Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I had a peaceful day off. I sat next to the lake and surfed the net. I discovered/read a lot of new blogs that I am going to post to my daily readings on this blog. Check for these changes soon.

I came across this while reading a blog....I so want one of these....can you say ENGAGED?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I like this ‘word processor’ because it focuses on WRITING rather than tempting kids with text effects and graphics that take away from their available time in the lab. There is no spell checker, and there is no save or export option; the only form of output is a printed document (which looks wonderful!)
I could see this being used as a ROUGH DRAFT generator and to help kids organize their thoughts and sentences. They could then proofread that document, perhaps turn it in to be marked up, and then create the final deliverable in Microsoft Word.


Welcome to Dizzywood, another Exciting Virtual World for KIDS

There are all kinds of imaginative places to explore, fun Dizzywood secrets and stories to discover, and fun games to play, including puzzles, arcade games, dress up games, and much more. Dizzywood is safe for kids and free to play.
Dizzywood is a magical land where adventurers explore lost jungle temples, animals pilot airships and live in floating skylands, fairy-like sprites run around fantastic gardens, and the nasty Emperor Withering and his monster henchmen constantly scheme to conquer it all. Thousands of years ago, Dizzywood was a world populated by gentle elemental giants, playful sprites and bogies, and lumbering monsters. More recently, animals and humans discovered a way to travel from our world to Dizzywood through magical holes in the ground.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

TO BLOG or NOT to BLOG....

The real value of blogs and wikis is not the tool itself...It's what the tool enables. George Siemens

Perhaps one of the most fascinating tools that has emerged from the Internet cloud in recent years is the Blog (a shortening of the term Weblog). A Blog is an online publishing tool that enables people to easily publish their loves, opinions, passions, dislikes, peeves, discoveries, and insights. Thousands of teachers have discovered the value of classroom blogging, both as an avenue for their communications, but also as a tool for giving voice to what their students are learning and how they are learning (David Warlick). A voice...a global voice...

Blogs have become a highly effective way to help students to become better writers. Research has long shown that students write more, write in greater detail, and take greater care with spelling, grammar, and punctuation, when they are writing to an authentic audience over the Internet (2007, E-Learning).

"Through the use of our Weblog we've been able to build a relationship, engage in reflective practice, have interactive opportunities that develop and broaden our knowledge base, and document evidence of growth and refinement in the practice—5th Grade Teacher"
So, what kind of blog can you create? What can your students share? What are they thinking?

Create a blog to communicate class/school information with parents. Post field trip information, field trip forms, parent helper calendars, general classroom guidelines and more.
Create a blog with daily lessons listed for students who are sick or gone. Each day, try to designate a classroom "scribe" who is responsible for posting lessons/materials covered.For really young students - perhaps students just learning to write - use a blog to showcase individual art projects throughout the year. Use a digital camera and scanner to put creative endeavors up for display around each holiday.

Create a blog which provides additional, age-appropriate material on thematic units you study throughout the year. Link to supplemental videos, podcasts and websites to encourage extended learning.

Create a blog where students record narrations of their favorite stories (use the free software Audacity to create sound files). Students can read published work or their own work. Accompany it with scanned illustrations they have drawn.

Create a blog where students list class hypotheses before each class science experiment. When experiment is done, results can be posted and compared to initial hypotheses.

Create a blog where students share stories about their favorite holiday, or a blog about special holiday traditions in their family.

Create a blog which lists creative writing prompts or striking visual images. Encourage students to post after self-selecting a prompt/picture. Let this evolve so that students begin writing the prompts for other students.

Create a blog that has children reviewing children's books.

Create a blog where every member of the class posts about a favorite vacation. Embed maps, use Google Earth or even create a "collaborative google map" where everyone "pins" their favorite vacations on one map (love this!)

Create a blog where you list various statements that are facts and others that are opinion. Students can leave comments explaining why each is either a fact or opinion.

Create a blog where students post most memorable learning moments on a recent field trip. Could also do a Know - Want to Know - Learned (KWL) activity on the blog.

Create a blog where students describe a typical day at school. Invite other same aged students from different global locations to contribute the same type of information on the same blog. Let students ask questions and leave comments to gain cultural awareness. Students can then begin to share/compare thematic units being learned, novels being read, field trips being taken, etc. You can also use epals/skype for this as well.

