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2011 (163)

  • 12/20/11 - Tech Tip #64: Reset Default Font
    Q: If you're like me, you don't like MS Office 2007 or 2010's default font of Calibri, size 11 with a double space between paragraphs. Here's how you fix that:
  • 12/19/11 - Monday Freebies #25: Intro to PowerPoint–with KidPix Pictures
    Drawings are done in KidPix. Assign topics (me, my family, etc) for grades K-1 to reinforce the concept of following...
  • 12/14/11 - What Should You Include on a Younger Child’s Computer
    Are you planning to get  your child(ren) a computer for Christmas or Hanukkah? Here are some suggestions from one who’s worked...
  • 12/13/11 - Tech Tip #63: Don’t Like Double Space Between Paragraphs?
    Q: My Word 2010 came with a double space between paragraphs as the default, but I don't like that. I've tried to reset it to single space, but it doesn't fix it. What do I do? A: I don't either. What was Bill Gates thinking?
  • 12/12/11 - Monday Freebies #21: Another Holiday Card
    Create a holiday card using Publisher’s templates. Make it simple (don’t edit text, add only one picture) for youngers. Let olders change as much as they wish. Use this lesson to teach youngers about templates and olders about design, and menus. This project is very easy so shows students how fun and simple computers are.
  • 12/09/11 - Weekend Websites #79: 57 Kindergarten Websites That Tie into Classroom Lessons
    Every Friday I’ll send you a wonderful website that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll...
  • 12/06/11 - Tech Tip #62: Email from Word (Or PowerPoint or Excel)
    was helping one of the faculty at my school. She couldn't print a document (server problems) so I suggested she email it to herself at home and print it there. She started going online to her Yahoo account and I stopped her. Click the email tool on the Word toolbar.
  • 12/05/11 - Monday Freebies #24: Holiday Newsletter
    This year more than any before, classroom budgets have been cut making it more difficult than ever to equip the...
  • 12/02/11 - Weekend Website #77: Blackle
    Blackle was created by Heap Media to remind us all to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy.
  • 11/30/11 - Product Review: Luna Projection Camera
    As webmaster and an active tech teacher, I am sometimes asked to review products for my readers. Since I don’t...
  • 11/29/11 - Tech Tip #61: How to Get Youngers to Use the Right Mouse Button
    Kids always get confused when I'm explaining directions that require the right mouse button. I've found an easy way to clarify. Here's an example: "Right click with your mouse"
  • 11/28/11 - Monday Freebies #20: Make a Holiday Card
    This year more than any before, classroom budgets have been cut making it more difficult than ever to equip the...
  • 11/23/11 - #41: Where is That?
    Use the research done for #40. Use a guidesheet to lay out what is on each slide, i.e., a cover,...
  • 11/22/11 - Tech Tip #60: How to Add Shortcuts to the Desktop
    Q: How do I create a shortcut on my desktop so I can find my programs easier?
  • 11/21/11 - Monday Freebies #3: How to Make Wallpaper
    Today, I start a new program here on Ask a Tech Teacher. This year more than any before, classroom budgets...
  • 11/18/11 - Weekend Website #75: Solar System Scope
    An interactive trip through the solar system that can be embedded into a web page (must take Flash, so not WP.com, but it worked fine on my WP.org side) or a start page (click to see my sample). what a great way to get kids excited about space.
  • 11/15/11 - Tech Tip #59: Shortkey for the Copyright Symbol
    Q: How do you create the copyright symbol in Word?
  • 11/14/11 - Monday Freebies
    I’m starting a new program here on Ask a Tech Teacher. This year more than any before, classroom budgets have...
  • 11/08/11 - Tech Tip #58: Show all Your Tools on Toolbars
    Q: I work with younger students (first grade, second grade, even third grade). We're using Office 2003. When I direct them to the menu bar and one of the dropdown menu choices, sometimes it isn't there. Instead, there's a chevron--double arrow--that they have to click to expand the menu. This is confusing for youngers. Is there any way to have the entire menu drop down rather than the truncated version?
