Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Richard Byrne Shares

Free Technology for Teachers is a personal project of Richard Byrne.
- Create Voice Recordings Without Software

Vocaroo is a free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need to install any software. All you need to provide is a microphone. . What I like about Vocaroo besides the ability to record without installing software is the option to embed the recording anywhere. After completing you recording, Vocaroo gives you the choice to publish it or to scrap it and try again.

Can't wait to give this a try. I love FREE.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I used to think conversion meant religion

converttube is instant. Zamzar you have to wait for the email.

This is a download for .ppt that lets you imbed the video in .ppt

you can use

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Footnote to History

The 44th American President, Barack Obama, is an African-American. This is the first time this has happened in the history of the United States. A history that included slavery. He received over 62 million votes, and all the votes still haven't been counted. It is the largest amount of votes ever cast for a president. This Democrat candidate is young, full of hope, and ambitious. This was also the costliest presidential election ever...spending millions of dollars.

There is hope in the world that he will be able to do what he promised, make changes in the country. Change is hard, and not up to just one person, which I believe some people don't realize. No matter what a presidential candidate promises, s/he alone is not able to deliver that promise without the backing of Congress.

Many people are afraid; afraid of assassination, afraid of what it means it means for an African-American to be president; afraid of change. No one is voicing those thoughts out loud, not on tv, not on plurk; it's like they are afraid to say something like that out loud.

So, today is the first day in a long time I don't have some 'drama' to look forward to. The Olympics, the debates, the Phillies, the presidential election...they are all over now in time for the holidays to start.

The quote "May you live in interesting times" is very true. These will be interesting times.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History Has Been Made

CNN projects that Sen. Barack Obama has won election as the next president of the United States.

It's 11:06 and ABC and the rest of the news stations have just "called" the election for Barack Obama, the first African-American to ever be elected president of the United States. It is Tuesday night and it is the big story around the country, around the world. Obama will be addressing the crowd in Chicago, his home state tonight. Everyone is calling this a historic event, saying that men and women are crying saying they would never have thought that an African-American could ever be president of the United States.

"America will never view it self the same way again, and the world will never view America the same way again."

Many of the African-American reporters can hardly is so emotional for them.

John McCain is an honorable man. He served his country both politically and militarily. How proud his family must be of him to have done so much for the country. He is so inspiring to people of all races, of all ages. His concession speech was very well done.

So now it will be interesting to see what happens next. There are many questions, many hopes, many fears associated with this election. The next chapter is to soon to be written and read by the world.

Personal Essay Workshop

Today we had a professional development day about writing a personal essay. Below is what I wrote. I did this from the view point of a third grader so if the writing sounds a bit "different", that may be the reason. It is still lacking a conclusion.

Grandparents are people who you are supposed to be close to you so they should live close to you.

My grandparents used to live close to me. They don’t anymore. In fact, they live in Florida, which is a long way away from New Jersey. My grandparents are really fun people. I love it when my mom drives us to their apartment on the Shrewsbury River. I go skipping down the sidewalk, saying hi to all the people I have met there, bang on the front door, and just burst into their apartment. Running up the stairs, I am always greeted by a huge hug from my grandfather, who was probably reading the Wall Street Journal and another by my grandmother, who was always reading a book. After visiting for a bit, my grandfather and I would walk, hand in hand, down to the dock where the Strebla, his cabin cruiser, was docked and let me help him clean it. I love working on the boat with my grandfather. It’s the time we spend together without my little brother, my mom, or anyone else. It was my time and I love it. Living close to the people we love is important.

Every year we hear about the price of gas going up. This affects all kind of travel as well, planes, trains, automobiles. Just staying in hotels can cost families a lot of money for a room and food. Traveling long distances can be hard on families who don’t have much money. They wouldn’t be able to see their grandchildren more than once or twice a year. My mom’s friend, Sue, doesn’t get to see her grandchildren in Texas more than twice a year. Once, during the holidays, she and her husband travel from California to Texas to visit with her three grandchildren. Then, during the summer that family travels from Texas to California. It costs too much for either family to make this trip more than once a year. Distance is difficult when you love someone.

The hug was warmer and tighter than any other I ever remember from my grandmother. She held me close to her, her thin arms around my shoulders. I could smell the cigarettes she smokes, although we had told her so many times she shouldn’t. It was our last day in Florida. Only this morning, we had been happily swimming in the blue water, but now the car was packed, the cooler in the back of the car filled with food for our drive back to New Jersey and I was in my grandmother’s embrace. My dad, who was usually laughing and talking a mile a minute, was quiet as he made sure my brother was buckled in safely. I turned my face to see my mom coming from inside the house, her eyes red. I knew I was sad, but I was also angry at the thought of my mom being this sad. My grandmother SHOULD live closer. I loved being in Florida but this feeling, this sadness, couldn’t be good. It was in such direct opposition with how I felt when we had first arrived. I knew if my grandparents lived closer to us, my mom would be happier and our hearts won’t hurt this much.

Sometimes living apart from the people you loved just can’t be helped. Some people move because they have to take a job in another part of the country. Some people have to move to places because of their health. Others move because all their lives they have wanted to live in a different type of climate. Sometimes these things can’t be helped. People say that with the Internet and phones, that people, even though they are far away from others, seem to be closer. Still, there is nothing like a hug, a smile you can see, or a kiss, from a person who is right next to you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November 2

In my effort to become a better blogger, following Steve Dembo's suggestions, I'm off to look for a statistics counter. To me it doesn't really matter if someone else is reading this's for me, but if people do, it's nice to know where they are from. I'm not sure this type of blog allows those types of things, but it makes me more aware.

On our wiki we have one and it is fun to see our visitors from all over the world.
SO, off to search for a counter.

Well, it wasn't that hard. This blog has gadgets on it that you just click, add, and save. Easy. So, now I've made my blog even better. For me and for others.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November 1

Hard to believe it's a new month already. October flew by and November promises to do the same. Here is just a few things that are ahead:
a two day teaching week this week
one inservice day this week
trip to Atlantic City for more inservice on Thursday
National Education Week
report cards to be done
end of my time with my student teacher

and then it's December

Like everyone else, time flies around this time of year, especially teachers.

We have a new idea for Grandparents' Day. We are trying to find grandparents who can not make it to the school that day and have them set up a Skype account and see if they have a web cam. Then, on that day, we will "broadcast" to them. I have no idea how I plan on doing this, but with the help of my PLN, Plurk, I'm hoping to figure it out.

I also feel we can use the web cam for students who may be absent. They can "tune in" to the classroom to find out what they are missing. I remember when I was younger and read books about Australia, that this is the way kids in the outback would learn...but over radio.

