I came across these great fun sites for sharing Halloween. The first is a timeline of Halloween history!
  1. Halloween Timeline
  2. Larry Ferlazzo's sites for learning about Halloween
  3. Carve a pumpkin 1
  4. Cat bowling
  5. Carve a pumpkin 2

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Vintage Fashion Mail Order Catalog, 1934Image by danagraves via FlickrIf you are tired of telemarketers calling your home, you can register at the national Do Not Call website. It is a simple process where you fill out the form with phone numbers that you want on the Do Not Call list and they will send a verification email. Click on the email link and you are on the list!

Additionally, if you are tired of getting too many catalogs, visit this site, Catalog Choice to register for do not send. I did this 3 years ago and have dramatically reduced the number of catalogs I receive in the mail. With the holiday season gearing up, you may want to get on this right away so your mailbox is not stuffed with catalogs you do not want. Plus it is good for the environment.
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Image representing Google Docs as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBaseIf your school is using Google Apps for Education then you already know of the excellent resources available. I just want to point out one of the more recent additions, using Weekly Reader. Google has joined with Weekly Reader to prepare materials for teaching reading with google docs. There are many links on the page to offer suggestions for reading, writing and using Google within your curriculum to help students.
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Most people are very set for the first month of school. Review of material, setting the climate of the class and reminder of your rules. Here is a site that offers handouts, lesson ideas and more for most subjects and includes K-12. I thought it would be just a few black line masters, but upon closer review I found that even after 3 clicks deep, the site revealed pages of links to sites for additional information. If you teach more than one subject, you could get lost in this site for days!
Enjoy....Free Teacher Handouts

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iIf you have not created a cartoon animation of yourself as an elf, santa or trekker, then here is your chance. Make a fun avatar for use on your website or send an e-card to a family member. These are fun, but check them out completely before using with students. Some sites contain partial nudity or characters in skimpy outfits.

  1. Yearbook yourself
  2. Create your own Marvel Comic SuperHero
  3. The Hero Factory
  4. Bless This Chick
  5. Spud Yourself
  6. Simpsonize Me
  7. Elf Yourself - not available until November 1st
  8. Terminate yourself - turn your face into "The Terminator"
  9. Madmen Yourself - men and women
  10. 12 sites to cartoon yourself - preview yourself - not sure about some of the images for school
  11. Santa Yourself
  12. Scrooge Yourself - available at holiday time
  13. Many many create yourself and make items site - preview before using with students
  14. Jib-Jab
  15. Animate yourself - preview before using with students
  16. Trek Yourself - make yourself a StarTrek character
  17. Build your Wild self
  18. Make an Anime
  19. Lego Yourself - make a LEGO character
  20. Create an M&M piece
  21. My Avatar Editor
  22. Monster Mash by JibJab
  23. Make a Western Style Wanted Poster
  24. Mr. Picassohead
  25. Make a beast!
  26. Diary of a Wimpy Kid! - wimp yourself too
  27. Avatar in video using webcam
  28. Digimi - starts w/characters in underwear-caution for kids - risque outfits
  29. MyWebFace - cartoon yourself
  30. DoppleMe - small cartoon style join free to make more choices (some alcohol in item choices)
  31. Portrait Icon Maker - from a photo or from scratch
  32. Meez - moving avatars, can make one for free, if you join, be aware of the games section not sure if appropriate for your school
  33. Zwinky - photo to avatar - PC only no Mac version so it says on site
  34. TizMe - some alternative clothing (risque) and alcohol as items
  35. WeeWorld Avatar - no alcohol, but can change the size of the breasts! Ads were OK today, but may not be sometime. Looks like movie ads.
  36. Digital Tools for Teachers Blog - with ideas for using avatars in class
  37. RasterBoy - simple, but 2 alcohol items
  38. My Designer Games - not compatible with Macs - PC only
  39. Super Dressup Girls - not compaitble with Macs - PC only
  40. Fairy Maker - free click buttons to change the features on the butterfly fairy
  41. Komono Maker - dress up the female on the page by clicking on buttons
  42. Elf Maker - dress up a female elf
  43. 15 more Makers from same site including dragons and unicorn, warrior, and history.
  44. Faces I make - use food objects to create a funny face
  45. iVatar - app for iTouch/iPhone to share avatar to Facebook or email
  46. Switcheroo Zoo - change features on animals, and learn about habitats
  47. Creature Creator from Underland Chronicles
  48. Mr. Magorium's Toy Creator - simple for small children more creators at the bottom of the page
  49. Sonic Charrie Maker - from Deviant Art fun and simple
  50. Sonic Character Maker -
  51. Male Furry Doll Maker - cartoon style
  52. Female Furry Doll Maker - cartoon style
  53. Spore character maker - like the game
  54. Chao Maker - cartoon
  55. Pokemon Trainer character -
  56. Many movie characters, Shrek, Robocop, Minnion, and be in the Dove commercial, e*Trade ad and more.
  57. Clay Yourself
Also, if you know of any other sites like this, please leave a comment!
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More and more schools are adding Google Apps for Education as part of their scheme for low cost services including GMail, Docs, Sites, Video, and Calendar. Our district has made the decision to move to this as well. The benefits are: low cost (free), integration of the 5 products listed above, ease of use for students home/school connections, ease of collaboration for students as well as teachers and simplicity of use of the products.

