Free Technology for Teachers

Need Help Understanding Creative Commons Licenses?

Have you wanted to used some of those great and inspirational photos you have seen on several of the photo sharing sites such as Flickr, Photobucket, and Picasa, but didn't understand their licensing request?

I too, have that same dilemna.  I have to constantly reread the Creative Commons license descriptions in order to fully obliged the owner's request.  However, many of the descriptions were so complicated that I just contacted the owner and requested permission.

Well, I found an excellent QUICK fact sheet on Creative Commons licenses that spells it out simply for all the licensing novices like myself.  It is an easy-to-read 2 pager on an Australia website.
SEE the website link and the CC Fact sheet BELOW:

Fact Sheet Link:
Creative Commons Australia website Link:

2011 Global Education Conference

Yes, I was up at 4:00 a.m participating in this week's 2011 Global Education Conference.

Am I sleepy? You bet, but I am well fed with knowledge I can walk in the door TODAY and practice with my students.

I attended several sessions yesterday and a few this morning. However I listened to the recording of keynote speaker Alan November. Very thought provoking and he turned me onto a video where a presenter and college professor (will input his name later - too early in the mornining) discussed "PEER INSTRUCTION" & The Flipped Classroom Model".

These two concepts together would have our students taking ownership of their learning and retaining the information for deeper learning. I am going to share these
ideas and suggestions with my iPad Grant Committee.  This could be one of the driving forces for integrating iPads into the daily curriculum and using them in a more purposeful and innovative manner.

I will add more to this post later, but I must shower and take my sleepy self to work and enjoy facilitating learning today. You noticed I didin't say teach. I must not have been as sleepy as I thought. I LEARNED SOMETHING. Lol!

 If you haven't gotten to the 2011 Global Education Conference yet, read below and get the link. It will happen all week (Nov. 14- 18) and it runs 24 hours a day. That's right, you have time to pop in and learn a little. Click on your time zone and begin the learning and connecting with some really great people.

I will add the links to several of the articles and videos associated with each session and post later today.  And please pardon any grammatical errors, remember I was up EARLY trying to get some knowledge (Lol!). 

60 MINUTES Discusses iPad Apps for Autism

This 60 Minutes episode, "APPS For Autism" was one of the excellent displays how the iPad has greatly assisted people with autism and opened up their world to communicate with others.

This episode hit home because our school is in its first year of full inclusion and I am leading an iPad grant committee.  Our first task is to review apps that will service our ENTIRE student population, which includes our autistic student group.  These apps have not only opened many educators and parents eyes on what knowledge has been bottled up inside these precious children, but are now their VOICE to the world for those afflicted with silence.  How Marvelous!

Full education inclusion has brought wonderful acceptance from our general education students as I watch them assist their new classmates who come to the classroom a variety of disabilities.  With full inclusion, teachers are also presented with some educational challenges as they design lessons that will ensure that ALL their students receive the high quality of education they deserve.

The iPad Apps featured in this episode will greatly help our iPad grant writing committee make some decisions when choosing those assistive technology apps that will provide both routine and customized access to the general curricula and cooperative inclusion for students with disabilities. 

I am still a PC lover, but Thanks Steve Jobs! Your vision has really impacted the world.

iPad Apps Featured in this episode:

Do you need to a comprehensive presentation to justify the purpose of having Google Apps unblocked within your school network?

Well Kathy Schrock has the answer!

Click on this screenshot I took from Kathy Schrock's website "Bloomin' Google".

She has assembled an EXCELLENT clickable map of ALL the Google Tools based on their use within the Blooms Taxonomy Cognitve Levels. I found this excellent resource on Twitter, thanks to @coolcatteacher.

Techie Lab Teacher Tip of the Week:
Take a look at my Twitter - - #FF = Follow Friday recommendations.

Here are some more of My Twitter Recommendations that can assist teachers with technology resources. Believe me....their tweets will enhance your technology skills and assist you with its integration within your daily curriculum.

Become A NASA Explorer School Teacher!

Photo Credit: NES Virtual Campus
I have had the excellent opportunity of being a NASA Explorer School Teacher and Team Leader with our school since 2006.

It has been an absolutely amazing ride! And still is!

This opportunity is OPEN to ALL teachers! Its FREE and EASY! ALL you need is your desire to spark your students' interest in the areas of STEM and they may possibly choose to ma
jor in those courses or select STEM careers.

