Ideas for Teachers

This category is and will continually be added to and updated as more memories and ideas come into play.  Feel free to contribute any related ideas that have worked for you. At some point all ideas are expected to be incorporated into a book and each and every contributor will be recognized in any such publication.  (See Contact information for any questions or ideas you may have.)


WordPress – PayPal and Wrapping Text

                                                                        by John L. Timmons  11/27/2017

WordPress work:

  1. Open the WordPress site to the Dashboard.
  2. Goto All Pages.
  3. Find the page where you want to place the PayPal Button.
  4. After you hover over that page title, click on “edit”.
  5. Find the location where you wish to have the button.
  6. After getting the cursor to the desired position, minimize this screen.

PayPal work:

  1. Login to PayPal.
  2. Across the top find and click on the “Tools” button.
  3. Scroll down and click on “All Tools”
  4. Scroll down three rows to ‘PayPal buttons”
  5. Click on the “open” icon at the lower left corner of the PayPal buttons box.
  6. In the first new box, click on “Buy Now”.
  7. Complete the form by filling in the blanks.
  8. At the bottom of the form, click on “Create Button”
  9. Find and click on, “Select Code”.
  10. Copy the newly selected code by Ctrl + C.
  11. Minimize this screen

Back to Word Press

  1. Go to the cursor location where you left off in number “6” in the first list under Word Press Work (above).
  2. After the cursor is in place where you want the button, paste the code by Ctrl + v.
  3. In the Right column of the WordPress Dashboard, click on “Update”.
  4. In the Upper Left corner of the Dashboard, click on your site name and when a drop down menu appears, click on “Visit Site”.
  5. Go to the location where you expect to find the new button.
  6. NOTE: You can Edit this page and move the button around with cursor movements.


Wrapping text around pictures on pages in WordPress.

  1. Simply put the text in first.  Use “x’s” to fill in any spaces because the text can be altered, i.e. edited at a later time.
  2. After the text is in, place the cursor where you wish to have a picture and insert the pic.
  3. Usually the best location is to have the pic justified to the left because the text margins are set straight; however when the pic is in the middle or right the text next to the pic will be irregular and less pleasant to read.
  4. Edit the text and x’s to adjust to your wishes in terms of centering and location.
  5. In the Right column of the WordPress Dashboard, click on “Update”.






Instructions to students to be placed above your essay question(s):

  The first page of each question . . .


The first page of this essay question . . .

must be reserved and used only for an outline of what you write. It is recommended but not required that you use a scrap of paper to develop your outline and later copy that outline to the first page. Of course you may write your essay first and then outline the details.   Your entire paper will be read over to consider how you have presented your ideas but you will NOT receive any credit for any idea or detail that you include in the essay which is not ALSO included in the outline. SPECIAL NOTE: If I cannot read what you write, you will not receive credit for the same.


Notes to educators about grading the essay:

After writing an essay question, outline your expectations for what should be included in the paper. When beginning to grade the essays, compare that outline with a few of the more thorough outlines from the class. In this way, I usually found some idea or detail which I had ignored or omitted.

Next, assign weighted points for each item in your completed outline. My method was to make the outline worth half of the total points for a given essay question. Then I would grade the outline provided by a student and subsequently read over that person’s written essay. If they presented their ideas logically and coherently, I simply doubled the points given for the outline.

Occasionally a student would provide some relevant idea in her/his outline that I had omitted. When this happened I gave extra points and a note of congratulation to that student.


How this method originated:

One of my favorite undergraduate professors was Mr. Williams, who taught American and English history. His exams consisted of either three or five questions. We could always ignore one of the three or five. I thought this process was fair and wonderful. So in my first semester of teaching, on my second exam, I gave the students five essay questions and they were to write on four, with no mention of how the responses were to be written. THE PROBLEM was (oops, my bad) I didn’t do the math; after all, it was an American History class.

You see, Mr. Williams had 12 to 15 students per class with either three or four classes. I, on the other hand, had five classes of 35 students each (three American History I and two American History II.) Go figure, I don’t think I ever did plow through all of the approximately 700 pages, some of which were almost illegible. I developed the outline method to streamline that otherwise overwhelming grading process, while still encouraging my students to develop critical thinking and writing skills through essay-writing.

I used this method for essays until my class sizes got out of control. In my last semester at Western Illinois University, I started out with four sections with sixty-five students each and had to convert to multiple-choice questions only.   I also would not use a textbook that did not provide digitized exam questions. I would simply select questions from their test banks that were appropriate for what material I had assigned or covered in class presentations. There is a limit to how much grading one human being can do.

Another tidbit FYI:

One last bit of unrelated but possible helpful information. If you ever develop an online class, use a major textbook producer and contract with them to compile your own manual for your class from a textbook that you like. The minimum you will need to do is make choices about which chapters to include, the quality of pages, color, etc. You can even write a chapter or more yourself if you are so inclined. This is extremely valuable when you have a number of online classes and publishers update editions about every 2 to 2 ½ years, sometimes even between semesters. When they change editions you will need to update and change details in your syllabus and online class, including changing all exam questions so they are relevant to each chapter for the new edition. The nice part of this process is that your production will have your name (not as author but as compiler) on the front cover, its own ISBN number, AND the edition will not change until you decide to update it.