_In The News                     November 2006   Vol. 9-11

President’s Message

This is one of my favorite seasons of year.  It is a warm and friendly time of year.  A time of year that puts a smile on your face.....a time for children, for family and for friends.  There is a feeling of togetherness, a feeling of community. It is a sharing time of year....a time for kindness, for thoughtfulness and for love.  The sense of belonging and pleasure is one to capture for the entire year. 

Have you put your apron on yet?  You know how there are times when you get the desire to do something that you don't normally do.  Well that is what happens for me about this same time every year.  I get the urge to pull the apron out of the closet, find the mixing bowls, search for ingredients and start baking.  It is a change of pace, an out of the ordinary task and a wonderful stress breaker to whip up something for my friends and family.  It is that little something to take when visiting friends, having family in or sharing with those in the office.  The giving is the real treat for me!

The Pilgrims Came

The Pilgrims came across the sea,
And never thought of you and me;
And yet it's very strange the way

We think of them Thanksgiving day.

We tell their story, old and true
Of how they sailed across the blue,
And found a new land to be free
And built their homes quite near the sea.

Every child knows well the tale
Of how they bravely turned the sail
And journeyed many a day and night,
To worship God as they thought right.

Author Unknown

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Through the end of year 2006,  subscribe to e-Tutor for three months and receive a $50 discount for each student subscription.  Simply put GIFT2006 in the referral box on the application form to receive credit for your gift. 


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Only those who experience truly live. 

Scott Hershey 

Learning with e-Tutor:

Useful Information

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Thirty new lessons were added to e-Tutor this month.

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             The Book Case

        An Old-fashioned Thanksgiving
           Louisa May Alcott
           Illustrated by James Bernardin
           Intermediate Grades

This is how Thanksgiving should be remembered. A soft snow cover, a feast of turkey and a happy, healthy family are all the ingredients for this festive, thankful, homespun holiday. Bernardin’s illustrations present Alcott’s classic tale in a picture-book format. It is the early to mid 1800s in New Hampshire and Mrs. Bassett is preparing her family’s Thanksgiving meal, but is interrupted by someone “…comin’ up the hill lively!” with news of her mother being very ill. Immediately Farmer Bassett and his wife leave to be with her, leaving the six children home to prepare the meal. Though none have ever cooked before--how difficult could it be? Their mother made meals so easily. When Pa arrives later with Ma, Grandma, Aunt Cathy, Uncle Mose and their children, all is well.  Make plans to weave this nostalgic story into your holiday traditions. A recipe for Louisa May Alcott’s “Apple Slump” follows the text.
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The road to success is usually off the beaten path.  

It Is Hard

It is hard: 

to forget, 
to apologize, 
to save money, 
to be unselfish, 
to avoid mistakes, 
to keep out of a rut, 
to begin all over again, 
to make the best of all things, 
to keep your temper at all times, 
to think first and act afterwards, 
to maintain a high standard, 
to keep on keeping on, 
to shoulder the blame, 
to be charitable, 
to admit error, 
to take advice, 
to forgive. 
                       But it pays!

Bits and Pieces

The greatest obstacle to your success is probably you.


Exercise Away Fatigue

Have you heard yourself uttering the words, "I'm tired," more than three or four times a week?  Chances are that you need more exercise.  Try walking to and from the nearest mailbox or investigate aerobic classes close to your home.  Do two things at once:  Ride a stationary bike and read or watch the news.  Use free weights while reading or watching the pot to boil.  

 Present Perfect

Bows and tinsel are just the beginning.  In between all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's easy to forget that this time of year is about more than "getting stuff."

It is important to teach children that a true holiday gift comes from the heart of the giver and is intended to symbolize the love and caring between people.  With all the commercialism around the holidays, it helps to remind our children that presents are just things and real holiday gifts are those which come from the heart.

Remembering that gifts arise from the true spirit of giving and don't have to cost a lot of money can change the focus of the season for both children and adults.  Sometimes our children just need a little help coming up with ideas; here are a couple you can share with your children in the weeks before the holiday.

  • Talk to children about why people exchange gifts.  This can help them understand the symbolic importance of giving and receiving gifts.  Encourage them to think about the holiday tradition and why they want to give something to people they care about.  

