Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Opportunities and Challenges for Web 2.0 in Schools

Today at CES (Cooperative Educational Services) I joined Natalie Carrignan, Director of Instructional Technology, at a meeting for many technology coordinators. Before the official meeting we were part of a live 1-hour Technology and Learning Webinar, sponsored by Lightspeed Systems with several excellent presenters:
Alan November, an expert in educational technology, discussed the opportunities for creating communities of learners and enhancing education in the 21st century. He advocated going beyond the techno-centric and suggested creating 6 new learning jobs for students that parallel the changes in our culture: Daily Researcher, Curriculum Researcher, Global Communicator, Tutorial Designer, Curriculum Reviewer, and Daily Scribe.

Ellen Bialo and Jay Sivin Kachala from the research firm IESD (Interactive Educational Systems Design) discussed the results of a new survey of technology directors and what the implications of those findings are for school districts around the United States. (Survey is available.)

They found that the 3 reasons that districts utlize web 2.0 technologies are:
  1. address students’ individual learning needs
  2. engage students' interest
  3. increase students' options
In the survey they broke Web 2.0 into 7 categories:
  1. Student-generated online content
  2. Teacher-generated online content
  3. Online social networking used as part of instruction
  4. Online learning games and simulations
  5. Student use of virtual learning environments
  6. Multimedia resources (podcast video cast)
  7. Online communication with parents & students outside school hours
Terrrell Tucker, director of IT services in the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District in California, presented details of what the staff do to create a professional learning community. Collaboration is promoted through the use of Web 2.0 tools. Access to filtered material is provided to teachers who can override the block by selecting a time frame to use the material, and entering a username and password. An educational video library has been created by teachers for use in the learning community.
The webinar was a great preface to a meeting that focused on several issues, including the use of web 2.0 technologies in schools and the impact this is having on district acceptable use policies.

The original event was broadcast on:
Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Time: 1:00 PM EDT
Duration: 60-minutes

http://www.media.qualitytech.com/client/new_bay/2009_0331/137512/launch.htm

You can view the event archive at the link provided above.

Monday, March 30, 2009

ITL Department Meeting on Assessment

Today we had three 45 minute ITL department meetings == all focusing on assessment.

High School: Robin Stiles, Julia Roberts and Rob Rogers
are working on a 9th grade pre-assessment for next year. They are currently looking at TRAILS (Tools for Real Assessment of Information Literacy Skills) as a model for an online assessment that will be given as the first orientation class next year.

Middle School: John Horrigan, Deb Perry, Rita Hennessey, Kathy Fleming and Lauren Bullock
reviewed the 5th grade assessment process to determine what information, if any, they could get about their 6th graders. They asked questions about the report card data, and suggested that the actual tools used to measure ITL success would be a valuable addition to the grades. Portfolios, which contained examples of students' best work, were suggested as another method to pass on information to middle school teachers.

Elementary School: Sarah Spencer, Kelley Auringer, Aimee Anctil, Tara Doyle, Michael Brownstein, Rae Anne Locke and Ken Hine reviewed the data from the first 5th grade report card on technology and research grades, with the intention that they would talk about the grades at an upcoming 5th grade level meeting at each school. We discussed what might be done to improve the process. We talked about the process used at SES to define each person's responsiblities in the grading process around specific lessons. We talked about the units of study which made up some of the process and products that were graded (primarily the study of ancient Egypt). We heard about the use of e-portfolios at KHS, where students identified their best piece of work from their research project, and defended their choice. Fixed scheduling was mentioned as one way to ensure that all students at each grade level received the same ITL information from the library media specialist. We also discussed the possibility of LMSs fixing a 5th grade technology class in their schedule at least one time each month to ensure that at least 10 times a year there would be a collaborative session with each 5th grade class. There will be one more analsyis of the report card grades this year, to see how grades compare between February and June.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Making Data more Visual, Relevant and Comprehensible

This week John Dodig, principal of SHS, shared an amazing video, Hans Rosling: Debunking Third-World Myths with the Best Stats You've Ever Seen. Many teachers are now exploring how they can use the software demonstrated in this video to make data more visual and understandable. Watch the video to discover new ways to visualize data:


Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Think Tank: A Discovery Room for Young Learners


David Loertscher is working on a new vision for library media programs, which he calls the Learning Commons. He recently attended the ASCD conference and made many connections. One was Jean Knodt (author of the book Nine Thousand Straws with Teacher Ideas Press).

