In The News                       November 2004   Vol. 7-11
President’s Message
Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is here already.  This holiday begins a magical time of year.  It is family time, children's time, loved ones time.  It is a time to remember and be remembered.  It is a time to celebrate tradition and custom.  It is a time to spread joy and love to others.  It is our time.  May your life be filled with joy and abundance. 

We've had a busy month.  As we mentioned last month we were visited by outside observers who reviewed the e-Tutor program.  Their purpose was to review how e-Tutor stacks up against a set of nationally recognized standards for an educational program such as ours.  Preparing for the visit took much preparation, however, we looked upon the process as a way to to establish a benchmark for our future growth.  And, it was so very refreshing to hear their comments about e-Tutor.  Of course, we are enthusiastic and proud of what has been accomplished, but it is wonderful to hear that others agree.  So, the outcome looks positive and we hope to have accreditation sometime next year.  We will keep you posted.  

What does all this mean to you?  It means that you can be assured that the e-Tutor Program is recognized by a National accrediting board,  that students may be able to receive credit for their work  and that e-Tutor will initiate a self-study evaluation and continue to update its programming.  We are excited about beginning this new journey and hope you will share in it with us.  

As Thanksgiving rolls around, I am reminded of how much we have to be grateful for.  Your involvement and encouragement have certainly made our work enjoyable.  Our students remain so very special in my eyes and I am thankful for the gifts and talents they bring to their learning.  Know that on this Thanksgiving you will be remembered for your support and kindness.

Have a warm and loving Thanksgiving!  

 

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Students who read for three or more hours per week outside of school are twice as likely as students who do no outside reading to be proficient in advanced math and reading tasks, a federal study shows.


 
Learning with e-Tutor:

Although, you may already have a good idea about  how to use the different parts of the e-Tutor lesson with your students, it helps to review what our thinking was in developing the program.  If you have ideas and/or different ways of using the program, we hope you will share these with us. 

Several parents have expressed an interest in communicating with others who are using the program.  If you are interested in communicating with others, please give us a call (877-687-7200) or drop us an email: admin@e-tutor.com.

Each e-Tutor lesson has nine parts:

  • Title and Introduction 
  • Resources:  These are useful in furthering the study of the concepts and skills reviewed in the lesson.  Students might use the Resources to write a report or research paper. 
  • Lesson Problem:  This is presented to have the students think about what they already know about the concept or skill being taught.  They might find it useful to create additional questions they would like to find the answers for in completing the lesson. 
  • Vocabulary:  These may be new or used as review words for the student.  The words can be used for writing sentences, spelling, phonic practice or creating their own dictionary book.   
  • Study Guide:  This is the main part of each lesson.  Students will notice that each lesson has hyperlinks that take the student to another website that reinforces a concept or skill introduced in the lesson.  Reviewing these hyperlinks is an important part in completing the lesson.  The hyperlinks  will help the student recall information learned in the Study Guide.  
  • Activity:  This might consist of worksheet, writing a paragraph, telling a story, drawing a map or some other off line hands-on work.  All directions for successfully completing the activity are given to the student.  Parents or educators are asked to review these with the student.  A grade is not necessary.  Students should be able to fully explain how they completed the activity.  Completing the activity gives the student practice in problem solving skills.
  • Extended Learning:  This activity pushes the student's thinking just a bit more than the Activity does.  It is included to reinforce the important critical thinking skills.  Often the student will be asked to draw a comparison of what they know or a parallel concept to what they have learned in the Study Guide.  Neither the Activity nor the Extended Learning should be skipped by the student.  To do so will jeopardize how he/she transfers skills and knowledge to real life situations and/or testing situations. 
  • Quiz:  The multiple choice quiz can be taken as many times as the student wishes.  Each time the quiz is taken the score is averaged and reported on the student report card.  Each lesson has a question bank of from twenty to sixty questions.  Each time the student takes the quiz, the questions, as well as the responses are rotated. 
  • Exam:  The questions for the exam come from the same bank of questions as the quiz.  The exam can only be taken once.  The exam has ten multiple choice questions with five options for answers.  Both the exam and the quiz give an explanation for the correct answer.  Results are reported on the student report card.  

We hope this review has helped.  If you have questions or comments about e-Tutor, don't hesitate to contact us.  We enjoy talking about this dynamic program and hope you will call.  

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

www.e-tutor.com


Helping People is a 
Biological Necessity

This ability to make others come to life, to grow, is a quality that more people should possess.  In fact, it is almost a requisite to leading a productive, physically sound life according to modern science.

