February 2007, Volume 7, Issue 2
Is It Really Excel?

Thanks to all of you who packed the room during the Rendezvous 2007 presentation on using Excel for the most unlikely, but exciting student activities! The one  comment I kept getting was, "I had no idea Excel could do all of that." Yes, all of that and much, much more.

You should have your workshop CDs by now. If not, send me a CD with a self-addressed protective envelope, and I'll burn one  for you.

Several of you requested that Tech Beat summarize the key elements of that session and publish links for further enjoyment. Your wish is my desire to please!


Excel was developed as a spreadsheet program. It is an excellent tool for that, no doubt. However, educators all over the world have taken the tool and transformed it into an amazing interactive vehicle for learning just about anything, from fractions to sentences, history, geography, games, on and on.

Four tools in Excel that provide the most flexibility and application are its graphing ability, its formula adaptations, its function uses, and its "comments" action. Check out the tip of the iceberg by following the links below. I created very simple projects just to give you a taste. Some of the files only have two or three examples of the activity. You don't have to know anything about Excel to create these and many more on your own, with very little help. (See the offer below.) 

Allow time for each project to open in your Excel Application. Save as you please.

Body Parts Crossword - Sheet 1 has the crossword; sheet 2 has the answer. I just used "comments" to give the clues. To click on the second sheet, look for the tabs at the bottom.

Colors -  Super simple examples to show how you can have students fill in the answer and get immediate feedback.

The Human Skeleton - Another example on fill-in-the-word and get immediate feedback.

Colorado Map - Use comments to provide information with a click.

Trip Cost Estimator - Complete the information in each cell, and see the formula work.

See Fractions Work - Very simple and easy project that uses a spinner form and a related chart.

Literacy Chart - Look at examples of very simple activities for ABE, ESL, or adaptable to any student. Click on the links from the 1st sheet or simply click the tabs at the bottom for additional sheets. I didn't create this one. The link is on the sheet.

Want to learn how? You can create several of the above in a one-hour workshop. Grab your computer with Excel 2003, and we'll connect over the phone where you can see my computer and I yours. Contact me for the best date, and we'll go from there. All you pay for is the long distance call, which, with a phone card, can be as little as 3-5 cents a minute!

Click on LINKS to Excel Resources (in Word). I checked the links a week ago and they all worked. Hope that's still the case. If you find a faulty link, please drop me an email. If you have a link to contribute, do the very same thing with my thanks.

PBS Launches New Teacher Site Today!

Find thousands of free lesson plans, local and national educator resources, teacher professional development, videos, blogs, and more! Yes, it is designed for PK-12, but there is a lot there that we can adapt for adult educators. Enjoy!

From Arlington, VA; March 1, 2007 – PBS today unveils one of its most comprehensive Web undertakings in years with the debut of PBS Teachers, PBS’ portal for pre-K-12 educators (www.pbs.org/teachers).

In production for more than a year, PBS Teachers is the front door for all educational resources and services PBS offers, and provides information on effective ways to use media and technology in the school- or home-based learning environment.

The site offers a one-stop resource for educators searching for wide-ranging curriculum resources, video products (Shop for Teachers), online professional development opportunities (PBS TeacherLine) and more.

“With the launch of PBS Teachers, PBS and our local stations will make available an unprecedented array of state-of-the-art resources for educators across the country,” said Mary Kadera, vice president of education. “The breadth of content showcased on the site will be valuable to teachers of all grade levels and subject areas.”

For information, contact Kevin Dando, 703/739-5073, kdando@pbs.org

I searched this new site for plans in Grades 3-5, in Applied Math, for example.  One lesson was designed to "Measure different parts of bicycles that have been designed for different purposes, and find the ratio of the frame size to the chain stay. Compare and contrast the ratios, and explain the reasons for the differences."

There are many resources waiting to be discovered. If you find one you like, send me a short description of how you used it and we'll share it here!

Send me your ideas for future issues!

CONTACT ME: leecy@swadulted.com