Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tutorial Videos

Before I get in to tonight's topic, I do want to wish each of you a very Happy Holiday Season and hope that if you celebrate the Christmas holidays that it was a wonderful day and that you were surrounded with family and good friends.

I spent last week in upper New York state and spent the long weekend in Phoenix with daughter and family. It was sunny and a lot warmer than in was last Monday in Burlington, VT. However, the warmth of the participants all of last week compensated for the typical December weather.

Catching up on emails and newsletters today, I came across the new issue of TechLearning News , a suggested subscription you might look at, I noticed a tutorial that I liked alot. When looking over the tutorial website, I found that a few of these short videos did much to explain some of the Web 2.0 concepts I have touched on in this year's workshops. I suggest that you all look at Common Craft is the website that hosts these tutorials. I liked Social Bookmarking in Plain English which gives a great explanation of Delicious; Wikis in Plain English; and Blogs in Plain English. Take a look at these and see if they help with your understanding of these Web2.0 Tools.

One more thing that I thought was excellent in TechLearning News was a cute idea for using Photo Story 3 (the free download from Microsoft). It was used to make "Book Trailers" and the examples they show are really cute. Making Book Trailers with Photo Story3.

Now that I have suggested that you watch three tutorials and read about a good use of Photo Story3, please go back to enjoying your vacation time and get to this when you feel a need to start planning for January.

I would love to hear from any of you who might have some success with things I suggest in the blogs. It is really hard to know if I have readers!!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Playing With Photos - Fun For You and the Students

I have been having some fun with some free programs on the Internet that allow me to be creative with the digital images I have from the camera, scanner, or from stock photos on Flickr. I see amazing potential in allowing students to create and design using pictures. NCLB still allows some time for creating and designing, don't they??? I happen to think that creating and designing are really problem solving and constructive thinking and these sites really lend themselves to these areas.

One of them is Stained Glass Collage and allows you or your students to upload pictures and easily make them into a collage to email or to insert into a website. There is a printing option, which involves ordering the collage. A participant in my workshop last year sent me an example of what he does with this program and you can find it here: on the side to his Math Link. He has two up, so scroll down. This is the way he honors the kids who completed their Math Facts goals. I can even link one into my blog at You can also upload your collage to Flickr.

The other fun site is ScrapBlog. There are templates for making your online scrapbook, but what really looks fun is to start with a blank page. You upload your pictures and then add the stickers, backgrounds, text and balloons, shapes, and even videos. Everything that you buy from the shelves of craft stores are there for your students to use. There are already done examples that are much better than my efforts, so I will let you browse through them. I would love to see some examples of how any of you use these two websites.

They are fun, they are easy, and they are FREE!
Hope all is well with all of you,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Keyboarding From Across the USA!

So sorry I have not gotten to this blog all week - but, travelling to cities that are miles apart requires airplanes and airplanes take soooo much time. It is not the actual plane ride, but the trip to the airport, the long security lines (and I feel so much safer because of them!) and then waiting for the luggage and the cab ride to the next hotel. Although I am never quite sure what city I am in as the hotels really do look similar, I am always greeted bu enthusiastic teachers who have come gto hear my ideas but are so willing to share things that they know about.
In several cities this week the topic of keyboarding brought a lot of talk during the breaks and at lunchtime and I was able to learn about a couple of new sites. Although I really resist the actual keyboardoing training in the lower grades and fear that too much emphasis on keyboarding in the higher elementary grades will take away from what other creative things could be done during that time, we all agree that we need to address the fact that "hunting and pecking" will not serve these students well as they use the keyboard more and more.
I heard some great ideas, from taking the keyboard graphic and using an overhead to enlarge it and copy it onto a shower curtain for kindergartners to jump on (like a twister game) to putting a thin ribbon between the keys meant to be used with the left and and those to be used with the right.
I had talked about Dance Mat Typing and mentioned that another good free typing program was Sense-Lang -
One of the participants came forward with a wonderful interactive keyboard for the kids to use to learn the position of the keys. It is found at ABC Ya and I found it in the Fifth Grade under Keyboard Challenge .I really liked that.
Also, check out Power Typing - for another good free typing program.
I believe that we do have a responsibility to introduce students to good keyboarding techniques and some of these programs will really help you do that.
Thanks to everyone who provided some really good suggestions!
I am not sure if I will be blogging before Turkey Day, so I wish each and every one of you the happiest of holidays, hopefully surrounded by family and good friends.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Another Collaborative Project For You to Consider