Dr. Hans Selye is an authority on stress and its effect on life.  All life is made up of cells.  Cells, he has found, all have the quality of self-centeredness.  This instinct must be modified when cells exist in the same environment.  Otherwise each organism will be exposed to stress from which it cannot escape.  This same principle, according to Dr. Selye, applies to people.  The only way this self-centeredness can be modified, he feels, is to make a deliberate effort to earn your neighbor's love.  Do something to help your neighbor!

What more noble contribution can you make to your neighbor 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.

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!

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

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They say snow is Nature's peanut butter. That is, it can be either soft or crunchy, kids love it and it clings to the roof of your house.

 

 

Four Relationships 
Help Parents Find Answers

As the parent of a school-age child, you know about some of the problems that children have from time to time as they grow and develop.  Even though you may wish your child did not have problems, you are not terribly surprised by an occasional problem.  To quote a cliché, "it goes with the territory" of being the parent of a developing child.

As adults, we often embrace our children's problems.  We suffer with our children; we agonize for them; we worry about them; and we are often frustrated when we do not know how to help them solve their problems.  

Let's look at some ways in which we can seek solutions to problems that plague our children.  We know that behavior is evidence of a problem and is often a valuable clue.  Since all behavior is caused, a child's behavior often points to the root of the problem.  

Problems often arise from four relationships that a child experiences during his or her formative years.  These relationships are significant and powerful and all four are interrelated and cannot be separated. 

These four relationships are as follows:

  1. The relationship the child has with self.  The way a child sees himself or herself and his or her self-esteem, self-respect, self-identity and self-confidence are powerful factors in success and satisfaction. 
  2. The relationship the child has with peers.  The way the child gets along with peers, with friends and with classmates is important to emotional and mental health and is a factor in success in learning.
  3. The relationship the child has with adults.  The abilities to accept guidance, to respect authority and to embrace the discipline and order of learning are tied up in the child's relationship with parents and educators.
  4. The relationship the child has with learning activities.  The child's participation in the on-going activities of learning influences the child's investment in his or her own success in learning.

If and when your child has a problem with learning, look carefully at these four relationships.  Be careful not to make a quick judgment and miss some ways of helping your child solve a problem.  Focus on the way that these relationships are intertwined...with one mixing in with another

As parents, we are inclined to look for simple solutions to our children's problems.  We are not beyond believing that the problem is a result of an outside force.  When we overlook the total nature of the problem, we may overlook opportunities to help our children build better relationships.

We can help our children by trying to see the problem from their point of view.  often what seems to be a gigantic problem to a child appears to be no problem at all from an adult's perspective.  But if we can see the problem as a child sees it, then we can begin to help.  A diagnosis of the problem with the focus on the child's four relationships is the point of beginning.  Even if you think it, be kind enough not to say, "You don't have a problem; you just think you do."  To the child, the problem is a very real one. 

The Master Teacher

 


The Importance of Questions

If students are to be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning, they must be able to ask themselves questions.  To do this, many students need some help in developing the skill of asking questions.  Often students need help in focusing their questions in meaningful areas.  The very act of questioning involves students and they begin to assume responsibility for learning through increased awareness of the process of learning.

With practice students learn that certain questions are more useful than others and that one has to think rather carefully about the sorts of questions that are asked.  They also learn to appreciate that questions, more often than leading to clear answers, lead to other questions and to understand that the progress of science commonly takes the form not so much of finding simple answers to questions, but in developing new questions which have greater power and lead towards further understanding. 

Adapted from Idea Factory for Teachers

 

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To grab the attention of your friends and associates, it is hard to beat a big fat mistake!

Anonymous.

 

 Becoming a Better Listener

We've frequently noted how learning to listen better can make students more productive and efficient.  We've just come across an article that offers some worthwhile listening tips that everyone can apply.  

  • Limit your own talking.  By letting the other person talk more, you will automatically be a better listener.
  • Become more comfortable with silence.  Don't feel compelled to talk just because you are uncomfortable with natural conversational pauses. 
  • Take steps to build your self-confidence.  This will help you become a better listener because you won't feel the need to hear yourself talk.  
  • Learn to concentrate and focus exclusively on what the other person is saying.  Focus on both the person's words and the way the words are being used....rate of speech, tone of voice, volume, etc.
  • Paraphrase.  use feedback devices, such as "This is what I think I heard you say.  Is that right?"

Adapted from Linda Fracassi, Telephone Selling Report


 

Using the 
Right Calendar?

It's that time of year when we are beginning to plan into the new year.  Are you using a calendar someone gave you to plan, schedule and organize?  Using a calendar without evaluating it might cause you to become disorganized and waste time.  Here are some suggestions for selecting the appropriate calendar that will help you stay organized.

