Thursday, December 22, 2005

[TIPS] - It's A Wonderful internet

And finally, before we all leave for home, let's watch this little tale of "It's A Wonderful Internet." The arrow to turn the pages is in the bottom right corner of the right hand page. And when you see other red arrows or sliders, see what happens when you pull or slide them.

And a VERY Happy Holidays to you all. See you next year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

[TIPS] - NPR John Henry Faulk's Christmas Story

Yes, it's that time again. Time to give you the link to John Henry' Faulk's telling of his wonderful Christmas story. I've been sending this link to you for what, 6 years? Longer? But, some of you are new, and others may still enjoy hearing it again. It requires Real Player. If you've NOT heard it before, treat yourself and give a listen. Why not play this for your class and ask them to write about the little boy in the story?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Don't want to hear it again? Then maybe this one is for you.
What is it? Well, what if you could go to a website where there was a virtual sketchpad on which you were allowed to add a couple lines. You just draw a couple lines. But, when you're done you're given the opportunity to adjust the opaqueness of some other lines. By making some lighter and others darker, you - and the masses who visit this site - suddenly find yourselves drawing something. Suddenly an image emerges. Granted, it's nothing you'd want to frame, but it's an interesting study, if nothing else. Oh, and you can also click a button and watch a replay of how this thing was made over time. Very cool idea. Non-productive, you say? But of course.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

[TIPS] - ALERT! You need to read this

Got a web cam at home? Do your KIDS have webcams at home? Then read this.

It's a VERY unpleasant tale, but one that we need to be aware of.

[TIPS] - flypentop gift idea?

Whether you end up dropping the $100 on one of these or not, this website is VERY cool.
Imagine - carry around a computer in a pen. Want a calculator? Draw a C with a circle around it. Then draw out your number pad and the + _ * and / signs. Instand calculator.THere's much more, too. Very cool stuff.
Oh, also imagine that the kids being born right now are going to grow up with things like this.

Monday, December 19, 2005

[TIPS] - Office ZOOM tip

How 'bout that - no web site tip today. :-)  Here's a little trick that you SHOULD be able to use with Word and the wheel on your mouse.
Open any ol' Word file containing text. Now, hold down the Control key and slowly scroll your mouse wheel. Presto! Instant Zoom! Works in Excel and Powerpoint, too.
What? Don't HAVE a wheel on your mouse? How on EARTH do you manage to scroll your web pages without it?

Friday, December 16, 2005

[TIPS] - Top Ten Tips for Better Pictures

As we approach the Christmas break when many of us will be taking tons of pictures with our (new?) digital cameras, I thought you might appreciate these pages with tips for taking better pictures. But, even before you look at these sites, READ THE MANUAL! There's a LOT to learn about a digital camera, so KNOW YOUR CAMERA.
So you've taken a bunch of pictures. Now what? Some people take the memory stick to a local Wal-Mart or Costco's or Sams's, etc, and print them themselves. The machines are easy to use (relatively speaking, of course) and they even allow you to do some last minute editing such as cropping, rotating, etc.
Another option, if you have a high speed internet access, is to upload them to one of the many sites out there where you can have FREE UNLIMITED STORAGE, get prints, purchase gifts with your images on them, and even share the albums with friends where they can even choose to get a print made, as well. There are many such sites, including Yahoo (create an account - free), SNAPFISH (especially for Comcast customers), Kodak, Shutterbug, and I'm sure there are others. I know that Snapfish is currently charging $.12 per 4x6" print. Hard to beat, even with shipping costs. I've even ordered mugs and sweatshirts with images printed on them. Very nice. ( - an example of a shared image.
So, if you're going to get getting into the world of digital cameras, be prepared to practice what you preach about being a "life-long learner." :-)  And - ENJOY!!!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

[TIPS] - French resources for K-7 (and a bonus)

Want some cool resources for teaching French to K-7 students? Try this site. French flash cards (and their suggestion that you consider playing "Fish" with the cards you print from the site), French word searches, and even French Bingo! You'll have to also teach the how to yell, "Oh RATS!" when someone shouts BINGO! :-)
Don't teach French? Then here's one for you: It's the BBC's Science and Nature site. Very well done.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

[TIPS] - - social spreadsheets

-------------- snip-------------
Getting going is as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Register for your free account.
2. Enter values into spreadsheet - nothing to download, no plugins required.
3. Share the URL with colleagues and friends.
Understand? Create a spreadsheet on the web and share the URL with folks so that they can see AND MODIFY IT! Work collaboratively on a spreadsheet. What a neat idea.
And, as a bonus for today, check out this article that cautions about excessive time playing video games. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

[TIPS] -

LAMS is a revolutionary new tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities. It provides teachers with a highly intuitive visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities. These activities can include a range of individual tasks, small group work and whole class activities based on both content and collaboration. Click here for an interactive demonstration of LAMS.

Monday, December 12, 2005

[TIPS] - microscope gallery

At the Microscope Imaging Station facility, museum visitors can use microscopes and other precision instrumentation to observe the activities of living cells and organisms.

When you check out the gallery be sure to watch for the Video button under the pictures. Watch cells divide, or the immune system fight off a virus, etc. Fascinating.
Oh, and for a bonus...
Want to know what some computer designers are conjuring up for the future? Check this out: There are other areas at the top of that page, as well.

Friday, December 09, 2005

[TIPS] - programming 3d for kids


Alice v2.0 is the next major version of the Alice 3D Authoring system, from the Stage3 Research Group at Carnegie Mellon University. It has been completely rewritten from scratch over the past few years.

The focus of the Alice project is now to provide the best possible first exposure to programming for students ranging from middle schoolers to college students.
Still not sure what it is? CHeck out the movies found here:

Thursday, December 08, 2005

[TIPS] - eatsshootsandleaves - ESL quiz

This is a cute activitiy in which kids are given an apostrophe or a comma, etc and are asked to put it in the proper place in a given sentence.  Or, they can click the "No apostrophe" link if one doesn't belong at all.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

[TIPS] - Journey of Mankind

The journey of mankind, from the Bradshaw Foundation. Follow this animated migration of modern man over the last 160,000 years. (And you thought it was tough retracing your steps of yesterday!) :-)
The map will show for the first time the interaction of migration and climate over this period. ....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

[TIPS] - The world is flat!

