Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Education Podcast Network

Check out this short clip of my podcast from David Warlick's first look at my iPod with it iTalk attached. I asked him if I could interview him right after his keynote address and this is what he had to say about podcasting.

The Education Podcast Network is an effort to bring together into one place, the wide range of podcast programming that may be helpful to teachers looking for content to teach with and about, and to explore issues of teaching and learning in the 21st century.
Most of the producers of these programs are educators, who have found an avenue through which they can share their knowledge, insights, and passions for teaching and learning and for the stories that they relish and teach. The directory will grow as more people come forward with their stories and ideas, and we hope that you will start to share your ideas with the larger education community by producing your own program.

I remember walking up to David Warlick at NCET conference in Greensboro, Dec. 2, 2004, where I introduced David to podcasting. I approached him with my Griffin iTalk and shiny new iPod and shoving the device in his face I asked: "do you mind if I record a podcast about your keynote address?" He looked at it and said "what is that"? I still have the .WAV file stored on my PowerBook and converted it to MP3 some time ago. I searched my hard drive and could not find it. I need to reinstall LAMELib on my Macintosh so Audacity can export the .WAV file to MP3 so I can post his initial comments about podcasting and how it fits into the whole picture of digital literacy.

The Education Podcast Network

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Self Reflection about Moodling

Warning: This post is a self-reflection of this past semester. I am thinking out loud about our experimentation this past semester with Moodle. One use of moodily I discovered out of necessity was in managing individual instruction. If you find errors in my spelling and or grammar, please over look them. I just typed it as it flowed though my memory. I will go back and look at this post something this summer and edit it, or just delete it. The last six weeks of the school year, we always receive high school students that had been taking difficult courses. For example, in my third period class, I had one student taking Spanish II, one taking Earth Science, one taking Algebra, and one taking Geometry. By law, alternative schools must offer classes that the students were taking at their regular school. So, individualized instruction is a fact or life for the teachers at North hatefully Academy. Of course, I am neither certified nor highly qualified to teach all these singletons as they are referred to sometimes. The moodily website enables me to setup a course and post links, lessons, web pages, share text files, images, video from UnitedStreaming, and things that I not learned how to do still. Even though it is no practical, I would love to access actual teacher lesson plans of the regular schoolÂ’s teacher, an audio of the instructional conversation (the lectures), handouts as files and quizzes. This would constitute a correspondence or distance-learning course. That way, the student could continue working on assignment from their former teachers (in most cases, their classroom teachers had not issue with the student and the reason for them being kicked out of their school was something that happened in the bathroom, parking lot, bus, or somewhere in between). So the teach they had in their regular school actually are concerned about their academic success. We do not have enough technology knowledge for teacher to keep all their pacing guides, lesson plans and such online. Teachers also lack time to post all this information.

Instead, the student is given worksheets and a textbook and must rely on their own reading skills. I had no ancillary materials for these different classes. So, most of the assignment have to come from searching the world-wide-wait. When we are assigned students that are LD in reading, they really have difficult time learning. I can only provide one-on-one instruction to one student at a time when they all have different courses.

I have been working with a neighboring school system to develop a Moodle server. They also have an alternative school. I have a vision of possibly setting up online courses such as these for at-risk students and alternative school students. Not really a virtual high school, but more of a classic individualized class or templates of course activities that can be quickly customized for short term students. I have not really settled on what the Moodle should look like. I have been using a program called by EasyTech and really like the way it works. It has Flash based lessons and activities that can be printed out ( for reinforcement and self-assessment).

I found this great presentation about Moodle online. It is basically an audio of a guy reading a PowerPoint presentation. I like this because if you need to listen to a particular section, you can click on that part in the menu and go right to that topic. The menu is located on the left hand side of the window. It also has an integrated media player control bar feature. I like this for using a digital projector so I can easily pause and ask or answer questions. Intro to a Moodle Course

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Lab Archive

The Lab Archive Who is the archive for?
Science educators of all sorts: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, etc! Experiments from any field can be posted. The quality of the offerings in each field depends on YOU!
Educators at any level. We'd like to provide experiments for high-school through advanced undergraduate science courses. Again, if the offerings at your level seem sparse, please help us correct this!
What will it cost me?
Use of the archive is free!

