|Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.5||May 2008|
|Cover Story by Todd R. Nelson|
|Only a School. Only a Teacher.|
|School is still, at its heart, a dance of men and women of character. A school is its teachers.|
|Harry & Rosemary Wong|
|An Amazing Kindergarten Teacher|
|I use modified modeling to teach my students the correct procedures. Instead of just telling, I act out the wrong way first....|
|»||Promoting Responsibility - Or How Not ToMarvin Marshall|
|»||Differentiated Instruction & Ability GroupingCheryl Sigmon|
|»||The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac|
|»||Counting the days yet?Barbara & Sue Gruber|
|»||Problem-Based Learning, Part 3Hal Portner|
|»||Successful TeachersLeah Davies|
|»||'Subprime' Is Voted "Word Of The Year" For 2007|
|»||May 2008 Writing Prompts|
|»||Use Math's Magic to Intrigue Students Solving Linear Equations|
|»||I Choose Teaching - A Meaningful Career|
|»||Teacher Appreciation Day: Not Nearly Enough|
|»||Treating All Students With Dignity|
|»||Two Teachers, Two Philosophies, One Result|
|»||Favorite Teacher Appreciation Activities|
|»||Academic Writing Guidelines|
|»||What is an Effective Teacher?|
|»||Drexel Online Education Program|
|»||Candles of Inspiration: May 2008|
|»||Featured Lessons: May 2008|
|»||Video Bytes: A Hidden Lesson, Baptism By Fire, Mom and more...|
|»||Today Is... Daily Commemoration for May 2008|
|»||Live on Teachers.Net: May 2008|
|»||The Lighter Side of Teaching|
|»||Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers|
|»||Is a school only as good as the teachers in it?|
|»||Teachers' Best Teachers|
|»||What Is It About Teaching That Keeps You Going?|
|»||Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers|
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A Month of Writing Prompts
Did you know that most mother skunks give birth on a certain date in May? More than writing prompts for your students, here's the May collection of fascinating facts about history, pop culture, science, and more… sure to prompt any reader to write!
|by James Wayne
Regular contributor to the Gazette
May 1, 2008
The character trait for May is TEMPERANCE.
Today is Loyalty Day in the United States. People are supposed to think about what loyalty means, and what they are loyal to. In your opinion, what three qualities would you look for in a loyal friend? Do you have those qualities?
The first trans-Atlantic picture fax was sent between Britain and the United States. If you could get a fax picture from a foreign place, where would you like to get one from, and what would you like for it to show?
In 1859, Jerome K. Jerome was born. He was the author of Three Men in a Boat, the story of a trip he and two friends made down the rivers and canals of England in a small rowboat. His book helped to make the idea of camping out for fun popular. Do you like to camp out on your vacation? Give three reasons you either like or dislike camping out. (If you have never done it, tell three reasons you would or would not like to try it.)
Today is the beginning of three days of kite fighting in Japan. Describe or draw the most interesting or unusual kite you have seen.
Today is Airline Passenger Day. The first passenger was carried on an airplane in 1919, and the first jet passenger plane started service in 1952. A long trip on an airplane can be very boring, especially if you cannot see out of a window. What are some things that you would do if you were taking a trip of several hours alone on an airplane and had to stay in your seat?
Dodie Smith, who wrote 101 Dalmations, was born in 1896. What is your favorite breed of dog? Why do you prefer that breed. (If you don't like dogs, give reasons you prefer some other pet.)
In 1927, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded. The Academy gives out the Oscars (Academy Awards) every year. What is the WORST movie you ever saw? What are three things about that movie that were bad?
Horace Mann was born in 1796. He was a famous educator, and worked to make free schooling available to everyone. He once said, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity." What do you think he meant by that?
In 1959, the first Grammy Awards were given for recording artists. In your opinion, what person or group should win the Grammy for the best popular song? Defend your choice.
In 1806, Mary Kies of Connecticut became the first American woman to get a patent in her own name. She invented a way of weaving straw and thread to make mats and other articles. Many common household articles we use today were once unknown until someone like Mary Kies invented them. Make a list of three things you use every day. Use an encyclopedia or other sources to see if you can find out who invented them, or who first discovered a way to make them easily and cheaply. For instance: who invented the machine that makes pencils? (Teachers: Eberhart Faber invented the pencil-making machine and founded the pencil company that bears his name.)
Ann B. Davis, who played Alice the housekeeper in The Brady Bunch, was born in 1926. Is it better to have lots of brothers and sisters, only a few, or to be an only child? Give two reasons for your choice.
Orson Wells, writer, actor, and producer, was born in 1915. He was very fat. He once said, "My doctor told me to stop having dinners for four, unless there were three other people there." What are five things you can snack on that will not make you fat? Which one of them do you like to snack on?
May is National Book Month. What is your favorite place to read? Why is that place your favorite?
In 1980, the World Health Agency announced that smallpox, a deadly and very contagious disease, had been wiped out in humans. Since humans can only catch smallpox from each other, it is the only disease we have ever been able to end completely. Since then, efforts have been made to wipe out several other deadly diseases, but none have been successful so far. Think about the other diseases caused by germs (cancer and heart disease aren't usually caused by germs) and tell which one you think the World Health Organization should work on next. Why that one?
President Wilson proclaimed the first Mothers Day holiday in 1914. Why do you think it took until 1914 to think of the idea of a day to honor all mothers?
Archeologist Howard Carter, co-discoverer of the tomb of the boy Pharaoh Tutankhamen (King Tut) was born in 1874. Archeology is a fascinating subject, but being an archeologist requires great patience. Name 4 situations in your life that have required patience (or might require it in the future). What can you do to help you learn to be patient?
In 1933, Nazi mobs burned school and library books which contained ideas they disagreed with. Thousands of books were burned in huge public bonfires. Many authors used the burning of their books to sell thousands of additional copies to people who were curious about what the Nazis disliked. If you were going to write a book, what would you write about?
In 1541, Hernando de Soto became the first European to find the Mississippi River. He ate a catfish dinner on its banks. Write a paragraph about your favorite kind of fish.
Today is the annual Cat Festival in Ypres, Belgium. Cats are honored for their destruction of disease-carrying and food-destroying rats. If your school were to celebrate a Cat Festival, what are some things you could do to celebrate?
Almost all mother skunks give birth this day every spring, or within a few hours before or after. How do you think our celebrations of birthdays would change if everyone was born on the same day every year? Tell three ways.
The American College of Physicians was founded in 1915. A college can be a school, but this one is a group of doctors who work together to better the education of doctors. If there was an American College of Students, what do you think it should recommend to improve your education?
Today is the birthday of CARE (Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere), an American charity that seeks to send food, medicine, and other emergency supplies to people who are victims of disasters. It began its work in 1946. Think of the many organizations that help people in your community and in the world. List as many of them as you can.
Poet John Masefield died in 1967, having served as Poet Laureate of Great Britain since 1930. His most famous poem is below:
"Sea-Fever"This poem tells how much Masefield liked sailing. Make a list of the things he loves about it. Then think of something you love to do, and make a list of the things about it you like about it.
Today is World Nurse Day, in honor of Florence Nightingale, who organized the first regular system of training and certifying nurses. She was born in 1820, and became famous for going out onto battlefields on the night after the battle carrying a lamp and her medical supplies to take care of the wounded. What are the three most important qualities a good nurse must have? Why did you choose those qualities?
English settlers land in Virginia and found Jamestown in 1607. Imagine that you were among the first settlers in Jamestown. Make a list of the 8 most important things you would need to carry with you from England.
George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars series, was born in 1944. Do you like movies about the future, or do you prefer movies about the past, or about today? Tell which kind of movie you prefer, and why.
Today is Straw Hat Day. Design a straw hat you would wear in a Straw Hat Parade.
In 1771, the Regulators were defeated in North Carolina. The Regulators objected to Royal Governor Tryon's taxes, which he had raised to build his fine new house in New Bern—now reconstructed as Tryon Palace. This battle is now considered a prelude to the American Revolution. If you could go back and live at the time of the Revolutionary War, what would you do? List four things.
In 1869, the first professional sports team in the United States, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, began playing baseball. Which is your favorite professional sport? What are three things about that sport that you like?
Alternate prompt based on the previous one: Some people say his trip proved his idea was right, others say that one trip is not enough to prove an idea so unusual. Do you think that his voyage proved or disproved his idea? Why do you think as you do?
In 1845, the rubber band was patented. Suppose there were no rubber bands. What would you use instead?
Happy birthday, Norway! The first king of Norway was crowned in 872. Norway is a very mountainous country with a cold climate, and Norwegians love to ski and ice skate. What sports do you like to participate in? Why do you like those sports?
This is Be Kind to Animals Week. The first one was proclaimed in 1913. Name two useful animals that people are seldom kind to. Why are they useful?
May is Older Americans Month. Tell about an older person whom you know and admire.
Mount St. Helens erupted explosively in 1980. The volcano continues to be active in a minor way. Some people want to visit it, others fear it may erupt violently again. Do you think people should be able to visit the volcano if it means they are risking their life? Give reasons for your answer.
