Monday, March 31, 2008

Have You Ever Kerpoofed?

I don't know what I would do without Jen Wagner keeping me posted of new things out there and things that I have tried before and forgotten about. Her Technospud newsletter came the other day and she featured an online creative tool that I had once tried and then totally lost in my Delicious Files. It is called Kerpoof
It is an online graphic creator program somewhat simiar to KidPix. I have always loved KidPix and saw lots of possibilities for students to plan, design, and create on what I called the "Blank Canvas" type of software. Well, KidPix has lost one of its biggest fans lately as they added so many bells and whistles making it more complicated for the little ones and as they have insisted on new software for each network upgrade. I have Vista on my Sony Vaio and for one solid year I have been trying to install KidPix4 on my laptop and have been unsuccessful. I have not had much help from their "hard to contact" tech support and find myself recommending it less and less in the workshop I do for K-2. Then Jen reminds me about Kerpoof and I see comparable ways for kids to be creative and I see FREE! This gets my attention, especially as a substitute for KidPix.
There are many things that teachers and students can create - pictures, drawings, cards, coloring pages, and movies! All the the tools and images are provided and helpful "how-to's." You, as the teacher, probably have to do some "playing around' with it before introducing it to students, but the section "For The Teacher" has some great ideas. There are plenty of ideas shared by other students. I have a feeling I will be discovering things about Kerpoof for quite awhile and did not want you to have to wait for me to become proficient for me to share this great website with you.
Now, I know it does not have everything that KidPix has, but if you are having network problems with KidPix or your school has less budget for software, this is certainly a wonderful alternative.

On another note, if you are in to baseball at all, then this is your favorite time of the year. Today is our opening day. I wouldn't say that my husband is into baseball or anything, but, he looked at me this morning and said, "Honey, is there anything important that you need to discuss with me before October?" I have lost at least a little bit of him to the Great American pastime as he just called to say he was able to free his schedule to make it to the 3:05 start of the opening Cleveland Indians Game. I hope for a good season - he is so much happier when they are winning!!!
I hope the sun is shining where you live today!

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Shape of Things Project

After three days in Canada and a workshop in Seattle, I got a few wonderful days to visit with my two youngest grandchildren in Seattle. Remember, if you get any choice in the subject, become a grandmother when you are young!!! They certainly had me going, but it was wonderful being with them. I fly home to Cleveland tomorrow, through Houston, making it a very long day. Someone in the Houston airport seems to schedule whichever connecting flight I am taking to be at the opposite end of the airport from where I have landed!

Many of you are already signed up for Jennifer Wagner's Technospud project The Great Egg Role. That registration is closed. But, Jen takes no time to rest between projects and on April 1st. (mark your calendars) she will open registration for the next project The Shape of Things. The website is up and many of the activities you may want to include in lesson plans for the next few weeks in preparation for participating in the project. The website for The Shape of Things can be found at It is done on a Wiki, which will help you see this Web 2.0 format. One of the object's of this project is for everyone to share in a digital arena. Won't it be fun to see what classes from many places will do with their shapes?

Make sure you also sign up for Jen's Project Newsletter so you will always be informed of the Technospud upcoming projects. Sign up at

I am heading home for a few weeks before heading out to Cincinnatti, Detroit, Madison,WI, and Appleton, WI, and doing a workshop in Cleveland. This is all the week of April 14th.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

For Canadian Participants

This week as I have been traveling through Canada, I realized that a few of the websites about using audio with historical events were based on United States' events. I wanted to add two wonderful websites that have audio and video from Canadian veterans. Many of you know that my laptop has "crashed" and for now I cannot add the websites to my website. But, the blog is so handy, so I will just put them here for my friends from Canada.
Veteran Affairs Canada Interviews -
Audio Clips from the Dieppe Raid -

If I find anymore websites unique to Canada's teachers and students I will continue to post them.

I want to again thank the wonderful participants from Regina who were so sympathetic to me with not only a "crashed" computer but with no internet connectivity. Needless to say the "luck of the Irish" was not with me on Monday.
It's all going much better today.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fun With Art -Picasso Style

I am still catching up! I subscribe to a Teacher's List from Canada that is done by a teacher named Pete Mackay. Each day during the school year, he supplies a new website, sometimes aimed at Canadian teachers, but most times, it is very universal. This week he mentioned a website that is simplistic, but I was hooked for a good half hour thinking I might have some undiscovered talent. It is called Mr. Picassohead and is a cross between Picasso's style and Mr. Potato Head's interactivity. Take a look at it and enjoy. I think your class will like it too and will soon remember the style of one of our great artists, Picasso. Find this website at

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Elements of a Good Story and A Lot More!

Well, I am back in snowy Cleveland, although I luckily missed the blizzard of last weekend. As they were describing the horrid weather in Cleveland on CNN, I was sitting on my balcony watching the blue seas and feeling the warmth of the sun. However, back to reality as I head off for a Canadian "tour" next week.

I have just spent about 4 hours trying to catch up on blogs, podcasts, and emails. There are lots of new things popping up everyday and being away ten days in the world of technology is a lifetime! Teachers' First from last week had a fatastic website for teaching the elements of a story. They use the motivating story of Cinderella to share the elements of a good story: Setting, Characters, Sequence, Exposition, Conflict, Climax, and Resolution . After reading the story and learning about the important elements, students are challenged to create a story of their own. It uses audio and animated video with very clear pictures. It can be found at . Of course, I had to see where this really good website came from and what else the "Home" site offered and I found it was from a site that I had not visited in a few years. Wow! What a find. It is from Annenberg Media of the Annenberg Foundation whose mission is to help teachers use the media for enhanced instructional delivery. Their home page is at and this will lead you to many new interactive sites. This storehouse of websites will make up for my 12 day absence!!!