Thursday, October 4, 2012


FINALLY.  The better part of the great big fat book order has arrived and I think you will be impressed with the variety.  Hurry in to be the first one to snag a good one (they're all good so don't hurt yourself getting here, ok?)  There will be a few more books arriving next week so check in with us again.

For those of you that have turned 18 or will turn 18 soon - like this month - check out the new arrivals that deal with your VOTING rights.  Did you watch the debate last night??

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MHS 11 Tools Deadline Dates

You have two deadline dates, with the first being  Sept. 7 to complete Tool One (yes, even if you need to complete Tool One and then not look at it again until later this semester, all of you HAVE to complete Tool One by Sept. 7)  The other deadline is your final due date to have all 11 tools completed and that is  December 14.

Good luck, Toolers!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

They're baaaaack - TOOL TIME!

Ah, what a difference a few months make.  I had all but forgotten about this 11 Tools blog!  I seem to recall a few veteran Toolers commenting about how HELPFUL my posts were so to all of you new Toolers - check out my archived posts on the right side.  The key words (labels) make it easy to search for answers. 

My mantra during the full-blown 11 Toolapalooza was (and now shall remain).....


Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Monday, Monday, Monday

We're back and I've already heard from so many of you - you worked on your 11 Tools on your break and you finished and I am so proud of you!!!  There were very few problems apparently and I am working with those of you that ran into glitches.  Looks like we will muddle through... especially since Terri M. will offer afternoon Tool Times in the regular spot for those of you that need help to add the finishing touches to your Tools.

By the way, I took the Atomic Learning assessment before the break and I scored an 82 and I was THRILLED with that 82! I'm usually one of those perfectionist-types but I know better than to stress over it.  It's a hard assessment and it really doesn't reflect your PERSONAL LEARNING experience.  Remember - this was supposed to be a personal journey for you.  So again, don't stress over the score!  Just print that sucker and put it in your personal records.  And then email me that you've finished 11 Tools :)

There is a light at the end of the tunnel - I can see it!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wow - this is the beginning of the end...

It's 4:00 on a Friday...and the regular crowd's logging in...(to the tune of Piano Man)

Actually, it's the beginning of Spring Break and I'm waiting for the few die-hard afternoon students to make their way to the door and leave already.  This will be my final blog post until I return to work Monday March 19.

Hate to break it to you, but I will be traveling abroad and I am not packing my 11 Tools.  So this is me telling you that I will not be available to answer your 11 Tools questions.

If you need help, refer back to my previous posts or the numerous emails I have sent you over the past 11 weeks.  At some point in one of those emails or posts, I have answered,addressed,cussed at,solved, and prayed about just about every known 11 Tool issue there is.

I have faith in you. I know you can do this.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Websites being blocked on your teacher laptop?????

It's happened to a few of you! You're toolin' along and then you can't see YouTube videos. It's those darn gremlins I keep telling you about. Well, here's a way to fix it according to Chris Mitchell, our very, very, very, very, very busy campus tech:

Go to start > run
In the run box copy and paste this phrase without the quotes: “gpupdate /force /boot”

And hit enter. This will refresh policies on your computer and restart it. After you log back in youtube etc should be unblocked.

And it really works!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 21 deadline fast approaching!

Hopefully, this post finds you comfortably coasting to the deadline. If not, refer to the archived posts on my blog for help. Also, I sent you an email with some hints. You have to post about all 11 Tools and then take the Atomic Learning Assessment THEN you have to email me stating that you have finished. But only after you finish both the posting AND the assessment, ok??? Good luck and do I hear an "AMEN" coming???

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

iPad/iPod training presentation

Now that we have concluded our final iPad/iPod training session, here is a copy of the presentation that has been updated with more information about iCloud.  If you would like to explore further, don' t forget that you can learn more about any and all of the items we talked about  in Atomic Learning or by viewing the tutorials that are usually included with any app(lication) that peaks your interest. Also, remember that the Ed Tech page with the list of approved apps is merely a listing of apps with brief descriptions.  You can't actually download apps directly from that page so it would be a good idea to have your iTunes page up at the same time so you can just flip back over to it if you find a hot app that you want NOW :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Upcoming dates

Just a quick reminder of these upcoming Tool-related dates:

Thurs., Feb 9   Terri’s Tool Time     3:15 to 4:30pm in V101   Terri M. will be available for Tool help

Mon., Feb. 13   initial devices delivered (see previous email – you don’t need to do anything until notification that your device is ready for pick-up)

Tues, Feb. 14   COACHES’ iPad tutorial   6:45 – 7:45am in room O-105     PDLC 7565.19072

Wed., Feb. 15   iPad tutorial   3:15 – 4:15pm in Library        attend one session on the 15th , 16th or 21st PDLC 7565.18972

Thurs., Feb. 16   iPad Tutorial   3:15 – 4:15pm in Library   attend one session on the 15th , 16th or 21st PDLC 7565.18973

Tues., Feb. 21   iPad Tutorial   3:15 – 4:15pm in Library        attend one session on the 15th , 16th or 21st PDLC 7565.18974

Thurs., Feb. 23   11 Tools Help Session    3:30 – 5:30pm in Library   General help session to help you along or get ahead

Wed., Mar. 21   11 Tools DEADLINE 11 Tools completed, all posted about on your blog, assessment test completed in Atomic Learning
(don’t forget to print your certificate and file it away for safe-keeping as proof of completion)

(FYI: if you want to average one tool a week, you should finish Tool 5 this week. Not rushing you, just giving you the heads up)

Renae van Zeelst
Nobody’s tool
Just acting the tool
On a tool’s errand
Living in a tool’s paradise
Someone stop me.
I pity the tool!
Can’t help myself.
Tool me once, shame on you, tool me twice…
Experience is the teacher of tools
Tools rush in
A tool and his money are soon parted

They're coming....

Hey Toolers - The "initial" device that you are to receive from your classroom device package will be arriving Monday February 13. At some point that afternoon (probably no sooner than 6th period) you will get to pick it up. More details to follow but rest assured...they're coming!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tool Three - Dropbox it

Not dropkick it - dropBOX it.  While troubleshooting Tool 3 with a colleague, I thought of a tip I might share with you all.  It's the answer to "how the heck do I get BACK into Dropbox?  I click on the icon and I get those windows with the folders and nothing else!"  It was the same question I posed to my daughter when she MADE me get on the DropBox train last year.  Those of you that know my daughter know she's a force to be reckoned with so I hopped right on that train because she knows EVERYTHING.  I didn't tell her I got off at the next stop but that's another story....

Anyways, how do you get back to your DropBox dashboard?  Just RIGHT-click on the icon (not double click, but right-click) and then "launch the website" - and WHOOP, 'dere it is!  There's probably an easier way so if you know one - let me know and I'll post it here.

I'm back on the train, by the way.  I had forgotten how accommodating it is - and how much STUFF I could bring on board with, powerpoints, documents, just about everything.  And I can access my stuff from my phone, from my iPad, from my laptop, from my desktop...nice.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Google Docs in action!

Even with all of the printer broo-ha-ha in the Library, I have actually been able to see Google Docs in action!  Students are really making the effort to use Google Docs and here is a tip about printing that we've discovered along the way:

Always use the printer icon within Google Docs rather than going to the top menu and do the File-Print thing as we usually do.  If you do it the wrong way, all that prints is a header and the url on the bottom.  It's the same with pdf files, by the way.  I always tell kids to use any printer icon that is available in any database, program, website, document.  That they would put that icon there means that it's the best way to print the material.  It works like that in EBSCO, too.  Always look for the printer icon rather than using the File-Print option at the top of the page.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finishing 11 Tools

That phrase will probably send most of you over the edge but there really are some of your colleagues that are finishing 11 Tools this week!  We all need to make sure we take the survey/test at the end of the 11th tool.  That process is what will generate your certificate so after you take the test, check at the bottom of the 11 Tools blog list and watch for your certificate - print it out for your files.  Keep it handy just in case Ed Tech comes back and says you didn't take the test.  See the method to my madness?  Your certificate is proof you finished the survey/test!  How would you have received the certificate otherwise???  BAM.  You have a paper trail.

AND WHEN YOU DO take the test....please do NOT stress over it.  Your score will not necessarily reflect your 11 Tool prowess.  I promise.  Seriously.  If you make below a 70, just let it go.  You will still receive credit and hopefully will have walked away with at least one tool to enhance the classroom experience for our students.

Tool Six idea

I wanted to share an application with you that I've just learned about.  I don't "tweet" (nor do I "moo", "woof" or "meow" but I digress) but if I did..I would want to be able to browse through my Twitter tweets feed by subject area (I'm doomed to think like a Librarian for the rest of my life)  How would I do that, you ask?  By using TweetDeck, a separate application.  It allows you to sort your Twitter feed into categories (I'm getting goose-bumps).  For instance, CoolCatTeacher tweets her patweetie off so it would make it easier for me to receive or view tweets with subjects that interest me rather than scanning through her daily deluge of tweets.  Who has time to read all of that?  Seriously?

Tool Four and Google Docs

Here is a tip I learned while trying to juggle several gmail accounts:  make sure you get in the habit of signing OUT of the different applications and accounts.  Case in point - this was why several of you were not able to create your blog the first go around - Blogger wanted to use your personal gmail/google accounts since you were still signed in on those accounts.  Just a royal pain in the you-know-what.  SO...sign-off or out every time you leave those applications.  This counts for your cell phones, too!

Also, in reference to Google Docs and security... please pay special attention to those "share" options.  Some of them will throw your document out on the web for the whole world (literally) to see.  And....that just might not be cool with you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Required iPad tutorial dates coming up!

Please pick one of these dates to attend and register on PDLC - we're moving along quickly :)

2/15/12  iPad Tutorial PDLC#: 7565.18972               3:15 – 4:15pm in Library      attend one session on the 15th, 16th or 21st 

2/16/12  iPad Tutorial PDLC#: 7565.18973               3:15 – 4:15pm in Library      attend one session on the 15th, 16th or 21st  

2/21/12  iPad Tutorial PDLC#: 7565.18974               3:15 – 4:15pm in Library      attend one session on the 15th, 16th or 21st

Required iPad tutorial dates coming up!

Please pick one of these dates to attend and register on PDLC - we're moving along quickly :)

2/15/12  iPad Tutorial PDLC#: 7565.18972               3:15 – 4:15pm in Library      attend one session on the 15th, 16th or 21st 

2/16/12  iPad Tutorial PDLC#: 7565.18973               3:15 – 4:15pm in Library      attend one session on the 15th, 16th or 21st  

2/21/12  iPad Tutorial PDLC#: 7565.18974               3:15 – 4:15pm in Library      attend one session on the 15th, 16th or 21st

Help Sessions scheduled - two big dates coming up

1/30/12   11 Tools General Help 3:30  - 5:30pm  in Library   - attendance not required       troubleshooting or getting ahead                   

2/23/12     11 Tools General Help 3:30  - 5:30pm  in Library  - attendance not required      troubleshooting or getting ahead

Thursday, January 12, 2012


For those of you that are having problems with creating your blog because of unrecognized verification codes, error messages and other tools of Satan, TAKE HEART.  It’s not you, it’s the network.  Below is a message from Terri McLaughlin – the district helped identify the issue yesterday and at least we know we’re not doing something wrong.  My advice is to try it at home or walk to Starbuck’s with Terri (read below and you will understand the Starbuck’s thing…)

Here’s what I learned today from troubleshooting the Tuesday after school blog hiccups.  It is definitely some sort of network issue for some computers at MHS. It actually happened today in a class where students were setting up blogs! The district folks are trying to get to the bottom of this but in the meantime I have some band aid solutions to offer for those who still need to get a blog created. You can either try to set it up at home, (it will work because you are not on the MHS network) or see me on Friday.  I happen to know that we can get you set up in minutes by simply walking over to Starbucks and accessing their internet. I tested this today with two of our Tool Timers and had great success!  I’m off campus in meetings all day on Thursday but would be happy to conduct Starbucks field trips on Friday.

So, would someone pick up a skinny latte for me?  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

11 Tool Posting Tip

One of our colleagues is posting her answers to the Tool questions and I thought I would share her method with you.  She’s copying the actual questions from the 11 Tools page and pasting them in her post about the tool and then answering them right there!  Brilliant idea!  Then you don’t have to go back and forth from the 11 Tools page to your blog.

Think you could use this idea – heck yeah!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Picasa and Tool Three

When you look at Tool Three, one of your options is to go to Picasa and search for photos.  The instructions to use Picasa (on the 11 Tools page) are not working for some of us.  This is what it says:

...login to your Picasa Web Album through Google Apps - don't download Picasa, just click on the Web Albums link. 

EXCEPT when you follow those instructions and go to Picasa in your Google Docs account there is no "Web Albums" link unless you actually download Picasa -  which they don't want you to do!  Here's a work-around I found so we can get on with the program.  I found a link to Picasa Web Albums that does not require you to download it.  In order for this link to work, you must be logged in to your Google Apps for Educators, in Google Chrome.  And then you can just click on it or paste it into a new tab.  And then follow the rest of the instructions:
Search for a few pictures. After searching, look at the filters on the left. Use the Creative Commons or remix filter to find images that you can reuse and remix. How could you use either one of these tools in your classroom?

Take that, Technology Gremlins!
First of all, thank you to the 56 of you that have sent me your blog name and blog URL. 

I wish to address the 90 of you that have not sent me your COMPLETE blog URL and your BLOG NAME.  You have the opportunity to get caught up Tuesday after school (see Terri McLaughlin's email – thank her profusely) and complete Tool One with your colleagues.  If you attend Terri’s session Tuesday, PLEASE make sure you bring your laptop and that you have downloaded GOOGLE CHROME like you were instructed to do on January 3. You should be entirely finished with Tool One by Thursday.

Look for a comment from me on your Tool One blog post by Thursday.

Stay calm and carry on :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Although I haven't starting officially commenting back to you on your blogs, it's been pointed out to me that some of you are not answering or addressing ALL of the questions for each tool on your blog posts.  That is what the moderators are going to be looking for.  So go back to the 11 Tools page and look at all of your tool posts and make sure you have answered all of the questions required to get credit for each tool.  You cal talk about other stuff, but you MUST answer the questions for each Tool.  You can edit posts - it's one of the tabs on your blog's post tabs.  I edit all of the time - sometimes I forget to spellcheck and I don't see the misspellings until after I've posted.  So EDIT any Tool One posts that you have left incomplete by Thursday, please.

Keeping it simple:  Read the tool.  Do the tool.  Talk about the tool by answering the questions in your post.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Central TIME

A few teachers have noticed that the time stamp on their blog posts is a couple of hours “off” the actual time they posted.  That’s because Blogger’s time stamp defaults to a different time zone than our Central time.  You want to post after 3:30pm or before 7:30am, remember?  Don’t despair!  It can be fixed.  Amy Lipp forwarded this set of instructions to her department and wanted to share them with you all as well:

To change the time zone on your blog:

1.      Go to your Blog main page.
2.    In the upper right hand corner, go to Design.  Then, next to the Design Tab you will see a Settings Tab.  Click that tab.
3.    Under the Settings Tab, the third tab is Formatting.  Go there.
4.    5 sections down you should see “Time Zone”.  Choose the Central Time Zone and then scroll to the bottom of the screen and “Save Settings”.

What if you already posted and you didn’t notice the time was off by two hours?  You could post an addendum to Tool One and explain how you didn’t notice the time was wrong but you’ve since  learned how to fix it and now it’s all good.  Rock on. 


you could delete the original post and re-post it after you fix the time in your settings.  Just make sure you fix the time NOW.

11 Tools

Hey Everyone – PLEASE read through all of the instructions on the 11 Tools Page and read through all of the instructions on each individual tool.  You are not finished with any tool until you complete all tasks and then POST about it on your blog and that post MUST address the QUESTIONS that are listed for each tool.  For instance, your tool one task list would look like this:

1.       Create blog account
2.       Send blog url and name to Renae (complete url! Starts with http and ends with
3.       Design your blog page
4.       Design and insert an avatar (Voki) on your blog page
5.       Answer these questions in the form of a post on your blog:  Write a brief post about your experience to date. Did you find the experience fairly easy? Did you face any challenges? These questions are on the Tool One instructions. 

You MUST complete the entire tool and then post about it (after 3:30pm to get non-contract hours.)  Don’t wait for someone to comment back to you to tell you if you’ve done it correctly, etc.  Don’t ignore the project if you don’t understand something.  Try it whole-heartedly, post that you really tried it and state what problems you had with it and that you will come back to it when you get help.  And still GO ON TO THE NEXT TOOL.  Don’t get bogged down on a tool.  

And please clearly label your posts with the tool numbers.   Make it easy – label your posts TOOL ONE, TOOL TWO, etc.