going to Target a learning experience? This is the question my
daughter-in-law posed to me this month. My response was,
"It absolutely can be!" There are many
opportunities to explore color, size, placement, weight, direction and
more. So, often we rush into a store to pick up a few things
without thinking how it can benefit our little ones. While you
are gathering your purchases, talk about whether you are reaching high
or low, going left or right, moving up or down, is the aisle narrow or
wide, finding a red or blue box, determining whether it is large
or small. You don't have to make a big production of what you are
doing, but just remember the vocabulary and an appropriate sentence
length. You can determine sentence length by the age of your
child. Five years old - five word sentences.
colleague approached me this week with concerns she has had about her
child's growth and development. This is a first child and the
new mother tried to find answers for her concerns but when no
one else seemed concerned, she thought perhaps she was over
re-acting. She finally found someone to address her concerns
and her child is now getting the help he needs. But it
took four years for her to get to this point! It can't be known,
but had services been provided earlier, corrective action might
have corrected or slowed his delays. The parent is still
confused and not quite sure where to turn.
We parents are the advocates for our
children. It doesn't matter whether our child is gifted, delayed
or average. Our children depend on us to sift through
barriers to a successful life. Programs that help parents to
know what to do are few and far between. So, we have to educate
ourselves to find agencies, organizations and persons who will support
us as we seek answers in support of our children. We often have
to rely on a feeling or intuition that something is just not right,
too good or not a fit. It takes constant observation on our
part. Our children deserve this from each of us.
There are wonderful rewards of such intervention for us, but
especially for our children.
There is no such thing as the perfect solution. Every solution,
no matter how good, creates new problems.
Thinking and Problem Solving Skills:
Why Activities and Extended Learning Are Important
When it's time to go beyond learning facts and to get into
the grayer matter of a topic or skill, your child is ready for an inquiry activity that presents
the student with a challenging task, provides access to online resources and scaffolds the learning process to prompt higher order thinking.
Each e-Tutor lesson includes both an Activity and Extended Learning
Section. These are an important part of each lesson.
Students will not fully comprehend the concept or skill of the lesson
unless these are completed and discussed with a parent or another
These can include a worksheet, hands-on activity, project,
problems, questions or sites relevant to the study guide.
This is a chance for students to apply what they have
learned. e-Tutor does
not grade or evaluate activities, but encourages parents to review
these with their students. They should be used as a springboard
This might consist of a critical thinking project, problem or
discussion that goes beyond the scope of the lesson.
e-Tutor does not grade or evaluate extended learning
activities. Again, use these to frame a discussion with your
student. We suggest that both Activity and Extended Learning
be kept in folders, one for each of the main curricular
Students begin by learning background
knowledge presented in the Study Guide, then they are given a specific
task to complete. They synthesize their learning by presenting their interpretation
of the Activity and Extended Learning
to a parent or another adult..
Anything that requires evaluation or scientific hypothesizing will evoke a variety of interpretations. The reason the
e-Tutor Activities and Extended Learning are so critical to the lesson
is because they offer the breadth of perspectives and viewpoints that are usually needed to construct meaning on complex topics. Students
benefit from completing these sections of each lesson so that they can explore and make sense of the
concepts or skills introduced in the Study Guide.
Forty-four new lessons
were added to e-Tutor this month!
Join the e-Tutor
world of learning today to view the Lesson Library.
Writing Tips from
Mark Twain helped to shape the American
language. Here are some quotes worth noting from this great
- On Style (to a 12-year-old
boy): "I notice that you use plain, simple language, short
words and brief sentences. That is the way to write
English...it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it
and don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in."
- More on style: "When you
catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but
kill most of them...then the rest will be valuable. They
give strength when they are wide apart.
- On using short words: "I
never write 'metropolis' for 7 cents when I can get the same for
- More on short words:
- On being concise: "With
a hundred words to do it with, the literary artisan could catch
that airy thought and tie it down and reduce it to a ...cabbage,
but the artist does it with 20...and the result is a flower."
- On word choice: "The
difference between the almost-right word and the right word is
really a large matter...'tis the difference between the lightning
bug and the lightning."
The future is not a gift...it is an achievement.
Lauder, Forbes Magazine
Make The Invitations Simple
What more noble contribution can you make
to another than inviting that person to grow! How do you become
the person who helps others grow? It is really quite easy.
Give praise and encouragement. Be tolerant. Listen.
Try to understand. Share yourself. Search out the good in
others. Help them dream. Dismiss their blunders and
mistakes. Be kind. Love.
A mother who had raised an exceptional
family of three sons and two daughters, all achievers, was asked her
formula for being a successful parent. She answered, "I
really don't know. I just love them and trust them."
Trust them! Mutual trust and respect are prime ingredients in any
invitation to grow.
A Boy Scout executive, once wrote,
"Men have often found that the basis of success in influencing a
boy lies in respecting him. You have to believe in the boy and
in his possibilities so whole-heartedly that you convey that idea of confidence
and respect to him as you use patience and skill and understanding in
dealing with him. Sure, it takes faith, too."
Above all, treasure your own ability to
grow. See yourself as a more splendid person by constantly
giving to others a richer life by your invitations to them to grow!
The Public School
any situation there are three attitudes guaranteed to generate
low morale, feelings of helplessness and inability to compete
effectively. They are:
- To believe what we do is for someone
- To believer there's a result that is
- To believe there is some needed
effort that is not my responsibility.
Consultants point out that 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.
Increasingly, the most important
contributions are those made at one's own discretion. Those who excel
have an ongoing commitment to doing the very best they
As soon as someone says "That's
not my job," or "That's good enough," the effort
suffers. The message implies lack of personal involvement with
what is going on. It says, "I'm here for seat time and that
Create a vision for your family that
fosters commitment and let your children know that the three failure
attitudes are inconsistent with the family's.
Adapted from Worklife
Visions: Redefining Work for the Information Economy, Jeffrey
Leonardo da Vinci was an ambidextrous workaholic. He sketched
with his right hand while he wrote with his left...simultaneously!.
Learning to Read Versus Reading to
Some parents mistakenly believe that once
a child can read he is then ready to begin learning on his own through
reading. However, most children cannot read to learn until
about the fourth grade.
There are three skills necessary in
order to enjoy reading and to benefit from it. The first is automatic
reading. It takes at least 20 minutes of reading a
day for several years before reading becomes automatic. Until automatic
reading is reached, a child will be too focused on decoding to glean
much content from what he is reading.
The second skill is visualization.
The ability to picture in one's mind what is being read enhances
comprehension and memory. Parents can help a child learn to
visualize by reading vivid passages aloud, stopping frequently to ask
the child to describe what is being read. Another way to develop
visualization is to read picture books to a child without letting him
see the pictures, ask him what he imagines the pictures look like,
then compare his imagination to the artist's illustrations.
Finally, the child must have enough of an experience base for
what he is reading to make sense to him. Children with a wider
range of experiences, such as travel, attending plays and musical
performances, visiting museums and interacting with a variety of
people learn to read more quickly and have greater reading
Usually it takes a child until fourth
grade to have reached a level of automatic reading, to have acquired
the visualization skills and to have accumulated a broad enough base
of life experiences to begin learning through reading.
I'm All Ears
It is not as easy as many people think,
to be a good receiver of the information family and friends
direct at you. The good news is that there are certain basic
skills that can dramatically improve anyone's ability to receive information.
The process of receiving verbal
information is active, not passive. In fact, the person who is
listening needs to expend as much energy...perhaps more...than
the person who is speaking. Here are steps you can follow:
- Set aside preconceptions. Try
to view each encounter as something new, from which there is
something important to be learned.
- Never view a conversation as just
another interruption in your hectic schedule. If you are
too involved with other concerns to accord the person your full
concentration, say so.
- Try to minimize distractions and
interruptions. It shows that you are treating the
person's concerns with appropriate seriousness.
- Concentrate on what is being
said. Don't sit passively and let the other's
words wash over you. Don't let your thoughts wander.
