Friday, November 14, 2008




Mike Adkins, Deputy Director of Operations
(304) 558-7850, ext. 52630

Jason Haught, Chief Financial Officer
(304) 558-7850, ext. 52642

Keith Huffman, General Counsel
(304) 558-7850, ext. 52626

Gloria Long, Deputy Director
(304) 558-7850, ext. 52647

Shelda Martin, Medical Director
(304) 558-7850, ext. 52604

Twila Neil
(304) 558-7850, ext. 52634

Jewl Hammack
(304) 558-7850, ext. 52635

Cindy Dotson
(304) 558-7850, ext. 52629

Tom Harper
(304) 558-7850, ext. 52611



Are you aware of the upcoming INCREASES that PEIA is planning on inflicting upon the state employees of West Virginia?  We should have seen it coming... the Governor, THREE DAYS after elections, proposes that he wants insurance coverage for the entire state of WV.  He is willing to guinea pig PEIA to do it.  So here suddenly comes these huge increases in our premiums, the majority of which will be shouldered by the teachers who are 49th in pay in the United States. 


So let me see if I get this straight.  PEIA, who has had a surplus for many years now, and cannot provide documentation showing why there is a need for increases in costs, is going to up our insurance rates.  Couple that with PEIA taking on the burden of the uninsured, it means that I am going to pick up the costs as a working person for those who either a. don't work or b. make more money than I do in their profession anyway.


Ask me if I am upset.  I dare you.





Boy am I glad I did not vote for our governor!  Email him and give him a piece of your mind!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Acuity Update and Training Agenda

I had some people ask about how to go about training their faculties on Acuity from a USERS perspective.  I created an agenda that can be used at the school level (that covers most of the basics to get the site up and running for your school) and follows it in a sequential fashion.  You are welcome to use this agenda or recreate this agenda if you wish.  However, the only required activities you must do as a presenter is to create a dummy class with dummy students, create and assign a mini test for this class, and print off the logins so your participants can see it and manuever it from a students point of view.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I always post about educational techy things... but I cannot let this go without saying.  One of the TIS in my county passed away yesterday from cancer that developed on her brain.  She fought the good fight for years, but her earthly body tired out and she went on to be with her maker.  I have been deeply affected by her passing (as some of you know), and want to take a moment to honor her memory.


Lindsay Rebekah Haun


Access Email

I forgot.. I had created this help page last year for access email.

Access Help


Just PLEASE OH PLEASE delete all the emails in your trash folder.  I know a certain access state department person that gets TORE UP over the amount of space wasted on trash email - because it does NOT automatically take out the trash! Sounds like our kids, doesn't it???

Odyssey 101

I know that I get the same questions over and over about how to add students, create students, make a benchmark test, etc.  Even after training and handouts, I was still inundated with these issues.  I also realize that teachers are visual learners, and that many times they do not pay attention if they are gathered together in a training.


So I have tried to eliminate all of my negatives and turn them into a positive!  You are welcome to use this.

Odyssey Help

I created mini videos all the way up to printing out test results so that teachers can go and find their issue and see it performed directly in front of them.  OVER AND OVER if you will... (yes.. I have those teachers too!)  Maybe it can help YOU with Odyssey!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We ALL love free!

I sent off for this free video through the website .  It is by directors who want produce thought provoking stories to make our students more literate in such areas as space and economics.  You can get one free video a year.  Why not try it out?

Monday, September 22, 2008

If you teach 4th or 5th grade math...

You might find some usefulness out of these two sites that my school... ahhh heck... I am keeping.


5th Grade Videos


4th Grade Videos

Ways that these videos may be utilized are for remediation, reteaching, or acceleration of your students(Learning Focused Strategies)  who need extra support before you begin the concept.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Join our community

If you have bought anything from einstuction (cps responders, chalkboards, rf responders, reap) join our community!


Together we can really learn from one another!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This may get confusing... so try to stay with me...

OK.... I had this issue where my PE teacher (who happens to be techy) needed a computer in her office because she bought the fitness gram online software/program that uses internet.  Lo and behold, there was not a drop in her office.  I had the computer, but no internet access.

I spoke to Vickie Witt, another TIS in my county, and she told me about this USB thing you can plug into a desktop to make a desktop computer wireless.  My interest was piqued.

I installed a router in our cafeteria because we do LOTS of presentations from there (the largest space outside of the gymnasium that actually has seating) which solved many of my problems.  So I thought to myself..

"hey you beautiful thing... you look pretty today... why are you losing weight?"

and THEN I thought to myself "why not try one of those usb thingys (oh what are they called) and put a computer in the PE Office and make it wireless?"

Thus my idea was born.  I went and bought a belkin usb converter that requires one simple disk install and plugged it in and WE WERE LIVE!

Here comes the tricky part.

I am the Acuity trainer for my county and one of the biggest pitfalls for the high school teachers was lack of labs for every student to complete the benchmark.  Drops are expensive, and with such big purchases as new smartboards for the high schools, the money is not there for drops.

And then, two paths converged.  WHY NOT pull in 25 desktop computers in an unused classroom and purchase the $29 usb wireless converter and CREATE A LAB WHERE ONE DID NOT EXIST BEFORE!??!?  It is alot less expensive than creating 25 drops in one room...  and if you can manage this near a router.. HOLY SMOKES YOU SOLVE YOUR PROBLEM.

Here is the box... here is me thinking outside of it.

What do you think!?!?!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Writing Roadmap 2.0

If you are one of the lucky ones who will be training for Writing Roadmap 2.0 for the writing portion of the WESTEST 2, then you will find documents and powerpoints you will need here.

Monday, September 15, 2008


NUMONICS Interactive Products Division ISO 9001 Certified

101 Commerce Drive * PO Box 1005

Montgomeryville, PA 18936 USA

Phone: (215) 362-2766 * Fax: (215) 361-0167 * URL:


May 9, 2008


Greetings **************:


Did you know, every Intelliboard interactive whiteboard sold in West Virginia includes RM Easiteach, a whole classroom, cross curricula software platform.  Since April 1, 2007, each Intelliboard also entitles the user to one free Content Toolbar for Math OR for Science OR for English Language Arts OR for Geography. The combination is an extraordinary financial savings to W. Virginia schools of $309.00 per board.


Unfortunately, many teachers in your county have not redeemed their free toolbar valued at $109.00 even though we arranged for “free” web-based training on their product of choice. Perhaps, many teachers found it difficult to set aside the time for the web training? 


To encourage your Teachers to take advantage of this “no cost” software addition we have simplified the acquisition process. A free RM Content Toolbar may be redeemed simply by sending a completed email with contact information below to Melissa Womer of Numonics Corporation. Of course, we encourage your Teachers to enroll in the free web training sessions offered by RM.  Or they may visit RM’s website at their leisure to learn more about how to implement these toolbars to improve their lesson plans. RM Education’s website at provides a video demonstration of all four toolbars clearly showing the ease of use and power of each for building and delivering effective lessons.




Product =  Intelliboard interactive whiteboard family


Date = April 1, 2007 to present


Serial Number =   10043500 or higher


Please send an email to with the following information in your email.  Melissa will get back to you regarding your request.




























With over 3,500 interactive whiteboard installations in West Virginia, Intelliboard continues to be the product of choice by educators across the State. I sincerely hope you will encourage your teachers to take advantage of this great offer. We appreciate the confidence you have shown in our company and our interactive products and remain committed to provide you with the best products and services.




Alfred N. Basilicato

Chairman and CEO




Infusing Technology with Reading Interventionists

I know our reading interventionists have been trained in the Ashelock Model which to my knowledge consists of a very regimented type of instruction where the teacher says a word and the student repeats it with a beat.  (Hows that for a VERY primary version of the model.)

One of our interventionists came to me and said it would be awesome to have some sort of station where the kids heard the word and then where given time to repeat the word.  To make a long story short, I used gcast and the Dolch reading list (which they are working on) and created THIS.  Gcast made it possible for me to infuse technology into what the reading interventionist was looking for.

Feel free to use the list if you are teaching students the dolch words.  I put them into different podcast players to make it easier on the kids just to pick the list they were on.

PBIS in Reverse

Our school has began implementing the PBIS (positive behavior intervention support) system to begin a proactive approach to shaping behaviors.  We pass out beaver tails that can be converted to beaver bucks, and once a month we will have a store that they can purchase items with their beaver bucks.    It is a researched based incentive program.


However, I am taking PBIS in reverse.  Our teachers are the models and the core of this program, so why not recognize them for their efforts?  Everytime I catch a teacher using technology or an innovative teaching strategy, I put them up on my PRAISE PAGE.  I then shoot them out an email to let them know BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING (so to speak.)


I also opened it up to the kids... make sure to check the page and congratulate the teachers.  In addition, they can nominate their teacher for a job well done.


PBIS in reverse - recognizing the recognizers!

Acuity Information

I am keeping a calendar that contains the state information as I get it.  You can check for new updates because as soon as I receive them they are posted to this page.  If you wish to sign up for any of my webinars (just the ins and outs of using it) or if you have any questions regarding using Acuity, you are welcome to contact me.  I would love to be of assistance!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cannot Keep Up!

The teachers at my school are ready, willing, and able to undertake technology this year! Ask me if I am excited..... why YES I am!  So now I find I am running around like a scalded dog.

Here are my list of things I could not live without.


Smartboard 10 software

Mobile BT Presenters

Fulltime access to the school webpage

All Google Tools great and small.

Willing teachers


So look at the staff pages until I can post more... and see what they are doing by clicking on the beavers.  I will explain in detail the tools I am using and how I am using them to get the effects you will see.  Some are fantabulous, and others get the job done.

Please be patient - I WILL be back!

Running to help a teacher as we speak.

Quick note - I am a certified trainer for Acuity for the state of WV.  My first webinar is full, but I will schedule another webinar on how to use the site for any teacher in the state of wv.  You only have to have two requirements

1.  You must have skype downloaded and add me as a friend (Kim Mutterback).  Make sure you put down what county you are from so I will add you, because I have been getting some freaky tiki invitations of late.

2.  You must have an account with yugma (FREE) and download the software.  You can get the download if you do not see the link just by saying you want to start a session.  I will gladly walk you through this before I have my second acuity session.  Lets say my next acuity session will be September 24th at 9 am.  I can have up to 10 people - and it is VERY interactive (we can all talk at the same time and share our desktops with one another.)  Email me at if you would like to be a part of the second session.


See ya!

Friday, September 5, 2008

PDF till your heart is content!

I happen to have the professional version of Adobe Acrobat (and I would kill before I had to give it away.)  Our high school teachers are converting their syllabus into pdf format to upload to edline.  I offered to convert anyone who could figure out how to send me their .doc syllabus into a pdf (ahh.. knowing how to attach is the underlying skill.)

Well one brave soul by the name of Robin Gross (I went to high school with her and by the way.. she is MISS TECHIE herself) asked how she could do it.  A TEACHABLE MOMENT!!!  My friend angie abbott pointed me in the direction of CUTEPDF, a site where you can download a free program to create watermark free pdfs.  NO ANNOYING INSIGNIAS??? I AM SOLD!

Try it out!

Acuity Roll Out

I am the contact person for my county for Acuity.  I have created a site that combines BOTH the state information about Acuity (via John Miller) as well as my county information.  You are welcome to visit and gather the training materials, as well as view the calendar that will be updated often.




By the way.. I have named myself...  AAAA - CUTIEEEEE

Just so you know. :)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I am changing my name to COUPON MUTTERBACK

Check this site out, but do not be put off by the momsview address.  WHO CARES where a good deal comes from???


I have found that this site has the most up to date coupons on the net.  If you must eshop, save what you can!

My wallet isn't fat, but maybe yours could be!

Fat Wallet is a site that provides information on cash back services.  However, I love Fat Wallet because I was able to find my UNBELIEVABLY FANTASTIC DEAL on my  cell phone service through Sprint and my EARTH SHATTERING MIND NUMBING price on my new palm treo phone.

If you go under FORUMS, you can see some of these deals.  You can also search for things you are looking for to find cool deals.  People helping people - all posts by valued users.  IT ROCKS!!!

Why not have someone pay YOU to shop online?

Sorry for the extended periods of time between posts.  I have been enjoying a rather shortened summer break.  However, I am back for the attack and excited to get this party started!

I am in the process of trying to purchase a 5 way beaded maze for nephew's first birthday.  My initial obstacle is that local stores do not carry such an item.  Second obstacle - the price range online varies from 59.99 to 89.99.  To whom do I turn?  To whom do I give my trust?

Another TIS in our county tried helping me set up a MY POINTS account so that I could actually earn CASH BACK when making purchases online.  (In researching, it seems these sites get a kickback when they are able to refer customers to these stores, and part of the kickback is then rewarded back to the customer.)  I also found a site called EBATES that dangled the cash back carrot in front of my screen.  ARRGGGH!  My brain hurts.   Why can't this be easy?

Well I stumbled upon a site that might make it a little bit easier for me to decide.

They actually look at the stores you shop from the most and give you comparisons for your biggest rewards from all of these sites.  I am all about rewards and coupons, so if anyone can point me in the right direction I would love you for it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Smartboards....Schmarty pants.  I felt as if someone was playing a cruel joke on me when I was preparing for my training session on these pesky little boards.    I had this transparent mouse that followed my little finger around the board as if my fingernail were made of cheese.  When I would try to touch the board to simulate a left mouse touch, that pesky mouse would prohibit me from being able to complete my command.  Kiss my MOUSE!

Through much crying and dispair, one of the TIS figured out how to eradicate this erroneous little vermin.  Here are the steps:

Control panel

Classic View (if vista)

Pen and input devices


Uncheck the "Show the Touch Pointer"

Wallah!  Exterminate that pesky pest!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I am astonished and can barely contain my excitement as I type.

I am preparing for a training session I will be conducting for teachers using the Numonics Board (Interactive Presentation Manager.)  While searching for sites, I came across a video by a man named Johnny Chung Lee (You can see him on the second video on this site.)

Ok, I admit it.  When watching his video, I got a little lost.  I have this huge ADD problem that flares when I am not wowed within a few moments.  I traveled on looking for Interactive Whiteboard Sites.

THEN - I came across this site.


I am sold.  Watch the video on Kindlelab's site and you will see what I mean.  I cannot believe how the Wii is changing the way we think about interaction.  I was already a huge Wii fan - but this seals the deal!

If you are in a school system and you do not have money for whiteboards, then CHECK THIS OUT!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Text Messaging to the MAX

Who would have thought a VISTA training would have taught me about text messaging!


If you visit this site...  LIVEJOURNAL (click on it)...  you can send an email from your computer to a cellphone.  If you are using SPRINT, you need to use the ending.  Follow the directions to send the text message.  When the person responds, it will appear in your inbox on your computer!


HOWEVER.. sometimes outlook deems those return emails as junk.  So please check your junk folder and mark message as not junk.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Enlightenment... techie style

While watching presentations for Acuity during my training, John Miller (Office of Assessment and Accountability) shared a VERY useful piece of information that I was not privvy to previously.

Toggling between a powerpoint and the internet when presenting in front of a group, I never could figure out how I could show between the internet and the powerpoint without having to re-engage the powerpoint over and over.  I always wondered how I could bring up a webpage (after hyperlinking it and opening it) during the course of the powerpoint.

The steps:

Add a hyperlink to your powerpoint

Open it

Hold down ALT and hit TAB.


Speakeasy for Laborers of Love

I am about to admit something ONLY because I now know my own answer.  It is a part of my 12 step program of fullfillment. 

There have been times in my past, albeit through help services, when I have been asked about my connection speed.  What?.. huh?  In China??...  Those eggs?  I had no idea what my connection speed could be.  I was lucky to know what the SPEED LIMIT is on the highway!

While at the beach, my brother asked me to visit a site called Speakeasy.  He wanted to upload his pictures from digital to a site where he could order prints of our vacation.  I googled Speakeasy and by George I got it!

You can choose whichever server you wish.   Click on BEGIN THE SPEED TEST and watch it work magic.

When finished, you will see LAST RESULT at the bottom of the page.  Speak with authority... speak with intelligence... SPEAKEASY!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We all wish someone would all us A-CUITY

So here I sit.. midway through the summer, and I am immersed in training once more.  I CHOSE to be in this training.  The world it is a' changing, people...  and this new promised land is called ACUITY!

Acuity has taken the features of Odyssey and iknow and merged them into one huge ball of love.  They have taken the learning paths from Odyssey and blended them with the testing and reporting functions of iKnow.  Viola! 

A county could really improve their performance if they were to have someone in charge of Acuity full time and administrate it for the county.  If the custom tests were created based on the curriculum mapping, and then instructional resources were assigned based on student performance, a county could guarantee a line of defense in their quest of achievement on AYP.   Student mastery here we come!

I am behind Acuity 100%.  I have seen what it can do and how it can provide teachers/schools/districts with student performance information.  If properly administered, this is the answer we need.

I have three words for you. DATA DRIVEN INSTRUCTION.  Remember those words, they are appearing on the horizon.

I sincerely hope you are reading this from a tropical location.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Age is 27 B.G. (Before Google)

I am not paid to write about any fabulous tool provided by Google.  As an educator, I would be remiss if I did not sing the praises of all things Google.  It's a Google World people, and we simply bounce around in it.

In preparing for a Google Tools workshop I will be conducting, I found a tool that I showed to my friend and guru, Angie Urling (the man REALLY knows your name now.)  I tried to get my other go to girl Rachel to elaborate as to the effectiveness of this tool, to no avail.  Angie had never heard of it, so I thought maybe I should blog about it.

It is called Google Scholar.  Formerly a Title 1 slave, I was forever looking for research that I could expertly present in our Title 1 Plan that would provide research-based, proven initiatives in our quest for AYP.   Sloshing through all of the NON research-based articles got to be a pain in the neck.  However, Google Scholar eliminated that problem for me.

In Google Scholar's ADVANCED SEARCH, I found a screen that rivaled the ERIK system that I used in college.  Ahhh Google, you never cease to amaze me.  I could sit and tell you all about Google Scholar, but what need this tool satisfies for you might be completely different from my needs.  So go and check it out!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Pay for it when it is FREE!!!

Does your county pay for Edline for the high schools but not for the elementary schools?

Elementary schools... now is the time to show that we, too are viable users of quality internet!  You can have all of the services of Edline.. but for FREE!!

It is called Hotchalk.  Free services allows you to choose your school, set up a classroom, and allow parents to know what is going on.  You can post messages to parents, post assignments, allow parents to see their child in a gradebook, etc.  Why pay for it when you can get it free???

I actually laughed out loud!

I saw the original Tom Cruise video.. and was sickened by his hubris.  However, I can actually watch his video now and love it.  PLEASE WATCH IT!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Zam slammed... But here is a new one.

The last couple of times I have tried to use zamzar to download a video from youtube, my failure rate has been at 100%.

However, seems to do the trick.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oldie but Goody

Situation:  I prepare and execute all media shows during my church service.  The pastor emails his notes and scripture to me, and I create a visual presentation that I run during the pastor's sermon.  In addition, I must type in all songs so that they are flashed on the screen during the hymn, eliminating SOME of the need of hymnals.  Much of this has to be done in advance, because it takes time to find pictures or backgrounds that lend themselves to the sermon at hand. 

Problem: Transferring what I have created from my home computer to the church computer.  The computer at the church is an older model where USB ports are not easily accessible.  There have been times when I have wanted to import video clips, making files too large for the use of Google.

Solution:  I found an online storage place called X-Drive.  I log in to X-drive, upload whatever file I want (I get 5 gigs free of storage) and then download it from the net when I get to church that morning.  Problem solved!

If you need an online area to store large files (such as movie clips, sounds, multi-media presentations, etc, then I suggest you get a FREE X-drive account!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Wolf Got A Bad Rap!

Of course, anyone who is familiar with the fractured fairy tales knows that traditional children's stories are told from a different point of view. This will be important to remember in a few moments.


A student told me about a website full of games called  While he was showing me the site, he wanted to impress me with his deflike skills, choosing Anti Pacman as a demonstration game.  We were left a little to the imagination because the directions were not self evident (at least not from my viewpoint from above), but we were quickly able to realize that you controlled using the direction keys, and toggling between by using numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the top line.  The coolest thing about this game?  You are the GHOST... and you gotta keep that pesky rodent from eating everything on your board before you eliminate him.  It's a fractured arcade game!

Try it out!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Our very first PSA

We have a group of fourth graders that have an advanced expertise of bullying.  Call it first hand knowledge.  So we had them create and film a public service annoucement that I edited and put on the web.

You can see it here.

We bought a Sony Handycam and I finally got the usb to transfer video.. but I am not in love with the resolution.  Anyone have any ideas?  A firewire purchased from walmart won't hardly stay connected and I literally have to sit and shove it into the computer to keep it connected and to allow it to transfer video.  I would appreciate ANY suggestions!!!

Keeping Ornery Hands Busy!

The first round of teacher webpages were completed by my three LOVELY gentlemen that I have to test for our high stakes testing.  They are always very good for me, but they tend to get into trouble with other teachers.

Please click on our STAFF page and check out Mrs. Peery's page, Mrs. Sammon's Page, and Mrs. Alvis' page.  You can look at Mrs. Chaffins, but I had a major hand in finishing hers.

So how did the boys do? I know there are some typos that I need to fix... but they got to choose the gadgets at the bottom of the page for the teacher they created the page for.  Do you like?

MicroPoll : Discipline is best delivered...

Find out what people REALLY think... for free!

In perusing another site, I found Micropoll.  With Micropoll, you can create your own free poll and post it on any site you are webmaster.


Cast Your Vote! Did I mention that I am totally impressed?

Little did I know that our very own TV station jumpstarted high school students into filmmaking!

WVVA asked for each high school to submit a PSA on The Pitfalls of Drinking and Driving.  They have posted each local high school's submission and are taking votes for the best one.

Please watch and vote!

Time is not on my side... no it's not... x 3

I have tried in vain to get teachers to embrace the idea of using the net as a way to communicate with their parents.  Not only could they eliminate the barage of phone disturbrances..err I mean calls during their planning by simply reading parent email and responding when they felt necessary, but they could save many trees by posting their homework assignments on their page (since they already have it in a typed form anyway).  It's hard to hear screaming in a written form, do you know what I am saying?  (please enunciate that last part very clearly.)

A completely separate situation that I encounter is every child, whether of a well behaved variety or otherwise, begs to come to spend time with me in the slim hopes that they can get extra computer time.  Whether teachers like it or not (and most times not), kids are fascinated with technology.  They are not the least bit afraid of delving right in and mastering any digital form.  I was amazed at the number of kids in my school who maintain (albeit loosely) myspace pages.  Did I like that? Not really, but it was the act of maneuvering in an unknown territory that excited me. 

My third issue is my ingrained belief that discipline should be proactive instead of reactive.  I am from the school of positive behavior support instead of reactive screaming unhappiness.  Call me the deal maker if you will.  If I can use technology to lure poorly behaved children from the dark side into manageable, productive students in a classroom with the promise of more technology utilization, so be it.  Let me catch them being good instead of focusing on the bad.  I am TIRED of the most well recognized student being the student who misbehaves the most!!!  (I have a vested interest in this because my son often gets overshadowed in school because he happens to be very well behaved.)

So with all of these issues swirling in my head, I decided to act.  We maintain a school google account because we use several of google features on our webpage.  (It helps me get other people besides me involved in the webmastering process without actually having to have a big technological background.)  I am starting with the three LOVELY gentlemen that I have to test for WESTEST and we are going to build three teacher's webpages through google pages.  I will then link these three teacher pages to our main school site.  After initial setup, I am going to get homework sheets each week and allow these boys (behavior permitting) to design and develop the page for that week.  My goal is to maintain a page for EVERY teacher in the building, with one student assigned per teacher.  It will be the responsibility of the student to get the necessary info from the teacher (i.e. homework sheet) to type into their webpage.  The only work I will be responsible for doing is typing in the password to allow that child to get into their page (I am not THAT ignorant!!!)  and evaluating before posting.

Any thoughts on this idea?  Anyone run into pitfalls trying this out?  I will document my process as this goes on.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Virtual Keyboard WASHOUT

My county purchased 100 numonics boards to put in Title 1 classrooms, for which I am eternally grateful.  Anyone who has ever gotten one of those boards knows that the virtual keyboard is a pain in the behind to get to work.  Very often, the teacher ends up walking back and forth from the cart to the board to do their bidding.

NO LONGER is that necessary MY FRIENDS!!!

If you go to START..
Make sure you are in CATEGORY VIEW (not classic view)
On the left hand menu you will see ON SCREEN KEYBOARD - click on it



Also, if you get a wild hair up the hiney and click on MAGNIFIER, it makes the whole screen bigger!  It is the ZOOM without the board!

Friday, May 9, 2008

You were always on my mind... You were always on my mind.

What is this.. a math extravaganza?  Is Math all I have on my mind today??  I found this site that might be good for algebra teachers to peruse.

ALGEBRA by COOLMATH  has lessons about algebraic concepts that might be just what some students need to finally grasp solving for the unknown!  Ok, I know algebra is much more than just solving the unknown...  so maybe I need to visit coolmath's algebra section to brush up!

If I had only known...

If I had only known more about finance, maybe my stupid retirement would not be in such dire shape.  If a teacher would have taught me a little about WORLDLY math in addition to just geometry, I might be a richer woman today.

Finance Freak is a site that teachers can use with their students to teach them the concepts of real world math.  Let's educate our kids about their finances, since nobody bothered to teach their parents anything about it!  When I saw Jim Cramer's site on it, I knew it had to be good.

Beyond the three R's

We are inundated with reading and math interventions in both a book and virtual world.   I guarantee every training that is offered by a county gears at one of these two subject areas, as they count on the holy grail of high stakes testing.   Where does that leave our science and social studies teachers?  Who is fighting the good fight in their honor?

I found a site, albeit small, by accident that provides a little nourishment for those science teachers wanting to ascend into technology integration within their classroom.

SCIENCE MONSTER allows advertisers to pay for the content so that you do not have to (via subscription.)  MUSIC TO MY EARS!  Check it out!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Opinions are like .......... everyone has one!

I am the webmaster for my school website.  I try to update it often, because it takes me very little time to make it happen and no one is going to end up wading through stagnant water (so to speak.)  I found this really cool site called Toluna, and if you check it out you realize it allows you to create one question polls that you can post on any site you author.  All it takes is a simple registration, and in moments you can have students comment on a topic that you can turn into a class discussion.

You can see the polls that are currently displayed on our NEWS page of our website.  Take a moment to vote and see what happens when you do!  If you click on opinions or results at the bottom, you can see a breakdown of the demographics of voters.  How sick is that??

Monday, May 5, 2008

State Social Studies Fair Winners!

Want to see if your county had any students place at the State Social Studies Fair?

State Social Studies Winners Listed by County


Official WV Social Studies Fair Site

Did you know we are the only state to have a statewide Social Studies Fair Competition?

More on Acuity

From what I had received in email, there will be someone in charge of heading up Acuity at the state department level.  My understanding is that Acuity is the new iKnow.  The webinar being held is from the Acuity site - not from the state dept head.  When I find out more information I will try to answer the questions.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Since I am preferential to my blog readers...

I am giving you a heads up.

No longer is iKnow the way to go.  We are heading into the Acuity Promised Land, and I like to be in the know before I have someone who halfway knows what they are doing try to teach me something to bore me.  In addition to which, I am not sure how people above me on the food chain feel, but I like to hit the ground running!  I begin my prep work DAY ONE... getting my teachers ready, spacing out our training so that they are providing the best tools to help educate our kids.  The new westest is coming next year whether we like it or not.  Why not have the Acuity program in place in the beginning? 


They are having a webinar on May 22 to present information about Acuity.  I am signed up for it, and I am giving you a heads up so that you can be prepared.

That way.. we can say to the makers of WESTEST 2. .... BRING IT ON!