Knodt established a THINK TANK room in a school separate from the library and the computer lab. She is constantly working on understanding inquiry and developing innovative and industrious thinking. "The Think Tank: A Discovery Room for Young Learners" is on Harvard's Active Learning Practices for Schools website (ALPS). David Loertscher is imagining and working with others to redefine the library media program as a Think Tank -- but not just for the younger learners -- for all learners.

If 21st Century Skills include flexibility, creativity, independent thinking, unlearning/relearning, adaptability and the ability to fail, we will need to promote and support learning activities for students in which these skills can be experienced and practiced.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Have a PICNIK with your IMAGES


Today, while working with a teacher on Blackboard, we needed to resize an image quickly. We saved the image from Blackboard, then went to the free online image editing site, Picnik (http://www.picnik.com).

We uploaded the image, clicked on the resize button, and changed the width size from 640 to 230 (which automatically changed the height to keep the proportions of the image since we left the check mark in front of "keep proportions.") We then clicked on the SAVE & SHARE tab, changed the name and saved the new image to the computer we were working on. We deleted the old image in the Banner section of Blackboard, and uploaded the new resized image. The whole resizing, uploading and downloading took about 2 minutes.

PICNIK is a great site to fix red-eye, rotate, crop, sharpen, change color and add special effects. You can become a member of Picnik for free, and save images on the site for future use if desired.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

GFS: My Life as a Writer

GFS 4th grade teachers, Mrs. Dimock, Ms. Krzyzek, Mrs. Theiss, and Mrs. Walsh, with technology teacher, Sally Wanamaker worked with each student to create a PhotoStory entitled, "My Life as a Writer." Recently, Sherry Black, technology teacher, posted all of the student projects to Blackboard. The following information was sent home to parents to explain the project:
In January and February the students planned the content of their digital story using a storyboard with their classroom teacher, and brought their plans to computer class. In computer class, the students created their illustrations for each slide using several different methods. They used drawing tools in PowerPoint/Max Show and saved the illustrations as jpegs so they could be used in their digital story. They also searched for their favorite author’s picture using Teachingbooks.net, and added clipart where appropriate.

Students then created slides using Microsoft’s Photo Story 3 software, inserted all of the illustrations they created, and typed in their captions, paying attention to slide layout and appropriate font style, size and color. The next step was to record their voices reading the script that they had created in their storyboard plan with their classroom teachers. When they were sure that their recording was clear and understandable, they added music that complemented their recording but didn’t compete with it. Lastly, they added custom transitions and animation to enhance their show.

The students had the opportunity to complete a rubric to assess their performance. Their performance on this project was also assessed by their computer teacher.
We wanted to give you a chance to see these projects, so we have posted them on their secure Blackboard site so that they may share their project with you, as well as share the attached rubric with you.
This is one sample of a student's final digital story, "Bryan's Life as a Writer." (The student's image and full name have been removed from this version of the final product.)


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Current Issue of Educational Leadership Focuses on Literacy 2.0

Janna Bell, assistant principal at CES, recently shared two articles from the current issue of Educational Leadership with staff. The theme of this month's issue is Literacy 2.0. Janna shared the article, Orchestrating the Media Collage by Jason Ohler, with two committees at her school: the literacy committee and the ITL committee.

Both groups met separately on different days and all participants came to each meeting having read the article, ready to discuss. Both groups had lively discussions with much interaction and found the article interesting and applicable to their group's mission.

The article is atypically NOT filled with much educational/technology jargon. It provides 8 guidelines for teachers to ensure the promotion of the most important skills associated with digital literacy. The article focuses on the increased importance of reading and writing in education, explains the difference between report and story and elaborates on why they work well together, adds art as the 4th essential "R", and explains the importance of becoming knowledgeable about a wide range of digital tools.

This article is a MUST READ for anyone interested in redefinining literacy. A link to the online article is available here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A List of Blogs for Teachers


Every week Kathy Schrock sends out an SOS (Site of the School Days) with ONE link to a potentially valuable educational site. If you don't get a weekly SOS from Kathy Schrock, and you would like to, register at Discovery Schools Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators.

This week's link connects you to Educational Blogs You Should Be Investigating, a list of useful blogs organized around specific areas: technology integration, blogs for administrators, elementary teachers, pre-K teachers, kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, art, library media specialists, business education/photojournalism/graphic design, drama/theater, english/language arts/speech, ELL/ESL, FACS (family and consumer services), foreign language, industrial technology, math, music, PE/health, science, social studies, special education, study skills, and technology/computer apps.


After a short time reading some blogs of interest, I found several interesting resources and ideas, including:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

KHS: 5th Grade Human Body Wiki

Tara Doyle, technology teacher, Aimee Anctil, LMS and all the KHS 5th grade teachers and students are currently pre-searching and researching human body systems. A private wiki has been created with every students name listed under their teacher's name. Each student is filling in the wiki according to the model below (click on image for larger view):


The students and teachers will use this rubric to assess the work in progress and in its final stage (click on image for large view):Project Overview:
What makes my body work?
Human Body Project

Task: Chose a human body system from the list provided and become an expert on it.
• Identify the parts of the system and explain the roles and jobs of each part.
• Explain the overall function of the system and how it helps to promoteyour body’s heath and well being.
• Create a glossary of important key words and terms relating to your research
Possible systems:
• Respiratory System
• Skeletal System & Musculature System
• Digestive System & Excretory System
• Cardiovascular System
• Nervous system
Products:
Create a wiki page to host what you have learned. Use at least 3 different technologies to show your learning. Examples: Create an inspiration diagram of the parts of the system; create an Audacity MP3 file to explain the function of the system.

Possible technology applications:
• Microsoft word
• Audacity/MP3
• Inspiration
• PhotoStory
• Other…
What you will be assessed on:
• Quality of Research & Citing sources
• System Parts: Identified and explained each part of the system
• System Function: Explained the overall function of the system and how it helps your body’s heath and well being
• Quality of Synthesis (writing in your own words)
• Technology Application
• Presentation
• Glossary
Challenge:
Research what happens to the body when your chosen system fails. Explain a disease that can affect your system and how it impacts each part/organ of the system. Explain how it affects the life of the infected and describe possible treatment options for the disease. Post your synthesized research on your wiki.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

BMS: Creating Book Trailers


NO, NOT THAT KIND OF BOOK TRAILER!!

Rita Hennessey, library media specialist at BMS, recently challenged students to create a Book Trailer, a movie to advertise a book! The contest was also advertised in the BLAST and Lauren Bullock & Kathy Fleming, technology teachers, also helped promote the contest in their computer classes and in the after school Media Club. This is the advertisement for the contest:

Book Trailer Contest!

Create a trailer (or commercial) for a book. You can use Windows PhotoStory 3, Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, or any other technology that can be saved (or converted) to a .wmv or .mov file.

Guidelines:
Minimum length: 30 seconds
Maximum length: 2 minutes

What to include:
The Title and Author of the book are required - everything else is up to you!
Your goal is to convince the viewer to read the book.

Students can submit their videos to the "Book Trailer Contest" drop box
(on the "R" drive).

Finalists' trailers will be shown on BAM, so please use
school-appropriate language and images.

Deadline:
Friday, March 6, 2009

Winners will be announced Friday, March 13, 2009

Prizes: Your choice of iTunes or Barnes & Noble Gift Certificates

First Place: $25.00
Second Place: $15.00
Third Place: $10.00

See complete details at http://bmslmc.pbwiki.com/Book-Trailer-Contest


From the student entries, three were selected as 1st and 2nd place, and a 3rd was given honorable mention.

Honorable Mention to Melissa B. & Will H. for The Wizard of Oz
Runner up to Alex P. for Kensuke's Kingdom
First Place to Caroline S. for 13 Reasons Why (View Below)




Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MUVE Over for a Saint Patrick's Day in Second Life

Last Thursday evening the Chicago Public Schools' Library Media Program held a St. Patrick's Day "Party" in Second Life from 9-10:00. Second Life is a M.U.V.E. or a multi user virtual environment. This is the description of the event on their website:
On Thursday, March 12, the Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries hosted a St. Patrick’s Day party in Second Life on our sim. The party featured a live DJ playing Celtic and blues songs. Approximately 85 people attended from the education and library communities. Many came with their avatars dressed in green for the occasion. There were virtual refreshments, including an Irish feast. As in real life, the Chicago River was dyed green. A highlight of the party was an Irish trivia scavenger hunt that led partygoers around the sim looking for pots of gold while they sought the answers to the party quiz. Adding to the festivities, many also wore a special bracelet that animated their avatars to dance an Irish jig. Members of the AASL and ISTE SIGMS attended and this event was the ISTE Social for the week. While the event was couched in the terms of a party, it was also an opportunity for educators from around the world to network in an inviting setting. See the Flickr pics.
Deb Perry, (aka Sweety Footman in SL) technology teacher at CMS, and I (aka Atomic Thespian in SL) attended the Saint Patrick's Day event, and you can see us dancing the jig in this clip:

video

At this past summer's ITL Summer Institute Kathy Schrock gave us a tour of educational sites in Second Life. She provided us with a link to her online Second Life resources. Second Life is for adults 18 and over, with a separate Teen Second Life for teens, ages 13-17. Many teachers have created environments in Second Life for their students to interact and create Machinima, or movies made in Second Life or other Virtual Worlds. Westport has an educational presence in Second Life on Lighthouse Learning Island.

This year AASL and ISTE have presented several workshops, and several ITL Summer Institute participants have attended these virtual meetings. The workshops involved presentations from:
  • David Loertscher, discussing ideas for a new concept for library media centers called The Learning Commons
  • Joyce Valenza, leading a conversation about significant changes that are impacting the daily operations of a library media program
  • David Warlick, looking at recent developments with PLNs (Personal Learning Networks)
  • Mike Eisenberg, discussing how library media specialists can survive in the current economic crisis
The next AASL-ISTE SIGMS virtual learning community meeting will be on Thursday, March 19th at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT in Second Life. This month’s guest facilitator is Jon Mueller. Jon is the author of the book “Assessing Critical Skills” (Linworth Publishing) and is a nationally-recognized expert in skill development and assessment.


If you have not experienced a virtual world, and would like to learn more about Second Life, please let me know and I will create a workshop for those interested. Email me at bill_derry@westport.k12.ct.us .

Monday, March 16, 2009

CMS: ITL Professional Development Staff Meeting

Today at CMS the staff meeting was an ITL professional development session. The CMS ITL Committee (Co-chairs: Deb Perry, technology teacher and David Rosvally, science teacher) planned the session around four areas:
  • Using Google Literature Trips - Presented by John Horrigan
  • Using RSS Feeds - Presented by David Rosvally

  • Creating Tutorials with Smartboard Sound Recorder - Presented by Bill Derry
  • Using Voicethread - Presented by Deb Perry

This wiki that was set up for teachers to choose a topic, provides you with an overview of each of the workshops. (Podcasting and Wikis were offered, but not enough teachers were interested in those topics to make them a viable 5th or 6th workshop choice.)


