In The News                     November 2011   Vol. 14-09

President’s Message 

I had a special phone call one afternoon this month.  I was working on one of the many projects which occupy my time.  My daughter-in-law was running errands and called to tell me about the beautiful view she had of the surrounding landscape.  Well, her call lifted my day.  Without thinking we go about our daily tasks not taking a moment or two to delight in our surroundings. I love the sound of a child's voice, the laugh of a friend, hugs from my sons or the quiet pleasure of a sunrise.  There is so much to be thankful for...yet we often don't take the time for reflection or for sharing what delights us.  I am thankful for the phone call which brightened my day. 

Our children benefit when they see adults who delight in simple pleasures.  Often their lives are as busy as ours. Our guidance in helping them to reflect on the beauty that surrounds them helps to balance what might be a hectic day or time.  They learn to quiet their minds and allow pressure to flow away.  

Thanks to each of you for your time and participation in online learning.  We appreciate hearing from you.  We are especially thankful for the efforts of our students who continue to surprise us with their growth, development and perspectives on what they are learning.     

May your Thanksgiving be filled with love and abundance.  



 Your Voice Can Be Heard 
Our Online Community

Parents and students like to stay connected.  Over the years we have had many requests for parents to communicate with one another and students have wanted to chat with others in the eTutor program. There are now several ways for you to connect with others in our eTutor family.  

   Are you keeping up with us on our Facebook page?  We update it frequently, so take advantage of our thoughts and opinions.  Please do give your own thoughts and opinions, as well.  Remember this is the eTutor community of which you are a part.  Don't forget to "friend" and "like" us.

   The eTutor videos are getting many viewers.  Take time to check them out, also.  .  

   We tweet is a quick way for you to keep track of what we are doing.  

   The eTutor blog is another way to keep you informed with topics of interest for parents and students.

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Let your children see you laugh.

Learning with eTutor

Parents Are Partners in Learning

Parent participation is important in the eTutor Program.  We ask that parents review all off line work that is in eTutor lesson module.  These include vocabulary, resources, problem statement, activities and extended learning.  Below are some questions that can be used with your student to stimulate conversation about what has been learned.  Remember, you do not need to grade your student's work.  Take this opportunity to have your child teach you what he or she is learning.  

Focus on asking questions about the information your child is studying and try to remember other activities that stimulated thinking about the concept. The following are questions and prompts to help in this area:

    • What might have happened if...?
    • What could be the result of...?
    • What conclusions can we draw from it?
    • How are these alike?
    • Construct / make / build / create / plan /design / fabricate...
    • Compose / author...
    • Analyze / infer / deduce / compare / contrast / equate
    • Predict / conclude / design / combine / integrate
    • Solve (when there are multiple alternatives)
    • Evaluate / judge / critique

Fifteen New Lesson Modules were added 
to eTutor this month.

Nearly 3200 Lesson Modules
are included in the 
eTutor Lesson Library!

Join the eTutor world of learning today to view 
the lesson modules.

   The Book Case            

The Hero and the Crown 
by Robin McKinley

Grades 6 - 12

Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, and should be his rightful heir. But she is also the daughter of a witchwoman of the North, who died when she was born, and the Damarians cannot trust her. But Aerin's destiny is greater than her father's people know, for it leads her to battle with Maur, the Black Dragon, and into the wilder Damarian Hills, where she meets the wizard Luthe. It is he who at last tells her the truth about her mother, and he also gives over to her hand the Blue Sword, Gonturan. But such gifts as these bear a great price, a price Aerin only begins to realize when she faces the evil mage, Agsded, who has seized the Hero's Crown, greatest treasure and secret strength of Damar.

1985 Newbery Medal Winner

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Keep a notebook and pencil handy; ideas come at the strangest times.


The Seed of New and Different Ideas - Creativity

Encouragement of imagination is needed...encouragement of new and different ideas, new combinations of materials, new arrangement of space concepts that give originality the freedom of growth and practice that will only be possible if we allow our children their natural growth. 

Realize that much that is new in the world arises as a consequence of felt needs and problems.  Why these feelings arise, no one can explain as of today.  But that they do arise is demonstrated by the artist or author who feels compelled to paint or write in his particular way whether or not it conforms to what is assumed to be good by his critics.  

There may be the writer who fills pages and hides them away or feels obliged to publish his own work or the musician who composes despite the jibes and insults of his audiences when first hearing the performance of his work.  These are creative urges that continue with or without an acceptance by society.  

Perhaps the long-sought-for acceptance comes years after the artist has struggled to win recognition.  For the behavior of certain processes in the environment does so not because someone else has structured the problem, but because he has a feeling that he can approach it differently and that it must be done.  The inner compulsion of human beings, often working against strong opposition, seems to be an individually felt need that has not been explained but persists and should be recognized as one aspect of creativity.  

Adapted from Public School Administrator

Staying Fit

More exercise leads to fewer headaches.  People who exercise three times a week suffer fewer headaches than their sedentary counterparts, says anesthesiologist, Dr. John Bonica, at  the University of Washington.

Reason:  Exercise tones the body, reducing stress on muscles that can cause backaches and headaches. 

