Tag Archives: English

Just finished our 6th grade #MemoryCorps project, which is our in-house version of @StoryCorps. #engchat #edchat

6th grade just finished their annual MemoryCorps project. This is the 4th year we’ve included the project in our curriculum, as it meshes so nicely with their conversations about identity. The mission of StoryCorps is “to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives. We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.”

Similarly, for our MemoryCorps unit, 6th graders interviewed a family member to learn from them and their stories. When possible, students captured audio and/or video of this interview, and after, they wrote a summary of the conversation and recorded themselves in school delivering this summary either using Garageband or Photobooth (we have batches of Logitech USB headsets with microphones which the students share). These files were uploaded/archived to our in-house video server powered by @Drupal and supported by Cristina Martinez, our brilliant network/server manager. English teachers, Amy Kissel and Elana Metsch-Ampel, created three separate shared Google Slides presentations — one for each of the three learning groups. Each student went to their class’s slideshow and added a slide which included:

  1. The name of their family member.
  2. A scintillating quote from the interview.
  3. A brief biography about the family member.
  4. A photo or a photo of an artifact representing that person.
  5. Links to their reading of the summary and any links to the original interview when applicable.

I totally love this project!

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7th graders at @The_School are in a Google Hangout with Kashmira Sheth, author of *Keeping Corner*

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Albert deGrasse, 7th grade English teacher here at The School at Columbia University, arranged for a Google Hangout with Kashmirah Sheth, author of Keeping Corner!

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Our new and improved Independent Reading Site is up and running at @The_School thanks to @finlaycm.

Cristina Martinez-Finlay is the Network Manager (and ever so much more) at The School at Columbia University. Last year, she decided to embark on a personal journey to revamp our beloved but kinda ugly Independent Reading Site which had been a labor-of-love Google Site that Marisa Guastaferro Mendez and I launched in 2007. We even won an award for it back in the day.

Marisa wanted an internal space for kids to keep track of their independent reading, post book reviews, and social network about literacy. We examined GoodReads, Shelfari, and other sites before deciding to just have an internal Google Site that anyone in our school community could access and edit. The site was alive and kicking and heavily used for 6 years. Then last year, Cristina showed me her pet project. She used Drupal to build the site (because, lordy, that woman knows Drupal), and she built up a site that is internal, robust, and legitimately way more attractive to use. The kids love it.

Today, Eve Becker (8th grade English) and I reminded the kids how to navigate the site, add books, join groups, post reviews, and comment on other people’s reviews. Cristina was there to answer questions too, and I’m glad the kids had a chance to appreciate her to her face.

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