In The News                                  June 2009   Vol. 12-6

President’s Message

Where has summer gone?  Rainy, cold, gray days have filled much of the last month in my part of the world.  My garden loves the weather, but I am anxious to have a a bit more warmth and consistency.  I'm reminded to watch out for what you wish for, as the months ahead may be unbearably hot and dry.  Nevertheless, I find my mood changes when the sun appears and actually am more productive.  There must be a study somewhere that confirms this.  

During the summer months my Saturday mornings are spent at the Farmer's Market.  I love the fresh fruits and vegetable.  There is also a camaraderie among the people that frequent these markets that you don't find any place else.  Children sample, parents converse, dogs wander and everyone smiles with the warmth and friendliness of bringing together a diverse group of people to enjoy the bounty the land has wrought.  The last few weeks I have come home with my arms full of not only wonderful foods, but vegetable  and herb plants as well.  My little garden by the side of the house already has strawberries and peppers growing in abundance.  I look forward to what the rest of the growing season will bring to my table.    

If you are traveling this summer, don't forget to take e-Tutor with you.  We have one student who accesses the program through his mother's cell phone.  Students benefit by keeping their minds active during the summer break.  


And what is so rare as a day in June?  
Then, if ever, come perfect days; 
The Heaven tries earth if it be in tune, 
And over it softly her warm ear lays; 
Whether we look, or whether we listen, 
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten. 

From "The Vision of Sir Launfal" James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

Happy Father's Day!    




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I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.  

Winston Churchill

Learning with e-Tutor

Social Studies

Does your child know where Afghanistan is? In what country is Tiananmen Square?  What happened there?  How are members of the Supreme Court chosen?  What does the Federal Reserve Bank do? With many other subjects to cover, this area of the curriculum is often neglected.  Yet, Social Studies can be a springboard for all other learning.  In the e-Tutor program, students will find math, reading, writing and science included in 
Social Studie
s lesson modules.  It is a fascinating, broad-based curricular area which will inspire all students to learn more.       

Students will be able to understand and analyze comprehensive political systems.

A.   Analyze the basic principles government.
B.   Analyze the structure and function of major political systems in the world.
C.   Evaluate the evolution and nature of rules and laws that govern human interaction.
D.   Analyze the structure and function of various political systems.
E.   Analyze the major political events in the contemporary world and their impact on the changing structure and function of governments.  

Students will be able to understand and analyze comprehensive economic systems.


A.   Analyze the factors that contribute to economic development.
B.   Analyze the economic interdependence among the world communities.
C.   Evaluate the economic impact of political decisions made by federal, state, and local governments.
D.   Analyze traditional, market, and command economic systems.
Analyze the basic economic concepts that have traditionally shaped economic systems.

HISTORY (World and U.S.)
Students will be able to understand and analyze events, trends, personalities and movements shaping the history of the world.

A.   Know the chronology and significance of the major events in world history.
B.   Understand the historical developments leading to the present similarities and differences among the world's people.
C.   Evaluate the contributions of significant men and women in world history.
D.   Know the chronology and significance of the major social, economic and political events shaping the American experience.
E.   Understand the impact of urbanization, industrialization and emerging technology on the world's environment as well as on its social, political and economic institutions.

Students will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of world geography.


A.   Understand the cultural and physical geography of each of the world's region.
B.   Understand the concepts of absolute and relative location.

C.   Analyze various map projections.
D.   Understand ways in which people define, name and alter places.
E.   Understand how maps, models and other graphics contribute to an enriched sense of place.

Students will be able to apply the skills and knowledge gained in the social sciences to decision making in life situations.


A.   Understand how individuals and/or groups effect change.
B.   Evaluate sources of information in terms of selective criteria.
C.   Evaluate the costs and benefits of a particular course of action.
D.   Analyze the interdependent roles of an individual as a consumer, a producer, and a citizen.
E.   Understand various relationships between the individual and others in the local community, state, nation and world.

* Students,  don't forget to fully complete each lesson module!  Vocabulary, Resources, Activities and Extended Learning are all part of a completed lesson module.  Completing these will help you to recall what you have learned in the Study Guide.  Remember....learning well takes time! 

Ten 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.

Online Learning

We have been asked to write a report for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education about the Supplemental Education Services section of the No Child Left Behind Act.  Our goal is to show how technology, and explicitly online education, has not been widely used in SES programs across the country.  Yet, at a minimum it is cost effective, tracks student achievement, and provides for an instructional program available any time day or night.  

