Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm a Geo Geek

I'll admit it...I'm a GeoGeek!

I love GPS receivers, I love orienteering, I love maps, in fact I studied cartography, geography and anthropology with thoughts of a career in city planning back in the day.

I still enjoy geo-applications and I have quite a collection or resources located at Porta Portal.
I'd love to add your favs to that list.

You may have seen my Top 10 Maps Apps highlighted at Google Maps Mania.

As an educator I see great promise for these technologies in our schools. Bernie Dodge, WebQuest creator agrees and at NECC in Philly last summer he predicted this area will have a huge impact on our schools. It was also fun to hear that Bernie is a Geocacher!

Recently, I've been interested in combining photos with maps and the Google Earth Blog pointed me to Panoramio. This free resource allows you to combine pics and google earth!

This is a killer app for a GeoGeek like me! I think you'll like it too.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Geocaching @ NCCE

NCCE Annual Geocaching Event

Explore Portland and Unearth Buried Treasure!

What better way to explore downtown then to go on a treasure hunt! Last year’s Geocaching event in Seattle was so successful, it has officially become an annual event and will be offered again at NCCE 2006 in Portland.

No experience is necessary and GPS devices will be provided. Come and learn how to use these learning tools and enter a contest to find all the hidden treasure caches in downtown Portland. Once you’ve collected all the items, you will be registered in a drawing for lots of neat prizes and your very own GPS device!

Here's the idea:
All 3,500 conference participants will be given a ticket to enter a free geocaching drawing at registration. Teachers love free stuff so most will stop by our booth and inquire, many will actually play.
However, in order to be in the drawing they must complete the course, ie. find our caches.
They will present the ticket to our volunteers at the geocaching booth after they complete the objective to be entered into the free drawing. We'll have many winners but only one GPSr.
The volunteers will give the teachers a quick orientation on how the GPSr works, with coordinates preloaded. We'll help them checkout the GPSr, give them a one page map on one side and cache description, hint and coordinates on the other. If they have their own GPSr they'll only need the handout and obviously no training.
To make sure they have actually completed the course each teacher will need to retrieve one of the GEM's in each cache, each cache will contain a different GEM. When they have all the GEM's they return to our booth and turn in the GEM's, GPSr, Handout and Ticket to then be entered into the drawing. For completing the course they will receive an official Geocaching tattoo from Groundspeak. Volunteers will periodically return the GEM's to each respective cache so that the caches will always contain GEM's.

Are you coming to NCCE in Portland this year?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sardines @ OSPI

Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) hosts an annual January conference. This year’s conference was focused on Personalizing Education with a special emphasis on mathematics and secondary level. This year my district sent a large contingent of 60 some educators to participate in the fun learning.

The highlight of many for this conference was the keynote of Ian Jukes. His topic was “Futurist Windows on the Future: Teaching and Learning in the New Digital Landscape”

To most of us Edubloggers Ian Jukes is commonly known as the “Committed Sardine”.
He has been a teacher, administrator, writer, consultant, university instructor and keynote speaker. He is the director of the Info Savvy Group, an international consulting firm that provides leadership and program development in the areas of assessment and evaluation, alignment, curriculum design, publication, professional development and change management and more. Ian has written six books and nine educational series, and has had more than 100 articles published in various journals.
Many that listened to Ian Jukes are now “Committed Sardines”and may be reading this blog as well as his for the first time. If you like Ian’s blog, you’ll love these too:
  1. David Warlick - 2 Cents Worth
  2. Miguel Guhlin - Mousing Around
  3. Alan November - Alan November Weblog
  4. Doug Johnson - Blue Skunk Blog
  5. Glenn Malone - PEP Tech Talk
  6. Bud Hunt - Bud the Teacher
  7. George Siemens - Connectivism Blog
  8. Helen Barret - E-Portfolios for Learning
  9. Ed-Tech Insider - Ed-Tech Insider
  10. Anne Davis - EduBlog Insights
  11. John Pederson - pedersondesigns
  12. Tim Lauer - Education/Technology
  13. K.G. Schneider - Free Range Librarian
  14. Christopher Harris - Infomancy
  15. Tim Wilson - The Savvy Technologist
  16. Jenny Levine - The Shifted Librarian
  17. Stephen Downes - OL Daily
  18. David Jakes - The Strength of Weak Ties
  19. Jeff Utecht - The Thinking Stick
  20. Will Richardson - Weblogg-ed
  21. Konrad Glogowski - Proximal Development
  22. Wesley Fryer - Moving at the Speed of Creativity
For a comprehensive list of great educational online discussions checkout John Pederson’s website and here’s a list of last year’s award winning Edublogs
and finally, here’s a list of current blogs in our district.

Welcome to the Blogosphere Sardines!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Flickr Friends Fun

I now have some friends on Flickr!

PSD Technology
Gonzalez McGregor
Ransom BJ

Would you consider being my friend?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Rocketboom is a great daily vlog...I find it informative and entertaining! Amanda Congdon does a short daily video blog on current tech issues. You can subscribe through itunes or bloglines.

What is your favorite vlog?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My Team...

has joined the blogosphere!

Instructional Tech Blog
Puyallup's Instructional Technology

Bloggin Betsy
Inspiration for Puyallup Teachers
Kidspiration for Puyallup Teachers

Tvedt Family in Action

Cowgirl Will


70,000 new blogs are created every day!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Evangelizing the Blessings of Blogging

I have been working with administrators to catch the bloggin bug...here are the results so far:

Elementary Principal, Marc Brouilett

The Explorer

Director of Student Learning, Brian Fox


PSD Music

PSD Social Studies

PSD Highly Capable

Executive Director of Secondary School Leadership, Casey Cox

Chunks and Fragments

ELL Coordinator, Andrew Vinerski

Puyallup ELL K-12

High School Principal, Scott Brittain

RHS Digital Portfolio

PSD Ram Review

Building Learning Specialist, Nick Hedman

Firgrove Book Study

Diversity in Schools

Elementary Principal, Arturo Gonzalez

Spinning Events Calendar

Spinning Staff Bulletin

Spinning Highlights

Spinning Staff News

Building Learning Speicialist, David Sunich

Professional Growth Central

Director of Student Learning, Lori Hadley

Read for Life

Director of CTE, Shelly Calligan

Puyallup CTE

Executive Director Elementary Student Learning, Colleen Sheilds

Math in PSD

Executive Director of Secondary Student Learning, Leska Wetterauer

Secondary Student Learning

I'm using the strategy of starting with the adult leaders first and then working my way to the teachers and then to the students...what's your approach to evangelize the blessings of blogging?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mind maps for Younger Children

Mind maps provide opportunities for students and teachers to organize their thoughts using graphics. Younger children as well as adults benefit from the strategy of combining pictures, text, and spoken words to help organize thoughts and information.

Kidspiration meets the younger learner’s graphical organizer needs. It’s simple and easy to use.

Last night I participated in our first Kidspiration class. This class was designed, prepared and presented by our very own, fantastic Instructional Tech group. They have a reputation of doing things well and last night was no exception. They’ll be offering the Kidspiration class once a month for the remainder of the year. Primary Teachers will find the class extremely useful.

The team set up a blog for continued dialogue on the learnings that are happening in your class or from your experiences of Mind Mapping with students. They also put together a collection of great links to pre-made Inspiration and Kidspiration templates listed below.

Internet Resources for Kidspiration
Collected by Bloggin Betsy
Kidspiration Quick Tour

Atomic Learning provides specific tutorials for Kidspiration topics. Atomic Learning also provides lesson plans for using Kidspiration with students. Lesson plans can be downloaded from the Atomic Learning site.

Many school districts have websites that feature Kidspiration Templates created by teachers. Here are the resources that last night’s participants were given:

Coweta County Schools
Best subject area template site

Wacona Elementary School in Georgia
Good quality resources

Oswego City Schools in Oregon
Awesome Kidspiration Samples. No templates available to download

Global Classroom
Great Templates for K-2 and links to other template sites

North Canton City Schools
Good stuff!

Canby School District in Oregon
This site gives lesson ideas and shows sample activities.

50 Uses of Inspiration® and KidspirationTM

Instructional Technology’s Kidspiration Blog

Kent’s Orange Page

London Towne’s Page

College of Education at University of Oregon

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Learning from my Cubicle

Steve Dembo over at Teach42 mentioned a free webinar sponsored by Discovery Learning back on 1/3.

"Bloggin Betsy" Fletcher took the initiative to get me and others from our district registered to participate in yesterday's EdTech Connect's "Media for Motivating Minds" with Hall Davidson.

It was fabulous & well attended; easily meeting the 200 participant limit.

Discovery Education has launched this new free Webinar series to help teachers integrate media and technology into the classroom.

Like other webinars I participated from my desk at my office.

Hall Davidson, renown education keynote speaker and expert in education technology, gave us a quick 1 hour walk-through of the incredible wealth of teaching media resources available on the internet -- videos, images, sounds, music, speeches, and projects!

Even though our district has a unitedstreaming subscription, I liked that Hall's focus was on mostly free resources available to all teachers.

I love the idea of using & creating video content with kids; in fact it was the focus of my seldom read master thesis back in 1989. As a teacher, I created video content with my students in 4th grade using Print Shop, video cameras, and an Apple IIgs with a video overlay card! As a principal I have been involved in creating closed circuit TV stations in 2 elementary schools using the materials and equipment supplied by Panasonic's KWN program. After today's webinar, I'm amazed at how much easier it is to create and publish quality video content with students in today's digital world and this approach continues to offers an incredible "engagement" factor to "Motivate Minds".

Thanks Discovery for this free learning opportunity. Great job Hall.
An archived version will be available after Jan. 18th.

I'll replay this one and look forward to the next one!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Off Topic but On My Mind

My daughter Christi was born on 12/14/83 and in her Baby Book I was given the task of highlighting a few of the major events of the year of her birth. You’ll find on my page in big bold letters SEAHAWKS get new coach & draft Curt Warner from Penn State! That year they missed going to the Super Bowl by one game. They’ve never gone as far since that year until now.

My daughter is now 22 and she’s done well, she’ll probably be an elementary teacher next year and I’m very proud of her!

My Seahawks have been disappointing. I have always cheered for them and watched them faithfully but the excitement that was created that year in 1983 has not yet fully returned until now!

Ah those were the days….

1983 Seahawks
Great New Coach
Coach Ground Chuck Knox

Great Running Backs!
RB Curt Warner 1,449 Yards (Rookie)
RB Dr. Dan Doornink

Great Quarterbacks!
QB Jim Zorn
QB David Krieg (Jim’s Backup)

Great Receivers!
WR Steve Largent (Hall of Fame)
WR Paul Johns (Punt return Specialist)
TE Mike Tice (Recently Fired Vikings Head Coach)

Great Kicker!
K Norm Johnson

Great Line!
C Blair Bush
G Reggie McKenzie (Blocked for OJ Simpson)

Great Defense!
DT Joe Nash
DE Manu Tuiasosopo
DE Jacob Green
DB Kenny Easley
DB Paul Moyer
LB Michael Jackson
DB Dave Brown (Past away last week)

Wild Card Beat Denver 31-7
Divisional Beat Miami 27-20
Conference Lost Raiders 30-14

Go Hawks!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Cost of Growth

Puyallup is among the fastest growing districts in our state. We currently are the 9th largest district in Washington.

To help meet growing needs we're spending $200 million, building 3 new schools and replacing 2 others over the next 2 years while adding $14 million worth of technology upgrades to our 31 existing school sites. Even with that, we won't be able to keep up with our growth. In fact, the two elementary schools designed to house 750 students each will probably need portables on the first day they open.

