Thursday, December 11, 2008


My daughter loves cutting paper. One day, I showed her how to make snowflakes. She had a ball. My daughter hates cleaning up. I cannot begin to tell you how much little snips of paper were on the floor.

Luckily, my daughter also loves to "work" on the computer. Next time she wants to make snowflakes, I am sending her to Make-a-Flake.

Make-a-flake is a snow flake maker by Barkely Interactive. This flash games folds the paper and gives you a virtual pair of scissors. Snip away at your paper and you have a snow flake. There is a preview option and even an undo button.

After you have perfected your snowflake, you can save it to their gallery, email it to a friend, or save it to your computer. When saving it you have two options, .jpg or .eps. The .eps file can be opened and manipulated in PhotoShop or Illustrator.

The best part, no clean up!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

LIFE Pictures Available on Google

Google partnered with LIFE and is now in the process of digitizing their photos. Some of these photos date back to the 1750's. Odds are you won't recognize most of the pictures as they were never published. Right now, only 20 percent of the collection is availabe. Over the next few months the entire archive will be online. That is 10 million photos.

LIFE photo archive

Google's blog post

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where the Wild Things Are

In 1963 Maurice Sendak published Where the Wild Things Are. A story of Max, who is sent to his room without supper. In his room, Max’s imagination takes over and he journeys to the land of the Wild Things. It has been a beloved children’s book ever since.

Discovery Education Streaming has the Where the Wild Things Are video. The video is just over 7 minutes long and a teachers guide is also available. Both the book and the video are appropriate for grades K -2.

After showing the video or reading the book, take you kids to to, well, build your wild self. I turned myself into a Gaz-ossa-rusa-frog that likes to play guitar. The site was created by the New York Zoos and Aquarium. Students will have a great time creating themselves into a monster. Since they are using parts from an actual animal, it is easy to bring in science into the lesson. Talking about the places the animals live brings in social studies. Math can be integrated by sorting the monsters. Fans of the Madagascar movies may enjoy that the site was recently updated with Madagascar parts. Don’t worry if you don’t recognize the animals, there is a short explanation at the end. allows you to save, print, and send your wild self to a friend.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Map of Future Forces Affecting Education

KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Institute for the Future have a very cool interactive map of the trends that will shape the future of education. You can click the Go to the map to explore an interactive map or you can download a printable version. Be sure to read the legend at the bottom to understand how the map works. Spend some time clicking around - it is fascinating!
They will be coming out with a 2009 Education Map in January!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Apple Youth Workshops

Apple Youth Workshops are free hands-on workshops for families to learn how to compose a song, produce a movie, create a photo album, or make a presentation. The workshops are held at Apple retail store locations.

Currently, registration is open for the September JAM and October ACTION workshops. For more information, including dates, times, and registration information, visit

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Collaboration Cycle

I just read a fabulous post with an amazingly great resource... the Collaboration Cycle is one of the better ways I've ever seen to explain our role as Instructional Technology Facilitators to teachers and staff at a school. I love that it is a cycle... here is the original post:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wordle in 6th Grade Humanitites

In our middle school we have a Humanities class (SS and LA combined) at each grade. These teachers are doing some really fabulous projects. One of the ones is the use of Wordle to help students explain the 6 Big Ideas of History - Science and Technology, Government, Culture, Geography, Belief Systems, and Economics. The products completed by the students were printed and put on a bulletin board and will be used throughout the year for them to reference as they study any event in history.
The Process:
Students had to brainstorm 20 different terms/keywords that were associated with their Idea. They then prioritized those ideas by which were the most important in describing their Idea. Next, the students typed their keywords into Word (spellchecking was needed) - they would type the most important terms multiple times (Wordle uses the frequency of a word to determine it's size in the final presentation), so "ScienceandTechnology" (all one word) was typed 5 times while a lesser term to describe it say "computers" was only typed 3 times. Each word needed to be separated with a space. The students then copied and pasted their text into Wordle and adjusted the design/colors to suit their tastes and then published their work! We were able to print them off and the students also pasted the url of their published work into their class forum so that everyone could see and comment on them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Conducting Interviews via Videoconferencing

As many of you by now have figured out I have relocated to Chennai, India. I am working in the American International School here! In the past week we (my husband and I) attended a fabulous presentation for the Madras Day titled the Sea Story, "A special play/performance by the members of Nochikuppam seafishing community, facilitated by the World Storytelling Institute." It was hosted by Eric Miller, Director of the World Storytelling Institute (Chennai). He was nice enough to share a fabulous article he wrote for the education newsletter of the American Folklore Society. This article has great tips for how to conduct interviews via videoconferencing - take a read!

And thanks again to Eric for sharing!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Great Blog Post with Free Resources for Regular and Special Education

Many of these are resources I use regularily. Some of them I've never heard of. This is truly an amazing list and much thanks to Paul Hamilton for posting it!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Plagerism Videos from Rutgers University

Rutgers University has a great group of 3 videos explaining Plagerism. While they are geared for university level I can see applications at Middle and High School level.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Summer Hiatus Over

Well, I got so involved as virtual attendee at NECC '08 the end of June, I just stopped posting. And well...then I got so involved having the month of July off, I just couldn't leave the pool to turn on a computer for anything other that minimal email and staying connected with family and friends.
But I am back at work and ready to start back in. I've heard from Katie, Donna and Aaron and they are all getting up and going with new jobs. I hope we can make a go of maintaining the "Think Tank".
I'll be back when I've got some new things to add.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

NECC2008 Ning Community

I'm up this morning and gleening resources from the NECC2008 Ning Community. I have joined the groups: and Diigo bookmark sharing at NECC2008, Virtual NECCers, and Digital Storytellers.
The Digital Storytellers have shared several sites in the discussion already. I've now got to take the time to investigate those. I am looking forward to watching their digital storytelling wiki to see what develops.
I have found lots of people to add to my and Diigo networks and follow. I've added feeds to this blog for bookmarks tagged digitalstorytelling and NECC08.
The Ning community has been a great place to start my virtual attendance at the conference. I can tell already that I will be in overload soon and need to figure out how to manage, evaluate and utilize all the information (but that is always the case).
Now I"m "headed" to see what the EduBloggerCon has to offer virtually.
Huuummmm...I must remember that I'm Eastern time and San Antonio is Central (Thanks Donna for the reminder)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Virtual Attendee at NECC08

I'm multi-tasking again. Mainly trying to figure out ways to effectively attend NECC 2008 virtually.
Here are just a few ways I've found.
1. Summize - and search the tag NECC to search Twitter for twit posts on NECC. You can also get an RSS feed for the search.
2. Join the Ning NECC Network and join a group or groups that interest you. Be a part on the online community.
3. Check out ISTE Island in Second Life - events here
4. Do a Google Blogs search for these tags - necc, necc08, necc2008.
5. Do a TwitterScan for necc, necco8, necc2008
6. Check out NECClive wiki
7. Check out EdStreamTV wiki "Your TV Guide for NECC 2008"
8. ISTE has the sessions and events that will be available as Podcasts and you can follow Apple's official NECC podcast channel.
9. ISTE also has video-on-demand sessions and events.

Not as good as being there but.....

World's Best Presentation Contest is putting on the World's Best Contest Presentation 2008. You could win a MacBook Air, Amazon Kindle, iPod Nano or Touch, or Garr Reynolds book Presentation Zen. I plan on entering, just as soon I some thing inspires me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tips for Conference Bloggers

I came across the e-book, Tips For Conference Bloggers, the other day. I printed it out and finally got around to reading it. I really wish I could put these tips to use at NECC, but I will be at home. I am making plans to attend NECC 09 in DC.

The 6 page book broke the tips down into 15 sections, including Tools, location, prep, style, quotes, context, audience, linking, taging, and several others. I am going to hit the tips that spoke to me.

Don't sit in the front row, as you may distract others. Sit on the side or in the back. IMO, the best tip is to sit near the power outlets. I would also like to add, don't sit close to the outlet that the presenter is using. I once knocked the lcd projector out of the socket, David Warlick's to be exact. Not my best moment.

Start the post before hand. I don't know why I never thought of this. I always started with good intentions of blogging a conference, but I never seem to follow through. Google the presenter or check the conference website for some info. Depending on what blog platform you use, it is possible to save this is a draft. Next conference I go to, I hope to have my first paragraph written, even before I arrive.

Spelling and syntax matter.

If you are quoting the speaker, make sure you got the exact quote.

Audience and Context
Remember you are blogging for yourself and those who read your blog. Also, assume the it will be read by those who were not at the conference. If they show a youtube video, mention it and try to embed it.

