Saturday, November 14, 2009

Google Flu Shot Finder

This new service is called the Google Flu Shot finder, and also uses Google Maps, and although it can give you information of flu vaccine clinics, it cannot yet say for sure whether or not the vaccines are still available at the clinics listed. Basically, Google does not know if a clinic runs out of the vaccines or not. It also does not have all vaccination locations listed yet, and is still compiling all the data for this. The new service is still in its beginning stages, but kudos to Google for already launching it, even though the information available is not yet complete. Surely, having whatever information is already there will help millions of people who are looking for the swine flu vaccine in their area.

From Google Tutor

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Google Safe Search

Just found this on my Google Tutor
When you're searching on Google, we think you should have the choice to keep adult content out of your search results. That's why we developed SafeSearch, a feature that lets you filter sexually explicit web sites and images from your search results. While no filter is 100% accurate, SafeSearch helps you avoid content you may prefer not to see or would rather your children did not stumble across. We think it works pretty well, but we're always looking for ways to improve the feature.

Today we're launching a feature that lets you lock your SafeSearch setting to the Strict level of filtering. When you lock SafeSearch, two things will change. First, you'll need to enter your password to change the setting. Second, the Google search results page will be visibly different to indicate that SafeSearch is locked:

Even from across the room, the colored balls give parents and teachers a clear visual cue that SafeSearch is still locked. And if you don't see them, it's quick and easy to verify and re-lock SafeSearch.

To use SafeSearch lock, go to the "Search Settings" page on Google.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brainy Flix

Just as they did earlier this year, Brainyflix is holding a student vocabulary contest. In the prior contest students were asked to create videos in which they demonstrated the meaning of SAT vocabulary words. In the current contest which runs from now through December 7, students are asked to create BrainyPics flashcards containing images that demonstrate the meaning of vocabulary words. Students can create their BrainyPics flashcards using the simple BrainyPics flashcard builder.

The contest will award iTunes credit each week and a grand prize of $200 to the winner on December 7. Each week five BrainyPics will be chosen for the finals. Students can enter as many times as they like. You can read the full contest rules here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New GCT's

Application now open for GTA DC, December 9th, 2009.
Apply by midnight on November 9th, 2009.

The Google Teacher Academy is a FREE professional development
experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from
innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event
where participants get hands-on experience with Google's free products
and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional
strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse
themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion,
Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what
they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Virtual Conference Coming to you LIVE Oct. 24th

DEN Tech or Treat!!

Join thousands of educators online and in-person as the Discovery Education Network team goes house to house to explore the many digital treats available to educators today. During this unique professional development event you have the flexibility to attend online or in-person at one of many regional events hosted by the DEN Leadership Councils.

The day will feature special presentations from Justin Karkow and Steve Dembo along with a host of other great sessions in person that are guaranteed to satisfy your digital sweet tooth.

Register Here

The Memphis area folks will be meeting from 8 am to 3 pm, October 14th at:

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School
2100 N. Germantown Parkway
Cordova,TN 38016

Free Breakfast, Free Lunch, and Sweet Treats will be included!!!

Register Now!

Discover a convient way to watch a webinar

I have become involved in the TN Leadership of the Discovery Education Network. Discovery has some great webinars. If you cannot attend you get an email with a link to an archieve of the webinar. So I recommend that you go on and sign up if one sounds interesting to you, because a link to it will come to your inbox.

Check out the list of current Discovery Education webinars:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Free Wifi

Thanks to Internet Tip of the Week by Barbara Feldman. Sign up for your own tips HERE.

Free Wi-Fi hotspots can usually be found at public libraries, Barnes & Noble and McDonald’s. But there is no reason to limit yourself to these well-known spots. In her “Definitive Guide to Finding Free Wi-Fi” Gina Trapini lists free tools for Windows, Mac and smartphones for finding public hotspots wherever you may roam.

Did you know you can compose on Blogger and then set when you want the post to appear. This post was set for 9/9/09 at 9:09 AM

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

24 "Techy" Tips for Not so "Techy" Teacher

This is a great Google Presentation started by Mark Clarkson.
I hope you enjoy it!
Today is my birthday 9-9-09. I sent it at 9:09 am. I am now "29" Ha!
Sit back and enjoy! I think you will learn at least one new thing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Back to School

Here in West TN we have been in school for about 3 weeks. I know in some areas, school will start after Labor Day. Enjoy your weekend! (no matter what your situation is.)

This summer at iSummit, I got to visit in person with Lucy Gray, who I had followed for a quite a while. She is very active as a ADE and GCT. She blogs and has one list called Friday 5. This was a particularly meaty post that will be helpful for the beginning of school. Enjoy her blog and sign up for her Friday Five!

From: Lucy Gray

As a follow up to Lucie's Infinite Thinking Machine great post),
here's a quick list of links to support your back to school efforts.

1. US Census Press Releases

Check these amazing statistics!

2. U.S Fund for UNICEF - UNICEF USA - A back-to-school-tip

The purchase of a desk lamp at IKEA can help children around the

3. Scholastic's Back-to-School Planning Guide | Teaching Ideas to Start the Year

Lots of resources for all aspects of back-to-school time.

4. | Back-to-School Activities

Very creative ideas for incorporating math into classroom activities.
Make sure you check out the pictures of various morning math routines.

5. NEA - Top 20 Back-to-School Activities

Another great list of resources from the National Education

6. NASA - Blast Back to School

NASA has a rich variety of projects, games and videos for classroom

7. Reading Rockets Back to School

Particularly good resources for parents.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Full Length Movies

Thanks to Internet Tip of the Week by Barbara Feldman. Sign up for your own tips HERE.

Speedcine is an index of about 13,000 full-length movies you can legally watch online. Some of the sites it links to offer free movies, such as Hulu and Fancast , while others charge, such as Amazon’s Video on Demand. While still in beta, Speedcine warns that not all movies are listed in the alphabetic index on the front page; some can only be found by title search.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Teaching the Consititution this Month?

I pushed around some other posts to get this website information to you right away to help you prepare for teaching the Constitution.

This came from This is a great electronic resource to subscribe to.

Our Courts' teaches civics lessons via online games

A free computer game for teenagers created with the help of

former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has made its online debut. "Supreme Decision," the first of several planned web-based games, went online in August as part of a project called Our Courts. In it, students can play a Supreme Court law clerk helping a justice with a tie-breaking vote over a First Amendment case. Backed by the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State

University and Georgetown University, the Our Courts project is designed to teach middle school students about the Constitution and the courts. O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, has said more people can name an "American Idol" judge than the three branches of government. Besides teaching about civics, she hopes the Our Courts project will help students learn how to analyze problems and develop arguments. In "Supreme Decision," students play a law clerk and must help fictional Justice Irene Waters write the majority opinion on whether a school can ban students from wearing music band T-shirts. Another game, called "Do I Have a Right," will be released soon. In that game, students will play the director of a constitutional law firm who must decide which amendment resolves a problem posed by a client.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

K-12 Energy Lessons and Activities

Thanks to my PLN for this website

On this site you'll find links to more than 350 lesson plans and activities on energy efficiency and renewable energy for grades K-12. Each includes a short summary that identifies curriculum integration, time, materials, and national standards. For more education resources, please see the EERE Energy Education Web site.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

PC users: Get Paint!

About a year ago, I stumbled on, a totally FREE digital photo editing program that does the same thing as Photoshop, but without the pricetag. I have found many exciting and practical uses for it. I think that PC users will be thrilled to find this... Mac users are happy with their tools for now. So Windows users start falling in love with too. So if you're ready to do something fun with your photos, try it Have fun!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beloit College Mindset List

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Emeritus Public Affairs Director Ron Nief. It is used around the world as the school year begins, as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation. It is widely reprinted and the Mindset List website at receives more than 300,000 hits annually.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Attention, multitaskers

Attention, multitaskers (if you can pay attention, that is): Your brain may be in trouble.

People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time, a group of Stanford researchers has found.

Oh, My a few of us are in trouble

More here

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Thanks for Dr. Clif Mims for posting this on his blog. This was just what I needed as I prepare to meet our students. How about showing this to your class?!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to Handle Facebook Privacy Settings for Your Kids

Post worth reposting from my PLN

The explosive growth of the social media site Facebook now boasts a user demographic so diverse that at least one family member in nearly every internet-savvy household is on it.

The popularity and reach of Facebook represents an anomaly among today’s technology landscape: Households with children, parents and grandparents all using the same online service. This generational ubiquity provides several intriguing story lines, but perhaps the most relevant is the “teachable moment” that allows us to provide our kids with valuable life lessons on protecting their personal privacy in a digital world.

Facebook is now a kind of “social hub” for teens. As the social network has increased its offerings and integrated more with third-party applications and software, it now functions as their main portal to all online communications including e-mails, news and chatting with friends. The convenience and functionality is the main pull for teens and, let’s face it, for adults, too. With such a strong reliance upon a relatively new technology, how can we ensure that our kids know how to stay safe as they integrate more and more of their lives onto Facebook?

The first step is to make sure you and your teen are making full use of the privacy controls that Facebook provides. Read more here

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swine Flu in Shelby County, TN

I heard today that there are more cases of Swine Flu in Memphis, and many cases at the University of TN-Knoxville (in fact, for sorority recruitment chapters asked for additional help last weekend). So how do I keep my own students healthy?
Here is a video that I ran across that would explain Swine Flu to elementary students.
For an add free version, just have it run full screen.

Swine Flu - Made Simple - The funniest home videos are here

Monday, August 24, 2009

New online games aim to make science fun

To help stem the tide of apathy toward science and make it more engaging and relevant for students, Tabula Digita , developer of the DimensionM series of educational video games for math, has releasing a new immersive online game series for science. Called "The League of Scientists," the series is being offered for free to students in grades three through five. It allows students to compete against each other in a series of multi-player games, constructed around a standards-based science curriculum. The League of Scientists currently includes four interactive games: Lab Rat Race, Beaker Blast, Butterfly Boss, and Circuit Center, with additional games planned. Provided by the International Society for Technology in Education, the science content can be chosen based on a teacher¹s desire to introduce or practice life science, earth and space science, or physical science concepts. "We are catching students right at the point when in engagement in science fades," said Ntiedo Etuk, chief executive officer and co-founder of Tabula Digita. "By providing a fun, out-of-school method for students to build and review their knowledge, we hope to keep science fun and engaging for students."

I am not sure how this would work for school use. I suggest that teachers try it for themselves. Registration asked for a student email address and a parent email address. Great educational games involving science concepts. The student will not know they are learning physics or genetics!

I learned about this on in their Website of the Day section. Eschool news is a free site to get the latest in educational news.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mark Your Calendar/Sign Up

Don't Miss an Exciting New Virtual Conference & Expo for K-12 Educators and Tech Staff

Dear Readers,

FETC and T.H.E. Journal invite you and your team members to participate in the all-new FETC Fall '09 Virtual Conference & Expo, live on October 22nd. This extraordinary online educational event delivers valuable presentations and unlimited networking opportunities straight to your desktop — FREE of CHARGE!

Register now to attend this 100% FREE online event to enjoy:

  • A dynamic exchange of best practices and tips for success
  • Expert speakers sharing their views in an effective, interactive way
  • A virtual networking lounge to reconnect with colleagues and make new contacts
  • Real-time access to other participants through instant messaging
  • Technology product and service demonstrations in our virtual exhibit hall
  • Free content downloads and presentations to go
  • And much more!

Attend as many sessions as you like, visit the virtual exhibit hall at any time and network when it's convenient for you. There are no travel expenses. No lines. No substitutes to schedule. No funding approval needed.

This is a FREE event to qualified participants. Invite your colleagues and staff to participate —at NO CHARGE! Your promo code is AX9V01.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Webinar: Teaching Search in the Classroom

Date: August 19, 2009
Time: 5:00PM – 6:00PM PST (That’s 8:00PM Eastern)
Panelists: Googler Dan Russell (Google Search Quality Expert); Google
Certified Teachers Lucy Gray, Kathleen Ferenz, and Cheryl Davis
Register online here or copy and paste the following url in your browser:

Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students - and we’ve
heard from educators that they could use some help to teach better
search skills in their classroom. Working with Google Certified
Teachers, we produced an initial set of nine search education lessons.
>From developing criteria to click on the right results to succeeding
with the most challenging searches, the lessons they created will help
students, and you, get the most of Google search in the classroom. We
encourage you to check out the lessons online at:

Drawing on their vast experience with search education, Dan Russell,
along with Google Certified Teachers Kathleen Ferenz, Cheryl Davis and
Lucy Gray will discuss how to teach search in the classroom. Having
developed Google’s Search Education Lessons, they will discuss how
you can customize the contents to the needs of your class and how
guide your in-class discussions. The webinar will take place on
Wednesday, August 19 at 5PM. Don’t forget to register online here and
invite fellow educators to join us!

We hope to see you soon!
The Google Search Education Team

Monday, August 17, 2009

Practice Texting while Driving

You HAVE to try this site and Pass it on to others. I was very distracted while driving and texting..... YIKES!

Richard Byrne had this post at his excellent blog:
The New York Times has an excellent interactive game that every teen driver or aspiring driver should play at least once. Gauging Your Distraction requires players to try to read and reply to three text messages while negotiating lanes of traffic. The game ends when all three messages have been sent. I gave the game a try and found it to be quite challenging.

Applications for Education
Gauging Your Distraction is an excellent activity to incorporate into a driver training program.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fuel Our Future Now!

Fuel Our Future Now website is a join venture of Discovery Education and the US Department of Energy. The resources available are divided among the High Schoolers, Middle Schoolers and Elementary students. There are also tabs for Educators and Parents. The purpose is to provide resouces and activities about promoting activities, tips, resources and discussion points about green technology, energy conservation, fuel efficiency, alternative energy sources and more. The future is riding on the young minds of today.

Keep the momentum going with additional tools and information to enhance your students' STEM education.

Find links to government and academic sites, complementary classroom materials and helpful background essentials.

Topics include:

  • fuel efficiency
  • energy conservation
  • fossil fuels
  • car emissions
  • greenhouse effect
  • global warming
  • biofuels
  • hybrid/electric cars
  • ...and more!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cyberbullying Prevention lessons

NSBA's Technology Leadership Network is pleased to partner with CyberSmart! to distribute the free CyberSmart! cyberbullying prevention lessons to K-12 schools nationwide. This set of lessons adopts an integrated approach, examining all current research findings and using best practices from the fields of cyber security, school violence prevention, and character education to impact behavioral change. Together, these materials offer schools the opportunity to begin a dialogue with students and build a sustained cyberbullying prevention campaign to continually remind the school community about safe, ethical online use. Standards-based teacher lesson plans, student activity sheets, home connections, prevention activities, and optional Web 2.0 strategies are included.

Click here to download this completely free set of lessons...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

H.I.P. Pocket Change

Coins are so Cool!
You can have fun and learn from them at the same time.
At the U. S. Government site, teachers and students will find some resources that will pay for themselves.

H.I.P. Pocket Change is all about fun and information, especially coin information. It all started in 1997, when President Clinton asked federal agencies to find resources that could "enrich the Internet as a tool for teaching and learning."

In response, agencies joined forces to form the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) Working Group. The FREE group has pooled hundreds of educational treasures and posted them on the U.S. Department of Education's Web site.

At the teacher/parent site, you fill find links to the 50 states coin progect which would be great as students are studying the US by regions. Webquests, Westward Journey Nickel Series Lesson Plans, the Presidential $1 Coins Resource Center AND financial literacy resources. A GREAT Site. My mind is just amovin'!


Saturday, August 1, 2009


Free software download for both Macs and PC’s. The software contains two parts, the first is an atlas with interactive maps and details for each country including the capital, flag, land and water borders, length of the coasts, the population, official languages, internet and country code, currency, international organization membership, and more. The second part of the software is a game offering more than 100,000 geography questions about worldwide geography. The game lets players give an answer or choose to answer with clues or multiple choice. After answering a question, students can view their score and look at detailed data for the territory.

How to integrate GeoEdu into the classroom: I’m not sure why school supply stores still sell the pull down atlas, with all of the amazing atlas and map tools available for free, buying a map seems so last century! GeoEdu is a bright and colorful interactive atlas with great details for each country. This free software is perfect for use with an interactive whiteboard or projector. The game included is a great way to increase student geography knowledge. Play the game as a class during geography or any time you have a few extra minutes. Keep a running score going throughout the year that can be added to easily. GeoEdu is also a great download for classroom and library computers. Use GeoEdu as a geography/atlas center where students can stop by and interact with maps and play the game.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Up toTen


If you’d like to be able to suggest online games and activities that will help young and special-needs children improve their coordination, logic, or computer skills, then look no further than UpToTen’s search page. It will help you quickly search through more than 1,000 entertaining and focused free online activities to locate the perfect game to match a child’s interests, age, and developmental needs. You can search three ways: by keyword, by game category, and by educational category. Because this is such a huge site, there are a lot of choices for each topic—for instance, there are 20 different activities to help kids learn how to click and drag with a mouse—so kids can practice without getting bored by playing the same game over and over again. Bookmark this site—it will save you tons of time when helping kids who just want to have a bit of online fun.

This article originally appeared in SLJ's Extra Helping.
Gail Junion-Metz -- School Library Journal, 1/14/2009 6:56:00 AM

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Online Stopwatch

This is a very useful, but short post today. Choose from several different types of countdowns. The timer may count UP or DOWN.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

25 ways to teach with Twitter

25 ways to teach with Twitter by Sonja Cole
Here are 25 ways that teachers can use Twitter to ask for help, get lesson plan ideas, book and professional resource recommendations, connect with other professionals, and even host an online book club.

Great resource! Thanks,
Lisa, for the Tweet!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Taming the Paper Tiger

Onsharp is committed to education, the environment, and the community. One expression of that commitment is our free lesson plan for educators: “Taming the Paper Tiger: a Unit on Paper and the Environment.” This multi-level, integrated cross-curricular lesson plan is a free download, and may be reproduced freely for classroom use. A reproducible folktale, coloring page, and lesson plans are included. Free Download

Paper accounts for 40% of the waste stream. Reducing, reusing, and recycling paper can therefore make an enormous difference to our environment. This unit helps students understand this important issue, while also working on math, literacy, and science skills.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Make Your Macintosh Read Aloud to You

Your Macintosh can read aloud to you. Mac OSX Leopard has a text-to-speech function that will, with a keystroke combination you set, read any text you’ve highlighted in a text-based file. It can read e-mail messages, webpage text, PDFs, calendar entries, spreadsheets, word processor documents, and more.

To set your Macintosh so that it reads text, go to your System Preferences and choose Speech. In the Speech dialog, you can try various reading voices - Alex, Bruce, Victoria, and about 18 others. You can select the speed they read to you. Most importantly, you can choose a key combination to initiate speech. Click the Set Key... button. Then choose the key combination you wish. I would personally avoid common ones like Command-S - which is the save command in most programs. Here I’ve chosen Control-S as my key combination.

Now, whenever I want to have the computer read to me, I first select (highlight) the text I want, press the key combination, and the Macintosh begins to read the text to me. Be sure your volume is turned up so you can hear it. If I want the speech to stop, I just press the same key combination again. It acts as an on-off switch.

Tired of reading the student’s homework? You can have it read to you instead.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Facebook Manners

My Favorite Walden U professor, Kevin Jarrett, posted this as a facebook post back in mid-June. I saved it for today! Enjoy!

Do you have good Facebook manners? Timmy and Alice don't. Watch their bad behavior to learn the dos and don'ts of Facebook breakups.

Responsible Relationships and You
is a production of

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Google Tasks
If you have not discovered Google Tasks, you should visit the Gmail
Lab (under Settings) to turn on TASKS.

When you read an email that includes a new item for your to do list, or important information needed to complete that tasks, just click on the Label button to assign this email to a task. Your tasks list will now contain items that are linked to any email related to that tasks.

The most satisfying part is being able to check off the tasks as you complete them. Learn more about how to use the Tasks feature in Gmail or on
your mobile device in Google's Help Section.

Tasks adds a to-do list to Gmail. After adding the lab, click the Tasks link above the chat box on the left-hand-side of the page. Your task list will appear on the right – click anywhere in the list and start typing to add a task.

You can also create a task from an email: from the More Actions menu, choose Add to Tasks when viewing an email, or press shift+T if you have keyboard shortcuts enabled. For more shortcuts, explore the Actions menu at the bottom of your task list.

Monday, July 20, 2009

15 Second Search Tip Videos

This post came from a post on Clif's Notes.
This is a professional blog by Dr. Clif Mims, professor at University of Memphis.
Thanks, Dr. Mims!

These very short videos will help you more effectively use Google’s search engine. Click play to watch the entire playlist or use the arrows to navigate to particular clips that interest you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Decimal and Fraction Interactive Games

Albert Bradley Bennett, Jr. a mathematics professor at the University of New Hampshire has written some great mathematics game software to assist students in practicing their decimals and fractions. This promotes his conceptual approach to learning mathematical principles.
Fraction Bars Online Games Set 1, 2002.
Fraction Bars Online Games Set 2, 2009.
Decimal Squares Online Games
, 2002.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hands on Banking

Kids, Teens, Young Adults, Adults, Take Charge of Your Future!

The Hands on Banking® program will help you take charge of your own finances and reach your goals? Just pick your age group and get started! Whether you want to build your credit, your investments, or your own small business; invest in the market, a home, or higher education; shop for a loan, buy a car, or open your first bank accounts, the Hands on Banking program offers all the basic money tools, skills, and information you need.

Two years ago, Wells Fargo, a strong advocate for financial education in America’s classrooms and communities, began working with teachers, parents and students to enhance its curriculum specially designed for young adults. The topics—including responsible use of credit, managing student loans, avoiding fraud and identity theft, finding a job, renting an apartment, buying
a car, saving, investing, wealth building, and more—give young people real-world knowledge and skills for financial independence.

With teenagers’ twin passions for computer games and social interaction in mind, Hands on Banking’s developers packed each lesson with fun, interactive exercises led by
young adult coaches who appear on video. Young adults can zero in on the information they need, practice skills, and test their judgment in true-to-life situations.

This is a great educational resource for Elementary through adults. I downloaded the Teacher's guide for the Kid Version. It is for 4th and 5th graders. This would be a great integration in the math classroom or social studies. OR a summer program!

See Resource page:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sparkle Box

Sparkle Box is a great site to explore if you are looking for downloadable resources to support visual learners in both mainstream and special education settings.

Teachers can download teaching materials for mathematics, reading, basic science lessons, geography basics, and lots of free posters for their classrooms. Teachers will also find on Sparkle Box certificate/ award templates, attendance registers, and many other forms commonly used in elementary schools. The Sparkle Box sharing zone provides a place for teachers to post resources they've created and access resources created by other teachers.

Thanks to my PLN for this blog post!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Send Your Name to Mars

NASA invites you to submit your name to be included on a microchip that will be sent to Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, scheduled to launch in 2011. Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or still is, an environment able to support microbial life.

The "Send Your Name to Mars" Web page enables anyone to take part in the mission by sending his or her name to the Red Planet. Participants can print a certificate of participation and view a map showing where other contributors are from.

Whether you are interested in science and space or not, the site has an amazing amount of information about it in laymen’s language for adults and kids.

To submit names, visit

To learn more about the Mars Science Laboratory mission, visit

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Go One-to-One

Apple has relaunched its One to One retail training program. Still costing $99 in annual fees, membership in the program can now only be had at the time of a Mac purchase, which in turn must be made through Apple's phone, retail or online ordering services. One to One was formerly available to anyone willing to pay.
Previously, teachers got a discount. (It is worth asking!)

Several services form a part of the program, beginning with Personal Setup, in which staff transfer files from an old computer over to a new one, and configure any peripherals and software bought at the same time. Personal Training sessions guide individuals through various products, whereas Personal Projects and One to One Workshops occur in a group setting. Only one Training or Project session can be booked at time, up to 14 days in advance; a place in a Workshop can be reserved simultaneously, though.

Existing memberships can only be renewed once, up to 30 days following the expiry date. New memberships can be renewed twice, allowing as much as three years of assistance. A video tour and a list of sessions has been made available on Apple's website.

Monday, July 13, 2009

This is another post which came from Learning Signs Our Family Learning Blog by Wes Fryer and his kids. This post was written by his son. Wes presented about it at NECC in Washington. Please direct questions about this site to Wesley Fryer. This one is from the daughter. Note the response below the post. I like how he takes the time to read the post and pose a new task tha will motivate more content and thought. is a new site that I like to play on. I like it because you can dress up dolls,give dolls makeovers,do there nails,and fix there hair. But before you play the game you have to watch adds. (my dad doesn’t like that part,but you can skip the add after 32 seconds.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Lego Universe is a MMOG for Lego fans. MMOG means Massively Multiplayer Online Game. This post came from Learning Signs Our Family Learning Blog by Wes Fryer and his kids. This post was written by his son. Wes presented about it at NECC in Washington. Please direct questions about this site to Wesley Fryer.

