Friday, December 31, 2004


How Schools Are Helping Tsunami Victims

Education Minister urges students, schools to help tsunami victims
By Joanne Leow, Channel NewsAsia

Students take up tsunami cause
TROY - As the death toll rises toward 117,000 from Sunday's tsunami in Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia, the worst natural disaster in recorded history, the Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute community could not stand by without lending a helping hand.

Thursday, December 30, 2004


Where There's A WebCam There's A WAY

This holiday vacation I decided to do the YULE TIDE thing and take on five kids. My two (ages 5 & 7) and my sisters three (ages 12, 10 and 5). It's always more fun with more kids. Anyway, I know the 12 year old is very responsible and could easily watch the brood for 10 minutes but you can never be so sure. So I have my brother and he lives in California and often video cams me. It's almost like he lives here we chat so often; but he gets a chance to see his nieces and nephews LIVE. He doesn't get home much. Well yesterday, I was desperate and I needed to run an errand. I needed to literally run to the store for more chop meat for dinner. It would be very hard to get all five up and out. So I got my brother to be the 10 MINUTE WEBCAM babysitter. I sat the children around the screen and he watched them for me. Babysitting Via WebCam...NOW YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN THE 21ST CENTURY! I did have my cell phone on (with him on the other line) and the kids were given explicit instructions to 1) not answer the door or phone 2) stay in front of the screen 3) behave. There were SO EXCITED watching my brother watch them. But of course 10 minutes is a long time for any mother who is a nervous-nelly but I must say, having the webcam eased the pressure VERY MUCH. It's not the real thing, but it's close.


Sounds Like a Cult to Me!

I'm a little irritated by an article in today's New York Times,
Internet Use Said to Cut Into TV Viewing and Socializing By JOHN MARKOFF
"However, the researchers said they had now gathered further evidence showing that in addition to its impact on television viewing, Internet use has lowered the amount of time people spend socializing with friends and even sleeping."
When I was reporting the news, I would use a statement like this when describing a cult. Now it seems that if you are using the internet you are not a part of the real world. I think people who use the internet socialize even more. I mean it's just noon now and I've spoken to my cousin and brother in two separate parts of the globe via video chat. I received very important information about hot dogs (for an upcoming party) from my mom. My children were able to speak to my brother long distance on the video camera. He actually babysat for me via videocam yesterday (I needed to run a 5 minute errand). Maybe I'm trying to justify spending three hours online but BOY is it productive time. Remember the telephone? Well, I remember my mother spending hours on the phone (she still does). Anyway, I think she was socializing. But back then, people said it was impersonal. The writer of this article needs to talk to teachers (we research online) and other professionals to truly appreciate the Wonders of the Web. So if the internet is the cult leader...I guess I am a devotee. Any deprogrammers out there?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


To My Friends

I received via email (from one of my dearest friends) a great parenting article. It is well worth reading! You will come away with great "fun and teachable" strategies for your students or children.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Be Prepared To Explain

With schools being closed during this holiday season we should be prepared (when we return) to explain the tragedy unfolding from the tsunami devastation in South Asia. Fema For Kids is a site you could use to introduce students to disaster links in a Kid Friendly way. PBS Online has a very comprehensive tsunami site called Savage Earth, with animations and interviews. It's important for students to understand that nearly a third (at this moment) of the people killed were children. For younger students it's not advisable to go into details about the deaths but it may be helpful to explain that Natural Disasters happen and are out of our control. However, there are ways to stay safe with the right information beforehand.
There's definitely curriculum integration with this tragic event: science (weather, geology etc), social studies, (explaining historical tsunamis) journalism, (current events) english (writing exercises).
On a side note, I can't imagine waking up and having the rest of "life" as we've known...change forever with no preparation. It's so difficult to comprehend this HORRIBLE natural disaster. But we have a responsibilty to discuss it with our young people.

Monday, December 27, 2004


A Few Updates

I must admit, I've really been trying to read my ebook from the NYPL website...The American Gulag. The first day I received the book (via email) I was READY TO GO and also ready to prove the case that you don't always have to "curl" up with a good book, to be an avid reader. Well, maybe it's the holidays because I haven't been able to curl up and haven't even finished the second chapter. I'm sure it's something I have to get used to. But every time I sit down to read, a door opens and my brother contacts me via videocam from LA and I get side-tracked by seeing him on my screen and there goes my reading time.