  • 11/07/11 - #37: Use Oregon Trail to Teach Westward Expansion
    Show students how to get the most out of Oregon trail by reading the headings on each screen, thinking about...
  • 11/04/11 - Weekend Website #73: 3 Programs to Teach Architecture in First Grade
    Three projects over six weeks and your students will learn about blueprints, room layout, dimensions. Plus, they'll understand how to think about a three-dimensional object and then spatially lay it out on paper. This is challenging, but fun for first graders.
  • 11/02/11 - How to Find Reliable Internet Sources
    So much of reliable sources in internet searches is the same as researching in the library. Pick: primary sources unbiased...
  • 11/01/11 - Tech Tip #57: How to Create a Chart Really Fast
    Q: What's the easiest way to introduce 3rd graders to Excel charts?
  • 10/26/11 - How to Stop Hating Your Computer
    Believe it or not, most computer problems are simple. I can say that because I’ve run a computer lab for...
  • 10/25/11 - Tech Tip #56: Force a New Page
    Q: I'm teaching my students to create a book report with a cover page. what's the easiest way to get the cover on the first page and the report on the second?
  • 10/21/11 - Weekend Website #75: Solar System Scope
    An interactive trip through the solar system that can be embedded into a web page (must take Flash, so not WP.com, but it worked fine on my WP.org side) or a start page (click to see my sample). what a great way to get kids excited about space.
  • 10/20/11 - 23 Websites to Support Math Automaticity in K-5
    Summer is when parents worry about math facts and the automaticity of math skills. The following websites focus solely on...
  • 10/18/11 - Tech Tip #55: Find a Lost Shortcut
    Q: I can't find the shortcut for a program I want to open. It's not on the desktop, on the start menu or in 'all programs'. How do I open the program? A: Try 'Start button', then type in the name of the program where it says 'start search'. The shortcut shows up.
  • 10/17/11 - Monday Freebies #20: Make a Holiday Card
    start each week off with a fully-adaptable K-8 lesson that includes step-by-step directions as well as relevant ISTE national standards, tie-ins, extensions, troubleshooting and more. Eventually, you'll get the entire Technology Toolkit book. If you can't wait, you can purchase the curriculum here.
  • 10/14/11 - Weekend Website #68: Live Like Bear Grylls
    If you want to spice up a unit on landforms, have students look into surviving these unique natural habitats. To get out with their lives, they'll have to understand the flora and fauna, dangers and helpers. Here are some websites they can visit to improve their survival toolkit:
  • 10/11/11 - Tech Tip #54: How to Auto Forward a PowerPoint Slideshow
    Q: My students are learning to use Powerpoint for presentations. They'll stand in front of the class and the slideshow will play behind them. We want it to go automatically without requiring them to click the mouse or push the space bar. How do we do that? A: Presentations are a great skill to teach students. I applaud you on this. Auto-forward isn't difficult:
  • 10/10/11 - Monday Freebies #3: How to Make Wallpaper
    Kids love personalizing their computer stations. Show them how to create their own wallpaper using internet pictures, pictures on the computer or their own photos or drawings
  • 10/07/11 - Weekend Website #72: 62 Favorite 1st Grade Websites
    These are my 62 favorite first grade websites. I sprinkle them in throughout the year, adding several each week to the class internet start page, deleting others. I make sure I have 3-4 each week that integrate with classroom lesson plans, 3-4 that deal with technology skills and a few that simply excite students about tech in education.
  • 10/06/11 - How to Use Excel to Teach Math Arrays
    Grade Level: 5th (or whichever grade you are teaching arrays) Background: None. This is an intro to MS Excel Vocabulary:...
  • 10/05/11 - Easi-Speak Digital Microphone is Simple
    One of the benes of being webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher is I get to review products for tech...
  • 10/04/11 - Tech Tip #53: How to Pin Any Program to the Start Menu
    Q: There's a program I use all the time, but it's not on my desktop. I have to click through All-Programs-(etc--wherever it is you must go to find it). Is there a way to add it to my start menu so I can find it more easily? A: Absolutely. Click through All-programs to wherever it is, but don't open the program. Instead, right click on the icon that would normally open the program and select 'pin to start menu' from the drop down menu. This will attack this program to your Start button in the future. Much easier!
