Archive for August, 2007

Using Your Digital Camera To Copy Materials for Your Smartboard


You can use your digital camera to help you copy materials (old books, magazine articles, ads, objects, etc.) for your classroom Smartboard.

When you are copying material (probably in your camera’s macro mode to get close), you might want to consider these hints:

Use a camera tripod, if possible, to steady the camera or lean against something solid like a door frame. Breathe in and hold your breathe as you snap the picture.

Remember to push the picture button half way until it locks the image and then push it the rest of the way down.

Shoot the picture in natural sunlight. Avoid shadows or changing sun patterns. Avoid noon day sun which can blanche out the material. If the sun is from an angle, you can shoot without getting your shadow in the picture. Turn off your flash.

Cover any excess material that is on the same page with a white or black paper. You only want your students to see the selected material.

Shoot parallel to the object. If you shoot at an angle, the material will look crooked and be harder to read. If you shoot at a slight angle, you may have to manipulate in an image manipulation program like GIMP.

Get in close. Try to get close enough or zoom in so that you have the page but not other things. Use a dark background just in case you cannot get in close. If you have too much background, you will have to crop the pictures in another program so shoot in tight the first time. Also, a distracting background can unfocus students.

If possible, take pages out of any binder; if you have a spare old book, cut the desired pages out of the book. Use a white paper clip to hold the pages down so the material is as flat as possible. You may need to put a heavy book on one side of a page to keep it down. Cover the book with black paper so the unnecessary parts do not show.

Take  a second picture just in case the first one was not get a great picture. The review mode of the camera probably will not show all the details.

Take the pictures in the order that you will show them.

Lower the resolution. You do not need an 8 megapixel version of the page.

When you move the images over to your computer, quickly rename them with a specific name so that you can find these images with all your other digital images. Create folders to categorize the images so you can find the material quicker.

If you have taken images from another source, move it over to an image manipulation program (PhotoShop like) and add a reference to the source.  If you do not do it immediately, you may soon forget the original source.

Once you or your students have done this, you can create a digital library that you can use in the classroom. Your students can interact with these valuable resources.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Spanish-Language Restaurant Menus For Culture and Conversation


The following is a list of Collective Commons (free to use in the classroom) pictures from Flickr that show various menus from Hispanic countries or locations that have Hispanic food. Students studying Spanish can come to understand the many different types of foods as well as the varieties within each type such as tacos. They can practice their ordering skills with real food and figure out their bill with real prices! Each web address is followed by a brief description.
Menu with Spanish and poor English translation +++
Menu Mexican divided by entrada, sopa, ensalada +++
Mexican Food Deli Menu
Yucatan Menu
Taco restaurant menu
Menu with ceviche
Menu from Caribbean
Puerto Rican Menu (general info)

How do you help students to learn about the variety of Hispanic foods through menus? How do you bring the Hispanic world into your classroom through technology?

Other Spanish (Hispanic images) for conversations or writing

Spanish streets – Calle

Spanish sports –Deporte

Spanish transportation Transportes


Spanish Language Menu



Nov. 2009 – If you are interested in trying out in your classroom some mini-speaking assessments (2-5) minutes that correspond to various parts of the ACTFL guidelines, please email me (harry.g.tuttle  at gmail) These short assessments  give you instant data/facts on your students’  present progress in speaking and you can re-administer these assessments  to see progress.  I have various assessments from vocabulary, asking and answering questions, asking critical questions about a topic, etc.  Let me know your level such as (Spanish 1- first year of Spanish).    Harry

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007





Scored Against Perfection

table setting scoring against perfection

My wife and I went to the New York State Fair. She enjoyed looking at the table setting judging. I looked at that detailed analytic scoring for the judging which each participant sees before the competition. The words that impressed was “scored against perfection”. Each entry received a rating number and statements that identified its strengthens and its areas for improvement.

I wonder how many of us “score against perfection” or do we score the number correct which may not be critical parts of student standard learning. Do we score each quiz, each test, each project, and each homework against the perfection (above proficient level) of the standard?

Do we record in a spreadsheet or our grade book these above proficient scores, those proficient scores, those progressing scores, and those beginning standards-based scores? Do we include formative comments for each so that we and the students can review them for improvement?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Standards-Based Sponge Activities


We use sponge activities to fill in time between activities or at the end of the period. How different would the students’ learning be if we used standards-based sponge activities? In an English Language Arts (ELA) class, the teacher could have a list of standards-based activities (similar to the state exam or covering district specified parts of the standards that are not covered on the state exam). She might:

Have students listen to a digitally recorded brief debate, take a side, and list their reasons to support it (New York State ELA Standard 1 Information).

Have students list their ten most common activities during their vacation, one per line, and then add an adverb to each line to create a poem (New York State ELA Standard 2 Personal Expression).

Have students list all the literature that they have read so far that has a certain theme such as love, man’s inhumanity to man, being true to one’s self, etc. (New York State ELA Standard 3 Theme Critical Analysis of Literature ).

Have a student pick a topic and list different people in the family and community (young children, same age, parent, grandparent, and civic leader) and students tell something about the topic to each different person in a way in which he/she would understand it ( (New York State ELA Standard Four Social Interactions-Various Audiences).

We can have these activities in a word processed document of sponge activities that we call up and pick the one to fit the time. When we project these activities for the students to see, they have all the structure they need to do them successfully. Not only do we fill up time but more important, we advance their learning in the standards!

How do you support the standards through sponge activities with technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


University Pressure on Students: Lack of Standards.

My Canadian cousin was telling me that certain universities require that a student have a 95 in specific subjects before they will accept him or her. Those universities are promoting the grade over learning struggle in education. How much better it would be if the universities required that students be above proficient in certain standards. However that would require that the universities were able to identify those standards or parts of certain standards that they deemed truly critical. If the universities could do that, then they could communicate it to public schools so that the teachers would know what the students had to achieve. As it is now, the universities do not specify what standards they require. The state exams are such a small sample of the standards that they do not really show a students’ progress in the standards. No wonder that public schools are unsure of what their students are to learn.

How do you express the standards to you students? How do you require them to achieve the standards to a high degree? How do you use technology to help them arrive at that high-degree of thinking for the standard?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Your Students’ Videos:Learning from YouTube examples

Video One or Many

A friend who has written over 20 books indicates that fewer people are turning to books for information; many turn to YouTube. They want to watch and hear about topics. He has watched numerous YouTube videos about his topic and has found that most are severely lacking content. He says that the creators seem to have only a very basic (at best) knowledge of the topic and yet they are creating videos that hundreds are watching. Furthermore, he adds that the creators seem to lack a sense of how this small part fits into the bigger view of the topic. To teach a complex skill takes a multitude of videos and yet the creators have only done a few basic ones which means the viewers cannot proceed in this skill. In addition, they have not presented the information from an experienced view of what to do and what not to do in the topic.

What type videos or podcasts do your students produce? Do they display in-depth knowledge of the topic? Do they produce several videos that take the viewer from the lower levels to the complex levels of thinking about the topic? Do they help the learners to avoid learning pitfalls in the topic? Do they scaffold the learning so that all can succeed? Do they take the learners to the bigger view of the topic?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


Textbook PowerPoint or Student Technologies

Textbook PowerPoints or Student Technologies

I heard about a young lady who has the graduate assistant job of creating PowerPoints for the chapters of a textbook that her prof is writing. Although I am sure that she is very good at creating PowerPoints that cover the main points in the chapter, I’m not sure that PowerPoints may be the best way to communicate the information in the textbook. Are there some YouTube videos that can demonstrate the concepts better? Would a class wiki about each chapter’s information allow the class to add other related information to the topic so that they build a class community of knowledge about the topic? Would a series of short podcasts allow the students to select which topic they needed more information about? Would a series of images from Flickr displayed on a whiteboard allow the class to interact more with the material?

These textbook PowerPoints are “teacher” created so information is being given to the students. Why not have the students generate their own information, debate issues within the topic, challenge each other’s views, and come to a greater understanding of the topic.

Is your class one with you as the teach deliver PowerPoints or one in which students create their own information through various technologies?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

RSS Education with Technology

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  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
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  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]

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