|Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.8||August 2008|
|Cover Story by Alan Haskvitz|
|NCLB/Poor Teacher Training:|
End of Gifted Education?
|The most at risk students in the nation are the gifted. Here’s why.|
|Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching|
|A Computer Teacher Shows the Way|
|»||Tools for the Coming School YearCheryl Sigmon|
|»||Get the Most Out of Being Mentored - Part 2:Take ResponsibilityHal Portner|
|»||Get Set for the Best Year Yet!Sue Gruber|
|»||UPDATE!! Hooray! I did it!Sue Gruber|
|»||"Getting to Know Each Other"Activities, part 1Leah Davies|
|»||School is a VerbTodd R. Nelson|
|»||5 Classroom TipsMarvin Marshall|
|»||The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac|
|»||Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman|
|»||Who’s Cheating Whom? (Part 2)|
|»||Responsibility Equals Participation|
|»||The Classic Pirate|
|»||August 2008 Writing Prompts|
|»||UNESCO Survey Finds Underprivileged Children Also Disadvantaged in the Classroom|
|»||Good Grades Are Nice – But Mastery is Better|
|»||A Teaching Guide for Libby Bloom|
|»||Brain Based Learning Chat Transcript with Dr. Daniel S. Janik|
|»||Being Mentored Chat Transcript with Hal Portner|
|»||6 Traits Writing chat|
|»||Make the Call!|
|»||High School Physics - "First" or "Last" - Must and Can Be Mathematical|
|»||What would you do...|
|»||Printable Worksheets & Teaching Aids|
|»||A Candle of Inspiration: August 2008|
|»||School Photographs for August 2008|
|»||Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: August 2008|
|»||Video Bytes: Mathmaticious, Stand up for P.E.!, Becoming a teacher and More|
|»||Today Is... Daily Commemoration for August 2008|
|»||Live on Teachers.Net: August 2008|
|»||The Lighter Side of Teaching|
|»||Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers|
|»||Lighting a Spark About College|
|»||Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers|
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A Month of Writing Prompts
Around the globe and all through history, there's a prompt of interest to everyone!
|by James Wayne
Regular contributor to the Gazette
August 1, 2008
The character trait for August is HOPE.
People living in three small communities in a remote area of the Alps banded together in 1291 to protect themselves from outside invaders who claimed their territory. This tiny group eventually grew into the nation of Switzerland. Have you ever heard of something small that grew into something important? List 4 things that seem small or unimportant but can have a major impact on your life.
In 1715, theater owner Thomas Doggett sponsored a boat race on the River Thames in London to celebrate the crowning of King George I. It has been held every year since, and may be the longest-running annual sporting event in the world. If you were going to start an annual contest or sporting event, what kind of event would you like to start? What are four rules you would make for your event?
Frederic Bartholdi, the French sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty, was born in 1834. The statue was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States as a 100th birthday present. If the American people wanted to give a present to the people of another nation, what do you think we should give them? Make a list of five gifts and why they would be appreciated.
The city of Los Angeles was named on this day in 1769. If you started a city, what would you name it? Why that name?
Actress Myrna Loy was born in 1905. At one time, she was one of the most famous of Hollywood's stars. She once said, "Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming." What do you think she meant by that?
Mystery writer P.D. James was born in 1920. She once said, "The greatest mystery of all is the human heart." What do you think she meant by that?
The first ship passed through the Panama Canal in 1914. It had not been finished at the time, so regular ships didn't start using it until much later. Have you ever visited something that had not been finished, such as a house or store display? Describe how it differed from the finished thing.
Two famous authors were born today: Leon Uris, who wrote courtroom dramas, and Joseph Conrad, who wrote about the sea and about wild places. If you were going to write a book, what setting would you choose for it? Why that setting?
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in 1792. He wrote the following poem:
I met a traveler from an antique land,
This week, the annual Magic Convention is held in Colon, Michigan. What is the most interesting magic trick you have seen or heard about?
Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926. What is the longest distance you have ever swum, run, bicycled, skated, or walked? Tell about what happened during your journey.
In 1947, archeologist Thor Heyerdahl set sail from Peru on a raft made of balsa wood called Kon Tiki,to prove his theory that the ancient peoples of South America could have set up colonies in Polynesia. He landed on this day on a Polynesian island after being at sea 101 days. He claimed that his success proved that his theory was true; critics pointed out that the journey had been very hard and had been successful only by luck, and that his theory was still not proved. How do you feel about his idea? Why do you think as you do?
Today is the annual Star Festival in Korea. Some people like to study the science of astronomy, others enjoy reading about the mythology of the stars and constellations. Which would you prefer to study? What are some things you would like to learn?
In 1576, Tycho Brahe began building the first European astronomical observatory on an island in Denmark. His observations were later used to determine the laws that govern the motion of planets, and helped Sir Isaac Newton formulate the laws of gravity. If you could go to an observatory and look at objects outside of the earth's atmosphere, which things would you like to look at first? Make a list of six heavenly objects you would like to observe.
Work began in 1936 on the first full-length animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Walt Disney Studios. One of the most popular songs from that film is "Whistle While You Work," which suggests whistling as a way to make a hard job seem easier. What are four other things you could do that might make a hard job easier or more fun?
The Sistine Chapel was first used in 1483. It is decorated by wonderful murals on the ceiling by Michelangelo. He had to work on them for years, painting over his head. Describe the most beautiful room you have ever seen.
Engineer Thomas Telford was born in 1757 in Scotland. He pioneered many modern construction techniques, including the use of metal for building bridges. He built the first successful suspension bridge, the Menai Bridge in Wales, which is still in use. If you could be in charge of building something, what would you like to build? Describe it so that others can imagine what it would look like.
Herbert Hoover, America's 31st President, was born in 1874. He once said, "Words without actions are the assassins of idealism." What do you think he meant by that?
Every year during this week, people gather for a group swim across the Danube in Ruse, Bulgaria. The river there is over a mile wide and has a strong current. Why do you think it is more fun to do things like this in a group than alone? Explain your answer in a paragraph.
In 1688, the people of New Rochelle, NY, agreed to pay a fat calf every year to the members of the Pell family as rent for the land the city was built on. The agreement was forgotten, and the first calf was actually paid 265 years later, in 1953. How do you think the members of the Pell family reacted when they were told they were getting a fat calf in payment of a debt more than 200 years old? Pretend you are a member of the Pell family, and write a letter to the citizens of New Rochelle, NY, about how you feel.
The inventor of the sport of gymnastics, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was born in 1778. Gymnastics is considered a "minor" sport, since it is not as popular as basketball or football. There are many minor sports. Which minor sport do you play, like to watch, or think interesting? Tell why you chose that sport.
Cecil B. DeMille, the famous movie director, was born in 1881. A director plans and supervises the making of a movie. What story would you like to see made into a movie? Why that one?
Johann Christoph Denner, the inventor of the clarinet, was born in 1655. Which wind instrument (either woodwind or brass) is your favorite? What are three reasons you like that instrument?
John Ringling North, who combined his family's circus with several others to form the Ringling Brothers, Barnum, and Bailey Circus, was born in 1903. Because of special effects, television and movies can now show people doing things that are much more amazing than those things circus performers do, but many people still prefer to see the real performances rather than special effects. How do you feel about this: do you prefer real life performances, or ones involving special effects that no real person could ever do? Why do you prefer the kind you like?
In 1890, Henry Ford resigned from the electric company to work full-time on his ideas for a new kind of car. He once said, "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." What do you think he meant by that?
Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769. He is considered one of the first great modern generals. He himself did not fight, but would try to find a high hill overlooking the battle where he could send orders in writing to the fighters. When pictures of him were made after the battles, he would tuck his hand inside his jacket to hide his inky fingers, since he thought they made him look like a sissy. People often try to hide things they think are unflattering. What are some things you have seen people try to hide from others about themselves?
Edwin Prescott patented the first roller coaster in 1898. What kind of amusement ride do you like best? Why do you like it?
Today several towns in Argentina celebrate the Festival of the Snow (Fiesta de la Nieve). Seasons are reversed south of the Equator, so South America, Southern Africa, and Australia experience winter during June, July, and August. Suppose you woke up tomorrow morning and found that the seasons were reversed, and what is now summer was suddenly winter? How would you feel? What would you do?
Singer and actress Madonna was born in 1958. She once said, "Poor is the man whose pleasure depends on the permission of another." What do you think she meant by that?
Davy Crockett, American frontiersman and explorer, was born in 1786. He once said, "I was never lost, but I was bewildered for three days once." Have you ever been lost? How did you feel? What did you do to help yourself be found?
In 1807, the Clermont, the first successful commercial steamship began sailing on a regular schedule between New York City and Albany, NY. Before then, trips by boat could not be scheduled exactly, because they depended on wind, rowers, or currents. How would your life be different if you could not schedule trips regularly? Think of at least three ways.
In 1563, King Charles IX of France is declared an adult and allowed to rule on his own, although he is only 13 years old. Presently, in most nations, young people are considered adults at age 18, but it varies from 16 to 25. At what age do you think a person is a complete adult, able to live on his or her own without supervision or restriction? Give three reasons for your choice.
Genghis Khan, founding ruler of the Mongol Empire, died in 1227. He conquered China, Russia, India, Persia, and Iraq, but his huge empire fell apart after his death. If you could visit one of the parts of his ancient empire listed above, which one would you like to visit? Why that part?
Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America, was born in 1587. She disappeared along with the rest of the settlers in the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island. Describe what you think may have happened to the colonists.
In 1839, Louis Daguerre invented the first method for taking photographs. Each picture took several minutes to take, so people had to wear clamps to hold their heads still, and did not smile, so their faces would not be blurry. Before that, people paid artists to do drawings of themselves and their families. How would you like to make your living as a artist? What kind of art would you like to do?