In 1852, the first law requiring that children attend school was passed. Some people say that children should not be required to go to school. Others say that children with no education are likely to have a very hard life. How do you feel about this? Write at least 4 sentences giving reasons for your opinion.
In 1977, President Kenyatta of Kenya banned big-game hunting in his country in order to conserve wildlife and increase tourism. Now, in some places, some wild animals are becoming dangerous (lions and hyenas) or destructive (elephants) because their numbers have increased so they cannot all live on parks and reserves. Some people want to allow limited big-game hunting to resume. Do you agree with them? Why or why not?
Malcolm X, Black Nationalist and civil rights leader, was born in 1925. He once said, "If we don't stand for something, we may fall for anything." What do you think he meant by that?
In 1932, Amelia Earhart began her flight across the Atlantic Ocean, becoming the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo. She once said, "It is far easier to start something than to finish it." What are some things you have started but not finished? What caused you to not finish them?
Frances Theresa Densmore was born in 1867. She went among Native American tribes recording their songs and ceremonies, many of which would otherwise have been lost. She recorded more than 2,500 Indian songs. How would you like a job recording other people's songs and stories? What would be some of the problems a job like that would have?
The first life insurance policy was sold in America in 1761. Life was much more dangerous in those days, because of both diseases and accidents. What things do people do today that are likely to make their lives shorter? List 4 of them.
The main New York Public Library building was opened by President Taft in 1911. It is the largest marble building ever built in the United States. Suppose you were asked to design a library for your community. What are some things you would include? What would you leave out?
The full moon in May is sometimes called the Flower Moon because so many flowers are blooming at this time. What kinds of flowers are blooming in your area? Describe a flower garden you have seen.
In 1968, Chief, the last living American cavalry horse died. What is your favorite story about a horse or horses. Why do you like that story?
If you have ever played the classic game of Monopoly, you have heard of the Reading Railroad. It was a real railroad, centered in Reading, PA, founded in 1871. If you were to design a Monopoly game based on your hometown, what would you name the various streets and businesses on it?
In 1976, supersonic air travel between Britain and France began using a new plane, the Concorde. Many people liked the new plane, which cut travel time in half. Other people hated it because of the sonic boom people heard when it passed overhead (people inside the plane could not hear the sonic boom). They called the boom, noise pollution. Name three sources of noise pollution that annoy you or people you know. What can you do to avoid annoying people with your noise?
In 1889, Igor Sikorsky was born. He invented the first successful helicopter. If you could ride in a helicopter, where would you like to go? What would you like to see?
Ralph Waldo Emerson, famous American poet and essayist, was born in 1803. He wrote, "A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer." What do you think he meant by that?
In 1927, Ford Motor Company produced its 15 millionth Model T, which it had been making for many years. Shortly afterwards, the company stopped making the Model T and started a more modern car, the Model A, which it also made for many years. Today, most car companies make new models every year. How often do you think a family should buy a new car? Should it be often, so as to have the newest features, or less often, to save money? Explain your choice.
The novel Dracula was published in 1897. Many people like horror stories about vampires, werewolves, and monsters. What is your favorite horror story character? Why do you like that character?
In 1909, Alva J. Fisher patented the first electric washing machine. Before that, washing had to be done by hand or in a machine with a crank you turned by hand. The washing machine is only one of the many work-saving machines we have today, such as dishwashers, vacuums, microwaves, dryers, mixers, and many others. Which work-saving machine do you think would be the hardest to give up? Why that machine?
Today is the birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge, which opened in 1937. Traveling over a high bridge like the Golden Gate can be either scary or a big thrill. Which is it for you? How do you feel when you cross a high bridge or visit a high place?
Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal became the first human beings to climb all the way to the top of Mount Everest in 1953. Since then, so many people have climbed the mountain that litter has become a major problem. Litter also causes problems in many other places. Write a poem, slogan, or ad to persuade people not to litter.
The first automobile accident occurred in New York City in 1896, when cars were very rare and expensive. A Duryea car (this brand is no longer made) hit a man on a bicycle. Since then, there have been many more car accidents. Teenage drivers have a very high proportion of accidents, compared to older people. Why do you think that is true?
Mel Blanc was born in 1908. He provided the voices for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and many other Looney Tunes characters. Which is your favorite cartoon character? Why do you like that one?
In 1890, cars were rare, but bicycles were common and popular. They could go as fast as a horse, and you didn't have to feed them, but many of them had no brakes. You had to drag your feet to stop. The Society of American Wheelmen was founded to work for improved roads and safety. What kind of bicycle do you have, or would you like to have?
Clint Eastwood was born in 1930. He starred in or directed many action movies. What movie actor is your favorite? Why do you like him or her?