Friday, August 29, 2008

Blogging In Billings

Wow! I am so proud of my TILT teachers - taking the initiative to create classroom blogs to use with their students and parents. AND...teaching other teachers around the district to do the same! I think you are going to find some great information and classroom ideas from these folks:

Here is a list (some are by invitation only, so not listed):
Connie Jensen - 2nd Grade
Jamee Wilson - 3rd Grade
Julie Betts - 3rd Grade
Doretta Lambert - 3rd Grade
Sandy Anseth - 5th Grade
Dan Erikson - 5th Grade
Sara Olsgaard - 6th Grade
Elizabeth Waddington - Middle School Art
Susan Veit - Middle School English
Marjorie Zeedyk - Middle School Reading
Doug Van Zee - Freshman Health & PE

Some Ideas of How to use a Blog:

  • Communicate with parents about classroom activities, homework assignments, and school events. (replace your classroom webpage)
  • Post Internet resources for students to use for research projects
  • Post assignments for students
  • Journaling for students
    • Book Reviews
    • Collaborative Activities
    • Creative Writing
    • History
  • Put lesson content for students that are absent on your blog
  • Post classroom calendar events
  • post assignments based on literature readings and have students respond, creating a kind of portfolio of their work.
  • post prompts for writing.
  • provide examples of classwork, vocabulary activities, or grammar games.
  • provide online readings for your students to read and react to.
  • post photos and comment on class activities.
  • publish examples of good student writing done in class.
  • show case student art, poetry, and creative stories.
  • create a literature circle.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Little Font Humor

This YouTube Video was shared by Poly Drive Elementary librarian Kelli Delaney. I think it is terrific!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Do You Believe in Me?

This is a keynote speech from a young man from a Dallas elementary school. If you needed a reminder of why you do what you it is!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Welcome Back: Classroom Ideas for Gadgets

Many of you purchased digital cameras and camcorders over the summer and may be wondering how you can use them in your classroom. Here are some ideas for using these gadgets in the classroom.

Digital Camera Ideas:

  1. Photos of vocabulary words.
  2. Bulletin board photo journal of classroom activities.
  3. Create a digital scrapbook of student’s year: art, handwriting, portrait photos, etc.
  4. Create a personal or classroom alphabet with pictures.
  5. Use pictures for concept illustration (art, math, science).
  6. Make an electronic portfolio of student work for Open House or parent review.
  7. Create an “About the Author” section of student writing books.
  8. Use the camera to create a video yearbook.
  9. For math ask students to take pictures of angles in the classroom or school yard.
  10. Story Starters: Show a picture and have students write a story based on the picture.
  11. Provide a series of photos and have students write a story using what they see.
  12. Help students with vowels sounds with pictures
  13. Take pictures of objects in different positions to study prepositions
  14. Take pictures of objects or students showing different actions for verb identification
  15. Take pictures of a tree throughout the year to study growth, seasons, weather...etc.
  16. Decisions, decisions. Take a picture of a scene and ask the students to make a decision about what happens next.
  17. Take two pictures and compare them using a Venn diagram.
  18. Identify the parts of speech in a picture.
  19. Create clock "flash cards."
  20. What else?

Using a Video Camcorder:
  1. Record early readers to document progress (share at parent/teacher conference).
  2. Create a short video for the manners of the week.
  3. Document student behavior for parents, counselors, principal. (positive and negative)
  4. Document your teaching for self-improvement.
  5. Document experiments for students who were absent.
  6. Allow students to interview each other on a topic. (review items for a test)
  7. Have students create a "how to" video for a HEPE activity.
  8. Have students create safety videos for other students or your school website.
  9. Record concerts or school activities for parents or absent students.
  10. What else?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Welcome Back! It is going to be a GREAT year.

Welcome back for another exciting school year. I know that we are just like the kids...these past months have drained our brains of most of what we have learned over the last school year. Well, I have put together a list of resources that will hopefully jump-start your thinking and get those synapses firing once again. Enjoy!!

Resources For Using Technology In Your Classroom

District Resources:
Links for Teachers & Students:
• Access to Important District Resources
• Search Engines
• Educational Websites for Both Teachers & Students
• Technology Standards and Guidelines
• Technology Tutorials

Educational Blogs:
Montana Link Share Project:
Top 100 Technology Tools:
Weblogged - Read/Write Web:

Other Great Educational Websites:
Apple Learning Interchange (ALI):
NOVA Online: Virtual Tour of the Moon:
The Discovery Channel: Planet Earth:
PBS – Yellowstone Park Virtual Tour:
The Futures Channel:

Great Web 2.0 Sites:

Get them all! Visit Desiree’s Site

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Posting from Blackberry

Today I am demonstrating how to post to Blogger from a wireless phone. In the email settings tab of the blog, you can choose an address to send a message to and Blogger will automatically post it as the most recent article!

I will try and add an image of last nights storm clouds as well to see if it shows...

Doug Van Zee

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

MCCE Summer Technology Conference a Success!

MCCE Sumer Tech Conference

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Best of Series by Larry Ferlazo

I stumbled upon this blog the other day while researching new web 2.0 applications. I forgot all about what I started researching and became immersed in this very informative blog post. Larry has spent a lot of time compiling these sites and you can spend a lot of time exploring them! Although I might change a few of his lists slightly, I learned a lot and added to my collection of resources.

Visit My Best of series to explore!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Google Earth

What is Google Earth? Google Earth is currently available for download as a desktop application, although you need to be connected to the Internet to use it. Every time you open Google Earth, it automatically connects to Google's servers, giving you access to terabytes of geographical, political and social data. See related article on