|Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.5 No.11||November 2008|
Cover Story by Kioni Carter|
A Reflection of Me:
Why My Students Disrespected Me
Kioni shares her experiences with the “bottom class" and reveals the trials and triumphs of inspiring them to become the "top class"!
|Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching|
|A School That Achieves Greatness|
|»||Words—Are We Teaching the Right Ones?Cheryl Sigmon|
|»||What, Me Worry?Sue Gruber|
|»||20 Ideas for Teaching Citizenship to ChildrenLeah Davies|
|»||On “The Coattails of Affinities”Todd R. Nelson|
|»||People Do Better When They Feel GoodMarvin Marshall|
|»||The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac|
|»||Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman|
|»||$8 a Gallon Creates Jobs in Denmark|
|»||Thoughts about Gratitude|
|»||Labels Are For the Jelly Jar|
|»||Cheating and the 'Net Generation|
|»||November 2008 Writing Prompts|
|»||The Economy, The Great Depression, Money Matters – Lessons & Resources|
|»||Using Photography To Inspire Writing|
|»||A printable story, The Turkey and the Pumpkin|
|»||Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes for Teachers|
|»||Today Is... Daily Commemoration for November 2008|
|»||School Photographs for November 2008|
|»||Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: November 2008|
|»||Video Bytes: Guided Reading FAQ; Tour of Solar System; Wikis; How We Elect and More|
|»||Live on Teachers.Net: November 2008|
|»||The Lighter Side of Teaching|
|»||Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers|
|»||If you were given a magic wand...|
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A Month of Writing Prompts
This is the month of Moby Dick, Frankenstein, Blackbeard, Joe DiMaggio, Nellie Bly, football and many other hooks to get your students writing!
|by James Wayne
Regular contributor to the Gazette
November 1, 2008
The character trait for November is
Nicholas II, last czar of Russia, was born in 1894. He was not very smart, and did not work very hard at ruling. Russia suffered many disasters, leading eventually to a revolution that led to his overthrow and death. Which do you think is more important to being a success in what you do: working hard, or being smart? What combination of the two is best?
Noted golfer Gary Player was born in 1935. He was one of the first famous golfers from South Africa. He once said, "The harder you work, the luckier you get.” What do you think he meant by that?
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes can be brought on by overweight, and can have serious effects on a person's health. What are some things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming overweight, or improve your health if you are overweight already?
President Warren G. Harding was born in 1865. Although an honest man himself, he discovered that several of his friends, whom he had trusted to help him run the government, were crooks. He died of a stroke that many believed was brought on by worry and disappointment. Have you ever had a friend that let you down when you trusted him or her? How did it make you feel? What did you learn from your experience?
Rose Elizabeth Bird was born in 1936. She was the first woman to be Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. She once said, "It is easy to be popular. It is not easy to be just.” What do you think she meant by that?
In 1948, President Harry S Truman was reelected, despite the polls which showed that his opponent, Governor Thomas E. Dewey, was ahead. The Chicago Daily News even printed an edition with the headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman.” Have you, or a team you were on or rooted for, ever won a game or contest where everyone thought you would lose? How did you feel? What did you do to celebrate your victory?
Today is the Feast of St. Hubert, protector of dogs (as well as several other things). There are many breeds of dogs, and they are very different in appearance. Describe the most interesting or unusual dog you have ever seen or read about.
(Refer to the event above) What is your favorite story about dogs or other pets? Why do you like it?
Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd in 1842. Although they had many problems and very different personalities, they were always loyal to each other. Many people find that they are good friends with people who are very different from themselves. There is even a saying, "Opposites attract," that is often used to mean that people tend to like others who are different from themselves. Think about one of your friends. List 4 ways you are alike, and 4 ways you are different.
In 1895, George B. Selden got the first patent for an automobile. His design wasn't as good as some others, like Henry Ford, so no one drives a Selden today. Suppose you were going to make something to sell with your name on it. What would you make? Describe it, and how it would be different from other things of the same kind.
James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, was born in 1861. Although many Americans like basketball better, soccer is more popular world-wide. Which of these sports do you prefer? Why do you like that one better?
