Embedding a Google Chart in Your Blog Post

Recently my fourth grade technology class has been learning to create charts using Google Spreadsheets. They were given a variety of data sets to chart which were all based on their current study of the US States.  Different data requires different types of charts, and they have built column and bar charts, pie charts, and line charts. We always share our learning via the student blogs and so in order for them to be able to embed one of their charts into a post, I needed to provide an example and work out the kinks before teaching them the embed process. In Google charts there is an option for an embed code, allowing the chart to be interactive, and also automatically updated in the embedded view if the data is changed.

1. In your Google chart select the option to Publish Chart.publish chart
(I would suggest using the move and resize option in the chart to center the chart first as best you can before heading to publish.)

2. Copy the embed code:

Publish to web

Since the embed code does not offer size attributes the first insertion could look something like this.

As you can see there is very little of the chart visible and it is hard to get the complete picture having to do so much scrolling. What to do?

3. Head into the Text/HTML view and take a look at the embed code. Example:

<iframe src=”

Note: Sometimes you will have size attributes in the embed code but in my experience most times they do not appear.

4.. Add size attributes or change existing size attributes and continue to tweak until the size fits your page.  Here is an example of the size attributes and the resulting layout on an early attempt.

<iframe src=”” width=”650″ height=”400″></iframe>

overflow arrow The width of 650 is too wide for the WordPress theme I am using. The arrow indicates how far into the right side bar the image extends. Since the height of the chart appeared to work, it is just a matter of tweaking the width.

It seems that a width of 530 px is the best for my current page. Here is the final embed code. There is minimal scrolling and the whole chart is visible.

<iframe src=”” width=”530″ height=”400></iframe>

Learning About the Millennium Development Goals

This year the current 7th grade has become aware of the existence of the  Millennium Development Goals and their implications for our brothers and sisters around the globe. Students needed to research the goals by taking notes from assigned websites and videos and develop a post demonstrating not only their awareness of the goals, but an example of some progress that has been made toward one of the eight goals. (Featured student posts for this assignment: Kaitlyn, Alex, and Jacob. ) Although the deadline for accomplishing the goals was set for 2015 and there has been some progress, there is, in fact, so much that remains to be done. On September 25 of this year, a special meeting was convened by the UN General Assembly to follow up on the goals. There is an outcome document produced as a result of the meeting. From the document:

We gather with a sense of urgency and determination, with less than 850 days remaining for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. We renew our commitment to the Goals and resolve to intensify all efforts for their achievement by 2015.

We welcome what has been achieved so far. The Millennium Development Goals have provided a common vision and contributed to remarkable progress. Significant and substantial advances have been made in meeting several of the targets.

However, we are concerned at the unevenness and gaps in achievement and at the immense challenges that remain. The MDGs are critical for meeting the basic needs of people in developing countries; as we approach the 2015 deadline, unrelenting efforts are required to accelerate progress across all the Goals.

There are organizations making progress toward these goals and the 7th grade students had the assignment of finding one example of such progress and showcasing what has been done, indicating the goal being affected, and linking back to the information source. I feel that I should do what I am asking my students to do, so I  would like to showcase an organization that is working to help those in need. It has become dear to my heart because my own daughter has become personally involved in the cause. The organization is, and  through their efforts schools are being built in communities whose children have not had the opportunity to have an education. One of the MDG’s is to achieve universal primary education, and this organization works to do just that. My daughter will be traveling to Nicaragua with a group and they will live with host families in one of these communities while they all pitch in to build the community school. In her post she says:

Education is a powerful thing. We all deserve the opportunity to hold this power in our hands and use it as a catalyst to change our futures. Today there are 1.2 billion people around the globe who are illiterate largely due to a lack of access to education. 72% of those illiterate are women. buildOn is an amazing organization that goes where there is a want and a need before they plan the school construction. They then work WITH the community to build the school and ensure an equal amount of boys and girls will attend. Providing access to education for even one remote village can change the lives of hundreds of children living in poverty year-after-year. In Nicaragua these schools double as hurricane shelters during Central America’s rainy season. buildOn has immensely successful After-School Youth Development Programs here in the U.S., and through their Global School Construction Program, have already built more than 500 schools.

We can all help in some way by supporting organizations that are making a concerted effort to better the lives of others and help eradicate poverty. Follow the UN Twitter feed on the goals @WeCanEndPoverty. “We are the first generation that can end poverty.”

John F. KennedyTo those whom much is given, much is expected.

Luke 12:48 ~ Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

Image Credits: Outdoor school, Bamozai, Afghanistan by Capt. John Severn, USAF under Public Domain

BuildOn Book Launch San Francisco  by under CC BY-NC 2.0

Web2.0 Tools – Paddles for the NETS Canoe

The NETS listed on the ISTE site are something that I have referred to often in my coursework and also in my teaching and my support of teachers integrating technology into the curriculum. There are so many Web2.0 tools to choose from but the value of the tool is best judged by its ability to help teachers and students better meet these national standards.

One of my favorite Web2.0 tools is student blogging, and in my case the platform is, developed by David Warlick as part of his Landmarks Project. Giving students the opportunity to blog certainly provides the opportunity for students to “communicate and collaborate” (standard 2). Blogging allows students to see that they are part of the global community and publish their writing for a global audience. Participating in the Student Blogging Challenge is a way to open to the door to interaction with students around the world and develop cultural understanding and global awareness. The student’s individual blog page can also be a place to showcase his or her creative projects. Through this challenge my students have had the opportunity to participate in Blog Action Day held on October 15. The 2010 theme is “water” and the 2009 theme was climate change. Becoming aware of global issues affords students the opportunity to read about current problems and think about possible solutions and share those solutions with others. (standard 4).

thomas a becket glogFor creativity and innovation (standard 1) my thoughts jump to a number of Web2.0 tools that allow students to showcase their knowledge in creative ways, such as Glogster EDU. It has been my experience that students love the platform and will spend a great deal of time designing their glogs. They can follow a logical thought process and explain their concept or newly acquired knowledge with others by sharing it via this creative digital tool. Students can also use digital tools for collaboration and “use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues” (standard 1c)  in many of the projects showcased by Discovery Education such as Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge.  This again fits well with standard 4 as a platform for critical thinking and problem solving.

The theme of Digital Citizenship (standard 5) needs to be present in all our work with digital tools. I have often relied on video sharing sites such as YouTube to open up discussion on Internet Safety, and I am also hoping to be involved in the Digiteen Project which will focus on Digital Citizenship. Students involved in this global collaborative project will rely on such tools as wikis and Skype and Google Docs to accomplish the project goals. I do have one eighth grade student who will not be thirteen years old until January 22, but I am hoping that will not be an issue in the first weeks of the project.

Although there are many other wonderful tools that could fill a book (and many writers have done just that) the tools that I have mentioned above have become rather standard fare in today’s classrooms. These basics can be enhanced with tools that showcase student work and allow diverse groups to come together to collaborate and appreciate each other’s similarities and differences.  These tools have helped and continue to help both teachers and students navigate the 21st century global seas. We just need to keep paddling.


canoe paddle
Thomas a Becket glog
Blog Action Day badge

A First Impression of PBL (EDIM502 u01a1)

In reviewing the exemplars of PBL in week one of EDIM 502, I was struck with a sense of déjà vu after reading about and viewing the work of Frances Koontz and her class as they participated in the Journey North activities. Quite a few years ago (dare I say at least 15 to 20?) I was involved in the Jason Project with my fellow fifth through eighth grade teachers at my previous school. That was the closest we ever got to project based learning, though we did not use that term at the time. It was an amazing journey of learning, exploration, and discovery initiated by Dr. Robert Ballard and a team of scientists. Some lucky students across the country applied to be part of the Jason expedition as “argonauts” and got to experience it first hand, though none of our students ever participated in that way. It was interdisciplinary, required us to team teach, took extensive planning on our part as teachers where we had to decide which areas of the curriculum we would be responsible for, which of the learning activities we would be able to incorporate, and how we would bring this experience to life for the students. The culminating activity was a trip to Lehigh University which was one of the hosting sites that communicated live with the expedition and we never knew when we booked our day exactly what the scientists would be doing and what we would experience.   We were in awe of the “technology” used at Lehigh for the live interaction with the expedition, especially since technology was almost non-existent in our classrooms at the time.  

Was that true project based learning according to the definition used today? How did it compare to the three exemplars from week one of the PBL course?

I will confess up front that although I am probably the most daring member of my faculty and the most willing to jump in and try something new, I am still somewhat “jaded” by the fact that so many of the great ideas out there in education sound wonderful in theory but sometimes leave one extremely frustrated in the harsh light of reality. Having been around for so many swings of the pendulum, one of the first things I tend to do when I see video clips of awesome projects being done in a particular classroom is to count the number of students in the room and note the amount of open space they have available. When you work with classes that average around 35 students  and have very little open space this is a reality that cannot be ignored. After seeing in these three exemplar videos that the students shown numbered 20 or fewer, I immediately sense that there would have to be great adaptations made in my school for undertaking similar projects. I struggle very often to see the glass half full rather than half empty!

In each of these projects there was a driving question of sorts, though not the Big Question with global implications as presented in the Apple CBL model, at least not directly stated, although the Monarch project and the related activities on the site are global projects.  Perhaps the articles just didn’t particularly name that or for the younger students that is not part of the vocabulary. It seemed that each of the three derived the driving question from a different source. For Mrs. Huemer’s class in Newsome Park it seemed the students’ interests and curiosity drove the project focus. In Miss Reeder’s geometry class in Seattle it seemed that she set the focus and the goals she wanted her students to achieve and designed the architecture project around that, and in Frances Koontz’s class the questions were derived from the Journey North curriculum projects.

All three projects had the students working in groups and engaged in hands on activities. The geometry students obviously were more self-directed as far as group dynamics because of their age, but the collaborative experience is vital for all age groups and is a very important skill to develop.  Assessment needs to be considered in the planning of projects and assessment was really only mentioned in the geometry project. I imagine there had to be periodic assessments by the teacher along the way and not just at the end of the six weeks. I am concerned about 40% of the final project grade coming from the assessment of the architects, but again, there is probably much more to this than was presented. Having coached students through PJAS (Pennsylvania Jr. Academy of Science) projects and having experts in various sciences be their judges, that can certainly be a flawed process if not screened carefully, but obviously she had developed a relationship with the architects and shared her project goals with them.

Project based learning still needs to incorporate curriculum standards  and Frances Koontz did mention how she was able to work in her language arts standards in the project, and also the idea of multiculturalism.  Miss Reeder’s class apparently scored very high in testing so she obviously did a great deal of preparation and planning to develop a project that incorporated the necessary benchmarks in geometry throughout the course of the project.  She was concerned with skill transfer but in the projects with the younger students that point was not raised.

Although I guessed as much coming in to this course, PBL entails a great deal of planning behind the scenes on the part of the teacher in order to be able to develop activities that will engage students and provide authentic learning with global implications, and still meet state standards. Planning time is definitely at a premium for most teachers and as Mrs. Vreeland noted in the “barrel of worms” article, it does take a great deal of effort. All three exemplars brought in outside experts in the field to speak to the students and interact with them, helping them to see real life application for their learning.

 Although the concept of PBL appeals to me and I see the educational value, it also seems overwhelming and I understand how someone might look at it and say “How would I ever have time to do that?” I can see that without administrative support it may be difficult to undertake. Without a teacher who is willing to work off the clock, waaaaaay off the clock, it won’t happen. But if we want our students to be engaged and to develop a desire to be life-long learners, we have to take baby steps and be willing to give it a go.

I especially liked how Mrs. Vreeland said that “the students know that Mrs. V. doesn’t have all the answers, and they also know that it doesn’t bother her in the least.” We are all students, some of us are just much, much older than others. This student is looking forward to learning more about PBL.


 glass half empty  CC 2.0 license

 Robert Ballard CC 2.0 license

clock CC 2.0 license

Digital Portfolio

Work complete for Wilkes-Discovery Master’s Program as of March 12, 2010

EDIM 508 Digital Media – Instructor: Lance Rougeux

“Digital Citizenship – Internet Safety”

Use of Glogster “US Constitution Grade 5” glog

Google Earth Virtual Field Trip – “Rainforests of the World Grade 3”

Blog entries for this class posted on this blog site.

EDIM 507 Using Technology to Support Creativity Instructor: Luke Lyons

  1. Reaction paper: “Steering a Course Toward Globalization in Teaching
  2. Reaction paper: “Working as a Team in 21st Century Education
  3. Reaction paper: “A Path to Global Awareness
  4. Technology Product Assessment: Classblogmeister
  5. Creativity Lesson Plans:” Rainforests of the World” and “Canada- Latin America Travel Video
  6. Final Project: “A Challenge to Act

EDIM 514 Internet Tools for Teaching – Instructor: Jacqueline Derby

  1. Campus fusion blog posts (Sorry, the site is no longer available.)
  2. Digital Story with a Cell Phone – “A Teacher’s Path” (Sorry, no longer available on

Contact Info:

Twitter @patti211
Linked In
class website


Final Reflection: Respect, Ethics, and the Rainforest

The course in Digital Media has come to a close and the final project, a Google Earth tour, has been submitted, hopefully intact. For this project I chose the topic, Rainforests of the World, as that is a topic for third grade science and I have done rainforest activities with the third grade in the past. The Diocesan curriculum for science at that grade level includes:

B. Plants
1. Life cycles
2. Adaptations for survival
3. Populations
4. Communities

  • Producers
  • Grassland
  • Ocean
  • Rainforest

The most difficult part of this project for me was actually coming up with the subject matter. Not being a “regular” classroom teacher, I have my hands in everyone’s curriculum, but needed to search through Diocesan guidelines for topics that would lend themselves to this medium and become a learning activity from which students could truly benefit.

There is much in this topic of rainforests that lends itself to developing respectful and ethical minds. Very often when we think of rainforests we think of the vegetation, the animal life, but do we think of the human inhabitants of these regions as well? In this virtual field trip the students not only learn of rainforest layers and beautifully exotic flora and fauna, but they have a chance to glimpse totally different lifestyles and to compare them with their own. They have the opportunity to appreciate the similarities and differences among people of very different cultures and realize that children all over the world are basically the same.

There are two forms of assessment included. One is the ongoing writing activity of posting thoughts to a blog. My third graders have taken to blogging with great enthusiasm. Keyboarding skills are always an issue but keeping the requirement to four sentences allows them a chance to review what they learned without becoming extremely frustrated. (We do work on keyboarding in third grade.) The other is a Discovery Quiz Builder activity at the conclusion of the trip when we return home.

Although my regular classroom experience was always with upper grade students, I have come to learn about the reading struggles of students in the primary grades as their (former) Spanish teacher and now technology teacher.  In order for the struggling readers to get as much out of the experience as possible, I have embedded AudioPal recordings so they can listen to the text being read to them if they choose. One downside of this free tool is that the recordings can only be 60 seconds in length, so in some cases I feel that I may have been speaking too quickly. I had to sometimes have more that one player on a page for that reason. The only other audio included was sounds of the rainforest which was optional for listening. Other audio could have included sounds of various animals but of course there is always the possibility that too much of that can cause a distraction.

On the topic of images, I decided to use a customized placemark rather than an external image in an overlay. Since not every stop focused on animals, or plants, or people, there leaf1would have been no suitable image theme, so I created a leaf image to symbolize the overall theme. I regret that before I began Photoshopping the leaf I neglected to note the source, so there is no actual citation for the original leaf in the Google Earth file. I created 6 leaves with the numbers 1-6 for the stops on the tour, and removed the white background. Then they were uploaded as customized placemarks. The remaining images in the project can be found within the contents of each place mark either as a static image or a linked image. To expand this project further, and I hope to do this before we actually use it in the classroom, I would insert additional links to images of plants and animals. Time constraints caused me to use just a smattering of external links for images. I am planning to insert a few more images of the more unusual species.

I stayed with a basic format for each location, using HTML coding within each placemark’s properties. One way I could improve on the geographic understanding would be to insert an image within the placemark of a world map with that particular location shaded. I could create my own but that would entail adding my own images rather than hyperlinks, and there was the danger that the images would not stay packaged with the project. I may do this locally however.

There were a few moments of panic when Google Earth crashed in the midst of inserting links and media. Was it my computer, or was the application protesting media overload? I learned early on to SAVE frequently after losing some of my hard work after a crash.

By completing the activities during this virtual field trip I am hoping my students will develop a sense of respect for the other cultures and especially children of the world. We are not better, only different, and we are alike in so many ways. They can also develop an appreciation for the beauty and diversity in nature. In addition, even at a young age, they can begin to develop that ethical mind whereby they begin to look beyond their own needs, and begin to make choices that are right for the planet, and right for humanity in general.

At the conclusion of this course I have three projects that I can actually use with my students that will engage them in authentic 21st century learning. I have also grown so much in my personal learning, not only from the readings but also from the sharing of a group of very hard-working and dedicated professionals who it is obvious have the best interests of their students at heart. I hope that I have made some small contribution in return.

Added Friday, October 16 (6:45 p.m.): Upon reviewing the .kmz file that had been uploaded via Moodle, I caught an error. I inserted the same audio recording in two places and missed the Amazon recording entirely. The link to the project on this page has the corrected version. I found that if I tried to send a second Audio Pal recording to the same email address, it would only keep the first one. I used half a dozen different email addresses to get them all; however it could be that after retrieving one recording, deleting that email would allow the new one to come through. Thankfully I had not emptied my trash and was able to find the correct audio clip without having to record again. Another lesson learned…Don’t be quick to empty the trash!


Amazon Rainforest Treetops. Corbis. 2009.
Discovery Education. 14 October 2009

Children of the Amazon. 14 October 2009

Environmental science and conservation news

Mission, Model, and Mirror

As the Digital Media course draws to a close, it is time to reflect upon the Five Minds put forth by Howard Gardner and how these minds can influence our current and future teaching practices, and in reality, our current and future roles as global citizens.

What is my mission as an educator? I feel that cellist Yo-Yo Ma, in his response to Gardner’s question about what constitutes good work (Chapter 6, The Ethical Mind) really laid out a formula for the teaching profession. To paraphrase:

– to perform as excellently as possible
– to be able to work together with others and develop common understanding and trust
– to pass on knowledge, skill, understanding, and orientation to succeeding generations so that the joy of learning may endure

I have taken liberties with his statement about music and applied it to teaching, but I feel the idea of “good work” spans all professions. I will take that a step further and say that, as a Catholic school educator, it is inherent upon me to model Christ-like action to all I meet. From our school mission statement come these words:

Welcome to Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, educating Pre-School to Eighth Grade students in the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania.  We are proud of our school and glad to have you here. We strongly believe that close cooperation between the school and the home is essential in promoting the education of the children entrusted to our care.

At Our Lady we strive to maintain a caring and peaceful environment in which all students can feel comfortable. We believe that this atmosphere will facilitate learning and nurture respect among students, teachers, and parents.

In his remarks on the ordering of the Five Minds, Gardner states that  “From the beginning one must begin by creating a respectful atmosphere toward others. In the absence of civility, other educational goals prove infinitely harder to achieve.”

With such a noble, and at times daunting, mission for educators, to whom do we turn for our models? Who are the leaders in our quest to meet the needs of today’s students, the students who need 21st century skills developed and nurtured with 21st century tools by educators with a 21st century mindset?

We cannot operate in isolation, relying solely on our own knowledge and creativity to meet the needs of our students. And so we develop our Personal Learning Networks, our groups of fellow educators, leaders in the field, gurus as it were, from whom we learn about the latest and greatest. These individuals point us to the cutting (or bleeding) edge, are often the first to try the tools or offer new ways to use old tools, who are willing to give it a go and let us know how it went. As the network expands and we participate in sharing opportunities, we ourselves occasionally may be the ones who offer a new twist, a fresh outlook, a way around a stumbling block.

Being an old-timer, I am reminded of a shampoo commercial  that showed a girl talking about a shampoo, and she told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on…  And just like viral video, the good ideas spread. The more groups you are part of, the more opportunities you have to get in on what is happening. How have I picked up on “the buzz”? What constitutes my PLN?

I must start with the DEN. The Discovery Educator Network was the door-opener for badge-100x100_4me. Back in January of 2006 I applied to be a STAR educator and had some correspondence with one Lance Rougeux, who decided that I should not withdraw my application just because I felt I might not be able to do all that was expected of me. I am very glad he took a chance on me. Attending my first PETE&C that February was like opening the door from Kansas to Oz. There was no turning back.

In addition to the fabulous learning opportunities afforded by the DEN, I have a blogroll listed here that is just a microcosm of the ed tech blogosphere. I must admit, however, that during the school year, and especially now taking a course, my opportunity to read my favorite bloggers’ thoughts has shrunk due to time constraints. I find it hard to choose just one to recommend. If I had to narrow the list I suppose I could choose two that have expanded my horizons more than any others. First is Steve Dembo’s Teach42 blog. Steve is known as a guru of Web2.0 tools, but he is passionate about empowering teachers and improving education. His post on Feet on the Ground or Head in the Clouds is a great example of what he is about and what he tries to do. An interesting conversation developed in the comment section as well. And I truly do agree with him that little tricks and tools may be just the thing to get a teacher energized, get the kids excited and engaged, and it may not solve the mysteries of the universe, but if it makes a difference in some classroom for some child, then why not give it a try?

And if I had the chance to get an autograph or choose someone with whom I would love to have conversation over dinner, it would be Vicki Davis, aka Cool Cat Teacher. I could write several paragraphs on what I have learned by reading her posts. She shares the successes and failures, the tips for beginners because she remembers being one herself. She never lowers her standards and expects the best from her students and gives her best in return. How she finds time to sleep I have no idea, but it is obvious from her posts that her family comes first. I loved her post about burning three different colored candles, each representing a different facet of her life, and if one was burned down farther than the others she knew things were not balanced in her life. Can’t find the actual post, but it was very thought-provoking.

So now when I look into the mirror (the dreaded mirror test?) I must ask myself if I am living up to my potential as an educator. Am I producing “good work” and encouraging others to do the same, both students and fellow teachers? Some days it is hard to motivate, and sometimes teachers are harder to motivate than students. And yet, aren’t we all students? Shouldn’t we all be life-long learners? That is the underlying theme of my Blackberry Alley blog. I began as a student, and went on to become a teacher, who has realized that she will always be a student, even as she continues to have students of her own. What I see in the mirror needs a little work (and I don’t mean just the wrinkles) but there is some promise.  As I continue to develop my “five minds” perhaps I can be a model for my students of respect, good work ethic, and a touch of creativity. With periodic innoculations from my PLN as well as my students, I may yet pass muster.

Man Plays Cello. Jupiterimages Corporation. 2006.
Discovery Education. 13 October 2009

Buyer, Elizabeth. mirror.jpg. May 2005. Pics4Learning. 13 Oct 2009 <>

Around the World in
(One Hundred)Eighty Days

What a wonderful opportunity we have as educators today to help our students develop a “respectful mind” with the many possibilities that exist for reaching out to students around the globe.

Currently my students, especially the older ones, are becoming excited about communicating with other students through blogging. Though the majority of the students participating in the Bloggers’ Challenge come from USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, there is still a sprinkling of other countries around the world. There are so many avenues to explore with this. We are working on being “respectful” commenters, and addressing the writer’s thoughts and goals, rather than noticing their misspellings or bad grammar (and of course aren’t WE the perfect ones…now that deserves an LOL if anything does.)

I have made connections with a third grade teacher in Saskatchewan, Canada. Her students, like mine, are new bloggers. We are planning to work together on some shared activities, though we are both feeling our way at first. I have communicated with her (Leah Dewhurst) via Skype and email and so far we are giving each other time White_tailed_deer_in_Saskatchewan__Canada___mediumto get the students adjusted to the blog site, but hope to try VoiceThread in the near future. There is so much my students can learn, not only about Canada, but about the native people to that area, the climate, even variations in the English language. We are all excited at what may unfold during the year. I only have one web cam, but I hope to make use of it during our interaction with the Canadian class, which is 2 hours behind us time wise.

Another project that would help in cultural understanding with our Canadian friends is creating a digital story about our school and our routines, our town and local attractions. That was an activity mentioned in the Julene Reed post, and one we could certainly take on. Sharing this with students in another country and having them share with us would be enriching, not only for the students, but for us as teachers as well. Students first instincts may be to laugh at something that looks totally different than what they are used to. But that reaction could lead to some interesting discussions, and the chance to appreciate that there may be no best way, just many different ways.

Ms. Dewhurst adds much more media to her posts than I do, so I will be trying to learn some new tools to use as well. This Thursday, October 8, I plan to take my third graders on a little “trip” to her posts from this school year, such as her post on Elders that visited their classroom or field trips they have taken. We will discuss things that we can share with our soon to be Canadian friends.  I am at a disadvantage in this situation since Ms. Dewhurst is their regular classroom teacher and I see my third graders for 45 minutes per week. Therefore, this is a project in which I need to enlist their homeroom teacher as a partner, so that they get the full benefits of this interaction. I cannot be a world unto myself in the computer lab, and I shouldn’t be. What I need to do is support their curriculum and so the scope of this project will widen as the third grade teacher comes (is dragged) on board.

A_menorah_in_Jerusalem__Israel___mediumAfter following the link to the Global Dreamers Webquest, I am anxious to discuss with the 6th grade teacher how we can get involved with this class from Israel. I need to spend some time reviewing the possibilities on that site, but with the sixth grade studying ancient civilizations in the Middle East and studying the Israelites in the Old Testament in their religion class, there is so much potential for increasing their awareness of this region of the world and the culture of young people who turn out to have much more in common with them than they may imagine.

One sixth grader wrote:

Hi, my name is Ronya K.

I like a lot  of  rock and rock punk bands like Linkin Park, Simple Plan, Paramore, Nickelback, System of a down, Blink 182 and fall out boy.  I like to see a lot  of movies and ride scary books. My mum is a single parent  and I see my dad to times in year and I miss him but it is the reality. I’ve got two big sisters one is a broadcaster at MTV, her name is Bitanya and the other one is an actor and model, her name is Nizhna.

I like skateboarding but my mum thinks that skateboarding is dangerous.Bye!

I am surprised to note how much personal information about the students exists on that site – first and last names, photos, even parents names and in the case of one girl I saw, her street as well as her town. We are much more guarded with our students’ privacy. That would be something I would love to discuss with the teacher running the project.

All in all I am excited about being more aware of the opportunities for global collaboration in which my students might engage. Perhaps these activities we are involved in will help to develop the “respectful mind” in these young people. As Gardner notes, “During early years of school, such issues [value of respect, cost of respect, cost of disrespect] are best approached through experiences in which members of different groups work together on common projects, and come to know one another first hand.” My hope is that the seeds of respect for cultural differences will take root (along with those seeds of creativity).

Side note: At the time I wrote this post I was basing it on the reading assignments listed in the introduction for this week’s module, namely the Julene Reed post and “The Respectful Mind”. It occurred to me afterward that the references to “ethical mind” meant that chapter was part of the reading although it was not listed. Hence, no references to that chapter exist in this post, though my discussion comments do reflect both chapters.

Image Citations

A menorah in Jerusalem, Israel.. IRC. 2005.
Discovery Education. 6 October 2009

White-tailed deer in Saskatchewan, Canada.. IRC. 2005.
Discovery Education. 6 October 2009