July 2008
Vol 5 No 7

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.7 July 2008

Cover Story by Sue Gruber
It’s Summer…Time to Shift Gears and Re-energize!
A lighthearted perspective on what summer break can and should be.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Eight Year Summary of Articles

»To Tell the TruthLeah Davies
»Discipline Without Stress, Inc.Marvin Marshall
»Teaching through Summer TV ViewingCheryl Sigmon
»A New Unified Field TheoryTodd R. Nelson
»The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac
»Get the Most Out of Being MentoredHal Portner
»Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman
»Keyboarding: Some Assembly RequiredRob Reilly

»Who’s Cheating Whom?
»Dealing with Dishonesty
»How To Prevent Cheating in Middle and High School
»When Is Student Failure The Teacher’s Fault
»Frogs Predict Massive Chinese Quake of 2008
»July 2008 Writing Prompts
»What Are We Doing? And Why Are We Doing It?
»"Boys Read" Effort Aims to Turn Boys Into Readers
»A Teaching Guide for Summer Song
»12 Test Taking Strategies that Boost Student Scores!
»Gardner-Style Lesson Plan: Molecular Basis of Heredity
»Federal Government Resources for Educators
»You Be the Chemist Activity Guides

»Cheaters! Teachers talk about their experiences
»Printable Worksheets & Teaching Aids
»Candles of Inspiration: July 2008
»Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: July 2008
»Video Bytes: The "Impotence" of Proofreading and More
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration for July 2008
»Live on Teachers.Net: July 2008
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers
»Using Test "Cheat Sheets" To Enhance Student Learning
»"Those Who Can, Do; Those Who Can't, Teach"
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


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published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Sue Gruber

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Alfie Kohn, Marvin Marshall, Cheryl Sigmon, Marjan Glavac, Todd R. Nelson, Hal Portner, Leah Davies, Barbara Pressman, Tim Newlin, James Wayne, Alan Haskvitz, Bill Page, Susan Fitzell, Meryl D. Joseph, John Martin, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, L. Swilley, and YENDOR.

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Featured Lesson...

Teachers.Net Favorite

A Teaching Guide for Summer Song

A printable elementary/middle grade study guide for the book Summer Song by Susan Masters.
from the Teachers.Net Lesson Bank
Submitted by Susan Rowan Masters (
July 1, 2008

Literature, level:
Materials Required:
    SUMMER SONG by Susan Rowan Masters
Concepts Taught:
    friendship, family, compromise, separation and loss

SUMMER SONG appeals to a wide audience of young readers, many who may be facing difficult issues themselves. Because the plot deals realistically about a fractured family and a teen's struggle for control, students can better grasp what Etta May herself finally comes to understand: while we cannot control life, we can affect parts of it. Bits of humor lighten what could be a heavy tone as it asks readers to think about family, separation, and loss.

Teaching Ideas - Thematic Links

Friendship -- Ask students to describe Etta May and Quentin's friendship. Etta May calls him her best friend. What are the qualities in Quentin that she says, "made me forget the rough edges?" Both of their mothers have left for different reasons. How might this strengthen their friendship? At first Etta May doesn't trust her neighbor Mrs. Moreles who she thinks is a snoop. How and when does her attitude change?

Family -- Ask students to describe the relationship between Etta May and Gent, and Etta May and her mother Claire. Ask how Etta May deals with the feelings she has for Claire, bringing in during the discussion the word "ambivalence." At what point in the story does Etta May finally gain a sense that the three of them are truly a family? How does this affect what she does next?

Compromise -- Etta May is caught between her promise to Gent who wants to die at home in his "own bed" and her mother who wants to move them to Pittsburgh to live with her. Could Etta May have resolved her dilemma differently? Would it have been better than the path she chose and why?

Separation and Loss -- Etta May and Quentin both experience separation from their mothers. Ask students to compare and contrast the way each one deals with their feelings. Later, Etta May and her mother face the loss of Gent. How do you think they might help support each other after his death? While readers know that Gent will eventually die, still they are left with a sense of hope. Have students explain.

Teaching Ideas - Interdisciplinary Links

Language Arts -- If Etta May were to keep a journal, what might she write after she and Claire return home from the hospital (pages 38-39) and they are starting to get along? What might Etta May write the next day when she finds out about Eddie and the fact that her mother is going back to Pittsburgh for what she calls "an emergency?" Does it remind you of a similar experience you might have had or read about?

Math -- Quentin has his heart set on an electric guitar that he has seen at the mall in Liberty. Have students look up the price of a new instrument verses the cost of renting a similar one. Make a chart showing all the charges and insurance fees. Over a year's time, which would be more economical? What are the advantages/disadvantages of renting verses purchasing an instrument?

Social Science -- Invite a Hospice volunteer to the classroom to share his/her own experiences with the students as well as the philosophy of the program.

Music -- Quentin makes up his own country western songs. Bring in to class a variety of music (country western, jazz, rap, rock/roll, classical, etc.) Ask the students to describe how they are similar and how they are different. Discuss the fact that the various styles do not remain static; they evolve over time (i.e., the number and type of electrical instruments used today verses years ago.)

Art -- Etta May first hears about the "WHUG Jumpin' Jamboree Talent Show" on the radio. Ask each student to design a poster advertising the event.

Closure -- Etta May finally came to understand that while we cannot control life, we can affect parts of it. How did this help Etta May resolve what seemed an insurmountable problem? Ask students how might it help with their own lives.

Copyright © 1999 by Susan Rowan Masters. All Rights Reserved. Individuals may print this lesson for use in their individual classrooms.

Printable "Summer Song" Lesson in pdf format

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