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!