eNews                                December 2014 Vol. 17-12

Christmas Everywhere

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 gay, 
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.

Phillips Brooks 
(Born December 13, 1835; died January 23, 1893

President's Message

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 you r 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 all the joys of the holiday season.




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The most important thing about goals is having one.

Learning with eTutor

Seven Goals of the eTutor Math Curriculum

Students will be able to....

  1. Perform computation of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division using whole numbers, integers, fractions and decimals.
  2. Understand and use ratios and percentages.
  3. Make and use measurements including those related to area and volume
  4. Identify, analyze and solve problems using algebraic equations, inequalities, functions and graphs.
  5. Understand and apply geometric concepts and relations in a variety of forms. 
  6. Understand and use methods of data collection and analysis using tables, charts and comparisons.
  7. Use mathematics skills to estimate, approximate and predict outcomes and to judge reasonableness of results. 


  Some Holiday Lesson Modules from eTutor

Months of theYear - December
Gingerbread Math
Reindeer Math
Christmas Around the World
The Festival of Lights
Christmas Around the World - France 
Christmas Around the World - Italy
Christmas Around the World - United States
Christmas in England
Christmas Around the World - Germany
Christmas Around the World - Ireland
Merry Christmas
The Christmas Carol
Unwrapping Presents
A Child's Christmas in Wales

Over 3500 Lesson Modules
are included in the 
eTutor Lesson Library!

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

Writers' Circle

Did you know that between 75 - 100 new writers sign up to use Lesson Pro each month? The easy to use template makes creating online instruction for your students a snap. Remember that there is no cost for using the template.  Your lesson modules are available to you and your students to use in and out of an instructional program.   Interesting topics from LessonPro this month:  

  • Equations 
  • Number Systems
  • China - The Fastest Growing Country
  • Building on Achievements
  • Newton's Laws of Motion 
  • Defects of Vision
  • Writing  an Argument Essay
  • Transportation in Plants

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

   The Book Case            

Everything on a Waffle  
By Polly Horvath

    Ages:  9 - 12 

In the small Canadian town of Coal Harbour, in a quaint restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, everything comes on a waffle--lasagna, fish, you name it. Even waffles! Eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp loves this homey place, especially its owner, Kate Bowzer, who takes her under her wing, teaches her how to cook, and doesn't patronize or chastise her, even when she puts her guinea pig too close to the oven and it catches fire. Primrose can use a little extra attention. Her parents were lost at sea, and everyone but her thinks they are dead. Her Uncle Jack, who kindly takes her in, is perfectly nice, but doesn't have much time on his hands. Miss Perfidy, her paid babysitter-guardian, smells like mothballs and really doesn't like children, and her school guidance counselor, Miss Honeycut, an uppity British woman of the world, is too caught up in her own long-winded stories to be any kind of confidante. Nobody knows what exactly to think of young Primrose, and Primrose doesn't quite know what to make of her small community, either.

2002 Newberry Honor Winner 

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Attitude is contagious.  Is yours worth catching?


Teach Them to Say "No"

We raise our children to respect adults and obey authority figures.  But do we teach them they have rights, too?  One of their rights is to say "no" to any adult who tries to get them to do anything they think is wrong.  

Assure your children that it is not wrong to ignore an adult's request...even when that adult is wearing a uniform or is known to them...if they feel the least bit uncomfortable about that request.  

Assure your children further that there's nothing wrong with making a scene if an uncomfortable situation is developing.  Screaming for help is often the best thing they can do because it will usually scare off a potential troublemaker. 

And finally, assure your children that you really want to hear about everything they do....that you care about their worries and their fears...and that you are not going to call them "silly."

The understanding of parents is the ultimate security for children.  if they don't feel safe talking to you, you may never find out what is really troubling them. 

Adapted from Protecting Your Child, National School Public Relations Association

Take the Hectic Out of the Holidays

The holidays can be the most joyous time of the year, but they can also be the most stressful. Holidays can also be a time of hectic shopping, financial concerns, family conflicts and loneliness. We are so busy trying to take care of the details of the festivities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Here are some suggestions to help you cope with holiday stress this season:

Try to plan ahead.

See if the stores you need to go to are on another personís list-maybe you can divide the list and split up to get the shopping done in less time and less trips.

If childcare is an issue, see if you can rotate days with another parent. Maybe you can take turns with babysitting.

