Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why Tweet?

It's very easy to shy away from technology, especially social media. It can be intimidating, overwhelming, and just plain confusing. But if you gave it a test run, I4C believes you may even get to a point where you won't be able to live without Twitter! Imagine that.

Why Tweet?

  • 1) It's free. Once you have a log in and password, it requires the same amount of steps as simply signing into your email. 
  •  2) It's informative. Even if you never write an actual tweet, the act of reading other people's tweets is enough to keep you informed and up to date on news and ever-changing industries. Most tweets involve current events and topics about things that are constantly evolving - like technology, educational resources, teaching curriculum and methods, local and national news, and the like.
  • 3) It's an outlet. If you tweet a fact or message, it has the potential of reaching millions of people in a matter of minutes. And all it takes is a "retweet" to carry someone else's message across the globe.
  • 4) You get another way to bookmark things that interest you. Unlike web pages that you bookmark as URL's, Twitter allows you to "follow" any company, person, or subject that happens to have a Twitter account. So your newsfeed can entail topics and news catered just for your interests.
  • 5) What the heck is a hashtag?  A hashtag'ed word or phrase is essentially a way to flag a topic. If you were looking for help in, say, MATH, you could search the hashtag #math, and a list of tweets would come up. Sort of in the way you'd use your standard search engine online.  A hashtag also allows Twitter to track what people are talking about, so that you're able to see the hot topics of the day.
All that being said...think of the times we live in with smart phones and iPads. When a journalist is on the scene of breaking news, all he has to do is type in one simple tweet, and you've been informed before a news anchor has even had time to fix his or her hair for tv! It's just another way to stay on top of your industry and the world. So get tweeting.

You can follow us on Twitter under Internet4classr.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Value of Noncognitive Skills

It's a hard fact of life that students tend to fall into labeled categories during their school years. The class clowns, the athletes, the poplar, the nerdy. We know the growing pains and awkwardness that we as adults want to forget! Teachers spend so much time with their students, they can pinpoint the boy who's amazing with classmates, but scores poorly on school work. They can also pinpoint the boy who's brilliant in math, but lacking in companionship on the playground. How necessary do you think it is to encourage both sides of the spectrum?

Noncognitive skills are increasingly becoming more of a factor in our success. It's not always enough to be smart if you can't carry on a conversation with coworkers or a potential client. Companies want to know more about you and your personality than just your test scores. Interview questions and job applications are more inquisitive. What are your goals? How would you evaluate yourself? How would you handle certain situations?

In addition to our current character education curriculum, it's just as important to encourage socialization. Push for leadership activities, challenging enrichment, and self exploration. You can use your language arts to enhance essay writing and human narrative.

Job markets aren't easing and expectations aren't lowering. The more preparedness we can offer, the better for our children.

The following topic was adapted from an article written by Alan Boyle.  Alan Boyle is a freelance writer. He writes and researches on the future of American education and standardized testing.  The full article can be read here.

The main website is
You can read and follow the entire blog at 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Importance of Good Character

When does a white lie turn into a big lie? When does a simple tease at the lunch table turn into an eating disorder? When does the need to be popular turn into peer pressured drug and alcohol abuse? You want to answer with a "never" but we know it's really more of an "often."

The foundation for character education can begin as early as preschool. We all read the news. Bullying and violence are sadly becoming an every day occurrence, when all we really want is for our children to feel safe. We want to nourish and encourage self esteem, self worth, respect for oneself and respect for others, kindness, and knowledge.

It's easy to glance over a character education lesson and include it in one day's lesson plan. Do you think it'd be beneficial to touch on its points every day? Can parents reinforce and encourage at home? Of course.

There are creative ways to offer techniques and tools for anger management and conflict resolution. If we make an effort to use examples and discussions on a daily basis, as you would math or english, it will rub off. It will sink in. And hopefully that one student who remembers the tools will convince another and another to do the same.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Make Your Own Germ Fighter

Let's face it. In order to keep up with what people are talking about, you're going to have to breakdown and check out Pinterest. We have a user ID now too. It's a wonderful way to collect tons of teacher ideas, classroom resources, recipes, crafts, YOU NAME IT AND IT IS THERE. Pictures and step by step instructions lay everything out for you. You "pin" the items that you like and it saves them to your profile. You will find ideas on everything from organizing your room to throwing parties to forms and templates. You can go back and review your pins anytime or search for new ideas.

Here is just one example of the creative things you can discover. Make your own hand sanitizer. It's cheap, easy, and a great way to fight the flu in your classroom.  Enjoy! And follow us on Pinterest.


