A cross-state collaborative event occurred between one of our teachers here at Waters Edge ES (Mr. Fisher) and a teacher in Chicago (Mrs. Broos) to celebrate Lincoln’s 200th birthday.

5th grade students completed a KWL on VoiceThread and were then grouped in 2’s from partnering classes to conduct research together. They collaborated by creating their own VoiceThreads, adding their documents and leaving each other comments. Classes communicated using Adobe Connect and the links were shared on Edline. In addition, this has all been uploaded to MediaShare (search “lincoln”) for the ultimate sharing experience for all teachers to be able to replicate. As if that isn’t enough, Mrs. Weinroth  and Emilie from WOWL and one of the anchors from PalmBreezeCAFE were on the scene to capture it all!

On this final day (shown in the video) the Mrs. Broos’ class in Chicago had an assembly and put on a show while the class here watched and participated.

I hope you will take just a few minutes to watch the video and check out their VoiceThread.


American History


Research Skills

Effective use of technology

As many of you may remember, Lee Kolbert wrote an entry on September 2nd about a very rousing and motivational speech given by Dalto Sheman, an amazing student in Texas.   At the time the post provided a link to the video that was not viewable within our district’s network.  Someone recently reminded me of this young man so I thought I would re-post with a version than can be viewed from school!  Well worth sharing with your students!


It’s interesting to see what matters most to people if they are limited to say, 180 characters?

1000ThingsThatMatter is a project by blogger, Chasing Sheep. He’s creating a movie about the changing nature of technology and what matters to us most.

“We need your help. We’re making a film and we need to know what matters to you. So, we’ve just launched and we’re keen to get 1000 entries as fast as possible. Please spread the word 🙂 We know you all have great ideas and lots to say… and we look forward to hearing your entries. Go on. What are you waiting for?”

As school begins again in the next few days, wouldn’t this be a great project for students of all ages? If you prefer for your students not to contribute right on the site, you can always create your own similar project. This can be done on a educational microblogging site like Edmodo, a wiki, blog, or just on pieces of paper and hang them on a bulletin board in your room!

If you are looking for an EASY and very cool way to promote community amongst your interest groups, I have found TabUp to be an outstanding resource. If your school district or community group does not provide you with your own web presence FREE TO YOU, and you would like to create a private, semiprivate, or open destination for communication, TabUp can provide just what you are looking for.

With features like a shared calendar, forums for discussion, links to various web resources, and the ability to make this modrated or invite only ALL FOR FREE, I can’t think of a school group, sports team, or common interest group that would not find some use for this service. Please take a look, and add your thoughts to this page. The page is not intended to be a primary source of new information, but rather a living example of another great FREE tool available to educators and community groupsI will be automatically notified of any changes or additions, and will be sure to act on valid suggestions.

Me neither but I felt like I was very close!

Today, I had the pleasure of video conferencing with a 5/6 grade class in Central Butte, Canada. Participating in the activity was (teacher) Barb Mcinnis (& her students), Tim Lauer (Portland, Oregon), Tom Barrett (Nottingham, England) and Dean Shareski (Moose Jaw, Canada). This is direct from Mrs. Mcinnis’ class blog


The grade 5/6 students had the chance to meet people from different parts of the world thanks to wireless technology!  On Tuesday, November 4 we participated in a web conference.  We had the opportunity, thank you to Dean Shareski (division technology) to interview educators from Nottingham, England;Portland, OR; Florida; and Moose Jaw via a web cam.  We were able to see and talk to these individuals. We first asked them questions to try and locate them, then we talked about the wireless technology that exists in their classrooms and schools.  Wow!  there are sure some great pieces of technology being used!! This project came about from an article we had read called “Get Set For the Net”. This article helped us understand how past inventions lead us to the wireless age we live in. Most of the students take this age for granted and do not realize the negative and positive effects it can have on our lives. We watched “Smart Guy:Stranger on the Net” to help us become more “Net” smart. Then we decided to do something positive and exciting with our wireless technology.

