Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 137 December 9th 2006 THE M THEORY OF CHRISTMAS




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo NORAD Tracks Santa

4. New Printables -  Text Types

5. Technical Stuff – CHRISTMAS PRESENT from BRYN

6. Web Site Focus - PHOTOBOOTH

7. Cathy’s Forum

8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips



This week I was offered the opportunity to make a SANTA
video from Santa Videos.

This is a great idea and I couldn’t resist getting one for
Crown St and Lisa Kemp, who has just staged a brilliant Art Show.
Take a look at it here

Also, take a look at the other videos you can order for
children at:

Michelle and Aidan run the site – and they say:

“I hope you can understand Santa's think Irish accent

We have really enjoyed doing this for the Crown St children.

Hope you all have a terrific Christmas and all the best for 2007!”

The name videos would be great fun at Christmas and a great use
of the Internet.


I have been reading the book - Infinity – by John D. Barrow 2005

Some of the concepts are so amazing. The HOLY GRAIL
of Physics is - The Theory of Everything - apparently
there are 5 contenders for this theory which all appear to
be different views of some deeper underlying  'M' theory,
where 'M' stands for Mystery.  I love this and what a great
message for Christmas. pp187

Christmas is always a great mystery to me, the biggest Mystery is
how I actually end up with everything done by Christmas Day.
But, I do, everyone does, and Santa is real, the fairy lights
work, everyone loves their Christmas gifts and Christmas lunch,
everyone is full of good cheer, 2 glasses of great Champagne
and I can live with the unexplained.

Go forth with good cheer and make the Mystery of Christmas
work for you.  ciao Cathy



If there'sno buy in from students , at the start of the project,
then you are starting students off on 3 months of torture.

GLEF PBL in Action: The Wing Strength Design


"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it."

 ~~ Jonathan Winters (1925 - ) American comedian

If Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus had a child, what would he be called?
A subordinate Claus.

The 3 stages of man:
He believes in Santa Claus.

He doesn't believe in Santa Claus.
He is Santa Claus.


3. WWWinfo NORAD Tracks Santa

We anticipate Santa will be leaving the North Pole in 13 days.

Stay tuned for latest images from Santa Cam.

Send Santa an Email

Santa’s journey  explained.



Colouring Book Printables.  Maps of Santa Territory
and a wonderful selection of Christmas music performed by
the a Nave Band and an Army Band.


go for it and test this site out – it’s great.

It's nearly Christmas and so we have a present for you
and your colleagues. We are making all of our ICTPD
Resources totally free to schools for the month of December
to tie in with any end of year PD. If you would like a password
for yourself or the whole school please contact me off list at
If you know any schools that would like to take part please
ask them to contact me too.

No obligation. Hope you find it useful.


You can find out more by reading

Web site

Best wishes for the holidays




Jeff Han is a research scientist for New York University's
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Here, he
demonstrates—for the first time publicly—his intuitive,
"interface-free," touch-driven computer screen, which
can be manipulated intuitively with the fingertips, and
responds to varying levels of pressure. (Recorded February 2006 in
Monterey, CA. Duration: 09:32)


Other Great Videos from TED

Hi Cathy

I just read through your comments about the Sony HD camera. I have a JVC

Everio HD camera (this, I believe, was the first HD camera on the market)

and have found similar issues. I read on a blog somewhere that the file

format (.MOV) is native to DVDs, so you should be able to burn directly from

the camera to a DVD. Fine, if you are so good at taking movies that they

don't need editing... I haven't been able to get this to work, though.


Anyway, I went through the same issue you are having - I couldn't get the

files to work in the iLife suite. I get around it by using MPEG streamclip

(which is free but you need to buy the Quicktime MPEG-2 playback thing for

about $35). This doesn't make Quicktime play back with sound, but it makes

MPEG Streamclip work.


You then have to convert all your files to DV stream, which works with iDVD

or iMovie. If you've got a fast computer (which I don't, really - an oldish

G4) it isn't too bad - but as you say, you need to be happy to fiddle.


It's interesting that you say the camera is a dud - it's not the camera

that's the problem, it's the lack of available software. There still aren't

many of these cameras on the market, but as soon as someone realises that

they haven't been popular because of software problems, they might just

develop something good. JVC and Sony aren't software
developers - hence the fact that Pixela has developed the
software for both of them. I have contacted Pixela to a
sk about their other software (mono DVD and DVD/DV 2 or

something) and was told that mono DVD (which allows you
to burn DVDs without editing) is included in the capty

MPEG (which it is not!) and you have to buy the other
one, which is similar to iDVD in drag and drop. It still

doesn't solve the editing issues, though.


I feel ripped off, too, as I can't even burn to dvd without converting files

and mucking around. I wonder if the JVC dvd burner that you can attach the

camera to would solve the issue? Maybe a little more time and software

developers might make something better...


Don't toss it out yet!


Deon Scanlon

Hi Deon,

Sony have offered to give me a credit for the camera – so I will
return it.  I managed to export footage to DVD, rip it & re-encode
and import it into Final Cut Pro for editing, with loss of quality –
which defeats the purpose and loss of time - which defeats
the purpose.

So I will take up their offer. 


6. WEBSITE FOCUS - Using PhotoBooth on the New Macs
What fun.

1. Open Photo booth, put a comfortable chair in front of the
computer and feed the students through.  You can give a direction,
make a sad face, make and angry face, use the effects to
make a weird face. 5 minutes

2. Photos should automatically appear in IPHOTO, if not just add
to the Library. 2 minutes

3. Click slideshow, then click play. And Bob’s your uncle.
4. Connect to a digital projector your students can view
the slideshow immediately.

5. Use it as a catalyst to make a list of descriptive words. 8minutes
6. Bulk Print them out, enlarge to A3 and have your students
write about the images using the words. 5 minutes

7. Wall display with all the students faces and great words.
You can fiddle about with the settings in iPhoto, timing, transitions
and of course add music, including garage band.
Great satisfaction, immediate end product. Love it.


7. CATHY'S FORUM On the 13th Day Before Christmas
The Forum rests.  Send in your topics for the Forum over the break
and we will tackle them in the New Year.


7b. Response for WHAT TO CHANGE AT DET

Dear Cathy,

My apologies for the delay in writing this - I had reports and final

exams/tests to organise first!  But here it is - my response to
DET and how to make things better.


Firstly DET needs to acknowledge that teachers are leaving because they

are not offering enough to keep good teachers.  Teachers are the most

patient people I have ever met - if DET was a private business, they would

have no clientele.  It is the small things that make things difficult. The

constant changes (I refer to WACE and COS here - the concept it good but

the execution is very poor, information coming out in small packages,

sometimes daily, instead of larger better worded, easier to understand



Also the transfer system is fundamentally flawed.  How dare they leave

teachers until school has finished for the year before telling them where

they are to be placed next year! That's what happened at my current school

last year. I am concerned - we have 10 teaching days left and the is still

half the staff unsure of next years position.


My dad was military for 23 years. We moved every 2 years when i was a

child.  Teachers are not that dissimilar - we all want the best and most

qualified person for each job. DET needs to chat to the transfer dept of

the Army and model their system.  IT WORKS - unlike most of what DET

touches...... sigh.  10 teaching days and there will be mass quitting if

my school doesn't know where they will be placed next year.


I think if we can sort the transfer crap and insist on the quality of

changes before they are implemented (to hell with deadlines) I would

rather wait then deal with half-baked crap!  Then DET will keep teachers.

Carolyn, 1st Year Graduate, Country WA.


Great Carolyn, unless we ask and critique the system no changes
will be made. The upshot of this is that teachers who give a damn,
great teachers, teachers who care, like yourself WILL leave the
system.  The system looses the best teachers through, well
basically, frustration, and the rest will just stay in the profession
complain and do nothing. Either way a de motivated workforce.

Keep hassling them Carolyn.



Four Candles

Kathleen Comber


Yes, Latiude and Longitude Can Be Brought to Life!

Teaching Latitude - GLEF


Quality Thinking and Learning at Kurwongbah

There is so much on offer at this site


Teacher Librarian

Sandy Beach Public School




Hi Cathy

I belong to another list run by Pete, McKay, a teacher from
Canada. He sends one site per day.

Today's message had a wonderful site  which I thought I'd
share with you.

This Four Directions interactive video that teaches about
Native values...

It is an exquisite site, beautifully designed.

Like you Pete does a great job of getting teachers sharing ideas.
His site is

I certainly have learnt a lot because of the dedication of
teachers like you and Pete.

Thank you and Happy Christmas

Daphne Gonzalvez


I have always loved native American History, ever since
I read Black Elk Speaks years ago.
This site the echoes many ideas of Aboriginal Culture and
indeed generic ideas that have resonance in all cultures.


Hi Cathy,

I have some
English Jokes with glossed vocabulary that students can
listen to. They're very popular with my students. Perhaps you
could add a link to ESL Lote.
Thanks for your time, I really do appreciate it!



Hi Cathy - sorry to be a prig, but I'm a stickler for syntax.

I think you mean 'tenet', rather than 'tenant'.

Kris Bowtell

TiC Music, Lesmurdie SHS, WA

10.  NEXT ISSUE – VT will be back next February, send in your
great ideas and your forum ideas to make it a bumper issue.

Have a great holiday. ciao Cathy


11. Code of the 'Netizens'

This Newsletter is not free, despite the misleading advertising

above. The Fee is now due. Each week you must help one

colleague on the Internet who has less knowledge than you.

Help that person even if you have to visit their classroom or

do a little research and get back to them. Trust me, this will

help a lot of people get their computer classrooms running better.

OK I'm trusting you!!!


12. TIPS

1. Double click on highlighted URLS to open in browser.

2. Send in your Questions, Questions will be published with

Answers, send in your Answers, if you have expertise to share.

3. Nominate a brilliant site for review and inclusion in this


4. Nominate a fantastic school site for review and inclusion in

this newsletter.

5. Make contact with other schools using fantastic programs.

6. Prepare and innovative article for this newsletter.

7. Tell 2 colleagues about this newsletter.


The opinions expressed here are purely those of the editor,

Cathy Brown. All other small print clauses apply. Such as:

Use at your  own risk. Nothing in life is guaranteed. If it doesn't

work for you send me an email.

Editor: cathy brown


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