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Showing posts from August, 2009

Blogging for Better Schools

August 15th marked our blogaversary, which by the way is a real word, at least according to Urban Dictionary. Hard to believe an experiment turned out to be such an exciting project. I started playing around with the idea of blogging after hearing several national speakers at a conference. I kept blogging because I realized it is a great tool for communicating, sharing, and organizing ideas. The blog is work…. words do not always come quickly. However, I find the work is worth it. Blogging helps me to clearly articulate ideas. I have to really think about what point I am trying to convey while being clear and succinct.  I  use the blog to capture what occurs in meetings. Better than minutes, I can show quotes, graphics, pictures and/or videos. The posts are tagged so I can quickly reference them if needed. I find I can frequently send a link in response to questions or topics that come in meetings, which is a huge time-saver. I absolutely could not have been convinced until I tried it…

Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners

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All the school districts in my region and many others across Pennsylvania have access to Discovery Education, probably best known for streaming video. When I searched for streaming videos 116,458 results came up which can be further refined by grade level, subject area, type of media etc... Folks most often think of video clips or even full length videos and they would be right…. but there is much, much more.Discovery also has: Songs (466) – Multiplication raps, ABCs, Homophone Blues, Tornados & Hurricanes to name a few… Audio files (48) – speeches, historical events, and more Images (20,828) – historical events, historical figures, places, animals etc.. Writing prompts (603) – still pictures combined with a writing prompts historical people/events, careers & a large number for literary analysis. Prompts can be copied and/or edited to customize for teacher needs. Clip art (1184) –Most of the collection is for the elementary grades Sound effects (3088) – animal sounds, applaus…

Making Blogging a Breeze

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Windows Live Writer is an awesome  tool for blogging! I use Live Writer to create all my blog posts. It provides more features and flexibility to make my blog more attractive and efficient. I can work on drafts without an internet connection, preview the post to see how it will look on the live blog, and I can even set the date for the blog to automatically publish. It’s a free download that is compatible with the major blog services e.g. Blogger, TypePad, Wordpress and more….  My favorite feature is how easy it is to resize, align, and caption photos. Live Writer also allows you to add borders and effects to photos! Just insert a photo and a tool bar will appear as shown here. The default is inline, but a drop down box allows for you to set the picture to the Right or Left and wrap text.The next drop down box is Margins. The default is no margins, which often leads to your text running right up against the photo and ruining the appearance of the blog. Select Customize Margins and inc…

Write Now! Video Prompts

I was gathering resources for writing across the curriculum in preparation for a meeting with one of my districts and rediscovered an old favorite, PBS channel 39 Write Now! video prompts. The series was developed by WLTV with teachers from the Lehigh Valley. Each prompt begins with a short video and then segues to a writing prompt. Check out my favorite Nose Ring.

Livin on the Edge

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We ended our 36th annual Summer Administrative Workshop with Harvey Alston.  He wowed our audience with his energetic presentation. His stories and observations were often hilarious, but underneath was a very serious message. He advocated for the audience to look beyond circumstances, petty thoughts, negativity, personal agendas etc….to put students first! Mr. Alston took on many topics during is address, but I was surprised by his take on technology. His motto is………….“If you are not livin on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!”Simply, our students live in a technologic world and we need to keep up if we are going to prepare them for that world. He believes that trying new things and engaging our staff to do the same is part of giving students our BEST! While I embrace Mr. Alston’s perspective I have to confess there are days when I think if I come any closer to the edge, I am going to fall off! It’s tough to try new things. It takes longer, feels awkward, and is just plain har…