Instead, try to hear each word as though you were saying it
- Eliminate interruptive
thinking. Wait until the other person has finished
speaking his piece before you try to formulate what you are going
to say in response.
- Clarify what the person is
saying. Even if you think you understood, repeat your
take on what the other person said. You may be surprised to
learn that the message you received is substantially different
from the one the person intended to communicate.
When Having a Bad Day
The next time things aren't going
right, you might regain some confidence by remembering that:
- The best basketball players make
only about fifty percent of their shots.
- The successful actor is turned down
29 our to 30 times when auditioning for roles in TV
Hope Health Letter
Are you one of those who
has trouble remembering things. It happens to me all of
the time. I just explain that my chips are not working fast
enough. But there are things we can do to improve our memory
Creativity is about
finding new things, meeting new people and putting old information
together in new ways. How many different ways do you already
know that have helped you (or others) to remember? Make a
list. Once you have the list, create new methods of remembering
by combining two or more methods. For example, if your list
includes making rhymes to help you remember and checking with others,
you can combine the two into "making rhymes with
others." Enjoy trying out your
new memory methods!
Try this exercise:
Decide on a body of
knowledge you want to remember.
Tell yourself a dozen
reasons why you want to remember it well.
remembering perfectly and using that knowledge.
Design an enjoyable
and personal way to absorb information including the best
modalities, intelligences and cognitive style to use.
Follow your plan exactly.
Remind yourself that you are having fun.
Tell someone how well
your learning plan is working.
Use what you have
Adapted from The Next Step Magazine
A person's work is a portrait of oneself.
Learn to use the Internet and software tools while doing atmosphere investigations for the middle school and high school, Earth/Space
Science Classroom. All activities, especially the Weather Hunt, Storm Sampler and The Perfect Storm Webquest, are designed for use by cooperative groups and culminate in a final shared presentation. The Weather Hotlist and the Weather Scrapbook are easily adapted for use by individual students.
Plastic Fork Diaries:
Follow six middle school students as they experience first-hand the relationship between food and their changing bodies, cultural
differences, the vanishing family meal, nutrition and athletic performance. In a series of episode, you access diaries, letters and
notes of a group of people who aren't really friends, but may have more
in common than they realize. Along the way, there'll be mysteries, celebrations, disappointments, and regular everyday stuff. Take some
time to explore. The site is Flash-intensive.
Conversations with History:
Here you will find a collection of interviews with men and women from all over the world.
"Guests include diplomats, statesmen, and soldiers; economists and political analysts; scientists and historians; writers and foreign
correspondents; activists and artists. The interviews span the globe and
include discussion of political, economic, military, legal, cultural and social issues shaping our world. At the heart of each interview is a
focus on individuals and ideas that make a difference." In some instances, you will find
multimedia clips that can be played. Produced by the Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley.
Saskatchewan Stories: This totally Flash-driven site uses stories to teach about the four
major periods of Saskatchewan history (early people, fur trading,
pioneers, today). Each story is complimented by images and the text which contain highlighted terms for additional information. Each
period contains a short video (look for the film tool above the photo),
a highly interactive map of the region (next to the film tool) and a help feature. Geared for the fourth grade Canadian standards; but
fascinating and fun for all.
Drawing from Life: Caricatures and Cartoons From The American
Art/Portrait Gallery Library Collection: From the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait
Gallery, this online exhibit presents cartoons and caricatures from books in their holdings. Includes artist biographies, featured
books and a subject search. While some view cartoons as frivolous, they seem
to always find acceptance among the masses whether for their humor, for their insight into
situations or both.
Maggie's Earth Adventures:
Maggie's Earth Adventures provides free online lessons, animated stories
and games for primary and intermediate elementary educators and students. The stories and activities that comprise each unit in Maggie's
Earth Adventures introduce students to actual environmental issues and
motivate students to delve deeper into the issues presented. Standards
based activities are an important part of each of these adventures.
Educators will find online activities and printable lessons in the Teachers' Lounge section to correlate with the animated stories. Created
by Maggie's Earth Adventures, LLC. Requires Flash.
Have a Surprising
From the Knowledge HQ Staff
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