Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Wow. November is off to a rainy, cool beginning. Don't ya love the variety of weather we get to experience in Texas.
Life is great. Thanksgiving just around the corner, then Christmas, then the New Year. Take time to enjoy every moment of every day.
Breathe. Focus. Relax.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The Mesquite ISD Wellness Aerobics program is proud to announce we will be conducting a Susan G. Komen ZUMBA Fundraiser. Monday, Oct. 25th, Black Elementary School cafeteria, 4:15 - 5:30pm with guest Lori McGinnis team teaching with me. $10. 100% proceeds go to Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation. Come shake it for the cure!!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


The first day of the MISD Wellness Aerobics class was fantastic!!! There were about 30 people and they all looked so good in their sweat!!! Way to go. It's never too late to join us. Tomorrow is our Step class. Come on over.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


MISD Wellness Aerobics begins this Monday, Sep. 13 at Black Elementary School from 4:15 - 5:15. Monday's class will be a hi-lo aerobics class (sort of like jazzercise). Wed. will be step class, and Thursday is yoga. Looking forward to seeing all wellness members again as well as meeting new members. Spread the word and bring a friend.

2010-2011 school year

Welcome to the 2010-2011 school year. I'm excited to see the growth, progress, and success of my students. I haven't blogged since the summer class I took, so, here I am. Welcome back. Looking forward to seeing how I can use this blog during the school year with parents and teachers.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Does anyone have any GREAT deals for a laptop or desktop? Nothing fancy, but a good reliable one. I need a new one. I have found a Toshiba at Walmart for $398 and the same price for one at Best Buy.
Is there anything better than that? I'm scared to buy a used one, so, I think I need to get brand new with new updated software etc.
Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One Last Thing

Wow. I did it. I actually completed all 23 things - on time!!! Even with my personal computer crashing and having to borrow my sons.
•What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
I can't think of any of the things I didn't really enjoy. It was all a new exciting journey for me. Each day was a new adventure into 2.0 world I had not ventured into before. I enjoyed the VOKI gadget, loved all the Google Apps, enjoyed the Library Thing and the Google Book Search, enjoyed the You Tube and Teacher Tube, and the most recently learned Classroom 2.0 social networking is cool. I already have some comments from one of the Groups I joined. I'm thrilled with the fact I can now embed, add links, post pictures etc.

•How has this program affected your lifelong learning goals?
It shows me that I probably need to keep taking classes such as these every so often so I don't get so far behind technologically speaking. There is so much to stay up to date with. The students will be up to date before me if I don't. Having access to some of these tools will also keep me in the tech loop (like some of the news feeds and google alerts I get now).

•Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
YES - I was very surprised to see all the social network sites that I had no clue about. I also was so shocked to see all the different applications of Google when I thought it was just a search engine.

•What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
Hmmmmmm - Well, I didn't have access to a printer, but it would have been nice to have a hard copy of the Things instead of writing it all down. But, I know it's better to save a tree and have it on the computer. The only other thing might have been a little more communication or comments on blogs from the teachers letting me know I'm on the right track.

•If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?
Probably so. I REALLY like the fact that I could do the work on my own time vs. having to show up for a class, spend time driving to and from, using gas, etc. Although it might have been hard for me to do this during a regular school year (which is why I took it in the summer).

•How will what you have learned influence your practice as a teacher or school librarian?
I will use so much of it in my communication with parents and other teachers and administrators. I will also feel more in-the-know with my students and be able to offer suggestions to them on using the computer for learning, sharing, communicating, READING!!!

•How do you plan to keep up with new developments in web 2.0? Recommend a way that you have found to be useful.
It would seem to me that the Classroom 2.0 I joined would keep me informed and up to date on any new developments. Several of the RSS feeds we joined during the first Thing we learned about RSS were on technology, and I kept those, so hopefully reading those articles will help keep me updated as well. Then, there's always the other teachers (especially C-techs) who inform me as well.
Maybe by continuing to blog the comments and things shared will help too.
And, I have subscribed to the Learning 2.1 feed - so I can see what's new.

I have really enjoyed this class and am excited about all the new things I have learned.
Thanks so much for sharing this class with us and for the continued educational journey we will share as we continue in lifelong learning.
Vickie Montoya

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thing # 23

When I looked at the Wiki list of all the Social Networking Sites, I was shocked. I had no idea. I didn't know there were any educational ones either. After reading several comments, forums, joining a group, and exploring, I am so excited to know where I can go for help as well as to share resources I'm aware of.
This article was from one of the forums that I found very interesting especially since I just attended a staff development for gifted training in which we discussed divergent and convergent thinking. I think educators would enjoy this read called Creativity Crisis.
Here is my Classroom 2.0 Badge.

Visit Classroom 2.0

Then I watched this brief video about how to use vocabulary on an iPhone - way cool. This would be an awesome use for the students.
Here is my Ning Badge.

Visit 23 Thingsters

Then here is a widget I added since I'm a yoga teacher - this is a Yoga Poses widget.

I am certainly impressed with these educational social networking sites and how easy they are to access and follow (just like facebook). I have found several valuable resources already (like the ones I shared above) and know there are more to come as I continue to visit the sites. I plan on sharing these sites with my friends and fellow teachers (I have already added them to my facebook page). I especially plan on adding the brain research and dyslexia articles to my monthly newsletters (via email) to parents as well as my dyslexia colleagues.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thing #22

I was very skeptical about the social networking thing about a year ago. My son had a My Space account. My husband had a Facebook account. I was not sure if I wanted people to find me. I wasn't sure what might be shared. Of course, you can hide, block, do all the privacy settings, and monitor it. Then there was a site from FB my husband opened and it gave his computer a virus - but that can happen anywhere on the web I guess.
So, about a year ago I finally gave in and set up a facebook account. I quickly added school teacher friends, principals, old high school friends, and family. It was very cool at first and I was checking it daily. I never got "addicted" and certainly didn't like any of the games. I actually got a little annoyed at the invites to play these games and the comments about them. That seems to have tapered off now. I don't check FB everyday anymore. I hardly ever check it to be honest just due to time (and not having my OWN computer right now). But, it is a nice tool to keep in touch and stay in the loop of friends that I wouldn't normally talk to or chat with everyday, but this way I can sort of know how they are and what's going on in their lives.
It's also great for getting answers pretty quick. I asked a teacher friend one time if she still needed my fair ticket and that was cool to get through on FB since I didn't have her phone number. Then, I asked all my "friends" on FB if they knew a good A/C company and it's good to get the advice and referral of a trusted person.
Here is the link to my Facebook. Come visit and if we're not friends, request. :)
It seems to be a very important thing for teachers (and parents) to know about the social networking because the kids are absolutely hooking up through it and sending pictures (not always good ones) and sharing homework (and answers). If it's not monitored, it can get out of hand. But, it can be used as a good thing too. I love my oldest son's profile and the description of himself. Then, there's my youngest who is not supposed to be able to have a my space until he's 13 and he tried lying and getting an account when he was 10 and said he was 14. Silly boy. I have deleted two of the accounts he snuck by me. He has a facebook account now too that I'm letting him keep. He turns 13 in August. I will monitor it regularly.
There are so many GROUPS you can join and keep up with special deals or happenings. For example, my high school I graduated from has a site and keeps me posted of people who have passed away or reunions coming up.
One thing I do not like about the social networking is the pictures people post (often time nude or nearly nude). I don't want my kids (or students) having access to that. It makes my job as a parent much more tedious to keep up with. You trust them to a point, but they are boys!!! And these girls sometimes don't have a clue what they are doing posting those pix!!!
I prefer Facebook as opposed to My Space - basically because more of my school friends and teachers are on that network. I haven't tried any others- like the that was mentioned on the Common Craft Show.
I can see how the social networking would be useful and helpful to students to a degree. I wonder, though, how distracted they become or consumed with it they could be instead of doing other productive things. But they could have homework buddies or ask teachers questions or at the very least, get practice spelling, typing, putting thoughts into words on the comments. It does have positive qualities.
I'm sure we will see more positive changes on these social networks as time passes and technology increases. It will be interesting.
So - remember - find me on facebook my 23 Thingster friends. :)

Thing 7 B

I am getting better at scanning through the Google Reader. I enjoyed several articles. One was on Edutopia with a poll on whether or not students should be required to wear school uniforms or not. What do you think as a teacher? As a parent?
On my Dyslexia Resources site there are several GREAT tools for teachers to use to teach reading. This particular link is for a code chart for vowels.
I have Google Health News as one of my feeds and I thought this article might interest not only teachers but anyone who has to eat in 30 minutes or less and doesn't have much time to pack a lunch. I grab a Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine or similar frozen dinner and head out to work. So, this article lists the top 12 HEALTHIEST frozen dinners. I can testify that they are good. I've had almost all of them.
It's awesome to have these daily feeds and not have to go searching for the things I'm interested in. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thing # 21

First I looked at the Google Alerts for this Thing. I immediately added four topics of interest and then went straight to my inbox and viewed all of them. That's awesome. :) I will get updates on anything regarding dyslexia - which is my professional area of interest. I will also get my Zumba and Yoga new videos as they are available for my MISD Wellness Aerobics Instructor profession. My son and most of my dyslexic students have ADHD, so that is the other alert I will receive. Should be very helpful.

Then I went to the Google Calendar. It could be used for my aerobics schedule (even if it's just one for me personally to keep up with the classes I teach) as well as personal dates/events. Click the link to see an example of one I created with the rest of July's classes on the calendar.

Then in less than 30 seconds I made my own iGoogle home page with MY interests on it.

Then I went on to the Picasa Albums and looked at several photos. I don't have my own digital camera yet nor do I have my own computer to download pix to my own file, so I will skip this one for the time being - but am glad to know about it.
I love Google Book Search. I can read through the books as if I were at the book store and decide if it's worth reading or not. I can also read my kids favorites books right here on line. I LOVE THIS!!!! Here's one of our favorites, Love You Forever. Oh my, I spent sooooo much time on this book search. That is probably going to be a new hobby for me.
I hope the students are able to check it out as well. They won't have the excuse of not having any books at home - if they have access to a computer.
Google Earth was really cool too and I'm sure the students would love to go anywhere they are interested in on that site. They can read it in a book, but seeing it on the videos or the 3D images this site offers would really catch their attention.
I didn't delve as deep into the Google Sites or Google custom search at this time but I'm sure glad to have it as a resource to come back to later. I might be interested in starting an MTA class page for my students, the parents, the regular classroom teacher, and other dyslexia teachers on the Google Sites.
Google Sketch Up is not a tool I can see myself using, but my husband probably would love it. So would my own children. Sometimes, dyslexic students are gifted in the right brain talents; therefore, they would probably enjoy this site and create amazing sketches. I'm passing this one on to them.
I share publicly to MISD23things a couple of things I tried. I also added links to them in this post.
I checked out several of the Google Labs as well. These are the ones I thought were interested and could be used either for my students or for me personally: Google Transliteration, Google City Tours, Google Aardvark (ask any question to be answered), Google Listen (can listen to news/magazine), and Google Squared (this one is certainly worth you checking out).
I was amazed at all the great tools Google has to offer. I never knew it was anything more than just a search engine until this class. I'm feeling more empowered and tech savvy now. COOL.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thing # 20

Google Docs is something I never knew existed. I had never heard of the other sites before either; the Think Free and Zoho Office. This would have been great for me to be using all along since my computer is out of service since the first week of this 23 Things class. I've been using my son's computer. I like the fact that it can be accessed from ANY computer. You don't even need a flash drive to go from one doc to another.
This would be good for students that have a computer to be able to do certain homework or projects at home without having to have a flash drive or disc.
I wrote a letter to my aerobics class that I then forwarded to my school email and was able to send out all from google docs. I also played around with the spreadsheet (which I'm a little embarrassed to say that I have never used a spread sheet before - I tried and gave up and still am not sure how to keep 5 pages worth of the extra lines all the way to "T" or "Z" whatever it goes to from printing out. I just want the one document). I made a behavior points sheet where I can just add the students names and then place checks or tally marks for good behavior. The winners get prizes.
I could also use the Spreadsheet for classroom attendance, sign in for aerobics class, or any type of list with check off spot.
I also played around with the Google presentation and did a brief slideshow of my favorite things. Since I'm on my son's computer, I couldn't access any of my personal pix so I had to use the ones in my son's file. That's why there weren't as many as I would've liked on the slide show. (Like my husband, step daughter, and other family members). I did link some of the pictures from Flickr Creative Commons.
Students could use the presentations to do the same thing - share a few of their favorite things. This would be good for the beginning of the year for the kids to get to know one another - like an "All About Me" presentation.
I also uploaded a file from my documents to see what it looked like in Google Docs and was surprised at how easy it was to do that and how it looked the same as in Microsoft Word.
These apps can be used both in my personal and professional life. I can share Google Presentations with personal friends on email and just link the site. I can also type letters/flyers to parents/students from the Google Docs and send it through email.
It would be cool for my students to use the google docs in the computer lab with the regular classroom teacher and then email the finished product to me. (the MTA teacher). Then I could collaborate with the student and the regular classroom teacher.
I can see how the regular classroom teacher could use these in a gazillion ways. I'm a little prohibited in what I can do in the program I teach, so I will have to be creative in how I get to use these things I've learned for my dyslexic students.
I'm looking forward to seeing any collaboration that takes place with the Google Docs I shared. Although I couldn't find the button to click that was supposed to say "Invite Collaboration." I just typed in the email address and hit the Share button.
Here is the link to my Google Docs:
Summer Aerobics letter, Positive Behavior Points, A Few of My Favorite Things, and a quote uploaded from my docs.
I'm enjoying all the things I am learning. Thanks for teaching the 23 Things class. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thing # 19

Check out this Voice Thread which tells about the Web 2.0 tools - very similar to this 23 things class we're taking. This would be a good VT to share with other teachers new to technology and wanting to learn more about tech for their own personal use as well as educationally.

Be sure and keep clicking the bottom right arrow to view the entire Voice Thread. There are about 36 pages. You can just scan through them unless you are super interested.
This is an idea of how I would use Voice Thread personally and maybe even for my students as well. It's a parent reading a poem "A Wish for My Children". I would love to read it and other books that were my children's favorites and send it to them through email or facebook or my space, or send them my blog with it embedded for them to watch and listen. I could also use it with pictures of my students and share my wish for them and let them respond as well as their parents.
Here is the VT.

Some other ideas I have are reading books and letting the dyslexic students just listen and enjoy. Then, have them retell in their own words what the story was about and their favorite part.
I would also like to have some spelling questions, such as "How would the (k) sound be spelled if the (k) was in initial position before an e, i, or y? Then have the students share their answer. Then I would respond after all have shared their answers.
Students might also be able to take an oral spelling test, give oral book reports, share what they did over summer break as well as other holidays during the year. I especially like the VT I saw for cards, such as for Mother's and Father's Day. Parents would adore something like that.
It would also be great if maybe I could read a book on Voice Thread and have the student follow along with his/her own copy of the book in order to practice fluency.
I'm thinking I can do pictures of key words and the letter sounds for the students to practice their letters/sounds on voice thread.
It seems that the possibilities are endless. This is probably easier than producing a You Tube ??? I'll have to try it out (making a Voice Thread - and eventually making a You Tube broadcast also.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thing #18

I love You Tube. I found a You Tube video from The Power of Dyslexia that I have blogged about before and linked to the website, but here it is in a video. COOL. :)

Here's another one that I have shown to my dyslexic students in class about the author Stephen Cannell's story about having dyslexia.

I also watched a Zumba Steps
to add to my Zumba routine since I'm an instructor. I watched several of those type You Tube videos.
On Teacher Tube, I watched a video from Lucy Calkins about Teaching Reading Workshop and what we need to do TODAY to teach reading (A GOOD TEACHER!!!! - TIME to read, time to talk about what we read.)
For fun, I am interested in seeing the movie The Shift by Wayne Dyer, so I watched the trailer for it.
I will always be on a quest to find appropriate material I can share with my dyslexic students to help them become better readers, overcomers, thinkers, have a positive attitude, and be encouraged. I think You Tube and Teacher Tube will be a great added resource to be able to achieve that goal.
There are a lot of related dyslexia videos with students sharing their own success stories and those would be cool to share with my class.
This has been probably one of my favorite Things to do yet. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thing #17

I listened to the Grammar Girls podcast about when to use female nouns. I like the way it is set up to either listen or read or both. My dyslexic students would do MUCH better being able to hear it (with the option to follow along with the print if they desire) than to just read it. And, being able to hear a lesson from the teacher and then go back and hear another one on the podcast would be good for the dyslexic learner.
I previewed all of the podcasts listed on our Thing # 17 list. I liked a few of them, but as the MTA dyslexia teacher, I didn't find many that would apply to my field or something I can use in my class; however, I can certainly pass a few on to the regular classroom teacher. I did subscribe to the Grammar Girls and the PBS John Merrow feed for Learning Matters.
I'm sure the others listed that I looked at are great sites and some of the things I saw were interesting to me, just not something I can really use at this time professionally.
One idea that I have and am REALLY interested in trying this next school year is doing my own podcast of my dyslexia MTA students reading a book and podcasting it. They could also do some spelling lessons explaining the phonetic rules or situation rules for spelling words on a podcast. For example, there are so many different ways to spell the (k) sound and my students can tell you all the ways and the reasons why: (k,c//ck,k,ke,c are all the ways.)
This way they can sort of "Show off" their skills and all they have learned in MTA.
I am an "itunes" user and have downloaded songs to my ipod which I use when I go jogging as well as when I'm doing yard work (mowing, weeding), and sometimes when I'm doing house chores (dishes, vacuuming, cleaning). I absolutely LOVE my ipod with all my favorite songs and NO commercials or having to go change the CD.
I have not done any podcasting, but I can see it in my future. :) Well - I take that back. We did do a podcast for our secretary who retired this year and I said my farewells on the Garage Band type of podcast that one of our teachers created for the retiring secretary. So - does that count???
Podcasting is awesome. I have listened to MANY things on podcasts such as sermons, radio broadcasts, lectures, how to plant certain types of plants/flowers, how to do certain yard projects (like building a pond). You tube and podcasts are here to stay I'm sure, and they can only get better. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thing # 16

This Library Thing is pretty cool. I added about 14 books I have in my personal library. I checked out all the sites that were mentioned in the Thing 16 description. I love to read a GOOD book and one that might help me in my personal growth and maturity. Linking up with others who have similar reading libraries is a great thing.
Thanks for sharing this site.
I joined the Library Thing after taking the tour and am looking forward to what comes from this.
This could be good for my students as well, but I would like to check to see if any of their favorite books are an audio books since my dyslexic students would prefer to listen to the book vs. read it.
This would be a great way to share books within the classroom - teachers could share books with students, parents, other teachers. It would also be a cool way personally to share with others the books you have read and recommend or not.
Especially during the summer, sharing a good book to read while laying out by the pool would be fun.
This was a fun THING. :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thing # 15

Social Bookmarking. "Social" seems to be the theme for this day and age. There are so many ways to SHARE. That's what we were supposed to learn in kindergarten, right? To share. Teachers have been sharing ideas, concepts, tools, etc for years, but how cool is it that we can now do it right over the internet any time of day or night.
I like the fact that I now have a way to organize my bookmarks with tags. The list was growing larger each day and when I needed to look up something it took a while to scan through the list.
I also found it very interesting to see how many others have tagged the same sites I have. That might be a way to social network with teachers in my specific field.
I also added a few new RSS feeds to some articles I found.
My computer has gone to computer heaven so I have been using my sons. Until I get a new one, I won't be able to do the stretchier task yet, but am certainly going to try it once I have my own list of bookmarks once again.
BTW - I sure do like those common craft guys videos. Simple, short, easy to follow. Thanks for sharing.
I'm planning on using the Delicious dyslexia sites I follow with parents and the students who are technologically savvy as well as with my teaching buddies. I will also use it with all my friends who take my aerobics classes so they can stay up to date on the latest health/workout articles. Here's one on Zumba. If you don't know what Zumba is or would like to check out this you tube, watch this.
Here is the link to my delicious site
Check out my first few bookmarks and watch them grow. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thing 7A (7b)

I have found my favorites on the RSS feeds to my Google Reader. I have to limit the time I read them though or I could be there for hours.

One of my favorites is Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser. I have been receiving her daily emails for over a year now, but now, I get these daily feeds with ANY news about her or what she's doing. It's usually pretty interesting and of course deals with HEALTH - keeping the weight off/working out. There is one about getting enough sleep. Another about the struggles Jillian faced as a teen (and picture of her at 175 pounds).

I LOVE the song "Learning to Live" that Jillian has for her show "Losing it with Jillian" and in this article it has the lyrics and a little bit of history behind the song. :)

Another feed on my google reader I enjoy is the "Everything Yoga Blog." This particular article even shows a you tube video of a gentle 10 minute yoga practice.

Of course, for school teaching purposes, I enjoy reading the Power of Dyslexia feeds. I am looking forward to sharing these with my students. Here's a link to a video of Richard Branson sharing about his dyslexia.

Usually I just scan through the articles/feeds and the ones that catch my eye I read deeper and that's how I'm managing them. I need to delete some that I figured out I'm not really interested in though.

I have the blogs I'm following on my google reader also and that makes it easy to read their blogs without having to go to each individual blog site.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thing 14

Exploring all the different tools was interesting. I am starting to figure out what I like and don't really care for matching my particular personality and teaching style. I also have ideas of what I could try with my students.
I chose to do the PollDaddy tool so that I could make a survey for the people who attend my aerobics classes through MISD Wellness. I already made a post with it on there if you're interested.
I thought that I might could use it at school for my students to share different things such as who their favorite author is or favorite book or favorite famous dyslexic person. The possibilities are countless.
The PollDaddy site has places you can share on facebook, twitter, email, and several other places I wasn't too familiar with. It is certainly shared because you want people to answer your survey or vote.
I also tried the Weebly tool and created my own website. It was VERY easy. I sooooo very much appreciated the demo that was right there on the page and easy to watch and follow. So, here is the website I created
This would certainly be something I could create and keep up with during the school year for the parents of my students (and of course the students too). I could share things with my aerobics class as well.
I gave the Weebly site to my husband because we wanted to make a web page for the home business we are starting. He is so excited at how easy it is as well.
It also has a way to share your web page with friends on facebook, twitter, email, etc. It also has a comment area you can add to your web page.
I'm learning sooooo much through this class. COOL.

Favorite Aerobics Poll

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thing 13

Playing around with these Mashups and generators wasn't as fun for me as I thought it might be. It was interesting, but not a new hobby for me. I'm not sure if I would use them in my MTA classroom or not. Maybe on an email to parents for fun or on printed notes to students. Personally, it might be fun to send some as an email to my friends/family. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this today???? A little tired from 4th of July celebrating yesterday.

I tried the Mosaic Maker first by looking up some lighthouse images on Flicker Creative Commons then trying to post it to my blog, but I don't think I did it correctly. So, I moved on to the Spell with Flicker and again, I did the share button and it said it posted it to my blog, but it was just the link, it wasn't the actual image. I couldn't right click and save the whole thing I spelled out because it would only save one letter at a time. ?? It was "I love Joe" so if anyone can tell me how to do that better, please comment and let me know.

I did better with the smiley face signs in Happy Face Generator though and you can see that image on a previous blog and here.
I was also successful with the Comic Strip Generator. It is on this blog also, as well as the Texas license plate created from the Image Chef generator.
So - my question for someone to PLEASE comment on is where did I go wrong with the Mashups?
Thanks for any help or comments. :)


smiley face help

What Was I Thinking? Help Me Please! Message Generator What was

What Was I Thinking? Help Me Please! Message Generator What was

Your Profile#t2

Your Profile#t2

Flowers Colr Pickr

Flowers Colr Pickr

Spell with flickr: Vickie Loves Joe

Spell with flickr: Vickie Loves Joe

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thing #12

Create your own video slideshow at

Famous Dyslexics

These people overcame their struggles with dyslexia. Someone believed in them. We can do the same for our dyslexic students.

Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven by danzden

Tom Cruise Flashes His Famous Smile at Madame Tussauds in London by mharrsch

George Lopez IMG_8071 by obfusciatrist Alex

Cher in Las Vegas by Bruce Tuten

Albert Einstein by mansionwb Cesar Blanco

Whoopi Goldberg by David Shankbone

Jay Leno by Dianthus Moon Dianne Collins

Walt Disney "Partners" - Walt with Castle Black and White by Express Monorail Joe Penniston

Henry Winkler Happy Days 5 by elviskennedy

Nolan Ryan Senior Portrait by tonystl

I can hardly wait for the students to see this and then maybe start making their own videos of things that interest them or sharing their own family photos or summer vacation or their favorite people/teachers/friends, etc.

I also am ready to get my wedding pix out and do a little video/slideshow of my favorite memories. Cool!!!

It was a little frustrating at times and time consuming, but enjoyable.

For my MTA class

This is from The Power of Dyslexia to show to my students. :)

Friday, July 2, 2010


Originally uploaded by myfirstflickr
Don't worry! Be Happy!!!!
Or - WalMart.
What does this remind you of???


This is from what I created on Flickr API. Cool.

Thing # 11 Stretch

Testing - let's see if this flickr worked for me. I created just a few pictures to share.
I think this could be useful in the classroom on many different levels. For one, teachers could share places they have visited - maybe even take the kids on a mini field trip. So many students have never been to the places they read about in text books or stories or social studies, so, sharing the pictures could give them a little more prior knowledge/background info.
It could also make the teacher/student interaction a little more personable. Students could share their own pictures of places they have been or replace the old "What I did over the summer" essay/journal with a slide show.
I am a little bit unsure about all the confidentiality stuff and the hackers and stalkers and just plain weirdo's that could look/lurk at the sites. ??? But, I'm willing to try it.


Originally uploaded by aeckel
very true - right on for what most of the dyslexic students I teach say and I have seen. Classroom teachers - take a look.


Originally uploaded by aeckel
Here's another one!!


Originally uploaded by librarising79
I've also seen "OOB" at Halloween. :)

dyslexia discovery exhibit

ok - maybe I've gone a little crazy with the dyslexic theme photos but I like them. :)

The Power Of Dyslexia

Check this out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Originally uploaded by korinth
Here is another one about dyslexia. Teachers out there, does this look familiar???? Find out how you can help dyslexics in your classroom. :)


Originally uploaded by aeckel
These are some of the famous people who have (or had) dyslexia. Do you recognize any of them? Are you shocked? Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Tom Cruise, Cher, Whoopi Goldberg to name a few. I am so excited that Flickr has several photos related to dyslexia so I can share them with my students. How cool is that?????? I'm off the view some more. :)


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Thing # 11

The Flickr world is such an amazing place. I did enjoy looking through all the pictures. I am constantly amazed at how much info is out there in the cyber world that I never knew existed. I still don't even own a digital camera!!! My husband has one and I borrow it sometimes or ask him to send me an email of a pix so I can have a copy. But now, I think I need to purchase my own and get busy with some photo taking and posting in Flickr.

The theme that I chose to search was "Dyslexia" because I teach students with dyslexia. I'm always looking for new ways to encourage them and let them know they are not alone in this struggle to overcome. I am also looking for ways to remind them that they are talented in so many ways, maybe just not reading, writing or spelling. So, I was excited when I found several pictures that I think I can use to share with my class, such as the famous people dyslexic mosaic.
Then, as you can see on my blogs, I went a little crazy with posting to my blog several photos I found related to the dyslexia topic. Helping these kids believe in themselves and become successful is certainly a passion I have. I just absolutely LOVE seeing them light up when they figure it out or those light bulbs moments for them or at the very least, when they see that SOMEONE really does believe in them and sees their potential.
Okay, back to Flickr. The photographer of the "famous people - dyslexia" is aeckel. He has a page of his own you can check out on this link, aeckel.
There were other personal interests I searched on Flickr while I played around on it too that I liked such as sunsets, beaches, lighthouses, and waterfalls. I also looked at all of the suggested sites for classroom uses and further resources listed. I am not in the regular classroom but I was for 13 out of my 20 years of teaching and I certainly could have incorporated these resources into my teaching and the students learning. I will pass on this info to my fellow teachers who are not taking the 23 things class (and tell them to take this course too).
One tool in particular I thought would be helpful for students was the vocabulary flickr where it showed some visuals of similar words such as stroll, wander, toddle, trudge, stride, and march. What an incredible way for the kids to get this in their memory bank and have it for life. I LOVED this.
I'm ready to move on to the stretch activity to see what else I can learn. :)
Cool stuff!!! (My dyslexic students are VERY visual, typically, so these would support their learning so well!!!).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thing #10

I learned several new things from this creative commons thing today. I did not know that the law had changed and that ANYTHING you write, photograph, or make audio/video is automatically copyrighted. I thought you had to go through an attorney or some sort of major license thingy to get a copyright. I also did not know anything about this CC where you could share, remix, reuse; however, I have often wondered how the original authors were able to contain their work with so much of it being shared on the web and illegally downloaded.

I have seen the CC symbol before on material and thought it meant something related to closed captioning (like on TV). lol.

This CC seems like it would be great for students as they learn more about technology and use it to their advantage on projects. Especially if they were able to go straight to one of the directories or do a CC search for the topic they were researching or doing a particular project. That seems easier than searching Google or whatever engine search they use and looking through several articles. Instead they can look for the ones that already know they will be able to share, remix or reuse. I have not worked with my dyslexia students in any sort of technological way, but think that it would benefit them in the regular classroom. Many dyslexic students are extremely creative and I feel they would soar with something like this given the opportunity and direction.

I am sort of curious if I have broken some copyright laws by sharing some things I have posted on facebook or on my emails. I didn't even think about it? I have shared you tubes, power points on emails, and some daily devotions as well. I will have to check into that and see if it's allowed legally.

One of the things I have done in my MTA class is show you tubes or video clips of famous dyslexics sharing their stories of struggles/success, Henry Winkler for example. That isn't breaking any laws because I didn't share it on the web change it at all.

The teaching materials I use are all copyrighted and I know exactly who owns the copyright and have asked her permission before to make a copy or share with parents. Some things she allows to be used, but many she does not. It's about keeping the rights and money made off of the materials.

Some potential negatives of using CC could be just like the ones with any research paper or similar projects, such as plagerism, or using too much of someone elses ideas versus coming up with your own ideas. However, maybe seeing others ideas could push one to create something even better, improve on something out there already.

I did the stretch activity and looked up a few dyslexia related items and was glad to see there are a few articles and sites out there to research, or classes offered for educators or parents.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thing 9

WIKI WIKI WIKI!!!!! WOW. I have to start off by saying that my Papaw calls me VickieWiki and has since I can remember. He is 93 now and still very smart and amazing.
So, how did I feel about this Wiki Sandbox experience? A little frustrated. I had already created a Wiki account a while back. So, when I played in the sandbox, and saved it, I couldn't find it and thought I had lost it. So, I went to my actual, real wiki account and re-typed the whole assignment as I had done in the Sandbox. I saved that version. Then went back to the sandbox instructions and re-read everything. I re-did all the steps and then had an idea to go to my History tab, and there it was! So, I went back to it and did the link page again to share my personal wiki with the sandbox class. I don't see it listed at the bottom with the other three that I can see on the sandbox instructions page, but??? I did it. You can find it twice either at my REAL account or the sandbox version.
I did a lot of going back to the cheat sheet and re-reading directions as I created the page, especially when it was for embedding a video or gadget. I never did get my personal photo which is saved in My Documents of my windows files to link. Maybe someone can help me with that.
I played around with looking at some other files, photos, even did some adding and removing of files and links.
I was thrilled that I was able to add the Voki and a you tube video!!! Yea.
I have to ask the veteran techies, does this get easier for us rookies? I'm spending WAY too much time on these assignments.
Looking forward to comments. Have a great day!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Nevermind - there it is. I kept previewing it and nothing showed up, but once I actually published the post, there it was! Good grief.

My Voki

Viki Voki Ok - I need help here. Maybe I can't put the VOKI on my blog site - only to my WIKI site. But, when I tried it there, I don't see it showing up. Guess I need to figure it out - but I've been trying to figure it out for hours. Someone who has this thing down and it's so simple, just tell this rookie. I read and wrote down the cheat sheet too - ugh.

Get a Voki now!

Thing #8 Stretch

I have used Wikipedia so many times in the past when I would google search a topic and one of the site options available was through the wikipedia. However, I had no idea that it was anything more than an on line encyclopedia until now. Wow. I didn't know there were discussions. When I clicked on the discussions tab, I was like, "wow, check it out."
Most of the topics of interest I checked out on the wikipedia I thought were well written, organized, valid and complete. Others however seemed to be needing more info, as if they didn't know a whole lot about it yet, or maybe there isn't much to know, I'm not sure, further research required. I did not add to any of the discussions, however.
I am amazed at how many links and other articles are available related to the topic on the wikipedia. You could spend so much time researching through them. For example, I heard a word I did not know the meaning of but had heard used before, so I looked it up on wikipedia. The word was panentheism and there was a whole series to the top right corner about God related topics.
I'm quite sure I will continue to use the wikipedia, and use it even more in depth now thanks to this class.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thing # 8

Do I think there may be a WIKI in my future???? Hmmm - maybe so. After reading Vicki Davis' blog I think I can certainly do one. I just have to make the time to get it done. I'm very interested. I absolutely loved the kindergarten counting book. I remember when I taught 1st grade and on the 100th day of school the students brought their posters of 100 things. We could have done WIKI slide show like they did. That seemed plenty easy enough. It would also be a cool way to share with the rest of the school and the parents on the school website.
I also fell in love with the Salute to Seuss Wiki project. I watched/listened to the kids reading "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Green Eggs and Ham". That is one WIKI I think I will begin with by having my students read the page of the book they illustrate to have a collaborative book reading. I teach students who have dyslexia and it is always amazing to me to see where they started out and what they are able to accomplish and overcome. The read-aloud on WIKI would be so special for the parents to hear and see.
I read every word of the WIKI on School in the Past. I don't consider myself to be that "old school" but I could certainly identify with several of the things written on the WIKI. No computers, no cell phones, walked to school no matter the weather, no music class or art class, but we did get to go to gym. Things have changed.
I particularly was interested in the Code Blue WIKI. My 8th grade son would LOVE this WIKI. The way it was organized made it so easy to just click to links and read whatever interested you about the human body (especially the YUCKY body functions link that kids would enjoy) with great visuals and charts. That is almost better than a text book.
There were some WIKIS that I found disorganized and hard to find what they were trying to show. The ones that were obvious or I could just scroll or click a link were much easier for me, a rookie, to locate and read.
As a rookie, I'm not too sure what I would change or do different or better except hopefully make it visually enticing, easy to read, easy to follow with accessible links and very user friendly.
Another WIKI I read and enjoyed was the Thousands Project. That seemed easy enough. I might start with a WIKI like that where I just put a question and have people respond to the question. It doesn't have to be 1,000 responses though.
My question is if it is open for others to edit, how do you keep the original writings and know who edited what? I think there were some articles about that which I need to read further into. I did look at the 7 things to know about WIKIS and some of the other resources listed, but I'm sure it will make more sense to me once I get in there and dabble in it.
I have been on Wikipedia many times, so, it's nothing new to me. But, I will look up something and post my next blog about what I found.
So, it's off the WIKI world for me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thing # 7

I am a believer in the title of Thing 7 that we are creating community through commenting. I noticed that when I first joined facebook. It does bring people of interest together no matter the time or distance. That's what is so wonderful about it. Of course, we could do that before with email, but now we have all these other possibilities. I think it's especially important for this class that we keep in touch with other through comments because, for me, it helps me know I'm on the right track and doing these THINGS correctly. :)
I didn't know I was already doing some of the suggested ideas for commenting. I have already invited comments and asked questions on my blogs and on the comments I've posted on my RSS feeds. Hopefully I've been open-minded when giving my opinions. I haven't noticed anyone commenting on my comments yet, so, I will have to wait and see how that turns out.
Some of the edublogger etiquette rules were, in my opinion, basic to moral or ethical rules we should follow always, such as being gracious, humble and setting boundaries.
I will probably end up making a comment policy one day for my blog if I continue it beyond this class. (Which I most likely will).
I also liked the suggestions of moving your best blogs to the top.
I will have to check out the part of using "full text" feature on feeds though. Not sure about that.
There were a few articles I read, especially on some of the news feeds, that I could not find a way to reply or leave a comment. I guess not all of them do it or maybe you have to register and I didn't do that.
Sometimes I feel guilty for spending so much time on the computer for this class (especially reading the fun feeds of interest to me). It's another one of those things I have to make sure I keep in check and put first things first. :)

Thing 6

Technology is taking over. You really don't even need to pick up a newspaper anymore. You can get everything you need or want on line. Who needs to purchase CD's either when you can down load i tunes for free. Then, does anyone still use the library since you can read so many e-books on line now also. There's rarely a need for the post office because of so many options such as on line bill pay, email, facebook, e cards and on and on it goes. I have dabbled in these things I mentioned, but these news feeds and fun feeds to my reader could keep me busy for hours. I really don't want to get too much into it because it could take a lot of my time.
One of the areas on my personal interest feed that I chose was the yoga site. I teach aerobics and have for about 25 years now, but am fairly new to teaching yoga. So, I'm really enjoying the feeds I get on the Daily Cup of Yoga. This particular day the topic is staying cool during the heat of summer. Here in the heart of Texas, we should follow the advice. It's worth the read even if you're not into yoga. However, if you are sort of interested in yoga but afraid you can't do all those pretzel twisting poses you may have seen, no worries. Come check out my classes and I think you will be surprised at how wonderful yoga can be. You may email me at or comment on this blog for more info on the classes.
Another part of the article talks about listening to your body, be forgiving, patient, not competitive, and just flow. That's my philosophy. Letting go of all judgment, expectations, and competition in yoga as well as many things in life. We have this need to control because we think it gives us security. But what it really does is suffocate our soul and lead to anxiety and depression especially when you cannot control something or someone. It builds up resentment often times and steals your inner peace and joy. So, I'm really really really learning more and more each day to let go. I'm free to be me and you're free to be you.
So far, my experience with the google reader and the RSS feeds has been a great one. I'm learning so much. :)
Mrs. Vickie

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

thing 6 stretch activity

So I went to the google news and searched the health section and found this article about McDonalds. McDonald's is being threatened with a lawsuit because they lure children to buy junk food by putting toys in the Happy Meals. Oh my goodness. I'm not a big fan of fast food at all, but it's up to the parents to make good choices for the children. The kids are not the ones purchasing. The chain has come a LONG way in making the food better with the apples and juice or milk instead of fries and soda. But still, it amazes me the lawsuits that are out there these days. Wasn't it McDonald's that was sued for the person spilling the hot coffee on themselves. Good grief.
We need to become more of a society who takes responsibility for ourselves. Stop blaming. Grow up. If you don't like, don't buy it or don't go there. Just saying - that's my opinion. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

thing 5 continued

Here's another somewhat interesting read from one of my google reader RSS feeds. It's about finding the best parts of teaching. I left a comment on this particular post.
My question to you is what do you think of test scores in education? Have we taken it too far and made it too important, the end all? Assessment is necessary, but how much of the curriculum should be designed around raising test scores?
What do you Texans think of the new STARR test???
My thoughts are that Good teaching and Good learning go hand in hand. What do you think?

thing 5

I decided to see what's happening out there in newspaper headlines and this was one that caught my eye, the new Toy Story 3 movie. I have not seen the movie yet, but I absolutely loved the first two. My children grew up watching those movies over and over and over again. Now, my oldest will be a Sr. in high school. Wow. We still say "to infinity and beyond" sometimes. Another favorite quote is something similar to "you're a sad strange little man".
The article basically said that the writers went back to a cabin they were at when they wrote the first two movies in hopes of brainstorming a great new idea. They came up with the character Ken. And, of course, they made this one in 3D but admitted it is nothing like the drastic images seen in Avatar. They wanted to make it a little more lively but not overdo it. Since I haven't seen the movie yet, I have no comment on that. It is sometimes hard to make sequels as wonderful as the original. If you have seen the movie, tell me your thoughts. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

