Friday, March 27, 2009

Shayna Malyata

On Thursday I had the pleasure of meeting and working awhile with Shayna Malyata of Lewiston Middle School. It became immediately clear that she believes in connecting personally with students and finding ways to engage them in the learning process. As part of her work, we spent a few minutes looking at iMovie. Shayna already had an educational purpose and raw footage available. She only desired a crash course in editing . . . which is what we did. In my line of work as an integrator, that sequence is ideal: Just-in-time learning with a reason in mind for using a tool. See Grappling's Technology & Learning Spectrum.

Check out the links below to some of Shayna's work:

Kavango Connection

Lewiston Middle School Civil Rights Team

Memoirs for Change: The Lewiston-Auburn Memoirs Project (LAMP)

Memoirs for Change

Storytellers for Peace

Sun Journal: "LMS Students Share Stories As They Write Memoirs"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

College Course Videos

Arne Duncan on Education Stimulus

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink. ~ George Orwell

Education Week Interview with Education Secretary Arne Duncan from Education Week on Vimeo.

Stimulus Money and Federal Mindset

Will Richardson at Weblogg-ed: "How to Waste the Education Piece of the Stimulus"

Diane Ravitch at Bridging Differences: "Is Arne Duncan Really Margaret Spellings in Drag?

Melanie Smollin: "Education's Piece of the Stimulus Pie - Following the Money"

Schools Matter: "Meier and Konsky on Duncan"

21st Century Literacy

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Travels with Earth Bear

Ask Jim Moulton questions using Google Tools to Learn about India.

The Power of Wordle

by Becky Ranks

Having just completed a day in Bangor with teachers there who are working on Inquiry-based Instruction and Essential Questions, my partner in crime, Jim Burke and I were very impressed with many of the things that are happening there in Grades four through 8. We were part of an all day professional development experience that reached all content areas. Jim and I covered the language arts curriculum and presented resources and ideas for language arts teachers.We were just a small part of a day arranged by Martha Thibodeau through the Title IID grant. One of the resources presented was Wordle. I am sure most are familiar with Wordle, but if not it makes wonderful word clouds. Last night while watching CNN's commentary on President Obama's press conference, the commentators used his words in a Wordle word cloud. It was blown up to a tremendous size, and they were able to pinpoint the words that were used most often and it highlighted the power of words. The Bangor teachers were thrilled with exposure to this new resource, and now its reach to mainstream media has taken it to real world uses and shows another use beyond our imagination.

Rainforest Podcast at MVMS

Podcasting at LIM Resources Wiki
Mountain Valley Middle School 7th Grade Team

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Maine Laptops and the Future

Essential Questions:

1. What have we learned from the first 7 years of MLTI?

2. What might work even better in the future?

MLTI Laptop Information (2009 Deployment) at LIM Resources Wiki (Feel free to edit (update).

Discuss on LIM Online Community

Monday, March 23, 2009

Middle Level Education in Maine

A Framework of Twelve Core Practices for Maine Middle Grades Schools Developing Full Academic, Personal and Social Potential for Maine Young Adolescents.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Can You Use Someone Else's Curriculum?

by Nicole Ouellette

My sister is an elementary school teacher. To me, that makes her an automatic saint, no documented miracles necessary.

She is also a young teacher in a small school and moves around grade wise: first rate last year, second grade this year, and third grade next year. I asked her about a recent teacher in-service day. "At least I got my math curriculum done," she said "you know, for the next teacher." And that got me to thinking about curriculums as usable documents.

Flashback to the experiences of my friends becoming teachers. Some entered classrooms where the retired teacher had left behind binders and file cabinets full of their "curriculum", presumably for them to use. Being young and overwhelmed, in the end most of it ended up being tossed out. On one hand, this is certainly a shame to have all that work gets thrown out but on the other, who wants to shift through someone else's organizational logic or stream of conscious thought? I certainly wouldn't.

To me the only way a curriculum is usable by more than one person is if it's very general and able to fit within a few typed pages. I would tend to look online for ideas for lesson plans but in general I want to plan on going to teach a concept myself. The fact that I would have to teach meteorology in April? No problem. The fact that I have to use what I think is your crappy lesson on clouds? Not so much.

(Come to think of it, all I wanted in the last school I worked in was to look at the school's curriculum and for two years I asked. I've still never seen it.)

Do any of your schools use a curriculum in a real way? If so how can we best share it amongst other teachers and with the public?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Inquiry Based Science Lesson: Bangor 3-20-09

by Ron Smith

Session Link:

Google Sites Web Page

Response Question:

You have now performed an inquiry-based activity and explored information about inquiry-based learning in science.

