Thursday, September 27, 2007

[TIPS] epals and askherepa

I thought I would pass along a couple websites that some teachers gave to me this week at the Classrooms for the Future bootcamp.
The first is In this day when we're trying to make global connections with our classes, here's one way to get that done.
"Our Global Community™ is the largest online community of K-12 learners, enabling more than 325,000 educators and 126,000 classrooms in over 200 countries and territories to safely connect, exchange ideas, and learn together. Our award winning SchoolBlog™ and SchoolMail™ products are widely used and trusted by schools around the world."
Did you catch that? SchoolBlog and SchoolMail. If you've been looking for a way to get safe blogs and email accounts for your students, perhaps this is a way that you'll like. But, even if you don't, this looks like an interesting site to help you make those global connections. I DO encourage you to try it. I think YOU will find it to be an invigorating experience, and one that can spark a LOT of different kinds of lessons as you study their geography, their culture, their political system, their history... ALL sorts of ideas come to mind, don't they?
If you DO use this service, I'd LOVE to know your experience.
Second is (
"Ask Here PA is Pennsylvania's new statewide live chat reference service and is a free service to all residents of Pennsylvania, offering live chat reference 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
There's even one that will connect you to college librarians to help with those research projects. Is that amazing, or what? A 24/7 service where you can ask a librarian your questions and get an answer within minutes. Note that it's for PA residents only.
Many thanks to the ladies who shared these ideas with me over the past couple of days.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

[TIPS] English teachers, Read this post

When using webmail and FIrefox I can't embed hyperlinks, so this is going to be rough. Karl Fisch pointed to that blog post ( and suggested that we read it ourselves. I'm glad I did.

English teachers, you're going to want to read it, too. Karen Gerlich posted her version of a poem that her students were challenged to write. THey were, "I am From" poems in which the students had to write about just that. She was impressed by their imagery and their stories, and so her team teacher, Lary, talked her into posting hers.

Read the post for three reasons. First, read it to hear about the lesson that prompted it. I think it's a wonderful idea, and I think you will, too. Second, read it to read her poem. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Finally, after you're done, try it yourself. I'll just bet that you'll recall some wonderful moments and people in YOUR life, as well.

Thank you, Karen, for sharing!

[TIPS] MySpace vs High Stakes Testing

I just received an email from a teacher whose 8th grade students just finished two days of testing. You know.. THE tests. She first commented on how wound up they were when the tests were over and FINALLY having a chance to unwind. But then she mentioned that it was common knowledge among the 8th graders that the writing prompts were being shared all over MySpace.
For all the outside pressures that 'education' has seen in an effort to get it to change, we may find that History will speak of how the kids and their use of technology was what REALLY forced a drastic change from within.

Friday, September 21, 2007

[TIPS] A whole new mind was right!!

If you’ve read “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink, he talks about how right-brained folks will be in demand in the future. Well, the future is now.

Check out this job listing for NASA:

And I quote, “Creativity. Ambition. Teamwork. A sense of daring. And a probing mind. That's what it takes to join NASA, one of the best places to work in the Federal Government.”

[TIPS] last one for today - a G-R-E-A-T video about teachers

This 27 minute video is a series of clips from various movies about teachers. Good ones, bad ones, funny ones, powerful ones.

THIS will inspire. It will make you PROUD of being a teacher all over again.

Enjoy. Savor. Be proud.

[TIPS] teachers are mirrors

Oh my… when I see this and think about the times when I would yell at a kid the wrong way. Oh how I wish I could take those moments back. But, one can’t un-ring a bell, right?


I saw this on the edubloggerworld ning. I’ve subscribed to the videos page. This was posted there by a French blogger, Gabriela Grosseck.


Teachers are mirrors. This might be a good one to play at the end of the first inservice day every year. Even the more veteran teachers could stand a little refresher on this, don’t you think?


