Projects and Ideas
"She [Laura Numeroff] responded to the children
personally and I am sure that through that contact four little authors
Do you remember me???
Carla: How could I forget my first cyberfriend?? Of course I remember you and the beautiful postcards you sent to me!! You helped inspire me to go on when I was in Patti's class.:-)
What about your projects and ideas???
Carla: I have many ideas swirling around in my head. Once you have exposed children to the internet, you can never go back!! That would be robbing them of wonderful, important experiences!
Be welcome, please!
Mahenaz: Hello Carla, Welcome! "Khush Aamdaed" as we would say in Urdu. I understand that you work with small groups of children but why are you called a Title 1 teacher? What else does it mean?
Carla: Hello Mahenaz, "Khush Aamdaed" sounds beautiful. What does it mean?
Carla, Hello again!!
Carla: Title 1 is a program that hires teachers to work with students of average ability who may not be acheiving to their potential. We provide extra support, mainly in math and reading. We do not have a classroom of children but a caseload. We often visit the children in their classrooms or pull them out to work on a reading recovery program (I do this) or to work on the computer (Patti does this).
Mahenaz: Thanks. Do you use any of Marie Clay's methods for reading recovery??
Carla: Yes we do, although technically we don't. In other words, the methods we use many times are based on our own beliefs about how children learn to read. I, personally, am an avid follower of Marie Clay, so I implement many of her methods in with my own.
Mahenaz: I find the learning to read process absolutely fascinating. In our govt. schools unfortunately (and several private schools) children learn to read by rote. Oh, the sadness of it. Our kids have to learn to read Urdu, which has a right to left orientation, and English with the reverse. They also have to learn to read Arabic, usually at home or from a religious person, which has a script similar to Urdu. A few years into primary school they have to read Sindhi, a provincial language, again with a script similar to Urdu. I wonder and am amazed at their capacity...well actually several never really learn!!!
Patti: We try to take the curriculum that the teachers already have in place and enhance it with online resoures and connections. One of our goals in our school improvement plan this year is to improve student writing. The computer seems to work like magic. The students love to write on computers.
Mahenaz: I entirely agree. You know Patti, when we had our kidlink going, our girls were learning to write in English at an amazing pace. It became so real and meaningful. It was such a joy to watch them, to hear them read the letters your girls sent. I have spoken to them and they want to come again, but this time class 4. Will that be ok?? The kids are younger, about 8, 9 and 10 years old. Sometime in August. I am delighted. I have been working with the class 4 teachers for a couple of years and they will not feel threatened. I am soooo HAPPY :-)
Carla: Yes, I have my students write as much as possible on the computer. So often they hate the writing process, but when they learn they can do it on the computer, they perk right up to it.
Aloha Lynne and Friends,
I keep telling Patti that she needs me to carry her bags for her this summer! After all we wouldn't want her to get a back strain lugging around all the computer things. ;-) I will have to try your battery suggestion. I wonder if Patti would notice?? I have a true fondness for Hawaii as I too called it home once. I have many wonderful, childhood memories of my life there. I learned many things about life from living in the islands.
I was truly thrilled when Patti asked me to join the group. When I am refered to as a *newbie*, you must know that is really true. I have only been on the internet for about 6 weeks. In that short time, it has taken over my life (almost).
I have many exciting ideas that keep me from sleeping at night! I am a Title 1 Math and Reading Teacher and I work with only small groups of children. I usually plan what I am going to do around what the teacher is doing.
One activity that I have done is writing circle stories with one group of four children. We sent the URL to the author, Laura Numeroff, who wrote "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie". She responded to the children personally and I am sure that through that contact four little authors were born!!
Mahenaz: This is really exciting!! I too am amazed at the power of the Net, and I am trying very hard to think up ways of showing schools in Karachi this power. I work at a teachers' centre and don't have direct access to schools or children. Adri once said she could send me some kids through e-mail as they had plenty!!! ;-) Adri, I'm still waiting.
Carla: I am constantly amazed at the power of the internet to open up worlds to all people!! Because of that experience, I am currently planning a workshop for students this summer to be mentored on-line by other published children's authors.
I also spend time researching websites for the teachers I work with. I found a very exciting Mayan site for a fourth grade teacher and we are going to try to teach the students to write their names in Mayan glyphs.
Another activity that I have worked on is building dialog between children who live in the eastern and western parts of the U.S.. Many students from this area have never been out of Maryland and they have only what T.V. shows them about other cultures, even within our own country. I also try to find people related to the current units of study for my students to contact.
Currently we have contacted Native Americans, to support our Social Studies unit and astronauts, to support our Science unit on space.
Mahenaz: This is one of the things I thought I'd do to convince teachers and heads of schools to use the net...find related units of study. Another thing that amazes me is the similarity of ideas across the globe. Please share any other ideas you have.
Carla: Currently, I am working on lining up published children's authors to mentor student writers on the internet. The response I have gotten from the authors has been fantastic. The students will really see an importance in what they write when it is being read by a well known author. This will also make their learning more authentic. That is what I love about the internet, learning truly becomes authentic and meaningful!!!
Finally, I have opened the KIDLINK lab for our fourth grade students. They come in twice a week during their recess time. For many, this is their first exposure to any type of technology. It has been a very exciting and busy 6 weeks. I am truly looking forward to joining in this dialog of friends!
Mahenaz: I am planning a workshop for heads and teachers to introduce them to the powers of the Internet. We at TRC don't have e-mail or Internet as yet. I am going to request a local ISP to give us a free connection so that teachers can come and use it. I am still not clear as to how they can share time etc (we have about 180 member schools) but we will work it out. Any ideas anyone?? Please HELP...this is an SOS ;-)
Carla: Is it possible to get connections in the schools? If the teachers can't access it in their "free" time, the usage might not be as much as you would like. I wonder if one of your universities could help??
Mahenaz: Our universities?? No way. Yes I have found out that about 200 private schools do have computers and connections...I have to explore this further. But the schools I am talking about, the govt. schools which children from low socio-economic circumstances attend don't have telephones, several don't even have electricity. We just have to keep trying...