So, lots of things to do this November, especially keeping up with a blog, a challenge I am taking on along with others, to make our blogs better. Today I added my picture and blogged. That's a step in the right direction.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lyrics from Ron Clarks You Can Vote

Hey class, this is a huge election, and you know what?

We can vote however we like
We can vote however we like, yeah...

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

McCain is the man
Fought for us in Vietnam
You know if anyone can help our country he can
Taxes dropping low, don't you know, oil's gonna flow,
drilling low, off-sho', our economy will grow

I want Obama
Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama
Iran he will attack
We gotta vote Barack!

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

(McCain supporters)
McCain's the best candidate
With Palin as his running mate
They'll fight for gun rights, pro life,
The conservative right
Our future is bright
Better economy in site
And all the world will feel our military might

(Obama supporters)
But McCain and Bush are real close right
They vote alike and keep it tight
Obama's new, he's younger too
The Middle Class he will help you
He'll bring a change, he's got the brains
McCain and Bush are just the same
You are to blame, Iraq's a shame
Four more years would be insane

Lower your Taxes - you know Obama Won't
PROTECT THE LOWER CLASS - You know McCain won't!
Have enough experience - you know that they don't
STOP GLOBAL WARMING - you know that you won't

I want Obama
Stick with McCain and you're going to have some drama
We need it
He'll be it
We'll do it
Let's move it

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

I'm talking big pipe lines, and low gas prices
Below $2.00 that would be nice

But to do it right we gotta start today
Finding renewable ways that are here to stay

I want Obama
Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama
Iran he will attack
We gotta vote Barack!

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apparitions Appear in Room 15

Here is what I remember:

Cheesecloth, about half a two feet per child, fold in half
Balloons....small round ones or sausage ones, but don't blow them up all the way.
Cup to place balls in. We used tennis balls for the small round ones so they'd be higher up in the cup
Small square of foam to write name
Marker to write name
Glue....we used Elmers. Two parts glue to two parts water...put in plastic bowls
Wax paper to put on desks
Ribbon for hanging
Felt for mouth
Paper towels

First have the kids make their name on the small square of foam. On the other side
They can can put a Halloween word. Use glue to put toothpick on name side.

Place waxed paper on table. Place cut on waxed paper. Place BLOWN up balloon in cup.

Have child scrunch up cheesecloth and place in glue. Squeeze out excess glue. Unfold cheesecloth best they can and drape over balloon, spreading out cheesecloth over balloon and making the bottom flow out. Some may reach the wax paper (they are the standing ones..usually the smaller balloons). The others may NOT reach the wax paper...they are the flying ones.

Attach Google eyes and cut out mouth from small scrapes of felt. Press on. There should be enough glue for the eyes on mouth.

Allow to sit overnight, if possible.

Next day, puncture balloons with pin. Attach name tag by putting toothpick through cheesecloth.

Run string through cheesecloth to hang.

I actually have video of this but I left the camera at school (of course).

Hope this makes sense.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good Things to Try on Line

Found this challenge on another site:
* Week 1: Blogger
* Week 2: Google Docs
* Week 3: VoiceThread
* Week 4: Google Maps
* Week 5: Animoto
* Week 6: Discovery Education Streaming Intro
* Week 7: Wordle
* Week 8: Google Sites
* Week 9: Google Specialized Search
* Week 10: Google SpreadSheets
* Week 11: Google Reader
* Week 12: Picasa
* Week 13: Google Calendar
* Week 14: Google Notebook
* Week 15: Google Earth

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Making Podcasts this was suggested by Tim
zamzar....recommended by many from Patti

Changing mp4 to mp3...use this software. Seems to work well.
Convert from Itunes to mp3.
Open Audacity.
Import into audacity.
Try first to import right from Itunes to see if it works before converting anything. That worked this week.
Be sure to look for music under my pictures/my music. For some reason that is where the folder is. I'll change it later.
Then, when editing in audacity, be sure to hit stop before cutting out blank air.

When saving, be sure to use the EXPORT and save it to a place you'll remember. I used the music file and made a folder for third grade.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

New Member of Our Family

Last night I went on line to and noticed the classified section on the lower right. Never saw it before. So there was a golden available in Vineland, NJ. Now I was going to Vineland today because Jeff is there with a huge tennis tournament. I told the lady I'd be interested and contact me this morning, which she did. Her name was Tracie (close enough to Stacy) and said that her husband had collies and a new puppy and this dog, although they have had her for almost four years, wasn't getting along with the collie so the husband said the golden had to go. I told her I only knew one road in Vineland, Brewster Ave (high school is on it). She told me she was about five blocks on the same street away from high school. And then she told me the dog was free FREE! As long as it was going to a good home. I said I'd come down to check her out.

So I drove to my parents to pick up the leash, thinking no one was home...and of course Dad was so I had to sneak it out of the house. I wasn't going to subject him to a 40 minute drive and be disappointed. So, got there and it was a farm...horses, dogs all over, but when I saw the golden, well, I knew. We talked for a bit, the dog, whose name is (was) Sunny came up to me, got right in my car. The mom and daughter were crying pretty badly. The husband and son never came out to say goodbye.

I took her to the tennis matches to make sure she was good around people and especially men...and she was. Even Jeff was okay with her. One of my friends said if Mom or Dad didn't want her to bring her to her and she'd take he on the spot.

The ride home was fine. I got lost, Sunny didn't get sick and I made it home just after Mom and Dad went to the football game. Their neighbor Pam was outside with her dog and told me she was headed to our church, so after a brief pit stop, back in the car again and off to Grace Episcopal where FrPat was doing a blessing o the animals. Tons of dogs, a cat, a rabbit and a turtle. Sunny was great. She kept to my side, didn't bark and was just mellow with the whole thing. She got her blessing (I did,too, just in case) and then came home to find Evans there.

Of course he told me she was too short, too fat (kind of fits in our family), not athletic, but I did notice after a while he was all over her. She will need lots of walks, which will be Dad's happy job, and a good diet, and she is short, but Dad doesn't need an over-energetic dog.

So then I waited for them to come home. We were sitting at the top of the steps when Dad came in. He looked up and said, "Who is that?" when I told him it was for him, he started crying. He admitted he had given up any hope until spring of finding a dog. I was so happy for him. It took a bit but eventually she went to him and now of course won't leave his side. Mom has decided she likes JESSIE rather than Sunny and I have to agree. She's yet to name a dog yet, so she gets this one. I feel a little bad for her because it's been a nice seven months for her not hearing "We have to go home because of the dog" or "We can't go because of the dog". So, I made Dad happy...Mom is, but still....her friend, Dottie is over there now so I guess things are okay. is that for the LONG version of how my day went?????