Two famous singers were born on this day: opera star Joan Sutherland in 1926 and folk singer Joni Mitchell in 1943. How do you think the life of an opera singer would be different from the life of a folk singer? List three ways you think their lives would be different.
P.L Spencer, the inventor of modern cursive handwriting, was born in 1800. He greatly simplified the cursive way of writing so it would be easier to learn, although it has been made even simpler since he lived. Some people like cursive writing because it is faster than manuscript (printing), others dislike it because it is harder to read. Here's your chance to give your opinion: how do you feel about cursive handwriting? Explain your opinion.
Election Day in the United States is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Many people who are eligible to vote do not do so, leaving the choice of the leaders for our nation, state, or community up to others. Prepare an advertising slogan or radio ad to encourage people to vote.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy became the youngest man ever elected President. He once said, "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” What do you think he meant by that?
In 1862, President Lincoln appointed Gen. Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Union's largest army in the Civil War. Although Burnside had been a successful general with smaller units, he was doubtful that he could command such a huge army, and asked Lincoln not to appoint him. Lincoln persuaded him to try the job anyway. If you think a person would be good in a job, but that person is reluctant to try it, should you try to persuade them? Why or why not? (Teachers: Burnside was right: he led the army to one of its worst defeats in the war at Fredricksburg, VA. After the students have finished their writing, give them this information and ask them if they would change their opinions.)
In 1989, the Berlin Wall, which symbolized the division of Germany into separate free and communist areas, was opened. Police no longer attempted to prevent free travel through it. The next day, people from all over Berlin, without any announcement, went to the wall and began to tear it down with whatever tools they could find. Families which had been separated by the wall for more than 20 years got together again. Imagine that you have been separated for many years from members of your family and were suddenly allowed to see them again. Write a paragraph about how you would feel or what you would do.
(Refer to the event above.) Imagine that your community was divided in half by a wall right down the middle. How would your life change?
Happy Birthday, United States Marines! Today in 1775, the Continental Congress created the Marine Corps as a part of the U.S. Navy. They were such fierce fighters that their enemies called them "Devil Dogs," a nickname they adopted. They have also brought aid to thousands of people after wars and natural disasters. Has anyone ever said anything about you that was intended as a put-down, but that you were proud of? Have you ever said anything like that about someone else? Make a list of things you can say about a person that can be either a compliment or a put-down, depending on how you take it.
Carmaker Gottlieb Daimler (co-founder of the car manufacturer Daimler-Chrysler) displayed his new invention, the motorcycle, in 1885. He intended it as a testing device for small engines for cars, but it soon became popular as a vehicle. Many motorcycle, scooter, and bicycle riders are injured by cars whose drivers pay no attention to them. What are three things that could be done to make motorcyclists, bicyclists, and scooter riders more visible or noticeable?
In 1939, "God Bless America" was first presented. It is a favorite patriotic song among Americans. Some people think it should be the National Anthem of the United States because it is so much easier to sing. How do you feel about this? Do you prefer "The Star-Spangled Banner" or "God Bless America?” Why do you prefer that one?
In 1905, the people of Norway voted to have a king rather than a president as leader of their government. Norway still has kings and queens, rather than presidents. List three advantages of having a king, and three of having a president.
In 1789, President George Washington finished his first tour of 8 northern states of the new nation. Later, he made a similar tour of 4 southern states. US highways 13 and 17 follow the approximate route of his tours. If you could make a tour of the United States, but could only visit 8 states, which states would you visit? What would you want to see in those states?
Moby-Dick, Herman Melville's dramatic story of the hunt for a huge white whale was first published in 1851. It is a strange story and did not sell well at first. Many famous stories and novels feature an animal in a central role. What is your favorite story featuring an animal as an important character? Why do you like that story?
In 1940, German bombers attack the city of Coventry, England. Although their new secret invention, radar, allowed the British to know in advance about the attack, no warning was sent in order to keep the new invention a secret, and more than 1000 people died. Some say the British government did right, because radar became an important tool in the fight against the Nazis. Others think the leaders should have sent warnings, even if it gave away the secret. How do you feel about this? If you were advising Winston Churchill, Britain's leader in World War II about the upcoming attack on Coventry, what would you advise? What reasons would you give for your advice?
