Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For Some, Understanding Math May Always Be Distant Target!

Crossroads by StuffEyeSee
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

For some teachers, even some "good" teachers, understanding mathematics will always be a distant target within a warren of incomprehensible facts and rules. You've heard teachers make statements like: "I never liked Math!" "I just don't understand why this math skill has to be in the curriculum!" "Is this too advanced?".

In trying to understand those who teach mathematics, valid research is available that seeks to interpret elementary school teachers' math teaching success, especially as it relates to their attitudes and capabilities. Take your pick of any of this research on Teacher's Attitudes Towards Mathematics. The idea that many of our peers have a fear of math and lack the basic understanding of what they are trying to teach should not be a surprise.

Therefore, it is easy to understand that teachers who do like and understand mathematics and its place in the school curriculum make up the minority of teachers. Most likely, there will be a gulf between their ideas about teaching math and those of the teachers who are weak in math. Those who "get it" tend to be more organized in their approach to teaching the children, while those who don't get it tend to look for a fluffy way to teach something that is NOT ephemeral. Math has organization, boundaries, rules....

In the elementary school, teachers must understand that all this logic of math is based on the Real Number System. Although it's NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, it's NOT FLUFFY either.

In mathematics, we look for ways to talk about how to solve a problem, but we also MUST support a system of understanding for students. That's where the organization comes into play. The more the teacher understands and feels comfortable with the ideas and facts of math, the easier it is for students to do the same. Then this teacher will help the students, in a concrete way, develop a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. This teacher will use any and all available data provided through testing in the class or the school to bring success in math to all students.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name

a helpful friend by 46137
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

When someone wants to create a stir, make a buck, or earn a doctorate, they give the old wine a new name. Now is no different. Infographics are graphic organizers, sometimes called data visualizations, formerly referred to as charts and graphs.

There are some good examples here, but many of these are very weak in correlating data in a way that makes it more accessable.

Always be careful when you use free websites. Read the fine print of who owns your work, once you've used the web application. Unless they have changed their rules, Many Eyes (owned by IBM) owns your data visualization, so I don't use it.

No matter what, data visualization, oooooops infographics are here to stay. Using the best ones can help us understand concepts better than ever.

Amplify’d from www.makeuseof.com

10 Awesome Free Tools To Make Infographics


Wordle lets you create word visualisations using text you enter. There are plenty of interesting designs to choose from. Enter whole books, short passages or see what other people have used. In this example, we can see the US constitution visualised.


GapMinder is a free Adobe Air (cross-platform by nature) application to ensure you have current data on major world issues and can create visualisations for your purposes. Data is updated yearly and released with new versions of the application. The visuals are also quite impressive!


Inkscape is a free vector graphic software available for many platforms. This is the ideal free option for the creation of your overall infographic. Simple and intuitive, you should have no problems importing your visualisations and combining them with other visuals to create your masterpiece.

See more at www.makeuseof.com


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pull Ourselves Up By Our OWN Bootstraps!

Are there American Education historians who can reach in and define the core issues that plague American Public Education?

Yes, I believe there are! 

The two historians who immediately come to mind are Carl F. Kaestle and David B. Tyack. Their historical analyses of American Schools still resonate and relate directly to our current round of teacher bashing, while we're all "Looking for Superman."

I would like to recommend that you read Opportunity to Comment: Elevate Educators to Professional Status before you read this article. I believe it will provide a clear contextual background for our current dilemma in American Public Education.

June 4th 2008 - Is There An Imposter In My Booth? by Stephen Poff
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
The era of the EXPERT, aka HERO, is over. This is a relief. There are so many of us with wide-ranging experience and education, we can't turn our future over to the "pie in the sky experts". They will only disappoint us.

The teachers in the trenches are also experts, even if they haven't done some quasi-experimental research or written books, simply because they didn't have monetary backing to do it.

Because I believe that each one of us has expertise to share, I will continue to live by my mantra of research:
Case in point: My belief in Diane Ravitch, as a defender of American Public Education was destroyed several years ago, yet I'm just as much to blame for letting her slide back into the "role of the great expert".

