Tech Tip Tuesday ... Email Siggies in Outlook 2010

I've had lots of requests to share how to set up an Email Signature in our new email program, Outlook. (This is the application loaded on your computer, not the Outlook WebApp at www.live.com)
Just follow the steps below to create a text or imaged-based signature.
  • File > Options
  • Choose Mail from the left column, Click Signatures
  • Click New
  • Name your signature
  • Enter the desired information in the Edit Signature box, OK
    Be sure to use the standard fonts. (Fancy fonts will look cute on your computer, but will now show up for your recipients unless they also have that font installed.)
  • To insert an image, click the Image icon on the toolbar of the Edit Signature box.

Are you interested in creating a cute signature? I blogged about it last year - check it out!


Tech Tip Tuesday ... Study Ladder

Study Ladder is an exciting online resource primarily for PK-6th grade students (older students may also benefit from some of the activities!). 5000+ interactive activities are available for nearly every subject - math, language, science, music, art, health, and more. Another biggie ... it's FREE for teachers!

You will need to sign up for an account, but then you can choose to use the activities in a computer center, as a class activity on the projector, or in the computer lab. If you set up your class, your students will have full access to all of the activities throughout the day and can even have some access at home (they are limited to 3 activities from home).

Even if you choose not to set up your students with accounts, you can still access the resources for class use.

Some of the activities could actually be used as lesson and others would be great for reinforcement. Each activities gives you the option to be opened in a "Whiteboard version", which simply opens it in a larger, new window.

Be sure to check it out!


BrainPOP: September 11th

If you're a BrainPOP fan (and really, who isn't???) you'll want to check out Tim and Mobi's video about the September 11th attacks. Like most of their videos, there is an interactive quiz, activities, Q&A's and many other related videos.

The video and other material here is written specifically for kids, but I still encourage you to watch it first to make sure it's appropriate for your students.

Check it out here.

The September 11th Video and Resources are part of BrainPOP's free materials. However, as a BrainPOP district, our teachers have access to all of the BrainPOP videos and activities. If you do not know the username and password, please contact your CTI or IT.


CNN Student News (a reminder!)

I blogged about this daily newscast especially for kids (especially older elementary on up to high school) last spring, but I wanted to remind everyone about it again for this school year. I've embedded today's newscast (9/6/11) below. Unfortunately, the Texas wildfires are the top story.

This could be a valuable addition to your daily activites. I do strongly encourage you to preview any video (including this one) before showing your students.

To read more about CNN Student news, click here.

Tech Tip Tuesday ... Remembering 9/11

I know exactly where I was and what I was doing ten years ago on September 11. I was teaching 3rd grade. I even remember the Johnny Appleseed activity we were doing. I assume that anyone reading this blog remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when you heard the news. 

I've put together a collection of some online 9/11 Resources. Please review all pages and videos first to determine if they are appropriate for our younger students. 
  • Understanding 9/1: A Television News Archive - this site was fascinating to me because it shows you what was being televised on 19 different news stations (from the US and other countries around the world) from 8:00am on 9/11 - 9/17. The clips are about 30 seconds each, so you do need to click from one clip to another, but it's really amazing to watch the early footage of what was happening
  • The History Channel: 9/11 Attacks - This History Channel has compiled videos, speeches, photo galleries, and three interactive sites about the 9/11 Attacks.
  • Teaching 9/11 - This is a collection of posts and ideas from the New York Times about how teachers across America are teaching about 9/11. Lots of good information and ideas here.
  • Remembering 9/11 (from Pearson) - This site breaks up its resources for K-6 students and 6-12 students. There are some interactive timelines, teacher resources, and even a parent letter. The secondary option include more multimedia resources.
  • Talking to Your Children about 9/11 - This resource from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum offers tips and a broad outline for parents to aid talking to their children about 9/11.


Flash for iPad??? Yes, sorta.

Thank you Erin (Kleinspiration) for sharing this great tool! If you haven't checked out her blog yet, you're missing out!

I love my iPad. My only real complaint is that it doesn't use Flash, which is limiting. Although you can't actually LOAD flash on your iPad, this is a neat workaround. You will basically be using an app on your device to remote in to your computer. You will be able to browse the internet (watching Flash videos, playing Flash games, using Eduphoria!, etc. as well as access any of the programs or documents on your machine.)

All of this being said, I know our schools do not provide iPads, so this post is mainly for people who have their own personal devices. 

It's really easy to set up and even easier to use ...
  • Download and Install Splashtop on your computer (Click here for the download)
  • Download the Splashtop Remote app from the App store ($4.99 on 9/4/11)
  • Create a password for your computer (my iPad found my computer right away - you may need to enter your computer's ip address though)
  • Open the Splashtop App and follow the directions

Why am I so excited about this? What types of things can I do now that I couldn't do before? I'm so glad you asked! I can ...
  • use Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer to surf the web rather than only relying on Safari.
  • use tabbed browsing - my favorite!
  • watch Flash videos online.
  • access files saved on my computer.
  • edit the files saved on my computer or create new documents (yep, in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, even Photoshop!)
  • access Eduphoria to check on class schedules, submit a help request, etc. (This is probably only important to employees in districts that use Eduphoria, but it's a big one to me!)
All of these things are well and good, but what about Educational Purposes? (This is a blog about using Technology in the Classroom!) Well, there are many great uses for a tool like this. To me, the biggest advantage to using Splashtop Remote with an iPhone or iPad or something similar is that it allows the teacher to use the computer without being tethered to the actual desktop machine. 

You do have to be on wi-fi to use the application, which might be a problem in some spots in our schools. 

Let me know if you download it and what you think!


Forethought FAQs

As we begin the new year, we've received several questions about using Eduphoria: Forethought. Whether this is your first year to use Forethought or you're an experienced user, you may find some helpful information here.

How do I set up a new schedule?
If you are a new Forethought user, the first thing you must do to use your Planner is to create a Schedule. If you have changed grade levels or teaching assignments, you will need a new Schedule as well.
  • Change My Schedule (bottom left corner of Forethought window) >; My Schedules
  • Add a Schedule
  • Name your schedule (I have named mine 2011-12) Next
  • Add an Entry
    • Choose the course type (use A Course with Learning Standards for all subjects tied to objectives), Next
    • Find your grade level and the desired subject, Next
    • Rename your Course (this is optional, but I like to include the actual times I will be teaching this subject. Ex: Science 1:45-2:15pm; This is helpful for substitute teachers when following your plans in Forethought), Next
  • Continue adding entries until your schedule is complete, Next, Begin Using Forethought

Can I just edit my schedule from last year?
If you are teaching the same grade level as last year but just want to move some things around, then YES - that's a great option for you. (Change My Schedule > My Schedules, select it and click Edit a Schedule)
If you are teaching a new grade level, it will probably be easier to delete last year's schedule and create a new one that is associated with the appropriate objectives.

We use a team planner. Do I still need to set up a personal schedule?
Yes and No. Well, Sorta. 
  • The first step for all Forethought users is to set up a Personal Schedule of some kind. If you're sure you're ONLY going to use the Team Planner, you still have to add at least one entry in your personal planner. 
  • Check with your Campus Principal - some principals prefer teachers have their own planners even if they also use the Team Planner.
  • If you want to use the new feature in Eduphoria: pdas (that allows you to import the objectives you teach rather than having to type them out by hand), you will need to set up a Personal Schedule. Just simply enter the core subjects that you teach - don't worry about times, putting them in order, including Morning Work, Recess, or anything like that. 

I have a new schedule, but I still see my previous schedule. Help!
When you click on a day in your planner, it "stamps" whatever the current schedule is to that day. 
You may notice that the date is BOLD on the small calendar in your planner. To replace that old schedule with the new schedule, click the Change Today's Schedule icon (white box with green plus on it), and select Delete Today's Plans.
This will replace the old schedule with the new one. It will DELETE any plans you have already entered. Use with caution. =)

Do I have to use the standard "Warm-Up, Materials, Procedures, and Evaluation" option in each subject?
Good news ... NO! You can set your own default text for each different entry of your schedule.
  • Delete the existing text and leave it blank OR enter whatever you'd prefer (change colors, etc.)
  • Click the Wrench tool > Set as Default Text for Entry
Now, each time to click on a new page (that doesn't have the old schedule associated with it), this text will show up for this subject. You will need to repeat this process for each entry (Math, Science, Social Studies, etc.)

Do you have other Forethought questions? Leave them as a comment and I'll try to answer them!


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