Menlo Professional Development

2-28-2008-2nd Meeting

Faculty Web2.0 Study Group
Thursday, February 28th at 3:30 in Matt's Room

List of attendees for the meeting:
1. Matt-yep, I'll be there...and will bring snacks for the group.
2. I will be there, Francine
4. Steve V. will be there!
5. I'll be there for the snacks--Jeff B.
6. Laurie will be there!
7. I will be there (from Hannah).
8. Chuck will be there, and looking forward to having Brian share his ideas for the new technology called "Microsoft Word"
9. Count Sarah in too!
10. Heidi will be there, but I have to leave at 4:15 :(

  • Lighting Round Sharing! Everyone gets 5 minutes to share about a 21st century learning experience they've had over the past 2-3 months since our first meeting.
  • RSS and Google Reader-adding blog feeds to your Google Reader (please make sure you have a google account prior to this meeting!)
  • Digital Natives/Digital Immigrants - review and discuss Marc Prensky's watershed paper on the digital generation.

11-13-2007-1st Meeting

First Meeting
: Our homes via skype!!

Warm-up activity-Prior to this first meeting, view the video below. When you are done, post a reflection at your blog (if you don't have a blog, visit and set one up). For follow up, visit the companion website at

Sharing: Why are you here, what are some of your goals, and what do we want to produce as a group?? Begin thinking about a project involving students and these tools-project does not need to be real big like the one Chuck's students did last could be very, very small.

Calendars: Select upcoming dates for f2f meetings, synchronous 'virtual' meetings (via skype and/or wimba), etc.

Book discussion: Any interest in reading a book? As a group, or perhaps different books and then do a little jigsawing. We'll definitely have a 'virtual' book discussion for this. Daniel Pink's "A Whole New Mind" and Don Tapscott's "Wikinomics" are a few that come to my mind.

Blogging: Start blogging! React to a few of the videos that we shared with some posts, read the blogs of some other members of this group (visit our ning network for the links/NetVibes folder or see the links below), read the blogs of other teachers, read Mark Cuban's blog, comment on a few blogs, etc. Reflect on your goals for this experience...start with the end in mind - what are the goals for yourself? What are some goals you might have for curriculum connections/student projects?

Surf our Ning Network: Surf, play, explore, etc the various functions and tools at our professional learning network that we established through Ning. Right now this is a 'private' network that is only visible to our group, but this is something we might open up to share w/others as an example of a professional learning network. View some of the videos, leave comments for others, modify your profile page, embed some YouTube/TeacherTube videos that you want others in the group to watch, etc. After exploring Ning, you could create a post on your blog about whether or not you think using a ning network with your students may be useful.

Group Overview

We are attempting to put together a small team of teachers who are interested in doing a study of web 2.0 software tools and evaluating their impact on the curriculum. If you are interested in joining this study group, click the "Edit this Page" button that you see on this page and add your name to the chart below. Our first meeting is scheduled for the week after comments are done (date to be announced later):

Below is a sampling of activities that we may engage in:

  • 2-3 in person meetings over the course of the year
  • Setup and create accounts with several web 2.0 services
  • 2-3 "virtual meetings" via the web (using skype or wimba).
  • Develop and implement some type of activity using web 2.0 with your students
  • Individual reflections over the course of the experience
  • Develop and grow your own personalized, individualized global learning network
  • Work as a group to create a collaborative presentation that we would share at a division meeting with the MS faculty in either May or June
  • Hopefully attend the January, 2008-Attend the "Making the Best Use of Web Tools to Enhance Student Learning(Grades 6-12)"day long workshop on the north side of Chicago
  • Watch a host of short videos like the one at the bottom of this page (The Web is Using Us!)-reflect on these videos
  • Read a few articles and blogs on this topic and discuss them (a few examples follow)
  • Read a book if possible...examples below:
One note-I know everyone is super busy with new and varied responsibilities...I respect that and will do everything I can to make sure that this is a worthwhile experience for you.


Skype Acct
Blog Address
Wiki address
Twitter ID
Matt Montagne
Sarah Markwald
5-7 Art

Hannah Reimer
7 English

Jeff Ballentine

Chuck Taft
Will Piper
World Geography

Heidi Abraham
7 Math

Brian Markwald
Economics and History

Ustream sites -,

All of the Blogs are now published in a NetVibes folder, so you only would need to go to one link to read posts published by everyone in the group.