For those of you who have been to my workshops or have read this blog know how much I like the idea of the online collaborative project. I feel that it can fulfill several learning goals at once and at the same time allow your students to traverse the globe along with the other participants in the project.
Dr. Sarah McPherson and Susan Silverman, someone I have admired for many years are coordinating this project together. They are both affiliated with the Instructional Technology Department at the School of Education of New York Institute of Technology. As a classroom teacher, Susan began coordinating projects many years ago and I look for her projects each year.
Lucky Lady Bugs is a project in process and will go all this year. Because it was started last year, you can look at examples of what has been done so far and show your students where the schools are that have already participated in the project.
This project is designed following principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and invites culminating activities that follow the student learning to be done in many ways from drawing, to diagrams, to video clips.
This is the website for the project and all details can be found here, including how to register:
When your students participate in this project they will be very proud to be a part of the Student Showcase!
I am heading out west this week to Billing, MT, Denver, CO, Dallas, TX, and Phoenix, AZ. If any of you are in the neighborhood, do stop in and say "hi"!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Technospud Holiday Card Exchange Registration Open

I am so excited to have received an email from Jennifer Wagner, who I spoke of that does fun and easy online collaborative projects, telling me that registration was now open for the Holiday Card Exchange. This is a great way to "get your feet wet" with online collaborative projects and allow your students to feel that they are a part of a world wide community of learners.

Visit http://www.technosp udprojects. com/Projects/ holidaycardexcha nge/home. htm for more information and registration procedures about this project. There will be a TIE-IN with Google Earth. If you do not already have Google Earth, you will want to download it for free from Google. The download can be found at You will get all of the directions for using Google Earth when you get your assigned card list. You will be mailing out 24 cards (1 per school) to the other schools on your list. If there is an overabundance of any school (or state) Jen reserves the right to place people on a waiting list. She will, for sure, do her best to place everyone in this project and also provide a variety of states, provinces, and/or countries on each group list.

It is amazing to me how much Jennifer is willing to do to provide teachers and students these wonderful opportunities to understand their world and the global connection they have to other students. I am in awe of her dedication and hard work.

Give it a try! Join the Holiday Card Exchange today! I would love to have you leave comments on this blog to let me know that you joined and then later let me know how you enjoyed being a part of this project.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Need Some Funding?

I had to post this opportunity that I just found out about. A teacher on the Kinder Korner listserv has just written that she received money to buy wireless headsets for her students. This is what she posted:

I've got to share this with you all. I'm so excited! At the Vegas "I teach K" conference this summer, I went to a breakout session on listening centers. The speaker talked about wireless headsets. My old-fashioned ones don't work very well and I wanted these but couldn't fork out the money for them anytime soon. Well, I posted it on Donors Choose Oct 25th and GOT IT FUNDED IN FULL TODAY! I'm thrilled! I had to send an immediate thank you note, and take pics and send thank you notes from the kids after they start using it. Thanks for listening, I'm STOKED! They give hints on the site for funding. For example, if you ask for things over $400 they are slower to be funded, in general. Items over $800 are usually not funded. Check it out! I can't wait to post my next request!

Upon looking into it, I found that the website is and looks like a great source for all of us to know about. Think about all of those sets of things that you have wanted for your classroom or if you have the patience, go for a projector. Thanks to Cheri Murrell for sharing this on KinderKorner list serv. As I have mentioned in the workshops, it is well worth signing up for this listserv. You can do that at:

To SUBSCRIBE to KinderKorner, send email to the following

Hope all of you survived Halloween!


Thursday, October 25, 2007


It was a quick drive from Oaklawn in South Chicago to Elk Grove in North Chicago, so I am already settled for the evening and ready to catch Gray's Anatomy as soon as I do a little last minute "tweaking" for tomorrow's workshop.
I wanted to tell you that if you are just checking the blogs occasionally, that you can scroll down to the very bottom of this page and subscribe right here to the blog. You do not have to use bloglines. When you subscribe here, it will save it to your Favorites on Internet Explorer. You can then go to your Favorites and see if there is an update to the blog.
Being in Illinois, I realized that although this website is mentioned in the book and on my website, I could not leave Illinois without putting this website front and center. The University of Illinois Extension Website has a terrific section that is Just For Kids. Much of it entails educational information about the outdoors from A Walk In The Woods, The Great Plant Escape, The Great Corn Adventure, Let's Talk About Insects, Secret Life of Trees, My First Garden, The Adventures of Herman the Worm, and The All Star River Explorers. Each of these provide animated, multimedia presentations and activities that all elementary students will enjoy. The site is wonderful and I cannot believe I was in Illinois and didn't mention it. You can find it at I guess that is what this blog is for!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Circling Illinois

I am spending the entire week in Illinois, enjoying meeting some really nice participants in both Champaigne and Springfield. In Champaigne I commiserated with the Illinois fans of the University of Illinois football team's loss and they comforted me on the "beating" that the Cleveland Indians received at the hands of the Boston Red Sox! My hubby is in mourning and maybe it is not a bad week for me to be "on the road".
We drove around some of the historic sights of Springfield and then drove on to Peoria where I am right now in the quaint Stoney Creek Inn. At least it is not so quaint that it has wireless internet service.
As promised, I have entered the web addresses for Flickr, Voice Thread, and a a site to Create Your own Stationary on my website under Workshops 2007/2008 and then to BER K-2.
The last site mentioned just came in my email at lunchtime today. I mentioned that I always regret when I find a new website after I complete a workshop. So, in keeping with the purpose of this blog, let me tell all of you about Create Your OwnStationary, a site that I really think the primary students will love. The student can choose a border and the looks of the person pictured on the stationary, then print it out for their use.
Thanks for checking on this blog. I will be updating it as I come across things that I think the participants in the BER workshops and others reading might be able to use.

Friday, October 19, 2007

On The Road Again

I have not updated this blog for awhile, because the true purpose of this blog has not really begun as yet. I will be mainly writing this blog as an update to the content of my technology workshops for classroom teachers, administrators, media specialists and technology specialists. Most of my workshops are presented through BER- The Bureau of Education and Research. I begin the first of my 36 workshops for the year on Monday, October 22nd. in Champaign, IL. I then go on to Springfield, Peoria, and Chicago North and Chicago South next week. There will be two sources for my updates. First of all, I never leave a workshop without learning something new from the participants and I also learn form the many blogs, listservs, and newsletters that I read each night after a workshop. I so often say to myself, "I really wish I had this idea, website, etc. when I did today's or yesterday's workshop!" Now, if the participants subscribe to my blog, I can keep the workshop virtually all year and who knows how long into the future?

I just found something tonight that I will now add to Monday's workshop. It is a website with the cutest, educationally sound, and motivating online stories and songs about science. It is called Science Story Books and can be found at

Starting Monday night, you will hear more about the workshops, my travel woes, and about the wonderful people I meet along the way!

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I receive every Sunday morning one of my favorite online newsletters. It comes from Teachers First and a Sunday never goes by that I am not overwhemed by what new is out there on the Internet free for use by teachers. The entire Teachers First Website is amazing, but today I want to tell you about a recommendation that came today about a free online tool called Sketchcast. This tool allows you to record yourself illustrating a concept to students and then have them play it as often as they would like in order to understand the concept. The implications for using this tool are endless. I am sure you creative teachers out there will be thinking of many, many more uses. My preview is really very, very ameturish, but I want you to see what I could produce in about 2 minutes. I will be practicing for later showings. Check mine out at and do subscribe to the Teachers First newsletter.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Put This On Your Calendar