We would like your suggestions and comments as we prepare this important report.  Please leave your comments on the blog @ 

   The Book Case            

The Windy Hill 
by Cornelia Meigs

 Middle/Jr. High School

One of five Newberry Honor Books for 1922, the year the award was first established, The Windy Hill is the story of fifteen-year-old Oliver Peyton, who, together with his younger sister Janet, comes to stay with his Cousin Jasper at his home in Medford Valley. Resentful at Cousin Jasper's unprecedented inattention, Oliver is at first inclined to rebel, even setting in motion a short-lived runaway scheme.

But a fortuitous meeting with the amiable "Beeman" and his daughter Polly,  gives Oliver's thoughts a new turn, and he decides to stay. As events unfold, the Peyton children become more and more puzzled by the behavior of the hostile Anthony Crawford, another cousin of whom they had never heard. Who is this unpleasant man, and what strange hold does he have over Cousin Jasper? Could the answer lie in the Beeman's stories about the history of the valley, and their family?

View an electronic version of this book @

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The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.  



Summer Math Fun!

Parents and other family members can influence their student's math skills.  Perhaps you do not realize it but much of what you do provides a model of mathematical behavior.  The best help you can give your child is to simply make him aware of when and how to use math.  Here are a few activities you can do with your child this summer.

  • Encourage your child to play games that involve counting, finding patterns, using strategy and solving patterns.

  • Allow your child to use a calculator and encourage "messing around" with it to explore numbers, look for patterns, and investigate number patterns.

  • Relate sports and the stock market to mathematics.  The daily newspaper is full of scores, schedules, statistics and graphs.

  • Card games provide excellent opportunities for learning math concepts.  Go Fish and War for younger children helps them recognize numbers and things that are alike, to group and sort, and to use strategy in discarding to win.  Gin Rummy, Casino, Canasta, and Cribbage are more complex card games for older children.

  • Ask you child questions that require simple mental math.  Use questions such as, "What are two numbers that add up to 7?  What number is two less that 17?  Eighteen is twice as big as what number?  Can you name two numbers that multiply to 12 at the same time they add up to 7?

  • Play math "Jeopardy" with your child.  Give your child a number and ask him/her to find a question for which the number is the answer. 

  • Plan art activities that use measurement, patterns, and/or geometry.

  • Plan math scavenger hunts and have your child look for lists of specific math related items (i.e., geometric shapes, numbers of items, etc.) in the house, yard, or in the neighborhood. 

  • Have your child design and make his/her own math practice games.  

The most important thing is to enjoy math in whatever you do.  Have fun!

Adapted from Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Keep Your Sharp Tongue in Your Mouth

It's tempting sometimes to throw a quick, sharp barb at an annoying adversary.  During a neighborhood get-together discussing discipline, for instance, one parent was fed up with the carping and criticism of a neighbor.  She finally put the whining parent down with this stinging put-down:  "Mary, what exactly is your take on discipline, anyway?"

Sure, most in the group laughed, and some laughed heartily.  And the gibe got results:  "Mary, that's enough."  But she looked so mortified that others started to feel sorry for her.

That's the way it is with humor:  You can use it on a very close friend who can retaliate with good-natured insults of his or her own.  But pick on a new neighbor who may not have good command of the language, and you look like the villain.  So before you target someone, consider these points:

  • Others may become wary of you.  Some will feel guilty for laughing at your joke.  Others will worry about being on the receiving end of some future jest.  You could lose friends.

  • You could be hurting yourself.  If others get wind of your peevish outbursts, they could mark you as insensitive and not a good friend. 

*Caution:  There are perpetual "victims" who seem to set themselves up to be the butt of other's witty one-liners.  It's better to lay of these easy prey.  Remember it is smarter to pick strong adversaries rather than weak ones. 

Adapted from Working Smart

Successful Students Become Successful Adults

Parents and educators share one common help each child be successful.  Each one plays an important role in student achievement.  Children learn best when they, their parents and their educators work together.  Studies show that the amount of time students spend learning a skill directly affects their ability to master it. 

Recently, researchers have studied those who are successful in school.  They have found that successful students share some characteristics.  They:

  • motivate themselves

  • pay attention

  • understand ideas

  • remember facts and ideas

  • work without stress

Adapted from American Association of School Administrators

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There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.  

Willa Cather


Creativity - The Seed of New and Different Ideas

Some dreams or prophesies, highly impossible at the time they were first suggested, have proved that predictions into the future sometimes rocket into reality.  The creative vision that sees beyond the commonplace into strange and new vistas of unexplored areas gives the inventive mind chances to soar.  

History is replete with inventions that have changed the habits of man because individuals dreamed and were able to make their dreams reality.  Whetting the imagination may come from innumerable sources, but one must always possess this ability to imagine; only then can the new and different be forthcoming.  Encouragement of imagination is needed...encouragement of new and different ideas, new combinations of materials, new arrangement of space concepts that give originality the freedom of growth and practice that will only be possible if we allow students their natural growth.