Our teachers are pretty computer literate and this should be a welcomed transition. We have FirstClass email at this point, and will keep it for faculty use. Part of our training session will be to show teachers how to get their contacts from FC over to their GoogleMail. Another important part will be to show them how to have one email account push all messages to the other so that they only have to check one mail service. This is particularly important for teachers who are new to Google services.

I want to recommend two great services for training your teachers as well. The first has been developed by Google as in a comprehensive support page for the GoogleApps for Education. There are video tutorials as well as written instructions for the tools. The second resource was created by several Google Teacher Academy members as part of their project and is called Tech Training Wheels. This site was created to be a resource for those who train others in their district to use Google tools so we could share resources. Rather than have 100 people creating the same videos and documents for training, this site offers videos and documents to share. Start with this video and hopefully you can add to the library or learn something there.

For other Google links to resources, I share my delicious library: http://www.delicious.com/RMOM/google

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Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...Image via Wikipedia We are about 1/2 way through hurricane season and it has been pretty mild. Can you believe it was 5 years ago that Katrina hit the Gulf Coast? There is still a lot of rebuilding going on. That year the number of hurricanes and tropical storms exceeded 25, causing over 3,000 deaths in the US alone. Prepare your students for this year by examining these links from Teacher'sFirst. Quiz your class to see if they know what happens when we run out of the alphabetical names for storms. Do you know?
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Looking for another way to share insect biology with your class? Check out Orkin's Virtual Cockroach. Really, it is not gross, but a scientific view of the parts of this insect. If you zoom in you can see an actual photo of the anatomy. I found it quite fascinating. Another link takes you to the Orkin Learning Center. There are lesson plans a pest zoo and games for young children. So use this as a great opportunity to share the love!
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One of the new programs I saw demonstrated this summer is ZooBurst. It is a site that allows you to create an online popup book. Here is my sample:

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Monopoly JusticeImage by mtsofan via Flickr

While looking for some tutorials for Google, I noticed quite a few links to some great teaching information. The first one is for back to school discounts and specials for teachers from many stores. Watch your local paper for other deals and specials from Target as well. In addition, Dollar General is offering 20% off with the coupon printed from this page.

There are thousands of great websites teachers use to inspire students, but here are a few games that I'll bet you have in your basement, closet or can get your hands on quickly. They are classic games that teach many different skills, thinking, compromise, teamwork, problem solving and of course being a gracious winner or loser!
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Dec 09Image by rmom352 via Flickr

I attended the Google Teacher Academy in December 2009 in Washington DC. It was a fantastic two days of learning about the different tools Google has and how to apply them to the classroom. I met some awesome educators from around the country, and one from Canada! The Lead Learners shared their experiences with Google products in their districts, we were treated to excellent instruction on several tools I had not tried, a statement from someone from the Department of Ed and of course the micro kitchen!

Part of the process in becoming a Google Certified Teacher is to create an action plan for implementing the tools in your district. My plan was two-fold 1)plan and implement a training for our UCFSD teachers 2)share the tools with the Wilkes University graduate classes I teach. The WU course began in January and we quickly jumped in to creating a blog using Blogger. Most of the folks had never even read a blog before, so we worked through the process. Each week there was a topic for a blog post. They started slow, but by the end of the semester were very comfortable using Blogger. I strongly recommend it to beginning bloggers, as it is so simple to edit, change templates, add photos an post.

Throughout the semester we moved into other Google tools including, docs, mail, iGoogle, reader and squared. They enjoyed the process and many created lessons to use with their students. The one area where we struggled was using the presentation tool. The assignment was for the class to work in pairs and each pair create 3 pages of a slide show using presentation. I had created a template for them to edit. We discovered that when two people are using the same template page at the same time only one of their work will be saved as it overwrites the other person's work. There was a really healthy discussion about setting up projects and testing things before giving students access. Good lesson learned for all.

My second goal was to create a workshop for our staff. In April 2010 I created the 5 on the Fly - Workshop for teachers sharing 5 Google Tools; GoogleForms, Google Squared, GoogleDocs, Custom Search, iGoogle. We will focus on how these tools can be seamlessly integrated into their classroom or their management of a classroom. The content of which is available HERE.

About a month after the workshop, our tech director decided that we would be going forward with Google Apps for Education for our students. This summer I have been able to use what I learned at the GCT days in Washington DC to prepare our staff for the changes in the fall. We will be implementing GMail for our middle school students and teachers. There have been numerous hours of planning and creating to get ready for when our teachers return at the end of August. My experience at the GTA gave me many tools to be an advocate of this change. The GTA also exposed me to some of the best minds in education around the country. I have followed many of them through their blogs, but now I can call many of them friend. They have been a great source of information for deploying Google in our district and

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

I am grateful for having met them.

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LOGO2.0 part IImage by Ludwig Gatzke via Flickr

There were so many links shared at the DEN Symposium, that I want to be sure that you have them too! Most of these are found from within the Edmodo.com group as well, but I found it easier to see them in this format.
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July 17Image by rmom352 via Flickr

Even though most of us were not there at the DEN LC Syposium or the DEN Summer Institute, in Bentley University, we followed the discussions on various ways; Twitter, Edomodo, CoverItLive, Plurk and of course reading the blogs that were posted with tips, websites, videos and photos of the action. The first day Steve Dembo introduced us to using Edmodo to share thoughts, opinions and information that needed to be shared. Not only did the groups do that, but produced several smaller groups for specific information. Here is a link to the notes and group codes for The DEN LC Symposium if you wish to look back at some of the conversaton. So not only was our collaboration side by side, but across the miles as we followed, responded and even made some real face to face friends.
See you all next year!
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Image representing <span class=Image via CrunchBase

Tuesday evening the two guys from Glogster, Andrew and Jim, came to get input from the group about what new features they would like to see. There were questions about connecting and collaboration which we will see in the newer versions of Glogster in about 6 months. Did you know that the product was developed in Prague? Most of us did not either.

You can become a Glogster Ambassador by clicking on the link at the very bottom of the main page. Read through the details carefully and send along your information. In addition to the Ambassador program, Glogster will send you some information, handouts and some previews for the pro version to give away at any training session you deliver.

In addition to the above enhancements, Glogster is in talks with Discovery for some direct connections. This follows their announcement that you can now embed glogs into wikispaces and PBworks. Watch for some announcement about Glogster for iPad as well, it is in progress.

When starting out with Glogster be sure to view the introduction tutorials and if you email the team about an enhancement or feature you think will improve the product, you just might see it in the next release!

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June 26Image by rmom352 via Flickr

Today was filled with unconference sessions set by request of the participants. There were 24 different sessions offered in 4 time slots. My day began with geocaching in the rain with Porter Palmer. She confessed to being new to geocaching, but has a great depth of knowledge and enthusiasm about sharing it with others. We started with a discussion of devices vs iPhone app and decided to go with the Garmin device for this morning's adventure.

Porter placed over 10 caches on this campus for participants to locate during the conference. After learning how to use the Garmin, we set off in search of the first find. There are many types of cache containers and objects to use, but she recommended using the travel bugs from geocaching.com since they offer their services for free and selling items is a source of income for them. It is nice to support this organization in this way. Containers can be the leftover container from Chinese food, to official boxes purchased online.

How would you use this in the classroom? Many ideas were shared including: following directions, scavenger hunts, informational cache, study guide questions at each station, group project at cache like math question and the answer will lead to the next clue, for smaller children you have one or two caches with prizes.

All in all it was a fun walk around this part of campus looking for caches of different types, even if there were a million steps involved!! Thanks Porter.

