_In The News                    September 2005   Vol. 8-9
  • President's
  • Getting Around e-Tutor
  • Tips For Gearing Up To Study
  • When Backpacks Come Marching Home Again!
  • Televised Violence Hurts Kids
  • 5,000 Good Men
  • How to Criticize in a Positive Manner
  • Good Manners - Why They Matter
  • Six Keys to Motivate Your Learner
  • Surprising September Links
President’s Message
It just seems unimaginable that so much destruction could be hurled at us in such a short time.  We have watched with horror the pictures of devastation in our Southern States.  Our hearts have broken at seeing the misery handed our fellow citizens.  We have found it difficult to comprehend how this could have happened.  We are a people so comfortable in the normalcy of life.  But for all of us it has been turned upside down again.  For there is not a one of us who could not and cannot be moved by what we have seen and heard.  The effects of this tragedy will be a scar that will take a long time healing.

If we as adults have such thoughts, then what must our children be feeling.  This is a time, when every child needs the loving embrace of family and friends.  Children need to know that they are and will be safe, that there will be family and loved ones to take care of them, that they will have food and shelter and most of all that they are a treasured.   

We have recently been reviewing some research studies done relating to online education and how instructors play a vital role in establishing an intellectually stimulating environment that fosters critical thinking skills and reflective dialogs.  We think e-Tutor One2One offers the best of these qualities.  Those of you who are enrolled in the program can attest to it.  Students are being challenged by their tutors to think outside the box. 

In an analysis of bricks and mortar schools versus online education it was found that much of traditional learning is based on control, because learning is standardized, there is no efficient means of delivering personalized, inquiry-based learning to the mass of students in the traditional school setting.  Control, therefore becomes a necessity.  But in the internet age, these limitations no longer apply and it is possible to deliver personalized, inquiry-based learning.  

Needless to say we were heartened by this information.  Of course we did not find it a revelation as we have been creating online educational programs since 1997. We have seen the achievements of students who have consistently used a quality online curriculum.  But it is nice to know there are others who are beginning to recognize that online education is a creditable instructional method for students.  

Enjoy these waning days of summer.  And, may we all weather the storms that are heaped upon us.  Our thoughts and prayers to those in our Southern States. 

Fluttering Away to the Great Unknown

Did you know that we try to answer all of our email within 24 hours?  Over the weekend or if we are away from the office, it may take us longer to respond.  Students are a priority.  We like to hear from then and we will respond as quickly as possible.  If you send email to us and have not heard from us, please do resend.  Sometimes, those emails get gobbled up into that vast expanse that we call the Unknown.  We want to hear from you! So, please write!

Page 2

When people are smiling they are most receptive to almost anything you want to teach them.

Alden Furt 

Getting Around e-Tutor

Many new subscribers have joined the e-Tutor learning community.  We welcome subscribers from around the world. And as our numbers grow questions arise about how best to use e-Tutor.  While this is, for the most part, an individual decision, there are some things that we can pass on that might make the learning experience more enjoyable.  Whether new or a long-time subscriber, the following may help you in getting around e-Tutor.  

  • e-Tutor is used by most subscribers as their main curriculum.  We recommend supplementing the online program with good literature books, texts and workbooks when available.  
  • e-Tutor makes recommendations for subjects at the Middle-Junior High and High School Levels.  Parents and/or educators may choose subjects to focus on at the Primary and Intermediate Levels.   
  • A simple file system is helpful for both parents and students in following up with Activities and Extended Learning.  Students can place their work in the folders when completed.  Parents know where to find the work and it provides a way for students to see their progress.
  • Parents who wish to view lessons before their student completes them can do so by going to the student login.  Select Curricular Area and then Subject Area.  Click on a lesson and then go to "Print Lesson."  A pop-up window will show the complete lesson.  Return to the menu to view additional lessons. If you search through the lesson without following this process, it will mark the report card as partially completed.
  • Each e-Tutor lesson has a question bank with anywhere from 20 to 60 questions.  Each time a students takes a quiz, the questions as well as the answers are rotated. 
  • Parents take an active role in the teaching-learning process when using e-Tutor.  Parents should use the Activities and Extended Learning sections of each lesson as a springboard for discussion, ie., "What did you learn by doing this? How could you have done this differently?  Explain more about this project. 
  • e-Tutor has over 1,800 lessons in its lesson bank. Lessons are constantly being added to the program. 
  • e-Tutor is a dynamic program and uses thousands of links from museums, universities, governments and agencies throughout the world.  Sometimes these links fail.  Please notify e-Tutor immediately if you should find a failed link.  

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

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


s For Gearing Up To Study

Before you sit down and start working, make sure you are aware of the best conditions to make the most of your studying.  This is the first step to studying smarter. 

  • Listen and read carefully so you will know what is important.

  • Write down all subjects, including what materials, if any you will need. 

