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Showcasing Kathleen Eveleigh and "Web Pages"

"Parents had been asking their children, 'What did you do in school today?' and they always heard back, 'Nothing,'" Kathleen Eveleigh told Education World. "Now they have a lot of information to talk to their children about."

Students raise their hands to contribute to the daily update.

Eveleigh is a looping kindergarten-first grade teacher at Mary Scroggs Elementary School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The school has a focus on technology, and all the teachers have Web sites and are required to publish some information online. On her site, Eveleigh posts classroom news with her students' help each day.

"I didn't want to do just the minimum," explained Eveleigh. "I was more interested in making my Web site both interesting and meaningful for the parents and the children. I heard that other teachers were putting a few things about each day on their sites, and that sounded like the way to go for me. I already did a community circle at the end of the day to talk about what happened during the day, so this was taking it a step further and doing it on the computer."

Eveleigh has kept the project simple so it's easy to manage and complete everyday. She varies the experience to maintain student interest and make it fun.

Class watches as update appears on screen.

"At the end of each day, we gather at a place in our reading center where everyone can see the television monitor," said Eveleigh. "I bring up the Web page on a computer that's connected to the television and use a large font. The special person of the day gets to pick the color for the text. Then the children raise their hands and tell me what they want me to type. After everyone has contributed, we reread and edit. Then the special person of the day gives me a final sentence -- we call it the punch -- and it is usually something like, 'We had a super fantastic wonderful day.' Then all the children put their hands up and say 'abracadabra,' and the font goes back to regular size. They think it's magical!"

The children love the daily update. They often receive e-mail from members of their extended families and visitors to the Web site, and they use that as an opportunity to learn about other places in the United States and around the world. Parents seem to get the most out of the opportunity to communicate with their children about specific classroom activities each day, however. (A Bell South grant makes it possible for Eveleigh's school to place a computer in every home, so no one is without a computer and Web access.)

Special person of the day gives Eveleigh her selection for the color of the day's text.

"One father came to see me shortly after we started the Web site," reported Eveleigh. "He said with tears in his eyes, 'I am so busy with work. I want to be there and see what my son is doing during the day. Now I can look at the Web site before I pick him up from after school care, and I know all the little things you've done -- whose birthday it was, what was in the mystery sock, and what the word of the day is. We are talking like we never did before, and the funny thing is that my son can't figure out how I know all this. It is so much fun. Thank you for this gift.'"

Eveleigh added, "I am thrilled with how this activity gives me a very special connection with my student's families -- even my Mom reads our update every day!"

Photos courtesy Kathleen Eveleigh.

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If you're a teacher who has completed an interesting or unusual activity with your class -- or if you know of a teacher who has -- please let us know about it. E-mail a brief description of the activity, along with your contact information, to [email protected]

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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