Create a professional reflection blog on lessons that you teach. Analyze strategies and techniques that work well or don't work so well. Research and link to alternative ways to approach the lesson next time.
Create a blog where students create a timelines perhaps for events in a novel or story, or for historical events being studied. Could also be used to predict the future!

Create a blog where students collect data on science experiments. Use blog to display information gathered from Google spreadsheets. Students can create/embed graphs and charts explaining relationships of data.

Create a blog that showcases student poetry, short stories, etc.

Create a blog where students post about math concepts learned throughout the year. Blog can provide examples and solutions of math problems and concepts being studied.

Create a blog where students digitally record steps to solving various math problems (can use digital camcorder, record from digital whiteboard applications or use screencasts programs to capture procedures/steps) - MATHCASTS

The real value of blogs and wikis is not the tool itself. It’s what the tool enables
George Siemens

Monday, October 20, 2008


What Thomas Friedman means when he says "The World is Flat"

What Friedman means by "flat" is "connected": the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution that have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. This in itself should not be news to anyone. But the news that Friedman has to deliver is that just when we stopped paying attention to these developments--when the dot-com bust turned interest away from the business and technology pages and when 9/11 and the Iraq War turned all eyes toward the Middle East--is when they actually began to accelerate. Globalization 3.0, as he calls it, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations like the World Bank, but by individuals: desktop freelancers and innovative startups all over the world (but especially in India and China) who can compete--and win--not just for low-wage manufacturing and information labor but, increasingly, for the highest-end research (math and science) and design work as well. Friedman has more to say about what he now calls "uploading," the direct-from-the-bottom creation of culture, knowledge, and innovation through blogging, podcasts, and open-source software. And in response to the pleas of many of his readers about how to survive the new flat world, he makes specific recommendations about the technical and creative training he thinks will be required to compete in the "New Middle" class. As before, Friedman tells his story with the catchy slogans and globe-hopping anecdotes that readers of his earlier books and his New York Times columns know well, and he holds to a stern sort of optimism. He wants to tell you how exciting this new world is, but he also wants you to know you're going to be trampled if you don't keep up with it. A year later, one can sense his rising impatience that our popular culture, and our political leaders, are not helping us keep pace. --Tom Nissley

*This is a great book...a must read for teachers.


Oh Dear! I am reading Leadership and Self-Deception, Getting Out of the Box because I really do not know what I want to be when I grow up. I keep questioning I want to go back to the classroom, if so which grade? Do I want to keep going and pursue Administration? Oh my word...
Self-deception actually determines one's experiences in every aspect of life. The extent to which it does that, and in particular the extent to which it is the central issue in personal and professional leadership (vii). It blinds us to the true cause of problems, and once blind, all the "solutions" we can think of will actually make matters worse. That's why self-deception is so central to leadership-because leadership is about making matters better(viii). Silence.....

MORE to Come..........


I just heard about When I was in the classroom, I used both Kidspiration and Inspiration...registration for this beta is free!
Collaboration is key to any online tool, and Webspiration allows you to collaborate with anyone that has an email address...similar to using Google Docs. May not be the best brainstorming (free) software for younger grades...maybe 5th grade and up can properly manage and share.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I love VOICETHREAD! If I were a classroom teacher, I would defiantly be using this terrific, free (for K-12 educators), collaborative multimedia storytelling web application. Check out these resources:
1. Digitally Speaking
2. Voicethread Wiki

Voicethread Examples in Education
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: ict k12)


Still trying to get siked for a presentation... What Computers Bring to Constructivism

Constructivism as a theory of learning has existed for over one hundred years but has not been widely accepted or applied in public schools. Modern technology is significantly impacting society and our daily lives. Public schools have and will continue to reflect societal change.
In a technology rich environment one must remember that the educational focus is on learning and instruction goals instead of the technology itself, because technology are merely tools or vehicles for delivering instruction.
It is not what the equipment is used which makes it relevant to a constructivist classroom. Technology makes possible the instant exchange of information between classroom as well as individual students; it allows instant access to databases and online information services, and provides multimedia resources such as interactive audio and video. Technology also allows to present educational materials across media formats.

