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Volume 3 Number 7

Barbara & Sue Gruber help us "to stay energized and enthusiastic about teaching" during our summer break...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong Teaching Procedures Is Teaching Expectations
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber It's Summer---Rest, Relax, Recharge and Have Some Fun!
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall Observations From Last Year
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon Choice: Fountas and Pinnell or 4-Blocks?
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno Building Emotional Intelligence
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman & George París Conway Communication in Online Learning Environments: Framing Asynchronous Online Discussions
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover I Didn't Know That!
Starting Over Again With a New Group and Learning About Them
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac Sites For Beginning Teachers Part 2
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall Sustained Silent Reading
July Articles
July Regular Features
July Informational Items
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. 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 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

Writing a Letter sung to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb

First you write the heading, the heading, the heading,
First you write the heading,
The month, the day, the year.

Next you write the greeting, the greeting, the greeting,
Next you write the greeting,
You start it off with dear.

Then you write the body, the body, the body,
Then you write the body,
You ask and tell some things.

Then you write the closing, the closing, the closing,
Then you write the closing,
"Your friend," or "I love you,"

Sign your name right under this, under this, under this,
Sign your name right under this,
And now your letter's through.

    Submitted by Patty/CA on the second grade mailring

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Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers...
by Barbara Gruber, M.A. & Sue Gruber, M.A.
It's Summer---Rest, Relax, Recharge and Have Some Fun!
Congratulations! You made it! It's summer! This is your time for some much-deserved rest and time away from school. This summer when you think about the three R's we hope it's rest, relax and recharge!

We all know that teaching will take every possible moment that you give it. When it comes to teaching, isn't it true that you're never done? Don't you have huge lists, on paper or in your head, of all kinds of things you could do? We bet you could spend every day of your entire summer working in your classroom and still have a long list of things to do. Don't do it! Instead, invest time this summer in taking care of yourself. You'll be glad you did!

We think the best way to stay energized and enthusiastic about teaching is to use the summer break as a time to rejuvenate and re-energize! Here are our favorite surefire ways to make your summer restful and relaxing so you can head back to school this fall recharged and ready to go!

  • Do something you truly enjoy every day.

    Start doing some of the things you love to do that you just don't have time for during the school year. Read juicy novels, take long walks, gab on the phone for hours with friends, try those recipes that you've been saving that start with the words, "Begin this recipe at least a day ahead…"

  • Relax your standards a bit.

    Does it really matter if there are some weeds in your garden or if you change your sheets on Sunday instead of Saturday? Summer is a great time to take a deep breath and let some of your worries go! After all, you can always get to it tomorrow or the next day!

  • Get together with friends on a weekly basis.

    Why not form a weekly breakfast club with friends? Meet at one anothers' houses or go out to eat. How about a Tuesday night movie club? You can meet at the theater or alternate houses and rent videos. It doesn't matter what you do; the goal is to reconnect with friends you don't see as much as you'd like during the school year!

  • Allow time everyday for some peace and quiet.

    Life is hectic! Summer is the perfect time to slow down and reflect. Everyday find some way to give yourself some quiet down time, even if it's only for five minutes. Take the time to close your eyes and listen to your favorite music, soak in the tub, or take a walk. Give it a try for a week. We bet you'll find yourself looking forward to your daily quiet time!

  • Take a course to earn units for salary advancement and to gain some new ideas.

    We think teachers should be well compensated. Take a look at your salary schedule and start earning units to move up the ladder. Summer is a more leisurely time to take courses. If you're looking for courses that offer incredible flexibility while your gaining new skills and ideas, consider taking them online. Online courses are designed to fit your schedule without losing valuable time commuting to and from universities. Of course, we encourage you to take a look at our 100% practical courses for teachers at

  • Count your blessings.

    Focus on the positive things in your life. Why do we tend to spend time agonizing over things that go wrong? For every one thing that does go wrong, dozens of things go right! Spend some time savoring all that is right in your world!

  • Sometimes more is better!

    Summer vacation is magical yet it's over so soon! Make more of a good thing! Here's an easy way to increase your summer break by 175 minutes each week---get up 25 minutes early each day. How will you spend your bonus time? Relaxing with the morning paper and a big cup of coffee sounds heavenly to us! Spend the extra time doing something you love!

