Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

This has been an exciting year with many happy and sad times. My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Israel. He retires on January 2, 2009...just days away. My mother, who was 84 years old, passed away this year. This school year is my last at District 130. I will be retiring in June 2009.

Have a safe and Happy New Year Everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Little Drummer Boy!

This will be the first Christmas without my mother! I would like to dedicate this video to her. This was her favorite Christmas song.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Family Pix

Above is a link to my family pictures. I use Picasa web albums supplied by google. In my opinion, one of the best email providers is google which is gmail. Google has many resources that are wonderful to use. All my pictures on my blogs are stored at picasa automatically.

I use picasa to share my pictures with family and friends. You can easily download any or all of the pictures I have placed on my account.


Turbo Tagger

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Easy Graphic Converter

Easy Graphic Converter is a program I use for converting and resizing graphics. Students will be learning how to use this program so they can add images to their blogs. Many times websites take a long time to load because the graphics are large, so we will be reducing the size of our images. In this way, our blogs will load quicker and easier.

Turbo Tagger

Working on Classblogmeister!

Today the students "logged" in to Classblogmeister and were able to post their first stories, comments, opinions, or concerns on a variety of topics.

Classblogmeister is set on private so if parents are wanting to see what this is all about we will show you at parent/teacher conferences in November.

Students will be using their blogs as diaries; posting articles on a variety of topics.

We will keep you updated.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


September is here and it is hard to believe that Open House is over! We had quite a turn out of parents and grandparents attending. There was a lot of excitement with students and families all over the room talking and exchanges ideas about the different displays in the classroom.

Classblogmeister will be set up this coming week. I am interested in having all students writing in their blogs. It will be a great journaling experience for them. We will be working on vocabulary, collaboration, and cooperative learning activities.

Looking forward to setting this up and making it happen.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Day of School August 20

What a fantastic day at Whittier School! Our first day of school was awesome with many parents and students happy to see the school year begin. Our new principal is Mr. Talluto. He is married and has three boys. He has been working all summer getting our school ready for the new school year.

Now that school has started, please have the students (your child/children) read at night and get plenty of sleep. Turn off the TV early. It is so important that they are ready for their school day. It takes awhile to transition from summer to fall, so by encouraging your child to get to bed early will help greatly in the transition. Remember if children have plenty of rest, they will perform much better in school and at home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

First Day of School and Open House

The students in our district will start back to school on August 20. The teachers will have inservices and meetings on the 18th and 19th of August.

No School on September 1 Labor Day

September 3 Open House at Whittier School

Open house is a great night to meet parents and sign up for Parent/Teacher conferences. This year open house is from 6-7pm.

I will be looking forward to meeting everyone!


Our new principal Mr. Talluto has been working hard at Whittier School getting things ready for the first days of school. He has allowed the teachers to come in early to set up classrooms. This has been extremely helpful since we have the Intermediate Literacy Program for reading and a new math series to get ready. We have had workshops on math, writing, and reading throughout the summer. Many teachers have been at Whittier School working hard to get things ready for their students.

This year we will not have the First Day of School celebration! We will be having Open House very soon after we start school, so we will meet the parents then.

This year I plan to use wikis and blogs again in the classroom. Blogs are an excellent way to keep a journal. Journaling promotes writing and reading. You can find free blogs at

Israel 2008 Picasa Web Albums

Picasa Web Albums are fun and easy to make. Here is part 1 of my Israel pictures taken this summer with my husband.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


This is an exciting time of year for students who are returning to school. They are full of excitement for the new school year having been off for summer vacation. Many students do want to come back-to-school; however, there are some who do not want to return. For them, it has been fun not to work on homework or reading assignments for tests.

School shouldn't always be about dreadful things we don't want to do, but can be about things that we like to do. To help your child or children stay excited about school, find out what they are really interested in and let them explore. The Internet is a wonderful resource for learning about many topics of interest. When I am visiting my mom (who does not have Internet), I am amazed at how I miss the Internet and looking up words or topics that come up in conversations. To deepen the meaning of conversations, the Internet is a very useful tool.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Walden University

This has been an exciting summer vacation. I finished my Ph. D. degree at Walden University. It was a great adventure! My official date for finishing is August 24, 2008. I will be attending the Winter Commencement in Texas.

Walden University is an online university and has been fantastic! I have been with Walden for four years and have had nothing but good things happening. I have met online and in-person some amazing people. We have worked on many projects together through chat rooms, phone calls, and class posting areas.

Two Types of Learning modes:

asynchronous and Synchronous

Students check these terms out and let me know what you think!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Online Newspapers!

A good friend of mine BJ Bagwell referred me to a blog called Literacy in all the Write Spaces that she created for the Southwest Georgia Writing Project (SWGWP). Several contributors are listed on this blog.

