In The News                                  May 2009   Vol. 12-5


President’s Message

Beautiful May.....What a pretty month.  It seems we have been waiting for this month all winter.  The warmer air brings us outside.  Plants and flowers are in full bloom, the grass is green, trees have leafed out.   It is hard not to smile, the warmth of the days brings warmth to our hearts.  

Why are we not seeing more return from the highly touted program, "No Child Left Behind?"  While some students at the lower grades seem to be doing better, the graduation rate is worse than it was when the program was started.  All that effort and money and what do we have to show for it?  An Alabama mother called to tell me that she was very discouraged.  Her sons had gifted classes only 30 minutes per week.  All the emphasis was being placed on the lower students in preparation for testing.  Several years ago, one of my sons came home with the question of how he could be gifted one year, but not the next.  Schools are still not meeting the needs of students, no matter what their academic level.  Every student deserves a superior instructional program. Every student should be challenged to be the best he can be.

Maybe this is simplistic, but perhaps there needs to be a real change in instructional delivery.  When you consider, for the most part, we are teaching as we have for a hundred years, it might be time for a change in how we view education.  Perhaps the stake holders have too much to lose in changing what they have always done. Maybe it is time to look outside the educational arena to learn how others have achieved large scale successes. 

At Knowledge Headquarters we continue to look for ways to change views on education.  We believe education has hardly a toe into the world of technology.  The same old paradigms will not work for today's youth.  Technology may be able to open the doors of a new vista in education if done appropriately.  e-Tutor is one step in that direction.       

In Memory.    

   

 


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Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.  

Abbé Dimnet, Art of Thinking, 1928


Learning with e-Tutor

Science

This month we want to focus your attention on the Sciences.  e-Tutor offers a broad spectrum of science subjects.  Many are not taught in public and private schools.   Lesson modules in each subject include age appropriate content and materials and are taught across all grade levels. Lab work is virtual in the e-Tutor program.     

ASTRONOMY
Students will understand the composition and structure of the universe and Earth’s 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.


* At this time of year, we spend a lot of time reviewing where students are in their educational progress.  Many are graduating, others are going on to public or private schools and yet others are taking the summer off and just want to know how they are doing.  It doesn't matter how often we say it, but students are to complete each part of the lesson modules.  Those who do not complete all sections of each lesson module may not receive credit for their work.


Nineteen New Lesson Modules  
were added to the 
e-Tutor Lesson Library this month!

Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view 
over 2,600 lesson modules.  

www.e-tutor.com


Writers Unite!

Do you enjoy writing?  Are you looking for ways to earn a little extra this summer?  Have you got topics of interest you want to teach to your students and share with others?  Summer is the time when Knowledge Headquarters expands, rewrites and improves upon the instructional content of e-Tutor.  

If you are interested in being a part of our Circle of Writers login to www.lessonpro.net and sign up to write lesson modules.  Every lesson module you create can be used by you and your students.  Knowledge HQ reimburses writers for exceptional lesson modules that follow our guidelines and will add value to the e-Tutor program.  For more information email: info@knowledgehq.com


   The Book Case            

The Tale of Despereaux: 
Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, 
Some Soup and a Spool of Thread 
by Kate DiCamillo

 3rd Grade and Up
              

Despereaux is a mouse. A very small mouse with large ears, who lives in a castle in a kingdom where soup and rats are outlawed. And he doesn’t like to do mouse things. He’d rather read fairy tales in the castle’s library than scout for crumbs. One day, he is entranced by music and finds himself in the presence of the king and Princess Pea. This one meeting sets in motion events that lead to a death sentence, encounters with rats, and the kidnapping of the princess.

The book was the winner of the 2004 Newbery Award. It has been made into a movie that was released in December  2008.

View a discussion guide for this book. 

 


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I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.  

Abraham Lincoln


Questioning Reading Material

In choosing books for children the following was recently found in a book of poetry.  Although aimed at boys of the period the guidelines are worthy  today of consideration by all parents:

Read your children's books yourself.  Or better still, get your child to read them aloud to you.  Ask yourself during the reading:

  • Does this book lay stress on villainy, deception or treachery?

  • Are all the incidents wholesome, probable and true to life?

  • Does it show young people contemptuous toward their elders and successfully opposing them?

  • Do the young characters in the book show respect for teachers ad other in authority?

  • Are these characters the kind of young people you wish your children to associate with?

  • Does the book speak of and describe pranks, practical jokes and pieces of thoughtless and cruel mischief as though they were funny and worthy of imitation.

  • Is the English good and is the story written in good style?

Adapted from One Hundred and One Famous Poems (1958)


Get to the Truth of the Message

When other people behave inconsistently and are contradictory, we tend to label them as "two-faced," wishy-washy" or "phony."  Although it's tempting to accuse them of lying or to demand that they say what they honestly think, such a response usually heightens tensions and hurts feelings.  Instead an informative confrontation should be used.  This is a technique counselors use to inquire about discrepancies, conflicts and mixed messages they receive from their clients. 

  • Verbal and nonverbal discrepancy.  You're talking with someone you suspect is having problems.  The person says, "Everything's going great" (verbal message) and at the same time is fidgeting and clenching his fist (non-verbal message). Your confrontation might be:  "You say things are great, yet you're fidgeting and clenching your fist. 

  • Verbal messages and action steps.  Your spouse said he would call someone, yet a week later reports that he did not make the call. Your confrontation:  "You said you would call, bust as of now you haven't done so."

  • Verbal messages and situation.  Your teenager has had problems handling her current responsibilities, yet proposes a plan for expanding her role.  Your confrontation:  "You have had several problems handling the responsibilities you now have.  Now you're saying you want to do more.  This will add to your workload.  How do you put these two things together?"

Don't assume that someone giving you a mixed message is being deceitful and respond with an accusation.  Instead, use an informative confrontation to bring to the surface contradictions that need to be settled.

Adapted from The Pryor Report


When  'Bad Influence' Comes Knocking

At a time when parents on the whole have never been more involved in their children's lives...selecting their pursuits, coaching their teams, scheduling their play dates starting from the crawling stage...it might seem as though parents could control even who their kids; friends are...and aren't.  

Maybe at first.  But, as many parents can attest, children have their own way of making friends and, researchers say, the process is more complex than one might think and requires the child to master certain skills.  Deciding how to handle the friends you don't approve of should require some work on your part as well, the experts say.  And that work ideally would start when a child first enters the social world.

Children even very young ones, choose their friends based on a few core values that actually don't differ much from how adults make friends, says Steven Asher, from Duke University, studying peer influence and friendships among children. 

  1. Are they fun?  This starts as young as 2 or 3 and never goes away.

  2. Can they share, cooperate and get along?

  3. Can they count on each other for advice and emotional support. This grows in importance with age.

With those core values in mind, parents and other adult caretakers can do a lot to help their children make and keep good friends.  For example, when parents sign their child up for an activity based on what the chi8ld is likely to enjoy, it exposes him or her to others with similar interests and sensibilities.  

Adapted from Chicago Tribune Magazine

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Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes


Share Your Dreams

Everybody dreams.  We dream when we sleep, and everyone has daydreams, wishes, and secret longings as well...children, too.  Everybody thinks about tomorrow.  Like you, children imagine how their life will be.  Planning and wishing, visualizing and dreaming are the first steps toward becoming who we want to be.  Dreams and wishes long to be shared, and dreams shared out loud take on new dimensions.  Sharing your dreams unlocks the door to self-discovery.

When sharing a nighttime dream, it isn't important what the dream might mean.  When sharing a daydream, it doesn't matter if it will come true.  What is far more valuable is placing the emphasis on the sharing, the unfolding, the learning, and mutual insight that comes.  Share your dreams as a way of knowing each other better. 

Making dream maps works well for this.  A dream map is a poster with pictures and  words that represent what you are wishing for.  Cut out pictures and words from magazines that symbolize what you want for yourself.  Make a collage on poster board, hang your dream maps where you can see them daily, and watch what happens. 

Everything starts with an idea, a dream, a vision, and when shared and encouraged, your children's dreams and aspirations can become a reality.  One night you might wake up to find your child sitting on your bed, telling you of plans to be an actor.  Share your dreams...they will help you discover yourself and each other in new and wondrous ways. 

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


Preparing for the World of Work

All parents want their kids to find work that will give them a satisfying and secure life.  There are some important things parents can do during the school-age years that can lead to a brighter future.  

  • Ask your child to describe her life as an adult.  Then have her research what she needs to do now to prepare for that career.  A student who wants to become a doctor, for example, needs to take challenging science courses in high school.

  • Help your teenager understand that even if he doesn't have a specific career goal, the decisions he makes now can affect his future.   Insist that your child take challenging courses, including the higher-level math courses that can make the difference in whether or not your child will be able to attend college. 

  • After-school jobs can teach a teenager responsibility.  In some families, these jobs are a necessary part of the family security.  But make sure your child isn't placing too much emphasis on work and not enough on school.  Most experts feel that teenager should work no more than 15 to 20 hours a week, and never after 10 p.m. on a school night. 

  • Not every young person needs to go to college.  But to be successful, every American worker needs some advanced training.  If your child is not interested in attending college, find out about vocational schools or other training courses that offer preparation for a rewarding career. 

Adapted from American Association of School Administrators


 Determination

A young woman made an appointment for an interview with a prestigious corporation.  She asked if she could get into their well-respected training program  The very busy personnel manager, besieged by applications, said "Impossible now.  Come back in about ten years."  

The applicant responded, "Would morning or afternoon be better?"

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Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.  

Chinese Proverb

 

Magnificent May Links:

How Far Does Light Go?  From U.C., Berkeley, this debate project engages students in an examination of the scientific properties of light using relevant evidence from the Web. It culminates in an informal debate where groups present their arguments and respond to questions from other students. The activity works very well as a culminating project where students have spent significant time learning about various properties of light through previous instruction." Be sure to see the extensive project description for teachers for goals, lesson plans, technical requirements, and more.
http://kie.berkeley.edu/KIE/web/hf.html

Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet:  Shakespeare has been dead nearly 400 years, but thanks (in part) to Web sites like this, his popularity has never been greater. Created by Terry Gray, "Mr. William Shakespeare" is an annotated, scholarly guide to William Shakespeare, his works, life, and times. Features of this outstanding site are a Shakespearean Timeline, Works (synopses of plays, study guides, canons and more), Criticism, Critical Resources, a bibliography, and even a Shakespeare Biography Quiz.
http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/

Peoples Century 1900-1999:  This Website extends a PBS television series that "offers new insight into the turbulent events of these hundred years through the revealing personal testimony of the people who were there." Thematic overviews, timelines, and a teacher's guide all help put the episodes into perspective. Readers are also encouraged to submit their own stories, which could provide a broader audience for students doing oral history projects.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/peoplescentury/

Little Planet Times:  "Dateline, Little Planet. Yesterday, in the meadow at the edge of the Old Forest, two friends were pulled apart just before they were going to fight. And what the two friends were ready to fight over was ..." You'll have to visit this site to find out what made Porky and Dorky so mad. This original web site encourages kids to read and write with The Little Planet Times, a newspaper created by and for kids. Top stories creatively present monthly themes, like conflict resolution. Readers can find out what's new in the "School Spotlight" or check out the Entertainment section for movie reviews or sports news. "Creative Corner" invites readers to view work of others or submit original poems, stories or artwork.
http://littleplanettimes.com/

Art Capades:  This site has easy, fun, educational activities for young students (K-3), including monolingual Spanish speakers. The site distributes the activity to the student without linking to external sites. Hypertext links provide flexible navigation within the application for browsing and art selection and elaboration.
http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/capades/

Mister Roger's Neighborhood:  Mister Rogers' Web site includes articles for parents, activities for kids, and a booklist of stories that correlate with the television program's themes. A "sing-a-long" section provides lyrics for the songs on the television show. "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"
http://pbskids.org/rogers/

 

MAY your month be wonderful!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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