Studies show that in technology rich classrooms there are many observable changes:
1. There is a shift from whole class to small group instruction.
2. Coaching occurs rather then lecture and recitation.
3. Teachers work with weaker students more often rather than focusing attention on brighter students as in traditional settings.
4. Students are more actively engaged.
5. Students become more cooperative and less competitive.
6. Students learn different things instead of all students learning the same thing.
7. There is an integration of both visual and verbal thinking instead of the primacy of verbal thinking.
The key to success lies in finding the appropriate points for integrating technology into new pedagogical practice, so that it support the deeper, more reflective self-directed activity children must use if they are to be competent adults in the future (Strommen & Lincoln, 1992). It has been suggested by some theorists that the role of technology in education is so important, that it will force the issue of didactic versus constructivist teaching. Teachers will no longer have the choice but will be compelled to use a constructivist approach in a technology-rich environment.


Why do so many teachers refuse to enter the digital age with their teaching practices?

Technology is ubiquitous, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities, our homes. Teaching without technology is no longer an option for teachers. PAY ATTENTION is a quick video (that has been around for about a year) that makes you think about your technology pedagogy.

Many teachers are just beginning to explore the true potential technology offers for teaching and learning. Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills. True technology integration is:

1. being actively engaged

2. having a global voice

3. group collaboration

4. frequent interaction/feedback/editing/writing

5. connection to real-world experts and real-life applications

6. research

7. expression

8. hands-on

9. knowing and implementing the ISTE tech standards (see below post) into everyday curricula

10. seeing technology as a tool not "one more thing"

11. seeing technology as part of the whole not separate

12. exploring

13. constructing/creating/producing

14. thinking/processing/problem-solving

15. broadcasting/filming/streaming/podcasting

I can't answer the original question but I will say that most teachers fall into one of the below categories:
1. Dabbler
2. Do old things in old ways
3. Do old things in new ways
4. Do new things in new ways

Friday, October 17, 2008


National Educational Technology Standards (NETS•T)
and Performance Indicators for Teachers

Effective teachers model and apply the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS•S) as they design, implement, and assess learning experiences to engage students and improve learning; enrich professional practice; and provide positive models for students, colleagues, and the community. All teachers should meet the following standards and performance indicators.
1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.
a. promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness
b. engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources
c. promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes
d. model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments

2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments
Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS•S.
a. design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity
b. develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress
c. customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources
d. provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching

3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning
Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.
a. demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations
b. collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation
c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats
d. model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning

4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.
a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources
b. address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies and providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources
c. promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information
d. develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools

5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources.
a. participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning
b. exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others
c. evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning
d. contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community
Copyright © 2008, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 1.800.336.5191 (U.S. & Canada) or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l),, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I found this site while reading several blogs (Oswego City School District) and now I can't remember where I found it. I wanted to give credit...sorry. This site allows you to create your own games/quizzes/study guides and post them on your wiki or you can create games to use whole group with your Lightsmith. The best part is that your students can create the games. It’s easy and fun. No instructions beyond what you see on the screen.

Monday, October 13, 2008


This widget allows you to search for a book by title, author, or keyword. Once you enter the information you are taken to the Scholastic you can see the reading level. The teacher can select how it is leveled; DRA, Lexile Format, Grade Equivalent, or Guided Reading. Teachers can also find similar books at the same reading level on that same page.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Ok...I couldn't think of anything to draw and I was watching football.

IDEA: Have you students create their own writing template on their wikispace (or teacher wiki). Students can practice descriptive, expository, and narrative writing and illustrate their own writing using Tux Paint. Students can then embed their pictures into their template.

Tux Paint is a free and open source software. It is a program geared towards young children. The project was started in 2002 by Bill Kendrick who continues to maintain and improve it, with help from numerous volunteers. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Scholastic Lab Favorites

If you teach in a lab setting, or, have computers in your classroom, you will LOVE this site! It’s called Computer Lab Favorites and it offers 50 self-contained K-5 learning activities, 15-30 minutes in length! This site is also perfect to use whole group with your Lightsmith.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fun Interactive Sites!

