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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Recently I’ve been blogging about free interactive videoconference (and Skype) opportunities. I’d like to quickly recap some of those for you here, now:

• Sign up for a 30-minute Skype session with author and artist Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw (available through December 2011). Jenny Sue will read one of her books and then share about her process — asking participating classes questions about how they think she does each part and share her research, sketchbooks, how she creates illustrations (paint, collage + more).
• Win a videoconference from Amy Sklansky by submitting your name, school, and email address by October 31st and you will have an opportunity to bring this bestselling St. Louis author into your classroom via distance learning – at no cost (you choose videoconferencing or Skype, and which of her lessons you’d like to do)! Click here to enter.
• Engage in HEC-TV Live!’s Veteran’s Day videoconference is November 11. Scroll down a couple blog posts to read more details on that interactive program.
• Register for The Education Department of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum‘s two videoconferences on November 15, 2011 entitled “First Ladies Conference.” This event is for 8-12th grades.

Here’s a new videoconference from the Albany Institute of History & Art:

Building the Erie Canal
(for grades 3-8th)
Using primary documents and works of art, this videoconference will help students look back in time to understand the work that went into building the Erie Canal and the natural and political barriers that were overcome to accomplish its construction.  The lesson will also examine the importance of the Erie Canal for trade and transportation throughout the country. Cost: $125.00

During these videoconferences, New York State certified teachers use objects, images and inquiry-based teaching methods to engage students in lessons that focus on art and history. Students are active participants in the lesson; they observe, analyze and express their ideas about objects and images presented.

To schedule contact the Institute’s Barbara Collins at (518) 463-4478, ext. 405 or by e-mail at New Links members, contact me, Rebecca Morrison, to sign up.

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HEC-TV Live! Presents Honoring Our Nation’s Heroes: A Veteran’s Day Tribute
Date: November 11, 2011 | Times: 10 to 11 a.m. or 1 to 2 p.m. CT
Grade Levels: 4-12 | Cost: NO CHARGE
Register by Thursday, November 3rd

Videoconference Description:
What is it like to be in the military?  What is it like to fight in combat and to return home from war?  What does it mean to have served your nation in its armed forces? On this Veterans Day, as Tim Gore of HEC-TV Live! remembers those who have fought and died for our country’s freedoms, take your study of the history of America in war to the veterans who fought in them.  Ask these questions and more as you interact with veterans from World War II, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and the current war in Iraq/Afghanistan.

Take a step back into history with those who lived and fought during these important moments in American life. What was the mood of the country as America entered the war after Pearl Harbor? What was it like to be on the battlefield in World War II and to be a prisoner of war? During the turbulent 1960’s as Americans wrestled with the war in Vietnam, why did a young man choose to enlist and fight so far from home?  As America countered Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, how did one young Marine react to being on the front lines of that conflict?  What was it like to live in a foxhole, search enemy foxholes for soldiers and weapons, and to fight in a field of landmines?  And in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, what was it like to be a military policeman or to be tasked as part of the important support unit to promote troop morale?

HEC-TV Live’s focus in this program will not be exploring the historic details of a specific war or battle in that war, but it will be to provide students the rare and important opportunity to speak directly with those who have served our country in its armed forces and learn first hand what that means.

Program Objectives:

1.  The participant will gain a greater understanding of what it means to live and fight in wartime.
2.  The participant will interact with individuals providing primary source accounts of recent world events.
3.  The participant will meet people and hear stories from diverse perspectives.

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We’re already getting submissions to this year’s Show-Me a Movie Digital Storytelling Contest! We’ve changed things up a bit from past years- we’ve added a new category and we’re having students upload their work to the web instead of sending in CDs. Much has stayed the same, however, and we want to make sure you know that the deadline to submit is Friday, December 16 at 3 o’clock. Paperwork and movies must be to CSD by then. If you aren’t familiar with Show-Me a Movie, click on the image above to see a quick, well, movie on the contest! Further questions? Contact Rebecca Morrison at

A new session New Links for Your Classroom with Videoconferencing & Skype was added for Thursday, November 3rd due the volume of registrations for the October class! This workshop will take place 8:30 am- 3:30 pm at Cooperating School Districts’ tele. The cost is $149 CSD member; $189 non-member; New Links members can get this workshop for free!

In addition to learning about H323 videoconferencing, Skype, and webconferencing, we’ll be connecting to the follow content providers:

AIMS from Saint Louis University via Polycom
LEARNnco via Polycom
The Hermitage via Elluminate

Sign up for this or any other tele class by visiting our website and clicking on the registration link. Other professional development classes available in November include:

•  Digital Media Projects Using Pixie (preK-5 educators) on November 8 (includes free software!)
•  Presentations & Portfolios Using Share (6-12 educators) on November 8 (includes free software!)
•  Advanced Discovery: IWB & Media Creation on November 10
•  Transforming Learning with a Promethean Activboard (Level 1 Training)
on November 16 & 17

Friday was the first session of our 2011-2012 Boeing Grant professional development. Martha Bogart and Stephanie Madlinger are working with a group of middle school science teachers. This is the fifth year of the Boeing Grant; this year, the focus is using technology in the middle school science classroom.

