Kiva for Global Scholars

December 18, 2008

Kiva – Loans that Change Lives [] is a micro-lending website. On the site you can browse through a listing of entrepreneurs to find someone that needs a small loan to break out of poverty. In their words:

We Let You Loan to the Working Poor

Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Kiva is a great way to find a Global Scholar service learning project. You can find someone half way around the world  and loan them money. The website has pictures of the entrepreneurs as well as descriptions of their project or business. As they repay the loan you get updates on their business. When the loan is re-payed you can donate the money to Kiva, withdraw it, or loan it back out.

Groups of poeple can come together to make teams on Kiva. There is already an educator team at

If a few classes at a school wanted to sponsor a loan you could make a school team.


Visual Poetry

December 11, 2008

PicLits Beach Haiku

PicLits Beach Haiku

PicLits [] is a beautiful new web site that could support poetry, creative writing, or really any descriptive writing. is a creative writing site that matches beautiful images with carefully selected keywords in order to inspire you. The object is to put the right words in the right place and the right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture.

There is a vast library of compelling images that you can browse through. Find one that moves you and write about it. This could be a great way to teach poems, haiku, etc.


Office 2007 Resources

December 2, 2008

Office 2007 offers many improvements to make your work easier, faster, and more efficient. You just have to put in some time and energy to learn how to get the most out of the improvements.

Ofice Button

Ofice Button

One of the biggest changes is the file menu. It is gone. Well not really gone, but replaced with the Office Button. You will find save, print, open and many of the other file menu tools under the Office button. Things are rearranged a bit, for example if you are looking for page set up (to switch from portrait to landscape) you go Office button > Print preview > Page layout. Or you can use the Page Layout ribbon.

Read more the Office button in Microsoft’s article “What happened to the File menu?

Office 2007 Ribbon

Office 2007 Ribbon

The ribbon system is another major interface change. Many common tasks that used to be on various toolbars are now more easily accessed through tabbed ribbons. Read more about the ribbon system in Microsoft’s article “Use the Ribbon“.

Many people find Office 2007 intuitive to use. Spend a few minutes getting oriented with the Office button and the the ribbon system and then get busy. Try to insert and format a table in word or make graph in excel. It will take a few extra minutes to find things but it will be worth it. People that have been using 2007 for a while say they find things to be more logical and that they are more productive once they learn their way around.

Office 2007 Training Resources

Microsoft Office Word 2007 Quick Start Guide [] – This 2 page PDF would be useful as a hard copy sitting by your computer as you get used to the new Word, lots of information in a small package.

Microsoft Office Training Courses [] – learn from the source, these are the official training courses from Microsoft, organized by application. These are very thorough and comprehensive, jump to the section you need.

Office 2007 How-Tos on the How-To Geek [] – This is a list of “How to” do specific tasks such as “Add Background Color To Word 2007 Documents” and “Add Background Pictures To Excel 2007 Worksheets


Lost Colony Resources

December 1, 2008

Roanoke Island is best known for its historical significance as the site of Sir Walter Raleigh‘s attempt to establish a permanent English settlement with his Roanoke Colony in the late 16th century. The fate of the final group of colonists has yet to be ascertained, leading to the continuing interest in what became known as the “Lost Colony” for over 400 years.

wikipedia Roanoke entry

LearnNC, as always, has an excellent collection of Lost Colony resources: which includes the following list of resources, among others:

The National Park Service has a mini-site called The Roanoke Voyages – A Mystery Story For Young People at that would be interesting reading.

How Do You Lose a Colony – this is a thorough and informative site that covers background information, people involved, theories, web links, and a resources page. This would be a good resource for students to use for research. []

The nature of the mystery lends itself to having students act as investigators that come up with ideas of what happened. Students could review existing theories of what happened on Roanoke and then explain what they think happened.

A timeline is a good product idea, students could sequence events involved. There are excel templates that make timelines and there are free online timeline makers as well.

There are several webquests about the Lost Colonly out on the web. These are a good source of both project ideas, resources, and links. Here are a few to look at: