Shortcut for Going Straight to a Website

Many lately have been asking for a way for students to quickly get to Reading Eggs, Education City, etc., or an easier way to get to PowerTeacher. Here is a great way to do that!

1) Place your cursor on the site’s icon, such as the egg above for Reading Eggs.
2) Holding down on your left button, drag the icon to the desired location, such as the desktop.
3) Release the button (let up) and the icon (such as the egg above) will now be on your desktop.
4) The next time you wish to go to directly to the site, double click on that icon.

Do You Need Some Friends? Do You Feel All Alone?

Teaching, by the nature of our jobs, require emotional support. Moreover, support needs to come from somebody who can EMPATHIZE and not just sympathize. You know what I’m talking about: somebody who has been in the trenches and ‘has your back.’ As you are alone in your classroom, it’s important to have somebody to bounce ideas off of, share your instructional needs, or even more importantly–share your phenomenal ideas and expertise with others.

I would highly suggest that you develop your own Personal Learning Network (AKA PLN). A PLN is a group of colleagues that you gather with over a virtual cup of coffee and discuss your common profession with. Richard Byrne, of Free Technology for Teachers, has a wealth of ideas for you to refer to on how to begin your own. I have my own PLN who I refer to for TRT/ITRT needs and consider them very valuable. Do you need assistance in getting one started? If so, let me know!

New Resources Portaportal for Your Use

Have you been in need of a list of resources to use in your classroom, or have had a parent request websites that students can practice skills at home? I have made a PortaPortal for just that use. Categories are broken down into subjects and SOL numbers and are arranged for quick browsing. If you see a broken link or know of a great resource to upload, just let me know! The address is

YouTube Open for Teachers: Now What?

Now that YouTube has been opened for teachers, please take a moment to look at their education channel to see the benefits of using videos in your classroom. Have an experiment you want to show? Want to show the effects of a tornado on a train? More than just showing videos, take some time to check the site for Ten Ways to Use YouTube in the Classroom, see suggestions, and much more.

With classroom management suggestions, it’s recommended that you open your own account where you can place the videos you wish to show there. Interested in more suggestions and ideas? Don’t hesitate to ask!

TheTeacher: Is S/he a Conductor?

My musical tastes are eclectic; walk in to my house, scan my CD collection, and you’ll see quite a range of genre. Instead of being interested in only one category, I like many varieties. For example, it just doesn’t feel right to play classical music on a hot Virginia day–but on a cold day, it seems to fit the mood/season of the day. Kenny G in the winter? Never (except at Christmas). If all I had to listen to was Kenny G, I’d grow weary of even hearing the first note of the saxaphone.

I’ve always been a fan of Baroque and Classical era music, and I often have enjoyed watching a symphony play, for example, a great Vivaldi number. The violins are in sync, the harpsichord is chirping away, and the conductor looks at home leading his Charge. The conductor sets the tempo, pace, and “feel/interpretation” of the music. He is, in fact, a facilitator, and coaches the symphony to come together to produce a beautiful sound.

After reading RSS feeds and reading a post on Langwitches, take a break from the hecticness of the week and take time to listen to the presentation from TED in 2009. Are you a conductor?

Imagine Being at the Top and No Standardized Testing

Finland-Kirkkojarvi-School-631In this month’s Smithsonian Magazine, to which I subscribe, an article caught my attention that is a “keeper.” Imagine my eyes popping out when I read the following about Finland having the highest scores in reading on a world-wide standardized test (15 year olds) : “…they had done this without standardized testing…” and “These schools are joyful places. The teachers come in jeans and sandals.” I sat up and took notice verryyy quickly. The author, Lynnell Hancock, spent time studying how a country, who doesn’t emphasize standardized testing (“We prepare children to learn how to learn, not how to take a test”) and discovers many secrets on how they got to the point of being top in the world. Read and discover how they got to this at “A+ for Finland” at

Even though we cannot change our system here, I see things that the teachers are doing that we can implement immediately, such as project based learning and other sundry learning styles that we can begin very easily! Remember that OITMS has multiple kits for teacher check-out, such as Flip Cam kits, Digital Cameras, Digital Voice Recorders, and sundry other items that will make learning in your classroom come ALIVE and still meet the rigors of standardized testing.

This month’s issue also has an article that “contradicts the notion that Americans’ use of [social-networking] increases isolation.” at

If you teach Virginia History, an interesting article, Road Music, discusses the music and region of southern/Western Virginia. You can also listen to the music of the region and see a short video (shows geography!) here.

Do you have an SOL on inventions, or the like? Reversal of Fortune discusses Samuel Morse and his famous invention, but did you also know that he was a painter? See his most famous painting here.

Back to School Resources

appleWelcome back to a new school year! This year I will be in two buildings (John Tyler and Churchland Elementary) and will be the sole TRT for both. As you prepare for the new year, I’ve compiled some resources and goodies for you to look at during your last week at home:

Are you a new teacher?
How do you lessen the new year fears by making the best of technology? Go

Tired of the Same Ol’ Stuff?
Do you want to do something different this year with technology?
11 Techy Things to Try this year

How to do 11 Techny things in the new year

Promethean Boards:
Back to school flipcharts:
See the section that includes resources, hints, and ideas: Go

Lesson planning ideas:
HotChalk (advertisements heads-up!)

WHAT CAN I DO ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL? This wiki has resources in the left hand column

I have not set up my schedule yet, but will be sending out an introductory email during the first week of school to let you know what days I will be in each building. Please let me know how I can help or assist, and the best way to contact me is via email. Here’s to a new year!

Blogosphere Finds: Technology Integration Links, Ideas, and Professional Reading

Sort Google images by subject (new)

Technology for K-2/Early Childhood
Teach K-2 and want a great idea for your room? Write up about Voicethread

Facebook-like project for Biographies and the like

Video Making: Green Screen
Learn about green screen usage and see an example of a weather video project:
Another link from Langwitches

Professional Reading/Thinking
Will Richardson’s And What Do YOU Mean by Learning?

Interesting Post SOL project Idea:
Digital Story telling Ideas and other digital projects: Go

21st Century Skills: A Wiki Warehouse of Links

Men: see disclaimer below!Presentation1

Need a clearinghouse, so to speak, of scores of links for 21st Century learning? The author of iTechSpec writes, “This wiki has been designed as a ”one-stop shop” to visit, share, update, and continue adding resources to assist all those interested in all forms of education in being better prepared for the 21st Century and beyond! Resources are constantly being added and updated to also help educators, students and parents meet the requirements for the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) tests, the National Technology Standards (NETS) and 21st Century skills, teaching and learning.”

You’ll spend plenty of quality time here finding treasures everywhere! WARNING FOR GUYS: Barbie is on the front, complete with pink thrown everywhere……..

Topics include:
21st Century Skills A-Z
Web 2.0 Resources
All Things Google
Copyright Info
Digital Storytelling
Grants Info
ICT Literacy
Internet Safety
iPad iPhone iPod
K-12 Resources
Laptops, Netbooks, Tablets
Math Resources
Online Learning Professional Development
Project-Based Learning
Security Info
SOL Review Sites
STEM Tech Plan Info
Web 2.0 and beyond
Wikis of Interest
Writing Resources

How Would You Change Education?

CaptureIf you are a teacher, you know the pressure of accountability and the scrutiny that we are receiving in the press and media. In short, the mantra seems to be, “Get those test scores up.” Ever wonder what students think? What if they had a chance to sit all those down who are responsible for schooling and say, “This is what I would do” or “this is how I would run the place!”

Steve Hargadon , creator of Classroom 2.0, has done just that with a new site Elevd:

We encourage students to submit videos that…
• Offer new ideas for what education could be, and/or
• Inspire others to transform education, and/or
• Propose specific actions you or others can take to improve education in your community

This is not only an example of students using technology to submit their ideas, but there are some nuggets of wisdom contained in these. If you have any students that wish to submit a video that they create, or have an idea for one, let me know!