Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Configuring Outlook

Throughout Organization Made Easy!, we refer to Outlook as a tool to help the teacher with the calendar, to-dos, e-mail, contacts, and reference information. Appendix B in Organization Made Easy! provides a concise guide for setting up Outlook so the teacher can make maximum use of this software.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Join the Conversation

Blogs provide an easy way for a person or a group to have a web presence and move from from the role of observer to the role producer in our digital world. In this particular case, a nationally-known composer and an eager group of middle school students find each other through a blog. Posted below is an e-mail I recently received. the author of the e-mail is Danielle Todd, band director at Zora Ellis Jr. High School in Talladega, AL:

Hi Dr. Buck,

I wanted to share this with you. This just shows that a small place like Talladega can get out there in the world through use of Technology.

Below is an email that I received from Kevin Mixon. He composed the 2nd piece, Dancing the Skies that we played at MPA. How random for him to find our blog and then in turn email me. I am sharing this info with you because he would have never found us had you not encouraged us to start a blog. I am also sharing it with our students and Mr. Bailey. They will love it.


----- Original Message -----

From: Kevin Mixon
To: Danielle Todd
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 6:00 PM
Subject: Dancing the Skies

Dear Ms. Todd and the Zora Ellis M. S. Band Students--

I came across your band website and Ms. Todd's description of your recent festival appearance. I was honored that you performed "Dancing the Skies". I hope you enjoyed the piece and that it helped you grow as musicians--that's why I wrote it, of course!

I was very impressed that you did so well at the festival and that you have advanced so much in such a short amount of time. This is because of your hard work and Ms. Todd's great teaching, so applause to you all!

As you continue to perform in band, consider composing. I began composing band pieces in middle school, and though they were not good then, just like with practicing on instruments, my pieces got better as I continued to write. I love to play music, of course, but there is a particular form of expression that I love most with composing. Give it a try, you might feel the same way!

But in any case, please continue to excel as performers as you have done so far! Best wishes! --Mr. Mixon

Kevin Mixon
National Board Certified Teacher, Early and Middle Childhood/Music
Fine Arts Administrative Intern, Syracuse City Schools
Composer, Alfred Publications and Carl Fischer Music

Ms. Todd is right. Technology is the great equalizer. Someone who has something significant to say is no longer at a loss for a medium through which to say it. The internet is the same whether it's being accessed at the Library of Congress or the library of a rural school. The opportunities to participate in significant conversations are available to us.

What do you have to say that other people might just want to hear? Could a blog be just the answer? Why not get started right now?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Top 5 Leadership Tips of the Year

Eye on Education logged the top 5 most clicked-on leadership tips from e-mail newsletters for this year. One of those five was from Get Organized! Time Management for School Leaders. Read about it and the others that made the list.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Making a Case for Music Education

Economic times are tough, and education is certainly feeling the crunch. Budgets are being cut and cut again only to be re-visited again for more cuts. Every area of the educational arena must be prepared to make its case or face elimination.

Today begins Music Education Week in America. There is perhaps no better time to introduce a site designed to help supporters of music the case for the importance of music in our schools. "Support Music: Make Your Case" provides a database of materials that may be just the thing to get the point across. Whether you want to talk about budgets, are in search of quotes, or need to address scheduling, this site provides help.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Database of Award Winning Childrens Literature

Looking for children's literature for a particular age? What about literature which has won a certain award or belongs to a certain genre? Whatever your need, the Database of Award Winning Children's Literature is your answer. Using the tool could not be easier.

For those who work in elementary schools, this one is a keeper!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

E-Mail Newletter

If you attended a recent workshop and signed up to receive my free monthly e-mail newsletter, you should have already received something by this time. If you have not received anything, check your spam filter to make sure your newsletter has not been caught. Want to sign up to receive the newsletter series? Have a friend who could benefit from this resource? This link will allow you to begin your free subscription.

Successful Week in Troy and Montevallo

There is an easier way to organize our lives, as educators from a number of school learned at workshops sponsored by the regional inservice centers at Troy University and the University of Montevallo. Some of the comments on the evaluations were as follows:

  • Great seminar!! Energetic, informative, and practical!
  • Speaker was engaging as well as knowledgeable.
  • Great workshop--excellent ideas that can be used immediately.
  • Very thoughtful and professional; addressed all areas of time management and organization--very applicable!
  • Amazing!!
  • As a new teacher and over-organizer, this presentation was life changing for me!
  • Absolutely wonderful!

It was fun to work with groups that were so interested in the tools and techniques presented. The presentations are meant to consist of "nuts & bolts" ideas that can be put into practice immediately and refined over time. Every time one workshop ends, I can't wait for the next one.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Eye on Education Blog

Thanks to Eye on Education for featuring my blog on their blog. The post can be found here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dealing With Small Spaces

Just because you have a small office or live in a small apartment does not mean you must live in clutter, nor does it necessarily mean you have to throw away all of your stuff. Check out what some ingenuity has done for this Hong Kong resident.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Red Skelton's Pedge of Allegiance

In school all across America, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is part of the daily routine. In this video, Red Skelton recalls a teacher who took this recitation a step further, and explains the words contained in the pledge.

As we celebrate Flag Day, this is the perfect time to revisit the meaning behind the words we say.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Montevallo Presents "Get Organized With Your BlackBerry"

The one-hour workshop at AETC was enough to show that there are some easy-to-learn techniques that make a difference in your ability to use the BlackBerry. We were able to scratch the surface. Several people have asked me if a do a longer workshop, and the answer is "yes." This coming Wednesday (June 16), the University of Montevallo Regional Inservice Center is sponsoring a three-hour BlackBerry workshop.  

A growing number of people are opting for a cell phone which can do far more than make a phone call. The BlackBerry has the capability to be a total life organizer that fits neatly in your pocket. However, a lack of training exists on how to use its capabilities. Contents of the workshop include:
  • Enter it once and forget it—The magic of repeating appointments and repeating tasks.
  • When do I want to see this again?—Make that decision as you create a task. Watch it disappear and then re-appear on just the right day.
  • How convenient! —Program the two convenience keys to open your calendar and task list.
  • The one and only address book you will ever need—E-mail, address, phone number, birthday, and a wealth of personal information. “Contacts” will handle it all.
  • The “Fab Five”—Making sure what’s really important gets done.
  • Stress be gone—The crystal clear, organized task list.
  • A wealth of information at your fingertips—What to keep in “Notes.”
  • “In” to “empty” every day—Becoming the master of e-mail.
  • Taking your data anywhere—How to synchronize Outlook with a smartphone.
  • reQall here—From your voice to your e-mail on the fly.
  • The Devil is in the details—How to store and access all of the details related to an appointment, task or contact.
  • Find it fast—Take advantage of the tremendous search capabilities of the handheld.
  • Tricks and tips—Use these timesavers to make handheld experience more productive. 
The workshop will be held June 16 from 1:00 to 4:00. Registration is free and open to the entire state. Registration is done through STIPD. Search for PD title number UMINS10. The Inservice Center is located at2790 Pelham Parkway in Pelham.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

John Wooden from 2001

Few figures in coaching have had the lasting impact of John Wooden. I found this TED Talk from 2001 to be fascinating in terms of his approach to teaching others not just the game of basketball, but the game of life.

After listening to Coach Wooden on this video, I invite you to visit his official website. It is a virtual treasure trove of wisdom from one of the great leaders of out time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Update from Yesterday's Workshops

Thanks again to everyone that came to one or more of my workshops at AETC. I have made the revisions I needed on the "Data That Matters" spreadsheet. It is ready for you to download and use. You can click here to go to the Free Reources page on my blog

I have removed the password from New Alabama Graduation Rate Calculator. Just below it on the Free Sources page, you will see the "New Alabama Graduation Rate Help Document." It will serve as a guide for how to use the calculator.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Instant Grader

For those who attend "The End of Paper Forms" session, this post is a follow-up to that session. Our last example was the use of the form aspect of GoogleDocs to allow students to take a test on a GoogleDocs form, have the answers appear in the GoogleDocs spreadsheet, have the individual answers marked correct or incorrect, have the spreadsheet calculate the individual student scores, and have the spreadsheet conduct item analysis on each question.

