Friday, May 21, 2010

Discussions using Edmodo

Another way we've been using our class micro-blog  ( is to have threaded discussions that involve giving the students a poll question that they respond to. This week and last we have been learning about Indian Removal during the mid 1800's and how the Native American way of life changed drastically in about a 20 year period. I posed a poll question and the students' discussion can be seen below.  I enjoyed reading their thoughts.

Washington State History Voicethread

One of the cool things we've been doing in class lately is using the microphone headsets that were generously provided by a PTSA grant to record our thoughts about some of the things we've been learing  this trimester.  You can listen to some of the comments your children have been making below:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Excel Map Project

    This trimester students are working on a cumulative assignment that I call the “Excel Map”.  For this assignment students insert a background image of Washington State into an Excel spreadsheet and then insert comments that explain what they have learned in each chapter.  They must have 2 comments per chapter.  To organize the comments, I tell them that they must come up with items for each chapter that use all 26 letters of the alphabet.  A typical comment might look like this:
“A is for Apple.  Apples are grown mainly in Eastern Washington and the state produces 50% of all the apples sold in the United States.  Apples are an important part of the economy because they provide a livelihood for farm owners as well as workers.”
Notice that the first sentence simply states the item.  The second sentence provides a piece of data while the third sentence explains why the item is important to our state.  In addition, to the written portion of the comment, students must “bring it to life” by providing a picture or a link to a website (or both) that explains more about the item.  
    To help them succeed on this assignment, students have received a scoring guide, explaining how they will be graded as well as a planning sheet to help them think about what they will say on the map.  In addition, I have created some screencast tutorials that explain how to use the software.  If students do well on this assignment they are guaranteed to pass the class, and thus will not have to repeat it at the high school.  However, if they do not do well, then it could mean they won’t pass the class.
If you have any questions or comments about this assignment, click here.