Thanks Mike Jones from Pisgah High School in Canton, NC for forwarding this resource to us. Keep up the good work Mike!

Wikispaces � blendedlearning � home

Wikispaces � blendedlearning � home : "Blended Learning in the Knowledge Era
Welcome to the blendedlearning learning space! This space is here to help educators get started with some of the free-and-easy tools of the web - tools that may revolutionise the way we teach and learn."

Check it out today...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Wordpress Blog Sample Site

Wordpress Blog Sample Site Noticed that this site has a link to my Word Press blog and had to give Steve a shout out. Great site. Check out the resources.

USB-powered lava lamp - Engadget -

USB-powered lava lamp - Engadget - "We're pretty sure that the sheer geekiness of plugging this into a USB port kills whatever swinging bachelor pad/hippie love nest vibe you might be trying to create, but Lava World International is going to release a tiny
USB-powered lava lamp to commemorate the 40th anniversary of everybody's fave/least fave Sixties artifact."

I had to post this. Just right for destressing after all the high stakes state required testing.

Monday, May 23, 2005

School is Out, Find time to READ!

Originally uploaded by The Blake Slate.
It is time for teachers and students to work off some stress. Go for a walk, a swim, a bike ride, or play with your pets. This a picture of one of our family pets. He is chilling at the lake-- in the shade. When the summer temperature hits the 90s and it is too hot to play outdoors, head for the cool AC of the public library and check out a book.

READ something. "The more you read, the better you read."

Adams, Richard                        Watership down          
An allegorical tale of survival in which a band of wild rabbits leave their
ancestral home hoping to build a more humane society.

Alvarez, Julia                            Before we
were free
     Twelve-year-old Anita becomes more aware of the boys
around her and of the mounting danger to her family in the Dominican
Republic in 1960.

Anderson, M.T.                        Feed                           
For Titus and his teenaged friends, having transmitters implanted in their
heads is as normal as going to the moon or Mars on vacation. Everyone's
"feed" tells them everything they need to know-- there's no need to read or

Anthony, Piers                        
On a pale horse            Zane shoots Death only to discover he must
take Death’s place.

Austen, Jane                            Pride
and prejudice
       Vivacious Elizabeth Bennett is repelled and
attracted by the arrogant Mr. Darcy in this story of their spirited

Bass, L.G.                                Sign of
the Qin:  outlaws  of Moonshadow Marsh
                     In long-ago
China, Prince Zong, the mortal young Starlord chosen to save humankind from
destruction, joins the twin outlaws, White Streak and Black Whirlwind, to
fight the Lord of the Dead and his demon hordes. “A Chinese Lord of the

Blackwood, Gary                     The year of the
           In 1777, having been kidnapped and taken forcibly from
England to the American colonies, fifteen-year-old Creighton becomes part of
developments in the political unrest there that may spell defeat for the
patriots and change the course of history.

Brinton, Elizabeth S.                 My American
Eden:  Mary Dyer, martyr for freedom
     The gripping story of a
remarkable woman of faith who dared to challenge the dark side of an
emerging America.

Bronte, Charlotte                      Jane Eyre                    
Hired to teach his daughter Adele, Jane falls in love with Mr. Rochester in
haunted Thornfield Hall.

Bunch, Chris                             Corsair                        
Gareth Radnor is only a boy when Linyati slavers attack his village, killing
or capturing everyone there. Murder, mayhem, and magic all combine in this
rousing tale of pirates and strange beings that view humans as commodities.

Butler, Octavia                         
Kindred                        A black woman living in Southern
California suddenly finds herself cast back in time to the pre-Civil War
South, to rescue a hostile white child who turns out to be her

Michael                     Blood Gold.                 After an
arduous journey, Will Dwinelle and his friend Ben finally reach California
in 1849 intending to bring home the man who betrayed the honor of a girl
back home in Philadelphia, but find themselves tempted by the riches of the
Gold Rush.

