1. Description of Our Community
Actually, there are many communities represented...and this project is hosted by two communities -- Cannelton Elementary of Cannelton, Indiana (small school in a small river town) and De Wadden Primary School in Haarlem, The Netherlands (another small school in Haarlem which is a nice-sized city).Cannelton, Indiana, USA is a small rivertown of approximately 2000 people on the banks of the Ohio River and boasts many historical sites. Haarlem is the capital city of the province Noord Holland. Haarlem is about 15 miles away from Amsterdam, the capital city of our country The Netherlands. In Haarlem, about 140,000 people are living there. We have invited students from schools all over the world to participate in our project. These participants are from all over the world. You can view the participants list at: http://www.tesan.vuurwerk.nl/diaries/t9/participants.htm
2. Summary of Our Project
Our collaborative project is called Animal Diaries. It helps students all over the world make the reading and writing connection- allowing them to write and read about a topic they all love, animals! The purpose of this project is to give students all over the world a safe place on the web to publish stories about animals and their interaction with other living things. We feel Animal Diaries inspires and encourages authorship among students of all ages as well as a love of reading. Animal Diaries offers several interactive topics for students... such as animal diaries (humorous or serious animal adventures written by students from the animal's point of view), animal cartoons, animal illustrations or photos that students wish to share, travel buddy stories ("animals" who travel the world and have many adventures to tell), becoming a co-author by being a part of a progressive animal story which changes according to the school/ town/ or country that adds the next chapter, a chance to chat or email your favorite author of children's stories, and even a place to create animal greeting cards to send to friends. Our students have enjoyed collaborating on all aspects of the project.
3. Our Computer and Internet Access
A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%
B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:4-6
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
One problem to overcome was the long distance and time zone differences between our two schools (Cannelton, Indiana USA and Haarlem, The Netherlands) while working on our project. This also was a problem we faced when we had our author chats. We decided then to schedule our chats after we sent out word to other participating schools about the upcoming author chat to see who was interested in taking part. Once we found out what schools/timezones were interested, then we scheduled accordingly (and made sure the chat was a good time for our participating author of course). Other problems we have faced included finding enough webspace for all of the drawings and photographs we have received from the many schools involved. Luckily for us Vuurwerk, our service provider from Holland, has agreed to grant us all of the webspace we need to continue our educational project. One other thing we had to consider was the languages of our participating schools. However, so far all of the stories and poems have been sent to us in English, and just a little bit of editing needed to be done. We feel that we want to keep the texts sent to us as original as possible so that the students' work is theirs, not our idea of what they wanted to say. So, other than a few misspelled words, we have not done any editing to the original texts.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Our Cyberfair project, we feel, is perfect for this year's Cyberfair theme of Educate and Unite. Our participation in Cyberfair has given us the guidance and incentive to share with others our stories, poems, drawings and more. It is fun and highly educational to collaborate in this way!
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
Animal Diaries supports many learning standards across the curriculum. Below we list these according to Indiana State Standards, but they are basically the same anywhere. Language Arts:
Standard 1: Reading, Word Recognition, Fluency, and Vocabulary Development...Standard 2: Reading Comprehension...Standard 3: Literary Response and Analysis...Standard 4: Writing: The Writing Process – supports all aspects of the writing process ...Standard 5: Writing: Writing Applications...Standard 6: Writing: Written English Language Conventions...Standard 7: Listening and Speaking
Social Studies: (travel buddy area of Animal Diaries)
Standard 1: Students will describe how significant people, events, and developments have shaped their own community and region; compare their community to other communities and regions in other times and places, and use a variety of resources to gather information about the past....Standard 3: Students will begin to understand the distinctive physical and cultural features of their own community and explain the geographic relationships of their own community with the state, nation and world. Students explain regions – areas that have common characteristics...Standard 5: Students will explain how communities are made up of individuals and groups of people, explore local connections with communities in other places, examine the contributions of people from various cultures to the development of the community, and use a variety of resources to collect information about the culture of the community.
Technology: Students use the technologies for collaboration and communication as well as productivity and research. Students learned problem-solving techniques as well. View our curriculum section of Animal Diaries at: http://www.tesan.vuurwerk.nl/diaries/t7/curriculum.htm