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Volume 9, Issue 4

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Christopher Columbus Awards

The Christopher Columbus Awards is a national, community-based science and technology program for middle school students. The program challenges the students to work in teams of three to four, with an adult coach, to identify a problem in their community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution to that problem.

For information on how to enter, visit

Technology Resolutions for 2010

1. Back it up!

You don't know what you've got till it's gone, so put that long-awaited backup plan into action.

2. Install those updates!

Set aside some time and get your operating system, virus software, and other programs up to date.

3. Use Less Paper!

Print double sided, narrow your margins and use print-management software. Saves money, paper, water and forests.

4. Use rechargeable batteries!

Saves money and reduces toxics in landfills.

5. Update your passwords!

Passwords should be changed often. Passwords should be more than eight characters long and include a variety of numbers, letters, and symbols.

Distance Learning

Teachers, media specialists, and students around the world have an opportunity to virtually mingle and share technology ideas in a virtual online technology conference. The name of the website is called K-12 Online conference.

Since 2006, K-12 Online Conference has provided outstanding opportunities for free, collaborative, accessible professional learning for educators around the globe. The content is well organized and categorized by year and topics.

Most presentations include videos and resources dealing with the topic. More than 50,000 people from around the globe have accessed K12’s free materials since the event launched four years ago. While some content is presented live in fireside chats, most of the material is asynchronous, meaning educators can drop in as they have the time.

Last, but not least, Media specialists and teachers can also earn professional development credit by logging into a 20-minute session or two and downloading a letter to present to their districts.

Educational Links

Lots of great Thanksgiving resource links compiled by Kate.net to help save you time searching for what you need this Thanksgiving season.

Links to Thanksgiving printables, classroom activities, puzzles, word wall cards, and much more.

Activities and crafts for the entire school year.

This site contains links to crafts, projects, games, and children's shareware to help celebrate many holidays.

A great collection of sites for information and resources about holidays.

Information from the History Channel website.

Christmas through the years and around the world.

News, science and debate advancing sustainable life on a changing planet.

At Storyline you can find the book, Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. It is read by actor Lou Diamond Phillips and includes images from the book. You can find additional activities and an activity guide to go along with the story.

Tracking and mapping of severe weather and hurricanes.

This month we caught up to coach Nelly Ramirez from De Leon Middle School. Nelly is the advisor to a group of 6th, 7th, & 8th grade students that will be implementing a new $5000 grant from the National Football League (NFL) and the National Dairy Council® (NDC). De Leon Middle School is one of four schools in Hidalgo County to receive this grant. other three, Fossum Middle School, Morris Middle School and Cathey Middle School, are also in our district.

Today’s kids need to believe that eating right and staying active are important for the health of their future. That’s why the National Dairy Council® (NDC), your local Dairy Council® and the National Football League (NFL) have formed a long-term partnership to create Fuel Up to Play 60. This comprehensive program focuses on promoting healthier youth and schools. During the 2009-10 school year, this initiative will launch in over 60,000 schools across the country, reaching millions of kids.

The goal of this program is to make long-term changes in the school’s nutrition and physical activity environment. Fuel Up to Play 60 provides lots of Action Strategy ideas to help make it happen. The students, under the supervision of their advisor Ms. Ramirez, will begin with a “kickoff event” to introduce the program to the student body. The students are planning to do this by creating a video that will be shared with their school. The program will then be implemented for a whole month with students encouraging each other. Incentives will also be given for good participation.

All students are encouraged to log into http://www.fueluptoplay60.com each day and enter their eating and exercising activities. They will also be able to play educational type games, and take pop quizzes and challenges. The students will earn points by doing this and can use those points to win prizes like hanging out with a professional football player, iPods, and NFL video games. If enough students get involved the school can also win a “cafeteria makeover” and new gym equipment.

Ms. Ramirez and the other Fuel Up advisors are doing a great job, by empowering students to promote a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise.

Top 10 Holiday Gift Ideas

Have you been looking for the perfect gift for that special someone? Well, look no further! Here is this year’s list of the most popular technology gifts that are sure to bring cheer and excitement to all this holiday season.

Nintendo Wii and Sports Resort Game

This is what video games should be: fun for everyone. Wii Sports Resort offers many physical resort-themed activities and experiences, each using the Wii Remote controller to provide a natural, intuitive and realistic feel! It’s not only fun, but also good for you.

Click here for the complete list.

The Teach@15 Awards

What is Teach@15?

The purpose of the Teach@15 Award program is to improve learning by helping schools (grades 7-12) meet their technology needs. Teach@15 Awards of $1,500 will be granted to nominated schools with the most votes during a Voting Period. All awards are in the form of Best Buy Gift Cards.

For more information, click here.

From the Director's Desk

Administrators, Teachers, and Staff,

Backup your files before you leave for the Winter Break!

The backup is an important element of any computer user's computing experience. The end of the semester provides a great opportunity to backup important documents. These documents may include your lesson plans, forms, presentations, or any other files that are used throughout the school year.

Backup using A USB Flash Drive

  1. Plug the device into any USB port on your computer.
  2. Your computer will automatically detect it as a removable disk drive.
  3. You can then drag and drop your files to the USB flash drive.
  4. Remember to follow the procedures for removing your flash drive so that you will not cause damage to your important files.

Backup using the Internet

If you backup your important files to the Internet, you will not need any additional software or hardware. If you have a connection to the Internet, you are all set. When you backup your files on the Internet, you are storing them on an online server, which is separate from your computer. It works essentially as an Internet drive, which you can always reach through the Internet. All you need to do is go to the Internet address where your Internet drive is found, log in with your username and password and you can access all of the files that you have backed up through the Internet.

  1. In order to get your own Internet backup drive, you will need to purchase or find free storage services from a company, go to http://www.consumersearch.com/online-backup-services for a list of recommended companies. There are free Internet backup sites, though they do have size limitations, they are usually large enough to accommodate the amount of files of an average computer user.
  2. Once you have found the company you think is best for you, register with their web site, and obtain or create a username and password.
  3. Next, upload the files that you want to backup. Some Internet backup services allow you to use Windows Explorer to simply drag and drop files into your Internet backup folder. There are also some sites that have a file manager or on site FTP program to use to upload your files.

Backing up to the Internet is not a replacement for traditional backup strategies (CDs, DVDs, flash drives or external hard drives), but it can be good secondary protection against unforeseen issues such as fire, theft or sudden hardware failures.

Thank You,
Carmen G. Garcia, Director Instructional Technology

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