Friday, October 3, 2008

more websites to try

spelling city

Here’s a great way for elementary teachers or parents to help your students practice for those weekly spelling tests that we all know and love! Also, you can search for a huge number of provided lists that cover a large range of age appropriateness, and content specific subjects.

As a teacher or parent, you can very easily create a “weekly spelling list” that can be accessed at home with a username and password of your choice. You have the choice of making your list public and searchable, or keep it private so only your students will know how to find it. No email or identification is required of the student, and when they log in, they will be presented with several very interactive ways to learn their words. They can hear their words, take practice tests or play one of several games.
Jump in and give it a try! I am using it with my children and they really seem to enjoy it. I am sure you’ll find the same results with your students. Let us know how it goes, and if you’ve shared any great new lists!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Making Blogs Talk

Cross-posted on cliotech

A friend of mine recently asked if I knew of any applications that would allow her elementary students, many of whom cannot read, to listen to her class blog. I shared that I had used Talkr in the past, but didn’t know of any other applications. So, I threw it out to my Plurk/Twitter network.

Here are some of the other suggestions shared by my network:

* vozME - vozMe allows users to copy/paste text for translation into an MP3 audio file. It also has plugins, widgets, and gadgets that can be incorporated into most blogging engines and Internet start pages (like, iGoogle.)
* odiogo - odiogo offers a free text-to-speech service for all major blogging engines. odiogo stores the audio files on their servers. Listeners/readers can download them and listen to them anywhere.
* SpokenText - SpokenText allows registered users to convert web pages, RSS feeds, PowerPoint, PDF, Word, and many other file types into audio files. SpokenText has some nice help tutorials so that you can maximize your use.
* Read The Words - Read The Words allows users to translate web pages, documents, and RSS feeds into audio files. The service is very simple to use and has instructions for adding a widget to your blog to convert your enteries to audio format. The instructions are very easy to follow and their FAQs page details how to embed a player directly into your blog.
* Blogboard - Blogboard lets users turn any blog into an audio file. Blogboard will create a new feed for the blog to which users can subscribe with their RSS aggregator. This service also generates a feed and embed code for your own blog. Here is Cliotech as an audio file.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

math money sites

Money Fun
Filed Under (Sites 4 Students) by JenW on 09-15-2008

Enjoy these online money “games” !!

Change Maker

Counting Money

Lemonade Stand

Math At The Mall -

Money Instructor

US Mint For Kids

Young Investors

Gender Equality

Wait Time for Students
You are probably nodding your head at this. You learned about wait time in your training, and you are sure you use it. But go back and listen to your tape or watch your video. Do you really use it? Do you really wait 4-5 seconds until you call on someone? Do you look around to get eye contact with almost everyone before you make a choice? This gives you time to think about whom to select, and more importantly, gives all students time to formulate answers and volunteer. Research shows that this technique is particularly valuable for girls and students who are learning English, more than half the students in all of our classrooms.

Wait Time for You
This is probably a new one. I know I didn’t think about this in college. But after a student has responded, wait 4-5 seconds to reply. This gives you time to process the student’s answer and think about how to respond most effectively. This also shows students that you value their responses. It models the kind of behavior you want them to emulate. Waiting to reply helps both you and students.

Move Kids Around
After observing your own teaching, ask youself, which kids got your attention on your recording? Was it the ones who sit in the front rows, the ones who sit in the middle of the room? I know that when I watch videos of myself teaching or presenting, I see that I tend to look to the right side of the room—probably because I am right-handed. When I am sitting on the floor with children, it is excruciatingly obvious. I have had to make a concerted effort to turn my body to face and talk to the people on my left side.

Do you stay in one place? If you do, you may notice that you tend to talk to kids who are closer to you. Remember, the most important thing you can give your students is your time and attention, even if it is negative attention. The child who misbehaves has gotten your attention, and the quiet students lose out. Simple as that. So shuffle yourself or your students to compensate for your natural tendencies.

Listen to Your Responses
Many teachers have been observed giving different kinds of feedback to boys and girls. Boys tend to receive correction, help, and criticism. Most follow-up questions and suggestions for improvement are directed at boys. But girls tend to receive comments on the appearance of their work, rather than the academic content. We want all children to dig deeper into academic understanding, and we can foster this by providing constructive thoughtful feedback to all children.

Pay attention to the kinds of informal interactions you have with students. Do you ask the boys about the weekend soccer game and tell the girls how pretty they look? Do you acknowledge the hard work that all students do, thereby helping them understand that effort produces improvement, or do you just grade the work?

Research shows that many girls seem to grow up feeling that they get good grades or perform well due to luck, not skill or effort. By feeling this way, they also feel that any failure is internal and due to their lack of intelligence or ability. They personalize it. Boys seem to feel that failure is due to illness, poor instruction—external factors. These two different approaches lead to girls downplaying success and boys taking credit.

Cringing again? Me, too. In all my life, I don’t think I have ever taken credit for an achievement by saying, even to myself, “I earned that. I worked hard for that and I deserve it.” All children need to see that hard work and perseverance pay off.

-Laura Reasoner Jones

Monday, September 15, 2008

Be the Best You Can Be by Kirby Puckett

1. If you believe in yourself, really believe in yourself, you will succeed.
2. To be the best you have to practice.
3. When you feel pressured to do wrong, stand up for what is right.
4. Be responsible for yourself.
5. When things go wrong, you have to keep going in life.
6. Like yourself just the way you are.
7. Find out what your gift or talent is and do it.
8. To be the best that you can be you have to have confidence. Never be a quitter to something that is really important.
9. Know that you can change and learn from your mistakes.
10. You CAN do anything.
11. Try new things.
12. Be honest; be kind
13. Good friends, family, and reaching out to others is more important than money, awards, and titles.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

2.0 web sites from another blog

Here are some of the other suggestions shared by my network:

  • vozME - vozMe allows users to copy/paste text for translation into an MP3 audio file. It also has plugins, widgets, and gadgets that can be incorporated into most blogging engines and Internet start pages (like, iGoogle.)
  • odiogo - odiogo offers a free text-to-speech service for all major blogging engines. odiogo stores the audio files on their servers. Listeners/readers can download them and listen to them anywhere.
  • SpokenText - SpokenText allows registered users to convert web pages, RSS feeds, PowerPoint, PDF, Word, and many other file types into audio files. SpokenText has some nice help tutorials so that you can maximize your use.
  • Read The Words - Read The Words allows users to translate web pages, documents, and RSS feeds into audio files. The service is very simple to use and has instructions for adding a widget to your blog to convert your enteries to audio format. The instructions are very easy to follow and their FAQs page details how to embed a player directly into your blog.
  • Blogboard - Blogboard lets users turn any blog into an audio file. Blogboard will create a new feed for the blog to which users can subscribe with their RSS aggregator. This service also generates a feed and embed code for your own blog. Here is Cliotech as an audio file.

