April 2009
Vol 6 No 4

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.4 April 2009

Cover Story by Alfie Kohn
When “21st-Century Schooling” Just Isn’t Good Enough: A Modest Proposal
Are we serious about educating students for the global competitive economy of the future?

Earth Day Special Article:
GE Project Plant-A-Bulb
Give the planet the gift of flowers for Earth Day....

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
The Tools for Success

»Actively Involve Every Reader—Ten Easy Ideas! Sue Gruber
»Motivating Children Leah Davies
»Multiple Working Hypotheses Todd R. Nelson
»Eliciting vs. Punishments Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Tattle Tales and Classroom Helpers Barbara Pressman
»Tips for Travel to France or Italy with Students Josette Bonafino
»Too Much Parent Involvement? Can It Be? Dorothy Rich
»Return to Sender & The Neon Necklace Rick Morris
»Be Your Own Mentor: Reflect Hal Portner

»Getting Your Students' Work Published Alan Haskvitz
»At Risk Students: Victims of Miseducation and Failure Bill Page
»Teachers – Healing Broken Lives Graysen Walles
»Get Smart! Doodle! Tim Newlin
»A Dozen Ways to Build a Caring Classroom Community Susan Fitzell
»April 2009 Writing Prompts James Wayne
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VI Hank Kellner
»Quality in School Systems Panamalai R. Guruprasad
»Problems With 9th Grade Euclidian Geometry Stewart E. Brekke
»Multisensory/Kinesthetic Alphabet ActivitiesJeanine Horner

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Guided Reading in Kindergarten (printable)
»Printables - Happy Earth Day, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands, Portable Word Wall, Earth Day Every Day Award, Bringing Choices to Light, and April - May Calendar
»Photo Tour: 3rd Grade Classroom, Red Creek, NY
»Lessons, Activities, Theme ideas: Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Paul Revere, Spring, Easter, more!
»Featured Lesson: Outdoor Activities/Nature
»Meet Bill Martin Jr. and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Creative Quotes from Shakespeare, Massive Ant Colony Uncovered! AMAZING science!, Tim Hawkins - Cletus Take the Reel, Lovefield, and Dolphin Bubbles: An Amazing Behavior
»Live on Teachers.Net: April 2009
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers
»Wisdom for the pain? Why Did You Do It? Why Pursue National Board Certification?


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 Alfie Kohn

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Alfie Kohn, Graysen Walles, Hal Portner, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Rick Morris, Bill Page, Tim Newlin, Susan Fitzell, Alan Haskvitz, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Dorothy Rich, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Stewart E. Brekke, Panamalai R. Guruprasad, Jeanine Horner, Marie Smith, Carol Goodrow, Jennifer Goldstein, and YENDOR.

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Sue Gruber

Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Actively Involve Every Reader—Ten Easy Ideas!
Ten instant ways to create a spark and motivate your students to read... you won’t read this collection without adopting at least one of these terrific ideas! We think you’ll use all 10!
by Sue Gruber, M.A.
Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers
Continued from page 1
April 1, 2009

  1. Savvy See-Through

    Chances are you have lots of great charts that you use with your students. Here’s a way to get even more out of your charts! Make a few clear plastic overlay sheets to use with your charts. You and your students can use dry erase markers to write on the overlays. Make the overlay sheet by running the laminator with nothing in it until it’s the size of your chart.

    Take a minute to think about some of the skills you teach. Do you have a chart that is perfect to use during a lesson about compound words? Clip the clear plastic sheet over the chart and let students come up and circle or divide the compound words.

  2. Instant Retellings

    After a group or the entire class has read or listened to a story, select a child to give an oral summary. Then, let other students add additional important details. Next time, choose another child to start the retelling. Keep track of the students who initiate the summaries on a class list. You want to make sure each of your students has a chance to do a retelling. Retelling offers you instant insight into which students really comprehend what they hear or read.

  3. Empower Students by Offering Choices

    There’s nothing like offering choices to involve your students. I don’t mean choices like do you want to read today? Here are some easy-to-implement ways to provide choice in your classroom from time to time:

    • let students select a paper or project to have graded
    • list three activities and let students choose to complete one of them
    • Give two follow up questions after a story. Let students choose one of the questions to answer.

    Giving children choices provides opportunities to build trust, foster responsibility and spark enthusiasm.

  4. Free High-Interest Materials

    I guarantee that this book will become the most popular one in your classroom library. Fill a binder with plastic page protectors. Keep an eye out for high interest materials for your students to read. Slip them into the plastic pages. Ideas for FREE high interest reading material:

    • menus
    • catalogs
    • ads from the Sunday paper
    • cereal box front and back panels
    • maps
    • interesting news articles

    Before you know it, your students will start contributing material to the binder! You may end up with several binders. At the end of the year, remove the contents and hold a drawing to give the contents away. At the beginning of next year, start a new binder. The best way to pique students’ interest is by gradually adding items a few at a time. If you start with a full binder, chances are the kids won’t even look at it. You can also have a box or basket with mail order catalogs, maps and travel brochures for children to read.

  5. Terrific Titles

    Here’s one of the best ways I know to teach the concept of main idea. After reading a chapter, elicit ideas from your students for a new title for the chapter. List the ideas on the board. Then discuss why each of the suggestions would make a good title for the chapter.

Expectations and demands have never been higher. If you are looking for more ideas like the ones in this article and want to earn graduate-level units—we can help! Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers offers proven, easy-to-implement ideas and activities that are 100% practical. If you like the Gazette articles—you’ll love the online courses for K-6 teachers. Take a look at today.

Happy Spring!

Sue Gruber
Barbara Gruber Online Courses for Teachers

Copyright 2009: Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers

» More Gazette articles...

About Sue Gruber...

Sue Gruber, M.A.
Barbara Gruber Online Courses for Teachers

Sue Gruber taught the upper grades for years. In a moment of wild abandon, she decided to take the plunge and teach the grade she feared most—kindergarten! Sue just wrapped up her eleventh year in kindergarten and loves it. Who knows, the next grade level change might be to sixth grade!

Sue Gruber and Barbara Gruber, a mother-daughter writing team, have created dozens of products for Frank Schaffer Publications, Scholastic, The Education Center and other publishers. 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.

Sue and Barbara launched Barbara Gruber Online Courses for Teachers in 2002. They personally write each course with today’s students and 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 provide practical strategies and ideas that can be put into action immediately without creating more work for teachers. Barbara and Sue have created exactly what teachers are looking for—teacher-friendly courses at affordable prices. You can find out about their courses at

Sue teaches full time, manages Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers and loves writing for the Teachers.Net Gazette. She lives in Sonoma County with her husband and son. Barbara consults for Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers; however, she has “retired” from the business. Retirement for Barbara means she’s busier than ever in Healdsburg, California on a 25-acre working farm called Healdsburg Country Gardens. She and her husband are grape growers for local wineries, have three guest houses for visitors and host wine country weddings.

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