New Tools

Social Bookmarking w/ delicious:

Group Calendar

To Do List:

Below is a smattering of things you might consider completing over the course of our meetings:

  1. Download and install Skype on your home computer. Have it installed on your classroom computer as well. Create an account and write your skype name in the chart on this page. We will use Skype a few times this year for a few virtual meetings from our homes.
  2. Create your blog if you don't have one already. Write your blog address in the chart on this page. I recommend for blogs due to its connection with google. But there are other blog services out there that will work as well (like edublogs). Tip: If you already have a gmail/google account, just add blogger as one of your services.
  3. Create a google/gmail account if you don't already have one (let me know if you'd like a USM-google account as well...this is what all of our students have access to in grades 5-8 - I know it is yet another account, but you probably want to do this).
  4. Create an account at wikispaces. Create a space when you create your account (my space is mstechnology which makes an address of Chuck's space name is americanhistoryrules which yields a web address of Do something similar for your class. Wikispaces offers free wikis for educators, but make sure you set yours up by going to this link: . Write your wikispaces address on the chart above
  5. Create a Twitter account (twitter is a "microblogging" service)-it is a great way to meet other teachers and exchange ideas with them. Write your twitter name on the chart above as well. "Follow" me on Twitter by searching for mjmontagne. Look up other teachers in your discipline/area of interest and follow them. Or look up any teachers and follow them (sometimes the best ideas come from teacher who have a totally different discipling/grade level)
  6. Create a voicethread account. Be sure to create an educator voicethread account. This is an account that gives you access to their premium/Pro account, but they won't charge you.
  7. Create a NetVibes account--NetVibes is a very useful tool for aggregating blogs/RSS websites that you like. It is also a way for you to make a folder of useful blogs/RSS websites that you'd like your students to read.

Web2.0 Tips and Tricks

December Division Meeting

New Tools for the 21st Century!
New opportunities for student communication, collaboration and creation
Monday, December 10th, 2007

We created a wiki page devoted to this division meeting. Visit the wiki page by clicking here.

This meeting will be a combination of a very brief demonstration of 2-3 simple software tools and department breakout meetings where teachers work collaboratively with these tools to create/publish a multimedia project.

Another component of this experience could be students as would be nice to have 1-2 student working with and assisting each department as they create their "mini-project" and move through their experience.

Brittany S, Nicole, Ashton, Alex B, Ashton (8), Erika H (8), Anna P (5th-skype-in), Nikki P (5th-skype-in), Carol W (9), Camille Y (9), Emma C (9), Ben W (7), Riley P (7), John S (7), Henry H (7), Fady B (7), Johnny G (7),

ERIKA (left message)
EMILY (left message)
CAMILLE (maybe)

Introduce MS Faculty members to some simple, easy-to-use tools that could be incorporated into the classroom for use with students tomorrow.
Departments work in collaborative design teams to communicate, collaborate and create.
Give faculty members time to work in collaborative teams to create something using the tools that are presented.
Give faculty members time to reflect on how these tools might be applied in their classroom.

Meeting Structure:

20 Minutes
Demo of practical, simple tools/perhaps share the "Did You Know" video as a means to frame our time:
1. Forming global connections with Skype! We will skype an educator and her class in New Zealand, an author in San Francisco, and a teacher in St. Louis. The conversation will be brief and will be guided by the following kinds of questions: Tell us a little about yourself...what is the weather like? What kinds of tools have you been using with your students? What do you like about these tools?
2. Using VoiceThread to give your students the opportunity to publish for and interact with a global audience.
3. Using blogs to engage students in discussion and writing activities. Using blogs for class note-taking through the use of an assigned student "scribe" for the class period (the scribe writes the notes on the teacher blog and the post is published at the end of the classroom).
4. Using a wiki for organization on a long term project (NHD) or long term class notebook (English Student Survival Guide)

45-60 Minutes

Break-out groups by Department

1. English Dept-
Pool together favorite poetry pieces from each English Dept. member. Poetry samples could either be original works or pieces from an anthology. Decide upon a photo that will be used as the backdrop for the poetry slam. Potential ideas for the photo include a picture of all department members or an image from flickr that is in the creative commons. After a photo is decided upon, upload it to voicethread and prepare for the poetry slam! Each person will take their turn recording their poem. It would be best if the recordings were done under different "identities" under Hannah's voicethread account. This will allow a personalized thumbnail photo to be included with each reading.

While this is going on, brainstorm ways that skype could be used in the future to help your students connect with other people.