This is an excellent source for writing because SWGWP is an affiliate of the National Writing Project.

As I approach this new school year, I am excited about using SWGWP and the National Writing Project blogs as resources for the classroom.

Here is just one example that was on the blog.

Using newspapers in the classroom

Listed below are addresses for newspapers published online.


The following websites contain ideas for using newspapers in the classroom.

Turbo Tagger

Saturday, June 28, 2008

NECC 2008 Conference

The National Educational Computing Conference is being held in San Antonio, June 29 to July 2.

I have been reading about this conference from several sources.

One of the NECC attenders that I want to share on my blog is Scott Merrick. From the ustream, it appears that scott works with elementary education students and has computers that are similar to ours. He creates podcasts and has an Second Life avatar that is featured in the ISTE membership pavilion. I am wondering if Scott works with his students in podcasting and avatars for second life?

To read more about Scott Merrick go to

TV Show hosted by Ustream

Turbo Tagger

Thursday, June 26, 2008

As I was reading my morning Twitter tweets, I clicked on a link posted by Lisa Thumann She referenced the following where teachers and students can find many resources.

This all came from a tweet thanking Clif Mims. Lisa Thumann wrote "Thanks for posting the link to Cool Places for Teachers on your blog at" on June 26, 2008

As you can see, the Internet is a small world where people are sharing information. It doesn't matter what who you are or what you are doing. The important thing is to share and give others credit when you find something useful. where teachers and students can find many resources for reading, lessons, games, storytelling, and more. There are resources for everyone.

Some of the websites you will find are:

Berit's Best Sites for Children

Awesome Library

Storyline Online

Digital Storytelling

Kids and History

Kidz Page

Owl & Mouse Free Software

Turbo Tagger

Monday, June 23, 2008


There are many books that we will be reading for the next school year.

Just to name a few:

Tuck Everlasting
The Giver
The Sign of the Beaver
Bridge to Terabithia
Snow Treasure
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Number the Stars
Twenty and Ten

The above books will be read during Shared Reading and think alouds conducted by the teacher.

What we need to do now is make a list of books that you (as a student) would like to read during silent reading and buddy reading times.

Here are links to suggested books for summer reading!

From We have the following link

Check out Reading Rockets at

Also, Check out this book list!Books for fourth and fifth graders

As you go through the booklists, make a list of books to read.

Enjoy your summer!

The Daily 5 and summer reading!

I have many books on my things to do list for this summer. I truly enjoy reading and I look forward to reading outside on a sunny day or inside on any day. :0) Just having time to read is great for me.

Here is one of my summer reading books:
The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser "the sisters".

What are the Daily Five? They are read to self, read to someone, work on writing, listen to reading, and spelling/word work. This is actually a management system for the classroom where teachers engage students into actively reading for a purpose.

As I read this outstanding book, I can see that integrating technology into the daily five will be quite easy. Each area is built for technology use. All five areas, read to self, read to someone, work on writing, listen to reading, and spelling/word work can be accomplished through blogs, wikis, and Internet websites. There are ebooks and books on tape that are wonderful resources for kids.

A blog would be a fantastic way to have students journal their experiences with the Daily 5. Personal blogs would reflect the students' writing and word work to show growth over time. There are numerous places to set up blogs for young students. Remember to edit the settings and keep them private if your child or students are under 14.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


While in Israel, we walked many miles a day so when I came upon this milestone I had to take a picture. This was made by the Romans many, many, years ago.

Milestone as defined by wikipedia:

"A milestone or kilometre sign is one of a series of numbered markers placed along a road or boundary at regular intervals, typically at the side of the road or in a median. Milestones are constructed both to reassure the traveller that the proper path is being followed and to indicate distance travelled, or the remaining distance to the desired destination".

This is one huge milestone compared to today's mile markers found along the side of the road. It is interesting to see how things have changed. As I looked at the Roman milestone, I think of the other definition for milestone which means something significant that has happened in a person's life. Accomplishments! Some Accomplishments are like the Roman milestone....huge, enormous, super big!
"important event: a significant or important event, e.g. in the history of a country or in somebody's life"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Israel Pictures

While in Israel, our bus group was called Asher one of the ten tribes of Israel. There were approximately 45 people on our bus everyday. We were able to take over 2,000 pictures and will share them at the following website.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Last Days of School!

Hi Class! I really enjoyed my time in Israel but I also missed seeing you and saying goodbye. I have it from good sources that you had a great time with your sub. I am glad that awesome reports were coming back to me about most of you. You were a great class, fun to be with, and enjoyable. I will truly miss you.

It is amazing how time flies; it has already been a week since I returned home.

Many of you have asked if this blog will still be used next year. The answer is Yes! You will be able to post comments to this blog. I would love to hear from you all and keep track of what you are doing. I think you will really like 6th grade; the teachers are awesome.

