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Sunday, September 30, 2007

EstuaryLive 2007

This past week, our high school biology students participated in this fall's EstuaryLive event. This had to have been the best EstuaryLive ever. Bill Lovin and Cris Crissman teamed up with the North Carolina and South Carolina folks to knock this year's episode out of the park.

I used the application from Apple called Grab to capture over one
hundred images from the live streams. I have never been a fan of RealPlayer, but the software was stable and images from the Charleston, SC were out of this world. The best part of this year's event had to be the guests. They keep the segments informative and interesting. The close up shots showed up nicely on the 15 inch monitor of the four year old PowerBook. My MacBook Pro remains out of service in the wake of last May's vandalism. I am still holding out hope that our technology department will find the funds to repair the monitor and power cable. But that is another story.

My students used Google Earth to locate Charleston, SC and looked at the coastal features. I encouraged my students to think about a question while they were watch the streaming video feed. They had so little knowledge of estuaries that this was a real challenge. I should have spend more time studying and preparing them for the sessions. They enjoyed the fish and shrimp segments.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Video project in my science classroom

Instead of just watching a Power Point lecture about birds of North Carolina and taking a test on it to see what students have memorized, my students are using digital tools to create short reports. The hooks was I showed them an animation of a character similar to the South Park characters. After seeing the intro animation, one of them mentioned that they would like to learn how to make their own animations.

I need to take the time to write up the instructions on how to do this. Instead of giving the students written instructions, I used a digital projector and modeled each step on a screen. The most interesting aspect of this activity was that a couple of students finished their project and volunteered as peer tutors.

Students had to present their project to the class using a digital projector and telling about their birds as a oral presentation.

Students used a performance rubric to assess their projects and learning. This video below is not complete. However, the other individual projects will be posted on Google Video.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Parents Being Involved

Dear Teacher,

Your student has found a really cool site www.scrapbooksthatteach.com that has been created by a teacher for teachers, students, and their parents. As a colleague, go ahead and take a look at academic scrapbooking. It can be used by individual students as a response to an assignment from you, by you in cooperative learning groups, and by parents who want to maintain a family scrapbook. You will enjoy using academic scrapbooking-- in teacher lingo, it falls under differentiated instruction and is the perfect way by which to include all the students in your class. And best of all, it is a management system in itself because it will keep the kids focused the entire class period and you don't have to adjust your assignment. The kids will be creative enough to figure out how to meet your high expectations for the assignment. Mine always do! Go ahead, log on now! Follow the Teacher Tag once you reach the home page. www.scrapbooksthatteach.com
Parents Being Involved

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Tobacco - The Golden Leaf of Days Gone By

When I was going up here in Chadbourn, the sites and smells of the tobacco market was always something we looked forward to. Farmers finally had some money to spend on cloths and necessities. I remember that successful farmers drove new pick-ups around town. Folks around here referred to the local economy as "the farmers plan". The merchants would charge groceries, fertilizer, feed, fuel for their trackers, tires for their vehicles, and just about everything--and when the tobacco market opened and the tobacco farmers sold their crop they would pay off their creditors.

Tobacco leaves 2

Yesterday, I noticed in the local Chinese restaurant in Chadbourn, a sign that reads: "Visa and Maste Card Only No Checks". As I stood there in line and chucked at the spelling lesson I wanted to make out of the poster, it came to me that we are not on "the farmer plan" economy any more.

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