Sunday, September 30, 2007

Spread the Love

David Warlick, Chris Betcher, and so many others are blogging reminders to attend the K-12 Online 2007 Virtual Conference. David Warlick is the keynote speaker. TEAM students should REALLY think about virtually attending this conference. I know I will!

Top 10 Technology Tools

Just found a new blog worth subscribing to: Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day.
From there, I found the list, Top 10 Technology Tools.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pay It Forward

Pictured Left: Me, David Warlick, Neepa Shah

Last year, our school came into a little grant money, given in honor of an outstanding fifth grade teacher, Neepa Shah. My principal asked me to think of an effective way to spend that money. I emailed my friend and co-editor of MidLink Magazine, Joselyn Todd, asking for her for some help. Here is what she said:

...The most lasting impact that this money could buy would be professional development to help your teachers take it to the next level in terms of their tech skills such that they could guide students in innovative project based work rooted in sound content. Joselyn's idea: hire someone to come in and teach your teachers some Web 2.0 technologies (with very practical “lesson plans”) that they can immediately implement in the classroom with the equipment that the school already has...Give the gift of a nudge in the direction of life-long learning to those educators who are in the “middle” of the tech skill continuum such that they can “pay it forward” to their students. Hundreds of students learning new tech skills by enthused and invigorated teachers would have very long lasting impact at your school.”"

Through MidLink, I had the good fortune to meet David Warlick on a couple of occasions down in Raleigh, NC. I immediately thought of him, sent him an email, and LUCKY for us, he came to NY and spent a day with a group teachers at my school. Besides teaching us how to "say grits" - (for you New Yorkers, it's "greee-its"), he taught us how to podcast and "invigorated us" with conversations about new literacies and possibilities. Not long after that visit, I had many of my students podcasting ... and well, since David's visit, the floodgates have opened in terms of my own professional growth in the area of Web 2.0.

Anyway, two weeks ago I started four classes blogging on Class Blogmeister, after introducing blogging to my fourth and fifth grade classes byway of a paper blogging lesson, co-taught with my friend and hallway neighbor, fourth grade teacher, Adam Dugger. We introduced the idea of writing for an audience, of private information vs. public information, of appropriate language, and of constructive criticism. The lesson called for students to write a passage describing a favorite food; others in the class had a chance to leave constructive comments by writing them on post-its. The lesson worked so well that I decided to make a bulletin board out of it for Back to School Night. I racked my brains for a title for the bulletin board, and then it came to me: "Our 2 Cents Worth" - what a perfect 'pay it forward' moment! The David Warlick ripple effect.
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BTW - I am writing this as the Wisconsin Badgers beat Michigan State in a very exciting game AND The Mets won today (finally!). Yay!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Technorati Profile

Boy, I've Been Busy

I have been on my laptop for more hours than I care to admit, working on projects for the ICT (Information-Communication-Technology) DISCOVER classes that I teach, along with Noel Forte, another TEAM member. I finally feel that I am ready for Fall and am excited to dive into these projects with our fourth and fifth graders. We will be using various web 2.0 technologies, including Classroom Blogmeister, Wikispaces, Google Maps, CommunityWalk Maps, VoiceThread and PhotoStory.

There are various opportunities for sharing and collaborating with these projects. Here are the links to the projects and a brief summary:

  1. Federal Holidays: This project is designed for upper elementary and middle school students studying the meaning of American culture, United States symbols and core values of the American democratic system. Federal Holidays proposes two main tasks: 1) students will teach their class about an existing federal holiday by creating a PowerPoint presentation; and 2) student teams will imagine a new holiday that represents the spirit of America and then write a persuasive argument which will be supported by a poster that visually represents their proposed holiday. Using VoiceThread, student teams will comment on and persuasively argue why their holiday best represents the spirit of America. The site includes links to all the required resources and rubrics. Originally created in 2002, Federal Holidays was a response to 9/11, to help students deal with the feelings generated by that horrible event. I am running the project again, with updates.
  2. Explorations: This project is a 4th grade social studies project where students will study explorers from "The Age of Discovery." Students are asked to become "docents" - knowledgeable guides who will virtually guide "visitors" through our "Age of Discovery Museum" by creating photostories. Students will place a marker on our Google World Map, showing the area their explorer discovered. The marker will contain a link to the student/docent PhotoStory. The PhotoStory (vodcast/podcast) will inform "visitors" about the explorer they researched with narration and images. It would be fun if another teacher wanted to do this project as is, or modify it to have their class research other types of explorers...for example, 'explorers of the sky' or explorers of the arts, etc. etc.
  3. On the Trail of the First People - On the Trail of the First People is an online, collaborative standards-based social studies unit that seeks to incorporate information literacy skills with communicative technologies for 4th and 5th grades researching Native Americans. Classrooms located in the Northeast, Southeast, Plains, Southwest, California, Far Pacific Northwest, and the Far North are invited to research tribes indigenous to their area and then share their knowledge with all through the use of Wikis, Blogs and Social Mapping.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

About Me

A couple of my colleagues told me that I don't talk enough about my accomplishments. Well, it's true, I don't, because sometimes I can't believe that I have accomplished what I've accomplished and I don't like to 'toot my own horn' so to speak. I do what I do because I have discovered that I love to create and this is my outlet. The awards and rewards that have come along are secondary and byproducts. So, I don't speak about them too much. But, I have to admit, they are fun to receive! I have been lucky to work in a great environment and to have connected to some unbelievable mentors during the past 7 years, including Bette Schneiderman, Mike Byrne, and Fran Roberts of TEAM, and especially my just retired principal, Nancy Lindenauer.
In any case, if you do want to know more about my background, you can go to my bio link.
Notice my glamour shot on that's about 10 years old!


OK, coming up with a name for this blog took me longer than I thought it would! After mulling over several titles, I finally decided on “Wired” - it seems fitting in many ways:

When I was getting my educational technology masters, (back in 2001) our class had to come up with a name for our ‘team’ - we decided to call ourselves the “Wired” team.

I like the connotations of that -- wired–connected, collaborative, plugged-in, hyperactive, sending & receiving.

Maybe I should change it to ‘wireless’ ? Not that I mean the above connotations don’t apply to me, but that information flows so effortlessly.
...Nah, I’ll leave it at wired.
If you click on the image below, I think you will agree that wired is a good description of all the feelings associated with being part of the 21st century ed-tech landscape!