Friday, March 27, 2009

The Week in Rap

Check this out for the news from this week...all in rap!!!

Week In Rap 3.27 from Week in Rap on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Student PortaPortal

I have started a portaportal for students. When your students are finished their technology assignments and have a few minutes of wait time, they may use the portaportal to find quick links. I will be updating this but I would like your help. Please comment with additional links for the portaportal.

To reach the portaportal, just click on the title!

Search and Give

Search and Give is a site where you can help generate donations for our school by searching the Internet. You simply sign up, select Terra Altaeast Preston School, and use the Search and Give site to search the Web. Notice the incorrect spacing for our school. You will find TAEP spelled exactly as above!

In order to donate to TAEP through this site, you must have a Windows Live ID account and a "Nickname". Follow these simple steps to get started:

Select the Sign In button on the home page.

If you do not have a Windows Live ID* account, you will need to set up an account.

A Windows Live ID is free and allows you to sign in on any site that displays Microsoft Passport Network or Windows Live ID. You can use an existing Hotmail account as your Windows Live ID. For more information and to create an account, go to:

If you already have a Windows Live ID but have forgotten your password, go to the Windows Live ID sign in screen at: and click on the "Forgot your password?" link.

Otherwise, enter your Windows Live ID email address and password and click the Sign In button.

Create a "Nickname" for your account - your nickname is a screen name that will be displayed to yourself and others whenever you are signed in to the site.

Under Browser Settings, check the box to set the Search and Give page as your home page.

Read the Terms and Conditions and select "I Accept" if you agree to the terms and conditions.

Click the Finish button to complete your account set up.

NOW...everytime you search through Search and Give, TAEP will receive a penny! Right now we have 7 contributors and over $14.00. Imagine how much money we could have donated to our school if we ALL used this site for searching.

All donations go to the technology committee for purchasing ink cartridges and toners for your classroom printers!

Click on the title to reach Search and Give!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pi Day

What is Pi??? It is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Regardless of the size of the circle, Pi is always the same number: approximately 3.14.

Physicist Larry Shaw created a Pi Day celebration 20 years ago on March 14 at the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco. Schools around the world celebrate this special day with lots of fun math activities. Check out this video to see and listen to a rap song.

Now check out these great resources for Pi Day.

Pi Day at the Exploratorium

Teach Pi

Dr Math

St. Patrick's Day

Here are some great resources to use for St. Patrick's Day. Don't forget to check out updates on the Terra Alta PortaPortal. The link is on the side of this page. Enjoy!

BlackDog's St Patrick Day History and Legends

History Channel's selection of St Patrick's Day videos

Teachnology St Patrick's Day Printables

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Tetons

This post has nothing to do with TAEP but I want to see how this photo thing works.

Last year I took an educational leave and moved to Wyoming. I was close to Jackson Hole so I traveled to the Tetons and Yellowstone often. What a wonderful experience!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mishel's Logo

Remember a few months ago when I sent you info about a logo contest??? Well Mishel decided to work on a logo in hopes of winning the whiteboard set-up. Mishel worked hard and came up with a great design. Unfortunately she did not win the whiteboard but I loved the logo so much I decided to add it to this blog! Thanks Mishel!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Project Based Learning

What a weekend!!! In an effort to put together a post on a new topic, I messed up my post on another blog and lost it completely. Sometimes juggling is just plain impossible!

With this new position as a TIS, I am required to complete 320 hours of professional development this year. Now that's a lot of hours. I'm taking a blog writing class and at the same time I am reading a book about project based learning (PBL). It' s actually a book study with all the other TIS people around the state. We have to read chapters and post comments on a blog. It is a great book and I thought you all might like to hear about PBL...and I could kill two birds with one stone! Then I lost 2 of my posts!! Oh well, those are the breaks.

So back to PBL. Think John Dewey and hands-on experience. Think student engagement and think of the teacher as a facilitator. My book defines PBL as a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex, authenic questions and carefully designed products and tasks. PBL projects may last an entire year or they may be one to two weeks long depending on the CSOs that are targetted. I like the idea of starting out small and easing into larger, more complex projects.

This year we have had professional development on deconstructing the CSOs, higher level thinking, questioning strategies, rigor and relevance, and student engagement. When developing PBL, we'd look at pulling CSOs Teach21...adding all that we have reviewed this year, and then we'd develop activities and projects that allow students to explore topics and learn from experiences. Standards based PBLs with performance-based assessments as the primary method of classroom instruction could replace our traditional methods as we move our students into 21st Century skills.

That's just a little to get you interested. The book is Project Based Learning, A Guide to Standards-Focused Project Based Learning and it is published by the Buck Institute for Education. If you're interested in reading this book along with me, just post a comment below and maybe we can get a book study group going here at TAEP.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


This morning I checked out my google reader for all new posts to the blogs I follow and found an interesting article on the blog, Free Technology for Teachers. Here's a direct quote about a new type of technology from Mr. Byrne , the author of that blog.

"Siftables are little computer blocks or digital blocks that contain motion sensors, neighbor detection sensors, digital displays, and wireless communications. From the video it appears that these blocks are roughly one inch cubed. The blocks can be manipulated to create words, equations, pictures, and designs. One of the more outstanding features of Siftables is that you can align blocks to form an equation and if you remove one block and slide another in its place, all of the other blocks change to keep the equation true."

Click on the link below or the title and watch the 7 minute video to see this new type of computer. It really is fascinating!!


Monday, March 2, 2009

What is a Blog??

I've recently gotten interested in blogs and now subscribe to a number of education blogs. Just a few weeks ago I started my blogging class and have even started one!

Wikepedia defines a blog as follows:

"A blog (a contraction of the term weblog) is a website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs."

Here's a great video that helps you understand blogs. Common Craft has wonderful videos that explain technology in simple terms. I like simple!! If everything works right, you should have a video to watch. I have my fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Votes Are In!

We finally have a name for the Terra Alta East Preston School blog. Go Teach It On The Mountain received 8 votes so that is the name. Our tag line is simple...Timely Tips for Teachers. I'll always be adding timely technology tips but this blog could open up to anything we want to discuss and consider. Thanks for all your help! Keep checking back for more information and feel free to make comments.