  • 10/01/11 - Weekend Website #71: 5 Great FREE Programs for Kids
    Every Friday I’ll send you a wonderful website that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll...
  • 09/30/11 - Weekend Website #67: 20 Websites to Learn Everything About Landforms
    Every Friday I’ll send you a wonderful website that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll...
  • 09/28/11 - 18 Great Poetry Websites
    My fourth grade students are working on poetry for a few weeks and I have discovered some truly wonderful, fun-filled...
  • 09/27/11 - Tech Tip #52: Roll Your Computer Back to a Problem-Free Date
    Q: Something happened and now my computer isn't working right. I downloaded a program/music/video or installed a new holiday program and it hasn't worked right since. What do I do? A: These days, that's not as hard as it used to be. All you have to do is type 'restore' in the search box (on the start menu) and follow instructions. What it'll do is turn your computer back to an earlier date, before you did the download or the install. It won't affect documents, only the bad stuff. It's saved me several times.
  • 09/23/11 - Weekend Website #65: Noodle
    Plus, Noodle offers a 'school selection' tool, to enable parents and high schoolers to search for the right school, from kindergarten through college. Once you've set up an account, Noodle allows you to keep track of the schools you’ve applied to or been admitted to, or classify schools based on criteria such as cost, campus setting, etc. You can keep these lists private or make them public so that your friends can see them.
  • 09/20/11 - Tech Tip #51: Copy Images From Google Images
    Q: To copy an image from Google Images (or Bing), I right-click on the picture, select copy, then paste it into my document (with right-click, paste). But, It's hard to move around. Isn't there an easier way. A: You're probably grabbing the thumbnail rather than the real image. Before copying the picture, go to the full size image by clicking on the gallery thumbnail...
  • 09/17/11 - Weekend Website #66: What’s Your Carbon Footprint
    This is a fun, albeit simplistic approach to carbon counting. As a teacher, I find it a wonderfully simply way to deliver the message to students that the size of their carbon footprint matters. This site has a few easy fill-ins about family cars, travel and where the reader lives, then calculates an average carbon footprint. For example, when I answered the four or five easy questions about my home (with lots of prompts about 'average' which I can see students defaulting to), it gave me a rundown on my profile:
  • 09/14/11 - MS Word for Grades 2-5
    It’s all in the sophistication. Second graders do less and not quite as well. Fifth graders do a lot, much...
  • 09/13/11 - Tech Tip #50: The Easiest Way to Outline
    Q: My fifth graders are learning outlining in the classroom. Is there an easy way to tie that into technology? A: Outlining can't be easier than doing it in Word. Here's what you do:
  • 09/10/11 - Weekend Website #64: Khan Academy
    One final note, the ISTE tech conference I attended back in June of over 15,000 educators chronically listed Khan Academy as among the most-important websites for video tutorials on the web. Attendees and presenters constantly raved about Khan Academy as a self-help site far beyond any other available, on a par with MIT's offering of free videos of their course offerings. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.
  • 09/08/11 - #39: Google Earth Board
    Students select from a list of Wonders of the World (or locations put together in conjunction with the classroom teacher)....
  • 09/06/11 - Tech Tip #48: Quickly Switch Between Windows
    Q: I'm copy-pasting between a Word doc and an Excel doc on my computer. I know how to do that, but here's the problem: I have three Word docs open. I don't want to close the other two because I'll need them soon. It takes a lot of time to click down to the taskbar, bring up the Word group and find the correct Word doc. Is there an easier way? A: Oh yes, Much easier. Use Alt+tab. That takes you to the last window you visited. If you're toggling between two windows, this is the perfect solution. I use it a lot for grading and report cards.
  • 09/01/11 - School’s Back–Do Your Children Need Computers?
    This is a question I get from parents all the time. Most parents want to get what their child needs...
  • 08/30/11 - Tech Tip #45: Your Screen Upside Down?