Chotjewitz, David                     Daniel,
half-human and the good Nazi (Daniel Halber Mensch)
1933, best friends Daniel and Armin admire Hitler, but as anti-Semitism
buoys Hitler to power, Daniel learns he is half Jewish, threatening the
friendship even as life in their beloved Hamburg, Germany, is becoming
nightmarish. Also details Daniel and Armin’s reunion in 1945 in interspersed

Caroline                     Goddess of yesterday               Taken
from her home on an Aegean island as a six-year-old girl, Anaxandra calls on
the protection of her goddess while she poses as two different princesses
over the next six years, before ending up as a servant in the company of
Helen and Paris as they make their way to Troy.

Crichhton, Michael                   The Andromeda
              A team of scientists struggle to define and contain
a deadly bacteria brought back from outer space by a satellite.

Kevin           The seeing stone (and sequels)  In late
twelfth-century England, a thirteen-year-old boy named Arthur recounts how
Merlin gives him a magical seeing stone
which shows him images of the legendary King Arthur, the events of whose
life seem to have many parallels to his own.

Crowe, Chris                            Mississippi
            In Mississippi in 1955, a sixteen-year-old finds
himself at odds with his grandfather over issues surrounding the kidnapping
and murder of a fourteen-year-old African American from Chicago.

Whale talk                    Intellectually and athletically gifted,
TJ, a multiracial, adopted teenager, shuns organized sports and the gung-ho
athletes at his high school until he agrees to form a swimming team and
recruits some of the school's less popular students.

Curtis, Christopher
Paul            Bucking the sarge        
Deeply involved in his cold and
manipulative mother's shady business dealings in Flint, Michigan,
fourteen-year-old Luther keeps a sense of humor while running the Happy
Neighbor Group Home For Men, all the while dreaming of going to college and
becoming a philosopher.

Dickens, Charles                      Oliver Twist                 
The story of an orphan who is caught up in the life of the streets of London
with a man named Fagin who runs a young gang of thieves.

Nancy                         The sea of trolls            After Jack
becomes apprenticed to a Druid bard, he and his little sister Lucy are
captured by Viking Berserkers and taken to the home of King Ivar the
Boneless and his half-troll queen, leading Jack to undertake a vital quest
to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.

Gavin, Jamila                            Coram boy                  
Eighteenth-century England and a home for foundling and unwanted children
serve as the backdrop for this Dickensian tale of romance, faithful friends,
dastardly deeds, murder, and mystery.

Hayes, Daniel                           The trouble
with lemons
            Tyler and Lymie, eighth grade misfits, discover a
dead body in a quarry and work to uncover the mystery behind it.

Hemingway, Ernest                   The old man and
the sea
           The tragic yet triumphant battle between an old Cuban
fisherman and a giant marlin.

Sid                                   The king of Slippery Falls         
While on a single-minded quest to catch an elusive giant trout,
sixteen-year-old Lewis Hinton’s life in a small Idaho town is turned
upside-down when he learns that he is adopted and might be a descendant of
French royalty.

Will                              The maze                      Rick,
a 14-year-old foster child, escapes from a juvenile detention facility near
Las Vegas and travels to Canyonlands National Park in Utah, where he meets a
bird biologist working on a project to reintroduce condors to the wild.

Michael                        Time stops for no mouse (and others in
the series)         When Linka Perflinger, a jaunty mouse, brings a watch
into his shop to be repaired and then disappears, Hermux Tantamoq is caught
up in a world of dangerous search for eternal youth as he tries to find out
what happened to her.

Hoover, H.M.                         
The dawn palace : the story of Medea   Having been trained in
supernatural knowledge, 13-year-old Medea finds herself in a unique position
to help when the Greek hero Jason comes to her father’s kingdom in search of
the Golden Fleece.

Louise                           The Adventures of Blue Avenger          
            On his 16th birthday, still trying to cope with the
unexpected death of his father, David decides -- or does he -- to change his
name to Blue Avenger, hoping to find a way to make a difference in his
Oakland neighborhood and in the world.

Eva                           The star of Kazan         “One
foundling girl, two kindly servants, three eccentric professors, a glamorous
stranger, and a mysterious legacy yield a story as frothy and fragrant as a
pastry from Vienna—where this story just happens to be set.”

Robin                             The dark portal         
While on a rescue mission, a few daring mice journey below to the sewers to
an evil world populated by rats that peel mice before eating them and
worship the Dark Lord.

Robert                         The eye of the world                
As ancient forces of evil converge on three frightened boys -- Rand, Matrim,
and Perrin -- whom can they trust? A witch and her warrior companion? A
storyteller with a past he won’t discuss? A man who hunts with wolves?

Kerr, M.E.                              
Deliver us from Evie                  Sixteen-year-old Parr Burrman
and his family face some difficult times when word spreads through their
rural Missouri town that his older sister is a lesbian.

Kidd, Sue
Monk                      The secret life of bees               In
the summer of 1964, 14-year-old Lily breaks her African American caretaker
out of jail, and the pair finds a home with the Calendar sisters, who keep
bees in a small South Carolina town.

Laurie                             The beekeeper’s apprentice     
Sherlock Holmes meets an intellectual equal, 15-year-old Mary Russell, who
challenges him to investigate yet another case.

David                             California Blue:  a novel           
When seventeen-year-old John Rodgers discovers a new sub-species of
butterfly which may necessitate closing the mill where his dying father
works, they find themselves on opposite sides of the environmental conflict.

LeGuin, Ursula                         
Earthsea cycle              An apprentice wizard tries his powers
before he is ready, and has to fight the evil he releases. Book I : A
wizard of Earthsea

David                            Wizards of the game                
Eighth grader Mercer, whose passion is the fantasy role-laying game Wizards
of the Warrior World, hopes to use a fund raiser to bring a gaming
convention to his middle school, but instead he attracts four genuine
wizards who are trapped on Earth and want his help in returning to their own

Kyoko                            Shizuko’s daughter       After her
mother’s suicide when she is twelve years old, Yuki spends years living with
her distant father and his resentful new wife, cut off from her mother’s
family, and relying on her own inner strength to cope with the tragedy

Napoli, Donna
Jo                     Bound              In a novel based on Chinese
Cinderella tales, fourteen-year-old stepchild Xing Xing endures a life of
neglect and servitude, as her stepmother cruelly mutilates her own child’s
feet so that she alone might marry well.

Nicholson, William
                   The wind singer            After Kestrel Hath
rebels against the stifling rules of Amaranth society and is forced to flee,
she, along with her twin brother and a tagalong classmate, follow an ancient
map in quest of the legendary silver voice of the wind singer, in an attempt
to heal Amaranth and its people

Garth                                Shade’s children           In a
savage postnuclear world, four young fugitives attempt to overthrow the
blood-thirsty rule of the Overlords with the help of Shade, their mysterious

Ortiz Cofer,
Judith                    The meaning of Consuelo          Coming of
age in the 1950s, when American influence threatens to dilute Puerto Rico’s
traditional Spanish customs, as well as to harm its fragile ecology,
Consuelo watches her family being torn asunder—much like the island itself.

Gary                           Soldier’s heart              Eager to
enlist, 15-year-old Charley has a change of heart after experiencing the
horrors and mental anguish of Civil War combat.

Richard                           The last safe place on earth      
Fifteen-year-old Todd sees his perfect suburban world start to unravel when
his little sister has her mind influenced by a member of a fundamentalist
sect and he begins to notice signs of censorship in his community.

Pope, Elizabeth
Marie               The perilous gard          In 1558 while
imprisoned in a remote castle, a young girl becomes involved in a series of
events that leads to an underground labyrinth peopled by the last
practitioners of druidic magic.

