Friday, October 31, 2008


pumpkin Exams are due today. Be sure to SHOW me where your exam is (even if not done). Remember, I am grading your process more than your product. I want to see that you tried to work through a problem, even if it didn't get completely solved.

If you didn't subscribe to the podcasts go back a few posts. Add the podcast to your google reader. This is required.

Put forvo in your google bookmarks. Very helpful site when you need to pronounce something.

Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Odds and Ends

Here would be a great experiment for our Physics students.  How does the cold air effect a soccer ball? Check here.  Would it effect corner kicks?  How much?

Some cool maps (Flash ideas???): 
Maps of War (great title!! check the other versions)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Test: Part #2

Todays test will be about applying your knowledge in a modified work setting. Can you be a valuable member of a team?

Internet Literacy:

Click on the clustrmap. Notice the red dot just East of Africa and Madagascar? Where the heck is that? is the test. Can you tell me where it is in an interesting way that gives me the basics about the place and the "feel" of the place?

You have several choices of tools that you can use (HTML website, movie, blog post, Voki, Flash, Fireworks). What tool will be the best for you and for this task?

We will discuss this in class. You will do this in groups. I will assign.

Web 2:

Recreate any aspect of Zac The Rat using Flash. You will do this with partners. I will assign.

Web 3:

Check out this Flash example. Make your own card. Impress me.

You will do this in pairs/groups. I will assign.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quiz #1: Oberlin Site

Today we will do some grading.  Please have any missing work ready for me.  I will come around and check while you are working on the test.

If you don't finish this test during class you must finish this at home.  We will have a second test tomorrow.

These tests are designed to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the basic concepts that we have covered.

All classes will perform the same task:

You have been asked to beta test this new site for Oberlin College  (here is their current site). Please analyze the NEW site.  
  • Are the tools they employ effective?  Be specific.  
  • Who is their audience (prospective students, current students, alumni??).  Do they speak effectively to that audience?
  • What is their message?  Can you summarize this college in one sentence (Oberlin is a....) ?
  • Do you like the new site better?  Why?
You should limit your analysis to no more than five paragraphs.  Make it sound like you have taken this class.  Include links where needed. Post to your blog.

Yes, I am testing if you can think and write fast (and if you can use your personal learning network).  I will allow you to edit this from home.  But you MUST have it done before you arrive in class tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monday: Grades

I will be out Monday.

I have set aside this day for you to check your grades. I posted the current grades on Friday to Edline. Yes, I expect you to be accessing them.

If there is anything missing it could be for one of four reasons:
  • You didn't do it.

  • You didn't complete all parts (i.e. blog evaluation)

  • It was late or I missed grading it.

  • I screwed up.

I don't care what the reason is. On Tuesday have all work ready when you arrive to class. Line it up on your screen and I will check it off.

We will start an exam/project Tuesday.

Collaborative Web

The essence of the Web is about linking, sharing and collaboration. Productivity and value creation is driven by cooperation. Gerry McGovern

The last few days we have been playing with the Geni site for building family trees. This site has been a big hit with the students. I have been impressed with the thoughtful reviews you have provided. Continue to refine your reviews. Does it tell a story? Is it directed to an audience?

My review:

Last night I invited several family members to join Geni. At around 9:00pm there were six family members "Online now" and working on the site. This was very powerful. How does this change the nature of work? How does this change the final product?

I accept as a truism that "Isolation is the enemy of improvement". So if many hands work on the document it will almost certainly improve. Oddly, we as a family never talked on the phone about this, or sent instructions, it just happened. That is the power of the collaborative web.

Notice that this site models one of our central understandings. Modern websites are used, not read.

Think of the knowledge that has been routinely lost. Try to find out where your great-grandfather went to high school, for example. Or how tall were your grandparents? How many kids did they have? Tools such as genie can preserve this information, creating a rich tapestry of data for future generations. What information from your life would you want preserved in this "time capsule"? Now you might have some of that power.

