ResolutionImage by sneeu via Flickr

New Year's Day is around the corner and there is so much on the news or print media (what is that?) and the web about setting resolutions. Do you set them? Sometimes I do, sometimes I do not.

The top resolutions people set are to:
  • spend more time with family
  • improve health/diet
  • financial responsibility
  • volunteer to help others
  • reduce stress
  • more education / learn something new.

There are several sites and books that can help with improving these areas of one's life. It is just finding the one technique that works to help stay on task or ahead of the curve with items on the to do list.

Here is a list of books from Amazon about resolutions. Check out this list of quotes about New Year's Resolutions. There are a number of songs about New Year's as well. Can't think of a resolution? Try this collection of sites which are filled with ideas for resolutions.
Finally, here are several sites giving you information about the history of New Year's Day and resolutions.

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Netbook Skin using (Lenovo S10)Image by Amphinomus via Flickr

I am no English teacher, and don't spell very well, but thank you to the person who invented the spell checker! This site offers the top 10 misused and misspelled words that everyone can master. Be sure to read the whole page, because there are a few words in there you may NOT want in your school classroom. If this fits your classroom, you can purchase a poster of the page. Make it a New Year's Resolution to spell these correctly in 2010.
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Try this Google Custom search to find photos on over 35 sites:

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June 02Image by rmom352 via Flickr

Last year I was inspired to create a photo-blog and take a photo a day for 2009. It was really fun in the beginning because it was so new. I admit it got tough after a while, but I kept plugging away. Here it is December 26 and I am still going strong. There were days I didn't post, but later went back and added something to the date. Just this morning I saw a post on plurk to try the one photo a week challenge. This is a no pressure voluntary activity, to share photos with fellow educators. In return you get access to their photos that you can freely use in your blogs, sites, or documents as most are attribution license. The photos can be of anything that inspires you for the day, a flower, a sign, seasonal photos, or everyday objects, just have fun with it. Here is one the of photos I took during the year. If I take them at school, I try not to get kids faces so there is no issue for permission or identitiy.
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I have often seen emails spelled out or done in creative ways on websites, but I figured it was a creativity idea. After reading a Tweet from rmbyrne with this URL: I thought I would follow the trail and find out more. The tweet led me to Sue Waters blog post about protecting your email from scam bots, in several different ways. She provides several email image generators to make your email look something like the examples below. I strongly suggest that you visit this post by Sue and change how you publish your email on blogs, wikis and other websites you maintain.

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In the spirit of the giving season, we have a gift for you...

Through January 18, ALL TeachHUB MEMBERS will have access to the archive of 500+ Printable Pop Culture Lesson Plans.

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New SmartBoard 011Image by LisaThumann via Flickr

Someone on pointed me to this great wiki about measurement tools for the SmartBoard. This collection is nicely organized into specific categories, angles, length, time, volume, perimeter, temperature, weight, and money. The author, J Dornberg has nice neat descriptions of the tools and their implementation in your classroom. For example, he mentions that the buttons are located on the bottom of the screen in one application, so younger children can participate. This is a good addition for your SmartBoard library of tools to use in your room!
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Spore HeroImage via Wikipedia

This season you may get requests for several video games. Before you go and purchase those requests, you may want to read this article about the "Cool Games for Kids". This is a review of popular games and describes the action and gore level. There are some additional hints for better choices at the end of each description.
Included is a list of CommonSense Media's 10 most violent video games. Be sure to read that list carefully. Print the list, so you can have it handy to ask others if they allow their kids to play them when your children are going to be at that home. I have to agree with some of their choices. I have watched my kids play games with their friends at my house. Some of the bloody stuff was too much for me. Teens are desensitized to the violence and that is what bothers me the most. When I hear that machine gun bursting, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

My son and his friends are over 18 and like to play other games as well, Spore, Restaurant in Facebook, map maker from Call of Duty, and other map maker options. I have seen these kids play paintball, airsoft and make videos for fun. They are not violent kids, but they ARE desensitized to gore. Care should be taken in previewing the type of videos kids watch. The recent popularity of horror or gore movies gives me chills. I can't even watch the trailers. I am truly worried about this teen generation and their attitude toward death, torture, and violence in song, games movies and other media. Only time will tell the effects on our kids. The articles below contradict each other, but worth the read.
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Teachers get upset that people don't take their careers seriously. No wonder, when you see ads like this !!!! I would like two masters and a Phd please. Look and see who it is sponsord by at the bottom of the advertisement.

