_In The News                      June 2006   Vol. 9-6

President’s Message

It has finally warmed up in our part of the world.  School is out and children abound on the streets in the neighborhood where I live.  Bicycles, scooters, skateboards and rollerblades speed these little ones down the sidewalks.  Parents gather at the end of walkways and driveways to keep watch and mingle.  It is a happy, contented time of year.  

e-Tutor Virtual Learning has taken some dramatic changes over the last few months.  We have an excellent team that is working hard to provide you with the highest level of educational content and usability.  There are always ways to improve and we appreciate the suggestions we have received from you.  Please continue to pass these on to us.  It is through your comments, questions and even complaints that we are able to continue to improve. 

This month we have focused on Mathematics.  Our editors and writers are working diligently to increase the number of lesson modules in mathematics  offered through the e-Tutor Virtual Learning Program.  We want our students to understand and appreciate the mathematical world in which we live.  I hope you will take every opportunity to model how you use mathematics in what you do each day.  

If you haven't found it already, you will want to check out our latest instructional tool....the e-Tutor Graphing Calculator!   While this type of calculator is most often introduced in the older grades, we suggest that even the youngest student try it out.  If they view the graph as a number line, they will easily be able to see the relationship of numbers.  The youngest student can see that by adding 2 + 3 the blue line will fall through the number five.  We hope this new addition to our website will help students of all ages.  Like the e-Tutor Calendar, the e-Tutor Graphing Calculator is viewable by e-Tutor students without advertisements.  

Can you imagine that with the passing of this month we will be through the middle of another year.  My, how time passes so very quickly!  I want to grab it and hang on for a time...but it seems to pass on by....and my world spins faster.  I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak with so many of you when you call.  Your praise of what we are doing and the program we have developed continues to invigorate all of us. The passing of time doesn't matter, then, as our fleeting time seems worth it.   Thank you and have a beautiful month. 


Choose A Subject!

  • English - Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

This has been a popular option for many students this summer.  Please call if you would like to focus on one or two areas over the summer.  877-687-7200

Page 2

Nothing is easy for the unwilling. 

Learning with e-Tutor:

Studying the e-Tutor Way

Traveling Math:
Parents and other family members can influence their student's math skills.  Perhaps you do not realize it but whenever you sort objects, read maps or schedules, compare prices, make change, or use a calculator or calendar, you are a model of mathematical behavior.  When you measure, weigh, work with family finances, or figure out how much wallpaper will cover a wall, you are a living textbook!

Here are a few math traveling activities you can do with your child......

  • Discuss directions (north, south, east and west) to give your child a sense of coordinates.  Use street maps to find travel routes and addresses.  Have your child estimate the time of your arrival and compare that to the actual time it took to arrive at a given destination. 

  • Have competitions when traveling.  Count red cars or see who can find the largest number formed by the numerals on a license plate.

  • Have your child practice record and read the large number on license plates viewed.  Find the largest number in a given time period.

  • Estimate, then time how long before a street light changes.  Estimate, then count how many stores are in a block.

  • Point out speed limits and distances between towns.  Talk about the time it takes to get from one town to another when you drive at different speeds.

  • Have your child check the odometer in the car to determine distances on a trip - starting point and ending destination.

  • Find the differences between certain distances traveled.  Find out how much farther you traveled on the first day than you did on the second day.

  • Practice reading the numbers on the odometer. 

To help our children understand the importance of mathematics, it is necessary for us to talk about mathematics and identify how it relates to all aspects of life - at home, at work and at play.  

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

Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view the Lesson Library.  



   The Book Case

Hailstones and Halibut Bones
Written by Mary O'Neill and re-illustrated by John Wallner
For Grades 1 and up

Originally written in 1973, Hailstones and Halibut Bones is Mary O'Neills classic exploration of poetry and color. You can share this volume of 12 poems with your children in this newly illustrated version by artist John Wallner. The simple phrasing and adjectives of each poem are perfect for beginning readers and young students of poetry alike. Wallner's monochromatic illustrations of O'Neill's fantastic words and imagery make for a fantastic pairing in Hailstones and Halibut Bones. 
As you read, 
            "For colors dance
             And colors sing,
             And colors cry--
             Turn off the light
             And colors die.", 
you can easily understand why this book has stayed on children's bookshelves for so many years.
Page 3

Success is never final and failure never fatal.  It's courage that counts.  