While waiting in line at the store with the kids, give them articles or ads from newspapers or magazines (usually the stores carry copies of their own flyers). With a pen, have them circle all the letters in their names within the ads or play a word search game.

For the bad weather days when everyone is stuck inside, have activities for the family to do. Try having wintertime crafts like creating "snowman garland" for the younger kids or having older children create and decorate their own holiday cards.

Author Unknown

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To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act. 


A Holiday of Reading

It's not unusual for adults to stop reading to children once they are old enough to read for themselves.  However, even children in the intermediate grades still like being read to now and then, says Texas instructional specialist Sam Ayers.  He suggests that parents continue reading aloud to children on a consistent basis even as they get older and that teachers and librarians can make age-appropriate recommendations to parents who don't feel comfortable selecting books on their own. 

Mr. Ayers has found older children often enjoy reading to younger children.  "Parents should provide opportunities for children to read to each other,"  he says.  "This provides them with oral reading practice and may positively affect their self-esteem.  it also provides the listener with a positive role model."

Researchers at Clark University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education suggest that you do more than just read books to preschoolers.  They suggest that you discuss the books and vary the types of books as well.  

The researchers recommend asking "what" and "why" questions that encourage the child to think about a character's behavior and motivation and connect the events in the book with his or her own experience.  Ask the child to name colors and label objects.  Also vary the types of reading material.  For example, one time you may want to read a work of fiction.  The next time, read a nursery rhyme or a non-fiction informational book.  



Holidays and the "Missing Parent"

Holidays can be difficult times for children when their parents are divorced or separated.  According to psychologists Evan Imber-Black and Janine Roberts,  "The child may be hurt or angry when the parent does not contact him on a holiday.  The parent who lives with the child may then be left to deal with the emotional reactions.  The child may have fantasies that the holiday would be much better with the missing parents.  Or, he may blame the parent he is with for the fact the other isn't there."

Ignoring the emotional stress may be tempting....especially if you yourself are still dealing with the stress and emotions of a divorce or separation.  But that only causes your child to feel worse, the authors say.

They suggest:  Sit down with the child and look at pictures of the missing parent and talk about what it would be like to have contact with him or her.  Set aside your own anger and simply listen to your child's feeling, say the authors.  help make contact with relatives of the missing parent if they want to see the child.  If there is no chance of the child reconnecting with a missing parent at holidays, have an honest discussion about the subject.   

"Family Change: Don't Cancel Holidays," Psychology Today

Lessons in Commercials 

Our children are inundated with, television, movies.  They become critical thinkers when they analyze how advertising sends messages to its audience. Have them ask the following questions as they analyze commercial content, looking at overt manifest content as well as subverted, latent messages.

  • What's being sold? Is it a product, service or idea?

  • How long are the ads?  What is the impact of length on the audience?

  • What are the age, sex and race of the characters?

  • What is the setting of the commercial?

  • What is the target audience for the ad?  Is it male or female?  Student or adult?  What kind of music is used in the ad?

  • What is the ad's format?  Common formats include song and dance, slice -of-life, demonstrations and animation.

  • What is the advertising appeal?  The appeal can be rational, negative-humorous, emotional or an appeal to fear, sex or patriotism, for instance.

  • What are the values portrayed or implied in the ad?  What is the ad trying to make students see as important?  Being cool, sexy, high-status and wise are possible values.

Adapted, "A Framework for the Analysis of Commercials," Barbara Mueller and Tim Wulfemeye

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Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.

December Links:

Thinking Fountain: Learn how to grow your own mold, find out why a spider is not an insect, and make your own Shrinky Dinks from clear plastic cup lids!

Haring Kids: Making use of cutting-edge animation plug-ins like shockwave and flash, this site creates a colorful and compelling whirlwind of art, with beautiful images from artist Keith Haring.

Hampsterscope and More: This beautiful site, with illustrations by children's book artist Peggy Rathman, offers step-by-step instructions to make a visual illusion called a Phenakistoscope.

The Artist's Toolkit: A collaboration between the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts and the Walker Art Center, The Artistís Toolkit is a great introduction to basic concepts in art for students and teachers alike. You can watch animated demonstrations of visual elements and principles artists use to create art, see examples of elements and principles in works of art, and create your own composition online. Youíll need the free Flash player.

What's That Stuff? What exactly is in your toothpaste? What about that paper youíre writing on or the bug spray you use in summer? This site puts science into everyday life, with informative descriptions of the chemistry behind the products we use on a regular basis.


Happy Holidays!

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