Archive for the ‘Blog Carnivals’ Category

Rebranding and Reblogging

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Periodically, I like to reintroduce myself to blog/newsletter readers and (re)define the purpose of this blog/newsletter for those of who may be joining this program already in progress. In addition, a couple of recent developments will be new to almost everyone.

E-Mail Subscribers

I want to thank subscribers to this blog.  Many of you have subscribed via the e-mail newsletter link on Open Court or Treasures  You may not know that what you’re reading is a blog at all, but thank you!  Blog reading is pretty painless, isn’t it.

Who Am I?

I’m Mathew Needleman.  I’m just one guy, a teacher and sometimes filmmaker.  I write all the content on this blog and do not accept guest posts.  The most prolific periods of my blogging have been while serving as a Literacy Coach and Intervention Coordinator in the elementary grades during which time I blogged about things like reading comprehension, reading fluency, and writing with a dash of technology thrown in occasionally.

I was recently hired as an Instructional Technology Specialist.  I assist 130 schools with integrating technology into their curriculums particularly in support of the Common Core Standards and Language Learners.  I’m still focused on good instruction but my focus has widened to include not just language arts and all grade levels K-12.

The focus of my blogging going forward will likely shift to include more technology but only as it relates to instruction.  I’ve never been interested in technology for technology’s sake.  If you can do it better with a pencil and paper, please do.

My Other Sites

I maintain a number of additional web sites.  I’ve made the decision to revive my dormant independent digital film studio, at Needleworks  Needleworks Pictures hosts my personal  artistic pursuits unrelated to education and will have more information about my latest moviemaking project shortly.

I’ve spun-off all education endeavors (Open Court, Video in the, and this blog the most popular among them) and linked to them all from Needleworks All of my web sites are free but sometimes advertiser supported.  No advertiser support has ever influenced the content of any of my pages.  In addition to web sites, I also make iPhone apps which are not free and quite costly to produce.  More information about the apps is available at the Needleworks Education site.

My Outside Associations

Although I don’t intend to ever post anything offensive or controversial, it’s worth noting that although I work for a school district, everything I post here is my own opinion and not the opinion of my employer.

I am an Apple Distinguished Educator.  I was chosen for this program because of my fondness for Apple products.  I am not required to post about Apple and only do so when I choose to.  I am allowed to be objective in posting comments about Apple products.

I’m a member of the Adobe Influencer Program.  In exchange for passing on some information about Adobe news I’ve been given something akin to advanced press access to some Adobe announcements.


I thank everyone for sticking with me, particularly in this long dormant blogging period.  I hope to have new content soon.  If you have any questions, feel free to post them below.


Video in the Classroom Mini-Carnival #5

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Here are a few new examples of classroom videomaking sites worth checking out from around the web.


Mr. Alonso’s 4th grade classroom.  I particularly enjoyed, The Secret to the CSTs.

Mrs. McKillop’s 4th grade classroom in Elk Grove.  Here is their award-winning movie, The Power of One.

Middle School

Mr. Mayo’s Middle School Films.  I particularly enjoy the middle school brand of humor.

Mr. Hodgson’s claymation literary terms (alliteration, hyperbole, etc).


If your in the L.A. area, please take an iMovie class with me this summer at the County Office of Education.

Also check out my own classroom videomaking at Video in the

Earlier editions of the Video in the Classroom Carnival can be found here.

Your Days in a Sentence

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Thank you for submitting your sentences.

Elona Harjes had a Dickensian week:   It was the best of times; it was the worst of times- it was the end of semester.

Gail P also sees an end in sight:  I know we haven’t reached the middle of the year yet but I can already feel this vehicle’s momentum shifting to accommodate the race to the end of the year.

Bonnie K is looking forward to merit pay:  It’s been a tough week, dealing with the “small” election in Mass. I want to remain positive and will. Obama is my guy-BRAVO to his first year in the White House!
What can I say, I’m a political junkie and proud of it. Wait until we get to education reform.

Several teachers got teaching workouts this week…

Illya: What a wild week of work with grades, visiting student teachers, traveling, planning and teaching; now I’m looking forward to a calming weekend.

Mike says, “I taught/coached/presented to about every age group this week from 10 year olds to 60 year olds – some age groups are easier than others.”

Band leader, Joel reports, “This week was pretty busy in that I had no students on Monday, great classes and sectionals Tuesday through Thursday; however Friday’s classes were inexplicably bad; in other news, I walked 45 minutes, ran 15 minutes, Wii Fitted 100 minutes, lost 1.5 pounds, removed comments from my blog, got a haircut, downloaded MP3s, and watched the entire seventh season of 24.”

Nina Liakos: Teaching advanced (ESL) students for the first time in a long time, I have to figure out ways to ensure that the most highly proficient among them are sufficiently challenged.

Maggie:  Subbing for the first time last week reaffirmed my career choice and gave me confidence in my teaching abilities.”

Sara P-C: nothing improves my 5th grade students’ writing faster than having them score each others’ anonymous essays in groups – “mrs. p-c, it’s so messy, i can’t even *read* this!” “what is this person trying to say here?” “he’s missing his entire conclusion!” – welcome to my world, little friends…

Catalina: I had low key week since students were taking their semester exams.

Cynthia Calvert: I wonder why we senior English teachers feel we must assign research papers! Aug-h-h-h-h-h!!

Some teachers managed to get out of their classrooms…

Anne Mirtschin: After an amazing, exciting and exhilarating week of wildlife safaris in South Africa, where we were burgled by starving baboons in our apartment (with closed doors) and narrowly avoided an elephant stampede by mere seconds, I am now home safely on Australian shores.

Jim: Took a friend to the hospital today for a test on this beautiful sunny day.

Dkzody: A deluge of water made recruitment a soppy adventure.

Others need more time…

Mary Lee: I’d be fine if I didn’t have to go to any meetings!

Sheryl A. McCoy: Time, out of synchronization, speeds through the week leaving little time for reflection.

Janet Morrison: The emotional rollercoaster was in working order this week as I went from success to suck to success.

Some need to step away from the computer…

Cheryl Oaks: This week the technology gremlins appeared to cause havoc.

Ianin Sheffield: Lipsmackin’, Slidesharein’, Opensourcin’, Animotovatin’, GoogleDocin’, Tinychatin’, Flickrmakin’, Hivemindin’, Evernotein’, Youtubein’ – EdTech!

And rounding out the week …

Kevin Hodgson: The planning for a benefit concert of student and staff musicians at our school in a few weeks to support both schools in post-Katrina New Orleans and the Pennies for Peace organization is coming together but we are left with the question: what about Haiti?

From Middle Earth Ken Allan: Another wet and cold summer day with a sky choked with cloud and the wind howling lets me understand why so many people do not subscribe to this idea of global warming.

Tracy Rosen leaves us on an uplifting note:   My week is ending brilliantly as the sun stays out longer each day, brightening my world, my mood.

Day in a Sentence

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

This week I am hosting “Day in a Sentence” from Kevin Hodgson’s excellent blog.  This is a no-pressure activity for teachers to reflect upon their week and come up with a single sentence about it.

Here are the simple rules:

  • Boil down your week or your day into a single sentence
  • Use the comment feature here to share your sentence (comments are held in moderation so they won’t show up before Monday)
  • Please leave your blog address (if you have one) so that I can link to you
  • I will compile all of the writing for release in a new post on Monday


Video in the Classroom Carnival #4

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Video in the Classroom Carnival #4 comes a month early.  There were just too many good tips and examples to hold off another month.

Video Production Examples from the Trenches

Mr. Moses’s middle schoolers’ productions.  I particularly enjoyed The Clumsy Ninja for its dry sense of humor and well thought out shot selection.

Los Angeles County Digital Voice Award Winners

6th Grade Puppet Shows from Kevin Hodgson’s class.

Kelly Dumont’s elementary film festival winners.

Professional Examples

Alec Couros posts a list of tons of great Youtube videos for teaching technology and media literacy including my own, Mr. Winkle Wakes.


The Substance of Style. A series of film essays on the influences of Wes Anderson.  Watch these to help train your eye on what to look for in teaching and evaluating film.

Literacy Status:  Its Complicated, Tom Woodward asks us to think about how we’re teaching literacy.  Have we redefined it?  Have we let tools take over technique?

Let the Beat Build.  Dan Meyer explains why this music video rocks.


Everything You Always Wanted to Know About iMovie ’09 (But Were Afraid to Ask) from Yours Truly.

The Best Cinematic Tutorials Online from Smashing Magazine.

Normalizing Audio in Final Cut Pro by Larry Jordan (also check out his free FCP newsletter)

Lesson Plans

Case Study:  Video Production in Elementary