July 2009
Vol 6 No 7

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.7 July 2009

Cover Story by Lawrence Meyers
Is There Such a Thing as "The Great Teacher"?
You can make up all the checklists you want. You can take advice from your mentors. At the end of the day, what lies behind one's teaching style is what matters. A "Great Teacher" is the right teacher at the right time, at the right place.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Teachers Are the Difference
Now in her sixth year of teaching, Melissa Dunbar has helped her students achieve a pass rate of between 92% - 99% over the years, with her ESL and Economically Disadvantaged students achieving a 100% pass rate this past school year!

»Writing for Educational Publishers – Inside Secrets Sue Gruber
»Self-Injury In Children Leah Davies
»The School of No Knocks? Todd R. Nelson
»Using Imaging to Move or Change Behavior Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Substitute issues: What to Wear & Too Much Love Barbara Pressman
»Student Travel Topics: “Staycations” Expose Students to Other Cultures & Packing for Safety Josette Bonafino
»Making The Case to Parents for Broadening, Not Narrowing, The Curriculum Dorothy Rich
»Red Basket & Problem Solving Forms Rick Morris

»The No.1 Ladies Detective Series Writer - Interview with Alexander McCall Smith Tim Newlin
»Teachers and Technology: A Field of Dreams? Matt Levinson
»Resources for Teaching Students with Autism Alan Haskvitz
»Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy to Questioning Techniques in the Classroom Panamalai R. Guruprasad
»Tips on Maximizing High School Physics Teaching Stewart E Brekke
»The Most Cost Effective Approach to Improve Teacher Education Edward Strauser
»Merit Pay Problematic, Money Is Not the Ultimate Motivator for Teachers Marion Brady
»Launches an Online Degree in Special Education Drexel University

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Video Bytes; Assume The Position, Lost Generation, Bathtub IV, Walk On - ESPN Video, Funeral, Heal, and At Home with Mrs. Hen
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Printable - Sweet Rules for the Classroom
»Featured Lessons, Wisdom from the Chat Achives, and Timely Printables Especially for July!
»Getting and Keeping the Attention of 3 & 4 Year Olds
»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 Lawrence Meyers

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Lawrence Meyers, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Dorothy Rich, Rick Morris, Matt Levinson, Alan Haskvitz, Tim Newlin, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Panamalai R. Guruprasad, Stewart E Brekke, Edward Strauser, Marion Brady, and BattleShip Ron.

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Gazette Newsdesk

Teacher News, Events, & Opportunities
From the News Desk
July 1, 2009

GRAVATARS at Teachers.Net!

Gravatars (Globally Recognized Avatars)

THE 30 DAYS OF TEACHERS.NET is a special mailing to subscribers of the Teachers.Net Mailring. Help us celebrate this special month, by passing along this tip to your teacher and administrator colleagues.
Subscribe to receive Teachers.Net announcements.


Teachers.Net now features Gravatars, allowing teachers to easily personalize any submission on Teachers.Net…

What is a “Gravatar”?
A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized AVATAR, which allows people on the Internet to personalize their posts, comments, and messages instantly and anonymously.

How do Gravatars work?
Gravatars work by automatically embedding your personal photograph, icon, or avatar in any content you post to a Gravatar-enabled website. Once you set up your Gravatar, every time you supply your email address to a Gravatar-enabled system, your custom avatar is instantly embedded right into the post.

Why would I want to include an avatar when I post?
When you post a message on the Internet, it’s difficult for people to remember who you are – you’re just a screen name among thousands of others. But when you create an avatar, people see your face each time you post (or a cartoon you select, an animal, or any picture you like). This lets people easily remember you, and helps you to build authenticity in a world of anonymous bits and bytes.

But what about my privacy?
With Gravatars, your privacy is completely protected. Nobody can see your email address (it’s scrambled with a complex algorithm called MD-5). You never need to supply your real name or location, so nobody can ever figure this out by your avatar. If you don’t want to use your own picture, you can use any picture you like, so there’s complete anonymity if you want. Your Gravatar account is secured on the WordPress server, so none of the sites that display your Gravatar can even access your account.

How do I get my Gravatar to work?
To get your Gravatar to show up on Teachers.Net, first create a Gravatar account (see below). Then, every time you include your email address in a post on a Teachers.Net chatboard (or any Gravatar-enabled system across the Internet) your Gravatar will automatically appear in your post. Include your email address, and your Gravatar shows up – it’s that easy!

Sounds fun – what does it cost?
There is no cost to create or use a Gravatar account.

How do I change my Gravatar?
You can change your Gravatar at any time – just log back in to the Gravatar website and follow the simple steps to change your existing Gravatar. When you change your Gravatar, even your old posts will immediately be updated with your new Gravatar.

OK, I’m convinced – how do I set up my Gravatar?
To create your Gravatar, create an account at ( All it takes is your email address, and once you confirm your registration, you can upload any picture you like for your Gravatar. You can test your Gravatar by posting to any Teachers.Net chatboard (see ).

That’s all there is to it – I hope to see your Gravatar on Teachers.Net, and you can help to beautify Teachers.Net – your teacher website!