Number thirty-one is Webon . It appears to be one of the easiest website-builder I’ve come across. It’s very easy to grab images off the web and write captions. One of its features that I like a lot is that your images automatically become a slideshow. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that other slideshow creators have, but it seems to work well enough. It’s an excellent place for students to display their oneline work.

Number thirty is Jog The Web. It allows you to easily create a slideshow of websites or images, and you can leave comments on each page. It’s a nice tool for categorization, and I’ll be describing that instructional strategy in the context of other web tools on this list.

Number twenty-nine is a bookmarking site called Sitemark,
and, like a couple of other similar applications on this list, it’s a great tool for students to apply categorization skills. That instructional and learning strategy requires higher-order thinking, and you can read more about how I use technology for this purpose at The Best Social Bookmarking Applications For English Language Learners & Other Students.

Number twenty-eight is Selfcast. It lets anyone with a webcam immediately broadcast over the web for free, and anyone (without registering) can watch and also participate via live text chat. The presentation is also recorded and can be watched in the future, too. It’s an ideal way for students to record presentations.

Number twenty-seven is The Broth. It lets you create password-protected private “rooms” where people can cooperate on creating a piece of art. In addition, it has a chat component that lets you talk with people who are in the room at the same time. With our International Sister Classes project, it’s unlikely because of time zone differences that we can make that happen. However, the chat messages remain, so students can leave messages about what and why they’ve contributed to the community art work.

Number is twenty-six is My Jugaad, a new web tool that allows you to easily make slideshows of webpages and post/share links to them. You’re also able to write descriptive notes about each slide. I’m always looking for new applications that could provide ways for students to use higher-order thinking and categorization skills, and this could be another one. I especially like that it’s extraordinarily easy to use, and that images from the web can be included without any problem. There are a number of other tools trying to fill the same niche, but many are more complicated to use.

Number twenty-five is Book Glutton , an intriguing web application that allows groups of people to read books over the Internet and “chat” and leave comments about what they’re reading. That’s okay, but I think it’s their “uploading” feature (that they recently began) that will really be useful. You can then upload your own materials and have groups chatting and leaving comments about it. I could see that really having potential for online discussions of short articles between classes in the same school that meet during different periods and with sister classes in different parts of the world.

Number twenty-four is It’s a free online polling application that lets you easily add sound, images, or video to your polls/surveys; has a variety of ways to see your results; and many different formats to show your survey. Creating polls and analyzing their results can certainly be educational activities.

Number twenty-three is Tokbox. It’s a free tool for a video conference call. You can participate with a Webcam or just if you have a mike for audio, and can be used for students in different cities or countries to communicate. They used to have a limit on the number of people who can participate in a call, but now they say they don’t have that anymore. You do have to sign-up for an account, though.

Number twenty-two is MeBeam. It allows you to have up to eighteen people on the same video conference call, and it’s all browser-based. But you can participate in the call if you only have a microphone, too, so a Webcam is not necessary. It’s free and doesn’t require any pre-planning with the site — you don’t even have to register. All you do is go to the site and give your “virtual” room a unique name. Then others can log-on, too. Up to eighteen people can participate in the call.

Number twenty-one is an online comic-creation site called Pixton, If you make a series of comic strips, lets you put them into a virtual “book.” It also seems to have a very overt and pro-active (at least it says it does) policy on ensuring that only appropriate content remains on the site.

Number twenty is Wix. It’s a fairly easy site that lets you use Flash to create a website or content that you would like to embed into a website or a blog. The final product can look pretty neat. There’s so much you can create that I think it would be a little too overwhelming to English Language Learners. I also suspect that my mainstream students would would want to spend far too much time using it to make their creations look cool and spend less time on the actual content. However, teachers, I think, might want to use it to create content their students would then access.

Number nineteen is Synthasite, another website-building application that seems very similar to Wix, but seems just a little less complicated to use.

Number eighteen is Zunal. It’s an easy way for teachers (and students) to create webquests. I know there are some specific parameters involved in using the term “webquest,” so you can also use Zunal to create much simpler “online scavenger hunts.” At their most basic, it can be a series of questions students have to answer, along with links to websites where the information can be found. Zunal also acts as the host for the webquest or scavenger hunt after its been created.

Number seventeen is ZeeMaps. You can make maps without registering, though it’s slightly more complicated to use then some of the other mapmaking tools that do not require registration. However, unlike the others, ZeeMaps lets you insert images in addition to writing, Students, for example, can write about different natural disasters that have occurred around the world.

Number sixteen is Nile Guide. I’ve posted before about online sites that allow you to decide where you want to go, search for things that you would do and see there, and then easily “drag and drop” an itinerary that can be posted on a website or blog. Nile Guide now appears to be the most accessible of them all.

Number fifteen is Graspr a site where users can upload (and watch) “how-to” or “instructional” videos to do just about anything. One of the features, though, that makes Graspr a little different from the others is the ability for the viewer to write online notes about what they see — while they’re watching. I help my students learn reading strategies (asking questions, making connections, etc.) so they can become better…readers. We also talk in class about how we can become better listeners by using these same kind of strategies while in conversations and while watching movies. This site is an interesting, and challenging, way for English Language Learners to try this out.

Number fourteen is Awesome Highlighter. I often have students use sticky notes in class when we’re reading something to demonstrate reading strategies (summarize, evaluate, predict, connect, etc.). Awesome Highlighter is easy to use and no registration is required. It would be rated much higher, but my students and I periodically find that it doesn’t work very smoothly, and a fair number of the webpages we’ve wanted to use aren’t compatible with the application. However, even with those drawbacks, it definitely deserves to be on this list.

Number thirteen is Middlespot. It’s sort of a combination Search Engine and a little bit of a social bookmarking application. After you enter your search term and click “enter,” your search results appear both as images and short text blurbs. Obviously, showing these screenshots benefit English Language Learners, and several other search engines I’ve listed on my website under Search Engines have this feature. The unique tool offered by Middlespot is called a “workpad.” You can drag-and-drop the webpages you want onto your workpad, give it a title and description, and then Middlespot will give your workpad its own url that you can post on a blog or online journal, or email to someone else. They are planning to add the ability to search and save images. They also are planning on adding an embedding option, so you won’t just have to link to the url of your saved screenshots. This is another tool that can be used for developing higher-order thinking skills like categorization.