I’d like to commend Mrs. Mcinnis for her innovative vision as she seeks out relevant technologies to make learning for her students relevant. Wouldn’t you love to be in her class? This is an easy and free activity that took less than 40 minutes and can easily be replicated in YOUR classroom. Where would you find another class to communicate with? Try ePals, for starters.

This is the edited version that Dean created (5 min):

This is the entire conversation (40min):

Thank you, Dean, for asking me to participate. It was truly a pleasure to “meet” Tim, Tom, Mrs. Mcinnis and all of her students.

P.S. I hope my clues (about where I live) still have them stumped!!

The Technical Stuff:
We used Adobe Connect to have our online conversation and I recorded the session. When we were finished, I downloaded the video in .flv format (the default for recorded Adobe Connect sessions) and then uploaded that file to our school district’s Vodcast server (Video On Demand). I was then able to copy the code (anyone know how to read code??? Certainly not me, but I know how to copy and paste!) and pasted it into this blog. Code like that can be pasted into ANY webpage, including Edline! The video is also available on MediaShare along with a description so other teachers can easily access and replicate similar activities in their classes.

As most of you are probably aware, we will host our 11th annual SDPBC Technology Conference in March 2009. We are pleased to be returning to Santaluces High School for the second consecutive year. Here an example of a free online publishing tool that you can employ to spread the word. Feel free to share this countdown with anyone you think might want to have it simply by clicking on share in the lower left corner! Or better yet… go to create a free account and build your own! You can build all kinds of widgets and other neat things. If you build something you’d like to share, LET US KNOW!!

If you wold like to add a little personality to your Edline page, possibly lighten up the presentation of some of your content, or try and inject some creativity into your project based learning. I recommend checking out Go!Animate. You’ll find this web based publishing program at and it does require an email to create an account, but the service is free and FUN!! Here’s an example of something I put together in about 15 minutes, and I am still learning the interface. Your students will amaze you!!
Get Creative!!

Spelling City

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

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

As information technologies have advanced rapidly, things like Google, blogs, Blackberry, i-Phones, and social networks have become ever more prevalent, and being “connected” has taken on a whole new meaning for many people. For more and more people the thought of being “offline” for even a few minutes is a real cause for concern. I read recently an entry form the creator of one of my favorite “social bookmarking” pages (which is currently in invite only beta to participate) His thoughts are that this prevalence and that the ubiquitous nature of technologies and sharing of information will only continue to grow.

This brief article is definitely worth a read.

Some unintended results have come from all of these advances. Some people find that keeping afloat in this massive wave of information is a challenge. Here’s a link to listen to some very tech savvy individuals mull this over at a session of the Churchill Club that took place earlier this year. (MAY NOT WORK FROM WITHIN OUR FIREWALL)

I will leave you with one more look at the same general trend towards a possibly “techno-centric” future. This is brought to you by the ever sharp Colbert Report

Review your experiences, and what you know of your students’ experiences, and let us know your thoughts…pro…con… or otherwise. is a free online brainstorming and mind mapping tool that lets you easily create a graphic organizer, concept map, mind map or organizational chart and then share your ideas with colleagues or classmates. The Flash & AJAX based interface make it really simple to use with only a browser – no downloads and all you need to create an account is an email address! You can save your sheets, print them as images or save them to your computer.

The Web 2.0 features provide you with either a link or the html embed code so you can post your work on a web page (Edline) or email a link. In the embedded example shown here, you can pan and zoom using the controls or the scroll wheel on your mouse.

There are many obvious uses in the classroom:

  • Identify existing knowledge
  • Identify relationships between concepts
  • Record facts & details as a pre-writing strategy
  • Brainstorming – collecting and connecting ideas
  • Timelines
  • Student collaboration
  • Sharing ideas with communities of users

Check it out and look for me on

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