Today is Miners Appreciation Day. Miners provide the raw materials for many things we use every day. Write a poem or paragraph about the work of miners.
In 1912, Arthur R. Eldred from Oceanside, NY, becomes the first American Boy Scout to reach the rank of Eagle, the highest rank in scouting. The motto of the Boy Scouts is "Be prepared." What kind of emergencies have you had in your community? What can you do to be prepared for them?
King George I sailed up the Thames River in 1715 to visit Oxford University. To entertain the king while he was sailing, George Friedrich Handel composed a musical suite called the "Water Music" that is still popular today with people who like classical music. What do you like to listen to while you are traveling? Name some of your favorite artists or songs.
One of the most famous vocal groups in the world, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, was formed in 1947. When you listen to singing, do you prefer to listen to a single singer, or a vocal group? Tell which singer or group you like, and what songs they sing that you think are especially good.
In the year 410, the city of Rome was captured by the Visigoths, a German-speaking tribe, and looted. This date marks the end of the Classical Ages and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Think about how people lived in ancient times: for instance, one reason their clothes were so different was they had not discovered the button. If you had to live in the same way those people lived, what five changes do you think would be the hardest for you to get used to? Why those changes?
Booker T. Washington, African-American educator and organizer, once said, "Character is power." What do you think he meant by that?
In ancient Rome, people sacrificed animals to Vulcan, the God of Fire and of volcanoes. Vulcanologists are scientists who study volcanoes, seeking to learn to predict their eruptions. It is interesting, but can be very dangerous. List 5 qualities a person must have to be a good vulcanologist. Tell why you chose those qualities.
Today is National Waffle Day. The waffle iron was patented by Cornelius Swartout in 1869. Dream up the most delicious waffle dish you can think of. Describe how it is made and what you think it tastes like.
The printing of the Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed by modern methods, was completed in 1456. This date is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Ages. Suppose all books still had to be copied by hand, and every student was supposed to copy one book before he or she could graduate from school. What book would you copy? Why that one?
Today is the day Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city of Pompeii in 79 AD. Much of what we know about ancient Roman life comes from digging up the ruins buried by the eruption. If you could go back to ancient Rome, what would you want to see or do?
The city of New Orleans, LA, was founded in 1580. The city has had an eventful history, featuring both good (the invention of jazz) and bad (Hurricane Katrina's destructive flood). Everyone has a history that contains both good and bad. Briefly write about a favorite good time or a funny bad time you experienced or know about.
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Genesius, patron saint of actors. Who is your favorite actor? What was his or her best role?
Lee DeForest, the inventor of the television tube, was born in 1873. What are four ways your life would change if he had never completed his invention?
The first jet plane first flew in 1939. It was a Heinkel HE-178, a German fighter plane, reached a speed on 375 miles per hour, and was piloted by Flight Captain Erich Warsitz. Piloting a brand new plane is a dangerous job. Think of three more dangerous jobs; tell what problems make those jobs dangerous.
German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (pronounced GER-tah) was born in 1749. He wrote, "Excellence is rarely found, more rarely valued." What do you think he meant by this?
The first motorcycle was patented in 1885 by Gottlieb Daimler, the co-founder of the Mercedes car company. Motorcycles, four-wheelers, and jet-skis are popular motorized recreational vehicles. If you could have only one of those, which would you choose? Why that one?
English philosopher John Locke was born 1622. He first wrote many of the ideas used by Thomas Jefferson in writing the Declaration of Independence. He wrote, "The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts." What do you think he meant by that?
To protect its dwindling elephant herds, Kenya banned trade in ivory in 1973, a ban that was subsequently extended to the entire world. As a result, the numbers of elephants has now grown so great that they are damaging African habitat by overgrazing. What do you think the government of Kenya or other African countries should do about the excess elephants?
The first computer designed to communicate with other computers was put into operation in 1969. In a few months, other computers were set up to form the first part of what is now the Internet (then called the ARPANET). Most students today use the Internet all the time, but many older adults are still not used to it. What are three things you think could be done to help older people get used to the Internet?
The first solar-powered car was introduced in 1955 by General Motors in Chicago, IL. Solar cars have never become popular because they are not very powerful and cannot run at night for very long, but solar power is used for several other things, including pocket calculators, yard lights, and traffic signals. As solar technology becomes cheaper and more powerful, other uses for it will become common. Name three things you think might become solar powered in the next few years. Which of them will be the first to become solar powered?
In 1903, the first automobile trip all the way across the United States, from San Francisco to New York City was completed in fifty-four days. If you were planning a trip by car that would take several days, where would you like to go? Why that place?
In 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car accident in Paris. The only person in the car who survived, Diana's bodyguard Trevor Rees Jones, was also the only one wearing a seat belt. Think of something (an ad, a slogan, or a poster) that will encourage people to wear their seat belts.