  • 1/3 cup of aloe Vera gel
  • 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • 8-10 drops of an essential oil (lavender, peppermint, etc.)
  • mixing bowl + spoon
  • an empty liquid soap bottle
  • funnel
Mix the ingredients together in the bowl. Use your funnel to pour into the empty soap bottle and put the pump back on. Tahdah! You can also use glitter pens or sharpees and label/decorate your containers. They make great gifts too.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Make the Most of Winter Break

You did it!! You have made it through another calendar year. Your hair may be shorter, greyer, and/or thinner, but you are here. While you have a handful of days to yourself, remember to give yourself permission to relax. Sleep an extra hour. Eat a little too much. Reflect on what you did well, what you did poorly, and what you want to do better in the coming year. Don't waste your time making superficial resolutions or impossible goals. Small goals are best. Attainable goals are the greatest. Conflicts and challenges are inevitable. But you are strong. You are educators. See you in 2013!

Happy holidays and a Happy New Year from I4C!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Being Thankful

Ok ok so we realize the whole "what are you thankful for" idea is not new. However, we do need to remind ourselves from time to time that there are others who are dealing with worse situations than our own. Thanksgiving is upon us. Half of the school year has almost passed by. Let's think about all the things we are thankful for.

It could be something as simple as a smile a student shows when he understands the concept you are teaching. It could be the fact that the power stayed on during a storm. It could be the fact that when you folded the laundry load all of the socks paired up! Sometimes we forget during the daily hustle and bustle that life's simple pleasure really do exist.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving break. Indulge in sweet treats. Laugh and take part in conversations with family and friends. Invite a neighbor who has no local family over for dinner. Take some time to reflect and appreciate. And we will see you in December!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Give and Take

In light of the recent teacher's strike in Chicago, Illinois, it got us thinking about the give and take of our profession.

Educators definitely encounter some thankless days. The time, effort, and creativity it takes to thoroughly teach and succeed in meeting all requirements of our jobs is an investment often not equal to our paychecks. The economy is hurting. Life requires responsibilities, and bills. Everyone has to earn a living. Some get paid more than they should. A lot get paid less than they should. It seems to remain that the most giving careers return the least monetary gain.

We need our future teachers and social workers and the like to continue wanting to study these fields. We need our superiors and representatives to continue pulling for our efforts. There will always be a need for educators. Our worth will most likely always surpass our paycheck. But very few professions can claim or describe what we do for our children in an 8-month time span.  YOU will always be needed.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box

Don't have a lot of spare cash to fund your classroom needs? Feeling like your desk is already a mess after just a few weeks in? Struggling to get a good organizational system in place? You are not alone! Tips and tools for organizing your classrooms can be found all over the internet. Pinterest is also a great way to see what other teachers are doing. Scholastic has a wonderful list - make sure you scroll all the way through it - of ways you can rearrange, declutter, systemize, and organize so that you are making the most of your time each day. Consider lost and found mittens as scissor covers, salt and pepper shakers for glitter, and students as reasonable worker-bees. Don't toss the everyday things like kleenex boxes, paper towel rolls, silverware separators, and muffin trays. Think outside the box when you look at address labels and baskets.  Spruce up old and dented furniture with simple fabric and felt. It may take a little effort up front, but it'll be well worth it when you have a sense of pride and comfort in your work space. Find other I4C classroom organization resources here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shop At Amazon Through I4C

Internet4classrooms remains a free web portal for all educators. Our newsletters, resources, learning programs, testing practice guides, curriculum links, and vocabulary quizzes are all FREE. We strive to provide you with help in every aspect of teaching. 

We know sometimes being an educator can feel like a thankless job. But we've been there. WE thank you. Now we'd like to ask if you could possibly thank us back! has an earnings partnership with a list of online vendors including AMAZON.COM. It's similar to any school percentage fundraiser - take for instance, Box Tops.

* Here's how you can shop on through Internet4Classrooms: 
  1. Go to the following address: - I4C's shopping page.
  2. Type your desired item into the search box, and pick the appropriate category. [make sure you specify a category (defaulted to Electronics) before you submit your search.
  3.  Cick on GO. 
  4. Add the item to the shopping cart.
  5. Continue searching and adding items (each time starting on the I4C associates page: until all your items have been selected.
  6. Review your shopping cart and check out. The checkout process will take you through the regular Amazon checkout process.
There are a few different ways to search for your item other than the search box on our page.
1. You can also look on the Amazon homepage and find the item you wish to purchase. Copy and paste the item title on the I4C shopping page and change the category to fit the item. You may also wish to open two browser windows and do this side by side to make it easier to paste in the items.
2.  You can also select a category first and then do a general search to see various products to purchase.

Build your cart using the Internet4Classrooms associate site and approximately 6% of the sale becomes a no-extra-fee commission to help Internet4Classrooms pursue its educational mission. Help us keep doing what we do every day - finding free amazing resources to make your teaching experience inspiring and simplified.

Bookmark I4C's AMAZON page with complete instructions.

** Disclaimer: You may find that some items (non-commissionable or not stocked by Amazon) may not be available, or available at the price you wanted.  Any Amazon prime eligible items will still be shipped via Amazon prime - that will not show up until you are performing the regular Amazon checkout process.

