Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 140 2007 MARCH FOURTH




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy


4. New Printables -  Marvellous March

5. Technical Stuff - HOLOGRAPHIC MEMEORY


7. CATHY'S FORUM Everything I need to know I learned in Primary School

8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE.  Today is the only day in the year that
is a command - March Fourth.
And so we shall. Let your students be the Heroes of
their own Stories.  Expand and embellish this stories
through digital, story telling, blogging and old fashioned
writing.  Make March Marvellous, stick up some posters and
set the tone for the whole month. Not just an Absolutely Fabulous
Week but, an entire Marvellous Month. Did you learn everything
you need to know in Primary School?  Have our Politicians and
journalists forgotten the lessons taught there?  What do think?
Some great sites for Easter and remember, make this the
forum for all the great ideas you have and send them for
the next newsletter.
Have a great one.



Writing is thinking on paper. 
William Zinsse


Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted. 

Jules Renard


We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. 

Anais Nin


"Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a
bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you -- as if you
haven't been told a million times already -- that writing is
harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching."

≠ Harlan Ellison


One nice thing about putting the thing away for a couple
of months before looking at it is that you start appreciate
your own wit. Of course, this can be carried too far. But it's
kind of cool when you crack up a piece of writing, and then
realize you wrote it. I recommend this feeling. 
Steven Brust



Different styles of writing, writing craft, fiction, non fiction




February was a tough one for my team.  Things seemed to
go wrong all month. So we have declared this Month

Marvellous March.  Let's set the whole month up with
an expectation for a Marvellous time.

technology that fits in the palm of your hand. Equivalent to
462 CDs

Check out the video Demo
This is amazing new technology


We have a culture where the story is king. Our newspapers,
our TV programs our social interactions, indeed our phone
calls and emails and blogs are all based around telling stories.

The best stories are personal stories.

Every student can be a Hero of his/her own life.

Start now with your students keeping a journal, and writing in

it for just 5 mins a day, writing a blog, digital story telling.


Or make up a set of cards - students can draw a card and
write about it. Add any questions you like.


What is your favourite song?

What is your favourite hobby?

What is the most frightening thing that has ever happened to you?

What was the best game you ever played?

Describe your Easter Holiday/Easter Break, how do you celebrate?
How does your family celebrate?

What is your favourite joke?

What do you dream about?

The best playground adventure I have ever had?

What has inspired you?

What kind of person are you?


Over the Course of a year revisit these things. Use these as
the core for other writing. Telling a good story often involves
embellishing the original story. Taking the best game you have
ever played and adding giants to the team, and monsters
to your opponents team. etc.


Digital Story telling

Writer's Block

Writing an Autobiography

How Writer's Write


7. CATHY'S FORUM - Everything I need to know I learned in Primary School


I am continually amazed at the jingoistic cliché that is spread about, masquerading as scientific fact. 

You all know my views on Global Warming.


Any Primary school child has studied the historic information

about ice ages - very exciting and of course the interglacial periods in between

So in primary school we learned that the Earth's climate
changes radically, it is not constant, yet we are still susceptible
to the "Our Planet is Dying" hype on TV tonight. Much like the
the story of Chicken Licken, an over reaction to a fairly common event.


We also learned about the Water Cycle.

I must have drawn it on many occasions. You know the one,

rain falls from the sky, runs into rivers, goes out to sea,

evaporates into the air, forms clouds, and rains falls from the sky.


At the moment we are having the desalinate at great cost or
purify our waste water debate.  A lot of folk are busy being
disgusted at the purify our waste water option.


Well back in primary school we knew that the water we
drank had fallen from the sky, trickled over the ground,
over rabbit poo, and rotting things, dead animals - we found
one in a dam once - so in fact the water we already drank
was recycled, and still is.


What do you think about this jingoistic debate, based more on hype
and political knowledge than facts, facts that we learned in
Primary school. What other sweeping generalisations,
over simplifications, and simple exaggerations have been
made under the guise of political expediency, beat-up for
ratings or simply dramatic effect?  Should we be asking
our students to research, think and find answers closer to the truth
or should we join the bandwagon and feed them the latest
popularist propaganda, just like Chicken Licken and his
band of fearful unquestioning followers, Goose-loose,
Drake-lake, Duck-luck, Cock-lock, Ganderlander
and Hen-len.

Does it Matter? It sure does. Send you responses in.

Should students think or follow?


7b. Responses

Hi, Cathy,


Let me begin by asking you to please make this an anonymous
response, for obvious reasons.


I read the letter from the other 'anonymous' teacher from China.  

It's incredible to discover the problem of cheating is so universal.  

Know we also have cheating issues at my school, though
they are different in specifics.


During free time or in study hall, I have occasion to witness
students blatantly copying other's work and submitting it
as their own.  I used to take the papers and turn them in to
the respective teachers explaining what I'd witnessed. 
Amazingly, many teachers did nothing about it.  Although
there are teachers who do take cheating seriously, my
experience has been that some do not concern themselves
with duplicate homework assignments.  The same goes
for cheating on tests by using crib sheets, stacks of class
notes and even asking others for answers.


In addition, I have watched students cut and paste
paragraphs and/or sections from Internet sources
for research papers.  They believe if they change a
word here or there they can call the final written piece
their own.  Few or no citations are given for the sources
used.  This is despite the fact that they are first taught
that paraphrasing is cheating.


My concern is for the students who are going on
to college and/or work, where they feel they can
perpetuate this type of dishonesty.  

There, cheating is taken more seriously and holds
dire consequences.  More importantly, what can the
students be learning if they merely copy another's
writing, never actively participating in the learning
process in order to internalize the information?


I would love to hear from other teacher to see if they
have experienced similar situations.  If so, I wonder
what solutions they have come up with to deal
with cheating issues.


Thanks for offering a forum for teachers to network
information about problematic and positive issues. 
Since teaching can be an isolating profession, it's great
to have a vehicle available to discuss difficulties and
accomplishments we've experienced.


name withheld




Good Friday is April 6th this year.
Easter around the World

Easter Bunny Net

Goto the How Stuff works site and search for Easter', this site

offers lots of info suitable for upper primary and High School students

Make a marshmallow Bunny at

Sitting Hen

Easter Word Puzzles

Pokemon Easter Egg Holders - do you believe it???

The children will love it!!!!

Try the Paper Bag Bunnies
More Stories and Poems for Easter - including some

Christian Easter Downloads

Easter parade Sung by Julie Garland



Hi Cathy,

Here is another great site to share that has a wealth of resources for teachers.

The Film Australia Digital Learning site can be accessed from the FA home page or from the following link




Thanks Greg great site - wonderful resource.


I would love to be able to access this link;
Does The Time Fit The Crime? - Consider the issues
involved which led to the transportation of convicts to
Australia during the late 18 th century. Was transportation justified?

For a unit of study for my year 7 extension program students.

Any suggestions?

Brett Herron

Ectension Program Coordinator

Dalkeith School


Site seems to have evapourated - but try this one:-

Fantastic – just what I was after.

I can modify it to suit my own Australian needs





I maintain a Current Events Living-Textbook in which I provide lesson ideas related to current events.  The website is located at  

I’m hoping that you’d be willing to take a look at it. 

I’ve also recently written this article, which I’ve both pasted below and attached, that I was hoping you might be able to do something with.

Thanks and I hope to hear from you.

Andrew D. Pass

Andrew Pass Educational Services, LLC

West Bloomfield, MI  48322


Learning about Today for Tomorrow

Science and technology knowledge doubles every four years, if not faster.  This means that any facts a freshman in college learns has a high chance of becoming obsolete by the time they graduate.  Who can guess what the world will like look when today’s kindergarteners enter the work force?  Will anybody work in an office setting?  Will people still carry cash?  Will marketers still be able to purchase commercials or even website ads? 


Nobody can answer these questions or hundreds more like them.  Yet, many educators see their job as preparing children for the future.  How can we possibly prepare students for an unknown future? 


The answer is simple: We can’t.  Nor should we even try to do so.   Instead, we should help our students develop the capacity to understand and influence the world in which they live.  Our students don’t yet live in the world of the future.  They live in today’s world.  Therefore, as educators we must help our students think about today.  If we do this, they’ll also develop the capacity to succeed tomorrow. 


So, how should educators help students think about today? 


Using and Developing Disciplinary Knowledge

Our students must learn to consider the fundamental questions of various academic disciplines through a lens of today.  For example, when studying math, questions and problems should relate to current events.  Sports games provide wonderful venues through which to consider arithmetic.  Local, and well known national and international construction efforts provide venues through which to grapple with higher level math. 


Consider the science questions that students can grappled with when they consider current events.  How and why does today technology work?  How can we advance today’s technological devices to develop more useful tools?  What is it about our physical world that enables technology to work as it does?  Consider the biological and ethical questions that cloning raises.  


Great literature should not be ignored.  But great literature is great because it contains eternal messages.  Students should contemplate the ways in which literary ideas connect to their own lives and the world in which they live. 


Regardless of the lesson at hand, educators must encourage their students to consider the importance of what they are learning.  We should ask students how they can use what they are learning.  How might this knowledge benefit them in the future?




Traditional textbooks don’t work anymore.  They become obsolete before they reach the classroom.  Fortunately, a curriculum focused on current events has a ready made textbook, the newspaper.  Local, regional, national and even international newspapers contain important ideas, related to every sphere of life and society.  These are the ideas of our time.  


Sure, newspapers are not ideal textbooks.  However, every competent teacher knows that they can’t completely rely on the textbook.  Teachers must help students interact with the information contained in the text.  We need to ask questions that require students to consider the text and encourage them to ask their own questions.   We need to develop lessons that enable our students to consider the fundamental ideas of various disciplines through a lens of today. 


When students learn to think knowledgeably and critically about today’s world they will develop the ability to approach tomorrow and the preparation of tomorrow with knowledge, insight and curiosity.  As educators, these are the greatest gifts that we can offer our students. 


What do you think of Andrew's Site?

Hi Cathy

Congratulations on the Newsletter it is remarkable and always of great value.

I wonder if you have the time to let me know if there are any good links to references or research on the collaborative use of computers and the effective


Siggi Macleod

School Improvement and Programs, Central Network,
Grampians Region

Department of Education and Training , Victoria Australia


This is a pretty broad question - does anyone have any thoughts?
use of ICT in the classroom?


Cathy - thank you for your newsletters. I really enjoy reading them.

If it is possible, could you please re-send the last one
(Feb issue) to me again, as it has been 'lost' somewhere
in cyberspace.


Matthew Reyntjes

ICT Coordinator 

Buninyong Primary School


All archive newsletters are at:

the last newsletter is at

10.  NEXT ISSUE - 


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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