Fort Herriman Middle School


Jigsaw Planet
May 6, 2008, 6:17 pm
Filed under: internet, learning

I don’t know where I found this, but it is pretty cool. You make online jigsaw puzzles. No signup required and it is fun. Give the two below a try and let me know what you think. I think I could make a few of these and use them as some sort of learning object in my class. It would at least be a fun way to kill the last five minutes of the day on those days.

Fro - online jigsaw puzzle - 63 pieces

If you want to try one that is really hard, try this one:

AmForkTabernacle - online jigsaw puzzle - 120 piecesAmForkTabernacle

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The Literacy Promise Conference
March 6, 2008, 3:27 pm
Filed under: internet, internship, poetry, strategies, technology

I attended the Literacy Promise Conference today. It is sponsored by the Brigham Young University CITES program. I just realized that my computer shut down while I was coming home from the conference and all the notes I took are gone. Drat!!!

This poet named Brod Bagert from New Orleans (3 syllables) spoke to us and he was amazing. He read a lot of his poems and the way that he performed was so inspiring. Here is a link to the recording that I made. This is the cool part of the story. When he started introducing the poem “Booger Love” I thought it would be a great one to record. But, the only recording software I have on my compy is Garageband, and I have not had much success with that. So, I invoked Quicksilver and did a Google search for Audacity, which I had heard about and tried to use before, but never got too far into it.

Bezel Interface

So, in the time that it took him to finish introducing the poem, I was able to download the program, install it, open it, and start recording him. This is why I like Macs. If I had my PC laptop, this never would have been possible. I would have taken way too many steps to get there, and there would be a 95% chance that the program wouldn’t work (that is experience talking, by the way, we have had very little success with recording or capturing sound or video on that computer). Also, the battery would have been dead at that point (45 minutes into the conference) and I would have had a hard writing surface to capture the essence of his presentation.

The only thing that vexes me is that I wasn’t able to record video with the iSight camera. That would have been better because his performance was not just his voice. So, if anyone knows of an easy free way to do that, please let me know.

By the way, here are my takeaways from the presentation (actual education stuff, imagine that):

  1. Perform poetry to your students and they will start to actually like poetry.
  2. If they like poetry, they will start to write it as a natural step.
  3. If they write it themselves, then you won’t have to assign stupid haiku’s.
  4. Poetry should be loved and studied just like sports, music, technology, or any other passion that someone possesses. This is key–study and love poetry because you deserve it.

Great presentation. I bought four books (on Amazon 😉

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What are we teaching them?
February 11, 2008, 3:31 pm
Filed under: elementary, internet, reflection, research

My students are chatting via video call tomorrow with Ginger‘s students, and Ginger wisely suggested that we prepare for the meeting. I framed it like this:

Students, you will be in three groups researching one of these topics: (1. The city where these kids live, 2. What is a charter school and 3. TPLC, the school the kids attend.) You will be talking to them tomorrow on a video call and doing this research will help you be prepared, so write down things you know about your topic, write down some things you want to know, then you can get on a computer and start finding and writing down things that you learned. (It is basically a K-W-L chart that one student understood and drew as such on her paper.) The point is to be able to ask thoughtful questions that will help you learn more about them and their life.

I told them they needed to be able to ask the students their questions, but they should be meaningful questions. As I was roaming around the room looking at what they were doing, I was confused at what they were researching. A few of them found the school’s website. Four or five of them had a page open about the state but were looking at the flag and finding out what the state emblem, state tree, state bird, state motto –I can see the state motto meaning something, because they could ask whether the students know it and if they apply it to their lives (but I don’t think they are going to ask that)–, and other trivia questions about the state. Is it just me, or is that just frivolous stuff that doesn’t really mean anything?

I pictured myself as an elementary school teacher making them do that for each state in the nation–much of what I remember from elementary school was just time-sucking research that didn’t mean anything beyond the worksheet. Am I wrong, are our ES teachers better than that? Or am I the one at fault for not explaining it better? (Wouldn’t be the first time that happened!)

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