NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 07:  The newly-designed Ti...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeEach year I get asked if I have created any resolutions for the new year. The answer is NO. I admit loudly that my willpower for dieting or exercise is terrible. I really want to have a resolution, but alas at 55 I know myself pretty well. I had a plan to be debt free by 45, but an unexpected divorce killed that plan. One year I vowed to exercise much more and on a ski trip to Park City, on the last run, fell and needed knee surgery. Foot surgery, laziness, too busy, no time, any excuse I could find would work to crash any plans to keep a resolution. Trying to diet or exercise or become a better financial genius didn't get off the ground.

OK so here I sit in sunny Florida on vacation and I am really inspired to try again. Each morning I sit at the kitchen table with breakfast watching the senior crowd not only walk and jog by, but some are roller blading! Something is stirring me to "get with it" and get out there too. Is it the warm weather of 75˚ or the lure of the palm trees? Perhaps the flat surface with no potholes is calling me to put on my sneakers. My two teenagers are still asleep after a day of Guitar Hero World Tour and evening of Wii tennis and bowling. That in itself is exhausting!

Today is December 30, and I don't need to wait until January 1, 2009. I also bought the Wii Fit, thinking that would inspire me since I put out the $90 for the equipment. So let's see if I can at least do a week because next week we are on a cruise to the Caribbean. Eating and drinking nonstop. Little umbrella drinks and food all day! How can I resist? By making wise choices and not choosing the chocolate all the time, but the nice fresh tropical fruit. Eat some great things, but in moderation. Can I do it? Not sure.

But if you ask me, I will still say NO to creating a New Year's Resolution.
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DiscoveryEdcation has so much to offer teachers from newbies to long range veterans. I just discovered this new site while skipping around the blogs I read. This site from DiscoveryEdcation is devoted to new teachers: The New Teacher Survival Central. I learned some great ideas from this site. There are blogs, lesson ideas, classroom management, classroom design and organization ideas too. Enter a contest, find some links from Kathy Schrock or just click everywhere! This is a must site for any new teacher regardless of subject, age, or time of year they begin teaching. No registration is necessary for this site, but you must have a user code to access the array of DiscoveryEdcation tools and videos. Once again DiscoveryEdcation does not fail education and supporting teachers! Most likely I will re-post this in September when most new teachers will be reporting for duty.

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Screenshot of My First AlphabetImage via WikipediaOne of my online friends from plurk initiated a challenge to everyone to create their own tech alphabet using logos from various companies. You can adopt this idea for any curricular area or topic. Use the alphabet to create
  • characters or vocabulary from a book
  • science terms
  • math symbols and meaning
  • word capital cities
  • cartoon characters
  • fairy tale characters
  • facts
  • parts of speech, all nouns, verbs etc

We used PowerPoint to create the slides and then printed them to hand on the wall as a review for the test.
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DEN Leadership Council Institute 2008 Day 2Image by krossbow via FlickrOur ESL teacher stopped by to talk about DiscoveryStreaming and showed me some wonderful ESL video sites. He uses these to teach teachers how to prepare lessons for their ESL students. There are videos on many topics, so bookmark the ones you can use with your students!
  1. ColorĂ­n Colorado - webcasts that have been recorded
  2. - this link takes you to some Spanish podcasts - It is a FREE account
Don't forget that you can turn on the closed caption option in the DiscoveryEducation videos for any ESL students to practice reading English, or to find some Spanish voice over in many movies. Check the description of each video. You need to have a log in code to access these resources. Check with your media specialist or district technology director to see if your district is enrolled.

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Irish Goat. Source: via WikipediaIf you have someone on your Christmas/Holiday list who "has it all," consider giving a gift in their name to a charity that gives to others. There are the usual big charities like Salvation Army, Red Cross, any Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes, and many more. This year consider something unique like giving a goat or protecting harp seals or animal rescue.

Consider this list from:
World Vision
Gifts for Animals

I know there are many more organizations that "give back," so find one that meets with your philosophy and give.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year

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Seal of the University of Maryland (Trademark ...Image via WikipediaThere are several pay for service plagiarism checker programs you can use to check student work, but here is a FREE version for your use: The Plagiarism Checker.
After using some words from this blog, I was quite amazed to see that in a very short time (3 seconds) the checker returned a link for possible plagiarism problem for each of 4 sentences I used, or borrowed. I found this to be easy to use, quick and the price is right.
This program is produced by the University of Maryland as part of a project for a technology class and is credited to Brian Klug - 2002. I guess it is not so new, but we are rediscovering this tool for many purposes. Thanks to Cliotech for reminding us that this great service is still available. She posted it in her blog.
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Highway M25Image by Garry' via FlickrIf you are not using for your teaching in social studies or science, you should be. Their website is updated as the news breaks in terms that students can understand. There are blackline masters as well as lesson plans for the daily information.

To stay current with global warming issues visit this site for information from NWF . There is a Teachers Resource Guide for using the movie "An Inconenient Truth" and place for research and lessons.
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Technology Integration with Science ContentImage by Old Shoe Woman via FlickrThanks to Martha Thornburgh for inviting me to her meme (below). I have never participated in this type of challenge before and it was quite thought provoking. It made me really think about what I believe and communicate it here.