Number twelve is the site formerly called Fliptrack, and which recently changed their name to Moblyng. It appears to have kept all their attractive features — plus making it even more accessible to English Language Learners (and others). It seems even easier to make a slideshow and it continues to allow you to invite others to collaborate on your creation. Plus, and this is the best addition, you don’t have to register on the site to create slideshows anymore. The only negative with that last change is that, if students are using a public or school computer, they need to click “Clear Your Personal Info” so that others don’t have access to it.

Number eleven is Rock You. It has many of the same features as Moblyng It’s easy, has lots of options, doesn’t require registration, and seems just a little easier to use.

Number ten is Quikmaps. It has recently added the ability to “draw” lines on your map between various markers. You can write in the markers, and also write a general description of your map. Then, you’re given an embed code as well as a unique url address. And you don’t even have to register to use it!There really isn’t a mapmaking site out there that’s easier for anyone, including English Language Learners, to use. The only disadvantage is that it doesn’t appear that you can import images in your marker descriptions.

Number nine is “The Digital Vaults.” It’s an entry into the vast resources of the National Archives, and allows you to use those resources to create your own movies, posters, and what it calls “Pathway Challenges” to… challenge others to find connections between a series of images, documents, and other resources you put together.

Number eight is Tikatok. It’s a new site that is a real find for English Language Learners (and lots of other students). Users can create online books that they write and illustrate (they can also use lots of images available on the site). It has a number of features that really make it stand-out. You can make a book from scratch, or you can use one of their many story frames that contain “prompts” to help the story-writer along. In addition, you can invite others to collaborate online with you to develop the book. Once the book is done you can email the link to a friend, teacher, or yourself for posting on a blog, website, or online journal. You can create the online version for free, but have to pay if you want them to print a hard-copy version.

Number seven is Edublogs.TV, the newest tool from the Edublogs, the best educational blogging tool in the world. Edublogs.TV is a “video-hosting site dedicated to education.” You can upload videos, such as educationally useful ones from YouTube, and then Edublogs.TV does magic to it so that schools can access them when the original site might be blocked.

Number six is My Studiyo. It’s without question, I believe, the best way to create online tests and quizzes. It’s easy to use, you can include multimedia, and others can add questions (that are moderated before they appear).

Number five is 280 Slides. It’s the newest and best addition to my The Best Ways To Create Online Slideshows. I especially like its feature that lets you search for images and videos off the web right inside the slide-show creation process. Except for the wonderful Bookr tool, which is still by far the easiest way to make an online slideshow, all the other slideshow sites that I’ve seen require that you open up a separate window to search for images in order to get their url address first before you “plug” it in. This feature just makes it easier for English Language Learners and everybody else to create their shows. And 280 Slides has far more “bells and whistles” than Bookr.

Number four is Posterous. It’s definitely the newest addition to my list of The Best Sites To Easily Create And Display Online Projects. Basically, users just email what they want posted on their “micro-blog” (it’s similar to Tumblr) and it is automatically posted with the subject line as the title and the body of the email as its content. I was able to copy images off the web and paste them in my email, along with a written description, and it all immediately appeared in my “Posterous.” You can also email attachments and some embeddable applications. There’s not an easier application out there for blogging and keeping an online journal.

Number three is the Search Me search engine. It’s an excellent search engine that shows snapshots of the webpages in addition to text information, which makes it very accessible to English Language Learners. In addition (and this is why it’s so high on my list) you can create “stacks” of categorized sites, images, and videos; embed them in a blog or website; and/or email them to a friend or teacher. You can also write some kind of description, or tag, for each site. Thiskind of application is great fo categorization activities, and teachers can also easily create “stacks” of webpages, videos, or images that they want students to review.

Choosing between the two remaining sites was so difficult it proved to be impossible. So, unlike practically all of my other lists, this one has two number ones. They both offer exceptional online tools for students, and I just could not choose between them.

The first number one site is Flowgram, an amazing screencasting, link-sharing tool. Flowgram lets you show one or multiple pages on the Web, and, when you’re making this screencast, you can move the screen up-and-down to focus on particular areas on the page. You can show videos or images. You can provide an audio commentary, and people can leave comments. This kind of application offers multiple language learning opportunities for all levels of English Language Learners. Plus, they’re incredibly responsive to input and suggestions from users of their service. They’re planning more upgrades soon, and I suspect that when they’re completed this is going to be the most versatile and useful web application out there for education, and will not only be number one for this year, but may well be the number one best web 2.0 application — period.

My pick for the other number one Web 2.0 Application for Education for this year is Book Goo. It’s a new tool that lets you upload documents or webpages and then annotate and share them. Others can also then annotate the same document. You can draw on the documents as well. I have students use the notes to demonstrate reading strategies on webpages. Their staff is also very responsive to user feedback. And it’s always worked whenever my students or I have used it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's still THE DAY Before

It's the day before the kids come to school. The day before energy comes into the school. The day before my New Year really starts. Some believe this day is the day staff comes into the building, but that was yesterday. That day was a restful day for me, almost boring, as I sat for two hours listening to policy and rules again....and again. Two hours of no break, asking myself why, when we as teachers don't promote violence or bullying, we have a picture of a boxing match in the faculty room. Going out for lunch, the last time we'll be able to have a grown up lunch without rushing until our next in-service (since we don't get food anymore for any school sponsored meetings), sitting with my student teacher going over things with her. It's delightful to see how excited she is about meeting the kids for the first time. The tinge of fear in her voice that she'll be able to do this...and she will. She's worked with autistic kids for two years, is wonderfully enthusiastic, and hopefully, more than I am, organized.

It's the day before the sleepless night, the day before I'll have afternoons to run to watch high school tennis matches and get there on time. It's the day before I get to see "my" kids.

But, I am making it THE day that I realize I need to take better care of myself. Making arrangements to do things OUTSIDE of school, whether it be playing tennis once or twice a week, or meeting with friends outside of the the faculty friends I have, making time for family and loved ones (who sometimes forget to make time for me)....this is important. Last night I was able to get to a tennis match and play tennis and do yoga before going to sleep. These are all important, not just to me, but to my students as well for me to be a more rounded, more at peace person with myself.

This is also the day to STAND UP for what I believe will be good in education. To NOT sit for two hours and be lectured, to stand up for sites that should not be blocked in my school so my students can get the practice they need and information they should receive.

This is also the day to to make contacts with those in the administration office who promise to come and work with my students. Those that say, "Invite me into the classroom, I want to be there." Well, okay, come on in.

My universal advice today is:
Even when the earth suddenly shakes, tides unexpectedly surge, and all hope seems lost, in the split second that follows I have a brand new plan, I know what we'll do, and I've got the pedal to the metal.

This is the all make it the best I can make it as it won't be here again tomorrow. That will be another THE DAY

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Day Before

I am constantly amazed at the writing of some of the people I have "met" this year. It is incredible. But what I figured out is that they TAKE THE TIME to write in their blogs. They put it on their calendar and update more than once "whenever they think about it." Good writing takes practice. It's not a hit or miss thing. While it may not be an every day occurrence, days should not go by without some sort of reading and writing the written word. Of course we couldn't go a day without reading...just not possible...but I bet people could go a day without writing...and that would be sad.

Of course I'm off topic. I was originally going to write about the day before school starts. Not the day with students, that IS the actual day, but the day of meetings and getting the room together. I can't believe that anyone doesn't spend days and days getting their room together. Mine is all done, with Nancy, my student teacher's help. I know that tomorrow will be spent in long meetings and new policies and talk, talk, talking. But at least I have a school to go to.

In Louisiana, there is yet ANOTHER hurricane. It's name is Gustuv and it was predicted to be as bad as Katrina, the disaster of three years ago. The weather and news channels are making something out of everything (flying tree branches and chairs at pools being blown around), and it is serious. Serious for the thousands of people who had to leave New Orleans, for the thousands of children who had to be uprooted yet again in their young lives. I can't imagine the mental anguish these people are going through. Levys may break, barges become loose, all of these things can cause so much flooding in this at sea level city. New Orleans' water is also the sight of many oil riggs which means higher oil prices for everyone in the country.

It also affected the Republican National Convention. It was supposed to start today, and it will, but without the fanfare the Democratic Convention had. John McCain will be presidential candidate and Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin the VP candidate. They will be running against Barack Obama and Joe Biden, senator from Delaware. It is a historic race as Obama is the first African American to run for President, and, if the Republicans win, Palin will be the first woman VPresident. It will be an interesting two and a half months.

So, these are things happening the "day before". The reading of blogs, the anticipation of school opening, the hurricane, and the political race. Oh, and it's a gorgeous day here in THAT is important.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On to the Islands

Okay, my bags were packed...well, that and my car..and I was ready to go. It was August...a pretty hot time to go to the Virgin Islands, but still, I needed time to get to know what I was going to do and where I was going to live. My mom, bless her heart, traveled to the island with me while my dad had the red VW shipped from Philadelphia to St.Thomas. We were told to take everything out of the car as it would be stolen, so we did.

My parents were also instrumental in finding a family in PA who owned a condo in St.Thomas and allowed Mom and I to stay there for a week free of charge while i looked for an apartment.

Once we got there, and found Pineapple Beach, we started the process of checking into the school ( a two story school in Charlotte Amalie) The headmistress and priest were very nice and I was given all my books and curriculum. The car arrived unscathed, so we were able to stop using taxis to look for a place to live. I decided I didn't want to live in the mountains...I mean this was St. Thomas...beach..beach...beach. On a trip over to St.John we ran into a group of people who lived at Sapphire Beach. I looked at the studio apartments and it was perfect...furnished and overlooking the beach and tennis courts with pool steps away. Unfortunately, it won't be available until the beginning of September. The people from PA contacted another person at Pineapple and the guy allowed me to house sit for him in a very nice condo until my apartment was available.

Sadly, I sent Mom back to New Jersey. I felt so bad that she didn't get to have a relaxing time with me as she was helping me so much, but hoped that she'd be able to visit later in the year. My parents owned their own business so for both of them to be away at the same time was hardly ever possible. For the rest of the month, I got ready for school, got a great tan and got a job waitressing at the Green House.

In the meantime I met, Sue, who would become my BFF of all times...and is to this day (through marriages, kids, it's that type of friendship where we have to be friends because we know too much about each other)...she was teaching at the public schools and we met lots of other teachers, insurance agents, and had a great time at the beach each afternoon with all of these people. We'd go sailing on the weekends, have dinners at each other's apartments, and just enjoyed life. Teaching was just as much fun. My kids were wonderful, I was put in charge of the tennis team and drama, and I somehow found my way through my first year of teaching with much support from other teachers, parents, and even my students. St.Thomas was a magical place... a place to learn about others, myself, to fall in and out of love, and to realize just how much friends and family means...and the way to the airport every week to pick up friends who just had to visit.

I stayed in St.Thomas for a school year and most of that summer, crewing on a boat, serving drinks and food to people who would charter it. When I came back to NJ, I was lucky enough to be hired by the Medford School district.

But, my traveling/teaching days weren't over yet. Hands Across the Water reached out their long arms and dangled Australia in front of my eyes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Teaching Over the World

I have been so very lucky in my life. I have been able to travel to many places.

First, camp...which during the summer took me from NJ to PA and then to North Carolina where I was a tennis and horseback riding instructor for two years. While there I met so many great people who invited me into their homes in New Orleans, Tennessee, and other places.

After my "camping" summers, I was a nanny to a family who had three children; one of whom was in the movies in England. She was too young to go on the set by herself, and her Dad, a record producer was too busy. Mom (Pat) had an infant, so when Dave came back to NJ from London, he asked if I would like to be a nanny to Wendy and Patti. Not one to pass up that offer, I was whisked to England. Our home was on the outskirts, near Wimbledon (happily for my tennis playing hours), and I went on set with Wendy as she filmed Alice in Wonderland. Since it was summer, Dave had rented a villa in Forte de Marmi, on the Amafali coast, so Patti, Wendy, Dave and I drove the car from England while Patti and Dave Jr. flew to the villa to get it ready.

We drove from Dover (yes, the white cliffs) and then to Paris where we spent the night a the Geroge Cinq, saw the Effile Tower and did lots of sight seeing. The next morning we headed for Switzerland. I drove for the first time and what a mistake. I had been taught to drive on a manual...a stick shift, so when I saw the stick in the middle of the console, I thought, well I should be in gear. Nothing like being in third (never did find fourth) while zooming down the autoban. In fact, I liked the speed so much, I overshot the exit and we ended up not having enough money to pay the toll to get off the road. They had to send a helicopter to exchange the French/English money. This was the real reason Euros were invented...for silly people like me.

