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Volume 3 Number 4

Harry & Rosemary Wong remind us, "Leaders lead and they lead by caring enough about the success of their teachers that they will roll up their sleeves and model instructional leadership."...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
Visual Impairments by Dave Melanson
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Reflecting Upon Read Across America
Earth Day Compilation
The World in Lights
Take a Seat at the Bottom of the Class
Starting Children on Science
Tips for teachers being bullied!
Mr. Choose-A-Chart
Teaching Perseverance Through Adversity-A History Lesson
It's An Early Spring!
Memo to Staff: Our Computer System Crashed-We Have No 'Backups'-You're Not Getting Paid for a Month!
Keep Your Online Community Alive!
Curricular Science the 'Curry' way!
Geography Awareness
Principal of the Year Ray Mellberg
eBook Technology
Respect Means...
Creative Uses for Digital Cameras in the Classroom
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 4)
Young Lawyers Ementoring Magnet Students
The Welcome Mat of a High School On-Line Community
Plato Lives...
The Asphalt Classroom
26 Teaching Tips for the Dog Days
Using Storytelling in the Classroom
Recapturing the Courage to Teach
To Leave No Child Behind
If you say you CAN'T, it means you WON'T
Something Nice a Student Did Yesterday...
When Your Child Comes Home Messy
Praise vs. Encouragement
People Don't Play...
Apple Seeds
Special Days This Month
Poem - Song of a Second April
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • Culprit Management
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    "Why Do We Have Night" from the Lesson Bank
    Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    The School Web Page: A Vehicle for Innovation
    Eighth Emerson Prizes Awarded in Boston
    Student Nanoexperiments Will Help Future Astronauts on Mars
    The 11th Annual National Institute for Early Childhood Professional
    International Conference on Computers in Education
    SESSIONS ANNOUNCED: Congress in the Classroom 2002
    Teacher Network United States Mint
    DEADLINE: Civic Education Grants
    Gazette Home Delivery:

    About Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber...
    Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber are a mother-daughter writing team who share a passion for teaching and writing. This is not an "overnight success" story--they have been writing together for eighteen years. They are currently developing new educational products to be released by publishers this spring. They have written and sold over one hundred fifty educational products to publishers which are sold worldwide.

    Barbara is a former teacher who was employed by Frank Schaffer Publications from l980 to l996. She developed and presented curriculum seminars nationwide for K-6 teachers. Barbara was involved in product development and was a freelance writer exclusively for Frank Schaffer Publications. After "retiring," she wrote a series of idea books for teachers for The Mailbox and a series of e-books for TeachNow. Practice and LearnRight is the publisher of a series of best-selling word wall products. Barbara and her husband live on a farm in Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, California. She has four grown children and four grandchildren. Barbara earned her M.A. at Santa Clara University in California.

    Sue Gruber is a kindergarten teacher who is sharing a teaching contract this year. Working half-time gives her more time with her 18 month old son Cooper. Sue, her husband and son live in Sonoma County, as well. Sue's first experience as a writer was helping Barbara write a science book for Frank Schaffer Publications. Sue has a degree in geology and a strong science background. They continued as a writing team and created dozens of products for Frank Schaffer Publications. Sue and Barbara wrote e-books for TeachNow and eight new teacher idea books soon to be released by Practice and LearnRight. Sue taught grades three, four, five and is currently team teaching kindergarten. Sue earned her M.A. at Sonoma State University in California.

    Barbara and Sue are are partners in Barbara Gruber Online Courses for Teachers. They personally write each course with today's busy teachers in mind. Teachers can do coursework completely on their own, or, if they wish, interact on line with others. They can earn one, two or three semester units from University of the Pacific. Barbara and Sue present information on a practical level. It can be put into action immediately in classrooms. Barbara and Sue provide instructional strategies and management ideas without creating more work for teachers.

    The internet allows Barbara & Sue to do the work they love most—work directly with teachers. They are thrilled with the response by teachers to their courses. They have a fresh, teacher-friendly approach to affordably-priced courses. Barbara Gruber & Sue Gruber have created exactly what today's teachers are looking for! You can find out about their courses at

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    Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers...
    by Barbara Gruber, M.A. & Sue Gruber, M.A.
    Ten Instant Energizers Especially for Teachers!
    Teaching is a more challenging profession than most teachers ever dreamed it could be! And, it becomes more difficult each year. Many responsibilities that used to be in the sphere of parents and families are now expected of schools and teachers. Without any additional training, time, materials or resources teachers are expected to do more each year.

