Virtual Teacher Newsletter  No.86 ­ February 28th 2004 ­ CHOICES




1. Welcome

2. Mind Candy


4. New Printables -  Time

5. Technical Stuff ­ TOO MUCH WORD

6. Web Site Focus ­ Learning to Learn

7. Visual Thesaurus

8. Great Sites

9.  Readers' Requests/Comments

10 Next Issue

11. Code of 'Netizens'

12. Tips


1. WELCOME EVERYONE. Choices - everybody has them

- many people avoid them - most people are unaware of them.

Debunk the Œonly one right wayı theory now. I like to think there is

at least 100 ways to do most things. Figuring out which way to

tackle a problem is empowering and engaging.  There is no best

choice, although there might be better choices.  There might be

better choices but also choices more amusing, entertaining,

enjoyable. There might be choices that are more efficient,

cleverer, more tactile, more visual. There might be choices

that suit certain individuals better than others.

This is huge.

How many times have you heard students say:-

³I canıt do anything about it.²

³Thereıs nothing I can do.²

³Iım stuck with it.²

³I hate sport/maths/school/Mrs Smith/ and I canıt do a thing

about it.²(except perhaps muck up and become and absolute


Or even more troubling, not considering their options at all!

What ARE their options?

Making choices and being aware of the options we have is a

totally magical thing.  It transforms one from a powerless,

de-motivated, follower, into someone who can take charge

and turn their life into something they want it to be. 

We all have options. Some more palatable than others,

but options nevertheless.

So you hate school, what are your options:-

1. Leave

2. Change schools

3. Consider the things that you like at school ­ do more of them

4. Consider the things you hate at school ­ remove or minimize them.

5. How could you make school better for yourself.

Go on Option awayŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠŠ.



They know enough

who know how to learn

Henry Brooks Adams


I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a

necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life

through the wrong end of a telescope. ~~ Ted Geisel, children's

book author also known as Dr. Seuss


For every sound your ears are hearing

A thousand thoughts can start appearing!

And each of us imagines different things

From just a sound, your mind has wings!




Figment of my imagination. What an odd word.  Is it used

anywhere else in the English language except as part

of this phrase?

What is a figment? Can you invent your own figment

( Œa contrived or fantastic ideaı) ?

Hereıs figment.

Check out figment of Epcot.



This is a excerpt I have mentioned before ­ seems to fit

in well with this week.

"Your life is an expression of your mind. You are the creator of

your own universe. For as a human being you are free to will

whatever state of being you desire, through the use of your

thoughts and words. There is great power there, it can be a

blessing or a curse; it's entirely up to youŠŠŠŠŠŠ..²



The story of TOO MUCH WORD ­ another issue about choices.

A distressed parent approach me about printing out a studentıs

work, which had been prepared in WORD. The document wouldnıt

print, the student was frustrated, the parent was frustrated ŠŠŠ..

THE PROJECT­ to make a childrenıs book in word with

illustrations and text.

PROBLEM 1 ­ The file size of the document was too big

for the printer to handle.

PROBLEM 2  Word is not suitable for this type of task.

GENERALLY  Word is not suitable for any complex task

involving a lot of formatting, a lot of images or a lot of pages.

The choice the teacher made in assigning the task was not

a very good one.  There are better choices for this type of project.


Use a drawing program to make pictures choose something like:

1. Kidpix ­ even for high School Students

2. Paint

3. Photoshop Etc.

Most of these programs also allow the addition of text.

1. Set the page to A4(most home and school printers handle

only this size)

2. Set a 10 mm border on all sides(no printer will print right to

the edge, of an A4 sheet).

3. Save images as jpegs, or pdfs to reduce file size.

4. Consider final presentation as a digital slide show

(PowerPoint or acrobat) rather than a hardcopy print out in

colour.  This is very expensive for both parents and schools.


6. WEBSITE FOCUS ­ Learning to Learn


Your path for most effective learning is through knowing


your capacity to learn

the process you have successfully used in the past

interest, and knowledge of, the subject you wish to learn


Knowing something takes time; do not be tempted to short-cut

this time. At first you will feel that everything takes too much time,

but do not worry.


The Big 6 Approach - Eisenberg & Berkowitz

What is the Big6?