September 28th. (this week) is the day that registration opens for Jennifer Wagner's Technospud Project The Pumpkin Seed Count. Without much preparation on your part, your students can gain many skills and develop concepts while participating in a project with many other students from all over the world. The project is for Grades K-3. You can find a "sneak peek" at the project at

Jennifer does a fantastic job of providing activities to accompany this project and your students can become a part of a world-wide community of learners. If you have never participated in an online collaborative project, this is an excellent place to start.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

An Online Science Project - Journey North

I think anyone who has heard me speak knows that I am passionate about the online collaborative project. I believe that allowing your students to become a part of a world wide community of learners has benefits that will fulfill standards and beyond! One such science-based project will meet standards in all areas of the curriculum including map skills, learning about many cultures, numeric data, and definitely all of the communication skills. That project is called Journey North, it can be found at With the motivation of wildlife migration and seasonal change, students will track happenings within their own environment and then track the animals and plant life as one season goes into another. There are activities for every age group, maps, email updates, and many classroom activities. This project has been going on since the mid-eighties and just keeps getting better and better. Your class can choose any level of participation.
The beauty of this and many other online collaborative projects to me is two-fold. First of all, students are studying what is happening in real time with real data, and secondly, they are compiling and analyzing data coming from many sources throughout North America, rather than experimenting just within their own classroom.
A project like this, provided free of charge to all of us is a win-win situation! Give it a try!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Picture Puzzles -"Cut Up" With Digital Pictures

Picture Puzzles - "Cut Up" with your digital pictures! With Labor Day weekend behind us, I still get that willful feeling that I really wish I was starting a new school year and that I would have a roomful of excited children looking at me for making their year memorable. Alas, I chose the retirement and workshop route and although I miss those smiling faces and the comaraderie of colleagues, I must admit that I still enjoy my flexible schedule.I have been sorting and playing with digital pictures that I took throughout the summer and I thought I would share with you one of my favorite things that I like to do with images. Using I go to My Jigzone Space. By uploading pictures, I am able to make them into an online jigsaw puzzle, from 6 to 120 cuts. I can then try to solve the puzzle online or email them to my grandchildren who love to try their hand at solving them. When my four year old grandson, David, told me he wanted to do one of the puzzles in a 120 piece cut, I thought he could never do it, until he showed me the "Auto-Solve" function listed on the left. I had never seen it.Jigzone also has many puzzles (a new one everyday) that you can become addicted to doing. However, when the picture is that of the child or a familiar area of the classroom, the kids love to try to solve them. I think there is also the ability to use the mouse benefit.Try Jigzone as one more thing to do with digital images.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Taking Some Courses

I know that the students in your classrooms are not always the only ones who are starting a new semester. So many teachers that I know are taking courses either to get their first, second, or third Masters or to just keep themselves "up to date"! I give you all so much credit - teaching all day then taking a hopefully interesting course, and then studying and writing papers - oh my, oh my!!!

Let me see if I can make your life just a little easier. Well, really not me - I just deliver the message. David Warlick is the hero behind this wonderful Internet Tool called Citation Maker or as he calls his latest version Son of Citation Maker. All you have to do is click on the type of format that you want for your citation on the left and then choose the source (includes print and non-print options), complete the form, and poof the citation is ready for you to paste and copy.

I do not think of this as "cheating" at all! The important thing is not whether you remember where each comma and colon goes, it is the fact that you care enough to site your sources.

The Citation Machine can be found at and again, we thank David Warlick for this wonderful Internet Tool.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Laminating For Free!

Good Morning Everyone,

For those of you who are back in school, I am hopeful you are off to the start of a great year.

I had to share with you this wonderful corporate contribution to teachers. Office Max is offering FREE , yes I said, Free, laminating for all teachers on Thursdays until September 13th. You have to bring things in on a Thursday and they will not cut them for you. However, you can bring as much as you like and they will laminate for free. Their laminating is very durable and you will not have anyone in your media center or your office looking at you for consuming so much laminating paper!
If you did not already know about this, you do have 3 more Thursdays to take advantage of it. Hats off to Office Max for their generosity!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Looking For A Bad Link?

