In The News                       October 2009   Vol. 12-10

President’s Message

It is snowing here today.  Somehow it seems too soon. I haven't had my fill of warm weather.  Each time the weather man says it is going to snow, I bring in my potted plants in the hopes of extending their color for a few more of the warm days to come.  

The trees are laden with cold water and snow.  Leaves have not yet fallen and with the snow they look like I feel....saddened at a quick turn of the season.  Mother Nature has a way of jolting us out of our anticipated scheme of things.  Although we fuss and moan, a change of pace is good for us.  It revitalizes our thinking and actions.  Instead of looking backward, we should look forward to the excitement and beauty of the new season.

This month we have picked up the pace in the planning and the re-evaluation of all of our business practices.  The task requires the dissection of every action we take.  It is time consuming and often we are torn because there is so much of the day-to-day work that continues to need to be done.  But, the efficiencies we should be able to achieve in completion is worth the effort.   Many of you have shared your thoughts with us.  We appreciate your input and encourage others to take advantage of the opportunity. 

I learned yesterday of more that our new community has to offer.  When we leave one place to reside in another, we think there will not be the many opportunities we had before.  But, in any community, we often do not take advantage of the many arts, sports and enrichment activities that await us.  My goal is to participate in as many activities as I can throughout the end of this year and the first half of next year.  Perhaps you might want to do something similar.  It is good for everyone in the family to try on "a new pair of shoes" so to speak.  You never know what come of participating in something new.  

Halloween is fast approaching.  Keep a close eye on your children while enjoying the fascination they have in the dress-up celebration.  



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Lose a battle if it will help wind a war. 

Learning with e-Tutor


  What does it mean to ďfully complete a lesson module?Ē

Plan to spend about one to one and a half hours working on each lesson module.  You may take longer, of course, since there is no time limit on the amount of time for learning. 

We want to make sure that you have fully completed each lesson module. 

e-Tutor lesson modules have several sections.  Each section is important to your learning and should be completed before moving on to the next section.  To fully complete a lesson module follow these guidelines:

  • Problem Statement: Respond in writing to the problem statement before and after completing each lesson module.  This acts a self check.  You will be able to quickly see how much you have learned. 
  • Vocabulary:   Keep a notebook with new words that you are trying to learn and remember.  Be sure to write a short description next to each word.  Use the vocabulary words for writing sentences or creating word puzzles.   Or, if you find writing difficult you can always draw a picture to go with each new word.
  • Study Guide:  This teaches the concept or skill of the lesson module.  Carefully read the Study Guide and take notes.  Then study your notes.  You may even need to read the Study Guide several times.  You will notice some words that are blue with a line under them.  These are very important to your learning.  You should click on these links.  They will give you more information that will help you remember what you are learning in the Study Guide.  You will need to remember the information in the Study Guide and in the links because you will be tested on what you know at the end of the lesson module.   
  • Resources:   You will be disappointed if you donít check on every one of the resources!  These give you more information about the topic of the lesson module you are completing.  You may find a game or a song or something that really interests you.  Take your time when reviewing the resources.  They are important to your learning.  Write a short description of each of the resource links.  Note:  If you find a broken link, donít delay.  Send email to and we will fix it as quickly as we can. 

    Activity & Extended Learning:  These are most often completed off line.  You may be asked to write a story, draw a picture, complete an experiment, do a project or create something of your own.  This is where you get to practice what you have learned.  No skipping!  Complete the activity and extended learning for each lesson module.

    Quiz/Exam:  Okay, now it is time to let us know what you have learned.  If you have fully completed everything up to this point you will ace both the quiz and exam.  There are no shortcuts to learning.  Take your time, do your own best work!  Take quiz and exam.

Twenty-seven New Lesson Modules  
were added to the 
e-Tutor Lesson Library this month!

Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view 
over 2,700 lesson modules.


Although we don't want any of our students to experience the flu epidemic that is upon us, we do want to offer a transition for parents who find they must keep their children home for a period of time.  In order for your child to keep up with their school work, e-Tutor provides a way to keep them engaged in the learning process while at home.  Call 877-687-7200 to learn how we can help.  

   The Book Case            

The Secret River 
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings  
Illustrator - Leonard Weisgard

 Intermediate Level

Ms. Rawlings is best known for writing The Yearling, this story was the only one she ever wrote expressly for children, and it wasn't published until after her death in 1953. Apparently, there aren't many copies of this Newbery Honor winner floating around, so it's a real treat to be able to share it with you. The illustrations are pure delight and lend a lovely air of mystery to the story. As for the story itself, Ms. Rawling's letters show she wanted it to 'stand as a conception of the universal child and of the imagination of childhood.' 

And so... at the urging of a cosmic friend, a Floridian child of poverty heads out one day in search of a secret river and returns with not just a bounty of food, but a mess of heart and soul as well.