    Our goal is to provide ways teachers can maintain high levels of energy and enthusiasm, in spite of the challenges each day brings. If our readers find just one helpful idea in this article, we've met our goal of helping teachers teach and children learn.

    1. Recognize what you can and can't control!
      Focus on the factors that are within your locus of control. Then, you have the power to make things go better for yourself.

      You can control how much extra time you spend working in your classroom. Rethink donating personal time on weekends to working at school, or working at home, on schoolwork. Weekends are your time to have a life beyond teaching. Think back to your favorite teachers. Do you remember certain teachers because the classrooms were beautifully decorated or because of the way they related to students? What really counts is how you relate to children and how much they learn. Working on school-related projects could take every waking moment, if you let that happen. Opt out of the weekend-work team and treat yourself to time off. You deserve it and you'll be more upbeat and energized if you treat yourself well.

      You can't control the fact that you will never have enough time to accomplish everything you want to do at school. Even superteacher can't do everything. Opt out of feeling guilty and give yourself a pat on the back for the good job you are doing.

    2. Keep parents educated and informed.
      Set up a simple communication system from school to home. Prepare a newsletter on school time with this simple approach. Create a generic newsletter form with a heading on the top, sections for Monday through Thursday and Next Week as shown below. During Monday afternoon, or during the last few minutes of the school day, ask the class what to write on the newsletter. Write a dictated sentence or two about happenings of the school day. Do this Monday through Thursday. On Thursday after school, fill in information or announcements and reproduce the newsletter. Children can take it home on Friday. Consider consistently using the same bright color of paper for your newsletters so they are easy for parents to spot!

      Classroom News ~ Week of ___

         Grade 2 ~ Ms. Sunshine









      Next week/Announcements:


      There are thirty-six weeks in the school year. Run off the generic formats and each Monday simply fill in the date and get that week's newsletter going! Publicize the good job you are doing of keeping parents informed---pop a copy of the newsletter in your administrator's mailbox each week. Place another copy in a 3 ring binder to keep at school. At Open House and Parent Conference Time have the binder available for parents to peruse.

    3. Organize paperwork or else!
      Are you having a paper drive, or is that your desk under that mountain of papers? Every teacher has piles of papers to manage. Here's one of our best systems for paper management. You need a box (large enough to hold file folders) and a dozen or so file folders. Print big, bold labels on the file folders with a felt pen. Label the file folders:

      Do Today---Put any papers related to things you have to do before leaving school today in this folder.

      Next Week---If you have to turn in a materials request next week, keep the paperwork in this folder.

      Next Month---File papers here that you don't need till next month.

      Read Later---You've just come back from the office with a catalog you want to look through later. Don't loose it in the classroom---put it in your Read Later folder.

      Notes to Write---When a child gives you a note that you need to respond to put it here so it doesn't get lost.

      Phone Calls to Make---Staple a class list with phone numbers on it in this folder. Jot reminder notes about phone calls you need to make in this folder.

      Take to Office---Do you have a birthday card for the most important person in the school, also known as the school secretary? Pop it in this folder so you don't forget to take it over to the office on your next trip!

      Pending---You've sent off the book order. Place your copy of it in your pending folder. Keep the paperwork in this folder for any materials you've ordered.

      Pop the folders in a box labeled Paper Management System. Once you get in the habit of using this handy system, you'll wonder how you survived without it. No more frantic searches for lost pieces of paper!

    4. Smart Questions---Savvy Answers
      Always ask the question, is there an easier, simpler way to do this? Before getting into a lesson or project, think it through and make sure you are not creating unnecessary work for yourself. You are already busy enough! Avoid Cecille B. DeMille Productions or getting involved in complex, multi-step projects. Sometimes, simple is better---it's your choice!

    5. Cut down on paperwork!
      Ask yourself, "Does this activity have to be a paper and pencil activity?" Instead of having twenty-six students take twenty minutes to do a worksheet, can you accomplish the same activity without having any papers to mark? If the worksheet is about plurals, can you instead give each child a card with "s" on one side and "es" on the other? Perhaps you can write the word from the worksheet on the chalkboard and say "Show me now!" Have every child respond by holding a card in front of his/her chest revealing the answer. You can probably do the whole lesson in five minutes and have no papers to correct. And, at a glance you know who understands the concept.

