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.