Good Luck to each and everyone; Have a great, safe, and fun vacation.

See you in August,

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Renewal of Vows!

Shalom y'all!

It is great to be back at home. I missed teaching the last days of school so I will be updating you on my trip to Israel.

First of all, it was exciting, awesome, and beautiful.
My husband and I signed up with Moody Bible Institute to tour Israel from May 25 to June 5. We were up by 5:00am, off and running until 9pm most days. We had full days of learning about Israel's history visiting many tels that have been excavated. I will be sharing more about each place later.

While at Tel Dan (Ruth 4: 1; 2 Samuel 15:2-4), Paul and I renewed our wedding vows at the place for judging located at the city gate. The picture above shows us standing on the judging area with Dr. Julius from Moody Bible Institute. We had ten witnesses, to our surprise our friends organized a party with ten squirt guns to anoint our renewal of vows.

It was just one of the great memories we have from our trip to Israel.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dr. J and our group!

Dr. J baptizing in the Jordan River.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Israel Trip!

The following are the hotels that we will be staying at while in Israel! You can leave comments to this post and I will try to check in periodically during the trip.

Students: Have a great time while I am gone! Post your questions to the comment area on this post. Okay?

Evening of May 26 through morning of May 28
Le Meridian Hotel Dead Sea
Ph: 011 972-8-659-1234

Evening of May 28 through morning of May 31
Gai Beach Hotel Tiberias
Ph: 011 972-4-670-0700

Evening of May 31 through evening of June 4
Regency Hotel Jerusalem
Ph: 011 972-2-533-1234

Monday, May 19, 2008

Whittier School

This is an exciting week for school. The students only have ten days left until summer break. They are very excited and happy to be going to sixth grade. It doesn't seem possible that the year is over. We have been taking a lot of pictures but can't post them here at the blog.

As I look back over our work on blogs and wikis, we have made many successes but have had some hardships. A lot of images and websites are blocked so the students had to work from home. The wiki was very helpful as a place they could store their information then transfer it once they were home.

We used audacity, an avatar, cameras, and many Microsoft products. We built slide show presentations, audio recordings of stories for Young Authors, many word documents, brochures, and recorded using an avatar. It was an interesting year.

The biggest accomplishment was the use of Class Blogmeister and getting the students to blog from home. That was really interesting and very hard to encourage. Once students are home in their own world, it was very difficult to get them to work on blogging. It would take weeks to get a blog post. Once they got use to checking at home, we were off and running.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Students don't forget about our wikis that we have been building all year. I look forward to your participation this summer. Your names will be removed as of the end of June. Let's keep in contact through

School Year is Ending!

As the school year's ending, I can see that many of the students have learned a lot about using computers. It seems their favorite thing to do is write stories and plays.

I am hoping that the students will keep in contact with this blog throughout the summer. Since they will be at home, many of the items won't be blocked. It will be interesting to see how many students keep in touch.

The comments area will be a vital part of our summer contact. We will use that area to communicate back and forth.

Students, what do you think....???? Will you be contacting this blog this summer?
Why or Why not?

What is a key Fob?

We now have Key Fobs at Whittier School.

A Key Fob is used to unlock doors electronically,,sid14_gci795968,00.html

From now on the doors at Whittier School will be locked. If students are coming to school early because they are working with various teachers, they need to ring the bell to get in. Otherwise, they will not find the doors unlocked.

Key Fobs are for the students safety.

Revolutionary War Games!

Here is a board game created by my students! What a fantastic way to learn about any content area.
We have been working on Revolutionary War games and using the QAR strategy for designing the board game questions. QAR is writing questions that require answers that are right there, think and search, or the book and me. The students sat down to play their games and found out that it was pretty exciting. Some didn't realize they had learned so much while others were figuring out what the Revolutionary War was all about.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Marquee in Lights!

What is this? Use Google to research the name of these new ways to advertise! What is it called? How does it work? Costs?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Learning about Comments!

For day 3 of the 31 Day Comment Challenge, the activity was to acquire a comment tracking service. Well, I was ahead of the game. I had read Sue Water's post on co.mments and have been using it.

Now the challenge will be to use co.mments more often.

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Comment Challenge for May 2008

Blogging is more than creating a Website to place important ideas, opinions, concerns, and information. There is a second part to blogging that is equally important. It is the comments.

Part I Blogs:

It is very exciting to create a blog with all of the widgets and images. Eventually the creator of the blog becomes very satisfied with the look and feel of their pages because of personal preferences and fondness. In fact, if you’re looking for a place to start a blog, then consider Blogger, Wordpress, or edublogs.

Part II Comments:

It is very important to read blogs written by others and post comments or write responses to what you have read. Let the author of the blog know how you feel about the topic that was written.

Sometimes you will read blogs that are of high interest to you or other times you want to read to gather more information about a topic. It doesn’t matter why you decide to read the blog. What matters is if you take the time to comment.

Many times I spend my mornings reading blog after blog never commenting. I wanted to change this so I have joined the 31 Day Comment Challenge. I will be forcing myself to take the time to comment to blogs I read.

Here a link to the Daily Activities on the 31 Day Comment Challenge.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Internet Games!

What is your favorite Internet game?

Please provide a short statement describing why you like the game and provide the URL for the game.

Make sure you are connecting with games that are safe and respectful.

First Day of May!

First of May represents a lot of things to different people. For me, it means the end of the school year. Here we have only a month left of school where students and teachers are tired from all the stress of testing.

Time for a change in atmosphere:

This is a time of year to relax and enjoy our students. Change the atmosphere in the classroom...clean house and let the students find respectable, safe games to play.

Try playing different Games at Have students check out these games and write short critiques on what they like and dislike about the games. If asked, I think the students will even come up with different game sites that they could recommend.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Technology and Church!

It is hard for some churches to be able to project images from computers onto their walls so that visitors and members can enjoy the program. Not all churches have appropriate lighting and enough receptacles located near the front.

In today's churches and schools, the teachers are facing the need to provide visuals and interactive lessons for their students. This allows students to become actively involved in the lesson. How often do we actually sit for long periods of time? Usually if we are watching TV, videos, DVDs, etc. that will keep us involved.

Our students need to be involved mentally and physically in their learning. This can be accomplished by having them create projects by using word processors, slide shows, cameras, videos, and more.

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Today we watched a basketball game between 4th and 5th grades with teachers and students playing on the same team. It was a great afternoon watching and enjoying the good sportsmanship. The teachers were fantastic. I say this because they are much older than the students that were playing and they kept up with everything.

Our Gym teacher, Mr. VanZee, was awesome with his high jumps. The students love him.

More about FrontPage!

To work with FrontPage, you need to start finding images that you will be wanting to use on your Website.

Search the Internet, collect the URLs where your images are held. Bring this list to class so we can visit the sites together to determine if we can really use the images.

Remember, you can't just copy and paste images from anywhere on the Internet that would be plagiarism. Instead, you need to give credit to whomever is responsible for owning the images. URLs are important, so keep a copy of them in your image files.

In addition, to use images in FrontPage, the images need to be saved in your image file. We will then insert the images into Frontpage from that file.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008


Do we start with blogs or FrontPage?

You have been asking about making Websites and blogs to go on the Internet.
This year we have used Classblogmeister for you to post your thoughts, ideas, and concerns. This blog is private so remember to make your blog private and ask for help when you are trying to set up your new blog account.

Rules for starting a blog or Website:
First get permission from your parents about starting a Website or blog that is actually placed on the Internet. In class, we have been working with FrontPage that creates WebPages but these have not been placed on the Web. You must get permission from your parents and work with your parents to build a Website or blog.

Blogs are the easiest for you to create, so ask your parents to help you make a blog a safe place for you to post your thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Many of you have a blog and know how to make it private. Remember Adora, her mom checks everything she writes then she is allowed to post and her comments are check by her mom too. In this way, no one can post anything without it being read by mom first.

Be Safe:
  • Never, never, never give anyone your user name or password.
  • You must not give out personal information to anyone, even a classmate.
  • Do not put images of any kind of yourself on the Internet. You must have permission from parents and be 14 years of age to put images on Flickr.
  • Do not use your full name on the Internet. Always get help from a parent when answering questions on the Internet.
  • Remember to take pictures of things not people, buildings not people, objects not family.
  • Since you are underage, get permission from an adult or ask their opinion of what you are posting online. It is a permanent place. Do not take pictures of inappropriate things for a little joke. This is acting irresponsible. Be responsible and think before you post pictures.
Trust Your Parents:
  • Seek the advice of your parents or adult members of your family. They can help you when trying to make decisions about Internet Safety.
  • Be careful and if in doubt.....ask, ask, and ask again.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

FrontPage and Making Digital Files:

Microsoft FrontPage allows you to create WebPages!
My students have been working on many Word documents, slideshows, brochures, and spreadsheets throughout the school year. Now, it is time to link these documents to FrontPage. Above is the teacher index page where all the students’ WebPages are linked.

For each student:

Each student has created one WebPage where all their documents are linked. After completion of a project, the student saves the artifact as an html document then links it to their personal index page. It is then linked to the page below. In this way, the students can show their files as a portfolio or digital files.

Note: My Student WebPages are not available on-line because of privacy issues.