Idle Hands Are The Devil's Workshop

I have the program Adobe Photoshop that was purchased along with Adobe Premier by the leaders of our inaugural TIS group where I met my BFF's.  I never even opened it, but recently dug it out of a box so that I could see if Photoshop was as cool as Premier. (I used Premier all of the time.)  Well thanks to the art of the magic lasso and MAG MY PIC, I am rearranging my favorite photos and then applying them to magazine covers.

It is so easy, anyone could do it!  Here is my latest creation...



Special Thanks to the folks at Disney Pictures for producing this swashbuckling feature!

TIS' ya bettah listen!

The state department just informed all new TIS of a new wiki that details what you must do to go through the renewal process for your certification.

Remember - you have to be in a technology related position in order to apply for the renewal.


Also.. if you are worried that they might not approve a training you are attending, please fill out Elective Study Request form and email Vicki Allen to find out who you should submit the form to for approval.

Form 30 is on the wiki.  All information that you need will be on there as well.  Good luck!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My computer has a first name.. it's F-A-S-T-E-R

When I encounter cool things on the internet, I always want to try them out. Many times, it required me to download and install software that bogged down the speed of my computer.  However, I have found one tool that is totally net based that I am now a new fan of.  Call me a convert!

It is called Best4c.  Basically, you register with this site and then you can make any type of chart online without having to install ONE THING on your computer! WOOHOOO!!!  Within 20 min I had created this...


Westest Reading Process


It is basically the same thing as Thinking Maps, but without the huge purchase OR the software!  Once I saved my product, it produced it as a jpeg for me to link to or to download.  I AM IN LOVE!  The toolbar along the top and sides reminds me of Microsoft Word and Powerpoint all rolled into one.  Just click on a shape, move your mouse to where you want it, and click.



Monday, April 28, 2008

You gotta know when to hold them.. know when to fold them..

WESTEST will be thrust upon the masses in a matter of mere weeks, and in the final days before this momenumental task we must begin the proverbial all nighter of elementary education.  Outside of the realm of teaching, a little known fact that has a monstrous effect on student achievement is one's ability to actually TAKE the test.  Yes, we can all swing from the highest branches of blooms tree and could pour our knowledge content into a pond of facts and figures, but to actually transverse the test is a feat all upon it's own. 


There will be some that have prepared their students for content as well as test prep, but many of us will fall short in the identification of the types of questions students will encounter on this behemoth of a test.

In order to help those of us who need that extra push across the finish line, I added a segment to my TrainerTV called WESTEST PREP.  Here you can allow your students to watch short video clips on what to do when you encounter a question, way before you begin to draw upon content to answer it.  Check it out!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I have been very worried about the status of whether or not teachers will vote to go back to the old retirment system.  I am looking at a HUGE increase if we vote to go back to the old (TRS) as opposed to staying in the new (TDC).  I want to make sure people are as educated as they can POSSIBLY BE before they decide.

One of the biggest sticking points I am hearing is people saying "I don't have the money to buy back my years."  I am right there with you on that, because the least I would have to pay would be $6700 and the most would be $11000.  I am a teacher, and I do not have that kind of money either!  A dear friend of mine also brought up a good point... "why give the state more of my money by taking the loan out through them?"  I agree with that too, because I was one of the ones that were not given a choice and simply dumped in this fiasco of a system.

I had an idea and researched it out a little bit.  Think about this.

Let's pretend that you are going to have to pay 11,000 to buy back your years of service.  You have five years to pay that off.  If you use the Quicken calculator on REALTOR.COM and put in $11,000 for a five year term borrowing at 7% interest, your monthly payments will be $217 dollars.  So your repayment of that $11,000 is going to be $217 a month. 

Scenario 1
If you were to purchase an annuity or something else on your own, and put in $217 a month to that annuity, you could benefit off of your OWN money. Don't buy back your years, but put that monthly payment towards something for your OWN retirement.

Here is what could happen.

If you are 40, and continue to pay 217 a month until age 62, and you get a 3% interest rate on that annuity (or roth or whatever), you will have $96,569 in that account!  (check it out at this site... )  You can adjust your beginning age but the calculator takes it all the way to 62.  You cannot adjust the ending age.


Let's say you cannot put away $217 a month UNTIL AGE 62.  Let's say you want to be more realistic and you are willing to pay $217 a month for the five years you would pay normally if you decided to go back.  But remember, you do not want to give the state any more money than you already have!  So get an annuity that will allow you to deposit that $11,000 you would paying back to the state and then simply draw interest until you are ready to touch it.  If you were to put $11,000 in the bank and collect interest off of it,  You would end up with $17,600 in 20 years!  You can check this out at


Now... when entering the website where you can actually look at your retirement calculations..

Click on MODELING on the left hand side menu.  You can adjust your retirement age.  Your annual increase in pay is estimated to be around 3%.  YOUR RATE OF RETURN WILL PROBABLY BE AVERAGE AT 2 to 2.5%.  YOU MUST CHANGE this default before you can go on. Click the agreement button at the bottom of the screen and then click on GENERATE ESTIMATE RESULTS.





You can play with the numbers, but you will see that you will always come up with MORE MONEY IN THE END if you go back to the old system!  I encourage you to change the rate of return...  PLEASE!!!

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DECIDE TO BUY BACK FOR ANOTHER YEAR!!!!  However, you DO have to decide to go back now. PLEASE GO BACK!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008


I just redid my projections based on a 3% salary increase and a 2.5% rate of return on my retirement in the new system.  Based on those predictions, IT IS A TWO THOUSAND DOLLAR DIFFERENCE in what I will bring home!  I will bring home two thousand more a month if I transfer back into the old system.

Guys PLEASE look at your retirement and think about switching back.  This makes me SICK to think that there are people who are looking at the front end of transfering back, saying to themselves "well I don't like the idea I am giving them ALL of what I earned.... I feel like I have to buy back my time or else I am wasting it.... (YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY IT BACK!!!)  What you will get back in the old system far outweighs what you will get in the new system.  PLEASE CONSIDER IT!!!


Also, please pass this on to other people so that they can make an informed decision.

RETIREMENT - correction factor

I was right about projecting the 3% increase in pay.  However, I was a little too optomistic putting in a 5% rate of return.  A very dear friend corrected me and said it is actually better to put a 2% rate of return.  (More likely senario.)

Let me know if I need to change anything else!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Go to this site and register... and then you will see what your benefit modeling will be!!


Remember... average is going to be a 3% salary increase and 7% is HIGH for a rate of return.  I did mine with a 5% rate of return.  CHECK IT OUT!!!  You have to change this info... then see the benefits.. and then at the bottom you have to check off that you realize this is just a projection and then ask to see the overall projection.  Everyone that I know that has done it makes at least 1000 more in the old sytem than if they stay in the new.



Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why you sneaky little moth...

Ok.  Everyone knows I love a good prank.  I wish I had time to tell you some of the things I have done to entertain people in the past.  However, I can point fellow geek masters or conspiracy theorists into the direction that will satisfy that carnal drive for the ultimate laugh.


Visit the SPY MUSEUM online store or check out to purchase those gadgets that will either allow you to feel safe in your own little world or let you branch out to irritate someone else's existence.  I happen to LOVE the ninja remote.  I am purchasing it as we speak.


Have fun and be safe!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


High school students have the opportunity to become a part of history in the making.

Do you know cool this is?  I will help whatever high school students would like to take part in this adventure.  Let's DO IT!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cool Uses for Gcast

Remember me telling you about gcast?  It is a free way to post verbal news on your website.  You can check it out on my initial school page.

Well now that I am a gcast convert I wanted to show you other ways that it could be used.  Also, if you are a teacher in Mercer County from grades 3 - 5, you may want to use this site.

Our Multimedia site has a section at the bottom where a parent (or a student) can click on their grade level and then choose the story they are working on in their classroom presently.  When they click post, and click on their story, they can listen to the story being read aloud.  You could work on student fluency by having them read along with the story.

For parents, they can have their child listen to the story being read aloud BEFORE they have them read the story to them.  In addition, for those children who need acceleration, you can build their background knowlege by having them listen to the story before the classroom instruction begins.

Cool huh?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Aren't our children more important than that?

I went to check out because my school got a new list of sexual offenders for our area.  This site said that I must pay to use the site.  I thought that surely I must have gotten the website wrong when I typed it, so I decided to try again.  I even tried a dot org situation, and I STILL found that I must pay to view.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!???! Is it necessary to charge me to view those individuals that could endanger my own son?  Needless to say, I AM NOT HAPPY.

 I found a place where you can still search for FREE.  (aren't all our children important enough to protect than just those that can afford a 10 dollar fee?)

It's the state police site.

You can just enter the zipcode and see a complete listing of those people in an area.  You may not see a map of where these individual lives, but you can search and see in Google maps exactly where they live.


Protect your children.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Can I just say Google rocks?  I love all things google. I love to use google as a verb, a noun, and as the name of my firstborn.  Truly, if google had been around at that time, I would be taking GOOGLE MUTTERBACK to soccer this evening.

Google Sky.

You can scroll in and out, choose different constellations to look at, and basically create your own planetarium. 


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I need your opinion.

I created this two min video about gcast... and I need to know if it makes sense.


Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think.

Monday, April 7, 2008


OK.. so I refuse to buy antivirus for my school laptop because I feel like if it is important then it should be provided to me.  So I have been wasting away with the big pink elephant AVG that runs like a dinosaur and bogs me down.  Put it this way.. if the meteor was coming, my computer would take the hit.

So I was searching for free antivirus for someone else and came across this.


I became so interested in it I got it for myself.  I will have to admit my computer has taken on this new vigor and jumped up from it's dead slumber to actually MOVE like it used to do.  I think I am in love. If you need free antivirus, check it out.  It debuted in Feb of 2008.

Enter my new contest!!!

I brought a heating pad to work because my ankle is still on the fritz. (For those of you who do not know, I played a game of full contact croquet and stepped in a divet. I am currently waiting to hear the results of my x-ray.)

But I digress. I could not get the heating pad to stay around my ankle, and in my quest to eliminate pain, a new game was born.



What is the most creative use you have come up with a 2 foot ethernet cord?

We all know those pesky cords.  Who thought 2 feet would ever be good for anything?  Well now is your chance to show exactly what 2 feet can do!

Submit your photos to me via email along with a little write up and I will post all of my winners!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

I have set up shop.

Think my shirts are funny?
Then visit my site. You can purchase them all!


Click on my logo to visit my store!

I cannot stop myself.

And the HITS keep on COMING.

Enjoy my creations, but remember... I CREATED THEM AND I WILL SUE YOU IF YOU TRY TO STEAL MY IDEAS.  I am not playing ANYMORE.  Consider this my taking my toys and leaving the sandbox moment.



I have lots of funny stories to tell about people and their computers.  But as I am bound by a code of ethics similiar to that of the attorney/client privilege, I must purge my incidentals in t-shirt format.  Just trust me when I say every one of these t-shirts I have created have come from real life AGGREVATION!

  For those of you unfamiliar with my job, I integrate technology into classroom's to promote 21st century learning.  I happen to know quite a bit about computers, making my skills invaluable to my position.   I receive a teacher's salary, and I am thankful for my state of the art job.    HOWEVER: I AM NOT PAID TO DO TEACHER'S PERSONAL WORK.  My job is strictly to affect change on student achievement.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Man now KNOWS your NAME...

I had to hurry and post that last post because I was so freaked out I wanted to try and catch Rachel before she left. 