The World is Flat!
So says Thomas L Friedman, the author of the book by the same title - a #1 book on the NYT Best Sellers List. This is a video stream of his speech. Why is the world flat? In short, "The global economic playing field is being leveled."
My advice to you is to start this video sometime when you're going to be online for a while, and let it run in the background and listen. This is something that your high school students should hear, too. This is THEIR world and I'll just bet this will enlighten them like NO OTHER speech they've heard to date. You, too. It's amazing how "flat" this world really is, and what events were directly or indirectly responsible for it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

[TIPS] - Nettrekker searches

Once you've done your search, say by the keyword "bridges", you'll see the first eight "hits" listed on the screen, with links at the bottom of the list to go to the next eight, or to skip to a particular page of hits. But, here's how you can filter your results even more.
Let's say that you're interested in only those sites that have learning games about bridges. Do you see the solid colored bar above your search results that has the words "Search results: bridges" in the left edge? Below that are some "shingles" that begin with "Lesson Plans", "Learning Exercises", "Learning Games", etc. Simply click the Learning Games shingle to see only those sites that contain learning games. It's that easy.
Oh, click the little PLUS (+) symbol to the left of those shingles to reveal additional filters. Pretty nice, eh?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

[TIPS] - Nettrekker tip

Have you signed onto Nettrekker, yet? Ask your tech director for details and for your IU's keyword that you'll need to create your account. It's available NOW courtesy of the PA Dept of Education.
How can you learn more about the system? On the page where you create(d) your account ( there is a PA symbol in the top right corner area. Under that symbol is a link. That link takes you to a page full of links to GREAT training resources. For example, you can find a one hour workshop "script" that takes you thorugh many of the key areas of Nettrekker. The three hour script goes into more of the areas. (It won't take three hours, and it really is good. Use this one if you can.) There are scavenger hunts and even links to Atomic Learning videos that show how to use the system.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


This website creates a new free and easy way to collaborate. Before Web Collaborator, to collaborate on a project meant passing papers back and forth, hours of painstaking corrections, hundreds of wasted pieces of paper, headaches, and plenty of coffee. Web Collaborator coordinates collaborations automatically, keeping backups of every revision ever made to the project, letting you see who made the changes, and allowing you to focus on the work instead of managing the work. Better yet, it is absolutely free for all uses.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

[TIPS] - online educational games

Free online games to learn the Periodic tables, or geography, vocabulary, or trivia. Looks like fun - and if you don't tell them, they just might learn something, too. :-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

[TIPS] - more physics applets

There are about four pages worth of small applets here that help to explain microwaves, or xrays, lasers, or TV screens, etc. Most allow you to control the variables to see the effects of that change.
And, on a personal note, I do hope that you have a warm and loving Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

[TIPS] - Music site

Having been a music teacher in a former life I can appreciate this site. So will your music teacher friends.

Hear scales and chords, construct intervals, see mathmatical relationships, and much more. And, if you become a member for $20 you can actually download the entire site onto your computer.
Granted, you can't create your own music here, and you can't experiment much, but it's a nice site to have on hand.

Monday, November 21, 2005

[TIPS] - nrich Math site - with LINK

DOH!!! See how flustered that made me? No link!!! <sigh> Here it is...
From the site:
Welcome to another edition of the NRICH website, where our mathematical theme is Probability. We hope that you will discover the power of this month's interactive environment to simulate many trials, therefore making the process of obtaining data more manageable.
Looks like it would be appropriate for middle to high school age students. The interface is a bit clunky (IMHO*) but the activities look very interesting - and fun.
(If anyone finds any "naughty numbers" - I .... I .... give up!)              :-)
* In My Humble Opinion

Friday, November 18, 2005

[TIPS] - Salariya Web Books

Created by The Salariya Book Company, these innovative titles use a unique combination of information and humour to describe life in earlier times. Web users can interact with the characters by simply moving the cursor over them, to see their thoughts and comments as each story unfolds.

The four Web Books described below are based on titles in the "You Wouldn't Want To Be.." series, which is published in the UK as "Danger Zone".

Click the first link, "You Wouldn't Want to Be A Roman Gladiator...", then use the <Next> or <Previous> links on the sotry pages to follow them through. They really look like fun for the younger ones.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

[TIPS] - wiki ehow

From the site:
What is is the world's most widely read how to manual. Every month over 4 million people visit eHow to learn how to do something. With hundreds of thousands of pages of advice, eHow offers staff-written, reviewed and edited step-by-step solutions. Every eHow is clear, concise, and accurate. So whether you are learning how to tie a tie, build a deck, kiss on a date, train your dog to heel, ollie on a skateboard, lose weight, negotiate a raise, or even throw a curveball - eHow can help you.

Even if you don't use the site to learn how to tie a tie, for example, perhaps it'll give you an idea of how YOU can use a wiki with your classes. If you decide that you'd like to learn more about them, watch for an announcement coming soon regarding a class on Moodle. It contains a wiki - or multiple wikis, if you want more. Then, coming as early as December watch for another anouncement regarding a class just in wikis alone. (We'll be installing a wiki server if we get our grant.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

[TIPS] -

Maybe you know some students who are experimenting with smoking. Maybe you know a friend or loved one who is  hooked. Maybe it's you. This site is for those people. Share it with your students. Maybe you'll convince one to quit, and wouldn't that be wonderful?
The Great American Smokeout is tomorrow, the 17th. Encourage the smokers you know to check out this page. And maybe you'll want to read this story to your class: and ask them to guess who (or what) the friend is.
They say you'll always remember your aniversary (if you know what's good for you), your spouse's birthday (ditto), when a loved one passed away, and the day you quit smoking for good.
January 3, 1993 - the day *I* quit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

[TIPS] - How do educators use blogs and RSS? A Webquest

Wanna learn more about Blogs and RSS? (Besides coming to my training in November?) Check out this webquest entitled, "How Do Educators Use Blogs and RSS?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

[TIPS] - KPL - Kids Programming Language

This free program allows your bright elementary age students to learn some progrmaming in a safe, friendly environment. They can program their own games!!! I KNOW that you know a few kids who would just LOVE this. Check out the home page to see screenshots of the games this program is capable of making, then turn those bright (bored?) kids lose on it.
I'd LOVE to see some examples of their games, too. Please share them with me.

Friday, November 11, 2005

[TIPS] - SuprGlu

From the site:
Do you already use services like, flickr, blogger, typepad, etc? SuprGlu is a new way to gather all your content from those sites. In a nutshell, SuprGlu:
         gathers your content from popular webservices and publishes them in one convenient place.
         presents your content with simple, great looking templates which you can customize.
         is FREE to use!
Don't know what any of this stuff is? Come to the training on the 22nd at 4:00 - Blogs. There's a VERY COOL world out there that is way beyond just your basic web pages. Come out to find out about it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

[TIPS] - learn to type - free

Want to learn to touch type or perhaps just to learn to type a bit faster? This site has many lessons to try, or you can paste in your own text and practice on that. Straight forward easy.
It's free. (and fun for all ages) 

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

[TIPS] - Fun Science Gallery (SAFE for all ages)

Here's a safe tip for today to replace the other one. :-(
What a cool place this is to find activities that you can do with your classes. Make your own paper, build a toy cable car, and... SO much more. If you teach science then stop in here for a look.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

[TIPS] -

Games in Math, alphabet, vocabulary, memory, and geography. Even addition Pinball! My only concern is that there doesn't appear to be a way within the game to turn off the sound. You'll just have to mute your speakers.

Monday, November 07, 2005

[TIPS] - microscopy image library

from the site:
The microscopy Image Library of science photographs shows a diversity of science images taken with light microscopes (LM) and electron microscopes (transmission electron microscope - TEM; scanning electron microscope - SEM). Search the image library for microscopy images from the following categories: Algae, Arachnids, Bacteria, Crystals, Fungi & Slime Molds, Insects, Invertebrates, Medical, Miscellaneous, Plants, Protozoa, Vertebrates, and Viruses. Use a Virtual SEM to find out what it is like to load and zoom-in on specimens at increasing magnifications with a scanning electron microscope. Find out why the Most Wanted Bugs are on our list.
Thanks to Sharon C for sharing this one.

Friday, November 04, 2005

[TIPS] - Free assistive technology

Thanks to Kurt for sharing this one. Here's what he said....

This may be of interest to some of your readers, maybe not.
A FREE talking web browser for students with vision impairments... fun to see if your district or teacher web site is ADA or Section 504 compliant.
<snip>IBM Home Page Reader brings the world of the Internet to users who are blind or have low vision. It is an award-winning, talking Web browser that uses the power of speech to aid users in exploring the World Wide Web.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

[TIPS] - Earth and Moon Viewer


Remember last year when I shared with you the nist site ( ) that showed the sun/dark lines on the planet and I encouraged you to folllow it weekly? Those of you who did (I *KNOW*) were glad you did, as it provided a great lesson for the kids.

This site is similar, but with a LOT more things to do. Don't want to wait until March to see the equinox? Enter the date into the field and see it now. LOTS more to do with the moon, as well.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

[TIPS] - IdeaGenerationMethods

From the site:

This website lists and explains every idea generation method I've encountered during the past 15 years. It is the result of extensive research; my many sources include books, management journals, websites, academics, consultants and colleagues.

The methods have been drawn not just from the worlds of creative problem solving and innovation, but also from other worlds such as organizational change, strategic planning, psychotherapy, the new sciences and the creative arts.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

[TIPS] - Free paint program - Paint.Net

Paint.NET gives commercial photo editing programs some serious competition, which is all the more impressive since it began as a classroom project. This free program was developed by a team of computer science students at Washington State University, under a partnership with Microsoft.
Did I mention that it's free?

Monday, October 31, 2005

[TIPS] - physics flash animations and a bonus

Pass this one along to your favorite physics teacher. (I'm assuming you're not doing physics with your 3rd graders. :-)  )
And now, something for the rest of us non-physics teachers:
LOTS of things to do with the younger students. And I DO mean LOTS!!

Friday, October 28, 2005

[TIPS] - two sites from West Perry

I'm going to send this along just as I received it. Make sure your Art teachers see this! (Thanks to Dave B for sharing this resource)
Two items.

1. I thought you might be interested in spreading the word on It's a great site for English teachers.

2. I actually found the following website on

The Memory Project essentially connects high school students in the U.S. with
children from an impoverished country (currently Uganda). What this
organization does is send a photograph of one of these children to the U.S.
students who then create an artistic representation of the child which is
returned to the child. The artwork is to serve as a happy memory for these
children who are forced to live the most tragic of lives.

If you look at the website, you will see that the artwork is of a very high
quality and must be because of its significance to the children. I was hoping
that you might pass this website on to other schools and educators to see if
they are interested. I know that we have a few art students who would be
willing to participate, but I thought it would be much more effective if we
could increase the number of pictures sent by inviting art students from
across the IU to contribute. (Maybe we could even display them at the IU for
a week!)

I currently serve as the Peer Helpers advisor at West Perry High School. The
students in this group agreed to pay for the shipping of these works of art
which can be expensive.

Could you please get the word out to other districts and have them funnel it
to their art teachers or other appropriate personnel? Anyone who is
interested could contact me at
or by calling 717-789-3931. Please check out the site. I would really like
to see this take off!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

[TIPS] - Halloween site and a bonus

Thanks to Kevin H for sharing this one. A fun halloween puzzle site. Solve the interactive (Flash) puzzles (with little help from directions) to receive a secret message. Fun for lots of ages.

Click on the front gate and have fun!

Several people have asked me to repeat the tip about how to get Adobe Acrobat Reader to boot faster. Here's a URL for the information you're after:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

TIPS - Photoshop tutorials

Photoshop is a heavy duty photo editing application used by professionals around the planet. It does it all. The trouble is it's got a major learning curve to it. This site offers some very nice tutorials on how to use some of the many tools to do some very practical things.
What? You don't have Photoshop? Too expensive, you say? Agreed. So, get this FREE, Open Source version instead. (Mac version there, as well!)
A reminder - you can find an archive of these tips dating back to May at my blog,

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

[TIPS] - Poverty Facts

Not for the younger crowd, for sure, but this site ought to spark some sort of discussions with the older students:

For example:
Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day.
Now, let's take a few minutes to count our blessings.

Monday, October 24, 2005

[TIPS] - crime scene webquest

With all the attention on the CSI TV series nowadays many teachers have wished for a science course, or a math course that would be delivered in that same fashion. Solve the crime using what you've learned.
Well, here is a webquest that tries to do that very thing. Does it give you any ideas?

Friday, October 21, 2005

[TIPS] - unique numbers

What is unique about the number 1? How about the number 2? Or 15, or 26, or... You get the idea. This site tells you what's unique about most of the numbers between 0 and 9999. I'll bet you math teachers can have some fun with this site.
Did you know that the number 9973, for example, is the largest 4 digit prime number? Or the number 9841 is 111111111 in base 3. (Now THERE is a bit of trivia that will separate you from the masses, eh?)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

[TIPS] - Internet Tools for Teachers - a TON!

This site has links to tons of places where you can go to find just about anything you'd want or need for your classroom. Check it out. Bookmark it.
When you've bookmarked this particular page, click on the i4c logo in the top left corner to get back to their home page. They've done a fine job in collecting links for teachers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

[TIPS] - converting dates in Excel

Suppose you've got a date field that displays the date as, "10/19/2005" and you need it to be 10192005 - without the slashes. Can it be done? You betcha.
Select the cell (or the entire column) and choose Format>Format Cells.
From the list of formats in the General tab, choose Custom.
In the field on the right (above the large list of formats) enter mmddyyyy
Click OK to get back out.
dates such as 7/4/1995 will now show up as 07041995.
Strange tip, eh? Well, this is a result of a phonecall from someone who was working with the PSSA data (I think ) and needed to make this very conversion.
For the rest of you, how about this fun game about Nutrition?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

[TIPS] - Social_bookmarking

You've heard me talk about a wiki before (  - try it!!) and maybe you've heard me talk about wikipedia before. Well, this entry in wikipedia is about social bookmarking.
We can't possibly know all the really cool sites there are for education, but what if people were able to bookmark them for you? What if folks could bookmark a site, and tag it to match a category such as Education? That's social bookmarking.
This wikipedia entry contains a list of some of the social bookmarking sites available. I subscribe to the education section at site, for example. Truth be told, that's where I find a lot of the sites that I send out to you each day.

Monday, October 17, 2005

[TIPS] - History of the U.S. Supreme Court

Thanks to Keith C for sharing this one.

Sponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society, this site covers the history, bios and info on justices and more. It also has two feature stories, narrated and animated in parts using Macromedia Flash 6, illustrating key Supreme Court cases and issues, including the FDR “court-packing” controversy.

            Very topical, considering recent developments in the Court.


Friday, October 14, 2005

[TIPS] - echalk

Got a computer and a projector? Heck, even just a computer is fine for you to explore this on your own. But, some of these things are so good you'll want to share them with the kids.
Even though it appears that those applets are for sale, click the thumbnails to see them in action. And, before you leave, in the Amusements section, then Optical Illusions, check out the one called, "Spiral Pinwheel Illusion." Watch the pinwheel then look at the back of your hand. :-)
And, a bonus this rainy Friday.  Just for pure fun.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

[TIPS] - the BEST Halloween clipart site

It's the BEST!
'nough said.
And for some AMAZING pumpkin carvings, try this one (thanks, Barry)
(When you click the thumbnails, make sure you scroll below the larger image to click on the thumbnails to see how they look when lit up. VERY cool stuff.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

[TIPS] - The Big Here

From the site:
1) Point North
2) What time is sunset today?
3) Trace the water you drink from rainfall to the tap.
... Where does your garbage go?
And 20+ more questions like those. Why? We don't live in a vacuum, right? Where we live is part of a larger area which is part of yet another larger area, and so on. It can be quite an eye-opening experience even for adults when they realize how little they know about the area in which they live.
You probably won't use all the questions, but you may come up with questions of your own. What a cool project this could be. Perhaps a year long project, with the questions posted and the answers given as the students learn them during the changes of the seasons, etc. Got a digital camera? I'm sure you can think of a wonderful way to document this project, as well. Can you make a website? Each question links to a student-created page that answers it. I'm sure you can think of other ideas, as well.
If you DO choose to do something with this idea, please let me know what you're doing and then keep me posted as to the results. I'd love to be able to share your success story.
Oh... and if you didn't visit yesterday's site, DON'T! I heard from one person that the site tried to drop some spyware on his computer. Non-threatening spyware, but spyware nonetheless. I use a special HOSTS file that diverts those requests to nowhere so that can't happen. I wasn't aware of a problem. If you did visit the site and would like to check your system for spyware, visit to download a copy of Ad-Aware. Install it and run it and you'll be clean as a whistle. Sort-of, anyway. :-)

Monday, October 10, 2005

[TIPS] - clipboard safety lesson

Since today is an in-service day I thought I'd take this opportunity to show you something that just may change the way you play online.
Copy the paragraph below, then click the link above.
BEWARE! This site shows that it is possible for websites to "steal" what's on your clipboard. Most sites don't. But it only takes one, and it only takes ONE TIME when you've copied your social security number for some reason, and <presto!> - now THEY'VE got it, too.
The moral of this story is: if you're going to be surfing the Internet, make sure you don't have anything of value on your clipboard. How can you clear it? Simple - just highlight any word anywhere and copy it. That word will replace what was in your clipboard.

Friday, October 07, 2005

[TIPS] - google search tips

I thought I was pretty good with google searches. But, once again it's shown that the more you know the more you know what you don't know.
Check out this blog entry and see what you can learn about Google searches.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

[TIPS] - great freeware tools

Wink lets you create small movies of your desktop - great for showing students how to do those difficult tasks in Word or Excel, etc.
In top the top right corner are links to other programs like WAX:
Wax is a high performance and flexible video compositing and special effects software. The idea for Wax is to be very general purpose and flexible in video compositing and effects, so that you can compose your dream video sequence with ease everytime.
WinMorph is a high performance morphing and warping software.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

[TIPS] - paper plates activities

<sigh> Too many email servers rejected this email due to the url attachment it had. Don't get me started... Anyway, here it is again, sans attachment

Got paper plates? This site will tell you LOTS of things to do with them. You can choose from making an addition/multiplication aid, to an altitude measurer, to a constellation projector and many more. Looks like too much fun to me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

[TIPS] - Excel tip - working with dates

Here's a tip for those of you who work in Excel and who often need to work with dates.
If cell A1= 10/25/05 , then A1-15 = 10/10/05, and A1-30 = 9/25/05 and A1+3=10/28/05
Meaning - you can add and subtract with dates just like numbers.

Friday, September 30, 2005

[TIPS] - Do computers make kids dumb?

"A study of 100,000 pupils in 31 countries around the world has concluded that using computers makes kids dumb. Avoiding PCs in the classroom and at home improved the literacy and numeracy of the children studied. "
Interesting reading, perhaps made moreso since it's being suggested by a techie. :-)
But, if that doesn't interest you, how about this:  A site where teachers can share their powerpoints. There appears to be well over 100 powerpoints here ranging in subject from Astronomy to Math and beyond. Why not share one of yours?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

[TIPS] - Time's 100 Most Important People of the Century

Agree with their choices or not, the Time's "100 Most Important People of the Century" is an interesting read, at the very least. There is also another link to the Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2005, see archives from previous years, and you can even listen to the "Making of the Time 100" or comment on their choices.
I'll just bet that you can think of a good, thought-provoking lesson from this site. The very fact that Hitler is named in that list should be enough to generate some good discussions with your upper grades. But, in any case, you just may want to keep this site handy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

[TIPS] - MathWorld's Interactives and a bonus

I lost over 2 years worth of tips when I had this machine upgraded(?) to XP. I failed to backup my archive. :-(    So, this tip MAY be a repeat from a while back.
This site has over 100 animated GIFs, over 400 applets, and over 80 interactive examples of math functions of all kinds. If - no, WHEN - you try some of the applets you'll find that they don't seem to do anything. Click and drag them to rotate them. Amazing graphs. The Interactive examples are those where you input values to see the change in the graphs.
Not for the younger students, but definately one to bookmark for the upper grades.
And on another note, thanks to Barry for sending this one. Here's a National Geographic article that desribes the devastation and deaths from the hurricane. What's new? It was written in 2004!! It appears they have Nostradamus on their staff.  Or, perhaps Cassandra? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

[TIPS] - Ask Dr Grammar

The Dr. Grammar Frequently Asked Questions page contains answers to questions previously asked of Dr. Grammar that may provide help with your grammar questions. The questions are listed alphabetically, so they can be searched quickly and easily.
Answers to such commonly asked questions such as, "Should I use LIKE or SUCH AS?", or ,"Which is it, continuously or continually?" and a whole lot more. You may want to keep this one bookmarked.

Monday, September 26, 2005

[TIPS] - hubble photo gallery

There are times when I can't look at these images, as the enormity of the vastness of space gets to me. I just can't get my mind around it. At other times I just like the pictures. Here are three links to some images from Hubble. The last two are very similar, but I like the music in the last one better. It seems to fit. (For those who've been on this list for a while, you'll recognize that last link)

Friday, September 23, 2005

[TIPS] - MathisFun

From the site:
The Idea
The idea behind the site is to offer mathematics as well as some fun bits, and to combine the two wherever possible.
History was started by a maths teacher from the South West of England to encourage an interest in Mathematics.
The main content of the site is aimed at basic math skills. However you will find some more complex stuff, and some easier bits. Hopefully there should be something for everybody.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

[TIPS] - Great freebies from Microsoft

Do you have Windows XP (SP2)? Well, you may then want to check out some of the MANY freebies from Microsoft. This page links out to free software for your digital camera, free "skins" and songs and screensavers, and a link to what they call "PowerToys and Add-ins." The Power Toys are worth taking a look at, for sure, especially for those who are quite comfortable with Windows.
Finally (and thanks to Kathy J for this tip) you may also want to download both MovieMaker ( and PhotoStory ( Both are wonderful, FREE programs. Make movies, tell picture stories, complete with sound track, and much, much more.
(Oh, and many have written to say that they can't install programs because their computers are locked down. Remember, we all have signed an Acceptable Use Policy. Many of those forbid the installation of files on work-owned computers. So, for something like this, download and install on your HOME computer. If it's worthwhile for school, talk to your tech person to get permission to install it there.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

[TIPS] - Working with graphics in Office

While the graphics tool in Office aren't designed to allow you to do what you might do in, say, Adobe Illustrator, I'm sure they do more than the average user realizes. This article just may be the teaser to get you started exploring those tools.
And, under the category of just plain cool images, check out this site called liquidsculptures. There is such beauty in this world the exists for a fraction of a second at a time, and this site has captures some it. Be sure to check out all the categories.
(Thanks to Barry S for sharing this one.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

[TIPS] - This I Believe - by Bill Gates, and ehow

Read it or listen to it. One thing we know for sure, if he believes it he's going to do it, and as Microsoft goes so goes the world. :-/
Or, if you don't really care much about what Bill believes, try this site:
There you can learn how ot do LOTS of things, from playing horseshoes, to fixing a carborater or a clothes dryer, and MUCH more.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Re: [TIPS] - Top 101 sites for teachers

I don't know why this URL is being rejected, but thanks to Rick N. for sending this fix to what many of you are reporting as being a "Forbidden" site. Click on his link below, then in the top left corner are other links, the first one of which takes you to this Top 101 sites area.
Thanks, Rick.

however ... if you go to  .. and then click on their internal link (Top left corner) to the Top 101 sites .. it works!!!
Rick N*********

James Gates <> wrote:
I was considering not sending this and then picking from the list throughout the year, but that would be selfish. So, check out this person's list of the top 101 sites for teachers, arranged by subject.

[TIPS] - Top 101 sites for teachers

I was considering not sending this and then picking from the list throughout the year, but that would be selfish. So, check out this person's list of the top 101 sites for teachers, arranged by subject.

Friday, September 16, 2005

[TIPS] - bonus - free math software?

Carnegie Learning is offering 500 free trials of the company's Cognitive Tutor middle and high school math software as part of the second annual Carnegie Learning Challenge. The Challenge begins October 3 and runs through November 4, 2005. Participants will receive the software (good for one curriculum for up to 30 students per school), plus full customer support and access to Carnegie Learning staff throughout the trial. Visit the Challenge site to register online.
I don't know how many, if any, of the 500 spots are still open, but it's worth a shot.

[TIPS] - 4teachers

—------ works to help you integrate technology into your classroom by offering FREE online tools and resources. This site helps teachers locate and create ready-to-use Web lessons, quizzes, rubrics and classroom calendars. There are also tools for student use. Discover valuable professional development resources addressing issues such as equity, ELL, technology planning, and at-risk or special-needs students.
Don't forget, you can check my blog for archived tips dating back to May at

Thursday, September 15, 2005

[TIPS] - Beat the Calculator

Learn how to do math in your head quickly and (relatively) easily. Some very cool tricks on how to square various numbers, multiply two, two digit numbers, and more. It will be tough to learn ALL the tricks, but there will surely be some that your students can learn to save the day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

[TIPS] - bonus - aurora watch next two nights

From the mailing list....-
Space Weather News for Sept. 14, 2004
Sunspot 798/808 flared twice more yesterday, and at least one of the X-class explosions propelled a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of severe geomagnetic activity when the CME arrives--perhaps tonight, Sept. 14-15. Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras.
Observing tips: Although auroras are sometimes bright enough to shine through city lights, you'll see more from a dark-sky site in the countryside. The best time to look is usually during the hours around local midnight.
Visit for more information and updates.Would you like a call when the geomagnetic storm erupts? Try SpaceWeather PHONE:

[TIPS] - World Almanac for Kids

TONS of things to learn and do in this site. You can explore fun facts about animals or inventions or Presidents, and even space. Or, in the Fun and Games area you can play games, take fun quizzes, and even enter a classroom contest.
Here's a teaser -
The computer mouse was invented in 1968, by Doug Englebart, but he did not use that name for it. He called it an "x-y position indicator."
Or this one:
You can figure out the temperature in the summer by listening to cricket chirps. Count the chirps you hear in 15 seconds, and add 39. That should give you the Fahrenheit temperature outdoors within a couple of degrees! (WIthin a couple degrees? Then heck, just add 40 - easier math, right? :-)  )

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

[TIPS] -

Howtoons are one-page cartoons showing 5-to-15 year-old kids "How To" build things. Each illustrated episode is a stand-alone fun adventure accessible to all, including the pre-literate. Our Howtoons are designed to encourage children to be active participants in discovering the world through Play-that-Matters -- fun, creative, and inventive -- and to rely a lot less on mass-consumable entertainment.
You'll see cartoons about how to make cool air cannons (see a couple videos of them, as well), how to count in binary, and even how to make a zoetrope.

Monday, September 12, 2005

[TIPS] - animated Atlas

If you're studying the 13 colonies and the expansion of America, or the Civil War, or the Post Civil War era, then you'll want to keep this site handy. A documentary style animation for each of those eras is well done, and would be a great addition to your studies, I believe.

[TIPS] - cool interactive math games

This site not only has a whole page full of interactive math games, but it's got areas where you can make you own, as well. This is the Oswego School District site, and as you can see from the URL, this is a staff member's (cchamber) page. Very nice.
Oh, and if you back up to the folder ( you can find other Math and Word games, as well.

Friday, September 09, 2005

[TIPS] - bonus on Katrina links

While it may be personally difficult to keep hearing of the almost incomprehensible devastation and pain and suffering going on down there, it cannot be ignored. And, it may very well be an excellent "teachable moment." That site contains links to tons of information that I'm sure you can use. There is information about the storm itself as well as about that region and even some folks who have created Math questions relating to the storm. A very nice collection.

[TIPS] - Games on Google Maps

By now you've seen the satelite view of your house on or have used the program at to zoom around the world. (Some of you even saw the, right? ;-)  )
But, a group of folks have now made games using google maps. There is a Tic-Tac-Toe game, a Risk game, and even an Oregon Trail game. Many more, too. See if you can find one that just might fit into your class work.
By the way, before you give money to some Katrina Relief website, check this out:

Thursday, September 08, 2005

[TIPS] -

This site is for the little ones. Click the Directory link at the top to see a large list of educational games, songs, and stories. Very cute stuff.
Oh, and I mistyped my blog addess the other day. It's (I had mistakenly put a space between tip and line.) That's where you'll find the archive of my tips. Feel free to leave comments, too, if you wish.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

[TIPS] - Great Questions of History

There has long been a need for a web site dedicated to determining what Americans think about important issues in their history. The Great Questions of History site addresses this need and makes history come alive by allowing people to vote on these key questions. It provides up to the minute vote results and bar graphs showing vote percentages. Although the numbers are not scientific, they do illustrate how Americans feel about matters that were (and are) crucial to their country and the world.
Even if you don't actually vote, I'll bet you'll find the questions EXCELLENT. "Why was America's indpendence inevitable?" "Was the Civil War unavoidable?" "Was the youth movement of the '69's the key to a better America?"
Check it out. Oh, and as a reminder, if you've lost the set of links that I sent out over the summer regarding links for Constitution Day, my tip archive can be found here:


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

[TIPS] - a wiki playground

Ever heard of a wiki? (WICK'-ee) is an example of a giant wiki, where anyone can go in there and add to it.
I've created a wiki for us to play around with, too. It's from a site called PBWiki (for PeanutButter Wiki). Here's what you do:
2) Enter your name and an email address. (Don't worry, you won't get spammed or blasted with emails every time someone makes a change. At least *I* haven't. Ignore what it says there.)
3) Use: letmein (let me in) as the password
Don't Panic! :-)  You can't hurt it. Really! Read the first page. Relax. Click one or two of the links. (Click the Frontpage link at the top to get back to the start page.)
Now, when you're ready, click the StartHere link. Read my easy-to-follow instructions and click the Edit button at the top to give it a try.
Why am I showing you this? Once you see how easy it is to use I'm hoping that you'll start to think about how you could use something like this with your students. In fact, maybe one or two of the brave ones among you might even tell us how you'd use it when you create your own page. I'm working to get a wiki server at the IU so that we won't have to use public wikis with our students. THink about it... your class has just finished a unit (or a new book) and you create a wiki summarizing the book. THen you could ask the students to get in there to expound upon the ideas that you've started. It could turn into quite the project. Your turn - how else might you use it?
Welcome to the more than 50 new subscribers to the TIPS list. You can see past tips by going here: Click the archive months on the left side to see past tips. Oh, and most tips aren't this... complicated. :-)

Friday, September 02, 2005

[TIPS] - 10x10

Every hour, 10x10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading international news sources, and performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour's most important words. The top 100 words are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from the source news stories. At the end of each day, month, and year, 10x10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input.
In a world that sometimes has such trash to spew up at everyone, here is a site where the beauty of its automated simplicity, and the cleverness of the underlying concept makes it stand out as something truly unique and, to me at least, hauntingly classy.
I'll bet some clever teachers could turn this site into a very creative lesson or two. I'd love to hear about it, if you do.
next week - Do you wanna *wiki with me? ;-) 
(pronounced: WICK-ee)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

[TIPS] - excel utilities and one for the rest of us

Are you an Excel user? Are you a Power User? (Pretty comfortable with the program) Then, you may want to try this package of FREE ad-ins. There are over 300 new functions that will be added to your excel application, ranging from those that help with the visual display, to print options, to functions that will, say, change formatting based on unusual specifications (color the n'th row in columns X, Y, and J, for example).
It's not for the new user, but those who are comfortable with Excel will like the new power tools.
Now, something for the rest of us. :-)
You've seen by now, I'm sure. Amazing, isn't it? (Have you tried the hybrid button yet?) Did you know there is one for the moon, as well? When you first 'land' there you'll see the markers where various moon landings have occured. But, for the REAL treat, ZOOM IN the WHOLE WAY for proof of what some have long suspected.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

[TIPS] -

Math teachers have long struggled with teaching the concept of fractions. Some kids pick it up right away while others seem to always have troubles.

Next time your favorite math teacher is about to begin the fractions unit, show him/her this site: Look on the left of the home page for the Main Categories (Adding Fractions, Multiplying Fractions, etc) Once in that selected area you'll note that you have hyperlinks under the graphics area that will let you represent the fractions by either lines or circles. Very nice.
I was able to figure them out 3/4 of the time. Or, maybe it was more like 6/8? :-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

[TIPS] - answers with one click

Imagine you and/or your students are browsing a web page and you come upon an unfamiliar word or phrase. What do you do to find its meaning? Copy and paste it somewhere? Probably. But, what if you could just click the word/phrase to find out about it? Enter
This very small application (for MACS, too!) lets you simply alt-click on a word ANYWHERE and you'll be taken to a page that defines it. Very cool, eh? All you need is an internet connection for it to work.
And, according to its privacy policy it is NOT spyware, nor will you get spammed to death if you download and use it. Here it is:

Oh, and I run across this little article yesterday that I thought you'd enjoy. Thankfully this is in England, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it's around here, too. <sigh>

Monday, August 29, 2005

[TIPS] - Welcome back - and Celestia

I know what you're thinking -> "Where did that summer go?" If you find it, please see if mine is there, too, as it surely disappeared on me, as well.
Before I give today's tip I want to remind you of my tip blog where you can find past tips going back to May. Just go to: and you'll see them. Feel free to leave a comment, too, if you're inclined. More on blogs (and wikis and moodles and drupals) later. In fact, this year we have LOTS of new things in store. I have to fight to keep from spilling it all in one tip. :-)
Today's tip is about a piece of free software called Celestia. It's a space simulation software for Windows AND MAC!! that lets kids explore our universe in 3D. Read about it on this page:   Sourceforge is the open source place.
Oh!... and if you know of a new employee who would like to be included on this list, please have them send me an email to that effect and I'll be sure to add him/her to the list right away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Direct from Word

This post is coming straight from Word.

