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Volume 3 Number 10

"Everybody loves hummingbirds, and they are wonderful tools to excite students about learning."

That quote from a classroom teacher is the basic premise of Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project...

Meet our Antarctic Guide - A conversation with
USCG LT Marshall Branch
by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
The Responsive Classroom: A Practical Approach for Teaching Children to Care by Dr. Belinda Gimbert
Attitudes Toward Numbers Through History by Daniel Chang
Classroom Photos by Members of the Teachers.Net Community
How Many Environments Does a Child Have? by Judith Rich Harris
The Hurried Child, Book Review by Sonja Marcuson
There IS a Printer and a Xerox Machine in Your Classroom That You Can't See! by Dr. Rob Reilly
What's Your Name? by Joy Jones
The funny thing about control: Or to gain control you have to give up control by Karin Ford
Through the eyes of a child - Reflections on teacher and student motivation by Sheree Rensel
Non-Conventional Techniques in Teaching Science by P R Guruprasad
Word Wall Tips from the 4 Blocks Mailring
Teaching Gayle To Read (Part 8) by Grace Vyduna-Haskins
Operation RubyThroat by Bill Hilton Jr.
Dear Old Golden Rule Days, Chapter 4 - Creative Writing by Janet Farquhar
Simple Science Center Ideas from the Early Childhood Mailring
The Freedom Box, Technology for the Blind and Visually Impaired by Dave Melanson
Librarians, Deaf Students and Hearing Students by Linsey Taylor
Pumpkin Math and Writing Activities by Michele Nash
Take Home Literature Activity Bags by Paulie
Favorite October Activities for the Classroom from Teachers.Net Mailrings
Fun Facts
October Columns
October Regular Features
October Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Janet Farquhar...
Janet Farquhar has been in education most of her life and has written since she was able to put words together. Her teaching career began in a one room, rural school in Colorado, teaching sixteen pupils in seven grades. After her experience there, she returned to school to earn a degree in Christian education and spent the rest of her professional life directing the education and youth programs in a parish, later aiding her husband, an Episcopal priest, with similar programs in parishes and at a diocesan level. They have four children and one grandson all living nearby in the San Francisco Bay area.

Now retired, she writes every day. She has published one book about her experiences as a rural schoolteacher, titled Taught to the Tune. She is now polishing a second book about her experiences as a clergy wife, mother and helpmeet to her husband.

Janet also assists with art work with children who have lost a loved one.

Taught to the Tune
by Janet Farquhar

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Teacher Feature...

Dear Old Golden Rule Days

by Janet Farquhar

Chapter 4 - Creative Writing

Pigtail Peggy, with her cotton print dress, white socks and brown shoes, reminded me of a miniature rural housewife. She came inside one morning recess with Ellen and pointed to the pine covered hill outside the window, a dark green plum pudding with a garnish of light green aspen at its base. The girls were giggling and asking if I knew where the hill came from. I couldn't guess, so Peggy told me that it was an old campfire of Paul Bunyon's. He had covered it with dirt to keep it from starting a forest fire. Trees began to grow and there it was, Campfire Mountain.

Ellen went back outside, but Peggy stayed, leaning on the edge of my desk and fiddling with a pencil. She wondered why I didn't give out gold stars like Mrs. Day. I told her because I taught differently from Mrs. Day. "That's okay," she said. "My mom says you're new-fangled." I chuckled a bit. "I guess I am, Peggy." She asked if I liked Ellen.

"Of course," I said.

"That's good," she replied, "that means you'll treat her right." She went on to describe how scared Ellen had been of Mrs. Day. "She don't scare me none."

"I see," I said.

Still fiddling with the pencil, Peggy asked, "Are you ascared of being a teacher?"

I was amazed at her grasp of the situation, both of my own fears in relation to teaching this school, and her friend's fear. "You're interested in people, aren't you, Peggy?" She hurriedly dropped the pencil. "I guess so." She went back outside. I recalled how in the first days, her friend Ellen arrived at school with her brother and sister on their plodding white horse, appropriately named Whitey. She could not look me in the eye, but stared at the ground, the top of her desk or the floor. She seemed to want to like me, but was afraid I might turn into the wicked witch of the west at any moment.

Reading instructions in the 5th grade English book on how to write a story, I wondered if writing might help her express some of the fear I had seen in her the first few days of school. There was still wariness there.

Deciding to have a writing lesson for all of the children, I set the older ones to work at their desks. Ellen was at first scared to put pencil to paper, so I told her, "Relax, just be Ellen, she's a great girl." She grinned and started writing.

I took the primaries onto the steps of the stage and had them dictate theirs. Patty's was about a little girl who liked beans so much she ate them and ate them, and got fatter and fatter. "She got so fat, she blew up like a balloon and exploded!" With that she burst into laughter, everyone along with her.

Eric told about his pet crow that flew away. When the primaries were finished with their stories, I set them to work copying them at their desks. Then the older children read theirs. Ellen read her story about a runaway beaver that everyone liked.

Some weeks later, grading in my cabin, I picked up a story of Ellen's about a little old schoolteacher who lived in a little old cabin. The next day I read about this schoolteacher to the children. "She had two old ducks that made more noise than the kids in school made when she got mad at them. She also had an old cow she milked every night and morning before she went to school. Every night the cow would bawl and paw the ground. On Saturday you would see her out making a fence for the pigs, but it wouldn't do any good because the pigs would tear it down again." At this, Patty erupted into giggles, and others joined her, but as I read the last few sentences, they all quieted. "When she would go to school she would come in and sit down. At nine o'clock she would ring the big bell. If anyone was late she would take him on the stage and make him say, I will not be late again' one hundred times. And he was never late again mind to tell you. When she would tell them to do something and they would not do it, she would make them stay two hours after school.

"When you would see her on the street, she was real nice. But when she was in school, she was real bad to be around. She was really bad." The children were all silent and solemn.

Peggy turned to her. "I told you she'd like it, dummy." Ellen grinned.

After this, she was completely relaxed with me. She invited me to dinner and came to pick me up on Whitey. The two of us rode to her home bareback.

Chapter 1 - First Test

Chapter 2 - Creative Activities

Chapter 3 - Music

To learn more about Janet's book, Taught to the Tune, click on: