Crocodile Hunting in Northern Territory

by frances 21. April 2009 17:36
Large Saltwater Crocodile in Daly River, NT Australia
This recent news item [Crocodile hunting, ABC Breakfast: 16th April 2009] again explores the idea of allowing Safari-style Hunting of Crocodiles to occur within the Northern Territory.
This is a great topic for a Science or Social Studies WebQuest exploring ecology, environmental issues, tourism, economy, and, land management.
    
Suggested Roles:
  • Crocodile Hunter
  • Wildlife Ranger/Environmental Scientist
  • Reptile Scientist
  • Government official promoting tourism
Sources: to get you started!!!
The Australian: Brace yourself for safari hunting of giant crocodiles April 16, 2009 
If you like the idea of this WebQuest, try using our Short-cut WebQuest Authoring Tool to create this WebQuest! [http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/swat/]

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Ideas on how to use News topics as WebQuests | Ideas on how to use News topics as WebQuests

Technology empowers differentiated instruction

by frances 10. April 2009 08:41

eSchool News (Monday Feb 02, 2009),  Technology empowers differentiated instruction  ISTE webinar offers new strategies for ensuring that all students learn by tailoring instruction to their abilities, needs, and interests By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor.

This is a great article to read from two Primary/Elementary Educators, Grace Smith and Stephanie Throne, authors of the book Differentiating Instruction with Technology in K-5 Classrooms and the soon-to-be-published Differentiating Instruction with Technology in Middle School Classrooms.  

 

 

Smith and Throne provide lots of practical ways teachers can engage their students including:

  • Tic-Tac-Toe Board with various activities that students can choose from
  • "I-Search" (see I-Search Unit , and, I-Search Curriculum Unit ); or
    • Webbe (where students make their own web books
  • WebQuests,
  • interest centres
  • flexible groups,
  • literature circles,
  • Role Audience Format Topic Tech (R.A.F.T.T.),
  • Jigsaw, or
  • computer software.

For WebQuests, "Working collaboratively, students use web research tools to investigate a teacher-designed topic of interest. They can also work collaboratively and use technology to create, write, publish, and present their information to their peers," said Throne in explaining WebQuests. WebQuests challenge students to solve a problem or answer a complex question with several possible answers. In the process, students typically learn about several different subject areas."

"Above all, DI [Differentiated Instruction] should be used to promote 21st-century skills," said Smith. "This includes digital-age literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication, and high productivity. A mastery of these skills will lead to student achievement." Both authors said technology is a great choice to consider for DI, because it helps to personalize instruction, enhances learning with multimedia components, can help students construct new knowledge, and motivates students with their work.

Other websites referenced of Interest:

1. Everything DI

2. Dare to Differentiate: Choice Boards

3. RealeBooks.com

4. WebQuest Maker [Limited functions!]

5. Reading Strategies (RAFTT)

6. RAFT

It all seems a lot of work - but with worthwhile results!!!

From my experience, students who are provided with WebQuests [as well as these other DI techniques] are given real skills and are engaged in their learning process.

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Article Review

The Book Whisperer

by frances 7. April 2009 09:41

I have just read a very interesting article about a teacher in Texas who is an expert in encouraging students to read.

She is known as the "Book Whisperer". In the Teacher Magazine, the article "Creating Readers" (parts I, II, III), Donalyn Miller explains how she gets students in her Year 6 class to read. It is well worth a good read yourself especially if you are a parent, grandparent or a teacher. She has some excellent tips and great lists of books for all students (after Year 2 students).  

Do any of you have any great reading lists for students from K - 2??? Would love to hear them!

Donalyn has a blog which I have added to our blog listing (right hand side).

It encouraged me to have a look for WebQuests on the books she mentioned. There were woefully few WebQuests! What a shame!

I think if we could have more real WebQuests (not reading comprehension or Scavenger Hunts, or Research Assignments) but real WebQuests where the students are given a messy problem to solve eg. creating a screenplay; or, a new ending to the book; we could incorporate it into the classroom. Although I would hate to have WebQuests regarded by teachers and students alike as tasks that could spoil their pleasure of reading a certain book. That's why it would have to build on the book! Making the book even more interesting and engaging!