On another note, I mentioned an article (I thought I furled and didn't so you know what happens...can't find it) I wanted to share re: parents and their children having too many computers at home. Well both of my children (ages 5 today, and 7) each have their own computer and what struck me in the article was the fact that studies are showing that students do not do well academically if they have their own computer at home. When I read "studies show" my eyes pop. So of course I went into panic mode and probably deleted the article which is why I can't find it. But what's positive is that the story gave me a little wake up call to be more diligent when my children are online. They really take part in some productive work and they play games too. But I can't argue with them that much...they have me as their role model clicking away when I can.


My Apologies

In a recent posting Time TOO! I was over zealous and psyched with the notion that Time Magazine is now offering its readers FREE archives. Well YES that is the fact but it's with a slight fee (NOT FREE) of course if you want the ability to search the archives. For's Better my apologies for not indicating that first.

Sunday, December 26, 2004


There's Not Much You Can Get With $5 ANYMORE

It may a little late...but you know the saying.
A recent follow up New York Times article parents who don't agree with the "gift giving mandate" from Commissioner Klein. I wrote about in Post...Tis the What? Addresses parents who want to give gifts to teachers and found the $5 rule a little ridiculous. I'm glad people are reacting and voicing their opinions on a freedom we should never take for granted...the freedom of giving (if there is such a one). I just wish the article was written when schools were still in session for the young people and parents who wanted a chance to give back.

Saturday, December 25, 2004


Off The Topic - ho! ho! How?

We just had a great Christmas and opened many gifts. My only question is who does the packaging for these toys? It took me, literally 25 minutes to open up a Barbie Birthday Doll; and Dora the Explorer was even longer. They have these little twisty, taped pieces behind the boxes; probably for security purposes. But when you can't even free the doll from the box, something is wrong. Then to top it off, you have to cut through Barbie's hair to take off the plastic protector. So you're right I had to cut out half of barbie's hair just to release the diva from her plastic confines. Now my daughter has Barbie with a Brush cut.
Hope for humor this holiday season and look for tomorrow's post on why computers and kids aren't always a good mix. I've had this article for a while now and wanted to research it more before posting it. Both of my children have computers and it's one of those "make the parents feel guilty" articles. Anyway, till tomorrow!

Friday, December 24, 2004


Let's Look Ahead

Being that my blogs just hit the online world (a little over a month ago) I feel very obligated to work the graveyard shift. And while all of the other bloggers are taking their much needed holiday hiatus...I WILL NOT. When you first start a new job, you don't get vacations. By the way...I wish all readers of news and blogs a very happy holiday and peace-filled new year!
Here's an article worth reading from CNN on whether students need to go to college.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


E-bloggers Book Clubbers - Wanted!

I just received notification of my very first, reserved ebook American Gulag - Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons by Mark Dow rom the NYPL was so easy and at first I was going to let my impatience for "not having it now" set in. But WOW I didn't have to leave my desktop to be able to begin reading this very intense book with a dedication...To Prisoners.
I think I will start an online EbloggersBook Club

EbooKeth Hath Arrived


Time TOO

Yeah!!! Archived articles from 1923 are available for TIME Magazine online readers.
Thanks TIME!


Go For It Google!

It seems like there's never a day in the news when there's not some editorial or article on Google's latest venture.Today's New York Times editorial, The Electronic Library, this article speaks to the scanning of some 15 million books and the concerns surrounding this six year venture. As I've said before in earlier posts, we have to "get over" any qualms with digitizing books; it's going to happen, it's happening already.
Also remember, Google has to keep "reinventing" itself. They also have the money and credibility to organize the world's data. Not to mention, somebody at Google as great vision because every idea they are able to design, they can logically make happen and get the public buy in. My question is, how are they able to convince the libraries of their latest ventures with out scaring the people half to death? Here's a potential reaction "you're not replacing books are you?"
The answer is YES. My theory is that Google wants the future to read through the digital divide. Come on, that's why they have a search engine, screen, point & click...not a page flipper. I hate to part my "screensaver lips" to say this but I really think books will be to digital information what record albums (remember those) are to cd/dvds. Don't get me wrong, I'm aware of the longevity and pricelessness of books. But I'm also a realist. By the way...where do they sell records? I'll google a search for them.


Numbers Matter

I wish it didn't matter but it does...that is the SATs I'm referring to. And no matter how many people say "this test doesn't measure the true student" every teacher and parent in their heart of hearts knows that students are forever judged by this test. Even if it's over dinner one evening with co-workers from the...1400-1600 club. We've all met them, know them, or am them...just so you know I'm not one of them. They're the ones who upon meeting introduce themselves as THE RECEIVERS OF 1400s on the SATs. And when asked "how did you do so well?" Their response is "well my parents took me to SAT classes very early." Or "I was just born gifted" or "My parents read to me constantly in-utero" or my favorite "tests like these come easy to me." Well they don't for me... And that's why I'm on my way out the door right now to find the latest "Time Tracker, a device whose purpose is to help children improve their performances on the standardized tests that have become unavoidable in education. Recommended ages: 4 and up." (NYT-see article)
While I despise those conversations with the 1400 crowd my 4 year old and 7 year old will have an extra bonus under the tree this year. Break a thousand club here we come.

For Some Parents, It's Never Too Early for S.A.T. Prep

Sunday, December 19, 2004


It's About Time

If you've read my post from Thursday December 16th you'll know that it's not just me but other bloggers have been writing about "How Students Research" for some time now. This topic has caused many teachers and parents much angst, because (from my experience) they don't know whether to encourage JUST print resources or negotiate with the students...OK you can use 1 Print, 1 internet source, when researching for a class project ONLY. I hear this bartering all of the time and I've always felt that if a student can find valid information (digitally) from home, why stop him/her? Do they have to visit the library first? Finally, I can get that off my chest without feeling like a loathsome, library, loser. I love libraries and I also love the fact that books are now available in digital form, as they should be. And finally, the big Universities are accepting the fact that their students' (in undergraduate classes) primary source of research comes from digital information see New York Times Article Questions and Praise for Google Web Library By FELICIA R. LEE

"This year Ms. Wittenberg's group completed a three-year study of research habits that included 1,233 students across the country. The study concluded that electronic resources had become the main tool for gathering information, particularly among undergraduates."
But, "What I've learned is that libraries help people formulate questions as well as find answers," Ms. Wittenberg said. "Who will do that in a virtual world?"

This is great news! Google and big universities working together to digitize libraries of information! Wow! But why does it take Google to put a spotlight and its "seal of approval" on this very obvious fact that the WWW is the 21st Century library. Eat your heart out Ben Franklin.
Educators and librarians will have to accept this fact and train their students (just like Dewey and from very early) on how to assess websites and search for information. I smell some huge technological changes coming to the schools in the very near future. Thanks Google, it's about time.


NYPL Update (ESOL)


The NYPL is offering...

"English Classes for Speakers of Other Languages
Free classes in English for speakers of other languages are offered at 20 branches of The New York Public Library in association with the Riverside Language Program, Inc."

They also offer other contact information for people interested in learning English

Other English Language Programs:
The Literacy Assistance Center
Hotline: (212) 803-3333
ESOL, GED, Basic Education (BE), Basic Education in Native Language (BENL), and Job Training.
Queens Borough Public Library
New Americans Program (ESOL): 718.990.0894
Adult Learning Center (Literacy): 718.657.2779
Brooklyn Public Library
Adult Literacy Administrative Office: 718.832.3560
The New York City Board of Education
Office of Adult and Continuing Education: 718.622.3000
Can make referrals to regional offices for GED, ESOL, Literacy, and Job Training.
Riverside Language Program
Offers ESOL instruction and is associated with The New York Public Library's ESOL program.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


It's Easier....That's Why

It's so hard for adults to grasp the idea that students these days (21st century students) don't value libraries the way 19th or even 20th century students once did. It's like an elephant in the room, when digital information and library issues are mentioned at the same time. People really get offended when a student utters "I go online for my information". Even in my own school library, our students do use the library resources, but it's by no means their primary source for research. They also access online library databases. But the main point they love to share is "the ease of the internet." At some point, we'll have to swallow the hard pill fact that our young people will not be as inclined to use print resources as a primary means of research. I bet centuries ago when books came into existence, it phased out the wise elders who spoke history to the young people. Everything has its time and novelty. However, in regards to searching the web, we educators owe it to our students to teach them information/internet literacy and the effective ways of searching the web. Too many students graduate from high school and are overwhelmed by how much they don't know in regards to the online databases and catalogs they will need to access. My feeling should be mandatory for every student to have some form of information literacy at some point in their upper school experience. This will smoothen out their transition from high school to college research and more importantly set them up for success in college.
Students shun search for information offlineNEW YORK (AP) -- Go to Google, search and scroll results, click and copy.

"When students do research online these days, many educators worry, those are often about the only steps they take. If they can avoid a trip to the library at all, many students gladly will."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Welcome To The Club

Congratulations to Jenna Bush....the news is reporting that she will begin her teaching in Washington DC. I praise her efforts because being that she is the president's daughter it will be hard for the students to "get over" that fact. I wonder if she's teaching Kindergarten? If so, I have some friendly advice NO MORE STICKING YOUR TONGUE OUT at the media!



During this season of giving and thankfulness, I must say I'm grateful for Blog Gurus because they oftentimes lead you to sites that can be really useful. Like today, I was reading Wil Richardson's edublogged site and stumbled upon another site he had aggregated but hadn't read I read the site for him; and low and behold I stumbled on yet another site called Getting Things Done this site was great because it's a very comprehensive outline on the very thing I struggle with EVERYDAY ...organization skills. A definite site of the day winner that could be very useful for anybody, not just teachers.
I'm also thankful for Bill at The Endless Faculty Meeting Blog. He had a post today about an article on the current state of schools and how the US compares. It was quite enlightening and a good read. Thanks to all bloggers (bloguroos) who help to point us in the directions in the hopes to convey the right information.


Give Me a P! P Give Me a P!

Prop Up Your Pillows

If you passed by The Kew-Forest School today you probably would have noticed it wasn't any ordinary day for our Kindergarteners. It was Pajama Day! Our Pint Sized and Perky, People...planned, pasted, and pictured a plethora of words beginning with the letter P. And that wasn't all...Mr. Strober preferred they come to school today in their pajamas and put together a pretty extensive program for a this very special day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


CNBC Visit

I'm still getting accustomed to uploading, saving and Thank GOODNESS for FLICKR it's so much easier to post the CNBC pictures (from our recent field trip) I TRIED to post yesterday.


Tis The WHAT?

Certain things really bug me! Especially when it's the holiday season and gift giving is a HUGE part of it. Who says giving a small token of appreciation to a teacher is a conflict of interest? According to Chancellor Klein, in today's New York Times Article New Rules for Teacher Gifts: Apples (but Perhaps No IPods)By SUSAN SAULNY

New York City parents who want to buy holiday gifts for teachers have a new $5 per student spending limit, according to a rule Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein imposed earlier this year.
"The rule falls under the conflict-of-interest section of the Chancellor's Regulations, and was intended to help students who could not afford to contribute money to class gifts, officials said. The regulations also state that individual gifts from students or parents to school employees should be "principally sentimental in nature and of insignificant financial value."

Here's my problem with this as a parent, teacher and an administrator...yes I wear all three hats, like many educators do.
1) My husband and I enjoy giving my children's teachers a small gift during the holidays because all year long they are GIVING TO OUR CHILDREN. There's NO Salary that can measure up to what a teacher does. Just think about it, when soldiers are in war, we do what we can to make sure they have extra; care packages, letters etc. The response from them oftentimes is "I'm just doing my job." Of course there's no comparison, but jobs where giving is the MODEL...we should be able to give back. It's also a good lesson for students.
2) Most teachers don't parade their gifts around to students who can't afford to give.
3) Why isn't administration giving teachers gifts? The old argument that teachers have so much time off isn't a viable one...or that teachers get out at 3:00.
4) I don't know about you, but I see many students able to afford many items costing more than $5.00.

Teachers work all of the time. There's never a moment we teachers aren't: attending conferences, buying supplies, on the phone with parents, attending meetings, grading...grading...and more grading, blogging, Teaching, consoling, administrating,
. Oh well, I could go I will, aftercare programs, coaching, proctoring, testing, parent coffees, going back to school... (feel free to add to my list)

Anyway, during the "gift giving" season my advice to Mr. Klein would be to allow people the opportunity to give parents and students the freedom to express thanks their own way. It's really NOT A BIG DEAL.


Google's Getting On Board

With information readily available, libraries are really paving the way in regards to allowing for easy access to their free databases. Today's New York Times announces that Google will be adding researchable databases to their search engine in the next 5 to 10 years; I hope google considers Ebooks also.
Anyway...while you wait, visit the New York Public Library and sign up for a free card. Their databases are extensive and they now have ebooks. I've tried to "book" an ebook yesterday and NO LUCK yet. My thoughts are "everyone wants to reserve an ebook now". However, when ebooks were being introduced back in the late 90s (I know I've written 2) well...more on that later; that's another story.

