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The Connected Classroom

Information On and From EducationPlus' LearningLab

Monthly Archives: September 2009

METC Thursday, October 1, 2009 marks the opening for 2010 METC registration! Keynote speakers are Wes Fryer, Deneen Frazier Brown and Ian Jukes.

Held annually at the St. Charles Convention Center, METC attracts educators from across the United States and around the world. This year’s theme is “Reaching Beyond the Cloud.”

To learn more about METC, or to register (starting tomorrow!), visit:

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Carolyn Lesser

St. Louis author Carolyn Lesser continues to connect to students and teachers over videoconference live from Cooperating School Districts.

Carolyn works with students in second through twelfth grades, as well as professional development with their teachers. She offers a variety of distance learning programs, including nonfiction prose or poetry, journalism, and play writing. Past topics she’s covered are butterflies, polar bears, global warming as well as ancient China.

An avid traveler, explorer, observer and teacher, Carolyn uses her experiences from her trips around the world to motivate & encourage students participating in her interactive videoconferences. Questions on Carolyn’s programs? Contact Rebecca Morrison at CSD.

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World renowned children’s author, Patricia McKissack, teaches students how to write over distance learning. During hands-on and highly interactive videoconference sessions, participating students discuss plot, themes, character development and more. Patricia will also post to her blog and answer students questions during her series. Next up on her three part writing series: Winter Holidays Around the World.

In the first videoconference, the author meets with the teachers to discuss the goals of the author visit and refers them to the book she will be discussing, Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters. In the second, the author dialogs with students, discussing winter holiday traditions and how she wrote her book about Christmas on a Virginia plantation in 1859. In the third videoconference, she gives feedback to students about the writing and illustrations the students have done. Past winter holidays students have written on include Chinese New Year, Ramadan, and Kwanzaa.

We hope to see you this holiday session! Here are the dates:
Teacher Session: Thursday, November 5 at 4 pm CT
First Student Session: Tuesday, November 24 at 11 am CT
Second Student Session: Tuesday, December 15 at 11 am CT

Christmas Doll
In a separate, 1 hour, offering, Patricia will read her story The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll. On December 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm CT, Pat will read from The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll. This book is for students 5-8; “It is Christmas, and Nella is beside herself with excitement! She and her sisters have been given a real gift – a beautiful Baby Betty doll. But it’s hard to share something you’ve waited your whole seven-year-old life for, and Nella grabs the doll for herself. It isn’t long before she discovers that a doll can’t do the fun things she and her sisters do together. So, as Christmas day fades, Nella shares it with her sisters. Set in the Depression era South, here’s a heartwarming story that captures the essence of the holiday.” (

To sign up for any of these videoconferences, contact Rebecca Morrison at Cooperating School Districts.

To sign up for either Winter Holidays Around the World or for the Story Hour on The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll, contact Rebecca Morrison at Cooperating School Districts.

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CSD is pleased to offer St. Louis area schools participation in the Boeing Grant project for the 2009-2010 school year. The focus for this year of the grant is on elementary and secondary science, and we are thrilled to have Matt Kuhn, a STEM (METS in Missouri) expert from McREL who will present the 2-day workshops.

All the classroom teaching strategies are researched-based and will equip teachers with new techniques to engage and motivate students to higher achievement. Dr. Kuhn’s presentations will be practical with hands-on practice for the participants and he will emphasize integrating technology in the science curriculum. There are 25 spaces in the 2-day elementary workshop and 25 spaces in the secondary 2-day workshop. First come, first served.

During this two-day workshop you will:

  • review the scientific inquiry process
  • explore web resources to support each step of the inquiry process
  • use a variety of probes and digital microscopes to support scientific inquiry
  • plan how to use technology to support scientific inquiry in biology, physics, chemistry, and earth systems.

This workshop uses the scientific inquiry process endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association as a framework to integrate technology into the science classroom. Participants will engage in a variety of hands-on activities within each of the five steps of the inquiry process, including web resources, software, digital microscopes, and a variety of scientific probes. Examples will be presented in each of the steps of the inquiry process specific to biology, physics, chemistry, and earth systems. Participants will receive a workshop manual and CD to refer to both during the workshop and when they return to their classrooms.

Dates/Times: Elementary science teachers: November 10 & 11; Secondary science teachers: November 12 & 13; 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day (hour for lunch on your own)

Location: The Principia School, 13202 Clayton Rd. St. Louis, MO 63131

Note: You must bring your own laptop that can connect wirelessly to the Internet provided.

*If you would like to attend the workshop, but not agree to the deliverables (see comments section), the cost will be $200/person.

Questions? Want to register? Contact Karen Vaughan at

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The first Mental Health Series Videoconference is coming up in a couple weeks! New Links members, you get this program for free. Nonmembers pay $85/site for the professional development from BJC School Outreach & Youth Development. Sign up by October 6 with Rebecca Morrison.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 4 p.m. CT:
Superheroes & Princesses- The Effects of Media on Gender Identity
Flickr Creative Commons - by woodleywonderworksMedia is the vehicle of pop culture. Music, television, internet, video games, and movies spend billions of dollars to grab the attention of young people.  In the meantime, these forms of media send powerful messages about what it means to be cool, attractive, and even male or female. Learn current research on the effects of media on gender roles from preschool to high school and how simple classroom discussions can help empower young people to understand their own gender identity.


DECEMBER 2010 NOTE: looking for feedback on these programs! Please answer a few questions for us so we can bring you professional development that meets your needs.

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Karen Vaughan Though she’s not a new face at Cooperating School Districts, she is the newest member of the Virtual Learning Center team- welcome, Karen Vaughan.

Karen has stepped into Dorothy White’s position as Conference Coordinator. She’s been working on the Support Staff Academy (SSA) and closely with Nancy George on the Midwest Education Technology Conference.

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Award winning author Patricia McKissack (and recent Mark Twain Reader Award nominee) will conduct three, 60 minute story-hour sessions during the fall of 2009 with New Links to New Learning. Pat reads the selected books, she’ll talk about (her) inspiration, and she will take questions from students. These story hours are for students in first through fifth grades (depending on the book). The cost is $200 for New Links members and $250 for non-members. First up is The Dark Thirty. To register, contact Rebecca Morrison by October 16.

23Just in time for Halloween: Pat will read select portions of The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural on October 23, 2009 at 11 a.m. central. This book is for students ages 9-12; “these 10 spine-tinglers range from straight-up ghost stories to eerie narratives. The tales in this winner of the 1993 Coretta Scott King Award depict racism, haunting and vengeance in a manner that can be read out loud around a campfire or savored privately, offering middle readers thoughtful exposure to important, though frightening, historical themes.” (

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