I've decided not to let that happen. I've decided to make my heroes work for their label.
  • I can't believe in her expertise until I understand that she accepts her role as a power broker in convincing educators to go along with NCLB in the first place. 
  • I can't believe in her expertise until I understand that she has stopped talking the blame game and begins to be more assertive with the opponents of American Public Education.
Here is a sample interview that generally characterizes Dr. Diane Ravitch's viewpoint of her role in the NCLB fiasco.

This interview is OK, yet Dr. Ravitch still doesn't seem to recognize that many in Congress and early adopters were affected by HER initial, and unexpected, support for No Child Left Behind....

In response to her statements in this interview, I've answered some of her concerns:

Yes, I've read your work over the past three years, yet I will continue to have concerns about your recommendations in the future. Mostly because of what I believe is your grave misunderstanding of the real impetus of the NCLB legislation. The entire purpose was to begin the destruction of the American Public Schools.

My core concern is about your lack of understanding of your own power....I really WANT to believe that you didn't understand how powerful you were.

At the time of the first NCLB initiatives, your support was critical because Dr. Ravitch, you are an expert in our profession, at such a level of distinction, that your suggestions carried great weight with lawmakers and educators in our country.

It was such a shock, to me, that you didn't understand the serious consequences of your actions at the time, while many of us NON experts did. It seemed so surreal to me.

The consequences of the actions of this Pandora act will continue to reverberate throughout our American Education system for decades. I just hope a vibrant, American PUBLIC Education System will survive.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Trait: WORD CHOICE

Have you ever checked your horoscope? I imagine the answer is yes. If so, you know that there are some basic algorithms used to generate your "individual" horoscope. I would suggest that they are a little more accurate than  the possibility of a fortune in a fortune cookie coming true, yet it's all good fun. Well, there is a little meme generator called I Write Like  that's a step up from those fun algorithms, but I wouldn't bet the farm on its accuracy. It's just for fun, and this web application has a useful educational side effect...learning about writing through famous authors.

Just by entering a sample of your writing, you can be assured that your writing will be compared, using an algorithm. The author suggests that

...[c]urrently it analyzes vocabulary (use of words), number of words, commas, and semicolons in sentences, number of sentences with quotation marks and dashes (direct speech).
Your writing will be compared with a basic group of fifty authors, and you will receive a badge with ways to share your discovery with your friends and fans on your blog, Facebook, Twitter and other online networking venues.

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I was intrigued when one of my colleagues shared this web application, so I tried it. I must say that I was unfamiliar with the author that I write like: David Foster Wallace. Once I read a sample of his book, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, I understand how his Midwestern choice of words and our shared love of irony could match the "I Write Like" word choice and voice algorithm.

Others in my Personal Learning Network discovered that they wrote like Stephen King, Vladimir Nabakov, Cory Doctorow, as well as Dan Brown.

Some tried a variety of writing samples, and their results were often different. That's where the fun comes into play. It was fun to see which author would be selected using the I Write Like algorithm, and I think your students would think it's fun also. What's even more interesting is that you might just spark a student's interest in learning about various authors.

The I Write Like meme was created by the founder of Coding Robots, Dmitry Chestnykh, who shares basic information about this meme generator, as he expands the number of authors. If you have suggestions, please send them to him at Coding Robots,
a small friendly team of software developers founded in 2002. Our mission is to bring more fun to this world by producing handsome and handy pieces of software.
This meme generator is going viral, so watch for its exponential growth and development. It was released less than a week ago, and people are already interviewing the author, trying to find out the "secret" to the algorithm. Others just never heard that saying, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!". They are complaining about such things as the few number of women authors and the variability of the algorithm. If you want to know more, read Dmitry's blog and the comments for the entire story. He would like your comments, as he is planning to add more authors and features.

I would use the I Write Like web application to teach the concepts of Word Choice and Voice using the Six Traits of Writing analytic process and famous authors.

Here are some other Tuesday Trait and Six Traits of Writing articles you may be interested in reading:

Monday, July 19, 2010

n2teaching: Substitutes

letter from a student by evchu.nyc
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
While I've taught more than substituted, I can tell you that substituting is the hardest type of teaching to accomplish. If you plan to truly work effectively as a substitute, here are some ideas that you might want to consider.

The teacher who works diligently to have good lesson plans, deserves a substitute that will effectively use them with the class.

If the teacher leaves good notes, the substitute should leave good notes about what happened through the day.

The substitute stands in for the teacher, and their best philosophy is to help the teacher as well as possible.

Not all substitutes or teachers are equal, so these high expectations may not be implemented by them. Those teachers who have high expectations for the substitute working in their classroom, should request and receive a substitute who agrees with their high standards.

This has always been an important topic, yet it is always helpful to discuss our beliefs about the need and use of effective substitutes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Promote Global WORMING! Activities, Assessment and Feedback

Worms Live Here, Happy, Hungry Worms! by Buffalo ReUse
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

It's time to build a worm home, a vermicomposting container, where you can feed and raise red worms, or tiger worms, that will turn shredded paper and vegetables into new soil for class gardens or potted plants.

This is the culminating event of the "Promote Global WORMING! project. Even though many people have their own methodology for creating worm bins for vermicomposting, I've selected a simple one that can serve as a large group worm bin for an entire class. If the leader, teacher, has enough room, each of the intial four groups would learn the most by making their own worm composting bin to analyze and develop.

Several activities found in the Project WILD Aquatic curriculum guide are related to this study of worm (decomposers) habitats or can be used as extensions. For instance, the "Edge of Home" activity found on pages 75-78, can be used to tie in the connection between aquatic, semi-aquatic and dry land habitats. This activity refers to the study of ecotones, so it would be an excellent extension for upper elementary to adult learners.

Other Project WILD Aquatic lessons and activities should be used or adapted for this project, including another great activity about habitats and riparian areaa, "Blue Ribbon Niche" on pages 52-55. "Wetland Metaphors", on pages 39-42, would help students understand more about the productivity of wetlands where earthworms are part of the decomposer species.

Each group will follow the directions provided and create their own worm bin. Young students will need adult assistance drilling holes in the top bucket. A list of supplies is listed in the instructional website: How To Build An Indoor Worm Composter. This activity is an adaptation of the Project WILD Aquatic project, "Designing a Habitat", found on pages 18-20.

Enjoy the final activities and assessment. Your completion of the feedback survey at the end of this post is greatly appreciated in advance.

Students will:
  1. create a habitat where earthworms, red worms, can thrive and reproduce. The assessment for this objective will be journal keeping, including picture taking until the worms reproduce.
  2. create a graph or chart to measure inputs...the stuff to put in the worm bin.
  3. create a comparison graph to measure outputs...the newly created soil, worm eggs and young worms.
ACTIVITY #1: Using the instructions provided, students will create their habitat. Take pictures to include in their Worm journals. Using this setup described in the directions will eliminate excess "brown water" or fertilizer, and the students will measure the initial inputs, including:
  • worms
  • shredded paper
  • empty buckets
  • vegetable matter
  • any other inputs
As the learners begin journaling, the leader, teacher, would be well served to adapt the Project Wild Aquatic activity, Aquatic Times, found on pages 188-189. The classroom product could be called Decomposer Times or a similar name. Let the learners brainstorm names and vote on the top 5 favorites.

ACTIVITY #2: Each day, student(s) will measure and journal the amounts of added inputs. Students will add pictures to their journal. This activity lends itself to an online journa, including a class wiki.

ACTIVITY #3: When students observe water in the bottom bucket, they should begin recording this in their output charts. Note how long it takes to collect a liter of water, and answer questions such as:
If we aren't adding water to the composting bin, how is it draining into the bottom bucket?

ACTIVITY #4: As students observe the worms in the bin, they will discover eggs and young earthworms. They can include this in their journal writing and take pictures. They will answer questions such as:
How many days did it take for the worms in our bin to reproduce?
How does that compare or contrast to the other groups worm bins?
If there was a significant difference in time needed for worms to reproduce, what may have caused the differences?

Activity #5: This will be the time to have each group share their findings in any type of presentation they choose. After their creations and presentations are given, then given them the post test discussed in the first posting, Promote Global WORMING! Prior Knowledge and Post Project Assessment.

Whenever learning occurs, it's always wonderful to have feedback, so prepare a short survey to answer the questions you may have for your students. This survey was adapted from a more comprehensive Project WILD Aquatic workshop feedback survey. If you would like a copy of the more extensive feedback survey, email me.

Promote Global WORMING! Graphic Organizer

ImageChef Word Mosaic - ImageChef.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Promote Global WORMING! Decomposers in the Biotic Pyramid

Primary succession, showing small tree growing with small amount of soil by Martin LaBar
Attribution-NonCommercial License
What is a Decomposer? What role do Decomposers play in the process of environmental succession within the Biotic Pyramid? What types of living things are considered Decomposers in the Biotic Pyramid? 

In the process of primary and secondary succession, bare rock becomes covered with plants, as well as animals. At first there is little soil, so life is tenuous. As time goes by, the decomposers and small plants begin to wear down the bare rock, and the variety of  life 

Succession in bodies of water, especially fresh water ponds and lakes is similar to bare rock succession. The difference is that water replaces the rock. Decomposers such as worms depend on a moderate level of water in the soil to survive, so they cannot live in either of the first stages of bare rock succession or pond succession.

To help students gain an understanding of succession, the leader (teacher) will use the Project Wild Aquatic activity, Pond Succession, found on pages 66-68. A fieldtrip to a variety of natural environments in the various stages of succession would be a wonderful way to provide students with an opportunity to see these NATURAL environmental changes.

The Beth Chatto Gardens Float My Boat! by antonychammond (playing catchup!)
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
The objectives of Pond Succession would be the same as that of Bare Rock Succession. If you wanted to substitute Bare Rock Succession for Pond Succession that is fine. Remember our focus is on the worms and similar decomposers, so the students will need information about the worm's habitat. Then the worms can be added into the right stage of either type of succession. The objectives are listed below.
In this activity, students will:
  1. recognize that natural environments are involved in a process of continual change.
  2. discuss the concept of succession.
  3. describe succession as an example of the process of change in natural environments. AND
  4. apply understanding by drawing a series of pictures showing stages in pond succession.
When the learners, students, apply understanding of succession, by drawing a series of pictures, showing stages of succession or keeping a log or diary of a related fieldtrip, the teacher should use this as their evaluation (assessment) for this activity.

Promote Global WORMING! Discover the Worms

Discover the Worms is a basic introduction to the various macroinvertebrates we know of as WORMS. Complete this activity after the PRIOR KNOWLEDGE ASSESSMENT. Based on information gathered from an online search, the students will:

  1. outline the basic ideas of the worm life cycle.
  2. illustrate the worm life cycle.
  3. compare and contrast their life cycle with that of an aquatic macroinvertebrate (see pages 25 and 38 for ideas).
  4. Add words to the Promote Global WORMING that provide more detail about worms.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Promote Global WORMING! Prior Knowledge and Post Project Assessment

Have you considered the various ways to think about this environmental education project? Since it's all about worms, Kitchen Komposting, decomposers and the Biotic Pyramid, it's best to discover what the learners you're working with already know.

I've included this graphic organizer that the wonderful folks at Learning Today created to encourage people to use Bloom's Taxonomy of Thinking. This taxonomy ranges from lower order thinking skills such as remembering to higher order thinking skills such as creating.

For the first activity of the Kitchen Komposting project, the learner will REMEMBER by listing, writing, and naming ideas associated with the four topics listed below.

During this activity, the learners and the teacher can assess BASIC prior knowledge about the topics mentioned here:
  • worms
  • Kitchen Komposting
  • decomposers
  • Biotic Pyramid
  • Gardening
The LIFE SCIENCE benchmark – The student will develop an understanding of biological concepts through direct experience with living things, their life cycles, and their habitats, Gardening will be the entity to help students evaluate their basic level of remembering, in the manner described in this activity. Gardening is key.

In general, these curriculum standards refer to middle elementary age, but they can be adjusted up or down the age scale. After the pretest, Gardening will be the entity with all its attributes.

Here are the directions for the prior knowledge assessment. These same instructions can be used as a post test. The assessments should be informal and nonthreatening to promote a basic understanding of the topics related to the understanding of the role decomposers, such as worms, play in the real world.
  1. Split the learners in four groups. Give each group a set of cards or sticky notes with their own special symbol or color...to indicate the group doing the writing.
  2. Ask each group to look at each of the four topics and write as many single terms that relate to the topic. Say this: Please think of as many topics that relate to WORM (then Kitchen Komposting, decomposers, the Biotic Pyramid, and Gardening). Write each one on a card or sticky note. Provide 2-3 minutes to list as many as they can. Decrease or increase this time according to the age of the learners.
  3. Each group will take a picture of their list to help them remember their ideas as the project continues throughout our Gardening Inquiry. 
  4. Then the group will take their sticky notes to the appropriate chart paper and place them on it. For instance, everything related to WORM will be placed on the chart paper labeled WORM.
  5. If another group already listed a the same , that's good....they should put their sticky note next to the first one...they will end up with a type of graph or chart.
  6. After all the sticky notes are placed on the appropriate chart paper, a helper, group leader or teacher will take a picture of each chart paper for worms, Kitchen Komposting, etc. These photos will be used to compare to the post test that will be given after the Kitchen Komposting project is complete.
  7. The entire group will focus on the lists and discuss ideas about their choices.
  8. This data analysis can be continued or expanded to include graphing, writing the lists, and other related activities about Gardening.
After the activity is complete, the leader (teacher) should display the images (pictures) that the entire class created...for further reference throughout the Gardening project.

You can also complete a KWHL graphic organizer for the Preassessment. Kitchen Komposting is one PART of the overarching concept, the entity, called gardening. Gardening is the theme that all the attributes belong to. Composting, Worms, Biotic Pyramid, plants, animals, insects, and more all will be covered as attributes of Gardening.

Basically, a Word Wall is created. As an extension activity when the leader/teacher continues the project, each learner could select a few of the words to make big, colorful flash cards for a formalized Word Wall bulletin board. Usually students appreciate these type of thought centering activities to guide the project, and they will want to refer to them often as we begin our Gardening analysis through various inquiries.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Promote Global WORMING!

Yes by looseends
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
Worms support the biotic pyramid, so they make a great metaphor for promoting environmental education among children, as well as adults. The use of worms, especially in composting, is so popular that educators definitely need to include it in any series of environmental education program that addresses the biotic pyramid.

Decomposition is the basis for the survival of the biotic pyramid, and worms make creating a proper decomposition area much easier and safer than many other types of decomposers, like mold or bacteria. In this series of presentations, let's examine how a variety of activities can be used to support this important aspect of environmental education.

While the central project will be to create and keep a "Kitchen Komposter" as a valuable way to live aspects of the Three R's:
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle
and learn the fourth R: how to RENEW our biotic pyramid. 

Let's also focus on the role WATER plays in our Kitchen Komposter. Can our microhabitat, the Kitchen KOMPOSTER have:
How can we determine this?

Through a variety of activities, let's also learn 
  1. ways to learn about and express our ideas about the natural world.
  2. what the Biotic Pyramid is.
  3. what types of living things are considered Decomposers in the Biotic Pyramid.
  4. how earthworms ( or other macroinvertebrates) live in their habitat. What is their life cycle?
  5. how the life cycle activities of worms or other macroinvertebrates support water recycling, as well as solid waste recycling. 
  6.  how to simulate or create an environment similar to the natural one where worms live, grow and reproduce.
  7. ways to measure the inputs and outputs of our Kitchen Komposter.
  8. ways to enhance the biotic pyramid through the Kitchen Komposter.
In future posts, Activities and Assessments will be discussed that are aligned with Kansas state curriculum.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friendly Friday: Create a Leaner TwitterStream

How many times have you opened your TwitterStream and discovered that it's overloaded with extraneous Tweets? I did, but now I've narrowed that group to those I want to follow no matter if they reciprocate.

Some of these are Tweets of people who once followed you, yet don't any more. There are a variety of reasons why people stop following you, but the most annoying are those that friend you until you friend them back. When you friend them back, they unfriend you. I don't know anyone who hasn't had this happen.

It's understandable when people unfriend me because they follow me on Plurk or a similar network. I usually go ahead and reciprocate. I unfriend them on Twitter. In the past this has been a bit difficult, but I've found a very helpful Twitter application to help with this process.

Using Friend or Follow helps me sort through those people or organizations and decide who I will continue to follow or unfollow. Another positive aspect of Friend or Follow is that I can use it to find anyone who follows me, that I don't know about. I want to follow people who share interests with me.

In Friend or Follow, you can sort the followers, nonfollowers and friends  by username or several other categories. I used this application to reduce those who don't follow me on Twitter.

I pared this group down to those that I will follow even if they don't follow me.

For instance, I follow Howard Rheingold, but he doesn't follow me. He is very generous and always responds to questions that I've asked him in the past. I will continue to follow him. I follow Starbucks, but they don't follow me on Twitter. That's OK, because we are friends on Facebook.

I used a fairly strict rubric that works for me. Each person needs to develop their own list or reasons for following or unfollowing, and Friend or Follow can help you decide by showing you a list of those who follow, don't follow or mutually follow you on Twitter.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Math In All Its Forms: Diigo Webslides

Whenever you use the Diigo bookmarking web application, you may categorize your bookmarks in lists. Each list will contain all the bookmarks you put in that particular category, such as Math In All Its Forms. When you want to share the list with others, you have many choices, including webslides.

Webslides are screenshots of the front page of each webpage that you bookmarked within a particular list. This webslide presentation contains all the bookmarks for the list: Math In All Its Forms.

For those who cannot use Diigo on your network, you might consider Diigo for Educators. It's self-contained and has no advertisements. You may want to discuss this with the school's technology coordinator and gain access. Even if you can't access Diigo at school, you can use it for your own research and lesson preparation.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday's Simple Subject: Project Your Own IWB

Do you want an interactive whiteboard, but there is no money in the budget for this type of technology?

Well, now you can own a projector that has the capabilities to make any surface an interactive white board, all for a cost of $2,100 or less.

Epson and Boxlight are the two companies who have combined a computer projector with the interactive capabilities of the IWB technologies.

This would be an excellent value for schools that need a projector and want an interactive whiteboard.
clipped from www.eschoolnews.com
Epson's new BrightLink 450Wi ultra short-throw projector eliminates the need for a separate IWB.
In a move that could shake up the interactive whiteboard (IWB) market, two projector manufacturers have just released new products that can turn virtually any surface into an IWB.
The development means schools no longer have to buy separate hardware to enjoy the benefits of IWBs, whose interactive surface and ability to engage students have made them quite popular in classrooms.
“We would certainly consider this projector a game-changer,” said Claudine Wolas, project manager for Epson Electronics’ BrightLink 450Wi. “It’s not just the newest and latest in projectors, but in whiteboards as well.”
Epson and Boxlight aren’t the first companies to come out with technology that can turn any flat surface into an IWB.
But to use these other systems, schools will still need a digital projector—whereas Epson’s and Boxlight’s solutions are self-contained.
blog it

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Specifics: Add aBowman Gadget

Gadgets, also called widgets, can really enhance your website. There are a number of gadgets that can be added from your Blogger dashboard, and one of the more interesting groups of widgets are the animations created by Adam Bowman who lives in Hallowell, Maine.

Teachers will find many uses for these gadgets, as several of them are actually learning tools. There are several animal animations, as well as some Physics gadgets.

Fish: "Add a touch of nature to your page with these hungry little fish.  Watch them as they follow your mouse hoping you will feed them by clicking the surface of the water."

While I'm demonstrating Adam's fish widget, I'd also recommend another of his most interesting gadgets called COINS. The gadgets are mouse activated, so use your mouse to make the coins move and even spin.

Enjoy these gadgets on your own or with your students.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Specifics: Baby Callie, A Casualty of the Unvaccinated

This little piggy (EXPLORED) by Insight Imaging: John A Ryan Photography
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
  • Baby Callie, died this year, 2010, because someone who was not vaccinated gave her pertussis, also called "Whooping Cough". This disease is a scary way for a baby to die. 
  • Are you vaccinated? 
  • Is your family vaccinated?
If you or your family are not vaccinated, I hope you will avoid contact with others. You have the potential to be death dealers.
clipped from abcnews.go.com

Baby Callie was a miracle baby to Katie and Craig VanTourhout of South Bend, Ind. After four miscarriages, Katie VanTourhout got pregnant again in 2009 and this time it was a success.

It was an easy, healthy pregnancy, VanTourhout said her doctors told her. Her doctor made sure she had flu shots, she said. And then, six weeks before she was due, Callie Grace was born on Christmas Day.

But when Callie was a couple weeks old, she developed a cough, so the VanTourhouts checked in with their pediatrician.

Although Katie VanTourhout said doctors told them it was nothing too serious, the cough persisted, and during a return visit to the doctor, Callie stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital.

Two days later, at 38 days old, Callie stopped breathing again and could not be saved.
blog it

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sharing My PLN: YouTube Tools for Schools

Three very helpful web applications are described and demonstrated here by Adam Bellows, @edutecher. Teachers could benefit by using these applications to remove distractions when using YouTube videos.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friendly Friday! "No One Is an Island!"

While I have been using Plurk more often, I still collaborate with a group of educators and other like minded people that use Twitter. I'm not alone in the world, and neither are you. I post to Twitter and check out the stream at particular moments in time, but I don't always see my entire stream. I always wonder if I'm missing something significant.
I've found an online tool, a way to capture the essence of those I follow. I'm using paper.li. It's an online newspaper that's more than an rss feed. It has the look of a newspaper, and paper.li streams my Twitter contributions on the top fold.
Paper.li was created by Small Rivers to show how streaming data can be presented in an appealing way. At the moment their first "newspaper" style application is created from your Twitter feed, but the goal is to expand this web application for other streaming media.
If you haven't tried Paper.li, I would recommend it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

follow hellotxt team

Follow hellotxt team on Twitter. This message can be sent straight from the minblogging web application, HelloTXT.

Winsome Wednesday: Moo Cards for YouTube Producers

Moo, an online printing service, is partnering with YouTube to help you get the word out about your videos. You can get a pack of 50 free cards. You can also have more than one image in your card set that come in your pack.

This is a wonderful idea. Moo helps you get the word out, and you also invite people to YouTube who may not know about your work.

Yes, believe it or not, there are people out in the World of Matter who don't know about YouTube. Don't you think they need to know?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friendly Friday - Developmental Assets: What Are They?

As children grow and develop, we can reinforce their assets, skills and actions, that help them succeed and believe in themselves and others.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Perceptions vs Reality Can Mean Life or Death!

Researchers have discovered that there are several variables that can have a statistical effect of patient survival, yet many "...surgeons placed less importance on sex, type of anesthesia, and ASA score [level of anemia]...."
This new information could decrease the high number of deaths, up to 22%, from hip fractures and resulting surgery.
For teachers or others involved with professional development and meta-analysis types of research, this article explains, in detail, the research procedures which would be a great help for many.
Evidence Versus Beliefs About Predictors of
by Michael Zlowodzki, MD; Paul Tornetta III, MD; George Haidukewych, MD; Beate P. Hanson, MD, MPH; Brad Petrisor, MD, MSc; Marc F. Swiontkowski, MD; Emil H. Schemitsch, MD; Peter V. Giannoudis, MD; Mohit Bhandari, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Knowledge of predictors of outcome can and should influence
treatment decisions and can subsequently improve outcomes

Hip fractures have devastating consequences for patients
and their families, including a 22% mortality rate within 1 year
postoperatively3 and substantial impairment of independence and
quality of life.4 Hip fractures also account for more hospital days
than any other musculoskeletal injury and represent more than two-thirds of all
hospital days due to fractures.5

Figure: The responses of American surgeons vs European surgeons regarding predictors of outcome after operative treatment of femoral neck fractures
The responses of American surgeons vs European surgeons regarding predictors of outcome after operative treatment of femoral neck fractures.
greatest discrepancy

survey and current evidence

related to the type of anesthesia
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Specifics: Going Green and Saving Money

Even though I believe the main way to save money on printing is to break the monopoly on toner that allows printer makers to receive $10,000 per gallon, I believe that changing the default font on all university email is a step in the right direction. This is a very creative solution.
clipped from news.yahoo.com

Wis. college says new e-mail font will save money

Thu Mar 25, 11:40 pm ET

GREEN BAY, Wis. – A Wisconsin college has found a new way to cut costs with e-mail — by changing the font.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has switched the default font on its e-mail system from Arial to Century Gothic. It says that while the change sounds minor, it will save money on ink when students print e-mails in the new font.

Diane Blohowiak is the school's director of computing. She says the new font uses about 30 percent less ink than the previous one.

That could add up to real savings, since the cost of printer ink works out to about $10,000 per gallon.

Blohowiak says the decision is part of the school's five-year plan to go green. She tells Wisconsin Public Radio it's great that a change that's eco-friendly also saves money.

Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chartle Your Data

Several Plurk buddies have been raving about Chartle, an online web application where you can build your own online charts. It's very simple to use, so be careful. You might want to make Chartles all the time. Thanks to @cdltoz and @russelltarr
clipped from www.chartle.net
Chartle Video Tutorial

Over 1 billion charts, maps, plots and diagrams are found in print publications each year - but only 40 million online.

This huge discrepancy is a reflection of the complexity to create & publish charts online.

Chartle.net tears down the complexity of online visualizations - offers simplicity, ubiquity and interactivity instead.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Drops of Old Glory

drops of old glory
Originally uploaded by Steve took it
Amazing images that are shared with us are available to all students and teachers for use, as long as we follow the Creative Commons Share-Alike non commerical copyright. That's always easy to do, since we are teachers and students.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Level The Play Back!

Here is another wonderful example of how people are leveling the playing field for podcasters. You don't have to have expensive hardware or software to level the volume of all participants in your podcast.


This wonderful software takes your podcast or other audio file and changes the audio levels, so various speakers' words are at the same volume.

This is quite a game changer. Try it out on Windows, OSX, or Linux(Ubuntu)
The Levelator® 2.0 Screen Shot

So what is The Levelator®? It's software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It's not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three. It's much more than those tools, and it's much simpler to use. The UI is dirt-simple: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler's application window, and a few moments later you'll find a new version which just sounds better.

The Levelator® is brought to you by:

  • Bruce and Malcolm Sharpe (core code)
  • Norman "the Normanizer" Lorrain (UI code)
  • Russell Heistuman (graphic design)
  • Doug Kaye (concept and fearless leader)
  • More: The Levelator® Loudness Algorithms

    Levelator® is a registered trademark of The Conversations Network.

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    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Introducing Newbies to Teaching2.0

    There is an excellent slideshow and a discussion of standards that could be expected from those beginning to learn how to teach.
    clipped from johnp.wordpress.com

    Next week I begin a new gig as the tutor taking a group of pre-service teachers titled Teaching with New Technologies. This will be quite a challenge as much of the content has been decided by the lecturers in charge of the course. In preparation for this task I have been paying even more attention to resources that I might share with the group of students I will be working with. It was great to find in the twitterstream reference then to this presentation from Steve Wheeler from the University of Plymouth.

    Paying reference to the need for individualised learning, Steve explores a hierarchy of trends in education before looking at self-organised learning and where Web 2.0 tools fit in this process.
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    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Weather Widget Wrapup

    How's the Weather where you live?
    Do you need to know?
    Knowing the weather and providing students a chance to read and analyze the weather report through online widgets educates them to find trends and even learn to predict based on available evidence.

    Even though all weather reporting originates through weather.gov, they do not offer a widget, so you can find many types of weather widgets from a multitude of other sources.

    Are all weather widgets created equal? Are the weather reports for all weather widgets created equal? How are they the same? How the various weather widgets different?

    Weather.com has a widget that can be used on your website or blog. You can also get a weather.com desktop or mobile widget.

    Another weather widget was one I found at the Fort Hayes State University TECS 390 class network is part of a package of widgets that you can use on a website or blog called yourminis: web widgets

    While there are over 60 variations of this weather widget, the weather information comes from the Weather Channel. When you provide a city or zip code, the weather report on the widget belongs to that locale.

    The Great Yarmouth Wether Widget is the one that would be very adaptable, yet it has an interesting background that could be used as is.

    Accu-Weather has a widget with a basic level that is free. There also premium services, but the basic widget has a nice background with a map.

    This is the webpage widget, and there is code for a MySpace widget also.