Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Class of Tomorrow

My 6th grade class ended their school year today. We viewed Spy Kids 3-D with anaglyphic glasses during which we all consumed far too much sugar and salt. Next year I will supply more fruit and veggies. Letting the kids provide lunch was a bit of a mistake.

After wreaking havoc, signing each other’s yearbooks, and playing games, we cleaned the classroom. I sat them down and quieted them for the last five minutes of the school year.
I spoke quietly to them about what the year had meant.

“This is your last moment as sixth graders. My doors are now a time portal through which you will pass into the future. Think about how you came here and what you have accomplished and reflect on its’ meaning to you. This room and your place in it will never be the same again.”

All this was delivered while the overture from Scheherazade played through I-Tunes.

Their eyes got wide and we all looked at each other and I felt they had understood what I meant. I must admit that I was a little fahklempt as I gazed at their wonderful silent faces. The bell rang and they jumped up and ran for the door wishing me a great summer with whoops and cheers.

Oh well. They were a great group of kids and I will really treasure all the experiences this year brought to us.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Read Write Web - The Malachite Maze

I have come to the end of my class on the Read/Write web. We've covered a lot of topics in the last six weeks and I feel that I have barely scrached the surface. Everywhere I turn there is another curve or whirl that draws me hither or yon. I don't mind though. It is like the surface of my desk at school. It looks a mess but I can usually find what I'm looking for.

I am excited about the possibilities of merging my math, science, and elective curriculum with new media tools. They offer greater possibilites for content, exploration, and expression for both my students and myself.

I have enjoyed publishing a web page, blog, and several groups. I subscribed to a social network, news aggregator, and several other organizations that can assist me with content, grants, and other help.

Will I continue to blog.

You bet!!!
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Greek Technology

Parsing the knowledge

Here we see proof of ancient technology at work as a young Greek girl shows her mother how to use a laptop. Of course the operating system was different but the tools were the same.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Page Museum Field Trip and Study
June 4, 2007

Final Questions
Subject - Biodiversity, habitat destruction, resource use and global warming

1. What kinds of changes were taking place in North America as the Ice Age was ending?

2. What were the causes of extinction in southern California during the last Ice Age? How were the Ice Age extinctions different from what happened to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago?

3. How does our use of petroleum known as fossil fuel affect our environment?

4. How would global warming affect the survival of species alive today? How would humans be affected?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Page Museum - Megafauna Mystery

Our research from the field trip is almost done. The kids are editing a variety of documents and I expect to finish next week.

I have uploaded the files from student's cameras and posted the photos at our Picasaweb site.

Some of their group writing work is on posted on unkelwiki

Other students are using power point or word documents to edit and we will make them available at the Classroom group. I have not been able to get them all G-mail accounts yet.

One enterprising group has recorded a podcast

This is really fun for them and I wish you could see my class.

They are on fire.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Professional Development

Wow, that was a tough crowd.

I wanna be someplace else

Chang Lee, one of my colleagues, and I presented a development meeting about using Google search, docs, and spreadsheets. We started with a video about a 16th century gentlemen who is having trouble operating a book and calls the help desk.

Introducing the book

Some teachers continued to grade papers and talk while others just sat stone faced during the film. I got more laughs from my 6th graders who viewed this video. There were some teachers of course who were engaged and joined the John Burroughs group.

The group, Burroughs-ms , will help to assist teachers implement technology and establish a culture of collaboration. Chang talked about the use of Docs. We both emphasized the variety and flexibility of the tools, they are no cost to students or faculty, and posed some ideas on how to connect content and rigor to these programs.

I also started a classroom group for my students and they were very excited.

My Classroom

This is only the beginning. I'm thinking about next semester and how to start off using the read-write web. Gaining the trust and support of teachers to allow students to learn and collaborate in this new environment is truly a challenge.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Professional Development

Marcia Tate, according to my notes, once said that professional development meetings are like flocks of seagulls. Presenters fly in, drop a load, and leave.

Ms. Tate is the famous teacher and development specialist who contrary to her metaphor, provided one of the most inspiring workshops in my recent teacher training.

Developing Minds

I am scheduled to deliver PD's in the coming weeks and I want to make a positive impact with the tools I am learning. My real challenge is to make the tools work for me and figure out how to teach others to take and adapt what works for them

More to follow.