What do you think makes a lesson inquiry based?
What can you change in the science activities you do with a class to move them from closed to directed to open inquiry?

Make a list of criteria important to include in an inquiry-based science activity.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rainforest Project at Mountain Valley Middle School

I'm thoroughly enjoying working with Lindsay MacMillan's 7th grade science classes today. Final projects will include an iMovie, so today we are showing the kids how to import video and then will be giving them a short introduction to editing and video grammar.

Lindsay started the classes by showing a very short Discovery Education video on bio-diversity and then had very effective discussions with her classes on what was good and what wasn't so good in the video construction in preparation for the students making their own videos.

They are also making great use of their MLTI laptops to do research on a variety of issues relating to the rainforests. MARVEL - Maine's Virtual Library - is a great resource for this work.

Lindsay MacMillan's Great Rainforest Resources Portaportal

Rainforest resources at LIM wiki

Video 1

Video 2

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Choosing a Web Application

"A tool should have a low floor, wide walls and high ceiling" ~ Mitch Resnick and Seymour Papert.
We have been bombarded with web apps for the past couple of years. It is overwhelming for even those of us who spend a great deal of our time trying to be aware of what is available.

The first issue is to have a place that collects and organizes these new tools. Simple Spark is a favorite spot for me to check out what is available. Then there is, of course, Go2Web20, which is perhaps a bit glitzy, but helpful nevertheless. And there is also Webappsreview.

The next issue is to actually choose the best tool for what we want to accomplish. The tool needs to be so easy-to-use that even beginners can quickly make use of it, and yet, at the same time, needs to offer the ability to offer higher level options for those who are growing in skills. When the learning-curve gets in the way of what we need to accomplish, I would suggest that we need to reconsider. Clunky and archaic systems that get in the way of efficient learning have no place in education. It shouldn't be a complicated ordeal to accomplish a simple task. Teachers are pragmatic and will use what works well as there is no extra time to spend endlessly troubleshooting.

Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers gives reviews of the latest apps and sites . . . and suggests ways they might be used in the classroom.

My current favorites: #1 Ning, #2 Google Sites

What are your favorite web tools?

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Road Runner Culture

"Slow down, you move to fast . . ."


I just happened upon the term Edupunk. Although the term might not contain the best connotations, the ideas within it strikes a chord in me. It touches upon my biases about citizenship and governmental and corporate control.

Take a look . . . see what you think.

Stephen Downes: Introducing Edupunk
D'Arcy Norman
The Wired Campus: Frustrated with Corporate Course Management Systems
Ken Carroll: Edupunks Need to Grow Up
Is Teaching a Subversive Activity?
David Warlick: What's This about Edupunk?
Brian Lamb: abject learning
Jennifer Jones - Injenuity: Viral Professional Development

Friday, March 6, 2009

Maine Community Heritage Project

See call of participation below:

The Maine Historical Society, in partnership with the Maine State Library, is seeking Maine communities to participate in the 2009-2010 program cycle of the Maine Community Heritage Project (MCHP), an innovative program that promotes collaboration between local schools, historical societies, and public libraries through the exploration and celebration of local history. The MCHP grows out of the Maine Memory Network, the Maine Historical Society's nationally recognized statewide digital museum, and is supported by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum & Library Services.

The MCHP is a year-long program designed to mobilize Maine communities around the exploration and sharing of their local history. Each participating community will build a website on the Maine Memory Network that gathers and radically expands access to historical images, documents, and information related to the history of their community.

Applications from local partnership teams—each of which must include a local school (grades 6-12), library, and historical organization are now being accepted. Eight communities will be selected to participate in the program which will run from July 2009-June 2010. Participating communities will receive extensive training in digitization, access to powerful yet user-friendly online tools, guidance and support from full-time project staff, and funds of up to $7,500 to support project activities. All Maine communities are eligible to apply. The application deadline is: April 9.

For an application, or to learn more about the MCHP, please visit here or contact Kristie Littlefield by email at or by calling (207) 653-9287.

Image Power

Wow . . .you need to check this out. Maine's own, Sharon Betts, just blogged about Time Space: World on Sharon's Share blog. This is yet another powerful, yet simple to use, online tool to make connections with photos and events. Along with one of my favorite tools, Cooliris (formerly PicLens), it is easy to scan the planet for that needed image. Just think of the possibilities!

There is an embedded version of Cooliris below, but to gain the full power of its capabilities, a browser plugin needs to be downloaded here.

Additional Photo Resources at the LIM Wiki

Got a New Computer?

Some sage advice from Maine's own, David Trask, at Flubbernuggets.

Image Credit