eNews                            December 2013 Vol. 16-12


President's Message

Christmas Everywhere 
(Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893)

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight! 
Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine, 
Christmas in lands of the palm-tree and vine, 
Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white, 
Christmas where cornfields stand sunny and bright, 
Christmas where children are hopeful and gay. 
Christmas where old men are patient and gray, 
Christmas where peace, like a dove in his flight, 
Broods o'er brave men in the thick of the fight; 
Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all; 
No palace too great, no cottage too small.

During this holiday season, as we exchange material gifts,  there are some gifts we cannot buy. There are many meaningful ways you can help your family share learning experiences and show generosity of spirit.  Whether your family is blended or traditional, the holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate the joy of life and the gifts of each other.   I encourage you to give your family the priceless gift of your time, encouragement and beliefs. 

Wishing you joy and peace this holiday season!




Connect to Us

 Happy Holidays to our Connected Students and Families!

eTutor students come from all over the world.  Please take the opportunity to say "Happy Holidays" to others in our eTutor world of learners.  Connect to one of the following to express holiday greetings.  

   Facebook - Those "liking us" continues to grow each month.  Our facebook page is reviewed in countries around the world.  

   Twitter - You may have seen eTutor in other places, as our short comments are being retweeted by others.  

   eTutor Blog - Parenting and instructional tips and ideas are part of the interesting topics on which we focus in the eTutor Blog.   

  Pinterest - The children's book list is a big favorite and has been re-pinned by many. My Father's Dragon was, again, recently re-pinned. 

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Make ripples more than waves. 

Learning with eTutor

Academic Tips

  • e-Tutor's instructional program is renowned for academic rigor. This is exciting and at the same time challenging. Help your student understand the benefits of the knowledge and skills they will gain while studying with e-Tutor.
  • Time management is crucial from the very beginning. Encourage your student to use one of the e-Tutor planners and to transfer every lesson module and time commitment to it.
  • It is okay to get help! Remind your student that everyone can benefit from the resources available to them.
  • Take advantage of the expertise of e-Tutor instructional staff.
  • Encourage your student to analyze each part of the lesson module. What is he/she expected to do? This often includes analysis and critical thinking beyond memorization.
  • Check daily with your student - Is he or she completing the recommended number of lesson modules, keeping up with Activities and Extended Learning, completing the self check by answering the Problem Statement and using the vocabulary and resources appropriately?
  • Encourage recreational activities.


Eight New Lesson Modules were added 
to eTutor this month.

Over 3400 Lesson Modules
are included in the 
eTutor Lesson Library!

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

Online Instructional Content

After the holidays and as winter approaches is a perfect time to get your creative mind going.  Why not write a lesson for your students' online learning.   You can use the template at to create inspiring lessons for your students.  When your students access your lessons they are learning an appropriate way to use the Internet.  

  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Acids, Bases & pH
  • Areas of Various Shapes
  • All About Our Solar System
  • Binomial Expansion 
  • Reading Sandwich 

If you have questions or comments, please contact us.  We hope you will join The Writers' Circle today!


   The Book Case            

Santa Mouse Where Are You? 
by Michael Brown  

Ages:  Elementary 

We have reported about 'Santa Mouse' before, but this delightful story is important enough for a repeat.  This book was a favorite of my children when they were young.  As they grew and I began teaching, I read to my young students.  As an art project we made little mice ornaments out of walnut shells to hang on the Christmas tree.  The book went out of print for awhile, but thankfully this charming story is back in small quantities.  Silly as it may sound, I find myself putting a special light on the Christmas tree each year for Santa Mouse.  It is a memorable story that I think you will find enchanting. My son now reads it to his daughters. 

Each Christmas, Santa Mouse becomes Santa's little helper. A special light is placed up high upon the Christmas tree so that Santa Mouse can see when he's placing those very special mouse-sized presents on the limbs of the tree. Santa's ready to take off in his sleigh, and Santa Mouse scurries onto his shoulder, only to fall off into the deep, dark, snowy ground below. How will he ever find Santa and help deliver presents to the children?

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Remember, all shades of gray come from black and white. 

Coming Soon to Your Handheld Computer

Knowledge Headquarters will soon be wrapping up a new program of educational products for students in Grades 3-12.  We look forward to sharing the details of this exciting offering in the next month or so.  The program will feature educational content that can be used by schools, organizations and individuals in a variety of settings.  Our research indicates that there is a need for quality content which can be used in mobile applications, such as tablets, phones and the new phablets.  


Giving a Gift of  Art

Using a little creativity when choosing gifts for school-age family members or friends can really pay off....with gifts that youngsters grow with rather than out grow.  Some expand children's creativity and curiosity and encourage learning throughout the year.  They also can provide opportunities for family members to join in the learning process.  

