Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 52  June 21st 2002 – A LITTLE SILLINESS




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Newsletter Archives can be found at:-



1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo World Cup soccer

4. New Printables -  E-Book

5. Technical Stuff – Seminars and Sony Mavica

6. Web Site Focus – PowerPoint 2

7. Maths Across Australia

8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE. I hope everyone has his or her

Apollo-neck sweater on with this cold weather. It's

fun to use  jokes for HSIE units and KLA’s, making a point

presentation, reinforcing concepts, and reading. "A little silliness

now and  then is valued by the wisest men" - Roald Dahl.

Below is a collection  for Outer Space. Check out some Spaced

Out links here as well

and the Webquest here

Don't miss the gigaflopping brilliant powerpoint tips below. 

Send in any others you might have.



Hans and Stein were playing in their yard in Zurich when one

of the boys accidentally swallowed a coin and started choking.

Hans ran inside to get help, "Mamma! Pappa! Come quick! There's

a franc in Stein!"



What do astronauts wear to keep warm ?

Apollo-neck sweaters !

Where do astronauts leave their spaceships ?

At parking meteors !

Where do Martians drink beer ?

At a mars bar !

How do you get a baby astronaut to sleep ?

You rock-et !

Two astronauts went to the football stadium on the moon,

but they left after a few minutes ?

You see, it had no atmosphere !

How do spacemen pass the time on long trips ?

They play astronauts and crosses !

First Spaceman: I'm hungry.

Second Spaceman: So am I, it must be launch time !

What do you call a loony spaceman ?

An astronut !

What do you call a space magician ?

A flying sorcerer !

What did the metric alien say ?

Take me to your litre !

How does a robot shave ?

With a laser blade !

What do you call a robot that always takes the longest route round ?

R2 detour !

Do robots have sisters ?

No, just transistors !

What holds the moon up ?

Moon beams !


3. WWWInfo Got to be the Soccer

Keep up-to-date at the Official Site.


4. NEW PRINTABLES - Jenny Campbell

Here is a site for educational ebooks

Which is free to download.

It is about How to research a topic and how to

publish the results on the web, directed to secondary students.

You'll find it at



Hi Cathy

I don't know if this will reach you in time but there is a

conference, Slate 2 Silicon, in Orange 21st and 22nd

June that has been organised by Greg Alchin from

Ideate and Mike Tom from DET.  details of the conference

can be found at


 There is quite a lot of input from NSW DET TAs and will

be of equal interest to both Mac and Win users. The cost

to attend is minimal, $70.00, basically just to cover catering costs.


On the subject of conferences, I am the K-6 strand co-ordinator

for the NSW CEG 2002 conference.  This year it will be held

at a new time and in a new location:-


The 20th Annual State Conference

New South Wales Computer Education Group

Sydney Super Dome, Homebush

Monday 30th September to Wednesday 2nd October 2002


For further information go to

I am keen to locate K-6 teachers who are willing to share their

experiences and expertise with others by giving a session at the

conference.  The session should have an IT focus and run for

about 50 minutes? It can be a paper, a demonstration or a

hands on workshop. Please drop me an email if you think you

may be interested or even if you just want to discuss some ideas.

All input will be welcomed.


Linda Zugai

NSW State Manager

Edsoft Pty Ltd



Sony Mavica  Digital Cameras. these Cameras are great for

schools as images are loaded direct to floppy disk as jpegs,

tiffs etc(your choice).  This avoids the usual 11 step process

if you use a USB input an a photo manipulation program. 

The 'Mavica 95 also takes short movies - though is no longer

produced.  The Mavica 100 for some strange reason no longer

records sound - to be careful of this one. The Mavica 75 is

just for photos.  Check them out at:-




1. To add sound effects to your PowerPoint goto

Slideshow/animations/custom. This dialogue allows you to

select an animation with a sound effect. Goto order and timing

a select mouse click our automatic.  For most animations

I prefer automatic.

2. Now for a really tricky bit. To add a background track there

are a couple of options

a. You can goto insert/movie and sounds/play cd - here you

can select a track from a CD in your CD drive and cue it to play

during the presentation.  When you play your presentation you

will always need to have the cd in the cd drive.

b. Goto insert/movie and sound/sound from file you can select a

previously save file and insert this onto your FIRST slide.  Select

play sound automatically from the dialogue box.

TRICKY BIT HERE select the sound icon you have created and

goto slideshow/animation/custom.  Goto Options in this dialogue

box, select 'while playing continue slideshow, select stop playing

after '999' slides, select 'hide while not playing', and loop it if you

want to.  this will mean the music will play from the first to the last slide.

NOTE OF CAUTION - PowerPoint will accept most sound formats

including, midi, MP3, wav, however your CDs will need to be

converted into these formats first before you can use them for this

second method.  There are also many FREE music midi/wav/MP3

download sites on the web.

 On a Macintosh the conversion to these formats is easy - just using

ITunes. On PCs there are also free programs to convert music

files to these formats.

c. You can record directly onto you PowerPoint using Insert/Movies

and Sounds/Record Sound.  You will need a microphone plugged

into the computer.  The sound Icon can be manipulated as above. 

This is great for narration or PowerPoint slide shows.

d. There is another way - GOTO File/Make a Movie, Select Adjust

Settings, select 'next', select 'background soundtrack' select the

pre-saved soundtrack(in Midi, MP3,or Wav format), then save as a movie. 


QuickTime player.  Most machines should have a QuickTime player.

3. The third really great TIP is to use slide transitions to make you

look like the master. The later versions of PowerPoint allow you to

use 'QuickTime' transitions - very cool.  Goto slideshow/Slide

transitions/Select QuickTime transitions.  The cross Fad is the most

common and professional looking Transition, leave the settings at

the default until you are familiar with it.  Some of the other settings

are suitable for special effects, try them all and preview them as you go.  

I usually set the transition to automatic and them to about 3 secs –

for most image based slides.

4. The fourth really great TIP, is to use pictures as backgrounds. 

Goto/Format/Background, then click on the arrow at the corner of

the colour bar, goto fill effects goto picture. Goto Select picture. 

Landscape orientation works best for this.

Stay Tuned for PowerPoint 3 tips next newsletter.



7. Join in the Maths Across Australia quest by the amazing

Barbara Braxton

Teacher Librarian Palmerston District Primary School

Where is Australia? How big is Australia? suitable for upper Primary.




CIESE Classroom Projects


United Nations Atlas of the Oceans

The Atlas is an information system designed for use by policy

makers who need to become familiar with ocean issues and by

scientists, students and resource managers who need access to

underlying data bases and approaches to sustainability. This is

another fantastic site with great resources.


Online marketing for kids (a lesson)

Marketing Lesson

Can you sell it? Lesson plan

Great ideas for teaching marketing


E-Learning Guru

This site is jam packed with "how to" articles, templates and

calculators in the tool box, dozens of white papers, time saving book

summaries and links to the best sites on the net. Looking at e-learning

for your schools; begin with the article e-Learning Alphabet Soup. Or

check out a beginner basic: What are Plug-ins?



Anatomia - Do you know about anatomy?   This is a fantastic site I

played with it myself - did pretty well too.

Interactive activities labeling the human skeleton, eye, skull,

digestive system, respiratory system, skin are the core of this website.

A collaborative team of 15 teachers from European countries

created this website in 9 different languages, including English.

Middle School, High School

Science (Life Science)


The Internet Public Library - Kidspace - great place



Hi Cathy,

I am considering doing exchange teaching in Texas, USA. My son is 14

and an excellent athlete, wins middle distance running, also

all-rounder in sports, in all the top teams, particularly baseball

and football. Which schools would be good to apply to for

sporting scholarships, or who would be able to evaluate him. 

Any suggestions you can give would d be most appreciated.

Jon McManis

This is one for the US readers – any suggestions??


Thank you Cathy for your informative site.

 I have a colleague who I swap web sites with and he has put

me onto yours. You can trust me to keep up my end of the netizen

bargain, I love helping others with their computer queries! I have

found the best kind of help is informal help and we will often sit

around the computers in the staffroom helping each other or

sharing effective sites or strategies using ICT.

regards Michelle Wood

(teacher Ulladulla Primary School)


This is exactly what it’s about.



Our Year 7 students are looking at the Government as part of

their SOSE next term. Do you know of any useful sites which you

could recommend and also any WebQuests which you know of?


Chris Richards - Director of Students

Ormiston College

Hi Chris,

Check out the sites on the virtualteacher page

Under the government heading

Also check out edna - links suggest below




G'day Cathy

Sorry for this late thank you

Thanks for the information/websites. It was a little mind boggling

or is that numbing - all that info but it was extremely useful useable

and informative.

Thanks Again

Mick Duffy

Thanks Mick


Dear Cathy,

I'm a Year 6 teacher from Brisbane. I'm going to do a unit of work on

'alternatives in energy' next term and want to know if there's a site

which tells you of worthwhile excursions around the city of Brisbane.

Also is there a way to search your virtual teacher website for

particular topics rather than skimming through backdated issues

of your newsletter?



Hi Jennifer.

Yes there is a section on "Cool Fuel" which is a unit of work on energy.


In this unit I used EPA figures for NSW and VIC these sites are

excellent - here is one for Brisbane.

I am unsure about excursions but perhaps folks at the site above may help.

Yes you can search the site using the GOOGLE search engine - just for

VT - just check the Virtual Teacher box below the google search engine.



PS Can anyone help with Excursion sites in Brisbane???



Would you mind if I made your PowerPoint tutorial available to

our teacher education students via my university's digital conferencing

service (FirstClass)? If so, I would ensure VirtualTeacher is acknowledged.


Dr Geoff White

Deakin University

Faculty of Education

Burwood Victoria


Hi Geoff,

Go right ahead.




Dear Cathy,

I emailed a request for any sites that list open-ended maths

activities for Stage 1 students (lower primary) a few weeks ago

 and have been eagerly awaiting some news via your newsletter.


Perhaps my initial email didn't reach you. I know there are lots

of great links to maths educational sites through your site, but so

far I haven't found much on open-ended activities. Do you know

of any sites that may help?

PS. I think your newsletter is great and have encouraged lots

of my collegues and friends to join. What an excellent way to

share ideas and expertise!

Thanks, Sonia.


Hi Sonia,

Sorry for the delay, your email address doesn't seem to work.

I new this would take a while - I love maths and use a lot of ideas. 

I have used these activities K-2, some sound difficult but all can

be managed by even young children.  there are many other ideas

as well like the 3 colour theory etc..  Try some of the activities on

my maths webpage as well:

This site has some interesting interactive activities as well –

things like pattern making and tangrams are great.

Virtual Manipulative Pattern Blocks are great

Fantastic Tangram site

Activities I love to do with Stage 1 maths – that are not on the web:-

Use dice-

Record the results of throwing 1 dice, 2 dice, 3 dice.

Use totals. graph the results. Using 2 dice, using 3 dice.

Write down all the distinct additions(also use 3 and 4 dice)

subtractions multiplications you can using 2 dice.

What numbers are you most likely to throw – use simple tallies

to work this out.


Using shape.

Prove a triangle has 3 sides.(can a triangle have more

than 3 sides or less than 3 sides? can it have more or

less than 3 angles, can you make a 4 sided triangle,

why isn't it a triangle??)

- same with other shapes.


Make up as many different triangles(rectangles etc) as

you can using toothpicks, the matchstick(popstick, cotton

bud etc). Count the perimeter. Record you work with a

diagram and the number of matchsticks. Record the

lengths of each side as well as the perimeter. Later classify

triangles into equilateral, isosceles.


Discuss 2D, what is 3D? Construct same as above

using Pleistocene and toothpicks. Demand accurate

diagrams. Count corners and toothpicks used.


Discuss 2D, 3D what is 4D.  4D – shapes through time.

Create a representation of a 4D cube – (this might involve

3-4 cubes in different positions –

through time – or the various stages of construction,

this can also be videoed of photographed if you have

a digital camera).


Experimentation with number: -

Look at perfect numbers, abundant numbers etc. 

How many ways to make 21 by addition, by multiplication,

more advanced by subtraction etc.


Play Euclid’s game


Look at consecutive number addition to 10.




What are the patterns explain them.

Take a look at triangular numbers.


Interview a number – find out all you can about it – are

there any special things about the number, ask your parents

ask you teachers.  Take a number like 10

2x5 = 10 etc

10 is the basis of our counting system. 10 is the number of

our fingers and toes. History of the number ten- ie when did

it first get used.  Why do we write it the way we do etc  all

numbers are interesting in this way.


Do some coin flipping. Use one coin 2 coins, 3 coins etc.

Draw some diagrams on Kidspiration, or by hand to represent

the results. Probability tree diagrams.


The secret is really to get students to record all their

activities accurately.


Hi Cathy,

Congratulations on a great site. I have given a paper copy of it to the

teachers at my school as I thought it was a great starting point for any

Australian study. You may wish to change the main title though, as it is

the wrong your/you’re. Thanks for all your wonderful contributions!


Lauren Bunch

Hi Lauren – I corrected the typo – thanks for that.



10.  NEXT ISSUE  A Bumper issue out next fortnight – Number

3 of the Incredible PowerPoint tips and tricks, more jokes to brighten

up your day, some great links on questioning strategies, and

more, more, more….. Send you your ideas, have a great fortnight.




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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