We also partner with Barnes and Noble, Discovery,, Nickelodeon, Discount School Supplies, Highlights, CompUsa, Discount Party Supplies, and more! Find links to all of our shopping partners here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Techology Daily

How have you used technology this summer? Have you discovered new apps on your devices that can keep you organized? Have you found new websites that offer creative teaching tools? Have you  read a book on an e-reader? Have you created to-do lists electronically? Have you practiced your computer skills through online tutorials? Have you kept up with educational news and events through social media? Have you emailed friends or family? Have you used the Internet to find a map or phone number? Have you been reading our newsletters? :) The world is truly at your fingertips. So remember, during your downtime this summer, take advantage of technology. Keep learning. Keep exploring. Keep reinventing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Summer "Break"

You did it - you got through another year. Desks are empty. The halls are silent. What will you do all summer? Work? Exercise? Shop? Sleep? Go to school? Whatever it may be, make sure you keep your mind stimulated. We push and push for our children to read and stay sharp all summer long. We can do the same as our students.  Hone those computer skills. Explore social media like Twitter and Pinterest for ideas and news resources. Visit your local library. Take a cooking lesson at a local grocery store, or try a new recipe at home. Start a book club, even if on your Kindle or iPad, with a group of friends. Take an art class or sign up for a one-night paint event. Take a road trip to a nearby town or city, and explore their landmarks. Most importantly have fun. In a few short months it will be time to educate another group. Have a great summer!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Glogging for Frogs

This month we have a guest blogger. Her name is Tracy Hanson. She is the developer of K12 Next Generation, LLC, a new virtual school district working to develop an academically rich learning environment through the tools of technology. Her motto: "Quality Education for All Children; Anytime, Anywhere." 

What you are about to click on is not a "blog."  It is a "GLOG."  A glog can be defined as a digital poster, incorporating lessons, videos, and any links you want to provide, on one digital page.  

Take a look at her featured April Glog, celebrating National Frog Month, and let us know what you think of the format! Would you like to teach your students in this style? Would you like to learn how to do this? We would love your feedback.  Enjoy!

April celebrates many things but did you know that it also celebrates FROGS!  That's right, April is National Frog Month.  So what IS the different between a frog and a toad?  Do you remember those days when you had to dissect a frog?  Yuck!  What stories can you remember that had a frog in it?  Do you ever sit outside on a spring evening and listen to the frogs sing?  You can do that and many other things with this months featured Glog about Frogs.
-Tracy Hanson, K12 Next Generation, LLC

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Get the Spring Sillies Out!

Have you noticed the behavioral shift in your students? Spring has sprung, and our children are raring to go. Sometimes recess is not enough. Try these techniques and tips for creating a calmer classroom.

1) Try a breathing technique for just 1 minute. Have students sit completely still at their desk, and breathe in and out. You can find an example online or you may already have a yoga mediation in mind.

2) Make a point to do stretching exercises between activities. It can be yoga or simply a calming swooping motion like having your students march in place while swaying their arms pretending to be trees blowing in the wind. Yoga has proven to be a very effective in classroom settings.

Here are a few exercise samples including a 3rd grade classroom:

3) Do activities slowly. Focusing on being quiet and slow creates a pretty quick calming effect. It can even be singing a typically fast song slowly - like "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes."

4) Offer squeezable objects (you could even use play-dough) to those students who need to work on their focus and concentration.

5) Play light music while encouraging a period of time where students can reflect or write.

6) Read: Stories out loud or individually.

7) If all else fails give them 2 minutes to just be silly and shake it all out! Then get back to work.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Is It More Than Just Not Following Directions?

Consider these two scenarios:

1) You instruct your students on a graphing assignment. Find the number of times each selected letter is used in the word, and graph the chart accordingly. You hand out the worksheets and tell them to get started. As you walk around the room, you see one student doing the graph incorrectly. You walk by, remind him of the assignment, and continue to monitor the classroom as a whole. You walk by again. His graph still looks wrong. You ask him if he heard the assignment. He says, "Yes, we need to graph the letters in this word." She walks along. This is repeated three times. When time is up, you collect the worksheets for grading. His paper is completely incorrect.

2) You instruct your students on a letter assignment. Look at the picture, and write the beginning letter sound on the paper. When you review the children's work, you see the same student continuously writing the wrong letter sound, yet you know that child knows his alphabet. He can review them orally with you and identify them just fine. His paper is completely incorrect.

Why do these two students appear to never follow directions? You explained the assignments. You reminded them of the instructions. The first student even repeated the instructions back to you! You know they understand the concepts of the work. Clearly they just don't follow directions. Right? Wrong.

Look closely at the "incorrect" work. Study the graph that the first student completed. Instead of charting vertically, he charted horizontally. Now look at the second student. This student also happens to be in ESL. The picture was a dog. Dog starts with D. But Perro (the Spanish word for dog) starts with a P. He wrote P.

