Thursday, October 11, 2007

Using Your Digital Camera: A Guide To Great Photographs

When someone says "technology", most of us think computers. There are other types of technology at the school site. Digital cameras, telephones, faxes, and bell systems are just some of the other technology that is covered in the tech plan.

For those that want to learn more about taking good digital photos, I found a great on-line book you might want to check out. Here is a selection from the preface:

A great photograph begins when you recognize a great scene or subject. But recognizing a great opportunity isn't enough to capture it; you also have to be prepared. A large part of being prepared involves understanding your camera well enough to capture what you see the way you want to interpret it. Getting you prepared to see and capture great photographs is what this book is all about. It doesn't matter if you are taking pictures for business or pleasure, there's a lot here to help you get better results and more satisfaction from your photography. To get better, and possibly even great photographs, you need to understand both concepts and procedures; the "whys" and "hows" of photography.
Check the rest of the book at They have a lot of beginner and more advanced tips.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On-Line Registration Success

It appears that our on-line registration for the upcoming Buy-Back day has been successful. We had 30+ people register on-line in the first 24 hours, and over 50 in the first 2 days! As promised, here are the contest winners:

  • 1st teacher to register on-line (by 2 min) – Brian K.
  • 2nd teacher to register on-line – Jessica B.
  • 3rd teacher to register on-line – Erin O.
  • First administrator to register on-line (3rd overall) was Ann K.

Each teacher listed above has won a 30 minute “Paid Vacation”. Paid vacations are when I will come take over your class for that amount of time while you relax in the staff lounge or whatever constitutes a vacation for you (subject to your principal's approval). More details to follow. Look forward to another on-line registration (with prizes!) for the Buy-Back day on December 1st.

Friday, October 5, 2007

HM Lesson Planner Update

I recently discovered there is an update to the Houghton-Mifflin lesson planner CD. You can click on and choose your grade and operating system (Windows for most of you). Download, run, and let me know how it is. You can download this program to any computer, but it will ONLY install the update on a computer that already has the HM Lesson Planner installed.
Have a great weekend!

P.S. The first person to let me know how the update went on their PC will get a prize!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Nine Excellent Reasons for Technology in Education

An article from by John Page that I would like to share with you. This is a truncated version. For the full article and explanation of each reason, CLICK HERE.

Nine Excellent Reasons for Technology in Education

Two events prodded me to write this. The first was my involvement in formulating a technology plan for a technologically advanced local school. During this process I became increasingly concerned that while the school intuitively knew it should improve in this area, it did not really know why.

The second event was an email I got from a teacher concerning my web site Math Open Reference. In it she said, to paraphrase: ‘Thank you so much! Now I have something to do with those laptops they gave me!.’ You can visualize the scene: a school decided to move technology into the classroom so it gave the teacher the computers. This is putting the solution before the problem. Again I wondered if this school really knew why they wanted the technology. In what way precisely would the education be better?

So here they are. Nine fundamental reasons why I think technology is important in education. Hopefully, they can act as the rationale for technology plans in schools. If you disagree, or find things missing, my contact information is at the end.

Reason 1. Expansion of time and place

Reason 2. Depth of Understanding

Reason 3. Learning vs. Teaching

Reason 4. New media for self-expression

Reason 5. Collaboration

Reason 6. Going Global

Reason 7. Individual pacing and sequence

Reason 8. Weight

Reason 9. Personal Productivity

October Already?

Here we are in the month of October already! Time is just flying by.

I wanted to update you on a few things. First, recent additions to our website include a District School Boundary Map and an Address Lookup link. The address lookup allows parents (or anyone) to type in the street number and street name (local only), and they get back the assigned elementary, middle school, and high school for that address. You may have seen the same thing on Perris Union High School District’s website. You can find both of these links under the “Links” balloon on the district website. I hope to add pacing guides to the website soon!

Second, I would like to gather as much data as possible to help plan future technology staff development. To date, only 3 people have completed my PESD Technology Preference Survey found on the right side of this blog (thanks Garmon, Lorin, and Elaine). This information would REALLY help me do this planning. Keep an eye on that same area of the blog page for more. We are planning on trying an on-line registration option for the next Buy-Back Day on Oct. 20th. The first 3 people that register for that event on-line will receive a gift from me.

Lastly, the OARS scanning of tests is going well. Teachers should expect a very short turn around time to have access to their class’s results. In case you have forgotten, you can click here for the PESD OARS page. The historical data is coming along slow on the transfer from EADMS, but we should eventually see all test data from previous years.


District email boxes can get full. If it gets full, you will NOT be able to receive new emails. I suggest that you occasionally (maybe once a month) go into your email and 1) delete messages that are not from this school year, 2) delete emails with attachments – especially large attachments, and 3) forward important emails that you want to keep to your personal email account (Yahoo, AOL, etc …).

Garmon has been sending me some good resources that you might want to visit:

On-line training for teachers -

On-line file storage - Garmon has started one for 4th grade teachers at Check it out and maybe you’ll want to start a page for your grade!

If you have ANY tech questions, please contact me by email or at the Staff Development Office.

"The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence." - Confucius