Of course, another way to encapsulate this great article is to turn it into a WebQuest for teachers!!! Maybe that's what I should do for these holidays instead of the ANZAC Spirit WebQuest I have had on the back-burner for a number of years!!!

Here are some of the books Donalyn recommends in the article:

Tripping Over the Lunch Lady, edited by Nancy Mercado.

Sixth Grade Nickname Game by Gordon Korman

On the Run by Gordon Korman

Guts by Gary Paulsen

My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen

How Angel Peterson Got His Name by Gary Paulsen

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier

Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Tangerine by Edward Bloor

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Clique series by Lisi Harrison

Click Here by Denise Vega

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

The Word Eater by Mary Amato

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

The Tarantula in My Purse by Jean Craighead George

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer

The Beasties by William Sleator

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman

Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen

The following books have WebQuests that I know about:

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

I would love to hear about any other books on this list that have an associated WebQuest!

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Article Review

Penguin Dogs

by frances 4. April 2009 15:31
ABC's Behind the News (BTN) ran this segment recently: Penguin Dogs! This seemed interesting! What was happening here? How could I use it in a WebQuest?
    
This segment was about special dogs called Maremma (pronounced Mare-Emma) from Italy who are great guard dogs if they love the animals they look after. These particular Maremmas are guarding penguins at Middle Island in Victoria.
    
If you were incorporating it into a WebQuest, it could be used as a resource for students to look at as a solution to reducing fox predation on the penguins.
    
Or, it could be used as an another example of using other animals to control the Feral Fox invasion in Australia.
    
The question could be Should we be using an European animal to control another European pest (the fox)? Will we learn from our past mistakes about Biological Control? What about how we introduce Cane toads to help control the French's Cane Beetle and the Greyback Cane Beetle? This would be a great WebQuest question to solve a messy problem for students in Years 5 - 8.
    
There are messy problems everywhere for students to attempt to solve!!! Have a go at creating a WebQuest! It does take time and effort - but it is then around for a while for you and other teachers to use!!! Try SWAT http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/swat - a web 2.0 tool that is easy to use.
    
Or, if you want to use what other teachers have already created, you can individually or through your school subscribe to WebQuest Direct (it is only $US42 or $AU65 for an individual for the year; or, $US550, or $350 primary, or $495 secondary for a whole school and every teacher). We have thousands of reviewed and rated WebQuests that you can search and find appropriate. Of course, you can also spend the time and effort of searching with Google to find an appropriate WebQuest but isn't your time worth something! We have already done the searching for you!!! 
    
All the best with your WebQuesting!!!
     
By the way, there is an additional excellent resource on the ABC website "Creature Features" which looks at the Maremma: http://www.abc.net.au/creaturefeatures/facts/maremma.htm ; and, ABC's Landline http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2008/s2522188.htm

 

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Ideas on how to use News topics as WebQuests

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Other WebQuest & Educational Blogs

As I come across other WebQuest Blogs (& Educational ones), I will list them here.

Jane Hart's Blog (Jane is a Social Technologies Guru in UK)

Scot Aldred's Blog (Colleague at Central Queensland University and guru on Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

The Innovative Educator

Digital Education Blog

Blogging Corner Carnival

eLearn Magazine Blog

Dr. Lisa Neal Gualtieri, Editor-in-Chief, eLearn Magazine

Primary School.com.au Blog

Charlie Sullivan - Charlie does a fantastic job collating websites for Primary schools.

De Tools Blog

This blog by and for online educators and features free web based tools applications and resources. Author: John Goldsmith.

Bright Ideas: a blog by the School Library Association of Victoria

The Book Whisperer

This blog is written by Donalyn Miller, a 6th Grade teacher in Texas, who is reknown for encouraging students to read!

 

Clustr Map

Created WebQuests

Champions of Justice
Federator
Gold Force
Community Shopping Centre Planner
Can you get the party started?
Reminders of our moral conscience
The Petrov Affair
Careers
My Business Rules
Pluto's planetary status