  • Use a small notebook or calendar to write down the subjects and your study time in one place.  

  • Try putting yellow self-stick notes on the papers or books you need to review that day.

  • Find the study time that works best for you.

  • Make sure you have good light, a smooth surface for writing and a comfortable place to sit for studying.

  • Gather pens, pencils, writing paper, a ruler and a dictionary as your study tools.

  • Add a thesaurus, almanac and atlas to your study tools, as needed.  These can be found in the e-Tutor program.

  • Soft music may help concentration and memory.  Try studying with music on and off to see what works best for you.

  • Never study with the TV on. 

Adapted from American Association of School Administrators

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Behold the turtle; he only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.

James Bryant Conant

When Backpacks Come 
Marching Home Again!

As the school doors fling open and the backpacks return home each day, a seemingly endless flurry of paperwork makes its way to refrigerators, countertops and tables....or in some cases, not at all.

To help parents get the clutter under control and encourage children to help out, you can try a quick, fun family project that turns a standard roadside mailbox into a colorful countertop in/out box for school paperwork.  This works equally well for e-Tutor Activities and Extended Learning.

You will want to have your children help with the design and painting.  If it's their design, they will want to use it.  If it's colorful, it will be a bright reminder to share schoolwork and updates with parents.

Here are the steps and materials for creating the cheery in/out box:

  1. Select a plain metal mailbox. 
  2. Spray the mailbox with metal primer. 
  3. When the primer has dried, spray on your desired color.  Allow paint to dry and add a second coat as needed. 
  4. When the final coat has dried, write numbers and letters with an artist's brush and red and black acrylic paints.  You may want to type fonts and enlarge letters on your computer and print them out to use as templates.

This is a great project for teens, as well, as it gives them a place to store school memorabilia such as snapshots, notes from friends, activity certificates, athletic letters and more.  In this case, paint the mailbox in the school's colors to show school pride and spirit.  

Adapted Pioneer Press


Televised Violence Hurts Kids

"There can no longer be any doubt that heavy exposure to televised violence is one of the causes of aggressive behavior, crime and violence in society,"  Leonard Eron, a University of Illinois at Chicago research professor told the U.S. Subcommittee on Governmental Affairs. "Television violence affects youngsters of all ages, of both genders, at all socio-economic levels and all levels of intelligence," Eron said.

In one study, researchers found a link between males viewing violent television violence at age eight and aggressive behavior at age 19.  Eron said the study doesn't show that specific programs still had a direct effect, but just that the show contributed to the development of certain attitudes and approaches.  This means that if media violence is reduced, the level of interpersonal aggression in our society will be reduced eventually," Eron said.

Illinois Association of School Boards 

5,000 Good Men

Two hundred years ago in September, the Constitution Convention ended in Philadelphia, after drafting one of the greatest documents in history.  In the agonizing debate that produced the final draft, many proposals and suggestions fell by the wayside.  One was a motion that the country's standing army be restricted to no more than 5,000 men.

When George Washington heard this, he said the suggestion was fine with him, as long as there was an amendment requiring armies invading the United States to have no more than 3,000 men.

Bits and Pieces

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Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act. 

Dr. George W. Crane


How to Criticize in a Positive Manner

There are times when we have to criticize others, a spouse, a child, a relative, a neighbor, a friend.  If they don't know they're doing something wrong, it's hard for them to improve.  However, the way we criticize is important. In the words of an old song:  "It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it; it's not what you say, it's the way that you say it."  The right words at the right time are golden.

Here are several thoughts that can help you criticize positively:

  • Get the facts first.  Don't jump to hasty conclusions.  Find out exactly what was done, who said what, what the circumstances were. 
  • Talk to them in private.  Don't add to the problem by embarrassing them in front of others.
  • Go slowly. Wait until you simmer down.  Don't criticize when you're still angry.  Be calm, cool and collected.
  • Focus on the mistake, not the person. Even good people do wrong things.  Talk about behavior.  Help them keep their self-esteem.
  • Show respect for other people.  Don't talk down to them, ridicule them or talk sarcastically.
  • Be specific.  Don't talk in generalities.  Take time to discuss details.  Explain what was wrong and why it was wrong. 
  • Tell them how to do it right.  Discuss how to prevent future mistakes.
  • Share the blame, especially if you're also at fault.  Their mistakes may have been caused by your failure to explain things beforehand. Even if you're not at fault, ask about what "we" did wrong, instead of what "you" did wrong. 
  • Sandwich the criticism between positive comments. Indicate how you value the person.  Build his or her sense of self-worth.  End on a friendly note.
  • Forgive and forget.  Give the person a chance to recover and improve. 

Working Smart

Good Manners - Why They Matter

Neighbors, friends and family are important all of the time.  We sometimes forget the little things.  Basic manners don't change that much, but, it has become a matter of how you do it.  Verbal polish counts.  Soft-spoken people get more respect.  