A new tool from Blogger adds a toolbar to Word that allows you to write your blog post and publish it to your blog without the fuss of logging in anywhere. Very cool!

Get it here:

Monday, August 01, 2005

[TIPS] - turn off your computer week

You heard about the Turn Off Your TV Week, right? Well, August 1-7 is Turn Off Your Computer week.
PC-Turnoff Organization was founded to make parents aware of the risks associated with excessive computer use by their children, and provide information to help guide them. While the computer is a wonderful tool, like many things in children's lives, limits must be set for their own safety and well being. PC-Turnoff established PC-Turnoff Week to encourage parents to turnoff their children's computer for one whole week during the summer. We also encourage parents to limit excessive use by their children throughout the year as well.
So, turn off your computer and go outside! :-)

Friday, July 29, 2005

[TIPS] - Constitution Day sites



Commonwealth Libraries Constitution Day (September 17) Web Sources Available
Constitution Day -- The Bill of Rights Institute ---
Constitution Resources -- Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)
Independence Day Activities
NARA The National Archives Experience
National Constitution Center - Centuries of Citizenship
National Constitution Center Interactive Constitution
Search Results, Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)
United States Constitution Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress)

As you are probably aware, this year the Federal Government has mandated that September 17th be observed as Constitution Day, and all schools receiving federal funds must do something to observe the day. Interesting.
I thought I'd send out a short list of sites that may help you prepare for meeting that requirement. It's an exported web page of bookmarks. Just double click the attachment and it should open in your browser where you can click on the links to check out the sites for yourself. They're in no particular order.
Those of you with video conferencing equipment may also want to check out and search for constitution to see what video conferences you may want to participate in. Or, think of one of your own and contact your tech person to help you make it happen. Wouldn't it be fun to share a Constitution Day activity with another school and class somewhere, either local or farther away?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

[TIPS] - Free: expression (beta)

Thought I'd share this one now rather than wait until the summer. If you're a windows XP user then check this out. You'll have to register for the MS passport login, but it's really no big deal. The software looks very cool - especially for you artsy types. Oh, and this beta version is FREE!
"Acrylic" is the codename for an innovative illustration, painting and graphics tool that provides exciting creative capabilities for designers working in print, web, video, and interactive media.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

[TIPS] - megaconferencejr archive

About half way down this page are the links for the archive of the megaconferencejr event. Make sure it says: Created on: 05/19/2005 . It's an 11 hour event, but you can slide the ... "slider thing" (the official geek term).. to various parts and watch what interests you.
It will require that you install the viewer, and my XP machine (sigh) didn't want to install it as it was "unsigned." But, by clicking the "click here" link it forced the install.
The page displays the video on the left and the chat area on the right. That area is of little use, however - in my opinion - other than to show that this live chat was going on the entire day, along with the video event.
Steelton Highspire's part is early on. On my screen if I position that slider thing between the stop button and the "back to start" button I'll see it. A small group of little children dressed in Indian garb preceeds them. But, check out different parts of the day. As I've said before, this was a "goosebump day."

Friday, June 10, 2005

[TIPS] - last tip of the school year

With the exception of something that just cannot wait, this is the last tip of this school year. I do hope that you've found some of them to be of value.
Evite is the free social-planning site featuring invitations, social networking, local information and events listing. From planning a dinner party for friends to finding something to do on Saturday night, Evite makes it easy to explore local areas, communicate, coordinate, and make decisions. Launched in 1998, Evite is an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI) Local and Media Services.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

[TIPS] - artrage from Ambient Design Ltd.


ArtRage is a painting package designed to provide a realistic and fun simulation of using paint on a canvas, along with pens, pencils, crayons, and other tools. ArtRage is available for both Windows and Mac OS X. It can be used with a mouse, but works better if you have a graphics tablet, or even better on a Tablet PC where ArtRage takes advantage of the unique interaction of pen and screen to produce a realistic painting feel.

ArtRage is all about playing with paint without the mess, and having fun in the process. You can paint your own image from a blank canvas to completed work, or load in a picture to trace and have the tools pick their colours for you as you paint over it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

[TIPS] - JigZone Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw Puzzle paradise

How much time do you have?

An online Jigsaw Puzzle where you choose the level of difficulty from a simple 6 piece cut to a challenging 247 piece cut.

Monday, June 06, 2005

[TIPS] -If You Were President

If your student got the opportunity to be President of the US for a day, what would he or she do? Here's your chance to find out.

Friday, June 03, 2005

[TIPS] - eThemes eMINTS

eThemes is an extensive database of content-rich, age-appropriate resources organized around specific themes. These resources are created for educators to use in their classrooms.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

[TIPS] - Excel Files General

Think you know Excel? Want to be impressed by someone who REALLY knows Excel? Check it out. There are files to download and play around with so you, too, can learn how to make these VERY cool spreadsheets. From a spreadsheet to chart Climate data to an Animated Hypocycloid charts, and from a timeline chart to your own Keno game, this is cool stuff.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

[TIPS] - Store Wars:-) Fight of the organics...

Many thanks to Barry for sharing this one. Health teachers and anyone who is concerned about healthy eating will enjoy this Star Wars "takeoff." :-)  Very clever, indeed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

[TIPS] - photosynthesis movie

If you or someone you know teaches photosynthesis then this is the site to see. A very nice shockwave video.
And I regret to admit that I forget now who it was that sent this to me, but thanks goes out to that person.

[TIPS] - animal verbs (corrected link)

A tip from three years ago. I thought it might be a fun activity for the end of the year.

>>> James Gates 09/19/02 2:47 PM >>>

Can you doggedly ferret out the answers to these verbs? Fun activity for kids.

See how well you do on these first few questions. Each answer is an animal (bird or fish, too)The number at the end refers to the number of letters in the answer.

1. to score two under-par on a golf hole [5]
2. to outwit by cunning [3]
3. complain [6]
4. to defraud by cheating or swindling [4]
5. to strike with great force; move quickly [3]

Friday, May 27, 2005

[TIPS] - more fun word games

Games include Rhyme and Reason ("a good bargain is sometimes called this (4,4)" - a "real deal"), Keyword Server ("What word is found in the definition of each of the following words?), ABC Words (words containing the letters a, b, anc c), Alternating Current (Smaller words found inside larger words), A Collectives Quiz (What do you call a group of crows?), and more.
Challenging even for the older students.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

[TIPS] - identity theft on the sharp rise

From the site:
Millions of Americans have become the victims of identity theft since the beginning of the year. Renee Montagne talks with former FBI agent Kevin Barrows about where that information goes and how it's abused. Barrows led the bust of one of the country's largest identity theft operations in 2002.

