Final Project, Course 2, AUP

This was a useful project.  When I first saw the final project description, I, truthfully, thought it sounded like the sort of work we have to do sometimes as educators that is neccessary, but not particularly inspiring or even that useful, like creating policy.  You need it in place, you’re glad you’ve got it written out if you have to refer to it, but it can easily spend its life tucked into a policy manual in an administrator’s office without seeing much light of day.

Gwen Martin and I compared the AUP documents from the international schools in Edinburgh, Singapore, and Tunis.  The first realization I had was that there were similar subheadings under which the agreements were chunked:  Equipment, Security and Privacy, Internet, and Email.  Being our first initiation into the bones of this document, we worked with the traditional headings, but I am now curious to notice how other schools may have thought to organize the agreements.  I like the idea of framing them through general behavior attitudes that pertain throughout our community life like:  Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Responsible.

Photo courtesy of Gwen Martin

Kristi Lonheim joined in with us at the revision stage and made the much needed suggestion of framing the language in positive terms and we did that.  We also met with the tech director and tech integration specialist at ACST and they made some small, but useful wording suggestions, such as changing students to patrons because we need to also communicate common expectations to parents  and staff.  For now, we are suggesting this language for use in the elementary school.

After listening to the Big Marker session on May 2nd,  and reading Kim Cofino’s blog on their Digital Citizenship Week, I got the picture of how to move these “rules” into living policy and with my move to 7th grade for next year, I hope to bring along that vision and inspiration.

ACST Elementary School

Technology Acceptable Use Policy

The school provides computers and other technology services for you to use and they are a powerful tool to help you learn and communicate your learning.   They are for everyone to share so we have to take proper care of them so they are available all of the time.  Also, because they are school property, we must use them in educational ways and with the same respect we give to books, equipment, and the school building.   Using computers at school is a privilege, not a right.  These are the school rules and also the laws, both Tunisian and international, we expect all patrons to follow.


  • I will treat the equipment with respect.  I will not damage, disable or otherwise harm the operation of the computers.
  • I will not install any software on school computers without the permission of the technology director.
  • I will be careful that any files brought in on removable media  have been checked by antivirus software and are virus-free.
  • I will not connect mobile equipment without permission from the IT Department.

Security and Privacy

  • I will never reveal my home address, picture, phone numbers, or those of my classmates or teachers, when on the Internet.  I will use school email and phone numbers, only.
  • I will only use my account and password and keep my password private.
  • I will not change individual files that don’t belong to me and will never change system files.
  • I will respect the security settings on the computers and will not attempt to bypass or change them.
  • I realize that computer storage areas (the school hard-drive) are like cubbies or lockers.  Teachers or administrators may inspect them from time to time to make sure they are being used, properly.
  • I will report security problems or anything that makes me feel uncomfortable to my teacher, principal, or technology director.


  • I realize that computers may only be used for educational purposes during the school day.
  • I will not download, view on the Internet, or save any files that are obscene, pornographic, or offensive to others.
  • I will obey copyright laws and respect the work that belongs to other people, both at school and on the Internet.


  • I will respect the viewpoint of others.  I will not reply using language that includes swearing or other offensive language.
  • I will not open attachments to email unless they come from someone I already know and trust.
  • I realize that all email must be appropriate for students and may not display information or images that are violent, dangerous, racist, or in any other way, inappropriate.
  • I realize that email is not private; it can be read by teachers or the technology director.

I am not sure that we will use this document as we wrote it.  If it is used, I see the need for continual tweeking of the language as we become more aware of our intent and our message.

Our tech integration specialist challenged us with an observation that there isn’t a stated consequence for lack of adherence to this code.  In a timely manner, Kim Cofino posted the “Three Strikes” policy her school (YIS) has come up with.  I appreciate the line they found to draw between holding students accountable for their ethical use of the computers and also teaching them and trying to help them establish better habits.  Giving them a snoozer of a laptop upon which they can still accomplish the rudiments of their school assignments seems like a brilliant deterrent.  We are not a 1:1 school so students don’t have their own computers, per se, but perhaps our tech department could still customize one computer that is reserved for use by a particular student who is on probation.