Friday, March 13, 2009

GFS: BIG THINK - 2nd Grade Social Studies Unit


During the ITL Summer Institute of 2007, David Loertscher formally introduced the concept of the Big Think. A "Big Think" activity involves the creation of a "final" unit experience which motivates students to apply their learning from the unit. Big Thinks can be created at any level, K-12. Since this activity demands the application and synthesis of information learned, students are compelled to think at their highest levels. The Big Think is NOT a traditional sharing of PowerPoints, PhotoStories, posters, museum artifacts, research papers, or any other products created during the unit (although they might be included) --- it is the creation of a NEW experience (different from any of the prior activities in the unit) which demands flexibility and independent thinking WITH the application and synthesis of the unit content by students.

Kelley Auringer, LMS at GFS and I recently planned a Big Think for a culmination activity of the Social Studies research 2nd grade students did in their study of rural, suburban and urban communities. [All 2nd grade teachers and the LMS worked with students in 6 groups researching transportation, family life, economics/jobs, shelter, education and recreation, and ultimately will complete a Photostory synthesizing their research. For an account of the research and technology component created by Kelley, which also included the work of Sally Wanamaker and Sherry Black, technology teachers, click HERE. It does not include this Big Think which was created later.]

The purpose of this Big Think was to get students to have an opportunity to USE the facts and ideas they had been working with for the previous 8 weeks. Their learning was focused on this essential question: What are the differences and similarities between urban, suburban and rural communities?

This is the plan we came up with, which was modified the day before implementation by the inclusion of another co-teacher and "collaborator," Bobbi Essagof, GFS Library Assistant! Here is the scenario we designed:

The three of us (Kelley, Bobbi and I) would play the Portwest Family. Due to Mrs. Portwest's job reassignment from London to New York City in the book publishing business, the family needed to determine the best place to make their new home. Their problem--they all have very different needs and they can't decide where to live, but they know they would like to live in Connecticut. The family had been to a real estate agency and the Realtor was very confused since the family didn't know if they wanted to live in the city, a suburb or a rural town. The Realtor told the family about a group of EXPERTS on urban, suburban and rural communities, and recommended that the Portwests pay them a visit before returning. So, the Portwests visit the experts at Greens Farms Elementary to see if they can help them solve their problem, and get the experts to recommend a place for the family to live.

Each of the three family members has different needs:
  • Mrs. Portwest: Mom. Works in NYC and loves living in a high rise building. Likes the convenience of many different kinds of public transportation (taxis, subways, busses, etc.) and does not like to drive. Enjoys regular visits to museums, theater and libraries. Does not like to cook, and wants to get to a variety of restaurants quickly.
  • Mr. Portwest: Dad. Works at home as a writer. Enjoys writing and looking out the window at nature. Wants to walk and bicycle through a natural environment with limited views of buildings. Plans to have a large garden. Wants at least two dogs and two cats and is interested in raising goats. Has a car to get to shops when needed and likes knowing the shop keepers and the people in the stores.
  • Ms. Portwest: Daughter, Patty. Teenager-15. Wants a good school. Wants to get to stores easily and to the public library. She wants to live near plenty of friends so she can see them often. There needs to be good cell phone reception as she loves to text and talk to her friends often. She likes the beach. In one year she will be getting her license, and wants to get a job. She looks forward to driving, but doesn't want to have to drive very far or too often -- she would like to be close to her job.
Each class of students came into the Big Think organized by the classroom teacher (Nicole Fieschel, Meghann Keaveney, Lisa Lewis and Sarah Stefans) into 3 groups. Each group had representatives from all of the six research groups. [This is the Jigsaw Model described in Ban Those Bird Units : 15 Models For Teaching and Learning in Information-rich and Technology-rich Environments by David Loertscher, Carol Koechlin and Sandi Swaan.]

When the students sat down, they were asked to explain to Mr. Derry what they had done in the research process. They were then asked "Why do you think you are experts in this area? Should the Portwests be coming to YOU as experts? Can you help them? " Each group said yes and explained why they were experts and why they were the right group for the Portwests.