LEGOuniverse in a new game that LEGO is coming out with. This game will have ninjas, pirates, dragons, robots and much much more. All the people are going to be lego figures but they be able to bend there legs and arms and even dance, go here and put in the word dance in the box where it says VIP Access Point download and enjoy! Go here to see what they say a bout the game. You can also get e-mail up-dates if you really like it. Have fun learning about it!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

National Geographic Kids Games

School’s just about out and kids are looking forward to a summer full of fun. Get them excited with these challenging and intriguing games from National Geographic. First, check out “Top Games,” which kids have rated the highest. My personal favorite is “Zipper’s Pipe Panic 2”—a total hoot!

“Interactive Adventures” features games about faraway places—don’t miss the “Tomb of the Unknown Mummy.” And make sure you check out the “Geography Games,” including my fave, “GeoSpy.” Finally, by way of a detour, click on the yellow “Activities” tab at the top of each Web page for tons of things kids can do and make (while not on their computer) during summer vacation.

This article originally appeared in SLJ's Extra Helping

Friday, July 10, 2009

Selene: A Lunar Science Game

from the Selene website...
Would young people learn science better if it were packaged in a videogame?

That's the question at the heart of the Selene project. Originally funded by NASA and now carried on through a four-year grant from the National Science Foundation, Selene studies videogame learning and the ways researchers can assess how effectively that learning takes place.

The Center for Educational Technologies® at Wheeling Jesuit University created the Selene online game to see how organizations like NASA could best use videogames to introduce important science concepts.

Named after the Greek lunar goddess, Selene challenges players to learn the major geologic processes scientists believe formed the modern Moon. Players create their own moon and then pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava. It's a great opportunity for students to learn about lunar geology while helping researchers study some key videogame design principles. In addition, playing Selene offers a way to take part in the International Year of Astronomy 2009, a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture, highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei.

The Center for Educational Technologies produced Selene to conduct its research. If you're a student between the ages of 13-18, we'd love to have you play. The game takes about an hour to complete, but you can spend more time after checking out Selene's various resources about the Moon. To play, though, you have to be enrolled by an adult recruiter to ensure parent/guardian consent for your participation.

If you're an adult who'd like to help out, click on the Recruiter button at left and help us find players to take part in the study. Being a recruiter is simple and doesn't involve a lot of paperwork. The whole process involves getting oral consent from a parent or guardian, then forwarding Selene registration access to your recruited players. It's that simple.

Join us in this exciting venture and be a part of cutting-edge research sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tweeting with Parents

Would twittering with parents be a useful way for teachers to
communicate with at least a segment of their "parent population"?
Sixth grade teacher Bill Ferriter thinks so. In this post at the TLN
Teacher Voices blog, Ferriter reflects on the pros and cons of
Twitter use - and several teacher-readers add their thoughts and
experiences. Consensus: It's not a sole solution but in situations
where many families have easy access to Twitter, the
"short-messaging" service could provide a quick, easy way to keep
parents abreast of things without getting buried in email. BONUS
RESOURCE: 25 Ways to Teach with Twitter:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


While not everyone agrees with Harry Wong's approach to the first years of teaching, his book The First Days of School has sold over 3.3 million copies, serving as an anchor in many a first-year
teacher's storm. Harry and Rosemary Wong also write a monthly column at the TeachersNet Gazette website titled "Effective Teaching," where many of their ideas for the novice educator can be found. The Gazette's June 2009 issue includes an annotated index of columns since 2000. The very first column from June '00 suggests that a First Day of School script can help establish the structure for a successful year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Was Wondering...

Thanks to Cindy for posting this site on Facebook about a great Science site for girls. "Awesome elementary science site. It was mentioned in the Commercial Appeal today. It was created in an effort to encourage more girls to become interested in science." She said it was mentioned in an article in our local newspaper. (Which I haven't even had time to get off the driveway because I am cleaning house! As our family says when you have church folks over you have to clean"like the Queen herself is coming)

Here is the article Cindy mentioned:
Cathryn Stout's Column Ask a female scientist

In an effort to get more girls interested in science, the National Academy of Sciences enhanced its kid-friendly Web site

The animated site with bold neon colors now features "Ask It," a moderated forum where kids can pose questions to scientists, engineers and other youngsters. Kids must register to participate in the Q&A, but registration is free and the site also includes free educational games on robotics, space exploration and animals.

The site is filled with random facts. On my recent visit to the site, I learned that a cockroach can live for a week without its head. The online science hub contains wacky and useful information sure to fascinate any inquisitive mind, but it is geared towards girls who want "a curious look at women's adventures in science."

To further this cause, the National Academy of Sciences created the "Women's Adventures in Science" book series. The biographies cost $8.96 and are available online.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Google Search Lessons

from my Google PLN
Go to:

Google Web Search - Classroom Lessons and Resources

Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students - and we've heard from educators that they could use some help to teach better search skills in their classroom.