Art Supplies.  Young artists will appreciate basic art supplies, like paper, paints, markers, pencils and crayons.  Avoid art kits that have pre-designed patterns, since children should be encourage to use their imaginations and creativity.

Framed Art.  Have a piece of your child's artwork matted and framed; this transforms a temporary "refrigerator door" piece of art into a beautiful wall piece that your child can treasure in adult years. 

        Your child may also enjoy a work of art purchase at an art fair, gallery or museum shop.  Additionally, some libraries and art museums rent or loan art pieces. 

Nontraditional Art.  For students who do not express an interest in traditional art, select a gift in some other art form.  Architects, illustrators, filmmakers, fashion designers, cartoonists and industrial designers are also artists. 

Photography.  A digital camera of one's own is a good gift idea for students who have an interest in art, as well as for students who have not yet acquired that interest.  Children can take pictures on family trips or can use photography to collect ideas for drawings and paintings.  

Private Space.  Provide your child a special place to work on art projects, such as an easel in a quiet corner with good lighting and a comfortable stool. 

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Rule of Thumb

Watertown, Wisconsin Unified School District

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Start with good questions and hopefully good answers will follow.


Holiday Food Ideas

For many, the holiday season is a time of special cooking, baking and family meals.  Because the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's can be a battle of the bulge, this year might be the time to experiment with some nutritious alternatives for great-grandma's special recipes and enjoy some family learning in the process of creating delicious things to eat. 

Going to a party?  Head for the vegetables and skip the dip.  If bringing vegetables and dip, make low-calorie dip with plain yogurt instead of sour cream.  Try not to go to a party thirst and famished.  Have a large glass of water or low fat milk and a piece of wheat bread or crackers before you go.  Be the last in line at a buffet.  You'll be less likely to have seconds.  

Plan a "festival of Breads" instead of a cookie exchange.  Investigate breads from ethnic backgrounds.  Celebrate with folk songs and dances.  Wear dress appropriate to the country of origin of the bread.  

Visit friends and neighbors and bring them something you've made for holiday celebrations....candles, pomander balls, baskets of goodies (nuts, fruits, cheeses), holiday bread or a picture or decoration.

Learn how the holidays are celebrated in other lands and make appropriate foods such as stollen, sweet potato pie, rice cakes (puto in the Philippines), challah, latkes (potato pancakes) and cornbread and greens.  Make a pinata.

Winter Holiday Activities

While your children may be occupied with gifts during this season, it has been my experience that there is a point when they need something different.  Here are some activities that will keep them occupied and teach them at the same time. They are adapted from Newspapers in Education (NIE), a nationwide program that uses the newspaper as a teaching tool. 

  • In the weather report, have your child find the highest and lowest temperatures in your home state.  Subtract the lowest from the highest to find the difference.
  • Find a news story that contains two different viewpoints.  Defend one of the positions while your child defends the other. 
  • Read a short news story to your child and have your child tell you the who, what, when, where, why and how. 
  • From the ads, have your child cut pictures of animals, food, clothing, and toys.  Paste them on construction paper, and label them with the specific name of the pictured object. 
  • Have your child cut out all the titles of the comic strips in the newspaper.  Then help your child paste them on a sheet of paper in alphabetical order. 
  • Organize a newspaper scavenger hunt.  Before the hunt begins, prepare a list of 15-20 items.  Have your child find eight to 10 of the items, which they then cut out and paste on a sheet of paper.  Hunt items could include a picture of a political leader or movie star, a word with more than five letters, the name of the president, a specific number, or a word that starts with a certain letter.  The possibilities are endless, and more items can be added for later hunts. 

Adapted from Wisconsin Dept. of Education

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Don't miss the forest for the trees.


Delightful December Links:

The Polar Express:  This is the author's (Chris Van Allsburg) page.  Students can flip through the pages of the book or read the story.  The site includes a Kid's Page and Teacher's resources.

Color a Christmas Tree:  There are a lot of activities on this site.  However, your child may enjoy coloring the tree or singing songs.  Not everything centers around Christmas.  There are ads on the page, which may confuse younger children.

The History or Santa Claus: The American version of the Santa Claus figure received its inspiration and its name from the Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas, brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century.  This is part of a larger site. The home page has a lot of ads.

The Traditions of Christmas:  The history of a Christmas festival dates back over 4000 years. Ancient Midwinter festivities celebrated the return of the Sun from cold and darkness. Midwinter was a turning point between the Old Year and the New Year. Fire was a symbol of hope and boughs of greenery symbolized the eternal cycle of creation.

Kwanza: Kwanzaa is a 30-year-old African-American holiday now celebrated in African communities around the world. Its roots are both modern and ancient.


Wishing you all joys of the Holiday Season!

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