September 27, 2013 · 6:12 pm
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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Tagged as 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, @finlaycm, Cristina Martinez, Drupal, English, Eve Becker, Independent Reading Site, Karen Blumberg, literacy, Marisa Guastaferro, Marisa Mendez, middle School, social networking, The School at Columbia University
November 3, 2012 · 3:37 pm
Unlike most other schools in the city, The School at Columbia University opened its doors on Thursday and Friday. A great majority of our community made it in for both days; I heard stories of people carpooling over 2.5 hours to get to school on time. Others biked in and needed to wait until the sun was up as many streets still had non-functioning traffic lights. There were teachers and students among us who were evacuated: some still are not in their own homes almost a week later, some are “camping” without electricity or hot water, and some are facing irreparable loss and heartbreaking/expensive repairs.
However, it is amazing how communities rally. Teachers invited colleagues to sleep over, commute together, clean up parks, and gather supplies to be donated. Lisbeth Uribe, science teacher extraordinaire, organized a relief effort over email yesterday. This morning, she and her son filled her car to the brim with items gathered from us: blankets, coats, boots, clothing, bedding, toiletries, toys, diapers, household utensils, bottled water and beverages, dry and canned food, and brownies. They drove to Rockaway, Queens where the items were sorted and dispatched to shelters. Here is a snippet of Lisbeth’s email to the community after returning from the trip:
The volunteers at the distribution center in Rockaway were so grateful and asked that if we make a return trip to please bring more water and cold medicine. The car ride to Rockaway was quick and easy. We passed many incredibly long lines of cars waiting for gas. I still have 3/4 of a tank of gas and would be happy to make another trip if we gather more donation items. They can also use volunteers to help with unloading cars, sorting items and then reloading the items onto Red Cross vehicles that take things to the shelters.
For more information about how we can help victims of the Hurricane, please go to the following links:
Eve Becker (8th Grade English) called to invite me to Rockaway with her on Sunday (tomorrow), and we’ll be delivering, sorting, and dispersing mountains of supplies. Joining us will be Belinda Nicholson, Middle Division Head.
*** My photos from the trip are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/specialkrb/sets/72157631935174207/
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Tagged as Belinda Nicholson, Eve Becker, Hurricane Sandy, Lisbeth Uribe, New York City, NYC, queens, relief, Rockaway, The School, The School at Columbia University, volunteer, volunteering
June 25, 2011 · 12:48 pm
As I wrote in my last post, Teach21 was a professional development institute for 21st Century educators organized by faculty and administrators at The School at Columbia University. Every day there was a keynote speaker (Sree Sreenivasan, Howard Gardner, A.J. Jacobs, Karen Cator) and many half-day and full-day concurrent offerings.
Thursday, I offered a session about “Social Networking and Literacy.” We started the 2.5 hours together with a discussion about literacy. I used to think literacy was just the reading and writing of text. Nowadays literacy is about learning how to comprehend/research/navigate/communicate/cite/re-mix/share all sorts of media.
We started off the session with a conversation about the new literacies and looked at a couple of sources:
Then I showed a couple of projects where students publish individual and group work online and collaborate via shared access, commenting, hyperlinking, and other interactions. We looked at The Independent Reading Site that I set up with Marisa Guastaferro three years ago and the To Kill a Mockingbird book groups set up by Eve Becker for her 8th grade English classes. Both projects are described in this post: http://karenblumberg.com/social-networking-and-literacy-on-2511-at-600
Then we looked at ways to set up similar projects with other available technologies.
Resources from this and other Teach21 sessions are here: https://sites.google.com/a/theschool.columbia.edu/teach21-resources/
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Tagged as book groups, book reviews, Click here to add a tag to this post., Drupal, Edmodo, Elgg, Elggs, Eve Becker, Facebook, GoodReads, Google Apps, Google Apps for Edu, Google Sites, independent reading, Learning Symposium, Marisa Guastaferro, Moodle, Personal Learning Network, Picasa, Schoology, Shelfari, Shutterfly, Social Media, social network, social networking, Teach21, Teach21C, The Independent Reading Site, The Social Network, To Kill a Mockingbird, YouTube
April 4, 2011 · 8:17 pm
I was in Eve Becker‘s room earlier, trying to figure out why the USB Snowball microphone wasn’t picking up her students’ voices as effectively as it should. I think the sound settings in System Preferences keep defaulting back to the built-in mic rather than the Snowball.
Eve likes to record class discussions with http://ustream.tv – so, if a student misses a class for any reason, they can stay in at lunch and watch a recording.
While fiddling with the preferences, I enjoyed Eve’s introduction of sonnets as part of their poetry unit. I piped in that I wrote a sonnet in college, and the kids humored me by listening.
I also learned a new term, enjambment, which means the continuation of a complete idea from one line or couplet to the next line or couplet without a pause. “Enjambment” comes from the French word for “to straddle.” Giddyup.
It’s often said that five are just too much,
And one should stop at three or even four.
My mother seemed to have that rabbit touch.
The rabbi said be fruitful; She had more.
I sometimes thing the Yuppies know what’s best.
With 2.3, it’s hard to go astray.
No fighting over who deserves the rest
Of pizza or the first who gets to play
The latest of Nintendo. Peace presides!
No squabbling over turns to watch TV,
Or who it was that first began the tides
Of war. The answer’s like to be, “Not me!”
And though it seems that best is 2.3,
I find I’m happy with our four plus me.
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Tagged as 8th Grade, Blue, English, Eve Becker, microphone, poem, poetry, Snowball, System Preferences, USB, Ustream, UStream.tv