1. Share three things that you believe about all students.
  • I believe that all students have a passion for learning something. You just need to find out what it is and weave it into your curriculum. Everyone has a passion and they want to become more knowledgeable about a subject, skill, or hobby. If a student is struggling with telling time or math, but loves to cook, make a connection between the two, so they can master their weakness. Give them an opportunity to share their passion and you will boost their interest in learning and other students passion as well.
  • All students can achieve. Teach students with tools they understand. If you have a class who has an interest in listening to music, then use that to help them learn and memorize. If a class has an interest in crafts, use that to your advantage. Use all styles of learning and you will reach everyone. Find a technology tool that everyone can master easily and determine if that is the right tool. We are so guided by national and state standards, that many teachers lose focus on improving individual student learning. It is time consuming to plan and individual lesson for each of your 100+ students, but we must try. Meet each student where they are and adapt by challenging or adjusting the requirements for each student. Challenge them all at their own level, high or low or average.
  • Kids love to play. They can make a game out of a piece of torn notebook paper! Make life fun and laugh with them! You will also last longer in teaching.
1. Share three things that you believe about all students.
2. Reflect on your thoughts in your blog. (If you do not have a blog, you can share your ideas in a comment from this post.)
3. Be sure to link to this post and to where you were first tagged.
4. Tag your response with AllStudentsMeme
4. Invite others to join the conversation by tagging them to be a part of the meme.

So now that I have participated, let's keep this going and I tag:

Meg Basilio, PA
Stacy Kasse, NJ
Scott Floyd, TX
for the international perspective
Aletta Crofton, South Africa
Jackie Blackman, England

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Film poster for Teachers (film) - Copyright 19...Image via WikipediaToday is teacher/student swap day. Students purchased raffle tickets and put them in the box for which teacher they wanted to be for a day. Students were chosen randomly and the funds went to a needy family. The school of 1100 students purchased over $750 worth of tickets! About 45 students won the opportunity to experience the day from a teacher's point of view.

Boy are they surprised! My team of teachers (C-Team) purchased pizza for the students in charge and let them eat together with the teachers. Their comments were interesting:
  • I am so tired
  • I had to teach the same thing 5 times in a row! (she got better each time too)
  • My feet are killing me.
  • When do you get a chance to go to the bathroom?
  • Can I give detentions to anyone?
  • I would do this again next year.
  • I love it, it's really fun.
We even have two students as a librarian, one sectary, one as assistant principal and one as principal. The kids are having a blast and so are the teachers. We have done so many different fund raisers that we are tired of buying magazines, pretzels, and raffle baskets. This is a unique idea that has success at all phases. I'm sure we will do it again next year. So below is a post from my student/teacher for today, Emile B.

"Today I had a great opportunity to be a computer teacher for a day. I had fun because I got to learn some new things that I did not know before. I got to teach four classes of keynote it was fun. I also got to teach two classes of Digital Communications. This day was the best ever!"...Emile B 8th grade student

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How many times have you been in the store, heard what you thought was YOUR cell phone ringing and see 3 others reaching for their pocket too? You may want to change your cell ringer to something more specific. Some cell plans let you set a different ring for each person on your contact list. Purchasing the ringtones from your cell carrier can be costly and the biggest rip off of all is losing your purchased tones when you BUY a new phone. Why can't they transfer these and delete them from the original phone. You bought them and should be able to use them one one cell at a time? I don't know the answer, but I have a small solution. This site: Free Ringtones from Phonezoo, will allow you to select some very interesting ringtones and download them directly to your phone for FREE! I found several silly ringtones and the most recent lullaby from "Twilight". So this is my present to all of my readers. Merry Christmas!

photo above from:

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A teacher writing on a blackboard.Image via WikipediaTech teachers often discuss great programs to show others and get excited when the others take to an idea and use it in their lesson. We share on Twitter, Plurk, at conferences, by email and by reading each others blog postings. But WHY don't some people attempt to use some of these great tools?

Top 10 Reasons NOT to integrate:

10. I don't want to - I have been teaching this unit long enough to know what works best
9. There is only one computer in my room and only I use it.
8. The computer lab is NEVER available during my class time.
7. I don't have time to fit it into the curriculum. There is too much to cover already.
6. I want a tech support person in my room while I am using theses programs.
5. I don't have the time to learn something new.
4. Students use computers too much already.
3. It is not written in to the scope/sequence of the curriculum.
2. Something will not work during the lesson.

and the number one reason is:
1. No one is going to MAKE me do it.

So what gives? How can we bring along those resisters? Your comments welcomed.
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4:05 PM-Progress Being MadeImage by Old Shoe Woman via FlickrOver the past several days I have seen many great educational websites suggested by fellow tech teachers on So I want to pass on a list so you can explore them as well. If you have not taken the plunge to or Give it a try. I have learned so much from plurkworld friends that are excellent teaching resources. Feel free to add me as a friend or fan: (rmom352) so we can share resources. This is a great collection, thank you plurkers.
  1. Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving Day
  2. World in Balance - NOVA from PBS
  3. Speed reading - practice reading faster
  4. One Word - writing assignment online
  5. World Without Oil - Lesson Plans
  6. - create custom animations
  7. Learning GoogleEarth
  8. Google Search tips
  9. Social way of learning a new language
  10. Black Friday ads - shop from home in advance!

