Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 71  May 16th  2003 ­




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy

3. WWWinfo ­ Most Important people

4. New Printables -  Create Your Own AD

5. Technical Stuff ­ Classroom Technology Conference

6. Database 2

7. Web Site Focus ­  Make Your own Rubrics Online

8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE.  5,000 readers, VT has hit the big

5,000 subscribers worldwide.  IT has come a long way since VT

began 71 issues ago.  No one is asking, Œshould we use computers

in schools¹ anymore, but rather, Œhow can we use them for the best

educational outcomes¹.  And what wonderful advantages there are

in using computers and the Internet.  Do some research into your

family tree at the Œbdm¹  site, find the most famous Person of the

20th century, create your Advertisement and make your own Rubrics,

to mention just a few things from this newsletter.  Please enjoy.



Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today


Dear Cathy,

Thought you might like the following;

"A school is a building with four walls and tomorrow inside"

(Eleven year old student from a London School)

Best wishes

Geoff Strack


'School should be the best party in town.'          Peter Kline


A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day.

"In English," he said, "A double negative forms a positive."

"In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double

negative is still a negative. However, there is no language

wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up,

 "Yeah, right."


A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some

items in  front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he

picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded

to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in  diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full?

They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured

them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course,

rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They

agreed it was. The professor then picked up a box of sand and

poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full.

The class responded with a unanimous, 'YES'!

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under

the desk and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar,

effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to

recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the

important things - your family, your partner, your health, your

children -  things that if everything else was lost and only they

remained, your life  would still  be full. The pebbles are the other

things that matter like your job, your  house,

your car, etc. The sand is everything else. The small stuff in your

life." If you put the sand into the jar first", he continued, "there is no 

room  for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will

never have room  for the  things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play

With your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your 

partner out to dinner and dancing. There'll always be time to go to 

work, clean the house, give a dinner party, and fix the disposal."

Take care of the rocks first, the things that really matter. Set your

priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer


The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show

you  that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always

room for a couple of beers."



3. WWWinfo

The Most Important People of the 20th Century

Famous Australians



Create your own Advertisement, Use VT template

also look at




Teaching and Learning with Technology

7th National Conference

12th ­ 13th June 2003

The Boulevarde Hotel Sydney

I will be speaking on

Teaching, Learning and Technology ­ Capturing the Opportunity for

Customised Learner-Centred Instruction.

Other Speakers include ­ Steve Coote ­ MLC School,

Renata McKenzie ­ Roseville College,

Wendy Herbert ­ Sydney Girls High etc.

Should be a great 2 day conference.

To register contact Talina Bicakcian in Sydney on 02 9425 760

"IES Conferences"

And let them know you heard it in VT.


Here¹s a  FREE seminar ­ just the thing for teachers in  Sydney

­ seminars in style at the Tattersalls club ­ if you go I¹ll see

you there.

Dear  Cathy

Edsoft would like to extend to you, and any of your colleagues

who may be interested, an invitation to attend a complimentary

Adobe Educational Breakfast.  

If you have ever wondered how to make an Adobe Acrobat

PDF (Portable Document Format) document or even why you

should make one, this breakfast would be very useful to you.

The team at Adobe Systems and Edsoft would like to invite

you to share breakfast with them while they show you how

you can easily save time and money in order to share documents

throughout your community.

* Learn all about Adobe Acrobat: The only way to securely share

documents online.

* Learn how to convert Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into

perfect Acrobat files.

* Discover how you can keep everyone informed without having to wait for

the printer, the photocopier or the next meeting. You can PDF all of

your important documents, reduce the size of the file and then email

them, or publish them online accessible to all in your community to see.

Timetables, Policies, Minutes of Meetings, the possibilities are


* Learn how you can combine multiple types of files and publish quickly

and easily as a PDF. There's no easier or cheaper way to produce a

student study pack for a course, or a digital portfolio.

* Discover Acrobat security to ensure your files are only read, printed

or amended by the right people.



Date: Tuesday, 3rd June in

Time: Breakfast will be served at 7:30am we will conclude the session by


Venue: The Club Room 1 of the Tattersalls Club, 181 Elizabeth Street


Parking: Throughout 2003 Tattersalls has an agreed arrangement with

Secure Parking, offering discounted Parking Rates for patrons of

Tattersalls. Secure are located in Castlereagh Street (underneath

Piccadilly of Sydney)


In order for us to finalise numbers for catering it would be appreciated

if you could register your intention to attend at:



Using Excel

Things to know

Record: Is a collection of fields, often has a specific and unique

ID ­ eg. each student at a school has their own individual Œrecord¹ ,

in the ŒMoons of Jupiter Database¹ there are 16 records, one of

which is Io.

Field: Is a single item of information, common to all records in a

File - each student record, would contain an ³age² field, in the

³Moons of Jupiter Database² there are 5 fields.

File: is  collection of records ­eg in a school there would be a

file containing all student records, the ³Moons of Jupiter Database²

is a File.

Step by StepŠ

1. Open Excel and Open a new blank document.

2. Type the Field names across in Cells A1, B1, C1, D1 etc

3. Type the records in, the first record would usually start at  A2 then

A3, A4, A5 etc, fill in the fields for each record.  (Many Databases

have a distinct and unique ID for each record, this is usually the

first field.  These can be generated by the program or entered

manually. In the ³Moons of Jupiter Database² the Œname² field,

acts as the record ID.

3a. Data can also be entered using the Œform¹ view. Highlight the

field names. Goto data, goto, form.  Use the Œnew¹ button, to create

a new record.

And that¹s it, easy peasy.  If you use a common ID across multiple

databases this can be used to link databases using programs such

as Access.

A really huge database is the Births Deaths and Marriages Site.

At this site you can do a historical search for family members,

Historical indexes can be accessed by anyone if the event

occurred in the following periods:


­ From 1788 to 1905


­ From 1788 to 1945


­ From 1788 to 1945

You can search the historical indexes for the following information:

* First name

* Last name

* Year the event was registered

* District (place the event was registered)

* Unique registration number



Rubstar make your own rubrics.  This is a fabulous site. You must

Go there now and have a look.  It automatically makes Rubrics.

You can change various bits and pieces as you like.  It¹s soooo simple.

I have also encouraged my students to use it. Just Brilliant.

1. If you want to build your own, simply use a table in Microsoft word.

2. Get the students involved.

3. Discuss ŒWhat would make a really great assignment, project,

piece of writing etc.

4. Select Categories like, Originality, Mechanics, Attractiveness,

 resources, information etc.  About 4-5 is sufficient initially.



Write this down against each category.  A digital projector

attached to a computer is great for this.  If not the trusty

whiteboard/blackboard will do.

This is a fantastic way for students to work out exactly

what is required.


Dear Cathy

I see in your next newsletter you are going to be looking at

developing rubrics for your own evaluation. I am an occupational

therapist working with children with challenges in many different

areas and have been working a lot on Mind Mapping with children.

Many of them are taking to it so well and yet I find it very difficult

to sell the idea completely to some teachers in that they are saying

"how do we assess it? the end of the day they have to be able

to put it down on paper in a narrative form..." I realise this is looking

at a whole new way of assessing children, but for some this is

clearly more engaging and they actually retain more information

and organise it more effectively.

Look forward to your next newsletter!! Cathy Horder

Cathy ­ the Rubric is also a brilliant way to assess student work,

Also digital portfolios as well as mindmaps.

A great way to encourage teachers to use mindmaps is to use

³Inspiration² or ³Kidspiration² with them on a topic at their level.

Perhaps planning a unit or work.  Enthusiasm for this method

seems to increase with use.



Museum of computer Art - fantastic site lots of wonderful ideas.


Education Queensland



Preschool and Elementary library - animated, audio books as

well as online activities and printables.  Very cute.


Virtual Farm - Just Brilliant K-12


The Yara Online Book review site is fantastic.  Students can write

reviews and read reviews form other students.  It is also great for

selecting books in specific genres or with specific themes.  There

is a comprehensive list of audio books with reviews as well. 

Terrific Resource.



VT is now in recommended in Queensland

AccessEd, part of Education Queensland, would like to make

a link from our


to your site at

as your site is a recommended resource for teachers or students.

Thank you for your assistance and I look forward to hearing from you.

Lynne Jewell

Administrative Officer(copyright)


Dear Cathy,

I love your newsletter. I get inspired every time I read it. I've

also found lots of really useful sites/information which I've passed

on to others. I have had a request for a play/ reader's theatre version

of The Wizard of Oz. Do you have any suggestions where we could look?


Jo Bevan


Hi Jo,

Here's the original script - free to download.

Shouldn't think it would be to hard to convert to Readers' theater if you

wished to.


Thanks as always Cathy for a great newsletter. In response

to Kristie's HSIE question:

Yes this is pretty broad but if History or Civics strands are those

needed I'd be happy to help out. Here 2 great Oz sites to start off

with that will be invaluable to Kristie and her future students.




Hi Cathy. :)

With regards to Kristie at Southern Cross University at Lismore,

could you please forward on my email address to her. I am a HSIE,

Legal Studies, Business Studies, Modern History, Ancient History,

Geography teacher at Balranald Central School in NSW.  If she has

any questions regarding HSIE and what it entails, what she can

teach etc., she can contact me at my email address.

Thanks for supplying such a wonderful resource by the way.

Cheers and many thanks,

Naomi Clark


Hi Cathy

Do you know of any list serves for those interest in teaching






Hi Muriel,

VT has a resource list for G & T

and for years I recieved their the NSWAGTC newsletter - which

was great.

Lots of events ideas and meetings.


Hi Cathy

What an invaluable source for always-stretched teachers your newsletter is -

and it's great that you take a "no frills" approach to conveying all your

info. As a teacher of ICT to British 9-18 year-olds who also loves helping

out 'other-subjects' staff, I have passed on so many of your suggestions -

THANKS so much!

- Gill    :-)


Hi Cathy

Can't get the 'apnoramas' site mentioned in your last newsletter.

Any advice

Eddie Owen (UK teacher)


Hi Eddie

If you install the latest quicktime all should be well.  It's free and is at:-


The information on global warming that you provide appears political

rather than scientific. Yes, it is partly accurate. However, most of the

references provided in the sources listed are from conservative political

sources rather than peer edited scientific journals. At least one author's

quotes are used out of context (Robert Watson in Insight magazine 9/4/95). There are many excellent and interesting scientific sources to learn

more about global warming that would be more appropriate to use in a classroom.

Thank you, L. E. Meyers



Ian Plimer's Book alone has over 250 primary source references and

here's just a few of the online resources available.  Climate change

needs to be put into perspective and examined over millions of years

rather than the just last 100  or so years.

Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


NESDIS National Geophysical Data Center


United State Environmental Protection Agency

Peteet, D. 1995.     Global Younger Dryas? Quaternary Intl. 28 , 93-104.




I loved the Adrian Bruce site you featured last time.  I am looking for a

site that offers a FREE downloadable crossword puzzle maker with

which I can make games for my children to use at a word study or other language arts center.  I want to customize puzzles with the children's

word wall words or other specialized vocabulary.  

My Internet connection is not always reliable.  Therefore, I have found

it better to have software on my hard drive, disks or CDs.  That way

I can make the centers games while doing my planning for the week

without needing to connect to the web.  Suggestions?




Hi Norma,

I like:-

The discovery school online puzzlemaker -it's available on CD as well.

There are free to try downloads at

Edsoft also have a Crossword Wizard for about $100.00 goto their site at

or contact Luida Zugai at


  1. NEXT ISSUE I will take a look at Intranets for all those folk who

have requested it.  Also might take a look at Tessellations again ­

I¹ve been having some great fun with them lately. 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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