The participating teachers- from Hancock Place, Ladue, Ritenour, and Wentzville school districts- received Discovery Education Science for the year, along with other Web 2.0 tools to implement in their curriculum. The group will meet through March- you’ll see them at the Midwest Education Technology Conference, too.

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Using examples from all six of her books, author Amy E. Sklansky answers the question during this distance learning session: Where does an author get her ideas and how do they become a book?

With PowerPoint slides, original artwork (like that featured in this post!), and other props, she touches on many aspects of the creative process – sources of inspiration; generating ideas; structuring a story; revising; the roles of the artist and publishing staff; etc.  Participants are encouraged to interact with the author and will develop an appreciation for both the creative writing and publishing process. From Inspiration to Bookstore Shelf (grade 3 up) is a 45 minute videoconferencing or Skype session. Register with Rebecca Morrison. For Videoconference/Skype: New Links members pay $155, nonmembers pay $195.

You have a chance to receive this session for free- see the blog’s sidebar for how to enter to a contest to get a program of your choice at no cost!

Explore rich digital media & interactive learning through visualization!

Advanced Discovery: IWB & Media Creation
Nov. 10, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm at CSD
$149 CSD member; $189 non-member
(One Graduate Credit Available)

This workshop is for dynamic educators who are enthusiastic about designing lesson activities to increase student engagement and participation. Discover how DE streaming digital media resources can be used with your interactive white boards (IWB). Engage today’s learner by using images, videos, and audio files with your IWB lessons and by creating multimedia projects with your students. Participants will learn how to integrate DE streaming digital media into a variety of applications such as SMART Notebook, Promethean Flipchart, Moodle, Glogster, VoiceThread, Animoto and more. Throughout this class, you will discover ways to develop curriculum-based digital media projects and lessons with DE streaming resources. We will touch on copyright compliance issues, practice finding images and music, create voice-overs using SMART & Promethean IWB recorders, and the free download, Audacity.  Skills covered can be applied to any subject area and any grade level.

Prerequisite: Bring a lesson idea, organized in your DE streaming My Content with songs, images, video, and sound files that support your lesson. Participants should already be familiar with SMART Notebook or Promethean Flipchart.

Can’t make it in November? We’re offering this class again on April 11 & 12, 4-7 pm each evening. Register at

Cooperating School Districts’ District’s-Choice Online Learning will offer the highest-quality courses at the lowest prices in Missouri. After evaluating many online learning vendors, CSD selected e2020 as a key virtual education vendor in our plan to provide a comprehensive virtual education program to Missouri schools. Schools have 200+ courses to select from with e2020, and different options to purchase.

We’d like to invite you to join us for a free Lunch & Learn so you know what features that distinguish e2020 and District’s-Choice from other online programs available for K-12 schools.

The e2020 Lunch & Learn session takes place Thursday, November 3 at 1460 Craig Road in St. Louis, Missouri. Register for this free event here. You can come in the morning and stay for lunch, or stop by for lunch and stay through the afternoon.

• 10- 11:30 am- Demo & Info session of e2020
• 11:30-12:30- Lunch for all provided by e2020
• 12:30- 2 pm- Demo & Info session of e2020

With e2020 through District’s-Choice you can:

• create a personalized schedule
• offer any course any time, creating the flexibility for new innovative school options and schedules for all
• provide credit recovery for students to easily recover credits so they graduate on time
• require a study skills course for freshmen
• encourage students work on a prescriptive MO EOC Assessment Prep course
• offer an ACT, GED prep course any hour of the day to all students
• use e2020 assessments to find out which Missouri and Common Core Standards to spend more time teaching and what to skip, thus personalizing teaching each student in grades 6-12
• use videos of real teachers explaining each Common Core Standard

For more information on this Lunch & Learn, or on District’s-Choice Online Learning, phone Dave Sanders at 314-692-1219, or Nancy George at 314-692-1251.

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Did you miss yesterday’s 1-hour free webinar from the Virtual Learning Center? Well, you are in luck- we’d like to share the archived version of the event with you right here, right now. You’ll learn how Discovery Education streaming digital media resources can be used with your interactive white boards (SMART Boards and Promethean ActivBoards will be featured). Engage today’s learner by using images, videos, and audio files with your IWB lessons and by creating multimedia projects with your students.

To gain access to the two other webinars we’ve hosted this fall, click here (and select “view event recordings”).

To read up on future free webinars from the VLC, visit our website. Up next, we have the CSDVLC ISTE Affiliate on November 2. This informative webinar will familiarize you with the Virtual Learning Center at Cooperating School Districts, its mission, its services and its personnel. In addition, you’ll find out how to become a member of the newly formed ISTE Affiliate and what its benefits include!


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