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If you have students who are visual learners and having trouble with vocabulary words, try this site. If your students are older, have them create words for See this sample of the word unique.

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Partial map of the Internet based on the Janua...Image via WikipediaA recent study by the McArthur Foundation concludes that teens believe that their time online using social sites is very important to their peer relationships. Teens connect with their friends online rather than talk on the phone and in some cases rather than hang out together. Because of the Internet, teens have friends from great distances they have met through online gaming sites, or social sites. They are very content to leave comments for one another on their MySpace or Facebook pages as their form of communication.

As posted before, the Pew Internet & American Life Project has done extensive research on several topics of teens and online activity. "Teens and Video Games", "Networked Families" and "When Technology Fails" are a few of the search topics you can read at their site.
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Primary School in Image via Wikipedia Several of my PPLN friends have been at the GoogleTeacher Academy today and their plurks make the day sound very educational. I will be sending my application for the GTA, the next time it is in the East. Google is doing a great service to education just by having all of the FREE tools available. They started the GTA a few years ago and through this, they are creating evangelists for their products. If the products were not very education friendly, they there wouldn't be such a rush to apply. I would love to go to their Mountain View office for a
GTA, so I will keep my eyes open for that opportunity!

I am looking forward to reading the blogs of my colleagues to learn from them. This is what makes teaching so fun. When you have friends who will share their joys with everyone, so they can experience that same joy with their students!!
Teach teachers share their toys really well!

As soon as I have a comfort level with one of the Google Tools, someone sends a great idea for using a new tool. There is no special place to begin learning the Google suite of tools. You must however, create a Google account and start to click around to find different tools that suit your needs.
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I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Police were called to a day care where a 3-yr-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

A thief who stole a calendar got 12 months.
A thief fell & broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

When the smog lifts in Los Angles, U. C. L. A.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.

A will is a dead giveaway.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.

A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft & I'll show you A-flat miner.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum Blown apart.

You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

A calendar's days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

When you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

Whatever happened to that cow that was lifted into the air by the tornado. Udder disaster!

Why did the lady go out doors with her purse open? Because she expected some change in the weather.

It's a bit "muggy" in NewYork today.

What is the Mexican weather report? Chili today and hot tamale.

Two weathermen each broke an arm and a leg in an accident, and called from the hospital about the four casts.

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It is the time of year where we take some time to say thank you to co-workers, friends, neighbors and others who have had an impact upon our lives. Thank you sometimes does not seem to say it all when you truly want to say more, but not get so mushy. A give exchange is a small way to share joy within a group. I have been a part of the Pollyanna and Secret Santa type of gift exchanges at school, with friends and family, but they do not seem personal enough to express my gratitude. And now a new type of exchange is happening online of all places! This evening on we were invited to participate in a small gift exchange with what I assume will become a very large group. There are many people whose names I recognize from plurk, twitter, DEN, and their blogs or presentations at conferences, but I do not know them personally.

I have come to know many new friends through as well as by reading their blogs. So I am looking forward to this WEB2.0 gift exchange with strangers no make that new friends. You can start a group on for your work, home or family group!

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Some of my friends have suggested the following activities:
  1. Create with Cubes - make different designs or patterns with cube shaped objects
  2. Design Activities - Make a coat of armor, CD cover and many other items. Scroll down about 1/2 way to see the list of online design activities.
  3. Online LiteBrite - tired of stepping on all of those little lights? Then do the online version. Good for toddlers too!
  4. Make a contraption - use different tools to complete a task.

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Steve Dembo from DiscoveryEducation is offering a challenge to folks who wish to improve their blogs or blogging skills. His 30 day offering will begin November 1, 2008. Visit his blog to see the details at Teach42. Although it is not aimed specifically at educators, I am sure Steve will provide some great Discovery style tips. Every time I attend a session with Steve be it online or face to face, I come away with many nuggets of information I can share with others. So I am taking the challenge to improve my blogging skills and hopefully make Spotlight a bit more interesting.

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There are many great sites for biology study and one of my friends just posted this one for frog dissection. It is a virtual frog dissection from If you have others, would you kindly leave the link in a comment below? That way we can share these resources with others.

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If you need to move a large file to another person who is not close by, you can use a FREE account from Just visit the site and you will see a link for the Lite Account. This will give you a FREE account to send a 100MB file, with a monthly download limit of 1GB and 100 maximum downloads per file. That is plenty for a free account to move a file or two. Moving video files or large presentation is very easy with this site. Of course there are options for improved service and size of account for a fee.

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Visit this website, Teacher's Count, for valuable resources and discounts. Be sure to have your NEA or AFT membership card handy to register for the discounts. Explore this site for lessons, connections, polls, free materials, and many other items. Use the polls and past polls for a math lesson on statistics. Order some posters for your room, or give them to a colleague.

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In addition to all of the candy, costumes and craziness this week, try some Halloween activities for primary grades. If you liked the carving pumpkin we did a few posts ago, there are some similar type activities along with Halloween Sudoku, match game math, costume designs and several other fun activities. Most of the activities use flash or shockwave to move the characters around the screen. At the bottom of the page is a link for "Fall activities" if you prefer not to use Halloween.

