MSM 103: Title: #SkypeFail and Lesson Planning Made Easy


Albert Einstein – When Albert Einstein was making the rounds of the speaker’s circuit, he usually found himself eagerly longing to get back to his laboratory work. One night as they were driving to yet another rubber-chicken dinner, Einstein mentioned to his chauffeur (a man who somewhat resembled Einstein in looks & manner) that he was tired of speechmaking. “I have an idea, boss,” his chauffeur said. “I’ve heard you give this speech so many times. I’ll bet I could give it for you.” Einstein laughed loudly and said, “Why not? Let’s do it!”

When they arrive at the dinner, Einstein donned the chauffeur’s cap and jacket and sat in the back of the room. The chauffeur gave a beautiful rendition of Einstein’s speech and even answered a few questions expertly Then a supremely pompous professor ask an extremely esoteric question about anti-matter formation, digressing here and there to let everyone in the audience know that he was nobody’s fool. Without missing a beat, the chauffeur fixed the professor with a steely stare and said, “Sir, the answer to that question is so simple that I will let my chauffeur, who is sitting in the back, answer it for me.”

A teacher and a principal go on a fishing trip. They rent all the equipment – the reels, the rods, the wading suits, the rowboat, the car, and even a cabin in the woods. I mean they spend a fortune!

The first day they go fishing, but they don’t catch anything. The same thing happens on the second day, and on the third day. It goes on like this until finally, on the last day of their vacation, one of the men catches a fish.

As they’re driving home they’re really depressed. One guy turns to the other and says, “Do you realise that this one lousy fish we caught cost us fifteen hundred bucks?”

The other guy says, “Wow! Then it’s a good thing we didn’t catch any more!”

Shout out:


Answer to our Palindromic question from Doc Tatum:  “Concerning last podcast – Feb. palindrome: Australia, they do day then month (01-02-2010) Keep up Gr8 work w/ podcast!! Monte”

Hi Guys,
Here is some information for Middle School Science.  I produce the Michigan Science Matters Network on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month.  If you like this information, I can try to send it on a regular basis.  You can hear the podcast at: and you can view the hyperlinked eBlast at:
Keep up the good work,
Dave Bydlowski, Wayne RESA

National Lab Day

National Lab Day is more than just a day. It’s a nationwide initiative
to build local communities of support (hubs) that will foster ongoing
collaborations among volunteers, students and educators.  Volunteers —
university students, scientists, engineers, other STEM professionals
and, more broadly, members of the community — will work together with
educators and students to improve labs and discovery-based science
experiences for students in grades 6-12.  In the first week of May, 2010
we will celebrate this collaboration with National Lab Day activities
across the country.

What is a lab?  It’s a place where you can explore, experiment, test,
and maybe even get your hands dirty. This is not just talking about test
tubes and beakers. A lab could be a laptop to a software designer, a
mountaintop to a geologist, a computer link to a distant particle
accelerator to a physicist, or a factory floor to an industrial
engineer. It’s a place where hands-on lessons in science and engineering
and technology can be designed to happen, or where math can come alive,
and it could be anywhere in the physical or virtual world.

For more information, please visit:

National Lab Day: Science Made Simple

Earth Science Teachers Needed for Inquiry Advisory Panel

The Paleontological Research Institute in Ithaca, NY has a five year NSF
funded project to develop Teacher-Friendly Guides that will promote the
merging of standard geologic concepts with their local geologic history,
opening the door to inquiry by allowing teachers and their students to
apply basic science concepts to situations outside the classroom’s walls
but within the reach of student experience.

Topics covered in each guide are: Geologic History of the Region; Rocks;
Fossils; Topography; Mineral Resources; Non-Mineral ReEnvironmental

Issues; and How to Do Fieldwork. Once completed, all
guides will be posted online for free download to teachers across the
nation.  The Teacher-Friendly Guides and associated online components
seek to provide educators with the pedagogic background, content, and
support that will enable them to engage students in asking real
questions about their own communities. It is hoped that students will
learn to apply understanding of Earth systems to their personal lives,
to think to ask questions about the origin of the world around them, and
to make educated attempts to answer them.

In addition, the Teacher Advisory Panel members will meet once at a site
within the region.  Beyond that physical meeting, they will meet
periodically through teleconferencing while staying connected with
They welcome your application to participate in a professional
development program that is focused on the Teacher-Friendly Guides to
regional Earth Sciences and Virtual Fieldwork Experiences.  The two
regions of present interest are those of the Midwestern (OH, IN, IL, MI,
WI, MN, IA) and Western (WA, OR, CA, NV, AK, HI) regions in the country.