    6. Make the most of every minute of school time!
      Use school time efficiently so you can get as much done as possible at school. The goal is to minimize the amount of work you take home. Instead of heading for the teachers room to visit with colleagues before school, can you work nonstop in your classroom? Tell your colleagues you are trying to lighten your take-home workload and you'll see them at recess and lunch. If you spend thirty minutes each morning getting things done, that adds up to 2˝ hours of work you don't have to do at home. Hang a sign on the door that says "Closed---Teacher at Work." Capture those lost minutes so you can lighten your "homework" load.

    7. Find a teacher buddy to share the work load!
      There are so many ways to work together to save time.
      • Perhaps you can plan and prepare materials for your class and your teacher buddy's class for the upcoming unit on Communities. And, your teacher buddy can prepare everything for both classes for the upcoming science unit on Rainforests.
      • Another approach is to plan the Rainforest unit together and divide up the work. Each teacher does fifty per cent of the preparation and prepares materials for both classes.
      • Perhaps one teacher can teach a lesson to both classes and the other teacher can have that period as a planning time.

      Put your head together with a teacher buddy on grade level and figure out how to save yourselves time and work. You know the kids, the curriculum and what will work! You are the expert in your classroom so you are the one who can best figure out how to do this! Working with a teacher buddy is a win-win situation.

    8. Choose to relate to upbeat, energized teachers!
      Identify people are at your school who are positive and upbeat. Gravitate toward these fun, energized people! They are the people to sit with at lunch, at faculty meetings and work with on projects. Don't get bogged down! Stay away from the constant complainers who send out nonstop negative vibes. Negativity is contagious, manipulative and boring. Negative people tend to remain that way---you have to get away from them. Make your workday more joyful by making positive, enthusiastic colleagues your teaching pals.

    9. Lead a balanced life with varied interests and activities!
      Teaching is a job that can take over your life---every teacher knows that! Make sure you have other activities going that have nothing to do with your work. Make time in your life for fun and relaxation---you deserve it!
      For example:
      • join or start a book club,
      • start a breakfast club and go out for breakfast weekly with friends
      • join a garden club
      • join a hiking group
      • learn something new like wood carving, quilting, painting
      • start a movie club and enjoy a movie with friends each month
      • take a class to learn something new and different
      • get a walking partner and walk together several times a week.

      Find activities, interests and fun people so your life is balanced and not totally focused on work. We encourage you to put yourself first---no one else will! Make sure you have time for play in your life.

    10. Be compensated at the highest level possible.
      Teachers are professionals who are only paid to work the number of days stated in their teaching contracts. Review the pay scale for your school district to verify that you are at the highest compensation level for the number of years you have been employed. If you are not earning the maximum, start today to earn units to move up the salary ladder. Thanks to online courses, you can complete courses on your schedule without driving back and forth to attend classes.

    Invest in yourself! Teaching is challenging, difficult work---invest in yourself so you can maximize your earnings. We offer online courses that are affordable. Earning credit is optional---you can earn one, two or three semester units from an accredited university.

    Take charge of your time schedule! Our courses are available any day and at any time---work on course lessons any time you wish! Choose to work completely on your own---or interact with others on line, if you wish. Our courses can be completed in a weekend.

    If you are looking for 100% practical ideas and want to earn units, look at today. Our courses are:

    • CM1    Maximize Learning with Positive Behavior Strategies
    • CM2    100% Practical Ways to Save Time and Work
    • RW1    Systematic Activities to Boost Reading Achievement
    • RW2    Build Essential Vocabulary and Basic Word Skills

    And, we'll have more idea-packed courses coming soon!

    By the way, did you know there are three kinds of people in the world? There are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen and people who have NO IDEA what happened. We hope you found ideas in this article that will help you make positive things happen for you and your students.

    Are you going to International Reading Association Conference in San Francisco Apr/May? Please come say hello--we'll be in Exhibit Booth #2731 with Practice & Learnright on Apr 29 and 30th.

    Barbara Gruber, M.A. and Sue Gruber, M.A.
    Barbara Gruber Online Courses for K-6 Teachers

    Copyright 2002: Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers