Thursday, June 28, 2007


The second session I attended at NECC was titled AFI Screen Education Center: Digital Filmmaking in the Core Curriculum. This session was presented by a few people that are associated with the American Film Institute and it was a step by step way to show students how to produce movies. What made this program unique is the fact that it is narrated by Sean Astin and even has some advice from Steven Spielberg. This video is absolutely something I plan on using in my classroom and especially with my broadcasting class. The best part of this program is that it is available from United Streaming for free. If you don't have United Streaming you can either sign up for the 30 day free preview or the AFI plans on producing this on DVD for purchase. I know I plan on downloading this from United Streaming because I can also get the teachers manual. Just some of the things they go over are: what a shot really is, the different types of lighting to use, how to shoot someone properly, and the steps that students should go through before maiking a film. I would highly recommend checking this valuable resource out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NECC Report: The Baseball Hall Of Fame

Well I just got back today from the NECC Conference in Atlanta. I can sum up the conference in one word: incredible. There were so many great sessions that I was having difficulty figuring out how to blog about it all. What I am going to do over the next couple of days is blog about each individual session and give you the links so you can find out more yourself.

Let me go ahead an start off with the very first session I attended. It was called Sliding Across The Curriculum: Bringing Baseball Education To Students Electronically and it talked about how you could incorporate the Baseball Hall Of Fame into your classroom. I absolutely love baseball and was quite intrigued by the possibilities. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got there, but was really surprised by what they had to offer. The session was done by videoconference with James Yasko. I had absolutely no idea that the Baseball Hall Of Fame had lessons that would help teach children science, social studies, language arts, math, and even character education. Mr. Yasko gave us examples of what each lesson looked like and it blew me away how they were making the lessons fun and interactive by incorporating memorabilia from the museum. You can go to the Hall Of Fame museum to see what they have or you can have an actual videoconference with someone from the museum for a pretty reasonable price of $70. I know that the $70 sounds expensive, but from what I saw it is money that is very well spent. If this sounds like something you would like to check out click on the links above or you can even email James Yasko (the coordinator of the program) at

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Entry 9: NECC In Atlanta

I am sitting here in my hotel room in Atlanta typing this before going out to eat supper tonight. I don't have a lot of time, but I figured I would give a real quick update. So far I have gained a lot out of this conference. I went to session that had to do with the Baseball Hall Of Fame and how to use its resources (very interesting) and saw a great session on how to doing video editing better. I did go to a Second Life session today, but am still a little skeptical. Well I will update more when I get home tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Entry 8: Google Earth

Today I spent the day at school presenting to various teachers about google earth. For those that have never played with it before, it is a great program that actually allows you to take virtual field trips with your class. You just have to type in an address and it will take you to a sattelite image of that location. The best part about this whole program is that it is a free download. It was great hearing new ideas from teachers about how you can use this program. You can click the link below to go to my webpage and see the powerpoint about how to use google earth. You will see how to find addresses, go on virtual tours, and even how to make your own virtual tours. As always enjoy and if you have any questions you can email me at

Link To My Webpage And Powerpoint Notes

Monday, June 18, 2007

Entry 7: School Board Video

As well as being a special education teacher, I am also the broadcasting teacher in our building. What we do in the broadcasting class is broadcast the daily announcements live and also do a 15-20 minute Friday news magazine show. It is very time consuming, but I absolutely love it. We do everything using Adobe Premiere Pro and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly the students pick up on this high end video editing program. This year 4 of my broadcasting students took it upon themselves to do a school board video that was shown at a school board meeting to highlight our year. These students put in a lot of time and it really shows in the end. I was hesitant with their original plan, but in the end it came out really nice. I recently posted it on teacher tube and you can view it below. I will talk more about teacher tube at a later date.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Entry 6: Ipods Part 3

There was recently a story on a Kansas City news channel that talked about how Ipods shouldn't be used in schools. One of the guys I work with, who is on the cutting edge of using technology in his class, saw this and email the reporter from the show. He was interviewed on how he is using this technology and the link is below.

Link To Ipod Interview

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Entry 5: Using Games To Study

Summertime is great because it gives me a chance to do some traveling and recharge my batteries. I actually just got back a few days ago from visiting my relatives in Iowa and it was great. I also did some work with my brother where we tore up a woman's whole front yard and then laid new sod down. Lets just say that after that I am glad that I became a teacher. My brother also came back with me and we had the chance to see my beloved Royals trounce the Cardinals 8-1 last night. It was great.

Well let me get down to business. A few years ago I noticed that my students were turning in all of their homework, but they were just completely bombing their tests. I began asking them what was going on and I came to find out that they either weren't studying because they thought it was boring or they weren't studying the right information. A few months later I stumbled on some amazing review games that I decided to start trying with the students. There were two game I started with: Jeopardy and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. These are both powerpoint templates and literally all you have to do is type in the question and the correct answer. The jeopardy game can hold 20 questions and the millionaire game can hold 15 questions. What I started doing is getting a copy of a test that was coming up about a week ahead of time, see what material was going to be important for them to remember, and make a review game from there. I then email any special services student taking that test a copy of the review game and I also email it to their parents (if they have email). I began finding the students were doing better on the tests because the games were visually appealing making them want to study and it also showed them what they needed to study. Some parents even got into the act and made their own review games for their child and some students have even asked for copies of the template to make games. The best part about this whole concept is that the games are all free!!! That's right you pay no money at all.

At the current time I have the Jeopardy, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Home Run Derby, Hollywood Squares, and Deal Or No Deal template games. If you would like a copy of any of these please email me at and I will be happy to email you any of these. You can also see what the games look like by clicking on my website below and then clicking on review games.

Next week I am going to do an inservice on using Google Earth in your classroom and will be going to NECC the week after. So keep looking back for more updates.

Direct Link To Review Games

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Ipod Experiment Part 2

In my last post I promised to put up an example of how we are using the Ipods and down below you will find it. This is a copy of the science semester test that the students took. It was 5 pages long and nearly 75 questions. This made it a whole lot easier when the test came because the students could work at their own pace and it freed us up to work with the students that were struggling on the test.

The Audio Version Of The Test