You don't have to pull out your mother's copy of Amy Vanderbilt exactly or wear a hat and white gloves to make a fashion statement.  But you should review the little things that make a good impression on other people.  Examples: 

  • Be polite. Say "good morning" and "good night" to family members and neighbors.  Smile.
  • Watch your table manners.  Don't smack your lips or slurp your soup.  If you can't tell a salad fork from a fish fork, look it up in a book.  Don't be ostentatious.  The times aren't right.  
  • Remember people's birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.  Show some interest in your neighbors.  We often see just one side of those around us.  With a little effort, you can get to know more and make others feel good that you care enough to ask.
  • Notice things about people: hair cuts, clothes, suntans, pallor, weight loss.  Don't tell the local fatty he's just gained another 20 pounds, especially if it's true.  That's unkind and it isn't funny.
  • Lay off nasty humor.  That worked in the past when people were more self-confident, less sensitive and more willing to laugh at themselves.  

Observation: In this edgy climate, the little things count for a lot.  Anyone who makes the effort to show good manners to others gets high marks for himself.  

Adapted from Executive Strategies

Six Keys to Motivate Your Learner

When you or your spouse says, "I wish I could motivate John,"  that usually means "I wish I could get John to do better at learning."  Here are six keys to doing exactly that.

  1. Ask for performance. Describe how the work is being done now and how you want it to be, based on his abilities and age.  Then ask your child to do it that way. 
  2. Use lots of positive reinforcement...and personalize it.  Don't take acceptable work for granted.  Thank your child for it.  And praise him every time he improves.  Remember, though, that while everyone likes to be recognized, what motivates one may leave another cold....or even irritated.  So find out what works with each of your children and use it. 
  3. Build relationships.  This doesn't mean be buddy-buddy with your child.  But it does mean you should treat your child like real, live human beings.  That's what they are and they will respond best when your actions show you respect their individuality and trust their intentions. 
  4. Understand your child's point of view.  Make a habit of listening to your child and asking his opinion before you give directions or offer advice.  If you listen first and listen with an open mind, your child is much more likely to cooperate when you decide something has to be done differently.
  5. Model what you want.  Approach your own work with a sense of urgency, use your time efficiently and meet the goals you set.  Show your child, by your actions, that what you do really does matter, that quality is important and that timelines are real. 
  6. Refuse to accept poor performance.  Sometimes we just have to tell our child that their performance is not acceptable.  Sometimes this means a reprimand.  At other times you can handle it through coaching.  But either way you are demonstrating that standards matter....and that, in itself, is motivation.  As the old saying has it, "It's better to aim for 'Excellence' and hit 'Good' than to aim for 'Good' and hit 'Average.'"

Adapted from Practical Supervision

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There is nothing insignificant.  

Samuel T. Coleridge (1772-1834), British Author

Surprising September Links:

Historical Treasure Chests:   Combine a lesson on primary and secondary resources with a little U.S. History with a smidgeon of personal history. The initial activity identifies some primary and secondary sources, with students looking for similarities and differences. Activity two lets students work in teams 
to discover information contained within primary source documents. The 
extension activity allows students to investigate their family's own primary source materials and display them online.

Color, Contrast & Dimension in News Design:   The Poynter Institute, a school for journalists, future journalists and teachers of journalists, has created an online tutorial to help designers with the complexities of color and its use in print and online. Imbedded in the tutorial are page design exercises, which let 
the learner experiment with the use of color in magazines, newspapers, and websites. This tutorial would be a great addition to learning about journalism and web-design. 

Fear of Physics:   As the creators of this website say "We created this site to be a friendly, non-technical place for you to come and 'play' with the laws 
of physics for a while." For Elementary grade educators, this gives you ways to better explain the physics of the world around us. Middle School and High school students can try the different simulations, including Sound, Collisions, Making your Jump Shot, and Zero G. Illustrations will appeal to students as something they could accomplish, and the explanations let everyone gain a better understanding of physics.

Autoshop101 - Automotive Training Resource Site:   Automotive training support for Automotive technicians, students, and teachers. Online ASE style electrical practice tests, technical articles, online tutorials, etc. All items can be used for education purposes; students and teachers can reprint materials for class use. Toyota supports education, their only requirement is that their copyright remain on the document and that their work not be modified.

exZOOberance:   exZOOberance is dedicated to those who love and support the animal kingdom. The pictures of animals make this site a joy for animal lovers of all ages. (Readers are invited to add to information about the animals listed). News articles regarding all things touching the animal kingdom can tie Life Science in with current events.

Figure This!   This site was developed to provide interesting math challenges to families of middle school students, this resource can also work in schools. Three to four math challenges using real world examples are posted here each 
month. For those who need help solving the challenge, there are hints and complete solutions, along with related problems.

Have a Great Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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