  • Use a size and style that fits your workload and appointment load.
  • Switch in the middle of the year if you outgrow your calendar. 
  • Photocopy it periodically in case you might lose it.
  • Be able to access it both in and out of your home. 
  • Select one that fits your profession and appeals to you, in addition to one that's functional.
  • Have one calendar.  Exceptions: if you have a foolproof technique to maintain a second one.  Also:  You may want to keep long-range plans on a separate calendar to avoid cluttering your daily schedule.
  • Use the same calendar for personal and professional entries.
  • Avoid desk-pad calendars.  They are too large, can't be carried and wind up being a doodling pad. 

Organized To Be The Best! by Susan Silver


 

Guidelines for Positive Discipline

Disobedient youngsters are often "discouraged children" with inaccurate ideas about how to achieve their main goal...to belong.  Their wrong ideas cause them to misbehave.  Thus we can't deal with them effectively unless we address their mistaken beliefs and not just their misbehavior. 

Here are some suggestions for establishing a positive disciplinary approach:

  • Give encouragement to your kids, in order to help them develop a sense of belonging, so that their motivation for misbehaving will be eliminated.  Celebrate each stride in the direction of improvement rather than focusing on mistakes.  
  • A great way to help kids feel encouraged is to spend time "just being with them."  Many parents have noticed dramatic change in a "problem child" after spending five minutes simply sharing what they both like to do for fun.
  • When tucking children into bed ask them to share with you their "saddest time" during the day and their "happiest time."  Then share your happiest and saddest feelings of the day with them:  you will be surprised what you learn.
  • Have family meetings to solve problems in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.  This is the key to creating a loving, respectful atmosphere while helping children develop self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation and problem-solving skills.
  • Give kids meaningful jobs.  In the name of expediency many parents do things that their children could do for themselves or each other.  Children feel a sense of belonging when they know they are making a real contribution. 
  • Decide together what jobs need to be done.  Kids gain greater motivation and enthusiasm when they are included in making decisions about such things.  If everyone can't agree on job assignments, put them all in a jar and let each child draw out a few each week.  Then no one is stuck with the same jobs all the time. 
  • Teach and exhibit mutual respect.  One way is to be kind and firm at the same time....kind to show respect for the child and firm to show respect for yourself and the needs of the situation.  This is difficult during conflict, so don't wait until a crisis to use this approach. 
  • Make sure the message of love and respect gets through.  Start by saying "I care about you.  I am concerned about this situation.  Will you work with me on a solution?"
  • Have fun.  Bring joy into your home every day.

Adapted from Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen

 

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Today's children play so much with video games the IRS reports some taxpayers have even tried claiming the Mario Brothers as dependents.

Notable November Links:

The Language Center:   High School and College foreign language learners will appreciate the resources gathered on this page. The WWW Language Links feature resources for many languages, including French, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish. French language learners can access the French On-line Grammar Quiz and other Web Exercises.
http://www.ccsf.cc.ca.us/Departments/Language_Lab/

Count On:   This great website from the UK has many areas for students to explore in the area of maths (you know, mathematics). Top Jobs list ways working adults in the UK use math in their daily work. Numberland lets students learn about numbers (for example, koala bears sleep an average of 22 hours a day). Puzzles, features describing mathematical tools and many activities will appeal to students from kindergarten to eighth grade. 
http://www.counton.org/ 

Curtis Botanical Magazine:   Students of all ages can access antique illustrations of native plant species from around the world. The US Department of Agriculture has created a database from the information found in Curtis Botanical Magazine (published 1787-1807). Use the search feature to find plants by common name, species, or location, such as US state or country.
http://www.nal.usda.gov/curtis/ 

Gloria's Web Site:  Build up your students' writing skills. Teachers can chart their personal progress as they access and integrate the ideas found within this online professional development area. Learn new pre-writing exercises, as well as ideas to make the process of preparing the first draft, revising, editing, and publishing student writing more successful.
http://www3.sk.sympatico.ca/fiss/default.htm 

CyberBee:    This site really does deserve a place of honor all its own. This is a 
great site for teachers looking for more ways to integrate technology into their classroom. Look to the Curriculum Ideas, How To's, Treasure Hunts, and the fine articles to give you fresh ideas.
http://www.cyberbee.com/

The Canadian West:   How did Westward expansion play out in what is now the Canadian provinces? Access early maps that show European cartographers' best guesses at the western lands. Learn how the fur trade and scientific expeditions impacted the future of the land and the peoples living there then witness the urbanization and industrialization of Canada in the 1920s.
http://www.archives.ca/05/0529/052901_e.html


Happy Thanksgiving!

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