April 2008
Vol 5 No 4

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.4 April 2008

Cover Story by Marvin Marshall
Immaculate Perception
There is no such thing as immaculate perception. What you see is what you thought before you looked.

Harry & Rosemary Wong
Effective Teaching
Schools That Beat the Academic Odds

»Are We Demanding Enough of Our Students?
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five
»Podcasting 101
»Think Outside the Box
»Problem-Based Learning Part 2: Good problems
»Ten Ways to Foster Resiliency in Children

»Finger in the Dike Protects Half the Kingdom
»April 2008 Writing Prompts
»Amusing Abacus
»Making the Grade
»The Disrespecting of Social Studies
»Classroom Magazines: More Than Just Shared Reading
»The Silenced Majority
»I Won't Learn What You Teach!
»Dear Laura Bush
»Choice, Access, and Relevance: Reading Workshop in the High School Classroom
»Stay Inside the Lines
»Chat with Grant Writing Expert LaVerne Hamlin
»Proofreading and Learning Disability
»Drexel Online Education Program

»Featured Lessons: April 2008
»Video Bytes: Abbott and Costello, Earth Day rant and more
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration for April 2008
»Live on Teachers.Net: April 2008
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers
»HELP! Grading: How Do You Do It?
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Marvin Marshall

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Cheryl Sigmon, Marjan Glavac, Rob Reilly, Barbara & Sue Gruber, Hal Portner, Leah Davies, Tim Newlin, James Wayne, P.R. Guruprasad, Todd Nelson, Alan Haskvitz, Mandy Yates, Bill Page, Susan Rismiller, Bradley Cook, Kimberly Payne, Kevin Coffey, John Keegan, and YENDOR.

Submissions: click for Submission Guidelines

Advertising: contact Bob Reap

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Breaking News...

Gazette Newsdesk

Teacher News, Events, & Opportunities

Successful Grant Writer Serves as Consultant on Teachers.Net Mailring, Grant Writing Chat with LaVerne Hamlin, Teachers.Net Chat with Child Prodigy Adora Svitak and Mom Joyce Svitak - April 14, 2008, Lands' End "Teachers Light the Way" Contest, ", NOT ON THE TEST" SATIRIZES CURRENT AMERICAN CURRICULUM TRENDS
From the News Desk
April 1, 2008

Successful Grant Writer Serves as Consultant on Teachers.Net Mailring

Educators seeking grants to fund school classroom projects and programs now have access to free consultation with an expert grant writer via the Teachers.Net Grant Writing email group. LaVerne Hamlin, author of a grant writing tutorial, "Show Me the Money" in the March 2008 Teachers.Net Gazette, has signed on to be the resident expert on the Teachers.Net Grant Writing mailring.

Hamlin qualifies as an expert by way of his list of more than $1 million in successful grant proposals, the result of efforts prompted by a shortage of funding for his science classroom.

"I started working in a public school system that allowed only a 200-dollar budget for a science department of 5 teachers," he says. "I was very troubled because I needed - but lacked - so much for my students, but the school was running on a deficit. I had to find another source of support for the needs of my students."

Necessity mothered intervention. "I spent many nights in university libraries, learning how to tap into the market of grant writing. I was skeptical because I thought one had to be an experienced writer in order to have a winning proposal selected for funding. But I tried my hand at grant writing and as of today I have been fortunate in winning over $1,000,000 in classroom grants and awards!"

That money flowed in from a diverse representation of public, private and corporate groups including Toshiba, Honda, Bayer Aspirin, the Michael Jordan Foundation, Capitol One, Richmond (VA) Public Schools, National Science Teachers Association, and the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture.

Having enjoyed such success, Hamlin wants to help other educators tap into the financial support available through grants. "I've been very fortunate in receiving numerous grants, and now in my semi-retirement role I would like an opportunity to direct, train and guide other teachers in securing support for their classes." His participation in the Teachers.Net Grant Writing mailring is part of that mission.