The issue was not a matter of NOT following directions. The issue becomes what the child interprets in correlation with what you are trying to teach.

In today's current standards of testing, large curriculum, and time constraints on top of it all, it's not just a black and white, right or wrong answer. Do we figure out the cause of their answers, or do we assume they didn't listen to what we instructed them to do? By figuring out how their minds work, we can successfully teach them the concepts that they need to progress.  It's a great reminder to take a step back, assess each student individually, and ensure those general instructions are being comprehended by everyone in that classroom. It will only make you a better teacher.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Do We Praise Too Much?

There was a hilarious Saturday Night Live skit titled "You Can Do Anything" with Daniel Radcliffe. Its theme was basically this: You think you're the best at skills you absolutely have no talent in. But because your parents told you that you were great all the time, you assumed you can do anything perfectly.

It seemed relevant to the way kids are being raised these days. It's bad enough there is a lack in independent and free play given all the technology and video games that exist now. But what happens when you throw self-esteem into the mix? Do our children require every day praise just to function and perform normal tasks that past generations were simply expected to do.

My grandson has been working on his fine motor skills, especially snapping his jeans. The other day he ran in to the kitchen screaming with delight, "I did it! I snapped them!" Knowing he had been working on mastering this task, I should have jumped for joy, right? But I simply said, "that's good that you tried," and I continued my cooking. Now I know he was expecting a bigger production, but really now, should I have purchased a new toy for him doing a task he should be doing every day of his life? 

What about in sports? My grandson plays both soccer and basketball. Is he one of the best on his team? Well actually, he is very good. But does that give him the right to hog the ball and never pass? No. I give him praise for making baskets, but I certainly don't praise being a poor teammate.  When is enough praise enough vs. too much?

Kids these days seem to expect a "GREAT JOB!" exclamation at every little thing they do. Everyone gets a medal in soccer at the end of the season. Parents are seen clapping when a homework assignment is completed.  Homework is not a choice. Good grades should be the norm. When did we become a society filled with praise-dependent children?

You will find a lot of articles out there, each with their own viewpoint. And you will have your own opinions too. What do you see in your students? How has their need for praise changed over the years? What will these kids be like in 15 years when they're a part of the working world. How do we wean them off of the "good jobs" and "way to go's" now? Or should we?

Related articles:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions You Can Keep

It's 2012 and you have half a school year left. Forget the common resolutions of drinking more water, flossing every day, and shedding a few pounds. Make a few promises to yourself and your students that can improve your classroom and your teaching spirit.

1. Don't give up! Be patient with the student who's falling behind. Whether he/she is trying hard but still failing, or not trying at all, put aside your frustrations and continue to make a difference in that child's future. You are in a very powerful position. You can offer that gentle push that he/she just might need. If you are confident you are doing all that you can possibly do, then you are fulfilling your role.

2. Try new things! Be open to more creative approaches and technology, which can accompany your lesson plans and offer interactive learning. It's also a good way to get students involved in current events.

3. Study up! Make a point to read education and teaching articles. You may find new techniques and tools to improve your teaching experience.

4. Accept the bad days! Yes, you had a bad day. Leave that day's negative energy when you leave the room. You can start fresh in the morning with a new attitude and new approach.

5. Sympathize with your class! Envision yourself as a student when your frustration mounts and you are ready to burst. It may offer a little bit of a reminder of the pressures for both you and them.

6. Don't procrastinate! Don't put off grading tests and assignments. You'll feel better getting it done.

7. Find me-time! Make time to focus on yourself at least 30 minutes a day.  A happy teacher equals happy students.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Are You Being the Best You Can Be?

The other day I noticed my neighbor cutting his grass, but my hands were full, I was running to the car, plus his back was turned, so I decided not to attract attention or wave. Two days later I found out he had passed away of a very random heart attack. Typically we'd speak when I saw him outside, and the thought crossed my mind: "Man, I really should have said hello."

I realize this may be a morbid topic. But as the holidays begin to roll around, and our minds are cluttered with the economy, gifts, groceries, ample space for house guests, etc...let's stop and consider how we treated someone today. Are we doing all we can for our students; our neighbors?

It's easy to get caught in the grind. It's easy to think you can't make a difference because you don't have enough money or time. But there are small things that can make big impacts.

  • Invite a neighbor over for lunch or dinner OR organize a neighborhood potluck.
  • Drop off canned goods at your local food pantry OR start a canned food drive at your local church or synagogue.
  • Make and deliver a local church or synagogue member a meal to their home.
  • Do you have a pet? Find a senior center in your area and see if you can take your pet for a seniors visit. Dogs have a wonderful way of cheering people up.
  • Winter is almost in full swing. Have you switched out your clothes from summer to Fall? Take a look and see if you really need that shirt or pair of pants. Could you possibly donate it to so someone in need?
  • Organize a clean up day in your local park or community.
  • Plant flowers for someone or in an area that seems like it needs sprucing up.
  • Repaint a playground.
  • Speak at a career day for your child's school. (we already know how wonderful educators are!)
  • Go to a community meeting and learn about the issues in your city, and any opportunities they may have.

