Friday, December 28, 2012
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Friday, November 2, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The digital passport site has the following resources available for parents:
Communication: Twalkers (proper cell phone use, multitasking, and distraction)
Cyberbullying: Evolve (cyberbullying, targets, upstanders, bystanders, and bullies)
Creative Credit: Mix-N-Mash (copyright law, plagiarism, and giving credit)
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Saturday, October 6, 2012
As a celebration of Spanish language, and leading up to the Hispanic Heritage Dinner, Upper School teacher Profesora Sánchez-Gómez created a video asking students and faculty members of Hispanic origin about their favorite Spanish word.
Here is an example of a video some students threw together in advance of homecoming...
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Panelists discussed the pros and cons of technology in education, and an important take-away for parents was to stay connected with their teens and keep the dialog open. Gardner pointed out that one of the benefits of technology is the ability to individualize education, yet he acknowledged that one of the pitfalls is the assumption that everything can and should be "technologized." A theme that emerged through the panels was the desire for a balance between face-to-face and online communication. Gardner referenced a study in which students rated face-to-face interaction as their preferred form of communication, reserved for close friends. Texting, which they claimed to use for organizing their lives, came next, with FaceBook surprisingly lower in the ranks.
-Jen Lavenberg and Megan Haddadi
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
http://labyrinth.thinkport.org/www/. The site is designed to provide practice with essential math skills for students in the middle grades. The premise of the game is simple: after students have created a cartoon character for themselves, complete with monster costume and pet, they are informed, through a sequence of comic strips, that their pet has just been kidnapped by monsters. Their mission is to rescue their pet -- by traversing a labyrinth of rooms, each of which contains a puzzle centered around a particular math skill. One unique characteristic of the site is that the instructor, in the process of creating an account, sets up an educator account, which gives them access to data revealing how much each student has played, which puzzles they have mastered, and how far they have advanced into the Labyrinth. It is therefore possible to monitor, assign, and assess learning through the website.
Perhaps the greatest strength of the game, however, is that the practice, though it targets important fourth and fifth grade math skills, is not drill-based. Each puzzle presents an interesting problem that requires creative thinking to solve. For example, students use the notion of common multiples to select portions for monsters' lunch trays in the cafeteria, or solve algebraic equations in many variables as they pore over hieroglyphs in an underground cave. So, while they are never asked, "What is the least common multiple of 25 and 5?", they have a rich experience that leaves them with a greater depth of understanding of that question's underlying meaning. The result is a meaningful exploration of central skills... that's a lot more fun than worksheets!
5th and 6th Grade Math
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
In addition to building on these initiatives, members of KNBC 2011-2012 worked on a few longer term projects including photoshop and original short animated films. KNBC meets during study hall on Tuesdays, with the occasional off-campus field trip to locations such as the WGBH studios, Museum of Science and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA).
KNBC's latest project was revamping the Middle School Cubs and Organization page. Students worked in groups using a variety of media to create content for KNBC, Chorus, Science, Community Service, The Spark, Jazz Band, Affinity Lunch, Chamber, D-Squared, Literary Group and BB&N Players. In addition they created this fun video to capture their work.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Haiku was a useful platform for each of my courses as a central (and green) location for readings, syllabi, assignments, and language arts exercises. It was also a terrific tool when school was unexpectedly cancelled, everyone had done a key reading, and we all wanted to keep momentum going with an online discussion before school resumed. (In that event I'd just add a new page named for the reading, post some questions, and let the kids take the discussion from there.)
By far the best aspect of Haiku, though, was the way it allowed students to communicate in my senior writing workshop, True Stories and the Personal Essay. I designed an easily navigable Feedback Forum where every student had his own page. There five student writers each week would post their work for peer review and commentary before the live writing workshop during long block. This kind of at-home connecting made in-person discussions so much more thoughtful and efficient, and it got the students talking exponentially more to each other rather than through me. Haiku also allowed me to post timely polls that were useful to me for course redesign (e.g. What was the most enjoyable reading in this unit?) and to the students for contest submissions (e.g. Which of Carly's six essays would you rate the best?). We even used Haiku for brainstorming. One week the theme of the essay assignment was "pettiness," and the students had fun gearing up for it by consulting a class-constructed Haiku list of "Hateful Things."
I had an equally awesome time revising and augmenting my wiki (http://speechwritingpublicspeaking.wikispaces.com/) for my senior Speechwriting and Public Speaking elective. On that site I have built a master page I covet and often direct the kids to called "Worthwhile Links," with professional examples of contemporary and historic speeches from live political events and arts ceremonies and commencement addresses to standout film clips and TED talks and Ignite presentations I've encountered over the years. I also made a page for each of the nine speech genres assigned (Storytelling Speeches, Call to Action Speeches, Speeches to Inform, Tributes, etc.), and on each genre page I embedded YouTube widgets featuring the seniors delivering that kind of original work live, on a Speech Day we'd held during the weekly long blocks. Using the wiki, peers would revisit the speech (and speakers would self-evaluate) before clicking over to comment on a Haiku Feedback Forum set up much the same way as the True Stories Feedback Forum worked. For the speechwriting elective, though, I ran Haiku polls that tended to follow up on the speech content (e.g. How many of you have cooked with kale since Alicia's speech?). For some reason my Haiku page for the Speechwriting class appears to have vaporized, though, so unless you can help me solve that mystery (?help!), you won't be getting a screenshot of that.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
If you are free and would like to join in our discussion, please contact your campus ATS to let them know that you would like to attend the event. In addition, you are more than welcome to join us when we meet at other schools in our area.
