Virtual Teacher Newsletter No. 31 2001

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Newsletter Archives can be found at:-
1. Welcome
2. Mind Candy
4. New Printables - Clocks Tick! Tock!
5. Technical Stuff - IXQUICK -ICT Responsibility
6. Music Sites
7. Great Sites
8. Readers' Requests/Comments
9 Next Issue
10. Code of 'Netizens'
11. Tips
1. WELCOME EVERYONE. What a fantastic fortnight, I had
the opportunity to visit a remarkable school, "Marist College
Penshurst" where computers run, Internet access works and
students are learning in leaps and bounds. The 'Dumb Sports"
quotes were great in a lesson on speaking and writing clearly;
I had a lot of laughs with it. Check out some of the great PD
sites listed below particularly the papers from the NECC
conference. Enjoy be merry.
"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift
is nothing without the work." Emile Zola
"The pen is mightier than the sword, and considerably easier
to write with." --Marty Feldman
My kids never understood my logic. Both of them failed to see
why they had to go to bed when I was tired.
A reporter was interviewing Jack Nicklaus. He said, "Jack,
you are spectacular; your name is synonymous with the game
of golf. You really know your way around the course. What
is your secret?"
To which Jack replied, "The holes are numbered!"
"Tonight's forecast: dark. Continuing dark throughout the
night and turning to widely scattered light in the morning."
- George Carlin

"And here's Moses Kiptanui, the 19 year old Kenyan, who
turned 20 a few weeks ago." (David Coleman)

"Its a great advantage to be able to hurdle with both legs"
(David Coleman)

Jimmy Hill: "Don't sit on the fence Terry. What chance do
you think Germany has of getting through? Terry Venables:
"I think it's 50-50."

"There is Brendan Foster, by himself, with 20,000 people."
(David Coleman)

"The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one
behind it which is identical." (Murray Walker)

"I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and
father." (Greg Norman)

"There have been injuries and deaths in boxing, but none of
them serious." (Alan Minter)

"Watch the time. It gives you an indication of how fast
they are running." (Ron Pickering)

"That's inches away from being millimetre perfect." (Ted

"The Queen's Park Oval, exactly as its name suggests, is
absolutely round." (Tony Crozier)

Last week I had the privilege to visit Marist College
Penshurst, Chris Betcher is the ICT co-ordinator there and
he is doing a fantastic job. Their IT computers are well set up,
and everything is running smoothly. The system Chris has
installed gives excellent Internet access at great speeds for
whole class lessons. It also allows students to log in using
their own password, to stored files from any computer in the
school. To achieve this Chris runs 4 servers, and links
from a satellite ISP URNET
This link provides the school with 3-gig download per month,
(soon to be increased to unlimited by URNET) and an uplink
at the moment via ISDN. What is so wonderful is that it all
works beautifully. Students can access the Internet with ease,
any computer malfunction is fixed by rebooting, each machine
using the server files to 'fix' and 'replace' damaged files.
Chris has also chosen 17" monitors, which are just wonderful
for students, and users a laser printer(HP Deskjet 930 B/W)
to service the computers many of the computers. In total the
school runs 119 workstations, so it is no mean feat to keep
them all functioning - but Chris has the maintenance down to a T.
Just reboot and they are all OK.
The ease of operation has made computer literacy in this school
NO PROBLEM, the students work is of a very high standard, as
They are on task all the time, and response times are quick.
Chris tells me that the CEO backbone is excellent, congratulations
Marist College.
I might add - not only has Chris achieved this excellent computer
set -up he has also accomplished this in the most cash efficient
fashion according to a recent audit.
Clocks, clocks and more clocks. I can't sing the praises of this
site highly enough - it has online games (last VT) as well as
printables, printables, printables, all about clocks K-6 resource.
Go there, get clocking:-
GREAT NEW SEARCH ENGINE has a number of powerful features:
- Outstanding search relevancy (find what you're looking for
- Comprehensive results (searches 12 engines simultaneously)
- Fast response
- Advanced syntax support (beyond the capabilities of any other
metasearch engine)
- Web, Picture, News and MP3 category searches
- One dozen languages are supported. Try it you'll love it, and the
interface has no advertising or banners, crisp and clean.

I believe strongly in the importance of ICT education in our schools,
The Marist College Computer Policy Document, states it well-
"in order to function effectively in the new economy, both students
and staff need to be discerning and responsible users of information
technology". It goes without saying that inadequate hardware, poor
Internet access, lack of maintenance programs causes ICT
programs to be taught inadequately and ineffectively. It is up to
us as teachers and guardians of the future for our students to
ensure access to quality ICT programs supported by functioning
equipment. If you have problems make a noise and get it fixed.
I am writing to all folks I can about the problems I experience,
or problems experienced by teachers I meet. Do the same.
Get it fixed. Write to me and I will send your problems to the
appropriate authorities nationally or internationally. Together
we just might improve ICT. Here's a few problems to get the
ball rolling:-

Internet Access Blind sided the Bellevue Hill Tilt Course this
week, when access was slow to non-existent. The Inservice
involving teachers and a tutor were unable to complete their
program, two hours of wasted time and effort.
Metropolitan East region has been plagued by intermittent
Internet access over the last 2 weeks due to a problem with
St Leonards network. Techs THINK they will have the problem
fixed by term 3 - and said it was frustrating for them too -
not half as frustrating as planning a lesson around the internet
for 30 students and having no access.

Music Sites
Gregory Lewis" <>
Hello Cathy
I retrained as a computer programmer after many years as a
music teacher. I combined the two skills to write a music tutorial
package for beginners. My site features an online music quiz in
Java, free demos for Macintosh and Windows, and a link to a
comprehensive lesson plan at AskEric. Teachers can use the
lesson plan with the software activities in the free demo.
Would this site qualify as a "great site" in your newsletter, or be
classified as a commercial site with paid advertising? It was
recently listed as a recommended resource for music teachers in
the UK, and is used in many schools around the world. It is listed
as a key resource by the Victorian Association of Music Educators:
Gregory Lewis
Catholic College
Wodonga VIC Australia
Great site to try out students' knowledge of the keyboard in
simple Javascript games online. Go there you'll love it.
Also Gregory's links site is super:-
Here's Wanda's answer to Michaels' recent question.
Kidspiration is a great US product, they have just signed
deals with Vic and NSW Ed Dept for supply of their software
to schools - look out for this and also the Inspiration software
for older children. Download a free 30 trial version at:-
Clicker4 is also worth a look it is a UK based program -
take a look at :-

Hi Michael,
There are a few programs you might try depending on the
needs of the student concerned and the level of support
available to them.
Kidspiration is a great program for using graphics to assist
students with developing concepts and linking them together.
It is made by the people who make Inspiration and works much
the same way. It is just simplified a little. I have used it in Picture
View with students to map out their stories and then changed
over to Writing View to help them expand on each point or key
element. This does tend to be a little time intensive, especially
if the student requires one to one attention.
Then there is Clicker4 which is also a fabulous program.
It allows you to create a series of buttons on the bottom part
of the screen. You can assign symbols, words or phrases to
these buttons which the student can then use to create
sentences. As a very basic example for a student requiring a
high level of support you might have buttons with phrases like
"I like", "I went" and then buttons for words to complete the
sentence (e.g. type of foods, sports, activities). If the student
is more capable, then you might want to use starters
(e.g. first, next, then, before, after) to help with sequencing
of events.
The beauty of Clicker4 is that it allows the teacher to
customise the buttons, it can link symbols to words, it allows
students the independence of doing their own typing with the
support of buttons if needed, you can set it to speak what is
written, you can add graphics and sounds, and it features a
very detailed tutorial on how to use the program. It really is
very powerful and has loads of features.
I hope that is of some help. I have tried to give you a bit of an
idea as to what the programs do - hopefully enough to decide
whether they may be useful to you.
Kindest regards,
Wanda Swistakowski
Thanks to Bryn Jones for this link. A better way to access the
complete list of papers at the NECC Conference is through this link:
Whatever you teach, there is something here for you. Check
out the Norris paper on scaffolding. It contains some brilliant ways
of scaffolding learning using readily available computer software.

Future PD is a great site with lots of links check out the webquest
on disasters and forensic science.