If you would like to take the sample test, click the link below:

View a sample test here.

You may wish to make up a name, since I have set this example up so that anybody can see the results for everyone's work.

After you have taken the test, want to see how you did? Click this link:
Here is what the teacher sees.

You will see two tabs at the bottom of the screen. On the tab marked "Enter Answer Key," you will be able to view your answers. On the tab marked "View Results," you will see your work graded. You will also see the graded work of others, and an item analysis for each question.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The End of Paper Forms

For readers on Alabama, you are invited to join me on July 10th at the Alabama Educational Technology Conference. Among the four sessions I will be presenting that day is one I am premiering entitled "The End of Paper Forms." Here is a look at what you will learn:

In addition, we will be giving away a copy of one of my books at each of the four sessions. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Upcoming Workshops

There is still time to register for upcoming workshops. Click on the links for addition information.

June 14—Southeast Alabama Regional Inservice Center (Troy University) "Get Organized With Outlook" and "A Day in the Life of a Digital Administrator"A drawing will be held for a free copy of one of my books at each session.

June 15—Southeast Alabama Regional Inservice Center (Troy University) "Get Organized! The Five Keys to Organization and Time Management" (4 hour session)(Registration on STIPD) Those who are within the Southeast Alabama Region will receive a complimentary copy of my original book.

June 16—University of Montevallo Regional Inservice Center (Pelham) "Get Organized! The Five Keys to Organization and Time Management" (1/2 day session) Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of my original book. "Get Organized With Your BlackBerry" (1/2 day session) A drawing will be held for a free copy of one of my books. (Registration on STIPD for both)

June 17—University of Montevallo Regional Inservice Center (Pelham) "Managing Digital Data With Ease" (1/2 day session) A drawing will be held for a free copy of one of my books. (Registration on STIPD)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Dual Monitors Revisited

In the pencil and paper world, how often do you find yourself referring to one book or document while working on another? Hand-copying a recipe from a book onto a piece of paper is one example. How would you arrange your materials? My guess is that you would lay the book and the paper side by side. Never in a million years would we consider placing one on top of the other and constantly swapping positions as we read from the book and copy to the paper. Why should things be different in our digital world?

How many times do you find yourself copying from document and pasting into another? How often do you work on one electronic document while referring to another? Are there times when you need to refer to two websites simultaneously? How to arrange your work in these cases?

If you are like most people, you wind up minimizing and maximizes one window, then the other. You may reduce the width of each window in an effort to view both on the same screen. What happens far to often is that we simply print the document we are referring to and lay it beside the monitor as we work on our other document. There's got to be a better way, and there is.

If placing our documents side-by-side works in the pencil/paper world, then its logical counterpart in the digital world is to place two monitors side-by-side.

After having read of the benefits offered by a dual-monitor arrangement, when I changed positions from the principalship to a central office position, the one thing I requested was a second monitor. I could not believe the productivity boost this arrangement offered. I found myself printing far fewer documents. I could work on a document while referring back and forth e-mails or my calendar or a website.

After retiring from the school system and setting up my home office, a new computer system featuring dual monitors was at the top of the list. After tasting what's it like to operate with two monitors, I would hate to work any other way.

If you want to make the move and need to know the next steps, here is an excellent article.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010

Want to know what's coming up in Office 2010? Check out this post from Lifehacker which provides a series of short videos previewing the upcoming program.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A Salute to the Class of 2010

As a salute to high school graduates across America. Seniors, this is your rap…the last 18 years condensed into 4minutes.

The Last 18 Years In Rap from Week in Rap on Vimeo.