I love to find interactive sites that students can play on the computer or ....can be shown whole group on a Lightsmith...I am going to keep a running list of new sites to be added to my home page which I will be updating soon. I will try to star new sites on the k-2 and 3-5 link sites. But until then, check out these sites. and

Stock Market

Had a long discussion about the STOCK MARKET with my 5th grade son...not to mention with my husband as well (who is not very happy right now). I must admit, my son has a pretty good understanding of supply/demand. Below are some great links we found:

It is never too early to educate kids on the stock market.

Monday, October 6, 2008



Technology integration isn't about replacing what we do. It is about doing what we do better. It's about teachers and how we teach. It's about students and how they learn. Anything less is technology education, teaching substitution, or, worst of all, behavior modification.

Poor uses of technology in a classroom:
1. Technology education means taking time away from subject area learning and focusing on the acquisition of technology skills. Students should be engaged in meaningful learning experiences to help them demonstrate achievement of content standards.
2. Technology this case, students use technologies to replicate activities they used to do without technology. Nothing is gained with substitution. The kids don't learn more, and time is often wasted. If students need to learn specific technology skills, then the teacher should help the students do so during a meaningful learning opportunity where the focus is on making progress towards meeting content standards.
3. The worst use of technology in a classroom, if we don't count dust collecting, is behavior modification. In this case, the teacher either "allows" computer use as a reward for completing "real work" or as a way to occupy students who have finished their "real work."

Appropriate use of technologies in classrooms:
1. Here is what technology is for: questioning, exploration, discovery, analysis, understanding, application, collaborating, and communication (global voice). This is also known as the learning process. Teachers need to ask themselves, "How can students learn the concepts central to this field of study better through the use of technology?"
2. I seem to hear the same two phrases used to support the use of technologies in schools, and they are both wrong (I think...remember this is JUST ME). One is "prepare students for the 21st century." The other is "life-long learning." Why do we, as educators, talk about preparing students for the 21st century? We are in the 21st century. Students need technological abilities now, both to learn and to live (LEARN IT, LIVE IT, EVERYDAY). Instead of talking about "preparing students for the 21st century," we should be talking about preparing students for their lives when they wake up each day. What is life-long learning? How do you know if students become "life-long learners?" Our job as educators is not to prepare "life-long learners." Our job is to help students develop the skills and abilities they will need to succeed in whatever path they choose. Instead of "life-long learners," we should be preparing life-long succeeders. The result is students who can ask questions, explore, discover, analyze, understand, apply, and communicate understanding.

I admit that computer labs can be used effectively, but only with great consideration for the learning objectives. The best uses of labs are either in a free-for-all setting in which students and teachers may come and go as needed or when they are used sparingly for whole class learning engagement in a meaningful learning activity (i.e., helping students make progress towards meeting standards). What works better under most circumstances is to put the computers into those classrooms where they will be used appropriately. Education research indicates that a 4:1 student to computer ratio seems to work best in most instructional environments. With most effective use, not every student needs a computer all the time, nor do all students typically need a computer at the same time. If the instructional design limits computer use to whole class exercises, then the instructional design also limits effective learning.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Americans Believe Computers Have Positive Effect On Writing Skills
The 2007 Survey on Teaching Writing (PDF)

"Writing is the basis for most of our electronic communication today," said Richard Sterling, executive director of the National Writing Project. "The American public recognizes that our nation's educators need support for learning to use technology tools to teach writing in this digital age," Sterling said.

The majority of Americans responding to the survey (74%) believe that becoming proficient in computer technology should be a high school graduation requirement, ranking its importance just below that of reading (94%) and writing (84%). Further, widely endorsed support for learning to use computers at a young age (76%), along with the belief that writing should be taught in all subjects and at all grade levels (74%), suggest that the public views technology as integral to learning to write well.

In addition, Americans generally agree that:
A variety of computer applications contribute positively to students' growth as writers.
Creative applications such as PowerPoint presentations, doing homework on a computer, creating Web pages, writing blogs, and emailing friends and family actually help young people to become better writers.
Mixed views registered on some specific uses:
Spell-check programs received a mixed response, with 51% saying they hinder learning to spell, and 43% saying they help.
Instant messaging received a negative response, with 60% of Americans saying it gets in the way of young people becoming better communicators.
Look at this picture...does it mean anything to you?

