Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Closing Keynote at NECC with Erin Gruwell

NECC 2009 Closing Keynote

Freedom Writers: Erin Gruwell

Gruwell is a teacher from Boston who's work with a group of troubled students was made into a movie in 2007 called "The Freedom Writers". Here is Gruwell's recount of the Freedom Writers' journey.

Talks about making connections to students by getting to know them: who they are and what their history is (background).

Believing in students that everyone has a story to write about in their marble journal.

Tell me your story. Every student has a journey. It starts somewhere – where will it go?

Anne Frank's Story

Toast for change - Teach to me, not to a test.

Meaningful assignment – raise enough money and write enough letters to get Mead Geese to come from Amsterdam to LA to meet the students.

“It's a win win because we did it together – but if she does come, your lives will never be the same.”

And then she came. Student prepared best cultural dishes.

My momma wants to read about the little girl who changed my life. - Maria

I have never had a hero in my entire life but you're my hero – Darius

No I'm not a hero. I simply did what I needed to do because it was the right thing to do. Please make sure that Anne's life was not taken in vain.

Stereotyped kids will begin to believe what others say.

Turned their journals into a book to give to the Secretary of Education.

Freedom writers go to Washington (150 kids) (They named their book "Freedom Writers" after the civil rights leaders from the south in the 60s)

They may not change the world, but they would change themselves.

#1 on NY Times best sellers list. Book funded these students to go to college – the first in their families

I got out because education was the only way to equalize an unfair playing field.

The blank screen gave them the power to be immortal.

Start an organization to help teachers learn what they need to know about what they need to know to connect to each of their students – the Freedom Writers Teachers' Bootcamp.

Why kids do the things that they do. Because doing dumb things doesn't make a kid stupid. Imagine what would happen if you told them that they are brilliant.
Leave a legacy – tell people what they need to know about our profession.

Education is about believing that every single kid can make it.

Totally Cool Google Tools

NECC Session: Totally Cool Google Tools

by Tammy Worcester

My Notes:

Google Tools

  1. iGoogle page – personalized portal for information
  2. Blogger – as many blogs as you want with push button publishing customized to your style and needs or wants.
  3. Gmail – use to log into your google account
  4. Google Documents – allow anyone to edit, share or use the document
  5. Google Forms – make up questionnaires or gather information and have it input directly into a spreadsheet. This form can be located on a website or embedded on a blog,
  6. Show summary – google spreadsheet will graph or count your information and display it for you. Use one form with blanks and a name blank
  7. Backwards Google to prank a colleague – elgoog
  8. Google Maps – type in an address and use the “search nearby” to locate hotels and restaurants and have it send it to your phone's text
  9. Google Calendar – Use as a day planner for lessons and assignments – view as agenda
  10. Google Alerts – search your name as it appears on the web.

Place Puzzles by Bernie Dodge

NECC Session: Place Puzzles
by Bernie Dodge

Dodge's Outline from NECC website:
"The purpose of this session is to describe a lesson structure called place puzzles. This structure is designed to be simple enough to be used by novice teachers and flexible enough to cover a wide range of learning outcomes. It takes advantage of the growing availability of hand held devices with GPS capabilities and internet access. Place puzzles represent an improvement over field trips as typically implemented because 1) they require prior reading of web-based resources before going into the field; 2) they include 2 to 5 puzzles or riddles that combine knowledge from prior reading with close visual inspection of the environment in the field; 3) they assign roles to learners to create interdependence and involvement by all participants; and 4) they require creative problem solving, analysis and synthesis rather than just factual recall and visual recognition. The format can be applied to learning from the elementary grades up through graduate study. By the end of the session, participants will be able to describe the place puzzle concept, identify areas in their curriculum to which it can be applied, locate existing place puzzles online and use freely available templates and guides to create their own lessons in this format."

My notes from the session:
Google Wave – the next Google

Tricks to writing good clues and riddles:

Will write the clues for you:

Curricular Opportunities:
Historical events
Distance, area, shapes
Language Learning
Current Events
Field trip prep
Campus Orientation

Implementation Possibilities
Timed Special Event
Interschool competition/collaboration

Time pressure
Social recognition

Design Steps:
Pick topic
Identify resources
Pick locations
Write clues

Setting the Place: Interface to build place puzzles

Launch of website by Dodge will take place later this summer: