Tuesday, April 27, 2010

May is Big Think MONTH!

On Monday night, April 26th, after school for 4 hours, 17 ITL teachers participated in a Big Think workshop at SES. The Big Think is a metacognitive experience that is created for the end of a unit of study -- after the traditional assessment has been completed. David Loertscher, Carol Koechlin and Sandi Zwaan authored the book, and David Loertscher was virtually present via Skype during the last hour of the meeting to answer questions and provide elaboration on the purpose and meaning of the Big Think and the 9 strategies created to promote deeper understanding and opportunities to apply learning to a "real" situation. Groups worked to unpack the Big Think Strategies, and in pairs, created a short video describing each of the 9 strategies. A visual was created for each presentation. These videos were added to the Tools/BigThink/April26th section of the Blackboard class Contemporary Literacies (Every teacher in Westport can access this class). Using the Jigsaw model described int he book Ban Those Bird Units (also by David Loertscher, Carol Koechlin and Sandi Zwaan), the participants regrouped to include experts on most of the strategies in each group. They then created Big Think scenarios to go with several descriptions of actual units taught at various grade levels in the district.During the workshop we used a Web 2.o tool recommended by David Loertscher called Wallwisher to collaboratively share ideas and ask questions about the Big Think. David responded to the questions during our Skype session and also added more responses after our workshop was over. (Click on image below to see larger version of our Wallwisher page.)

Big Thinks will hopefully be created and implemented in all schools by ITL teachers with classroom teachers during the month of MAY, and some will be shared at the third and final ITL Steering Committee meeting at Staples High School on June 1st!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Microsoft's Courier - Is it the iPad Killer?

Today at the SHS Student Tech Club Meeting, Logan showed us a video previewing a new tablet from Microsoft called "The Courier." Amazing! (The video has been removed)

Also, the students set up a new technology blog.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Housekeeper and the Professor

Today three students from BMS (Jake and Zack R, and Parker S.) and I presented two sessions of SCRATCH at the Westport Public Library from 1-4. This workshop was in conjunction with the WestportREADS book, The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, and the afternoon included many events under the title Math, Memories and Making Connections.

We started the event with a brief story animation created in Scratch (shown below), then taught the participants some of the basics. Results can be viewed on the Scratch website that we set up for the workshop- http://scratch.mit.edu/users/wplworkshop.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The educational version of Glogster allows for the creation of classes with some complications in terms of account names and passwords for our elementary students. The educational account provides no advertising and access to other Glogs made only in the edu site. Pam Syndercombe, technology teacher at CES and Ed Wolf, 5th grade teacher at CES, are preparing to use Glogster in an upcoming learning activity and will provide all of us with some suggestions on how best to use Glogster with a whole class.

As Glogster use evolves, I'll add an update on some of its relative advantages in a future post.

This practice Glog will eventually have links to each of the 5 contemporary literacy areas identified in our "21st Century Skills" workshops over the past 2 years.