Monday, December 13, 2004


Holocaust Resource Site

The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority
Here's a great resource on the Holocaust.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


When One Looks Down

Students who continuously look down during an exam doesn't always mean they're cheating. However, it's fair to say "they could be." I don't know, call me too suspicious but I'm really transfixed by all of the ways a student will go through to try to cheat. This article on Maryland students in 2003 having been caught using a cell phone to take a picture of the answer key was very telling and frightening. And the fact that cell phones are getting more and more sophisticated really makes me wonder what else students can do with their phones during class when a teacher isn't movies will be next.


Why Couldn't ALL Textbooks Be Online?

The New York Public Library has now granted its patrons access to some their book collection online. Today's New York Times article Libraries Reach Out, Online By TIM GNATEK

"They are electronic books - 3,000 titles' worth - and the library's 1.8 million cardholders can point and click through the collection at www, choosing from among best sellers, nonfiction, romance novels and self-help guides. Patrons borrow them for set periods, downloading them for reading on a computer, a hand-held organizer or other device using free reader software. When they are due, the files are automatically locked out - no matter what hardware they are on - and returned to circulation, eliminating late fees."

After reading this article I was happy to know that libraries are paving the way for patrons to be able to access information from anywhere 24/7. We live in exciting times. I just wish students would not have to LUG around those heavy textbooks and go digital. Couldn't the textbook companies take the lead from the library visionaries? Although, I know Glencoe is getting on board. the 7th and 8th grade text for History and Geography are both available online.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Old News...I Think

We've had white boards for a while now...right? Is there any new information in this New York Times story on White Boards in the classroom? What I do know is we need smartboards; that's the next level of "classtransformation."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Dan Is The Man!

My father (may he rest in peace) always said to me and my siblings "I don't care what they say about're okay with me." If I heard that term once, I heard it 1 million times. And at this time in Dan Rather's career, I have to say the same phrase to him. "I don't care what they say about you DAN, you're okay with me."
Most of my students know of my earlier career having worked at WCBS-TV as a desk assistant, researcher, and ultimately a producer. Yes...I saw many "famous" people there from...CBS-TV News, Geraldo and As The World Turns. But when you're working in that environment NO ONE PERSON IS FAMOUS. Dan Rather was (as many times as I've seen him in the hallways) always a gentle-man. He always made it his business to greet people with a bow and a smile, that's what I remember from 1993. No matter what, you could always rely on Dan being a Real Person. And I have to say I wasn't surprised when my student said to me today..."Oh My God Mrs. Bowllan, this letter is from Dan Rather!" Yes....Dan wrote my student! You may remember an earlier blog when I asked for correspondents to respond to my journalism students, Ask a Correspondent. It was very basic and having worked in media and opened many fan letters for the "special" people, I thought it very appropriate for my students to write and ask questions to the people who report the news. Anyway, two of my students wrote Dan Rather after reporting (to the class) a powerpoint presentation on him and his successful background. Never in a million years would I have thought Dan Rather would have written my students back. I say this not because Dan thinks "he's too good." But Dan is too busy and I know he really doesn't have time to write people back...especially with what he's been going through recently. I actually mentioned to the class that "most times anchors can't write you back because they have many tasks in a day."
Well...with all of the current issues Dan Rather is dealing with now, he still has the same grace he had when I used to see him walk through the hallways. He would make it a point to speak to whomever crossed his path. I was the "low person" on the totem pole and Dan wouldn't know me if he tripped over me. Dan was a "big shot." And guess what? He deserves to be just that because he has the life experience and humility that allowed him the freedom of mind to write to my student the following words of inspiration, "I go about my work with renewed determination to work harder trying to come as close as humanly possible to being worthy of what you wrote." He then gives the words of wisdom that everyone should learn when they decide to "put down" a man who has been an inspiration to us in the midst of his recent battle with the media and other organizations. Rather states "Whatever you finally decide to do with your working life, it may be important for you to know that my experience has been that persistence and hard work are the keys to success-however you define it." Wow! Thanks Mr. Rather for plowing through (what must be a difficult time in your life) with grace, fortitude and commitment to the future have left an indelible lasting and positive mark on these budding cubs. I tell my students all of the time, we all make mistakes but we all don't have grace...Dan has the grace and we will miss him after March; but as a class wish him "Godspeed."