The following Search Education lessons were developed by Google Certified Teachers to help you do just that. The lessons are short, modular and not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match to what best fits the needs of your classroom. Additionally, all lessons come with a companion set of slides (and some with additional resources) to help you guide your in-class discussions.

~~~~~~ A little back story from Lucy Gray:
Cheryl, Kathleen Ferenz, and I worked with Googlers Sergio Civetta and Dan Russell to
develop a search curriculum for classrooms. It was published just as NECC started: It's based on Dan's work (he is a search expert and conducts research into the user experience) and we envisioned something practical and modular. The hope is that teachers will pick and choose lessons as needed to help their students become more effective searchers. If you caught Dan's booth presentations at NECC, you would understand that there is a mindset that's needed in order to arrive at good search
results. Kathleen, Cheryl and I really feel that this is something that needs to be taught and cultivated with our students on a regular basis throughout their academic careers. Each of the nine lessons has an overview and slides; in some cases, there are handouts as well.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Plagiarism Checker

from my PLN thanks to Kristine
A Free version of The Plagiarism Checker can be found at

You paste in your student's paper, and it tells you if it was plagiarized!
It is that easy!

Instructions: Cut & paste your student's paper or homework assignment into the box below, and click the "check" button. This free plagiarism detector will find plagiarized text in homework and other essays/reports.

This version is Free

You may choose a more powerful version for $8/month via Paypal

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Publish to Twitter

Publish full articles without needing a blog or site. There's no setup or login. Just write your text and Write4net will publish it using your Twitter account. That's it. So easy. And free!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Let's Play Ball: Web resources related to baseball

Learning sites that relate to our national pastime

By Gail Junion-Metz -- School Library Journal, 5/1/2009

Baseball—As American as Apple Pie

The Library of Congress hosts primary resource materials on all aspects of our national culture, including America's pastime. On this topical site, you'll find everything from photos and old posters to baseball cards and the personal papers of Dodger great Jackie Robinson. Lesson plans and an annotated baseball bibliography are included, too. Created by: The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Don't miss: The seven-page teacher guide “Baseball Across a Divided Society.”T

Become a Google Educator

Google Teacher Academy applications are due by midnight today:

See previous post @

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Smokey Kids

This article originally appeared in SLJ's Extra Helping.

...No matter what time of year it is, it’s important to teach kids how wildfires and forest fires get started and what they can do to help prevent them. The website is well done.

“In the Forest” teaches kids how valuable trees are, and “Campfire Games” contains five super online games and over 40 print-and-color pictures. Kids can also, with a parent's permission, receive monthly emails from Smokey. Be sure to point out the links at the bottom of each Web page. “Only You” will take older kids and teens to a ton of information about wildfires, including a wildfire map that is updated daily and a real-time estimate of the number of acres burned this year (1.2 million acres so far). Finally, the “Resources” link contains wonderful teacher/librarian resources.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This article originally appeared in SLJ's Extra Helping.

Math isn’t just a bunch of numbers or boring problems kids have to do as homework. Math, in fact, isn’t just a school thing—it's everywhere, and it can actually be a whole bunch of fun! Don’t believe me? Just spend time exploring the Cyberchase Web site and you, along with kids in grades 3–7, will be amazed at how exciting and entertaining math can be. This nifty site is chock-full of activities, online games, and downloadables.

The best place to start exploring is the “Games” section. Check out both “Logic Zoo” and “Pattern Quest”—they’re two of my favorites, and will give you a feel for the rest of the games. Next, check out the “Quests” and try your hand at the various interactive challenges they present. In the “Club” section, kids can make their own online art and download awesome screensavers and wallpaper. In “Adventures,” kids can read stories and help the characters figure out how to do something. Finally, in the “Parents & Teachers” section, grown-ups will find lesson plans and activity themes, including “My Cyberchase Summer,” which is just the thing to challenge kids when they’re bored and want something “cool” to do on a hot summer day.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The World At Night (TWAN)

From Dr. Jess:
(one of my instructors who taught me in Summer School...when I was renewing my certificate.....back in the day..... I made an A)
TWAN is a great web site for observing the night sky. TWAN has postetwan.jpgd a number of unusually beautiful images of the night sky. Many of the pictures utilize a long exposure image. The shutter of the camera is manually opened over a relatively long period of time to expose the medium. They describe it as….
The World At Night (TWAN) is a program to produce and present a collection of stunning photographs and time-lapse videos of the world’s landmarks against the celestial attractions.” They have tutorials on how to recreate some of the stunning visual effects that sky photography allows. One of the unusual aspects of this site is that all of the photographs require a backdrop that is of a historical site. These sites can be man made or of natural origin. (Such as a rock outcrop like Devil’s Tower) I can look at these sites and imagine myself in those places. A very quick travel trip.

This would be great for a summer camp-out in the back yard, too!

Thanks, Dr. Jess!
~~Your former student,

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Websites I found interesting (weekly)

  • tags: urlshrinkers, tinyurl

  • offers users three categories of templates for making brochures and flyers. Each category contains ten templates. The templates are somewhat customizable as you can use your own images, but the layout stays the same. When you're done creating your brochure simply save it as a pdf and print it.