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Kiva Loans - You can become part of a worldwide experience to assist the impoverished to succeed. Kiva coordinates the loan process from villages of people who want to build a better life in many ways. They might want to raise chickens and sell the eggs, but do not have the cash to purchase the chickens. That is where Kiva field workers come in to the process and help them get started.

"Kiva Field Partners work in impoverished areas to screen and approve entrepreneurs who demonstrate a need for a loan and a reasonable likelihood of repayment. Over the last 30 years 100 million entrepreneurs have been reached by such organizations and data suggests that the poor can be quite credit worthy (+95% repayment rates) if the Field Partner employs the proper screening methodology. One common methodology is to lend to entrepreneurs who belong to a borrowing group (e.g. a group of 5 women from the same village who know each other well). Loans to one member of the group are contingent on the other group members repaying on time. Because each member's livelihood depends on other members' repayment, a form of peer monitoring and support develops which helps ensure high repayment rates. Loans directly to individual entrepreneurs are also common, especially as the entrepreneur proves their credit-worthiness in a group setting. " ...from

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If you have not visited Karen Montgomery's Thinking Machine, then you are missing some resources that could help your lessons. There are links to handouts, projects, global activities, web2.0 tools, podcasting, wikis and many other projects. Karen is a leader in helping others to use web2.0 tools in lessons. If you have not visited any websites on, Karen Montgomery's ning would be a great place to begin. Add her to your Personal Professional Learning Network (PPLN). Karen Montgomery has also presented at many local, state and national conferences. Look her up when you get to NECC09 in Washington DC!

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From the community:
"What does the upcoming Presidential Election have to do with students learning an e-Safety lesson? i-SAFE has just launched a new curriculum unit that features an activity which encourages students to vote for the candidate of their choice.

Check out the new unit – Online Identity and You – for middle and high school levels, available for download in the Online Personal Safety curriculum module. In addition to comprehensive standards-based curriculum on topics related to online personal safety and identity concerns, the materials provide step-by-step guidance on how adults and students can become verified and create online profiles that provide better levels of safety. Verification with will enable students to:

  • Learn about the importance of maintaining “levels of identity” online in order to be safe and secure in Internet activities and communications
  • Build and use safe online profiles
  • Engage in safe and secure online activities and contests

That’s where the voting for President comes in. But you’ll need to ACT FAST. Direct your students to and register, and then go to, where they can cast their online ballot today! This special voting activity for students ends on Election Day, November 4th."

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The economy is on a roller coaster and so are gas prices. Would you like to know how much it costs to drive from one place to another? Visit this site and put in two destinations and it will calculate the distance, and cost for filling your car. You must specify the make, year and model to be more accurate. It would cost me $149 to drive to Florida from my home! Cheaper than a plane ticket? You bet it is for the Christmas rush, do maybe I'll drive this time.

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According to an article in the newsletter on October 13, 2008, school districts who receive eRate funding may be required to teach their students about online safety. The bill titled "Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act" may be put off since it's sponsor from Alaska is under investigation. Even if the bill passes, the likelihood of it being funded is rather slim considering the current state of the economy, regardless of who wins the election.

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Be sure to check in this week with the K12 Online Conference. The pre-conference keynote is available today. You can sign up for credit, look over the schedule, and participate at you own time and place. Sessions will be archived for future reading/listening. Don't miss this excellent opportunity to observe, participate, listen or lurk at some of the workshops offered by leading technology experts from around the world. If you can learn just one fact or idea for using technology in your classroom it will be worth it. Click on the badge to the right to get right to the web site and enjoy the experince.

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The Learning Planet has online games for students to practice many skills. The math section has fraction activities called Fraction Frenzy, word puzzles, time, numbers and counting. There are links to many other math sites as well as links to worksheets you can download.

The geography section offers multiple choice activities for states and capitals. Many of the activities are for elementary level (k-6), but if you look around you will find some for 7th grade and up.

There is a small fee of $39.95 per year or a 10 day FREE trial. There are however, many activities you can do without membership.

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Stressed at the start of the year, middle of the year or the end of the year? This site, Education for Educators, offers some simple tips to help reduce your stress. If you know a first year teacher, pass along this URL for some tips. Although this site has many references for music teachers, it applies across the board.

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If you have ever wanted to create a reading comprehension lesson from one of your selected web pages, now you can. By using LessonWriter, you can select a specific web page, copy the text and go to the LessonWriter page, and paste the text. , LessonWriter selects vocabulary words from the text and creates a list including pronunciation with the word root and stem included. If you want to include the grammar as a part of your lesson, LessonWriter give that choice as well. From there, you may create questions about the text for students to answer. This might be helpful if you have a web page which includes all of your unit concepts and wish to create a test. It could be used as a language arts lesson on grammar or vocabulary words. Perhaps you just want students to read a web page for homework and answer a few questions about the content.

This site would be very helpful for ESL students, especially with the vocabulary pronunciation section. With the election this November, you will see a lot of reading material about candidates and their political views. Use LessonWriter to have students extract the information and answer some questions about the candidates. You can add a graphic organizer and/or a photo to the lesson as well. I am sure many readers will have multiple uses for this interesting way to use the web with curriculum. It is good for all age groups, since the teacher chooses the content.

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I had seen this video about 2 years ago, but we are getting closer to this reality. This could provide some great discussion about privacy and sharing information. Who owns the information collected anyway?

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Want to create a fun font for a worksheet, presentation, sign or poster? Here are four sites where you can use the web tools to create a fun font for your project.
Be sure to preview theses sites BEFORE assigning any students to work there. Perhaps there may be something not appropriate for your age level student. Image below from

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What else is there to add? Click here to visit the site and download some great templates. If yo are using Keynote, you can open Keynote first, then open the file from the OPEN menu item.
Image below is from:

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The University of Chicago has created this site for young students to understand the process by which a mummy was made in Ancient Egypt. It is a short version of what took days to complete, but it may just be the visual you need for a younger group of students.

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New to the collection of videos at DiscoveryEducation streaming is When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions, Stuff Happens with Bill Nye, Discovery Atlas, Operation Junkyard, Tutenstein and Extreme Engineering. In addition they have added over 1000 titles spanning over 20 languages including Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese and Hebrew. Make sure you visit the site often, as there are new additions monthly.

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Google is sponsoring a contest for people to submit ideas that would help a LOT more people. This is in celebration of their 10th anniversary and is called Project 10 to the 100th. Any person or group can submit an idea that might change the world for the better by helping a large number of people. Google will select the top 100 ideas and post them for the public to vote for their favorite idea. The top 25 semi-finalists will be announced early 2009 and a panel from Google will pare that down to the top 5 projects which they will fund.

So get your school, classroom, family, girl scout or boy scout troop, church, or team to put heads together and see how they can change the world! Google is putting $10 million forward to fund the ideas.

Begin by watching this video: click here to see it. Thanks to my Plurk buddy chocxtc for pointing out this idea!!

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Visit this site for practice with the 5 parts of math study. There are word problems, fractions, decimals and advanced work. There are videos on many of the different areas of math. Visit the webpage and find one you can use as a class opener!

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If you teach language arts and do not read a blog or listen to a podcast, I have two suggestions. The first is the blog called: The English Blog. It contains resources for teachers and learners of English. The most recent post was about the most difficult word to pronounce and a short list of tongue twister words. You must visit the site to see what I mean.

The second suggestion is for the podcast: GrammarGirl. Each session, she takes on the oddity of the English language explaining the differences between words. For example you can download a show which explains the use of lie vs. lay, or there vs. their. The best way to understand her podcasts, is to listen to them as a class, then have them downloaded to a classroom computer for students to refer back to as needed. Better yet, put the link on your web page, for parents to download her program to an ipod for student listening!

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Free Free Free - How many times do you hear that a quality nationally recognized conference has not cost? If you are looking for a jump-start for a tech project or want to learn what emerging technologies you could use, you should sign up for this program. From the comfort of your own home, you can experience some of the country's leading experts in educational technology.

This is a "can't miss" opportunity to stop in without obligation to listen to or participate in the conversation about using web2.0 tools in your classroom. Many sessions will be archived for additional listening after the conference.

Check out the presentation wiki to see what is scheduled. Check back frequently to see additions.

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The following is a re-post from Jim Gates Tipline:

If you’re a science teacher, or if you KNOW a science teacher, then send them to that post. It will direct you to download this file:

You MUST see this. Give it time to load. It loads a database that will plot the position of every known bit of space debris and satellites, both active and inactive. You won’t believe how crowded our skies are.

Then, click on an icon of a satellite and it will bring up the information about it – including whether or not it’s active. It could be just a dead hunk of metal floating around up there.

Did you read about how the space station had to side-step some space junk? Take a look at this AMAZING overlay on Google Earth and you’ll know WHY.

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If you want to compare election advertisements from 1952 to today you can visit the Museum of the Moving Image website: "The Living Room Candidate". There are six different types of commercials you can view; biographical, children, commander in chief, documentary, fear, and real people. In addition, you may view commercials by issue including; civil rights, corruption, taxes, war, and welfare.

FIRST LINK - Teaching with the resources can be very helpful. If you register with them, you can keep a playlist of the ads you wish to use over and over again, without searching each time. What a timely site for teachers using the election as part of their curriculum and want to offer a new angle on the propaganda used by each side.

SECOND LINK - "Do We Encourage Voting?" A blog post by Pat Hensley at Successful Teaching. I would encourage you to read her post as well as the follow up comments. You never know where that next teaching idea may appear!

THIRD LINK - Jogtheweb - This little, but valuable web walk includes 10 resources for teaching about the Presidential election in classrooms. This one was created by Martha Thornburgh - I think she did a great job with this new tool.

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Part of my PPLN (personal professional learning network) to reading and contributing to Twitter and Plurk. I learn so much from all the teachers there. Tech/teachers are so willing to share their masterpieces of lessons, web pages and ideas. Often they will ask each other to critique something before it goes public including presentations and lesson plans. I find this so unassuming and nonthreatening to ask for advice and critique. What all of that said, here is my adaptation of the ABC's of technology. There are quite a few of these on the web. Below is the PPT version:

And here is the print version I have on GoogleDocs. Now what else can I do with this idea? Use it with whatever you teach, a science or reading vocabulary, math symbols, geography locations, FCS or health terms, sports equipment for PE, word wall, holidays, space science, or a literature study, or book covers from books read by the class. The ideas are limitless, but you must share with your colleagues.