Thanks Mr. Rather


This Is Why I Teach

I don't know about yours, but my mornings are hectic with two kids to "get up and running" with my four year old daughter in Kindergarten and my son in Second Grade. Actually, (to be honest) my husband bares most of the brunt of this while I "unmonster" myself. So this morning was certainly like any other morning, get to school, get settled and ready for the barrage of things to do.
My same old walk to my mailbox (the non-virtual one) had me dreading the task of putting the latest magazines where they belong. And having to pick up those pesky subscription notices as they fall upon opening each magazine. Not to mention, I've been very critical of magazines lately saying "who needs them?" We have online everything. Well I found out today after reading a very touching story by Anna Quindlen I'll Never Stop Saying Maria we do need magazines. You never know when that magical moment happens but this story pulls your heart strings and justifies not only why we need magazines but why I am a parent and a teacher. For a parent to write about how much "I admire my daughter and would love to grow up to be just like her" is awesome! I couldn't stop crying. I mean who can handle such drama first thing in the morning with students running in and out? The beauty is the magazine article made me pause for a moment and realize "Why we (educators) do what we do?" in the midst of the chaos. And the funny thing is, I really feel like that too about my daughter and many of my students; and after reading Anna Quindlen's article, I now have the courage to tell those special people we teach how much I admire them and truly hope for their dreams to come true.

Monday, December 06, 2004


Are Schools Really Changing?

America's Changing Classrooms Across "the nation, on the Web and in the home, classrooms are evolving beyond the traditional learning environment with alternatives that are no longer bound by geography and customary modes of operation."

I wonder why the field of education takes so long to change? This CNN site has timelines and information about how schools in the 21st century are rapidly changing with distance learning (videoconferencing), online and at home learning, digital information, visiting museums online, and charter schools all being implemented into school learning environments.
But if you really look around, is this type of learning really that widespread? Or is it only in isolated places or in isolated schools? If you look at your own school, is it universally in the 21st. century? Or are there some teachers with a vision to take their classes to the next level (or the next century for that matter?) On another note, who makes the call on whether it's advisable to move to the 21st century in education? What I mean is...we're in this century, therefore we have nothing to compare it to in the future; although we do have the past. Is this futuristic way of teaching viable for our students? What I do know is...I don't want to wait until the 22nd Century to find out if moving my students to the next level is a good move or not (I also won't be around to find out). So for those people waiting to see if new teaching methods are "good for our students" it's sometimes okay to TRY IT. And once you've tried it, share your findings. What I find most helpful is brainstorming with other faculty members about what works and what doesn't. Teachers really do try their hardest to pave the way for their students.


How To Teach About Nuclear Terror - Grades 9-12

CNN is offering teachers a great way to stay on top of current events. And if you have a VCR and can set it up for an overnight feed (I still have trouble with this timer setting on my VCR)you'll have great news stories you can use for your classes. The following taping aired this morning, for CNN StudentNews and has great discussion questions for younger viewers. Although there is a disclaimer for teachers to watch the video content before showing to the class to make sure that the material is suitable for younger viewers.

CNN Presents Classroom Edition - Educator Guide

Nuclear Terror Set your VCR to record CNN Presents Classroom Edition: Nuclear Terror when it airs commercial-free on Monday, December 6, 2004 from 4:00-5:00 a.m. on CNN.

Program Overview

"It is our worst nightmare: A terrorist group builds a nuclear device and smuggles it into a major American city. Could it happen? Unfortunately, experts say yes. In fact, a leading expert says "... if everybody just keeps doing what we're doing, a nuclear terrorist attack is inevitable." Three years after 9/11, has the threat of nuclear terrorism grown worse? CNN Presents investigates in this special report."

Saturday, December 04, 2004


Why I've Called This Libra/Tech...Not Lee-bra

The ALA and the Association of College Research Libraries delve into a very relevant topic about the state of librarians. It's such a great time to be a librarian and this article really sums up the benefits of being an information leader in the 21st century. This is a must read. And in my humble opinion, it's a very inspiring article; not just for librarians but for educators, parents, and all who are pioneering this new information age we live in...the new enlightenment age only our children know about.

Libraries and librarians in the 21st century: Fostering a learning society1
C&RL News, December 2004 Vol. 65, No. 11
by Robert S. Martin

"We need to evolve into agencies that focus not on collections, but on the needs of the users. We need to develop facilities that recognize, embrace, and encourage the collaborative and social nature of learning. We must create learning environments that empower student learning, enabling them to turn information into knowledge. We must extend these lessons from the realm of the university to all levels of formal education, from kindergarten to the research university."


Tis The Season..FA La La or Bah Hum?

It's very hard during the month of December to decide how to handle "The Holidays and Cultural Celebrations," especially in a culturally diverse school. What should a teacher do to be inclusive but not offensive?
I've given this much thought over the years and decided to put together my own, original list of options you may want to try with your students so that all people feel comfortable during a time of year that is "left up to the beholder;" And is oftentimes not spoken about.

Anyway, here are some (hopefully) helpful suggestions...

1) wish lists - instead of asking your own students for their individual wish lists ask them to research online children's wish list's from other parts of the world. For example, what would a typical child in Uganda wish for during this time of year.

2) prepare a Holiday Taster's Breakfast or Luncheon. This will give students an opportunity to share their favorite dish during the holidays.

3) have the students work in groups and write "December Class Holiday Songs." This will be sung

4) have students focus on the weather and seasonal themes for decorating the library or class rooms.

5) invite members from different cultural/ethnic backgrounds in to share what makes their holiday unique.

6) have students become reporters and interview someone from a different ethnic background. Have them be prepared to share with the class their findings of the five Ws.

There are many, many ways to celebrate the holidays without feeling like you're leaving someone out. I think the key is just to make an "Open Door Policy" when it comes to learning about culture. And maybe, just maybe we'll look forward to December and NOT dread it for fear of offending someone.


Vocab and SATS

I believe the SATS are today. Here's a great activity I created about 2 years ago called Word Quest. It's an excellent preparation for the SATs on the vocabulary section. It's also fun for students to practice searching the New York Times websites.

Friday, December 03, 2004


French Class On Fridays Can Be Fun

These online French activities we worked on this morning and all of the students didn't want to leave. They're a lot of fun if you want to change up your lesson; especially on Fridays. French, Fun on Fridays! It takes a little planning and research but it's worth the outcome seeing enthusiastic faces.

Drag and Drop French Vocabulary

This Should Be Done on Big Screen with Sound Up / Listening Skills

Grammar for Beginner French

French Steps Getting a Snack

Breakthrough French 1 - Test yourself

Thursday, December 02, 2004


The Great Video Debate - A Poll Needed

Are teachers using videos in the class for instruction? If not, what other visual methods are taking place if any? Just curious.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Start Young - Citing Sources K-12

I haven't been able to fully organize your quick picks and great sites so hopefully this blog will us all keep our resources in one place. If you find sites that are helpful to your colleagues please feel free to comment.
and citing sources for grades K-6.

Here's an MLA guide for grades 7-12 from University of California Berkeley Library


Math, Math and More Math

Here's a site that allows you to create your own math worksheets for grades 2-6

More Free math worksheets

A+ More Math Sheets: Create your own multiplication, division, addition & subtraction.

These online math/coins activities are really geared toward the early primary grades. Although I've been accused of nickel and diming people sometimes.


Spending Spree - Pick the item you want to buy

Match The Coin

Name The Coin

Nickels Game

Two Coins Challenge

Primary Math Games Pre K-Grade 4


Seek and Ye Shall Find

When I worked for channel 13 a few years back, my job was to train teachers on how to use the Internet. Back then our NTTI staff thought "My GOSH there's so much out there." We created lessson plans on every imaginable topic and had great links and videos to support every lesson idea. One lesson plan I worked on was "It's A Beautiful Day In My Neighborhood. Students went through their neighborhood video taping interesting buildings, people etc. I can't believe how much more there is available online today for students, educators, medical personnel, name it's out there.
Anyway (I'm going off topic again) while at PBS I had a site that I absolutely LOVED! It really demonstrated how technology had changed from 1900 till today. It's wasn't bells and whistles but it was interactive and informative. So yesterday, while meeting with one of my teachers for a "tech check in" I wanted to share this link and of course couldn't find it. I couldn't remember what search to put into google. Until now "technology over the years WGBH" and poof it came up. Students love this site on technology and teachers do to. It's called A Science Odyssey - Technology At Home. And thanks to this handy blog...I'll never lose this site again.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

All Rights Reserved ©2004-2006 Copyright Amy Bowllan Site Meter