Encountering Literature

If stimuli are not meaningful for a learner, the stimuli will be given little attention or ignored.  It is crucial, therefore, that when students encounter literature, they perceive meaning in it for themselves.  Great literature often comments on the human condition; it addresses the thoughts and feelings that are common throughout humankind.  It can give readers insights into other people's lives as well as their own.  When readers see meaning for themselves in literature, they will not have to be coaxed to read it; they will become actively involved and will take personal responsibility for selection and independent reading. 

In presenting literature to learners, the affective domain is sometimes left in the the background.  There is nothing wrong with reading literature for enjoyment that it gives.  Most adults read literature for just this reason; entire courses for adult learners are built on the appreciation of a particular literacy genre.  

Reading literature should do more than temporarily remove us from our environment.  If the learning from literature is truly meaningful, the learners will discover human commonality in it and will develop an appreciation for literature that they will carry with them throughout their lives. 

Adapted from Silver Burdett & Ginn

In my mind, talent, plus knowledge, plus effort, account for success. 


Four High Pay-Off Work Habits

The chaos in Marianne Clark's kitchen is worse than usual today.  Earlier this morning her husband left for a business trip and she has a sick child.  Her sink is buried in dirty dishes and her three children have interrupted her as she frantically searches for the field trip permission slip for her third grader.  

Next door, Linda Mitchell, a single mother also has a sick child.  But she is able to get her children's lunches ready, has reviewed homework for two of her children and even has found time to listen to one of the read.  

Like Linda Mitchell, you can initiate procedures to improve daily routines at home.  Develop work habits that will pay off for you.  Here are some suggestions that may help:

  1. Be accountable for outcomes.  Take responsibility for the results you produce.  When the results aren't good, do what you can to correct the situation.  

  2. Treat barriers as opportunities.  Proactive people pursue the intended results despite lack of time, breakdowns, unproductive moods, or difficult children.  

  3. Show a desire to learn.  Take immediate action.  Buy a book, sign up for a workshop, or ask someone to teach you a new skill.

  4. Take responsibility for clear communication.  Let your family know what you expect from yourself and from them.  

Adapted from The Office Professional


Guaranteeing Failure

In anything we do there are three attitudes guaranteed to generate low moral, low productivity and inability to be effective.  They are:

  • Believing our efforts are for someone else.
  • Believing there is a result that is good enough.
  • Believing there is some needed effort that is not my job.  

Being told to try to solve a puzzle produces very different results than to try it because we personally feel challenged to do so.  We can't be forced to work smarter, or more creatively, or more passionately.  That comes from inside.

The most important contribution one makes to their own goals are being made at their own discretion.  Those who excel have an ongoing commitment to doing the very best they can.  As soon as someone says "that is not my work," or "that is good enough," everyone suffers.  The message implies lack of personal involvement with what is going on.  

Adapted from The Pryor Report


Planting the Seeds of Success

Studying isn't something we do only as a student.  Good study skills benefit us throughout our life....because learning is something we will continue to do, regardless of our age.  

For example, the same skills that make you a better student also help you do your job better, no matter what your profession is.  Suppose you are asked to write a company report on an unfamiliar topic, learn a new computer system, or prepare a budget for future years.  You will need to know where and how to access needed information and apply it to the task.  Outside of work, you might use study skills to learn more about a fun topic that piques your curiosity or to accomplish a personal goal such as reading a work of literature or speaking a foreign language.

Improving your study skills is time well spent.  You will get more out of your education, have more time to pursue things you enjoy and be on your way to success in anything you choose to do.  Remember, smart is not something you are.....Smart is something you become with work and effort.  

American Association of School Administrators


Page 4

Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.  


'That' or 'Which?'

We ha
ve been asked several times in the last month to explain the difference between "that" and "which" and to show how to use these words properly.  By coincidence, we came across an excellent explanation in the University of Puget Sound Law Review.  In the article, author Robert C. Cumbow accuses the legal profession of confusing these words and potentially sabotaging "the very meaning of the law itself."

The article offers these explanations:

  • "Except when it is the object of a preposition ('in which we serve'), the word 'which' nearly always follows a comma and introduces a phrase that provides additional information not essential to the meaning of the sentence...."

  • "The word 'that," on the other hand, introduces a phrase that is essential: to the meaning.

  • "Her apartment had two windows, which looked onto the parking lot."

