Proscope Lesson Ideas

December 16, 2010 – lessons from manufacuturer – how steel is made, observations of coal and other materials – ecosystem study of decaying log, observation of decomposition – list of lessons for older students from vernier


Assessment or Testing

November 14, 2008

This recent post by Doug Noon about testing and assessment really struck me. I love this:

If we’d have used an NCLB-style approach to the Apollo moon mission, President Kennedy would have simply ordered NASA to fly conventional airplanes higher and higher until they fell out of the sky, and then blamed the pilots for lacking the will and the know-how to get the job done.

Indeed, though at least in that scenario the goal is still the moon. The current NCLB goals won’t get us to the moon. We don’t need a nation of students that know a collection of skills and facts. We need a nation of thinkers that can use skills and facts to solve problems.

New Literacy: Search

October 22, 2008

SEARCH is one of the new basic literacies. I was reading this post at Cool Cat Teacher Blog and I couldn’t agree more.

We know the world our students are growing up in is just getting more and more complex. With so much information to deal with we have to teach them how to find useful information quickly.


Vicki says that search strategies, especially google’s define: tool [example – define: communicate] are part of the new digital literacies, in her words,

Stop viewing Search Literacy as “tricks”
The sad thing is that so many people view the define function as just that, a trick.  It is not!  It is part of being an efficient, effective human being in the 21st century.  It is part of being literate.

This can start in elementary school. Defining good key words, narrowing results with simple logic, simple operators like define: and scanning results beyond the first page are all within reach of elementary students.

We know they are going to use google. Let’s help them use it well.

I just found out about Google’s collaborative project with Life from David Warlick’s 2C Worth. This is another example of the power of being search literate.

What is Digital Literacy

October 21, 2008

So what is digital literacy?

And what should teachers do about it?

I think there is a sea change happening now regarding how protecting students and their identities on the Internet are handled by schools. Earlier policies seemed to focus on structures (filters, passwords), rules and consequences. This type of thinking eliminates the need for students to learn how how to stay safe and behave ethically. New policies need to focus on directly teaching students how to stay safe, what the real dangers are, and then allow them to practice in an environment that is monitored and semi-public. This is real learning and a crucial 21st Century skill.

It is up to us, the teachers and school staff to keep our students safe. Introduction of Web 2.0 tools should be preceded by direct instruction on Ethics, Digital Citizenship, and Internet Safety. To ensure the safety of our students I suggest the following guidelines when using web 2.0 resources (thank you Lois Clement help with this list):

  • Students and employees must remain personally anonymous (use pseudonyms for employees and students) on public web pages
  • Pseudonyms  should be unique (not used elsewhere as they may be cross referenced and lead to identification)
  • School and district should stay anonymous
  • Review content prior to posting to public
  • Monitor ALL posted content
  • Use password protected services where possible
  • Change any “shared” password often
  • Require that students log in when posting or editing
  • Check videos or photos for identifying information such as clothing, school banners, mascots, etc.
  • Check for student names on items such as reports and artwork
  • Never pair images with names

David Warlick talks about this topic on his blog post titled School AUP 2.o. This is an informative post that jumps off to a wiki Warlick put together to help schools and administrators deal with need to revise AUPs.

Wikis in the Classroom

June 28, 2007

Using Wikis in the Classroom by Vicki Davis with Adam Frey

Wiki is a webpage with an edit button.
-history (see what has happened, old versions, and see what each kid did)
-access control (the collaboration you want) (wikispaces will set up anonymous accounts for teachers)
– lots of help here
– the live generated wiki from session

let wikis be about facts, let blog be conversation with opinion and fact

>double brackets makes new page [[ with title in..
>you can paste any widget in with insert media button (looks like youtube)
>work in small chunks, not a word processor,
>use the discussion tab
>show students right up front that the history will show exactly what each member posted
>allow students to control not only content but also structure

more help at

Her 2 big projects – look for rubric and lessons etc here.