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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Monthly Archives: July 2008

The Virtual Learning Center is sad to see Stephanie leave, but we want to congratulate her on her new position as a Technology Integration Specialist in the Parkway School District. Best of luck Stephanie, and don’t be a stranger (I have a feeling she won’t be)!

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Yesterday’s tele class was Evaluating Student Work with Differentiated Scoring (also known as the ‘Rubrics Class’ within the VLC)- participants learned how to create rubrics, scoring guides, checklists, and other forms of assessments that measure what students have learned while participating in student-centered activities. Models were shown during the day, and online access to information about scoring guides was given. Stacey taught the class and I caught the participants as they broke into groups for discussion:


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Here are some Mental Health professional development updates! All the interactive Mental Health videoconference sessions are presented by a BJC staff member and include a question & answer period. Sessions run from 4-5 o’clock central on set dates. K-12 educators are welcome to participate in this videoconference. Contact Rebecca Morrison to sign up or if you have questions.

Dates, Topics, Descriptions:

January 8When a Classmate Dies (Lynn Baer)
In this one hour videoconference, the implications for schools, classrooms and families when losing a child will be discussed. Identifying issues and helping students in the grieving process are key issues to this conversation.

February 12The Influence of Media on Teen BehaviorTeaching Media Literacy  (Lynne Lang)
This videoconference will define media literacy and its impact on teen behavior. During the session, strategies to help teens break down messages in order to make healthy decisions will be covered. Topics include teen pregnancy and teen smoking.

March 12Peer Bullying/Sibling BullyingMaking the Connection
(Lynne Lang)
Discover the connection between sibling and peer abuse during this interactive videoconference; learn to identify and address troubling behaviors that may be affecting your classroom climate.


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Today was the first videoconference of the 2008-2009 school year! Independence Elementary connected with the Lee Richardson Zoo to talk about rainforests-  Rock’n Rainforests, that is! With temps in St. Louis today forecasted to be in the mid to upper 90s I’m sure this was a welcome and cool (figuratively & literally) learning activity for students & teachers alike! Here is what the zoo’s website says about the videoconference:

Rainforests rock! Did you know you can walk for a mile through a tropical rainforest and never see the same plant or animal twice?!! Tropical rainforests provide the world with amazing diversity and resources. See for yourself how important these ‘stand of trees’ are and even explore some not so tropical rainforests. (Did you know we have one in the US?)

Lee Richardson Zoo is great because their programs are educational & engaging… and free! Also, interested in knowing where the US rainforest is? I was- I assumed a tropical rainforest could be found in Hawaii- I wasn’t correct. Googled it: temperate rainforests can be found in the Pacific Northwest.

tropical rainforest photo by absolutwade on Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Check back soon! Fall class dates for the tele, including SMART Board and Promethean Activboard courses, will be coming out soon. If you have already taken a SMART Board or Promethean Activboard class at CSD and need a refresher, remember you do have access to our Moodle which has tips & tricks for up to one year after taking the class! Any tele class you’ve taken will be up on the Moodle- remember to visit it and look at class materials.

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Tele class participants learned everything from the basics to the more advanced features that make PowerPoint a great tool for student learning today. Ellinder Murray taught the PowerPoint class today at CSD. After brief introductions, Ellinder got the class started.

Participants had the opportunity to create their own PowerPoint presentation for use in the classroom to introduce or clarify a lesson. They learned how to create photo albums, adventure stories, and Jeopardy games. During the second half of the class, participants learned how to design student PowerPoint assignments that require higher order thinking skills & examine assessment methods that will help grade these student assignments. At the end of the day, they walked away with their own presentation and ideas for integrating PowerPoint into the classroom and for their own school work!

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Great news to share!!
The Boeing Company awarded Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis, Inc. (CSD), a $35,000 grant to the Virtual Learning Center (VLC) to continue professional development for K-12 teachers & administrators, with a focus on researched strategies for using technology in the classroom!

Boeing Grant Educators Collaborating @ CSD

Over the past two years, The Boeing Company awarded CSD nearly $80,000 to impact student achievement through the use of engaging technology and hands-on learning. The grant provided ongoing facilitation from nationally-known technology experts to teams of three educators from over 40 school districts in the greater St. Louis area. More than 2,000 teachers and administrators have benefited from participating in professional development addressing the following tech integration areas: Web 2.0; Interactive White Boards; and Concept Mapping Tools.

Boeing Grant Educators Collaborating @ CSD

Due to the successful outcomes of the past two years, The Boeing Company made a commitment to continue funding this project during the 2008-2009 school year. The third year focus will be for teams to design, implement and share lesson plans that integrate technology & improve student achievement. The Virtual Learning Center is grateful to the Boeing Company for their commitment to teacher professional development and student achievement!

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METC 2008 button

The Midwest Education Technology Conference (METC) is this January! For information visit: We’re just under a month away from the presentation submission deadline, so if you want to submit a conference proposal, hurry! Last year was the 25th anniversary of METC and attendees came from all over the United States to celebrate classroom technology and share tips & tricks on integrating it into classrooms further. The theme for this year’s conference is Technology Tools of Engagement: R U There?. Will you be there?

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Cindy Lane is back from the Google Teacher Academy and she had an awesome time! The academy exceeded all her expectations. She reports she is in awe of what Google does- their mission, their philosophy- and thinks it is how we should all work- and play!

The academy was “fast & furious”: 12 hours each day that included breakout sessions and small group instruction, where 49 educators from all over the world learned Google applications from 9 presenters.

Cindy also learned a lot from her personal learning network- she Twittered with many of the other participants prior to the academy, and then of course, got to meet face to face, which was a real treat. They have and will continue to communicate online in various ways, including webinars and chat.

Cindy now working on her action plan, which is part of the academy’s requirements. I can’t wait for her to show us what she learned! The Virtual Learning Center excited that Cindy will be sharing her Google knowledge as a featured speaker at the Midwest Education Technology Conference in January 2009.

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Videoconference requests with New Links to New Learning authors are now being accepted! Carolyn Lesser has a new menu of program offerings; Patricia McKissack‘s dates are set; and Bill Dallas Lewis‘ upon requests programs are available.

Teachers, to sign up for these interactive videoconferences, please contact Rebecca Morrison at Cooperating School Districts. 

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