At this month's meeting we will discuss curriculum and benchmarks, such as the ISTE NETS and the Massachusetts standards. After dinner several teachers will present on a variety of topics including the BeeBot, LEGO WeDO and Scratch, SAM animation, iPad apps in science and art, Internet Safety, a science "electric quilt" using e-textiles, voicethread, Museumbox, and bitstrips.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The BB&N tech department is pleased to unveil our new help request system this week. It is a system which puts each tech request into a database that allows us to have better accountability, communication, and history of all the requests that we handle. The beauty of it from the customer's point of view [this means you] is that all you need to do is send us an email at "tech help" or firstname.lastname@example.org and it will flow right into the system and create a new "ticket" for us to address. Any email responses to a particular ticket will get added to its history in the database. When we add a note to a ticket, you will get an automatic email with the info. On the back-end of the database we triage the requests, set priority levels, and get reminded if a ticket lingers too long without action. You can see the history and status of all your tickets by logging into the system at https://helpdesk.bbns.org when you are at school. This is the new system that is replacing the FirstClass technology conferences.
Monday, April 2, 2012
This year the 6th grade French and Spanish students are using Glogster to complete their MFA ACTion (Arts, Culture, and Technology) projects. All students visit the MFA, and in art class they choose a painter and a painting for a master study. In French and Spanish classes the students research their painters and paintings to create interactive online posters. Using Glogster, students are able to embed video clips and insert images of their artists and their paintings as well as audio clips of music from the artists' time periods. Lastly, students can use Glogster to record their own voices in their target languages. Each glog results its own unique URL. During technology class, students will turn their URLs into QR codes, and on Sunday, May 13th, the student paintings will be hung on the MFA walls along with the QR codes linking the students' physical artwork to their interactive glogster posters, accessible online via iPads and smartphones.
Monday, March 19, 2012
I encouraged participants to take the following steps to start, and to grow, their networks:
- Get on a list-serv.
- Start blogging.
- Try using twitter.
- Use Google Docs.
- Start using social bookmarking.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
How change? What systems need to be in place?
Did we change? What are the impacts of technology investments we've made?
The tone of the keynote address and the morning sessions I attended was, as one presenter stated, that "learning is not in the computer" and that our focus should be on "educating for the unknown. We should be teaching with the goal of developing wisdom, knowledge, critical thinking - the higher-order skills which students will need."
The presenters I heard outlined different educational frameworks designed to meet these goals. Chris Dede, the keynote speaker from Harvard University, talked about Blended Contextualized Learning Environments and showed us an example called EcoMUVE, a biology unit that uses technology to meet those goals. Martha Stone Wiske, also from Harvard, talked about TfU (Teaching for Understanding) and her co-presenter, Katherine Gaudet, showed us how TfU had transformed the educational experience for students at Friends Academy and for the teachers. The final presenter I saw in the morning sessions was Annamaria Shrimpf, from Winchester Public Schools, and she outlined LOTI (Levels of Teaching Innovation) and she talked about a rubric for assessing teachers and lessons that would help students achieve. There were four parts to the rubric: Higher Order Thinking, Engaged Learning, Authenticity, and Technology.
While the frameworks each presenter outlined were different the themes that stuck with me were constant:
1. Our focus as teachers should be on providing an environment where students are engaged, actively learning and developing higher-order thinking skills
2. All participants (teachers, students, parents, administrators) need a common language to describe the learning process and the goals and the everyday language used in the classrooms, whether there is a particular framework adopted or the school develops its own language.
3. Technology can make achieving these goals possible. It is not required in every lesson, but technology has an important role in the classroom/school.
4. Achieving these goals requires all participants to put into action the words "lifelong learner", to learn and to work together.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I started my geocaching journey by exploring the site http://www.geocaching.com/. People who have hidden items all over the world post their listing(s) on this site. I began by entering my zip code so I could find a cache hidden near BB&N or my house. I found the perfect geocache to try to located- located in Davis Square on my way home from work, and, even more importantly, it was labeled as "easy." I don't want to give away too much information in case someone else wants to try to find it, but I will say that it took a good 20 minutes to locate the cache, as it was so much smaller than I had anticipated. Another thing about geocaching is that you're supposed to take something from the cache and leave something behind, as well as sign the log. The problem was that the cache was so small that nothing I had brought with me would fit inside it. I ended up taking a guitar pick and leaving a mini pterodactyl from a barrel full of dinosaurs (think "barrel full of monkeys," just not monkeys.) Inside the cache was a bunch of small things including some Chinese money and a plastic fish with a GPS locator inside it, also known as a travel bug. I have read articles about schools who placed travel bugs in geocaches so they can track their coordinates as they travel from cache to cache, making their way across the US, and even ending up in a dogsled race in Alaska!
If geocaching sounds interesting to you, give it a try. And if you find the cache on Brattle, please let me know, because I can't find it! And if you think geocaching sounds like a blast, check out letterboxing too!
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
- email list-servs or google groups
- google docs
- ning networks
- facebook groups and linked-in
- skype or google video chat
- RSS feeds
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I did it. This month I jumped on the twitter bandwagon. And I am thrilled with the experience thus far!
In the past, I had only used twitter at educational technology conferences as a supplement to a keynote speaker. As I took notes on the speech, I would leave my twitter page open so I could see what all of the attendees were tweeting about the speech to the rest of the room and those who were unable to attend. I copied important quotations and links from the twitter page into my notes. I found it incredibly useful for furthering my understanding. For those who are not familiar, twitter is “an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets".” (Wikipedia)
As I type this blog post I can go to twitter and search for the hash tag #FETC to see what is happening at the annual Florida Educational Technology Conference since I am unable to attend. Even though I am not there right now, I know that Michael Wesch is talking about empathy, and one of the attendees just shared the following link: 50 Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom.