Friday, May 16, 2008

1:1 Computing

Investing in 1:1 Computing for Students isn't a new idea for schools. The Pro's? Everyone has one to use as their own. The Cons: Everyone has one to use as their own (even those teachers who can't yet access their e-mail). For core-subject teachers students often use their machines as expensive flashcards, notebooks, drill & practice tools. While this isn't always a problem, it doesn't mean these students are becoming literate with technology.

For me, it's all about communication. If we could transition smoothly into a world of communication, I think our lives would move forward in a positive manner. Most people are critical of one another because they aren't aware of the entire scope of an issue. If we were using technology properly in a 1:1 manner, our students could work worldwide on classroom projects. It's really exciting to present a student's work using a projector within one classroom. Imagine, using a videoconference piece of software to present the same completed assignment from a classroom in another town, state, or country!

Students could become teachers and more active learners as they tried to persuade and educator their visitors. One New England state's Department of Education has a vision to become...

Maine students will be the most technologically literate in the world

Here is their example of how they are working towards this goal. It's called Distance Learning...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

NH Scavenger Hunt

Assessment of skills is a priority with my classes. It allows the students time to reflect on their work, and if use their decision making skills (simple, did I or didn't I). This time around, I'm going to test you on your NH skills. Just in time for Memorial Day (in case it rains!)

Scavenger Exercise – Let’s Go Portsmouth!

Directions: Grab a classmate for this team exercise. Answer each question completely in order to receive any credit at all. Keep track of any web resources that help you find your answers. Record those web sites under each of your answers. Print your answer sheets. Collaborate with another team to check your answers. Good luck & remember to have fun!

1) How many miles is it from your town's Main Street to Main Street in Portsmouth, NH? Hint:

2) What is the route # of the road you will spend the most of your time on?

3) What year did Portsmouth, NH become a city? Hint:

4) What is the name of the Portsmouth, NH newspaper? Hint:

5) Approximately how many people live in Portsmouth, NH? Hint:

6) If you played for a team at Portsmouth High School, you would be a __________________.

7) Approximately how many students attend Portsmouth High School? Hint:

8) How many “Twin Towns or Sister Cities” does Portsmouth, NH currently have? These towns often (though by no means always) have similar demographic and other characteristics. Hint:

9) How many people live in Portsmouth, NH’s Friendship city? Hint:

10) If you crossed the ________________ River, what state would you be in? Hint: Record the name of the river AND the state!

11) If you wanted to see an outdoor play during the summer in Portsmouth, NH. What is the name of the park you would visit? Hint:

12) Name the island introduced to the Western world in 1614 by Capt. John Smith, of Pocahontas fame. Hint:

13) What is the name of the poet who wrote some of her works on this island? Hint #1: C_ _ _ _ T _ _ _ _ _ _.
Hint #2: This woman’s father was hired as a lighthouse keeper on White Island and she married a man 11 years older than she when she was just 16 years old.

14) Imagine you are the poet that lived on this remote island off the coast of Portsmouth, NH. Write a poem describing the ISLE of _ _ _ _ _ _. Use this web site: to help you write your poem.

15) How many stops are listed on the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail?Hint:

Extra Credit: Are you smarter than a 5th grader? If so, then record your poem in Garage Band (with music\and or sounds) and share\export it so we can all listen. Good Luck!

Students & Assessment

This week I revisited the idea of self-assessment with my 4th grade classroom. They had created music via GarageBand and then a pod cast, merged the two and added a photo. We had a few glitches along the way, which we solved with critical-thinking activities. I reintroduced the Siemen’s idea of “the knowledge of one is always outweighed by the knowledge of many”and "Learning and Knowledge rests in a diversity of Opinions." That one could most likely cause issues in the public schools of America, I think.

Students were able to take turns at the instructor’s station (wireless machine with InFocus projector attached). Each student heard what the next task was, and could volunteer (boy\girl\boy\girl).

What amazes me, is we followed the same procedures we had done when we created autobiographies utilizing PowerPoint. I think Jeff’s idea of creating a pod-cast from the students would be exciting. First, the forms I used probably weren’t clear enough (or, the students were too inexperienced with following directions?) and, if they could repeat the exercise of pod-casting, it would cement their skills.

I’m going to give it a shot.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Teaching in a Networked Environment

I’ve been thinking of how to integrate wikis and building web pages easily into my grade 6 classes. Primarily because they’re the oldest grade I teach. I also wanted to use a wiki as a project share with my Technology Triad team.

Here’s what happened. In grade 6 we’re working on formatting and working in a networked environment. Here’s the rubric for my plan.

Add your last name in a single centered headline in your header, size 36 if possible. Use a graphic style font as a top and bottom border in your headline. Add your full name on the Editor line and the date (including the day of the week). Click Insert, Date and Time. Click the box that reads, “update automatically” in order for your date to update each.

Double-space your newsletter drafts. Click Format, Paragraph, and Line Spacing-double before you begin any work. You can change your work into columns towards the end of this project.

Include the following topics as subheadings; Mathematics, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Favorite Project, Extra Curricular Activity/Event, and Most Wanted Teacher. Type Subheadings in size 18, bold and underlined. Make Subheadings the identical color to your Headline. Do not separate your subheadings from your articles if at all possible!

Are used to credit the work of someone other than you. Bylines appear in the same font style as your subheadings, and are one size smaller.

By Linda Perryclear
Write 3-4 sentences about your math class here. Your article should contain information about what math covers during grade 6. Give two examples of specific math topics and one math project you already completed this year.

Language Arts
By Lu Dujour
Create 3-4 sentences about your Language Arts class here. Your article should contain the specifics about what is covered in Language Arts during grade 6. Give two examples of specific Language Arts topics and one L.A. project you completed this year.

By Whitey Rabbit
Write 3-4 sentences about your Science class here. Your article should contain information about what Science covers during grade 6. Give two examples of specific Science topics and one Science project you already completed this year.

Social Studies
By Pam Thomas
Compose 3-4 sentences about your Social Studies class here. Your article should contain information about what Social Studies covers during grade 6. Give two examples of specific Social Studies topics and one Social Studies project you already completed this year.

Favorite Project
By Cathy Morris
Enter information about your favorite project under this subheading. Tell the reader the goal\objective o f the assignment, how you did or did to reach your expected outcome and why this project was your favorite.

Extra Curricular Activity or School Event
By Dan Sullivan
Tell your rears about a special school activity, team or school wide event you enjoyed during this year. Use at least 4 lines of text.

Most Wanted Teacher
By Eddie Arnold
Do you have a teacher you would like to spend more class time with? Use this section to tell your readers about this person. Add a fun fact or two about this person without revealing their name. Add a picture of this teacher if you can!

Enter in all your contributors & web resources here in size 16. Use bullets if you want.
o Highlight your contributor’s names
o Click Format
o Click Bullets & Numbering
o Click your favorite bullet style

Final Formatting Instructions
Once your newsletter is typed, apply\check these steps to your document. Take your time because accuracy counts.
1. Insert a picture of yourself under the Editor text.
2. Click Insert, Picture from File. Click on the list of pictures. Use your arrow keys to scroll. Once you find one of yourself (remember, you’re the Editor), Click Insert.

Next, Check your spelling and grammar.
1. Click Tools, Spelling and Grammar.
2. Enter your word count in your footer (see this sheet for an example).

The last part includes changing the text to column format.
1. Click Format, Columns. Select three columns.

Compare your document to this one. Double-check your steps. Hint, this font is Times New Roman, size 12. Add similar lines around each graphic too.

Extra Credit (5 points): Add a labeled picture of your school in the bottom right corner of this document.

You can copy and paste it into a word document and then use 3 columns. It will look great. I’ve also included it for your use. I began class with letting the student’s keyboard on Typing Master online. It’s our standard start-up procedure and helps those that want to get started do so, and those who need a bit of time to get started.