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Make an elf, potato, sand design,
Santa face, or snowflake,
gingerbread person(1), you can
spud yourself or elf yourself with these links!
Jan Brett has a gingerbread(2) site too! Here are my snowflake and
gingerbread(3) creations.

You can also decorate a
Christmas Tree (1), Christmas Tree(2),Christmas Tree (3), and another
Christmas Tree (4). Put the lights on the Christmas Village. If you like the cold, make a
snow family(1), snow family(2), or snow family (3). Help Mrs.Claus decorate.
If you are not too tired after all of that, try some Christmas Games. Finally, you can have an online advent calendar for your class or family. Here is another simple snowman activity for early elementary students.
Here are
10 different choices of online advent calendars.

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If you don't have access to create a web page for your classroom, try this site to get started for FREE. In addition to giving teachers space for websites, they provide options for creating tests, quizzes, photo gallery, announcements, a blog, file manager, and a calendar of events for your room.

100 Top Teacher Sites
This includes links to sites from every curricular area including world language activities like learning to speak Turkish. If you like to include cartoons in your publications, view a great collection at These are copyrighted images and you must write for permission. Contact Mary for prices and permission.
Another link provides suggestions for Creating Cheat-Proof English Grammar Test Worksheets. There are links to creating unique awards for your class, and games and activities for all areas. Over 5 pages of links provided for your enjoyment!

Teachers First Newsletter
Every few weeks I get an email newsletter from Teacher' It is full of activities for the season, month and themed programs. This week, November 15th, there are book lists, debate topics, or Thanksgiving activities. Need a creative science idea, try this site: SDI: The Experience. It is based upon forensic science to teach students concepts in an applied manner.

Education Week
And it is National Education Week, so why not treat your students to some writing in 140 characters? This story from, offers some Twitter ideas for your classroom.

Kerpoof lessons from Scholastic
Looking for some ideas for using comics in your classroom, then fear not! Kerpoof and Scholastic provide a great source for your use of the products. There are .pdf to download and you can adapt them to your curriculum.

Enjoy!! and Happy Thanksgiving
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Flock + iPhoneImage by Evan Hamilton via Flickr

Trying to keep up with Internet safety is a daunting task. Daily, there are changes in security, news stories that alarm parents, and more ways in which the thugs are invading our privacy, often illegally. This site: Internet has a helpful website and a blog that appeals to parents as well as teachers to stay informed. More information is at this post from the blog "Parents Want to Know". Disclaimer: I write that blog as well and try to add new information about Internet safety or monitoring.

I am an avaid iPhone user and love the device and was quite pleased to see a monitoring program for parents to control. The statistics about availability of porn on the Internet and how easy it is to find it is quite un-nerving to me as a parent of two teenagers. There are explicit podcasts, free downloadable books, images and videos on YouTube.

Don't assume that your child's phone is protected. Make a plan for checking it often, and check text messages, photos as well as any videos or unknown phone numbers in the list.
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Texting on a keyboard phoneImage via Wikipedia

In a recent article from The Washington Post, the author quotes a study that texting does not create poor spelling. I am not buying into that just yet. The kids texting today have had years of spelling/vocabulary tests and have that sense of history behind them.
Those findings, recently published in the journal Reading and Writing, suggest that parental worries that kids who use "chatspeak" will become bad spellers or never learn how to write well are unfounded. "Young people can compartmentalize their language," Varnhagen said. "They have language that they use on the playground and then school language. They know how to speak in classrooms without sounding like goofballs."

