I have it hooked up properly but how do I get the second monitor to pay attention to the mouse and how do I place other material on this second monitor?
First, open up System Preferences and go to the "Displays" preference pane.
You should see two displays. If you don't then click on "Detect Displays" and the second should come up. The main monitor is the one in the pref pane that is showing the menu bar on it. If you wish to switch the main monitors then click on the menu bar and move it to the other monitor. You can move the second display so that it is on either the right or the left of the main one.
Once you have done that you can move your mouse to the edge of the main monitor and it will appear on the second one. You can click and drag windows from one to the other.