Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No. 79  2003 ­ FREE RANGE CHICKENS




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy


4. New Printables -  EGYPT

5. Technical Stuff ­ FREE DOWNLOADS

6. Web Site Focus - SMITHSONIAN


8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE. What happens when students take control of learning. can they be trusted, does it work, can students design there own curriculum, YES, YES, YES, will they go to school, will they be motivated???? Check out some exciting new ideas at - GELF

'We can do anything we put our minds too' - what a great message to give students.¹

Imagine this, I could be accused of severe overuse of the word imagine, and here again I am about to commit another crime of overuse.  Imagine this, a room full of students working at their own pace, self motivated, self- directed, evaluating their own work and each others, imagine the teacher, guiding, applauding, advising, not marking, not trying to get the room's attention, not disciplining. Imagine the teacher with time to work with individuals.  This is the educational world I would love, no more de-motivated  overworked teachers, rather teachers working with students in positive and important ways. Abbott envisions this world and offers a framework which encompasses much of this thinking.  The research and ideas he brings to this subject give a holistic view on the type of educational change that needs to occur, the type of educational thinking that needs to be thought. Adrian, as usual has written a great summary of the recent AIS Conference seminar given by John Abbott.   You will also enjoy reading the wonderfully titled:  ŒBattery Hens or Free Range Chickens What Kind of Education for What Kind of World?¹

Some great stuff to read over the holidays.



A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good. Faulkner, Matthew


Absolute Carp

"Aoccdrnig to rscgeearch crraeid out at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn¹t mttaer in what orede the ltteers in a  word are.  The only iprmoatnt thing is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a total mses and you can still raed it wouthit any porbelm.

This is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by istlef but the word as a wlohe.




Sunday telegraph September 21st, 2003 P136


Which word means "fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth"

"arachibutyrophobia." "dorsobuccalarachihypogaea- phobia." "Arachidnophobia."

legumopalatophobia. "arachibutyrophobia." "cleftosmuckaphobia" ergophobia' "ddiippllooppiiaapphhoobbiiaa" aibohphobia papaphobia ecclesiophobia imnophobia

What do the other words mean?  Are they real or fake words?

from an article on Wordsmith

Answer at 10.



Why do buses come in threes?

Why do clever people get things wrong?

What¹s the best way to cut a cake?

How do explain coincidence?

³Why Do Buses Come In Threes/¹

Rob Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham



An Old Template from VT

Deep in the Tombs of Egypt



Quantum Freeware Downloads - an amazing amount of free downloads


Atomic Learning

Join up and take on some online training over the holidays. 

The price is In US$ however is very reasonable.


Microsoft updates

Windows Updates


6. WEBSITE FOCUS -Dear Cathy,




The Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum

Studies (SCEMS), produced by the central education

department of the Smithsonian Institution announces

the launch of  This latest online

resource is an authoritative and inspiring online educational

resource for educators, families and students.

This new website brings the highest quality of resources

from the Smithsonian Institution to millions of homes across

the nation with visuals, recordings, animations, and interactive

features aligned to national standards. This easy to use website

features cutting edge interactive activities and Idealabs for

students; teaching tools, lesson plans and special events for

teachers; child-friendly exhibitions, reading lists and field trip

finders for families online.

Please share this announcement with your readers and link to for students, educators or families at:

See below for further details regarding the release.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Katherine Foster

This is a wonderful resource with information for K-12. 

Great links pictures and info.


7. The Vision of Learning

New understandings about the brain; about how people learn; about the

potential of information and communication technologies; about radical

changes in patterns of work as well as deep fears about social divisions

in society, necessitate a profound rethinking of the structures of


Here are some of the points that resonated :) with me:

-Letís be clear about learning ñ then weíll talk about technology.

-It is not necessarily the smartest or the strongest that will succeed

more those that adapt the fastest. ñ Darwin

-Learning is a consequence of thinking. Therefore we need to encourage


-Humans are born with an appetite to know and a capacity to learn. School

can kill this.

-We need to teach and discuss metacognition (the thinking about thinking)

and reflective intelligence.

-Our schooling systems breed specialists. More and more people who know

more and more about less and less.

-When you¹re being creative you are doing the unexpected. So examine what

you call being creative.

-Research shows that stress in the last 3 months of pregnancy can hinder

brain development by as much as 2 years.

-It is not the quality of the milk when breast feeding that is important

but the quality of the interaction with the mother that facilitates brain


-Children need people around them that encourage question raising and

people around them to help them find the answers. NOT give them the


-Brains develop much better if we give people the skills to think for

themselves. Don¹t do everything for them. It stunts their development.

-In a rapidly changing world learners will inherit the earth and the

learned will find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no

longer exists. So learn how to learn.

-Technology gives us the opportunity to make qualitative changes in


-The child needs to be interested in learning and committed to it.

-There is no messiah out there for technology in education, just us.

-Leave them time to smell the roses.

-Don¹t forget the social elements, we are collaborative animals.