The Big6 is an information literacy model. Some people call

it a metacognitive scaffold, or an information problem solving

strategy.  Developed by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz,

the Big6 is the most widely-known and widely-used approach

to teaching information and technology skills in the world. 

When you apply the Big6 steps, you have an essential

framework to approach any information-based question


New Basics

The New Basics Project is a bold and exciting undertaking

by Education Queensland to prepare our students for the future.


Multiple Intelligences


Dimensions of Learning is a comprehensive model that uses

what researchers and theorists know about learning to define

the learning process.


Habits of Mind


Concept to Classroom

Welcome!  Here you will find FREE workshops that cover all

kinds of hot topics in education today.


7. Visual Thesaurus

Every now and then a site comes along that does something

totally different - this site is truly amazing - don't miss it.

Visual Thesaurus

Visual Thesaurus is both an artistic exploration and a tool to explore,

study, and analyze the structure of language. By displaying the

interrelationships between words and meanings as spatial maps, the

Visual Thesaurus translates language into a visible architecture. By

Plumb Design.

Use your digital projector, project it onto the wall, have students write down opposites to, similes for, alternatives for etc their spelling words. As a group explore alternative, innovative words for writing projects. Just marvelous.





Mysteries of Ğatalh–y¸k (Science Museum of Minnesota)

Archaeologists are excavating the remains of a Neolithic town located in

central Turkey, southeast of the modern city of Konya. 9,000 years ago,

this place was one of the world's largest settlements. At a time when

most of the world's people were wandering hunter-gatherers, as many as

10,000 people lived at Ğatalh–y¸k. You'll find information about the

archaeological dig, artifacts, activities for kids that revolve around

everyday life, and you can take a virtual tour. Other resources include

a glossary, timeline, maps and links to additional resources. Quicktime

required to view the movies.


Virtues Values




Hi Cathy,

Last year you inspired me to use PowerPoint in my teaching of

junior primary, and I am really enjoying it. I have taken a keen

interest in computing and now E-mail work done at home to my

school.  I have come across a problem, when I E-mail a

PowerPoint presentation that I have done at home to my school

I do not have any of the sounds that I have inserted in the presentation.

These sounds are from files on my hard drive.

How can I fix this problem.

P.S. I am using Office 2000 with Outlook as my E-mail program

Many Thanks

Gaby Cirillo


Hi Gaby,

The theory:-

When you start a PowerPoint presentation assemble all your

graphics music, movies etc into one folder.  Start PowerPoint

and save it as soon as you start into this folder. Make your

PowerPoint presentation using the elements within this one folder. 

All the links will then be local links. When you burn a CD of the

PowerPoint include the whole folder.


If you are sending email you will need to send the PowerPoint as

well as audio and video files with the document.


Microsoft has a cool feature called variously - pack and go, pack

and send, and most recently PowerPoint package.  It is usually an

option when you use the save as command. If you use it PowerPoint

will package all the disparate elements of your presentation for

sending.  I have found this can be unreliable, and  sometimes

requires relinking, but it often works, especially for smaller PowerPoint.


Alternatively, save as a movie which will also imbed the audio ­

this is often a good solution for emailing.



Hi Cathy

I teach computer skills to seniors, and some individual clients

with a range of ages and occupations.


I would just like to say first, I do appreciate the very interesting

Virtual Teachers newsletters.  Also, because I am interested in

examples of well designed flyers to show students, I have

printed out your Ji Do Kwan flyer as a good example of a flyer

that's different, eye-catching and clearly gets the message

immediately across with such a good use of graphics and text - thank-you!


Kathy Myrtle

The Computer Coach


Hi Kathy,

Glad you like it - the other flyer on advertising how to, is at:-

might be helpful too.


Hi, Cathy,

In the latest issue of VT, you suggested a newspaper site,

and it reminded me of the one attached below.  This one offered

by the New York Times and has wonderful activities.  Each can

be adjusted to fit any level and/or curriculum. I've often used

activities from the site for my special needs student, and

they've enjoyed them all.  Perhaps it might be of interest

for other teachers.

Best to you,



Thanks again Nancy


10.  NEXT ISSUE ­ Some Knee replacement surgery ,

gory but great and also a look at some of my favourite numbers,

like number 7.  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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