Be sure to check out the related links, too, especially "Fighting Identity Theft."

Identity theft is VERY costly to the victims. Don't become one because of your own ignorance or neglect.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

[TIPS] - more on Blogs

Thanks to Beth B from Mechanicsburg for pointing out these great links that discuss the dangers of blogging. Like most things dealing with the Internet, when used correctly they are fine. But, when kids don't follow basic "safety first" practices then they can, indeed, be in danger. Remember, most kids believe (correctly?) that their parents don't have a clue how to find their online blog posts so they can say and do things there that would scare a parent to death. Like what? Well, read the articles at the links below.
Check out the following links, and...let's be careful out there. :-)

Monday, May 23, 2005

[TIPS] - the ultimate web filter?

From Google (not really) comes the ultimate in web filters, still currently in beta. Check it out. What do you think?
;-) Thanks to Barry for sharing this one.
Now for a REAL tip: Did you know that 43% of adults get 'phished?' (Where a spammer disguises himself as ebay or your bank and asks you for your account information or password so they can verify who you are. yeah RIGHT!) PLEASE don't be a victim. NEVER send that kind of information to someone based upon an email. Read about it here:

Friday, May 20, 2005

[TIPS] - Hello - Introducing BloggerBot

Weblogs (blogs) are really cool. Currently they're free - at least at Blogger. The Tipline blog is just one example. The problem is that I couldn't  post images to that blog unless I first put them up on the web somewhere and then linked to them.
Enter Hello.
With Hello (a free download) and Picasa (another free download at and the same program that I used to make the slides movie yesterday) you can post pictures right to your blog and share them with your friends. Why not just have a website with your pictures? This link tells you why: 
Ideas: Post images from your classroom. Invite only the parents of your children to view them. Keep a photo journal of your year as it unfolds. Photography classes can of course have a great time with a photo blog. Post images of unusual things and generate discussions. Use your photo blog to post images as writing prompts. I'm sure you can come up with other/better ideas.
Today's post will be again added to my Tipline blog. Check it out. I posted an image from yesterday's megaconferencejr there too - directly through Hello. Piece of cake!
If you start your own classroom blog I'd sure love to see it. If you're interested in learning more about blogging, look for a class to be offered here this summer.

This is a view of the TV set showing how they had it divided up to show those participants of MegaconferenceJr. What a great day that was. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

[TIPS] - megaconferencejr images

Congratulations to Steelton-Highspire SD for being the first of our districts to participate in the second annual megaconferencejr, the world wide video conference held on Internet2. Byron Kiehl, their tech director and Eric Cripe, OUR network guru, spent much time working out the bugs so that the conference would come off without a hitch, and their efforts paid off in spades.

This link, points to a windows media player file of a movie I created in Picasa2 from the images I took during my visit to SHSD this morning to watch them participate. Check it out. Oh, and allow it ample time for it to download, as it's a 65mb file. (That's right, 65mb, so dialup users shouldn't wait up for it. :-) ) And another thing (a bonus TIP, if you will), when the movie starts, if you press Alt-Enter it will toggle to a full screen.

Congratulations again to Steelton Highspire for their successful foray into the video conferencing world. I'd sure LOVE to see more of our local districts participating next year. It was quite painless and the kids were blown away by it.

[TIPS] - Looking for a graphic?

Let's say you're in Word or Powerpoint and you want to insert a picture from a folder of pictures you collected from online, but you're not sure of what it was called. You click the browse button and navigate to the correct folder but all you see is a list of odd-looking picture names. Which one is the one you want?

Change the view of this browse window to show THUMBNAILS of the images right there in the browse window simply by clicking the word Tools up in the right corner of the Open dialog window and choose Thumbnails. Presto! You can now easily tell which picture you're after. (See image below. Groupwise users must be in HTML view to see the image. Click the HTML icon along the top right corner of your Groupwise message window.)


P.S. I'm anxious to see what this looks like when it gets posted to the blog (

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

[TIPS] - Study Shows WebBased Learning Improves Reading Skills

The study, conducted in two Maryland middle schools, showed that 7th and 8th graders who used three online field trips (specifically developed by MPT for social studies and language arts and integrated into their lesson plans) scored higher on a national standardized reading comprehension test than those who used traditional learning methods alone.
Note: The article does NOT say how MUCH higher they scored, just that they scored higher.
BONUS: Here's a neat little site for the little ones:  Cute games of all kinds. (This tips was first sent out in 2002!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

[TIPS] - tipline blog started

From time to time I've been asked if I have a master document containing past tips. Answer - no, I don't. CAIU employees, however, can ask to share my tips folder and thus see my past tips. But, the rest of you have thus far been out of luck.
Enter the blog, or Weblog. At you can create your own FREE weblog. It's VERY easy to do. Truly. Then you can post whatever you want on it. You can even EMAIL posts to it - which is what I'm now starting to do with my tips. I send them out as usual, but I also email it to my blog where it gets posted at the top of the list. Now you can just visit the blog at any time to see previous tips - at least tips posted from this day forward.
The address is Check it out. Now, normally you'd be able to contribute to a blog. That's how it works. But, I don't see myself typing in over 900 email addresses to allow that to happen. You CAN comment on tips, however.
One more thing. This site automatically archives the blogs each month. So, on June 1st you'll have to click on the May archives link to see those tips.

Monday, May 16, 2005

[TIPS] - basic? windoze tip

Did you know that you don't have to hunt for the [X] box to close a window, or the [_] box to minimize? Nope. Just right click ANYwhere on that blue title bar to see those options. Great for when you've moved a window off the screen and can't see those boxes. And you don't need to click the middle button to maximize or Restore down, either. Just double click the blue title bar.
BTW  - I DO know how to spell Windows. It's just so difficult for me to be nice about it. :-) I'm a Mac guy at heart. Ask any of the CAMELOT folks out there.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Phishing Warning

According to this article, 45% of adults with email have been "approached" by phishing scams. A whopping 5% have fallen for them!!!
Don't YOU be one of them! NEVER supply personal information to a company at the behest of an email. Companies don't do business that way.

The Tips Blog - Welcome!

Greetings all. I thought this might be a painless way of introducing you to the world of Blogs - weB-LOGS, that is. It's nothing to fear or necessarily avoid, and it CAN be educational and fun.

I plan to post my tips to this blog when I send them out each day. (This site will allow you to email a blog post. Cool, eh?) THis way you can always come back here to look for old ones or comment on them or even post your own. Think about it - this COULD be a VERY helpful resource if we use it.

So, to get thing started here's today's tip:

This is a reminder of a stie I sent out three years ago: is it? The front page is a matrix of little images. Each image links to a small game designed for the younger ones. Some come with direcitons. Others don't and you have to figure out the object of the game. Flash based. Very nice. Network friendly, too.