Category Archives: Microsoft

TCEA 2010 session 1 Language Arts Activities using Office

cross posted at

TCEA session 1
Karen Ferrel
Language Arts Activities using Microsoft Office

1. sentence elaboration
copy and paste
The dog ran.
to elaborate – see wherer they started and where they ended up for complete concrete visual of improvement
copy and paste sentence – add an adjective
The spotted dog ran.
How did the dog run?
The spotted dog ran swiftly.
more descriptive what breed?
The spotted dalmation ran swiftly.
The spotted dalmation swiftly trotted.
some language arts skills
teach open word, copy and paste,

Passive Verbs
Find and replace
given a prepared sentence or paragraph
use find and replace to find passive verbs like is
and replace with is but click more
format – replace unhighlighted is with highlighted is
replace is replace all
student can quickly see that they have a lot of is in there
vary sentence structure
find The (capital The space) check match case
this highlights all the sentences that start with The
you can change the colors of highlight

Parts of Speech
formatting and or highlighting
prepared paragraph
or their own writing
have them go through and highlight or bold all the verbs or different font
or underline
can use format painter
find all the nouns?
select noun, highlight
double click format painter
it will now stay active
now click off painter and click maybe the verbs
change format and click on format painter


sentence generator
tools addins box tool pack – click first tow little check boxes

has spread sheet of words click f9 and it generates a new sentence
uses a combination of an if statement
function =if randbetween
can highlight the list and format font to white so kids don’t see the words
file available online

design the sentences
create table
ID student name adjective noun 1 noun 2 adverb past tense verb
add data for each field

she used label wizard type in what sentence might look like
student name
the space adjective space noun space verb to the noun.
it will put them in there for you
detailed instructions online

drawn objects with text

click on the ? could be noun?  whatever you want them to click on
create text box, type in sentence, enlarge font
create buttons to tell student if they clicked right or wrong
can create prompts 1n wordart
e.g. try again, you are right, maybe a star that says correct!
if they click anywhere on the sentence besides the noun we want it to say try again
custom animation
add effect to try again
enter, dissolve?
attach animation to (right click timing box comes up click triggers
first everything will be try again
create boxes over nouns for exceptions
make  fill transparent so word will show (and no outline)
add animation effect for correct and again right click timing trigger and choose rectangle number (whatever is correct)

Error eraser
use this for finding an error in a sentence (taks)
(this one is in book – gamewise for Language arts
matching game
booth 935 and 2479
conference price for book 27.00

Powerpoint 2003 – Make a Sound Play Across Slides In Ten Steps

Students frequently ask me how to insert a sound and make it play for more than one slide.  Here is how to do it in ten steps.  This assumes that you have already found a sound and saved it somewhere on your computer. This is in Office 2003

1. Navigate to the slide where you want your sound to begin playing.
2. Go to Insert>Movies and sounds>Sound from file
3. Navigate to your sound file
4. Click OK
5. Click Automatically
6. Go to Slide Show>Custom Animation (your sound file should be listed)
7. In the drop down list next to  your sound click the effect options. Play sound, Effect tab
8. Click the radio button beside stop playing after (Here there is a drop down box where you can choose the number) slides
9. In Timing tab – to play automatically you can set to start after previous with a 0 second delay
10. Go to sound settings and adjust the volume

This is cross posted at Technology For Learning

Randomly Speaking Excel TCEA09 Notes

There was so much so fast here but she does have the links to the instructions on her website at

This was all about using the randbetween function in excel to generate random numbers in a range you designate to create flashcards, graphs, ordered pairs and more.  She shows you how to use autoshapes and this function to create dice.  I will play with this some more but wanted to get the link posted.  Excel rocks!

Comp Day May 2008

Here is my handout. Some of it is covered in other places in this blog. It was created on a Mac using Pages. I am trying to get more comfortable using the iWork software and I think that while it is not as much of a workhorse as Word it was fun and easy to export as a PDF.

Create a folder

PowerPoint Backgrounds and creating content in Word

Adding Sound to PowerPoint and making the music play across multiple slides

Creating Screenshots

Creating a group in Outlook Express

Locking your computer

Word Tips


End of year grade export


PowerPoint Tip – Create Your Content In Word

You can type the content for your PowerPoint presentation in Microsoft Word. If you highlight a section and choose Heading 1 in the formatting toolbar, that section of text can become a slide title. If you highlight another section and choose Heading 2 in the formatting toolbar, that text will become a bullet point. Header 3 will give you a bullet one level in. Normal text will not show up at all.


When you are finished typing your information, save your text in case you wish to edit or re-use later. Go to File/Send to (click the chevron arrows if necessary to see all the choices) and choose Microsoft PowerPoint.


You now have a basic presentation with all your text already in place. You can now add backgrounds, animations, slide transitions and whatever else you want to dress it up.


This technique makes it easy to see the flow of your presentation and to see where you might want to add notes if you are creating notes pages for yourself. You could type notes into Word as you work on your original text – just leave the notes as normal text. They won’t show on the presentation when you “send” it but once your Slide titles and bullets have been created in PowerPoint you can switch view to notes page and you can easily paste your notes onto the bottom section and you will have a complete presentation package complete with notes for you to use as you present.
If you’ve ever watched students work on a presentation you know that they tend to want to spend the bulk of their time working on the bling. By creating content in Word and then sending it to PowerPoint you know they are starting with the “cake” and then working on the “frosting”.

If you are ever asked to create a PowerPoint for someone else, you can tell them you would be glad to help and if they will type their information in Word and send it to you you will have it done very quickly for them.

Ten Things You May Not Know About PowerPoint

  1. You can put single words in separate text boxes and animate them
  2. You can insert an autoshape and then have your text wrap within the shape
  3. You can decide if the animation should start after the preceding action or wait for you to click a mouse or presenter, or set the timing
  4. You can have more than one object animated on a slide
  5. You can add shapes and pictures and move them on top of or under other items like a stack of pictures and words by arranging/send to back or bring to front
  6. After you choose an animation you can click the effect tab and make the text change color, play a sound, appear a word or a letter at a time
  7. the effects tab will also let you group to second level paragraphs to give you more control of how bulleted lists appear (called a build)
  8. have a chart appear on the slide, one element at a time
  9. add buttons or pictures that let you navigate around your slideshow. You decide what gets clicked and where it sends you
  10. Draw comic book type illustrations using the lines in the autoshapes menu and fill shapes with gradients to give the illusion of shading

Computer Applications UIL

I started coaching for the first time this year and this is only the second meet we have competed in. I have two students and one went with me to the last meet. While she didn’t place this time she made a huge improvement from the last time. My other student got her first introduction to the real thing today and I expect she will improve as well.

It has been a learning experience for me as well. This year coaches are required to grade after the meet and I think this is a very good thing. I have learned more during the grading about how to help my students do better than any other time. Both my kids are seniors so I will start over next year, but with more knowledge and confidence. Every meet we attend I learn more and we get a copy of that test to take with us so we will build up a bank of practice material.

I am trying to work through all the tests I have that are from last year. If I can do it, I can explain it. If you are not familiar with this event, the student is given a test that may consist of a Word document, and Access database, and an Excel spreadsheet. You may have to embed a spreadsheet in a memo, or import data into a document to complete a mail merge. There will more than likely be functions involved too.

Computer Applications seems to traditionally be an early event and I was up at 5:30 this morning but we were home by noon so I am now getting ready to turn in.

It’s nice to see progress even if it isn’t a win. At least we are headed in the right direction!

PowerPoint Can Be Artistic? Poetic? Pretty???

Frame 1

Take a look at this site – a teacher wants her class to do a project like this – can we put together some instructions?

Sidebar – whoa this is cool! I am loving this.

Frame 2

A little playing, a little tweaking, some typing and some screenshots and yes we can do this! This is fun and creative and the students will take it and run!

Frame 3

Some explaining – this is how, this is where, be creative – think! not just about the bells and whistles; the bells and whistles have to enhance the symbolism in the text.
Think about the poem, put some words in separate text boxes. Animate them, use color, movement, sound and pictures to SHOW the poem!

Frame 4

Next day student asking will I be there that afternoon – this is confusing. Sure, we talk about the poem (she was stuck – how to animate a poem about sleep)

Frame 5

Student using all the elements – beautiful! Walking around helping, add a few seconds, try this and that. Go sit down – get out of the way. They are the artists!

If you are creating – you are learning. I’m learning, they are teaching me!
They are making a new piece of art!

There will be some tutorials coming up!

Dynamic Powerpoint – Beyond Basics By Cindy Cohen 8035

This was a good session that gave some basic common sense tips on using PowerPoint.

Why would we want to use it (well)?
• This generation has little tolerance for delays or mistakes in delivery of information
• It’s an easy way to get information across in a short time period


  • Too much information – on each slide
  • Color choices (may depend on lighting in presentation location)
  • Can be “eye catching or eye watering”
  • Presentation often not test driven to catch problems

If well used can be extremely engaging


  • Proof read
  • Don’t include all information
  • Practice test run
  • Don’t over-use the software in the classroom

Key – Keep the focus on the presenter

Start with the basics

  • Know your information
  • What are the key points or concepts
  • Make an outline (enter basic information on blank slides)
  • Order is important
  • Add relevant materials (diagrams, images, audio, video)

Consider approaches for presenting

  • How is the slide being used?
  • Ask a question on the slide (stop for discussion)
  • Break up with a related activity (stop presentation, do short activity, go back to presentation)

Adjust style elements (easy place to waste time)

  • Visual interest is key but remember to keep focus on the presenter
  • You can use WordArt to make notes on each slide to remind you of details, changes, and additions – what needs to be done to each slide
  • Do test run
  • Prepare your oral presentation (this is the part that many people omit!)
  • To prepare you can take your original outline and print it out or print slide handouts.
  • 3 slides to a page and you can have lines on the right side for notes

Presentations without a presenter

  • Podcast presentation
  • Save each slide as a jpeg
  • Insert into MovieMaker
  • Create audio voiceover using Audacity put together audio and movie – Podcast

*They did a Distance Learning Day at Good Shepherd. They submitted lesson plans, students stayed home and did assignments via internet. This type of podcast presentation was part of her lesson.

Opening Office 2007 Files and Open Office files

7-large.jpgWe have no computers running Vista at school, but a few students have it on home computers. I learned I can open documents created on Vista machines with Pages on my Mac.

Just yesterday I downloaded the latest OpenOffice and burned it to a cd for a student to install on their home computer. The student created a presentation and brought it to school on her jump drive. It wouldn’t open with PowerPoint on a PC or Mac and I finally had to just open it in OpenOffice on my Mac and let the teacher view and grade it on my machine. I’m not sure it was because it was a new version of OpenOffice or if it was because the student had not saved it as a PowerPoint when she created it. I will download and install it on my PC to check it out.

It is always a challenge to deal with the issues that crop up as the public sometimes moves on to new technology before the school can completely catch up. Newer printers can only be hooked to the computer via usb and older computers like Windows 98 machines may have usb ports but they don’t seem to be able to use them. Unfortunately, printers tend to give out before computers do so this is getting to be more of an issue.

I also read a “just for fun” tip on A New Mac Tip Everyday. This is how to change your login screen background. If you are like me you don’t see that screen too often but you might want to put a picture as a background even there. Here is how:

1. Make a copy of the background you want and rename it to “DefaultDesktop.jpg”.

2. Go to /System/Library/CoreServices and find the file DefaultDesktop.jpg.
3. Store the file somewhere on your hard drive in case you want to go back to the original default background.
4. Place your new background called “DefaultDesktop.jpg” in the folder /System/Library/CoreServices.
This won’t actually affect your productivity but then if you use a Mac to work you are already productive!

Books and Tips For Windows and Word

I love Amazon’s used books. I got a box of paperbacks for Dale today. He has decided he wants to go back and start reading all of Sue Grafton‘s books in order. He has read A through F and I got an entire box in the mail today – G through N. For those of you who do not read mysteries Sue Grafton’s books have titles like “M is for Murder” and “I is for Innocence”. The main character is a girl private detective named Kinsey Milhone. These books should last him through the transplant process.

I got a copy of PowerPoint For Teachers by Ellen Finkelstein and Pavel Samsonov which looks pretty good. It walks you through creation of presentations to use in the classroom and I hope to learn some new techniques that I can post here. I am making a little collection of things to read and learn and blog about during Dale’s hospitalization and this will be part of that.

Part of my job is supporting teachers in their use of technology and I forget sometimes that while I get excited about Web 2.0 tools and blogging and wikis and skype, I forget that most people just want to know little tricks that make their job easier. Today I showed one person keyboard shortcuts – Windows/E for opening Windows Explorer and Windows/L for locking their computer and being able to log back in and have all their programs still open. Another person just wanted the steps for creating a folder on their desktop and instructions on how to save documents directly to it. Two people were made happy by something that took me just a few moments.

To make a new folder by the way – you right click on a blank space whether it be on your desktop or within another folder. Choose new and then choose folder. Rename your folder and then when you create a document you want to save in that folder click on File/Save As and using the drop down box navigate to the folder you just created. Voila!
I also learned you can link text boxes in Word. A class project entails some students creating a magazine type article that I mentioned in the previous post. While the Word column function doesn’t do exactly what they need another way to go is putting everything in text boxes and then “linking” them so that text will flow from one to the next if there is more text that will fit in the box.

1. Hover the mouse pointer over the border of the first text box. The pointer shape changes to the Move shape (looks like a plus sign with arrows at the ends of the lines)

2. Right click and choose Create Text Box Link

3. The mouse pointer will change to a “pitcher” shape.

4. Click in the box you wish to link to – the text will now “pour” from the first text box into the second.

5. You can link more than one text box but you must always link forward – you cannot link backwards.

This is still not an ideal answer but it gives you a some control and another option.

I love technology but I like making people happy too! New books, happy people – it was a good day!


Microsoft Word Column Limits

A class was trying to do a project today and the idea was to use Word in three column format to create a magazine style article. The problem was that they needed to be able to insert a picture and the teacher wanted that picture to be able to span several columns and have the text wrap around it but still stay in column format. Microsoft Office 2000 and 2003 were being used. I tried to figure out a way to make it work and created a text box to use as the container for the picture. On my MacBook it worked like a charm. Unfortunately the text wrapping part didn’t work so well when I tried it on the PC.
Microsoft Word worked better on my MacBook than on the PC? That is just weird.


Mindboggling Photosynth!

I saw a video yesterday (thanks for the heads up, Tony) that showed a gorgeous application called Photosynth. You can check it out at Microsoft Labs and as the news spreads there will be more videos and articles about it on the internet. If I understand it correctly – image resolution will no longer be a problem.

It creates a three-D image of other images – thousands of images taken by thousands of people. You can zoom in and out without losing quality.

Think back to a time when you have found a picture on the web that you wanted to use in a document. You saved it and then inserted it into your document but it was just a little thumbnail. You stretched it out to the size you wanted and it became ugly, blurry, and pixelated (or blocky) Not so with this – if you watch the demonstration you will see an entire book and the presenter will zoom in and the fonts will stay clear and smooth no matter what size you view.

The three-D part is where is gets confusing and exciting. You have this huge collection of photos (his demonstration used photos of Notre Dame) and all of the view might be slightly different and yet you can use this to get a 3D view of the site. You can also see from different perspectives and it looks like you can see the exact spot the photo was taken from.

Another aspect of this that is very cool is metadata. Metadata is everywhere and it simply means data about data. A non-computer example would be card catalogs in libraries. The card catalog is not the book but it tells you where the book can be found, who wrote it, and other information about the book. Metadata can describe a file or a web page. If you are looking at a web page and view the source code you will see some entries near the top that begin with meta – these usually contain information like keywords that help search engines find the website. Imagine that all these photos have been tagged with keywords and also contain metadata that gives you the time and date the photo was taken, gps coordinates for the exact spot where the photo was taken and much more. Imagine that all these photos coming together as a 3D view of the groups of them and the metadata for one becomes part of all.

I’m still trying to digest it. It gives a whole new meaning to research on the web. I think this will be huge and there will be more and better information as this becomes more known. My only saving grace is that in trying to find out more about it I ran across people much more knowledgeable than I am who were also asking tons of questions.

The implications for ecology, biology, and even astronomy are interesting. Of course we will needs some travelers willing to take their digital cameras to space for that. Imagine using this with microscopic photography, pictures taken from inside hurricanes and tornadoes, legal implications if this type of software is able to create images that can be admitted as evidence in a case.

What about the cultural implications of this and all the metadata that exists out there that leaves our “footprints”. If this application can zoom in on a building detail it can pick out the details of a face or hand in a crowd. We have historically worried about protecting our “privacy” on the internet but I wonder if as we become more aware of how transparent we are and how discoverable, will it cause us to live differently? You know the old saying about people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones? They shouldn’t walk around naked with the lights on either. However – if you know the lights are going to be on – won’t you behave differently? Maybe this transparency isn’t all bad – if it means that we will strive to be perceived as better then we will act better and in the act, maybe become better. As our culture affects how we develop technology we more and more can see how technology affects culture. This is another one of those times when we can’t see ahead to what the long term repercussions will be but this is one that makes me hopeful.

Visually speaking, some thoughts were expressed in this quote “I used to live in Arizona, several years ago, and you’ll notice that the further away you get from a mountain, the more its figure stays the same regardless how far left you go, or how far right. I wonder how the software handles perspective, and distance on this magnitude.
Buildings, which have unnatural forms will look rather different depending on where you are. But mountains tend to retain their figure when you are further away, walking left or right.”

