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Microsoft Enters Tablet Market

SurfaceNo, that image to the left is not an iPad surrounded by SmartCovers. That is the Microsoft Surface. Not to be confused with the giant table-sized computer the company released a while ago, the Surface is Microsoft’s entry into the tablet market.

Attempting to take a page out of Apple’s playbook on several levels, Microsoft revealed the Surface during a mystery press event in California. What those in attendance saw was an iPad knock-off that is heavier, boasts shorter batter life and an inferior chip. To be fair, the Surface does have an impressive cover that contains a fully functioning keyboard, but that is an accessory that must be purchased.

Microsoft has two versions of the Surface in the works, each for a very different audience. There’s a “consumer version” that will run Windows RT and a “business version” that will run Windows 8.

Microsoft isn’t saying exactly when the Surface will be available for purchase, or how much it will cost, but experts are predicting the “consumer version” to fall in the $500 price range with the “business version” to come in at over $1,000. The pricier version does have better overall tech specs than its cheaper brother, but that improved performance comes at the cost of weight and, of course, cost.

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A New Way to Check Homework

I want to share a new way to go over homework. I use my CPS remote control system and have students punch in their answers to random questions. The class has its homework out~ then students click in their answers~ with the option of revising them as they go along. I quiz them on just a few questions from each page to check understanding--in my opinion you can get a sense if the students "got" the homework without going over every problem. The CPS system then grades the homework~ and I...

Gail Hennessey's Website for...

I was watching Weekend Today and the topic was~ "Is cursive writing something we should still be teaching in school?When I first starting teaching 6th grade~ back in the days of being self-contained~ I remember planning for 15 minutes of cursive penmanship instruction. The students usually copied a famous quote or a funny tongue twister. Then~ as more and more responsibilities were placed upon the day~ penmanship went on the sidelines. The alphabet~ which was posted~on a bulletin board~ was...

Teaching Kids About Money

One criticism of education (and there are many :)~ is that schools fail to teach kids about money. If you haven't come across a money system created by fifth-grade teacher~ Rafe Esquith~ you need to read his second book "Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire." There's a lot of good ideas in that book~ but the money system is something I believe should be taught in all classrooms across... the country.
Essentially~ the kids...

Why have lunch with students?

Why I have lunch with students?
I eat lunch with my students on most days. While some educators think that is crazy and others perceive it as not wanting to eat with the other teachers~ I wanted to share why I think it is important. First~ if you're teaching from bell to bell~ there is very little downtime to chat and get to know...

Superhero Day

I want to share an idea that worked really well for me.

A few weeks ago~ I had the students come to school dressed like a super hero of their own creation. I was dressed like a villian~ black cape~ black mask. I also used a voice scrambler to sound like Darth Vader.

The class then competed against mein a series of challenges that tested math~ vocabulary and science skills. Every time they got an answer right~ they got a point. The same went for me. While the...

The Gifted Gauntlet

I am thinking about trying the following idea:

Set the room up like a maze or gauntlet~ using curtains~ sheets~ etc. My students then have to navigate the maze and pass a series of tests before preceding to the next section. I want to set the tests up so they test students on nationally established standards for gifted students~ like determining their strengths and choosing the learning style that best works for them.

I would have parents help adminster the...

Gail Hennessey's Website for...




"Your time is limited~ so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important~ have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."...

Gail Hennessey's Website for...

I retired after teaching for 33 years and continue to develop teaching materials(all free) for use in the classroom. I just returned from a trip of a life-time~ a trip to China and~ many pinch me moments-including walking the Great Wall of China. I just posted pictures and captions which you might find of use in your classroom at my website.http://www.gailhennessey.com/index.shtml?chinafolder.html and...

Collaborative Program Vision Building:...

Editor's Note: Today's guest post comes from Dr. Scott Taylor~ an educator from New Jersey.


A Protocol for Developing Meaningful Curricula
The actual process of developing curricula has not been properly defined for educational leaders who aspire to collaboratively engage their teachers in a thoughtful and sincere codification of the programs they are expected to implement in their classrooms. There are plenty of curriculum...

Jump for Joy!

Try a trampoline.

I asked a parent to donate a mini-trampoline to the classroom and began using it to create excitement in my fifth-grade classroom.

Sometimes~ I jump on it for fun~ and when I land~ I have the class yell "boom!"

Other times~ I reward students who get a correct answer by letting them come up and get in some jumps. It is amazing how hard they will work to jump a few times on a trampoline!

Without exception~ visitors...

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