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August 12, 2011

At the beginning of a new school year, it's a great time to clear out Zimbra. Many of the problems that people have during the year are related to the fact that they are forcing Zimbra to hold onto a virtual ton of old emails that should be cleared to free up space.

Here's how to do just that.

Click on the captures below if you need to see a larger version.

Zimbra_ Trash1.jpg

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Keywords: bytes, dlindsay, email, tech, zimbra

Posted by David Lindsay @ Tech Bytes | 1 comment(s) | Share This

August 10, 2010

Note: at any time if you need to see a larger version of the images below, just click on the image.

Sending an email via blind copy allows you to send an email to several people without those people being able to see the other recipients' email address. It also prevents recipients from knowing if there were other people who received the email.

Here's how to do it:

First, select the email that you'd like to forward, or create a new one.


Next, if you're forwarding, click the "forward" button (it might just be a right arrow if your window is smaller). If you're creating a new email just skip to the next step.


If you can't see a BCC field click on the button to show it (as shown below)

Zimbra_ bcc3.jpg

This last step is the most important! Address the email to YOURSELF. In the BCC field, list the recipents' email addresses or the address group to whom you're sending the email. Then, just click "send."


Posted by David Lindsay | 2 comment(s) | Share This

March 18, 2010

There's an interesting article on the New York Times learning network which talks about a new book by David Shenk.

The book certainly looks interesting. It takes a look at research about the impact of genetics on learning and addresses some of the myths that have formed around "gifted and talented" learners.

Here's the link:

Keywords: dlindsay, genius, gifted, IQ, talented, times

Posted by David Lindsay | 5 comment(s) | Share This

February 17, 2010

I find this slideshow to be very helpful in walking kids through what works and what doesn't in Powerpoint design:

Keywords: dlindsay, mentor, powerpoint, presentation, swattec, tips

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 18 comment(s) | Share This

January 27, 2010

Go here:

to see this full-screen

Keywords: dlindsay, glogster, mindmap, swattec

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 2 comment(s) | Share This

January 15, 2010

Many teachers have asked how to make a contact group. These groups are very handy for emailing grade level teams, office staff, and parents. Here's the lowdown:

Note: for the pictures below, if you need to see the larger version of a picture, click on it to make it bigger.

First of all, open up Zimbra and click on the "Address Book" tab.


Next, find the "New" drop down menu.


Choose "Contact Group"


The next screen is where the real magic happens. You'll give your group a name, select the members for it, and add those members to the group. <click picture to enlarge>


Once you've finished the above steps, all you have to do is save the group.


Now all you need to do to make use of your group is to type the name of your group in the "To:" line of a new email.

Keywords: address, contact group, contacts, dlindsay, email

Posted by David Lindsay | 2 comment(s) | Share This

December 10, 2009

I had meant to post this back when I was in chpt. 5 of our math series, but I got distracted by the myriad of other stuff- go figure. Anyway, in our math text it seems that all the authors seem to agree that the first multiple of every number is zero. Now, I had been taught that 1 times a number is the "first" multiple of a number. So, unless the number you're looking at is zero, zero is not the multiple of any number.

Apparently it is more complicated than that. In the interest of being correct, I did some research. 0 is a multiple of every integer, but so are negative values of that integer times any other integer. That means truly multiples of 5 are {....-15, -10, -5, 0, 5, 10,...}. So I'm not going to outright say that the book is wrong. I will say that our text took the wrong approach. What we're interested in are not multiples of integers but multiples of natural numbers. After all, isn't the goal to eventually have these students calculating the LCM by comparing the multiples of the two (or more) numbers they're considering? If we teach them that zero is the first multiple now, what do we teach them later? Because they're sure to declare that 0 is the LCM every time. Think about it. Teacher: "What is the smallest number that I can divide both of these numbers by? Make a list, find the first multiple that appears in each, blah blah." If we undermine that method of finding LCM, then everyone will have to calculate it by using prime factorization (arguably not a bad thing).


If you're not in chpt. 5 yet, lucky you. If you've been there and didn't notice, you might want to go back and clarify any misconceptions. 5th grade will thank you for it.

I noticed this when I gave the publisher's test and kids were missing questions (graded with the key) that they had actually answered correctly (by my instruction). I generally use the text for pacing, practice work, and back-up if I don't know the topic as well as I'd like to. I couldn't figure out why during review discussions the kids kept telling me that zero was the first multiple. Sadly, it's in the book without the natural numbers explanation I gave above. I plan on putting a yellow sticky in my book to remind me of this next year.

Keywords: dlindsay, math, multiples

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 9 comment(s) | Share This

Illuminations has a great bingo activity on order of operations. It requires very little prep. I've used bingo games to reinforce order of operations in sixth grade before, but most of the pre-done activities are geared for a higher level. This particular one is great for a first pass. There are no exponents to mess with.

Keywords: bingo, dlindsay, game, illuminations, lesson, math, order of operations

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 1 comment(s) | Share This

December 08, 2009

I thought I would upload a graphic organizer that I like to use for order of operations. No big deal, here, but perhaps it will save you some time if you were thinking of doing something similar.

orderopstemp.xls application/

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 4 comment(s) | Share This

November 16, 2009

I created a template for the students to use on their Eeepcs to use as they gather info about the different California regions. I'm intending for them to do some guided internet searching for info (with me), but feel free to use it/change it however you want.

regionsscrapbook.doc application/msword

Keywords: california, dlindsay, regions, scrapbook, template

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 139 comment(s) | Share This

November 13, 2009

Here's a website with a movie about this nonprofit organization. It goes quite well with the story from Unit 2 of the same name.

Keywords: dlindsay, food from the hood, movie, reading

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 1 comment(s) | Share This

October 30, 2009

I wanted the class to brainstorm some words appropriate for the holiday (and school). Wordle is a fun way to showcase their efforts. Some of the students posted their Wordles on their blog. I also wanted to print with the coloring book option but could not find the option anywhere. Luckily Arlene came to the rescue with the surprisingly simple solution. All you have to do is click (or double click I think) the picture and the letters become outlines. If you choose a black and white color scheme (white background), you'll then have something that can be printed for later coloring. Thanks Arlene!

Keywords: coloring book, dlindsay, halloween, wordle

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 4 comment(s) | Share This

October 22, 2009

Here's another resource for graphic organizers. If you create an account (free), you can also make your own organizers. This would be useful with the Airliner.

Here's the link:

Keywords: dlindsay, graphic organizer, organizer

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 3 comment(s) | Share This

For Open Court: The story, "Elias Sifuentes, Restaurateur," is coming up in unit 2. I found a site that has a short, two-person reader's theater that would be great for practicing fluency. Additionally, a pair of students could practice the piece, record it with their laptops (and Audacity), and export it for upload to the student community.

Here's the link:

Keywords: dlindsay, open court, podcast, reader, sifuentes, theater

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 2 comment(s) | Share This

I found this notebook on latitude and longitude from SMART's website. It does a really nice job of giving the teacher visuals that he/she can use to model finding/plotting specific latitude and longitudes. There are also quiz items intermixed for understanding checks as you go. It is more of a backdrop to teaching, rather than a complete lesson in and of themselves, so look at it first and figure out what you would be teaching for each slide.

Keywords: dlindsay, latitude, longitude, notebook, smart

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 1 comment(s) | Share This

October 16, 2009

Here's a .doc file I made with all the relevant info for online components (if you don't use Open Court for literature- sorry about that). It was driving me nuts keeping track of all this so I hope it helps. This is geared to 4th grade, but with a few changes it could be made more relevant for other grade levels.

Online Editions and Setups.doc application/msword

Keywords: dlindsay, links, online editions, swattec

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October 15, 2009


Stick a fork in it- the grade 4 social studies links are done. You'll find links for lesson 1 and 2 from unit 1 history there.

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 0 comment(s) | Share This

I'm getting ready to embark upon the Flat Stanley project next week. Being new to 4th grade, I poked around on the web a bit. I discovered that there's a digital Flat Stanley project (I'm probably the last one to know this). It can be found at:

While I'm not sure if my class will be participating in the project described at that site, I do have to say I got some inspiration from it and decided that our blogs would be a good showcase for some Flat Stanley adventures. Below is a link to a handout I'll be sending home to describe the project. It also includes the digital component that I'm imagining. Please feel free to use the handout (obviously you'll want to change the contact info, etc.). If, while reading it, you spot any errors, I'd appreciate you letting me know (by comment or email works). I basically drafted it out in one shot and haven't reread it yet.

