MSM 157 Call, Nuts, Failures, Tools and More!

Jokes You Can Use:

Bus Tour

A tour bus driver drives with a bus full of seniors down a highway, when a little old lady taps him on his shoulder. She offers him a handful of almonds, which he gratefully munches up.
After approx.15 minutes, she taps him on his shoulder again and she hands him another handful of almonds. She repeats this gesture about eight times.
At the ninth time he asks the little old lady why they don’t eat the almonds themselves, whereupon she replies that it is not possible because of their old teeth, they are not able to chew them. “Why do you buy them then?” he asks puzzled. Whereupon the old lady Answers, “We just love the chocolate around them.”

The Elevator

An Antartian boy and his father were visiting a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again.
The boy asked his father, “What is this, Father?” The father [never having seen an elevator] responded “Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don’t know what it is.”
While the boy and his father were watching wide-eyed, an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room.
The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of lights with numbers above the walls light up. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction.
The walls opened up again and a beautiful 24-year-old woman stepped out. The father said to his son, “Go get your mother.”

On Our Mind:

Google Phone:  A Call from Dr. Tatom

Eileen Award

To Robert in Ukraine

From our Listeners:
Hey guys,

I saw on this week’s podcast notes that someone was talking about screenjelly.  I love using screen casts to communicate with staff and parents, so I am always on the look out for the next best thing.  However, if your school is like mine, then the firewall might prevent using screentoaster or screenjelly.  I did, however, find a great java based site called screencast-o-matic.

It works well even through the firewalls.

Robert in Ukraine


Share childhood differences:
For the fun of it, I also listed in my notes some of the elements of my own pre-Internet childhood that I suspect most children today are not experiencing because of the Internet, video games, texting, etc. I decided to post some of them here for your enjoyment.

  • Remember when childhood happened almost exclusively outside?
  • Remember when a child’s most important resource was a saw, hammer, and bag straightened nails?
  • Remember when we daydreamed about building a raft, putting a propeller & wings on our bicycle, or exploring a wilderness with a musket and bowie knife?
  • Remember when there was more you could do with a pair of skates than just strap them on your feet and skate?
  • Remember when we use to pretend — out loud?
  • Remember when every tree was scrutinized for its treehouse suitability?
  • Remember when playing house was done with chairs and blankets (not with simulation software)?

Middle School Science Minute

by Dave Bydlowski (k12science or

Celebrating 20 years:
National Middle Level Science Teachers Association

From the Twitterverse:

*KentManning RT @mgmitchell: Boys can’t write? Just give them a forum.
*bhsprincipal RT @gcouros: RT @snbeach: Common Core disconnect: #bhsc hat #edchat
*ddoherty24 Educate students on deleting cyber-bullying
*ctrlzee The problem with buying a used iPad is that you know it’s spent as much time in the bathroom as the person you’re buying it from.
*gazelle_com Those upgrading to iPad 2, are you going online or in line? Sell your used iPad and other gadgets to offset costs #ipad2
*elemenous Excellent school project that utilized iPads and shows the potential of mobile learning. Hat tip to @westleyf!
*Ron_Peck Free Map Tools ~ #geography #sschat #historyteacher
*DianeRavitch Required reading
*drmmtatom RT @elenischool: Great resources for teachers. #ccstech #fhuedu610 @MSMatters
*vbek Woz to educators: “be brave, use the new technology”
*CoSN Access educational content from #CoSN11 online with Live Learning Center; learn more:
*tombarrett Twitter Dots – Beautiful map rendering of realtime #Twitter tweets #maps #mashups
*rmbyrne Google A-Z – Google Docs –


Pay Initiative does NOT Lead to Increased Student Performance:

New York City’s heralded $75 million experiment in teacher incentive pay — deemed “transcendent” when it was announced in 2007 — did not increase student achievement at all, a new study by the Harvard economist Roland Fryer concludes.
“If anything,” Fryer writes of schools that participated in the program, “student achievement declined.” Fryer and his team used state math and English test scores as the main indicator of academic achievement.

ISTE Voting is now open

82% of schools could soon be labeled as “Failing”
More than three-quarters of the nation’s public schools could soon be labeled “failing” under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the Obama administration said Wednesday as it increased efforts to revamp the signature education initiative of President George W. Bush.
“This law is fundamentally broken, and we need to fix it, and fix it this year,” Duncan told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “The law has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed. We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible and focused on the schools and students most at risk.”



Easy to use web based diagraming. Just drag the element (shape, text, image, etc) into the working area. Click on the triangle on an image to add text. Clicking save will allow you to download the image in a number of formats (the default is .xml, but you can also use .jpg or more).

Museum Box

Welcome to Museum Box, This site provides the tools for you to build up an argument or description of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box. What items, for example, would you put in a box to describe your life; the life of a Victorian Servant or Roman soldier; or to show that slavery was wrong and unnecessary? You can display anything from a text file to a movie. You can also view and comment on the museum boxes submitted by others.

Molecular Workbench

The Molecular Workbench™ (MW) is a free, open-source tool that creates and             delivers visual, interactive simulations for teaching and learning science and engineering.

Corkboard ME

Welcome to your own personal cork board. You’ve been given a special link — bookmark this page.  Click to write a note, click-and-hold to move around. Paste an image link and see what happens? Enjoy!

Pilot Handwriting

Interesting way to create a font of your handwriting. However, you send email through them.

Comic Strip Generator

Use to use and flexible. The tutorial gives a good overview and tips.
Tutorial: (5 minute, 36 seconds)

Web Spotlight:

Code for America

Working with city managers, we help to identify projects that can benefit from web-based solutions. Code for America recruits both the development teams and the participating cities through competitive application processes. Once identified and funded, each city project is connected with a web development team that can further scope the project, develop an action plan, and deliver an appropriate solution over an 11-month development cycle. Throughout the development cycle, CFA mentors, trains, and coordinates the teams and facilitates their relationships with their city management clients.
The applications that Code for America fellows build fit a certain model: 1) They are web applications – think Facebook, Yelp, Zillow, or Picnik; 2) They will enable cities to connect with their constituents in ways that reduce administrative costs and engage citizens more effectively; 3) They support the move toward transparency and collaboration; 4) and finally, they are shareable – which means that an application built for one city can be used by any other city.
Fundamentally, it’s all about helping American cities use web technology to do a better job of providing services to citizens.
As the program continues, we will host a suite of web applications all cities can use, fostering the adoption of CFA and outside open source projects by cities across the country and around the world.

Code for America isn’t just a way to offer city governments technical talent at less than market rates. Beyond just the projects our fellows build, the program is designed to:
Cultivate the next generation of public sector technology leaders.
Up to 60% of the municipal workforce in many cities will retire in the next five years. This represents not only a crisis of talent, but also a huge opportunity. Think how much can change if we fill those positions with people who have a native understanding of how technology can work in modern urban life.
Inject a culture virus into city government.
We recruit fellows who demonstrate a networked, web-centric and open approach to problem-solving. Attaching the fellows to the city for the year and helping them build relationships with a wide variety of city workers is an effective way to introduce this kind of thinking and help it spread
Encourage experimentation.
The fellows will be available for side projects in the city that would be difficult to move forward through standard channels. The city leadership and the fellows can function as an ad hoc innovation team, collaborating on a series of interesting experiments throughout the year, all of which will be shared with the other cities.
Change the tool set.
Part of the job of the fellows will be to help introduce lightweight, simple technology that can help with internal functions. These small changes can have large lasting effects.
Facilitate collaboration with other cities.
Code for America is building a network of city leaders who believe there is a better way of doing things, and the program involves both formal and informal channels to share ideas and lessons learned. We’re also working more robust channels for sharing applications and setting technology standards across cities.

TED Talk – Khan Academy

Tech Opportunity
Glogster is looking for “ambassadors”.  You get additional resources and a full Glogster account in exchange for your time and use of the Glogster accounts.

Events & Happenings:

Calendar of Events:

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 ISTE Special Interest Group:  Virtual Environments is holding meetings on Mondays from 4:00 – 6:00 pm (SLT) on ISTE Island.
  • The Ohio Middle Level Association will hold their annual conference February 17 – 18, 2011 at The Easton in Columbus, OH.
  • Second Life:
    • Regular Tuesday meetings are scheduled. See the board on the ISTE Island for up to the minute details.  Check frequently this week as the ISTE Annual Convention is this week.
    • Video: Educational Uses of Second Life