put in the time and effort, he can get a better grade. 

   Consider other options.  if your child is still lagging behind in a subject despite your efforts, you could go a step further.  This might mean an online course, remedial classes, summer school, an after-school tutor or, in some cases, counseling to improve classroom behavior or motivation.  By keeping on top of your child's progress, you will know if these additional measures are necessary.

   Never give up.  Don't dwell on the failure.  Discuss it with your child, then put it behind both of you.  Remind her of recent successes, such as her detailed science project, her progress in gymnastics or her helpfulness around the house.  Remember: You can rekindle her confidence.  Just because she failed in math, she is not a failure. 

The Community Link


Helping Children 
Deal With Stress

If an adult believes it is necessary to help a child cope with stress, several approaches are available and may be used alone or in any combination.

  • Help with understanding.  Children are not always able to recognize symptoms. Adults can help children understand the symptoms and recognize the events that cause them. One way to do this is to label the feelings and connect events to them whenever possible. Such as, 
    "You're angry at Jimmy because he wouldn't share his toys."  This labels the emotion and links it to the event that caused it.

  • Provide emotional support. It is important for adults to acknowledge children's feelings as valid.  Emotions are not right or wrong.  They are an individual's response to an event based upon their perceptions.  Therefore, while your perceptions may differ from your children's you must acknowledge your children's right to feel as they do.  When children know that adults respect their feelings, they will be more willing to allow adults to help them examine and cope with these feelings. 

  • Provide structure and control.  Children need structure.  They need to know what the rules are and they will test to find the limits.  Children experience less stress when the rules and limits are consistent.  Parents who are firm, but fair, provide an environment that produces less stress than do parents who are too harsh or too lenient.  For those children who grow up in a reliable, consistent environment, the world appears to be a safe place and children understand their role in that world. 

  • Help children develop coping skills.  Many stress reduction activities have been developed to help individuals cope with stress.  Most of these techniques are appropriate for children and can be highly effective in helping children deal with stressful events.  

It is not an adult's responsibility to eliminate all stress from children's lives.  This is not possible or desirable.  However, helping children learn to deal with stress will enable them to deal with the inevitable stress that is in all of our lives. 

Adapted from National Education Association


Automotive Skills

KnowledgeHq.com now offers students a vocational track in automotive.
ASE automotive certification prep courses. Each Online Course includes 20-30 minutes of high-quality video clips detailing various Tasks from the ASE Task list. You receive access to everything listed below.

  • Engine Repair
  • Automatic Transmission/Transaxle
  • Manual Drive Train & Axles
  • Suspension & Steering
  • Brakes
  • Electrical/Electronic Systems
  • Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Engine Performance
  • Advanced Engine Performance
  • Automobile Parts Specialist
  • Service Consultant

    OBD-II Getting On-Board
    OBD-II General Motors Vehicles
    OBD-II Ford Motor Co. EEC-V
    OBD-II Chrysler Corp Vehicles

    Learn More


Page 5

When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

Magical May Links:

Bill of Rights Institute: This site offers a large selection of free lesson plans 
available to teachers looking for a way to bring the Bill of Rights and 
the Constitution to life. Primary Source Activities, Citizenship and Character Lessons and Historical Narratives offer new ideas for the study of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution and how those amendments affect U.S. society.
http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/

PBS Kids Cyberchase:  A fun math related game is available every day at Cyberchase. Games reinforce important math concepts. Pump up your math skills and have a little fun at the same time. Take the poll (and have students apply their knowledge of graphs) or have a peek at the next day's show.
http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/

Silk Road Seattle:  Silk Road Seattle is an education project using the "Silk Road" theme to explore cultural interaction across Eurasia from the beginning of the Common Era (A.D.) to the Sixteenth Century. Translations of primary 
texts are available. 
http://depts.washington.edu/uwch/silkroad/index.shtml

Celebrating Sondheim: Add movement, multiculturalism and logical/mathematical intelligence to your learning.  Look to the teaching resources at this ArtsEdge website for Into the Woods, Jr., Sondheim's Into the Woods and Dancing in the Park with Friends.
http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/exploring/mt/sondheim/artsedge.html

Build the Virtual Frog:  “Building a frog can be harder than it looks.” This activity was suggested as a great follow up to Froguts. Students can read the guide and take the hints that appear after a few wrong moves.
http://www-itg.lbl.gov/vfrog/builder.html

Medicine and Madison Avenue:   These ads illustrate the variety and evolution of marketing images from the 1910s through the 1950s. The collection represents a wide range of products such as cough and cold remedies, laxatives and indigestion aids and vitamins and tonics, among others. Compare health information with media literacy and U.S. History.
http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/mma/

Have a Great Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

Copyright © 2005 Knowledge Headquarters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. www.knowledgehq.com