Link all there is to link. This includes, speaker's homepage, speaker's organization page, speaker's blog, speaker's books/videos, and other relevant posts or pictures. I use a program called Texter on my PC. It allows you to type an abbreaviaton and it replaces it with a phrase. For example, I type "linknecc" and press enter, then "a href="">NECC" appears, which when published is just the link (ie NECC). Similar programs are available on the Mac. TextExpander (about $30) and RapidoWrite (free)

Tag every post with all relevant tags, starting with the conference name and the speakers name.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Change is in the air

This blog was begun in December of 2005 by Katie after we had attended a NCETC conference. She invited Aaron to join in, Donna was next and eventually I joined. They have done a great job maintaining the momentum.
We all have worked in the same school district and have had an incredible journey exploring, collaborating, and sharing within our district and in the greater edtech world. We have all been transformed in ways that are only partially documented in this blog.
Change is in the air. We won't all be in the same geographical location anymore. In fact we won't even be on the same continent. We have all committed to maintaining this blog (I'll have to start pulling my weight here at the original local) and have disscussed starting a podcast. While I will miss my coworkers, I am excited about the possibilities. The ability to maintain professional and personal relationships with people I admire and love across physical distance will add another dimension to our understanding of and ability to harness this vast new world.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I came across this site while reading lifehacker. Tablefy is a site where you can create a table to compare any number of items. I just gave a presentation on iPods and was looking for an easy way to compare them. Too bad I didn't know about this.

I ran through it quickly. It is simple and was a breeze to do. Beside just adding text, you can give a url of an image. Tablefy will automatically create a thumbnail for you. It is also possible to add a youtube video, among other media.

The site also allows you to save your own tables to edit later. You can also search for other comparisons and leave comments. I can see great uses in education, like comparing characters, geometric shapes, and plants and animals.

go to the table!

The best part, you can embedded in your own wiki or website. There is an also an option to keep your table private, if you don't share well.

Monday, June 16, 2008


From Katie's post, you know we just finished up our Summer Tech Conference. I would have to echo Katie's sediments, it was wonderful. On our wiki this year, we decided to post our PowerPoint presentations. We also did this last year by saving the presentation as jpegs and uploading them to Picasa web albums. We could then embed them as a slideshow.

This year I decided to give SlideShare and Scribd a chance. Both sites allow you to upload PowerPoint files, along with PDF and some open office file formats. Scribd adds support for Word and Excel too. I uploaded my presentation ppt file to both sites. I used a non standard font and both sites changed my font to standard font, not what I wanted. Since both sites allow PDF uploads, I used CutePDF to save my presentation as a pdf file. I once again uploaded them to both sites. Slideshare worked perfectly, but Scribd never took my pdf.

Needless to say, I have become a fan of SlideShare. Even more so, when they featured my presentation on their homepage.


I was cleaning out my desk and found this quote on a post-it note.

"Smart no longer means knowing information. It is more about knowing how to find the information you don't know."

I think is sums up the 21st century skills we are trying to teach.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Summer Tech Conference '08

We just finished our BCPS Summer Tech Conference '08! It was fabulous. We had a huge response and doubled our numbers from last year. Participants also enjoyed the conference and we have received great feedback that we will be posting on the wiki soon. To see what we did and get resources from our sessions go to the wiki!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Posting from Word 2007

Just learning how to publish to blogger from Word 2007. A coworker blogged it originally and send the link.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Into The Book

Check out this interactive site about reading comprehension strategies:

Into the Book: Wisconsin Educational Communications Board

Explore eight reading strategies for K-4 students and teachers in this
interactive and in-depth reading comprehension site:• Make meaningful
connections to climb to the summit of the Mountain of Understanding • Summarize
the thrilling life of a talkative pirate • Evaluate books to successfully
explore a distant solar system • Infer the real news in letters from pen pals •
And much more!

Students can watch online videos, play learning games and interactives,
and share their creations with friends and family. Teachers can delve into rich
information and teaching resources, lesson plans, video and audio clips,
downloads, and more.

Both the student and teacher sections of this site allow unique log-ins (that don't require any sort of registration or email address) so users can access prior work within the site.

The student section is very interactive and includes tasks for each comprehension strategy. The teacher section includes lesson plans, short videos, pdf posters, and even songs.

I was very impressed with this resource! Check it out!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Going to the Moon.

Think your students might want to go to the moon? Well, they can! Or at least their names can!

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO spaceship) will be taking an exploration journey in preparation for NASA's return to the moon.

