Longer school days, weeks, and years coming?

Education chief favors longer school days, weeks and years

"It doesn't matter how poor, how tough the family background, socioeconomic challenges," Duncan said. "Where students have longer days, longer weeks, longer years -- that's making a difference."

Do you agree?

This reminds me of the documentary 2 Million Minutes.

Convert iTunes to MP3 Format

A lot of students have been emailing and asking how to convert iTunes songs to a format that will work for movie maker or photostory. It isn't exactly easy to do because of the digital rights management software that Apple uses - .m4p file format. So here is an article that explains a few ways to get around that. After all, you did purchase this music. Why would you not be able to use it?

Convert iTunes to MP3 Format

Washington on $85 a day

This is so cool:
Washington on $85 a day

Download Youtube Videos and Convert

Many students have asked how to download youtube videos, convert them to the right format and then insert them into Windows Movie Maker.

Here is an easy to use solution:

The program is called "Youtubedownloader." I have used it and it works. AND IT'S FREE. As Mr. Duez always says, "If it's free it's for me... if it's free... I'll take 3!"

Also, here are some tutorials online to help with Photostory:
Lots of video tutorial and how to for Photostory

Photostory Tutorial: Introduction

Here are a few for Windows Movie Maker:
Getting Started with Movie Maker from Microsoft

Free Windows Movie Maker Tutorial

How to with moviemaker - lots of video examples

Have fun. I can't wait to see what you guys create!

5th Six Weeks' Video Project

This is a special project. Not only is it a group project and a very creative one that uses technology, but it is a permanent one. Once we create videos that teach about important historical topics we can upload them to the internet and teach anyone about them.

Here is the description of the project:
5th Six Weeks Video Project

To see past examples of great work, click here: 2008 Video Projects

MSNBC Unemployment Rate Graphic

Unemployment Rate Graphic

Watch as the unemployment rate changes over the past year and a 1/2. Is this scary?

How does Texas fare?

Can you predict anything about the next 6 months?

Today's Warmup - "The Economy"

This is today's Current Event News Cast:

Senate Changes Stimulus Package: (2:43)

How will the stimulus help your wallet? (1:27)

How Starbucks Saved My Life:

GOP Defector - Susan Collins, Maine: (4:00)

Just Do It - Correcting Papers... ouch.

I have spent the weekend correcting Human Rights Project essays. Although it is a part of the job, it never seems to end. Paper work. But, I enjoy seeing progress. Many of my students are starting to really understand the writing process. A few may even have figured out what a thesis statement is!

This project has been wonderful this year. The basis for it is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the UN created in 1948. The students each get one of the 30 articles of the declaration. They must research it's meaning and determine how the United States does with that human right. They also must research one other country and find out how they do. Many pick Cuba, China, or an African country. The main thing is for them to understand how there is a difference between these guidelines (the UDHR) and the actual laws of the countries around the world. Even in America we sometimes struggle with this issue! Really!?! Yes.

The students also create a poster. The poster will graphically depict the article without using words. They can use the # of their article and highlight it in that way. You can see examples from the past here: Human Rights Posters

This year one of the students even drew me in their poster. It was done with pencil on a poster board and she depicted Article 16 - "Marriage." Mr. D flies down to explain that a couple has the right to marry and "saves the day." Pretty funny and well done.

Pretty clever. Cracked me up. The kids loved it.