I believe that the jury is still out on this one. My recommendation would be to ask the language arts teachers and find out what they are seeing in writing samples throughout the year. A short spelling test with 40 students does not convince me that students can still spell after texting all weekend. The English language has been corrupted enough without including texting language!

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In a recent plurk post from Lisa Parisi she mentioned Math Shoes. So my curiosity made me click on the link provided and I had a good chuckle at the wide variety of shoes with math patterns! Perfect for the elementary or daring secondary teacher! Everything from fractals to numbers are included in the patterns and the selection is interesting.They are a bit pricey, but I did see that you can click on them to customize the color combination. Enjoy shopping!
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This site: Teacher's First, has provided many important links to activities for holiday celebrations, curriculum lessons, contests and general information. You can sign up for the newsletter to be delivered to your email, so you don't miss anything. The links and lesson ideas fro October range from the typical Halloween/Autumn ideas, to lessons about Henry Hudson, visual math ideas and science activities about the sun. The featured site is Inventors of the Industrial Revolution. There is a wealth of information and resources for teachers of any grade level. TeachersFirst is an ISTE100 member.

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If you are near a Civil War battlefield, monument, location or the home of any famous Civil War people why not invite Civil War Sallie to your class. She is a traveling bear that visits classrooms and above learning all she can about the Civil War. She is the friend of Sara Beeghley, a 7th grader from Mechanicsburg, PA and is coordinating Sallie's visits. You can contact or follow Civil War Sallie this way:

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Grant's Gazelle, Serengeti, TanzaniaImage via Wikipedia

If you teach the predator/prey concepts, here is a web activity that can be used by early elementary grades through middle school. You choose how many lions, antelope and the rate of birth for antelope and the rate the grass grows on the plain. At the bottom of the page, there is a link for additional education activities. This is a great time fill activity for your class. There are several types of writing prompts you can create from this simple science concept.
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{{Potd/2005-11-24 (en)}}Image via Wikipedia

I came across two posts to plurk today about Thanksgiving activities:
  1. Get 6 letters from a colonial boy or girl - "Sign up to receive three letters from a young girl traveling on the Mayflower* and three letters from a young Native American boy*. Give your class a glimpse of history through the eyes of two school-age children. New This Year: Bonus letters and activities including vocabulary quiz, fact scavenger hunt, and readers' theater. Sign up here to receive it all."

  2. You are the Historian - "Some historians think that "The First Thanksgiving" wasn't really a thanksgiving. They call it "The 1621 Harvest Celebration" because it was more like a harvest festival. You can be a historian! On this website you will discover clues about what really happened at the 1621 harvest celebration."
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_IMG_0354Image by carolynhack via Flickr

Girls Inc.

Picture the world through the eyes of a Girls Inc. girl. She belongs to a community that empowers her to pursue the biggest dreams she can dream. She is uplifted by the strength of a national organization that is committed to inspiring the leaders of tomorrow.

This is how Girls Inc. celebrates girlhood. Letter to parents about this site.

Sally Ride Science

Science Festivals, invent a toy, hear Sally ride speak, and general information for girls to be encouraged to pursue science careers. This is a fun day, as I attended a Science Festival with my daughter about 5 years ago. I think she was to young to get it, because I was the one who stood in line for her autograph!

Gotta Have iT

Many many many resources for encouraging girls to gt involved in tech or science careers. Links to contests, challenges and lesson ideas for teachers. Resources for parents as well.

More resources and organizations on this web page.
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The BrainPOP UK team avatarsImage by brainpop_uk via Flickr

If you have a subscription to BrainPop then you are aware of the fantastic resources available. If you would like to sample what they have available then visit the site to see the FREE movies and take a test drive. Did you know that DEN Star Teryl McGee is a BrainPop Advisor and will be highlighted as someone to watch! Read more at:
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Join Izzit and select from a list of videos for your free one. There are several types of memberships, but I have been a member for several years and have selected a free video, with no strings attached, each year. Some of the videos available are not first run movie theatre flicks, so don't look for that. These videos include topics about the Pilgrims, David Robinson, Drew Carey, microeconomics, and solar energy.

