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Arlene Anderson :: Blog

April 26, 2012

This year my students and I discovered a charity that is raising funds to rebuild the schools that were ruined in the Haiti earthquake of 2010.  Concern USA has been working with other charities like Unicef to get teachers trained, housing built and children who might not even gone to school into schools and educated.  This is the video of the project as it wound down this year.  I was surprised how 9 year olds were so interested in what was happening to children in another part of the world and how important this became to the class as a fund raiser.



Keywords: anderson, ConcernUSA, Haiti, SWATTEC

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September 11, 2010

We've been back to school about a month now and I thought I'd write a little post about being back and the classroom.  And for me that's not just any classroom, but a 4th grade SWATTEC classroom with 1:1 netbooks.

First thought here is that after 5 years out of the classroom working mostly with teachers, it does take some adjustment with a room full of mostly 9 year olds.  They are wide-eyed and eager to use the netbooks almost to the exclusion of any other learning going on in the classroom, so I've had to real them in some and make sure at this point their use is relatively focused.  Needless to say they would much rather play games all day.

What has been very interesting is that when I got them blogging the second week of class, they have really amazed me with their comments.  This group is generous and thoughtful with compliments to each other on blog posts.  They even comment back with a “thank you” for a compliment.  For many when they are given some free time to use the netbooks they ask, 'can I write a blog?'.  They have plenty to say, even when it's not a requested post.  Once student is on a vacation and has been posting a journal of his trip.  Nice addition to and Independent Study.  

I am finding that I am not using my Airliner as much as I thought I would.  With Social Studies and Math as online resources, we watch the lesson videos and discuss them in class.  I'm sure as the year progresses I'll use it more.  Part of my problem is where my computer is situated in relation to where I teach.  My computer, hooked up to the projector, is at the back of the room, rather than closer to my teaching area for easy access.  Wish I had some input on that.  I was going to turn my room around, but that didn't work with the placement of the projector.  So I'm pretty much stuck walking to the back of the classroom if I want to bring up an online resource to show the students.

One of the things the students have come to enjoy is our morning workout.  A while back I purchased a program called Smart Moves from Peter Reynolds' company Fablevision.  http://www.fablevision.com/smartmoves/   They refer to it as body puzzles for the mind.  I refer to it as a Tai Chi for just the brain and arms.  The students stand behind their chairs and for about 5 minutes every morning we do one of the “exercises” in preparation for the day.  At first there was a lot of giggling going on, but as they exercises have gotten progressively more difficult, the room is quiet and everyone is concentrating.  We do the same exercise for an entire week before moving on.  There are 42 exercises in the program. A few students have asked were they can get the program.

This last 4 weeks has definitely had it's challenges for both myself and the students.  They are struggling with 10 more students in the same sized room as they had last year and they all want one on one attention.  I'm struggling with a crowded classroom (please understand that when I say crowded it has more to do with the size of the room, not the number of students)  and getting back into the curriculum I love.  It's not like I have a lesson plan book from last year to refer to.  Every week is new.  So at this point, the adjustment period is pretty much over, but then, is it really every over?

Keywords: anderson, beginning of school, SWATTEC

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May 19, 2010

As always I like to share some of the best resources that I find online.  While this one is set up for Tennessee, it still breaks down the areas of science that we all study in grades K-8.  I hope this will be helpful for you.



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April 14, 2010

I happened to come across this site through a Twitter feed that I follow.  In the blog there are 45 website for students to create original art works.  I've seen some before and they are fun for students.  Some can be saved as a screen shot or as a jpeg and put on the Student Community blog.

The link has been corrected so that it works.  Enjoy!


Keywords: art, online art, student art resources

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February 05, 2010

Not real satisfied with Wordle?  Try WordItOut.  Gives you more options ad can be saved.

You can find it at




Keywords: tech resource, WordItOut, Wordle

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February 02, 2010

Once more I've found more resources for teachers.  Interesting how I find these.  Picked these up from someone I follow on Twitter!  Love those connections.





Keywords: math, Teacher resources

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February 01, 2010

One of the programs on our Student Community links is Animoto.  I was trying it out this morning and all I needed were some pictures, a choice of their music (you can upload your own - including recorded audio), and waiting for the program to process the video (that takes the longest).

Lots of fun.  Here's an example.  I know it's Christmas, but I didn't have any music on my computer for this.

If you want you students to have their own Animoto, you will need to apply for an education account.

Go here:  www.animoto.com/education

They will send you the information to get started. 


Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.



Keywords: animoto, video

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January 28, 2010

You can't do better than access a math gaming site that is set up by grade level and California standard.  Here's another one to check out.



Keywords: games, math, websites

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January 08, 2010

I'm sure quite a few people may know about this, but it is worth mentioning again.  When you are looking for a math website to supplement your curriculum, this one is great.  Sorted by great levels and types of math.

If you find one "game" that you think your students should play, just copy the URL of that game into a blog in the Student Community and they can all get the link from there.  Much easier than having them type it in.



Keywords: interactive, Math, SWATTEC

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December 14, 2009

TeachersFirst is a great website with lots of input from teachers as a website in general.  On of the best things is that you can sign up (for free) and get monthly ideas for some great integrated lessons.  Here's one that is multi-age - great for buddy activities- that is based on The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.





Keywords: Giving Tree, integration, web 2.0

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November 19, 2009

As I was going through my emails, I came across this great Jeopary game site that was shared with me from another teacher.  I wanted to make sure it got out to as many teacher as possible as we are always looking for ways to engage our students in learning.  Students love jeopary, and they can even be involved in creating one for the class.   Again, this is free, and easy to use.  Thanks to Sarah for this.



Keywords: games, integration, jeopardy

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November 17, 2009

How often do you wish your students would practice their multiplication facts on a regular basis.  We do have access to Tux Math on our netbooks, and that can be downloaded when they are home, but what if they are not at home.

If they have Internet access, here's a great website for students from 2nd through 6th grade to build their multiplicaiton skills.


You can add this to your website, or in a newsletter for parents to have and access anywhere students have Internet access.

Keywords: math, multiplication

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October 26, 2009

I'm always on the lookout for websites that can be used to supplement the curriculum using technology.  One of my current favorites is Wordle.net.  When you click on "create" you can enter as many words as you would like and they will form a word cloud.  If you don't like the design, you can click on randomize at the bottom and it will change, or you can pick your own design.

So how do you integrate this into you curriculum?  Ask you students to describe a character in a story by his traits.  Have students list all the attributes of an earthquake.  How about an All About Me? Sometimes just listing key words helps students remember facts more than long sentences.  If your description is two words, like Los Angeles, just put a ~ in between (it's to the left of #1 on your keyboard). If you want a word to stand out (be larger) enter it more than once.  I've linked a sample below.  You don't have to always print it out.  Having your students, upload it to their blog and post it there is a great way to share.

And while I think of it, this is free and there is no registration.  Always a good thing.

I have some other websites, that I'll post in the next few days.



Keywords: integration, wordle

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Here's a great presentation with explaination of the GATE Icons.


Keywords: GATE, icons

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October 13, 2009

Here is the link to the most recent press release from My Access about our SWATTEC Program.



Keywords: My Access, SWATTEC, writing

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June 10, 2009

Something to think about.


Keywords: engage me

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Here's an example of what you can show students to get a concept across.


Keywords: CTAP 2

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October 08, 2008

The National School Board Association each year names their "20 to Watch" list for emerging role models for education technology leadership making a positive impact on students and teachers.  We are very fortunate to have Jim Klein included in that list for this year.  Congratulations, Jim.

 Here's the link to the article:


Keywords: 20 to watch, NSBA

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October 06, 2008

As a follow-up to Matt's blog about backing up data, I wanted to add this.  Now that we have begun saving our data on flash/pen drives which are digital, many people think of this as a great backup.  In fact it is, but you must consider a few things.  The more you use the flash drive (in and out of the computer to access, add, or change data) it will also go bad. 

Just recently a teacher lost all of her basic communication data that she used during the year that was on a flash drive.  The data is still there, but it cannot be accessed.  We are fortunate that as staff members we have access to a personal place on the server where we can backup data as an additional source, if a flash drive goes bad. Commonly referred to the "U" drive, it shows up under My Computer when you log in with your name and password.  No one can access this unless they log in with your access (and this should actually only be you).

True the server is only accessible at your school site, but better there than losing all your data on a flash and having to recreate it from scratch.

If you have any questions about backing up your data, let me know, and I'd be glad to help.


Keywords: backup, data, flash drive

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September 02, 2008

This was passed on to me by Jeff Pettipas at Santa Clarita.  Imagine our back to school celebration with a keynote by a twelve year old.  Quite a speaker here.


Keywords: back to school, Dalton Sherman, keynote

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August 22, 2008

I have just come across the best online spelling site ever called Spelling City.  As a teacher you can create an account (for free), create your spelling lists, and have students practice their spelling words, play spelling games with the words, listen to the words being spoken, and actually take a spelling test.  The test is then scored and the results can be printed out showing the incorrect spelling - corrected spelling and the score in a percentage.

Actually one teacher at a grade level can enter the word list and all the students at that grade level can then use the list.  Students do not need an account, they just find the list by teacher name or list name.  You can also vary the number of words on a list.  

What a unique way to address spelling in the classroom.  Oh, and by the way, students can also access this from home to practice!

Check it out:


Keywords: online learning, spelling, Web 2.0

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August 09, 2008

Another great video from Thacher Digital Classroom in Ojai this summer.


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August 03, 2008

Through the last year I have been asked about additional training for teachers on the Smart Board.  In most cases teachers have received the initial training when the boards are set up as to how to connect, troubleshoot, and use the tools.  There usually isn't additional integration training for teachers which is probably the most important part of developing lessons and improving student achievement.

Many teachers think that the boards come equipped with lessons, which they don't.  They do have interactive activities, but it's the teachers who must develop the lessons aligned to the curriculum they are teaching.  More ...

Keywords: interactive whiteboards, Smart Boards, training

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July 30, 2008

We just finished our video assignment for our Trainer of Trainers class. Guess we're over achievers as we are the first finished.  Our goal was to make a video as a training example for when we conduct training sessions.  The video we created was to show teachers how easy it would be to integrate technology into their curriculum lessons.

Here it is.


Keywords: math, shapes, Thacher, Toti

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I've been spending this week up at The Thacher School in Ojai, CA.  It's about an hour and a half from Saugus over the hill from Santa Paula off the 126.  We started on Sunday afternoon and have barely stopped except for meals.  

Some of the training has been repetitive for me, but a lot is a new exciting experience.  I've learned how to use the Goggle apps, Google pages (website), and Moodle. today is Multi-Media day.  One of the great things is that soon all teachers in Saugus will have access to California Streaming, with California standards based content to use in their classrooms.  More on that in coming months.

Saugus is so lucky to have 16 teachers attending, with 3 of us in the trainer workshops and 13 in the Digital Classroom workshops.  Everyone seems to be having a great time.

Today classes let out at 3:15 and those who wish can take the bus in to downtown Ojai. I'm hanging around the campus to work on both training projects and Saugus projects.

Maybe I'll even try to catch up on some sleep. 

Keywords: Ojai, Toti, training

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