Creativity cannot be taught as facts are memorized but it may flourish under conditions that give first consideration to understanding the individual and her/his uniqueness.  Aptitudes, including those needed for creative thinking, are held to be determined by heredity and by learning.  Continual practice of creative aptitudes develops skill.  The talented musician must have hours of practice in order to achieve prominence.  Fluency and flexibility come as a result of practice and constant use.  

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

Kids Are Wary About Too Much 'Me' on MySpace

Conventional wisdom holds that teens today are a privacy-shunning lot.  They bare their souls on blogs.  They post their videos on YouTube and their photos on Facebook.  Their Hollywood counterparts on the "The Hills"  break up and make up and hook up, while millions watch from their living rooms.  

But a more nuanced look at the issue suggests that the teenage experience, no less angst-filled than ever, is still shrouded in a layer of secrecy...a thinning layer, but one that teens say they're committed to protecting.  With 80 percent of teenagers using the Internet regularly, and 55 percent of online teens using social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace, the issue of privacy is one that likely comes up at many a dinner table.  Researchers from the Pew Internet and America Life Project, offer parents a bit of encouraging news:  Your kids are listening.  Teens are relatively savvy about it.  The messages from media, parents and others are getting pretty heavy-handed say the researchers.

A majority of online teens (66 percent) block some or all of their profile information so it's not accessible to all Internet users, according to a recent Pew study on teens and social media.  Among teens who allow their profiles to be accessed by anyone online, 46 percent say they fake some of their information, in part to protect themselves and in part to be pranksters. 

According to researchers, privacy is an evolving notion.  Teens are wanting to share more with their peers...a known audience...than previously seen.  But, they are more privacy-conscious in terms of wanting to control their representation in front of adults.  In fact, teens could probably teach their parents a thing or two (surprise, surprise) about protecting themselves online.  Teens certainly protect their privacy a bit more than adults do, say researchers.  Anyone who has even a modicum of tech-savvy can track down a tremendous amount of information about you.  We all leave digital footprints.  

Adapted from Chicago Tribune Magazine

Planning Your Future

At the age of forty-two, George Sand, the famous 19th century French novelist, was a broken and depressed human being.  (She had adopted the male pseudonym to cover the fact that her novels were written by a woman.)  Her personal life at this time had fallen apart and she was the victim of severe personal criticism from powerful and influential people in France.

One day, feeling low and melancholy, she wandered into the woods near her home were she had played as a child.  Seated there on a boulder she thought over the past, pondered her future, and tried to analyze her personal situation.  After some time she reached a conclusion that was to enable her to go on and write another 50 plays and novels.  That decision was this:

"Henceforth I shall accept what I am and what I am not.  With my limitations and my gifts, I shall go on using life as long as I am in this world and afterwards.  Not to use life...that alone is death."

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Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will. 

Vernon Howard

Jazzy June Links:

Something Fishy:  Get your feet wet with this ocean resource that integrates Edward Lear's book, "The Owl and the Pussycat," with Internet activities for K-3 students. Includes links to other online resources.

Crayola:  Do you know how many crayons a North American kid wears down by his 10th birthday? You can find out at the recently redesigned Crayola Site. You'll also find craft ideas, stories, games, and pictures to print and color. Be sure to see the teacher section for product and technique information, educational programs, and more.

Water Science for Schools:  From the US Geological Survey, this site is for anyone who wants to find out more about the many aspects of water, from what it is, to how we use it. The site uses pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center to help convey information. A glossary and links are also included.

Little Horus:  With its rich history, fascinating culture and famous pyramids, Egypt is appealing to even the youngest internet explorers. Now there is an Egyptian web site for children that is both educational and fun. Tour guide, Little Horus, takes visitors on a whirlwind tour of this ancient land, where they learn about Egyptian history and geography. This site features over 300 pages of information and illustrations and is bilingual (English and Arabic).

K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook:  NASA's Learning Technologies Project and Cislunar Aerospace have taken a potentially dry subject, The Principals of Aeronautics, and created this outstanding educational web site. The illustrated textbook includes sections on history, mythology, fundamentals and more. Before "opening" a chapter, visitors select a reading level, from beginner to instructor. The text is also available in Spanish. Other highlights of the site include curriculum bridges, lesson plans, activities, and an Internet guide.

Middle Ages:  What was it really like to live in the Middle Ages? Inspired by programs from The Western Tradition, a video series in the Annenberg/CPB Multimedia Collection, this site explores multiple perspectives of the Middle Ages. Online quizzes and links help make this a useful and interesting resource.

Memory:  The Exploratorium has crafted this memorable set of online exhibits, articles, activities, features, and links. Don't miss the Sheep Brain Dissection.

A Special Tribute to Fathers this Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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