Friday, February 29, 2008

Check out BookletCreator

If your printer or copy machine can't print booklets, or if you're too lazy, I mean busy, to figure out how, then this website is for you! Upload your PDF, and BookletCreator reconfigures the document so that you can print it out and fold it down the middle to create a booklet. Easy as pie.

Roly's game-- too much fun!

This fun, interactive site would work well on a SMARTboard. You must arrange a series of tubes and track to guide a hamster (Roly) from point A to point B. Very cute animation and a good way for young students to think about cause and effect. How many different ways can you get Roly across the room?

SMARTboard training videos

James Hollis has created 21 SMARTboard training videos! You can see them on YouTube here:

Using SMARTboards to create "mathcasts"

I've been reading an excellent blog on SMARTboard resources by James Hollis called Teachers Love SMART Boards. Recently he posted on a really cool website that makes creating and embedding "mathcasts" very simple. What I really like about this particular post is that in addition to the finished mathcast, he has also posted a video that shows him creating the posted mathcast.

So check out his excellent blog, especially this post:
and also the Sketchcast website.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Employee use, misuse, and abuse of social networking sites

A very interesting article on the NSBA website discusses when teachers should be disciplined for inappropriate blogging. At the conclusion of the article are these suggestions:

Considerations for Blogging Teachers

  • Public v. anonymous: are you willing to sign your name to the comments you post?
  • A blog has the potential to be read by thousands of people, including those you are writing about.
  • Do not blog on the job.
  • Use your own equipment, not the school district's equipment.
  • The truth is always better than the opposite, so think before you blog.
  • If your blog is public, do not use personally identifiable information when discussing colleagues, parents, and especially students.

Considerations for District Blog Policies

  • Encourage bloggers to take responsibility for their postings.
  • Prohibit the use of school mascots, symbols, logos, or other district trademarks on employee blogs.
  • Prohibit blogging during the school day.
  • Prohibit the use of school district property for personal blogs.
  • Require the use of a disclaimer regarding the statements posted on blogs.
  • Develop the policy with staff bloggers' input, make sure all staff are aware of the policy, and give notice that administrators may visit the blogs at any time.

You may read the entire article here:

Monday, February 25, 2008

More weather data for Google Earth

Thanks to Frank Taylor and his Google Earth blog for posting a link to some more KML content from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA calls it the "KML Klearinghouse."

If you and your students are studying weather, you'll find KML files that will open in Google Earth and provide you with a LOT of interesting data including radar, surface observations, flash flood, storm reports, satellite, hurricanes, rain and snow data and more!

Here's the link:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Vector magic IS magic!

Vector magic will transform a bitmap image into a vector image. If you don't understand that, you can find an explanation on the vector magic website. Instead, take a look at the before and after images, then maybe you'll understand why this is such a useful site. Trust me, if you enlarge the images enough you'll definitely see an improvement. Try it yourself at:
Sadly though, this site has separated from Stanford University, and is no longer totally free.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

ANOTHER interactive math site

Courtesy of the TECHlearning blog, this interactive 3D geometry site from Annenburg is a lot of fun! You can explore and play with prisms and pyramids, surface area and volume, and you can even print, cut and fold examples of several 3D shapes.
Because you can rotate the shapes, and highlight vertices, edges, and faces it makes it easier to understand, at least it did for me, and I consider myself "challenged" spatially.

Too much fun!

Create Fake Magazine Covers with your own picture at

Discount Magazine Subscriptions - Save big!

Interactive math sites

Quite a nice list compiled here:
Check the categories on the right side of the page.

MORE interactive whiteboard activities

A tremendous collection of interactive websites for language, math, science at:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Do you use a smartboard???

Then check out this long list of videos from the UK-- real teachers using the smartboards in their classrooms.

Here's a sample:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

100 ways to use your iPod to learn and study better

Thank you Tony Vincent for this great link! You'll find some great apps, podcasts, and websites for your iPod.

7 things you should know about...

I actually came across one of these by accident last week. Then while reading Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk Blog I saw this link: to a whole series of informative, one page (front and back) articles on topics like Google Earth, Facebook, Skype, wikipedia, RSS, digital storytelling... you get the idea.

Why reinvent the wheel-- print some of these and pass them out to teachers in your building to provide a nice, simple introduction to these hot tech topics.

Quintura for Kids

I remember recommending this site ( ) to teachers awhile back. Now you can embed a Quintura "cloud"on your webpage:

Discovery Earth Live

This site is similar to Google Earth in that various "layers" are superimposed over Earth. The difference is that the data is very recent-- like precipitation from the past week. You can spin the globe just like in Google Earth, but you can't zoom in or out.

I think this site would be an excellent resource in the hands of a science teacher wanting to show dynamically how weather and climate and global warming are related and the potential consequences. There are also pushpin-like links to news from around the world and interviews with scientists conducting research. I learned about a special mud in Louisiana that protects the coast from large waves, and that the Grand Canyon was created by volcanic activity as well as water.

There are several pre-made "stories" including one on the February tornado outbreak in the southern United States, or you can create your own story from the various layers of information. You're then able to share your story with a widget like the one shown here on La Nina.

Click on the widget below to get to the site, or go to:

You must have the Adobe Flash player installed to see this app. Please download flash here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More reflection on copyright in the classroom

Barry Britt said his goal in presenting on copyright in the classroom is to change the mindset of teachers to at least be thinking about copyright issues. He uses the acronym LEO: Legal, Ethical, and Ownership.