A night in the Alps, Swiss chocolate for dinner, playing in the was a wonderful night before we headed for the town of Forte. When we arrived (thankfully with the transmission still intact)...I was in utter amazement. It was huge. Each of us had our own room and bath and even had those little bowls filled with water in each of our rooms. There was a maid...and a butler...and a cook...and me??? I was always treated like one of the family... a friend who just happened to be watching out for the kids. The beach was right across the street, and we were there every day...except on the days I would take Wendy to Pisa (where I actually did drive correctly and around the Leaning Tower), or the day we took the bus to Florence, or the time Dave took all of us to Venice for an overnight. That was incredible. The gondalas, the walking through the streets of the town that had just been cleaned...and he paid...I mean for everything! I'm not sure I knew how lucky I had it while I was there (this little hick from Haddonfield) but boy, did I enjoy the entire experience.

And then it was back to college in Viriginia, where my summers were full of work...well, I taught tennis every summer so it wasn't that bad. During my senior year I was reading the New York Times and saw an ad, "Teach in the United States Virgin Islands" Well, why not? I applied for the job, found out it was for an Episcopalian Church school, contacted my priest (I happen to be that..even if I can't spell it), and had an inteview over the phone. By August, I had packed myself and my red Volkswagon and was ready to tackle another adventure.

I'm a Collector

Image hosted @

I collect from all over...not things but ideas. I collect from teachers, from people on line, from books..I collect.
I learn so much from others that I don't want to lose what pearls of wisdom they might have
Example; Carol told me last night that if I got over 500 points in boxing in the six minute segment of Wii Fit, I'd get a good job....well, that motivated me last night to try it again...and I got it. I even got it again this morning. So now I'm on to the longer version. I'm a big worried about throwing my arm out for tennis, but I'm sure it will be a learn as I go...and then share what I've learned so others can collect.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Quotes for Teachers

I love collecting quotes. Each morning I have my students practice their handwriting by writing a quote a day.
The following quotes are from another web site by TJ...they are worth reading and rereading:
"This is the time of year when school begins. . . and my thoughts turn to some very special people. The teachers who were such an important part of my life. I think of the way their special attention helped open the gates of learning. They gave so much of themselves. . . with patience and tenderness. And not all the knowledge was of the textbook variety. I also learned about life. Those caring teachers helped me blossom as an individual. . . and gave me a sense of self-worth that. . . even today. . . sees me through trying times. I can't imagine a more precious gift that one individual can give to another."
— Unknown

"[Kids] don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."
— Jim Henson (It's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider)

“A college degree and a teaching certificate define a person as a teacher, but it takes hard work and dedication to be one.” Paul McClure

“A teacher’s constant task is to take a roomful of live wires and see to it that they’re grounded.” E.C. Mckenzie

“A college degree and a teaching certificate define a person as a teacher, but it takes hard work and dedication to be one.” Paul McClure

“A teacher’s constant task is to take a roomful of live wires and see to it that they’re grounded.” E.C. Mckenzie

"I was at a meeting recently when a colleague told a story of being in India, where an educator there asked her, somewhat skeptically, "In America, you test your students a lot, don't you?" She replied, "Well, indeed, the United States has a national policy that requires testing of all students in certain grades." The Indian educator said, "Here, when we want the elephant to grow, we feed the elephant. We don't weigh the elephant."

Monday, August 18, 2008

This is from another teacher's blog:
35 Things I Love About the Beginning of School

I love summer. I especially love sleeping late, piddling on my computer, spending time with my family, and having time to think, play, and learn things I’ve put off all year. Today, it occurred to me that I also love starting school. Here are a few things that I relish every year about this time …

1. School floors that shine like glass.----we have carpet
2. The smell of crayons.
3. Sharing family reunion style hugs with staff after break.
4. The smell of new textbooks.
5. Meeting new staff members.
6. Hokey ice breakers at opening staff meeting.--- I don't like this
7. New desk calendar.---still have months left over from last year
8. Watching the neckties surface for Open House.
9. Helping a new student read his schedule.
10. Showing off new library books.
11. PTSA breakfast spread.
12. My tidy, beginning of the year, desk.---if I could FIND my desk
13. Seeing the horizon as a bright palette for new opportunities.
14. Helping a novice teacher set up her first classroom.---if I ever get mine done
15. Watching kids get excited about middle school.---or third grade
16. Showing a sixth grader how to work a combination lock.---NA
17. Putting new pictures on my desk
18. Eating lunch out with coworkers on teacher workdays.---there's time for this?
19. Setting up new book displays and bulletin boards.---yuck
20. A full jar of chocolate.---well, of course
21. New, fancy-shmancy school supplies they “didn’t have when I was little.”
22. The squeek of new shoes in the hallway.---the sound of flip flops
23. Watching kids riveted by their new teachers.---because they are almost their age
24. Checking out the new features of this year’s backpacks.
25. Noticing how tall the 7th and 8th graders look after two short months.
26. The return of tater tots.
27. Having an excuse to wear my “teacher jewelry.”
28. Chocolate milk!
29. The blinking lights of school buses at dawn.
30. Engaging training that’s filled with great ideas.
31. Watching peers get excited about changes and new opportunities.
32. Finding the perfect ink pen and flashdrive.
33. Orderly, “beginning of the year,” hall behavior.
34. A fresh start.
35. Hmm…. I’ll leave this one blank. Feel free to add your favorite in the comments as my #35.

Sitton Spelling Units


Saturday, August 16, 2008


The people on plurk are so great. I have learned so much from them. It's addicting, though. It's like being part of a conversation and you don't want to leave it.

Last night I got the entire month of math planned out. Don't know how well I'll be able to keep to the plan, but it does include whole class and group instruction. Now I have to finesse it and have my centers really planned out. Right now I have two independent and two teacher led. Once I get some parent volunteers I'll be able to add more computer based things.

Lori is going to send me Sitton worksheets. That would be such a help. I'm still going to start on my own and then hope hers get to me. So tonight is math/reading. Spelling is pretty easy and language done. Just need to add a subject a day so I don't go too fast with these kids. Also need lots of "I'm Done" worksheets as I have a feeling some are going to be really fast.

Weather warming up. I don't have any money left to do anything so no air fixing for me.

Julie's mom (on teacher connection) died and I am in charge of sending flowers. Hope people send me their checks.

Off to get dressed and go to the bank. At least I can put the check in today and hope for Monday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday and Learning More

Okay, here's a tip I didn't know:
type a line of text
highlight it
shift and F3 to toggle between capital and not
Do I want to take another course at Wilkes? It's an easy three credits (I think) and the cost is pretty good. I need to look into this a bit.
excellent explanation of voice thread

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm Going to Do It

Okay, with Meg Griffin's help (I hope) I'm going to try a blog with my kids. It will be in class as a center. We'll see how it goes.