The more you give back, the happier you will be as a human being. The happier you are, the better you will perform in your work and in your life. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Turning Student Work Into a Web Book

Ever wonder what to do with all that art work? Are you looking for a class project to send home to parents? Create your own web flip books. This website has an awesome FREE tool for publishing custom classroom books.

Step 1: You need to have your document(s) as PDF's.  You have a couple of options:

a) Scan in your student's artwork, assignments, stories, etc. and then save them as PDF's.
b) Have your students create their artwork in a program like Paint.  Copy and Paste the work into a Word document.  You can add captions here, just make sure you use large type font. Then save that Word document as a PDF.  Remember where you save the files!

Step 2: Go to the youblisher website and follow the steps.

a) Create an account with username and password - giving them a current email address.
b) Check your email for a welcome letter that will contain a confirmation code. Copy the confirmation code.
c) Log into the youblisher site, paste in that confirmation code.  You are ready to go!

Step 3: Create

a) Click "Add New Publication"
b) Click "Browse" and locate your saved file.
c) Click "Upload"
d) Youblisher will prompt you to title your doc, select language, etc.
e) Youblisher will do the rest. It will say "processing."

You can log in, and click "view publications", "edit," or "delete" any time.  Once you publish a book, you can not go back and add more pages.  You can, however, edit the Title. You can delete or add as many as you like.

When viewing the document, you'll see icons in the right hand corner, that allow you to zoom in, email, save as a PDF, and flip pages (left and right arrows).

Highlight the URL at the top of the page, while you are viewing your publication. Copy that URL and you can share it with whomever you wish to view the document.  If you have a classroom webpage, you can also embed your publication links.

It's a great - paperless - way to showcase student work. It's also a wonderful way to get children motivated to create. So get publishing!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Common SAT Errors Students Make (and How to Avoid Them)

Internet4Classrooms is pleased to feature Miriam Holt  as a guest writer this month as we highlight SAT and ACT Test PreparationMiriam Holt is an Academic Advisor and SAT Tutor for Parliament Tutors in New York City.  Have you decided whether to take the SAT or ACT? Find out what Parliament thinks.

Common SAT Errors Students Make (and How to Avoid Them)

No standardized test is perfect. But anyone who really knows the SAT will tell you that as far as standardized testing goes, it's one of the best.  Why? Because it is very cleverly designed to do exactly what it claims to do: it tests a student's ability to reason.  By reviewing the most common errors students make on the SAT, other students can avoid repeating these mistakes in the future.

The Essay

Writing an off topic essay is the first mistake you can make and it can be a score-killer. Take your time to read and understand the entire prompt.  Spending too long on the intro paragraph and shortchanging the meat of the essay is another common pitfall.  This can be avoided by starting with the body paragraphs and then adding the conclusion and the introduction in their appropriate spots after the body paragraphs are written. Finally, students must learn to budget their time, saving 3 minutes at least to proofread. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are all evaluated by essay readers.

Critical Reading: Sentence Completion

For the critical reading section’s sentence completion questions, students should cover up the answer choices and then read the sentence. Analyze it carefully and make guesses as to what sort of words ought to go in the blanks. Then uncover the answer choices to seek synonyms of those guesses.  The SAT often uses similar sounding words, encouraging over-suggestibility: students see answers that "sound good" and forget to check whether the words fit what is required by the sentence.

The next step is to rate each individual word more consciously. Assign it a plus sign if it works well in its blank. Grade a minus sign if it is certainly not a good choice. Mark a zero if it isn’t clear.  Unfamiliar words get zeros.  Students should only eliminate pairs of words that have one or two negative ratings.

Finally, there is no cure for a weak vocabulary. Students should write down every unfamiliar word encountered on practice tests in order to carefully build a list of words to be learned.  Check out this article for more ways to study for the vocab section(Note: I4C offers a free online SAT/ACT vocabulary testing study guide as well as SAT/ACT math quiz study guides.)

Critical Reading: Passage-Based Questions

Reading too slowly and not understanding the text are the two most important issues students must overcome on the passage-based reading questions. Students should try both of the following methods to find out which works better: 1. Read as though they will be asked to recount the entire passage from memory; 2. Skip the passage and go straight to the questions with line number references in them.

Don’t be fooled by strongly-worded and attractive sounding answers choices. Students should be aware that the correct answer is often moderately worded, while the answer choices with more extreme or black/white wordings--containing words like "never" and "always"--are often incorrect.

Lastly, always consider the tone of the passage.  Try to hear the voice that a reader would use to read the passage aloud.