thing 4 second response to blogs read

The genre of the blogs I read were mostly educational. I love the fact that students are blogging. I read the blog from 5th grader Patrick called "Patrick's Update" and thought he was getting his point across very well - to not give up and always do your best no matter what people say about you. Then there was the blog from the 2nd graders who wrote the duck story. It was exactly something you would expect from silly second graders. The great thing is that they were writing - freely!!! So, those two were similar because they were written by students, but different in what they wrote. Patrick was serious. The 2nd graders were very silly.
The blog about no homework was very bravely but strongly written and that's what my previous post was about. I had a lot to say regarding homework.
Then the blog on teaching brevity was also wonderful. I totally agree that some people can say great meaningful things in very few words and others ramble on and on and say nothing.
So, those two blogs were very similar in the subjects of educating and what teachers could consider changing.
The other blog I read was the Stop Cyberbullying advocate. Way to go! Very well written. It is a subject that should be addressed with more emphasis and certainly shouldn't be made fun of in my opinion. There always have been and probably always will be bullies, but people tend to write their thoughts more freely and bravely than they ever would say them publicly.
I'm loving the different types of blogs. Some of them seem as if I'm reading an article in an educators magazine and others might be on an editors page in the newspaper. Some are just like what I read on facebook posts. Very interesting. The reader can take it or leave it, but the most wonderful thing is that the reader can respond immediately via web tools. If you were to respond to a magazine or editor it would take weeks before it was published, IF it were published.
The other great thing about blogging is that the grammar, spelling, etc doesn't have to be perfect. Just getting your thoughts out there in cyberspace or "blogosphere" is awesome. It most certainly facilitates learning. The more you read, the better reader you become as well as seeing the correct spelling written by others at least exposes you to more than you would have ever been exposed to without blogging or using any type of internet tool.
Lovin' it!!!!!

thing 4

"Why I don't assign homework" was right up my alley. I agree, and am glad someone has done a research paper to confirm what I have believed for so many years. The kids who don't need the homework are the ones that do the homework. Just like they are the ones who show up for parents conferences, PTA meetings, school events, etc. It's the ones that need it the most who rarely do the work or show up at any school events. So - what are we the educators to do about it? After all, it is still our responsibility to teach these students, no matter what is going on at home. We have to change what WE can, because we usually cannot change what is happening elsewhere.
Of course, we certainly need to figure out how to get a grip on classroom management, which each year, in my experience, seems to become more and more of a challenge. Then, we need to make sure we maximize classroom instruction and ENGAGE the students. We have to teach the way they learn best and differentiate the instruction to different levels of students. It is no longer (and really never has been) sit and get lectures that work best for students. It may be the easiest for the teacher, but not very effective in permanent learning.
I do like one of the bloggers comments on how he does his homework with the three parts of practice, regular, and challenge and all the students have to do the regular plus one. That sounds fair.
The main reason for the homework is to have the students practice, but all to often, the students don't have enough GOOD instruction to even know what they are doing when it comes time to practice for homework. They are still asking parents, who usually don't know either. So, that leaves friends. Many times they are doing the homework together or sharing answers on line. How much of it is really being done by the student alone for actual practice. But, at the very least, they are involved, socializing, creating networks, learning how to use the internet or other tools in order to get the job done.
Thanks for sharing this blog about homework. Interesting viewpoints.
Mrs. Vickie

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

avatar me

Yahoo! Avatars

Day in the life of Web 2.0 (thing 2 and 3)

Day in Life of web 2.0

I’m fascinated with all the latest, greatest technology. I’m thrilled to see schools using the available tools. As more teachers learn how to use and incorporate this technology into their teaching, successful engaged students will blossom. I believe educators will reach more students and help so many types of learners become more than they ever dreamed they could be because we are teaching them the way they learn best. More of the right brain, creative learners will come alive because they are being allowed to use their creative learning style instead of the typical old school left brain teaching methods.
I’m a little embarrassed at how little I have learned and used. On the other hand, without being told to, I have ventured out and discovered so many of the Web 2.0 tools already. I’m still a rookie, especially considering these tools have been around since 2006 and it’s half way through 2010 now.
I’ve been an educator for 20 years and have seen the greatest technological changes just this past year. My students made a power point of the pictures they took using the digital camera during the last week of school and put together a mini-presentation of their “favorites” sort of telling a story about the grade they were in this year and their memories. How awesome to have a flash drive to go share these memories with anyone, anywhere, anytime. I loved that new www definition: whatever, wherever, whenever.
I have students taking pictures with their cell phones and making you tubes of all sorts of things. Amazing!!
Personally, my nephew made a you tube podcast of my 93 year old grandfather singing “The Eyes of Texas”.
This is the way of future learning and educating. As teachers, we must get on board. So many educators complain about students’ lack of interest and involvement; however, if we get involved with how they learn and use the tools they already use (cell phones, my space, facebook, etc) then I believe we could see a great learning curve for the better.
Now, that doesn’t mean throw away all the good teaching that already takes place (don’t throw away the baby with the bath water). Just incorporate wonderful new tools.

Reflections on lifelong learning

I've read the book by Stephen Covey The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People and enjoyed the book. So, it's no surprise I also enjoyed the 7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners.
The habit which will be most challenging for me will be the fourth habit which is to have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective learner. I feel a little bit behind in the technology world. My confidence level is certainly not one of competent. However, once I put my mind to accomplish something, it will be accomplished. Therefore, I will have to use positive self talk and catch myself if I hear myself using negative, non-affirming words throughout this learning process and change them into positive, confident, affirming words.
The habit which I believe will be the easiest will be the sixth habit which is to use technology to your advantage. In the past few years since having internet access, I have used Google, Bing, Yahoo, and E-How to research almost anything I wanted to learn about such as recipes, how to repair a garbage disposal, or things to do in the metroplex. So, I certainly will use the tutorials and technology for any thing I need to learn about throughout this course.
The most important habit for me will be to view problems as challenges instead of complaining, feeling negative, or giving up. If we are open and willing, we can always learn and mature in life when we accept obstacles as an opportunities to learn and grow. My children were going through some tough times recently and at first, I was very stressed out about what we were all going through. However, I had to remind myself to ask what it was I was supposed to be learning throughout the circumstances I was faced with and to remember to take things one moment at a time and eventually overcome each obstacle. Patience is indeed a virtue, but one well worth obtaining.
I'm looking forward to playing with the web 2.0 tools and sharing them with others.
Mrs. Vickie