Monday, October 22, 2007

Let Us Put YOU on the Map!

We have become fascinated by the growing number of red dots on our ClusterMap.

ClustrMaps is the widget you can always find on the right side of this webpage. Go ahead and look for it- double click it and see the details too. It shows locations in the world where someone is checking out this blog. I know who and where a few of the dots are because we are collaborating on projects - more news on those projects as they progress.

By our calculations, we are averaging 4-5 new locations in the world each week!

We need more projects to help our students learn more about their geographic world (and not just to prepare them for any eventual question on a game show – or a pageant….). This is where you come in to the picture – literally.

If you are reading this outside of Fort Mill or Tega Cay, SC, please drop us a line - we would love to hear from you. We want to put YOU on the map! Our classroom has a world map on the wall, and it will grow as our ClusterMap grows. If you are inside Fort Mill/Tega Cay - drop on into our technology lab. We would love to hear from you too.

-JoNelle Gardner, Technology Teacher/Specialist

Monday, October 15, 2007

Inservice Day - My "Day Off" with "No Students"

Parents: While your child stayed home and played like they were supposed to, teachers had an Inservice Day. What is that exactly? Usually meetings. Today was different. Thanks to our pricipal we had a choice of where we wanted to visit. Below is a blog post from another education blog that I maintain. If I have any techie-type parents, you may want to help out in the technology lab this year. It's not what it used to be! Please read on...

We had an inservice day today - teachers actually visited schools of their choice. This was not your typical day of meetings that may-or-may-not be geared toward your needs of professional development. I jumped at the chance to find a school/teacher experienced in integrating web 2.0 tools in their curriculum. Although a tad over my elementary level, I found an excellent resource not too far away from home in Mr. Chris Craft. Many of us who have researched international collaboration projects have seen much of his work and read his blog

Chris Craft (love the name) came highly recommended and it was all true and then some. I got to see him in his element and I must say - his students adore and respect him. All of his sixth graders came in calmly with smiles and stayed that way the entire time. What wonderful classroom spirit. He loves them and they know it. He respects their identities and their uniqueness and they know that too. After all of the techno-talk I absorbed, I was struck most by his manner about his students and one quote in particular. "I teach children how they want to be taught," he told me. Think about that some more.

What about the techie talk? I learned more about Moodle, PBwiki, Gcast, WordPress, and Google Earth. New for me are great video resources from Dan Meyer at, for self-paced Spanish lessons, , WiziQ for a virtual classroom, and bluehost. So many tools...and it is not summer break.

We talked about EdTech 2007 - SC's technology conference October 24-26. We are both presenting. My presentation is "We Vote for Movie Making! Motivate your students using cameras and Classroom Performance System (CPS). " I submitted this before I jumped on the Web 2.0 trail, so now I'll tweak it more to include some.

One of Chistopher Craft's (this how his name is listed on the site) presentation is about presentation design - how cool is that? Another is about Google Earth - yeah! The third is presenting his research "Games and Simulations, is there a place in k12 education? " What a fountain of information he so generously shares.

What a jam-packed Professional Development day for me! What did you do on your last inservice day?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Programming in Elementary with Scratch!

Scratch is programming for students! Who wants to learn programming with fun animations and sounds? Elementary students can do it with Scratch- and it's free from M.I.T. We will introduce programming in Scratch with 5th graders.

How will learning programming help our children? Students learn valuable problem solving and logic skills; communicating understandings and ideas helps students builds writing and speaking skills;and teaming with others builds collaboration and cooperation life skills and much more.

You can learn about Scratch Scratch and let us know what you think! email JoNelle Gardner, Technology Specialist
see examples in this video