Students need to practice math skills regularly to be comfortable with the math tested by the SAT and to be able to solve the problems quickly.  Don’t get bogged down by mental lock.  As soon as a student reads a problem, that student should immediately begin writing down any possibly-related formulae or pictures that could illustrate the problem. This will also help avoid making careless errors, like dropping a negative sign or adding instead of multiplying.

An extremely common SAT error on the math section is answering a question that the problem didn’t ask. The test “tricks” students by asking them to find values that are tangentially related to what a normal person would expect the answer to be.  Students should always read the problem twice before beginning to work on it. This is crucial.

Students should remember to check the first page of every math section for useful formulae.  This page includes the Pythagorean Theorem.  The SAT math section LOVES the Pythagorean Theorem.  If it seems to be impossible to find the information a question asks for, it’s probably because a student forgot about this theorem.

Grammar/Writing: Sentence Correction

Students should learn to recognize prepositions and put brackets around prepositional phrases so that they can help themselves zero in on the true subject of the sentence. Confusing the object of a prepositional phrase for the subject of a sentence, and thus choosing the wrong verb (e.g. choosing “None of us are going,” instead of the correct version, “None of us is going.”) is a very common problem on the SAT writing section. 

It is important to become accustomed to requiring parallel structures in sentence construction on the SAT, even when we would not hold such strict requirements for other formal writing.  According to the SAT, this is incorrect: “To call her narrow-minded is like calling water wet,” but this is correct: “Calling her narrow-minded is like calling water wet.”)

Students should make sure that dependent clauses with unspecified subjects are placed adjacent to their subjects in the sentence, e.g. “Carrying an umbrella, Carol didn’t mind the rain,” instead of “Carrying an umbrella, the rain didn’t bother Carol.”  Technically, the second implies that the rain was carrying an umbrella.

Students should be clear on pronoun case and should learn the difference between a subject and a direct object. Resist the temptation to match words like “someone,” “anyone,” or “everyone” with pronouns like “they” and “them,” because plural pronouns cannot substitute for singular nouns.  Instead, the student must choose singular pronouns such as “him,” “her,” “he,” “she,” and “one.”


In conjunction with Miriam's helpful tips, take advantage of Internet4Classrooms SAT/ACT Free Study Guide.  We offer free online vocabulary quizzes on 5,000 SAT and ACT vocabulary words and over 1,000 math problems and quizzes. Students and their mentors will receive reports on their grades, progress, and daily activities. Retake the tests until you master every question. As an added bonus:

  • Students achieving 100% mastery of at least 25 vocabulary quizzes and 25 math quizzes per month on the Internet4Classrooms website are automatically entered to win a $100 scholarship.
  • A $200 grant will be given each month to the school with the highest ratio of correct quizzes per student.
Sign up today!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Remembering 9/11 In The Classroom

No matter where we live, we can all relate and remember where we were and what we were doing on the shocking day forever known as 9/11. As educators and parents of today, we are faced with the task of explaining these events to some children who may not have even been born yet. 

There is a lot of information online. I4C has put together it's own September 11th page of classroom resources. You can find timelines, history, coloring sheets, 9/11 lesson plans, and more

We hope you find them helpful when exploring the tragedies and history of September 11th. If you have links to pages that you can suggest, please email us! We would love to hear from you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Internet Restrictions At Work

USA Today recently published an article by Greg Toppo titled, "Web restrictions draw ire of some educators," about putting limitations and even bans on some school computer accessibility.  It's understandable, especially these days, how some sites are obviously inappropriate for school and home. But banning teachers from Google images and National Geographic? Are we going too far? What about prohibiting teachers from being on social networking sites like Facebook, or accessing personal email?

I will admit, I did find it somewhat uncomfortable when I heard  my friend tell me how she can see her child's teacher's Facebook page. I'm not sure how I'd feel knowing what my teacher did the night before she came to class. That being said, like Greg Toppo has written in this piece, the Internet is not going away. Children should be taught how to safely use the worldwide Web. They need to be made aware of the pros and cons of having social network accounts. They need to be taught that just because it's on the Internet doesn't necessarily make it true. And they need to be given the tools to know how to fact check. But it's got to be a joint effort between parents and educators alike.