Accessing the assistance of Hamlin (and hundreds of other educators interested or experienced in the pursuit of grants) is as easy as typing an email address into the simple form on, then responding to a confirmation message.

Mailring members post messages to the group email address and those messages are distributed to the email boxes of all subscribers, and a copy preserved for later reference in the permanent archives. Members can choose to receive individual messages as they are posted, or a daily digest version containing a compilation of that day's posts. LaVerne Hamlin promises to check in and respond regularly to advise and encourage educators as they search out then apply for funds.

Grant Writing Chat with LaVerne Hamlin

The Author of the grant writing article "Show Me The Money" will be on hand in the Teachers.Net Meeting Room on Thursday, April 17 from 9 - 10 pm E for his second Teachers.Net chat, providing tips and responding to educators' questions about the process of writing successful grant proposals. LaVerne Hamlin, who has been successful in obtaining more than $1 million in grant money says, "If you can develop a lesson plan for your class, then you can write a grant." Teachers and school administrators are invited to log on for the chat to pick up pointers and guidance for their grant writing efforts. (April 17, 2008. 9pmE, 8C, 7M, 6P)

Teachers.Net Chat with Child Prodigy Adora Svitak and Mom Joyce Svitak - April 14, 2008

In celebration of National Poetry Month and the publication of her second book, Dancing Fingers, ten-year-old writer Adora Svitak and her mother Joyce will chat with interested educators in the Teachers.Net Meeting Room on Monday, April 14 from 9:00-10:00 pm ET.

Adora and Joyce have appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, Montel Williams, and MSNBC, gaining fame as a child prodigy who, according to her web site, could read and write simple words at age two and a half; read her first chapter book at age three and half; started to write short stories at age four; started to type short stories at age 6; appeared on Good Morning America and met Peter Jennings and published her first book at age 7.

Adora has developed a repertoire of online workshops and video conferencing programs based upon her book Flying Fingers. The presentations are billed as an innovative introduction to poetry writing for children using lively examples, presenting an overview of poetry forms and ideas for poetry inspiration, with Adora guiding students through an attention-grabbing poetry writing activity.

According to her mother, Adora's workshops help students meet and exceed language arts standards while developing a sense of ownership over writing. Previously available only to schools with video conferencing equipment, the video workshops are now available via web stream. Joyce Svitak says, "There are high demands for Adora’s live poetry workshop, so please contact us ahead of time to reserve your spot!" For detailed information on Adora’s video conferencing program offerings, e-mail joyce@adorasvitakcom. Visit Adora's web site:

Adora on NBC:

Lands' End "Teachers Light the Way" Contest

Lands' End has announced the Teachers Light the Way Contest that will recognize outstanding teachers who have made a difference in the life of a student, a school or a community. As a result, 45 teachers will receive the coveted Lands' End Lighthouse Award representing the company's 45-year history as well as the chance to win the grand prize of $5,000 for the winning teacher and $5,000 for the nominated teacher's school.

Deadline for nominations is midnight CDT April 17, 2008.

The 45 winning teachers will be announced during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9. Three outstanding teachers will receive grand prize status: First Prize Winner receives $5,000 for the winning teacher and a $5,000 school award; Second Prize Winner receives $3,000 for the winning teacher and a $3,000 school award; and Third Prize Winner receives $2,000 for the winning teacher and a $2,000 school award. The nominators of the Grand Prize Winners will receive a $500/$300/$200 Lands' End gift card, respectively.

The remaining 42 teachers will each receive a $100 Lands' End gift card and those who nominated them will receive $25 gift cards.

More information and official contest rules can be found at


Tom Chapin, a Grammy Award-winning musician perhaps best known for children's music, has released a new song titled "Not on the Test." The song satirizes the American education system's renewed focus on rote teaching, in which tests have become the sole reason to teach and learn. Music, art, drama and sports were what kept Chapin engaged in school. In addition, these subjects make the teacher's (and the student's) job easier and infinitely more rewarding. They are also what have been cut from curriculums across the country as Chapin explains lightheartedly in song.

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