They are seeking enthusiastic educators from these two regions to meet
with them before the actual development of the guides, serving as
advisors during these initial stages.  The Advisory Panels will be held
at The Field Museum, Chicago on March 6, 2010 for the Midwestern Region;
and Mission Trails Regional Park, San Diego on April 10, 2010 for the
Western Region.  The deadline to apply is February 1, 2010.   For more
information and to apply, please visit:

If you have questions, please contact Christine Besemer 607.273.6623 x27

On Our Mind:

Race to the Top $$

Through Race to the Top, we are asking States to advance reforms around four specific areas:

  • Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
  • Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
  • Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
  • Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.

Awards in Race to the Top will go to States that are leading the way with ambitious yet achievable plans for implementing coherent, compelling, and comprehensive education reform. Race to the Top winners will help trail-blaze effective reforms and provide examples for States and local school districts throughout the country to follow as they too are hard at work on reforms that can transform our schools for decades to come.

From the Twitterverse:

russeltarr The e-safe site for sharing children’s poetry performances:
bivey New blog entry, “If you were brave…” at
elemenous 50 Fun iPhone Apps to Get Kids Reading and Learning
kellyhines RT @NMHS_Principal: Cool Science for Curious Kids #science #education
onealchris Fantastic assistive technology resources at #at #assistivetechnology #edtech #sped #itrt #vste
ToughLoveforX: Google Experiments are Brilliant – Techtracer || Teaching history? Timeline search is quite amazing. #edchat
courosa “Teachers Should Be Seen and Not Heard”
canyonsdave RT @colonelb: RT @ShellTerrell: RT @Irek: Looking at: 50 ways to motivate language learners.

skipz Problem-based Learning in Biology: with 20 Case Examples –
kjarrett RT @jackiegerstein: RT @3dgamestudio: 60 Educational Game Sites That You’ve Probably Never Seen:
drmmtatom Tools for the Classroom (Warning it’s Flash based.) via @addthis


Lesson Writer:
Create comprehensive literacy lesson plans and student materials from any content in minutes.
There are some things that I would like teachers to know, so thanks for giving me the opportunity to bring them to your attention and feel free to include or leave out according to what you think your audience is interested in.

I asked Stephen Churchville what he wanted our listeners to know about Lesson Writer:
“First are some underutilized features that I think are a big help to everyone:
“My Classes” allow teachers to create as many classes as they need and everything they create is stored on LessonWriter. It is easy to create word searches, flash cards, word lists for word walls, etc. from past lessons, and everything is right their when you need to make a quiz or unit test.
“Question Groups” are sub-groups of classes. Create as many as needed, assign questions, exercises, notes, to the appropriate group on the Questions page, and then print lessons with only that groups lessons. to them
Second is a little history:
I have been a teacher for 25 years and developed, tested and improved LessonWriter over many years and hundreds of secondary and adult ed classes before I decided they were ready to share with other teachers.
Third, we have two products for schools which are free with professional development trainings or available for sale. These products address many criteria of NCLB.
TeacherTeams, which has lesson sharing, collaboration, and communication tools so teachers can mentor and support each other. The reading specialist, for example, can add supplementary literacy material for students in math class, and do it online at his own convenience. TeacherTeams combined with the Question Group features make it easier to implement literacy across the curriculum initiatives, in class interventions, or even IEP’s–  special Ed teacher doing pull outs or insertions can use the same material with individualized tasks.
SchoolTools allows students to take LessonWriter lessons online. There are per student settings for automatic differentiation, automated assessment features, performance tracking  and data-driven instruction tools. SchoolTools also has multimedia (teach a video) features, student collaboration and communication tools, administrator and parent features.

My goal is to support the products by providing professional development, so please tell your administrators! Thanks for your interest in my work and feel free to ask any questions, make suggestions, or request features.”

I have had teachers use’s support links and they have been VERY responsive.
Demo videos

GirlTalk Radio:

Girls are talking. You should listen.

GirlTalk Radio is an innovative program of the Girls, Math & Science Partnership. GirlTalk is a mentoring initiative that encourages girls to explore science, math, engineering and technology – in their own words. GirlTalk Radio consists of a series of interviews with women scientists, conducted by girls ages 11 – 16, making their debuts as Pittsburgh radio hosts!

Welcome to GirlTalk Radio! Listen now!

A new season begins!
Girls are talking. You should listen. GirlTalk Radio is a show connecting girls with amazing women in Pittsburgh and beyond in math and science. What does a CIA agent really do? A marine biologist? GirlTalk Radio girls get up close and personal with women in edgy science careers. The Girls, Math & Science Partnership has teamed up with The Saturday Light Brigade to offer girls the chance to interview emerging and established female mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. Girls will learn multimedia production, audio
engineering and recording technology first hand as they record and edit their interviews at The Saturday Light Brigade’s $250,000 state-of-the-art digital studios. The finished GirlTalk Radio interviews will be aired to over 70,000 regional families and available on CD and iTunes.

GirlTalk Radio premiered June 21, 2007 at the Carnegie Science Center. You can listen to the interviews on this site, as well as learn more about the girls and the inspiring women they spoke with. The interviews also aired Saturday mornings through August, 2007 as part of The Saturday Light Brigade, an award-winning weekly public radio program heard regionally on WRCT 88.3 FM, WSAJ 91.1 FM, WIUP 90.1 FM and WLFP 1550 AM, simulcast at, and archived in the “community section” of the SLB site.


TRAILS is a knowledge assessment with multiple-choice questions targeting a variety of information literacy skills based on sixth and ninth grade standards. This Web-based system was developed to provide an easily accessible and flexible tool for library media specialists and teachers to identify strengths and weaknesses in the information-seeking skills of their students.

Word Warriors:

Here’s the Word Warriors’ 2010 list of sadly underused or overlooked but eminently useful words that should be brought back to enrich our language:
The opposite of this site:  Lake Superior State University’s Unicorn Hunters


Got Student Leadership?
Session Description: Can you imagine a positive, contagious, and exciting cultural change in your school? This presentation introduces a vibrant/dynamic school wide student leadership program that develops life skills, enhances student voice, increases student spirit/ participation, and much more. In addition to participants walking away with fun, hands-on activities that teach life skills to their students, they will also leave inspired and motivated to initiate a culture changing leadership program in their school.
7-9 school dual immersion school
Student council didn’t get enough kids involved. adopt and adapt all of these thing to your school. That’s what they did.
opportunity for positive student voices start small and build 3-4 years to change the culture added music to theme
want to get positive voice going. retreat at the beginning of the year. 2 days.
create toolbox of soft skills.
handwriting write your name as many times as possible in 15 seconds debrief- fair to compare long names with short? do again with goal of writing one more letter than last time. again with switching hands. can also talk about motivation.
counting example count to 20 with no communication. count out loud
use co-captains instead of pres & vp leadership group with behavior. intramurals as a reward. monthly spirit activity- each committee takes 1 month and does spirit activities. events are to connect with the kids.
eye spy took picture of an eye of a staff member. Guesses cost $$- winner gets prize. RPS Rock Paper Scissor Leprechuan hunt- tags under chair- ice cream Sunday Monday
RAT – rise and tell – broke the code of silence. lots of talking to adults. see page 15 for guidelines on what can be done. interview process instead of elections. pull together all of the kids who applied explain who was chosen. letters are sent all. finger count
say it and do it. say opposite do opposite
Students as Mentors.

Events & Happenings:

NMSA News:

Other News:

  • ISTE Eduverse Talks are the recorded sessions held on ISTE Island every week. Join ISTE in their Second Life conference location for their weekly talks on education.
  • The Ohio Middle Level Association will hold their annual conference February 18 & 19, 2010. Jack Berckemeyer will be keynoting.
  • Second Life:
  • Google Teacher Academy for Administrators: “We’re very excited to announce our first ever Google Teacher Academy for Administrators.  Since many of you have been asking for a GTA for Admins for a while, we’ve decided to host the first one immediately preceding the ASCD conference, on Friday, March 5th in San Antonio, Texas.  As you might know, the Google Teacher Academy for Administrators is a FREE professional development experience designed to help K-12 educational leaders get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google’s free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and learn how to apply examples from our innovative corporate environment.  Potential applicants include educational leaders or decision makers including (but not limited to) school principals, assistant principals, state, county or district superintendents, technology directors or coordinators, and CTOs who actively serve K-12 teachers and students.  For more information, please check out:
    Apply before midnight, January 25th here: “