                                 Adapted from Vintage Children's Books


Don't judge a book by its cover. 


Does Success In Learning Lead to Success At Work?

According to employers, the skills most needed for job success are not the famed 3 R's - reading, writing and arithmetic.  In fact the people responsible for hiring entry-level workers don't even rate those in the top 10!  Rather, they say character traits are the most important predictors of job success.  

According to Professor George Boggs (Butte College), employers are more interested in what kind of person the applicant is and not what they know.  American business already spends an estimated 40 billion a year on worker training.  A lack of character and basic values is felt to be beyond the ability of business to fix.  

These character traits are the skills and attributes that are absolutely necessary for learning to take place...and also for successful employment.  If we can instill into our students the characteristics which are needed to succeed when learning, they will already have what is necessary to succeed at work when they graduate.  These basic skills of success don't change, only the tasks do. 

  • Be responsible

  • Be here, be on time

  • Be friendly

  • Be polite

  • Be a risk taker

  • Be a goal setter

  • Be confident

  • Be a listener

  • Be a doer

  • Be a tough worker

  • Be prepared

Adapted from Thomas Jefferson Center 

Keep Messes in Perspective

Why is it when kids first begin to walk, as soon as your back is turned they head directly to the toilet bowl and make delightful sounds and chirping noises as they splash the water around?  They laugh merrily as they splatter the water on the floor and on the walls, seemingly determined to get the toilet paper soggy and drench the entire room before getting caught.  Their little arms and legs shake with glee as they watch you freak out.  You're convinced they'll get sick with some sort of exotic disease or infection but of course they never do.  

Perhaps this is a good reminder that our children's happiness is more important than an immaculate house.  Use your energy to create a home where things are happening.  A home that is cozy and lived-in is a happier place for active families.  Friends won't feel uptight when dropping by to visit if they know you are relaxed about how the house looks.  You can keep the messes in perspective when you remember that one of these days the kids will be gone and you'll have the house all to yourself, and may sigh wistfully at the thought of those wet towels on the bathroom floor. 

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford

Getting a Handle on Phonics

Phonics refers to the alphabetical principles that describe the relationships between the sounds and printed letters and symbols of language.  English sounds can be coded in letters and letter combinations because there is a degree of consistency in English and its spelling patterns.  It is important for students to recognize and make use of these consistencies.  It is equally important to develop their awareness of irregularities to the sound-letter code as evidenced in the pronunciations and spellings of many English words.

The ultimate goal of phonics instruction is to enable students to apply various phonics generalizations during reading and writing.  However, reading involves a complex process of obtaining meaning from print.  The purpose for reading and the format of the printed materials formulate the readers' initial expectations for the text and initiate the meaning-seeking process.  Readers work from the meaning of the printed message to identification of individual words, word structures or parts and letters.  Entire sentences frequently determine the meaning, spelling and pronunciation of the words within them.  The process of writing begins with ideas and an awareness of what is to be communicated in print before specific words, letters and sounds are considered by the writer. 

Important Principles

  • Students must develop an understanding of the function of printed language before they will benefit from phonics instruction.  They must understand why and how print can be used before knowledge of sound-symbol associations will be meaningful.

  • Phonics is not the foundation for beginning or remedial reading.  Emphasis on phonics to the exclusion of other cueing systems and meaning-making strategies encourages students to become so fixated on sounds and letters that they interact minimally with the printed message and derive very little meaning, information or enjoyment from print. Students in grades 2 and 3 frequently display the most growth in the knowledge of phonics and in the ability to apply phonics skills. 

  • Students learn phonics generalizations, apply them and reinforce them in the course of learning to read and write. Instruction in phonics is meaningful and authentic when it occurs during the use and exploration of written language which genuinely informs or entertains young students.

  • Knowledge of phonics increases and reinforces awareness of the sound-symbol regularity in the English language.  Patterns and consistencies are important to language learners and users.  Early emphasis upon a limited number of common patterns is preferable to the direct instruction of many phonics patterns or rules to beginning readers and writers. 

Adapted from Saskatchewan, Canada Education Dept. 

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Respect experience and be sure your children have some.  


Help Your Children Be Better Readers

  • Talk with your children.  Talking is the basis for reading and writing.

  • Create a good reading climate.  Have reading materials handy and let your children read in a relaxed setting.

  • Read aloud together.  It will help children learn to read.

  • Be a part of the team.  Ask your children's educators what you can do to help your children be better readers.  Children benefit when parents and educators work together. 

  • Encourage older children.  If you older children do not like to read, get books and magazines on topics that interest them.  It may spark an interest in reading. 

Adapted from Monroe Schools, NC

Causes of Underachievement in Learning

At this time of year, students are receiving their first grading report from the regular public or private school.  The response to these reports can create anxiety for both parent and child, especially if the result are not what was expected; if the child is thought to be underachieving. 

There are home and school causes of underachievement....usually occurring in combination.  Over empowerment and "adultizement" can be important causes, especially for first and only children, children in single-parent households, or children of difficult divorces.  Gifted children are also at risk of being given too much power too soon.  Early health problems can also be a risk factor.  

Lack of challenge or too much challenge in the classroom can cause problems, as can the over-competitive or under-competitive classroom.  Children may say they are bored at school, but the term "boring" may also mask feeling of inadequacy. 

Pressure that children internalize can also initiate problems.  Sometimes those pressures stem from uneven abilities.  Extreme praise by parents or teachers can also cause children to believe that adults expect more of them than they can produce.  Perhaps the self-esteem movement has gone too far.  Perfectionism can cause impossible feelings of pressure.  Peer relationships can even cause pressure not to achieve.  Informal labeling of the children within the family, such as "the smart one," "the jock," "the creative one," or "the social one," can cause competitive pressures. 

Contradictory messages by parents are a major source of underachieving.  If parents differ in their expectations, children learn escape and avoidance.  A most lethal cause of student underachievement is parents' lack of support of the educational process.  Disrespect for education by parents sabotages any instructional program. 

Adapted from Educational Leadership

Protecting Your Child

Halloween is upon us once again.  Following are some rules or prevention tips, that will assure your children's safety when they're not with you or a responsible adult.  

  • Always walk with a friend or brother or sister...never alone

  • Play in well-lighted areas within sight of adults.

  • Stay away from dark, deserted areas such as alleys, lonely roads, abandoned businesses or basements.

  • Stay at least an arm's reach away from anyone you don't know.

  • Never talk to strangers.

  • Never take anything from a stranger.

  • Never go anywhere with a stranger unless it's the kind of situation for which a "Code Word" system has been set up.

  • RUN whenever approached by a stranger offering candy, suggesting car rides or asking the time or directions.  Go home or to a neighbor's house or a store where you know the adults and tell them what happened.

  • Avoid anyone who acts "funny" a way that doesn't seem normal to you.

  • Never go into a public restroom without a parent, older brother or sister or friend.

  • Shout "no" if anyone touches you in a confusing or bad way and tell someone you trust right away.

  • Know your home phone number and the number where your parents work...and how to make a telephone call (both o a touchtone and cell phone).

  • Always let your parents know where you are and where you're going, and if you change your plans, call them.

  • Pick a place to meet if you get separated from your friends or family while you're out, such as in a department store. 

  • Help other kids too by telling a grownup right away if you see or hear anything that looks unusual. 

Adapted from National School Public Relations Association

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Be cheerful, even when you don't feel like it.  

Awesome October Links:

Neaderthals on Trial:  In 1856, bones of an unrecognizable hominid turned up in Germany's Neander Valley. This early human and others like it came to be known as Neanderthals. "Neanderthals on Trial" investigates this long-standing mystery. Here's what you'll find on this website: 1) Casts of Characters--QuickTime movies to compare casts of two famous skulls and learn their histories and their differences; 2) Into the Fray--the producer of "Neanderthals on Trial" describes how he went about making the PBS film; 3) Tracing Ancestry with MtDNA--By studying mitochondrial DNA, some geneticists have traced the maternal lineages of all modern humans back to a common ancestor who lived 150,000 years ago; 4) Dig and Deduce--Uncover bone fragments and artifacts at three Neanderthal excavation sites, then step into the morass known as archeological interpretation; 5) Resources and 6) a Educator's Guide.

A Math Dictionary for Kids:  The Math Dictionary is animated, interactive, and allows students to practice their math skills. Over 500 terms are explained in simple language. Click on "billion" and discover that you have 10 billion brain cells working for you right now. Roll your mouse over the world time zone chart and you instantly know the time for that part of the world.

The Mystery Spot:  Great online and offline activities that allow you and your students to solve mysteries using science. Find out what happened to the local frog population, explore Antarctica, or use a microscope to solve a mystery. These fourteen activities are designed to show science in a whole new light.

Algebasics:  This  is a fine online mathematics instructional resource that takes young and old alike through the basics of algebra. The breadth of the material is divided into sixteen sections, which begin with, "the basics," and proceeds all the way to a section on applying algebra to real-world situations.

Ancient Egypt:  Let's hear it for the British Museum. Their staff has created a website dealing with many areas of the study of Ancient Egypt. Explore Egyptian Life, Geography, Pyramids, and Time. Find out where writing was used in Ancient Egypt. Shockwave activities are included for each area of study. Check out the Staff area for a complete glossary and descriptions of resources.



Happy Halloween!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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