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This link will take you to, where you can sign up for a FREE newsletter about events in education around the country and world. I often find links within the publication that I pass on to my faculty or post to this blog. You can find current ideas, emerging technologies and how the government has or has not funded new proposals like NCLB.

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Did you know that Senator Barack Obama is using the social network LinkedIn to query constituents? Wes Fryer has written a blog post about this process as well as Daniel Pink. You can read the question and the 1493 (as of today) answers at: LinkedIn.

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If you want to find thematic puzzles, word games or lessons, you should check out this site: Just looking ahead to Constitution Day, I see at least 8 puzzles, including; fill in the blank, matching, word search and crossword. There is a monthly calendar that links to notable holidays or celebrations you can use. If you are looking for something to teach root words, there are 20 sessions available. If you already have 100's of web sites you visit, then sign up to have the newsletter sent right to your mailbox.

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Each month GoogleEarth Sightseer newsletter is produced to include the new enhancements to the program. This month you can find information and links to geothermal energy, melting arctic ice, links for September dates, and some GE plugins. If you are remotely interested in using GE, you should subscribe to this newsletter at the web site. This is always a "where in the world" picture contest. Be the first to identify the image. The geothermal image above is from the newsletter site:

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Here is a novel idea for creating a small book or a study guide for any subject. This idea and more can be found at the blog of Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord. She has a free monthly newsletter available for subscription. There is a link on the page to purchase one of her books or book on CD. These look to have some interesting lesson ideas as well as some creative ways to include book making in your various curriculum areas. Give it a try and visit her site.

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If you are looking for a way for students to explore levers, pulleys, wheels and their combined action, try the I was exploring for a while when I suddenly realized that it had been 30 minutes of fun. I am not a science teacher, but it appears to be for most ages. Looking deeper into the site, I found a help board, some multi-player games, and online challenges.

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If you do not subscribe to, then take a look at this resource for geospatial learning. Google Earth has catapulted our interest in "where is", distances and mapping. In addition, many families have GIS systems in their car, and devices for geocaching activities. Except for the devices, use of GoogleEarth is free and the activity of geocaching can be free.

This site from offers ideas for integrating geospatial technologies in your classroom. It is not just for geography and science teachers. There are lesson ideas for math, following directions, reading for learning, service projects, and helping our students be 21st century learners.

For more information:

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Do you wonder where John McCain or Barack Obama stand on the technology issues facing our country? This article will give you a simple understanding of where each of the candidates stand.

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This information re-posted from Jim GatesTipline:
"The speeches from the political conventions are available in audio (all) and video (some) via iTunes. I am sure they are available on youtube but they will probably be in higher quality via iTunes.

Are you planning to have your students analyze the speeches? This might be the perfect place to get them. Unless... PLEASE don't tell me that iTunes is blocked in your school, too."

DNC - YouTube
RNC - YouTube

To read more of Jim's Tipline, visit his blog at:

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Atomic Learning is offering Free training for the Office Suite 2008. This is free until September 11, 2008. If there is something you have always wanted to learn in the Office Suite, now is the time to sign on to a video tutorial and master a new skill. After this tutorial is over, you may want to visit Atomic Learning periodically because they often have free tutorials available. Who knows they may post something you have been dying to learn.

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You will be seeing many many links for lessons, videos and propaganda for the fall election. Cable in the Classroom has produced an issue with many excellent resources for education. Among the links are included: How to watch a presidential debate, Using sports figures to boost media exposure, podcasts, interviews and game of politics. You should subscribe for free to receive this monthly periodical. Perhaps your librarian or media specialist has a copy in your local library.

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That was the DuPont Company from 1935 through 1982. We heard it all the time on television. Now you can view videos about each element on the Periodic Table. There is a special Olympic video about the elements of gold, silver and bronze. They have been created by the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. The videos are quite short, although I didn't watch ALL of them, and can be used for many purposes. Assign them as a homework activity or have kids create their own video about combined elements.

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I read this on Plurk today. It is a widget that you can put on your blog or site which has dots on a globe. When you click on a dot, it takes you to a current event story about that location. The information is provided by NPR (National Public Radio).

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Thanks to a plurk post, here is a blog that gives some good examples of using wordle for other activities. I have used my delicious account to make a wordle, but never thought of it for use in other forms of writing.

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This is great: I can get a reminder email or phone call to watch a certain Olympic event! In my case I want to see the USA vs. Argentina Women's Field Hockey preliminary match. So I will get a message 30 minutes before the event! Visit the NBC site (below) to see what I mean! For this event I opted in for the phone call to my cell phone! Maybe it is a text message, now I am not sure.

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I am enjoying the second half of the Opening Ceremonies with about 10 other people I have never met. We are all on Plurk and commenting on the same show while watching in the comfort of our pj's in our own homes! I love this stuff. A comment about the US team hats led several people to quickly look up the information and post a web reference. I missed the entry of Hungry, but one of the plurkers posted this image so we could all enjoy their outfits again! Photo credit to Reuters.

