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June 27, 2010

Part 2 of What is IVC?


This week I will be sharing more of the free activities we participated in during the event. Remember you can also participate in these activities with your students. Here are 7 of the most popular ones:

1. Monster Match Exchange

2. Animal Exchange

3. Community Exchange

4. Read Around the Planet

5. Math Marvels

6. Mystery Quest Beaches

7. Whirlidurb: Shane Sings

1. Monster Match Exchange Project: Two classrooms are paired up and each class will have the opportunity to draw their own monster. The first class will communicate or write a description of their monster and post it online. The second class will then get the opportunity to draw a monster that matches the description of the first classroom. Both classes will meet via video conference to compare and contrast the original drawing of their monsters. For more information on this exciting project please visit: and

2. Animal Exchange Project: Two classes are paired up and will select an animal that is found in their state or region. Each class will prepare a presentation about an animal to share with the other class. The presentation should be about 5 minutes long and include the habitat, movement, description and what it eats. The presentations may include the following a visual, sound, act out motion/movement, or a song/poem about their animal.Each class can break up into groups and each group will will research the topics listed above. Both classes will meet via video conference to give their description to the other class. Next, both classes will research online what the other classes animal is. Both classes will take turns to meet via video conference to guess the other classes animal.

3. Community Exchange Project: Both classes will prepare a presentation about a community to share with the other class. The presentation should be about 5 minutes, and include visuals. Here are a few ideas that you may want to include in your project: information about demographics of community; cultural institutions, zoos, museums; schools including size, curriculum, structure; a map of the community/city/state; type of food that is popular, favorite sporting events and trivia. After each class presents via video conferencing there will be time for questions and answers.

4. Read Around the Planet Project: This is a project that celebrates National Education Association's Read Across America. Classrooms use interactive video conference to connect with other classrooms "around the planet" and read to each other. The presentation should be about 5 minutes and can be related to reading or promoting literacy. Here are a few ideas that a project may include: skits or plays, raps or songs; puppet show, readers theater, poetry, sign language, illustrations, dramatizations, student-centered books, original poetry, songs and trivia. For more information on this project please visit:

5. Math Marvels Project: Both classes will prepare problem solving and communicating solutions/strategies using higher order thinking skills. Students will create math problems to communicate via video conference to each other to solve. The two classes will use good math problem solving skills and use various strategies/discussions. Students will need to create problems that have an answer of a number before the video conference. After each class has had time to solve the math problem, they will share their response via video conference. For more exciting information about this project, please visit:

6. Mystery Quest Beaches Project: Both classes will prepare a 5 to 7 minute presentation on a mystery beach. Each class may divide researching the clues for their beach. When creating the presentation, students will need to clearly communicate effective clues to the other class via video conference. You may use the following ideas to create clues: region, location and place.

Beach Clues:


1. Describe how land and sea areas define the country's borders.

2. What other landmarks are close to the beach?


1. What is the latitude or longitude of the beach?

2. What is the relative location of this beach?

3. Which direction from the country capitol do you travel to reach the beach?


1. What body of water is closest to the beach?

2. What is the area of the country in which the beach is located?

3. What is the primary language of the country in which the beach is located?

4. What is the population of the country in which the beach is located

5. Name and describe a tourists attraction near your beach and illustrate if possible.

6. What is the population of the nearest city?

7. Describe one or more notable physical landforms in or near this city.

Once all the clues have been communicated from both classes via video conference (30 min.), then the research begins on the Internet (20 min.) to figure out the location of the beach. After all questions are answered, then each group will present their answers to the other class. Both classes will need to create a visual poster with the correct name of their beach. The correct mystery of the beaches will be revealed by students at the end of the video conference.

For more information on this project and to get a notes template, please visit:

7. Whirlidurb Project: Introduce video conferencing to you early childhood classes through different animated characters that will be singing and asking them questions. The different animated characters are created with animated avatars that the presenter uses to communicate with your class. Your students will absolutely love this activity. For more information on this program, please visit:

These were just a few activities and projects you can participate in with video conferencing equipment. I hope you get the opportunity to conduct a virtual field trip or a video conference event with your students. We will see you next week with another exciting topic.

June 20, 2010

What Is IVC?


What an awesome week we had this past week! I had the great opportunity to participate in a 5 day (IVC) boot camp. If you were not able to partipate in this Conference then you are probably asking, what does IVC stand for? Well it stands for Interactive Video Conference.

By using videoconferencing technology, two or more people at different locations can see and hear each other at the same time, sometimes even sharing computer applications for collaboration. This rich communications technology offers new possibilities for schools, colleges, and libraries, who are now using videoconferencing systems for a variety of purposes, including formal instruction (courses, lessons, and tutoring), connection with guest speakers and experts, multischool project collaboration, virtual field trips, professional activities, and community events. Remember all activities are live.

We were able to collaborate with 7 different sites or locations from all over the world including the following cities:

1. Berrien RESA, MI
2. Killen ISD, TX
3. Hays CISD, TX
4. Torfaen LEA, Wales
5. Kamloops, BC
6. El Paso ISD, TX
7. Edu Tech, ND

18 out of over 50 Teachers were selected from our Texas site to participate in this conference. This IVC project allowed participants to create project simulations and learn effective collaboration techniques to enrich curriculum with interactive experiences for many curriculum areas. This conference focused on leadership in K-12 videoconferencing. Participants created a plan for a student project for the next school year.

The goal of the conference was to get to know participants all over the world and to learn how to put together a video conference project. The 10 collaboration outcomes included the following:

1. Shared objectives
2. Sense of urgency and commitment
3. Dynamic process
4. Sense of belonging and connecting
5. Create an open communication
6. To develop a mutual trust and respect
7. Complementary, diverse skills and knowledge
8. Intellectual agility
9. Share valuable resources
10. Create memorable experiences

If you get a chance to participate in an IVC in your area, I encourage you to sign up fast because the experience was very enlightening. We were able to collaborate with the NASA Kennedy Space Center and learn all their fantastic virtual field trip programs they have to offer. To learn more about virtual field trips please visit: and We also learned about the many collaborative features of Google Docs, Google Site, Skype, Flickr, Email list serves and more.

We were introduced to The ASK Program. For more information on this program please visit: Here is one of the ASK Program activities that we had the opportunity to participate in:

ASK Specialist: The Wall by Eve Bunting
Grade Level: 5-8
Topic: Memorial Day, the Vietnam Memorial and War
This simple picture book will introduce your students to the Vietnam Memorial and will help you teach them about Memorial Day and Vietnam. Materials about "The Wall" and the Vietnam War will be included in the kit.Students will interview a Vietnam Veteran.

This experience was very touching and emotional with some of the participants. We had the opportunity to interview 2 outstanding Vietnam Veterans ( We were able to interact with them, see them and ask them questions via video conferencing. For more information on this program and others please visit: This is just one activity we participated in.

Next week I will be sharing more activities and details about the conference. Remember if you are interested in participating in a conference like this, talk to your Computer Specialist, or your Campus Technician on your school campus. See you next week with more exciting details.

June 13, 2010

The 18 Best Subscription Based Web Sites for Learning


Today I will be blogging about the best 18 subscription based resources that I personally suggest to our parents at my school. Now remember, these sites require either an annual fee, or a monthly subscription.

I will list all 18 of them in no particular order. Once again, I have researched numerous school web sites throughout the country, and these are the top ones I have found. All of these sites are very excellent. You can choose which ones you like. Simply click on the link, and you can explore the web site. Some of the sites even have free trials before you subscribe.

1. Brainpop and Brainpop Jr.

2. Atomic Learning

3. Discovery Education

4. Safari Montage

5. Learn 360

6. Lynda

7. Enchanted Learning

8. Ed Helper

9. Scholastic Study Jams - For Free for a Limited Time!

10. Rosetta Stone Classroom

11. Learning

12. Ebsco Research Database

13. Gale Infotrack Online

14. Brittanica Online

15. Worldbook Online

16. Teaching Books

17. Tumble Books

18. Proquest

Hope these help you and your son, or daughter out to excel in their learning over the summer months. See you next week.

June 6, 2010

Remembering Coach John Wooden


Today I will be blogging about one of my mentors, who passed away yesterday. That’s right, his name was Coach John Wooden. He only won 10 NCAA basketball championships. What you probably haven't heard, is that he continued to work hard and smart at his craft for 18 years, before he won his first NCAA championship.

While most coaches would have quit, or changed schools, he continued to develop his leadership philosophy with his teams. He taught life skills to all of his players. He was demanding and challenging of all his players, but was also fair.

He also developed The Pyramid of Success, which is a pyramid that has 15 principles for Success. Listed below is a picture of the Pyramid.

Starting on the bottom level, from left to right is the first block, Industriousness.

The next principle is Friendship.

After friendship is loyalty.

Then comes Cooperation.

At the end of the right side of the first bottom level of the pyramid is Enthusiasm.
On the lower second level of the pyramid we have Self-Control.

Moving again left to right we have Alertness.

After alertness comes Initiative.

The last block on the lower second level is Intentness.

On the lower third level we have Condition.

After Condition we have Skill.

On the lower third level the last block is Team Spirit.

Now, we will focus on the two blocks on the second level from the top. We will start with Poise.

Next, we have Confidence.

Finally, the top level of the pyramid is Competitive Greatness.

Now we will focus on the 12 lessons in leadership.
1. Good Values Attract Good People
2. Love Is The Most Powerful Four-Letter Word
3. Call Yourself a Teacher
4. Emotion is Your Enemy
5. It Takes 10 Hands to Make a Basket
6. Little Things Make Big Things Happen
7. Make Each Day Your Masterpiece
8. The Carrot is Mightier Than a Stick.
9. Make Greatness Attainable By All
10. Seek Significant Change
11. Don't Look At The Scoreboard
12. Adversity is Your Asset
To learn more about the Pyramid of Success and other resources please visit: To get your own free copy of the Wooden on Leadership Pyramid of Success, please visit:
"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable." Coach John Wooden
See you next time.