Did Wii Fit for 35 minutes this morning, concentrating on aerobics and balance. Now time for lunch. Not doing much as I am saving $ for a week in Ocean City. I'm so excited that Dottie asked me to come and I'm staying for a few days. Next week I'll work on my classroom after a workshop with Beth Asbury.

Finished my first day of school list, now on to day two. Wish I could have the entire year set out. I'll work on math tonight.

I got a e-mail from Tom who MIGHT consider letting me have my wiki back. At least it's a maybe.

Got all the postcards written; now have to mail them. One student put in my class, one out. Guess I wasn't "motherly" enough for him.

off to work on math for the week.

Eating popcorn...not good...the popcorn is good, but I should be having something with protein.

things to do this week

From Teacher Magazine:

You can start communication with parents before the first day of school. Teachers can call home to welcome students and talk to the parents before school starts. I like to send postcards to new students introducing myself. Other teachers hold special class events such as class picnics in the park or an ice cream social before the first day. An opening letter from you on the first day of school is a wonderful way to introduce yourself to the families you will work with. Along with the letter, I also send home a family survey. The data gathered provides insight and invaluable information about my students and families right from the start. Here are some things I include in my family survey:

• What languages are spoken at home?
• Is there someone to help your child with homework?
• Emergency phone numbers, emails, updated address
• Food allergies/Health issues/Diet
• Celebrations and Cultural Awareness
• Child’s Strengths
• Special Needs
• Interests and Talents (parents love this)
• Areas of Concerns, if any
• Expectations for the year
• Questions

From a fourth grade teacher on blog:
Welcome to Room 408!
Hello and Welcome to the 2008-2009 School Year! I hope you are as excited about the new year as I am.

Our classroom blog is a place for you to share your thoughts about anything we are doing in our classroom. People will be able to comment on what you write, and you can comment on what other students write.

NEW STUDENTS AND PARENTS--please leave a note to say hi! You can do this by clicking where it says "comment." Don't worry when your comment doesn't show up right away--I have to approve everything before it appears online. (This is for internet safety!)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Well,once again, influenced by others, I bought something..the Wii and Wii Fit. I have no idea what I am going to do with it, although I know it's something I've wanted. I actually stood in LINE for 45 minutes to buy it. I'm hoping it will help in my fitness program. Now I don't know whether to put it in my bedroom or downstairs so others can use it.
Impulsive buy? Yes, but wanted to get it set up while I had time and while it was in stock.'s raining today and will give me something to work on.
So I put it together...I think I did it correctly, and have bowled and played tennis. Now I want to put the Fit together, but I know when I get on the balance board and it weighs me...yuck..but I probably definitely need this.

Tennis tomorrow night, lunch on Wednesday...beach one day. I could get used to this life.

Okay, time to bit the fit board.
************ I did it. I figured the whole thing out and exercised on it. I did the tennis, boxing, bowing, and then set up the fit part. Did the dance mat part and the running (jogging in place). I am so out of shape. I hope to keep to this for a bit so it pays for itself after a few months.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Getting Started

I've started hanging around a bad crowd. Bad meaning they are keeping me on the computer to find all sorts of different things about my profession. So not really, bad, but very inspiring. I was finding that I was plurking all my good ideas and then losing them, so I decided to take my own advice to my student teacher and start a blog for the school year. This way I'll be able to orgnize many of the things I need to keep in my brain..before it explodes.

The first thing I want to share is
In The Vast, Unstatable Importance of a Positive Attitude, Leo Babuata, head writer of Zen Habits, writes about having a positive attitude. He states,

“It changes how you interact with people, and that in itself is huge. If people perceive you as a negative person, they tend to get tired of dealing with you after awhile. But if you’re a positive person, you come off in a more positive light, and you’re a joy to talk to and work with and be with.”

1. “Squash negative thoughts.” Too many times I have heard teachers say on Sunday night that they hate the thought of Monday arriving or groan when Monday arrived. I have always tried to see Mondays as looking forward to seeing my students and hear how their weekend went. I also tried to see the new week as a way to make a fresh start and be a better teacher this week then I was last week by learning from my mistakes or trying new techniques.

2. “Mantras.” My husband is my true hero in all of this. For the past 30 years, he would wake up and say “I feel great! It is so great to be alive!” You would never know that he was not feeling well or grumpy. He felt that by saying that, he even felt better and it changed the way he saw the day. As a teacher, as soon as I arrived in my classroom, I would say, “I’m so glad to be here and I’m going to make a difference today!”

3. “See the good in any situation.” Remember that old saying, “when you are given lemons, make lemonade?” Try to find something good when things get rough in your classroom. If there is a student who misbehaves, think of it as an opportunity to try a new behavior modification technique or think of a way to redirect the behavior.

4. “Enjoy small pleasures.” Look for the little things that give you pleasure. I remember noticing that a student who normally doesn’t do well on work, was trying harder today. Or maybe I had a few moments of free time and needed to just sit down and relax without feeling guilty about it.

5. “See the good in yourself.” Sometimes I would think I was not a good enough teacher or not effective. That was the time I tried to focus on what I was good at doing and how it affected my students. This helped me see my weaknesses in a better light so they were manageable instead of overwhelming.

6. “See the good in others.” I heard or read somewhere that there was something good about every person. We all know that there is that one student that you just can’t stand to teach. I would try to find something I liked about that student and when I did that, it changed the way I interacted with that student. I’m not saying we had a mutual like for each other, but we were able to get along better so that I could be effective in teaching this student.

7. “Positive imaging.” I hate to be observed and evaluated! I don’t care how much experience or how good I was, I just felt scared to death. One way I got through this was to picture a positive image of myself teaching. I would be teaching with confidence, and know my material. When I would hold that image in my mind, it made it much easier when I was observed and evaluated.

8. “Anticipate fun.” Have fun teaching! If you enjoy your job, you will do much better. I loved teaching and all the unexpected things that will happen comes with it. Every day was different and was never boring. If I was having fun, I know the students were usually enjoying the lesson too. I tried to teach as if I was the student so if I was bored with the lesson, so were the students. I also tried to tell the students at the beginning, “This is going to be a fun lesson today!” That usually put them in a receptive frame of mind and the lesson went well.

I feel that having a positive attitude was important as a role model for students. Sometimes they are surrounded with people who do not have this kind of attitude so showing and teaching this can really make a difference in a student’s life. With a positive attitude, success is sure to happen!