Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Conversation Prism

The Conversation Prism, originally uploaded by b_d_solis.

Are we missing out on teen conversation and collaboration and knowledge-building and peer-educating because of an inherent fear of new ways of “talking” to each other?

I’m converted. I speak digital, new media, whatever it is. Maybe not as fast and as furious as a teen, but I am part of the daily thread.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

a joint project with MaineScire


What is the Latin word for science?

How are plants categorized?


Walk the property of the school.

Take pictures of wild plants and trees and moss.

Find the Latin name for each one.

Make a wiki page with your results.

Tag each page with the correct Latin name.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

notes for class

The Research Proposal
Proposal Introduction

Briefly describe the P, P, and Q(s)

Sample or Population

My data will come from a regional northern New England school district. I will look at different factors such as number of years that a second language has been taught in a district, grade span of world language learners, and significant assessment data for the subject.

My plan is to have a control group and an experimental group. My control group will have minimum access to technology and will be paper-based. My experimental group will be computer-based and required to be part of an on-line community of learners.

All groups will have the same assessments given and the score will be compared to see if the experimental group scored significantly higher on modern language acquisition and achievement tests.

I selected the source of my data as the National Spanish Exam, and I selected the subjects because recent regionalization has brought several districts under one administrative head. There is not yet a consensus as to what curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices will be used in the world language departments. Additionally, this will lay the groundwork for a distance learning model that could function at multiple sites within the new regional district.

Indicate the size (N or n)

The number of students (n) will range from 60-100 participants.

demographic variables (characteristics)

Students will come from three distinct high schools in northern New England. There will be males and females from grades 10-12. The total number of towns represented will be (find data) and the town size will range from (smallest) to (largest). The wifi capability in the region is (find data) and preliminary surveys indicated that (what percent) of students had access to high speed internet in and out of school.

“tools” for data collection

The National Spanish Examination is an online, standardized assessment tool given voluntarily by over 3000 teachers throughout the United States to measure proficiency and achievement of students who are studying Spanish as a second language.

From 1957 until 2005, the National Spanish Examination was administered in a written format.� Beginning in 2006, the National Spanish Examination was administered in an online format through the Quia Corporation and will continue as the first online national foreign language exam.

The means to convert what we observe to symbols

Operationally define the behavior or construct

If an inanimate source, describe where it is and how it was created

Often requires citation.


How do you know the instrument measures what it is intended to measure?

Unique to a particular purpose for a particular group

professionally and empirically established


How do you know the results will be consistent?

Can be empirically established

Research Procedure

What will you do to answer the research question?

Lit Rev provided the justification

What may limit the application of the results?

Imperfections; bias

Address how you attempted too avoid or minimize


where, when, how were data collected and managed?


-How will you organize the data?

Like to show boys versus girls as well as wiki versus paper based results. Would like to see results by town and look and influential factors beyond the technology integration.

-What quantitative and/or qualitative steps will you take to convert data into information?

I plan on using InspireData to put in the data acquired by the AATSP.

Timeline (for the final project only)

Project a calendar of events


Dates (months only)

Tasks and supporting activities

Presentation, 5 Pwr Pt slides

Title, presenters, school, date

Method (tentative)
Sample, instruments, analysis


an nice interview with Jonathan Rippy

10:38 AM me: rippy, hola...what is it again that you do?
Jonathan: Hola Amity! Que pasa?
i am a programmer
me: what languages?
10:39 AM Jonathan: java,c,c++,perl,ruby,python, a little bit of lisp (inspired by zack :))
me: nice
what language is Sugar written in?
Jonathan: others too
me: or is it itself a language>
Jonathan: i've ... never heard of Sugar
10:40 AM Jonathan: checking
it's written in python! :)
me: YAY
Jonathan: saw it on this page
me: I need to learn python
sweet deal
Jonathan: Python is incredibly easy
me: how is python set up as a language?
Jonathan: to you happen to know other programming langues?
10:41 AM languages even
me: not really just romance languages
Jonathan: haha
Es muy bueno tambien
me: it translates
Jonathan: :)
when computer scientists write things up on the board,
they use pseudo code ... which is not really a language
10:42 AM me: it's just commands, write
Jonathan: just sorta writing things out loosely without using a specific language
me: right
oh ok
Jonathan: python is the closest to pseudo code i've ever seen
so it makes it much easier to use as a language
me: can you show me a screenshot of python?
Jonathan: hmm
one sec
10:43 AM the canonical first example that people usually see in a language
is the "Hello World" example
me: ok
Jonathan: that is, how do I make this language print out the words "Hello World" to the user
in python it looks like