Adapted from Working Smart

Setting the Record Straight 
About Phonics

In my early years of teaching, I tried hard to teach phonics rules but I never understood why my favorite rule, "When two vowels go a-walking, the first one does the talking," didn't seem to help my students read better.  In a graduate course I was presented with research about phonics rules and was shocked to find that many of the rules I was teaching were only true fifty percent of the time.  It was at that point that I stopped chanting those rules. 

Phonics rules that are taught as part of a spelling program to older children can often help them as spellers.  Another revelation I had as a teacher was that after a student can read independently, there is no more need for the study of letter-sound correspondences.  Reading authorities have written that children don't need phonics instruction after second grade.  Each year, I test more than one hundred students who are experiencing difficulty as readers and I've found that many of these students have had so much phonics instruction that they believe reading is merely sounding out words.  These students need to learn to use semantics and syntax rather than just phonics. 

Maryann Manning, School of Education, U. of Alabama at Birmingham 

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Look for opportunities to make your child feel important.


Make Family Time = 
Learning Time

In today's hectic world, families often spend more time apart than together.  This is why it is important to devote some individual time to each child every day.  In addition, spend time together as a family.  Here are some activities that will bring your family closer together...and set the stage for better learning. 

  • Plan activities the whole family can enjoy.  You might try a picnic in the park; a trip to the zoo; a visit to an art gallery; or an afternoon spent fishing.  These family activities can broaden your children's interests...and add to their intellectual stimulation, imagination, and academic achievement. 

  • Take a walk through your neighborhood at least once a week.  Talk about what you see...or about anything that's on your child's mind.  These walks will become especially important as he grows older.  Establishing the habit of communication when your child is young can build bridges that will promote talking and listening when he reaches the teen years. 

  • Make reading special.  On a winter evening, pop some popcorn and snuggle up together with a book.  Or, during the summer, plan a reading picnic under the stars.  Give your child a book by a favorite author for a birthday or holiday gift. 

Adapted from Parents Can Help Students Achieve
American Association of School Administrators

Teach Your Child 
Good Food Habits

You know your children imitate what they see...especially when it comes to eating habits.  Get on track by setting and following these four exemplary eating practices with your family.

  1. Foster an appreciation for fruits and veggies. Research shows children will be less picky and eat more produce if their parents do.

  2. Build a healthy attitude around food.  Strict limitations can cause children to sneak food and overeat.  Rather, allow your child to enjoy treats in moderation, and then encourage him to savor healthy foods while sitting down, preferably with you.

  3. Abide by the rules you set.  If you child can't eat in front of the TV, mom and dad shouldn't either. 

  4. Join the breakfast club.  Don't rush out the door with a bagel in hand; sit down and eat...ideally together, but on a staggered schedule if necessary.  Children should see that breakfast matters for the entire family.

Adapted from Mathew Kadey, RD 

Biting - Act of Aggression 
or Mark of Frustration

Biting tops the list of reasons for expulsion from day care and nursery school, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  On the spectrum of bad behavior, which includes hitting, hair-pulling, kicking and plain old meanness, biting is considered extreme.  There are health risks to biting, particularly when skin is broken.  Myths about the transmission of AIDS have heightened anxieties about an already-feared behavioral problem.  

In most of us, the very idea of biting....and blood and saliva...evokes a visceral response.  We're repulsed by an act of aggression that seems feral, almost animalistic, and simultaneously undermines a child's feeling of safety and security as well as parents' impulse to protect their child from danger. 

Most children who bite are not yet verbal.  Infants and toddlers nip and gnaw, like puppies, eager to explore the world using all their senses.  But older children tend to bite out of frustration, usually because they cannot express themselves.  They bite because they feel powerless.

"Biting is the last weapon," say child development specialists. "Young children don't have a lot in their arsenals. Experts agree on one thing:  Never bite a child who bites, in an attempt to "show how it feels."  Research recommends this response:

  • Immediately remove the child from the situation.

  • State clearly that biting is not acceptable behavior.  Ever.

  • Give the child ways to feel more in control without inflicting harm, such as helping him to develop his language skills or placing him in a less frustrating environment.

The most important step in dealing with a biter is creating an environment where children can learn to express their emotions while feeling they have control over their situation.  

Adapted from Chicago Tribune

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Set long-term goals and short-term plans to achieve them.

Great November Links:

Marine Mammals The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) provides solutions to the challenges of ocean stewardship and economic growth in the Gulf of Maine bioregion. A great source for student activities, research, links and more.

Animal Diversity:  Sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative, the Homeland Foundation and the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation. Extensive information on Animal Kingdoms,  BioKids, teaching materials and more.

Lizards: Lizards are fascinating creatures. There are thousands of different kinds and they can be found almost everywhere in the world. This site provides web quests, information and details about these interesting reptiles.

Water Science:  This site offered by the U.S. Geological Survey offers information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center where you can give opinions and test your water knowledge.

Autumn Leaf Scrapbook:  Presented by the Missouri Botanical Garden, this site identifies trees and shrubs by their leaves.  Easy for young readers.

These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

From the 
Knowledge HQ Staff

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