  • Read, read, read!

    Take advantage of this time and dive into some good books. Find a friend who loves to read and swap books. Treat yourself to some interesting magazines that you don't have time to read during the school year. If you're not already in one, you might want to start a summer book club with some friends. Take turns selecting books for the group to read and discuss over some yummy goodies.

  • Try something new.

    What better time than now to try something you've always wanted to do? Here's your chance to give faux painting on your laundry room walls a try! Maybe you'll grab a friend and sign up for a yoga class that looks like fun. What ever it is that you've been putting off trying, do it now! You might just discover something wonderful.

  • Tackle an old project that you've been putting off.

    Does an avalanche of photographs hit you every time you open that certain cupboard? Are you filled with guilt whenever you look at a half finished craft project? What better time than now to end the procrastination? A teacher friend of ours used last summer to complete her child's baby book. The baby book was finished by the middle of August---just in time for the "baby's" 18th birthday!

  • Reflect on the school year you just finished.

    Take some time to reflect upon the year. Think about all of the things that went well in your classroom. Analyze any areas that you feel need improvement. Jot some quick notes about things you'd like to do differently next year. Stash your notes in a file folder labeled "back to school" so they'll be handy in the fall.

  • Start thinking about the next school year.

    Now is the time to start thinking about next year. Decide now how you'd like to spend your time. Which committees and jobs appeal to you and which ones do you want to avoid? By thinking about it ahead of time you can practice saying no and avoid being pressured into accepting extra duties you don't want.

  • Get a handle on the stress in your life.

    It's impossible to avoid stress. The good news is that it's possible to learn to handle stress effectively! Here are some stress-busters to try:

    1. Learn to say no without feeling guilty. Don't let yourself become over-extended by saying yes to everything. You'll do a better job if you do fewer things and do them well. Don't feel guilty about saying no.
    2. Spend time with positive people. There's nothing like negative people in your life to bring you down. Gravitate towards people who are upbeat and fun to be around!
    3. Develop a network of family and friends who are supportive of you.
    4. Be flexible! Nothing is more stressful than trying to fit a busy life into a rigid schedule. Realize that it's a good idea to take deep breaths and always have a Plan B ready!

Are you one of those teachers who really enjoys spending time during the summer in his or her classroom? Here are some thoughts to consider if you just can't stay away.

  • Limit the time you spend in your classroom.

    Set a reasonable schedule for the amount of time you're willing to work in your room. You might decide that one morning each week or even each month is enough. Make sure that you don't become consumed by the demands of getting your classroom ready. You don't want to neglect your needs and the chance to truly step away from school and unwind.

  • Focus on one area of the curriculum.

    Select just one curriculum area to overhaul during the summer. Chances are if you decide to redo your entire program, you'll be overwhelmed. If you focus on just one area of the curriculum you'll be able to achieve your goal.

  • Spend some time getting organized.

    If you've chosen to spend some of your valuable summer time in school, why not spend it getting organized? Summer is a great time to do a major desk clean out, file cabinet overhaul, or reorganization of your teaching materials. You'll be surprised at the wonderful resources you rediscover!

  • Do your least favorite getting ready for school project first.

    What project do you dread most when you're getting set up for the new school year? It may be agonizing, but go ahead and complete that project first. There's something wonderful about sitting back and realizing that the hard part is already behind you!

Take a moment to think of your non-teaching friends' vacations. Most people have to work extra-hard to be ahead of the game before they leave for a one or two week vacation. The whole time they're gone their desks are filling up with work to be done upon their return. When they go back to work it's necessary to put in long hours to dig out from under the piled up work.

We feel so fortunate that every year we have summers to rest, relax and recharge our batteries. Teachers are lucky to have jobs that truly stop at the end of the school year. Not only do we have time to unwind; we get a fresh start every fall! Make this summer your best one ever!

Best wishes ~

Barbara Gruber & Sue Gruber
Barbara Gruber Online Courses for K-6 Teachers
Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers

Copyright 2002: Barbara Gruber Courses for Teachers