There are five girls that I am proud to call friends.  They are the BRIGHTEST and BEST that West Virginia has to offer as far as technology integration is concerned.  I must admit that they are my inspirations, and some of my best work has piggybacked off of what they have already done.  (With full credit to you, onions!) I have Jozette Cooper, who is right beside me in the great county of Mercer.  She listens to me complain and is in the process of trying to help me to learn to LAY IT DOWN. (she knows what this means.) I then have Rachel Fletcher, who keeps the northern half of the state hopping with her knowledge and excellent pranks.  She is the smartest person I have ever met, and I think that she is the reincarnate of the late great Albert Einstein.  I dare you to duel her in a challenge of the minds.

You then move to Kanawha and find Angie Abbott, otherwise known as ABOOOOO.  She is the techy of all things techy, and I cannot tell you how many times I have come to her with a problem and she solved it immediately.  Rock on!

Angie Urling electrifies Lincoln County, and I am surprised she has not been moved to a county technology level position.  She embodies grace and spirit, and thinks on that grand level of schema that encompasses all the different levels of technology integration.  She has a way of taking something small and plugging it into so many different arenas that it takes on a life of its own.  Lincoln is LUCKY to have you!

I finish off with Karen Rollo, whose previous TIS job died a cruel death yet she keeps it real in a regular classroom.  She has the power to find humor in anything, and she is one of the ONLY people who can make me laugh no matter what my mood.  If you can ever attend a training session with ROLLO, you will come away from it with a renewed sense of not taking yourself too seriously. 

On so many levels, these girls far surpass my technology intellect and general ability.  For some reason, we all click so well - and they are my FFL.  My friend card will always be full, and no matter how much time goes by, I will always have them.

Rachel, Jozette, and Karen


Abooo, Me, and Url


Some say psychic... some say psycho...

Have you ever had one person who you were totally in sync with?

I am lucky in that I found a couple of people that I swear READ MY MIND.  In fact, I got a comment from someone about my shirt which I had created a new shirt about and just not posted it yet!!!

Rachel Fletcher told me I should put something about plugging in the printer and it magically being fixed.  Rachel, I had created this new shirt but the wordpress blogsite had changed a little and I could not figure out how to post the shirt just yet.


Rachel.... you are scaring me.  You forgot to tell me you were a mindreader!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

TIS Wear



Anybody catch yesterday's show with Suzy Ormon? 


Of course, I emailed the show to give a shout out... and to offer my services into other free gadgets online that would make for some cool television.

HARPO - here I come!

I will vote for the candidate who gets gas down to $1.50

Until then, I have to find ways to stretch my few pennies into a living. 

I am all about finding a bargain, and I have my brother to thank for this latest little saver.

 Fat Wallet dot com.  Ever heard of it?

It is like Woot on Crack. (We all know I am a wooter!)  You can search for deals and bargains til your heart is content.  That is where I happened upon my Sprint Sero deal!

So until my candidate declares their intentions for president, I must keep finding the bargains online!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Are you smarter than the people reading the last post?

More Brain Games.

 But be careful! You never want to be too smart because it just allows you to realize how poorly you have fared in life.

Nobody likes a SMARTY PANTS

I am always trying to find some way to maximize on the time that we have our children at school.  Let's face it - how can I possibly undo in 8 hours what is done for 16 hours when those kiddies go home???  And no, I am not speaking of things such as gaming... I happen to think there are positives to that dreaded machine!

I am talking about neglect.  Kids going home to empy houses... kids with no food...  kids whose parents are out in the alley shooting up.  Many of our kids deal with stuff that I never have to face AS AN ADULT.  So by the time they get to school, they are worn out from lack of sleep and worry. 

So I think I found a way to wake those brains up a little.

Stanford University has created an online portal where you can play brain games and improve things such as memory and visual reasoning.  They are actually called MIND GAMES and allow the children to work on memory activities without really KNOWING they are thinking! Bloom would be so proud!!

So if you have a group of kids that just need that extra push... pull them in the lab and fire up those brains!

Friday, March 21, 2008

I cannot keep it a secret ANY LONGER!!!!

Ok... for those of you who know me, you know that my keeping a secret ranks right up there with monkeys and my posterior.  When I find something great, I want to share it with the whole world!

Yet this was not my find.  One of the greatest technology integrationists EVER, Angie Urling, told me about a way you can create podcasts (and a podcast player to boot) that can be updated by PHONING IN YOUR PODCAST!!!!  (WHAT?? NO way... you don't say!)  She showed me her school FFA site, and I am shazammed!

I wanted to let her blog about it first.  See, we live by the golden rule that those who find it and share it take the credit for it.  I hear your thinking, and NO we are not taking credit for the creation of it.  We simply recognize who implemented first.  I mean GOD FORBID someone be trained on something by someone else, take what was given to them by the trainer, and try to pass it off as their own creation.  Isn't that a copyright violation?  Wait a minute.... I hear sirens coming close.  Are the copyright police coming to get you???

Anyway... I played with this creation after it was introduced to me by Angie Urling.  It is called gcast, and Angie's foray into this new widget has made my HEAD START SPINNING! 

Check out Angie Urling's blog, but then check out gcast.  Also, if you want to see gcast in action, go to my school homepage and just start listening. You can see the player at the bottom of the page.  If you go to the video page and scroll to the bottom, you can see where I have students starting to record themselves reading the stories in our new reading series.  How cool would it be to have a link where parents can work on fluency by letting their kids listen to the story being read while they read along?

Angie I am sorry.  I could not keep it a secret ANY LONGER!!!!

A Little Gift for You

Click to watch the best video EVER!

My gift to YOU!

Higher Up The Food Chain

I asked about being able to include widgets on the plain old teacher blog.   Denied.  So I have moved on to greener pastures. 

The view is much better from over here!