_In The News                      October 2006   Vol. 9-9

President’s Message

My street has transformed itself in a just a few short weeks.  Orange pumpkins, black cats and bats, ghosts and goblins, scarecrows and ravens, and witches.  Children are wearing the most outlandish outfits and everyone goes around with a slight grin.  The leaves are falling, there is a chill in the air and gardens are browning.  The signs are clear.... a new season is upon us and all of October seems to be about Halloween.  I can't wait to have the children ringing my doorbell and giggling over whether I know who they are or not.  Even though we have watched them practicing for lo these many weeks.  All is a harbinger of the weeks and months ahead....full of family fun and celebration. 

Have you ever had a time when irritation just seems to get the better of you?  I find it hard to remain grounded when irritated....hard to not let things get the better of me...hard to remember there is probably a purpose in the irritation.   As much as I find my irritation frustrating,  if I can harness it, it can help me be more productive.  Complacency does not move us forward.  It is that irritation and agitation, that forces us to take a chance on a different path.  That old reminder keeps hanging around....the more uncomfortable we are, the more we change.  So, perhaps irritation and agitation mean that one is forging on a new path, whatever that might be. It is uncomfortable, but if we can harness the irritation and agitation, we will be better off in the long run.  

This month I was fortunate to attend a conference for women in business.  Most often we attend conferences and workshops focusing on education.  These women did everything!  And I found it valuable to learn how little separates any of us whether in business or education.  It was wonderful to hear their stories and the successes they have achieved.  The most important piece of advice I came away with, is to listen to your heart.  Hard as it is to ignore our heads, that intuition, that we often don't value because it is not based on hard data, is what will win the day for each of us. 

I think of so many of you who have shared your stories with me.  In many cases you have been bounced around between conflicting advice.  In spite of the well-intentioned advice you have chosen your own route.  What power that is!  Even when things seem to go awry they will right themselves and you will be the stronger person for your faith in yourself. 

So, as we approach another month, I hope you will celebrate with me, the change occurring in our lives and our world.   

Wishing you happiness this month.....         


Many, Many Thanks!

As you know word of mouth is the best advertising.  And you have just been great!  Many of you have recommended e-Tutor to friends over the years.  You may have received a thank you card from us.  Now we would like to thank those of you who are subscribers in a different way.  For the next few months, we will reimburse you $100 for each new subscribing family you recommend to e-Tutor.  It is easy to participate, just ask your friends to include your name in the referral section of the subscription form. If you would like more information call 877-687-7200.    


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To get anywhere, strike out for somewhere, or you'll get nowhere. 

Learning with e-Tutor:

Web Links 

Hyperlink: a link from a hypertext file to another location or file; typically activated by clicking on a highlighted word or icon at a particular location on the screen.

The e-Tutor program has millions of hyperlinks built within the system.  They are valuable in extending the concepts and skills presented in each lesson module. 

The hyperlinks you find in the Study Guide and Resource Section of each e-Tutor Lesson Module are important.  And, students should take advantage of the hyperlinks.  They add much background information, extend the concept or skill being taught and often assist the student in linking prior information with new information.  

We suggest the student read through the Study Guide two times.  The first time for capturing the skills and concepts being taught.  The second time, clicking on each of the hyperlinks in the Study Guide to reinforce the concepts and skills presented.

The Resource section of the lesson module provides additional hyperlinks which can extend the learning.  We suggest the student review each of these and write several sentences about what they have learned.  Younger students can draw pictures and label them.  Additionally, many resources for the younger students include valuable information for the educator, to enhance the teaching-learning process. 

The hyperlinks in e-Tutor are dynamic.  In other words, they are active sites on the Internet.  The e-Tutor program was created to take advantage of the vast resources of the Internet in the teaching learning process.  This, however, comes with some drawbacks......sometimes the hyperlinks are down because there may be too much activity on the particular website, the URL has been changed, or the website is no longer active.  We consider this not too great a problem, to change the methodology of the program and it makes e-Tutor unique among other online learning programs.  There are editors who work on the hyperlinks on a daily basis and we ask students and parent to email us with any broken link they may find.   

Forty-seven 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

        A Wrinkle in Time  
              by Madeleine L'Engle
             Intermediate Grades

This is a classic!  You may have read it yourself in your youth.  The science fiction novel deals with universal themes such as good versus evil and the pain of not fitting in socially. A Wrinkle in Time follows the adventures of a teenage girl, Meg Murry, as she travels through space and time with her brother and a school friend. These travels bring them to the heart of evil where Meg's brother is blinded and held captive. Eventually, however, Meg rescues her father, who has been waging war against the evil forces, and wins back her brother with a force greater than evil—love.

Disney made a movie of the book story in 2003.  

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The road to success is usually off the beaten path.  


Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips

You have probably heard these more than you want to, but it is easy to forget from one year to the next.  Over the years we have had to make changes.  Our children need to be more cautious each year.  

  • Make sure costumes fit correctly, are made with fire-retardant materials and are light-colored or decorated with reflective tape so children can be seen by motorists.

  • Knives, swords and other accessories should be made of soft, flexible material.

  • Bags or sacks should be light-colored or trimmed with reflective tape. 

  • Feed children a light meal before going out so they won't be tempted to snack before they return home. 

  • Make sure you examine each and every treat your children bring home before letting then eat it.

  • Only allow children to consume commercially-wrapped treats.

  • Discard any homemade candy or treats and when in doubt, throw it out. 

  • If driving on Halloween, be sure to watch for children walking on roadways and darting out from between parked cars.  

National Safety Council

The first steps in handling anything is the ability to face it. 


The Magic of Math!

Help your child explore the magic of math!

  • Show that math is important at home, in learning and in life.

  • Talk about math using terms and ideas.

  • Enjoy games and activities that involve math.

  • Have a positive attitude about math and encourage your child.


Yes Children

      Yes is one of the most important words you can use with your children.  Say yes to them so they can say yes to life.  A child raised with yes feels positive about himself and the world awaiting.  A child who has been given the go ahead to explore her world learns to be naturally optimistic and a self-starter.  "Yes children" are naturally motivated and believe they can make things happen.  They are willing to find out and take charge.  Unfortunately some parents are fearful, thinking it is better to control the child with no....they automatically say no to everything; but this approach soon backfires.  A child raised with lots of no's is defeated before he starts.  He feels frustrated and, in extreme cases, hopeless.  He stops trying, gives up and becomes depressed.  He has sad eyes. 

Teens, especially, need lots of yes.  Try to look at it this way: a child asks for whatever she is ready to handle.  You never hear a five year old asking to drive a car or go to a dance.  Even preteens start asking for more privileges because they are ready for the responsibility associated with this new adventure.  They are ready to expand their world and when you say yes you are sending a positive message that you trust them and that in turn helps them become more independent and trustworthy. 

There is, however, a big difference between saying yes so that your children see life in a positive way and saying yes indiscriminately, allowing them to do anything.  Overly permissive parents give the go-ahead by default, because it's easier than taking an active interest in their children's activities; on the other hand, responsible parents know what's going on and say yes because they understand that the experience will be beneficial.  Overly permissive parents give the impression of not really caring, whereas "yes parents" watch closely as they allow their children to expand their boundaries. 

When children ask, give them a positive, affirmative reply.  And if you can't say yes right away, try, "Sounds interesting....let's talk about it," or "I'd like to think that over."  Yes opens the doors of possibilities and the windows of opportunity.  Yes creates an atmosphere of cooperation and excitement.  It makes the world a friendlier place.  Yes lets your child move out into the world and explore. 

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford

Just Plain Ice Cream

In the days when an ice cram sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered  a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table.  A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.  "How much is an ice cream sundae?"

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it.  "How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired. 

Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient.  "Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely.

The little boy again counted the coins.  "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. 

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away.  The  boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed.  When the waitress came back, she p0icked up the empty plate and then swallowed hard at what she saw.  There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies....her tip.

Bits and Pieces


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Every novel should have a beginning, muddle and an end.

Peter De Vries


Higher Order Thinking

Critical thinking involves logical thinking and reasoning and creative thinking involves crating something new or original.  Application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation are higher order critical and creative thinking skills.  What does this mean to the learner.  By defining each of these thinking skills, we can gain a clearer understanding of what is necessary in student learning.

  • Application - The ability to use learned material in new abstract and concrete situations.  This may include the application of such things as rules, methods, concepts, principles, laws and theories.  e-Tutor  quizzes and exams questions may ask: Who is accountable? Why did it happen? What would happen if? How much change will occur? When will events change? What would cause?

  • Analysis - The ability to break down material into its component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood.  This skill may include the identification of the parts, analysis of the relationship between parts and recognition of the organizational principles involved.  Students practice this in the Activity section of each e-Tutor lesson module.

  • The ability to assemble elements or parts to form a whole; combine elements into a pattern not clearly there before. The Extended Learning sections in e-Tutor applies here. 

  • The ability to make a judgment about the value of material or methods for a given purpose or situation. This is a culmination of all of the assessment measures included in the e-Tutor Program.

A Real Appetite for Real Books

It's easy for us to subscribe to a current myth that the children and youth of today do nothing but watch television, surf the Internet, listen to high-energy music and play video games.  This myth is just that: a myth.  It ignores the facts.  Today's students read books....lots of them.  They read books that are informational and books that are fictional.  They read books that you and I would call classics and they read books that are new....books that take them to new frontiers of thinking and imagining.  Today's children and youth are learning about the old and confronting the new through books they are reading.  

In the early grades, students read and have read to them many of the old stories.  Fairy tales and folk stories, along with Dr. Seuss stories and new stories about animals, space ships and people who lived long ago are enjoyed by beginning readers.  

Students in intermediate grades show a surge of interest in informational books.  They love books about how things work and how things are made.  They also love adventure stories and mystery books.

Adolescents and early teens often cause their parents to be concerned about their preference for "pop literature." This body of literature is something you and I enjoyed at one stage of our lives and seems to be a part of growing up (comic books and juvenile series).

By age sixteen, the amount of reading that is done begins to decrease as the demands on students' available time increases.  Upper secondary students do not read as many books as younger students, but the choices they make are from required reading lists as well as personal selections.  

Adapted from The Master Teacher 

Inference and Learning

The ability to make inferences during the reading process is crucial to reading comprehension.  From time to time we will have a child or parent call and tell us the answer to a question was not in the Study Guide.  When making an inference, a child uses information given in the selection as well as his or her experience and prior knowledge to draw conclusions about causes, details, and events that are not directly stated.  Making inferences involves drawing conclusions about causes, explanations, or details that are not directly stated by analyzing stated effects or outcomes.  Inferences are not always proved correct or incorrect by the end of a reading selection.  We are not trying to confuse a student or trick him, we want him to use inference in responding to some of the questions. 

There are nine major types of inference:

  1. People or Animals
    Mrs. Valdez handed worksheet to the students and told them to complete the exercise in ten minutes.  Who is Mrs. Valdez?

  2. Location
    George filled his pail with water and carried it back to his sand castle.  Where is George?

  3. Object
    The people climbed aboard the giant bird and it flew off into the skies.  What is the giant bird?

  4. Time
    John didn't want to stop playing, but the sun had set fifteen minutes ago and he could barely see the ball.  What time is it?

  5. Actions
    Becky took an end and let Sandy jump for a while.  We all sang as she jumped.  Sandy finally missed and then she took an end.  What were Becky and Sandy doing?

  6. Feelings
    While Don waited for the race to begin, he wiped his sweating hands on his towel.  How was Don feeling?

  7. Cause and Effect
    The next morning, the lawn was littered with bits of colored paper, balloons and leftover food.  What caused this situation?

  8. Problem-Solution
    Pat watched in horror as the tub overflowed onto the bathroom floor.  What might be the problem?  What should Pat do?

  9. Category
    Oranges, apples and pears were served for dessert.  These three objects belong to which category?

Adapted from Silver Burdett and Ginn

Every Day Academic Skills

A checklist of things you can do to help your child be a successful learner. 

  • Tell your child you think academic skills are important.

  • Ask your child what academic skills he or she learned today.

  • Insist that your child schedule a definite time for learning every week day.  If you child has free time in the evening watch a television news program with him and discuss it.

  • Look over Activities and Extended Learning and other learning activities each day.

  • Show your child how you use academic skills at home in cooking, carpentry, budgeting, shopping, planning trips and other everyday uses. 

  • Tell your child how you use academic skills in your job in measuring, figuring, estimating, reading, writing, speaking, hypothesizing, evaluating and so on. 

  • Talk with your child about American democracy and the importance of voting in elections. 

  • Help your child observe and learn about living things such as setting up an aquarium or taking nature talks) or about nonliving things (by starting a rock collection or predicting the weather).

  • Have your child work on academic skills with a younger child or an older child.  Both will benefit.

  • Ask another adult to help teach your child these academic skills....aunt, uncle, grandparent or neighbor. 

  • Take your child to the library every week and ask what books he or she checked out. 

  • Help your child develop good health habits (such as eating balanced meals, getting proper rest and exercise, brushing and flossing teeth and staying away from harmful drugs).

  • Do mathematical puzzles and play word games with your child.

  • Help your child to use an online dictionary, encyclopedia, atlas and almanac and help your child look up facts and figures in them.

  • Help your child understand charts, graphs and maps you find in newspapers or magazines.

  • Ask you child to measure the length, height, weight, volume or temperature of things at home.

  • Help your child use study skills such as skimming, outlining and note taking or demonstrate how you use them....for example, in skimming the newspaper.  

Adapted from Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, GA

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One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men.  No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. 

Elbert Hubbard  

Outstanding October Links

First Americans for Grade Schoolers:  This was created by an Indian student for her local school.  The site offers information, activities and links to help elementary students learn about four Native American tribes.

The Whole World Was Watching - An Oral History of 1968: In this collaboration, students interviewed Rhode Islanders about their recollections of the year 1968.  With references to the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, assassinations and personal experiences, the interviews document a tumultuous era in U.S. history.  

Tiny Planets:  Cute and professionally done.  Full of the kind of flash that kids like.  Online activities are short and simple, once you figure out what you have to do.  Help is located in the upper right corner of every page. Activities focus on Technology, Nature, Light and Color, plus a few activities around the Home planet. 

Open Hearts / Closed Doors:  Beautiful, primary source site in both English and French.  The stories of Holocaust orphans who came to Canada after World War II.  The site consists of three sections: 1) Orphans' Stories: text and graphics, as well as audio and video comments by the orphans themselves; 2) Themes: historical context (before the war, the Holocaust, liberation, displacement, the journey); 3) Learning Resources: material for further study including Teacher's Guide and lesson ideas, Artifacts Collections, complete transcripts of all of the war orphans' memoirs and a glossary. 

Project Vote Smart:  This site contains information on thousands of candidates and officials in five basic categories: backgrounds, issue positions, voting records, campaign finances and performance evaluations.,  PVS also maintains CongressTrack, which monitors the status of major federal legislation and a calendar for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.  But wait, there is more: voter registration forms for each state; contact information for state and county election offices; polling place and absentee ballot information; ballot measure descriptions for each state (where applicable); and links to federal and state government agencies, political parties and organizations.  

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:  This site provides free online lessons, animated stories and games for primary and intermediate elementary school students and educators.  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 base activities are an important part of each of these adventures.  There are online activities and printable lessons that correlate with the animated stories. 

Have a Boo-tiful Month
From the Staff at Knowledge HQ

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