Hi Adrian,

I read you summary of the John Abbot seminar - right

on the money - wondered if I could use some of it in VT???

Let me know if it's OK.

No worries just as long as you mention it was the AIS

Conference 'Making the Most of the Middle Years 2003'.







DNA Interactive - You'll love this site with it's movies and interviews.

A huge, beautiful undertaking, the DNA Interactive site is divided into

sections: Timeline; Code (what is it); Manipulation (how do you work

with it); Genome (analyzing, mapping, sequencing); Applications (how DNA

applies to healthcare and our past); and Chronicle (using knowledge

responsibly, can we do it?). Use the Site Map to get an overview of what

each of these sections contain. Each section contains short bits of

information and accompanying media. Flash required. Created by the

efforts of many - copyright Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.


Website evaluation guidelines


Using Live Insects in Elementary Classrooms for Early Lessons in Life

This site, created by the Center for Insect Science Education Outreach

at the University of Arizona, is online curriculum and resources

developed to support K-3 teachers interested in moving from a

traditional textbook-driven curriculum to a more integrated, hands on,

inquiry approach. This site contains  twenty integrated lessons with

science and math activities that use live insects


Artist's Toolkit (Minneapolis Institute of Arts)

Another production from ArtsConnectEd and it's a good one! Each section

(Line, Color, Space, Shape, Balance, Movement/Rhythm) allows students to

watch animated demonstrations, view examples, and create their own.

Includes an encyclopedia of Visual Elements (line, shape, color, space,

and texture) and Visual Principles (balance, emphasis, movement/rhythm).

Requires Flash.


DLTK's Printable Crafts For Kids

This site is totally home-grown (ie. not slick and professional);

however there is a wealth of resources here that demand attention. This

site features a variety of fun, printable children's crafts, coloring

pages and more including projects for holidays and educational themes.

There are also "sister sites" with coloring pages, Spanish/English

activities, French/English activities,  and Fun Facts for Kids. You can

find templates and craft patterns, sign up for a newsletter, or join

discussion groups and share ideas. Check out DLTK's Custom Bookmarks to

see what I mean (

The Global Virtual Classroom




In Word, when I type a word, and there is an error in it, I highlight 

The incorrect part and retype it. However the highlighted part does

not disappear and I have to delete the incorrect part manually.

eg sydney becomes Ssydney What do I need to turn on or off and how?

Regards Terrie

Thanx for a great teacher resource


An answer for Terrie...

The Word Ssydney Dilemma!

Tools >> Options >>

Select the Edit Tab

Under the heading Editing Options

Look at the first one in the list. (This may depend on version

of word?!?) Make sure that you have the check box marked

next to Typing replaces selection You need to go to the "Tools"

menu bar, then choose "AutoCorrect" which will display

4 choices. Make sure you are on the "AutoCorrect" tab heading

and then tick the box which says "replace text as you type"

(the fourth choice). Works for me!

Fabulous resource set Cathy, thanks for your time and effort!




Hi Terrie,

When you make a mistake in Word and a red line appears under

it, just right click with the mouse over the word and a menu appears

with correct spellings - just choose the one you want and it replaces

the incorrect word. (Sydney isn't a good example as my computer

automatically gives it a capital even if I spell it with a little s).


Lyn Garrett


In reply to Terrie's question about replacing a selection in Word, it

appears that the 'typing replaces selection' option is turned off. To

correct this select options from the tools menu, then click on the edit tab.

There is an editing option "Typing Replaces Section". Make sure this check

box has a tick in it and click OK. This should fix it.

Hector, Bruce


Hi Cathy,

In your latest newsletter there was an item about using

"Questioning" in the classroom. Immediately the software program

"Reasonable" produced at The University of Melbourne, sprang to mind.

Have a look at their website at

Or download a trial version. To me ( not a practising classroom teacher )

I think it important that our students ( and anyone else in fact ) are

taught skills to develop clear, concise arguments.


Jean Steiner

Managing Director

Edsoft Pty.Ltd.


This seems like an interesting program - what do others think?

I am very partial to Kidspiration/Inspiration for this type of activity.


Hi Cathy

I was just reading Lyn's note about making a PowerPoint

presentation for her students. In South Australia lots of us are

trialling a new piece of software that makes it all easier.

It's called Capture Cam Pro, and using it you can make a

screen-capture movie of a particular skill which students can

then re-play as needed. It's available for a 30-day trial at

I've been using it for a few weeks and love it - sorry, but it

doesn't work on Macs!!!

Sue Lemmer

Assistant Principal

Mawson Lakes School


Looks like a most interesting piece of software, Mac's also

allow you to capture video direct to Computer - controlling the

video using mouse. Has anyone else tries this software??


Dear Cathy

Can you advise me on a good site where I can get a unit of

work (probably HSIE or Science) that I can use for a stage 3

class but has worksheets that can be modified for students

of the same age that have reading difficulties.  I need about 12 worksheets.




Try these:-


10.  NEXT ISSUE -  VT will take a 3 week break over the holidays

Back next Term.



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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