Terry                        The colour of magic                 
Twoflower, an insurance salesman, sells insurance to an arsonist, is rescued
by the Wizard Rincewind and tours Discworld.

Celia                               Witch child                   In
1659, fourteen-year-old Mary Newbury keeps a journal of her voyage from
England to the New World and her experiences living as a witch in a
community of Puritans near Salem, Massachusetts.

Betty                              A tree grows in Brooklyn         
Story of Francie Nolan growing up in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn from
1902 to 1919.

Jerry                            Stargirl                         In
this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and
the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica
High School forever.

Tingle, Rebecca                        The edge on
the sword
In ninth-century Britain, fifteen-year-old Aethelflaed,
daughter of King Alfred of West Saxony, finds she must assume new
responsibilities much sooner than expected when she is betrothed to Ethelred
of Mercia in order to strengthen a strategic alliance against the Danes.

Stephanie                       Surviving the Applewhites        
Jake, a budding juvenile delinquent, is sent for home schooling to the arty
and eccentric Applewhite family's Creative Academy, where he discovers
talents and interests he never knew he had. Newbery Honor.

Ann                            No shame, no fear        In England in
1662, a time of religious persecution, fifteen-year-old Susanna, a poor
country girl and a Quaker, and seventeen-year-old William, a wealthy
Anglican, meet and fall in love against all odds.

Twain, Mark                            A Connecticut
Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
   A Connecticut  Yankee with a perfect
knowledge of machinery is transported back in time to the Court of King

Verne, Jules                              20,000
leagues under the sea
    Captured by the megalomaniacal Captain Nemo,
the central characters of this tale travel in an early submarine while
trying to plot their escape.

Wallace, Rich                           Shots on
                While pursuing his goal of helping his soccer team
win the league championship, 15-year-old Bones tries to deal with his
resentment of his best friend, on whose girlfriend he has a crush.

Whelan, Gloria             Homeless bird             
When thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, she
must either suffer a destiny dictated by India’s tradition or find the
courage to oppose it.

Woodson, Jacqueline                Miracle’s boys             
Twelve-year-old Lafayette’s close relationship with his older brother
Charlie changes after Charlie is released from a detention home and blames
Lafayette for the death of their mother.

Yolen, Jane                              Briar Rose                   
Grandmother Gemma always told the story of Briar Rose, and after she dies,
her granddaughter discovers that Gemma was a real-life Sleeping Beauty, a
Holocaust survivor.



Crutcher, Chris                        
Athletic shorts : six short stories

Johnson, Angela                       Gone from home
: short takes

Salisbury, Graham                    Island Boyz :
short stories

Appelt, Kathi                            Kissing
Tennessee and other stories from the Stardust Dance


Bausum, Ann                            With courage
and cloth:  winning the fight for a woman’s right to vote

Bryson, Bill                               A walk in
the woods : rediscovering America on the Appalachian

Hoose, Philip M.                      The race to
save the Lord God Bird

Krakauer, Jon                          Into thin air

Nelson, Peter                           Left for
dead : a young man’s search for justice for the USS


Pelts, Kathy                             
Discovering Christopher Columbus : how history is invented

Nathaniel                   Revenge of the whale : the true story of the
Whaleship Essex

Shulman, Mark                     
  Attack of the killer video book: tips and tricks for young directors


Appelt, Kathi                            Poems from
homeroom : a writer’s place to start

Nye, Naomi Shihab                  19 varieties of
gazelle : poems of the Middle East

Stavans, ed.                              Wáchale :
poetry and prose about growing up Latino in America


Allen, Thomas B.                      George
Washington, Spymaster:  how America outspied the British

and won the Revolutionary War

Bolden, Tonya                          Wake up our
souls:  a celebration of black American artists

Gingerich, Owen                       The book
nobody read:  chasing the revolutions of Nicolaus


Howard, Arlene                        Elston and me
: the story of the first black Yankee

Jiang, Ji-Li                                Red
scarf girl : a memoir of the cultural revolution

Man, John                                Gutenberg :
how one man remade the world with words


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Survived Another Year

By most measures of success, just making it to the end of a semester is a major accomplishment. One of our teachers resigned mid-year, and the interim teacher that replace him was...well, I think some things are better unsaid. In the local newspaper, a comment was printed that inferred our school was being under utilized. Politics? Newspaper what publish ignorant statement like this are examples of a Bully Pulpit. This term stems from President Theodore Roosevelt reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Is this agenda to segregate, isolate, or selectively educate? Our public schools are just that- public. Public education can not refuse to teach children just because they exhibit anti-social behavior. Can local edicts circumvent Federal laws and the rights of all to satisfy a few?

