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Six Online Projects Anyone Can Join

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Curriculum CenterLooking for something to jump-start students during the post-holiday blahs? Education World has found six teacher-created collaborative projects that are sure to engage both kids and teachers. From Froot Loops to Refrigerators, these projects offer plenty of learning and fun. Included: Information on how to sign up for the projects.

Calling all teachers: Are you looking for Web projects to liven up your students or brighten up your dreary winter days? Search no more! Education World has found six teacher-created projects --featuring everything from Froot Loops to monsters -- guaranteed to help you forget both lowering skies and glowering dispositions.

Just sign up and have fun!

TRAVELING KIDS

Have your students' families ever expressed a wish for a guide to kid-friendly destinations? Well, with the ongoing Traveling Kids collaborative project, your students can help write one of their own. Students aged 6-10 research places of interest in their home state that they have enjoyed visiting. They record such information as the locations address, hours of operation, and entrance fees, and use Kid Pix to write a description and create an illustration of that destination. Then, the entry is posted online at the Traveling Kids Web site.

Want More?

Additional free, simple, and accessible online projects include:
*  Global Grocery List
*  International Boiling Point Project
*  Journey North
*  Albatross Project

So far, 20 classes from across the country are participating, according to Cheryl Singer, a teacher at Terryville Road School in Port Jefferson Station, New York. She would like to get schools from other countries involved as well.

"I came up with the idea after thinking back to when my own children were young," Singer told Education World. "We would search for places of interest to visit that also were kid-fun. That proved to be a hard task, because most travel guides are for adults, and even those geared for children are written by adults.

Singer said she designed the project to meet several New York State learning standards, and to tie in with community interest, history, social studies, language arts, and technology curriculums.

To register for Traveling Kids, go to Traveling Kids.

FROOT LOOP INVENTORY

Students in more than 100 schools around the world are expected to tear into Froot Loop cereal boxes during the next month to determine the most common froot loop color. The hypothesis for the Froot Loops to the Max project is that orange loops are the most numerous.

Students will divide the Froot Loops by color, tally the numbers, and then record them on an online database to determine whether the hypothesis is correct. Analyzing the data incorporates mathematics, science, history, English, and reading skills. Worksheets and classroom activities guides also are available at the project site.

Teachers still can sign up for the project, which ends February 28, according to coordinator Jennifer Wagner, a teacher at Crossroads Christian School in Corona, California. Froot Loops to the Max is a great way to bring fun learning into your classroom, Wagner said.

MONSTER EXCHANGE

Imagine dreaming up -- and drawing -- a hideous or hilarious monster, then describing it in such detail that someone else can reproduce your drawing in all its monsterly glory!

In Monster Exchange, students create a monster -- and love every minute of it, according to Susy Calvert, an elementary school teacher in Beckley, West Virginia.

They cannot wait for the project to begin each year -- and twice a year at that, said Calvert, who coordinates the project nationwide. I teach gifted elementary students who attend a gifted center one day a week. Some students attend for five years, participating in the Monster Exchange each year. They never tire of it.

During the project, each class is paired with students from another school. Each student draws a picture of a monster, writes a precise description of the creature, and e-mails the written description to students in the other classroom. Those students attempt to reproduce the drawings from the written descriptions. (See Education Worlds Monster Exchange Site Review.)

Besides giving students a chance to be creative, the project forces them to write clearly, Calvert said. They must learn the five-step writing process; they know their work is being read by a real audience in some distant place.

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

If you have a student who does something extra-special, why not let people know about it -- on the Internet. The Random Act of Kindness of the Month project allows teachers to submit a paragraph about a child who has been especially kind and helpful. Photos can be posted as well. Random Acts of Kindness is part of Project KAVE -- Kids Against Violence Everywhere, which was created by a team of teachers to promote peace.

Harriet Stolzenberg, a teacher at P.S. 279 in Brooklyn, New York, has been running the Random Act of Kindness of the Month project since 1998. Teachers have participated from New York, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, Montana, Missouri, Hawaii, Virginia, California, New Jersey, Michigan, Georgia, Delaware, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania in the United States, as well as from Manitoba, Montreal, Nova Scotia, Canada, and New Zealand.

I have received many letters through the years from people who thanked me for promoting the idea of kindness to children of all ages, and asking me to keep up the good work! Stolzenberg told Education World. It's nice to know we're making a difference in the world, even though our contribution may be small.

To register for the project, contact Stolzenberg at hstolz@aol.com.

STATISTICS, ANYONE?

You can find statistics everywhere in todays world, but what do the numbers really mean? Statistics: A Curiosity Factor, a project overseen by Brenda Dyck, a teacher at Masters Academy and College in Calgary, Alberta, gives students a chance to find out. Students view online videos from the Gallup Organization, take an online survey, and graph the results using an online survey tool. They also create new graphable questions and present the data in their own video presentations.

The goal of the project is to help students understand how data is gathered, interpreted, and applied. To register, contact bdyck@masters.ab.ca.

WHATS IN YOUR HOUSE?

The Kenmore company maintains that one out of two homes in the U.S. has a Kenmore appliance. The One Out of Two Homes in America collaborative project allows students to test that claim by surveying local households. So far eight teachers have signed up, and the search is on for more, according to Allison Watkinson, technology consultant for the Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Technology Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee, who is overseeing the project.

Besides registration information, the Web site includes a questionnaire and other activities related to the project. Data from last year's surveys also is published there. Students also predict if Kenmore's claim is true before they start their surveys, and analyze whether economic or regional factors may play a role in Kenmore appliance purchases.


Ellen R. Delisio
Copyright © 2003 Education World

01/20/2003

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