Informal Survey on Technology

It is always interesting to read what students think about school and what they consider their favorite “thing to do” regarding technology. So, I surveyed my students to find out:

1. What was their favorite “thing” to do in the media center or in tech class. They are as follows:

  • Creating brochures
  • Working on the newspaper
  • Typing Stories
  • Working on Wikis and blogs
  • Coming in the early morning to write stories and put on the blog so everyone can read it.
  • Reading about the Wright brothers and making the report
  • Working with partners on brochures
  • Writing plays

2. What was the one thing they felt they learned the most about?

  • I learned to type better now.
  • I learned how to write stories because I wrote a lot.
  • I learned about Wikis and blogs.
  • While doing brochures, I learned different ways to post pictures.
  • I learned how to type a story on PowerPoint.
  • I learned you can make your own blog.
  • I learned to put my stories on our wiki.
  • I learned to copy and paste, work with WordArt, how to change backgrounds, and how to make brochures.
  • I learned how to print on both sides of the paper.
  • I learned to use the Internet properly.
  • I learned computers are slow.

3. What would you like to learned in the next school year?

  • How to make my own Website?
  • Learn to make an Avatar.
  • Be able to write faster on the computer.
  • Make a 3-D shape.
  • Learn more stuff.
  • I want to learn how to track people down on the computer.
  • Learn how to build a robot.
  • Learn about how the computer works.
  • Learn more about Wikis.
  • How to build a video game.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Add Color to Your Posts!

Attention fourth and fifth grade students:

Add color to your posts!

If you type your posts using Microsoft Word, you are able to use color and the color does transfer to your post “as is” if you have a blog created with Blogger.

Titles can be added using different colors to draw attention to your different sections that you have written.

Subtitles can be used to add additional color.

Emphasizing different points of view could be accomplished by using different colors!

What is Myspace and why are children interested in it?

According to Wikipedia, the definition of myspace is as follows:

MySpace is a popular social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos for teenagers and adults internationally.

The following is how Wikipedia defines social network service:

A social network service uses software to build online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most services are primarily web-based and provide a collection of various ways for users to interact, such as chat, messaging, email, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups, and so on. Social networking has revolutionized the way we communicate and share information with one another in today's society. Various social networking websites are being used by millions of people everyday on a regular basis and it now seems that social networking is a part of everyday life.

Networking is a fairly common word for 5th grade students. They understand it as a place they can go to talk with other kids. Networking means communication with others through a source like Facebook or MySpace.


Fourth and fifth grade students do not understand that they are not supposed to have a MySpace page. The legal age for MySpace is 14. This means that our fourth and fifth graders should not have these webpages. Unfortunately, one of the reasons, students get involved in social networking is because they have older brothers, sisters, friends, or family members creating MySpace pages. Therefore, they want to have a MySpace.


Kids can go to MySpace and real quickly start building a Webpage that has music, videos, friends, email, photo sharing, groups, and more. Why wouldn’t they be interested in MySpace!!!! For teenagers, MySpace offers attraction and hours of fun.

Remember Stay Safe:

MySpace allows you to turn off “on line” so no one knows when you are online.

MySpace allows you to hide your friends so others can’t see them.

MySpace allows you to have anyone wishing to “be a friend” make a request and not be automatically added. This way no one can see your complete profile unless they are actually someone you have allowed as a friend.

CAUTION: when building profiles only share a small amount of information. Remember this is for students 14 and older not for our fourth and fifth graders! Do not give out your password to anyone.

Who's on First!

This week we had a skit written by Vivian, Jasmine, and Julliana so I thought you might like watching this skit by Abbott and Costello. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


We have been working on brochures using Publisher, adding images and researching facts about famous people. It is quite interesting to watch my students work helping each other and creating newspapers, brochures, plays, and books. They are interested in writing and creating without being told this is an assignment. Instead, they arrive early morning to work on their many projects. They seem to be rather fast when it comes to typing and finding research articles. Now it is time to start showing them how to build web pages.

They also went home and commented to this blog. This took exact time and effort. Many of the students do not have computers at home so they decided to go to the public library.

The 2007-2008 class is an amazing class. It doesn't seem possible that our school year is almost at an end.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Our media center early morning before the students arrive. We have 12 computers that serve approximately 243 fourth and fifth grade students. Class sizes are about 20 or more students on the average.

Our students love coming in working on various activities with their teachers and tech staff. They are encourage to create powerpoints, inspiration projects, and excel graphs besides Internet research projects. The media center staff are fantastic at creating lesson plans for many activities that aligned with the classroom curriculum and state testing mandates.

Most of our students are involved in Accelerated Reader where students check out books from a specific list. After the book has been read, the students will take a reading comprehension test. The program stores all test scores taken (passed or failed) by the student. The student receives a print-out of their history with Accelerated Reader. In my opinion, this has been a fantastic way to get students involved in reading. They can find many books that are very interesting on the list such as Bridge to Terabithia, Tuck Everlasting, Giver, Number the Stars, Twenty and Ten, Snow Treasure, and many, many, more.

Our media center may be small, but it is used constantly by students as well as adults. There is never a dull moment in this classroom.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I thought my students would love to see this TV that has been placed above the Gas station pump. This allowed me to watch the current news and weather as I filled up my car with gas.

I also noticed monitors as I walked the mall and grocery stores where advertisements are being played over and over. Is this something we really want…to be constantly bombarded with news and advertisements???? Is this what we really want to use technology for????

I personally like to have a peace of mind when I am shopping. It is hard enough to make decisions without the constant noise of commercials being played in the background.

What about having time to think, absorb, and just enjoy the quiet of the moment???

Monitors in stores???? Is this a good thing or not??? What do you think students?

Sunday, March 30, 2008


I never get tired of looking a trees. While on a short vacation this week, I was visiting my brother's house and took pictures of these two awesome oak trees. It is amazing how big and beautiful they are and it is not summer yet.



Websites about Oak Trees!

Interesting Facts about Oak Trees

Oak Tree

Sherwood Forest England

Friday, March 28, 2008


Check this Screencast out by Liz Davis on Flock a browser by Mozilla!

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Please post an answer to these Survey Questions:

What are some ways your child/students use technology?

Name the technology tools that your child/students uses?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Patience at Jury Duty

As I was sitting at Jury Duty and completely bored, I noticed that people were doing a variety of things! Some brought their laptops, cell phones, books, magazines, newspapers, notes, paper, and pens. It was a group that did not know each other and had never met before. We all had one thing in common…to be here for Jury Duty.

How much technology was used this day was at a low obviously because of where we were and not knowing exactly what to bring with us. However, people were busy reading, reading, and reading. It was basically a quiet day with everyone involved in whatever they had brought with them to read. There were three televisions on so some of the people watched the latest game shows.

Technology today was TV, cell phones, and laptops used to communicate information to people. I only say one person with a ipod.

As I sat and watched people, I thought of the younger generation of students that are growing up and wondering if they have been learning patience. Can they sit, watch, and just notice the world around them without text messaging, cell phones going constantly, and ipods running? Are they able to read newspapers and books for hours at a time and amuse themselves without a lot of technology? Are they able to communicate in-person and make new friends or acquaintances at a strange place like this?

There is a skill to communicating in-person and we need, as educators and parents, to teach our students the importance of communication in social gatherings. Interpersonal skills are valuable and need to be practiced. It is also interesting that now I must clarify communication as “in-person” versus virtual, cell phones, emails, skype, and through social networks. Not only do our students and children need to know how to communicate safely in social networks but they also need to learn to communicate with their peers and adults.

As humans we still need real-time communication!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pictures are worth a thousand words!

Here are a set of computers that I use in my classroom! Notice how they have changed over time. The white boxes are still running and work nicely thanks to our tech staff. Also, the two Dell computers are 5 years apart, boy have they changed in size and looks. All in all, it is great to have computers working so the students are able to use the Internet and various programs without a lot of frustration.

Spring Break!

As I was experimenting with my camera, I was able to go to settings and change my color setting to black and white fairly easy. Taking black and white pictures seems to be very popular now and very easy to do with a digital camera.

Above is a picture of my granddaughters! This picture will be beautiful as I frame it in either black or white.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Testing, Testing, Testing

This past week has been one of the testing weeks for all students living in Illinois using the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT).
This test is given over a two week period.

There are many ways to prepare for the ISAT tests; however, nothing prepares a student better than getting plenty of sleep throughout their school year and being prepared for school. This means working hard on assignments in class as well as outside of class and coming to school ready for school.

Not coming to school sleepy and tired from a night of watching TV or being out late is very important if you want your child to be successful in school. Sure this happens occasionally but it should not be the rule.

The best thing that parents can do for their child is to prepare them for the school day throughout the school year.
• Eat breakfast (even if it is something small)
• Get plenty of sleep the night before school
• Help your child do their homework
• Ask your child what they are doing in school.
• Reading builds vocabulary so have your child read every night before TV time.

Activities for improving vocabulary and reading comprehension:

1. Have your child pick a research subject to report on. Then have your child frame a question then answer it. Who, what, when, where, why, and how many? are great places to start.

2. When your child is given extended response questions, does he or she….

a. Restate the question in the first sentence.
b. Support the answer with at least two ideas from the selection and expand on those ideas.
c. Support the answer with meaningful examples from student’s own experiences.
d. Quote something directly from the selection.
e. Balance ideas from the text with own ideas.
f. Answer the question that was asked.
g. Answer all parts of the question.
h. Use complete sentences.
i. Does the response make sense?

3. Provide quiet time where your child can read for 30 minutes a night. Before TV, have your child read. It can be anything as long as they are reading. Reading improves vocabulary. Support your child’s reading habits but making reading time as valuable as TV time.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Learning Something New!

Every day we learn something new!

I was in a meeting with our Tech personnel and found out that when something is blocked the filter will list why it is blocked. For example, it seems that the student links on Class Blogmeister are blocked at our school district because they fall under the term forums and forums cannot be unblocked without opening other links and websites into the classroom.

I have noticed that our student links, teacher links, and comment areas are all blocked; therefore, I will have to investigate and find out the reasons why? The reasons will give me a clue to whether or not the tech guys can help me unblock the links.

This is great news and bad news.

It is great that the filter will give you information on why the site is blocked.

The bad news is that the students and I cannot log in to work on our blogs at school. However, we will keep working with our wikis, writing articles, and posting them at night.

This has been an exciting learning time for the students as well as for me.

Listen to this article

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Meme: Passion Quilt"

"Meme: Passion Quilt" was a completely new concept to me, so I was happy and excited to be tagged by Allison Miller.

If you would like to read more about "Meme: Passion Quilt", here are some great websites!

First of all, I never do chain-letters but I found this quite easy and enjoyable. Plus I was honored by Allison's choosing to tag me. I plan to keep this social networking chain-blog letter going.

So, to follow the rules I have posted a picture from flickr and added a caption!


Presenting Class Blogmeister to My Students!

Now, to answer the question: What am I passionate in 'teaching' my students?

I am passionate in teaching my students to think and create. I have been having my students blog this year to improve writing skills as well as letting the students find their voices. They are encouraged to write their opinions, ideas, and concerns. They are just starting to realize that they can have opinions too. We spend time working on numerous short stories that had been fun to create.

Now for the fourth part of the rules, I now have officially tagged the following people.






If you choose to participate, please follow these rules:

Meme: Passion Quilt rules:

  1. Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students.
  2. Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
  3. Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
  4. Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Web 2.0 Tools for the classroom!

Here is a slideshow by Vicki Davis that is excellent in showing what a school district can do to open up learning with the Web 2.0 tools, Horizon Project, or the Flat Classroom Project. A lot of good information !

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Monday, February 18, 2008


What an interesting week reading Tweets on Twitter! I have been learning about some wonderful things that I will be sharing in the upcoming weeks. For example, add Gadgets to your homepage with Google Gadgets at

In addition, here is an excellent article on Google Docs

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I attended the National Educational Computing Conference in Georgia during the summer of 2007. One of the Web 2.0 tools that I was introduced to was Twitter. Twitter is social networking and micro-blogging put together around the question "What are you doing?"

In 140 characters or less, you post answers to that question. It is instant messaging from your computer or phone.

Once joining Twitter, you build a network of people you would like to follow. I am following people that have many of the same interests as I do. I am learning as much as I can about the Web 2.0 tools, educational technology, and specifically blogging.

Advantages to Twitter:

Everyday, I have a notebook beside me so I can write down any information that I need to look up later. In this way, I am keeping a journal on educational technology and Web 2.0 tools. Most of the time, the information leads to free "stuff" just waiting for me to tap into. For example, here are a few Web 2.0 tools I have been learning about:

voicethread, where you upload pictures and add comments or audio. What is really unique is that you can have others add their comments or leave an audio recording. Voicethread can be used to teach about a specific topic to commenting on family photos. The sky is the limit with this tool.

audacity, If you are interested in making MP3 files, this is a free tool that you must check out.

Social bookmarking with, If you want to be able to get to those bookmarks that you have made at home on your computer from work, use You can "log in" to any computer, anywhere and tap into your bookmarks.

Co.mments is a new tool for me. I will be able to feed my comments into a reader to keep updated on recent comments made to me. You can read more about this @dswaters

To learn more about technology, here is Sue Waters' homepage:

Podomatic is a great place to upload your MP3 files!

Skype has several features, but the one I am interested in is computer to computer Skype calls. I can Skype my girlfriend in Italy for free. I will write later how that turns out.

Well, this is just a few of the things that I have been learning from my Twitter friends.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Blogging to Encourage Writing!

For years, it has been the teacher’s responsibility to motivate and encourage ALL students to write. Every year students must practice and learn to write persuasive, narrative, and expository essays. Not only do they have to learn the different types of writing, but they have to take a state test that only provides 45 minutes to do the writing successfully. The rough draft to final polished piece must be written in 45 minutes. That is a hard task for anyone to complete!

I feel this is where blogging throughout the year has been encouraging and motivating for students. My students are coming early to class so they can work on the computers and write stories. They want to publish these stories to their blogs. Practice, practice, and more practice makes better writers. How do you get good at something? You practice!

How do readers get better at reading? by reading! Then it is only logical that to get better at writing, we must write more. Practice, practice, and more practice.

