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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Monthly Archives: November 2010

The 2011 Midwest Education Technology Conference is coming up February 14, 15 and 16th. Registration is open (in fact, the Super Early Bird rate has been extended to December 17th)! If you have not attended an METC, make sure you check out this video produced by students in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. They covered METC 2010 and the video they created gives a great taste of what our annual educational technology conference offers!

Here are just a few snapshots taken here at the Virtual Learning Center of Cooperating School Districts during the fall of 2010. Be sure to check out our Flickr page to see even more images of workshops, academies, videoconferences and other activities that have been going on!

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click to go Polycom wiki

Check out the Polycom Special Events calendar! These free videoconference events are always very popular and they fill up fast. Registration for Polycom customers opens on Wednesday, December 1st for January through May events.

According to it’s wiki, “Polycom Special Events are designed to provide Polycom customers free curriculum-rich videoconferencing connections in order to demonstrate the power of the technology to support learning.”

There are videoconferences for elementary, middle and high school students. In addition, professional development options are available. Polycom asks that you please check your calendars carefully (teacher conferences, vacation days, state testing) and make sure your class is available before registering. Cancellations are requested 5 weeks in advance to give another class a chance to participate.

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The 2010 movie submission deadline is Monday, December 13th at 5 o’clock sharp for the Show-Me a Movie contest. All movies must be mailed to Cooperating School Districts by 5 p.m. – remember, we do not accept movies sent via email or DVD; send your 2-minute movies on CD through the mail. For complete contest rules and details, visit the CSD website.

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Just a reminder that Healthy Kids | Healthy Classrooms (formerly our Mental Health Series) is a professional development videoconference series for K-12 educators. Join us on December 15th for “Mirror, mirror on the wall…” Body Image and Youth.

At the end of this presentation over videoconference, educators will understand the following:

  • Understand factors that affect self-perception and body image
  • Understand risks of negative body image in youth
  • Identify ways school staff can empower youth to form a more positive body image.

This interactive videoconference will last 1 hour; for New Links to New Learning members, the fee is just $25! Non-members pay $85 per site. There is no limit to the number of participants per site. The videoconference starts after school at 3:30 p.m. central. School-Community Health Educator Stephanie Margolis of BJC will present. Questions on this professional development workshop? Contact Rebecca Morrison. Please register for this professional development session by December 10.

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Happy Thanksgiving! There are many options for teachers interested in connecting their students to content providers to discuss Thanksgiving-themed topics. Here’s a short list of videoconferences to consider- perhaps for next year- be sure to take some time to digest it all-

• For first and second graders, join The Mariner’s Museum in Sailing into Thanksgiving- learning about life on board the Mayflower and how the ship moved, about the Pilgrims and their life in America, and what inspired the Pilgrims to celebrate the first Thanksgiving.

• Also for first and second graders,  Spending Time with a Pilgrim from East Central Ohio Educational Service Center will engage your classroom in the life of a pilgrim, covering the reasons for leaving England, the harsh first winter, and the friendships that were developed with the Native Americans.

• Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center offers two videoconferences this time of year perfect for Thanksgiving studies: Living in a New Land for prekindergarten through second grade students looks at why the Pilgrims chose to come to the new world, and the settlement they made in the American wilderness. Coming to America! is for third, fourth and fifth grade students and explores the first English settlements in America: Jamestown and Plymouth.

• You may want to consider Holiday Customs and Traditions for your prekindergarten through third grade students. This program, from EarlyWorks Museum, examines Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions in America. What happened in history that began each holiday’s traditions?

• Finally, for a great classroom-to-classroom idea, check out Janine Lim’s recent blog post on her schools’ Turkey Trade collaborations.

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Click on the image below to see the November Virtual Learning Center Newsletter in its entirety:

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At the 2011 METC you can win an iPad by participating in the Midwest Education Technology Conference “Virtual Essay” multimedia project.

Pick your favorite online tool (i.e. Glogster, Animoto, Prezi, VoiceThread) and make a connection between your experience at METC and the conference theme “Motivate, Engage, Transform, Connect.” Be creative with your message as you tell your story! Virtual Essays need not be long, but have a clear message. The submission deadline is a few days after METC 2011 ends- please send essay links in by February 21st.

Easy Steps for Participating in and Submitting to the Drawing:
•  Create your Virtual Essay using an online tool of your choice. This may be done prior to, during or after the 2011 Midwest Education Technology Conference (runs February 14-16th). Note that during the conference, you may take advantage of the Connections Lounge to ask for assistance with an online tool to create your Virtual Essay.
•  Submit the Virtual Essay URL to our Google Doc (information to be posted shortly on along with sample essays) by February 21, 2011.
• Drawing held on February 22, 2011; winner announced shortly thereafter.

METC is a program of Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis.

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There are several Virtual Learning Center deadlines coming up next month- be sure to mark your calendar so you don’t miss out! To get Super Early Bird registration rates for the 2011 Midwest Education Technology Conference, you need to register by Friday, December 17th.

If you plan to submit your students’ movies to Cooperating School Districts’ annual Show-Me a Movie Contest for digital story telling, you have until Monday, December 13th to do so. For all the information on Show-Me a Movie, visit CSD’s website.

The February ACT is fast approaching! Our ACT Prep Videoconference class with The Princeton Review will begin right after the new year. Registration must be completed before Monday, December 20th.

Also, if you sign up to participate in one of Patricia McKissack‘s upon requesttalk shop” videoconferences before Thursday, December 23rd, you get the videoconference 20% off its normal rate (regularly priced at $200 for New Links to New Learning members, $250 for non-members). The videoconference itself can take place in 2011.

Children’s book authors, Patricia McKissack and her son, Fredrick McKissack, Jr., conduct a 60-90 minute session about their collaboration on several books– Black Diamond, the Story of the Negro Baseball Leagues, Hard Labor, and the upcoming graphic novel, Nat Love, Cowboy. During the highly interactive session, the McKissacks will discuss how the team works to maintain consistency, sequence, form, and accuracy. Students will be asked to participate by answering a brief quiz that will identify who might be a good collaborator with them.

During the videoconference with students, the McKissacks introduces themselves and give brief biographical information including how they became collaborators. After a definition of “collaboration” and the many forms it can take, the McKissacks will focus on research writing first draft, editing, and final draft as they are affected by collaboration.  Time for questions and answers from the students will follow, along with a brief test to see who would be a good collaborator for you?

The goal of the project is to introduce students to the process that authors use to write and/or illustrate a book together. In addition, the project will encourage students to work with each other in the spirit of sharing, compromise, and respect for others’ thoughts & ideas.

At the end of the project students will be able to:

•  Work together brainstorming to come up with ideas for writing a short story.
•  Agree upon a story line.
•  Create a draft of the story then hand it off to the writing partner (collaborator).
•  Analyze their writing with each other.
•  Share their work through email with other collaborators.
•  Revise their writing to conform to the correct standards of English.
•  Prepare a finished manuscript (publish).

This videoconference will be $300 per session. Interested? Send your requests to Rebecca Morrison at Cooperating School Districts in St. Louis, Missouri.

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