Personally, I find copyright and fair use very confusing. I've always given teachers this advice: "What happens in the classroom STAYS in the classroom," a take off on the Las Vegas slogan. Teachers and students get into trouble when they effectively begin "distributing" copyrighted materials either in printed form, or electronically on the Internet or on CD.

Barry is right when he says teachers need to begin to think about copyright. Teachers don't bother to teach their students about copyright law, ethics and ownership because it's not something they think about-- they're more focused on content, standards, classroom discipline...there's no time left to teach or even to think about copyright.

Even after students learn about "LEO", I believe they need alternatives to copyrighted media, like creative commons, or a subscription to a service like Soundzabound. That way the teacher doesn't have to be the copyright police, and students don't need to worry about obtaining permission to use copyrighted content.

Although it's 6 years old, THIS ARTICLE from techLEARNING by Hall Davidson is one of my favorites on copyright.

Copyright in the classroom

I had an opportunity to hear Barry Britt speak on copyright in the classroom yesterday. Barry is from Soundzabound, which in my opinion, is THE BEST subscription based site for royalty free music.

Barry made a great analogy for illegal downloading: just because you have a car that can go 160 mph does NOT mean you can drive 160 mph! There are speed limits that are enforced. Likewise for downloading: just because you can doesn't mean it's legal.

TeacherTube has a whole series of videos featuring Barry speaking about "Copyright Wisdom for Music in Multimedia." It's in 6 parts and you view can them HERE on TeacherTube. Here's the introduction:

My favorite Super Bowl commercial

You can view them all on at:

Abraham Lincoln Google Earth Lit Trip

Celebrate Lincoln's birthday! My wife created a Google Earth lit trip for the book Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire. It's our first attempt at putting one of these together. You may download the kmz file (which will open in GE) here:

100th day of school

Lucy Gray has posted a nice list of online resources related to the 100th day of school on her High Techpectations blog:

The top 100 tools for learning!

Check these out!

From the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies.

More wisdom from my RSS feeds

I've not visited my Bloglines feeds in quite some time, so expect to find me quoting several pearls of wisdom on this blog. This quote comes from David Warlick's 2 cents worth:

"A Path to Becoming a 21st Century Literate Educator — Self Development
1. Find two or more other educators in your school who are interested in learning and using emerging information and communication technologies. It would be of enormous advantage if you can include your schools library media specialist.
2. Identify the appropriate person in your school or district who can provide technical support and configuration for your increasingly utilized computers and network. Bake them some chocolate chip cookies.
3. Identify some edu-bloggers who are talking about the emerging ICTs you are considering. See the Bloggers to Learn From wiki, contributed to by a world community of educators.
Delegate! Assign each member of your team some of the selected blogs to follow, and share specific posts with each other.
4. Read, study, and discuss books about teaching and learning and the world we’re doing it in. See the Books to Learn From. wiki, contributed to by a world community of educators.
5. Schedule regular meetings (once or twice a month) at a local restaurant, coffee shop, or pizzeria (preferably with WiFi). Meet and discuss what you’ve learned and what you want to learn.
6. Start a group (A social bookmarks service) account for organizing and sharing web resources.
7. Start a wiki for posting notes, links, and step-by-step instructions.
8. Join one or more of the Ning social networks, such as: School 2.0, Library 2.0, Classroom 2.0.
9. Start your own blogs for sharing your reflections on what you are learning and how you are learning it.
10. Start experimenting in your class and share the results.
11. Share your results with other teachers in your school and Invite them into your conversation.
Start to model, in your job as a teacher, the practice of being a master learner. "

Thank you David.

A great quote

"The curriculum is the key--not the media," he says. "We've fallen into this trap of considering that the use of technology is going to be an automatic silver bullet that's going to make kids learn more, be more motivated. But we forget that it's not the technology, not the media. It's the content, and it's the way those media are used. In other words, it's the pedagogy, it's the message, it's the design--it's the approach--that is the critical element."

Michael Simonson, Nova Southeastern University
From an eSchoolNews special report on visual learning. by Robert L. Jacobson (free registration required to view).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Just for laughs...

... try out the educational jargon generator! Where else can you learn how to write erudite jargon like "facilitate strategic problem-solving" or "orchestrate outcome-based paradigms" for free???

Now I know where all the stuff from those graduate level textbooks comes from!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Who knew?

There is an amazing "layer" in Google Earth called the Africa Megaflyover with hundreds of very detailed photos of animals! So crystal clear you can even see footprints in the sand!

From Google Sightseeing:

Also check out the National Geographic Africa Megaflyover website at:

Copyright friendly images and music

I came across a very extensive list of links to copyright friendly images, sounds, and music on the Springfield Township High School (PA) Virtual Library:

Also check out their virtual library home page:

VERY nice!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Visit my wikispace

I've added a lot of content to my "handouts" wikispace. I hope you'll check it out.


Create a text shortcut in Office

I created this video about 3 years ago! Someone asked me about this little known Office feature today, and that reminded me to look for the video. I hope you find it useful.

Colonial Williamsburg Kids Zone

I just received the February Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Gazette and in it was a link to their new Kids Zone. Your elementary students will appreciate the bright colors, animation, music and sound effects. You'll appreciate the excellent, kid-friendly content.

There are four different scenes with both animals and people. Clicking on one will allow students to read and interact with that character. Students can learn about fife and drum music, the farm animals that are being preserved through the Colonial Williamsburg rare breeds program, various trades, and historic figures like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.

There are links within each scene to various games and activities such as helping the blacksmith find the correct tools. Students may also click on links that will take them to a Colonial Williamsburg web page for more detailed information on a particular topic.

You 'll find other teaching resources at: where you can sign up to receive the Gazette newsletter for yourself.