Here are some national school construction facts from DistrictAdministration.Com:

Total school construction costs forecasted for 2006:
$32.1 Billion

Total school construction costs forecasted for 2007:
$35.3 Billion
Source: McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge

Estimated school projects out to bid next 12 months:
Source: Paul Abramson, Stanton Leggett and Associates

Cost to Construct a building in the United States:
55 % Materials
45% Labor

(Before 2004, the costs were split 50-50)
Source: RS Means

It's unfortunate for schools and tax payers that the cost to appropriately house students is so expensive and rising! However, it must be done!

How is your district handling growth issues and how do you balance the need to refresh and aquire current technology.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Inspiration was an Inspiration

Each of our 1,200 teachers in our district have a laptop computer. As a part of the software package we have included Inspiration. Last week, I had the opportunity to watch our famous and incredible Instructional Tech team teach their first Inspiration class.

They are an amazing group of teachers on special assignment that have been hired to design, develop, prepare and provide quality staff development to the teachers of our district.

Last night's inspiring Inspiration class was yet another reminder of their talent.

Betsy, Brenda, Jeremy and Will you do great work!

Inspiration is cool too!

Student and teachers can use the graphic organizer to represent concepts and relationships or use the outline feature for reports.

Wikipedia has a great collection of Mind map resources including links to Free Mind a free open source mind mapping software.

Later this week I'll get to observe our Kidspiration class.

Friday, January 13, 2006

EGP on Friday the 13th

Yesterday, Executive Director of Elementary Student Learning Colleen Shields and I met with Tom Pauley the founder of Orbis Software and developer and publisher of Easy Grade Pro.

Tom started his teaching career as a Science Teacher here in Puyallup at Kalles Junior High. During our meeting he recalled the day that Puyallup Schools then Tech Director Tim McKamey asked him to develop a grade book for Puyallup teachers and today his award winning product is used around the globe.

Our teachers love EGP. Puyallup has used EGP longer than any other district. In fact, Tom continues to live and have children in our schools; and yet, through no fault of Tom we have not had as strong a relationship with Tom as Seattle or Las Vegas Schools, we even considered changing grade books recently. Why?

Communication! Educators, specifically EGP users, had not been asked to communicate their needs and desires with Tom directly and consequently limiting assumptions were made about the capabilities of his product.

After our meeting with Tom yesterday, I predict that is all going to change. Tom has a new standards based version of his report card we'd like to begin beta testing and I could see us rebuildng our relationship with Orbis and our local hero in the grade book world.

Have you used EGP?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Accelerated Reader: Love it or Hate it?

Puyallup’s Director of Literacy Lori Hadley and Renaissance Learning’s Regional Implementation Specialist Jim Church presented our district’s first ever district-wide training for Accelerated Reader. This first training was designed for our 21 elementary principals, librarians, and learning specialists. The focus was on our philosophy of reading instruction and AR’s place outside of a 90 minute uninterrupted literacy block.

Accelerated Reader is a software program that helps motivate, monitor and manage student reading practice.

The students:
  1. Select a book
  2. Read it
  3. Take a quiz

If they complete their quiz with 85% accuracy they receive a certain amount of points based on the book’s length and level of difficulty.

Students are encouraged to read regularly within their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) although the entire library is fair game.

There’s no doubt that the idea of reading for points has caused much controversy among intelligent educators.

Kudo’s to Lori Hadley for finally providing a framework for the proper use of AR in our district.

What are your thoughts on this program?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Intel Teach to the Future

This year we are participating in the Intel Teach to the Future program. We have 15 teachers in our district that received 40 hours of training last summer and are now certified Master Trainers. Their commitment is to each train 10 other teachers using the Intel Curriculum. That will leave us with 150 teachers trained in the 40 hour Intel curriculum.

