June 2009
Vol 6 No 6

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.6 June 2009

Cover Story by Graysen Walles
Teaching – The Power of Influence
The impact of teaching is clear, and the influence of the profession is immeasurable. All it takes is one moment, one situation, one discussion to turn the life of a young learner.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Nine Year Summary of Articles, 2000 to 2009
On April 26, 2009, President Obama hosted the four 2009 finalists for America’s top national teaching honor, the National Teacher of the Year award. Alex Kajitani, who teaches mathematics at Mission Middle School in the Escondido Union (Elementary) School District in San Diego County was one of the four finalists.

»The Three R’s for Summer— Rest, Relax and Recharge! Sue Gruber
»Buddy Programs for Elementary Schools Leah Davies
»Moving to September Todd R. Nelson
»Ronald Reagan and the Art of Influence Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Substitute issues: Bathroom Passes & Anger Management Barbara Pressman
»Preparing Students for Travel: Films and Immunizations Josette Bonafino
»A Message to Share with Parents about Summer Learning Dorothy Rich
»Classroom Clean-Up and Clay in a Can Rick Morris

»Schools and Filters: Ice Age, the Meltdown Matt Levinson
»Effort: It Can be Taught! Deborah Granger
»Homework: Damned if you do, and if you don’t Alan Haskvitz
»Parents Are Recruits, Teachers Are Responsible, Kids Are Victims, and Schools Are Culpable For At-Risk Problems Bill Page
»12 Ways to Stop Conflict in its Tracks! Susan Fitzell
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VIII Hank Kellner
»The Writing on the Wall Tim Newlin
»More Brain Teasers Steve Sherman
»Teacher of Facts - and of Life Rachelle Ann A. Abad
»Grant Writing Tips Kimberly McCloud
»Bald is Beautiful! Teachers, Students Lose Locks to Fight Childhood Cancer David Peter Marchesseault

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Video Bytes; Literacy Empowers (Illiteracy Awareness), The Underground Railroad, Wikis in Plain English - CommonCraft tutorial, Twitter in Plain English – a CommonCraft tutorial, Naturally 7 music group on Tavis Smiley Show, Tour the International Space Station!
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Printable - Ice Cream in a Baggie Recipe
»Featured Lessons, Wisdom from the Chat Achives, and Timely Printables Especially for June!
»What Is A Document Camera? What Does It Do?
»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 Graysen Walles

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Graysen Walles, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Dorothy Rich, Rick Morris, Matt Levinson, Deborah Granger, Alan Haskvitz, Bill Page, Susan Fitzell, Hank Kellner, Tim Newlin, Steve Sherman, Rachelle Ann A. Abad, Kimberly McCloud, David Peter Marchesseault, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, and BattleShip Ron.

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Dorothy Rich

More Than an Apple
What Teachers Really Need to Survive and Thrive in Today’s Schools
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

A Message to Share with Parents about Summer Learning

It’s important that parents know how important summer is as a time for learning …they need to know that it’s vital for children’s continuing success in school. Here are ways to get that message across to parents, and specific activities you can suggest they do with their kids this summer.
by Dorothy Rich
Regular contributor to the Gazette
June 1, 2009

It’s important that parents know how important summer is as a time for learning …. And it’s vital for children’s continuing success in school.

Discussion/Reflection Questions

  • What’s different about summer learning?
  • How can every family help ensure that children do not backslide during the long hiatus from school – with easy to do, effective home activities?

Summer is no time to backslide. This happens to many children. Instead summer is the time to build and expand on the work of the school and to do it in at-home ways. Every parent can do it!

In this column, I share examples of activities to share with parents and grandparents. Teachers reading these will add their good ideas and suggest that parents and children use their own imagination and creativity to keep summer learning on track.

Home is where we do the activities that I write about. What I encourage others to do, I do myself. Every week, my grandsons (ages 6 and 8) and I teach and learn… in the kitchen, in the yard, in the car, wherever we happen to be, using whatever we have with us. I believe in strengthening academics not by using materials that come packaged at the store. Reading, writing, math are organic in the world around us. Summer is a great time to build the connections for children to the academics in the world, not just in the classroom.

Activities teachers can share with parents:

In the car, check out all the signs at the side of the road. Read signs together. Count them. Talk about the sign shapes and colors. No basal reader can compete.

Notice. We go on around the block walks, each person carrying paper bags, to be filled with treasures. At first, it’s anything that appeals, a leaf, a smooth stone, a sharp stick. Next do alphabet walks. Find or identify something that starts with A, all the way to Z.

Last summer, we planted a tomato plant and watched it grow, watering it, caring for it, measuring, picking the fruit of the vine, knowing that’s it our work that made this miracle happen.

Do carpentry, nailing boards together into designs, measuring them, making designs, writing all over them for posterity.

Send each other notes, room to room, getting the joy of receiving a response almost immediately. Dial relatives and friends on the telephone, with children reading the numbers and making the telephone connection on their own. Cut sandwiches into a variety of shapes and fold napkins into intricate fractions. In short, every house, every neighborhood, is a mecca for learning.

Last summer was especially sweet. With the six year old, who has had some listening problems, we played Listen and Do. It’s an old classic, ever new. You give three or more directions. The child listens and then follows them: “Walk slowly to the kitchen. Pick up the kitchen towel. Bring it back. Walk fast to the living room.” Then we exchange who gives directions. My grandson was delighted to tell me what to do and found that he had to correct some of Grandma’s mistakes.

With the eight year old, we opened a big map. I am a great lover of maps and now he is too. Maps of the world and the USA hang at his house and in mine. We opened the state map of California. Earlier that week, I was supposed to have gone on a trip through the state with my brother. That trip fizzled out. But here came the chance to do the trip via map with my grandson.

With marker in his hand, we went from city to city, figuring out how far we traveled, what the map legend markings meant. He found the railroad that bordered the Ocean.

This was a wonderful experience, not just because he was learning the intricacies of the map but because I felt this sense of passing on to him a joy about maps that I have always felt. This is the joy every parent and grandparent can feel. It was an intergenerational moment.

The message is this: Parents and Grandparents. Give the gift of your time. Don’t bother to go the store for one more toy. Save your money. Bring yourself and your ideas. Pleasure and learning are right there in front of an around you. Create your magic moments. They don’t come packaged in a box.

Summer home learning, regardless of whether the home is fancy or humble, can be memorable even when days are hectic. When teachers send home booklists for summer reading, it’s a good time to remind parents that some of the so-called small experiences at home with children are the most significant for a child’s development and education.

Note: Teachers.Net readers will find printable activities useful for summer learning at my website: activities.

» More Gazette articles...

About Dorothy Rich...

Dr. Dorothy Rich is founder and president of the nonprofit Home and School Institute, MegaSkills Education Center in Washington. She is the author of MegaSkills and developer of the MegaSkills Teacher Training Programs. For additional information:”

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