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 3 comment(s) | Share This

September 30, 2009

...finally getting some more curriculum links fleshed out. The largest amount of time is spent trawling through the internet. As indicated by the title of the post, you can find applicable resources at the respective wiki pages.

Again, if anyone else happens to compile a set of links to go with a 4th grade unit in any subject area, please throw them up here so we can all benefit from your efforts.


Keywords: adding, adjectives, adverbs, description, dlindsay, ideas, links, math, memoirs, narratives, regrouping, resources, subtracting, swattec, web, writing

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 4 comment(s) | Share This

September 18, 2009

So, today I decided to put the students to work applying what they've learned about adjectives and adverbs. I wrote a little story, that was almost proficient, and provided them with the following prompt:

Copy the text below into your typing window. Submit it and see what score I earned. Next, go back and revise the piece, adding adjectives and adverbs to make the piece more descriptive and exciting.

This morning started out as normal. I got up, went downstairs, and ate my favorite cereal: Super Sugar Blast Puffs. They were good. Next, I brushed my teeth. The toothpaste tasted weird after my sugary cereal. Then it was time to go.

I ran outside to get to the bus. I was worried that I wouldn't make it in time. Sure enough, as I got to the bus stop, the bus was already pulling away. I began waving my arms and the bus driver saw me. She slowed the bus down. Then she opened the door. I walked on.

The bus pulled away from the curb. At the intersection there was a detour sign. The bus turned onto a road I had never been on before. I didn't know it then, but I was in for an adventure of a lifetime!

So, the students had to improve the essay by adding details, specifically adjectives and adverbs. In doing so, many of them introduced errors and their scores actually went down. We had a friendly competition to see who could get the highest score with the fewest submissions etc.

I showed the kids how to use the reference tools to add $50 words. Altogether I think it was a productive lesson, and we covered many of the tools that MyAccess has available.

Now here's the funny part. In the part of the story where it says: "and the bus driver saw me." One of my students used some $50 words without understanding their meaning. All of the sudden the bus driver became a very interesting character when she changed the sentence to read: "and the TRANSITORY, GREGARIOUS bus driver saw me." Only on Friday ;).

Keywords: adjective, adverb, dlindsay, myaccess, swattec

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 0 comment(s) | Share This

September 14, 2009

I really like the idea of taking advantage of the laptops to make testing more temporally useful; the advantage of easy grading is also not missed.

I used Spelling City for our second week of spelling quizzes and it worked great. Last week (week 3), it was terrible. I'm not sure if anyone else had trouble. I do know that we won't be using the site for quizzing any more, but for practice it is still great. I just wouldn't plan anything around it.

I'd like to get the online quizzing in Macmillan math and science going. Did anyone do this last year? I'm having trouble finding any directions on how to set up your class list/log-ins. If anyone can help me cut through the learning curve on this, please let me know.

Keywords: assessment, dlindsay, online, test, testing

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 6 comment(s) | Share This

March 20, 2009

Well, more like what's been going on for the past few weeks...

I wanted a way to provide notes for students to review on the blog/wiki. Projecting from a paint program works well, but drawing/writing is imprecise with the mouse. I borrowed a writing tablet from Kevin McGroary's classroom and it works great! I'm going to also try using my improvised Smartboard setup, but I need a way to mount the Wiimote in such a way that I can take it home easily (my kids NEED that thing). I've been able to post classroom notes, mostly in math- where it is really needed. Here's an example.

Another thing I started doing that has a lot of potential, is filming student video lessons. Here's an example of that. As you can see, it is a fairly primitive setup. I'm using a digital video camera, but I'm sure it can be done with students' individual Eepc's cameras as well. A microphone would help the sound, but I've just done a couple so improvements are coming. Basically, I found a spot in the classroom with room for the camera, put tape down as markers for where the camera/table should be to encompass the field of view taped in on the whiteboard. The student, then, knows that only stuff in that rectangle will be filmed. I don't want to deal with privacy issues, so I just have the student's arm in the shot. They come to me with a short script for a concept that we're learning that they want to teach. It takes about ten minutes of time when they're used to the setup. Their learning is enriched, and the rest of the class benefits because it goes on the blog/wiki for people to use when they're studying. I can see assigning topics in the future as well. I can see a student who needs a bit of a prod to all of the sudden take interest in a concept that they might be having some trouble with if, all of the sudden, they're going to have to be an expert on it.