Use this power and archive this knowledge before it is lost. It will be a great gift for your family.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday Flash Work

Everyone should watch the markets today. Bumpy ride yesterday.

If you tried out Geni what do you think? Write a blog post.

I would like everyone to work on the following in Flash:

  • How to alter text (such as morphing, making it shiny or glittery)
  • How to make a slideshow (like a "powerpoint")
  • How to create a button (that can play/stop movie or slideshow)

Now, here is the interesting part---you decide how to learn about these items. Work with a partner? Look at the text based tutorials? Video based? Find a new source of information? I am interested to see what process you choose after yesterday's work.

If you didn't do yesterday's blog post about learning styles do it now. Please don't get in the habit of doing something late. Its not a good habit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


We will continue our Flash work today. Main job today is to do the blog reflection.

All Classes:

  • Review Shape Tween, Motion Tween, Layers.
  • Complete yesterdays assignment.
  • Check out these Video Tutorials. Some are pretty complex.
  • All Web 3 students should do the Basic Slideshow tutorial.

Share on your blog which are the best. Everyone writes a blog post today about what they have done in Flash (what did you learn, and how did you learn it?), links to the best tutorial (why did you like it?), and gives thoughts about how Flash can be used as a tool (how do you use Flash to tell your story better?).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Family Tree

Last year I spent time working on my family tree. I found this website today. The usability of it is very, very high. I haven't completely tested it but it seems very fun and easy.

Something to work on in your own time. Might make a great present for a relative. Too often we give "stuff" that is easily forgotten. Working on this site could be a lasting gift.


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Add to my Page

I would like you to "Subscribe" to this podcast channel. This will bring the any new podcasts into your Google Reader.

Click "Subscribe Free for future posts". A new screen will open up. Click Option 3--Google. Another screen will open. Choose the second option--Add to Google Reader. Some of you may have to set up your google reader page.

We will play more with google reader this week.

Flash Assignments:

Internet Literacy and Web 2:

Web 3:

  • Ball Tossing (will demonstrate in class)

Monday, October 20, 2008


I've been sick all weekend and then my car wouldn't start this morning (battery failure--first frost??) so I had to switch all the things from my wife's car.....rough start to the week.

So, today's assignment isn't totally typed up. All classes will be working in Flash. I hope to finish typing it out during second period. Link for Web 3.

Check out some interesting reading. Develop your skills.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Today I will give you time to solve some movie issues and view everyone's movie.

If you are done here is some interesting reading from David Pogue.  Anything surprise you?  Anything you would add?  Check out the comments (1278 of them as of Thursday night!!).  Have one to add?  Use the "permalink" (click share) to link to this article from your blog.

Don't be afraid to comment directly on the article!  You have a voice.  Use it.


Well, it seems like I'm getting sick once per week.  I'm home today and will follow you from the web.

Please do the following today:

1. Finish your movie.  Save it as a project and save it as a movie file.  Ask your partner if you aren't sure.
2. Copy your movie file to the UDrive class folder for the movies.  Name it using our normal protocal of first initial-last name-assignment (bschneidergoldi).
3. Watch other movies in UDrive folders (all classes).

Answer the following questions on your blog:
1. Did you find the 28 second aspect a challenge?  Or did it help you focus on the story? Why?
2. Was MovieMaker easy or hard to use?  Be specific.
3. Who has the best movie on the UDrive?  Why? Answer this part Friday after all movies are in there.
4. Spend any remaining time leaving comments on people's blogs about their movies.  Follow the comment protocal and be positive.

I'm appointing the following people in each class as "Lords of the UDrive" while I am gone.  Your job is to make sure everyone knows how to save their project and answer any other questions.  Of course, anyone who wants to join the Lords can do so.  Its not an exclusive club.

Period 1: Jeff
Period 4: Caitlin/Chris
Period 5: Amber
Period 6: Tom
Period 7: Tyler 

Good luck and I will see you tomorrow (hopefully).  If you are the first person in class to read this make sure everybody else does.  Thanks!

On a side note:
Where will the Dow go today?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


We will add video to our toolbox today.

Today you will produce a 28 second news broadcast about a famous childrens story. This segment must tell the viewer the "who, what, where, why, how" about the event. This will be challenging to do in 28 seconds. This is an opportunity to be creative and innovative.

Possible stories:
Humpty Dumpty

Of course, news can be biased. What headline will you choose? "Bears house vandalized!" "Blond girl seen fleeing through the woods!" Each headline tells a different story about the same event. This choice will drive your script and the choice of images that you include.

Steps for process:
1. Look at previous examples that students made.
2. Choose your headline. Write your script. Time the script, remembering that you will need a second or two on each end as a buffer. Make sure you have answered viewers questions (who, what, etc..). Finish your script with something like "This is John for Seymour High School news".
3. Choose your images (free and non-copyrighted) using clip-art, flickr or make your own. Some of you might think "out of the box" for a second and realize we dont need only pictures of Goldilocks or Humpty to tell this story but you could use more abstract pictures. Choose images that match your headline. Import images to moviemaker. Arrange images. Test movie with script.
4. Record script directly to moviemaker or use Audacity. You must use your own voice as the reporter.
5. Edit movie. Save movie file to your UDrive class folder by the end of class on Thursday.
6. Don't waste time searching for pictures. Seriously. Move fast.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Is this one of those moments in history? Like October 29, 1929 or December 7, 1941 or September 11, 2001. After each of these moments a new America emerged. But it was a messy process each time.

The stock market has lost 40% of its value this year. In October (and its only October 10!!) it has lost 20% alone. Credit markets have frozen. Most analysts called it a crash yesterday.

How does this effect you? Probably pretty seriously. It may be much harder to get a loan for college, car, house. Jobs will be scarce. The costs of goods will increase.

This is the headline from this morning. Will it change by this afternoon? Follow the news here. As of 7:00am stock futures were plunging. This story will be changing by the minute.

Today we will read and write about this situation. I feel we must. If we believe knowledge is power this is certainly a time to have more knowledge.

Choose one (or both) of these questions to answer in your blog. Be thoughtful, include links, and write clearly:

1. Will you be ready? Will you acquire the skills needed to operate in a global community? What skills will you need?

2. What are the web design concepts in play today? How is this information transmitted instantly and effectively? How does bias effect the news today? There is a huge need for information about news, companies, stocks. What systems would a web designer need to handle this type of pressure?

I believe this will be a challenging time. But it may also be a great opportunity for you to reshape America. Thomas Friedman believes that it is time for a Green Revolution. That we must as a country embrace green energy as the new industrial revolution. We must eliminate our reliance on foreign oil, drastically reduce our energy consumption, and change how we generate electricity. Most importantly we must rev up America's innovation engine and become the world leader in energy technology.

I think its time for us all to learn as fast as we can.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Exam Grading

I am going to spend today (and probably tomorrow) grading exams. A few notes about the exam:

  • Overall, everyone did pretty well with the technical aspects of the exam. You can all make a page, add a picture, create a table, and include links. I am happy with this.
  • I think we can all do a better job of choosing tools that are available. I was surprised (shocked?) that nobody used a Voki. Do kids not like "cartoons" or sound?
  • Many of you are developing personal learning networks. Work on extending this network to students in other classes.
  • Most of you had the hardest time with focusing on a main idea. We will have to work on this more. I think we will move into video next as we tackle main ideas.

As you prepare your evaluation today please do the following:

  • Be specific and include evidence that you paid attention. Use web design words (audience, bias, usability, etc...).
  • Include links and 3D writing. Don't say "Danielle had the best site". Say "Danielle had the best site". (some of my favorites so far.....Dnickle, kbogen, tmorrow, zchristopher)
  • If you like someone's site leave a comment on their blog. Everyone likes a compliment.

If you are completely and totally done with looking at student work, revising your evaluations, or reflecting on your progress then please look back into the other blog posts for this week. There are some reading and viewing options for you to tackle.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Funny Break

Put on your headphones, then click this link for a laugh break. This one for math class is pretty funny too.

And finally this clip. Watch the expressions of the audience. I hope you will all go to a college where the library is full, but people still know how to have a good time.

If you find any links to good, clean fun put it on your blog.

Monday, October 06, 2008


From an article in today's New York Times:

Spurred by arguments that video games also may teach a kind of digital literacy that is becoming as important as proficiency in print, libraries are hosting gaming tournaments, while schools are exploring how to incorporate video games in the classroom. In New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is supporting efforts to create a proposed public school that will use principles of game design like instant feedback and graphic imagery to promote learning.

I've written about this before. In elementary school you would read "on level". When you finished the books at level 1.5 you would move to 1.6. If it took you a week, fine. If it took you a month, fine.

In higher grades students are all treated the same. If you are the best chemistry student ever you spend 184 days in class. If you are the worst chemistry student ever you spend 184 days in class. There is little incentive to excel beyond getting a good grade.

What do you think?

Friday, October 03, 2008


Heille Gebrselassie is very fast. He won the Berlin Marathon and broke his own world record in a time of 2:03:59.

Let me break that down:

  • He averaged 4:43 per mile for 26 miles. If you ran from here in Seymour to Danbury High School that would be 26 miles.
  • Thats 70 seconds for every 400m (104 times in a row without stopping).
  • Or 17 seconds for every 100m.

That is moving.

I would like you to develop a website about this accomplishment. Click here for the assignment.

Your audience is 5th graders. What should your focus be? Where he is from, how fast he ran, how the marathon has changed, how hard he must train? Choose one focus.

This is your first test. Good luck.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fireworks Assignment

baby computer Today we will all do the same Fireworks assignment.

I will send you this picture of a baby on the computer. Please save the file to the folder in your W Drive.

In the folder you will create three separate Firworks files:

1. Remove the baby from the background using feathering.

2. Convert the background on the computer from blue to green.

3. Convert the image to a pencil drawing.

If you finish the above then:

  • Substitute the picture of the baby on the computer screen with an image of a cartoon character.

When done with each task you should save it twice. First, save the fireworks file (Save as...). Second, save the image (Export...).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I hope that I have given you something of value over these last few weeks and that we can only add to the fun over the next months. I wanted to take a moment and review my expectations.

1. Make connections every day. The power to make connections in this global, digital, networked world is essential. Instead of having one teacher, have many. For example, on blogmeister there are thousands of teachers and students from around the world. Write to them, read their stories, and then write about the experience on your blog. There is a saying that "isolation is the enemy of improvement". Make connections, collaborate, and improve.

2. Always do your best. You never know who is watching your work or reading your blog. Often people do not realize the power they have until it is lost. You are in a time unique to human history. You can read everything ever written at anytime. You can contact almost anyone at anytime. You can publish your ideas and thoughts instantly. That translates to huge gains in productivity. If the world is moving faster then you must as well. There is no substitute for hard work.

3. Add something to the conversation. Have a story to tell. This could be about how to make a ball bounce, issues you have in learning math, or how you are trying to work together with your classmates. Learn how to get your point across. Spend some time today looking at the read counts on your blog. How can you increase them? If you have a story to tell people from all over the world will read what you have to say. If we all add some thing of value to the conversation everyday (remember R1-R4?) there will be an incredible amount of learning going on in this classroom.

OK. Enough reading. Notice that you read (and I wrote) the above in 3D (links, etc...). Start writing that way!

Here are some blogs to start making connections. be sure to leave positive comments and to follow the correct protocal (first name, last initial and blog URL---no email). Try to use the front page of blogmeister to make more connections. Remember, this might be their first (or only!) contact with someone from Connecticut or America. Make it positive.