I brought up Plymouth State University’s Technology and Learning in a Networked Environment class wiki.

The student’s understanding of sharing a networked site is good, as our upper elementary school uses Edline for a class web site. They can jump to web sites (like typing master, or my from there easily, view their grades, and download documents to work on.

What they absolutely loved was the fact they could contribute to a site. We can’t do this in class because they don’t have e-mail accounts, however they could get the look and feel of it. We visited my professor’s school in Shanghai, China right off the link too. They noticed the American flag, and that everything was in English. We jumped to the K12onlineconference at and heard my professor’s podcast. They were amazed.

Here’s the tie-in. This ordinary formatting assignment that would create a newspaper for the incoming grade became global. They wanted to write as if 5th graders from around the world were going to be 6th graders at the Armand R. Dupont School (psst... I don't manage the site).

Truly Amazing!

Literacy & Technology

As a Technology teacher, many times I come up against students with reading difficulties and because I fall into the “Specialist” category, there may or not be an aide to help. If a student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), or 504 Accommodation, I have a bit of a heads-up on the students learning style and possible disability.

Technology is fun. I think what I’ve learned from this assignment is I can incorporate reading and make it fun. It is a bit difficult at times because of short rotations (22 days), but I think if I step back and incorporate reading strategies each student will benefit in their own way.

For instance, I always give students preview of a lesson utilizing an Infocus Projector. Why not add in the different strategies of reading as I can. In this particular newsletter unit I can use a number of the Eight Principles of Vocabulary Instruction quite easily. Previewing and enthusiasm about content area language. The students know I’m proud to be a geek and I want to turn them into geeks someday.

Using Strategic Processing students activate their prior knowledge and Making Connections – Each lesson is based on a previous lesson, a previous year (I have students in grades 3-6). Teaching concepts in semantically related clusters so students can see the associations between concepts. For example, a student’s knowledge of color, balance and coherence from a previous lesson will assist them in their newsletter creation.

And finally, students can revise their models easily. As students read, I have them underline anything they don’t understand and circle any unknown vocabulary. They can do this on their word processors if they can. This assists when they are using study guides. When they don’t answer a question correctly, they go back to their original content. In this lesson plan, it could be the PowerPoint handouts where they mark their reading.

Friday, April 25, 2008


What should your Personal Learning Network do for you?  It all revolves around communication, I think.  "It can be your most powerful tool" says Dr. David Tobin.  While he begins simply by reciting the four stages of learning; data, information, knowledge and wisdom.  He goes on to say a Learning Network can help you by: 
  • helping you sift through all the data to identify which information will be most useful to you.
  • helping you to identify learning resources and opportunities.
  • coaching you and answering your questions as you try to apply your learning to your work.
  • sharing their wisdom with you through dialogue.
I think a personal learning network lets you learn, and let's you teach others in your network.  Remember the collective power of knowledge is always greater than the knowledge of one.

Web 2.0

In order for schools today to be successful they must be data driven.  So, how do we incorporate that initiative into our lives... Often I find myself looking beyond the boundaries of the United States for ideas.  I guess after reading "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman, I began to realize that everyone has the ability to do anything.  And, while that may be a bummer for us, it's an increased sense of participation for most of the world.    Here's where we can take note on what the rest of the world is up to.

A summary of what Europe is collecting for their Learning 2.0 Study...
  1. Identify and Analyse the existing practices and related success factors of major 2.0 initiatives in the field of learning in Europe:
  2. Look at the innovative dimension of using web 2.0 for learning:
  3. Analyse the position of Europe vs. the rest of the world in terms of quantitative and qualitative use of innovative Learning 2.0 approaches:
  4. Discuss the potential of social computing applications to (re)-connect groups at risk-of-exclusion:
  5. Propose avenues for further research and policy-making.
I think these could all be part of a solid case to move to Web 2.0!