Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!!!

I hope everyone has a happy and prosperous 2006!!

Check out CNN for celebration pictures from around the globe.

There is also the MSNBC version of the new year excitement.

You can also view the Fox News stories.

Friday, December 30, 2005


Glencoe Online has lots of sources for teachers to use in their classrooms. These include instruction, testing, parental involvement, etc. This page is loaded.

Field Trips

Would you like to take a field trip while never leaving your classroom? You can do so here.

Online Courses has some online courses you may be interested in taking. You can take some free online courses or you can order CD tutorials. Either way, check it out at Cnet.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Too Much Time On My Hands

What are YOU going to do with your extra second of time on New Year's Eve? You know the buzz...New Year's will be arriving a second later this year. Why you say and what's the big deal? Well, it seems that sometimes clock time and sun time get out of step with each other. This extra second helps all of that fall into place. Why bother? Well, imagine what would happen as those seconds added up "over time." There's even a wiki article on the leap second.

Link to Article

If you want to get really technical about it you can read the Navy article on the subject.

Enjoy your extra time off before going back to work!!!


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It's Got the "Cool Factor"

The Sony Walkman has been named the best gadget in 50 years, with the iPod coming in second. Hard to believe it was $200 when it was first introduced.

Link to Article

More on Global Warming

From all of the articles I have read recently it looks like the permafrost in North America is in for a thaw. Some areas could thaw several meters deep by the middle of the century. Pipelines could be in danger from landslides.

Link to Article

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Annoying Pests to Say the Least

I frequently hear complaints from people about their computer being very slow. Many times this is caused by spyware "infecting" their machine. I commonly ask the question "what have you been downloading?" The response is always the same, "I haven't downloaded anything!" LOL....uh-huh. Seriously, though, many times users don't realize what they've done. Have you ever gone to a search page suddenly and were asked a question in a popup window? You probably just answered "yes" thinking you were doing something correct. And now your home page is no longer or whatever you used. Look for a popup question such as this:

Now, this example is just something simple. I used the edit page of my blog to give me this question, but do you ever remember something similar coming up on your screen? If so, you more than likely clicked on "yes" and the next time you opened your browser window your home page was different. This could have been the culprit. ALWAYS READ BEFORE YOU CLICK.

Many times a Web page will contain a question that is nothing more than a link connecting you to a page in order to download something. Beware of these kinds of graphics. They may even have the X in the corner where we are used to clicking to close the window. Kids are notorious for falling for this one and clicking on the X. The program could install without you even realizing it. Ever heard of a "drive-by downloading?" I'm serious.

I use a free program called "Spybot Search and Destroy" to look for spyware. It's available here. Allow this program to scan your machine for spyware and allow it to clean the machine. When the program finishes cleaning your machine it may state that some programs were running and do you wish to run Spybot on a restart. This is because some spyware programs run in the memory and can't be uninstalled while they are running. If you run Spybot on a restart they haven't been loaded yet.

Image from Safer-Networking

Try using this program and see if it helps with your problem. If you still have problems with spyware, you might want to check into Spyware Blaster to help prevent them. It is also free and available at Javacool Software.

Monday, December 26, 2005

SAT Practice

Want to help your students practice for the SAT? At you can answer the SAT Question of the Day. You can also download and print a practice SAT exam.

SAT Student Site


I've had a few questions about podcasting, so I am going to look up some resources for you and add them here. In the meantime, I have found a resource on that may give you enough information to get you started.

Podcast Tutorial

Can you believe this??!?

This article is a year old, but I just discovered it as I was surfing around today. This is unreal. Click below for the article.

"Brain" is taught to fly fighter jets

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

May you have a joyous Christmas season!

Friday, December 23, 2005

More for you graduate school folks...

This is a site on that has links to research on educational technology issues. You might find it useful if you're working on papers in some of your graduate classes, or you could use it for proof of reasons to buy educational software. Since we all have to use research-based programs due to NCLB, this page may be a good place to start to get information. There are several different topics available to get you going.

The Teacher Source

Thursday, December 22, 2005

For all you folks in graduate school...

Google just keeps getting better and better. Looking for resources to help you in your research? Look no further than Google's beta version of Google Scholar. It has a great help page, too.

Google Scholar

Yet Another...

The Internet never seems to amaze me. I spend a majority of every evening online surfing around, reading news feeds, searching for nothing particular, just to see what's out there. I sometimes read other blogs. Really good blogs sometimes can be difficult to find, but I can usually find things that are helpful to me or would be helpful to others in some way. Occasionally one has to search blog archives to come across a little helpful tidbit of information. Although this means that someone found a helpful tip, program, or other information long before I did, but who cares? The more the information gets around, the more we all benefit from it. Looking through Kathy Schrock's Blog this morning, I found an archive where ThinkFree Office Online was listed and linked. So many things to use are online and are free!!!

Image from ThinkFree Office Online

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tux Paint

I found this cute little open-source program yesterday. It's called Tux Paint. It's published under the GNU Public License and is designed for children ages 3 and up. You can download it here. It comes loaded with all of these neat little sounds that kids love.

Image from Newbreedsoftware

Blogging Bits

Went back to Stephen's blog the other day, and I noticed some things that might interest other bloggers. There is a link there to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Basically they are a group of people fighting for the rights of people in the digital world. They also have a link called The Legal Guide for Bloggers. There are many other links on this particular web page that you may find useful especially if you want to use blogging in your classroom.

Graphic from EFF

Well, I just couldn't stand it.

I'd planned to be away for awhile, visiting friends and family, but instead I've had to work a couple of days. Therefore, I thought I'd take a little time to update a couple of things on my blog.

www.moodle.orgHave you ever heard of Moodle? Moodle is an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. What is it? It is an open-source software package course management system. Simply put, you can use it to create online classes. Being open-source, it is free to distribute and use. It is copyrighted, but under the GNU Public License. This means that you can copy and use the work as long as you provide the source to others; not modify or remove the original license and copyrights, and apply this same license to any derivative work. I took an old Dell computer that was originally a 450 Mhz machine, upgraded it a few years ago with a 1 Ghz processor, recently upgraded the RAM to its max of 384 MB, downloaded easyPHP, which includes Apache web server software, PHP, and MySQL. I was completely amazed as I watched the installation work flawlessly. I basically sat back and watched. I did have to edit the config.php file eventually so it could point to an IP address on my LAN, but once I did that I created a few demo courses and logged in from each computer on my home LAN. And doggoned if it didn't work!!! I was very pleased with how simple this process was. Moodle has been compared to Blackboard and WebCT. You can Google them to see for yourself. It is supported by a variety of online users, many of which are developers themselves. You can host your own Moodle site with your own server and equipment, or you can purchase hosting services through a Moodle partner. Visit the Moodle sites and give the demo a try by clicking on the graphic below.

Graphics from Moodle

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Since Christmas is coming up very soon, I am going to take a break from blogging and the computer for a while. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Cooltext Logos

Need a cool logo for your site? You can create one at I've made a few there myself. Click the logo below and try it.

Logo and Graphics Generator

Try Open Office

Open Office is an open source office suite that is free to download and use. It has many of the same features that you may be familiar with in other office software suites. You'll need a pretty fast connection to download it. Click on the image to download.

Beethoven's Demise?

According to studies by U.S. researchers in Illinois, it is entirely possible that the famous composer Ludwig von Beethoven may have died of lead poisoning. I've often read stories or heard from past professors that Beethoven was the moody sort, but nobody really knew why. Seems that after his death Beethoven wanted researchers to study what ailed him so others would not have to go through the same thing. By the time he wrote his 9th Symphony, he was deaf. Read the article from World Science here.

Picture from wikipedia

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wanna See A New Ocean Form?

According to an AP report by writer Anthony Mitchell, Ethiopia has a newly formed fissure that scientists believe could be the "birth of a new ocean basin." It is estimated that it will take a million years to fully form the ocean.

Link to Article

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


A co-worker told me about this neat little program today. It's called CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) and it works by cleaning your computer of unnecessary and unneeded files. It works on the registry, history, and cookie files on your computer. I think I'm going to add it to my flash drive.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Get Firefox

With tabbed browsing, faster browsing, improved pop-up blocking, and an overall better Web experience, try the Firefox browser. Version 1.5 has just been released, and I really like it. You can download various themes to use, too.

Another Solar System

According to Yahoo News, another possible solar system has been discovered by astronomers.

Link to Article

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Math Games

This site has some really cool math games for kids.
Cool Math For Kids
Triple A Math has lots of links.
Primary Games has some math games as well as other subjects for young children.

Try Gamequarium!
Lots of Links at Cut the Knot!
Kids Domain

Image from


From Space Weather: A weak gust of solar wind hit Earth on Nov. 20th, too weak to spark a strong geomagnetic storm. But in some places a strong storm is not required to produce auroras. In Tromso, Norway, Bjorn Jorgensen took this picture of green lights dancing above the moonlit snow.

View Space Weather's archive to see more photos. These include sunspots and the ISS.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Greenhouse Effect

From Reuters:
Ocean and so-called greenhouse gas levels are rising faster than they have for thousands of years, according to two reports published on Thursday that are likely to fuel debate on global warming.
One study found the Earth's ocean levels have risen twice as fast in the past 150 years, signaling the impact of human activity on temperatures worldwide, researchers said in the journal Science.

Link to Article

Data Loggers

I found a link to this site originally from Stephen's blog. I thought this company has a interesting concept. I'm not making an endorsement or anything because I don't really know anything about it, but I thought it was interesting. See what you think.

Data Loggers

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monarch Butterfly Migration

I saw on CNN this evening where the monarch butterfly is making its migration to Mexico.

You can read the article here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Georgia Aquarium
Georgia now has the largest aquarium in the world. I can't find any pictures yet, so why don't you enjoy the webcams from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California?

Monterey Bay Aquarium Webcam

The Website also has activities for students.

$100 Laptop Revealed

Image from MIT Media

At the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis on 11/16, this $100 laptop model was revealed. It's all over the Internet and in blogs. It has a hand crank that helps to provide power. It's called "One Laptop Per Child." Cool.

Read the article at BBC News.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Encrypt Those Routers!!

I found this article on Wi-Fi Planet, and I thought it was interesting. If you have a Linksys router with Speedbooster you might want to read this if you haven't encrypted it yet. Encryption is not as difficult as it may sound, and it's something anyone who owns an AP or a router should do!!!

Link to Article

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stephen's Untold Stories

This is a blog by Stephen. He has a great deal of useful information on it. Check it out.

Stephen's Untold Stories

Ancient Egypt

Being a person with a couple of music degrees, I often find we are of a sort that has strange interests. One of my interests is that of ancient Egypt. Since I do teacher training on technology integration, ancient Egypt is one of the subjects you can usually find a great deal of info online. This site from is no exception. Take a look.

Ancient Egypt

Image from EdHelper site

Monday, October 31, 2005

Extreme Weather?

Wow!! Can you believe all of the hurricanes we've had this year??? It is unreal!

I found the following article that was interesting, and I thought you might like it, too.

Extreme weather changes in front of us by ZDNet's Roland Piquepaille -- Researchers from Purdue University have used their supercomputers to run the largest simulation of what could become the weather in the U.S. between 2071 and 2095. And their model, which was validated by using data from last century, predicts more extreme temperatures throughout the country.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Language Arts Lessons

When I was in junior high and high school, I had some really great "English" teachers (as we called them). Some of them are still doing that great job today even after retirement from the school system I attended. I owe 99% of my writing ability to those people with the other 1% going to my college professors. It's important to learn these skills early, and those folks did a great job. They know who they are. My memory has failed me on some writing rules over the years, but I know who I can go ask when the time comes. I thought this site might help Language Arts teachers. It has lots of lesson plans on various topics.

Daily Grammar

The page is no longer updated, but the archive is still available of all the lessons that were originally posted.

Math Tricks

Anybody that knows me knows I'm horrible in math. But then, most people don't even know who I am on this blog so what does it matter??? LOL

Anyway, I found this really cool math trick that I thought I might pass along, because even I could do it!! I took this from Curious Math and if I can do it anyone can. It was posted by a person named kayer35.

Got 5 minutes to spare? That's all the time you need to learn how to quickly multiply two numbers from 11 to 19 in your head.

With this trick, you will be able to multiply any two numbers from 11 to 19 in your head quickly, without the use of a calculator.
I will assume that you know your multiplication table reasonably well up to 10x10.

Lets try 15 x 13.

1. Always place the larger number of the two on top in your mind.

2. Then draw the shape of Africa mentally so it covers the 15 and the 3 from the 13 below. Those covered numbers are all you need.

3. Now add 15 + 3 = 18

4. Add a zero behind it (i.e., multiply by 10) to get 180.

5. Multiply the covered lower 3 by the single digit above it, in this case the "5" (3 x 5 = 15)

6. Add the products from steps 5 and 6 to get your answer. 180 + 15 = 195.

That's it! Wasn't that easy? Practice it on paper first!

Wi-Fi Woes

This post from C-Net has some really great wireless networking advice.

Image from

Is the earth elastic?

Is the Earth elastic? by ZDNet's Roland Piquepaille -- Scientists from Brazil and the U.S. think so. In a surprising discovery, they've found that a GPS station in Manaus, near the center of the Amazon River basin, showed that the Earth level was going up and down by almost 3 inches (75 mm) every year with the seasonal floods of the big river. In [...]

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's Fall!

www.freefoto.comDon't you just love this time of year? The leaves are beginning to turn a little, and the evenings are getting a little cooler. However, in this part of the country the leaves just turn brown and die. We don't get the pretty reds and yellows like some parts of the country. It's always dry here until they pretty much fall off the trees. Anyway, this pic says it all.

(Image from

Did you know that October 15th is National Grouch Day as well as National Poetry Day? Go here to see a calendar of all kinds of events for the month of October.

Websites for Teachers

I've had a teacher or two ask me for some Websites for their classrooms. I hope the following sites help a little bit. Just click and drag your mouse over the link and copy and paste it into your browser address bar.

Middle School



Language Arts

Monday, October 03, 2005

Interactive Education

Teachers are always looking for new and creative ways to explore their subject matter with their students. I found this site that has different animations for different subjects. It's pretty interesting. You can view the demos to see if you'd like to purchase them.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Boy, is this ever true!

I can relate to this guy's blog post. So many times I've been asked "how do you know all this stuff?"

This post says it well.

Hats off to Larry.

Words and Stuff

Everything you'd ever want to know about word usage is in this lady's blog. It seems to be a great resource for ELA teachers. I learned a thing or two from it.


Content Consultant


(Image courtesy of Kian H. Chong, Univ. of California, Davis and is located on the site listed below)

As of the time of this posting, there were 153 recorded earthquakes in 7 days!!!

Check out this site to view this information.


Pictures, Pictures, and more Pictures

Have you ever visited The Astronomy Picture of the Day page? It's really cool! Each day a new picture is added regarding earth and space science. I've seen pictures of nebulas, northern lights, planets, stars, volcanic eruptions, etc. Follow the banner link above to the site. Check out the archives.

There's Another One!!

Astronomers have discovered a 10th planet. It is officially catalogued as 2003UB313, but informally known as planet Xena. It’s named after the famed TV series, but suddenly I feel like Captain Kirk is about to be born a century or two earlier than planned! Seriously, the same Cal Tech astronomers now believe that Xena has a moon and have nicknamed it Gabrielle. According to CBS News, the planet is located in the Kuiper Belt. This is an assembly of icy bodies and is about 9 billion miles from the sun. This is currently the farthest known object in our solar system. Isn’t this cool??!?!

(Photo taken from and is credited to AP/NASA.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Take the Wireless Plunge

I occasionally help out friends of mine who take the wireless plunge with their home computers. Now don't get any ideas. I do this sort of thing all day long, so don't think I like to do it every night, too. It's not too difficult. I use a Linksys wireless router with TKIP encryption. It's pretty easy to set up. A friend of mine has a Motorola that works really well, too. Sometimes the encryption part can be a little intimidating for the average user, but many times your ISP will help you set up your router. You can find plenty of info online on how to do it. I would highly recommend DSL Reports. I learned how to do this by reading their help files. For example, if Bellsouth is your ISP, just type "Bellsouth set up" in the search area.

(Image from

The iPod Nano

Well, just as I buy an iPod Apple comes out with a new one. I wish I had known about this one. Thin, small, and color screen. I like my iPod just fine. It sounds great. The ear buds really get on my nerves because my left ear must be deformed or something. The bud just will NOT stay in my left ear! I need to get some different headgear I guess. iTunes is pretty easy to use and has a decent selection. Beware. Not all Internet-downloaded music will play on an iPod. WMA protected files will not work, at least that I know of.

(Image from

Sorry, It's Been Awhile

I've been out of touch for a few weeks now. Lots of things going on. We've watched another hurricane go through. I wonder what is up with all of these storms. Is global warming really happening? I think I read a viewpoint about this a few days ago on a weather channel blog. You can check out the Weather Channel blog here. The satellite pictures of Rita are incredible. (Image credit NASA/Jeff Schmaltz)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I Got an iPod!

Well, I got a new toy. I bought an iPod mini. It's a nice little gadget. I've downloaded a few songs from iTunes. It has a really nice sound. The little ear buds kinda get on my nerves, but the speakers are not bad. I want to get into podcasting. There is a class in one of my schools that received a wireless laptop lab through a grant that was written. The teacher is very excited, and I'd love to see the kids do a podcast about what they're learning. I'll try to introduce it to them if I get a chance, and I'll let them post here. I've got a lot of teacher training to do this year, so it may not get done till next year, but we'll see!!

Pictures of Destruction

(Photo found on Yahoo! and taken by Marc Serota/Reuters)
It is totally unbelievable the destruction that Hurricane Katrina caused. So many people left without anything but the clothes on their backs. If you'd like to help you can donate to the Red Cross.

(Photo by Phil Coale/AP taken from Yahoo!)
So many families displaced. Reports are that one university has canceled classes for the semester. What will happen to the K-12 students? I feel this disaster will cause a lot of organizations including school districts to think about disaster planning.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

All I can say is "Wow!"

An incredible storm. I couldn't believe all the images of New Orleans under water! I hope everyone is safe.

Some of our software support folks are in Mobile. I hope they're ok!

Image from

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Geocaching with Kids

Geocaching is a fun activity for all ages. It involves the use of a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit to find "hidden" treasures. There are many types of geocaches available online or you can devise one of your own. Take a waterproof box and place some items in it such as a pencil, a school spirit badge, something your class has made, artwork, key chains, a book, etc. Hide this box somewhere that you can make a short trip to in order to show your students how a GPS device works. The idea is to set the coordinates on your GPS device and show the students how it works when traveling to the hidden treasures.
(image from Garmin)
Some ideas could be a nature walk, collecting flowers or rocks, observing the different types of trees, looking for animal habitats, collecting different soil samples as well as leaves, etc. Take a camera with you and allow the students to take pictures of what they see. If you don't have a digital camera a disposable one will work fine. GPS units cost anywhere from $100-$300. You don't need anything elaborate when working with kids. You could also take sketch pads so the kids can draw the different things they see.

If you set up the geocaching adventure with several classes you can leave something in your container for each class to trade out. One item could be a disposable camera so each class can take pictures of themselves and leave it in the container. At the end of the school year take the camera and have the pictures developed and show what the students did during the lesson.

Cool Satellite Images

This is really cool. If you've not seen Google Earth yet you need to go and download it and try it. I was looking at it the other day, and I can even make out my white vehicle in my driveway! One caution though, if you live in the country you may not be able to see things clearly as the pixels are not quite as focused as city and town areas.

Outlook Web Access Email

Our teachers use Outlook Web Access for e-mail. We have an Exchange 2003 server that offers quite a few add ons to other versions of Outlook. For example, if you'd like to create a signature in your e-mail just click on Options, and choose the button that says Edit Signatures. Here you can compose information that will accompany every e-mail you send. One important note: You must choose Save and Close for your signature to show on your next message!

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Welcome to Tech Bits ~n~ Bytes!

I will be updating this blog to offer tips, reviews, how-to's, and just generally information concerning computers and technology for teachers. I will also offer advice for integrating technology in the classroom.

Hope you enjoy!