I do not have to make my students write. They want to write using word processors, wikis, and blogs. Having an audience to write for is a powerful tool for the classroom. My students are very excited that they have a blog and wiki to work on.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

February 1

My students are really motivated to blog, especially, due to the fact we have been invited to Tech 2008. We will be taking an all day field trip (3 hours one-way) to Springfield, Illinois. The students will present what they have been working on this year while explaining wikis and blogs to representatives, senators, superintendents, principals, board members, etc.

As I have written in earlier posts, we are using Classblogmeister and at the Pritchardpress wiki as our web 2.0 tools so that the students can write and publish their articles.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Social Networking

I sat here this morning reading Twitter messages and viewing the Ustream at

and was amazed and excited about what I was learning through an educational conference called Educon 2.0

While multi-tasking during the morning by reading tweets at twitter, reading/watching a live chat and Ustream, and writing notes for this blog, I realized I wanted to shared what educators at this conference were saying:

* Web 2.0 tools such as social networks, twitter, blogging, wikis, Voicethread, podcasting, and skype (just to name a few) are being used in many schools around the world.

* The use of these tools are increasing in schools across this country.

* One of the problems was that teachers and students were not using these Web 2.0 tools in their classrooms. (Note: It is assumed here that Web 2.0 tools are available for use, but teachers are choosing not to use them and therefore; students cannot use them).

* Web 2.0 tools promote reading and writing just like the pencil and paper has promoted reading and writing.

All of this made me think of my students and realize that they are using critical thinking and higher order thinking skills while trying to use Web 2.0 tools. For example, the students create stories, post them to their wiki pages at school, then when at home at night, they copy and paste their stories onto their blog at Classblogmeister

What a great experience for kids if they were allowed to blog at school! There is no doubt that Blogging promotes their creativity, writing, and communication skills.
In fact, students need audiences that will read and comment directly to their creative stories or informational articles. Students need to feel their articles are being read by an audience of people. This motivates students to write more. One child told me that “I didn’t think I was a writer until I started writing in here, Mrs. Pritchard”……..He was referring to his blog articles!

Learn more at

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Educon 2.0

Today, Twitter was an exciting place to be when you couldn’t attend the Educon 2.0 conference held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For example, by watching a Ustream of the opening keynote speaker, I was able to go to a live blog. A live blog is just what the name implies. Live (real-time) blogging at the same time you are attending a conference. If you want to know more check this out Liveblogs at

Friday, January 25, 2008

Exciting news for Whittier School!

We have been invited to participate in the Springfield Technology 2008 day held at the capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. My class along with Ms. Esparza’s class will be going on May 7 to this event.

What will we be exhibiting? Blogs, wikis, and podcasting!

About Blogs:

Through The Landmark Project and David Warlick a blog engine provides us with a safe environment for students to work with blogs. My students have created various stories and articles to place on their blog spot. If you are interested in reading more about my students visit us at

About Wikis:

Our wikis are at and
Unfortunately, our blogs are private and can only be viewed through our presentation at Springfield. Otherwise, you will need to come to visit us at school.

About Podcasting:

We have used Audacity to create podcasts for various projects throughout this school year. Our podcasts have been placed on our Classblogmeister homepage. Unfortunately, they are private and you will need to come to school so we can show them to you.

As you can see, we are keeping our Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasting safe for kids!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Getting out the bugs!

Up early today working on my feeds for my other blog. I wanted people to be able to subscribe to feeds such as feedburner. I was also spending time searching for a new look for both blogs. Something with a cleaning, sharp, and refreshing look. This lead me to spending time putting in a picture of my husband and me out in Arizona. What a beautiful desert!!!!

I feel it is important to keep updated on many of the wonderful tools and opportunities going on in the educational technology world of Web 2.0, so I included my links and will eventually add more to my blogroll. All the blogs I read have a tremendous amount of information. It seems the more I read and learn about technology, the more I realize that I need to read and learn more. It is a never ending cycle.

I spend at least 2 hours a day reading my Twitter information and visiting sites recommended by the technology people that I am following. Twitter is a social networking place where the users answer the question “What are you doing?” Many times, people contribute wonderful information regarding technology that I am able to link to and read about. My knowledge of educational technology has been growing because of these fabulous people.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Here is an excellent "how to" on bookmarking using

After watching this, you will want to start using tags to organize your bookmarks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More about Blogs

Great video I saw at Rachel Boyd's website. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Podomatic and Young Writers

My students have created fantastic stories that you can listen to at the following Website address. We used audacity in the classroom to record their stories and uploaded the MP3 file to podomatic. Easy!

We hope you enjoy listening to these stories.


I was reading information on Twitter this morning when I ran across Patrick Higgins' blog using VoiceThread in his professional development in-service coming up on Monday. This was an exciting time for me to join in and try out VoiceThread as well as experience the power of the read/write and publish web using a Web 2.0 tool.

Thursday, January 10, 2008