The Curriculum includes 10 modules:
  1. Understanding By Design Framework
  2. Gathering Resources
  3. Student Multimedia & Productivity
  4. Student Multimedia & Productivity
  5. Teacher Productivity
  6. Teacher Websites
  7. Teacher Newsletter
  8. Timelines and Lesson Plans
  9. Organizing Unit
  10. Sharing Unit
The Teaching Strategies used in the Intel Curriculum include:
  • Pair & Share
  • Scaffolding
  • Best Pedagological Practice
  • Various Activities
  • Revisiting & Review
At the end of the 40 hours all participants will have completed 3 major products
  1. Powerpoint
  2. Newsletter or Brochure
  3. Website
After viewing the materials and listening to my Master Teachers, I think Intel has significantly improved their curriculum to more closely match the Teacher Leadership Project (TLP) approach to professional development; that is moved the focus from technology integration to simply good instruction.

Last night Instructional Technology Facilitator Jeremy Tvedt & Building Learning Specialist David Sunich taught the first class of the first module to a group of 20 eager teachers.

Stay tuned for more info on this exciting project.

Do we have any Intel Master Teachers out there?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pink Links

I put del.icio.us bookmarks together for the resources listed at the end of each chapter in Daniel Pink's book A Whole New Mind.

Pink identifies 6 Senses of the Conceptual Age and provides a portfolio of resources to develop your mind in regard to each R-directed aptitude.

  1. Not just function, but also DESIGN
  2. Not just argument but also STORY
  3. Not just argument but also SYMPHONY
  4. Not just logic but also EMPATHY
  5. Not just seriousness but also PLAY
  6. Not just accumulation but also MEANING

Monday, January 09, 2006

Right Brainers

Hey Right Brainers!

Dipankar Subba
from Singapore put together this Free Mind mind map of Daniel Pink's book "A Whole New Mind".

He also wrote this review for Left Brainers.

The Dawning Age of The Right Brain
Listen to Tom Ashbrook from NPR's "On Point" interview Daniel Pink. To get to the 40 minute interview fast forward to 6:50.

Another Nice Review
Alex Pang from Relevant History gives another Left Brain review.

Right Brain Webinar
Bridges Transition offers this Right Brain 68 minute webcast presentation with Daniel Pink which includes a Flash presentation for the American School Counselors Association.

Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk
Here's the first Left Brain review I read on this book back in August. Mr. Johnson spiked my interest in the book by way of his excellent review. He also offered this follow up in October.

Daniel Pink has his own blog here.

Should you read this book?...duh...No Brainer.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Ferrucci Junior High

At 6:30 am this morning Mark Vetter, principal at Ferrucci Junior High, and I met to talk about current technology issues, including open source, informational literacy, Wikipedia, and blogging.

I'm finding that these topics are new to most principals in our district and I would guess that Puyallup is no different than most in this regard.

In my opinion our principal's are the key to the successful implementation of integrated technologies in our schools. Without them, we'll continue to have only pockets of success here and there.

Watch for Mark to join the 25 million other bloggers in the blogosphere very soon!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Puyallup's Finest

The view from my cubbie:

Andrew Schwebke, Science/Math
Lynn Stellik, Human Resources
Brian Fox, Student Learning

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Burglars hit Puyallup schools over Holidays

More on the theft in my district...

Tribune, Published: January 4th, 2006 04:22 PM
Police are looking for three people who stole up to $100,000 in
computer and high-tech equipment from four Puyallup schools over the
holiday weekend.

Security tapes show three individuals taking computers, monitors and
laptops from Emerald Ridge High School, Stahl Junior High School and
Rogers High School on Sunday night. They returned to Puyallup High
School on Monday night and took more computers and video equipment
including projectors and editing machines, police said.

The suspects appear to be in their late teens or early 20s, said Ed
Troyer, spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

There was no sign of forced entry to exterior or interior doors, alarms
weren’t tripped and it appeared that the suspects knew where expensive
equipment was located, Troyer said.

“We’re not saying that it’s an inside job,” Troyer said, “but there’s a chance that somebody got a hold of someone’s keys.”

School officials are changing locks on several buildings in the
district, said Dick Cvitanich, Puyallup School District’s assistant
superintendent of K-12 instruction.

Officials also are looking into what kind of information may have been
on the computers stolen from administrative offices. Confidential
student information is normally saved to a central server, Cvitanich
said, but the district hasn’t determined if any sensitive information
was saved to the hard drives of the stolen computers.

The district is a member of a risk-management pool that will likely
cover the damages, he said. The deductible is $10,000 and will come
from the district’s general fund, he said.

Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for
information leading to arrests and charges filed in the case. Callers
remain anonymous.

Reach Crime Stoppers at 253-591-5959.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dialogue versus Discussion

Written by Linda Quinn (reprinted here with her permission)
Based on the work and ideas of many others

In our efforts to become more conscious about our communication, we sometimes draw a distinction between Dialogue and Discussion.

The word discussion comes from the same root as percussion and concussion. Thus, it implies some sort of impact, such as striking, hammering or shaking apart. While these are not necessarily actions which help create a climate for learning, they can, in a figurative sense, be valuable means for coming to a decision. According to this definition, Discussion is like Debate, which means literally “to kill all alternatives.” It is about narrowing options.

In a Discussion, participants tend to hold their ground and try to persuade others to join them. They listen to others in order to detect and counter any weakness in opposing ideas and to gauge support for their own. The most important thing for participants in a Discussion is defending and selling their ideas to others. In this sense, Discussion is about leading – leading others to a solution or answer.

The word dialogue is formed from the prefix dia, which means “two,” and logue, which means “to flow through.” The goal of a Dialogue is to put two or more heads together to consider multiple interpretations, construct new knowledge, and achieve deeper understandings. It is about enlarging options.

In a Dialogue, participants want to get lots of ideas on the table in order to build meaning together. They listen to others in order to understand their ideas and the new perspectives those ideas might bring to the issue at hand. They look for connections rather than counter arguments. The most important thing for participants in a Dialogue is achieving new insights and/or greater wisdom. In this sense, Dialogue is about learning.

An analogy can be drawn between this view of Dialogue and Discussion and the different stages of the writing process. Dialogue is like the generative stage of the writing process where the goal is to get ideas out, to examine, explore, analyze and connect them. Discussion is like the editing stage of the writing process where the goal is to narrow ideas, to revise, refine, hone and sharpen them.

Both Discussion and Dialogue can be valuable forms of group communication. Most groups, however, automatically tend toward the former. It takes willful desire to build a context for thinking and learning together. Despite the effort required, Dialogue is oftentimes the better vehicle when learning, not just deciding, is the goal.


Maybe it's just semantics...but I like that blogs & discussion boards promote dialogue...Thanks for sharing this perspective Linda! I think you should start a blog of your own!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Computer Theft...Take Precautions

This reminder from Scott Brittian the principal at Rogers High School.
Ram Review
Computer Thefts - Sometime this past weekend (Dec 30 - Jan 2) we had one of our office computers stolen. We lost a laptop, Monitor, Docking station, and Power supply. Other buildings in our district were also "hit". Pierce County is investigating the matter. In the meantime, we need all staff members to do a complete inventory of all their computer equipment. If you are missing any equipment, please contact one of the administrators immediately. Also, if you hear anything please let an adminstrator or security know so we can follow up. We will be working with Pierce County and the District and will keep you informed as we hear updates.

Finally, it is a good reminder to verify that all your computer equipment is secured to your desk and/or locked up. If you need us to drill a hole in your cabinet or desk to help secure your equipment please let one of the adminstrators know and we can get that done as soon as possible. Also, verify and record the serial number of all equipment checked out to you. While we have it on record at TSC, it helps the investigation if we have it on hand here at Rogers in case something comes up stolen.
How does your district handle theft?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.