  • "Her apartment had two windows that looked onto the parking lot."

The second sentence means: "Her apartment may have had many windows.  Only two of these windows looked onto the parking lot." 

In a legal case, the article adds, the ambiguity concerning the number and location of windows "could result in a miscarriage of justice."

Communication Briefings


Read Books Aloud

Books educate, entertain and stimulate the imagination.  Reading books out loud will put a new spin on togetherness.  A great gift idea is to buy a book, record it on tape, and then give both.  The whole family can make a tape together, each taking turns reading parts of the story, playing the part of one or more characters, or reading with a funny voice.  Tapes make a much better baby-sitter than the television.  Certainly turning off the television and reading books is better for nerves, not to mention the mind.  You can do this for your child or with your child; make one for the grandparents....it's a personalized gift to last a lifetime. 

Wonderful Ways to Love A Child, Judy Ford


What's a Kid to Do When School Is Out?

Nearly 80 percent of your children's walking time is spent outside of a learning environment.  Now that summer vacation is here, does it make any difference how they spend this time?

It certainly does, says Joan M. Bergstrom, author of the book, School's Out.....Now What?  Free time offers great opportunities for children to learn from new experiences and develop a sense of competence, self-esteem and achievement.  

"These activities must be meaningful to the child," she says.  "The activities should be carefully chosen on the basis of the child's own inclinations.  Every child needs the chance to become good at something."  

Bergstrom suggests that you ask your children questions to help determine what their inclinations are.  What are they good at?  What do they wish they were better at?  What do they wish they could do that they don't know how to do now?  What do they do in school that they would like to do out of school?  What places would they like to go to more often>

In case you or your children have trouble coming up with ideas other than television viewing, Bergstrom offers literally dozens of creative choices for afternoons, weekends and vacations.  Here are just a few of her examples:

  • Athletic activities - badminton, tennis, aerobics, gymnastics, hiking, wrestling, baton twirling, bicycling, bowling, fishing, kite flying, sailing, horseback riding
  • Arts and crafts - cake decorating, calligraphy, mathematical art, carpentry, photography, model building
  • Collecting - bugs, butterflies, rocks, shells, model cars, coins, dolls, stamps
  • Income opportunities - cleaning, babysitting, pet care, mowing lawns. Also setting up own bank account and keeping track of spending.
  • Game playing - backgammon, billiards, card games, checkers, chess, cribbage, puzzles
  • Special interests - cooking and culinary arts, genealogy, archeology, home movie making, model car racing, learning a new language such as sign language
  • Places to visit - planetarium, aquarium, farm, zoo, airport, botanical garden, bakery, courthouse or state capitol, historical site, museum, top of the highest building, parents' places of employment

Perhaps after reading through these suggestions, and running them past your children, you will manage to think up a few more.  The possibilities are endless.  You may even find that you and your children spend less time in front of the television set getting bored or playing the same old computer game. 

School Public Relations Service


Don't Listen

Don't listen to those who say, "It's not done that way."  Maybe it's not, but maybe you'll do it anyway.  Don't listen to those who say, "You're taking too big a chance."  Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today.

Most important, don't listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says, "They're all smarter than you out there.  They're more talented, they're taller, blonder, prettier, luckier and they have connections.  They have a cousin who took out Meryl Streep's baby sitter....."

I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you will be a person worthy of your own respect. 

Playwright Neil Simon

Drug Abuse and Your Teens:  
What Parents Should Know

How can I tell if my child is abusing drugs or alcohol?
If you find alcohol, drugs or drug paraphernalia in your child's possession, there's a strong probability that your child is using drugs.  Certain behaviors also can warn you that your child may be involved with drugs:

  • Abrupt change in mood or attitude
  • Sudden decline in attendance or performance at work or school
  • Impaired relationship with family or friends
  • Ignoring curfews
  • Unusual flare-ups of temper
  • Increased borrowing of money from parents or friends; stealing from home, school or employer
  • Heightened secrecy about actions and possessions.
  • Associating with a new group of friends, especially with those who use drugs.

While these behaviors may indicate drug use, they may also reflect normal teenage growing pains.  By observing your child, getting to know his or her friends and talking to your child about problems including drugs and alcohol, you should be able to learn whether he or she is involved.

What do I say if I think my child is abusing drugs:
In a straightforward way, tell your child about your concern and the reasons for it; taking drugs is harmful to one's physical, mental and social well-being.  Tell your child that you are opposed to any drug use and you intend to enforce that position.

Remember, if your child is using drugs, she or he needs your help.  You may want help also.  Seeking the support of other parents in your community will enable you to handle this problem in a more understanding and helpful way.  Don't be afraid to be a strong parent.  

Excerpts from National PTA

Page 5  

Character is the real foundation for all worthwhile success. 


When Parents Talk With Their Children......Discipline At Home

Beyond using certain emphatic, precise words in the imperative sense, it is crucial that parents say things in unambiguous terms.  The child must know that his or her parents really mean what they are saying....that they are not asking the child to do something; that they are not merely wishing that the child do something as they are not telling the child to learn, try, or understand something.  Rather, the child must know that the parents are saying that the child do (or not do) something specific. 

To convey urgent meaning, parents may have to play the villain and even use an emphatic tone: "Get down off that roof!" "Get out of the street now!"  But what about all those warnings that it is not good parenting to demand things of children in an angry tone?  By trying to remain calm, the parent could be sending a message that is less than imperative....just another statement without any real potency.  In that case, the child tends to think she or he can probably get away with not doing what the parent wishes, and then the parent (who did not want to et angry) ends up losing his or her temper anyway.

That doesn't mean all demands of children need to be made in a stern tone of voice.  Circumstances differ and different approaches have to be taken with different children at different times.  Most often, a firm tone and a serious look will effectively indicate to the child that the parents' message is one that is meant earnestly. 

Yes, it is hard work.  It is, therefore, essential to establish priorities in using such an approach only for those behaviors that are most in need of change.  The child should know that his or her parents can require certain behaviors but that certain other behaviors are the prerogative of the child.  In that way, children learn what their parents value as important....that there are certain things the parents believe they need to decide for their children and that there are also some things about which they believe their children have the ability and maturity to make independent decisions. 

National Education Association

Juicy June Links:

Explore Cornell:  This is a multimedia magazine dedicated to Cornell University research, instruction, and facilities. The mission is to increase public access to the university's most valuable asset: knowledge. 

Yuckiest Site on the Internet:  First there was mud.  Then there were worms, and now there is Yucky!  Test your skills with X-Terminate.  Plus mad scientist fun in Yucky Labs!  Part of the larger discoverykids.com site, there is a lot here and you will need time to explore.

Columbia News Video Briefs Archive:  From Columbia University, Office of Public Affairs, an archive of brief annotations, video clips and related links on a variety of current events.  You can use either Real Player or Quicktime to view the videos.  Not an attractive site; but could be useful in instruction as an introduction or explanation on a current event. 

Nobel e-Museum:  This site offers information on all Prize Winners to date, the Nobel Organization, Alfred Nobel, and Nobel events, as well as related material and games.  The games are located at http://nobelprize.org/games_simulations.html and they are educational.  They provide information, simulations and challenges on: Microscopes, Lasers, the interior of matter, energy, X-rays, accelerators and vacuum tubes.  The site requires Shockwave.  A novel approach to what could have been a dry reference source.

ArtsConnectedEd:  This is a product of a partnership between the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center and MCI.  Part of a large site, The Classroom portion includes a tool for searching more than 80 online lesson plans and standards-based curriculum units.  

Quest Atlantis:  Quest Atlantis (QA) is a learning and teaching project that uses a 3D multi-user environment to immerse children, ages 9-12, in educational tasks. Building on strategies from online role-playing games, QA combines strategies used in the commercial gaming environment with lessons from educational research on learning and motivation. It allows users to travel to virtual places to perform educational activities (known as Quests), talk with other users and mentors, and build virtual personae. A Quest is an engaging curricular task designed to be entertaining yet educational.

Earth Troop:  A noisy, Flash-based effort to educate children regarding the environment.  Through cartoons, music, videos, games and activities they try to show how ordinary people, both children and adults, can safeguard the Earth and make it a better place.  Sponsored by General Motors. 

EduPuppy:  This site links to exceptional Preschool-Grade 3 sites providing wonderful content and resources to inform and enrich learning.  The site allows users to search by categories, keywords, and grade level.  Their team of educators are always searching for content rich lesson plans and units, technology and integration sites, educational articles and research, ECE theories and practice, developmentally appropriate practices, special education materials, clipart, web quests and more.

Enjoy This Month
From the Staff at Knowledge HQ

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