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Online Education Conference on Climate Change
from the Smithsonian Institution

Join one or all of twelve exciting sessions of the Smithsonian’s free online conference, September 29 to October 1. “Climate Change” sessions are appropriate for teachers, their students, and the general public.

In this innovative format, you will
interact in real-time with Smithsonian experts and hundreds of fellow participants. With only a computer and an Internet connection, you will see and hear live presentations, take part in a moderated Q&A forum, and exchange ideas with a community of learners. It's a special behind-the-scenes look into the Smithsonian's multi-disciplinary research on climate change that can help you and your students (especially middle and high school) better understand this complex topic.

From prehistoric plant life and its reactions to climate change, to how peoples in the past dealt with changing environments, to artists’ and young innovators’ responses—it’s a conference only the Smithsonian could offer—and it’s available free of charge, to
view live or replay at any time.

Register Now
For the conference program and registration, go to

Special Educator Resources
Don’t miss the special section for educators with ideas for before, during, and after the conference.

Information directly from the website.

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The Education Team at the Zoo will be hosting two Teacher Open Houses (October 13th and 14th) from 5:00-6:30 pm in order to showcase our new McNeil Avian Center as well as visit with educators about the resources and programs available through the Zoo. The event is FREE and will include light refreshments. Registration for the Open Houses is on a first-come, first-serve basis and is now available online through our Teachers’ Lounge. Please help spread the word!

Have you heard? Tua, the16-year-old Sumatran orangutan, is expecting her first baby in October. Sumatran orangutans are among the largest of all primates and also among the most endangered - scientists estimated that there were only 3500 surviving in the wild in 2002, and numbers were continuing to drop. Read a recent article about Tua and visit the Zoo’s website to learn more about Sumatran orangutans.

Information above directly from the September Educator newsletter. To contact the zoo directly email:

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Wikis can be used for many things by different people. Even with the limited editing tools, there is enough available to create some online content for any purpose. There is a blog post on the site that offers 50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom.
When you are finished reading this article, visit this site to compare over 25 different types of wiki programs.

Want some more suggestions? Try these:
  1. 38 Ways to use Wordle
  2. 17 Ways to use VoiceThread
  3. 23 Ways to use Nintendo DS in the classroom
  4. 40 Ways to use Pocket Video
  5. 21 Ways to use GoogleDocs
  6. 24 Ways to use GoogleEarth
  7. 42 Ways to use your IWB in your classroom
  8. 34 Interesting ways to use Search Engines in the classroom
  9. 25 Interesting ways to use Twitter in the classroom
Using search engines in your classroom
Best Places to learn Web2.0 tools.

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chicks @ farm techImage by happy via via Flickr

In a recent podcast by The Tech Chicks, they recommended several great and FREE links/sites/applications. So be sure to visit their site and enjoy these teaching resources:
  1. Math Posters
  2. TakingITGlobal - social network for student to take a stand for their environment.
  3. Kewl Grader - just like that little wheel you have to figure out a percentage score for a student who gets 7 wrong out of 27. There is an iPhone app for this too.
  4. Bugscope - The Bugscope project provides free interactive access to a scanning electron microscope (SEM) so that students anywhere in the world can explore the microscopic world of insects.
  5. SignUpNow - create an online sign up sheet for many things, homeroom activities, personal lists etc. Here is a sample:
  6. Energy Education - Teach your students the importance of green energy while enhancing your required curriculum. Here you'll find about 63 creative lesson plans, projects and other activities for grades K-12 on energy-related topics.
  7. Reflections - Icebreaker activities
Enjoy the resources AND of course, pass them on to a colleague.

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I thought this blog post about President Obama's speech for the first day of school said it all.

Certainly we have had many other presidents speak to students early in the school year without all the fuss. They were, of course, Republican presidents. I think releasing the content of the speech in advance was a wise choice for the administration. You can read the full text below. The video is also linked here too.

Above image from CNN by way of NYDaily
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If you were a wee ones watching The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in the 60's then get out there NOW and reserve a copy of The Beatles RockBand. The game is available on September 9 and should be a winner! Songs from all different styles are on the game. In addition, songs from Abby Road will be released for RockBand in October. It appears as if there will be a dribble of Beatlemania this fall. Perhaps it will continue to a flood. It will if any of those Ed Sullivan fans are gamers! I have already placed a deposit for mine!

Before you go to your nearest game store to place a deposit, check the deals. Blockbuster had NO deal. GameStop will give 3 free songs for advance deposit there. WAlMart is offering a $10 gift card with deposit. Blockbuster is offering a Beatles baseball style hat. So look for the bargain before placing your deposit.
Songs included on the game:
  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • Boys
  • Do You Want To Know A Secret
  • Twist And Shout
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • I Want to Hold Your Hand
  • A Hard Day’s Night
  • Can’t Buy Me Love
  • I Feel Fine
  • Eight Days A Week
  • Ticket To Ride
  • Day Tripper
  • Drive My Car
  • I’m Looking Through You
  • If I Needed Someone
  • Paperback Writer
  • Taxman
  • Yellow Submarine
  • And Your Bird Can Sing
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • With a Little Help from My Friends
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • Getting Better
  • Good Morning Good Morning
  • I Am The Walrus
  • Hello Goodbye
  • Revolution
  • Back In The U.S.S.R.
  • Dear Prudence
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Birthday
  • Helter Skelter
  • Hey Bulldog
  • Don’t Let Me Down
  • Come Together
  • Something
  • Octopus’s Garden
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  • Here Comes The Sun
  • Dig A Pony
  • I Me Mine
  • I’ve Got A Feeling
  • Get Back
  • Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows
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{{de|Anschlüsse an einem externen SCSI-Gerät. ...Image via Wikipedia

Each start of a new school reminds us to reflect upon our experiences as a youngster. This kindergarten class is the class of 2022! There are many things these students will not get to experience because they are no longer in existance. From Wired magazine, here is a partial list of 100 things. The rest can be found at their website article: 100 Things You Kids May Never Know, by Nathan Barry, July 22, 2009 Issue.

  • "Inserting a VHS tape into a VCR to watch a movie or to record something.
  • Super-8 movies and cine film of all kinds.
  • Playing music on an audio tape using a personal stereo. See what happens when you give a Walkman to today’s teenager.
  • The number of TV channels being a single digit. I remember it being a massive event when Britain got its fourth channel.
  • Tweaking the volume setting on your tape deck to get a computer game to load, and waiting ages for it to actually do it.
  • Daisy chaining your SCSI devices and making sure they’ve all got a different ID.
  • Counting in kilobytes.
  • Wondering if you can afford to buy a RAM upgrade.
  • Blowing the dust out of a NES cartridge in the hopes that it’ll load this time.
  • Turning a PlayStation on its end to try and get a game to load.
  • Joysticks.
  • Taking turns picking a radio station, or selecting a tape, for everyone to listen to during a long drive.
  • Remembering someone’s phone number.
  • Not knowing who was calling you on the phone". or even a party line!
If anything, the entire list will give you a chuckle.
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Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus)Image via Wikipedia

There are so many great sites for science, but once again I came across something good for elementary science called The Arctic Hare. You must create a food chain from the animals listed on the page. Simple you say, well give it a try. There are links for educator resources, arctic hare cam, 3D images, and lesson ideas along with video clips. This is definitely worth the stop.

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I enjoyed my recent weekend visit to Washington DC. During this short 4 day stay I visited the Holocaust Museum, Newseum, Indian Museum, Botanical Garden,and National Geographic exhibits. In addition, I attended a friends wedding held at the DAR Museum. It was a wonderful weekend.

I had read about and how easy it was to create a podcast from an iPhone, so I decided to give it a try. Here is the link to all of the casts I made from the Indian Museum: . Below is how the audio podcasts appear as you embed them into a blog:


Photo: Museum photo by Robin Martin, August 1, 2009
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