#!/usr/bin/env python
print "Hello World"
and that's it
me: ok
Jonathan: you place that into a file
me: user, location, environment
Jonathan: and then you can run the file
10:44 AM i'm not sure the specifics of this sugar platform, but choosing python seems like a good idea on their part (to me at least)
python is preinstalled on Macs
me: niiice
Jonathan: i have use a mac
me: I need python bootcamp
Jonathan: i <3>
me: I have a macbook
Jonathan: nice!
10:45 AM me: thanks to the great state of Maine tech initiative
Jonathan: excellent
me: so THANKS may I publish this info
me: on my teacher blog?
yes, seen that
Jonathan: ok
me: I do better with real people
Jonathan: oh oh
do you still have like 2 minutes?
10:46 AM me: yes, I am home all day
Jonathan: ok
do you know how to go to the terminal?
me: no idea
Jonathan: /Applications/
run that program
me: ok
Jonathan: now type
me: I'll try and say "Hello World"
Jonathan: and you should see something like
$ python
Python 2.5.2 (r252:60911, Apr 23 2008, 00:18:10)
[GCC 4.0.1 (Apple Inc. build 5470) (Aspen 5470.3)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
10:47 AM me: I do not see Terminal
Jonathan: one sec
me: is it in MyApps?
I have a teacher image
Jonathan: /Applications/Utilities/
sorry, it should be there
i typed it wrong before
10:48 AM me: darn it all
that feature is locked
Jonathan: :(
me: argh
Jonathan: :(
me: I need an admin image, I iwill ask for one
thanks for the tutorial
10:49 AM Jonathan: ok sure
that's too bad that they locked that down
me: yes, 'tis
Jonathan: i understand why they did, you can delete everything
if you don't know what you are doing
me: right
so...they should TRAIN us
Jonathan: agreed
me: technological professional development is severely retarded in education
10:50 AM we have ubiquitous computing and no one knows really what the little white boxes are capable of
ok I should stop ranting :)
Jonathan: that's too bad :(
no i don't mind

what is your grad school degree in? education?
me: technology in education
10:53 AM master of science, research based
Jonathan: nice!
my master's is in computer science
i really like helping me
i've considered going back into teaching eventually
me: who do you program for
Jonathan: NetApp
10:54 AM me: cool
Jonathan: trying to find you this website
i can't seem to find it
me: I want to get into professional development in technology in education
Jonathan: it lets you write python code online
me: super
10:55 AM I'd like to be a consultant and train teachers, sort of hunker down with them for a few months and get them started with things like Sugar
Jonathan: that would be cool
i'm sure teachers could certainly use the help
me: um, yes
I work with many
Jonathan: i remember, in highschool, that i was the go-to student for them
me: we all need as much help as we can get :)
Jonathan: they would seek me out
10:56 AM me: that is me now
that was zach in school though
Jonathan: i had other teachers "get me out of class" to come help
of course they had permission from my teacher
10:57 AM me: ha

my tv was B and W
and I wanted it color

10:58 AM and I said, ok, I am not interested in solving this, you all solve it.
took them 15 minutes.
Jonathan: nice!
a more productive use of their time too
me: they are rarely asked to solve problems
Jonathan: solving a problem