    Applications for Education
    My Brochure Maker could be a good little tool for creating parent newsletters. If you're leading a workshop, My Brochure Maker could be good for creating a good-looking handout for participants.

    tags: brochure, writing

  • tags: youtube, editing

  • tags: kjarrett, voice_thread, ning

  • Great for name recognition and putting letters of name in order. Would be good for tablet PC or Smartboard.

    tags: earlylearners

  • tags: earlylearners

  • tags: lessonplans, technology

  • ree software download for both Macs and PC’s. The software contains two parts, the first is an atlas with interactive maps and details for each country including the capital, flag, land and water borders, length of the coasts, the population, official languages, internet and country code, currency, international organization membership, and more. The second part of the software is a game offering more than 100,000 geography questions about worldwide geography. The game lets players give an answer or choose to answer with clues or multiple choice. After answering a question, students can view their score and look at detailed data for the territory.

    How to integrate GeoEdu into the classroom: I’m not sure why school supply stores still sell the pull down atlas, with all of the amazing atlas and map tools available for free, buying a map seems so last century! GeoEdu is a bright and colorful interactive atlas with great details for each country. This free software is perfect for use with an interactive whiteboard or projector. The game included is a great way to increase student geography knowledge. Play the game as a class during geography or any time you have a few extra minutes. Keep a running score going throughout the year that can be added to easily. GeoEdu is also a great download for classroom and library computers. Use GeoEdu as a geography/atlas center where students can stop by and interact with maps and play the game.

    tags: geography, game, map, fun, freeware

  • tags: resources, interactive, directory, tools

  • Over the past few years, I have been collecting interesting Internet videos that would be appropriate for lessons and presentations, or personal research, related to technological and media literacy. Here are 70+ videos organized into various sub-categories. These videos are of varying quality, cross several genres, and are of varied suitability for classroom use.

    tags: vidoe, internetsafety, 21stcenturylearning

  • Lesson List (60 minutes each)

    * Definitions of Copyright: What Do They Know?
    * A Brief History of Copyright and Innovation
    * Fair Use: Remix Culture, Mashups, and Copyright
    * Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File Sharing
    * Fair Use – You Be the Judge!

    tags: copyright

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Art Education part 2

Claudia Cortes created a flash-based tutorial called Color in Motion, an animated and interactive experience of color communication and color symbolism.

The website starts with a livetly animated movie, and you have to choose one of three doors: tbe stars, the movie, the lab. Here you can learn about each of the primary and secondary colors. Did you know that some of yellow's positive traits are active, bright, cautious, clear, and communicative? That some of its negative traits are coward, dangerous, envious, hazardous. For Hindue, yellow stands for truth.

You will enjoy this as much as your students.In the lab you get to direct a movie based on a color!
Time will get away before you know it when you are engaged in creativity!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Art Education

If you cannot travel to Chicago this summer take a virtual fieldtrip to the Art Institute of Chicago’s Art Explorer. There you can browse artwork or the artists, such as Degas, Cezanne, Gaugin, Manet, Matisse, Munch, and more. Most the works are from the Impressionist and Postimpressionist movements.

If you sign up, you also have the ability to create scrapbooks of artwork in the collection. This application allows you to save, rearrange, and annotate images and resources you have found on Art Explorer. To create a scrapbook, use “Search by keyword,” “Advanced Search” or “Search by Artist” to select some Artworks and/or Resources.
With your selection of artworks and/or resources, you can: • Prepare for a classroom lesson • Create notes for a school field trip to the Art Institute • Assign students to create a virtual exhibition of Impressionist or Postimpressionist artworks, with notes on individual artworks

The site also features a good search tool that will help you find particular works in
their collection. Collections include African, American, Ancient, Architecture and Design, Arms, Armor, Medieval, Renaissance, Asian, Contemporary, European Decorative Arts, Indian Arts of the Americas, Modern, Photography, Prints and Drawings, Textiles, and more.
Enjoy your visit!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Attend NECC-Virtually!

NECC is just hours away from going full speed ahead. Many of you are in planes, trains, and automobiles on your way to DC. But many more of you weren’t able to attend this year.

I know everyone can’t be fortunate enough to get to attend ISTE’s NECC conference in Washington, DC but guess what? You can attend VIRTUALLY. More than ever this year, NECC will be all over the Net! Use the information below to participate. Check out the Nings and Blogs, watch some of the sessions through streaming videos, or one of the best new ways is to follow the action on Twitter!

People attending the sessions have been asked to use the hashtags shown below and @Isteconnects is the official Tweeter of the organization.

So come on, join in on the fun and learn something new next week! It’s the 30th anniversary of NECC so you know they will do it up right!
For those of you staying home, you can still get a good taste of what’s going on in a variety of ways:

Nings and blogs:

Archived and streaming videos: <[ ]>


Follow Shelby County's own John Simi @jsimi

Stay tuned to all these sources even after the conference and keep the conversations going. These are great resources for people who ARE attending NECC as well.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Energy Conservation part 2

Another Energy Conservation site, EnergyStar Kids, is an interactive site for elementary age kids that helps them look for and identify ways to conserve energy.

Also you’ll find a link to energy efficiency and conservation lesson plans divided into grade levels. This site can be a jump start to a series of very practical science lessons that are relevant and interesting to students now.

Note: the Parent/Teacher's tab is at the very bottom.