One website that I have shown in my workshops for the past two years has received almost a standing ovation! This website allows you to look through an archive to retrieve sites that have given you that dreaded "Cannot Find Website" error message. Most of the time the retrieved site is fully functional and available for interaction.When you have typed a URL and receive the error message, copy the URL and paste it into the Way Back Machine found at . A list of dates when the URL was last active will appear. You may have to try several dates, but one of them should produce the website you were seeking.You have the website you were looking for thanks to your computer's good memory! Sometimes I wish my memory worked so well!

If you are preparing for the opening of the school year, I hope for you that the air of excitement you are feeling now stays with you throughout the school year!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Best Buy Teacher Awards

I wanted to make sure that I reminded the participants who have been in my workshops and tell the others who are reading this blog about the Best Buy Teacher Grants that you or your school may be eligible for receiving.
Applications must be completed and submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 30, 2007. Awards will be announced on February 18, 2008. Schools must be located within 50 miles of a Best Buy store to be eligible.
There are three Award Levels:
  1. $2,000 Teach Awards will be given in recognition of up to 1,500 outstanding programs that engage students by creatively integrating interactive technology into the curriculum. The awards are in the form of Best Buy Gift Cards.
  2. $10,000 Teach Awards will be granted to up to 50 schools that display the greatest creativity in their programs/projects and the clearest vision of how to increase the school’s use of interactive technology if awarded $10,000 Teach Award. Teach Awards of $10,000 are NOT in addition to the $2,000 Teach Awards.
  3. Eight $100,000 National Teach Awards will be given to entire school districts. School district finalists will be selected from a pool of Teach Award-winning schools, and will receive a Request for Proposal (RFP) from Best Buy. Recipients will be selected on the basis of submitted proposals. National Teach Awards are in the form of a Best Buy spending account.

I must tell you that the applications and information about these awards are pretty well hidden on the Best Buy website. Go to this link: and within the information is a link to Register as an Applicant.

Who knows? You may stand to when enough money to purchase a laptop and a projector for your classroom, making one of my most pressing suggestion about "making sure they can see" possible.

It is a rainy Sunday in Cleveland. Hope your sunshine is coming from the fact that soon you will see a classroom full of smiling faces waiting for you to enrich their lives. I know you do that every day!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Introductory Blog

Well, you have to start somewhere, so here goes! My goal for this blog is to continue communicating with participants who have attended my workshops.

This year I will be in 36 cities in the United States and Canada presenting workshops for the Bureau of Education and Research. One is called Practical Strategies for Using Technology to Strengthen Classroom Instruction and Student Learning - Grades K-2 and the other one is The Best of the Best Websites -Grades K-6. You can check the BER website to see if I will be close to where you live. I have presented to many, many teachers, administrators, media specialists, and computer specialists over the last six years and I enjoy every moment of it. I continually learn from those who attend the workshop and have the greatest support from BER. What is most frustrating to me is that a few days after a presentation, I already have learned some new things that I would love to pass along to former participants. Now, I have figured out a way that I can - by blogging!

I will start by alerting you to some online collaborative projects that are already taking registrations. If you remember, I was quite passionate about how many benefits your students can gain from your joining an online collaborative project. The critera from all subject areas can be covered and your students will find that engaging in a project with students from all over the world will be motivating and exciting to them as learners. I believe Jennifer Wagner and Susan Silverman are two women who put so much into the projects that they coordinate. They amaze me. I hope you will check these out now as by the time I start presenting this year, these projects will be going "full speed ahead"!

Jennifer Wagner (Technospud Projects) is taking registrations now for:
Salute to Seuss and for O.R.E.O (Our Really Exciting Online Project)
She will also have the one day Pumpkin Seed Count in October. Watch for that - but I will remind you on this blog.

Susan Silverman- is a Technology Specialist in Oswego, New York and has conducted many, many online projects of the highest quality. Look at Lucky Ladybugs It is open to students in Grades K-5.

I hope you will consider signing up for one of these projects. I know your class will find themselves learning in a collaborative way!