Castles Parcels and Metatarcals - great site about celebrations
around the World prepared by Students at Marist Brothers College
at Penshurst
This site has lessons organized for age groups, by subjects,
in alphabetical lists and there are great science activities included:
Here is an electronic 'Elementary Science Teacher's Resource Book' :
There are 130 science lesson ideas here for K-6:
This site links you to a great number of science ideas for example, for a
Mini-Beasts Unit and Weather-related studies:
Surfing the Net with Kids (Barbara Feldman) has lots of good
Science ideas:
Lots of Lesson Plans here putting 'practical Science method'
into practice:
There are great resources on the NSW Country Areas Program site:
Check out John Pearce's page at
and click on Physical Science - lots of annotated links there!
K-6 educational resources
Gallipoli and the Anzacs
Teaching Australian Heritage
Australian Music Examination Board
Australian Music Examination Board (NSW)
Remaking Multicultural Australia for the 21st Century
Attention Art Coordinators and IT Coordinators
In the Artist's Footsteps,
with the support of the Federal Government through the
Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, and
Telstra Country Wide, have launched a program that will promote
children's art work across Australia.

We have also announced the development of the Albert
Namatjira Collection, which has the backing and support
of the Federal Minister for Reconciliation and Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Philip Ruddock, and the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).
Student's Art Works In Virtual Gallery
Canadian Lead Primary School in Ballarat, Victoria was the
first school to join the In the Artist's Footsteps Schools' Virtual
Gallery at the official launch of the program at the
Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. We feature a portrait of Russell
Crowe by Kylie of 6M at Canadian Lead Primary School.
Check out the launch in the Press Centre of
Schools wanting to be involved should officially register
NOW at to receive
information on how to win a $200 Telstra Country Wide voucher.
The aim of the project is for schools to create virtual galleries on
their own sites and link to In the Artist's Footsteps to create a
major educational resource where children and teachers from
across Australia can tour each others virtual galleries.
The Albert Namatjira Collection
Albert Namatjira was one of Australia's great artists who used
his fame as an artist to create an awareness of the injustices
and the changes required to Australian laws to provide appropriate
recognition of Australia's aboriginals.

In the Artist's Footsteps has commenced the research to celebrate
the work and life of Albert Namatjira. This material will be promoted
to schools and art lovers throughout Australia and the world..

If you would like to find out more about the Schools Project,
which is open to every school in Australia, please register for the
Schools Project on the website and find out how your school can
win a $200.00 Telstra Country Wide Voucher by participating.
yours sincerely
Shirley Baynes-Smith
Hi Cathy,
I continue to enjoy your newsletters... they are a treat to receive!
I love reading the humour section as much as the tips and tricks!

You mentioned that you had a couple of requests about pet
information... please invite your members to visit my own website
"Classroom Animals and Pets". It's a teacher resource on bringing
animals into the classroom. I have teacher members at all grade
levels and I keep a variety of animals in my own classroom.
My goal is to provide a place where teachers can both find and
exchange information.
Nora Boekhout
Dear Cathy,
The subject of your research is exactly why I hit on the idea of
creating the page below. When I worked in a school library recently,
the network was continuously down, it was very slow, it would time
out all the time and students were reluctant to use it. I kept asking
why it was so slow and it had broadband, but made little difference.
Students had limits on how much they could download, print etc.
If they had not paid their "voluntary fees" they could not even use
the computers. This proved difficult for the poorer students who
were the ones who needed school computers/Internet the most.
I ended up doing all my searches for links at home and the most
frustrating thing was that I would do a work unit for a teacher who
had requested it and then when he/she booked the class in, the
network was down..again. I found it almost useless and we were
a navigator school - in Vic about 9 state schools became navigator
schools; they were the first to be on-line and networked and therefore
provided inservices to schools as they came on-line.
That school was Northcote High School. It had 16 computers in
the library, which was where I worked.
Jenny Campbell
Hi again, Cathy,
Since writing you last, I reread your newsletter. The curriculum
site you'd sent is a good one, which I've often used. There are
many similar sites, and I've bookmarked quite a few. If you'd like
more just let me know. In the meantime, a few fun and interesting
ones are:
Word Games:

Mystery Lesson Plans/Activities:
Check them out and enjoy!
Thanks Nancy- great sites again. Congratulations on getting
your grant.
10. NEXT ISSUE - I will be reviewing Kidspiration, and
taking a look at websites to do wit Maths particularly Fractions.
The next VT will be out in three weeks from today on Friday
27th July 2001.

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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