    Q: My screen is sideways 90 degrees. How do I fix that? A: If you ever needed this, you're going to be blessing me. If you've never faced that off-kilter screen, you're going to wonder why I'd post this tip.
  • 08/24/11 - Teach Animal Adaptations with an MS Word Diagram
    This project is part of a triptych that collaborates with a classroom unit on animals. The first was another diagram,...
  • 08/23/11 - Tech Tip #46: The Easiest Way to Explain Right and Left to (Little) Kids
    Q: I teach kindergarten. They don't always understand the difference between left and right. A: There are two times kids get confused about right and left when I'm teaching:
  • 08/22/11 - 31 Human Body Websites for 2nd-5th Grade
    In my school, 2nd grade and 5th grade have units on the human body. To satisfy their different maturities, I’ve...
  • 08/19/11 - Weekend Website #61: Brainy Widgets from Wolfram Alpha
    Wolfram Alpha has a boatload of educational widgets you can put on your website to amaze your students. Simply go to their widget gallery, select the category you prefer (I picked technology) and pick your widget. I picked creating QR codes because I can see my students adding this to their wikis next year as another way of sharing their name:
  • 08/17/11 - Tech Tip #47: Tool Tips
    Q: I'm supposed to find a tool on the toolbar, but there are so many and I have no idea what they are for? It's just as bunch of pictures to me. Is there an easy way to figure this out? A: To figure out what a tool does on the toolbar or 2007/10''s ribbon, hover your mouse over the tool (place the mouse above it without clicking). A tool tip will appear with a clue as to what it's for.
  • 08/15/11 - 20 Websites to Learn Everything About Landforms
    If your third grader has to write a report about landforms, try these websites (check here for updates to list):...
  • 08/12/11 - Weekend Website #60: Google Tools and Bloom’s Taxonomy
    Bloom's Taxonomy has long been accepted as the de rigueur classification of learning objectives. Its consideration as a foundational and essential element within the education community is memorialized in the 1994 yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Lesson plans are written with a focus on which of these objectives are met and how to achieve all of them within a school year.
  • 08/10/11 - Tech Tip #49: The Fifteen Second Slideshow
    Q: My kindergarten and first grade students are too young to create their own slideshows for Open House (or any parent day) and I'm just too busy. What's an easy way to display their work digitally for parents that also involves the students in the preparation? A: I had this problem last year. I simply ran out of time trying to prepare so I offloaded the work onto the students. I was worried it would be too much, but it turned into a wonderful experience for students and parents alike. Here's all you do:
  • 08/05/11 - Weekend Websites #59: 62 First Grade Websites That Tie into Classroom Lessons
    These are my 62 favorite first grade websites. I sprinkle them in throughout the year, adding several each week to the class internet start page, deleting others. I make sure I have 3-4 each week that integrate with classroom lesson plans, 3-4 that deal with technology skills and a few that simply excite students about tech in education. Here's the list:
  • 08/04/11 - Tech Ten Commandments–the Christian Version
    I posted this list of tech ten commandments. It’s a great list, a way to generally address how to make...
  • 08/03/11 - 10 Great Virtual Field Trips
    Schools and kids love field trips, but they take a lot of time, money and extra adult supervision that may...
  • 08/02/11 - Tech Tip #44: Clean Your Computer Weekly
    Q: I'm afraid of getting slammed with viruses, malware, all that bad stuff that comes with visiting the internet. What do I do? A: If you take reasonable precautions, the chances of being hit are minimized. Here's what I do:
  • 07/29/11 - Weekend Websites #57: 28 Websites to Teach Tech to Kindergarten-First Grade
    The moment students start using the computer, they need to create good habits. That includes not only posture and hand...
  • 07/28/11 - Are you as Tech-Smart as a Fifth Grader?
    I’ve been teaching technology to kindergarten through eighth graders for almost fifteen years. Parents and colleagues are constantly amazed that...
  • 07/25/11 - #40: Wonders of Google Earth
    Students create their own tour on Google Earth using locations selected by the classroom teacher. They add the locations to...