It can be frustrating, feeling like we have enough resource limitations as it is, now we can't visit a web page we want. I'm not sure what the solution is, but again we are reminded of how technology truly does change the way we educate and live.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Starting Off On A Good Note

We've all thought about it once or twice, especially now that it's August. You're thinking, man, in a couple of weeks it's back to the grind and back to the classroom. And you may have let out a sigh or groan as you thought it. No one likes ending a summer vacation! But it's also nice to get back to the smell of new pencils and paper. You're getting your lesson plans organized and outlined. You're getting to your classroom and setting up your room just the way you want it. You've got the seat assignments all mapped out. Your bulletin boards are being created with love. Workstations, centers, and computer stations are being cleaned with pride. You know how you are going to greet your new students. You know how you are going to explain the classroom procedures and rules, and where they should put their supplies. You may even give them their first assignment (whether it be making their own name tag, playing a circle game, describing their summer, describing themselves in one sentence, or naming an animal that best describes them.) And once you feel you are as prepared as you can possibly be, remember this:

It's a fresh new year! It's another year of hope. It's another year of building futures and bigger dreams. Will be there rough days? Sure. Will you have tired moments? Of course. Don't forget that I4C has a huge Back to School Section with teacher tools, where teachers and parents alike can find tons of lesson plans, classroom organizational help, planning tools, bulletin board ideas, and grade level help.

On day one, consider bringing this kit to class to get you through the first day back.

1) A toothpick - for reminding you to pick good qualities in every student.
2) A key - to let you know you open the minds of countless children
3) Clay - a way to remember you can mold social and ethical values in your students.
4) A rubberband - to be flexible, especially on the first day.
5) A puzzle piece - to remind you that you are part of something bigger in the end.
6) A mini-handheld fan -to blow away those negative thoughts or doubts
7) Chocolate - a sweet treat to eliminate your stress
8) One marble - to keep in your pocket when you think you're losing all of yours.
9) A mint - revive that sore throat after talking so much.
10) Two Aspirin - when all else fails take 2 and start fresh in the morning!
Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you. - Madeline Bridges
Sandwich every bit of criticism between two thick layers of praise. - Mary Kay Ash

Friday, July 1, 2011

Reading Woes? It Could Be Irlen Syndrome

Internet4Classrooms is pleased to feature Rich Mintzer as a guest writer this month as we highlight Exceptional Children and Irlen Syndrome.

Rich Mintzer is an author and journalist with over 50 published non-fiction books, many as a ghostwriter and articles on various websites.  He also writes book proposals for new authors and edits their work.  In the course of working with Helen Irlen on her latest book, The Irlen Revolution, he became fascinated with the work being done to help children read who had struggled, some of whom had spent years in special education classes.  A staunch believer in Helen Irlen’s work, they have become friends over the years and Rich always takes the opportunity to write about Irlen Syndrome to let parents and educators learn more about this little known perceptual disorder.  Rich lives in Westchester New York with his wife and their two teenagers. You can visit his website at

Read on to learn about a reading disorder you may be unfamiliar with.

Reading Woes? It Could be Irlen Syndrome
by Rich Mintzer

Learning to read is a rite of passage into a literary world that opens many doors to a world of knowledge, discovery, fantasy and fun. But what is it like for those who struggle, who can’t read at grade level or, in some cases, can barely read at all? For some, repetition and phonics make a difference, while others benefit from glasses to solve vision problems. But what about those whose problems are neither cognitive or visual?

Many of these struggling readers have what is called Irlen Syndrome (a.k.a. Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome). It is a visual processing disorder that results in words, letters and numbers moving around or bunching together on the page making reading a major challenge. It is akin to looking at an optical illusion, which appears to be moving in front of your eyes, but isn’t. It is also a problem that flies below the radar because it does not show up on standardized tests.  And yet, it can be corrected through the use of colored overlays and/or wearing colored lenses.  However, since everyone is unique, the colors, or color combinations will vary greatly from one person to the next.

In the past 20-years, since former school psychologist and researcher Helen Irlen found that many people were struggling to read because of this particular perceptual disorder, some 8,000 educators have been trained to recognize Irlen Syndrome and millions of children have benefited from colored overlays, not only in the United States, but as far away as New Zealand and Australia.  Unfortunately, the numbers are just a drop in the bucket.  As a result, the parents of many children never learn about Irlen Syndrome.

So, What Can Educators Do?

The hope is that you can, with the support of your school, get a better idea of which youngsters might benefit from testing for Irlen Syndrome.  Testing is completely non-invasive and, not unlike an eye-test, is all about the child telling the tester, or screener, what he or she sees during the testing process.  In fact, parents are encouraged to take the tests along with their children not only for support but because Irlen Syndrome is hereditary, and they too might benefit from overlays or filters.

When it comes to observing possible candidates for Irlen testing, Kristina Uribe,Third Grade Language Arts/Social Studies teacher and Dyslexia Specialist, from the Bethune Academy in Aldine, Texas says that observation is very important. “I watch students very closely so see who avoids or refuses to read. Very often their body language gives me clues. They might be very restless in their seats, look up from their books soon after they started reading to the point that they do not go back to the book. Eye rubbing is another symptom that can be observed easily," says Uribe.

“Kids have a posture when taking tests, they usually lean into their work. A student who might need to be screened will have his hand to his brow, wear a visor or use his hand to shade his paper. I also look for kids who want to work but seem like they are working twice as hard as others in class,” says Monica Rice who teaches the sixth grade Beaumont, California.

