In The News                      September 2012   Vol. 15-9

 President’s Message

It is a beautiful Fall day as I write this.  Although I am tempted to take my computer to my deck and enjoy the warmth and sun, it is easier to stay focused at my desk.  But I promise myself to get to the mountains this weekend to see the Fall colors and enjoy the wildlife.   It has become increasingly hard to take time away from the computer and work.  We have a team working on a rewrite of the eTutor program which will be applicable to the popular computer tablets and smart phones.  While we have students who are now accessing eTutor through tablets and phones, there are some applications which will function better and access will be easier with the program written for these new applications.  So, if it takes us awhile to return your phone call or email, please be patient with us...we will not forget you. 

Once again, I find myself surrounded by young minds who are a delight to work with.  I am learning so much from each of them. Their enthusiasm and work ethic inspire me to keep adapting and changing to the new possibilities for online learning. 

We continue to welcome new families to the eTutor program, many from countries around the world. Our data indicates that on any given day there are as many from outside the U.S. as in who are access the program.  We are pleased to see the interest and commitment  to world class learning.  It is our hope that students will begin to communicate with one another, to share experiences and customs in their locations. 

You may have noticed we are in the midst of a presidential campaign here in the U.S.  This is a wonderful opportunity to allow your student to review the backgrounds and promises of each candidate.  I remember, as a young girl, collecting campaign buttons and handouts from the presidential campaign offices.  I felt special to have the buttons.  I learned something about each man and began to understand a little about our electoral system. 

May you enjoy the color and beauty of the season each day this month. 




Open Enrollment Begins October 1st

Open enrollment makes it easy for students to begin their learning program at any time during the school year.  The eTutor school year is ten months.  So students beginning October 1st finish their program around the end of July.  While the majority of eTutor students enroll for the traditional school year, we reserve approximately one third of enrollment space for those entering at other times during the year.  We want students and parents to know and take advantage of the many options for learning that eTutor offers.        

Learn more

If you would like more information call 877-687-7200.


 Our Connected Community! 

Remember we want you to stay connected with us and with other parents and students.  For that reason we have opened eTutor in many different communities.  We try to post in each one at least two or three times a week. In some you may find a post almost every day.  We are always thinking of you, when we do our posting.  Please join our efforts by posting your own question or comment.  Just click on the icon below that interests you or try each one.  

   Get tips and information, plus share your own ideas with others.   

   How about a short video of your child using eTutor?  We can help you download it to the eTutor page.  

   Tweet something that inspires you.   

   Do you have a special activity you do with your child?  Post it on the eTutor blog.   

  eTutor is now on Pinterst.  Click on the icon to learn more and see some of our pins.

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If I can keep laughing, everything will be fine.

Beverly Sills (1929-2007) Opera Singer

Learning with eTutor

Guidelines and Expectations for Students

  • Know which subjects and lesson modules are recommended for your grade level. 
  • Carefully read and complete each section of the lesson module. 
  • Review Study Guide and Vocabulary before taking the quiz or exam. 
  • Share with a parent or another adult the Activities and Extending Learning Assignments you have completed. 
  • Spend at least one hour on each lesson module.
  • Complete no more than twenty lesson modules each week.
  • Keep track of when you start to study and when you stop each day.  Keep record of sport and art activity on your list, as well. 
  • Have a notebook, pencil, paper and any other necessary materials available before starting eTutor each day. 
  • Establish a schedule for learning and start, as much as possible, the same time each day.
  • Share with your parents the goals and time management plan you have established for yourself.
  • Contact eTutor if you are experiencing any difficulty with the program.

Eleven New Lesson Modules were added 
to eTutor this month.

More than 3200 Lesson Modules
are included in the 
eTutor Lesson Library!

Join the eTutor world of learning today to view 
the lesson modules.

Welcome New Teacher-Writers!

We are astounded by this number!  Over 220 teacher-writers have signed into the LessonPro template since June.  While many are just scouting around, there are many who have used the template with much success.  A few lesson modules have been accepted for the eTutor Virtual School curriculum.  

If you are looking for a way to achieve the goal of creating web-based instruction for your students this year, then you will want to sign into LessonPro and give it a try.  There is no fee for using the template. However, you can earn a few extra dollars if your lesson is accepted for use in the eTutor program.  Knowledge HQ offers a small stipend for lessons of quality.  

If you have questions or comments, please contact us.  We hope you will join The Writers' Circle today!

   The Book Case            

Smoky, the Cowhorse 
Written and Illustrated by Will James

Ages 8 and Up  

In the preface of Smoky The Cowhorse winner of the sixth Newberry medal, Will James writes, "The horse is not appreciated and never will be appreciated enough,- few humans, even them that works him, really know him, but there is so much to know about him."

This story is about one horse in particular named Smoky, and the story of his life. The experiences of the mouse-colored horse from his birth in the wild, through his capture by humans and his work in the rodeo and on the range, to his eventual old age. Set in the early twentieth century in the Northwestern United States, this book captures the way of life for the American cowboy. 

Online edition: Gutenberg Library
1927 Newbery Medal Winner

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We need love and creative imagination to do constructive work. 

Paula Ollendorf (1860-1928) Writer and Activist


Examining Expectation on Learner Performance

There have been many, many studies of the effects of educational expectations on students.  The implications are quite obvious and perhaps a bit frightening. A little like voodoo or the witch doctor poking pins in the doll likeness of an individual. Carried to their ultimate conclusions one might imagine that all sorts of expectations, positive and negative, maybe conjured in the mind of one to create the cauldron of human behavior for another.

Upon examining the studies more closely, there are characteristics, other than expectations or self-fulfilling prophecies, that play a part.  They are a little like the case of the young boy stealing food.  He was examined by psychologists, tested, environmental characteristics noted, and a childhood work-up completed to determine why he stole. Then the arresting officer's report was read and in it was the sentence that revealed the strongest motivation.  It said, "The boy was hungry."

Positive expectations of one person are a factor in influencing another’s behavior.  But to say that expectations alone mold behavior is similar to examining professional golfers and discovering that they have strong hands, and presuming, therefore, that strong hands make people superb golfers.  There are other variables involved in the studies conducted that are more obvious, and less profound, than expectations, noted in the following. 

The educator-learner relationship was established.  There were educators (or parents, coaches, bosses) who were led to believe they could teach.  There were learners who, in many cases, wanted to learn, and were led to believe they could exceed their previous rates of learning.  Using test results or performance scales, the educators were given encouragement that the learners would be exceptional.  Thus, the association would be rewarding and satisfying for the educator.  That kind of attitude projected into the learning situation stimulates learning performance.

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

Being Prepared

Paul Auster learned a valuable lesson about opportunity at a young age.  His parents had taken him to his first professional baseball game…a thrilling event for a young man.  And it didn’t end after the last inning.

His family had stayed in their seats as the crowd poured out of the ballpark.  When they finally crossed the diamond to leave, only one exit remained open for them to use…and near it stood one of Auster’s heroes. Summoning all his courage, the youngster approached the man.  “Mr. Mays, could I please have your autograph?”

“Sure, kid, sure,”  answered the legendary Willie Mays.  “You got a pencil?”

The young fan searched his pockets, but came up empty.  No matter.  Surely his father had a pencil, so he asked to borrow it.  But his father didn’t have a pencil either; nor did his mother or any of the other grownups in their group.  How could nobody have a pencil?  How could his big chance of getting Willie Mays’ autograph slip away from him because of something as insignificant as a writing instrument?

“Sorry, kid,” said the slugger, and he left the ballpark.

Eight-year-old Auster began to cry.  He couldn’t help it.  Not only was he disappointed, but he was angry with himself.  He had failed to prepare for what should have been one of the most memorable moments in his life.

After that incident, Auster never left home without a pencil in his pocket.  He didn’t know what he might need one for…only that if he were to need it, he’d have it.  He would always be prepared for his next opportunity.  Of course, simply by being prepared, Auster invited opportunity into his life.  Today he credits that pencil for his successful career as a novelist.

Adapted from Why Write? Paul Auster

Ten Reasons for Spelling Competence

Spelling correctly continues to be an important skill for learners, in spite of the prevalence of texting and spell checkers.  Able spellers employ many strategies. The majority of students require guidance and encouragement to:

  • Sustain an interest in language and a curiosity about words;
  • Develop confidence as communicators and writers;
  • Extend their listening, speaking, reading and writing vocabularies;
  • Continually increase their memory repertoires of common, irregularly spelled words;
  • Use visual imaging to imprint words and letter combinations to memory;
  • Use auditory (sound) cueing such as rhyming words to spell by analogy or similarity of sound;
  • Create and use mnemonic cues to remember how some words are spelled;
  • Use knowledge of word structures to assist spelling;
  • Know the origins of words, develop the concept of root words and recognize relationships between word meaning and spelling;
  • Seek assistance with spellings by referring to word banks, dictionaries, word displays and resources from other subject areas, and by consulting peers.
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Character is a diamond that scratches every other stone.

Cyrus A. Bartol (1813-1900)Clergyman and writer


Let Problems Improve Time Use

We all have problems managing time.  But none of us should experience the same problems more than a few times…and never chronically.  To improve your way out of time-wasting patterns, make a point to learn from your mistakes.  As you solve a problem, take a moment to jot down a note describing how you will avoid it again.  Keep the note handy if there is a next time.  

Adapted from Working Smart

Setting Goals to Build Self Esteem

Students who have high self-esteem are willing to take chances in their learning.  They are able to stay with a difficult subject until they master it.  Teach your child how to set goals.  First, help your child choose one goal that is both challenging and attainable.  Examples might be, “I will complete my history reading every night,” or “I will receive a grade of 90 on my spelling test.”

Next, write the goal.  Post it where your child can see it.  A visual reminder will help keep your child motivated.  Now talk about strategies for accomplishing the goal.  These should be concrete steps that help your child move purposefully toward the goal.  For example, a child trying to improve in spelling might:

  • Set aside 15 minutes of study time every day.

  • Make flash cards of the difficult words.

  • Ask family members to give practice tests.

Check progress.  If your child completes each step, be sure to celebrate the effort.  If she encounters problems, help her get back on track.  Finally, evaluate your child’s progress.  Did she reach her goal?  Why or why not?  What did she learn from her success?  If she didn’t reach her goal, what did she learn from the experience?  Praise your child’s effort in trying to reach the goal, and teach her that even though she didn’t succeed as she had hoped, she has still made positive progress.

Then help her set another achievable goal.  Every time your child reaches a goal, she is building her self-esteem so she can try to reach another one.

Adapted from Parents Can Help Students Achieve,
American Association of School Administrators

Those Teen Years

Teenagers long to be accepted, to be part of a group.   And groups of teens want everyone to do things the group’s way.  That’s peer pressure and it comes in many forms.  When they are young, children tend to accept the values and beliefs of parents and other adults.  Then one day they begin to think about and question those values and beliefs.  This is part of making them their own and a process teenagers go through.  Friends are important in this process because they provide feedback.  Teenagers need reactions, and their fellow teens are willing to give honest opinions, to listen, to be sympathetic eyes and ears as they all try out new roles and ideas.

 This doesn’t mean parents aren’t important to them any more.  They are.  Teenagers may not ask your opinion on clothes or music, but when it comes to important things…an illness, job, college or career plans, they are listening…even if they don’t always show it.  

Adapted from National School Public Relations Assoc.

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Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.

Palmer Sondreal


Special September Links:

Virtual Sistine Chapel:  Virtual Sistine Chapel is an amazing 360-degree interactive view of the Sistine Chapel brought to you by your friends at the Vatican . You can fly around the astounding artwork and zoom into the frescoes at a pretty decent level. This site would be great for art history and religious studies. cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html

Questionaut:  Questionaut is a Math, English and Science game from the BBC. The premise of the game is your standard question/answer delivery, but what I really like about this game is twofold. One, the artwork, created by Amanita Design, is amazing. You could get lost in just looking at all the beautiful details. The second thing that really brings this educational game to a higher level, in my book, is that students will have to work and explore to be given the questions. Within each level, the player will need to complete a series of clicks to release the questions, adding a very subtle think-out-of-the-box element to the game. ks2/games/questionaut/ 

Who Pooped: You know that, with a name like Who Pooped, this will be popular with the younger students. Who Pooped is a science site created by the Minnesota Zoo to help students begin thinking like scientists. One way scientists learn about animals is by studying their poop -- also called "scat" or "dung." Who Pooped allows students to investigate various types of scat and try to match the scat with its creator.

Books Should Be Free:  Books Should be Free (formally Audio Owl) makes the world's public domain audio books available for browsing in a visual and easily searchable way. You can search for a specific title, or use the genre list to visually scan through hundreds of titles. Books may be previewed directly on the site, or you may download them directly into iTunes, or as zipped mp3 files. The downloads are broken into chapters, which is useful for educators using this as a listening station. 
http://www.booksshouldbefree. com/genre/Children

Virtual Piano:  As an educator, this site has huge potential. Virtual Piano is a beautifully sounding piano that you play by typing on your keyboard. You can play "Für Elise" by following the key-pattern available. As this is in beta version, I'm guessing that over time, there will be more song choices and hopefully more learning connectivity with the computer keyboard.

These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.

Have a GREAT month!

From the 
Knowledge HQ Staff

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