  • Talk to children about what they want to give....not just about what they want to get.  Grandparents are sure to be charmed by a gift of artwork from small children, as would patients in a local hospital, who could perhaps use some holiday cheer.  Encourage the young ones to paint a picture or make a card. 

  • Suggest children consider giving a gift that lasts all year.  If there are military families in your area, school-age children could "adopt" a member of the armed services as a pen pal to correspond with throughout the year.  

  • Another simple gift idea is helping out around the house or garage.  A local parent found an inexpensive product that she bought for her boys to give to their father.  It is a disposable cloth that washes and waxes a car without scratching the paint.

The holiday season offers a chance to help children learn to become more generous toward others and more appreciative of the generosity they receive all year long. 

Our Village News

A Mouse Nest

On a cold winter day in 1785, a young Scottish farmer was plowing a field when he turned over a mouse nest.  Instead of killing the mouse, he stood there watching the helpless creature, realizing how long it had taken the mouse to build this home for its family and regretting that his plow had destroyed it.  That night he wrote a poem about it....unheard of in those days, since it was not a particularly romantic subject.

The poet was Robert Burns and this is an anglicized version of his now-famous poem:

But, Mouse, thou art not thyself alone, 
In proving foresight may be vain; 
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, oft go awry, 
An' leave us nought but grief and pain, for promised joy. 

The best-laid plans often go awry too.  Why? Usually it is because those involved either couldn't, wouldn't or didn't act according to the plan.  If you are making plans for this important season of the year, make sure that everyone involved understands and knows about 'your' plan.  Good communication is essential to good results.    

Bits and Pieces

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He that has no patience has nothing at all.


Celebrating Mistakes

Experts in motivation tell us that it is our attitude toward mistakes that makes the difference in reaching our goals....not the mistakes themselves.  Although making a mistake can be disappointing, it's not a catastrophe, and it's important that our children know the difference.  A scientific study demonstrates why:  Two groups of students were taught new math problems and new spelling words early one morning.  Then they were given a snack break and time for visiting or further study; the break was followed by an exam.  This pattern continued throughout the day.  Some startling discoveries were made: (1) the spelling words and math problems that stuck with the students the longest were the ones they missed the first time, and (2) the students who were scolded and made to study harder continued to get worse scores while those who were pleasantly guided to learn from their mistakes showed continual improvement. 

We all make mistakes, but the winner knows that success comes from perseverance: trying, failing, learning and doing it again until he succeeds.  Most important, a winner does not waste energy by scolding or berating himself.  He keeps practicing, takes a break and tries again.  When you shift the emphasis from trying to avoid mistakes to celebrating the knowledge gained, children remain willing to try, try again. 

Judy Ford, Wonderful Ways to Love A Child

Why Literature?

It is important that when our children encounter literature, they perceive meaning in it for themselves. Great literature often comments on the human condition; it addresses the thoughts and feelings that are common throughout humankind.  It can give readers insights into other people's lives as well as their own.  When children see meaning for themselves in literature, they will not have to be coaxed to read it; they will become actively involved and will take personal responsibility for selection and independent reading.  

Reading should not only take us somewhere; it should allow us later to go further more easily.  Reading literature should do more than temporarily remove us from our environment.  If the literature is truly meaningful, our children will discover human commonality in it and will develop an appreciation for literature that they will carry with them throughout their lives. 

Adapted from Silver Burnett and Ginn

Math Every Day

The best help you can give your child in math is simply to make your child aware of when and how to use math.  Whenever possible, talk through activities with your child and encourage him/her to take part in them.  Think out loud, make estimates, check them, correct mistakes and try more than one way to solve a problem.  When you do, you provide your child with important experiences in mathematical thinking.  

This is a perfect time of the year to put into practice math every day.  Here are a few cooking and shopping activities that you can do with your child.....

  • Let your child help with the cooking by measuring the ingredients and checking cooking times and temperatures. Older children can increase or decrease recipes.

  • Have your child figure out how to cut pizza, cake, pie or sandwiches for different numbers of people.

  • Have your child determine how much or how many of a grocery item is needed for the entire family or needed for a given recipe.

  • Check a grocery receipt to find five items which add up to less than $1.00, $5.00 or $10.00.

