Virtual Teacher Newsletter No. 20 December 8th 2000

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Newsletter Archives can be found at:-
1. Welcome
2. Mind Candy
3. World Trek
4. New Printables - Schoolyard Habitat Project
5. Technical Stuff - article
6.Inspirational Writing
7. Ancient Egyptian sites
8. Great Sites
9. Readers' Requests/Comments
10 Next Issue
11. Code of 'Netizens'
12. Tips
1. Welcome everyone.  I'm still getting together some evaluation info
- but I think I will leave it til next year, I'm looking forward to
developing some online checklists over the holidays to make it
easier. One of the big issues for teachers is to make their time
count. To get the biggest impact in the most efficient way. The
best teachers to my mind are the ones who have enough time. Its
important to evaluate each task and and put your time into areas
that have the biggest results. It isn't the case that the busiest
teachers are the best, the more relaxed and 'rushless'(new word just
invented by VT) you can be, the more creative and effective teacher
you will become. I am a great advocate for team teaching, curriculum
and resource sharing, and splitting up responsibility. Teaching
smarter not harder is a great idea. Children are fantastic at taking
on responsibilities for evaluation of themselves and classmates, do
fewer things well, don't be driven by the complete everything
monster(swimming school, excursions, choir practise, visiting fireman
have all conspired to defeat this objective), or the too busy
curriculum. Make the time you have count. With some new ideas
designed to streamline evaluation, and the appointment to
sub-teachers(I'll explain this one later also) next years VT will
help get you off to a good start.
This will be the last VT for 2000 - the next issue will be out
January 19th, 2001 ready for the new school term. (with apologies to
my northern hemisphere subscribers who continue teaching, your turn is
coming) Have a good one.
2. Mind Candy
Luke and Obi-Wan
are in a Chinese restaurant having a meal.
Skillfully using his chopsticks, Obi-Wan deftly dishes himself
a large portion of noodles into his bowl, then tops it off
with some chicken and cashew nuts. All this is done with
consummate ease you'd expect from a Jedi Master.

Poor old Luke is having a nightmare, using his chopsticks in
both hands, dropping his food all over the table and eventually

Obi-Wan looks at Luke disapprovingly and says,
"Use the FORKS, Luke."
Two fonts walk into a bar. The bartender says to them, "Get
out! We don't serve your type here."
I have just spent the lunch hour talking with some 4th a class girl
who believes she has no friends - this seems so common particularly
amongst girls - this quote helps lighten the mood.

"I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I
was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet."
- Rodney Dangerfield.
If Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus had a child, what would he be called?
A subordinate Claus.
The 3 stages of man:
He believes in Santa Claus.
He doesn't believe in Santa Claus.
He is Santa Claus.
3. World Trek
Is a great site and offers all sorts of insights into different
cultures from children's perspective. There are special sections for
K- 6 like the:-
the Latin American section
India And China
4. New Printables
More on the SchoolYard Garden and Habitat Project
Fantastic set of links from Nancy at the Habitat Project - about
everything - is in printable active pdf format.
Also Nancy has supplied some of the forms she uses for her students,
these are also in pdf format for downloading. Some of the checklists
would be most suitable for use across many curriculum areas.
Thanks Nancy.
5. Technical Stuff
Trevor Bond favours personal use of ICT by teachers

ERROR there was an error in the least newsletter in this section.
Web jpegs or gifs should be under 30K not under 150 K this is way too
big. When I prepare photos for the web I convert them to about 150 K
and then compress them using jpeg compression to a file size between
17 - 30 K.
6. Inspirational Writing
Here are some examples of bad writing that I have played around with
- URLs below.
The joy of these is to overuse them in a piece of writing and produce
a rather humorous result - thus emphasizing the reasons for excluding
them from 'good' writing.
The Freudian slip

Phrases to Avoid
7. In your last newsletter, Susan wants Ancient Egypt sites. The best one
I've found when doing this unit is
otherwise known as the Ancient Egypt Site!
Egyptian webquest
Mr Donn's History Page is Fantastic
Here's one of my favourite Mr Donn's pages on Egypt
Translate anything into Egyptian Heiroglyphics - I love this site.
And Nancy suggests:-
Odyssey in Egypt: this site has a very cool VR of an excavation site.

8. Great Sites
MathsYear2000 *****
This great website from the UK has many areas for students to explore in
the area of maths (you know, mathematics). Top Jobs list ways working
adults in the UK use maths in their daily work. Numberland lets students
learn about numbers (for example, koala bears sleep an average of 22
hours a day). Puzzles, features describing mathematical tools, and many
activities will appeal to students from kindergarten to eighth grade.
Lucky students in the UK can also participate in special competitions.
Grades: Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School
Content Area: Mathematics(General) Dewey #510, Science (General) Dewey
Application Type: Resource, Activity

9. Readers Requests/Comments
Dear Cathy,
To order a form with information regarding the School Resource
Kits "The Wonderful World of Vegies" and "The Colourful World of Vegies".
contact Tina - just send an email and I will send
the pdf order form
Research Assistant
Industry Development
Qld Fruit & Vegetable Growers Ltd
Ph: + 61 7 3213 2482 (dir)
Mob: + 61 412 475 110
Fax: + 61 7 3213 2480
Hello Cathy
Thankyou for the ongoing newsletters. I enjoy checking out the new urls.
I do have a suggestion though. A feature for a newsletter with urls
for colouring/coloring sites.
Not the online colouring in type, but the print a hard copy type.
I had a great site:
My students loved it, but some time back it became unavailable. ( I
should have illegally cached the entire site to my hard drive, for
offline viewing! *LOL*)
I emailed list servers which I belong to, but no luck as to a new address.
I emailed sites where the url was linked from, but no luck wit ha new url.
I emailed bconnex, but was advised that the pages no longer existed
at their site.
I wonder if you might know of a new url for the pages?
Geoff Cook
South Australia
Here's a few Geoff - Is there anyone else with some suggestions???
Hi Cathy,
All the planning for Christmas is done for teachers on our special
Christmas site -
password festive.
This site provides teachers with a fresh approach to a festive study.
Teachers and their students use de Bono's Six Thinking hats to launch
into exploring Christmas around the world. Christmas customs, food,
songs, poems and crafts can be discovered through learning centre
activities based around Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences. 
Information on Christmas around the World is presented at three
reading levels, catering for all ages and stages and making extensive
use of the Internet. Ranges of activities for students at two levels
develop essential learning skills.
The site offers templates for quick easy use by teachers when setting
up their learning centre and opportunities to create a call to social
action encourages the children to explore the real spirit of
Just log onto, click
into the Christmas site, enter their details and the password festive
. teachers are on the road to a Christmas with a difference for
the classroom.
Hope you can let teachers know about this site - it's great. We have
had over 600 teachers log on to the site in the last 7 days!!! 
Sue Leadbetter
this is a great Christmas site - well worth the visit.
Hi Cathy, enjoy reading your newsletter and checking out the sites, thanks.
Thought the readers might like to look at our school web site, it was
just launched this week during a Science Fun Day. It is linked to
the school site and provides lists of some great sites sorted into
the 4 science areas as well as general science links and search
It has taken about 5 months to set up and has been an exciting
project to work on. The idea is to interest children in Science
through technology. This is just the beginning, the plan is to add
sites related to class themes and regularly update lists. All sites
have been viewed by teachers and considered suitable for students,
parents and staff. I would appreciate any feedback that would help
to improve this site as I will be working on it again next year.
A science program well worth looking at is mentioned at the site,
SPECTRA, Science Program Exciting Children Through Research
Activities. It was developed by the Science Teachers Association and
is an excellent way to extend and enrich students learning. There is
a small cost for individual task cards which the children can work on
at home, the reward is a metal button or woven badge which students
choose. Hope you think this site is of value and share it with your
readers. thanks Cathy
Vicki Rogers Science Co-ordinator and class teacher at Kennington P.S.
You'll love this site - its just fantastic - loads of interactive
science stuff, I love the nose page - such a well designed site - how
did you manage it Vicki? This site works best on Explorer


G'day Cathy,
Yes I'd like to subscribe. It would be great to keep in touch with others
this way.
I have been using excel for my evaluation folder for many years now. As I
teach an OC class, we have to submit marks to the selective testing unit
(which goes against the idea of outcomes based assessment!) So I have many
examples of the way in which I have compiled these marks.
I am also transferring syllabus documents into Word at present so I can keep
a track of outcomes and indicators - being able to import indicators into
spreadsheet format. As you know you can't do this from the raw PDF files.
Do you know of anyone else that's tried this?
My goal for next year is to be able to keep track of kids progress
(outcomes) in either excel or a database. Do you know any experts in
Access? I can't get a handle on it as yet, but I'm sure it could be used to
link kids to the outcomes they've achieved in a similar fashion to Kidmap,
but Kidmap is so cumbersome I feel I could do better!!!
Anyway, let me know what sort of examples you'd like and when you would want
them by. I assume you won't be doing this till early next year.
I'll be looking into this over the holidays - anyone with experience
and ideas to help John please send the info along - Kidmap is a bit
of a deadweight.

Dear Cathy,
I just received your email and checked out the website you created
for us. I cannot thank you enough for the time, trouble, and
consideration given on our behalf. You are truly amazing! I will
collect some additional materials to send on to you, including some
photos of the kids working. I'll have to get additional copies made
of our pictures since I've used the best for my portfolio and grant
applications. Can you send me your snailmail address? I'll put a
package together and mail it out soon.
When I show my students the website and discuss the positive rewards
of networking with others, I am certain they will be happily
impressed. They have already been amazed by the grant process and
what it reaps. My students cannot believe there are people,
businesses, and organizations in the world who are willing to help in
so many ways. It's a fabulous lesson for them. The habitat has been
extremely successful on so many levels and should be duplicated in
some form by other schools. I could go on and on about my students'
interests, but suffice it to say they are extremely enthusiastic
about every aspect of this project. You should also know, when I
undertook this activity, one of the other teachers told me I'd never
get the kids out to plant. It's hard to believe anyone would think a
young person would rather sit in a classroom than be outdoors having
fun by digging in the dirt!
There is one thing I forget to tell you. When you respond to my
email, your message is over-written on top of the one I'd previously
sent. If I hit "reply" I can read your notes, but otherwise both are
layered. Is there something I should our could do about this? You
are the techno-whiz. I'm quite pedestrian in my approach to
computers. Thank goodness my 14 year old is able to bail me out when
she hears me yelling at my machine!
Thank you again for your assistance. Keep in mind I'll be more than
happy help you, too, if there's ever anything I can do.
Check out the site with Nancy's info on at at:-
I think she's fantastic - there is so much to share on this site -
you'll all love it.

10. Next Issue - I hope to deal with evaluation in more detail with
interactive checklists and forms - so help me with as much info as
you can. Also looking for excellence in teaching ideas for the
initiative next year. Love the feedback - please keep sending me
your thoughts.
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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