Virtual Teacher Newsletter June 23rd, 2000 No. 11

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Newsletter Archives can be found at:-
1. Welcome
2. Mind Candy
3. Buying a Computer for School or Home
4. New Printables - Graphing and PowerPoint
5. Technical Stuff - Digital TV and Computer Maintenance
6. Fantastic BBC Site
7. Major New Australian Website
8. Great Sites
9. Readers' Requests/Comments
10 Next Issue
11. Code of 'Netizens'
12. Tips
1. Welcome everyone. I have had the busiest two weeks ever.
'Crumpet Boy'(perhaps I should say 'Crumpet person') has been turning
up everywhere. Crumpet Person came into existence over one rushed
breakfast. Two crumpets were cooked and warm in the toaster and no
one had cooked them, wanted them, or knew anything about them. So
'Crumpet Boy' was born. Over the last 2 weeks, things have gone
missing, drinking glasses broken, watches and keys have disappeared,
all amazingly, the result of 'Crumpet Boy's' activities, because no
one here knows anything about them. And amazingly 'Crumpet Boy' is
travelling, not only are his activities apparent at our house, but he
is visiting several schools as well. So I am issuing a general
warning to everyone - BEWARE 'Crumpet Boy'. Be happy - keep laughing.
2. Mind Candy
Laughing stock
- cattle with a sense of humor.
Trying to dress an active little one is like trying to
thread a sewing machine while it's running.

There are only two things a child will share willingly:
communicable diseases and their mother's age.

Cleaning your house while your kids are at home is like
trying to shovel the driveway during a snowstorm.

Kids really brighten a household; they never turn off any

An alarm clock is a device for waking people up who don't
have small kids.

Shouting to make your kids obey is like using the horn to
steer your car, and you get about the same results!

Any child can tell you that the sole purpose of a middle
name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.
*------------- Guaranteed to Roll Your Eyes ---------------*

Teacher: "Spell 'WATER',"


Teacher: "That doesn't spell 'WATER'"

Girl: "Yes it does.... It's all the letters from 'H to O'."
Are you interested in making $$$$ fast? Here's an incredibly
simple way to do it, and there is nothing to buy, no
investment to make, no money to lose! Trust me. Try it now!

Follow this simple procedure:

1) Hold down the shift key.
2) Hit the 4 key four times fast.
NOTE: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice,
but in practice there is a great deal of difference.
Get the facts first. You can distort them later.
---Mark Twain

[A quick check list for those who need to make contact.]

1. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to
leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby
pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies
and children's art. We don't have a life, and we find it
deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.

2. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the
error messages from here.

3. When an I.T. person says he's coming right over, go for
coffee. That way you won't be there when we need your
password. It's nothing for us to remember 700 screen saver

4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not
what's keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know
that you can't get into your mail because your computer
won't power on at all.

5. When I.T. support sends you an E-Mail with high
importance, delete it at once. We're just testing.

6. When an I.T. person is eating lunch at his desk, walk
right in and spill your guts right out. We exist only to

7. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks
it up and flags it as a rush delivery.

8. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support.
There's electronics in it.

9. When you're getting a NO DIAL TONE message at home, call
computer support. We can fix your telephone line from here.

10. When you have a dozen old computer screens to get rid
of, call computer support. We're collectors.

11. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an
I.T. person's chair with no name, no phone number and no
description of the problem. We love a puzzle.

12. When an I.T. person tells you that computer screens
don't have cartridges in them, argue. We love a good

13. When an I.T. person tells you that he'll be there
shortly, reply in a scathing tone of voice: "And just how
many weeks do you mean by shortly?" That motivates us.

14. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least
20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.

15. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send
the job to all 68 printers in the company. One of them is
bound to work.
3. Buying a PC for Home or School - entry level.
I have a few inquiries about purchasing computers for schools or home
use. Here are some things to keep in mind. Next newsletter I look
at digital cameras suitable for home or school use, as requested.
For a PC
The sorts of things you will need for a good entry-level computer are:-
566 - 600MHz Celeron chip or (Intel Pentium III or comparable AMD
chip) The Celeron will usually be cheaper.
64Mb RAM
10Gb hard disk
40 x CD Rom drive
Built - in 56k modem
Software inclusions - Windows '98, Microsoft Office(Microsoft Works
is not as comprehensive)
Anti Virus Software and the odd game or encyclopedia.
A Name Brand like IBM Aptiva, Acer, Compaq is always a plus.
USB Port connection for mouse, keyboard, and other peripherals.
A sturdy box - usually name brands will have these.
This package should cost you between $1,500 - $1,700AUD including GST.
1minimum 1 year parts and labour Warranty
A Similar Level package for Mac is
iMac 350MHz 64/6G/CD/56K (Blueberry)
1minimum 1 year parts and labour Warranty - $1,585(best current price
I can find)
I usually like to get 3 quotes - obligatory in schools - and try the
usual sources like Dick Smith and Harvey Norman. I also use another
small company run by a friend of mine who provides me with good
service and good deals as well as prompt service.
Premium PC & Apple Reseller
Call for the latest price list
Phone: 02 9524 5971
Fax: 02 9525 5296
4. New Printables
Try this great graphing activity using Olympic Gold Medal Tallies and
Microsoft Excel
Here's the first in a series of 5 PowerPoint lessons. this one
includes a layout planner for the finished presentation.
Please remember that programs for Mac's, PC's can be slightly
different, also different Office versions will vary. So you may have
to alter some of the instructions on these printables.
4. Don Redgwell - Teacher/Librarian
This is a fantastic site with loads of links arranged in subject
areas. This is a great resouce for almost anything.
E-mail -
School Website:
Resources Website:
5. Technical Stuff
How will Digital Television affect education? A number of scenarios
are outline including a scenario for homeschoolers. I believe it
will open up some amazing possibilities, and with more integration
with the Internet will become a valuable teaching resource. Let me
know what you think about this.
send replies to:
Computer Maintenance - If computers are regularly maintained with a
good utilities program many problems will be avoided. Computers need
to be maintained regularly, faults and problems that arise are not
usually due to misuse. I use 'Norton's Utilities', educational
prices are available for this product - it usually costs about
$65.00. Different versions are available for PC's and Mac's and the
different operating systems for each. Make sure you quote your
operating system and platform when ordering. Site licenses are
available for multiple computer usage. HOWEVER you can use one disk
on multiple computers if you run the program from the CD and don't
load it onto the machine. And as luck would have it this is the best
way to run the program. For efficiencies sake it is best to have a
disk for every 4-5 computers.
When do you run the utilities program???
1. If the system crashes or freezes or is running slow, run the
Utilities program.
2. I usually run the program once a week on my G4 - as it gets a lot
of use, and I use large programs and files. At school running the
program every 3-4 weeks should be fine.
How do you run it???
For Mac
Put the disk in when the computer is running, restart the computer,
and hold down the 'C' key to boot up from the CD.
Run Disk Doctor, and Speed Disk.
For PC
Put the Disk in - newer versions have an option to run the program
from the CD, select this option.
Run Norton's Systems Check and Speed Disk at least.
6. Fantastic BBC Site
Maths Games
Practice Rounding Off
Dealing with Means and Ranges
Picking the Data - a great one
List of All the Games and levels available:-
Try Some of the Printoffs available in 3 levels
Games for 3-8 - Just Fantastic Music Great Characters You'll love it
- The Little Animals Activity Centre
Check out Dynamo's Den
Finally some great Art sites
Be an Architect - So many great resources here.
A Selection of Great art games.
Here's the Sanford Art page - What more could you want - a wonderful
resource. things to try - great artists, colour theory techniques -
7. Major New Australian Website
A major new website designed to assist teachers in presenting the
important aspects of NSW history to their students. It consists of more
than 1000 pages of resource materials, interviews in both audio and video
with teachers, historians and heritage professionals and includes 750
photographs both contemporary and historical of 24 major heritage sites -
Government House and garden, Sydney Customs House, Eveleigh Railway
Workshops, Lithgow Blast Furnace, Parramatta Park, Willandra Lakes, Ritz
Theatre, Walter Burley Griffin Inc, Grace Building, Cowra POW camp,
Richmond Main Colliery, Gleniffer Brae, Rose Seidler House, Rookwood
Cemetery and Necropolis, New Italy, Australian Hall, Sydney Town Hall,
Sydney Trades Hall, Tranby, Mutawintji National Park, Susannah Place,
Kelly's Bush, Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead
Background on the website development
The Board of Studies NSW Interactive Design Group has been building
educational multimedia CD-ROMs since 1992 and educational websites since
1995, winning many awards for their work.

The Teaching Heritage website ( has been
built for teachers by teachers. It is designed to operate as if
participating in a conference. Interviews in Shockwave format are
included where teachers, heritage professionals and academics answer
questions about heritage issues.

Extensive readings are provided - in more than 1000 pages of journal
articles, news reports, excerpts from heritage documents and other source
material. Large collections of actual teaching resources are included, in
the form of downloadable Microsoft Word documents, photographs, maps,
timelines, charts, videos and other multimedia materials for use in the
classroom. Direct connections are made to the NSW History and Geography
syllabuses to assist in the preparation of lessons.

The gallery of sites explored includes over 750 photographs, most taken
specifically for this website, but including many rare and unusual
historical images as well.
Lyndon Sharp
Head, Interactive Design Group
(Educational multimedia CD-ROM and website development)
Board of Studies NSW, Sydney, Australia
Website manager -
Board of Studies NSW
Gallipoli and the Anzacs
Teaching Australian Heritage
8. Great Sites
Olympic Biographies
Hermann's Top 600 Olympic Athletes

Great Site for Biographies in General
Here are some fantastic sites on Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy,
Physics, Geography - fantastic site for kids aged 8-14. Easy to read
and plenty of information with some simple pictures to download.
Puzzlemaker -I've mentioned this site before - but its worth another
mention. make up your own puzzles and wordsearches uses online tools.
Have a look at my Federation of Australia site:
Dr Alex Pouw-Bray
Here's a great Australian Federation site, full of facts and
information, including a great timeline, 'dictation' that is
basically a glossary of terms. The 'for and against' federation info
is well worth a read. The text is suitable for 10-16 year olds, and
a useful teacher resource for lower grades. This is a very timely
with the centenary of Federation just around the corner. Thanks Alex.
Here's a Guide to Australia - Great site. It covers almost
everything you want to know about Australia State by State.
21stNetwork -they offer computer literacy courses online.
review site
9. Readers Requests/Comments
Dear Cathy,
I love your site, you always give me a laugh and some sensible hints
and sites as well. BUT please Cathy, can you tell your programme to
only send me one e-mail. I keep getting 2 newsletters each time you
send them out.
Thanks again, and keep up the good work,
"deborah & kerry denzel" <>
Should be right now I have deleted one entry - let me know if you
still have any more trouble.
Hello Cathy Brown..
I am a K-12 curriculum support educator and need some help. I need lessons
that can be applied to the Sydney 2000 Olympics. If you have any web links
that I could use, please let me know.
Thanks for you help....
Bruce Frank, Education Development Team
Hi Bruce,
I have mentioned several sites in the newsletters - and have compiled
a small list of resources at my site - this can be reached from the
virtual teacher directory page:-
Also I have included an Olympic activity in the 'Printables' section above.

I need some help/advice/info about Director and its use in the classroom.
Can you help? I need to know what age
students this program might be appropriate for and how teachers are using
it. Would also like to hear some opinions about the value of it and the
learning curve.
Barbara Shaw
University of Texas/El Paso
Hi Barbara,
Macromedia has a good set of explanatory notes tips and info at:-
This is a good place to start - if it is the right program -
depending on the sophistication of your students.
I will deal with this in more depth in the next newsletter - any
readers who have experience with this program please email me with
your info.
Yet again a great issue. Thanks
Lee Ann Green
Navigator School Project Officer
Bayswater Primary School
Melbourne, Australia
Hi Cathy
You wrote: - 11. Next Issue I will look at using Power Point in the
classroom, any thoughts or ideas would be great, send them in.
Microsoft Word also has a web authoring option. I know many teachers
who use it successfully.
KidPix has a web site with among other things, lesson plans for its
web site - <>
A number of teachers in Victoria, Australia, have used PowerPoint
very successfully in their literacy programs.
PowerPoint allows teachers to design electronic books which can be
used in a variety of ways depending on the needs of their students.
For example beginning readers may need repetitive texts that focus on
beginning sounds. With the animation option in PowerPoint the
initial sound can come in first followed by the rest of the word and
a picture clue.
Teachers can also use this facility to focus better readers to need
to read fluently - groups of words can come in together. The
animation effects on a book can be changed for a different group.
This allows teachers to design activities to meet the specific needs
of their students.
Anne Baird, a teacher from Charlton P - 12 College, has been
influential in demonstrating this to teachers.
I would also like to suggest that you might like to alert teachers to
the need to be using computers and other technology as a tool, not as
and end in themselves. Although technical skills are important we
must remember why we are using them. When we start to do this better
then we will increase the respect for these tools educationally. I
have found that teachers often get excited about the technology and
forget the purpose for using it. Showing the value educationally
will also bring on board more skeptical teachers.
Muriel Wells
10. Next Issue I will look at some ideas about digital cameras, and
also some more Olympic sites and ideas - please send them in if you
have any. I would also be interested in readers who have experience
in using 'Frontpage' in the Classroom. Any readers with online Power
Point presentations please send me the URL so that these can be
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 newsletter.
4. Nominate a fantastic school site for review and inclusion in this
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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