Another person on this particular forum brought up the cameras that they use for intricate surgery and how they could use this technology to build 3D surgery so they could study it further.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas is the presenter and worked on the project before Microsoft purchased the companies that developed it. I hope you will watch the video because my explanation and description do not come close to the reality of this application. It truly has to be seen to be believed.

You can see a video here

Dr. Mary Ann Bell at TCEA

If you have never met Dr. Bell you are missing a treat. Fiesty, fun, and way ahead of her time. She recently started her own blog and voiced concern about how schools are blocking many of the web 2.0 sites that she was planning to talk abou tin her TCEA presentation.

Dr. Bell’s presentation was called Fun, New and Free Ideas and Services Via the Internet. If you click on her name above it will take you to the portal to her site where you can access the links she shared as well as previous presentations.

She gives links to all kinds of useful sites as well as complete text professional online journals.

One link Dr. Bell showed was Starfall, a site for elementary phonics and reading . She recommended some blogs to read and I will list them but let you check out the rest on the handout on her site.



One of the library blogs led me to a great Geography resource – Library of Congress Portals to the World.

Dr. Bell also mentioned Bernie Poole‘s site where you can find tons of resources and if you click on the link on the left side title online books you can download entire books he has written including several wonderful tutorials on using Microsoft Office.

Nancy Pearl was with her as usual. Nancy Pearl is the fabulous “shushing” librarian figurine that travels everywhere with Dr. Bell and gets her picture taken in the most interesting places. You can find her photos on Flickr.

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Open Office for Macs!

I am taking a little time to do some reading. The laundry is piling up and the dishes need to be washed but it will all be there tomorrow so here goes.

There was an article about Open Office soon running natively on Macs. I’m looking forward to it. I have always liked Open Office because it is something students can put on their home computers when they can’t afford the big expensive office suite and save their work so that it is compatible with said office suite. I should mention that teachers can put it on their home computers as well. There are no site licensing issues to worry about.

I have been able to use it on laptops running Linux and ported to OSX but now I won’t have to worry about porting it. It’s a shame more software isn’t this versatile.

I still have the other office suite running on computers at home and at work but I find myself using it less and less. It’s a habit I am working hard to break. If I am going to promote it I need to learn it well enough to teach it.

There is resistance to using it widespread and I don’t know if it is a matter of people being afraid of trying something new or an attitude of thinking that it must not be as good if it doesn’t cost anything, or a combination of both.

A quote from a DIGG comment “you would think schools would ask for programs to be made in other OS’s.” I would think software companies would want to make their programs in other operating systems. Oh wait – Open Office already does that – hmmm….

Word Hanging Indent

Students working on term papers in the lab have to cite their sources. Often this requires using a hanging indent which seems to give everyone trouble. It isn’t hard to do but it also isn’t easy to find if you don’t know it’s there. The easiest way I have found is to go ahead and type your sources with no indent. Double space between each source. When you have them all typed, highlight the entire section and go to format/paragraph on the menu bar. A new menu will pop up.

Click the drop down arrow next to the word “special” and choose “hanging”. Your entire section should now be formatted with hanging indents for the first line of each section. See? Easy to do – not exactly intuitive to find.

Don’t Use Powerpoint As a Weapon!

I was reading some articles about PowerPoint today on Presentation Zen and stumbled on a few good things to remember. First was one I had heard before – the 10-20-30 rule. Ten slides, twenty minutes, thirty point font. Someone asked Guy Kawasaki at a presentation what to do if you have to use an hour for your presentation and he said not to worry – it would take forty minutes to get the projector to work with your Windows laptop. How true!

The second article had to do with design and the author described the rule of thirds. You divide your slide into vertical and horizontal thirds. Position text and images along these invisible lines for a more interesting design. Use the image to draw the eye to your text. He had some great examples.

I’d like to see our students better educated in the proper use of PowerPoint. When I see students attempting to put an entire term paper on a presentation I ask them to pretend they are driving down the highway reading billboards. Would they be able to read their slide do 50 miles an hour without causing a ten car pile-up? If not they probably have too much information.

Another problem some students have is getting past playing with the bells and whistles to gathering the actual research done and putting the information on their slides. I tell them to imagine they have been asked to bring a Birthday Cake to a party. You don’t frost and decorate a cake before you bake it so the same principle holds true with presentations. Make the cake and then using good design ideas – decorate it!