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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 Joy Jones...

    Joy Jones is a third generation teacher, a playwright and the author of Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear, the acclaimed children's book, Tambourine Moon, and Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers. She teaches at Fillmore Arts Center in Washington, DC. You may view her website at:

    Teacher Feature...

    Using Storytelling in the Classroom

    by Joy Jones

    Ah... the pleasure of having Mommy or Daddy read you a story at bedtime. Or perhaps you were the Mommy or Daddy sharing a story with your little one just before her or she went to sleep. Stories are magical - and practical. Storytelling is not just good for bedtime but can be useful during class time too - and not just for the kindergarten set, either. Teachers can use the magic of storytelling to help students improve writing skills or increase literacy. I'm often invited to lead writing workshops or to talk to students about the benefits of reading. When I'm gone, however, it's up to the regular classroom teacher to keep that interest going. What follows are some ideas for helping to make writing and reading more exciting.

    For more compelling storytelling:

    Before the story:

    • practice reading it aloud
    • look for connections to other subjects
    • compose thought-provoking questions

    Telling the story

    • be lively!
    • vary your gestures, movements and voice
    • add music or singing, where possible
    • allow students to act out parts of the story
    • have students write based on themes or lessons learned from the story


    • invite a storyteller to class (this can be a parent or staff member)
    • have students conduct oral histories
    • let students create their own stories, then have them read aloud

    Recapturing the Courage to Teach: An Interview with Parker J. Palmer

    by Joy Jones

    With piles and piles of papers to grade, a crop of students who could win the Olympics for bad behavior, and when comments by parents, administrators and the press all seem to regard the profession with no respect, it may be hard to remember why you ever chose to teach.

    Not to despair. Parker J. Palmer, Ph.D., specializes in helping educators nurture their inner teacher. Palmer is a former university professor and the founder of the Center for Teacher Formation. "We have created a national program which is now at work in twenty-five cities," he explained. "Groups of twenty-five K-12 teachers meet for eight weekend workshops over a two year period. They work exclusively on the inner life of the teacher, in community," Palmer said. "That means that our focus is not on developing curriculum, changing the bureaucracy, or advocating for better pay." The program is designed to help teachers gain what Palmer calls vocational renewal - the rejuvenation of the spirit and the heart to teach. "These are people who went into the profession with a very deep sense of calling," said Palmer. "But over the years, the abusive conditions that teachers have to work under causes a lot of that passion to get lost. The participants in the Teacher Formation project go on a deep and searching journey to recover that passion."

    "What's really important is that everything in the program is an invitation to go on that inner journey," said Palmer. "We do a lot of things to help create a community. People do that inner work with each other's support and encouragement. And they come out of it recommitted to teaching. The commitment of the participating teachers to each other is also thorough and long-lasting. I led the pilot group for this program in 94-96, and that group is still meeting with each other," he said.

    Palmer has written extensively about ways educators can pursue and renew identity and integrity. Among his publications are "The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life" and "Let Your Life Speak: Listening for The Voice of Vocation". Experiences of teachers who have been in the Teacher Formation program or other similar programs are reflected in a new work, due out in April of 2002, "Stories of the Courage to Keep: Honoring the Teachers Heart," edited by Sam Intrator.

    In all his work and his words, Palmer's respect - no reverence - for the teaching profession is evident. "Teachers are our culture heroes," he stated. "They're the people who are asked to solve all the problems that society can't solve and are beaten up for their supposed inadequacies." This teacher of teachers has always had a fascination with the teaching learning process and has helped guide the careers of hundreds of educators at every level from kindergarten through post-graduate study. He has also mentored others as part of his role as a teacher. "I think that mentoring is a very remarkable relationship which has two qualities to it," he said. "The first is unconditional love. This is a relationship where the student or mentee feels totally accepted as he is." Palmer goes on to describe the other quality, which could seem contradictory to the first: "There is a charged expectancy that the student will grow. This growth is not a demand that the student change, but an invitation to stretch. When you're in this space, when you're held this way by the mentor, you really want to grow," said Palmer. "You become more fully who you are."

    If this sounds more like what you'd hear in a therapy session or a sermon, that's because Palmer does believe that many of the problems we face come from being out of alignment with our true nature. "So many of these issues are spiritual issues," he said. He directs those who are having an overdose of trials and tribulations to ask themselves, "In what ways am I running upstream to my own nature? When one can stop living his or her life against the grain then more harmony and satisfaction in life usually results."

    I had to ask Palmer how he got so wise about these matters. His response? "I learned the hard way."

    To learn more about the work of the Center for Teacher Formation, go to

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