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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