11:00 AM i seemed to have encoutered that alot myself
i have a link for you!
11:01 AM me: create a new paste?
Jonathan: were you able to view mine?
me: yes
Jonathan: awesome
me: how do I type into a field
raw code?
Jonathan: yes, in the "New paste:" area
me: ok
Jonathan: like, try to change it to count to 20
11:02 AM and to say hey to me instead
or you could blog it, and say hey to your readers hehe
me: what is "for i"
Jonathan: it's a 'for' loop
it uses the range function, on the right, to generate a list of numbers
11:03 AM then, it traverses through the list
and assigns to the variable 'i' the value of the current list position
lists in python look like this
[1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10]
if i say
list = [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10]
then i create a new variable, named list ... of type list with those values
i can directly access an entry in the list
me: ok
11:04 AM slow down bro
that's a good start
Jonathan: haha
sorry i had a typo in my example list
it should look more like this
11:05 AM >>> list = [1, 2, 3, 4]
>>> print list[0]
comma seperated
me: SyntaxError: Non-ASCII character '\xc2' in file on line 4, but no encoding declared; see for details
Jonathan: hmm
me: I just copied your code and pasted it and changed a few things
Jonathan: you must have an issue with the syntax
with what you typed
11:06 AM me: figured it out
no spanish characters
Jonathan: awesome
oh yeah
he might not have support for that on his website
Jonathan: awesome!
me: yay!
Jonathan: yay :)
11:07 AM now you can play around with those tutorials
me: thank you very much!!
Jonathan: to some degree at least
ultimately, it is better to run it on your own computer obviously
but until then, you have something to work with :)
11:08 AM me: ok, off to play
Jonathan: ok
sure thing!
De Nada! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I teach mostly with projects, throwing in an occasional test. Testing kids can be tricky. You want to know what they know, you want to know what they think they know. I like vocabulary tests and conjugation tests, things that must be memorized. I love to give spelling tests, because it is important to learn how to spell in any language, and the sounds are different and they must learn to internalize those sounds so that they mean something.

Today I was tested. 30 vocabulary words, plus MEA results analysis and intervention strategies. This test was announced in September, and I did not work very hard at studying. Instead, I made myself present and aware in class, and did a lot of reading, but not the textbook. I read journal articles and reports and saw the vocabulary in context. That helped. I noticed several people made flashcards. I read my own notes, and two of my colleagues' notes. That really helped a lot!

How do others test? How do others study or expect their students to study?

As I said, I prefer to teach with projects, and measure growth over time. I like to give student surveys and something I like to call an exit slip. It asks questions that are designed to help the learner reflect and name his or her experiences. Naming something is very powerful. Especially in a new language.

Monday, November 10, 2008

student-led conferences

I am feeling so good about student-led conferences. My students are amazing.

The protocol I am using is very simple.






Order of events:

  • Introduce your parent/guardian to your teacher
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses in class
  • Share your checklist/wiki
  • Ask for feedback
  • Shake hands



Parents wrote the nicest things to their children. Things like "I am proud of you." I got a little choked up today. Families actually hugged. This is my type of thing. Communion and sharing.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

it worked

The students actually did work, my room was clean, and when I closed the books yesterday for the quarter, many of the students expressed satisfaction with their own efforts to learn and document their growth!!

Now the task of assessing work begins (I have done several assessments throughout the quarter but this will be summative). The portfolio checklists are all stacked in front of me and my mode of attack is sets of 5. I think I can evaluate 5 portfolios an hour.

With about 100 to look at, give or take...that is 20 hours worth of work.

This should be a fun weekend! I mean it! I love seeing PROGRESS and the portfolios are a jumping-off point for measuring growth.

Mme. K and I made up a survey ( together and that will be the other fun part of the weekend. I love seeing student responses to learning. We asked them to evaluate US as teachers and give US feedback on how to teach video projects better. Nothing like giving students a voice. The survey is on-line so compiling the data is very simple.

Mme. K. and I also had the students print out their favorite wordles ( that they made this quarter and we are going to do a Wordle Wall next week. It should be a nice big chunk of visual data to look at and learn from.

Oh! I was asked to submit a paper for a conference in the spring. My brain is humming! I love the creative process of teaching.


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