Nancy Menn, a special ed teacher and Irlen Screener in Wisconsin takes the straight forward approach and asks students if the print changes after they read for a while, if the letters get blurry or move on the page, or if the page seemed too bright. “Some students look at me as if I’m crazy, and with others you see the light bulb go on and they talk a mile a minute about what was going on when they read,” says Menn, who has witnessed a number of students improve greatly with overlays and Irlen filters.

“I try to identify students whose verbal reasoning appears well above what they are able to produce in written form.  I also identify students who are acquiring reading skills/ spelling skills or math skills at a slow pace,” says Julie Stowe, Junior School Teacher at Green Point Christian College in Kincumber, New South Wales.


The goal of getting children tested, however, would not have much credibility if it weren’t for the stunning results.  “I get wonderful responses from the kids that use the colored overlays says Tina Cutler, Program Manager (Social Worker) for Community and Employment Programs Group in Toronto, Ontario. "I can read, I feel smart!" "I can see the whole sentence." "The black dots are gone!" "The page is calmer!" "The letters have stopped moving!"  These are just some of the affirming responses Tina has heard from students with colored overlays.

Meanwhile, Julie Yepson, a grade school teacher at Antioch school district 34 in Antioch, Illinois notices more students reading for pleasure whereas the same students didn't often like to read before using the overlays. “Three students that reported headaches when reading no longer have headaches and students that felt nauseous when reading no longer feel that way either,” add Yepsen. In fact, one student proclaimed, "Mrs. Yepsen, you have no idea how much this is going to help me!" upon receiving her overlays.

Tarena Berry, a counselor at Calvert Elementary School in Houston, Texas also trained to become an Irlen Screener, “Immediate results are seen,” says Berry. “When I took the training to become an Irlen Screener, I didn't realize what impact it would have. When I tested my first student, I could see at that moment how relevant and valuable the process is."

The overlays are just part of the ongoing solution, since reading is not only on the paper but in all facets of life.  From computer screens to mobile phones to street signs, Irlen filters are typically the next step, allowing those who have struggled with words and letters to embrace the written and printed word and no longer struggle to read.

For more on Irlen Syndrome, visit and/or pick up Helen Irlen’s latest book The Irlen Revolution.

Rich also recommends a very informative video done by a teenager who has Irlen Syndrome. Here' s an 8 minute glance into what it's like to live with Irlen Syndrome and the many ways to help manage the symptoms.
                                            Video by DavidAccola linked from

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Achievable Dreams

It's no secret that this month Oprah is ending The Oprah Show after 25 years on air. Her final episodes include the lessons she's learned and her favorite and most influential guests. Her favorite guest of all time was a woman who overcame her painful circumstances and fulfilled her dreams. Dreams of which she wrote on a piece of paper, put in a tin, and buried under a rock where they'd remain for years and years. Dreams that included moving to America, getting an education, and receiving her PhD. When she went back to her hometown of Zimbabwe and dug up that tin, she could say that she met every single goal. And she fulfilled those dreams because she was told it was achievable.

Too often our desires are seen as unattainable. How many times do we make lists, or write down our goals, and it never gets farther than that piece of paper? Do you believe every one of your dreams is achievable?

As the school year comes to a close, and summer break begins, think about your achievements. Did you accomplish everything you wanted? What do you envision for the next school year? Don't just state your goals. Plan how you are going to fulfill them. Have your students do the same thing. It may sound silly, but have your students bury their dreams in their backyards. Let them go back a year from now and see just how much they can achieve when they strive to succeed.

When you see that you can accomplish what you set your mind to, the sky is the limit on what's considered achievable.

                                                                    Video courtesy of  DailyRiser.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Molding Our Techniques vs. Molding Our Children

In addition to ever-changing technology and teaching methods in our classroom, our students are changing too. They are independent, adaptable, and tech-savvy.  Their future career needs seem to carry higher stakes than they did 10 years ago. Besides their academic needs, behaviorally, students are evolving too. More and more, medical diagnoses such as ADHD, Tic Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Sensory Disorders, Autism Spectrum and Behavioral Disorders are becoming the norm in our classrooms. Teachers are burdened with test scores and keeping up with trends, as well as pressured to be equipped to handle and educate all types of personalities.

Jeff Branzburg - Director of Technology, NUA; education technology consultant, Teaching Matters, Inc; former teacher and instructional technology director -  created a digital comic using entitled Fit the Tool to the Job (Not the Job to the Tool).  

Think about how many times you’ve encountered students who don’t fit into a certain perfect student mold? Have you noticed that the tools and methods you are using are not reaching that particular student? How do we make our current tools meet each student’s individual educational needs, instead of trying to get every student to learn the same way? It’s a daily challenge. One we should discuss with our peers, colleagues, and parents. One we should continue to improve. Our students need us. We can’t let those who learn differently slip through the cracks.