  • 07/24/11 - Weekend Websites #56: 23 Websites to Support Math Automaticity in K-5
    This is the time of year when teachers worry about math facts and the automaticity of math skills. The following...
  • 07/22/11 - Weekend Website #55: Science for Fifth Graders
    This list covers all sorts of science from nature to geology. Like with the math websites, for my students, occasionally I...
  • 07/21/11 - About Me
    I'm glad you asked that question because, they absolutely do stand out. They start kids in kindergarten with age-appropriate and challenging skills in programs such as keyboarding and KidPix, and that wonderful online reading site, Starfall.com.
  • 07/19/11 - Tech Tip #43: Back Up Often
    Q: How often should I back up my current project? How about my whole hard drive? A: I teach my students to save early, save often when they're working on a project. You decide what you can tolerate losing. Ten minutes or Ten hours. After all, if the computer loses your work, you're the one who has to start over.
  • 07/16/11 - Weekend Website #54: 20 Great Research Websites for Kids
    Here are quick, safe spots to send your students for research (for updates to this list, click here): All-around research...
  • 07/15/11 - Weekend Website #61: Brainy Widgets from Wolfram Alpha
    Every Friday, I’ll send you a wonderful website (or more) that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll...
  • 07/12/11 - Tech Tip #42: How to (Re)Set Your Homepage
    Q: My homepage got hijacked! I mean, it no longer opens up to what it used to. How do I fix that? A: Go to the page you want as your homepage. Here's what you do next:
  • 07/10/11 - Weekend Website #53: 41 Websites for Teachers to Integrate Tech into Your Classroom
    This list has a little bit of everything, and will kick-start your effort to put technology into your lesson plans:...
  • 07/09/11 - Weekend Website #52: 7 Sites About Coin Counting
    Second graders (sometimes first graders) learn about money. The only way to really ‘get it’ is by repetition, so I...
  • 07/07/11 - ISTE Debrief: Don’t Hide the Internet from Today’s Kids
    If you didn’t make it to ISTE 2011, you missed a great time. There was more going on than any...
  • 07/05/11 - Tech Tip #41: Repair Your Computer With System Restore
    Q: I don't know what I did, but my computer doesn't run right anymore. What can I do? A: With access to the internet, computer malfunctions have become even more prevalent than ever. Sometimes you download a program--or your child mistakenly pushes a button that allows malware on your computer. Suddenly, through no fault of your own, things just aren't working right anymore.
  • 06/30/11 - #35: Sponge Activities for Vocabulary Building
    There are lots of great online vocabulary websites to help kids learn high-frequency and dolch words. I’ll share five you...
  • 06/24/11 - Weekend Website #51: 17 Story Sites for First and Second Grade
    This is my list of websites students can use when we’re studying story-telling, fables and myths. This list includes sites...
  • 06/22/11 - #10: Drawing in Photoshop
    Photoshop reputation as a photo editor ignores its many other tools that enable you to draw like a pro with...
  • 06/17/11 - Weekend Website #50 Visuword
    Visuwords is an online graphical dictionary where you can look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. The tool enables you to produce diagrams and learn how words associate and is another of the great Open Source websites (yes, they give their source code as well as the web site away for free)--like Visual Thesaurus, Wordle, Tagxedo--that makes the study of words as visual as a picture.
  • 06/14/11 - #38: Introduction to Google Earth
    Google Earth can be used for so many classroom activities. It is a favorite of even my kindergartners. I start...
  • 06/14/11 - Tech Tip #40: Where Did Windows Explorer Go?
    Q: I have Windows 7 and I can't find Explorer anymore. Where did it go? A: Right click on the start button and select 'Explore'.
  • 06/09/11 - #36: My First Report
    Students type a report for their class on one of their units of inquiry (i.e., animals) using MS Word. Use...
  • 06/08/11 - #33: Grow Your Story
    Use a first-grade or second-grade story. Show students how to add description to it, setting details, sensory details, characterization, so...
  • 06/06/11 - #30: A Cover Page in Publisher
    Use the Quick Publication template to make a fast cover page for a report, project, etc, in the classroom. Pay...
