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.