A former student from our school is Kate Barber, the captian of the women's field hockey team and I hope I can get to see some of that on TV - fat chance. I like the smaller sports. I like the popular ones as well, but the smaller ones get more press at this time.

More links to follow the games:
There are sites for each sport, so search away and find your favorite and follow them for the next few weeks in China. Enjoy.

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Thanks to Jackie Blackman's blog for many useful IWB (Interactive White Board) resources. If you explore her site a bit deeper you will find many more links to educational ideas including, graphic organizers, ethics videos from YouTube, documentaries, comic strip maker and more.

I found this link on Jackie's plurk post this morning and wanted to pass it along since this is a great month for teachers looking for a new hook for their lessons. This one if for graphic organizers called Exploreatree.

Leave Jackie a note if you use any of her resources. She writes from somewhere in the UK so those are not spelling mistakes, just King's English!

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This site offers the viewer access to use the book: Using Moodle: Teaching with the Popular Open Source Course Management System, by Jason Cole. O'Reilly Community Press. I have a hard copy of this book and refer to it often when I am setting up a course. Having it online will definitely help me when I leave it at school and need it at home! Excellent resource to have available, FREE.

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Found this emoticon selection through plurkers: Look for animated emoticons of all different themes, animals, tv and movie characters and more. Check it out, you won't be able to get away quickly!

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Only 12 days and counting until my first teacher day back in the saddle. As I reflect on the summer of learning I have a brain full of new tools, a list of new online friends, hundreds of web sites to share, and not enough time to get projects completed before starting back. I have a whole new vocabulary, as many of you do including, diigo, twitter, twitterverse, plurk, ning, web2.0, DEN, DEN/Star, KTI, NECC, PETE&C, kmz file, and more. Perhaps I should create a dictionary, or point to one that has these words and more within.

Delicious is not a verb, but a noun, plurk is not what you do to your eyebrows, but communicate with others while micro-blogging (there is another one for the dictionary). Twitter is not a bird song, but an action word, diigo is not using a shovel, but sharing and highlighting websites. Just because I ning, does not mean I can't spell (but I really can't), rather that I have joined a wide universe of edTech professionals who share their toys. The DEN is not an exclusive private place to hibernate, but another collaborate site connected to DiscoveryEducation. More, more, more and more.

I have already written my first version of September newsletter TechTalk for our parents and teachers. It will include two web2.0 tools each month, new acquisitions in our library and a tech tip or two. We will see how it is received. I will publish a version here when it is finalized.

Get ready, get set.....start your engines and prepare for the start of a new year. I am always excited to return. How about you?

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I have been prodded to try in addition to, or in place of, Twitter. I liked Twitter, I could post or lurk and learn. There are people who contribute some really good tips and sites to use in education. Generally after a workshop or conference I find I want to follow some more people and continue to learn from them.

Twitter is easy. I log in leave it floating on my MAC desktop with Twitterific and glance at it once in a while. Sometimes I reply or post, but not very often. is a bit more engaging. I love the fact that you can follow a thread. But some of it is a bit confusing. It is much more interesting if you follow about 30 or more people. Choose wisely so you can find some quality posts. I know there are a few people in my personal learning network I want to follow. I visited their plurk page to see who they were following and added a few of them to my list. Right now I am following about 40 people and will be adding a few more today.

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PBS recently showed a documentary on Jewish-American Immigration. This is a companion site which offers biographies, lesson plans, resources, and historical information about this significant population to emigrate to the US. The information is geared towards middle and high school students. The information is connected to standards in education to help educators mesh this information into their curriculum materials.

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If you are looking for a global experience for your students or yourself, this might be one to check out. Girls Helping Girls: "The Empower-a-Girl program is a grassroots sister-team initiative that partners girls in the United States with girls in schools and community organizations in developing countries to work together toward the achievement of our four global goals, which together distill and reflect the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. The only initiative of its kind run by girls, for girls, Empower-a-Girl’s unique and engaging program encompasses four main aspects: cultural exchange, a global education, social change projects, and investment in girls’ development." Quote and image from:

I wish I had known about this when I was a Girl Scout Leader. This would have been a great experience for girls to directly make a difference in the world.

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Last November I came across a post from the Vagabondish blog about clever uses for your digital camera while traveling. Now that there is so much excitement surrounding use of cell phones for education, I want to bring back that "old post" and dress it up some. The post was created by Mike Richard on November 8, 2007 and is called:

"Travel Tips: 12 Clever Uses for Your Digital Camera "

It is definitely worth the read if you have any interest in using cell phones in class or just like finding interesting ideas for products you already own. There are suggestions from blog responses such as taking a photo of where you park your car at an airport (remember Seinfeld and friends lost in the parking garage for the whole episode?), pic of hotel in a foreign city, photo of your kids as you enter an amusement park to show what they are wearing, pic of your group of kids you are leader of on a field trip, pic of a bus route sign or signs as bread crumbs as to where you are going, more and more ideas. You can subscribe so when a new idea is posted, since there are many more than 12 ideas now, you will receive it!

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I have heard about all of the Ivy League or top 10 universities who have published podcasts, tours, class lectures and more in the iTunes U library. I wandered around there tonight and found some interesting programs for our school to follow. First I clicked on the iTunes U link in iTunes. Just exploring the opening page could take a day with the variety of information you could read, listen to or watch. One can't help but to see Carnegie-Mellon is at the top of the download list because of the passing of Randy Pausch. If you have been under a rock and don't know his story, download his "last lecture" here for free.

In addition, there are commencement speeches from celebrities like Oprah, studies about energy consumption, becoming a greener household, and stories about nano-technology. With the price of gas so high, people cannot travel to hear or see many cultural events. So in that case, take a virtual tour through a museum. Living close to Philadelphia, I am partial to the Art Museum. Just by typing museum into the search box, a complete list of museum tours will appear. You can go on a talking tour of the National Portrait Gallery to a Zoofari at the San Diego Zoo!

See, hear, and learn. Put it on your own child's iPod and see what they can learn. Better yet, assign it for your students as a listening exercise!

Image from iTunesU at Penn State poster

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I debated and debated, in my own head about iPhone, no iPhone. After talking with the AT&T rep in the mall, I realized that my current phone plan had one more year to go on Verizon and the buy out would not be worth it. So I settled for the iPod Touch. I need gadgets and fru-fru! The next stop after the Apple Store in Delaware (no tax), was to the $5 and Below store for a cover. They had a good selection too. So I saved $24.99 by not purchasing one at the Apple Store. Next stop, skins!
I happened to see an ad for iPod skins from It is a perfect fit, easy to apply and looks classy! There are hundreds of styles for many tech toys. This is the rear view of the skin I selected. I bought two for about $14.00 including shipping. There are many places you can purchase skins, but I must say, customer satisfied!

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I just signed up for the FREE teacher resource site for and after wandering around for a while, I found some good links for election coverage. LINK. I would imagine there will be hundreds of sites and links available for teachers to use in their classroom this year. Start your critique early and find a few sites that you trust, are impartial (HA-HA) and can provide pertinent information for your students.

Photo by Dave Ward on

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How did I miss this creative new, to me anyway, cartoon creator? Stripgenerator is so easy to create a strip cartoon, just by choosing humans, objects, shapes and text balloons. Once created you can embed or print them. Here is a sample. My column is not wide enough, but you get the idea.

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Thanks to my colleague Laboure Rafferty for these three math links from a workshop she is attending this week. This is her review of the sites:
  1. Math Songs: "The website provides songs to teach students mathematical concepts through the music of many familiar songs. The songs are written to well known tunes such as: Dry Bones Song, Heartbreak Hotel, Hotel California, O'Christmas Tree, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, New York, New York, Jailhouse Rock, Houndog, Twelve Days of Christmas, Burning Ring of Fire, Blue Suede Shoes, Do You Believe in Magic, etc. A variety of mathematical concepts are taught through the songs. The concepts include but are not limited to: multiplying integers, rates and rations, PEMDAS, parenthesis, circumference and area of circle, simplifying rationale expressions, solving equations, graphing lines, Y=MX +B, Vertical Lines, quadratic formula, distance formula, midpoint formula, squaring a binomial, factoring for basic math to Alg. 2, exponent rules, finding equation of line from two points, solving systems of equations, linear equations, slope, Pythagorean theorem, CPCTC, parallel lines cut by a transversal, COIC PAAM, and horizontal asymptote. The site offers a variety of possibilities for use. The songs could be used to introduce a new mathematical concept. They could also be used to help students prepare and study for tests. "
  2. Math Songs & Poems: "This website is maintained by Vicki Young who teaches at Motlow State Community College in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The site offers a variety of poems and songs related to math. The site is organized by math standards. The topics covered include: number and operation, patterns and algebra, graphs and functions, geometry, measurement, probability and statistics, problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representation. Just as Ronnie Flowers site could be used to introduce a new mathematical concept or to help students prepare or study for tests, this site could also be used to help students reinforce mathematical concepts."
  3. Ask Dr.Math: "Ask Dr. Math is a website maintained by the Math Forum @ Drexel University. The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel School of Education. The site is a wealth of information on a variety of math topics. It provides a variety of answers to math related questions as well as the ability to ask a question and receive an answer from a member of The Math Forum. Math Problems of the week are provided in the areas of math fundamentals, pre-algebra, algebra and geometry. Interactive mathematics puzzles are also available. A full table of contents on a variety of mathematical topics is also provided. The site is a fabulous resource for students and teaches alike."
Whoever says teachers sit around and eat bon-bons in the summer doesn't know education. I know many teachers who are extending their PLN(personal learning network) by taking courses, attending workshops, conferences, seminars and connecting with others all over the country, and world. In fact, this weekend I am going with another colleague to the DEN Regional Workshop in Monmouth University. Watch for some blog posts on that next week.

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Thanks to Jen Dorman for posting this link to some great pages on differentiated instruction. Links to learning styles inventory, multiple intelligences inventory, instructional theory, classroom tips, and sample lessons and units to look over. Read a discussion about how your teaching style matches with your students' learning style.

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If you want to venture outside your classroom this year, then check out the projects on the I-Earn site. From here, you can connect with teachers in the next community to across the globe. Look for topics that fit your curriculum and dovetail them to fit. No need to create your own project. You can choose something simple the first time, they step it up a notch when your students are ready for a more in-depth study. Check out the newsletter for past projects and how they worked too.

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