  • 06/03/11 - Weekend Website #49: Tux Paint
    In my classroom, we use KidPix. It's a wonderful program to introduce students to tools, toolbars, text, drag-and-drop mouse skills and all the basics required to use the computer. It's the gold standard for acclimatizing children to computers. Students always love it and parents always want to know how to get it for them.
  • 06/02/11 - 5 Best Online Keyboarding Programs
    I gave you-all a long list of great websites that will help teach your students keyboarding. Here are my top...
  • 05/30/11 - Thank You
    …to our men and women in uniform. You are what makes America the country I love. Like this:Like Loading...
  • 05/25/11 - #4: Photoshop for Fifth Graders: The First Step is Word
    Before we get into Photoshop, we’ll start with a program your fifth grader is most likely comfortable with: MS Word....
  • 05/24/11 - Tech Tip #39: My Computer Won’t Turn Off
    Q: I'm pushing the power button on my laptop (or desktop, but more commonly this happens with laptops), but it won't turn off. What do I do? A: Push the power button and hold it in for a count of ten. That'll work. If not (there's always that one that breaks all the rules), hold it for a count of twenty
  • 05/23/11 - Nineteen Ways to Use Spare Classroom Time
    I keep a list of themed websites that are easy-in easy-out for students. They must be activities that can be...
  • 05/20/11 - Weekend Website #48: Wolfram|Alpha for Educators
    Every Friday I’ll send you a wonderful website that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll...
  • 05/19/11 - #4: Photoshop for Fifth Graders: The First Step is Word
    Before we get into Photoshop, we'll start with a program your fifth grader is most likely comfortable with: MS Word. For basic image editing, Word does a pretty good job, so we'll start with a project using Word's tools:
  • 05/17/11 - Tech Tip #38: My Desktop Icons Are All Different
    Q: My desktop icons (those little pictures that allow you to open a program) are all different. What happened? A: I get this question a lot. Push the start button and check who the log in is. That's the name at the top of the right-hand side of the start menu. It should have your log-in name. Any other, log out and log in as yourself and the world will tilt back to normal.
  • 05/16/11 - #12: Create Simple Shapes in Excel
    What’s the first thing you think of when I say, Excel. Numbers, right–turning data into information. That is Excel’s ‘killer...
  • 05/11/11 - Tech Tip #37: My MS Word Toolbar Disappeared
    Q: My tools for formatting disappeared from the top of my MS Word (2003). Where'd they go and what do I do? A: They do disappear at times, for no good reason. Here's the simple fix: * Right-click in the toolbar area at the top.
  • 05/09/11 - #3: Windows Skills: Make Your Own Wallpaper
    Kids love personalizing their computer stations. Show them how to create their own wallpaper using internet pictures, pictures on the...
  • 05/07/11 - #101: Don’t Print Homework–Email it!
    By third grade, students can email their homework to you rather than turn in all those pesky hard copies. No...
  • 05/06/11 - Photoshop for Fifth Graders: the Basics
    As with all lessons in the Photoshop series, this is available in the book, 55 Technology Projects for the Digital...
  • 05/05/11 - #30: A Cover Page in Publisher
    Use the Quick Publication template to make a fast cover page for a report, project, etc, in the classroom. Pay...
  • 05/04/11 - What are Your Favorite Summer School Keyboard Activities
    Hi guys–I’m looking for suggestions on what to teach in a summer school keyboarding class, grades 3-8. I’m offering one...
  • 05/03/11 - Tech Tip #36: The Internet Toolbar Disappeared
    Q: My internet toolbar disappeared. All I see at the top of the screen is, more of the page I'm on. No tools. What do I do? A: Push F11. You can hide the internet toolbar or unhide with F11. It's that simple.
  • 05/02/11 - Book Review: 55 Technology Projects for the Digital Classroom
    The all-in-one K-8 toolkit for the lab specialist, classroom teacher and homeschooler, with a years-worth of simple-to-follow projects. Integrate technology into language arts, geography, history, problem solving, research skills, and science lesson plans and units of inquiry using teacher resources that meet NETS-S national guidelines and many state standards.
  • 04/28/11 -