Bill Melendez, the filmmaker who animated many of the Bugs Bunny films and directed the original Peanuts film, was born in 1916. In the Peanuts films, Charlie Brown seems to have bad luck all the time, and becomes very discouraged. Have you ever felt discouraged? What might you do to make yourself feel better?
Poet Marianne Moore was born in 1887. She wrote in one of her poems, "Superior people never make long visits.” Why do you think she believed that?
Today begins the annual elephant roundup in Sarin, Thailand. If there are no elephants to round up in your neighborhood, round up some elephant jokes instead. Make up a new one, or write one you already know. Here is one to get you started: How can you tell if there is an elephant under your bed? Your nose rubs against the ceiling.
In 1821, William Becknell discovered the Santa Fe Trail, a path over land smooth enough that horse-drawn wagons could follow from the Mississippi River to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Thousands of settlers later followed his trail to help settle the western part of the United States. Have you ever explored something that was new, at least to you? How did you feel about your discovery?
Sugeru Miyamoto, Japanese designer of games for the Nintendo electronic games system, was born in 1952. Which electronic game system do you prefer? Why do you like that one best? If you don't like electronic games, tell why you don't like them.
In 1969, the first rocks brought back from the moon went on display at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. Many experiments have been done to these rocks to discover facts about the moon. If you had a moon rock, what would you do with it?
Queen Elizabeth I became ruler of England in 1558. She ruled until 1603. Her enjoyment of Shakespeare's plays helped to boost his popularity and made him rich. Although television and movies have wider audiences, many people still enjoy attending plays by live actors. What are three things about a live play that would be different from watching the same drama as a movie or on television?
In 1855, Dr. David Livingstone, doctor and missionary, became the first European to see Victoria Falls in Africa. He named it for his queen. If you discovered a new natural wonder, what would you name it? Why that name?
Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer of the U.S. Navy discovered Antarctica in 1820. Although others had spotted it from a distance, he was the first to land on it and determine that it was not another small island. Although tourists and scientists visit Antarctica, no one lives there permanently at this time. If you were offered a chance to visit Antarctica, what would you do to get ready for your trip? List 5 things you would have to do.
Ferdinand de Lesseps was born in 1805. He led effort that built the Suez Canal. He traveled all over the world, building many projects. What man-made project have you seen that you admire, such as a bridge, dam, monument, or building? What do you admire about it?
The automatic traffic signal was patented in 1923. Traffic signals make traveling safer, but waiting for the light to change can be very annoying. List 5 things that annoy you, even though you know they make your life better. Can you identify any feature things on your list have in common?
Voltaire (pen name of Francois Marie Arouet) was born in 1694. He was famous for his passionate belief in freedom. He is reputed to have said, "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” What do you think he meant by that?
In 1809, the first patent for a steel pen point was issued. People no longer had to make their pens from feathers. The new pens lasted longer and wrote more smoothly. Today we have many kinds of things to write and draw with, from dip pens to felt-tip markers. Which is your favorite writing instrument? Why do you prefer that?
The first snowmobile was patented by Carl Eliason in 1927. Snowmobiles and personal watercraft (jet skis) are very popular, but also loud and dangerous. Some people think that only people who have drivers licenses for cars should be allowed to drive them. Others think that there should be special snowmobile or jet ski licenses, and others think there should not be any license at all. How do you feel about licenses for snowmobiles and jet skis? Defend your opinion.
In 1817, the notorious pirate Edward Teach (Blackbeard) was killed in a long, bloody battle with an English naval ship. Despite movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, the life of a pirate was often brutal, frequently dangerous, and usually short. List four other professions or jobs that often seem glamorous in the movies or on TV, but usually are not as nice as they seem. For each one, tell a disadvantage of that job that makes it less pleasant.
In 1889, the first jukebox was installed in San Francisco, CA, by Louis Glass and William Arnold. Jukeboxes are still popular in many restaurants and cafes, and some people even buy them for their homes. Make a list of ten songs you would like to have on a jukebox if you had one of your own.
In 1996, fossil bones were discovered in Antarctica, providing proof that it was once much warmer than it is today, and helping to confirm the theory of Continental Drift. Antarctica has a very cold climate, even in summer, yet people still go there as tourists. What are some things you would like to see if you were given a free trip to Antarctica?
Abigail Adams, wife of one President and mother of another, was born in 1744. Suppose you were the relative of a famous person from history. What famous person would you chose? What do you think life as a relative of that person would be like?
Grace Darling was born in 1815. She was the daughter of a Scottish lighthouse keeper. In 1838, she and her father used a small boat to rescue 9 people from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire during a terrible storm. She became a heroine. Despite her fame, she continued to live on the tiny island of Inner Farne until she died. How would you like to live on an island? Tell three ways it would be different from living on the mainland. If you do live on an island, tell what you think the advantages or disadvantages are.
Dutch philosopher and author Benedict Spinoza was born in 1632. He once wrote, "If you want to be different from the past, study the past.” What do you think he meant by that?
Joe DiMaggio, the famous baseball player, was born in 1914. Joe loved baseball and made it his profession by practicing it every day from the time he was a young boy. What skill do you have that you would like to use to make a living? What are you doing to increase your skill?
In 1778, Captain James Cook and his ship became the first Europeans to visit the Hawaiian Islands. He charted them, and named them the Sandwich Isles, in honor of the Earl of Sandwich, the head of the British navy. Many places have two names, an older one given by earlier people who lived there, and a newer one given later. Sometimes the new name stick and replaces the old one, but sometimes the old name is preferred, as happened with the Hawaiian Islands. If you had to give a new name to something in your community, such as your school or town or one of the streets, what name would you choose to change, and what would you change it to? Tell the reason you would make that change.
The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade was held in 1924. It started out as a way to advertise a sale at Macy's Department Store, but has become an annual event marking the beginning of the Christmas season. A feature of the parade is huge balloons in the shape of cartoon characters. What cartoon character from the last two years do you think deserves to have a balloon in the parade? Why that character?
In 1922, British aviator Cyril Turner gave the first demonstration of skywriting over New York City. If you could have a message written in the sky (by artificial smoke released from an airplane), what would you say? Remember, a skywriting message must be very short because the wind usually blows it away. Keep your message to 6 words or less. Then tell why you selected that message.
The Royal Society was founded in London in 1660. It was created to recognize and encourage scientists that do outstanding work, and is the oldest such organization in the English-speaking world. If you were going to start an organization to encourage a particular activity, what activity would you encourage? What would you name your organization? Explain your selections.
Madeleine L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, was born in 1918. Many of her books tell of the Murry family. Everyone in that family has some unusual trait. What unusual trait do you or some member of your family have?
Augusta Ada Byron, who later became Countess of Lovelace, was born in 1815. She was a mathematical genius who invented a kind of computer programming system despite the fact that there were no computers in those times that could actually use it. What is your favorite computer program? Why do you like that one?
Louisa May Alcott was born in 1832. She wrote Little Women, a story about her own family's life during the Civil War. Her father was gone for a long time, fighting in the war. Many families now are having the same experience. What can your class do to help families that are separated by the current war?
The first international soccer match was played between England and Scotland in 1872. At that time, soccer was a new and not-widely-known sport. As you know, it has become popular all over the world. Can you think of any sport or game that is not widely known now, but may become popular in the future? What are three features a sport or game needs if it is to become popular?
In 1609, Galileo looks at the moon through the telescope he invented. He made the first map of the moon, and named many of its features. He thought the dark areas were seas ("mare" [MAH-ray] in Italian), and gave them sea names, like Sea of Tranquility and Ocean of Storms. These areas are not seas, but vast plains of lava. Some people think these features should be renamed in a more accurate way, while others think we should keep the old names Galileo gave. Which group do you agree with? What reasons do you have for your opinion?
Writer Jonathan Swift, who wrote Gulliver's Travels, was born in 1667. He wrote "Invention is the talent of youth, as judgment is of age.” What do you think he meant by this?