Now read this letter (from a friend, Jann Montgomery-with permission to post)

I used to sit in my Grandma’s pantry for hours. I’d shut the door sometimes. I’d even brave turning out the light and sit there in the dark. It smelled like spices and cookies and my Grandma. I’d go in looking for treasures. I’d always find one too. When she knew I was coming, my Grandma would buy Buffalo Rock ginger ale. I’d spot the little bottles sitting on the floor of the pantry - yellow label, brown writing. But the best part was when I brought her one of the bottles. We would go in the kitchen together and she would let me pick out one of the special glasses that lived in the tall mahogany cabinet that no one was allowed to open without her. I’d always pick out the same one, the glass with the orange carousel giraffe on it. She’d put the ice in it – clink, clink, clink. I’d wait. She’d open the bottle with that familiar fizz. I’d wait. But the pouring, I could never wait. I’d inch my nose closer and closer to the glass until I could feel the bubbles from the fizz pop and burn in my nose.
I now have that glass, along with the rest of the carousel animals, in that tall mahogney cabinet that no one was allowed to open without her. I sometimes buy a Buffalo Rock, the one with the yellow label and the brown writing. I pour it myself and remember.

So, you tell me how powerful is writing? Students need to be empowered, emotional involved (Senses), encouraged to be creative... Blogs, Wikis, Online Journals, Digital Books, Creating books with Scrapblog, Digital have their place in the classroom.

Jann...a special memory for me would be the smell of my mom's cedar chest that was to become mine when I got married. The cedar chest stayed in the attic with my mom's wedding dress, pictures, high-school memorabilia etc. I can remember as a kid sneaking up into the attic just to see what was really in that cedar chest that was to become mine one day. I never did make it to actually opening it up and taking a peak until I was a freshman in high-school. I can remember the smell of fresh cedar the first time my mom sat down with me to share all of those love notes from my dad, pictures, her wedding dress, glasses...I felt so special to see all of the neat things that my mom had saved. I also remember her saying "It is time...time for this to become your hope-chest...a chest I hope full of wonderful dreams for you." My freshman year, my mom began to put things in my hope-chest... things for college and for the day I would get married. Many years have past with a lot of memories stored from that hope-chest. That hope-chest was destroyed in the March 2008 tornadoe that hit our house. Today, I own a piece of that hope-chest and the smell of fresh cedar still remains on that piece.


News from Scrapblog
Printing is Here!

You can now order high-quality keepsake books, softcover books, post cards and greeting cards of your scrapblogs.

One-of-a-Kind...There are no cookie-cutter templates or time consuming configurators to fiddle with, just open a scrapblog and click 'Order Prints'. It's that easy.
Not only can you print your scrapblogs for yourself, but with the holidays fast approaching create the perfect personalized gifts for your friends and family or create your holiday cards right in Scrapblog, the possibilities are truly endless. boys will be creating Christmas cards this year...INTERESTING! Oh, I can easily see Postcards being made when studying places around the

Thursday, October 2, 2008


While preparing for a presentation, I discovered these neat tricks.

While in “Slide Show” mode, press the following keys to help enhance your presentation:
Press “B” to Black out the screen. Press “B” again to return to normal. This is a great tool for when you want your audience to focus on you, not the slide.

“A” or “=” will show a pointer during your slide show. Press the same key again to make the pointer go away.

CTRL + P will turn your pointer into a pen so you can draw on the presentation during the slide show. CTRL + E turns your pen into an eraser.
To learn more about cool things you can do, press “F1″ while in slide show mode!



Check this, (I found this from a blog that talked about It’s very similar in that you can READ children’s books online easily but, even MORE fun, you can actually CREATE YOUR OWN!

The site layout is extremely easy to navigate, with vibrant colors, logical design, friendly fonts, and a great balance of text and images. Signup is easy and free. The books are easily accessed and totally free.

It wasn’t designed for reading online, but great to use with a Lightsmith or an interactive whiteboard. You can quickly preview the entire book using the arrow keys or this handy thumbnail mode. This site lets you CREATE YOUR OWN books with a simple-to-use applet called the Big Universe Author(tm): This is GREAT!
Drag-and-Drop.... I can see upper elementary kids making their own books here EASILY.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Narrate your slideshows with QlipBoard!
Came across Qlipboard ... it provides a neat way to annotate photos with simple drawing tools and/or your own voice. The interface is very easy and user-friendly.

