Saturday, April 12, 2008

Learning from a Master Teacher

I found these posts on the HSHAWJR blog fascinating:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Final Reflection

Thank you, Harold Shaw, Jr., for sharing them.

Photo Credit


Nokomis Warrior Broadcasting presents the Hartland Flood of 1987 at the Tech Curve.

Lessons from the Flood of 1987
American Field Guide: Floods
42explore: Floods & Flooding
Discovery Education: Flood Lesson Plan
Floods Theme Page
Maine Memory Network: High Water
Webquest: The Johnstown Flood of 1889

Photo Credit

Wicked Decent Listeners Experiment

Check out this experimental podcast at Wicked Decent Learning. Using Skype, listeners from Maine and beyond joined together on Friday evening to share "wicked decent" happenings in our schools. Jeff Bailey and Dan Ryder of the Western Maine area are pushing the boundaries in sharing the real world of school, with a growing following of educators around the State. Learn about new possibilities and the challenges of making change happen.

To get in the spirit, here are some links for learning how to speak the vernacular correctly:

The Wicked Good Guide to Mainah English

Mainah Glossary Blog

How to Sound Like a Native Mainah

Confused Are You?

Laugh Maine Dictionary

Photo Credit

Friday, April 11, 2008

Literacy Leadership Collaborative "Cubed"

Networking for School Literacy-Technology Teams
Sponsored by the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI)

Student Ownership

Today David Trask shared some precious photos of a school lab station at Vassalboro Community School where a kindergarten girl had taken the meaning of "ownership" to a new level.

We can try to push all kinds of things into kids' heads, but unless we can connect in ways that involve them, very little will be gained. Education needs to be personalized . . . with real problems and engagement. For this kindergartener, using TuxPaint, this was for her a sensible connection to other important things in her world.

For more information on "Student Ownership" go to the LIM Resources Wiki.

How can we personalize education for our children?

MLTI Student Tech Team Conference

On Friday, May, 30, 2008, the 5th annual MLTI student conference will take place at the University of Maine at Orono. Having been to this incredible event for the past two years, I have to highly recommend it as a wonderful opportunity for Maine students and adults to be highly engaged in learning about the many possibilities that the MLTI 1-to-1 laptop program offers. Jim Moulton is organizing a full day of exciting activities that includes student-led workshops as well as contributions from many educators throughout the State of Maine. BTW, you just can't beat the price!

Photo by David Patterson

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Teaching Tech: Food Fat

by Nicole Ouellette

If you are a like the average American (or perhaps you consider yourself above average?), you probably consume a lot of fat in your diet. Saturated and unsaturated, it is so deliciously disguised in that Oreo cookie or that piece of cake left lingering in the teacher's room.

As of December, I've been trying to lose weight. The good news is I've lost ten pounds. The bad news is, while I'd like to lose ten more, I've stagnated (or stagflated?) recently. The old me would have been seduced by a moderately crusty piece of cake of questionable origin left in the teacher's room. I can't say I'm not still tempted sometimes (cube culture has its own pitfalls).

Of course, we can also say that we are not the only ones led unto temptation: a lot of students eat terribly. There have been bans on cupcakes and fruit eating contests. Five a day and use sparingly. We can drive home the point that fruit is good and it's easy to see why fruit is good...but why is cake bad? And therein lies an interesting experiment.

Try this hands on: get some acetone from your local hardware store. It's cheap, readily available, and fat dissolves in it. You can make up a pretty ridiculous experiment where you test all kinds of foods for fat content (more technological if you have a scale, less so with eyeing the fat volume in uniform dishes). Just crush up the food you are testing, swirl in some acetone, decant the solution in a seperate container from the food particles, and let it evaporate (probably under a hood if you have one). The next day (or the day after, depending how much liquid you used), you should have some solid fats and some liquid fats (also called saturated and unsaturated) left by some of your (and your students') favorite foods.

I did this with an Oreo. Seeing that the whole thing was pure lard made me never want to eat them again. Not sure if the kids felt the same (high school students can look at you in a way that anything can feel lame) but it was interesting. The question is, do you really want to know? If it were me, I'd eat one last Oreo and savor every fatty bite...

Here's the link that inspired this life lesson:

Nicole will post "Teaching Tech" (formerly Tech Tuesday) about internet resources for your classroom whenever she thinks of it, which is incidentally never on a Tuesday. She doesn't teach anymore but works at a newspaper and maintains her own personal finance blog:

TPCK - Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge


I'm at the Western Maine Regional MLTI Leadership meeting this morning at Lewiston High School. The TPCK model above was introduced as a way of looking at the total picture and as a way generating discussion of successes and challenges.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

WDL: Skype in on Friday, April 11 @ 8:00

Go here to get all the information on how to participate on Wicked Decent Learning's first live podcast episode. Be sure to let Jeff n' Dan know that you're comin'.

Sunrise on the Arts at the Spring Institute

A half dozen of us woke up early on Monday morning for a sunrise adventure on the Samoset breakwater. With Juanita Deschambault's permission, I'm sharing a link to the awe-inspiring photographs she took that morning of the rising sun . . . which seems to be an apt symbol for a push for a re-awakening of the arts in our schools.

See related links on the arts.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Jeff n' Dan's Wicked Decent Learning Episode on Cheating


Plagiarism @ Resources for Maine Teachers (2007 Edition)

Social Art Workshop at Samoset - Spring Institute

by Olga LaPlante

I am sitting - and listening very carefully - to my presenters here at the Samoset - a beautiful day by the way - and am enjoying what I hear.

These two teachers - an arts teacher and a social studies teacher - work at the Thornton Academy Middle School, and have started this year to work together and create a curriculum to explore the overlap - which seems to be but natural, and omnipresent, in fact, I can't even imagine now that these are separate subjects! - and it sounds really really cool.

They did the 100 people project, and found that this brings amazing things to life - like meeting people in Southern Maine to interview and discover their lives especially the lives of immigrants and elderly.

They are doing the Trashion Show project now.
Human Footprint