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<span class=Image by rmom352 via Flickr

Last night we had the pleasure of visiting the office of Peter Reynolds company, FableVision which are located in the Boston Children's Museum on the harbor. The work areas are whimsical as each person has their own collection of toys, books and visuals around their working area. Posters of Peter's artwork adorn the entrance to the offices, along with the numerous awards FableVision as received for software as well as animation productions.

In addition to 18 published books, FableVision has created several animated short films and a new feature film will be out next year. Their website offers many educational tips including a word of the week in a poster format so you can easily print and post in your classroom.

Peter graciously spoke to the group about his inspiration, a middle school math teacher who encouraged Peter to use his doodles to show what he knew about math concepts. He made his first animation at age 12 and never turned back. His latest book "Rose's Garden" is dedicated to this teacher and the story is based upon Rose Kennedy's love of gardening and the new greenway along the harbor of Boston. Each of us received an autographed copy of this book to remind us to inspire, desire and encourage our dreams and the dreams of our students to come to life.

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BP Tries a Top HatImage by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr

This site will take to you a ma that will illustrate the size of the BP oil leak compared to a map of your area. I was appalled to see this in relation to my area.
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Picture the overhead gate at the entrance to t...Image via Wikipedia

Come to the Philadelphia Zoo this summer for FREE. The intent is to have teachers visit then plan to bring their students on a field trip later in the year. The Philadelphia Zoo is the nations first zoo and has made many improvements of the past several years.

In addition, their education department has a summer institute for teachers as described in this link.

Begin your trip with the Discovery video “Beyond the Bars: Zoos and Zoo Animals (1987)”. There are blackline masters, a teacher’s guide and a quiz you can use with your class too!

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This site is full of logic games for many age levels. At this time of the school year, you may need a time filler at the end of class as students finish projects. You can even put this up on your IWB and have groups of students try their hand at solving the puzzles contained within the pages. Caution, their are puzzles with NO directions. Part of the puzzle is trying to figure out the puzzle! Be patient, as the flash loads very slowly. Enjoy...

  1. Casual Game Play #1 -
  2. Casual Game Play #2 - make sure to try the island/volcano game
  3. Casual Game Play #3 - click and drag
  4. Casual Game Play #4 - ball physics

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A screenshot of the error of January 31, 2009Image via Wikipedia

Searching for information can be cumbersome if you don't have a plan. Random searching can produce a lucky find, but most of the time you need a plan for what keywords you will use and know a little about your subject. For example if you are searching for the text of Abraham Lincoln's speeches, using "Lincoln" in the search box will result in over 151 million hits. But if you narrow your search to Lincoln's speeches +text you may get around 65,000 hits. Well either way it is too many to look through in one day!

Here is a great resource for searching.
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Oct 05Image by rmom352 via Flickr

This is a re-post from Tim Childers' blog; Beyond the Bell. You can create a quick way to take attendance on an Excel spreadsheet that can be used in your classroom. Students check themselves IN. For a complete step-by-step series of instructions, visit Tim's blog.
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Spiekermann House NumbersImage by Stewf via Flickr

Looking for a short tutorial for a student in your math class? Try this website and see if they have what you need. There are videos in all areas of math from the 4 basic functions, to quadratic equations. Try a few and put the links on your website for students to access this library when they need assistance.
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Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

I'll bet you have wanted to show a YouTube video in your class, but were worried about the comments, or side videos that arrive randomly on the page. Quietube is a site that will allow you to view these in a clean window. You can choose a white or black background and give the link to students or show them in class without the extras. You simply put a button in your toolbar so you can access it anytime you find a video you want to use.
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A 16 mm spring-wound <span class=Bolex camera." style="border: medium none; display: block; width: 223px; height: 246px;">Image via Wikipedia

Many years ago I can remember getting a lesson from the media specialist about how to thread the 16mm projector and the filmstrip projector for my 6th grade health lessons. I had to research the county library book of films available, figure out where I would be in the curriculum in 30 days and hope that the movie I just ordered from 20 miles away would arrive on time for the class.

Now I hear teachers at the water cooler, yes we really do have them here, talk about some new site where they found a perfect 3 minute movie to show to their class today. With the advent of new online resources, video is becoming a much better medium to use to emphasize a point. There are thousands of educational films being used daily around the globe to promote a concept.

The ultimate resource in my book is DiscoveryEducation Streaming. If your school, county or state has provided this service to you by all means, USE IT. DES purchased United Streaming years ago and has since added much of the material from the DiscoveryChannel to the mix. There are different levels of the subscription at different costs. For example, the Planet Earth series is available through DiscoveryEducation Streaming, but you must upgrade to DES PLUS to be able to use the materials available with the new LIFE series. In addition of video, DES has images, clip art, songs, teacher resources and much much more.

In a recent online reading, I came across this link to a site that have 100 Video Sites Every Educator Should Bookmark. There are tremendous resources on this list and you should definitely explore some of these offerings. Who knows you might just strike gold in this plethora of resources.

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jingle bell sheet musicImage via Wikipedia

If you are a musician looking for some specific sheet music, check out MusicNotes.com. Not only can you buy sheet music for reasonable prices, but you can get 10% off this week (March 22, 2010). Music from the television show GLEE, Celtic Woman and Shrek are all available in addition to the classic music for an orchestra. The Shrek version of Hallelujah is only $5.25 before discount. Enjoy!
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These sites are recommended in the April 2010 edition of MacWorld Magazine on page 43. They are for preteens and can go as low as toddler. Enjoy!

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Pies for a "Pi Day" celebration at t...Image via Wikipedia

Here are several links for your enjoyment for Pi day:
Personally, I like apple pie with vanilla ice cream!
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UV raysImage by L1mey via Flickr

You can get UV widgets, smartphone apps of the UV Index for your town at this site. Post the widget to your Facebook or school page for all to see. There are teaching materials, such as presentations and lesson plans available here as well as a song: "Sunscreen Dance". If you wish more information and teaching materials visit www.epa.gov/sunwise The username is toolkit an the password is foryou.

Find all of these great resources and more at : http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/schools.html

SunWise has an 11.5 minute video about sun safety on the site. Be one of the first 10 to spot an error in the video and they will send you a pack of ultraviolet (UV) sensitive beads. Email them at: SunWise@epa.gov

There is even a "NO FRY DAY" set for the day before Memorial Day weekend.
Details are at the site. Why not have a UV alert mailed to your email. Then you can plan ahead when you know the prediction for the next day!

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PBS's second logo, from 1971 to 1984.Image via Wikipedia

Last week PBS aired the show Digital Nation about how our world is changing by use of electronic devices and gaming. I would suggest that you visit their website to see more details.

When my kids were younger we used to have "electric free weekends." It helped all of us to focus on our relationships more. But as they got older, I got involved in teaching online, we neglected to do that at a time where we should have been doing it more.

We have no dining room, but 2 computers a tv and an xbox set up there(a bit cramped). But we were communicating about our enjoyable hobbies. Sharing our interests, the high points of a game, a new zoo created or a funny YouTube video. If kids and parents take their tech to another location, there is no sharing. As a result, we would all be in the computer room on the TV, phone or one of the computers at the same time. The sharing became something different. We shared what we were doing online or a show because we at least were in the same room. I learned a lot about zoos and about what different animals need in their environments. now I am learning about farming from my daughters Facebook game.

I saw that show too and was fascinated by some parent reactions as several educational bloggers have mentioned. When my son was 13 or so I realized he was on the computer for several hours(before the dining room setup) and finally asked him to stop. "but Mom, I am making a cool map for the game". He has been working on his passion of map making for his favorite game. He would upload the maps to the game site for others to use. I had no idea this was possible. Now,7 years later he is at Full Sail in the gaming program so he can be a map and level designer for video games!

My point is that monitoring is still the key to communication and knowledge of what your kids are doing online and encouragement or punishment can affect the direction of their participation. Ask what the game is, or what part they play, and be interested in their world. It matters to them and creates some crazy conversation, even if it is about how zombies walk funny!

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Earth DayImage by alicepopkorn via Flickr

Perhaps you have participated in past Earth Days. Each year the celebrations become larger and more public and more promoted, so get involved. NASA has prepared resources for you to use with your classroom on this site. Or try one of the following sites:
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Livro ou TV?Image by just Luh. via Flickr

Vocabulary words in video. A-List Education has created a large number of videos using pop culture and humor to get a message about using words everyday. Many of the vocabulary words are done as parodies of current television shows like Lost, Gossip Girl and The Office. There is a small subscription for this service with discounts for custom licensing. If you can't afford the fees, then have your own students create this type of classroom instructional video.

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