You import your photos into this workspace, then arrange them in the order you want, add your annotations, then publish! Qlipboard is a download and can be added to your computer or you can NOW use Qlipboard online. The look is different than above. It is a simple version of voicethread.


Hello all....yes, another day of photo editing. I am addicted to some of these sites. Web 2.0 is great! I have been playing with LUNAPIC tonight. Lunapic (user-friendly) allows you to edit, add text, add effects, animate, create slideshows, and draw. This is a great site if you are exploring with a digital camera and want to create some fun pics.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Good afternoon all...I'm enjoying a peaceful night with the boys. One of my favorite hobbies is photography. I love to take pictures and I am always up to playing with new photo editing tools. While sitting on the sofa laughing at some recent pictures of their sport activitie, I googled photo imaging/editing and came across If you like to edit/crop/frame pictures/create slides/create ecards, this site is definitely worth a look! allows you to easily create professional-looking photos by adding frames and styles, cool effects, text, and even resize your pictures. The user interface is Click, drag, drop, done. LOVE IT!


ENGAGE08 was a huge success...GREAT JOB GUYS!


Shidonni is an innovative startup, developing the next generation of creative worlds for kids. Shidonni is providing a virtual universe where kids and their parents can creative their own imaginary worlds and animals, play games and interact with friends.

I discovered Shidonni by researching Virtual Worlds. This site is a great entry-level for third graders. In Shidonni, students draw their animal (which becomes their avatar). Students can then add a background, food, their drawing. Oh, did I mention that once the avatar have been created, it is animated. Once students finish their complete drawing they can add buddies from the classroom and invite their avatar to appear on their screen. Teachers can teach the importance of having a buddy they know...not everyone on the web is a buddy.

UDL Book Builder

Welcome to the CAST Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Book Builder! Use this site to create, read, and share engaging digital books that build reading skills for students. Your universally designed books will engage and support diverse learners according to their individual needs, interests, and skills. You will need to create a login and password.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I have just trained teachers on how to embed a Glogster into their wiki site. I came across this video and thought it was pretty good to show teachers. Teachers love this because glogster is an all in one way of creating a "fluffy/cute" page in wiki. You can create links, embed movies, upload pictures, create your own background and add your own graphic. I create an "All About Me" with glogster....check in out.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Excellence Driven Education

I have been preparing for a Saturday Technology Retreat for my two Elementary Schools. Our Keynote Speaker will be Vicki Davis. She will be talking about how to use technology to construct the class framework and tools for excellence in the classroom with a heavy emphasis on differentiating with technology.Presentations will be posted at

Sunday, September 21, 2008


We are headed back to Alabama....on the way we will do a little GEOCACHING. If you have not tried this, it is a great reacreational sport. I will be starting this with my fifth graders soon. It is a great way of teaching math, map skills, and using a compass. Annette Lamb (Eduscapes) has a great site...check it out.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cost of Life

This was part of my fifth grade lesson....if you have
not tried this game, check it out. My students loved it.

Ayiti: the Cost of Life - You control the activities of a Haitian family trying to get by, the experience is like Oregon Trail. Health, education, community service and just making ends add up to a compelling strategy game thats easy to play but hard to beat.

If you live poor everyone gets sick quickly, preventing them from working and incurring health costs to get well, which effectively spirals the family into a negative feedback loop that kills everyone. You need to keep the living rates at a decent level to keep the health profile going, but that alone isn't enough. If you help build up the local community center (run by Unicef, which also had a hand in producing the game) you'll get health and educational benefits more frequently. Volunteering also increases education for free, as opposed to paying for school in addition to not earning money.

Students have to think about math, education, working, health, happiness....character and balance. It takes time to manage but they eventually begin understanding the process.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Technology Initiative

The Hoover City School District just provide each classroom with the following: 2 Dell Tablet Laptops, 2 iPods, Lightsmith, video camera, digital camera, equipment cart, and speakers. In addition we added webcams, microphones, an iPod Touch, and GPS units. about 21st Century Learning. Please visit this blog as I post the exciting things we are doing in the classroom with our new equipment and Web 2.o Tools.

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