In the end, I really do have a new way of looking at these common technology usage agreements.  I see constant ways to integrate them into my 7th grade humanities classes and some other engaging ways of developing these understandings throughout the middle school and then hopefully, throughout the school.


Introducing Science Readers, Course 1 Final Project

Students don’t know what they wonder about.  We sometimes convince ourselves that they are just dying for us to turn them loose to pursue their own learning in what they really want to study and for a few students, that is true, but for many students, that type of open-topic learning activity puts them into a panic.  Please, just tell me what you want me to know, some actually beg.

Last year was my first year teaching 5th grade.  The school I moved from, Lincoln School in Kathmandu, had been successfully involved in the Nesa Virtual Science Fair so when I moved to ACST, I asked to participate in that project with our fifth graders.  It was eye-opening to me to realize that my students didn’t know how to go about observing and wondering about things in their natural world.  I tried to immerse them in reading about many science topics through nonfiction reading, but the subjects were too vast and they didn’t have the skills to skim and then zero in on what was important and significant to them.  Even once they chose a workable science question, I still felt that most of them lacked contextual understanding about the science involved in their study and had done almost no research to learn about the scientific body of knowledge on the subject.

My teaching partner and I chose to withdraw from that project this year because we felt we needed to teach our students more science and spend more time leading them through a process of inquiry than the project timeline allowed.

Our students have done a lot of informational reading and writing this year so to begin with, they have much stronger abilities than last year’s students to read with focus and write with organization and persuasion.  We have also intentionally introduced them to multiple fields of study in science and an entire unit on setting up a scientific research model.  They are now ready to review what is current in science publications to try and formulate a question they can study.

Setting up an RSS Reader for Course 1 in CoETaIL has served to quickly broaden my awareness of issues in information technology and social networking so I hope that technology will serve as an effective tool for introducing fifth graders to current ideas and information in science that will hopefully strike a match to their natural curiosities.

Introducing Science Readers  

Subject: Science

Topic: Developing Scientific Questions

Grade: 5

Designer: Julie Bredy

 Stage 1:  Desired results

Standards/Goals:ISTE.NETS.T 1.BEngage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources

Scientific Inquiry 1A

Generate focused questions and informed predictions about the natural world.

Common Core Language Arts Standards


Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.

Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.


Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.


Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

Understandings :Students will understand that…  Learning begins with observation and questioning.Information is changing and being updated at a constant rate. Information is shared through digital publications and social networks. Essential Questions:What learning comes and has come from observation?What do I wonder about?How is ongoing scientific learning and thinking communicated with others?
Students will know… Current topics of interest in science. How to access current scientific research information. How to write a reading response.

 How to post to a blog.

 How to use Powerpoint or Prezzi to create a presentation.

 How to save and retrieve electronic documents.


Students will be able to…Read current scientific articles using a digital reader application. Read, note-take, and word-process a reflection of learning about current science articles. Post a reflection about their learning and thinking to a social networking site.

 Access the posts of other students and leave a responding comment,  reflecting their own thinking.

Stage 2:  Assessment/Evidence

Performance Tasks:Students will read 20 articles or blog posts, sourced from a digital reader application as well as print publications.Students will write reflections about their reading, summarizing key content and identifying what they notice and what they wonder.Students will post 3 of their reflections to a blog on the class website

Students will comment on the posting of 1 other student, giving feedback about the completeness of the post and what they notice and wonder.

Students will present their learning from the one reading topic they are most interested in, through a Powerpoint or Prezzi presentation, summarizing key content and sharing what they noticed and what they wonder.

Key Criteria:

  • Maintenance of an electronic Reading Log (Word chart kept in own documents), tracking title of article, source, and date read.
  • Word-processing 5 responses to reading, summarizing main information and stating what the student notices and wonders regarding the article.
  • Posting 3 responses to reading on class website blog.
  • Writing a comment on 2 other students’ responses to reading, commenting on the completeness of the response and stating his own stance on the subject.
  • Presenting new learning from an article, including what I noticed and what I wonder, using Powerpoint or Prezzi.
  • Providing evidence of the ‘Meeting’ expectations on rubric.

Scientific Reader Rubric

  Exceeding Meeting Approaching Needs Improvement
Scientific Reading I produced a log sheet providing evidence of reading more than 20 science articles. I produced a log sheet providing evidence of reading at least 20 science articles. I produced a log sheet providing evidence of reading less than 20 science articles. I didn’t produce a log sheet providing evidence of reading science articles.
Response Writing I word processed more than 5 responses, summarizing the content of the reading and stating my opinion about what I noticed and what I wonder. I word processed at least 5 responses, summarizing the content of the reading and stating my opinion about what I noticed and what I wonder. I word processed less than 5 responses, summarizing the content of the reading and stating my opinion about what I noticed and what I wonder. I didn’t word-process any responses, summarizing the content of the reading and stating my opinion about what I noticed and what I wonder.
Posting on Class Blog I posted more than 3 of my reading responses on the class blog. I posted at least 3 of my reading responses on the class blog. I posted less than 3 of my reading responses on the class blog. I didn’t post any of my responses on the class blog.
Commenting on Classmates’ Responses I commented on more than 2 other student’s posted responses, commenting on the quality of the post and stating my opinion about the topic. I commented on at least 2 other student’s posted responses, commenting on the quality of the post and stating my opinion about the topic. I commented on less than 2 other student’s posted responses, commenting on the quality of the post and stating my opinion about the topic. I didn’t comment on any other student’s posted responses.
Making a Presentation I used Powerpoint or Prezzi to make a well-organized presentation, including a summary of my learning, what I noticed, and what I wonder. I used Powerpoint or Prezzi to make a sensible presentation, including a summary of my learning, what I noticed, and what I wonder. I used Powerpoint or Prezzi to make a presentation and included some information about what I learned, what I noticed, and what I wonder. I didn’t create an electronic presentation about my learning, what I noticed, or what I wonder.
Other Evidence:Contribution to verbal sharing with classmates.


Stage 3:  Learning Plan

Learning Plan (Activities and Resources):

1.  Teacher will vet web feeds appropriate for fifth grade and ranging through many areas of scientific study.  Multiple feeds can be found at Smithsonian, National Geographic, Time for Kids, and other sites.

2.  Teacher will create a public tab in NetVibes, adding the feed for the sites, then linking it to the class website.

3.  Teacher will engage students’ thinking regarding the role of observation in scientific discovery through the presentation of a Prezi, making connections to the shared prior-learning of the class.

4.  Students will read at least 20 science articles through the Netvibes reader, Foss reader, National Geographic Explorer, or Weekly Reader.

5.  Students will keep a Reading Log of their article reading on a Word document table kept in their documents.  Log will include title of article, source, and date read.

6.  Students will word-process 5 responses to reading, summarizing the content and then stating what they notice and what they wonder.

7.  Students will post 3 responses to reading on the class website blog.

8.  Students will create a Powerpoint or Prezzi presentation, including a summary of the content of 1 article and reflections of what the student noticed and what she wondered.

9.  Students will read the posts of other students and make 1 comment, giving feedback on the completeness of the reflection and stating what the student noticed and what she wonders.

Following this exploration of topics, students will have an opportunity to indicate three topics they are most interested in from the presentations.  This will be the basis of formation of science teams and their first task will be to formulate a research question and hypothesis.

Using some existing technology tools (i.e. the blog feature on our class website and presentation applications), we can maximize the sharing of our learning and thinking, modeling for students who aren’t certain how to think in this way and sparking areas of common interest.  Introducing the RSS Reader underscores the message that scientific knowledge is ever changing and growing, opening the door for students to add to the body of thinking, observation, and experimentation.