Here are a few thoughts on methods for obtaining good discipline.

It can be argued that the most important aspect of good discipline in a school is assertiveness. Assertive administrators and teachers who set clear boundaries, praise children for appropriate behavior, and whose punishments are perceived as "fair" by the children, tend to have a calm atmosphere and good academic results. Praise in a whole other issue. I will cover that in another post.

On the other hand teachers and administrators who are not assertive tend to have variable boundaries, such as ignoring a behavior one day then blowing up in rage at the same behavir the next day, giving inappropriate punishments such as a long detention for a minor infraction (like spitting), or allowing the pupils they perceive as "good" or depending of factors like race or who their parents are or if they are good at sports, to get away with behavior that "bad" pupils are punished for. Such practices have been found to create a frantic or uneasy atmosphere in the classroom, usually leading to the teacher being disliked by the pupils and less learning being achieved.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Alligator Photo

This is a picture of an alligator I made Sunday, May 15, 2005. I know, it is not National Geographic quality. I was riding down the road, near my lake house and saw this alligator in the creek and pointed the camera out the window and snapped the shot. I was near Big Creek at Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina.

Click this image to see a larger image of the gator.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Open source software for Windows - The Unofficial Microsoft Weblog

Teachers love FREE stuff. I found this on DIGG and thought it was worth remembering so I included it in my blog.
Open source software for Windows - The Unofficial Microsoft Weblog - _: "Open source software for Windows

Posted May 2, 2005, 9:08 AM ET by Scott Granneman
"One thing that people tend to forget is that open source isn't just about Linux. Apple uses open source stuff in
its products - like it's kernel & web browser for instance - and even MSFT has released a couple of things as open
source (and I'm not talking about their shared source license, which doesn't even deserve consideration). In
addition, there's actually a lot of great open source software that runs on Windows. When I use XP, for instance, I
don't use IE; I use Firefox. I don't use Outlook or Outlook Express; I use
Thunderbird. I don't use Office; I use"

Here are some other great open source apps I use on Windows:"
for his list, visit Scott's blog.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Take the Teach42 Survey

Ok, I need some help. I read on Teach42, a blog that and podcast from a leader in educational technology, Steve Dembo. He has setup a survey on his blog at
Teach42 » The Teach42 Survey

I need you to take this survey. He is not going to sell your info to spammers, and is not selling anything. What do I get out of it you ask? He holding a drawing for a free Flickr Pro account and my students would really enjoy posting images next year on this wonder online service. So, check out this link at Teach42 » The Teach42 Survey, and take the survey.

Study Habits

Way back in April 2004, more than 90,000 students nationwide completed the first annual High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE, pronounced “hessie”), creating the largest national data base on high school student engagement.

After skimming through this research, a light came on. We are not teaching our students in our alternative program how to study. I personally realized that I have had extremely low expectations. I have not assigned a homework assignment in a while. This has to change.

This brings me to one skill I am going to focus on next school year in my classroom: Study Habits.

A general rule of thumb regarding doing well in college is that students should spend two to three hours outside of class for every hour in class. Yet, more than half of the HSSSE respondents (55%) said they devote a total of three hours or less per week to preparing for all of their classes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Macworld UK - Experts warn of iPod hearing loss

Ok, now I understand why I have been experiencing a ringing or tinnitus in my hears after listening to my iPod or Shuffle while working out. I tried to use my iPod to drown out the TV noise in the gym. However, when I do not wear my ear buds, I feel much more relaxed and can rest better. Maybe it is in my mind, but I have to admit that the problems of noise polution is driving my away from the gym. My ability to hear is very important as a classroom teacher. Sure it is cool to wear the iPod around but I have to amid that tinnitus is something I want to avoid.