[TIPS] College Essays redux - from Anne Smith's blog

Those of you who have read my posts for a while know that I am a big fan of Anne Smith and her work with her English students. I’ve had this one on the burner to go out for a week, but I just saw the Karl Fisch has pointed to it, so I thought I’d better send it out to MY readers, as well. (There are many who only read the email posts)


This is a post about how she and two other teachers used Google Groups to put a twist on the college essays assignment. Give it a read. This sounds like a VERY interesting approach. She talks about the how’s and why’s of this project, and she shares the rules that she gave the students. Read the comments from the other two teachers, as well. The positives and the adjustments that they plan for next year.


Thanks for sharing this, Anne, Lauren, and Michele.

[TIPS] Google Calendar APIs

This came from the programmable web’s blog. Here are a bunch of mashups with the google calendar. Need a calendar to share with folks? Check out this list! If you’ve got .net 2.0 and outlook 2003 or higher then one of these even lets you sync the calendars!

Very cool stuff.

[TIPS] Russia discovers the North Pole!

True. OK.. they didn’t discover it, but Russian submarines planted a flag on the floor of the North Pole. Why? There are vast amounts of resources up there and now that the ice has melted to such a point, it’s now possible (or at least the countries are predicting that it will be possible) to explore that area for its resources.


So what? Watch this video: (or use one of the many sites that allow you to download it) and show it to your senior high students. It’s a BBC-produced video about this very thing. How do the students feel about Russia planting that flag? What do they think it means? Then read/listen to this news article: It, too, talks of the rush to claim the arctic. What are the implications of this?


I won’t take sides with the global warming issue, nor, perhaps, should you with your students. But, the discussion about countries trying to claim the arctic floor is a fascinating one, I think, and a topic that their generation will have to deal with, won’t they?


[TIPS] teachertube makeover contest

Wanna win $15k worth of cool classroom technology? Here’s one way you can try. TeacherTube has announced a contest in conjunction with Interwrite Learning that will have three winners receiving the prizes. Here’s how the site presents it:


“The complete interactive makeover is valued at approximately $15,000. In addition, winners will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a celebration party for the entire school. The contest will name one winner from the following three grade level segments: Kindergarten through fifth; sixth through eighth; and ninth through 12th.

The video will be judged on the following criteria: demonstration of effective use of technology, portrayal of teachers and students working together and the overall creativity and spirit. The video must be submitted by a teacher and the grade segment that the video will be judged in is determined by the grade level of that teacher. Interwrite must be mentioned once within the lyrics of the song. The conclusion must direct viewers to the Interwrite Learning Web site to vote. The video should be no longer than three minutes in length.”


Now, I KNOW that we’ve got some very creative kids out there. We’ve all seen samples of their work. Here’s a chance to produce a funny video and collect on the great prizes.


Spread the word! I’m anxious to see the entries.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

[TIPS] a great physics lesson

I just had the opportunity to watch a really cool physics lesson. It was all very low tech, but the final presentation might just end up being quicktime movies or splashcast videos saved in their moodle site. The teacher took some digital pictures and I took a few with my cell phone. Now I'll have to go home and read the manual to see how to pull them off the phone!

Here's the lesson. The teacher found this lesson on the web while searching for vector physics lessons. This was an AP Physics class of a dozen kids. The class was divided into three groups and each group was given some graph paper, a yardstick, a few smaller rulers, a length of string, a protractor, and a 100' tape measure. One group got a 50' tape measure. We then went outside.

He took the students to show them a spot on the curb in front of the school which would serve as an end point. Then they walked around the building to a back corner and marked that as the other end point. The task was to find out how far it was from one point to the other - in a straight line. They had to use vectors to work their way around the building.

It was interesting to see how the groups approached the task. The building wasn't your nice neat rectangle, either, so they had lots of angles to work with. Kids were down (prone) on the ground, talking through how they'd find the true angles, dealing with metal measures that wanted to kink, and having a good time.

At the end of the period they came back inside to do their calculations. As the bell rang a couple students stopped to ask what the real answer was. The teacher asked what THEY found (claiming he couldn't remember exactly), and the two that I heard were very close. One was within three meters, and the other was right on the money! Very good work.

As the one girl left she said, "I'll just go home tonight and use Google Earth to find it."

What's interesting with that is that Google Earth has not been a part of the curriculum anywhere, so she has learned that tool on her own. AND - she thought of it right away as the way to solve this problem.

It all comes back to the teacher, doesn't it? A great lesson. And if we had some student machines the kids would be making their own presentations using the images we took. I'd love to see this one in splashcast. My bet, however, is that if they made the movies they'd want to upload them to YouTube and then use the embed code to include them in the Moodle site. I hope to find out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

[TIPS] Congress considers NCLB (from ASCD newsbrief)

This, from the ASCD newsbrief newsletter:

-          - -

-          Congress considering the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind
Right now, Congress is considering the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. This legislation has far-reaching implications, and your voice is critical. Education policy matters. It affects what teachers teach, what students learn, and what resources are available for schools. ASCD wants to ensure that those who know what works for students are at the table when education policy is created. ASCD Educator Advocates are engaged and working with Congress to make changes. We invite you to join ASCD Educator Advocates. With your help, we can make sure education policy will support, not hinder, student learning. Sign up to make a difference for kids with the free ASCD Educator Advocates program.”



[TIPS] TED | Talks | Zeresenay Alemseged: Finding the origins of humanity (video)


“Paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged is looking for the roots of humanity in Ethiopia's badlands. Here he talks about what he has found -- including the oldest skeleton yet discovered of a hominid child -- and how Africa holds the clues to what makes us human.”

[TIPS] fox hole radio - amazing!

I had heard that soldiers in WWII used to make radios out in the field, but I had no idea how. Now, Bre Pettis from Make Magazine shows you how to make one from a toilet paper tube, some wire, a couple safety pins, some thumb tacks, a small stub of a pencil, and a razor blade.


This is VERY cool, and full of lesson ideas. Why the lead pencil? Why a razor blade? What do the safety pins have to do with it?


Check out his video here:

Wanna trade places?


I'm sitting here waiting for another call from our outside tech support, my stomach in knots, over 300 people VERY unhappy with me (I'm the contact person), and I'm watching this situation unfold with NOTHING I can do to stop it or slow down the pace of the self-destruction. My eyes don't want to focus on anything for more than a fraction of a second. My breathing is short and shallow, with the exception of a few scattered deep sighs. I keep looking around for SOMETHING that I can do , knowing that there isn't a THING I can do. The result is that I and my company are going to come out of this looking VERY bad in spite of us having done all we could to remedy the situation.

A few miles from here are over 300 people who are expecting to use a Moodle site that resides on our server. The problem is that 300 concurrent users on the server is a LOT, and when you add in all the students in our districts who are also on, the system is on overload. The site has slowed to glacial speeds, making it unusable. The train has begun to derail. Trainers are moving from plan B to Plan C and D. My phone is ringing off the hook... er.. off my belt clip.

Have you ever been in that situation? What an awful, helpless feeling it is. Nobody wants reasons or excuses. Perhaps nobody is blaming me, personally. But, I FEEL the pressure and I feel personally responsible somehow.

So, wanna trade places?

The tip? Where's the tip, you ask? Well, here's one: If you haven't already seen or heard, Google Docs now has a Presentation mode. Create them then share them online. Lots of folks are talking about it, so I won't repeat. But, if you don't READ lots of folks, log into your google docs and choose New...Presentation. Very nice.

No, if you'll excuse me, it's time I crawl out onto the ledge - along with those poor trainers. "OK, gang, we'll all jump on 3. Ready? One... Two.........

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

[TIPS] Google Docs video - from Common Craft


Thanks to Sue Sheffer for telling me about this first. Another cool video from the makers of such hits as, “RSS in Plain English”, “Wikis in Plain English,” and others. Now comes, “Google Docs in Plain English.”


Check it out!!


P.S. He didn’t do the “Booo” thing again. Boooo!

[TIPS] weather bonk

Here is a great mashup for those who study or are just interested in the weather. This site collects weather data about a number of major cities, but you can plug in your own city, as well. Besides the weather information there are webcams, monthly weather averages, and a TON more.

This site tied last year for the best mashup. Check it out.

Monday, September 17, 2007

[TIPS] tank commander reunited with death train survivers

What a great story this is. And, what a testament to the Internet.
"The reunion has its roots in a class project launched by Matthew Rozell, a history teacher at Hudson Falls High School. In the early 1990s, he created an elective course for seniors to collect stories from local veterans and post them on a Web site."
You have to read the rest. What a VERY cool story.
This is another article I found on the ASCD brief. You don't receive it? You may want to check it out.

[TIPS] yugma - the internet is more amazing every day


This is the first I’ve heard of this program, although I understand that others have been blogging about it. (I guess if a blog post it too long I don’t read it.) Anyway.. yugma (pronounced YOOgma – darn I wish they’d find better names) is an amazing, f-r-e-e app that allows you to share desktops with up to ten users at a time. And there is a skype version that is just amazing.


Create an account with yugma and install the software. Log in and create a session. You can then either invite people in from your skype contact list or via an email. There are cool markup tools, too. You can even switch presenters so that you can see the OTHER person’s desktop, too.


I’m teaching a class online and folks will occasionally comment that they don’t see a certain screen, or this button isn’t there, or that field isn’t there, etc. This will allow me to see their screens – for free.


Now, I also understand that Draper has been talking about this in his blog and talking about he plans to use it for professional development. My apologies, Darren, for not reading that post earlier. He also talked about and that’s where I stopped reading. My fault.


But, this changes things. The premium version, with all the cool tools, for up to 10 users at a time is $99.50/yr. For 100 users it’s $699.50/yr. If you’re a tech department looking to get a VERY easy to use solution for delivering short professional development sessions, this should be looked at long and hard.


Oh, and if anyone downloads it and wants to try it out with me, I’m jimkathy808. (Was that a stupid thing to post, just now?)



Attention Blogger - Remove the Next Blog tag!

OK. Done. One word from me is all it should take, right?

The issue: the "Next Blog" link at the top of the blogs in Blogger are the reason that some schools cite for blocking ALL blogger blogs. There IS a way to block that at the firewall, as detailed here: They say that the firewall administrator should enter: into the rules and all is solved. But, that means that every district's network admin will have to do that. Wouldn't it be a TON simpler to make that an option on the template page? Of COURSE it would.

Wouldn't you think that with all the staff and all the money that Google has, and with all the requests that they get (you should check out the Group Help area - OY!) that they would make this easy change? It's a violation of the TOS to remove that nav bar completely, apparantly, but it's OK to force the rest of the world to add a filtering policy to address their issue? I don't get it.

If YOU would like them to remove that show-stopping 'feature' from their templates, let them know here:

Friday, September 14, 2007

[TIPS] This Ted Video tore me up

---snip ---
"Filmmaker Deborah Scranton talks about and shows clips from her documentary The War Tapes, which puts cameras in the hands of soldiers fighting in Iraq."
The language is real and often raw. But, if one if offended by the language and NOT by the images then ... there HAS to be something wrong. Ms Scranton's talk is very moving, as is the film itself. I don't want to get into the war debate, but it's no wonder it has become such a divisive topic.
Oh, and my sincere Thank you to any Iraq War veteran who may be reading this. I can't imagine how you were able to do your job.

[TIPS] If you honk for peace, don't tell anyone

Here is a teacher who told her class that she honks for peace. Someone took exception to that - for some reason - and the teacher was fired. The lower courts ruled that teachers have no right of free speech. HUH?
Maybe I misread that. Let's say I did. But, why in the WORLD would anyone complain about a teacher making that comment. My thoughts? It's all about politics. Have you ever known this nation to be so polarized by politics? Maybe it wasn't about politics. Maybe.
Oh, she's taking her case to the Supreme Court. It'll be interesting to see how this conservative court will rule on this, in light of all the other political incidents in our courts lately.
So, honk for peace - but don't tell anyone.

[TIPS] Pangeaday - mark it on your calendars - watch the trailer!

Here's a site to watch. As it says:

"Pangea Day taps the power of film to strengthen tolerance and compassion while uniting millions of people to build a better future. In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it's easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that - to help people see themselves in others - through the power of film."

On May 10, 2008, four sites from around the world will join together in a video conference to produce a four hour event of "...powerful films, visionary speakers, and uplifting music."

Mark this on your calendars. Plan to show the resulting videos in your class. What better way to bring the world together in your classroom? This should be POWERFUL!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

[TIPS] the audio of the show is online

Those of you who couldn't tune in to hear the "It's Elementary" show on EdTechTalk on Monday are in luck! :-) The audio file has been edited and is now posted online. To hear it, point your ol' browser to:  
I only listened to about ten seconds of my talk (I had heard it on Monday) and the sound was pretty good.
So, if you're interested in hearing what I had to say about Moodle for use in the Elementary grades, check it out. Many thanks to the wonderful folks there who made it such a pleasant experience.

[TIPS] Turning Kids into book lovers - part II


A while back I sent this link out (courtesy of ASCD newsletter) that was part I of this story of how a teacher turned her 6th graders into powerful readers. Here’s a short comment from this follow-up article:


“We must go back to what builds readers in the first place: reading out loud to them; letting them read with a friend, an audio tape, or a podcast; reinforcing that reading is pleasurable and social; removing the pressure and risk by deemphasizing comprehension tests and reports; and finally, accepting that some students, both boys and girls, will never innately value reading as enjoyable”


Send both of these articles to your favorite reading teacher. Wouldn’t it be great if hundreds more schools turned their kids on to reading by following this one teacher’s methods. Dare we dream… maybe thousands more schools?

[TIPS] vuvox - WOW!

I’ve had this one on my list to check out for a while. Many thanks to Kevin Conner for sending this to me via the for:jgates513 tag on – RUSH there now to try it out. And, if you’re reading this on the mailing list, go to my blog to see the one I just created in 3 minutes time. Or, just click this link to see it:

First of all it was tons of fun to make, as their options are outstanding. Second, they give you the ability to email it to someone, get a regular link for it (as I posted above), or the code to embed, as I did on my blog. If you’ve got pictures up on flickr or some of the other photo sites you can get the images from there. I had to get the feed for my pictures instead of logging in to select the images. That can be good or bad, I suppose. The good part is that this slideshow will always show the latest images. The bad part is that those latest images are going to be public, so I’d best remember that as I upload them.

When you make one, send me YOUR link. I’d LOVE to see what you created.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

[TIPS] animoto - amazing

If this site doesn't blow your mind then ... NOTHING will. I first saw it on the k12onlineconference site. Someone made a short intro movie for their upcoming presentation, and they used this site. You upload your images and it makes the most incrdible visuals with them. You HAVE to check it out. Play the demo on the animoto site, or go to the site and play the second life movie. What great fun!! One thing, though - I can't get it to play in wikispaces. Wikispaces doesn't like the code.

[TIPS] reminder that anti-bullying video?

Now that school is back in session, this is the perfect time to refresh your memory about this excellent video, “Hero in the Hallway.” The music is very good – kids will like it – and the message is so VERY important.


Here is the link to the original post:


Here is the link to the youtube video:


Can’t get to youtube at school? Remember, there are many ways to skin that cat. For one, go to and paste that address in that search field and choose YouTube from the dropdown next to it. Click Download to begin the process. Almost immediately, another link will appear under that row of ads which says, “Download link.” Click that and save the file to your desktop. Remember, it’ll be called “getvideo.flv.” You should rename it to something else, but keep the .flv extension. (Assuming you can see the extensions. If not, don’t worry about it) Finally, you’ll need a player like the VLC player or miro. Don’t worry, you can do it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

[TIPS] running the numbers

I saw this on Rocketboom today. It’s hard to describe. Take plastic bottles, for example. The US goes through a lot of them, right? According to this guy, we go through two million plastic bottles – EVERY FIVE MINUTES! And we dispose of 426,000 cell phones EVERY DAY, and 60,000 plastic grocery bags EVERY FIVE SECONDS!!

Can’t get your mind around that? Then look at this guy’s work. It’s a series of mosaics that.. are hard to describe. But DO check it out. Print the set of three pictures for your room and let the kids try to get their minds around the kind of waste we’re talking about. After all, THEY will have to be the ones to clean it all up someday.

(I liked the comments of the late Kurt Vonnegut, Jr, in a recorded talk a few years back. When asked if he had anything to say to the future he said, “Yes I do. ‘I’m sorry!’”)

[TIPS] reflecting on 911 - a writing prompt

Do your students have blogs? Think about this. Today's seniors were in 6th grade when the attacks of 911 occurred. Wouldn't it be a great writing prompt to ask, "How have your feelings and understandings about the attacks of 911 changed?" I think it would be interesting to hear them write about their feelings from that day. I wonder, too, if we misunderstood the impact that those attacks had on them. Did we fail to address their fears? Are we misunderstanding their feelings about it today?
Yesterday, I listened as a senior girl stopped her government teacher long enough to present her reasons for why the day should be "Give a Hug Day." The reason, she said, is that, "Tomorrow everyone will be remembering the attacks and feeling badly about people. But, if we give them a hug today maybe they'll think back to that hug and think that we're not so bad, after all. Maybe we should give them another hug tomorrow, too." Do you think that girl was effected by those attacks? Do you think those horrible images will be on her mind throughout the day? I do, too.
Maybe today's writing prompt will tell us how to handle this should it occur again in the future.

[TIPS] burning salt water?

This may be the bigggest news you'll read in a very long time.
"John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate
seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered
that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn."
Burning salt water? Let your mind run with THAT one for a while.
John Kanzius is a researcher based in Erie, PA.

Monday, September 10, 2007

[TIPS] Notetaking that works

Thanks again to Kurt Paccio ( for sharing this with me via the for:jgates513 tag at I'm sure he sent this to me since I did a presentation on this topic at NECC this year. Wish I had seen this THEN.

Why is this something you should read? If your school is moving to a one-to-one program, or if you've got a ton of laptop carts that are being used regularly (and hopefully they are) then one issue you're likely to face is that of kids wanting to take notes with their computer, right? But, do a search about professors banning laptops ( and you'll see that it's happening in more and more college classrooms. Why? Well, aside from the the fact that the students were actually playing online poker instead of taking notes, those that WERE trying to take notes were turned into very poor stenographers, constantly calling out, "Would you repeat that?" They were trying to record every word. Not only was there no conversation in class while this was going on, but the effort to try to type everything that the professor said meant that there was no synthesis of information that went on prior to typing it.

This article talks about methods for note taking that may work. There may not be a lot new in this article, but a couple things stood out for me. One was the sugestion that the student use a graphic organizer (Inspiration, cmap, etc) to organize by concepts and relationships, and using the notes field to fill in details. I liked that one. The article also mentions the Cornell notes form as well as outline mode.

In any case, give it read. Also, spend some time with the google search to find out why those prof's are banning laptops in their classrooms. Interesting reads.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

[TIPS] podcasting resources

Found this on A whole bunch of podcasting resources. If you're into podcasting then you should see this.

Friday, September 07, 2007

[TIPS] podcast widgets on your site

You may have already known this one, but it's new to me.

I've got Moodle class set up for a teacher of US. Government. There are some excellent podcasts from the federal government. (Here: Wouldn't it be cool to have them play right within the moodle class? If there was only some way to set up a player in moodle (or on your wiki or blog) that would take a podcast feed and let you play it right on the page.

Enter springwidgets. Give it the feed - or feeds of the podcasts you want and it creates a very cool player and the code to embed it in your blog, etc.

Oh, for those  who want to see the obvious icon to click on to get the code, theirs is prettu subtle. You click on the <> icon.

[TIPS] It's Elementary

This is exciting. For me, at least. I'm going to be the guest on EdTechTalk's It's Elementary on Monday evening at 7:00 Eastern time. The topic – Moodle! Yes, I think I can rattle on about that for half an hour. J

If you've not tuned in for one of these sessions, try one, they're usually very good. (I'll try not to make this one the exception.)  The folks who have organized it are top notch educators, with great experiences to bring to the table. The topics are varied and you WILL learn a lot.

I'd LOVE to have your join the conversation Monday. To listen, go to and choose the player next to the session that  is currently streaming. To join in on the chat end of things so that you may ask questions, etc., go to and you'll know what to do from there.

And, while you're at it, DO check out their blog at: If you're an elementary teacher looking for some wonderful person professional development, this is the one-two punch just for you.

Hope to see you Monday evening, the 10th at 7:00 Eastern.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

[TIPS] Teacher Magazine: Creating Readers: Part I

This, coutesty of the ASCD newsletter again. A great article about how one teacher turned her students into book lovers – reading 50-60 books per year.

And her methods have also produced more than anecdotal results: Last year, her students received a 100 percent passing rate on the reading portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, with 90 percent receiving a "recommended" score.”

It all comes down to the teacher again, doesn’t it?

[TIPS] 5min - how to draw Albert Einstein - Video

Send this to your favorite art teacher. Watch as this person draws Albert Einstein from scratch. The video takes less than 5 minutes. His work took four hours. This is SURE to inspire a budding artist SOMEwhere.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

[TIPS] learningSciences - perfect timing

How's this for timing? Right now I'm sitting in a Physics class trying to get an idea of what sorts of activities they do in here so that I might suggest some computer activities. My computer signals that I've got new mail, and since I'm trying to resolve an issue with our Moodle server I check the mail. It's an email from Jim Beeghley ( showing this site:

There, with just three clicks we found several applets that will fit into what he's teaching right now.

Y' gotta LUV technology, eh?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

[TIPS] One laptop per child update

Did you miss NECC in San Diego? If so then you missed Nicholas Negropante's keynote detailing the efforts being made in his $100 laptop initiative. Here he is at Ted in 2006 telling this conference all about it.
Now, if you're new to this, this is something to watch. This is changing the world. It's putting laptop computers into the hands of kids around the world. An educated planet.

[TIPS] That's it!! We have to ban football games~

This is the last straw. We've TOLD the students that the football games were NOT a place to be rowdy nor a place to do things that might embarass the school. This is a school sponsored event, and the kids can't be doing things that will reflect poorly on the district. (That's why we don't allow blogging, you know. The kids might say something there that will embarass the district.)
Well NOW look what we're going to have to do - BAN football games! Yes, it's true. Why? Well, a student in Ohio put colored pieces of paper on the seats in the stadium and word spread that if the fans held up the pieces of paper it would spell, "Go Darby." Instead, it spelled, "We ****." If I spelled it then this would get caught in the filters. You'll have to go here to read for yourself. 
See? This is JUST the kind of stuff that we THOUGHT would happen if we let kids attend the games like regular people. We're going to have to block.. er.. BAN football games, now. If we cant trust to kids to use the tools... I mean..  attend the games without doing things to embarass us, then we just won't have them at all. Never mind that the OVERWHELMING majority of kids DO use the game events wisely. Never mind that the athletes get to show their skills to authentic audiences. NO SIR!
You KNOW what this means, don't you? All it would take would be ONE student to do something like this to give blogging.. er.. sorry.. FOOTBALL a bad name and now schools all over the country will be banning them.
You heard it here first.