TEACHER SHOWCASE PROJECTS
January 21, 2010
Chase Collegiate School


Designing a Course Management System (Volker Krasemann, Suffield Academy) - GRADES 9-PG / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
I designed a course management system that combines Moodle with features of a calendar like iCal. Essentially I embedded a web published version of iCal (phpicalandar) into Moodle. PHP iCalendar is a php-based iCal file parser. It displays iCal files in a nice logical, clean manner with day, week, month, and year navigation. After embedding the calendar in Moodle I redesigned it and we added functionality, like being able to edit, add or delete events. When a teacher or student first logs into the Course Management Calendar a window opens up that shows all the classes the student is enrolled in or that the teacher teaches. Teachers are able to edit classes and add homework assignments. Both students and teachers are able to add one type of event into the calendar. Students can view which classes are being taught, what is taught and what the homework is that is assigned and when it is due. The calendar is shown on the opening page. Moodle works in the background and if open has all its usual functionality. I am still working on a few things and this program is currently only in the BETA testing stage. It is working but improvements are made all the time.

Using Debate in the Middle School Classroom: Getting Everyone Involved (Scott Lilley, Caryn Purcell, New Canaan Country School) - GRADES 6-8 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
A major part of the Seventh Grade science curriculum at NCCS involves a series of environmental debates. It is the keystone project of our environmental science unit; we use real world problems, and we call on the students to wrestle with (and to debate) the best solutions to these problems. This major project requires collaboration and cooperation with peers in a group; research, using online and print resources; prioritizing, organizing, and evaluating information; writing, editing, and revising prepared remarks; communicating effectively (and persuasively) to a group; and planning to respond intelligently (with evidence) to the points of one's opponents. Appropriate use of technology helps students at each step in the process: during research, finding and keeping track of information and sources; writing and editing; sharing information with partners using Google Docs; and using basic presentation tools to show evidence with video, graphics, and charts during the debate itself. Students are also asked to evaluate their peers' debates using a detailed rubric. We work on this project during January and February; this gives us the chance to practice many of the required skills with the class on various projects earlier in the year. As we are science teachers, our students debate environmental issues (the use of fossil fuels vs. renewable options, policy on endangered species, sustainability of industrial logging, etc.), but the format of this project would work in any class where knowledge of current events, research skills, writing, and communicating effectively were important. Because these skills are useful across the board, this project also raises the possibility of inter-department collaboration, which is an added bonus. Proposed Presentation outline: - Brief explanation of the project: present overall goals and expectations, topics covered, skills used, end results - Class Preparation: research, development of persuasive points, explanation of student responsibilities and participation - Debate protocol: time allowed for points and rebuttals during the actual debate - Evaluation: explain rubric-based peer evaluation, process and effectiveness - How this project can be useful in your class: for any issue that presents opposing sides/views; how it works to develop the 21st Century Skills of collaboration, cooperation, communication, organization, social responsibility, and fluency with technology.

NoodleBib, LibGuides, and the Big6: Promoting Academic Integrity During the Research Process (Nancy Florio, Rumsey Hall School) GRADES K-12 ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Information Literacy and Academic Integrity aren't simply 21st Century buzzwords; they're the ethics and skills our students need to develop if they are to be educated successfully in the digital age. Web sites like Turnitin.com purport to catch and potentially deter plagiarism in student writing, although there is ongoing controversy concerning intellectual property rights in regard to papers submitted, the accuracy of the results, and the possibility of compromising the teacher/student relationship. Instead of using this approach, many of our teachers have decided to address these issues through the use of three tools; the Big6 Information Literacy model, NoodleBib - an online note taking and citation manager, and LibGuides - a great web 2.0 application used to create research and study guides. This workshop will demonstrate how these tools support the writing process while promoting a learning environment that is based on helping students develop the skills they need to use information ethically in the 21st Century.

Project Based Learning in a Small River Town... (Kate Knopp, The Independent Day School) GRADES 6-8 / HISTORY
Middletown, Connecticut is our text. We walk its streets; we study its buildings; we research its people. The town is a laboratory for our students to learn to see history in their local places and to connect local history to their conceptual understandings of America as it has grown from colonies to nationhood to superpower -from agriculture to manufacturing to an economy of service industries. Students work in small groups to explore questions they construct from their own observations and experiences in the town. Students use the physical text of the CT River Valley, the buildings and people of Middletown and their stories, to construct for themselves major chapters of American history. 21st century skills emphasized are primary source research and real-time problem solving as well as designing presentations for authentic audiences. Students work in teams and reflect on their leadership and collaboration skills. Students also watch collaboration at work as four teachers work tegether to make the seminar work.

VoiceThreads: Share Your Images, Share Your Voice! (Josh Burker, Greens Farms Academy) - GRADES K-12 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
VoiceThreads.com is a Web 2.0 collaborative site where users can upload images, documents, and videos for others to post written or audio comments. VoiceThreads scales from kindergarten through twelfth grade and beyond. Teachers can create VoiceThreads around a particular topic, such as poetry or the rainforest, and students can record and post comments that illustrate their creativity and comprehension of the topic. Additionally, VoiceThreads gives students the ability to "doodle" on the image or document to emphasize part of the image or document. Teachers can use VoiceThreads to give feedback on an assignment. VoiceThreads are free for educators, though you may upgrade to a paid service with more features. This presentation will teach you how VoiceThreads work, allow you to explore some examples, and help you to envision how you might incorporate VoiceThreads into your technology-rich lesson plans.

Native American Studies (David Rockwell, Suffield Academy) - GRADES 9-12 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Native American Studies introduces students to the world of American Indians. The course is comprised of three areas of study: “First Contact”, Indian cultural traditions and Contemporary Issues facing Indian America. Effort is made to examine these topics from the perspective of America's Native People. The course draws from a fifteen year relationship between Suffield Academy and Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. Over this time, students from Suffield have spent two weeks during March vacation living in the pueblo, learning about Zuni culture. David Rockwell has many close Zuni friends and has spent considerable time in Zuni. Students from Zuni come to Suffield during the summer to attend the Summer Academy. The presentation will include: materials (textual and cultural) used in the course, a CDRom of Zuni, examples of hands on learning in the course, resources available for the teaching of Native American Studies and a discussion of the rationale for the course.

Why Video Games are Addictive and What Educators Can Learn From Them (Peter Bonanno, Suffield Academy) GRADES 9-PG / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Peter Bonanno explores the video game phenomena known as "MMORPGs" (Massive Multiplayer Online Video Games) that are popular among young people, and asks what educators can learn from them about effective feedback systems. Peter suggests that the lure isn't just the monster-slaying and fantasy settings--there's also a lot that these games do right in guiding their players and showing them a path to competence.

The Data-Driven Total Human Development Model (Steven Davis, St. Thomas More School) GRADES 9-PG / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
iThe Total Human Development Model (THD), winner of the National Schools of Character Award, was co-authored by Steven Davis and Dr. Jeffery Beedy while at The New Hampton School in the late 1990s. While the New Hampton School still employs the THD Model, both Mr. Davis and Dr. Beedy have been advancing the model at separate schools, Mr. Davis as Academic Dean of the St. Thomas More School in Ct. and Dr. Beedy as Head of the St. Martin’s Episcopal School in New Orleans, La. Mr. Davis will present a data-driven approach to the THD model that continues to "develop the whole person physically, emotionally and intellectually throughout the whole community," while empowering students with 21st century learning strategies.

SMART Boards and Google Earth: Going Places in Education (James Sorrels, Westover School) GRADES K-12 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
In this 20 minute presentation you'll learn some of the benefits of using a SMART Board vs. a traditional white/chalk board. Find out how the SMART Board will help your students reengage with the material and become subject focused. You'll also be able to view an example of how to use the free tool Google Earth to explore the world, discover new cultures, visit places you've always dreamed of and much more without ever leaving the comfort of the classroom.

Using Microsoft Word to Evaluate Student Writing (Brad Czepiel, Hopkins School) GRADES K-12 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
This presentation teaches faculty to use Microsoft Word and any email system to provide timely, ample feedback to student writing. The resulting documents can then help teachers organize individual student improvement programs and pen detailed reports and comments.

Taking a Seed and Watching it Bloom: A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Exploring Creative Arts (Kathryn Kravec, New Canaan Country School) GRADES K-5 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
For over twenty years, first and second graders at New Canaan Country School have looked forward to the yearly Arts Assembly. Each year, a new body of musical selections, either theme based or composer/genre specific, is presented to over 100 students. Over a six-week period, they explore, contemplate, create, choreograph their own interpretation of the music through movement and art. The process not only taps into their creative nature, but relies heavily on their collaborative and communicative growth. Additionally, elements of history, literature, vocabulary, geography and mathematics make their way into this journey of learning. Both students and their teachers work together to optimize organization, time-management and problem solving. The optimum result comes from the students' complete ownership of the project. My presentation would include a quick, hands-on experiential component, a powerpoint presentation depicting the process as well as a DVD of the final project.

Using a Wiki in English Class (John Corrigan, Pomfret School) GRADES 9-PG / ENGLISH
Using a Wiki Discussion in English Courses As opposed to e-mail, Wiki is a true online discussion forum. Students genuinely enjoy the Wiki, as they are familiar with online discussion forums. The goal of this session is to demonstrate the pedagogical benefits of using a Wiki site and for attendees to get ideas on how to utilize their own Wiki sites. Attendees will learn how to use a Wiki discussion forum and will be shown a demonstration of pedagogical benefits, including how time can be used more effectively in class and how students' free responses are more formal and polished, as they will be published and read by their peers.