Macworld UK - Experts warn of iPod hearing loss

Monday, May 09, 2005

Computers 'should track truant pupils'

We contacted this British company today to see it their product is available here. Could this help in our school? Not really. The kids we have that are really difficult to manage, do not seem "parents" to contact via telephon, much less email. However, the other features like weekly reports may help identify students that need to be referred to an alternative school setting. Could be interesting.
Computers 'should track truant pupils': "Tuesday, 3rd May 2005
Computers 'should track truant pupils'
TEACHERS should use computer tracking systems to combat truancy and bad behaviour in schools, education secretary Ruth Kelly says.Under Labour plans, parents will be sent text messages or e-mails from schools telling if children misbehave or skip lessons.Ms Kelly wants to see more schools using IT programmes to give parents 'real time' information on their children amid growing concerns over standards of behavior said: 'We are seeing an improvement in the tackling of persistent truancy.'But I want schools to use the new hi-tech options available to monitor attendance and get parents to help improve their children's attitude."

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Teachers Drive the Curriculum

After attending the Distinguished Teacher Forum in Raleigh, the dismal news that our state's educational budget is some where between a rock and a hard spot, I have tried to spend time thinking about the issue. I have read several articles and talked to our administrators and everyone seems to have thrown up their hands. In a recent discussion with Steve Dembo, I told him about how much I had been using Moodle , to try to meet the needs of my students. I mentioned that my students were creating a Moodle course glossary of terms we use as a learning tool in their online community. He recommended that I try including podcasts or MP3 files of the definitions for non-readers. I have been trying to get my mind around what strategies, and skills students would have to master before this would work.

Then while reading my Bloglines RSS feeds this morning, I noticed that South Africa has begun a WikiBook The textbooks on this site are all released under an open content license that means that they are free forever. No one can keep you from using these materials, modifying them or distributing them. Also, the license guarantees that any works that are derived from these materials will be similarly free to modify and distribute, forever.

Could this save our state millions of dollars each year-- probably not, but it has tremendous potential. Teachers love this four-letter word: FREE. Four years ago, I began participating a project known as EarthView. Teachers from across North Carolina participated in field trips in the summers to visit and study environmental and geologic issues. The sessions were lead by authorities in those issues. We interviewed Feldspar mine executives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, visited granite mines and lakes and swamps in the Piedmont, and dug sand trenched to study layers of sand on the Outer Banks. Teachers learned about how to create project-based learning activities. This information would have been a great idea for a WikiBook project. The participants could have contributed their activities. New teachers never have enough help meeting the demands of learners.

This needs to be written into a National Science Foundation grant. Hope someone steals this idea. Hum, maybe I need to get of my lazy tail and do it.

If you have ever had to inventory hundreds of mold covered five-year-old textbooks, you will love this new WikiBooks project from South Africa. The time is right. Tight budgets, high stake testing, retaining teachers is critical factor, NCLB requirements for highly qualified teachers in every classroom are looming.
Check this out.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Georgia school reduces suspension for student’s call from Mom in Iraq

This is a must read for all administrators and teachers. Seems that now if your student has a cell phone in your class, and the darn thing rings in the middle of a test, the kid can tell you "it is my mom, she is on duty in Iraq." If you do not let them answer it or send them to the office, all heck may break loose. So who is to blame here? Cingular for selling them the phone--oh no! Dad for not modeling proper cell phone etiquette and to turn them off when calls can "get you suspended." Maybe mom. She may need some US Gov’t approved training on how to interpret time zones? Who knows, this is the craziest thing I have read about all week. Suspend him so he can take mom's call. Happy Mother's Day!!! If your mom is not in church, or attending a concert and if you are lucky for her to be alive and able and willing to talk to you, GIVE HER A CALL. Be sure to check those tricky TIME ZONES. Georgia school reduces suspension for student’s call from Mom in Iraq - Engadget - /

Friday, May 06, 2005

Teaching Ideas & Resources - TES - The Times Educational Supplement 2

After reading this article, it made me think about what our school spends annually for software. My question is could I teach my students how to use open-source software? Could my students pass the very important computer skills test required by North Carolina if they only used open-source software? Would it save schools that much? Schools would have to consider one main cost- professional development. In order to teach students, teachers have to be trained to use open-source software also. My school has a class set of texts, specifically written for learning disabled students. These texts were provided at no cost to our system through a grant. If we switched to open-source software to replace our Microsoft products, it would cost more money. Our school has a very competitive pricing of Office. I was surprised how cheap the license costs compared to single user retail prices. So, as a classroom teacher, I would rather keep Microsoft products. I once heard an administrator say: " the only person that likes change is a baby, and they have a wet diaper."

Teaching Ideas & Resources - TES - The Times Educational Supplement 2

LifeDrive Mobile Manager

This is my next tech gadget.
palmOne LifeDrive Mobile Manager appears on Amazon - Engadget - /

I think I could really use this one. I will wait for the price to drop around Christmas...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Sharing the Kool-Aid

Originally uploaded by TheArtGuy.
Using technology to reach at-risk students is not to hard to do. First, pick out the "flavor" you like (Apple or PC), then add just the rigth amount of cool water (professional development), then pour in the Kool-Aid (tech support, computers, software, Internet, Blogs or podcasts), then add the sugar to taste (teacher's excitement and nuturing), then stir (as the Nike ad says--JUST DO IT). Very one enjoys the rewards. SHARE THE KOOL-AID.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Podcasts in Education...share the Kool-Aid

Originally uploaded by TheArtGuy.
Podcasts, am in awe of Steve Dembo. He is so cool. I had to copy and paste this on the READ/WRITE WEB. I will have to work on those this summer. We have 13 days remaining in this school year. Next week, our 12 middle schoolers take the North Carolina EOG test. Oh, yeah, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Then those that do not make a at least level III, will be remediated and offered a retest.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Kitchen Science?

This really happened! Sunday, while preparing for our family lunch, my mother noticed that the electric skillet she had cooked the roast in was cooling. She asked me to take the lid off. I pulled, and tugged, and used a screw driver. It would not come off.

This really happened! Sunday, while preparing for our family lunch, my mother noticed that the electric skillet she had cooked the roast in was cooling. She asked me to take the lid off. I pulled, and tugged, and used a screwdriver. It would not come off.

Well, we tried cooling it with water in the sink. And that did not work. Then, my wife, a librarian, Googled: Pot lid stuck. The web page it pointed to was something about Kitchen Tips. They said to reheat the pot and when it came to a boil the lid came right off.

There is some real good science here. I have not taught chemistry in many years, but after my wife told me about the tip from the web page, it hit me. It is a perfect example of the Gas Law. Take a look at this Java applet to visualize the science the experienced first hand in the kitchen today. Move the temperature slider to the right and notice the increase in pressure. This is what happened to the pot my family was using to cook the meat in. As the meat cooked in the pot, the temperature increased. This volume of the pot remained constant. However, when the temperature of the pot was reduced, the pot's lid was not removed and (volume remains constant) the pressure inside the pot dropped. This is caused when the number of collision between the molecules in the pot were reduced. Let collisions of molecules produced let pressure. This caused a vacuum to be formed inside the pot sealing it. We could not break the seal with screwdrivers, knife blades or anything we tried. I wish I had my digital camera to take a picture of what it looked like. Turning the heat back on the pot called the molecules of gas to increase their kinetic energy. This increase in temperature increased the pressure inside the closed cook pot. We noticed that steam was coming out of the pot after about 4 minutes of heating. The lid was easily removed.

Conclusion: If the Volume of a gas remains constant, and temperature is increased the pressure increases proportionally to the increase in temperature.