You can add your name to a database that will be placed on a microchip to be embedded into the spacecraft. Visit to add your name (and print a certificate, if you wish).

I've added my name!

The LRO website has lots of information and resources to share with your students.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


An interactive whiteboard allows you to "drive" your computer from touching the board, rather than from behind your computer. When I was teaching third grade, I wrote a grant and had a SMART Board in my classroom. It truly changed the way I taught. Having the board (and a projector) in my room encouraged student engagement in the lessons. It provided a chance to reach different learning styles, including my kinesthetic learners, who could interact with an activity by touching the board.

One example I often give when I talk about the impact the interactive whiteboard had on my students is this: I was teaching some low-level readers (who were often turned off from reading and were difficult to engage in comprehension skill activities). I would put a reading passage on the screen for the students to read. Then I would ask a comprehension question. I would ask a student to answer the question, but in addition to the answer, the student had to come to the board and underline the proof. I watched as my students who hated to read anxiously waited to be called on to answer the question so they could interact with the board. And it wasn't a phase; all year long, students were excited about using the board to interact with lessons. I, too, enjoyed the interaction the board afforded me. Instead of standing behind my computer to guide a lesson on the screen, I was able to be at the screen, "driving".

SMART Boards are not the only interactive whiteboards available. There are others (for example, ActivBoards, and Interwrite Boards.) My favorite is the SMART Board, but that may just be because I'm comfortable using it.

Below are some interactive whiteboard resources. Some are just for SMART Board, others are generic, and others are simply links to interactive sites that you could use even if you don't have an interactive whiteboard.

Education section of SMART Technologies website:

Notebook lessons and SMART Board Resources

Interactive Whiteboard Resources

Interactive Websites

(cross posted on Explore the Possibilities)

Monday, May 12, 2008

FREE Typing / Keyboarding Practice

Want an alternative to purchasing keyboarding practice software?

Here are a couple of FREE keyboarding sites for children:

Keyboarding Skills Course (Click “Skip Intro” to go straight to the instructions/course.

Dance Mat Typing from BBC Includes 12 stages.

Also, TuxType is a free typing tutor download for children.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

You CAN take it with you! Workshop Resources

This workshop was all about portable drives and the free applications that can be loaded on them.

Online resources from my You CAN take it with you! workshop.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Digital Storytelling Workshop Resources

“We are our stories. We compress years of experience, thought, and emotion into a few compact narratives that we convey to others and tell to ourselves.” - Daniel Pink A Whole New Mind

Online resources from my Digital Storytelling workshop

Monday, May 05, 2008

Free Images, Clipart, Primary Source, Sound and Audio Resources

It is always hard to find the best "free" resources to suggest to teachers. Below you will find links to three pages where I have begun to compile these resources. Let me know if there are any I should add!

Photos, Images, and Clipart,+Images,+and+Clip+Art

Primary Sources

Sounds and Audio

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Practice your basic math facts online!

Here are some great resources for practicing basic Addition, Subtraction, and Multiplication facts!

Best of the Best
Arcademic Skill Builders has GREAT Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication Drill and Practice Activities! Check out: Meteor MultiplicationAlien AdditionMinus MissionMultiplication Grand Prix – which can be played against other online players or you can setup a 4 person game with a password

Addition and Subtraction
Hoot’s Addition and Subtraction
Math Magician Addition
Math Magician Subtraction

Camel Time Table
Multiplication Roll Over
Math Magician Multiplication

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Interwrite Resources

Free Interwrite Lessons and Activities Correlated to State Curriculum Standards- Go to Click on the Browse Lessons Correlated to State Curriculum Standards

Free Interwrite Tutorials and How-Tos

Background Image Library can download these and use them as backgrounds when making an Interwrite Activitiy

Interwrite Support

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Encyclopedia of Life is ALIVE!

"The new Encyclopedia of Life portal has gone live with more than one million species pages!

In celebration of this big event, our first EOL newsletter is available at:
Click here to read the newsletter.
You can see the new pages at We also invite you to take the survey at the site so you can help us improve.
We thank you for your interest and support over the past year. Enjoy."

Just got this email from! It looks awesome can't wait to check it out more!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Geo-Green and Titan Wealth

Today I got sent a great link to an audio file of a Keynote presentation Thomas L. Friedman gave at NC State University for the 2008 Emerging Issues Forum. I really, really can't wait for his new book now! The direct link to the audio is:

I listened to this great Keynote and was then looking through my Google Reader and ran across this post by David Warlick, "A Bubblin' Crude" about the amazing amounts of hydrocarbons found on Saturn's moon Titan.

Take a listen and read! Share with your students!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Climate Alive!

"The need has never been greater for accurate and understandable information about climate change and its impacts."

Check out this website and the wonderful 7 minute video on how Asheville, NC is poised to lead this change!

Pretty cool and if I do say another great example of digital storytelling!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Digital Projector

Being in technology, I sometimes fall for the latest trend or newest thing. Most of the time that is not a bad thing. Every now and then it is nice for a post to remind me of the KISS philosophy.


dy/dan Wrote one of those posts.

Instead of using his digital projector to make a flashy powerpoint, he treated it like a old time slide projector. The results, "45 minutes running computations, discussing the results, arguing over the significance of the results — all from three photos."

I want to throw in the next quote, just because I liked it.

"No wipes, checkerboards, animations, or other PowerPoint detritus. This is the 21st-century digital projector bashed back into the 20th century."

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Simpsons Math

I first started watching The Simpson when I was in middle school. I thought is was just a simple, funny cartoon. As I grew older, I realized the show was anything but simple. I started picking up on the quick humor and some of the references to every imaginable subject. Not all of the refences, some still go over my head.

Luckily for us, Dr. Sarah J. Greenwald, from Appalachian State University, and Dr. Andrew Nestler , from Santa Monica College, picked up on this too. They have created a website called Simpson Math

On the site you will find a guide to the math on The Simpsons, the mathmatical background of the shows writers, and even some activity sheets. You won't find any video clips, you will have to find those somewhere else.

Reflections on Instructional Technology

I am in the process of applying to international schools and getting ready for the Search-Associates Cambridge Job Fair in February. Working overseas has always been a dream for me! As I am filling out applications and preparing for phone interviews it has dawned on me that we are doing some amazing things in our district right now. So much so that I haven't been writing to the blog or doing many other things recently. So it's time to catch ya'll up and for me to reflect a bit (you were warned!)...

Ever since NECC this summer I've been revising my thoughts on Instructional Technology and our role as Instructional Technology Specialists, Technology Facilitators, Computer Coordinators, or whatever else you want to call us. My thoughts and thinking began to shift as I listened to speakers talk about our relevance in education. And then I thought about our teachers - their needs of us and of technology are shifting, whether or not they know it yet. And most importantly, our students needs have already changed and we are not addressing that change.

It is my opinion that we (in Instructional Technology) need to be the voices for that change in education. Not only do we need to do everything we always have (troubleshoot, make walkthroughs, and lend a helping hand when something goes amiss), we also must now explain and help our educators understand the world our students are living in, how they communicate, what the tools are that they use, and what skills they need to succeed.

How do we do this?

This is the question that we have been answering in our district this year and that I have been focusing on. Below are some ways I believe we are addressing this.

Presentations to teachers and administrators - about new ideas (like this one I created for our Elementary New Teacher Orientation - Teaching and Learning in the Conceptual Age)
and new tools (like the Nova5000 and NComputing Devices).

Technology Wednesdays and Thursdays - one hour after school trainings and worksessions that allow our teachers the most important resource of all when integrating technology - TIME to LEARN and PLAY. See our current TWT offerings!

Collaboration and Communication Open-Source Applications - we are implementing WordPress, Moodle, and WikiSpaces this year. Teachers are blogging and having conversations in an online learning environment with their students as I write this!

Mini-Grants - this year we are offering mini-grants that get technology hardware in the hands of teachers. We have already given out 3 digital projectors and are in the process of distributing 29 digital cameras.

Summer Technology Conference - we offered the STC07 last year on the last two workdays in June and had an overwhelming response. We are currently organizing the one for this year.

I am so impressed with everything we have and are continuing to accomplish in our district. I really feel that through these projects we have started educators in our district moving in a new direction. Not all of them for sure - but a large majority. We are sharing with them. Collaborating with them. Communicating with them. All in new ways. We are helping them to understand and address the needs of our students.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Interactive Activities - Polygons 5th Grade

Geometric Solids – one of my all time favorites!

Rainforest Maths – click on 5th Grade and then look at the bottom of the page at the Space activities – 3d shapes and 2d shapes.

BBC School – Shape activities, revisions, and quiz.

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives – all kinds of virtual manipulatives… scroll down the page.