Global Perspective: In Knowledge and Action (Veronica Brasher, Elizabeth Zobel, The Montessori School) GRADES K-12 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
The far reaching impact of the crash of the US financial markets on the global economy and the rapid spread of the new flu virus bring us to a startling realization of how interlinked the world is through trade and technology. It becomes even more important to teach our children to look at each action they take, and choice they make, not only in terms of their individual need but also in the context of its impact on their community. Through a series of vignettes of our Montessori classrooms from 15 months through to 15 years, we will see how: • collaboration • cooperation • communication • creativity • organization • problem solving • global education initiatives • fluency with technology are a part of daily life in our classrooms and lay the foundations for strong individuals who understand their place in, and their responsibilities towards, their community. The presentation will highlight how all learning in our classrooms happens in the context of the whole and supports the development of individuals who are true citizens of the world.

An Experiment in Service Learning (Connie Blunden, Greenwich Academy) GRADES 9-PG / HISTORY
This year I piloted a service learning course in our Upper School. 14 seniors participated in the course, entitled Social Justice, which focused on poverty in America. We looked at various attitudes towards the poor, conditions that contribute to poverty and challenged some stereotypes surrounding poverty in society. Units on health care reform and public education helped focus the discussion. Each student was expected to complete a 12 hour internship adding an experiential component to the course. I would be pleased to share the vision for the course and discuss the merits of offering service learning courses in our schools.

ACTive Learning: Making Real Connections (Barbara Washer, Theatre Consultant / Sally Brown / Marfie Lavendier, Renbrook School) GRADES 1-5 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Introducing simple drama exercises into any content area can help young students “learn by doing.” Examples to be shared may include first graders creating habitats, second graders exploring social skills, third graders traveling the Oregon Trail or portraying immigrants, fourth graders presenting poetry scenes and/or fifth graders creating a colonial village. Children’s learning is enhanced as they imagine, observe and reflect through individual, partner, and small group experiences. They become the experts, bringing information from classroom study to create, collaborate and communicate an understanding of characters and situations as they problem-solve and make choices in a variety of circumstances. Activities are designed through collaboration between classroom teachers and specialists in art, music and drama. Each one may serve as an educational tool in a single class or as a part of an original presentation created and shared by the children.

Digging Deep in Google Earth (Tom Adams, The Taft School) GRADES K-12 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
This presentation will show participants the instructional and assessment uses of Google Earth, a powerful satellite imagery program that is available to schools and students free of cost. The images available to all Google Earth users can be enhanced and customized with user-generated text, images and hyperlinks to create dynamic learning and teaching objects called Tours. These Tours are a means for traditional content to be delivered, either by teachers or students, in a 21st Century way and can easily be shared with others across classes, schools and the globe.

Scratch - Creative Problem Solving the M.I.T. Way (Patrice Gans) GRADES K-12 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Scratch is a new free programming language developed at the MIT Media Lab research constoria in collaboration with UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. The program enables students, as young as six, to create interactive stories, games, and animations which they can then share with one another over the Internet through the MIT Scratch website. The goal of Scratch is to help children and teens to become fluent with digital media, empowering them to express themselves creatively and make connections to powerful ideas. Learning to program offers benefits for everyone: it enables students to express themselves more fully and creatively, helps them develop as logical thinkers, and helps them understand the workings of the new technologies that they encounter everywhere in their everyday lives.

Puppet Show Project (Molly Farnsworth, New Canaan Country School) GRADES K-12 / ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
This presentation illuminates a project/unit in an elementary classroom in which 21st century skills are incorporated in an authentic and embedded manner. The presentation will use images and dialogue from the process to underscore the verbal explanation of how the project unfolds. Skills will be highlighted at each step of the way, to increase understanding of the essential importance of the approach to this unit. It is the approach rather than the outcome that gives this project its value. In a sumary overview, four or five small groups of students from one classroom work collaboratively to create and perform puppet shows. The process begins with each child selecting a character lifted from literature read aloud in in class, The child makes the puppet head from papier mache, paints it and then clothes it with a hand-sewn costume. Within small groups of four or five students, the children brainstorm and collaborate on the creation of an original story. The story includes the selected characters and demonstrates understanding of story elements such as action, problem and resolution. Editing and re-editing follows, with much negotiation and dynamic problem solving. One parameter of the plot is that each story (4 or 5 per classroom) must show some friendly words or deeds. After designing and costuming the puppets, and writing stories, the small groups work to plan and paint murals that will constitute the scenery for their show, mixing colors, planning layout of murals, and debating inclusion of details. Subsequently, each group is assigned to a committee: the invitation committee, the seating committee, the refreshment committee or the puppet stand committee. The energy and enthusiasm of the children drives the learning as they engage in authentic activities essential to the whole process. Embedded in the process is skill development in language arts, math, arts and science. Most important is the experience with critical thinking, oral communication, cooperation, collaboration and creativity. Solutions must be found for seating all the guests (attendance rosters are tallied by children as the date of the shows approaches). To display the puppets, collaboration and problem solving is critical to the measurement and construction of a wooden stand to fit all 18 or so puppets. Finally, invitations are designed and refreshments are baked and presented. The culmination of the project is the performance of the shows for families. The 21st Century skills in this project/unit are cooperation, collaboration, communication, organization, problem solving and critical thinking. The focus on "friendliness" for younger children touches on the beginnings of social justice - inclusion, empathy and acceptance.