Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Android vs. Chrome

Dose Google have to much on its plate?  I found this CNN report interesting and thought it was worth passing on.

Are Google's Android and Chrome on a collision course?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The system is down!

Today started off just like any other day until the power went out at the building that are server is at.  The test that I needed to give my kids was on the server so that left me with no lesson plan.  All of my back up plans needed internet so they would not work.  Lesson learned - Have a back up lesson on had that uses MS Office or another application that is on the hard drive.

This is also the one draw back of doing everything in the cloud...I could not do any word because we had no internet.

The value of a hard copy

The sever was down this morning for our 8am meeting.  The PBS team was presenting data and they had the files saved on the server.  They had a had copy of the data, not the slide show, so they where still able to present using a document camera.  Just another reason to have a back up that is not on the server, in the cloud, or online. Remember to have a plan B....maybe I need to go find my flash drive I have not used in 6 months.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Check this out from the Official Google Blog. Google worked with Samsung to make a new computer called a Chromebook....sounds cool...I would like to get my hands on one to see what it is like!

Do you what to be Google Certified?

Do you want to be a Google Certified Teacher?  I do!  The dates this time do not work out for me but maybe they will work out for you.  Check the blog post from The Wired Classroom Google Teacher Academy Taking Applications for all the info you will need!

Go Google!

So I was on of the hold outs that did "Go Google" until about 4 months ago.  I have to say my life is more stream line and I get more done because of the switch to using the Google Calendar and Google Docs.

Google Calendar is wonderful!  I gave my husband the ability to add events to the calendar and now we both know what is going on.  We also know when we need child care well in advance now and don't get stuck at the last minute looking for a sitter.

Google Docs had made a flash drive unnecessary!  I have all the work I have done no matter where I am.  Now that you can drag and drop MS Word docs in to Google docs it is even better.  I can move older docs in to Google with no problems.

The iGoogle page is a life saver to.  When I get to work every day log it and there is my calendar, to do list, news, and more. It has made getting things done much simple.

If you use Google leave a coment on how you have used Google to make your life simpler.

If you have not gone Google give it a try.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

50 States

One of the forth grade teachers in my building just used the page 50states.com with her students.  If you are doing a project on the US, or just a state, this would be a good place to start.  It has a lot of info that is easy for the kids to find.

Economic Research Services

After checking on the Food Desert interactive map that Larry Ferlazoo posted I checked out the rest of the Economic Research Service maps that the USDA has posted. There are lots of classes that could use these maps and you can find out more about where you live.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I am sure that some of you know about the D.A.R.E. webpage. This being my first time teaching in an elementary building in 9 years I was a bit out of the loop.  The D.A.R.E page has lots of good information about drugs that would work for any drug education project that you are doing in class. It also has information for kids, parents, and caregivers.

Commodore 64

This story was on CNN today.  Thought I would pass it on.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Google Sites

Google Sights is another web page builder that lots of teachers, including me, use.  Here is a Google Sites for Educators webinar that I just found.  It was put on YouTube in November of 2010 so several of you may have seen it.

Building Web Pages

If you have not tried Weebly yet you should.  I am developing a graduate level Instructional Technology class for a local university and I need to build a web page.  I wanted to try page builder that I had not use and Weebly was the winner.  So far I like it a lot.  It has nice blog pages and an assignment from for your students to turn work in online. I like this builder because it is simple and looks very professional. If you have teachers with a limited about of tech ability they could make a very nice looking page with little help. For teachers that have a bit more experience the have the ability to edit the HTML.  I think I am going to change my computer lab page over to Weebly this summer.

How will you end the year?

I feel like I am in a race to the finish line!  After this week I only have three more weeks of school.  I never think I am going to get everything done but some how, every year, I do.

Check out the article:

Finishing the School Year Strong

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

War: Through the eyes of children

After talking with my 5 year old about what happened to Osama ben Laden something hit me....she did not know that we where at war because all she knows is war.  I know that "living at war" in Mid Mo is far different then living in an area of combat but we have all be touched by the wars.   Here are some other new stories that may help you understand what how children fell and what you can do to help.

A Child Asks: Does this mean the wars are over?

Spelling Out Bin Laden's Death To The Little Ones

IMPRESSIVE video of Mo Levee

This is a video from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of the Birds Point Levee being breeched.  It is shown real time, six frames a second, and two frames a second.  It is impressive.

The End is Near!

If you are like me you know just how many days of school are left (we have 19 including today).  This is the time of year where everything gets kind of crazy and we all need to stay on track. Larry Ferlazzo had a good post to day called “What Can You Do To Stay Positive During The Last Seven Weeks Of School?” Even if you have less then 7 weeks of school it is still a good read.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Technology in The Music Classroom


When I finally got an old blue iMac in my vocal music classroom in 2009-2010, I was so excited!  I did not have much on it but it did have iTunes.  Not being a very good pianist, this was a life saver.  I used an audio in/out cable to hook the iMac up to my stereo so I had the sound that I would need. 

I used the Get America Singing series with my 6th and 7th grade general music classes, and I had purchased the CDs that went with them.  After putting all the songs on iTunes, I made a playlist for each class.  One student would get to be my assistant and run the iTunes for me.  I used this as an incentive for behavior and participation and it worked wonders.  I had kids singing that normally would not! 

We also did daily listenings and journal work in the 6th and 7th grade class as well.  I had a playlist with all of the works from all of the different CDs that I used.  I would often misplace the CD I needed and have to hunt for it...but not now!

I also had my wonderful accompanist record the accompaniments for all of the 8th Grade Choir Songs and then imported them to iTunes.  The 8th Grade Choir playlist let us run the songs "with the accompaniments" even though she could only come once every other week.  The kids that were taking solos to contest also had the accompaniments for their songs on a playlist.

The best part of iTunes was when I had a substitute the kids could still have class!  I had students in each class that knew what needed to be done. For 45 min of the 90 min block my kids would teach class.  If it was contest season, the remaining 45 min the students with solos got on with headphones and could listen to the accompaniments and "sing" in their head. It may not have been the best rehearsal but they still got to go over what they knew and the substitutes loved it.

Google Images 

If you have a projector or an interactive white board in your room, Google Images is the best! When we would talk about instruments, I would just project the image on the board.  It was so much better than the posters that I used when I taught K-5.  I had multiple images of the instruments and we could write "on them" as we talked about them. 

 We also could look up maps and talked about where composers lived.  Lots of times I could find a map of what the country looked like then and now. I also would show the kids images of what the composer looked like. 

Google Images would also come in handy when talking about the history of a song.  The one that I remember best is when we talked about the song Erie Canal. I was able to find maps and images of the canal being built and used.  The kids enjoyed it and I think remembered a lot more than in years when I did not have the projector. 

I was lucky enough to have a projector in my room that was hooked to a iBook.  The kids and I enjoyed doing was playing the games on musictechteacher.com On this page, Ms. Garrett, a instrumental music teacher at a public elementary school in Birmingham, Alabama, has several games and quizzes.  They are a fun way to get the kids to review.  We would break up in to teams and play as a class.  She also has lesson plans and worksheets available as well.  

I know this is not the first place most music teachers would look for things to use in class.  Many times there are stories on NPR that work with what I am teaching.  When we would talk about the song MLK by U2 we listened to the story "Sanitation Workers Last Stand".  It had direct accounts of what Dr. Martin Luther King's last speech was like and the conditions the sanitation workers had to deal with.  This is first hand information that otherwise I would never be able to give the kids. There is also a great story about how life in New York City paralleled West Side Story when it opened on Broadway. Now with the music blog on NPR there are lots of resources you can use with your class. 

I would have liked to use Youtube more than I did, but it was blocked at school.  I did download lots of things and then use them.  When we talked about organs there was a news report about the Wick's Organ Company in St. Louis that we would watch. In my 8th grade choir classes,we would watch other choirs perform and critique them.

Hilary Myers is in her first year as a 3rd-5th grade Technology Instructor in Missouri.  Prior to her current position, Hilary spent eight years in the general/vocal music classroom mostly at the middle school level.  Hilary is currently working on her Masters in Education and just completed her thesis Six Elements of an Effective Technology Professional Development Program. You can follow Hilary on her blog, Tips 4 Tech, or on Twitter @musictech02