Then each group was assigned to focus on either urban, rural or suburban issues. A student spokesperson was selected for each group, and told that at the end of the consultation the spokesperson had to report to the family why they should live in a specific rural, suburban or urban Connecticut town or city. (They used the 2004 Rural Connecticut Map created by the CT. Health Dept. -- with cities colored in blue -- shown below!) If any group did not think the best place for them to live was in the area of their focus, they could change to a different type of community, but either way they had to DEFEND their selection.



As of 3-13-09, 3 of the 4 classes completed the Big Think, and although each class recommended different towns (though there were many similarities) they all had this in common:
  • It was FUN and exciting.
  • Most of the student conversations were intense and relied on their combined "knowledge bank" of facts about urban, suburban and rural communities created during the research.
  • When the student spokesperson delivered the report from the committee, there was focused and connected attention from everyone.
  • The experience of the family visiting seemed "real" even though students knew it was not a real family.
  • The content of the students' responses demonstrated a deep understanding of the differences and similarities between urban, rural and suburban communities.
If you are interested in planning a Big Think to culminate your learning unit and would like to collaborate, please contact me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

LLS: Global Awareness through Wiki Collaboration

Phaedra Taft and her 4th grade students are communicating with students and their teacher in Myanmar via a wiki.


How was this connection created? Phaedra explains:
The connection arose when the mom of a student was chatting with a friend in California who started Friends Without Borders, an exchange between India and Pakistan. The friend had just gotten a request from a teacher in Myanmar for a 4th grade class in the United States, and the friend in California knew that my student's mom had a 4th grader at home in Westport! Then they asked if I would be interested in an e-mail exchange. I was interested and decided to start a wiki.

The study of Myanmar supported the introduction and reinforcement of many of the geography terms that are in the Social Studies curriculum. Information and technology literacy skills are addressed through the use of the wiki, and in the group research projects that students did to understand the culture, geography and history of Myanamar. Students followed the Science Inquiry procedure and created PowerPoint presentations, and some students made newspapers and sculptures to present the synthesis of their research. The communication with students in Myanmar will also complement the biome unit beginning in 2 weeks.

Since the wiki is private, below you will see is an image of the font page of the wiki. (Click on the image to view larger.) Students and teachers have a logon and password to enter the wiki, then they can go to the topics and add their entries in comments.

(Click on image to see larger view.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY CLEARINGHOUSE


The Educational Technology Clearinghouse is a website that provides free web resources for students and teachers. It is a resource for all kinds of sources, including: audio, clip art, fonts, photos, videos and presentation templates.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

GFS: Audacity to Monitor!

Caitlin Walsh, 4th grade teacher at GFS, uses Audacity software to monitor her students progress in oral reading fluency.

Students first recorded their reading using a microphone and Audacity software. They saved their files in the R-Drive so that they could be easily accessed.

Students used the following three checklists to assess their growth over three repeated readings. The checklists were designed based upon the focus of the lesson (click on them to open up the checklists):

Listen to an example of one of the student's audio files: SAMPLE

Monday, March 9, 2009

SHS: Spanish -- Podcasting and Blackboard

Victoria Mazzarelli, World Language Department Chair and Spanish teacher, recently combined podcasting with Blackboard's Discussion Boards. Two of her 12th grade Spanish Honors classes participated in this activity. A Blackboard class was set up combining all students from Periods 2 and 3. Both classes were given the assignment to read and create an alternate ending to the story "Nosotros, no" ("Not us") .

Working in pairs students used the language lab to record their endings in Spanish. With the help of lab assistant, Laura Schwartz, the audio files were then attached to each group's Blackboard Discussion Group.

Next students from Period 2 were asked to listen to the podcasts in the Discussion Board of Period 3 and comment in Spanish on all of them. Students were given time to start this in class, but some of the work was done at home.

The project involved reading, writing, listening and speaking in Spanish as well as collaborating with students in another class.

This image shows the Blackboard Discussion Board groups with the uploaded .mp3 file. Click on image to see a larger view. To hear one of the Spanish podcasts, click here.


Friday, March 6, 2009

TIMESPACE: WORLD - from the Washington Post

Just read about the Washington Post's new interactive news map on Joyce Valenza's School Library Journal NeverEndingSearch Blog, and thought it would be of interest to many of you personally, and it could serve as a resource for some of your students.

TimeSpace is an interactive map that allows you to navigate articles, photos, video and commentary from around the globe. Discover news hot-spots where coverage is clustered. Use the timeline to illustrate peaks in coverage, and customize your news searches to a particular day or specific hour. (Many Washington Post stories appear at midnight; others are published throughout the day as news happens).

Place your cursor on the timeline at the bottom and you can scroll through 24 hours changing the number of Photos, Post Global Blogs, Videos, Post Articles, Foreign Policy and Articles are available. You can check each box to filter only those types of information you are looking for. Using the search box you can refine your search by entering names or topics of interest.

Click HERE to go to the Post's Interactive News Map.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

SES: Technology, Research, Literature and Art!

Ken Hine, Tech Teacher, and Maggie Murphy, Art Teacher worked with the SES 4th grade on a project involving technology, research, literature, and art reflection. This project involved a study of the famous pop artist, Andy Warhol. Students began by hearing stories about the life of Andy Warhol and being exposed to his art. Some of the books used included: Dropping In on Andy Warhol by Pam Stephens, Andy Warhol: Paintings for Children, Uncle Andy’s by J. Warhola. Click HERE to view the digital images of his artwork provided on a website constructed by Mr. Hine.

Students used school research links, as well as the literature and bookmarked web pages to answer guiding questions about the legendary artist. Children composed paragraphs and were then asked to consider the images they would most likely choose if they were to create art consistent with the style of Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup, Marilyn Monroe, and Mickey Mouse pieces. Many students chose to use pictures of themselves.

The students then imported their .jpegs into an innovative website created by Big Huge Labs featuring a tool called a Warholizer. The site took their pic and digitally transformed it into the “Andy Warhol style”. The students were proud to be able to emulate the famous artist and then reflected on their digital artwork. This project was a fun integration of technology and art.

One example of a finished student piece:

[Click on Image Above for Larger View]

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

BMS: Digital Imaging -- Creative Publishing

Lauren Bullock, technology teacher at BMS, is currently working on a creative publishing activity utilizing Adobe Photoshop with 8th grade students. The activity involves the design and production of a magazine cover.

Students were asked to choose one of the following (2) options to creatively produce a print magazine cover that reflects their knowledge and understanding of digital imaging.

Option #1 -- Create a magazine cover for your position paper topic using the standard magazine format and headers. The artwork layout space is 8.5 x 11 inches.
Option #2 -- Create a full magazine cover for the Bedford Literary Magazine using the standard magazine format and the IMAGE header. The artwork layout space is 8.5 x 11.

Other requirements and the project rubric are available on the Class Handout.

This cover is a student sample of a work in progress:

[Click on magazine cover to view larger image.]

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

LLS: Leo the Lion Reads Across America

Barbara Eilertsen, LMS and many teachers with administrators have just kicked off a month long reading adventure to celebrate the 105th anniversary of Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2nd. The video below was shown during the live morning TV program today, March 3rd. Watch the video and you will better understand what is going on at Long Lots School.


So you now know that the school mascot, Leo the Lion, is on a long trip across the country. Barbara has put together a wiki that will be used for parent volunteers to log in the names of the books students have read (grades K-2). Students in grades 3-5 will input their own book titles. For every 100 books students read, Leo will arrive at another destination.

Leo will send postcards all along the way,and he will be tracked daily on a large map in the cafeteria. Michael Brownstein, technology teacher, is working on an interactive Google Earth tour of Leo's travels. The entire school is engaged in an information and technology literacy extravaganza.