I just returned from the NASA Kennedy Space Center (Orlando, FL) with two 5th grade students who presented at the 2011 National NASA Explorer School (NES) Student Symposium, along with approx 70 other students from around the nation. These two female students were a part of my NASA Science Design Team and they constructed a lunar plant growth chamber as a part of their engineering project. I was also fortunate to have attended the 2009 NES Symposium where my students presented their hydroponic systems and
2010 NES Symposiun where my students where they constructed and presented their lunar habitat. This is a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip and experience for your students to present at one of the chosen NASA Centers in front of world acclaimed NASA scientists and engineers. What a way for students to prove what they learned better than tell real scientist/engineers and have them question their thinking while congratulating them on their work. Wow!

But I must tell you tha t this experience will you will help you bring excitement to your lessons which may result in your students gaining the ability to conduct investigations.

I had a very weak science background (like most elementary teacher) and from being a part of the NASA Explorer School Program (NES) I have gained so much background information from their Aerospace Education Specialist (AES), their summer workshops, free teaching resources, webinars, videos, and most importantly the special oppo rtunities that are available to students and teachers.

I now have a pretty decent scientific tool kit and mind set that helps me to facilitate and teach the process of scientific inquiry on a much higher level. I have learned when teaching inquiry that I have to plan my lessons aro und my students' abilities and understanding of inquiry and keep that in the foreground and keep the science/math content in the background. Does that mean I don't front load them with some content? Of course not, I don't ignore the content. I want to foremost assure that my students are gaining a greater understanding of the subject matter and this is done best when they understand the inquiry process.

Wow! I will repeat it was an AMAZING Ride with NASA!

NASA LEARN (Learning Environments and Research Network) and NASA Explorer Schools have teamed up to offer exciting webinars featuring NASA educational resources for educators.

Received NASA webinar info from:
Kathy Kaiser-Holscott Email:

Wow! Here's A New Free Online Classroom Tool

Collaborize Classroom
A Free Web 2.0 Tool
As we enter times where parents are looking for safer learning environments for their children, online learning has become the top alternative. Therefore free online learning tools and educators who wish to provide this alternative learning environments for these families are heavily reviewing this type of teaching platform. I learned about this tool from a link on the Classroom 2.0 Live Archives and Resources Page as a resource from their "How Online Discussion Can Transform Teaching" webinar. This learning platform appears to be very comprehensive for discussions and easy to use. Check it out and let me know your thoughts. Online teaching is fast and approaching and we need to find the tools that will help make this transition smooth.

"Boost Your Blog" Challenge No. 1 Winner

Purpose of the "Boost Your Blog" blogging challenge:
  • Provides fun bi-weekly supportive staff development activities to Johnson Elementary teachers to continue learning and interacting with their new blogs
  • Spotlights different teachers' blogs to showcase great blogging while giving other teachers examples of how blogs can be used to support teaching.

Polen's Pupils Blog Info:
Students & Parents can have online access to the weekly classroom assignments
Value: Home-School connection Online hub for assignments for students Current Value: Students are following this blog
Future Value: Parents will see the purpose in following this class blog.

Johnson Elementary Blogs of the Week
Congratulations to ALL Johnson Teachers for beginning this challenge with blogging.

Spotlighted Teachers
Hickenbottom, Jiampa, Robinson, Mead

B1's Johnson Stem Blog (Hickenbottom)

Blog Info:
  • A very comprehensive blog with an array of resources for students and parents
  • View the daily reflections of the classroom activities & thinking of the teacher and students
  • View schedule for daily classroom assignments & school/community events

  • Home-School connection
  • Online hub for assignments
  • Online hub for links to academic resources and calendar of events
Current Value:
Students are currently following this blog

Future Value: Parents will see the purpose in following this class blog

Blog Info:
  • View photos of Family Friday - Parents were involved with their children's classroom science lesson
  • View video clip of a student discussing his learning
  • View student engagement during a science lesson
  • View photos of student work
  • View embedded a thinking map document using the Web 2.0 tool Scribd -
  • Home-School Connection Family Academic Involvement
  • Videos of student thinking a students and this helps them to become more engaged
Current Value: Students are currently following this blog

Future Value: Parents will see the purpose in following this class blog

Blog Info:
  • View an embedded online picture book which is perfect for beginning readers Web 2.0 tool used to embed this book was issuu -
  • View a venue for reinforcing vocabulary with the "Picture of the Day"
Value: Home-School Connection Academic support in reading

Future Value: Students & Parents will see the purpose in following this class blog

Blog Info: Outrageous Ooze! - Read project description regarding Room 3's MSAP Project.


  • Documenting science lessons and/or projects in the classroom
  • Online Portfolio of the Room 3's MSAP Project
Future Value: Students & Parents will see the purpose in following this class blog

Learning 2 Use Widgets Effectively

This week in the Teacher Challenge with Edublogs we are learning how to get more out of our widgets on our sidebar. 

Well.. Here was my strategy before I placed any widgets on my blog.   I had to think about who would be my readers and would they even be interested in my widgets. So first I embedded the common ones Twitter and the subscription option. 

But from my Twitter, I learned of two interesting websites and embedded their widgets.

Widget 1: “Let Say Thanks”
This site provides visitors electronic Thank You Cards, created by children, which you can personalize and they would randomly send the cards to individual U.S. Troopers.
Badge link:

Widget 2:   “FlyLadyTools” which is powered by BlogTalkRadio.

These are daily humorous and informative podcast episodes of helpful hints on how to get your day moving and organized while being being busy with your families and/or careers. You have three widget choices in which you can embed a player into your blog: Single Player, Multi-Player, or Add a Button.
Widget link:

Learn 2 Blog Effectively with Edublogs

Currently I am participating in the 30-day Edublog Teacher Challenge
which is an online blogging staff development.

And we have ONE more week to go.

Whew... What a learning curve!

But I have learned sooooo much!

My goal is to come away from this staff development with enhanced blogging skills that will make my blog more effective in being a good resource for teachers, students, and even parents. The most effective aspect of this whole adventure with Edublog is that you are surrounded with excited beginning and advanced bloggers who are willing to share their thoughts, ideas, suggestions, challenges and their blogs with you on this journey to becoming that awesome blogger.

Wow... What more can you ask for?


We are currently working on Activity 6 - Enhancing Post by Embedding Images.
I have always thought that I am pretty good with working in images throughout my work with using technology. However, every blogging activity has made my prior skills look amateurish. LOL... and I am loving the challenge.

Are you interested in becoming a better blogger? Its not too late.
Join the Edublog Teacher Challenge and develop a blog that teachers feel is worth following.

Screenr - A Web-Based Screen Recorder

Looking for a quick and easy screen capturing tool that is web-based and stores all your videos. Well here it is - SCREENR. This a great web based application. You can record a send the video directly to your Twittter at your command or you can post them to your sites. Check it out. Let me know how you like the tool. I am interested in your thoughts.

The Super Book of Web Tools 4 Educators

Are you looking for web tools to enhance your teaching?

Would you like to introduce your students to new web tools to better prepare them for working and interacting in the 21st century workplace?

Check out this free Super eBook of Web 2.0 Tools put together by several educators from around the world who are well known in the interactive tech community.

Mobile Blogging

Have you thought of making a blog that was exclusively done from your phone?

YouTube Video Link:


Martin Luther King


San Diego Unified High School Graduates
$5000 and $7500 Scholarships Available

Share this scholarship informaton with an eligible High School student.

Sponsored by
The San Diego Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation
2250 Fourth Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92101

5-Step Writing Process

What a wonderful way to have students review their learning of the writing process. You as their teacher can easily listen and evaluate them for their level of understanding.


VoiceThread is an excellent web-based tool for your students to hold discussions and display their thinking and if schools choose share it with the world. This is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos. Viewers can navigate through the slides and comments left by others the same as you do with a video player application.

Comments can be left in 5 formats:
  • Voice (via mic or telephone)
  • Text
  • Audio file (ex: mp3 - use Garageband or Audacity)
  • video (via web cam or recorded through Photobooth- (Mac app) )
Other wonderful features:
  • Users can doodle while presenting or commenting.
  • Students can upload their actual photo or avatars
  • Teachers can moderate comments
VoiceThread projects can be:
  • embedded and automatically refresh as new comments are added.
  • exported to MP3 players or DVDs to play as stand alone video

This application is not just for students, teachers use this tool as well for collaborations, mentoring, and facilitating staff developments.

Are you ready to try VoiceThread with your students and co-workers to enhance your learning environment?

Photo Credit:

Still Teaching and Loving Every Minute

One of my former students (20+ years old and about to get married) found me on Facebook (HOW I don't know - I just opened the account that day and we don 't have mutual friends). Wow, the powerfulness of Facebook.

But anyway in her first post on my wall she stated she was happy to find one of her favorite teacher (can you see me smiling - LOL) and then she asked, "Are you still teaching?" And.... my first response was Yes, and Loving Every Minute!!

This is the absolute truth. I can't see myself doing anything else besides helping, teaching, facilitating, and motivating young people so that they can be successful and productive citizens in our society. I hope that I can give them enough tools to overcome any obstacle they may face with an empowered sense of self. Well... here I go into another exciting year of teaching.

But I am thinking about what will I do when I retire. Oh I know.... Teach Online....Lol! You know...I think I will explore discussing my future desire to teach online in some future posts.

But I wish EACH and EVERY teacher a wonderful and successful 2011 school year. Teach something NEW and EXCITING this year......I WILL!

~ The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. ~
Sydney J. Harris
(American Journalist)