Bob Reap
Site Developer

Learning Centers & STAR Reading Program Photo Tour

From the classroom of teacher Rita Sheffield

A captioned photo overview of her first grade curriculum and activities during 2000-2004:

Rita suggests you may be especially interested in the pictures of the different learning centers she had in her first grade classroom. She says, “I am quite proud of the Star Center, which featured an interactive bulletin board activity relating to social studies and literacy for every month!” Click here. Questions? Email

Phantom of the Opera Study Guide Available

Why is The Phantom of the Opera so popular? Vicki Hopkins believes it is the cry of the Phantom's heart as penned by Gaston Leroux, "All I wanted was to be loved for myself."

Approximately 100,000,000 million fans have flocked to see The Phantom of the Opera on stage since its release in 1986, and millions anxiously await Love Never Dies, the upcoming Webber sequel due for release in 2010. Its popularity never ends, and every day people worldwide search the Internet seeking answers to questions on various aspects of the story.

In January of 2008, Vicki began answering those questions in an obscure blog that blossomed into worldwide readership. Phantom fans from 95 countries have enjoyed her candid insights. After popular demand from faithful readers to place her writing into book form, Lessons from the Phantom of the Opera was released by Xlibris in May 2009.

Vicki examines the story in a new and unique way. The book steps behind the scenes and dissects the characters, emotions, hidden symbolism, and key events. It leads its readers on an emotional journey studying all aspects of Leroux’s original work to Webber’s popular musical and movie versions. Personal reflection is encouraged, and the author poses questions to incite further thought and reflection on the reader’s part. As a result, lessons and life applications emerge for everyone to enjoy.

Already a hit with fans, Lessons from the Phantom of the Opera is unique and unlike any other Phantom review on the market. It works well as a personal study journal for individuals or as a companion-teaching tool for educators to Gaston Leroux’s original novel.

Vicki Hopkins is a writer who touches her readers by penning heartfelt emotional journeys. She challenges individuals to ponder and question life's experiences, while encouraging and giving hope in the process. She hosts a variety of blogs on the Internet, as well as writing informative articles. Her first fiction novel is scheduled for release through Xlibris in late 2009. A paralegal by day and a writer by night, Vicki Hopkins finds joy in touching hearts through her words. She resides in the Pacific Northwest.

Tiffin, Ohio Ritz Theatre Stages Summer Camp for Kids

Model program immerses young participants in performing arts and develops life skills.

Dianne Pytel, Education Director at the beautifully restored Ritz Theatre in Tiffin, Ohio kindly shared with Teachers.Net information about their Summer Theatre Camp.

Summer Theatre Camp at The Ritz Theatre in Tiffin, Ohio is beginning its eleventh year in partnership with Missoula Children’s Theatre. MCT is the premier internationally-renowned touring children’s theatre program whose mission is to provide the development of life skills in children through participation in the performing arts. Scripts are structured specifically for the Tour’s short rehearsal period and recognize the needs of the individual child. Major roles are large, complex and challenging; ensemble parts emphasize unison songs, actions and movements. The production for Summer Theatre Camp 2009 was PINOCCHIO and every camper got a part!

The experience of Summer Theatre at The Ritz is enriched by the historic setting the Ritz Theatre itself. Celebrating eighty years and counting, the Ritz host young people in grades 1 -12. Kids attending camp are given the opportunity to explore all the “nooks and crannies” of this fine old structure and learn about the history of the theatre as well as its cultural impact on Tiffin and the surrounding area since its rebirth as a performing arts center in 1982.

In addition to acting onstage in PINOCCHIO, children can participate in workshops for each age group (Grades 1-2; 3-4; 5-7 ;8-12). L by local professionals and educators, workshops can include lessons in make-up, story-telling, puppetry, Reader’s Theatre, improvisation, dance and movements plus many other fun activities. Campers attend daily from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. For further information about Summer Theatre Camp at The Ritz, contact Dianne Pytel, Education Director, at 419.448.8544 x28 or

“Let Me Know” Site Aims to Protect Girls Online

Submitted by Julie Hurvitz

Girl Scouts of the USA and Microsoft Windows have teamed up for new initiative called “LMK (text-speak for “Let Me Know,”) which provides parents and girls with resources catering to both generations, and whose goal is to bridge the digital gap between parents and teenagers.

On, the girl-targeted website, teens can find interactive quizzes, videos, and expert articles to be informed about online safety in a fun way! Girls can comment on the site content, sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on topics many teens face everyday, like cyberbullying and social networking. New content is posted periodically and will cover twelve different areas related to being a teen online today. Teens can even download an interactive patch they can share on social networking sites like Facebook, just by registering for the site at no cost. Best of all, it’s for all teenagers, not just Girl Scouts!

When parents visit, they can sign up for the e-newsletter written and developed by a team of “LMK Teen Editors” who are sharing their knowledge about the ways teens use technology and help parents understand it all. Parents can learn need-to-know skills to keep them up to speed with what their kids are doing online too. Expert advice is also offered to give guidance on tougher issues.

» More Gazette articles...