  • Let your child help with the shopping by checking and comparing prices, weights and quantities.  Allow him/her to use a calculator to make these comparisons as he/she also keeps track of the total cost of your purchases.  If available, allow your child to use the calculator on the shopping cart to keep track of how much money is being spent on groceries while you shop.

  • Have your child determine how much change you will receive once you have paid the clerk.  Older children can practice writing a check for the total amount of the grocery bill.

  • Use catalogs or newspapers and have your child spend a specified unit of money (figure in tax, shipping and handling charges) and complete order forms. 

  • Look at the sales flyer and determine how much money you could save by buying the sale items. 

  • Have your child help prepare the shopping list by selecting "best buys" (i.e., one item cost $7.50 and 2 items cost $14.00). Determine which is the best buy.

  • Have child determine how much a single item costs that is sold by the package (i.e.., a single battery purchased in a four-pack, one roll of paper towels purchased in a two-pack, the price of one can of soda packaged in a box of 12 or 24, etc.).

Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics 

Self-Reliance, Self-Esteem and Self-Discipline

How can you help your child develop these important attributes?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Let your child know how interested you are in what he or she has to say.  Show how carefully you are considering his or her opinions.

  • It is good to add "Do this instead" when you must tell your child no. Substituting a permissible activity takes the child's mind off the thing forbidden and promotes a positive view. 

  • When answering your child's questions or reviewing spelling words, suggest that he or she look up the answer in a reference source.  Help your child find the answer, but don't be too quick to "give" it. 

  • Speak proudly and frequently about your child's strengths.

  • Help your child find time each day that is his or hers alone.  Children need time to think, dream, plan, make decisions and free their minds from problems.

  • Allow your child, when possible, to experience the consequences of actions.  A lost toy, for example, might not be replaced.

  • Proudly display your child's accomplishments at home.  This includes everything from a five-year-old's artwork to a teenager's merit badge. 

National Education Association

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Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important. 

Noteworthy November Links

Charlotte's Web: If your child loved the book, Charlotte's Web, this site provides creative supplemental resources, a mystery quotes quiz, trivia crossword puzzles, and links to other Charlotte's Web sites.  http://www2.lhric.org/pocantico/charlotte/index.htm

Seeing Color:  This site on color vision is designed for K-12 students and includes a sample color blindness test using two of the Ishihara charts along with brief explanations about color blindness.  Included are links to Sir Isaac Newton and a chart on common animals and the colors they see. http://lifesciences.asu.edu/askabiologist/research/seecolor/

Jack London's Ranch Album:  Described as a Pictorial Life of Jack London; it is just as much a tour of Jack London State Historic Park.  Because this site is arranged in an odd manner, it is important to use the menus located at the top and the bottom of each page.  It's almost like taking a tour and is quite comprehensive in terms of biographical information. http://www.jacklondons.net/intro.html

Justice Learning: Civic education in the real world: Justice Learning is an innovative approach for engaging high school students in informed political discourse. The web site uses audio from the Justice Talking radio show and articles from the New York Times to teach students about reasoned debate and the often-conflicting values inherent in our democracy. The web site includes articles, editorials and oral debate from the nation's finest journalists and advocates.  All of the material is supported by age-appropriate summaries and additional links.  

AllCrafts:  All Crafts is a good place to find a wide variety of crafts from traditional to unusual.  It is not a pretty site such as you might find at Michael's Kids Club or i-Craft.  It is a massive list of links organized by craft type.  You have to scroll past the recommended books and materials before you finally get to the crafts.  Yes, it's kind of a bother but where else will you find twig coasters, black walnut dye, or pine cone napkin rings. 

In Search of the Ways of Knowing Trail:  Your trip to the village of Epulu takes a detour when your jeep experiences mechanical failure.  You are forced to walk through the Ituri Forest in central Africa accompanied by four youths from different local cultures.  Along the way, you will make choices and learn about plants, animals, and survival.  A Forest Fact book serves as a glossary.  Flash-driven. http://www.brookfieldzoo.org/pagegen/wok/index_f4.html

The Thrill of Flight:  This multimedia resource contains lessons, interactive activities, games, worksheets, simple quizzes, Glossaries and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  Divided into five topics: aviators and events, air and lift, airplanes, helicopters and gliders.  Requires Flash.  http://www.education.gov.ab.ca/ltb/resource/

Have a Wonderful Month
From the Staff at Knowledge HQ

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