Do a poetry jam-record a few poems and make a Voicethread. Joyful Noise reciting would be SO fun!!! OR, create a wiki with reading websites and blogs, sincreading is such a focus for the department this year.
Meeting Location: Hannah's Room

2. Social Studies Dept-
Choice is up to the department, but some possibilities are below:
Finish the Voicethread reflection about San Diego

skype call and interview someone to create a digital oral history sample (I have a 92 year old guy in mind who would be AWESOME to interview...he has stories about FDR, WWII, the 50s, 60s, etc). Or, create Voki characters that bring famous historical figures to life. Develop a wiki or blog discussing the use of current events in the social studies classroom, possibly connecting with like schools. Brainstorm a list of people and organizations to contact for possible skype or video conferences.
Meeting Location: Chuck's Room

3. Science Dept:
Write a collaborative script on your department's wiki page that lays out the directions and steps for using a graduated cylinder (or any other piece of important lab equipment) in a science lab. Take pictures of the key steps involved using a digital camera (probably looking at 5-10 photos max). Upload the photos to voicethread and use the collaborative script narrate the slideshow collectively. Try to include everyone in the narration part!
Meeting Location: Mike's Room

While this is going on, brainstorm possibilities for using skype in science classes. Identify some potential guest speakers and topics for future skype conferences.

Create a few blog posts with youtube videos embedded in them...or create a science podcast episode that explains a certain scientific concept. Or, have a conversation with a member of the University of Michigan Solar Power Car team. One other idea for science-create a demonstration on how to use one of the scientific lab tools (eg graduated cylinder, the digital microscopes, etc)...they could take pictures of the steps in the process and narrate them using a collaborative script.

4. Math Department:
Travel about the school with a camera and take 5-10 pictures of scenes that portray mathematical elements. After the photos are taken, write a script for a narration that will be recorded to explain the mathematical concepts in each photograph. Once the script is created, upload the photos to voicethread and begin the process of recording narrations for each photo.
Meeting Location: Joe's Room

Create a digital math trail of USM. Take photos of 5-8 scenes involving math (eg-the spiral staircase, any tessellation patterns, etc). Create a Voicethread to share their pictures and narrate the voice thread to explain the math symbols in each photo. Use Smart notebook to develop an online lesson with audio, posted on a website or blog.

5. Fine Arts:
Tell a story! Choose a short story to bring to life in the form of a voicethread. The story that you choose could be one that one of the 5th grade fables that the students recently wrote, or perhaps it could be an aesop fable that is in the public domain. If time permits, use a 3-5 five line black and white drawings to help tell the story. Take photos of the five line drawings and upload them to voicethread. Finally, during the recording phase, use music to help tell the story (either throughout or use instruments for special effects).
Meeting Location: Miriam's Room

They could probably come up w/something super creative on their own...I could see them doing some type of project involving music, visual art, and a dramatic narration of some sort.

6. Physical Education:
Demonstrate the correct technique for a basketball chest pass and bounce pass. Write a script that will used to record a narration to go along with 5-10 photos that detail technique involved with basketball passing skills. Take the 5-10 photos demonstrating the key techniques and upload the photos to voicethread. Record the narration that will accompany the photos.
Meeting Location: iMac Studio

Demonstrate the correct badminton technique, weight lifting technique, free throw shooting technique, through the use of still photos and VoiceThread (video is a possibility as well, but that takes time).

7. Foreign Language: Same category as fine arts...perhaps an voicethread showing vocabulary and clothing. Interview each other to form a media podcast...etc. Create a voicethread for a vocabulary lesson, with images and audio of the vocab.
Meeting Location: Jeff's Room

8. Learning Resource Center: Develop a wiki or google doc with examples of different study strategies, reading strategies, or organizational tips for students and teachers. LRC teachers could also have the option to spread out and join any department of their choosing.
Meeting Location: MS Lab

Francine and Paul have the option of joining any department grouping that they'd like.

All departments will also do the following:

1. Embed their completed voicethread project on their individual workspace wiki page
2. Write a little reflection on the process of working together to create their project.

For the last 5 minutes we'll try to do a skype conference that summarizes each group's experience.

To Do List for Meeting:

Cameras-charge batteries and erase storage cards
Card Readers
on order
on order
Create a Google Doc account for each teacher using the USM Google Doc system (many teachers have one already)
Work Space Assignments-see above

Make sure Skype is installed on a computer in each meeting location (we'll need it on the computers in Miriam's room, Jeff's room, and one in the MS Lab).
Steve and Matt
Prepare work spaces for each department on the newly created Middle School Professional Dev. Wiki
Note to teachers/depts. about making certain at least one teacher from each dept. has a voicethread acct. and skype acct (wiki account isn't necessary as we'll make it "unprotected" so that it will be easy for each to edit).
Task cards for each dept (not instructions, but a detailed outline of the task to complete...can be done either on the wiki page or a handout)
One Teacher from each dept will need to make sure he/she has an account for the following tools:
  1. Voicethread
  2. Skype
  3. Anything else??
A note to teachers about setting up these accounts will go out on Thursday

Voicethread Projects for Sharing:
Thank you and reflection:

Student Story with peer critique:

I am thankful for...

Math Tessellations:

Spanish Activities:



Oral History:


View a series of screen casts that step you through the process of creating a voicethread educator account, creating a simple voicethread, viewing some student-teacher created voicethread projects, etc.