March 2008
Vol 5 No 3

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.3
March 2008
Cover Story by LaVerne Hamlin
Show Me The Money!!!
If you can develop a lesson plan for your class, then you can write a grant. Here's how!

Harry & Rosemary Wong
Effective Teaching
Coaching is six times more effective than class-size reduction

»A System Is Superior To Talent Marv Marshall
»What Writing Isn’t Cheryl Sigmon
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Privacy in a Technological Age Rob Reilly
»10 Tips for Difficult Parents Barbara & Sue Gruber
»Problem-Based Learning Hal Portner
»Understanding Autism Leah Davies

»Spaceship Toilets
»March 2008 Writing Prompts
»Internet Assisted Interactive Classroom
»Our Civility Footprint
»First Grade Family Reading Night Meets Speed Dating
»Your Students Are Watching, Listening, and Learning
»Teachers Lounge - To Go or Not to Go?
»Retirement Guide for Teachers
»Daily Lessons: Humility

»Chatboard Poll: So What About Homework?
»Teachers.Net Craft Favorite: Arrow to the Sun
»Featured Lessons: March 2008
»Video Bytes: Merit Pay; Tai Chi; Asperger's and More
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration for March 2008
»Live on Teachers.Net: March 2008
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Editor's Pick: Picturing America Program
»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers
»What Do You Want In A Co-Op Teacher?
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Editor in Chief

Cover Story by LaVerne Hamlin

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Dr. Marvin Marshall; Cheryl Sigmon; Barbara & Sue Gruber; Marjan Glavac; Dr. Rob Reilly; Barb S. HS/MI; Ron Victoria; Brian Hill; Leah Davies; Hal Portner; Tim Newlin; Barb Gilman; James Wayne; P.R. Guruprasad; Todd Nelson; Addies Gaines; Pat Hensley; Alan Haskvitz; Joy Jones; and YENDOR.

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From the Archive...

Teachers.Net Favorite

Gems of Wisdom: Humility
by Joy Jones
Reprinted from the march 2003 Gazette
March 1, 2008

Whenever my ego gets a little too big for its britches, life always seems to find a way to cut it down to size. Here's a little inspiration on the topic of HUMILITY, taken from my book, Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers.

Life is a long lesson in humility.
      James Barrie

I was at the bank handling a routine transaction when I noticed a good-looking, twenty-something looking at me. He wasn't merely looking, he was staring, eying me up and down with great interest.

"Yeah, I still got it," I thought to myself smugly. "I still turn heads."

When I walked out the door, I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Don't I know you?" the young man asked me. It was an old line, but as cute as he was, I was willing to let it work on me. "Well, you do look familiar," I responded, truthfully. Was he one of my neighbors?

"Didn't you teach at Brookland School?" he asked. I had worked there nearly fifteen years ago. When I confirmed that I had, he spoke in that tone of voice reserved only for elders, "Don't you remember me? You taught me in the fifth grade."


Today's lesson: I keep my ego in check.

Seeing The Signals

Sonya was in my creative writing class and had the disdainful attitude typical of teenagers. She was not a serious behavior problem, but she certainly didn't impress me as a model student. Sonya was definitely in that stage of life where she regarded most adults as a nuisance. In my class, she wrote a story about a teenage girl who attempts suicide. I regarded it as typical adolescent angst and not as a desperate plea, but my principal had made it very clear that ANY indication that a child was considering suicide was to be taken seriously. So I referred Sonya to the counselor.

As it turned out - just as I thought - she wasn't suicidal, but her home life was no Cosby Show scenario. Sonya was living with her adult big sister. Her parents had divorced and both mom and dad were busy with their new partners - and the new babies that were the result. Sonya's story was a way to express some of the anger and frustration that she was feeling; quite a creative way to sort out the messy situations of her life.

Learning the details of the story behind the story made me wonder - how do you tell if there really is a problem? What are the warning signs that a student is depressed or suicidal?

Mental health professionals identify the following as possible indicators.

For depression:

  • sadness, anxiety
  • a change in eating habits that leads to a marked weight gain or loss - sleeping in class
  • withdrawal from friends
  • rebellious behavior, sudden drop in grades, cutting class - the start or increase of drinking and drugging - preoccupation with death and dying
  • overly sensitive to rejection
  • poor thinking or concentration
  • reduced ability to function in activities - loss of interest in school work, extracurricular activities, hobbies.

For suicide:

  • talking about killing one's self
  • talking as if no one cares
  • preparing for the end by giving away belongings, writing goodbye letters.

As a result of the intervention, I discovered that Sonya truly enjoyed writing and had aspirations of becoming a writer. Her short story won a prize and her attitude improved. Well, it didn't really improve, but she scowled a little less frequently. She was still a teenager, after all.

I am glad, through my principal's insistence, that I didn't let Sonya's signal go unacknowledged. Take a look at your class. Is there a student sending you a message?

Children seldom behave in the nice, obedient way one would wish. There's a good reason for that, although it's hard to appreciate it when they are challenging you in class. Here are my thoughts on this phenomenon, taken from my book, Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers.


It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.
      Jacob Bronowski

You think you know a lot of things; and you probably do. The tricky part is that some of what you know to be true is false. At one time medical science "knew" that using leeches for blood-letting was a good cure. At one time, teachers "knew" that rote memorization was the best technique for learning. At one time, everybody "knew" that the world was flat.

At some level, your students know that some of what you are teaching them is not true. And much of what may be truth now won't remain true tomorrow.

Today's lesson: The truth is born in inquiring minds.

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