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The Connected Classroom

Information On and From EducationPlus' LearningLab

Monthly Archives: January 2010

St. Louis author Amy E. Sklansky gives elementary students a peek inside the mind of a poet in this one hour videoconference from New Links to New Learning.

This distance learning program, available for students in grades second through fifth, is offered upon request (point-to-point) and on the following set dates (multipoint): Tuesday, April 22 (during National Poetry Month): 9:30; 10:45; 1:00 and Tuesday, May 4: 9:30; 10:45; 1:00. All times listed are Central. (If a second grade teacher would like to participate, the program would be shortened to 45 minutes and would not include the interactive poetry writing and would be scheduled point-to-point). The cost for the videoconference is $135 for New Links to New Learning members and $175 for non-members.

Sharing poems* from her own books, Amy discusses during the videoconference the various places a poet finds inspiration and a few of the many forms poetry can take.  Next, she models a process for writing a poem using a SMART Board, and then encourages students to write a poem on their own during the videoconference using the same process.  Finally, Amy gives examples of the ways a poet may revise her work – emphasizing concepts such as word choice, line breaks, action verbs, and punctuation. The main objective of this program is for students in second through fifth grade to gain a greater appreciation for and understanding of poetry.

*from From the Doghouse: Poems to Chew On:

My tail won’t stop its wagging.
My rear end has an ache.
Back and forth and back and forth–
it never takes a break.

To sign up, click here.

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Ruth Block & Dan Pink

Last week, Ruth Litman Block and Martha Bogart went to hear Daniel Pink (author of several “provocative, bestselling books about the changing world of work”) speak at Maryville University on his new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Daniel Pink

Martha reports it was a great talk and very provocative- and that every teacher needs to read the book. In Drive, Pink reviews the research that has been done about motivation and finds that while we know a lot about what motivates people, we just don’t do it- whether in schools, businesses, or government.

He believes people need three things to motivate them after their basic needs have been met- autonomy, mastery, and purpose. And, according to his website, “the secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.”

So here’s a question: how are we capitalizing on this in the classroom?

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This January, Janine Lim in Michigan and Roxanne Glaser in Texas are doing another 20 Days Challenge! This time they are focusing on improving & scaling videoconference projects (for K-12 classrooms).

Janine and Roxanne are focusing on school level coordinators as their primary audience, but district and regional level VC coordinators should benefit, too. The ladies will be collaborating and cross-posting each day’s challenge on their respective blogs as they did last year. (The posts below go to Roxanne’s blog, VC Rox).

Here is the archive of 2010 Challenge blog posts (thus far – they have 2 days left to go!):

To get these great updates, you can subscribe to either of their blogs in your favorite reader (Roxanne’s or Janine‘s Out on a Lim). Looking forward to seeing the last posts of the challenge this year!

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The 2009 Show Me a Movie contest winners have been announced! The contest has three divisions: high school, middle school, and elementary school, and four categories: Show Me Something New, Show Me Your Community, Show Me a Challenge, and Show Me a Story.

Show Me a Story
Title: The Story of Thompson Field
Students: Holly Vandervoort, Cristian Sanchez, Justin Shipley, Hadley Karandjeff, Lotta Huenke
Teacher: Jonathon Lee
Building: Mark Twain Elementary | 
District: Brentwood School District

Show Me Something New
Title: The Fermilab Adventure – Mad Jedia’s Journey to the Dark Side
Students: Ella Leininger, Joseph Wingbermuehle, Allison Flerlage, Ivan Aguirre
Teacher: Patrick Graney
Building: Central Elementary School
 | District: Francis Howell School District

Show Me a Challenge
Title: Healthy Habits
Students: Will Sheridan,  Arman Chowdhury,  Nate Henks,  Brennan Riggs,  Anna Kochman,  Morgan Cosgrove,  Julia Flynn,  Anna Hagedorn,  Claire Tindall,  Grace Allen
Teacher: Gail Bush
Building: William Yates Elementary  | 
District: Blue Springs School District

Show Me Your Community
Title: I’m Lovin’ McDonald’s in Warren’s Community
Students: Jordan Banze, Elena Beckman, Ellie Bueltmann, Carlie Connors, Nicole Fortney, Jadon Herrman, Hanbit Kang, Reagan Miller, Jenna Schwesig, Ethan Stepanek, Ben Terrell
Teacher: Janet Nordemann
Building: Warren Elementary School
 | District: Francis Howell School District

Show Me a Story
Title: In the Blink of an Eye Life Changes
Students: Katie Thaxton, Rachel Kelly, Corey Stephan, Jacob Kramer
Teacher: Molly LaVictoire
Building: Francis Howell Middle School
 | District: Francis Howell School District

Show Me Something New
Title: What To Do If There Is an Intruder in Your House
Students: Amy Steinke, Wailani Ronquillio
Teacher: Laurice Badino
Building: Sperreng Middle School
 | District: Lindbergh School District

Show Me a Challenge
Title: The Ultimate Challenge
Students: Ryan Firth, Calahan Hempe
Teacher: Laurice Badino
Building: Sperreng Middle School
 | District: Lindbergh School District

Show Me Your Community
Title: It’s Imo’s
Students: Natalie Ried, Shelby Sample
Teacher: Laurice Badino
Building: Sperreng Middle School
 | District: Lindbergh School District

Show Me Something New
Title: Pursuing a Dream
Students: Michael Johnson, Steven Marks, Liberty Bechtel
Teacher: Bruce Vonder Haar
Building: Joplin High School | 
District: Joplin R-VIII School District

Show Me Something New
Title: How To Get a Girl
Students: Josh Chrun, Steve Raines, Matt McCormick
Teacher: Matt Bolger
Building: Bishop DuBourg High School
 | District: Archdiocese

Show Me a Challenge
Title: Don’t Throw It Away, Throw It Back
Student: Zebrina Riggs
Teacher: Bruce Vonder Haar
Building: Joplin High School
 | District: Joplin R-VIII School District

Show Me a Your Community
Title: A Forgotten Ghost Town
Students: Ashley Witt, Chris Bekas
Teacher: Shad McGuire
Building: Ash Grove High School | 
District: Ash Grove R-IV School District

Winners will be honored at the Midwest Education Technology Conference Tuesday, February 9, 2010. To see the winner submissions, click on the SchoolTube icon to the right.

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Transforming Learning with a Promethean Activboard
$138 CSD member; $214 non-member
Day Classes (8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.): February 24
Evening Classes (4:00 – 7:00 p.m.): April 6 & 8

St. Louis area teachers, come to Cooperating School Districts’ tele to learn how to use this interactive whiteboard in your classroom. Promethean Activboards combine the look and feel of a regular whiteboard with the power of a computer. In this class, you’ll discover how to develop lesson plans that make use of it and motivate students to learn. This class is for beginners; no prior knowledge of Promethean Activboards required. Terms and concepts covered include basic tools, like the magnetic pen, flip charts, menu bars, pop-up menus, and the resource library. To register or to see other classes the Virtual Learning Center offers K-12 staff, visit the tele website.

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For its education customers, Polycom offers special free videoconferences, including ASK Author Interview with
 Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson’s videoconference is February 8, 2010. Click here to learn more about that specific program, including requirements and time availability. Polycom asks that participants please make sure they can commit to the work necessary to prepare for each program before registering  classes.  Other Polycom Special Events include (note, times listed are Eastern):

February 2010
2nd at 12-1:00 p.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET
Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller with author Sarah Miller – Grades 5-8

4th at 12-1:00 p.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET
Freedom Train with author Evelyn Coleman – Grades 3-5

March 2010
18th at 12-1:00 p.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET
The Ultimate Gift with author Jim Stovall – Grades 5-8

23rd at 12-1:00 p.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET
Cesar Takes a Break with author Susan Thoms – Grades 2-5

31st at 12-1:00 p.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET
Scrambled States of America Talent Show with author/illustrator Laurie Keller – Grades 3-5

April 2010
20th at 12-1:00 p.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m. ET
The Revolutionary War: An Interactive History Adventure with author Elizabeth Raum – Grades 4-6

22nd at 12-12:45 p.m. and 1:15-2:00 p.m. ET
The Mud Fairy with author/illustrator with Amy Young – Grades 1-3

(book images from

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Before the morning keynote at the Midwest Education Technology Conference, arrive extra early (on either Tuesday or Wednesday), grab a cup of coffee and crumpet then head to one of the Birds of a Feather tables in the Grand Ballroom! Between 7:15 and 7:45, take part in a casual discussion about technology and its effect on learning and education with K-12 educators who share a similar interest such as digital media, library media center, 21st Century skills or other instructional technology topic.

The keynote sessions are scheduled 8:00-9:15 a.m. each day in the Grand Ballroom. On Tuesday, hear Wesley Fryer, who is a digital learning consultant, author, digital storyteller, educator and change agent. Deneen Frazier Bowen keynotes Wednesday. She has been applying her acting, teaching and technology experience to help teachers and schools expand students’ learning opportunities through harnessing new technologies.

If you have not yet registered, do so today!

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