Some students have used Audacity to create a podcast (they're doing school events news casts at the moment). The mic on the Asus isn't that sensitive so they have to really up the input levels and they go just outside the classroom door so that they can be louder. I need to get a few microphones for this as well. What I'm really excited about doing, is expanding my reader's theater style podcasts. For students who need work with fluency, these are amazing. How else can you get someone to repeatedly read the same piece of text over and over?

Google Earth is being used in a project that my students are doing to follow the Santa Clara river to its mouth. They're trying to understand the effect on erosion that the reservoirs have for that river, and are attempting to answer the question of what is happening to my favorite beach. Lesson plan and materials are here.

Students have been creating a digital geometry guide that they'll be showing off in the blogs next week. I'm going to have them upload them to Slideshare to create the embed text necessary to stick them into a blog post. I'm going to explore having the students narrate their show as well.

Some students used Freemind this week, while others decided on textboxes in "documents" to create a set of 15 to 20 events linked in a chain of cause and effect for the story, "Aida," in our basal readers. They'll get to use their notes on the quiz, Friday, so they were quite motivated ;)

What else... a few kids started creating animations and games using Scratch. Those will be up on the blog soon. I have a few students who are also interested in Google Sketch Up and have created several drawings already.

Another thing that I've found useful, is having the students create projects with specific formatting concerns. For example, their "Aida" notes had to fit onto one page. They also had to create writing for science that went next to a model. To fit on the paper, their text had to be formatted no wider than 5 inches, so they had to adjust their margins in the program. These diabolical escapades have forced some tech concepts to be addressed as part of a larger curricular goal.

That's it for now. I really like that everyone is posting their ideas to this thread so that we can all be inspired!


Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 7 comment(s) | Share This

February 11, 2009

I have been using the SUSD wiki pages to create newsletter-like postings with resources for students/parents to use for each major area of the curriculum. The nice thing is that even though it is a lot of work now, they'll be right there for me next year. Although some weeks I have more time than others, and sometimes I drop the ball in updating the site, ultimately it should be rather complete since I don't have to update finished sections each year and can concentrate on ones that I skipped over.

If any other 6th grade teachers want to see if the resources might be useful to them, you can get a list of topics on the webpage here. What's there are offsite links for more practice, short video tutorials and/or media clips, and in some cases there are online quizzes that students can take to gage their progress. Likewise, if you view the resources and find yourself scoffing because you've found something better, please let me know! I'm always on the hunt for better resources.

Keywords: 6th, curriculum, dlindsay, links, resources

Posted by David Lindsay | 2 comment(s) | Share This

December 17, 2008

We started a writing piece last week using the "Family Traditions" prompt in MyAccess (seemed like a good Holiday-ish prompt).

One of the things I've really enjoyed using is MyAccess is the embedded comments. You can highlight a piece of the student's writing and attach a comment to it. I ended up projecting some of the stories with my comments. You don't see the comments without clicking on them, but you can see that sections of the text have been highlighted. I have the kids work in groups to try and figure out what comment I might have made about a highlighted piece of text. Then I click on the text and they see if they were right.

They really have fun with this. Who would have thought that revising could be so much fun!

Keywords: dlindsay, myaccess, revising, writing

Posted by David Lindsay @ SWATTEC | 466 comment(s) | Share This

October 20, 2008

Here are two sites that support the learning of keyboarding skills. Keybr is a web 2.0 application that gives students a choice of three levels to choose from for a quick practice session. BBC Schools Dance Mat Typing resembles commercial products for teaching typing to young people, at the low-low price of free! It has several levels, instructs students in finger placement, and provides entertaining feedback during lessons to hold students' interests. Use the first for quick practice and the second for initital instruction. Use them both to have your students typing 50 wpm in no time.

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Keywords: dlindsay, keyboarding, podcast, Tech Bytes, techbytes, typing

Posted by David Lindsay @ Tech Bytes | 17 comment(s) | Share This

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